Traditionally, the British have been known to do a great breakfast – maybe the best. The full English is a celebration of fried meats, eggs, and other foods like beans, tomatoes and mushrooms that get to share the plate with the stars. While there is an excitement in having every breakfast food you can think of available to you on one plate, at times it is too much, and at times the quality of the separate ingredients may not be the best.
A British themed breakfast spot is unusual because aren’t all breakfast spots that serve the traditional classics basically British by definition? At the Duchess of Spotswood the theme is more than appropriate. There is a traditional approach to the great British breakfast, using high quality ingredients, merged with some more modern tastes.
There is the “Breakfast of Champignons” which is one of my favourite names for a great dish of delicious mushrooms on toast with Stilton thrown in for good measure. Today I’m eating the “Duchess of Pork”, which is an interesting dish to start the day. Pork jowl broken down and formed into a rectangle, with crispy pork scattered around the plate, shaved truffle, two fried eggs, Madeira sauce and some toast. Pork jowl is an amazing gamey meat – very strong and rich. It combines beautifully with the Madeira sauce (which could be a little more liberal) and the yolk of the eggs. It’s not for every day, but today it is heavenly.
As you would hope, the bacon at the Duchess is a staple, thick sliced and incredibly good, whether combined in a simple bacon and eggs, or the Full English. Gladly, the Full English includes black pudding, and will be my choice next time I’m here with an appetite. The coffee is excellent, the orange juice is sweet and freshly squeezed, and the Spring weather is coming along nicely.
The Duchess has really sparked this little village in Spotswood into life. There is a terrific bakery, called Candied, and I can vouch for the rye, and the brûlée from the last trip. There is a cafe, serving only coffee, including syphon, and few other places in a relatively small space. Travel wise it is relatively easy, being the first exit just over the West Gate.
The Duchess is one of the best cafes in Melbourne. If it was in Brunswick, Fitzroy or the Inner East it would be an impossible wait, but here in Spotswood it fits perfectly.