Whitten Oval, 417 Barkly St, Footscray. Phone: 9680 6300
We may be sports pigs, but AFL is not high on our radar, even if the Western Bulldogs are our nominal team of choice.
We’re more your Melbourne Storm/Melbourne Victory kinda guys.
But we pass the Bulldogs’ headquarters many times each week – sometimes while out on the food hunt, sometimes while hitting the Sims grocery just up the road and sometimes while simply tooling around.
So since a glowing review of Pound Cafe by Ms Baklover at her Footscray Food Blog, it was a matter of sooner rather than later that we’d be visiting the newly revamped HQ.
My, what an asset it is to the neighbourhood – especially in terms of diversity, as for our Monday lunch when the usual round of African/Viet/Indian and the like just simply didn’t appeal.
And with a brand new housing estate rapidly taking shape right next door, you’d think this place will do real well.
At first blush it appears to be a rather cold space wrested from the vestibule of the revamped stand.
But we felt relaxed and welcomed the more time we spent there.
As did a number of customers who came and went as we enjoyed our lunch, all of whom seemed already comfortable with using Pound Cafe as a drop-in, catch-up sort of place. The immediate neighbourhood is light-on for coffee places, so that’s another niche handily filled.
Copies of both Melbourne dailies were available at no cost and – glory be! – there were hand paper towels in the loos.
For our first taste of Pound tucker, we weighed in with two of the three available burgers, Bennie ordering the plain beef ($8) and Kenny the lamb ($9.50). Thankfully, we restricted ourselves to a side order of chips ($1.50) rather than a bowl ($4). There were heaps of them, so the bowl must be huge!
The burgers were pretty good, with Bennie’s beef having the edge thanks to its bacon and tangy sauce. My lamb job was tasty, too, though the advertised Moroccan element seemed elusive and the beetroot chutney lent it a mushy aspect. In both cases, the bread and trimmings were fine, even if salady bits and pieces not actually in the burgers served only as redundant garnishes.
The chips were crispy and unoily, like we like ‘em, but the seasoning – salt and paprika the manager informed me – had a sort of odd baconish flavour. Not bad, but – yes – a little odd.
There were lighter lunch options.
The specials board boasted a $6.50 potato, leek and bacon soup, while the bloke on the table behind us was enjoying what looked like a fine risotto of mushrooms, pesto, spinach and fetta ($11, $15).
Other menu items included a steak sandwich ($10.50) and flathead fillets with beer batter, chips, salad and tartare sauce ($12.50), as well as more snacky items and premade rolls.
A can of that Coca Cola stuff cost $2.70, which seemed pretty steep considering the general tenor of the pricing.
However, whatever our minor quibbles, Pound Cafe is a winner – and who knows? It might make more fervent Bulldogs supporters out of us yet!