West side story: the best new-ish spots to eat and drink in Melbourne's west

Anthony Colangelo
Navi in Yarraville has brought fine dining to the west.
Navi in Yarraville has brought fine dining to the west.  Photo: Eddie Jim

Whether you're in the mood for a Spanish seaside feast, a quick slice of New York-style pizza or one of, if not Melbourne's best laksas, these recently opened places in the west will sort you out nicely.

Bind Palate

Chef Jack Lee runs his monthly dinner event, Bind Palate, out of his Point Cook cafe, Bean Smuggler (which serves a solid brunch by day). You don't really know what you're going to eat until it's put in front of you, but expect a multi-course dining experience with dishes that riff on Asian, French and modern Australian cuisines. With the first dinner occurring in March, prospective diners can check out the Bind Palate Facebook page for sitting dates and when to book (events aren't on the same date each month just yet). It costs $75 for a five course meal and another $40 for wine pairings.

225-229 Sneydes Road, Point Cook

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The chilli scrambled 🌶🍳

A post shared by Boma Coffee (@boma.coffee) on

Boma Coffee

Boma Coffee is the second cafe from the owners behind Williamstown's wildly popular catch-up spot Kodama. Like it's older sibling, the coffee at Boma is awesome, the food always on point and the service warm and friendly. The chilli scrambled eggs, and for that matter the standard scrambled eggs, are a wonderfully executed classic that are hard not to go back for. Boma sits just outside the central area of Yarraville Village so it's a quiet change of scenery.

127 Stephen Street, Yarraville

Gordon Street Bakery often sells out of bread and pastries before lunch.

Gordon Street Bakery often sells out of bread and pastries before lunch. Photo: Simon Schluter

Gordon Street Bakery

After opening in March this year, people have been known to rock up to Gordon Street Bakery as early as 10am on a weekend only to be greeted by a 'sold out' sign on the door. Head baker Wilhem Isaac is originally from France and so you'll find classic staples such as croissants, pain au chocolat, baguettes, almond croissants, galette des rois (French almond cream tart) plus olive and white breads. Isaac's sourdough loaves are 50 per cent rye flour – slice them thickly and spread with lots of butter.

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63 Gordon Street, Footscray

Jock and Mack

This cafe is a go-to, no-fuss coffee and brunch spot that's endeared itself to Hoppers Crossing locals since it opened in October. Dishes include pork belly eggs benedict, classic smashed avo and a breakfast bowl. There are plenty of bakery treats to go with the coffee and smoothies.

31 Old Geelong Road, Hoppers Crossing

Laksa King Kitchen is the new, fancier sibling of nearby Laksa King in Kensington.

Laksa King Kitchen is the new, fancier sibling of nearby Laksa King. Photo: Joe Armao

Laksa King Kitchen

Laksa King is arguably, the literal King of western suburbs dining, its huge bowls of laksa treasured by so many around Melbourne. Now, just around the corner, there's Laksa King Kitchen, described as a "more sophisticated iteration of LK using fancier ingredients". Bonus: unlike the original, you can book and pay with card here.

324 Racecourse Road, Flemington, laksakingkitchen.com.au/flemington

Lay Low Bar - The Seddon Sling Cocktail, one of its 12 signature cocktails.

The Seddon Sling cocktail at Lay Low. Photo: Josh Robenstone

Lay Low

Just off the main drag, behind Rocco's Delicatessen's Seddon location, is a hidden cocktail bar that's quickly become a favourite for locals who like a quiet cocktail or two. Roll in for one of 12 signature cocktails – including the Beerlini made with local honey – or a sip of an Australian wine or beer. Snack-wise, grab some Greek food from The Brotherhood Yiros & Grill nearby.

93 Buckley Street, Seddon, laylowbar.com.au

Little Common cafe in Footscray opened in May 2019.

Little Common cafe in Footscray opened in May. Photo: Supplied

Little Common

Little Common is the smaller, sister cafe to Seddon favourite Common Galaxia. It sits in the hole-in-the-wall Footscray Market space recently vacated by Guerilla Espresso, serving basic bites such as bagels, toast, granola and savoury puff pastry tartlets aka "grab-and-go-cups". There's limited seating but it is across the road from Footscray station, perfect for a pre-commute coffee or a quick pick-me-up while perusing the market.

Shop 228 Irving Street, Footscray

Little Rosebery Cafe

The team from Birdcage cafe in Altona opened this new spot in April, and already it's got a loyal following in the area. Serving Campos Coffee, great brunch and bread and pastries from Cobb Lane there's a cosy indoor space and an outdoor courtyard to enjoy your food in.

42 Rosebery Street, Altona Meadows

Navi in Yarraville only serves 25 people a night, and requires booking at least two months in advance.

