Sunday, 24 August 2008

Ladies and gentlemen: Porgie & Mr Jones

Porgie & Mr Jones
291 Auburn Rd, Hawthorn (map)
9882 2955

Porgie & Mr Jones cupcakes

Okay, so it's time for a confession: I have fallen in love. Head over heels in rapturous love with Porgie & Mr Jones, a little gem of a cafe in Auburn Road, Hawthorn.

Porgie & Mr Jones

Even before I'd tasted anything, P+MJ looked promising: artfully distressed brick walls and casually cute decor, loaves of Noisette bread for sale, a counter crammed with delicious-looking goodies, and really friendly staff cheerfully interacting with each other and the customers. On my second visit (a week after my first - I couldn't wait to get back), the kiwi gal at the till greeted me with a big hello and a "you're back, and you're wearing those gorgeous earrings again!"... and as I was leaving, the barista gave me an enthusiastic wave goodbye as though we were old friends.

Porgie & Mr Jones breadPorgie & Mr Jones

Maybe the secret to the happy staff is they're all high on berocca (which is on the menu for $3 a glass, original flavour) and tic tocs (40 cents each). :)

Tic tocs

On my first visit I went with Mum and she had the smashed avocado with thyme buttered mushrooms and marinated fetta on toasted wholegrain bread ($14.90). It tasted lovely - the serving of avocado was very generous, and the fetta was creamy and yet had a sharpness that really cut through the dish. Highly recommended.

Smashed avocado

I was tempted by the all-day breakfast menu (none of that McDonalds-style "we stop serving breakfast at 11am" bullshit that I encountered at Pearl Cafe when I tried to breakfast there a few Sundays ago - more about that in a forthcoming post)... but it WAS after 2pm, so I went for something more overtly lunchy: the bruschetta of garlicky cannellini beans, slow roasted tomatoes, crispy prosciutto and vincotto ($13.90). This dish was also excellent - the addition of vincotto was inspired, as was the decision to make the prosciutto crispy.


I couldn't resist getting one of those golden vanilla cupcakes ($4.50). Moist and soft with sinfully thick icing! Incidentally, the cafe is named after two of its owners. Mr Jones himself was knocking back a coffee by the bar on my second visit...

Golden vanilla cupcake

I was in the area again on Saturday, so I dropped in for a second visit and a sample of the breakfast menu. I'd decided to eschew the Taste of Melbourne festival because I was singing that night in a concert and didn't want to be tired/cranky from shuffling around in crowds all afternoon - so what better option than a quiet brunch and a read of the weekend papers? Note the golden retriever outside that insisted on staring at me mournfully as I drank my chai latte... :)

Chai Latte and mournful golden retriever

This breakfast was what really sealed the deal for me vis-à-vis P+MJ. Toasted banana bread with maple syrup mascarpone, fresh banana, berry compote and crushed pistachio ($12.90). My fondness for banana bread has already been well documented, but THIS was in a whole new league.

Two thick squares of soft-but-then-toasted banana bread stacked on top of each other like a club sandwich, with a mortar of mascarpone and thin slices of fresh banana holding the two together. A drizzle of tart berries and syrup over the top, crowned with the crushed pistachio. It was a simply stunning dish, and I don't know how on earth I'll be able to convince myself to NOT order it again next time, despite my desire to steadily work my way through the P+MJ menu, one dish at a time...

Toasted banana bread with maple syrup mascarpone, fresh banana, berry compote and crushed pistachio

I mean, it's not as though the banana bread isn't up against some pretty stiff competition, what with all the other fabulous-sounding items on the menu vying for attention: poached eggs on toasted grain bread with spinach, red pepper pesto and hazelnut dukkah, anyone? Salad of baby beetroot and stems, red onion, blood orange, Persian fetta and pistachio?? Toasted piadina with Casa Iberica chorizo, roast sweet potato, fetta and olive tapenade???

Sigh. I'm in love with Porgie & Mr Jones.

Leunig and golden retriever


Simon said...

Aww look at the doggie in the last picture! (ahem) another lovely post Claire - the avocado, mushroom, fetta looks amazing *drool*

Onto the list it goes. I've heard wonderful things about Noisette's bread so how convenient it's available on the east side :)

Anonymous said...

agghhh. p+mj, seems everyone is finding out about our little secret, its getting too hard to get a table there now.. this is, without doubt one of melbournes best cafes.. its all love, a happy team, an inspiring fitout done on a budget with great taste and the food, owww... the food. Mr jones is the chef, he often dances around singing and dancing with the staff - last time he was dancing with the blonde girl barista behind the counter!!... and you sure can taste the love in that food.. great post Clair, just hope too many people dont see it!! We still want a table :) THat barista is soooo cute too !!

Dani said...

oh my goodness that banana bread looks INCREDIBLE.

Johanna said...

the banana bread looks amazing but I was already wanting to try the place when I saw the green cupcake stand I always drool over in shops - now I just wish I went to hawthorn more

Julesgourmond said...

Those cupcakes look amazing! Any idea if they are open on Sunday before I trek out to Hawthorn?

Anonymous said...

jules, yes they are open on syndays.. but it is hellishm BUSY!!! still worth the wait. i think porgies is one on melbs best little run cafes by a longshot. robert

Anonymous said...

we LOVE porgie + mr Jones.. such a delightful local cafe.... their breakfasts are to die for....

Food lover said...

Loved your review - looks really yummy! I've only been there quickly once for coffee. Should try going back for food.