Depending on how you see it, Pablo’s return could be interpreted as a handy coincidence or as the fulfilment of preordained destiny. A few years on from the closure of Pablo’s heralded first incarnation on Brunswick Street (now home to Dicki’s), original owners Amy and Michael Bates had seemingly put to rest the idea of bringing it back – that is until friend (and former Pablo regular) Angela White approached the couple with an offer to help reinstitute Pablo in its rightful home of New Farm. Angela’s proposal was undoubtedly a gift from the heavens, but Amy and Michael knew that there is more to hospitality than a good idea. The concept for Pablo 2.0 didn’t truly gain momentum until the trio discovered a suitable home, but they didn’t need to search long before the ideal space presented itself. In a fortuitous turn of events, the venue that once housed Amy and Michael’s moody nighttime haunt Escobar (and more recently Ginger & Rose) was up for lease, and it didn’t require a soothsayer to convince them that Pablo’s resurrection was meant to be. Soon, with keys to the building in hand, the trio got to work transforming the space into Pablo 2.0 – a concept that paired the original venue’s down-to-earth approach to hospitality with plenty of extra elbow room. The team stripped the space completely, installing a new coffee and cabinet counter along one wall, while filling the rest of the floor space with an eclectic mix of pre-loved furniture. Local artist Emmanuel Moore was enlisted to give the interior and courtyard walls a lick of paint, lovingly lathering the surfaces with a New Farm Park-inspired mural. Pablo 2.0’s aesthetic evokes comfort and familiarity – a lived-in space that feels like a second home.
Much like the cafe’s first iteration, Pablo 2.0’s kitchen champions locally sourced growers and produce, building its vegan and vegetarian-friendly menu using the freshest ingredients available. Amy, Michael and Angela have shaped the menu based on what they’d want to eat, and making it accessible. The result is a mixture of familiar hits and new future favourites. The O.G. smashed peas with crispy smoked speck bacon, fried free-range egg and creamy feta is back, alongside the cheekily named Home Loan Avo (with grilled haloumi, mango and pomegranate salsa and coconut tahini yoghurt) and the Spicy Juan (chipotle-bean chilli with homemade honey cornbread, avocado and poached eggs. Yes, Pablo 2.0 does poachies!). One newcomer worth saying “How you doin’?” to is the Joey Tribbiani Melt, which boasts paprika-and-tomato meatballs served over homemade honey cornbread with melted Swiss cheese and jalapenos on top. Coffee beans from Genovese are back in the grinders, while loose-leaf tea, smoothies, frappes, milkshakes, HRVST ST juices, Probiotic Kitchen kombucha and naturally brewed drinks from Hepburn rounds out the full complement of beverages.
Pablo is now open! For operating hours and contact details, head to the Stumble Guide.