A quick stop into the first coffee shop I see to end a caffeine addicted headache, just happens to be The Duchess of Spotswood. A small but big vibe cafe tucked away on the "other side of the bridge."
White walls, a chandelier, mint green high-roofed ceiling and a long wooden dining table that all random people fill. The immediate feeling that I got from the interior, is wanting this place to be my home. With it's vintage art deco style, the staff dressing in a similar theme (coincidence?), I decided to not get a take-away but to take a seat instead.
The coffee I ordered came on a miss-match retro china set and with the first sip, I was sold - no wonder this little cafe has had rave reviews. For those soy drinkers The Duchess uses Bonsoy, for those who don't, the smooth, creamy milk will not disappoint. For those who don't take milk at all, this little cafe brews their coffee with Small Batch rosters.
The smell of breakfast and fresh food filled the air and my stomach could smell it too. The meals here come perfectly displayed on large white plates to chopping boards. The English inspired menu consists of things like dry cured bacon, English Stilton, smoked pork neck and home made black pudding to your usual gourmet breakfast to lunches and snacks of fish, salads and sandwiches.
I watched people's expressions as they took their first to final bites, they looked appreciative and impressed. I felt just the same as I took the final bites of my gourmet salad sandwich, which was made with freshly baked bread.
If you have a sweet tooth or don't feel like a full meal, when you walk in, there is a cutely displayed glass cabinet with freshly baked muffins and cakes. The smell was making me want to lose control and eat as many cupcakes and macaroons as I could fit in my mouth at once. However, I had to restrain myself, I was dining with the Duchess after all!
Nothing makes a meal or coffee more enjoyable than the service provided. The staff are polite and courteous and they all seem to have a good re-pore with one another as well as their local customers. They share a laugh with one another and a couple of people sipping coffee join in. It creates a friendly vibe, almost as if I am sitting in a friends kitchen and not a cafe.
The amount of people who passed through the Duchess' old shop front door within an hour was incredible. I noticed the crowd that had come and gone for a 'coffee drinking, freshly baked bread, newspaper reading experience,' ranged from laptop writing early- mid twenty somethings to old ladies sharing tea, business men, couples, families and even the odd pet tied to the sign post outside.
Being someone who lives and plays on the opposite of the West Gate Bridge, it is rare that I find myself in the Spotswood/Yarraville area. Stumbling across a little find like The Duchess, has certainly opened my eyes to this side of town. It has a safe, friendly and alternative ambience to it. I ordered another coffee, pulled out my book and took it all in. I will most certainly be returning to this little treasure again.