St Burgs hits the spot



St Burgs, 41-45 Edgewater Boulevard, Maribyrnong. Phone: 9317 7460

There’s two new burger joints about to open right in Footscray central.

Where is it going to end?

Will it ever end?

Melbourne’s rather rabid fondness for new-school burger joints seems to know no limits.

There seems to one or more opening every week, all this activity attended by a plethora of media stories, blog posts and click-bait lists.

Truth to tell, I have been a foot-dragging participant in our visit to St Burgs.

I feel a bit a burger fatigue but have been worn down by Bennie’s persistent requests.




The tipping point came during our visit to try the fine Turkish fare at Platinum Cafe in North Melbourne.

There, Bennie asked of Nat Stockley, noted burger fan and expert: “So what is your favourite burger place?”

St Burgs is the first establishment he mentions.

So off we go …

St Burgs is unusually located … in an apartment block down the hill from the Edgewater shopping/eating precinct.

There is no parking, forcing punters to walk from the parking spots at the shops.

And, so far as I can see, there are no toilets.




The burger shop is tiny in terms of in-house eating, with most of seating outdoors.

Thankfully, on the Sunday we visit the weather is fine.

And whatever the challenges St Burgs presents, there is certainly no lack of punters when we arrive soon after noon.

The service is good and wait time not too long.

My Western Fried Chicken burger ($12) is very good.

Joining coleslaw, cheese and Sriracha mayo is a fat, juicy and deep-fried hunk of very flavoursome chook breast.




Bennie absolutely adores his Double D burger ($14)!

It’s pretty much the St Burgs’ version of “with the lot”.

I ask Bennie: “But isn’t it much the same as what you get at Dude Food Man or 8bit?”

His reply: “No – this is better!”

So there you go – the verdict is in.




I find our regular chips ($5) to be disappointing – a bit limp, not very hot and liberally anointed with indifferent seasoning.

Bennie agrees.

We reckon deep-fried potato + salt = excellent.



Turkish cuisine and limousines

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Platinum Cafe, 36 Macaulay Road, North Melbourne. Phone: 0497 849 411

Platinum Taxis has been in residence at Macaulay Road for many years.

From No.36 operates a wide range of vehicular services – not just your humble cabbies but also airport and hotel pick-ups, limos and all the resources that drivers need to do their jobs.

The current Platinum Cafe set-up, however, has been in-house for just a few months.



Bennie Weir practises his psycho stare; Nat Stockley photographs food.


After our very good pal Nat Stockely realises things have taken a Turkish turn at Platinum, we waste no time in convening a North Melbourne lunch date.

Bennie and I are hoping for good, cheap fast-food, perhaps something a little more exotic, perhaps an alternative to the Embassy Taxi Cafe in terms of midnight-hour munchie outings.

Sure, the menu (see below) does include burgers, toasties and the like.

But wow – we find a whole bunch more than that!




The joint is being run by Nadia and her friend Ozen (both pictured at top) and also Lev.

Nadia knows her way around Turkish food, having worked for a Deer park eatery of that genre for more than a decade.

But what she and her pals are turning out in North Melbourne is mostly not Turkish restaurant food.




Instead, Platinum Cafe is providing home-style cooking of the kind your favourite Turkish mum prepares.

On the day we visit, we’re told to “forget” the specials board (see below) – I would’ve certainly opted for the lamb roast.

Instead, we three converge on the bain marie and proceed to enjoy a mighty feast.




My plate stacks up thusly …

Very good Turkish rice with orzo.

Patlican kebab (eggplant kebab) – one of the best eggplant dishes it’s ever been my pleasure to devour, the slippery, delicious eggplant mixing it with lovely lamb cubes.

Mucver – fritters of spud, carrot and egg that are wonderfully chewy.

Sulu kofte – Marble-size balls of cracked wheat (quite like gnocchi) and chick peas in a rich soup based on a lamb stock.

The cracked wheat balls are more tender than they appear but along with the chick peas constitute a meal in themselves and would probably be better enjoyed as such.

The soup, however, is great.




The plates of Nat and Bennie are similar save for the addition of a vege-and-chicken dish with cheese sauce of Nadia’s own devising.




Platinum Cafe also boasts a range of dolmas, including stuffed capsicums, and sarma such as vine leaves.

We get a plate of the latter and enjoy them very much.

They’re served how we like ’em – cold.

They’re quite delicate and have a nice smoky flavour. Nat even reckons there may be meat of some sort involved though Nadia tells me that is not the case.




Also provided to our table is a very good salad of finely chopped vegetables, tomato, pickles (both cuke slices and cornichons), olives and fetta – such a shame it barely gets a look in as we explore the rest of our meals.

Our meal deals – including our plates, the stuffed vine leaves, the salad and cans of drink – costs us each an awesomely cheap $17.




Nadia tells me about the 90 per cent of the drivers who come in are of Turkish extraction – sounds very high to me! – but that there are also drivers from Greece, Italy and East Africa. From all over, really …

For all of them, I suspect, the Turkish homecooking served at Platinum Cafe is both welcome and somehow familiar, no matter from where they hail.

