I had a pretty ambitious food itinerary planned for when my folks visited. Their last trip happened before this blog began, but now that I’ve grown familiar with Melbourne’s food scene, I wanted them to enjoy every meal.
However, before the first week was up, I found out that their palates aren’t that suited for the opulent style of brunching that I revel in weekly, and they weren’t that keen on fancier fare. So I quickly tweaked the food itinerary, cancelled a wonderful restaurant in its own right, and brought them here instead.
The Station Hotel is a gastropub in Footscray that serves singularly good steaks, free of culinary embellishments, fancy sauces and flair. It’s straightforward food… steak, hand-cut chips and salad at a remarkably affordable price. A very safe place to take my folks to.
Depending on the crowd that evening, the ambience can get a little boisterous. But it was quite civilised that evening, possibly because we were seated in the dining section rather than in the bar sector.
We skipped entrées entirely and went right into ordering mains… steaks, that is. The menu has a boxed section that lists a wide range of steaks, and they detail the provenance of every cut of meat. That’s how I like it to be.
Our lovely waitress then served us painfully good bread. Painful in that we had to consciously restrain ourselves so as to have space for the steaks.
~ 500g Castricum Brothers, Gippsland (VIC) grass fed Black Angus rib eye 48 ~
And here it is! Dad and mum shared this half kilogram slab of rib eye. It arrived on a scarily big plate!
It was really nice listening to the coos of pleasure from dad and mum as they cut into their meats and started biting into them. Look at the beautiful chargrilled outsides and the juicy pink insides! Food envy… even the salad and chips, while done simply, tasted good to them.
Mum declared “this is one of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten”. To have her say that is a pretty big thing.
The steaks here come with both pepper and béarnaise sauce, which we made sure were served on the side rather than all over our steaks. For those who prefer spicier condiments, you can choose from a variety of mustards (but not horseradish).
The sauces and condiments aren’t that much to shout about, but they aren’t needed anyway, because the steaks are just that good on their own.
~ 350g Mayura Station (SA) Full Blood Wagyu dry aged pasture fed scotch fillet 65 ~
For this visit, I decided it’s time to start discovering the flavour profile of Wagyu steaks.
This was the most expensive steak on the menu. True, unattenuated Full Blood Wagyu for $65… that’s such a steal!! By comparison, the equivalent at Rockpool currently costs $95 for a 240g rump… just the steak, without chips or salad.
It’s interesting to note that Wagyu, on arrival and when you cut into it, tends to feel like a disappointingly (overcooked!) firm block of meat. However, all that changes when you actually have a taste of it. This pasture fed piece was robust in texture (as opposed to apparently buttery-soft grain finished Wagyu), but oh my goodness… its flavour!
It was like biting into a mature-tasting slab of knowledge… the ‘cheese’ of the beef world. There was a nuanced, deeply buttery sweetness with a slightly fermented, nutty flavour profile that’s reminiscent of eating truffles in meat. The dry aging process also gave it hints of champagne, acorns and oak. It’s surprising how a grass fed non-fatty piece of steak could pack in so much flavour.
With the two steaks side by side, I could really taste the difference between both types of meat. The Wagyu tasted so rich with flavour that only a small amount was enough to make me feel full. The grass fed rib eye that my folks had was softer, probably cooked rarer, with a cleaner and more ‘straightforward’ grassy meatiness to it.
~ Bread and butter pudding 14 ~
~ Hot Valrhona chocolate cake with poached berries and vanilla ice-cream 14 ~
I won’t comment much on the dessert here, they were both just o-kay. To be honest, I’d just come here to grab a steak with a beer, and then go. Ahahaha… bogan much?
Noisier bar section, you probably get seated here if you didn’t make a booking
It is wonderful when a meal you take your folks to hits a high note in every aspect. Mum kept on raving about the how beautiful her ribeye was, how she knew it was going to be amazing just by cutting into it before she took her first bite.
I’m surprised it took me so many years to realise how good and affordable the steaks here are. The next time someone asks where they can get a good steak, if they are not too fussy about ambience, then I’d definitely point them towards this place.