est 48 may only be a few weeks old, but word has already got out about this striking cafe in Footscray’s backstreets. Locals gather around the pockmarked old workman’s bench that serves as a communal table, perched on bright yellow stools and sipping Allpress coffee out of orange cups, eager to patronise another example of Footscray’s foodie renaissance.
The dishes featured at West 48 are refreshingly simple. Breakfast, which is served all day, has an agreeable balance of sweet and savoury options. The salad of poached and dried fruits with fresh ricotta is a heady burst of autumnal flavours, while the heirloom tomatoes, avocado and feta on toast is a tremendously pretty dish with halves of yellow, red and green tomatoes set against creamy feta.
Lunch is served from 11am and features a variety of toasted ciabatta rolls. There’s Cuca sardines with tomato and watercress; roasted eggplant with peppers, feta and mint; or most intriguingly, tiger prawns with coriander and aioli.
The menu promises gluten-free and vegan options and there is no extra charge for soymilk (although the cafe is cash only), a touch that will no doubt bring soy drinkers flocking.
There is also a small selection of little cakes for the sweet tooths. We particularly recommend the moist, dense carrot cakes topped with toasted almonds and honey-drizzled carrot curls.
West 48 is a true gem, catering to local families and discerning foodies with affordability and able skill in the kitchen. If Footscray keeps this up, we’ll all be moving out west soon enough.
48 Essex Street, Footscray
0432 611 474
Mon to Fri 6.30am–4pm
Sat & Sun 8am–4pm