The Pickle Barrel, 60 Ferguson Street, Williamstown. Phone: 9399 8338
The Pickle Barrel prospers without the groovy factor sported by other coffee/breakfast/lunch places in Williamstown and the wider inner west.
It does so, from what I’ve been able to gather as a sometime customer for a quick coffee and/or lunch, by providing good, solid food, excellent coffee and good service.
The place seems habitually busy, yet there are always plenty of staff members on hand to handle the load.
It’s a smallish cafe, with a limited range of takeaway produce and deli lines, three small tables along one wall, two more larger, communal tables and high stools facing the windows.
The outside tables are always popular, even in winter, and there’s always newspapers on hand.
There’s longish lists of both breakfast and lunch fare, but the main stock in trade are the numerous and good-looking flour-based options – wraps, paninis, baguettes and other sandwiches.
Today, though, I take a punt by opting for the unmeaty version of the lasagna dishes on display (both $9.90).
What a handsome slab of stuffed pasta it is.
Beneath a nicely toasted cheesy cap are multiple pasta layers sandwiching plentiful amounts of ricotta, potato (I think), zucchini and more – including a tomato-based sauce so deeply, intensely coloured and flavoured that I have to eyeball the display cabinet again to make sure I haven’t been presented the meat lasagna by mistake.
It’s all fantastic and hearty and tasty – so much so that I easily forgive the fact my meal slides from lukewarm to cool at the centre of what is, after all, a very generous serving.
Before I depart, I tumble into another serendiptous conversation with a complete stranger.
But Megan is a writer and West Footscray resident, so we become fast pals as we gleefully compare notes on mutual places, people and topics of interest.
Despite not being a Willy local, Megan regularly travels here for The Pickle Barrel’s coffee, of which she is a huge fan.
So … I order one for myself and a repeat for her.
She’s right – my cafe latte is superb.