Address: Shop 4, 155 Greville Street (entry via Izett Street) Prahran
Owner: Courtney Joel and Jon Freeman
Served by: Jon
There is a little pocket of awesomeness in Prahran and although there appears to be a lot of "For lease" signs around in mostly vacant former retail sites, the cafés around the area are pretty killer and Pardon would be our favourite.
So what’s good about Pardon?
Pardon sticks to a simple, unadorned formula – black, white, natural materials. This isn’t revolutionary (I can here you saying) but in a world where trends, OTT styling and reality TV “design” shows dictate so much of what we constantly see, it’s nice to sit in a space that doesn’t go over the top.
One inside Pardon the other element which gets your attention are the great Design By Them Butter Stools. Although they are around $300 which seems exorbitant, they can take a beating and even showing signs of wear and tear they pop a great burst of blue and yellow colour into the space which is very well considered. The other nice design feature is that this yellow and blue palette is drawn from the beautiful heritage blue and yellow stained glass pane above the entry to the café and the blue glazed tiles out the front. Most people would probably miss the connection but design nerds tend to notice these subtle referenced details that just adds a nice amount of heart into the space.
Artwork in cafes is tricky and over the past 14 instalments of Project 52 we’ve addressed this a lot. It's rare to see a good example of featured artwork (that is artwork that is turned over i.e displayed by the café and sold for or on behalf of the artists) but Pardon, gets it right!!! Beautiful pieces by Tanya Ven Der Broek primarily adorn the white walls with some other artists featured, but the defining element here is that all artwork is framed alike and this creates a uniformity across the pieces and imbues an almost gallery like feel.
The primary designed element in the space is the central white mosaic service counter. It displays not only a small selection of scrumptious morsels displayed beautifully on timber boards but cleanly hosts the gorgeous coffee machine which proudly sits as a centrepiece. And although the back of house area was pretty messy, you almost don’t notice this because the coffee machine and counter display distract you from looking beyond. Supporting joinery in the front window and perimeter walls in black formwork ply and black powder coated steel benches is utilitarian and wearing well. And although one bank of seats face the wall for a more private coffee break, your neighbours are shoulder close which makes you feel part of the pardon community.
What could be better about Pardon?
Pardon has A LOT of down-lights (Super Tectonics number one mortal enemy) and although they were angled to light the artwork on the wall some up lighting or pendants would take the ambience just up a notch.
And as much as we love the Design By them Butter stools, sitting on them you notice the bench height is a little too high, so next time get higher stools, or lower the benches slightly to get that perfect café table height.
Back of house area, it was pretty chaotic. And although storage is hard to come by in these tiny locations, places just look better when all the boxes of stuff are put away, so if the Pardon team can tidy this up, it’ll improve the feel of the space hugely.
What’s its thing?
The simple things are often the best – that’s why Pardon is worth visiting.
Defining Design Details
- The old school menu board with moveable interchangeable letters
- Kitschy features – A Pink Gnome at the entry plus the Astro turf doormat feels unpretentious and welcoming.
- Simply detailing – nice junctions and great use of ply
- Skull water jugs (old Vodka bottles) make pouring water fun
- Great logo and business card – designed by Motherbird
It was great to chat with Jon and hear all about the how pardon came about. Super Tectonics will be visiting he and business partner Courtney’s other amazing café Cup Of Truth – located in the subway of Flinders Street station, it’s an exercise ins space efficiency so keep your eyes out for that one coming soon!