Meal of the week No.5: KItchen Samrat

1 Comment

samrat2

 

The perpetual blog-driven need for the new and interesting can mean old reliables are overlooked.

But as it happens, this very mid-week lunchtime I am in the mood for Indian snacky stuff.

And I am in Footscray.

So I step through the doorway of Kitchen Samrat (36 Leeds Street) for the first time in years.

I am surprised and delighted to find the place has gone from shabby to somewhat chic.

 

samrat1

 

It looks like a proper Indian restaurant now.

There’s even real cloth napkins, the classy effect of which are rather diminished by there being some dried food crud on the bench seat I initially choose.

The menu is longer and also more proper, and includes a number of good-looking banquet options.

Perhaps a lingering and wide-ranging CTS meal here is warranted.

But I spy with delight that the quick lunch items such as cholle bhatrua at Amritsari kulcha ($12) are still in the house.

The latter is just lovely – chick peas, butter knobs, pickle, onion and two wonderful breads stuffed with potato, coriander and spices.

Footscray eats goss

8 Comments

footgoss4

 

Changes are afoot in Nicholson Street, Footscray.

Pho Ta (above) and …

 

footgoss3

 

… Babylon have both closed.

Asking around, the best I could discover in terms of reasons was along the lines of “problems with landlord”.

These closures are a shame as both joints added diversity to a colourful part of Footscray.

 

footgoss5

 

Over in Hopkins, Snow Tree has set itself up for soon-come visit by the CTS team by the agency of a much more attractive fit-out and a much longer menu – including fried chicken!

 

footgoss6

 

The Dancing Dog building will be auctioned on Saturday, April 18, at 1pm.

There is a meeting being held tonight (Wednesday, March 25) with a view to making a stab at keeping the property out of the hands of developers.

For more details, check out the Permaculture Out West Facebook page.

 

footgoss2

 

Meanwhile, up in West Footscray, what was once Gusto will soon become Dosa Corner.

According to the always reliable Barkly Village Facebook page: “Gusto will be replaced by a South Indian Style Restaurant. Ex chef from Dosa Hut across the road.”

We wonder if there will be any point of difference between the new place, Dosa Hut and the neighbourhood’s other Indian eateries.

Truth is, though, Dosa Hut is usually busy so maybe it’s not an issue.

 

footgoss1

 

Dosa Hut itself is growing, with the opening of a branch in Tarneit at the Wyndham Village Shopping Centre.

I suspect our Tarneit readers are doing cartwheels.

Very excellent – bank on it

3 Comments

ovest25

 

Ovest, 572 Barkly Street, Footscray. Phone: 9687 7766

Ovest has been open a while by the time Team CTS visits.

Every time I’ve passed by in recent weeks when the place has been open, it’s been jumping.

So our hopes are high – especially those of my friends, who live just a black away and for whom this shapes as a welcome local of the non-Indian variety.

Our hopes are fulfilled, and in terms of the food well exceeded.

 

ovest26

 

Here’s the bottom line – we have one entree, one side, one pizza, two mains, one dessert, two glasses of wine and a soft drink.

The bill comes to just cents above $40 each.

What an absolute ripping bargain!

We’ve booked at 6pm on a Sunday night – which may have been a mistake as it’s family rush hour, the joint is very noisy and the service is a little scrappy, but not enough to cause any alarm.

When I amble back to my car, post-dinner and after having picked up a wonderful loaf of freshly baked bread from my companions’ place, Ovest is a lot more placid.

The dining room looks a treat and it’s a wonderful thing that this old bank is playing host to such vibrant life.

 

ovest21

 

Coleslaw of cabbage, pear, radish, lemon and parmesan ($12) is a real big serve of yum.

At first, I wish for a little more salt and flavour bite, but by the end I come to love the rather perfumey flavours.

 

ovest22

 

Saganaki kefalograviera, sherry vinegar-soaked currants and pickled onions appears modest of portion but is so rich that three of us are happy.

The cheese has a marvellously toasted and salty crust.

 

ovest24

 

A mushroom pizza with taleggio, caramelised onion and fior de latte ($20) is very, very good, its many fungus chunks having a real meatiness about them.

