The Station Hotel

The station burger from the Station Hotel in Footscray.
The station burger from the Station Hotel in Footscray. Photo: Eddie Jim

59 Napier Street Footscray, VIC 3011

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03 9687 2913
Opening hours Daily 12pm-2.30pm, 5.30pm-9.30pm
Features Outdoor seating, Bar
Prices Expensive (mains over $40)
Chef Sean Donovan & Jacob Young
Seats 80
Payments eftpos, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard

WHERE AND WHAT

Since opening in 2008 the Station has stood like a beacon of hope on this Footscray intersection, with the promise of great pub fare that's a cut or three above the commonly held definition of the term. Owner and chef Sean Donovan has recently opened the Wayside Inn, South Melbourne's eminently worthy answer to the older sibling, but it would be a crime to ignore the west-side original when it continues to be such a solid performer.

WHERE TO SIT

Plenty of options in this department. There's the front bar, complete with pool table and television, where the menu extends from excellent freshly shucked oysters to the killer Station burger with pickles, Gruyere and bacon. There's a pleasant courtyard with bench seating, plants and shade and then there's the restaurant proper, where you'll find dark wood, unclothed tables, good linen and staff who know what they're doing.

WHEN TO GO

The Station is open daily from noon until 2.30pm and for dinner from 5.30pm. There's a pared-back menu in between times. Bookings are recommended.

DRINK

It's a pub; there's plenty of beer on tap and in stubby form. There's a tight but hard-working wine list that packs a lot of punch into its Oz and Old World parameters - nicely priced, too, and there's a very good range by the glass.

EAT

Donovan was head chef at the Botanical under Paul Wilson and in Britain clocked up time under the legendary Pierre Koffmann. He's a meat man, you could safely say, and his menu features 12 steaks with their provenance duly listed. All come with hand-cut chips and salad, as well as a jug of pepper sauce or the superb house bearnaise, egg-yellow and not shy on the tarragon. Pork schnitzel comes with gorgonzola butter and romesco; the golden-brown venison and mushroom pie is surrounded by a sticky moat of value-added cooking juices. But it's not all red meat: the seafood is great, whether it's beer-battered fish and chips or the whole fish, pan-fried in butter and served with an heirloom tomato salad. If you want to finish on a sweet note, the bread-and-butter pudding is the stuff of Anglophile imaginings.

WHO'S THERE

Footscray locals love the joint - and it's easy to see why - and plenty of lovers of gastropub fare reckon it's worth the car journey.

WHY BOTHER?

Great food minus the fuss.

Station Hotel - 59 Napier Street, Footscray, phone 9687 2913

http://www.thestationhotel.com.au