You couldn’t pick a more Melbourne spot. The southern end of Smith St, just near the Gertrude St intersection, with the sun shining, coffee brewing, and the 86 groaning as it heaves round the corner. That’s the home of Collingwood’s newest Nepalese-themed brunch bar, Proud Sprout.
Sprout is the lovechild of husband and wife team Karishma and Waseem, named after a simple little aphorism, ‘every sprout has its own unique journey.’ For Karishma and Waseem, that’s pretty apt. They landed in Australia just 10 years ago (she hails from the western foothills of the Nepalese Himalayas, him from the spice island of Sri Lanka), and already they’ve built themselves a tidy little café empire. First came Little Temper in Hawthorn, and now Proud Sprout.
The fit-out is clean and cosy, all pine floorboards, white-washed walls and little pops of blue. It’s a distinctly Melbourne cafe, but the Nepali flourishes are there, if you know where to look. Intricate pendant shades hanging above the bar (picked up by Karishma on a visit to Kathmandu). Cheeky tuk tuks hidden in the custom stencil that runs across the window. And dishes like the Rikshawala: cumin-roasted cauliflower, sujuk sausage, potatoes, fried eggs, chilli and yoghurt, served with roti paratha.
Karishma designed the menu with her head in the Himalayas, but her feet planted firmly on Smith St. That’s why, alongside the superstar goat curry (slow cooked, off-the-bone goat with Nepalese spices and cumin basmati) you’ve got a stylish smashed av’ and a wild porridge with poached rhubarb and raspberry coulis.
The coffee is spot on, and comes courtesy of Padre. The teas from Lauren and Thompson. But if you’re looking for something to cool that goat curry, you’ve gotta try the smoothies. There’s two at the moment: the Cha Cha Matcha (a spin on the green smoothie, made from matcha, turmeric, avocado, spinach, lemon, coconut milk and agave), and the Up And Go (a hunger-busting blend of granola, cocao, banana, honey and milk). Delish.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White