Provenance 288 Smith St Collingwood

I’ll admit that it may not be fair to judge a restaurant on its breakfasts alone, but we should have an inkling of the quality of the fare presented at Provenance when we spotted the ‘Chef wanted’ sign in the window.

It wasn’t that the food was desperately terrible, more that it was not done with particular finesse. I think it was a sign that everyone kept on exclaiming about how nice the bread was. But come on, it’s pretty easy to serve nice bread – you can just buy it from any good bakery and even I make a decent loaf at home with my $20 bread maker from Ebay.

Our meals consisted of a variety of dishes from the breakfast and lunch menu. The chilli and fennel sausage tasted and looked like a processed meat kabana bought from the Woolies deli counter (I’m suspicious of any sausage where you can’t see the bits of mince). The kitchen was very heavy-handed with the salt in my crispy tofu salad, making the cubes of tofu taste like Samboy chips, a feat that I did not think was possible. The muesli with chopped apple fared better, as did the black pudding.

On a positive note, the bright, airy ambience of the space was very welcoming and the service was provided with a smile. However, I don’t think I’ll be heading back to Provenance any time soon, especially until they fill that chef position.

In the meantime, you’ll find much better breakfasts at Birdman Eating, Proud Mary and Cibi.