Imagine you’ve had a night of Starbucks, beer, laughter, and Lord of the Fries, and imagine you went to bed at 1am. Imagine that you’ve woken up late the next morning, warm and cozy, having discovered that a sleeping bag capable of keeping a boy warm during a thunderstorm on top of a mountain (my brother is insane) is equally good at keeping a girl warm inside a house. Imagine you’re visiting Magnificentland, and never want to leave.
Imagine that feeling of slow, sleepy, Saturday-morning comfort. What, in your imagination, is powerful enough to make you spring out of bed, shower in double time, and leap for the outside world? Two words:
Yes, that’s right. Proud Mary, a Melbourne institution of Brunch Brilliance. If I’m perfectly honest, when my brother first invited me to join him and his friends for brunch, I almost said no. You see, these friends originally came from Canberra too, and were people I had idolised and been too scared to talk to way-back-when.
What if I made a fool of myself? What if I ordered something stupid? What if I bumbled?
What if it was fun?
Readers, I went to Proud Mary. And it was so very, very enjoyable, both in terms of the food and the company. The friends of my brother whom I was meeting for the first time were perfectly friendly and chatty, and his old friends seemed genuinely delighted to see and talk to grown-up-me.
In fact, everything was so splendiferous and welcoming that I felt perfectly at ease taking photos of almost everyone’s food.
Eagle (remember that name; it will be important later) ordered a drink that had pineapple and something else in it. I’m sorry that I can’t be more specific, but I expected Proud Mary to have a website with its menu available. Alas! It doesn’t. The End.
Eagle also ordered the Pork Belly sandwich, which gave many of the eight people at our table serious order envy. The sounds of utter bliss emanating from Eagle as he ate, combined with his outright proclamation that this was the best sandwich he’d ever had, assured everyone in the vicinity that it was delicious.
Several orders were made of the Crispy Hash dish, and each plate disappeared quickly enough to attest to its tastiness. (I do, of course, mean that the food atop each plate disappeared, and not that my brother’s friends have nifty-crockery-stealing-fingers).
There were two dishes in particular that I had my eye on at Proud Mary, so you can imagine my delight when my brother chose one of them, leaving me to happily order the other.
Behold! My brunch/lunch was gorgeous.
So many things I love: Figs! Goat’s Cheese! Almonds! Greenery! Exclamation mark! The prettiness of my dish also caused a few “ooohs” to be whispered across the table, and I can happily say that not a skerrick, morsel, or tidbit of anything remained on my plate by the time our brunch/lunch drew to a close.
(However, I’m not like the moon in that I’m not made of cheese, I don’t permit Americans to step on me, and I watch rather than am visited by Wallace and Gromit.)
Wait, did you want to see my brother’s dish? I hope so, because I’m about to show it to you.
I happily stole more than a few bites of the figs and iced pistachio nougat, but was forbidden from eating the last bite of my brother’s hotcakes. You’ll be glad to hear I survived the disappointment. After all, I’d just had a fabulous Melbourne brunch experience, so that made up for my brother’s refusal to cater to my whims.
Several hours later, I left my brother and his friends in order to begin my Saturday Night Dessert Extravaganza. As I departed, I sent my brother a text telling him I’d be in touch later about meeting up for drinks. This is the text I received in return:
“Well, I just broke Eagle’s nose, so it might be a sober night.”
But that, my friends, is a story for another day.