I may have discovered my special, secret spot in Port Melbourne. Station Street Trading Co is off the Port Melbourne beaten track (being Bay Street) and is instead located on the corner of Raglan and Station streets, across from the lovely parkland adjoining the light rail track. To get there on public transport, nothing easier – just hop on the 109 heading to Port Melbourne and hop off at the North Port stop.
I love station street with its pretty terraces and off leash dog walking park. At least, the dogs in it are mostly roaming free so it is either an off leash park or filled with unlawful delinquent dogs. Either way, I don’t mind since the four-legged frolickers seem to be having a great dog time, which is a sight that always puts me in a good frame of mind.
Best of all, if you are ready to refuel, there is the Station Street Trading Co where you can park the dog, make yourself comfortable and enjoy some decent coffee and a very tasty breakfast offering. I myself didn’t have a dog to bring out (the world isn’t ready for my cats in a public space) but I said hello to the tails and the tongues alternately wagging or lolling outside the cafe, and made my way inside.
The interior is friendly, with this veranda-wrapped, light-filled yet cozy space, with attractive plants balanced on seemingly random wall shelves, heavenly ground coffee aroma, and a compact but very fresh-sounding and tempting menu. I have visited twice for breakfast now (the second time I brought along Blackburn J) and feel I have made a valuable, long-term discovery.
There is outside space for warmer days too – and a line of dog bowls so your four legged companions can refuel too … albeit somewhat more sloppily.
On our most recent visit, we just lapped up coffee (lovely stuff!) and Blackburn J went all simple – just ordering scrambled eggs on toast with bacon. Lovely creamy soft eggs, seasoned well, and a bit of wow factor in serving bacon on a stick. Bacon on a stick!!! Wayhey!
Obviously I must have some bacon on a stick too, so order the Station Street Stack, which is poached eggs on bacon skewers on a bed of creamy, lemon whipped avocado and, surprisingly, beetroot relish (wayhey again!) with lovely, buttery mushrooms.
The beetroot is the unexpected element and I’m now firmly resolved to make this combination at home because it works insanely well. Apologies for the weird photo, which looks like two shiney white aliens in the wreckage of their crash-landed spacecraft on brown boulder planet. It didn’t really look like that – it just turned out that way.
The Station Street Trading Co has a more relaxed vibe then some of the current fashion venues to eat, but is none the worse for that. It is the kind of place where you might slob around eating breakfast, sculling multiple coffees and chatting or reading the paper without feeling that you are unwelcome after your last mouthful (that nervy feeling of “could you pay and leave so I can squash in more customers”). The service is prompt, friendly and not so ‘supercool’ as to become intimidating.
The menu isn’t as extensive or as wildly exotic as some other on-trend cafés, but this can’t be considered a drawback since every ingredient tastes wonderful, is carefully sourced to be of high quality and frequently exceeds hopes and expectations. Take this for example:
This appears on the brunch menu as the breakfast bruschetta, and it is the first thing I tried on my original visit to Station Street Trading Co. And it is absolutely DIVINE. Strictly speaking, this is an assembly job as opposed to a finely balanced cooking job, with the only mild complexity for the chef of preparing in advance the scrumptious, home-made pesto dressing (which he doesn’t skimp on – thanks dude) and toasting a slice of ciabatta. All else is stuff arranged on top.
But what excellent stuff! The buffalo mozzarella is the real thing, not just a rubber mozzarella with a misleading title. The tomatoes are dangerously ripe and juicy (one spat in my eye, so I know) and there is a generous quantity of high quality proscuitto, which is the ideal counterpoint to the tomato, creamy mozzarella and bitter rocket. I can’t say enough about the pesto dressing, so I won’t attempt it – make your way to Port Melbourne and see for yourself.
The bread is so good (olive bread for the breakfast bruschetta – where for once you can taste the olives) that I suspect it is from the Woodfrog bakery at St Kilda. I asked – correct (and now I feel all clever and discerning); Station Street Trading Co do use the Woodfrog bakery, and the extra good news is you can buy some of the fresh, Woodfrog sourdough and take it home with you from Station Street if you don’t have the opportunity to swing by St Kilda.
Many thanks to the Station Street Trading Co. It may not strive for the trendiness of Hammer and Tong, or the space and glamour of Top Paddock. But in truth, the people who visit would visit again. And again. I know I will.
I may just have to get myself a dog to do the whole thing in style.