Kerry has been writing radio copy for donkey's years, & also dabbles in short stories & travel writing. She works, plays and explores largely in the CDB and inner suburbs, gets everywhere by public transport and is the self-professed Zone One Queen.
Published January 19th 2016
You have to know where to go
Footscray is an evolving suburb, with places to sit down for breakfast starting to appear more readily. While the renowned abundance of enticing Vietnamese, Chinese and African eateries cater mainly for the lunch or evening meal, the location of a breakfast menu may need some guidance. As a local, here are my tips:
Rudimentary – 16-20 Leeds Street, where the street moves away from the shops and become residential.
Rudimentary is, at the time of writing, the new kid on the block. It seems to bring a mildly hipster element to Footscray, which is immediately counter-acted by many decidedly 'non-hip' locals who are delighted to have a new breakfast venue. It's proving so popular that on a sunny weekend, a queue for a table can form.
Located in a functional rectangular container building with an airy vibe from the windows right around two sides, the back 'doors' can be opened once a warm day gets underway, reminding one of the shipping container construction.
What Rudimentary also does well is the outdoor space. Occupying a spacious corner lot with thoughtfully-included bike racks, a large stretch of artificial grass invites families to play alongside the row of outdoor tables. Behind the building are many attractive container gardens; the chef can be seen striding outside to gather handfuls of herbs.
The innovative breakfast menu is of the kind that an inner westie might have previously gone to Seddon or Kensington for. The Pork Belly is a friend's personal favourite, attracting him all the way from Collingwood regularly.
Homemade breakfast waffle with maple, pancetta, quince and quark, plus optional egg (and bacon, my addition).
If you're looking for breakfast in Footscray and can't get into Rudimentary, there are two more options on the same side of the railway tracks.
Rhubarb Wholefoods is a vegetarian café at 129 Buckley Street, at the very top of Victoria Street. Technically the address is Seddon, but being pretty much right on the border ropes it into my Footcray Five.
With an array of wholefoods to purchase, and plenty of recycled timber tables in a large space, Rhubarb is a nice discovery for the health conscious eater. The menu includes delicious items like the one below, as well as green / cacao smoothies.
Café Cui is at 58 Leeds Street, quite the other end from Rudimentary. The only of my five cafes 'on the beaten track', Cui is a cosy clean little café with modern décor, white tiling, friendly staff, and a long seated window from which to watch Footscray go by. Being just a stone's throw from Footscray Market and train station, and right beside where the tram line to Highpoint commences, there's a lot of it going by.
The breakfast menu is more regular fare, with the familiar egg favourites: Benedicts, omelettes and so on; though I am also partial to the Moroccan Spiced Chicken Egg Bake on their brekkie list. If you're hanging around in a public transport wait-window, Café Cui is a good place to grab a takeaway coffee.
On the city side of the tracks, The Footscray Milking Station – at 35 Bunbury Street very near the railway station - has evolved both its menu and its space. Since my initial review here, they've added an extra room to its interior and creating a nice back garden. One can now eat out the front and back. But do check their Facebook page for opening hours, as I've found them to be closed on weekends over winter.
At the Footscray Art Centre, the Happy River Café -previously reviewed here - has remained constant in all the things it does well. Favourite dishes remain on the menu, batik table cloths adorn the indoors. There is a now a more contained outdoor seating area, while the children's play lawn is as popular as ever. It's a great family-friendly option, while the café indoors allows non-family customers a little peace and quiet too. The proximity to the Art Centre's gallery is an added attraction for a visit.
So, there are five to get you breaking your fast pleasantly. Or you can head down the road and check out these Seven Seddon Cafes.