 

ovest23

 

Tuna nicoise ($26) is a stunner and very generous to boot.

Underneath that handsome slab of fish lie spud discs and heaps of superbly creamy mayo.

My roast of the day (top photo, $25.50) is a simple but good-sized snapper stuffed with lemon.

The fish is lovely but it’s the accompanying salad/salsa that makes this dish sing – the clever addition of pickled chilli discs adds not just random exclamations of heat but also a just-right tartness.

The good, hot chips are served in such quantity that there’s more than enough for us all to share – but then, that’s true of everything we’ve enjoyed.

 

ovest27

 

By the time dessert selections are to be made, we’re stuffed.

So to speak.

So two becomes one with three spoons.

Panna cotta of yogurt, vanilla and strawberry jelly ($10) is just the sort creamy dream you’d expect and lasts all of about, oh, five seconds.

The jelly is a delicately-flavoured delight.

My pals are stoked.

So would I be if this “local” had just opened a minute from my front door!

 

Ovest on Urbanspoon

 

ovest28

MiHub rocks it again

2 Comments

mihub413

mihub410

 

Consider The Sauce is happily falling into the happy routine of always, whenever possible, attending MiHub functions at the Laverton Community Hub.

Where else would we want to be early evening on a Saturday once a month?

But I suspect there is a limit beyond which reader endurance and loyalty should not be prodded in terms of recording each event.

There’s a fine line between giving context to food reviews and stories by interweaving other aspects of our lives into CTS on the one hand and overdoing it on the other.

 

mihub46

 

So this may well be the last MiHub story for a while … although I will for sure continue to post MiHub notifications on the CTS FB page and continue to recommend all and sundry give MiHub activities a go!

As I posted on FB yesterday: “Yum food, delicious people!”

 

mihub45

 

The “pop-up market” in this case was a part of Diversity Week, so there was a heap of people and a heap of food.

The theme was ostensibly Malaysian – but there was also Middle Eastern sweets, Indian tucker and Afghani fried chicken.

 

mihub42

 

I ate well and widely.

And I just loved meeting and talking with all sorts folks.

This time around they included CTS readers …

 

mihub44

 

… Sara and Sharon …

 

mihub47

 

… and Roopi and Jaspreet.

 

mihub412

 

As well as my Star Weekly colleague Karen, her hubby Chee (on the right) and their friend Sharil!

 

mihub49

mihub48

mihub43

mihub41mihub411

 

Chook joint for Footscray

Leave a comment
ogrill10

 

O’Grill, 149 Princes Highway, Footscray. Phone: 8307 0153

O’Grill is a new fast-food chicken place tucked into the service road just a block or so up from the Plough.

We like the idea of this sort of place in this sort of location – there’s pretty good parking capacity for one thing.

The menu is mostly chicken-based, well-priced and ostensibly of a Tex-Mex bent.

(See menu and prices below.)

The meal four of us have there is OK – but we for sure reckon some tweaking here and there could make it an outright winner.

 

ogrill4

 

By common acclaim, the hit of the night is this black bean salad.

Doesn’t look too tempting, hey?

But it is delicious!

Underneath the beans is a generous jumble of red onion, tomatoes and coriander, all of it liberally dressed with a really good green tomato salsa.

 

ogrill6

 

Chips?

OK but could definitely be crisper.

 

ogrill7

 

Corn?

OK but not much sight of the lime chilli dressing.

 

ogrill9

 

Chicken wings?

Not “buffalo wings” – and thanks to one of my buddies for deepening my understanding of exactly what that means (deep-fried for starters) – but quite nice anyway.

 

ogrill5

 

My two companions who go the burger route note a mismatch between the large buns and the less-so chicken.

Basically, too much bread!

My other companion goes, as I do, for a half chicken and like the burger eaters comments that the breast meat was a tad dry.

Yes, we know it’s hard getting that right.

And while me and my pals might prefer thigh meat in just about all applications, I’ve been told frequently by restaurant folks that there are a significant amount of customers for eating outlets of all kinds that demand breast meat … no matter what.

