What we have is a suburb on the rise. Once an industrial heartland, Yarraville has spent the last decade or so transforming itself into a small western Melbourne treasure, with classic building’s that I am told are Edwardian and Victorian in style and an atmosphere that feels every bit the vibrant country town.
Here is one way to spend a day in Yarraville
First stop: Brunch at Wee Jeanie
As soon as you step off Yarraville station you are met with the smell of bacon, eggs and coffee. The local cafés have outdoor areas that are almost situated on the platform itself (dumb ways to die indeed). One of these cafés is Wee Jeanie, a delightful brunch stop that certainly lives up to the ‘wee’ part of its name (if used in the same way the Scots would and not used to describe urine) with only a few seats inside, a few outside and a menu that fits on a single A5 page.
Despite the scaled down approach you won’t be underwhelmed with a delicious range of egg based dishes, truckie toasties and a few dishes with an Asian flavour (black rice and spicy lamb are both featured on this brunch menu). I can certainly vouch for the Baked eggs with kaiserfleisch with parmesan and sugo sauce . Vegetarians may prefer the baked eggs and mushrooms, both being served in a hot-pot and full of flavour.
EDIT: I just re-read that final sentence and realised the stupidity of suggesting that vegetarians MAY prefer a vegetable dish to a meat dish. I have decided to leave it as an example to youngsters on how not to review a breakfast café.
Explore the village
Once you have your caffeine hit, spend some time in what is locally known as ‘the village’. It certainly has a country village feel about it, not least because everything is located on two main streets (Anderson and Ballarat). A full complement of essential services, local treats and hidden secrets awaits you.
While Fitzroy and Brunswick have streets devoted to the niche and retro stylings of Melbourne’s inner city trendies, Yarraville has Village Idiom, 34 Anderson St, where all your hipster accessories are found in the convenience of one store. There’s fedora hats, retro clothing, local crafts and vintage collectables. What really makes this such a must-visit attraction is that a fair chunk of these goods that have been produced by Yarraville residents.
Even better is The Good Store, 2 Ballarat Street, set up Marshall Martin who ‘couldn’t work out why so many shops presumed that the world was dull’. As soon as you walk into the store you are greeted with a smile and a cup of herbal tea Inside it feels a bit like that ABC show The New Inventors with uniquely designed games, kitchen goods, bags, gifts, travel accessories and more.
The best thing is that every item in the store comes with a story of how it came about, told through the medium of the lamented A4 signage. The credit card sized garlic grater for example was a 2005 Netherlands Gift Fair award winner from Swedish chef Herman Rasmusson who got sick of using his own credit card and its embossed numbers to grate garlic.
End the day by catching a film
Its hard going to Yarraville without noticing the rather large 30s era Sunrise Theatre. There is little romance in a multiplex Greater Union regardless of how mega the screen is. The Sunrise Theater was built at a time when going to the movies was an outing and the glamour has been maintained thanks to a decision to transform it into six smaller art deco cinemas.
During the summer months the area outside the theater is transformed into a pop up park with Ballarat Rd closed and cars replaced by turf, benches, flowers, tables and chairs. Take in a pre film cup cake and coffee at Sugar Puff Cup-Cakery. Once in the theatre you have a good choice of flicks with the old, the new, the trendy, the homely and the arty all featured, a perfect metaphor for the suburb itself.
 If you ever come across kaiserfleisch on a menu treat yourself but don’t tell your gym instructor. Kaiserfleisch is a fatty, saltier and chunkier version of bacon.