Insta reality at Providence Cafe

You shouldn’t believe everything you see on Instagram kids. I know that’s a pretty obvious thing to say when the whole point of Instagram is to make things seem prettier than they really are but I think we all need a reminder from time to time. I was delivered that reminder in the form of a major reality check when I dragged Meat-and-Three-Veg and our little daughter along to Providence Cafe in Carlton. 

Inside Providence
Inside Providence

I follow Providence on Instagram (join me there!) and a snap of the cafe’s menu prompted me to make a visit. It promised a focus on farm to table dining, seasonal and local food.  Plus Providence is from the same team which is behind The Grain Store, a CBD cafe which I love and eat at regularly.  

Mushroom Scotch egg at Providence
Mushroom Scotch egg at Providence

Inside Providence dark grey walls contrast with white Bentwood chairs to give the cafe a clean almost Scandinavian feel.  But what you can’t tell from the photos is Providence’s awkward location underneath an aged care facility.  The cafe is attached to the lobby which gives it a bit of a weird hotel vibe.  

Coffee Providence style
Coffee Providence style

The menu also failed to live up to expectations in real life. A delicious sounding dish of mushroom Scotch eggs ($14.50) was poorly executed.  The eggs were surrounded by so much dry stuffing they were the size of a small boulders throwing out the great ratio of egg to sausage meat which is the hallmark of a traditional Scotch egg.

Sweets on display at Providence - perhaps we ordered the wrong thing
Sweets on display at Providence – perhaps we ordered the wrong thing

Even though there’s a tempting counter of sweets the scones with jam and cream ($6.80) were disappointingly flat and hard.  While the Code Black coffee lacked punch.  

Scones with jam and cream at Providence
Scones with jam and cream at Providence

We were some of the only customers in there on a Saturday morning which suggests I’m not the only one to discover Insta reality is not all it’s cracked up to be.  

Details: Providence Cafe,  497 Rathdowne St, Carlton (Ph 03 9240 7055)
Damage: Reasonable
Kids: There are high chairs and a kids menu but the waitress seemed very confused about the kids menu and we didn’t get what we ordered. 
Providence on Urbanspoon


  1. Disappointing to hear about the winter menu. I’ve been twice outside of the launch and have always enjoyed the food.

    1. I read some of the other reviews and they all seemed to be from the free launch party so glad to hear that you’ve had a good experience on other visits Paul. I think I just place too much faith on Instagram!

  2. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience. Since my first visit at the launch I have returned regularly (sometimes solo with both kids in tow) and we’ve always enjoyed our experience there. I’ve never had the coffee or scones but all our food has been really good every time. Very handy for Carlton Farmer’s Market too!

    1. Well glad to hear your visits have lived up to the Instagram image. Hopefully just one bad experience.

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