Pope Joan is a little neighbourhood cafe owned by chef (and now cookbook author) Matt Wilkinson. I like the sound of what Matt is on about - sustainable, seasonal and ethical eating. What could be better?
For something different we order ourselves a Vietnamese Iced Coffee each. I'm sure this is nowhere near traditional but it is really delicious - a shot of espresso with a good splosh of sweetened condensed milk added to the mix. A little jug of regular milk is supplied which allows us to drag out the iced coffee to two glasses.
We're not quite sure what is missing from the not so full English breakfast ($19.00). The plate is filled with all the breakfast goodies The Boy could want. Melbourne Pantry bacon, Pacdon Park Cumberland sausage, Pope Joan baked beans, Green Eggs scrambled eggs. I love how every ingredient on this plate names the farm that it's from. Mr Wilkinson could probably tell you the name of the pig the bacon came form if he asked him.
After our epic pig out at Chin Chin the night before I'm looking for something a little...lighter and the corn + sweet potato cake served with poached egg, avocado, hazelnuts, yoghurt ($18.00) is just the ticket. The corn + sweet potato cake looks similar to a muffin and is as light as a feather with a wonderful savoury flavour. The poached egg reveals a river of oozing yolk when pierced with my fork.
As we're heading out of the cafe the blistering Melbourne heat hits us. I quickly rush back inside and grab one of the homemade Strawberry + Cucumber icy-poles. I thought this combination of flavours would be really weird, but they worked so well together. The sweetness of the strawberries is counterbalanced by the slight tartness of the cucumber. Sadly it's over all too soon.
We jump back on the #96 (icy-pole in tow) and head to the end of the line...which is just a few stops away.
The CERES Environment Park is somewhere I have wanted to visit for the LONGEST time. It is a sprawling urban farm built on top of an old rubbish tip - which just proves that something beautiful and useful can come from something stinky and messy.
The centre offers a great nursery, education centre, workshops + courses, organic market (selling produce grown on site at CERES as well as other local produce) cafe and generally a green respite from busy city life. I dream of something like this cropping up in Sydney in the not to distant future.
I'm really cross that the horrible Melbourne heatwave turned my long-held dream of visiting CERES into a sweaty, stinking hot, cranky nightmare of a trip. Even the CERES chickens didn't look happy this day (all 200 chickens share the name Hazel by the way) as they lazily pecked at the dust and gave each other dirty looks out of the corner of their eyes.
Pope Joan is at 77-79 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East- Melbourne. Phone them on (03) 9388 8858.
CERES is at the corner of Roberts and Stewart Streets, Brunswick East - Melbourne. Phone them on (03) 9389 0100.