Ferguson Street Provisions
62-64 Ferguson Street
Williamstown VIC 3016
03 9399 9955
Open: Daily 8am – 3pm (and coffee and cake til 4pm)
One of my favourite bike rides is the 30km out to Williamstown and back. There’s a sealed bike path all the way, and you get to ride along some of Melbourne’s wonderful waterfront – I especially like the part where you get to Point Gellibrand and you can ride along the boulevard there. So pretty with its great view of the bay, water breaking over rocks, and sometimes, huge ships making their way along the Port Phillip Bay shipping lane – it’s a great ride.
View from near the “Dog Bowl”
Another reason why I love the ride to Williamstown is the cornucopia of great cafés where you can take a break from spinning your legs. I recommend avoiding the many and varied establishments that line Nelson Place, which runs from the roundabout through to the Titanic restaurant and shipbuilding yard. We haven’t found a great place there, despite trying our luck at a couple of obvious choices – maybe we just haven’t stumbled upon the right one – in which case, I would welcome suggestions.
But, one day – we came across Ferguson Street Provisions – which is a little off the main cycling route, up on (oddly enough) Ferguson Street (you turn where the big roundabout is on Nelson Place). And what a find it was. This is not a nouveau, trendy breakfast – it is good, honest food – generous to a fault, and full of potential favourite dishes. And in my humble opinion, one of the best places to find pancakes in all of greater Melbourne.
Today, I did an early ride over there with most excellent friends R & T – it was a warm one so we started out at 7am. We always follow the same route – from Docklands, down Footscray Road, turn down Moreland Street / Whitehall Road… anyway I won’t bore you – it’s easy enough to follow the cycling path. We tend to meander out to what I affectionately call the “dog bowl”, a section of the beachfront reserve that has a large bowl that can be filled up with water for all the dogs that populate the area. It’s almost like France out here, there are so many dogs!
We then meander back to Ferguson Street – usually happily discussing what we’re going to have for breakfast. Today, we arrived about 10 minutes earlier than the 8am opening time – but that didn’t stop them setting us up with water and letting us order coffees, while cheerfully letting us know they would be able to take our food order soon. Great service.
So, what did we order?
They look amazing – don’t they??? And they are so good! Because they’re made with oats, they stay moist and luscious. There’s fresh banana on top of the pancakes, as well as in them – so you have some slices that have gone lovely, soft and caramelised, as well as the smooth, creamy texture of fresh bananas. And, then there’s the butterscotch sauce – which is just “to die for” and really makes the dish. If banana doesn’t grab your fancy, there are other options such as butter and maple syrup, or a mixture of fresh fruit. And if you think three is too many, you can order a short stack (2) or a single. What generally happens with us is that I finish 2 of the pancakes, and then the remaining pancake mysteriously gets eaten anyway. Warning – these pancakes are addictive and may ruin you for all other pancakes in Melbourne!
T, being very virtuous, always has the muesli option – and it’s always a generous serve with lashings of fruit and yoghurt. It doesn’t come with milk, but you can ask for it separately and it is brought out happily. T was impressed with the variety of fruit on his plate today and didn’t have any trouble polishing it off (and perhaps a little bit of pancake as well….. ).
And finally, the lovely R had one of her favourites – Eggs Duxelle – 2 perfectly poached eggs on toast served with braised mushrooms and hollondaise sauce. It’s something she keeps going back for – so it must be good. My preference would be to see some more interesting and earthy mushrooms – but she seems happy and there’s never anything left on the plate.
Overall, Provisions is a fantastic place to have breakfast – especially if you’ve done a ride and looking for a place to refuel. It has had some mixed reviews, which I don’t really understand, as I’ve never had a bad experience here. The coffee is good – perhaps not as standout or cutting edge as some of the newer kids on the block, although you can opt for a special daily blend if you feel like upping the ante. I have to say, it always tastes good to me. Although, everything tastes better after you’ve already cycled 19km! And have the other 11 or so to go!
I highly recommend eating here, although be warned – it’s clearly a locals’ favourite as well, and so it can tend to get a little busy during peak times. If you’re organised – and you know roughly when you’ll be there, they will happily take your booking. I recommend this option if you think you’ll be landing there anytime after 9ish. Give Provisions a go – you won’t be sorry. So many locals can’t be wrong!