A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published July 2nd 2014
No Spilt Milk to be Cried Over Here
It was a cold, bleak winter's morning, a perfect morning to stay indoors. But we decided to venture out - our mission, to visit a cafe we hadn't been to before. Warmth and cosiness were definitely on our criteria list.
The Footscray Milking Station is a former milk bar set on a corner in a suburban part of Footscray. It's a plain and not particularly inviting exterior, painted a rather dull grey.
A rather dull exterior
As it's set away from the main Footscray centre, it means there are no other cafes in the immediate vicinity, making The Milking Station very popular with the local population. Having said that, based on our experience, it's not resting on its laurels. This is a classy cafe that provides great food and service.
The first thing I noticed on walking into The Milking Station was that it was warm. It felt cosy and inviting. The second observation was that the place was very busy, and there didn't appear to be any empty tables, despite the fact that it's a surprisingly large cafe space. Fortunately, a couple of people vacated their table within minutes of our arrival and we were shown to the table.
A short time after we were seated, the restaurant got inundated with about 20 prospective customers arriving almost simultaneously; some were waiting for tables, others for takeaway coffee. It was a pleasure to see how adeptly and professionally this situation was handled. It suggests the staff are used to the cafe's popularity.
Menus, then coffees, were quick to arrive. I was torn between the porridge - mixed quinoa, coconut, soy, papaya and coriander (as much out of curiosity as anything else) ($10) - and the spiced ricotta pancakes with lemon curd, berry compote and salted pistachio praline ($16). Playing it a little safe, I went with the latter. It was delicious, especially the tangy, super light lemon curd. I did wonder though if the praline complemented the dish. All other components of the dish, including the light, fluffy pancakes were melt-in-the-mouth... and then there were these crunchy bits. They didn't spoil the dish, but did leave me pondering if they were quite right.
Spiced Ricotta Pancakes
For Dave, with whom I was sharing this meal, the choice was easy. He'd read up prior to our visit about one of the house specialties - the Cubano toastie - porketta, ham, chipotle mayonnaise, tomato relish, cornichons and Gruyere cheese ($11). It was like a dish straight out of the movie Chef. For several minutes after the toastie arrived and Dave took his first few bites, he was incapable of speech, although did emit sounds such as mmmmmmm and yummmmmm. After he'd eaten it, he sat there looking very contented. I gather it was a bit of hit with him.
The Cubano toastie that rendered Dave speechless
I really enjoyed our visit to the Milking Station. The cafe has a great feel to it, and the menu is interesting and varied, offering some dishes that are a bit different to the standard brunch fare. So if you're over in the west, give it a try.