My motivation to explore comes from my taste buds. If I can combine their delight with a nice walk, that's brilliant. I had heard wonderful things about the abundance of deliciousness in Footscray – from coffee and doughnuts, curries and stews, to bahn mi and my ultimate weakness, pho. Since arriving in Melbourne, it has become an underlying obsession to find the perfect bowl – and I was thrilled by the possibility it might be in Footscray.
My friend and I set out on a gloomy Melbourne Monday, full of expectation. Just 5km West of the city on the Williamstown line – it should be a painless travel experience. However, with my lack of intimacy with the train systems, we circumnavigated the city loop several times, before realising the correct train went from our original departure spot. Although not essential to the experience, it built both anticipation and hunger-induced anger (hanger).
We arrived in Footscray as it started to rain, and decided a coffee pitstop was the smartest way to proceed. I had done my research and selected the Footscray Community Art Centre as our first destination. A leading centre for contemporary arts and community engagement, it is picturesquely located on the banks of the Maribyrnong River. Coffee with a view! Alas, it wasn't to be. It turns out my attention to detail and research need work, as the centre is 100% closed on Mondays.
With the hanger reaching new highs, I needed a silver lining. Luckily for everyone, we stumbled across a little gem: The Footscray Milking Station & Deli (35 Bunbury St). It had been open a week and it was an absolute delight. Not only were the flat whites superb, the menu intriguing and the wifi free, but the friendly barista gave us a hot tip for the best Pho in Melbourne.
And so it was time. As my track record thus far had not been great, we decided to follow the recommendation of our new friend, and go to Pho Chu The (92 Hopkins Street). They only serve Pho – a dedication that I greatly admire. It was fresh, fragrant and full of rare beef. The broth was deeply flavoured with layers of cinnamon, ginger and onion. Hanger abated and friendship intact - it was a success for us and Footscray! Whether it was the perfect bowl – I am going to have to try a few more.