Station Hotel, 59 Napier Street, Footscray. Phone: 9687 2913
Just back from a week in Kiwiland and feeling like a lazy weekend feed – so we head to the pub.
But not just any pub.
The Station Hotel in Footscray.
It’s not Bennie’s first visit here but it is for his dad.
In all the years this place has been running, I’ve built up this mental image of it being a swish-o gastro pub of the “special occasion” variety.
So I am delighted to discover that, in the bar area anyway, it’s pretty much the same vibe as any of the local pubs we are known to visit, with prices mostly to match – unless you’re inclined to venture into the upper reaches of the Station’s meaty fare.
Except that here, the food we have is without blemish and very, very good.
It starts with a nice serve of beautifully fresh and crisp bread with olive oil.
We’re asked a little later if we’d like more.
We like that even if our answer is in the negative.
We had a bunch of burgers while on the other side of the ditch so Bennie gets a flat “no” when it comes to the matter of the Station’s version.
Instead, he goes for the p
The slaw is dreamy in its excellence – crisp yet tender and easy eating, something that is not always the slaw case.
The pork rests mostly on a bed of capers but is superb.
It’s thick and crisp and a real-deal meat meal – and significantly more hefty than it appears to be in the above photo.
It’s stuffed with a mix of the same cheese as is crispped on top. Inside it’s gooey and creamy and dances with chopped prosciutto.
I’m not so ambitious or meat-minded so choose one of the lighter dishes on the menu – p
It’s fabulous in every way.
OK, so it’s only constructed on a base of commercial tubed pasta and is not so different, at a fundamental level, from the sort of things we sometimes prepare at home.
But this is peak pasta!
The fine, mildly-seasoned meat sauce has plenty of pop from the peas and creaminess from the ricotta.
But the crowning glory here are the rocket and radicchio leaves, the bitterness of which perfectly complement a perfect dish.
And at $18 for such a big serve, it’s marvellous value.
We leave happy and smiling, only to have the moment soured somewhat by having scored a $91 parking ticket in Hyde Street.
We have no cause for complaint, really, as we have been caught to rights parking in a permit-only zone.
But just why there is a permit-only zone in this part of Footscray, when the nearby flats appear to have ample parking and the town hall is right across the road, is an interesting question.
Given the Station Hotel is a famous eating place and that doubtless most of its customers do not come from the surrounding handful of blocks, we think we are safe in assuming that we are just the latest in a long line of Station customers who have thus been caught out.
I reckon between The Station , The Plough and The Reverence , Footscray has the pub field covered. All do food albeit at different price points and at their price points the quality shines through.
Yep , you can pay serious $$$ for a top qualty steak at The Station — but it is just that – top quality and you know its’ provenance.
These 3 pubs all have excellent , professional staff – staff that dont find hospitality beneath them , but rather enjoy their work. All have staff who have been at their respective gigs for a while Their professionalism , without obsequiousness is a standout. Staff turnover doesnt seem to be high , as it is
at other pubs in nearby suburbs.
Food , staff , the “vibe” , — lFottscray treasures AND no poker machines. !!
Well said, Tony! No pokies … how good is that?
Love the Station which is a couple-of-time-a-year treat place for us. Often for birthdays or special occasions. The Rev is a ripper too with it’s relaxed vibe and room for kids to run amok.
But weirdly, despite our initial excitement at The Plough’s renovations and despite it being 5 mins walk from home, we largely avoid it now. There’s no “pub” in that pub, it’s really just all restaurant, so it doesn’t encourage you to visit for an arvo session or to catch up for a quickie with a friend. The food is decent quality but we never get out of there for less than $40+ a head, which is a price point that can feed a whole family well in Footscray. And I’ve found the service there to be very patchy, with some staff in particular being quite snooty.
Love the Plough, and the high tables and bar stools at the Geelong Rd end are fine for a few pots and share plates of fries, croquettes etc. during the winter they even had the footy on, with sound off, which is the best way to watch it IMHO. I am sure that it is still a viable “pub”, but let’s be fair food is where the money is. I think it is great that they still cater for the “sess”, and we have imbibed on several occasions. I have never seen any group that was “just drinking” moved off the tables either.
Everyone gets a parking ticket their first time at The Station – it’s a rite of passage. Also – the parking restriction signs are notoriously hard to understand.
I have been fined on Hyde Street also….there is a lady (local resident) who looks out for cars parked in private permit then reports it to the parking inspectors. That’s why you are booked so quickly, because of the local spy.
I think most people don’t realise you can park on Napier! I am usually the only car parked there!