87 Hudsons Road,
Melbourne 3015
(03) 9391 6016

Coffee: Small Batch

Mr LB:
“Since a certain wedding had occurred (which just about the entire world was aware of), royalty is on the rise up. Glossy magazines and newspapers are constantly talking about royalty, with articles ranging from a certain duchess wearing the same dress twice and a prince kissing three different women on a single day (lucky man). With all this gossip, there is another Duchess who is under the radar. She leads a simple life in suburban Melbourne for a number of years with a passion for quality brunch dishes – she is,ofcourse, the Duchess of Spotswood.

Spotswood has always been the misfit of Melbourne. It is too far away from Williamstown to be denoted as “classy” and quite close to the port, naturally obtaining the label as a working class area. However as we know, Duchess’s can also be a ‘commoner’ and on Hudson Road near a unique vintage store and a Flower and Cake shop, you will find Duchess of Spotswood. It’s a cute and confined cafe with eating space inside and outside and from the looks of it, it attracts cyclists, locals and all those in-between. Inside, it has a wooden decor and open kitchen, where I loved watching the magic unfold.  Being a small dining area, there will be a little wait (we had waited for 20 minutes) but you can take this opportunity to explore the surroundings.

I was quite excited to see that Duchess of Spotswood offer Small Batch coffee blend. Small Batch is Auction Rooms own brew, which is a favourite brunch destination of mine. From my internet sources, the owners were originally from Auction Rooms, before they ventured west to bring along a quality coffee roasted blend. The blend in question is Candy Boy [$3.50], but on this occasion it tasted different. As expected, the coffee had a lovely clean taste with a sweet, fruity body – the flavour of mandarin comes to mind. However the coffee was unusually weak, as if there wasn’t enough coffee placed in the brewer. For a person who enjoys a strong coffee, it was a letdown at this point. The coffee would have been better if there was less water or if the user could adjust the strength of the coffee.

I was looking forward to the menu at Duchess of Spotswood, as I had heard good things. The menu was impressive with a winter-inspired brunch dishes. If I was in the area again, I would love to try their Winter Saladwith pears, candied walnuts, dry cured bacon, English Stilton and a deep fried- smoked egg on crispy sourdough [16.50]. On this occasion I couldn’t go passed the Royal Fanfare – salt cured trumpeter with spicy lamb sausages, homemade chutney, and crumbed poached egg [$18.50]. There must be a food plating competition around Williamstown, because we’d just been recently to The Pint of Milk where the plating was spectacular. Duchess of Spotswood was just as competitive.

The pork sausages were well crafted and had a lovely, fresh taste with subtle spices lingering in the background. The best part of the dish was the ability to mop up the chutney and flavoured oil with the sausage. An interesting element was the salt cured trumpeter, which on its own was salty but work well in balancing the dish.

Royal Fanfare- salt cured trumpeter with spicy lamb sausages, homemade chutney, and crumbed poached egg

Duchess of Spotswood is an under rated brunch cafe and is serious in producing high quality dishes.  If it was not for the weak flavoured coffee, I would have had another ‘top pick’ to my list of brunch cafe of Melbourne. Duchess of Spotswood is worth a bow from the public, but will she be remembered for years to come? Why not you decide for yourself and pay a royal visit.”

Miss SL:
“We’d been hearing great things about Duchess of Spotswood for quite a while now, but for some reason it always sounded so far away and thus, unappealing. A recent trip down to The Pint of Milk made me realise that the Spotswood / Newport area is actual extremely accessible for those on the South Eastern side of Melbourne.

We arrived to find the small, unassuming cafe near a train station. There really wasn’t much in Spotswood, and it was clear that this little cafe was the main attraction in the area. The staff were friendly, and after a short wait we were seated. I had pretty much finished one soy latte and had ordered a soy mocha to accompany my meal, the Open Steak Sandwich w/ Dry aged Gippsland sirloin with chips and salad [$18].

For a small kitchen, the staff were working rather efficiently. Within approximately 20 or so minutes, our meals came out. I had a cheeky taste of Mr LB’s pork fennel sausages and I have to say they were packed with flavour and wonderfully juicy. My meal was as appetizing as it looks in the pictures below. The chips were perfectly cut, crisped and salted. They had a delicious crunch to them and were very tasty.

Open Steak Sandwich w/ Dry aged Gippsland sirloin with chips and salad

The steak was just divine. It was simply cooked and a little pink, perfectly matched by a spicy tomato chutney and slightly soggy sourdough toast (the soggy part was a little bit of a let down). Pickled red cabbage and a side of leaf salad made this dish exciting and unique. The bright purple colour of the cabbage looked as if it had been soaked in beetroot juice.  It brought a really electrifying jolt of colour and life to the serving board.

Open Steak Sandwich w/ Dry aged Gippsland sirloin with chips and salad

The serving size of the dish was overall perfect – I was quite satisfied without overeating. This didn’t stop me from ordering some of their Chocolate cake [$5] with cream though! Despite looking so dark and rich on the plate, the cake was actually light and moist. Mr LB and I agreed that it didn’t give us that guilty feeling we normally had after eating something decadent.

Chocolate cake

Overall I think Duchess of Spotswood is under-hyped in the blog circuit. The food was excellent, the staff were friendly and the coffee was lovely.”

Final thought: “Excellent steak-cut chips”

Duchess of Spotswood on Urbanspoon

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