Nadia also warns us that when we return, the line-up of home-style dishes will almost certainly not be the same.

We wouldn’t have it any other way!

Platinum Cafe is open from 6am-8pm on week days and from 8am-5pm on Saturdays.






Food on sticks – Afghan Master Kebab for Footscray



Afghan Master Kebab, 131 Nicholson Street, Footscray. Phone: 9396 0201

Team CTS bowls up for the opening party of BigWest an hour after advertised start time and find the whole shebang and everyone involved is pretty much just getting over the rain.

What to do?


So we adjourn to nearby Nicholson Street and the recently opened Afghan Master Kebab, a sister restaurant to the popular eatery of the same name in Sunshine.




Sister Restaurant?

More like identical twins.

The menu line-up (see below) appears to be the same, save for the addition of such stuff as fish and chips.

Mind you, the Footscray edition is done out in perfectly fine and plain cafe style that in no way matches the flamboyant interior found up in Sunshine!




Three of us choose the mix kebab ($13.99) and a delight it is.

Four skewers – two of superbly juicy chicken and one each of the minced kebab kobida lamb and the diced lamb cubes of tikka kebab.

They’re all wonderful.

Elsewhere around town, in restaurants that vary from Greek and Turkish to barbecue, it’s easily possible to pay significantly more for meat that is not so fabulous.

As in Sunshine, acceptable yet largely superfluous salad bits and two dipping sauces accompany.

The chilli and mint number is a doozy while, here, the yogurt dip seems a bit more tangy and has a richer dairy flavour.




Our meals come with heaps of the wonderful Afghan Master Kebab bread – a bit like naan but chewier and just right slathered in the sauces.




After a slightly underwhelming experience with chargrilled chook earlier in the week, it’s a giddy pleasure to inhale the Master Kebab half chicken ($14.99).

A bit pricier … but THIS is charcoal grilled chicken.




On an earlier visit, I’d tried the chicken qorma ($12), one of a handful on non-grill offerings on the menu.

It’s nice enough, mildly seasoned and of generous serve.

But if anything, it serves only to reinforce the notion that food on sticks is the way to go here.




Diwali with Suneeti




Consider The Sauce never takes for granted the heart-and-soul situations that open up for us because we do what we do.




A year or so ago, for instance, I spent an entire day with our wonderful friend and fellow blogger the Urban Ma and her family, preparing and then eating a fabulous Pinoy feast.




This one is a bit like that …




I met Suneeti when she and some pals were guests at the CTS Feast held at Curry Leaves, the fabbo Sri Lankan eatery in Sunshine.




We sat at the same table, got talking and soon discovered that when it comes to sub-conintental eats – and what’s hot and what’s not so much in the western suburbs – we are very much on the same page.




All of which led to the question: Would Bennie and I like to be guests at her family’s regular Diwali bash in their Sunshine home?








And what a fine time we had!




We enjoyed meeting a varied bunch of lovely folks.




This was not you hardcore devout Hindu Diwali party – the assembled guests and family were from all over; there was meat and alcohol, though not a lot of either.




The food?




OMG – sensational!




Mildly spiced, as befits a gathering at which there are numerous young children, but still just so very fine.




Thanks, Suneeti!




And, yep, we’d really like to return next year!

This story and these photos are published with Suneeti’s happy approval – she was too busy to take pics so is looking forward to this post as a memento!



The chook burger wins



Manok, 351 Somerville Road, Yarraville. Phone: 9315 1440

As previously reported right here on CTS, Manok replaces the long-standing chook shop on Somerville Road on the small shopping strip at that road’s intersection with the Princes Highway.

Team CTS has visited twice now and had enjoyable meals on both occasions.

But we recommend keeping expectations in check.

Even with the new Manok crew on deck, this remains a chicken shop – albeit with a few twists – and fast food is the go.

The service is fine and we love and applaud that our in-house meals are served on enamelled plates with metal cutlery attending, though takeaway customers get styrofoam.




Our biggest hit by far is the chicken burger ($10, top photograph).

Bennie orders this and I’m envious.

He loves every mouthful.

It’s a simple thing – pulled roast chicken mixed with house-made peanut sauce and placed between the bun bookends with coleslaw.

How good does it look?

This is the sort of creation that could see Manok develop a bit of cult and end up on lists.




The chips ($3.50) that come with Bennie’s sandwich are fine, fresh and hot.




That makes them a step above those that accompanied my burger on an earlier visit – these were just OK.

The beef burger ($10, $1 extra for bacon) was pretty handy, too.

Much better than you’d routinely get in chicken shops across the city, though I did wish for a bit more charred beef flavour.




And the chicken?

There’s a choice of two – regular and lemon grass.

Both CTS pal Marnie and I go for the latter, with the above-pictured half chook and salad costing $12.90.

I find it enjoyable but a bit average.

I’d like a bit more flavour oomph from the chook – I end up wishing I’d ordered the regular and got the crusty, salty taste explosion that goes with old-school chicken shop poultry.

The Greek salad is acceptable.

But with this sort of chicken in this sort of setting, I’d much prefer to have a good coleslaw on hand.

