Across the Bolte Bridge and over the Maribyrnong River, Melbourne’s west once stood as a quiet alternative to the hustle and bustle of the CBD.

With factories, warehouses and industrial “giraffes” lining the view from the inner city, there was once a time of little activity and innovation in the world of food, arts and culture.

But that stagnant image is now gone, as the west continues to grow at a phenomenal rate. More and more Melburnians are agreeing ‘west is best’ when it comes to settling into a lovely neighbourhood, and the quality of food and coffee has become well worth the trek from the east, north or south.

Food and coffee innovation drive gentrification. Development in speciality coffee and cleverly designed cafes crafted out of shipping containers mark a clear movement towards modernisation, while an overwhelming demand for more has seen popular Melbourne cafes open sibling outposts in the west. Locals no longer have to travel to try the east’s obsession with raw vegan treats, and they can find crazy doughnuts and pretty pastries that rival the city’s selection.

In 2011 Footscray local, Steffan Tissa opened his cafe West 48 in the quiet surrounds of Western General Hospital and Footscray Station. In just six years the palates and quality of food and service have matured dramatically, and his menu is a sure indication of the area’s changing tastes.

In the cafe’s first incarnation, West 48 was unable to find a market for poached eggs and bacon, but today it offers complex sushi bowls and chilli scrambled eggs that make the rest of Melbourne envious. Coffee supplied courtesy of Collingwood’s Allpress Espresso completes the offering, showing no stone is unturned when it comes to presenting the very best brunch experience.

In an area filled with multicultural residents and young fresh minds, the west is emerging as one of the fastest evolving regions of Melbourne. The colourful character is hard to ignore, with Steffan describing his home as, “refined without being pretentious”.

So why not make a day trip out of your visit? Aside from your childhood dreams of ScienceWorks, Steffan recommends a visit to the Docklands Cotton Mill for beautiful historical architecture and a stop at the Footscray Community Arts Precinct. If you’re full on all your delicious findings, bee-line to the Maribyrnong River for a peaceful stroll on the walking track and an alternate view of our beautiful city.

This editorial was created with West 48.

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