It might be the smallest suburb in Melbourne’s west, but South Kingsville punches above its weight.
At just 60 hectares in size and with a population of less than 2000 at the 2016 census, you could be excused for missing South Kingsville on a map. But there it sits, tucked in between Spotswood, Newport and Altona North. Most of the action happens around Vernon Street, where a handful of eateries ensures a healthy slice of variety for the locals.
Burn City Test Kitchen – aside from having one of the best names in Melbourne hospitality – is a cosy little spot serving up plenty of flavoursome food. Influenced heavily from the smoky tastes of American BBQ, you’ll find some of the most drool-worthy pulled pork, beef short ribs and brisket burgers this side of Texas. Combined with plenty of delish sides, an excellent beer and wine list, an ever-changing menu and a blues-heavy music playlist, it’s a fun night out.
Serving a more traditional style of Italian food, the chefs at Motorino have put some serious years into their pizza-making careers, and it pays off. Most pizzas come in at less than $20, and with a handy early dinner time sitting, a great bambino menu, high chairs and impeccable service, it makes a perfect family dining option. There are even paper table cloths complete with crayons on each table to complete the experience.
Also on Vernon Street is Blacksheep, a spot that, according to the locals, just keeps getting better. Open early, pair a coffee with a breakfast brioche roll packed with bacon, fried egg, spinach, tomato, aioli and chilli jam (and a hash brown on the side, if you’re game). Their Thursday to Saturday dinner menu is stacked with yummy salads, steaks, burgers (including a vegie burger worth crossing the city for if you’re not a local) and lots of sides to choose from. Their courtyard – featuring a fun cubby house for the kids to run amok in – has plenty of space for families and prams.
After you’ve had your fill, spend your long, summer evenings or crisp, winter afternoons in nearby Edwards Reserve. There’s a great oval to kick, throw or hit a ball around in, but it’s the playground – also known as Frog Park – that entices the locals. A sandpit, ramps, a spinner, swings and even a hammock for you to relax in make it the perfect meeting place and people-watching spot, just a block from Vernon Street.
For something different, stop by and see what’s happening at the South Kingsville Community Centre. Live music events, as well as cooking, artisan and technology classes, make it perfect for all ages and abilities, plus community programs like Aikido Arts and yoga run weekly. And speaking of fun, community-minded activities, the Yarning Place runs seven group sessions a week, as well as their ‘social yarning’ events twice weekly.
If you’re on the hunt for this quaint neighbourhood, where things move peacefully and the friendly sense of community runs strong, stroll 20 minutes west from Spotswood Train Station. Settle in with a coffee, a bite to eat and enjoy some time in South Kingsville.