Yarraville-Footscray Bowling Club, 339A Francis St, Yarraville. Phone: 9314 4530
The previous dad-only visit to the Yarraville-Footscray Bowling Club for a mid-week lunch in more or less deserted premises had been an enjoyable affair.
But despite comments to the contrary, truth is it would be hard-pressed to win return visits.
That’s all changed with the coincidence that the club shares a carpark with the McIvor Reserve venue for Bennie’s cricket practice, also just off Francis St.
After a hard day of commuting, school ‘n’ work AND cricket practice, what could be better for a couple of blokes than a simple, leisurely amble from sports field to bowls clubhouse?
Not much, as it turns out.
Tonight the club seems a little more lived-in, with tables occupied here and there and more customers arriving as we wait for our meals then eat them.
Much of the bistro food seems pitched, priced and presented somewhere between our local pub and its near-neighbour, Cafe Fidama.
In the case of our two main meals, that is to prove an ideal combination of wallet damage that’s bearable and food that is a notch above your average budget pub fodder.
But a keen appetite is upon us so we splurge on a bowl of almost-instant-gratification chips ($6).
They’re good, fresh, hot, unsoggy, well-salted and completely unnecessary – but what the hey!
Bennie’s steak sandwich is a sight to behold – a meal for a man, or a growing 10-year-old who loves a challenge.
Stuffed into a long ciabatta-style row are steak, egg, tomato, bacon, caramelised onions and some greenery.
He loves it, leaving just there merest stub of bread.
He tells me to describe it as “AWSM”.
The accompanying spud wedges may be par for the coarse (sic), but they’re ridiculous and horribly seasoned with some dodgy spice mix. Wedges should be banned, their use-by date being some time last century.
Maybe it’s possible to request the fine chips instead of wedges on the dishes that include them.
Happily, the sandwich is so big it’s all that’s required and keenly priced ($17.90), too.
My roast chicken with vegetables and gravy ($16.90) hits the mark just fine as well.
The half-chook is tasty, although personal preference would’ve lent it a slightly more browned appearance and texture. It’s tender, too, with the inevitable dryness in the breast meat more than taken care of by the rich, dark gravy.
The roast spuds are good, the carrots and parsnips a little tough at the core, and the pumpkin gag material – for me anyway!
Our meal is beaut, the convenience of the club’s post-cricket practice location matched by casual pub-style tucker a nicely judged step up in refinement from bar menu fare and well worth the asking price.