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West 48

My former housemate, a chef, knows a few people in the hospitality industry. From what I can see, they all hang out together, drink together when they finish service at two in the morning, and give each other silly nicknames like 'Fluffy'. So as soon as one of them branches out to open their own venue, or changes to a different role, the news spreads like wildfire. That's how the buzz surrounding a new venue starts. A coupla press releases and launch events gets the ball rolling, foodie mags and publications do their initial reviews, food bloggers get onto it, the locals flood in, and hospitality legends are born.

When it's a quality new venue in a suburban location, the buzz seems even bigger. Such was the case with West 48 (48 Essex Street, Footscray), a cafe based in a quiet suburban street in Melbourne's inner west. I heard about it through my housemate - who knew someone working there or opening it or something - after which I promptly forgot about it. Then a different friend came a-visiting from Canberra and wanted to visit her friend who worked there.

Oh, alright... let's go to Footscray.

Prior to caffeination, I'm not the nicest person, so it was fortunate that my current housemate decided to join my Canberra friend and I for brunch and very kindly drove us there. We pulled up outside a nondescript storefront and waltzed in, only to find no indoor tables available - SAD FACE.

It was a chilly June morning, but we gallantly sat at one of the footpath tables, intently studying the menu to increase the gurgling sound in our stomachs, and periodically sneaking in to covertly check out how much food the other patrons had left on their plates, then stalk them until they left and donated us their table.

My Canberra friend successfully surprised her working-cafe-friend, who happened to be the owner. Hello! He was busy though, so we took our highly-sought-after-indoor-places at the end of the smaller communal table (there's also a big, tall, long, workers' bench communal table), across from these people:

Starving (SOB) - we flagged down a lady to place our orders. She was under the pump as they were understaffed that day, due to illness. But she was very nice and helpful and had a funky short haircut, which went very nicely with the industrial-antique light fixtures (I don't know what I mean by that, either):

Then, thank God (if there were one), COFFEE.

Apparently Allpress, the coffee was nicely made and served in spunky orange cups, which, along with a bunch of bright yellow flowers, added a nice colourful touch to an otherwise brown/grey interior. I liked the look they're going for though, which I would classify (with all my expert interior design experience, ha) as 'warm industrial'. Inoffensive (so, suitable for a suburban cafe), but definitely stylish and a little bit cutting-edge.

The food was quality and delicious, but simpler and served in smaller sizes than I'd expected (despite my pictures below managing to make them look quite huge). We all pretty much had variations of the same ingredients:

Egg ciabatta roll with hash brown

Egg roll with air-dried wagyu

Egg, spinach, hash brown, air-dried wagyu

For dessert, because brunch should always be followed by dessert, there was caramel tart, hot chocolate, and the MOST MASSIVE CUP OF COFFEE I'VE EVER SEEN - aptly named "Coffee in a bowl". YES PLEASE.

Caramel tart & hot chocolate

"Coffee in a bowl" compared to a normal-sized long macchiato

Then we loitered around the counter for a bit, while chatting was done. I didn't mind cos I could see all this:

West 48 is a schmick operation with quality food, coffee and service, perhaps only lacking in space due to its understandable popularity. Great vibe and quite possibly worth the trek. Recommended.

West 48 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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