No West-side expedition would be complete without a visit to the infamous Duchess of Spotswood. Contrary to what the name might suggest, the Duchess is far from ostentatious. Situated on a quiet strip along the train line, the white-painted interior of what was once a butcher shop is simply furnished with sturdy timber chairs and tables and a timber-paneled counter fitted against the brick wall, wrought iron detailing in the counter and a single, central chandelier being the only form of adornment.
The menu pays homage to chef/co-owner Andrew Gale’s English heritage and is updated to make the most of locally sourced, seasonal produce. Expect to see the likes of house-made black pudding and corned beef alongside Villa Verde free range eggs, Woodside curds and cheeses, Zeally Bay bread and heirloom vegetables.
The breakfast menu delivers a royal feast; crispy pig’s jowl with fried eggs and truffle sauce, aptly named ‘Duchess of Pork’, house-smoked salmon with pickled heirloom beetroot, horseradish yoghurt and poached eggs on rich brioche, buttery scrambled eggs with pork, fennel and chili sausages and tomato chutney, and golden, crispy ham hock hash with minted peas.
Visit at lunch on weekdays and be treated to pork terrine, duck rillettes, slow roasted pork shoulder, hearty steak sandwiches and Britain’s favourite fish and chips.
To drink, there’s excellent coffee, Small Batch’s Candyman and a rotating guest blend, Mork specialty hot chocolate, seasonal juices and, for those up for a tipple after elevenses, how about Pimms with green ginger wine and house-made lemonade or Hendricks with elderflower cordial and sparkling apple juice for a pick-me-up?
Well-deserving of its royal status in Melbourne’s cafe scene, Duchess of Spotswood should be on every brunch-goer’s hit list.