• The Duchess of Spotswood (Hudson Road, Spotswood)

Saturday and Sunday mornings a group of men from our street get on our bikes and cycle to different parts of Melbourne for a bit of exercise, but more importantly to indulge in some fine breakfasts. Spotswood is a round trip of 39 kms: just enough to have a big breakfast but arrive back home in credit  on the calorie count.

The Duchess in Spotswood provides a breakfast well worth travelling far and wide by bike or car to experience. The Duchess is a light filled café with a table on the pavement, tables inside, and tables in a rear courtyard.  At 9 30 they hadn’t quite set up the courtyard so we were first in with a choice of table. The courtyard is a delightful setting with eucalyptus and fruit trees providing shade. It seemed that the café attracts a wide range of clients with families, couple and larger groups of friends. We got into the courtyard at 9 30 and it was full by 9 40. There is a no booking policy so if you get there at the civilised time of 9 30 you should have no problem grabbing a table.

This is a fun place with very friendly staff, but they do take their food seriously. The waiting staff were very knowledgeable about the food and how each dish was prepared. The menu has a touch of humour: I ordered The Breakfast of Champignons ($18.50). Also on offer was a special for the day: a Ricky Ponting. This was poached eggs with duck leg, duck egg, duck ham (if you don’t get the joke there’s no point explaining it).  I wonder if they ever have a Julia Gillard or a Tony Abbott and what might be served.

The Breakfast of Champignons was a beautifully constructed dish. I’m not a morning person so it takes a bit for me to get excited about food served before noon. Poached eggs seem simple but I reckon it is a test  to cook them perfectly. These were perfect poached eggs: firm on the outside and runny in the middle. The eggs were served with champignons on the side and on a bed of a mushroom duxelle. The duxelle was intense with a very much reduced mushroom stock providing a lot of the flavour. The coup de grace was a stilton croquette. This was stilton in a roux which was crumbed and fried.  Food is all about textured, flavour and presentation. The croquette was crisp on the outside and soft and creamy in the middle, the eggs had firm whites and oozing yolks, mushrooms were soft and sweet as was the duxelle.

The Duchess is only open for breakfast and lunch. It used to open for dinner but it has cut back to save the dedicated chefs from having to work 100 hour weeks. The lunch menu seems to cater for casual meals, but the breakfasts appear to be the standout.

On your bike and discover a jewel in Spotswood.

About the Author
Michael is a food and wine connoisseur.  He also makes a delicious chocolate cake.

The Duchess of Spotswood
87 Hudson Road
Spotswood 3015
03  9391 6016

Duchess of Spotswood on Urbanspoon