We take a face-first tour of extremely edible Yarraville
For years now people have been going west 'cause life was peaceful there, but all of a sudden, the other side of the West Gate has started making a lot of noise.
Wee Jeanie sure is wee, what with its tiny space and tiny prices and being the little sister of the much older and wiser Corner Shop (located around the, um, corner). It’s not really an eggs on toast kind of place – it's more picnic-style fare. Try the frittata, ham, cheese’n’pickles ploughman’s lunch or the popular and simple avocado on toast with rocket, fetta and spicy relish. Excellent coffee (the Supreme team does their beans) ensures a steady early morning takeaway trade – as does the close proximity to the train station. When eating in, try to snag a table – the slightly-too-high bar stools are a little wobbly and rather embarrassing to fall off of. If you can stay in your seat don’t forget to look up at the preserving jars that act as light fittings. They’re very cool. Oh, and it’s cash only, so don’t forget your shrapnel. Yarraville.
OK, while it’s not technically in Yarraville, we felt this list would benefit from the inclusion of the Duchess of Spotswood, clearly one of the most exciting and forward thinking venues in the inner west. Only a short hop over the fence from the catchment area, this stylish cafe turns out a steady stream of innovative dishes that mostly blur the line between breakfast and lunch. Using royally excellent puns the Duchess menu captures everything from eggs to ox tongues. Our favourite is the 'Prince of Wales' – cured salmon served warm with avocado purée (some kind of genius), pickled cucumbers and poached eggs on grilled potato bread. It is quite possible that there is no better breakfast to be had in the Greater Melbourne area. Spotswood.
Skip the queues at Coles and hit up Plump for an impressive selection of locally sourced, NASAA-certifed fresh produce that won’t go limp in the crisper. Focusing on organic and bio-dynamic foodstuffs you’ll fnd everything you need for clean, healthy living – and let’s face it, most of us could use a little help in that department. Fresh bread from La Madre Bakery and Let’s Aloaf comes in daily and meats from Bellmore Biodynamic and Inglewood Farms can be found in the fridge (along with an awful lot of dairy-free cheese – if you’re into that kind of thing). Lentils, legumes and pulses are available by the scoopful and you’ll even find more obscure items like organic gelatin (who knew?). Defnitely worth a visit if you’re in the area, if only to chill out with a latte amongst the leafy greens. Yarraville.
For a cooking culture that has been known to get creative with crickets, tarantulas, frogs and water beetles (they’re a good source of protein, y’all), you’ll either be slightly relieved or disappointed not to find them on the menu at Bopha Devi, Melbourne’s first Cambodian restaurant. You’ll find plenty of lemongrass, coconut and garlic in Cambodian food (influenced by French, Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine), but they tend to go easy on the chilli. We're quite taken by the ‘stuffed poulet’, a chicken wing so artfully prepared it resembles a quail, each tiny arm boned and contorted to triple its size, stuffed with a minced version of itself and laced with turmeric – with nothing but teeny claws poking out the end to give its original form away. Be prepared to get close to your neighbours – the space is much more stylish than your usual Asian takeaway, but seating is restricted to a few tables, and a few communal benches. If your dining companions are as friendly as the waiters, you’ll be laughing. Yarraville.
This ballroom-come-bar reeks of the prohibition era and one would be forgiven for thinking it a speakeasy circa Boardwalk Empire. When at award-winning Acqua e Vino we say go gangbusters on the cocktails –the Purple Haze is a refreshing sensation of violet scented gin, and the cognac and Dom Perignon laden I Ain’t No Washed Up Sidecar sounds like a Bogart quoteand goes down easy. Not into cocktails? Consult the pizza box sized menu for inspiration. If you want it, these kids have got it (including 12 salty, tangy garnishes to finish your martini). Sit back in an ornate antique lounge chair, cross your legs like a lady (even if you’re a dude) and enjoy a little old-fashioned service. You even can book a table and the booze comes to you – what a novel idea. Now, fetch me my slippers. Yarraville.