Pope Joan, located strangely close to my apartment has become a favourite among locals and visitors a like. My street is always its busiest when the weekend brunch crowd wanders sleepy eyed to the welcoming doors of Pope Joan. Popping up out of car repair stores and run down houses, it was a sight for sore eyes.
As you enter your welcomed by a warm and cozy dining room, with smiling wait staff, laid back patrons, a cabinet filled with freshly baked goods and a smell that assures you you’ve come to the right place. Take a seat either in the wooden dining room, or open the sliding door and venture out the outside. There are tables lining the undercover deck and then outdoor tables taking you all the way to the homegrown herbs and vegetables found in the garden.
There is an attention to detail demonstrated here that is rare in a small brunch/lunch venue. Each dish is served in its own original setting. The rice pudding is served in an old school jam jar, the fruit toast served in a toast stand and the porridge is served using three matching pieces of crockery. One to hold the porridge, one to hold the fruit and a matching jug to hold the milk. It was just a beautiful sight to see.
The menu, while not your standard breakfast/brunch menu offers so many delicious looking dishes. It ranges from baked ginger bread with maple butter, to rice pudding, to pressed ham hock and lentils with fried egg and sauce gribiche, to even W.A Sardines and tomato on toast with feta, pine nuts and currents.
In addition to this there are a range of gourmet sandwiches including The Cornish: Milawa chicken, stuffing and jalapeño peppers to tantalize those who are in the mood for lunch.
My friend and I had trouble deciding what to order so opted to share. We chose the warmed ginger bread which was served with smoked maple butter and the Boiled eggs, soldiers, bacon bits and herb salt.
As it arrived by friend looked at me and said “I know this is weird, but I need to smell it” as she picked up the plate and brought it to her nose. Of course once she had done this I was unable not to follow suit. It has been a good choice, the ginger aromas filled my nose and it took all my strength not to eat her half as well as mine!
The ginger bread was amazing. It was light and fluffy with a strong ginger flavour pushing through. Perfectly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, the maple butter was able to add moisture and subtle sweetness without interfering with the bread itself.
Then our eggs arrive. They were adorably served in a porcelain egg carton, eggs in their own section, bread in the centre and the bacon bits filling one corner and the herbed salt filling the other. It was a gorgeous picture!
As we sliced the top of our soiled eggs, we revealed perfectly soft boiled eggs! The toasted grainy buttery bread, which accompanied it, was excitably dunked in straight away. The bacon, expertly crisped added everything bacon should, while the herbed salt was flavoursome and delicious. I couldn’t tell you which herbs they used, but along with the salt it cut through the richness of the egg yolk and completed the dish!
I should also say here, that my soy cappuccino, topped with love heart coffee art was also lovely. Rich and creamy.
From the vegetable garden out the back to the gorgeous antique looking crockery, eating here feels like you’ve come home. We sat for hours in the busy dining room people coming and going as they please, not once feeling the sometimes-watchful eye of waiters in a busy venue. I honestly think we could have sat there all day with no one having a care in the world.
All in all Pope Joan offers delicious coffee and exciting fun and innovative food that really hits the spot.
For more information:
77-79 Nicholson Street
(03) 9388 8858