 

ogrill8

 

I have no such problem with my half chook though there is little by way of the spiciness or smoky chipotle vibe I have been expecting.

Perhaps most of all we’d recommend some greater delineation between the various chicken options and an understanding that the people who come here looking for a feed are almost certainly well used to food that is super-charged in the flavour department.

But we’d also recommend giving this place a go – there’s a heap of other stuff on the menu.

Try the black bean salad when you do.

 

O’grill on Urbanspoon

 

ogrill2

ogrill1

Wot’s hot in Willy

1 Comment

shelly6

 

Consider The Sauce loves Williamstown.

We love being there, throwing frisbee there and going for drives around the bay.

But it’s also true we’ve long been a little underwhelmed by the food available there.

But we keep on trying.

Our destination upon departing Yarraville for a feed – into the hinterlands of Footscray, Seddon, Sunshine and beyond, OR turn left and head for Willy, Newport, Spotswood and Altona – usually pretty much comes down to a metaphorical coin toss.

But that’s just us … Williamstown CTS readers, friends and potential pals we meet along the way almost invariably tell us, with heartfelt sighs, they wish their local eating-out options were better.

And yet … in  recent months we’ve had some truly magnificent food in Williamstown.

It’s true, you won’t find the same spicy diversity as in other western suburbs realms.

And you will pay more – but not that much more.

Here’s what Willy food has put a skip in our step in recent times …

 

pizza5

 

Pizza d’Asporto, Rifle Range Shopping Centre, 71 Kororoit Creek Road. Phone: 9397 2033

Can’t be beat, we reckon.

Fabulous pizzas, pastas and salads – and, perhaps even more importantly, a friendly welcome that makes you feel like regular even when you’re still to become one.

See story here.

Pizza d’Asporto was also the joyous location of a recent CTS Feast – read the wrap-up here.

 

santo15

 

Santorini, 1 Parker Street, Williamstown. Phone: 9399 8520

Superb Greek on a lovely heritage Williamstown building.

The marinated lamb shoulder “shaved off the spit” is highly recommended.

See review here.

 

mez5

 

Mezmez, 42 Ferguson Street, Williamstown. Phone: 9397 8804

Nutella doughnuts.

Actually, there’s much more to be had at this swell Ferguson Street cafe, including salads and more with a zippy Mediterranean outlook.

See earlier stories here and here.

 

prince8

 

Prince Albert Hotel, 149 Douglas Parade, Williamstown: 9397 5117

Delightful pub on Douglas Parade that manages to be both elegant and casual.

Excellent service and a killer rib eye with superb extras all part of the deal.

See review here.

 

shelly5

 

Shelly’s Beach Pavilion, 26 The Esplanade, Williamstown. Phone: 9397 7878

The new venture that has taken up residence in what was Sirens has been visited just once by us but we were impressed.

See review here.

Meal of the week No.4: Xuan Banh Cuon

Leave a comment

xuan1

 

Xuan Banh Cuon in Sunshine is a firm favourite of CTS, one we wish were able to visit more often.

So it’s nice to be greeted with smiles all round when we do.

Today – and while Bennie is making happy with his usual chargrilled pork with vermicelli – I get to play with two new additions to the menu.

Actually, we have tried the green papaya salad with beef jerky before – in a picnic setting.

Here, in the restaurant itself, it’s every bit as good – crunchy AND chewy, tangy and completely awesome.

It’s a lot wetter (i.e. more profoundly dressed) than the above photograph indicates.

Even better, this small serve ($6) is ample enough for Bennie to get a good taste as well.

Remarkable bargain!

And who doesn’t love it when roasted peanuts crown such a dish?

(The large size costs $10.)

 

xuan2

 

And how about this – banh goi or Vietnamese puff ($2)?

I could describe this as a Vietnamese version of your regular curry puff – but that would be doing it an injustice and would not be particularly truthful, either.

The deep-fried outer is crisped to a tee and delicate.

The loosely-packed innards consist of prawn, pork, vermicelli, mushroom, carrot and daikon.

And a lot of amazing.

See earlier story here.