“…the avocado is a food without rival among the fruits, the veritable fruit of paradise” — David Fairchild
South of Johnston, or “Sojo” is you’re a frequent reveller in this establishment, is tucked away off Oxford St in Collingwood. The high ceilings, the share-house-esque couches surrounding small tables – ideal for informal meetings, ooze a laid back vibe that makes one feel instantly at home when dining at South of Johnston.
The menu here is fresh and wide-ranging. Menu options range from decadent pancakes, to Vietnamese inspired chicken salads all the way through to juicy burgers. The coffees here are deeply smooth and rich and South of Johnston uses Supreme Coffee to churn out patrons coffee fixes.
Something as basic as smashed avocado on toast arrives as a massif of velvety avocado peppered with sharp feta, and leafy greens. I opted for a generous side of smoked salmon to accompany my avocado-fest, which complimented the flavour profile perfectly. The only qualm I really had with this superb dish was my inability to pry the grainy bread apart with my dull butter knife due to the sturdiness of the bread. Slightly hungover from the previous night’s festivities, a freshly squeezed nectar laden mango juice was the perfect accompaniment to my meal (and last night’s wine induced seediness).
The chicken salad I enjoyed on my previous visit made for a perfect light, but flavourful lunch. Crispy chicken, serviced with a wombok and carrot slaw, with scatterings of Vietnamese mint, coriander, shallots and chilli. A zesty lime dressing created a salad collaboration that, in my opinion, is unmatched.
The service at South of Johnston is friendly and knowledgeable, though food can take some time to reach the table on occasion. This is completely understandable given the popularity and the girth of offerings. For this reason, Sojo has established itself as one of my go-to cafes for lunch when in Collingwood. The upside to this being there are so many dishes I want to try which would warrant at least another 20 visits to get through them alone.