Bobby Green and Andrew Gale eyed the quaint old shop in Hudsons Road for a while. The former butchers shop was an artists studio, but they could see it becoming a standout café in sleepy (Greens word) Spotswood.
Green has worked in New Zealand, at Botanical in South Yarra and most recently at Auction Rooms in North Melbourne, honing her coffee skills.
She and Gale, of The Station Hotel in Footscray, jackhammered away the old floor, applied copious amounts of paint and installed the snappy little kitchen.
The name Duchess was decided on during a seven-hour car trip; it had to be something English to reflect Andrews heritage and the menu he has designed.
Standout heart starters, brilliantly executed by chef Shane Donelly, include a full English breakfast with eggs, sausage, bacon and black pudding, and fruits of the forage, a noteworthy special featuring a heady mix of Mount Macedon wild mushrooms served on a fluffy bed of polenta with crisp, dry-cured bacon and a poached free-range egg.
Green says theres loads of room to expand and the couple has plans for a bigger kitchen, a courtyard and longer opening hours.
By her own admission, Bobby Greens coffee skills were rudimentary when she began working at Auction Rooms just over a year ago. It was her first real coffee experience and she watched, tasted and absorbed it all with gusto.
Green now puts her faith in the company that supplies her coffee and says she simply works hard to emulate what she has learned.
The house blend at Duchess is a mix of Brazilan, Guatemalan, Ethiopian and Kenyan beans. Its expertly extracted and prettily presented.
Green says she was a short-black drinker, but since becoming pregnant craves the creaminess of a flat white.
Duchess of Spotswood, 87 Hudsons Road, Spotswood
Phone 9391 6016
Barista Bobby Green
Coffee Small Batch
Baristas choice Flat white
Open Monday-Friday 7am-4.30pm; Saturday-Sunday 8am-4pm
This regal little package features vivid white walls and tiles as the backdrop for a classic, elegant fit-out. The focal point of grandeur is a single chandelier that hangs above an old butchers block. The block holds newspapers, a sweet little basket of fruit and an honesty box.
Old school benches from Altona Primary School and a counter from a former Yarraville shop keep the heart local, while antique timber tables and chairs, all in matching walnut, add the soul. The coffee is roasted by Small Batch (Auction Rooms, North Melbourne) and expertly delivered by owner Bobby Green and her staff.