Shop 5/286 Toorak Rd, South Yarra VIC (enter via Cunningham St)
03 9824 2299
Allow your tastebuds to explore uncharted territory at Proving Grounds, where seasonal ingredients, innovative cooking methods and specialty coffee are explored to create healthy, honest and simple meals.
Proving Grounds is owned and operated by Yannick Chan, a civil engineer by training and lawyer in the making. Yannick has worked in a strategic planning firm as a consultant and project manager, but during his studies, his love affair with coffee drove him to work as a barista.
In 2015, with the dream of owning a small cafe and a newly discovered love for CrossFit and healthy eating, Yannick made the move to open his own shop in South Yarra. Yannick’s enthusiasm for testing various ingredients and cooking methods inspired the name. Proving Ground originates from the military, referring to a facility where testing and experiments are carried out. It’s also perfect for his dedication to providing great coffee by exploring different roasters and brewing methods.
Expect minimalism and functionality at Proving Grounds. While it may be a small space, the design is bright and uncluttered. Simple wooden shelves line the wall and the large glass shopfront allows loads of natural light. The display cabinet, standing tall and ready for combat, is lined with fresh salads, sandwiches, tempting baked goods and healthy treats.
‘Yannick’s enthusiasm for testing various ingredients and cooking methods inspired the name. Proving Ground originates from the military, referring to a facility where testing and experiments are carried out.’
The offering may be small, but each dish is carefully considered. Keeping the menu fresh and seasonal means there are changes every few months. The menu has also been designed in such a way that any dish can be modified to suit vegans, vegetarians and customers with dairy, gluten or other food intolerances. Many of the menu items reflect what Yannick would typically prepare at home, so expect delicious home-cooked meals.
As another early morning rolls around, fuel your body with the avocado smash with Meredith goat’s cheese, or the superfood breakfast with steamed broccoli, asparagus, quinoa, pomegranate and a slow-cooked egg. The Tassie Salad with oven-baked Tasmanian salmon, roast pumpkin, quinoa and rocket is a stand out, as is the baked eggs with house-made Napoli sauce, Spanish chorizo, field mushrooms and goat’s cheese.
The coffee offerings are constantly changing, with a house blend from Industry Beans and a rotating list of guest roasters, including Maker Fine Coffee and Reuben Hills. The dairy intolerant aren’t limited to ordering black coffee: there are soy and coconut milk options as well.
Sitting just off Chapel Street, Proving Grounds is perfectly located for a refreshingly healthy and honest meal, without the guilt.