In addition to her plate-lickingly grand breakfast and lunch, the Duchess of Spotswood, is now offering dinner.
“Before we opened the café, it was always something we wanted to do – night times more than breakfast,” explains chef Andrew Gale, who co-owns the Duchess with his wife Bobby Green. “It’s the next step, a natural progression. It gives us a chance to show the things that we’re able to do food-wise.”
The items on the three-course prix-fixe menu progress week-by-week, shifting to reflect what’s available seasonally or the whims of the chef that day.
What you can expect is creative British fare and nostalgic dishes; the kind that warm you to your core and radiate back out through your rosy cheeks.
On a cold night, you could start with the pork-stuffed smoked pig’s trotter with creamy sauce gribiche, or the flavour-bursting mushroom broth with shaved vegetables and sautéed king browns, watching the plume of steam rise as the waiter pours it for you at your table.
And if it’s comfort food you need, you can’t go past the bestseller – a tender ox-cheek braised in Guinness. “It’s good, solid food, you know?” says Gale. “I think we have quite a good offer…not saying that anyone else is not doing good food in the west, but certainly not the style that we’re doing.”
And of course, an evening with the Duchess must end sweetly, be it with the brioche doughnuts with fig jam and honeycomb or Gale’s trifle.
“I remember every Christmas there would be trifle at my grandma’s house,” recalls Gale, who grew up in Bracknell, a town 50 kilometres west of London. His version features layers including beetroot sponge, apply jelly and deep-fried crispy chocolate biscuit. Indeed, this trifle may have been slightly tweaked from Grandma’s original recipe.
“We’re just trying to do something a little bit different,” says Gale. “It’s just my interpretation of an English restaurant in Australia. We embrace both kinds of cultures. That seems to be working okay so far.”
Dinner is available from Thursday to Saturday.