Navi in Yarraville only serves 25 diners per night. Photo: Eddie Jim

Navi

Navi is quite unique in the west. It's a degustation-only restaurant that only serves 25 people a night. Bookings open online on the first day of the month, for tables in two months' time. It's worth the wait, with chef-owner Julian Hills (ex-Paringa Estate on the Mornington Peninsula) attracting rave reviews.

Unit 183 Gamon Street, Yarraville, restaurantnavi.com.au

Peachy Keen

Tucked behind Williamstown's main shopping strip, container bar Peachy Keen was originally a summer pop-up but has proved so popular the team has decided to stay. During winter you can grab toasted marshmallows dipped in Baileys, mulled wine plus a bunch of standard cocktails and beers if you're still wanting to hang onto summer. With screens for the footy it's a perfect place to hang out on a weekend.

rear of 82-84 Ferguson Street, Williamstown

Pie Thief in Footscray has been popular since it recently opened.

Pie Thief in Footscray. Photo: Eddie Jim

Pie Thief

Lasagne pies, nacho pies stuffed with Doritos, regular steak pies and Thai red chicken curry pies – this is what you'll find at Footscray's Pie Thief. Can't decide? Try a tasting paddle of party pies. Word about the quality of the savoury pastries has spread quickly since opening on June 8, with lines out the door of the small shop on weekends.

297 Barkly Street, Footscray, piethief.com.au.

Ragusa Republika

It's hard to find good food on Williamstown's touristy street, Nelson Place. So thank gooodness for Ragusa Republika. The Croatian eatery has been a trusted staple on the strip for years and after a refurb it's ready to keep dishing out traditional Croatian eats, wines, beers and spirits. Dishes remain hearty and traditional, with specialities including Ribarska popara (seafood stew with paprika, tomato and polenta) and roasted pork belly with eggplant, capsicum and tomato.

139 Nelson Place, Williamstown, ragusarepublika.com.au

The deck at Sebastian is a great way to enjoy Williamstown beach.

The deck at Sebastian is a great spot to enjoy Williamstown beach. Photo: Justin McManus

Sebastian Bar and Grill

Opened in late 2018, Sebastian Bar and Grill took over the iconic pavilion on Williamstown beach where the restaurant Sirens once stood. Now, it's a Spanish affair, with chef Leigh Robbins serving dishes inspired by iconic Basque holiday hot-spot San Sebastian. Sit outside on the deck for a drink and a snack (staff give out blankets for when it's cold) or head inside for the full share-friendly menu.

26 Esplanade, Williamstown, sebastianbeachgrill.com

Slice Shop has brought NYC style pizza to Melbourne's west.

Slice Shop has brought NYC style pizza to Melbourne's west. Photo: Darrian Traynor

Slice Shop

There's been plenty of very good pizza available in Melbourne's west for a while now, but there hasn't really been anywhere to get a New York-style pie ... until now. Slice Shop is the latest project from Burn City Smokers' Steve Kimonides and Raphael Guthrie. The pizzas are big (18 inches or 45 centimetres) and you can also buy by-the-slice. The pies aren't as thin as a Napoli-style pizza, nor are they as thick as your traditional Aussie take-away option; they're in between, with crisp bases and a range of traditional or vegetarian toppings.

101a Nicholson Street, Footscray

Calamari slider (L) and double bacon cheeseburger (R) at Seddon's Slider Diner.

Calamari slider (left) and double bacon cheeseburger sliders at Slider Diner. Photo: Brent Edwards

Slider Diner

This is a restaurant version of ex-Vue De Monde chef Owen Scungio's food truck, Sliders on Tyres. Slider Diner parked itself in Seddon in early January, serving sliders, which include a fish option, plus pulled pork doughnuts, truffled mac and cheese and a range of sweet pies. There's alcohol too, with boozy milkshakes one of the options.

82 Charles Street, Seddon, sliderdiner.com.au

Small Graces cafe in Footscray for M Mag.  Dish:  tasting plate with pickles, black pudding, beef short rib, greens.

A selection of pick 'n' mix side dishes at Small Graces (pictured clockwise from left: halloumi with walnuts, beef short rib, kimchi, pickles, greens and black pudding). Photo: Eddie Jim

Small Graces

There's no bacon on the menu here, instead you get slow-cooked and spiced pork shoulder flashed on the grill. Yes, it's possible to get a great brunch without bacon, and Small Graces does that with its seasonal and inventive menu (Good Weekend named it one of Australia's best). You can compile your own dish by combining any number of brunch sides, or go for something like the "Can't decide" breakfast board.

57 Byron Street, Footscray, smallgraces.com.au

Willow Wine Cafe

For budding cricketers in the west, the building that now houses Willow Wine Cafe used to be home to iconic Australian cricket bat maker Fisher Bats, thus the name Willow. Instead of walking in and wielding willow you now fill up on wine and snacks.

125 Williamstown Road, Kingsville