Word first broke in June 2017 that Melbourne-based Proud Mary Coffee would open its first U.S. location in Portland. Frankly, it was a perfect match. Proud Mary loves working with local providers to create stunning dishes (Portland loves this). Plus, Melbourne and Portland are both coffee hot spots.
At least when I went, there was no flashy sign to tell me Proud Mary was here, just a small menu tacked to the window. One door leads in and out into a very deep space; customers were at tables from the front to the back of the house. I luckily nabbed a seat at the bar in the middle of the restaurant.
Proud Mary is a coffee shop, but it doubles as a restaurant with dishes not typically found elsewhere. Yes, Australia had avocado toast long before it became a thing in the States. The "flat white" comes from Down Under, although people in Australia and New Zealand both claim to have invented it.
When I went in late July, Proud Mary showcased three unique Panama coffees from Finca Hartmann. Of course, I couldn't pass it up, because coffee thirty always exists.
The first one, Catuai/Caturra, was the most easy-drinking and silky of the three. The other two, Maragogipe and Geisha, had more acidity on the tongue. Maragogipe brought a more tropical feel, while Geisha had the floral experience. While my coffee palate needs major work - and I heavily relied on the notes provided to me at the bar - I enjoyed each one. It was a pricey journey, paying $16 for a flight of three espressos (a few grams of liquid each). I could have done a flight of three in a V60 size for $20, which would have been 250 mL each (750 mL = 25.3 oz total of caffeinated bliss).
|L to R: Catuai, Maragogipe, Geisha|
I wanted many of the food items on the menu, but the Miso Smoked Trout ($16) called me the loudest. A couple pieces of miso smoked trout and kimchi on a bed of soba noodles, tomato puree/sauce, cucumber, sesame seeds. Greens on the side. It was served in an off-white ceramic bowl. Colorful presentation.
I couldn't recall having tomato puree/sauce and sesame together before this, yet it went very well together. Moist trout, silky soba noodles, crunchy raw cucumber slices.
The menu includes sashimi for breakfast, an uncommon sight even for Portland. If you got the major sweet tooth, I'd try the Ricotta Hotcake ($10) or the Banana Bostock ($12).
Sure, I ended up spending quite a bit my first time at Proud Mary. Yet, I probably would stick with their usual house coffee or a flat white next time for a beverage.
Proud Mary brings an awesome "Down Under" experience to Portland! 8.5/10