McKebab

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McKebab, 49 Gordon St, Footscray. Phone: 9317 9132

It’s not precisely, literally a hole in the wall, but McKebab has that sort of vibe about it.

This tiny kebab shop is situated next door to a convenience store, with both of them sitting on the ground floor of what is otherwise as a spectacularly ugly building.

Across the street is the pokies pub known as the Powell. Across Ballarat Rd, but still on Gordon St, is a foodie strip – a fish and chip shop, pizza place, Korean noodle hang, a couple of Indian eateries – that seems forever to be waiting for that magic spark.

It seems that often in the west, and no doubt elsewhere, businesses and their operators must make do with situations, locations and premises that are presented to them, that are affordable.

In this case, we suspect that what presents as a simple kebab joint has the capacity and knowledge to present more home-style cooking of the Turkish/Iraqi family that runs it.

We wish them well if that is the case.

Certainly we enjoy our brief visit and the friendly service we receive.

As we take one of the two tiny interior tables, we strike up a conversation with two blokes at the other who turn out to be senior players for the same rugby club for which Bennie plays. Like him, they too have enjoyed success earlier in the day.

It is the home-style dish that draws our eyes and impresses the most.

Well, impresses me the most anyway.

As we’re returning from a friend’s birthday party in Hoppers Crossing, Bennie is already quite full of party pies, sausage rolls, saveloys and chips, and would prefer to be at the burger place up the road anyway.

Later in the week, buddy!

We order “green beans, rice and salad” ($9.90), with the main protagonist turning out to be fasolea.

This is a fantastic, tangy dish of green beans tomato, capsicum, what is described to me as an “Arabic herb”, onion, garlic, salt and pepper.

The beans are, of course, very tender, but I find the whole thing delicious.

The tabouli is a tad too dry and onion-y for us, but the rice is fine.

The house-made turshi – pickled turnip – is fantastic, salty, bitter and crunchy.

We order as well four felafel balls, which are freshly made and good, with an inwardly greenish hue and a smooth, ungranulated texture.

The hummus that accompanies is smooth and mild of flavour and the bread – housemade, too – is like a cross between Lebanese pita and Turkish bread.

No doubt because of their location – students above, boozer across the road – the McKebab folks face heavy demand for your typical kebab options.

But we hope they hang in there with some more home-style fare.

5 thoughts on “McKebab

  1. I love fasulia! It’s so easy to make. Onions and garlic in good amount of olive oil, sweat them, add green beans (I don’t chop like that, just top and tail), add canned chopped tomato (traditionally only a tablespoon or two but sometimes I add half a can or more), and the “secret herb” which – if it’s like my Lebanese version – is ground allspice. Salt and pepper, jam the lid on and cook on very low for as long as you like – this is the one way I like green beans quite soft so I might cook for up to 30 mins. You should try it – it’s one of my favourite things to eat.

  2. I have it with Lebanese rice which you make by frying crushed-up angel hair pasta (San Remo sell it as short-cut vermicelli I think it’s called) in butter until browned (watch coz it can burn). Then add about 3 x the amount of pasta in long grain rice. Add salt then water, about 1.5 x the rice as per normal but maybe a splash extra to compensate for the pasta. Bring to boil then simmer about 15 mins. Big dollop of yoghurt, beans, rice – soooooo delicious.

    Actually, I think this is a copy of the recipe I originally used, although I just use my own quantities now: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/lebanese-rice-riz-bi-sharieh-3169

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