After asking around about other people’s experiences, I chose to try Station Hotel over The Meat and Wine Co at Crown. I guess I was a little bit skeptical about places that automatically get a thumbs up from being located at Crown and decided not to risk it.
In contrast, Station Hotel is located in the Western suburb of Footscray, perhaps unexpected for a French-inspired gastropub. Its old and dingy exterior doesn’t hint at the bustling activity on the inside. On entry you find yourself in the casual pub section, but walk around the corner and you find yourself in the dining area.
Still during the Christmas break, the place was packed and the employees running around like crazy. The annoying thing is that each staff member seems to have a role, so if the one to seat you isn’t free, then you must wait. After being seated with menus and bread, our orders were taken but I noted our drinks (a coke and a cocktail) took a tad too long, although they did arrive with an apology.
But onto the food – for entree, we went with the crumbed mussels with olives and chorizo ($15). I liked the crumbed exterior and it was actually quite soft and enjoyable to eat. It had about the amount of chorizo I expected and you even get butter to dip it into and indulge that much further.
As the earlier description may indicate, the decor is quite bare and straightforward. There were some paintings on the walls and a little bunch of flowers next to us (first picture), but I felt a little cramped as my chair was very close to the table behind me. It was even more awkward when staff members tried to shimmy their way through that area.
But like most people who visit, the purpose of the trip was to try their much-talked-about steak. My friend even noticed everyone ordering the steak, so we followed suit. The waitress was absolutely no help when we asked for recommendations, and since it was busy, seemed like she was anxious to get us over and done with.
Thus I went with what I knew and ordered a scotch fillet, the 300g Kilcoy (QLD) 120 day grain fed Black Angus scotch fillet ($38, above) to be exact. The waitress was at least helpful in telling me that the Bernaise sauce was like hollendaise. I found it to be a touch sweeter than your hollendaise and more fragrant with the herbs mixed in.
My friend went for something on the specials (above), so I don’t quite remember what it was called. I do recall it was served a la bordelaise, which means with a classic French sauce, usually made with red wine. I’m not sure if it was definitely made this way, as there are other versions of the sauce but I did definitely enjoy it. It was rich and dark and a bit sweet. I also enjoyed how her potatoes were served, much more interesting than my plain chips, but perhaps mine was served this way as my sauce was already fragrant and bold.
Our steaks were cooked medium rare as requested and I found this was done perfectly. I find steak a bit of a risk to eat out as they really have to cook it right, but I had no complaints. Although after trying my friend’s salad, I realised they did put different dressings and her’s was a bit too citrusy and sour compared to my light and subtle one!
My friend also ordered a cocktail, an Aperol Sour (or something along those lines), as we aren’t really wine drinkers. It did sound like the most appetising cocktail out of all of them but she found it too sour to even down half. So perhaps stick to the usual pub beverages or have some wine if it’s your thing!
And of course we had room for dessert, and debated between the sticky date and bread and butter pudding. Once again our waitress nonchalantly said she couldn’t help us because she hadn’t tried the pudding…so making up our own minds, we chose the pudding ($14). The top was jellylike and the usual dried fruits hidden in/underneath this gelatinous layer. The bread part was very soft, and the layers eaten all together proved tasty and a refreshing change to other desserts. We enjoyed it but for once, I can’t say we finished it, as our steaks really filled us up!
I wasn’t impressed by the service – granted it was busy, but a place like Station Hotel would be busy a lot of the time right? So if they can’t handle that and provide good service, then that’s a bit disappointing. However, the food was pretty good and I can see why people enjoy the steaks at this spot. Now if anyone would like tell me what they think of The Meat and Wine Co and why I should try it, please feel free!
Station Hotel is open seven days a week, 11am until late.