The city's still hot, the inner north is booming, but the west’s got our vote. In a year
in which good dining options have spread their tentacles even further across Melbourne suburbia, West Footscray – WeFo to its friends – gets the gong as the ’burb with the casual diner to rule them all. Chef duo of Josh Murphy and Rory Cowcher, alumni of the Andrew McConnell Selective School for Over-Achieving Chefs, keeps many balls in the air. Their capable stewardship has turned Harley and Rose into the perfect neighbourhood spot (meaning: a kids’ menu and no sneering at families) while also appealing to wearers of new-school tattoos and the slow creep of corporate types turning up the gentrification dial.
It’s good to see a whole lot of natural wine get a run on a list that can only be described as perky. It’s just as good to see a Ribena Quencher on the cocktail list. It’s pretty brilliant to hear Daryl Braithwaite and Noiseworks piped into a room that would have taken out Low-key Fitout of the Year if we had such an award. And snackage is strong, from mortadella with mustard fruits to panzanella salad and charry octopus. Fluffy fingers of oven-hot focaccia arrive with a whipped cod roe that practically levitates. Lamb meatballs get their Greek on with yoghurt and risoni. Everyone’s happy. And come summer there’s going to be no better place to hang than the streetside picnic tables with a bubbling wood- oven pizza and Furphy Ale.