A lot has been said about Station Street Trading Co. since its 2012 opening. Sister cafe to Armadale's revered Coin Laundry, it was champion to a relatively cafe-less Port Melbourne. My visit had been a long time coming, and perhaps that's why I was surprised at the simplicity of it all. This wasn't a big operation. The square seating space is basic and condensed and the small open kitchen is tucked into the left corner; the bustle at the entrance leaves a pile up of customers and waitstaff bearing cups of coffee.
But, size isn't everything. The limited space makes your visit more intimate and casual; the open kitchen gives way to an infiltration of all kinds of heavenly morning smells. The big windows ensure the space is light, and the tiling, hanging light fittings and plants placed on floating shelves make for a neat fit-out, perfect for the residential area. Outside tables line the corner cafe, which, being on a quiet leafy street, are just as pleasant on a chilly morning as on a sunny one.
If I was still having doubts, they stopped at the brunch menu. Instead of resting on collective favourites (or the most-ordered at Coin Laundry), Station Street have been able to create a tight offering that is wholesome, varied and a little bit familiar. Expect to see corn fritters and Bircher, as well as — and this one's the big one — the 'Raspberry Donut', which is a large mound of French toast brioche, sugared and topped with raspberries and vanilla mascarpone ($15). And while the menu has been tweaked a few times since opening, the Station Street Stack remains: a piece of sourdough with smashed avocado, spinach, mushrooms, beetroot relish, skewered bacon and two poached eggs ($18).
Lunch offers up some crowd pleasers as well, with a Moroccan wild rice and quinoa salad ($12.50), a BBQ pulled pork corn roll ($15) and rotating specials. But, here, brunch is the main game. It's what keeps locals from heading to neighbouring South Melbourne, as well as being a destination itself. And, if you just want to pop by on your way to the tram stop, the Allpress coffee and housemade baked goods are ready for takeaway — dark chocolate and honeycomb muffins are a commodity that can't be ignored.
Station Street Trading Co. is simple, no-fuss and polished to a tee. As a cafe, they do anything but disappoint.