Farmers markets are good things. Fresh produce straight from the horses mouth, so to speak. And a café that embraces this is a good café. Providence on Rathdowne Street in Carlton stems from a love of farmers markets. The sense of community, the freshly harvested produce, the farmers who know your name and your order, and the serious passion for good quality sustainable produce.
Founders Michael and Eleena Tan know a thing or two about the hospitality scene. They run a hospitality consulting business Brand/Works and are also part owners in some of Melbourne’s new favourites: The Grain Store and Hero Subs. The 80-seat venue, which used to be a retirement building, has been given the gorgeous café makeover. Floor to ceiling windows, artwork of produce on the walls, a wooden counter, a communal table, some bench seating with bentwood chairs, and some greenery for good measure.
The kitchen is looked after by chef Cate Hardman (ex-Sarti) and the food’s focus is on artisan products like organic Gamze Smallgoods and Gundowring ice cream. The breakfast menu, which runs until 3pm opens on the lighter side of things with granola, natural yoghurt and strawberries, and the chia seed and coconut milk pudding served with lime and ginger poached mandarin. For a more savoury affair try the pumpkin and lentil fritters with chilli tomato pickle and coconut yoghurt, or the smoked trout bubble and squeak potatoes with poached eggs. Gluten free bread comes sans surcharge. Well done them.
You can wash your breakfast down with a Black Star organic small batch coffee, or Cate’s Green Smoothie: coconut water, chia seeds, kale, cucumber, ginger, lemon, and strawberries.
Lunch is whatever Cate feels. Produce driven for sure. And speaking of produce, you can buy some of the staff’s favourites to take home with you and get cooking.
497 Rathdowne Street, Carlton, VIC 3053