Harley & Rose West Footscray makes family dining great again

Photo: supplied

Photo: supplied

“Like static on the dial, a look comes back in style,” sings Joe Camilleri. And just like The Black Sorrows song after which it’s named, Harley & Rose makes family dining great again.

Method: take two Andrew McConnell chef alumni (Josh Murphy and Rory Cowcher) and serve wood-fired pizza and table-silencing pub grub to parents, while kids eat rigatoni with their fingers. The corner site radiates laid-back warmth with butcher’s paper-coloured canvas blinds and striped tea towel napkins.

Behind the timber bar there’s a concrete pizza oven and local beer. Mark Williamson, another McConnell disciple, is in charge of wine and a quirky, on-site bottle-O.

Photo: supplied

Photo: supplied

Food is unfussy and delicious. Fluffy cod dip is a nod to the Builders Arms, but croquettes made with gorgonzola dolce and Brazilian tapioca, dipped in quince ‘ketchup’, are a crunchy golden original. Focaccia is replenished as we scoop stracciatella piled with baba ganoush and piquant pomegranate molasses.

The pipi pizza with caramelised onion and cream is an exception to the seafood-doesn’t-belong-on-pizza rule. Take one away, but cacio e pepe – Roman spaghetti made with a colosseum of cheese and pepper – is dine-in only.

I do have a complaint: a juicy chicken schnitzel, wing attached with a batter that threatens addiction, remains a special. As Camilleri said, “Baby, it’s a crime.”

Best for: Parents who’d rather buy another bottle than a babysitter.

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