Published on 13 January 2021
Any back-to-work blues are about to be dispelled, as city diner Pope Joan reopens its doors on 18 January with a bit of fire from Ish, the celebrated Gertrude Street contemporary Indian restaurant. The Ish team are heading for the CBD and shaking up the Pope Joan menu with six weeks of brightly spiced and boldly flavoured fun.
If you’re as obsessed with sandwiches as the rest of Melbourne, every weekday you can try a different one from the PopeISH menu. Start with the masala fried chicken on fluffy white, save Tuesday for the fillet o’Ish made with Amritsar-style fried fish, and work your way down to the vada pav, the milk bun and fried potato snack that hails from Mumbai and surrounds. The sangas are also available on Friday nights, when the restaurant is open late.
Don’t want bread? There’s plenty more on the menu that gets the Ish treatment, from a fried paneer salad to a vegetable terrine served with piccalilli. And all of it goes down a treat with an IPA from Collingwood brewery Fixation, which is also along for the ride.
Breakfast in the city sounds just as promising, with a trio of tricked-out egg dishes added to the classic Pope Joan line-up. Spiced pork sausage, scamorza, green chilli and tomato are the accompaniments to a Parsi omelette flecked with chilli and cumin. Fried eggs are cooked Kejriwal-style, with cheddar, spring onion and green chilli providing your wake-up call. And the scram is enriched by chilli, masala, onion, garlic and ginger, with the option of adding salmon roe for some extra texture and fun.
Sweet tooth? You’ll be glad to hear you can get your hands on the ice-creams of Sunda chef Nabil Ansari, who created a sensation with his flavours of guava, lemon and chilli and spiced black tea during lockdown. Gulab jamun and rice pudding are also in the mix.
These dishes are only around for six weeks, mind you: get them while you can.
PopeISH, from Monday 18 January, open Mon-Thurs 7am-4pm, Fri 7am-late. 45 Collins St, Melbourne, 03 9654 8545, popejoancity.com.au
By Emma Breheny
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