Willow Wine Cafe, 126 Williamstown Road, Kingsville.
Our regular martial arts routine has been dispensed with on account of a niggling health issue.
And if we’re not exactly licking our wounds after a tough week, we are not in the mood for the sort of galavanting around the west that is our usual Saturday staple.
So we’re very happy to be walking to lunch.
But there’s a wrinkle – instead of ambling towards Yarraville village, we are headed in the opposite direction.
Willow Wine Cafe has been set up in what was once the Fisher cricket bat “factory”, the place’s flanelled history still proudly worn on its side-street mural.
This is very familiar territory for Bennie, as he was once – when much younger – outfitted here with custom-made bat and pads.
The half-hearted innings that was his cricketing career ended long ago!
The place, with its dining area looking out on to Williamstown Road’s passing parade, has been done out in a really lovely, bright and relaxing way.
We take up pews at the window bench and proceed to enjoy a terrific lunch.
I earnestly warn Bennie against ordering the pulled pork sanger ($15), given the rank and serial disappointments he has, um, enjoyed in that regard in the past.
He proceeds anyway – proving, in the process, his father’s gloomy outlook to be comprehensively unwarranted.
Between the covers of his milk bun are generous serves of superbly tasty pork and most excellent aioli slaw, with pickled jalapenos and potato chips on the side.
My toastie special appears, at first blush, to be less worthy of the $14 price tag.
But the proof is in the eating.
And I know after just a few mouthfuls that this could be used as a template for the perfect toasted sandwich, with bread still softish yet sporting a top-notch crisp exterior.
Inside are Salt Kitchen mortadella, burratine and radicchio.
The cheese is oh-so-rich, melted and stretchy.
Our matching 5 Senses cafe lattes ($4) are just right.