Happy River Cafe

Posted on May 22, 2012


The ‘Docklands side’ of Footscray may look quite derelict, but to the visionaries, there is great potential. Perched on top of the Maribrynong river, and though the thousands upon thousands of shipping containers may taint the view a little, this little patch of the world has views of both the flowing river and our fair city. Currently the landscape is a still bit mixed bag; there are new apartments, old run down houses, former industrial land and even a seafood wholesaler. But you can always find some beauty if you look hard enough, and in this case, it was a welcoming patch of green from the Footscray Community Arts Centre and adjacent Happy River Cafe (45 Moreland Street, Footscray VIC).

Not exactly known for its cafe culture, Happy River Cafe is a rather delightful find in this yet to be transformed part of Footscray. And indeed it was a find as we did ‘stumble’ upon it. Yay for fulfilling my other new year’s resolution. It was a pretty regular weekend morning when unprecedented traffic resulted in a detour, whence we discovered this place. We were planning on brunching somewhere in the city, but why go any further when Happy River Cafe presented itself to us in such a serendipitous way?

The front lawn was teeming with activity. Lots of young families were out on the picnic rugs enjoying their morning coffee and brekky while watching their kids play about. It was such a lovely welcoming vibe and such a great contrast to the, dare I say it…slummy surrounds.

Being a typically cold autumn’s day, we opted to dine indoors. The decor is quite simple and functional. The semi open kitchen adds a slight sense of chaos to the dining room, and it almost feels like walking into a busy country diner. A couple of windows towards the back look out at the aforementioned views, and it is a bit of a shame that the windows aren’t any bigger to bring in more light and highlight its vantage point.

The menu features all the usual egg plus extras breakfast suspects as well as a couple more original creations. Having regained my trust in cafe made scrambled eggs, I went for the huveos – coriander and chilli scrambled eggs with avocado ($13). The eggs arrived sufficiently gooey and I’m very pleased to say that it had a really good hit of spice as well. They certainly didn’t hold back! And it made me appreciate the creamy avocado just that little bit more than I would have usually.

My companion’s Eggs Benedict ($13) was equally well received.

In all honesty, the food here isn’t spectacular, but it is decent, as is their coffee. The venue itself with its front lawn is quite appealing to me, so I can only imagine this being even more appealing for young families or those who enjoy lounging around outdoors on a picnic rug. Plus, being here really did have a lovely sense of community about it. Definitely a diamond in the rough and worth a look in even if only just for a drink.