To leave your inner city suburb on a Sunday morning for brunch may seem a little absurd considering the scores of fantastic options around every corner, but The Duchess of Spotswood is absolutely worth every second of that short trip over the Westgate. And it’s good enough to make you consider a permanent vacation.
This gem of a cafe, The Duchess of Spotswood manages to integrate the key elements of Melbourne cafe culture. It is owned and operated by the couple that lives upstairs, the native New Zealander Bobby Green formerly of Auction Rooms and her English husband Andrew Gale, who was, until recently, the head chef at the Station Hotel in Footscray.
Bobby’s experience started the cafe off focused primarily on the coffee but the food soon took over. The coffee is of course still fantastic and thoughtful – they’ve been applauded for their finesse with Auction Room’s Small Batch specialty blends. But it is Gale’s masterfully personalised yet traditional English menu that stands on the antique butcher’s block, beating its chest for attention. It’s not with a twist, the dishes are quite faithful to their heritage, but it is with locally sourced ingredients, of course. Even the safest bets – a chicken or steak sandwich – are full of life especially when paired with fresh homemade lemonade.
The cafe, housed in a former butcher shop, pays homage - in its design - to its resident roots with gorgeous antiques starting with tables made from the boards of a local theatre’s dance floor, and rounded with off with an extravagant chandelier in the centre of the open space.