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FOOD & DRINK

Melbourne Cafe Favourite Pope Joan Has Reopened (Permanently) as an All-Day CBD Eatery

The beloved Brunswick East spot is back — now with gin-spiked chips, bowls of gnocchi and a cake trolley.
By Libby Curran
June 18, 2019
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Melbourne Cafe Favourite Pope Joan Has Reopened (Permanently) as an All-Day CBD Eatery

The beloved Brunswick East spot is back — now with gin-spiked chips, bowls of gnocchi and a cake trolley.
By Libby Curran
June 18, 2019
  shares

It was a sad day for Melbourne brunch fans when beloved Brunswick East cafe Pope Joan announced its closure last May, shutting its doors to make way for a new apartment development. Happier news came when the legend fleetingly reentered our lives this January, hosting a summer pop-up in The Mayfair's former Collins Street digs. Now, it's back for good, returning to the CBD space as a permanent venture.

Again helmed by founder and chef Matt Wilkinson, Pope Joan 2.0 is an evolution of the original, but one that should keep original fans happy all the same. Expect an offering that celebrates old favourites alongside contemporary creations, with the doors (and kitchen) open weekdays from 7am all the way through till 9pm.

On offer until 11am daily, a modern breakfast menu features classics like the rice pudding and signature baked beans, joined by the likes of devilled eggs on sourdough with bacon, and sardines teamed with wild greens and fennel.

Annika Kafcaloudis

Across lunch and dinner, the kitchen is plating up a both snacks and heartier dishes. Find creations like the assembly of whipped cheese curds, pickled kohlrabi and grilled bread; croquettes stuffed with corn, cheddar and jalapeño; and a riff on the humble salt and vinegar crisps starring Four Pillars Gin.

Larger plates might include a Milawa chicken schnitzel matched with garlic and mustard butter and a cheesy parsnip and Jerusalem artichoke gnocchi. Or you can forego the decision-making altogether and settle in with the $55 'feed me' menu.

Of course, Pope Joan's legendary sandwiches are also making a comeback, with combinations such as the pastrami, smoked mozzarella and red kraut reuben (and the bacon and egg roll with brown sauce) available until 4pm daily. The pop-up cake trolley will also make its return, while a 4–7pm happy hour offers specials on oysters and bubbly. You'll also find a strong selection of cocktails, spritzes, craft beer and wine to round out the fun.

Find Pope Joan at 45 Collins Street, Melbourne (in the Sofitel driveway). It's open from Monday–Friday, 7am–9pm.

Image one: The Mayfair by Kristoffer Paulsen. Food images: Annika Kafcaloudis

Published on June 18, 2019 by Libby Curran

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