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Pope Joan Cafe

Home > Melbourne > Cafes
by Kathryn Page (subscribe)
I am an Australian freelance writer living in Adelaide.
Published November 10th 2011
Finding a place to seat eight adults for breakfast on a Sunday morning isn't an easy task, so my family made it clear that we were indeed going out for breakfast and not brunch. Arriving at Pope Joan's at 9am was the right time - the courtyard was almost full to the brim except a small wooden round table, seemingly left for us. I still can't decide whether I enjoyed the experience or not due to their very different offerings for breakfast.

There was no full English breakfast here. A lot of the dishes sounded delicious but I think that's just because they were different to what I expected. There was warmed ginger bread with smoked maple butter, rice pudding with rhubarb, sardines and tomato on toast with feta, pinenuts and currants or coddled egg with black pudding and anchovy salad. Different.

I relived my childhood and went for the boiled eggs with soldiers, bacon bits and herb salt ($9). There was a little too much salt for my liking and two pieces of toast would have been more filling than the one. I did like the presentation though with egg cups and mismatched antique ceramic plates for all. My partner chose the "A bit posh toasted sandwich" with pickled green tomatoes, Istra salami and mozzarella ($11). Again, two would have fed a grown man better. Not long after we'd all finished our meals, two pieces of toast with Vegemite arrived for my 32-year-old-brother. He'd too decided his "Reformation Pope Joan"- bacon, fried egg and homemade HP sauce ($10) wasn't filling enough.

Boiled egg

Vegemite on toast

So although Pope Joan's breakfasts are very cheap, they are also very small. The setting was nice though. It felt as though we were in a garden party. The courtyard led to a grassed area up the back for the kids. While there were a lot of us seated in the courtyard, it felt cosy rather than over-crowded. Worth a visit if you're sick of mainstream cafes but not so if you're after a satisfying feed.

Enjoying the atmosphere outside
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Why? Cheap snacks for breakfast, brunch or lunch. The food is fresh and the ingredient-combinations different but tasty.
When: Open 7 days from 7.30am-3.30pm
Where: 77-79 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East
Cost: Meals $6-$26, coffee $3.50
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