This popular outer eastern suburbs café is about to turn one year old, so it seems timely to put the spotlight on Croydon’s favourite Ram. ‘Mad Ram’ is both an acronym for its owners’ names, Mark Andersen and Dan McDonald; and reference to the symbolic meaning of a male sheep. While on a trip to France, Mark discovered many of the restaurants in the southern wine regions had ram motifs adorning their venue. He soon discovered the symbolic meaning of this animal, which never moves backwards, and always makes sound decisions. Considering he met Dan McDonald as an 18 year old apprentice chef, and their friendship has only flourished over the years, the ram was undeniably the most appropriate representation of their journey. Being forward thinkers, they established a catering company together during their 20s, which helped fund the birth of their first café.
Moonah Projects were appointed the role of crafting a ‘fit out’ to match their vision, presenting a blank canvas where food and service can do the talking. The open kitchen is indicative of their transparent approach, which is complimented by use of clean lines, and ample lighting. Mini Lumberjack tables made from sustainably sourced timber run down the large open space, which is lined with timber shelving and artwork depicting the bold Ram wearing his majestic horns like a crown. Much like the ram that makes sound decisions, Mark and Dan decided to team up with Tobys Estate coffee, and had their La Marzocco Linea fully customised with timber trimmings, and a rose gold lapel. They run their Brunswick Street Blend for all milk based coffee, and rotating single origin beans for espresso and filter brews. I was treated to a Costa Rican El Diamante upon visiting, which is a special Anaerobic Black Honey processed Villa Sarchi varietal that tasted tantamount to a warm apple pie.
On the food front, the menu is seasonal with locally sourced produce. There is the indulgent Eggs Benedict with braised pork, potato hash, poached eggs, and pork crackle; Korean BBQ Salmon served with prosciutto, and dill & caper crème fraiche; and Pina Colada Hotcakes with grilled pineapple and coconut ice-cream. The local favourite is the highly instagrammable Mac and Cheese Waffles with pressed marble scored beef brisket, and not one but two poached eggs.
Having fast become a much loved addition to the local community, Mark and Dan have proven the notion that he who cherishes a beautiful vision, and a lofty ideal in the heart, one day will realise it. The dream realised can be found at 19 Paul Street, Croydon. Open daily from 6:30am til 3pm, and 8am til 3pm on weekends.