The Petty Officer

Since June, our dear friend Jess has been living in San Francisco, and we have missed her ever so much. Imagine our level of ecstatic excitement, then, on learning that Jess was making an impromptu one-week visit. We went WILD!

Since she was here for such a short amount of time, and at short notice, we had to scramble in organising a brunch, and thought it was best to take her to a new place that had opened in her abscence that she hadn’t already experienced back in the day. We couldn’t have chosen anywhere more new than The Petty Officer, the new sister cafe to Hawthorn’s Axil, which had only been open for a week when Jess, Kim, Bennett and I made our visit.

The overall design theme at The Petty Officer might be a bit too minimal for some, but I loved all the grey hues, and anyway there’s a lovely little alcove up the back with a pretty little mural of branches and birds on the walls that is ever so cute and cheerful.

There was much hmming and hawing over the menu, it was so hard to choose! I ended up going with something familiar, but different, in the corn, zucchini and mint fritters with bloody mary salad (consisting of mixed tomatoes, celery, cocktail onions and pimento olives), lime mascarpone and celery salt. I added on a poached egg and recommend that you do too. The fritters were bursting at the seams with corn kernels and vegie threads, and were both crispy and well seasoned. The bloody mary salad – which was an idea so intriguing to me that it pretty much solely prompted me to order the dish – was indeed texturally interesting, and much of the components brought real bursts of interest to the dish as a whole. The crunchy, fresh celery pieces, the colourful mixed baby tomatoes, red yellow and green, I particularly liked. Cocktail onions and pimento olives… jury’s still out on you (how weird are cocktail onions, guys? I mean, just think about them for a while. SUPER WEIRD).

Everyone else ordered The Chief Petty Officer: potato rosti, bacon, poached eggs and roasted red peppers. We were total brunch dicks (a term we’ve invented for people who sub things in and out of menu items to the eternal scorn of waitstaff everywhere), with Bennett subbing the red peppers for asparagus, Jess the peppers for mushrooms, while Kim kept the peppers but also got a side of smashed avocado. They all seemed pretty well satisfied with their choices, and I managed to snaffle tastes of both the smashed avocado and the buttery mushrooms, which were both noble examples of side dishes.

I can’t go without some kind of sweet, as you all well know, and once Jess reported back from the dessert cabinet that peanut butter and jelly muffins were available, I knew what my dessert snack was going to be. I was expecting an orgy of unhealthiness, but it was actually a touch more wholesome than my mad envisioning of mountains of frosting: the muffin itself was peppered with peanut chunks and seams of dark chocolate, while the jelly component was represented by the topping of slightly stewed mixed berries. Nowhere near an overdose of sweetness, this muffin was actually a light finish to proceedings.

The Petty Officer stocks Larsen & Thompson tea, of which I had two pots of during the visit, because when a place will actually take the care to brew your tea for you at the optimum temperature and time length, you damn well take advantage of it. The English breakfast is a fine, hearty first-cup-of-the-day brew, and I revisited the white peony tea that I’d first sampled at Axil, and again found it to be a relaxing herbal that caps off a meal incredibly well.

The Petty Officer puts on a damned good spread, and I needed one after braving the traffic to get there – must Albert Park be so completely out of the way of anywhere? It was certainly a worthwhile venue to take Jess to in order to remind her that 1. Melbourne is the high godking city of cafes, and 2. That we miss her very, very much.

The Petty Officer

113 Victoria Avenue, Albert Park

Ph: 9686 3000

www.thepettyofficer.com.au

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