Fun night. Long night. Drinking night.
Early Saturday morning. Sunshine. Recovery plan? Crawling to Pope Joan’s for the cure.
Pope Joan is located on Nicholson St, away from anything else. Rather isolated would be an apt description. I remember hearing plenty about this place when it first popped up two years ago due to it being conceived to Matt Wilkinson who was previously at Circa The Prince Hotel, St Kilda. I remember the weekend crowds which seems to have waned somewhat over the years. Well, now that I reside very much around the block, it is in fact my nearest brekkie joint. But as one does, the closer it is, the more likely we are to put off visitation citing the convinience of proximity.
The floor is spacious after you enter, passing by the three little tables set up on the street. I’m not a big fan of having my food so close to the dust of the road, nor do I regard the dingings of the 96 tram as appealing, so I have tended to veer left for indoor seating. The kitchen is semi-open with the egg scrambling and bacon and sausage sizzles in plain view of the first dining area. Around the side past the delicious looking cupcakes and pastry tidbits is an elongated area that is bound to be popular for the summer sunshine. A third and more quiet spot would be the adjourning bar area with mainly small 2-seater tables but there is a family-sized table at the rear. This section is known as Bishop of Ostia which hosts a couple of specials paired with drink, and one can browse the Pope Joan website for more details.
One can’t complain about the coffee at Pope Joan, it’s done well and pretty much consistent. There is some wait for the coffee, which might irritate some. I usually have my papers or a book so I’m not too fussed. The menu offers a decent choice from simple grains to cooked breakfast. There are also sandwiches which are a takeaway option. Price-wise, well this ain’t Brunswick West or Sydney Rd. It is apparent that Brunswick East residents are willing to pay, and on average I’d guage that the tag on the dishes are $3 – $5 dearer that my absolute no-questions-asked comfort level. If they were so, I’d be returning wayyy more regularly. The ‘Not so full English breakfast’ offers Pantry Bacon, Cumberland Sausage (tightly packed meaty texture), Baked Beans (served in a tin) and Scrambled Eggs (very nicely folded!) for $18. There are also daily specials on the board so be sure to ask about them.
Patronage is constant, the crowd consisting of mid-20s to 30 somethings. Fewer families with young children. Quite representative of this suburb’s demographic I reckon. Service is friendly, but more attention could be paid for initial seating. I had previously heard of complaints about the service, which could be a factor for it’s low-ish rating on Urbanspoon, but any kinks are not apparent now.
Overall, Pope Joan offers a very relaxing atmosphere, coupled with good quality coffee and food. Ample space ensures that a long wait is infrequent. A place to catch-up with friends and bring the family.