Some Saturday mornings you have all the time in the world, and yet others are chock full of appointments, shopping, social, family or sporting obligations and running errands. Ever since I started my working life all those years ago, my guilty pleasure has been to head to a café and treat myself to a cooked breakfast to unwind from the pressures of the week. This Saturday, I had an appointment at 10am in South Yarra but habits are hard to break and I still wanted to indulge in my breakfast ritual. With time and location playing the critical factors in my choice, I decided to have breakfast at “Urban Provedore” in Toorak Road.
Now for the confession. I had breakfast at Urban Provedore around four months ago and I was less than impressed. Newly opened, I think that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Poor service, ordinary food and even the cash register didn’t want to be there. Yet in the passage of time, I had my fingers crossed that it was just teething problems and that things may have improved.
Urban Provedore is located on the ground floor beneath a new apartment complex, 50 metres from Chapel Street. The sleek fit out is inviting with warm timber tones, industrial accents and a feature wall showcasing a range of condiments and dry foods for sale. Walking in at 9am with that sense of déjà vu, I found a small table with fantastic views of the streetscape along Toorak Road, grabbed a newspaper, sat down and I waited.
After five or so minutes, I had an awkward exchange with someone who was grabbing menus and water for another table that had just been seated nearby and somehow managed to convey that I also wanted to order a coffee and see a menu, if it wasn’t too much trouble. From that moment on, things markedly improved.
The menu hasn’t changed since my last visit and is relatively simple and classic in its breakfast options, although a tad on the expensive side. Being due for something savoury and egg-centric, I choose the “Gin and dill cured ocean trout with creamy goats cheese and dill scrambled eggs, beetroot relish and toasted rye”.
Within ten minutes of ordering, breakfast arrived and I couldn’t believe the sheer size of the dish before me. Two large slices of toasted rye bread, placed side by side, formed the base of the dish. On top of the bread, several slices of cured ocean trout, a mountain of moist scrambled eggs, finished with a dollop of sweet beetroot relish and micro coriander leaves.
My friends and family are not at all surprised that I would order alcohol-infused fish for breakfast, although I couldn’t really detect any residual flavour from the gin within the fillets of the ocean trout. But needless to say, it was not too thickly sliced and really delicious.
Ever since my trip to Turkey earlier this year, I’ve developed a deep infinity for fresh dill and was overjoyed to see this herb generously used in the scrambled egg mixture. At the base of the pile of eggs, there were large portions of goats cheese with its creamy texture and rich, salty flavour lifting my taste buds to a whole new level. My breakfast was certainly plentiful and it well and truly eclipsed my previous dining experience.
The service is still somewhat variable at Urban Provedore, with some staff more attentive and friendly than others. After the menu fiasco, someone else approached my table and asked if I wanted another coffee. I enthusiastically said yes and then gave my coffee order. They started to write down my request, then hesitated and then asked me “Sorry, did you just say you’ve already ordered another coffee?” Ah no, but then again I’ve just ingested an unknown quantity of gin, so perhaps I did.
Within 45 minutes, I had enjoyed a substantial breakfast, two cups of coffee, read the paper, paid the bill and was ready to head towards my morning appointment down the road. I am extremely glad that I had decided to give Urban Provedore a second chance.