59 Napier Street, Footscray 3011 VIC Australia
While on the outside it may seem like the village tavern, I assure any skeptics that as of now that is no longer the case. The Station Hotel in Footscray, in my opinion, is perhaps the best steakhouse in western Victoria. The decor is pleasant, with a touch of early 20th-century British bar setting. The drinking area is divided to the right of the bar in the middle of the “hotel”. The restaurant area is to the left. The kitchen area is exposed to the restaurant area, allowing patrons, both formal and informal, to breathe in the delights that the chefs there create.
The service is quick and prompt, but I thought that the staff were a little bit too exuberant and intimidating. The customary appetiser served (baguette slices with butter) was plain and simple but in my opinion too bland to create a logical “bridge” of sensations – like the notion that the appetiser should herald the quality of the main courses. This led me to assume that this restaurant was another one of those bistro types – how wrong I was.
The main dish, for me, was 300 grams of Black Angus scotch fillet from Hopkins Valley (Gampians, VIC), served with chips and salad. While this presentation might seem a little too natural for a hotel-restaurant/bistro, one bite from each was enough to wipe all those assumptions away. I admit to some poor judgement when choosing my steak – it was a little bit charred and burnt by itself, but with a sliver of fat from the edges it makes excellent eating. The chips were fluffy on the inside, a unique texture to consider when combined with the bearnaise sauce provided. The salad was even more so surprising – fresh sprigs of mesclun lettuce mixed with the best measure of balsamic vinegar I have tasted so far.
For dessert it was an old favourite of mine – sticky date and walnut pudding with butterscotch sauce. I have to admit it was in every way faithful to the original recipe – incredibly rich and sweet, but with the chill of vanilla ice cream it was balanced with the warmth of the pudding to create a very well-made dessert dish – one I can still taste with satisfaction.
After all that I can safely say that this is a “hotel-restaurant” with cuisine that can rival most sophisticated Western restaurants in Victoria. No doubts could ever, after a meal like that, could dissuade me from that opinion.
- First Impressions: 9/10
- Appetiser: 6/10
- Mains: 9/10
- Dessert: 9/10
Overall Score: 33/40