All change at Werribee South



If change is a given, then change and its ramifications are a way of life in the western suburbs.

For years now, or so it seem, one or more of the streets surrounding our Yarraville home have been in the process of being worked upon.

In the greater west and in a broader sense, the issues of change are the very substance of much of my weekly, regular newspapering gig, be they concerned with politics and culture or economics and infrastructure.

Transport, be it rail or road, is a particularly knotty and sensitive subject.

But for all the growth and upheaval in the west, there is no change going on quite like what is in the process of happening in hitherto sleepy Werribee South.

There, a project involving more than 100 apartments and an “integrated retail precinct” is rapidly taking shape.

You can see the developer’s website here.


From all that I’ve read, no one seems at all sure what sort of impact this is going to have on Werribee South.

Added to the mix is the surprising news – well, surprising to me anyway – that plans for a Werribee South-to-Melbourne ferry service seem to be gaining very real traction.

The traffic generated by 100 apartments, their residents and service vehicles is one thing.

Throwing in the daily comings and goings of 3000 ferry commuters is quite another.


The main routes into Werribee South – Duncans and Diggers roads – are fine two-lane thoroughfares for much of their lengths, even if they are invariably stained dirt brown by market-gardening activity.

But in places, both roads take on a distinctly backwoods feel, with potholes, bumps and dodgy edging to the fore.

As for the food portion of the development’s retail precinct, my expectations are at zero.

“Franchise” and “generic” are terms that spring readily to mind.

Degani, anyone?

Not that we’ve got anything against that particular coffee shop chain.

Indeed, I’ve been told that company behind it is also behind this place, which we like just fine.

But I’ll not be holding my breath hoping that Wyndham Harbour bucks the trend of greater Melbourne generally doing a lousy job of seaside eats.


Wyndham Cache Cafe

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Wyndham Cache Cafe, 1 K Ave, Werribee South. Phone: 9742 1526

The first official day of spring is supposedly later in the week, but it sure feels like today should be so anointed.

The sky is mostly blue, studded with big, white fluffy clouds.

The sun is shining and for the first time in a long while – too long – I am not rugged up in the heaviest jumper I can lay my hands on.

Perfect, in other words, for a relaxed spin to a location I think of as one of the west’s country sojourn’s when you don’t really want to go bush.

It’s possible to get a country vibe going from the western suburbs with relative ease and in short time – think the wonderful Point Cook Homestead, for instance, or TeaPot Cottage Cafe at Werribee South.

Wyndham Cache is a rather quirky and charming – in its own way – cafe/restaurant about a kilometre past the turnoff for Werribee Mansion.

An outgrowth of a long-established polutry business on the same site, it does breakfast and lunch seven days a week and dinner on Fridays.

The ambiance seems to show the influence of the joint’s association with a small business of another, eggy variety entirely, with two sets of electric doors leading through to a rather clinical canteen-style dining room, its severity leavened by lovely country vibe service and a plentitude of photos depicting historic people, places, buildings and scenes from the area.

The menu ranges from wraps, sandwiches such as BLT ($14.50) and four salads at about $16 up to mains starting at $17.50 for the wagyu burger and going on to the likes of  pan-fried salmon ($22.50) and steaks for $25.

It’s a clever menu.

Unfortunately, in the rolled-dice gamble that is table-for-one dining I come up empty-handed.

There’s reasons why I very rarely order a steak sanger – and this one ($16.50) now joins that list.

Regulation white sliced bread, routine cheese slice, OK caramelised onions, some rocket and a tiny portion of meat – it’s mightily underwhelming.

It’s about what I would expect from a corner takeaway establishment for significantly less.

But the chips are good and hot, and I gobble each and every one.

That I have been lumbered with such a mediocre lunch is galling, because I see other tables with what appear to be fine meals – fish and chips, antipasto platters and even the dreaded and much over-rated wraps all look good.

And it’s hard to believe the burger – at just $1 more – could be so shabby.

Oh well – still worth a return trip with son in tow.

Check out the full menus at the Wyndham Cache website.

Wyndham Cache Cafe on Urbanspoon

The TeaPot Cottage Cafe

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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.

Teapot Cottage Cafe on Urbanspoon