The Best Breakfast in Melbourne’s West? Plus Swiss Buttercream Pineapple Pies
As you may know from a previous post, I’ve just recently moved from my inner ‘urbanian’ pad in South Melbourne to the industrial driven zone of Spotswood, which is still within a few kilometers from my usual eating haunts in the CBD – just in case I feel the bouts of separation syndrome.
Now, like Creamy the Cat would do in a new suburb, it was time for me to explore and mark my territory in as many eateries as my stomach could take. First sniff and lick, breakfast. Although, admittedly being a frequent breakfast skipper when at work, I’m still yet to learn that this is the most important meal of the day…
In the 15 years of devouring my fair share of eateries in this side of town, apart from the nearby Yarraville (Fellow Foodie Reviews: The Corner Shop & Hausfrau) and Williamstown, there are barely any decent cafes in the near and far Westside of Melbourne. But don’t you fret, in an area dominated by industrial space and very few restaurants, lies a concrete rose – Duchess of Spotswood, brought to you by The Station Hotel’s Head Chef Andrew Gale (home of the best steak in the West) and ex-Auction Rooms Bobby Green. The results? None other than fresh locally sourced ingredients such as Mt Macedon mushrooms and eggs sourced from the Victorian Grampians as well as repeated cups of carefully made coffee.
Details: 87 Hudsons Rd, Spotswood, 3015 Phone (03) 9391 6016 Twitter: @duchesscafe
What you’ll find inside are white painted brick walls, timber floors, some recycled classic pieces of furniture, a large communal table that resides at the front and a butchers block in the center which holds their newspapers. Another great feature is their open kitchen where you smell and watch your field mushrooms hitting the pan.
The menu is unique and unabashedly English at heart, setting themselves apart from other cafes with their Specialty Dry Cured Bacon, English Stilton, smoked pork neck and house made black pudding. Hurry though, as the seasonal items may not be around for much longer. For the first time in a long while, I was undecided on a menu and required some assistance from a trusted friend. The problem was that almost everything on the menu sounded good, so I was showered with droolworthy temptations.
First off the rank came Fruit of The Forage with generous sized juicy pieces of Mt Macedon wild mushrooms, double smoked, yes double smoked crisp pork neck and a perfectly poached egg. If you thought that was enough, it also came with soft and smooth curd like textured semolina, making it perfect for spreading onto the toasted sourdough- locally sourced from Zeally Bay. I loved how the juices from the fresh mushrooms had seeped into the pork neck, surprisingly blending well with the semolina and the grated parmesan.
If you’re a pork fanatic like I am, the English Style Gammon will have no problem answering your meaty appetite or possibly on a Saturday morning, your hungover coos. You ready? Like the Fruit of The Forage, it comes with smoked pork neck but also pickled pork rump and bright orange yolky fried eggs with the meaty juices hitting the sourdough toast. Who needs bacon when you have all this meat! However, don’t let their perfectly rounded shapes fool you into thinking there isn’t enough. It was like a breakfast-dinner. I would’ve liked my eggs cooked a little longer (I go weak for the crisp edges) however, the pickled rump of pig was succulent and not overly salty.
You can also definitely taste the care taken into making this gem, which could have easily turned greasy and heavy but instead came off clean and skillfully presented.
The next dish was an absolute pleasure to eat, royally named Prince of Wales. Don’t you love it when the butter comes soft and spreadable?! I think the below picture speaks for itself.
The gluttony forged on with the Trumpeter fish fillet served with poached egg, house salad and perfectly melted Stilton blue cheese coated toast. Wonderfully presented dish right here people! The Trumpeter, which was brined then smoked was probably the best ‘hunk O’ fish that I’ve had in months – especially when combined with the salty Stilton cheese and dipped into the warm egg yolk.
Not usually one to order the specials of the day, but after this experience, I’m a changed man.
I certainly did not expect such a high quality dish usually reserved for high end restaurants for less than $16. But hey, I guess this would be the kind of meal and wonderful service you would expect from a Duchess right?
Come to papa…
The final and seriously sexy plate of morsels arrived in the form of Simple Pleasures. It included a foray marinated avocados, heirloom tomatoes, goats cheese, radish, a golden yolky egg with that irresistibly thick and somewhat sticky texture. Oh and an extra side of bacon! Sorry, I couldn’t resist…
So um, has been the best breakfast in the west so far? Well, so far, yes indeed my friends.
Dessert: There was a muffin stand and a freshly made tart, but tummy says no.
Bring a date here? Would make a great first date
Brunch out with friends here? Hell yes.
Service: A great team dynamic here with everyone happily helping each other out as well as genuine friendly chatter with the customers. Also, great detail in hygiene, even wiping down the chairs.
Food Rehab Verdict: Sent me to food rehab (book this place now! Wowzer) – Greenlight
Details: 7 Anderson St, Yarraville VIC 3013 Phone: (03) 9687 1721
Another hidden find was 3 minute drive down the road as we hunted for desserts. Along the charming streets of Yarraville, we came upon a shopfront in the far end of the strip adorned with awards and jam tarts. As you would expect, I hurried right on in without any hesitation.
Inside Heather Dell’s you will find yourself surrounded by homemade jam tarts, finger buns, almond cheesecake, hedgehog slices and award winning pies but what caught my eye were the Swiss Pineapple pies and Jam Lamingtons. I felt like I was at a tea party– minus the chit chat. The traditional recipes have been in the family for many years.
Swiss Pineapple pies, encased in a buttery pastry shell are filled with chunks of sweetly tart pineapple pieces with a layer of luscious butter cream. There is also a blueberry variety which I’ll take on next time.
Pretty in pink is what I was calling these Jam Lamingtons doused in coconut flakes are wonderfully dense and when opened, you can smell the thin layer of sweet jam and buttery aroma.
So um, are there any other café gems on the Westside that I should be devouring?
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