25 Beach St, Werribee South. Phone: 0409 138 181
Is it possible to get a lunchtime feed in Werribee South?
This is my cheery challenge for the day.
My rudimentary online research bore little fruit – just unhelpfully vague mentions of a takeaway joint and some tea rooms.
And I can recall no eateries from our previous visits to Werribee South – and there were actually quite a few.
I find it interesting that even in our relatively short 10-year stint in the west, we have already gone through several phases – in eating and other contexts.
Gravy Train in Gamon St, for instance, and to a lesser extent Hausfrau in Yarraville used to be an almost daily part of our routine, for breakfasts and more.
But no more.
We’ve left the cafe habit behind, prefer our brekkies at home and save our pennies for much more interesting – to us – fare available for lunches or dinners.
Likewise, we were once reasonably frequent visitors to Werribbee Mansion, often availing ourselves of the light but tasty and affordable bar menu before gamboling in the lovely grounds.
Often, too, such outings would entail a leisurely drive through kilometres of large vegetable patches, around Werribee South and then home.
As was the case then, today finds me a surprised and delighted to drive through large areas of intense market garden activity before suddenly finding myself in a seaside holiday destination so close to Melbourne.
There’s a good-sized caravan park, outside the main entrance of which is the takeaway establishment, which I quickly verify is not for me.
There’s a coast guard station, a lagoon/estuary, jetty and play areas.
And then, just as I have almost completed a circuit of the entire burg, I come across the TeaPot Cottage Cafe.
This, of course, is the tea rooms business I had stumbled across online without discovering its real name or nature.
Its real nature is wonderful – this a charming, classic, old-school tea house!
As such, it perhaps behooves me to order something appropriate to such a setting – the scotch fillet steak burger or beef burgundy pie (both $18), for instance.
The breakfast menu includes “Eve’s Traditional Scottish Breakfast”, which shovels up potato scones, Ayrshire gammon (yes, I had to look it up), black pudding, Scottish sausage, Aussie eggs, baked beans and toast for $20.
Had I a companion for the day, the ploughman’s lunch for two and for $30 would appeal.
But I chance my arm by ordering the beer-battered whiting ($18).
I enjoy sitting in overcast warmth at one of the outside tables, flicking through one of the local rags until my lunch arrives.
Oh dear! The salad bits are dreary and the tartare sauce is in the dreaded sachets!
The chips are better – a little under-done for my tastes, but they’re hot and taste fine.
The fish is better again – much better.
I’ve never been a whiting fan and certainly never order it when we’re out at one of our usual F&C haunts.
But this is really good!
What looks like a rather modest serve of four smallish pieces of fish is actually a surprisingly filling meal.
The fish is firm and flavoursome, and the slightly thick and chewy batter adheres to the fish admirably well. This all a bit chunkier than is usually the case with the sort of beer-battered whiting you find is flash F&C places or more expensive seafood eateries, but for me it’s a winning approach.
Even at $18, significantly above our normal F&C rates, I love my lunch, especially given the nice setting.
Back inside, I happily check out the classic tea-room decor, decorations and trimmings.
I don’t specifically recall laying my eyes on any doilies, but I’m sure they’re there somewhere.
I tell my host, Eve, and her staff (top photo) that their place not only reminds me of tea-room visit of my long-ago South Island childhood – it smells the same, too.
“I know,” says Eve.
My mum would love this place, for sure!
Eve also confirms what I had already suspected – the two-scone Devonshire teas with jam and real cream are the place’s best-sellers by a mile.
And no metric conversion necessary or even appropriate.
No EFTPOS available.