Marnie is a long-time reader of CTS and we’ve been working towards actually meeting up for some time – sometimes these things can take a while!

She has filed the following:

“Hey Kenny, thanks for inviting me to help check out the place. It was lovely to meet you both. The chook was good but I think I needed some sort of dipping sauce to go with it. Something traditionally Filipino would be ace. Paying for nearly $3 (!) for gravy is a bit insulting IMO … I still think I prefer Pier Street charcoal chicken shop in Altona in terms of juiciness, tastiness and value for money though.

Nice to meet you, too!


Kiosk by d’Asporto – photo shoot for The Age




Read The Age story here.

Right from the time we got a nice reader’s tip that something good was happening at Williamstown Beach, Consider The Sauce has been following the doings there with high interest.




Not just because stuffing the lifesaving club’s kiosk with really good Italian street food is such a fine idea but also because the lovely crew from Pizza d’Asporto is up to their necks in making it happen.





As well, such a brilliant idea is it that selling it as a “Just Opened” feature for The Age was a breeze with that rag’s food editor Roslyn Grundy.




Today’s the day for the photo shoot.




I don’t expect to be playing a particularly active role – but it is my story and besides, you know, it’s fun.




Claudio, Antoinetta, Ros, myself and everyone else involved has been most fervently hoping for fine, sunny weather.




That we don’t get.




But Melbourne being mercurial Melbourne, we’re all pretty happy with the overcast but warm, windless conditions.




Oh yes, it could be way worse.




Figuring the photographer was booked for 1.30pm, I’m a bit shocked to bowl up at 1pm to find the shoot already underway.




I am also aghast that the kiosk is chockers with all sorts of beautiful food and that all hands are on deck – when the official opening is still a week away.




But while it’s likely only two pics will be used to accompany my yarn, truth is this is also a handy trial run for the entire Kiosk by d’Asporto operation.




I have a nice old time chatting to all and sundry as photographer Wayne, his wife, Nicole, and Antoinetta get the business done with professional aplomb.




Then we eat!

Read The Age story here.





Music mates but no silverside for me



Royal Standard Hotel, 333 William St, West Melbourne. Phone: 9328 2295

Before Consider The Sauce – before the domain name had been bought, before I’d begun to get to grips with the wordpress blogging platform and the whole blogging deal – one of the ideas I had was to combine on my site food AND music.

Wisely, I think, the food prevailed – though regular readers well know that my musical passions pop up every now and then in cameo appearances.

And that was that, I thought.

After a lifetime of writing about and broadcasting music – and chasing the groove both locally and in the US – my love of music had become a private deal.

And I’m mostly comfortable with that.

But a year or so ago, I noticed good pal and former colleague Lee was contributing to a Facebook group based around music and mateship.

I read with interest.

The I started offering up the odd interjection.

Then I joined.




It’s been great.

I don’t fire up in terms of extolling what I’m digging nearly as much as some – generally speaking, about onceĀ  month I let loose with a rambling rave about my current faves in terms of funky old soul or country or jazz or cajun or swamp pop or whatever.

(The recently amassed pile of vintage stuff from Cuba, Soweto, Haiti, Columbia, Peru, Ghana, Congo, Ethiopia, Benin, Nigeria awaits raving!)

I confess to feeling somewhat out of step with the group’s general leanings – too many white blokes with guitars and a whole lotta rock of the kind with which I don’t generally roll.

But here’s the thing – as with my previous online musical communions (Blue Note Bulletin Board, All About Jazz, Jazz Corner, Organissimo – all but the last now gone to the internet graveyard), and locally at the late, lamented Hound Dog’s Bop Shop, specifics of individual tastes matter not.

Because what I really enjoy is not mostly the music being discussed but the passion with which the group members address it and the (often tall) stories that accompany.




Something I’ve always been adamant about when running CTS is that when the opportunity arises, hitherto digital relationships should be put on a real-time face-to-face basis – and we’ve had some wonderful folks come into our lives through doing so.

So it is that with a good heart that I bowl up to the Royal Standard in West Melbourne to meet many of the denizens of Music4Mates for the first time.

We have a fine time over beers and tucker.

So for the company, the generous spirit, the stories and the bullshit, I say thank you to Lee, Warren, Saskia, Andrew, Brett, Baz, Steve, Diane and Johanna.

The Royal Standard is a very much old-school inner city boozer – no pokies, live music, metaphorical sticky carpet and a heap of different beers.

The food (see menu below) is suitably old-school, too, and priced accordingly.

I don’t keep track of what everyone is eating …




… but I note that Steve’s (Aussie) burger ($20) looks very much the goods.

With beetroot, of course!

Extra points for crawfish shirt grooviness.




My own bangers and mash ($19) are fine, with the snags being of better quality than I’d normally expect and the mash and onion gravy also good.

Could’ve lived without the salady bits, though.




As ever when confronted by such a menu line-up, I’d cast around for the specials board, on which – in this pub today – silverside has been listed as the roast of the day.

Silverside? Roast?

Whatever … turns out that Brett snagged the last serve of the day – and I’m envious.

How good does that look?