Monday, 26 July 2010

Go West and pay court to the Duchess of Spotswood

Duchess of Spotswood
87 Hudsons Road, Spotswood (map)
9391 6016

Those of you who've looked at the Melbourne Gastronome Google Map may have noticed (and tut-tutted) that the vast majority places I visit are concentrated around just a few inner-suburban areas. My feeble, mewling excuses for this geographic bias include the following:
  • I do not own a car;
  • I live in Richmond;
  • I work in the city;
  • my folks live out Hawthorn way and many of my friends live around Fitzroy, Brunswick and Windsor;
  • I do not own a car;
  • blah blah blah etc etc etc...
But even *I* was shocked when I realised that the western-most place I'd reviewed was Auction Rooms (luv ya AR but let's face it folks, Errol Street North Melbourne is not exactly the Western Heartland). So when best-friend-K suggested a few Saturdays ago that we brunch somewhere neither of us had been before, I suggested the Duchess of Spotswood. Location: Spotswood.


West Gate Bridge

Hudsons Road, Spotswood, is practically in the shadow of the West Gate Bridge, and easily accessible by car (first exit off the bridge) or by train (Spotswood station on the Werribee and Williamstown lines). As with Seddon and Yarraville, gentrification of the suburb is already well underway, but the strip still retains a bit of a retro 1950s vibe.


The cafe is operated by chef Andrew Gale (The Station Hotel, Footscray) and his wife Bobby, who I remember from her days working the tables at Auction Rooms. They did the fitout of the site themselves: "The renovation nearly ended our marriage", Bobby said to me with a cheerful grin.

Duchess of Spotswood

Well, the fitout is cute as a button. I love the way the 1950s mint green ceiling echoes the green tiles on the building's facade, and I love the chandelier and the gorgeous old butchers block that doubles as a newspaper table. The small room was filled with groups in their late twenties, thirties and forties with kids, and two couples in their sixties - refreshingly, not a single skinny-jeaned hipster in sight!

Duchess of Spotswood

The Duchess serves Auction Rooms' Small Batch specialty coffee, and the lattes we had were made by a barista who knew what he was doing (that's my second latte - a weak one - in the photo below).

Duchess of SpotswoodDuchess of Spotswood coffee

But the menu, oh my gosh, the menu. It's crammed full of all sorts of interesting dishes, many of them with noticeably English ingredients. House-made black pudding. Scotch woodcock with Gentlemen's Relish. English Stilton. Bacon dry cured in the English manner. Five grain porridge with poached pears and whisky syrup. I loved some of the names of the dishes too: 'Oat' Cuisine, Breakfast of Champignons. Heh heh.

I was hoping b-f-K would go for the sauteed potato with globe artichoke, creamy goat curd and roasted chestnut ($13.50) or the Fruit of the Forage (Mt Macedon wild mushrooms with soft semolina, crispy double smoked pork neck and poached egg, $16.50), but instead she went with the special. It was a trumpeter fillet served with a Welsh rarebit and a beautifully bulbous poached Green egg. She loved it.


And me? My EOFY-party hangover and I were immediately drawn to the English style gammon ($17.50), as the menu promised smoked pork neck and pickled pork rump, pan-fried and served with fried eggs and meat juices on toast. Awwww yeah, breakfast pork. The best kind! The mouth-watering pork was hearty but not stodgy, and tasted brilliant mixed in with the runny golden yolks.

Those intimidated by the thought of pork juices before noon can rest easy: there are more 'regular' brunch items on the menu too!

English style gammon

I was utterly charmed by the Duchess and intend to pay her another visit very soon: for lots of beautiful photos taken with an infinitely superior camera to mine, check out Espresso Melbourne's equally gushing review.

Duchess of Spotswood


Thermomixer said...

Oh dear. Don't feel too bad. I could walk there but still haven't been. Nor to the Station Hotel, dspite having agreed for years that we HAVE to try it. (Love offal).

Living in Yarraville (and possibly lowering the standard ;-) ), we tend to cross that bridge and wander into town too often for the good of our community.

It is on the way to Scienceworks too, for thse inclined.

Adski said...

I love the Duchess! Some of the photos you took look very similar to mine! :)
I've been there quite a few times now... but haven't been for a while since everytime i go past there are people outside waiting for a table.
Good to see though that they have finally got a toilet available for their customers to use too, as that has proved a problem on a few occassions!

Zardoz said...

Oooh a map... Well done!

Having just bought my first smartphone, I'm keen to encourage all you foodie bloggers to make and maintain your maps. Once you get used to being able to look at Google maps on the go, you realize what an incredible way this is to access foodie reviews.

I've lost count of the number of times I've read an interesting review, then a month later, actually been in the right suburb, but not quite able to remember exactly where the place was or why I was so keen to try it. Mobile Google maps solve problems like this perfectly.

Trust me, as time goes on, you'll have more people reading your thoughts via the maps than via the blog site.

C said...

As a true Westie, I'm ashamed to say I've never heard of this place. Tsk-tsk. Happily it's now on the list of places to go visit. Thanks for the tip!

Johanna GGG said...

this sounds like a great brunch venue - we all have plenty of excuses (ahem - reasons) for not getting out and about more - yours is for not going west much, mine is just for not eating out much at all - but will keep this place in mind

jacqueline said...

visited on saturday morning. AH-MAY-ZING! husband and i are now considering that a possible move to the west side need not be considered 'so bad'.

Michele said...

Just found your blog (looking up herbs found it!)but love the links and info re restaurants. I live in the west but have not heard of this one. (When I saw the green facade tiles I thought 'looks like a butchers shop!) A few favourites of mine in the wets are Seddon Deadly Sins (Victoria St Seddon ..naturally) and Le Chien cafe Gamon St Seddon Just around the corner.