Fanging it through the traffic last Friday night, I realised getting across town and back before dinner reservations at 7:30pm was a little ambitious. Lucky for me, I was being treated to a birthday dinner with A, buying me at least fifteen minutes worth of late time.
I love a Friday night dinner out, particularly if you have reservations. In this day and age of deciding and confirming plans at the very last minute, usually on the fly, it’s so lovely to know exactly what, where and with whom you will be spending your night. I love the anticipation of what to order, how the wine list might be and what gastronomic discoveries you might make. And to do this in Footscray, I was doubly intrigued.
The Station Hotel in Footscray (or Foota-scary to us east-siders) took out 3AW’s Pub of the Year award in 2008 and John Lethlean of The Age generously described it as “the local boozer redefined. The Station is the soul of gutsy, honest, classic tucker, the pub you’d kill to call your local.” Big words Johnny, big words. With a kitchen manned by Sean Donovan (ex-Botanical), the food is more than your average pub meal.
I sprinted into the bar section of the Station Hotel, which was absolutely heaving, and walked through to the dining room. Decorated in ‘refined country’ style, (think patterned wallpaper and wooden dining settings) the room was large yet somehow cosy. And it was full, absolutely packed. Don’t even think about coming to The Station without a booking, my dining partner, A, was laughed at when she called to ask if she would need a booking.
Starting with a Waipara Hills Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand ($8.50) I inhaled the deliciously chewy sourdough and butter on the table. On a severely empty stomach, the mantra must be ‘carbs before wine, carbs before wine.”
Our shared entree came out impressively quickly for a full dining room. Possibly the best entree I have had in months, we both inhaled the marinated ocean trout with warm buckwheat blinis and horseradish ($12.50). The horseradish was hot and fresh, but creamed to perfectly calm it down, and the trout was thinly sliced and delicately flavoured with dill. The blinis had enough crunch to know they were made to order.
On the good advice of A, I chose the 250g Rangers Valley (NSW) 300 day grain fed Black Angus rump ($28). The Station are known for their steak and have an impressive list of cuts, so it would be a crime to not have tried one. Served with chunky house made chips and salad with either béarnaise or pepper sauce, my steak was a good example of the way rump should be – textured and highly flavoured. While it’s probably more glamorous to order your scotch or wagyu, I have always loved the full bodied taste of rump.
After all that, I was slightly tempted by the pavlova with poached winter fruits, chantilly cream and lemon curd ($12), not because I needed it but because I generally can’t go past a pavlova, or any form of meringue, macaroon or marshmallow to be honest, but on this occasion I decided to refrain. The steak was massive and my body was already going in to beef shock as it was.
I thoroughly enjoyed the trip out to Foota-scary and can’t wait to go back. Just don’t forget to book!
The Station Hotel
59 Napier St, Footscray, VIC
Ph: (03) 9687 2913