On a roast roll

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Carv’n It Up, shop 1a 167-179 Tarneit Road, Werribee. Phone: 9974 0661

Werribee Village is one of the older – and smaller – shopping centres in the area.

It has a Sim’s.

It has Chinese x 2, F&C, a chook shop and a place with curry signage that purportedly sells kebabs.

And now it has a brand new purveyor of old-fashioned roasts and accessories.

 

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Carv’n It Up is rather austere in terms of decor but on the evidence of my Saturday lunch-time visit, it is already a hit with locals.

Folks aren’t queuing up out the door but they are coming and going in a steady stream.

The roast theme is delivered via meals, family deals, rolls and a bevy of extras.

I am gratified my lunch is served on good, solid, real crockery and with metal cutlery.

Potential takeaway customers be warned, though – at least some of the to-go meals are served on yukky polystyrene trays.

 

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Roast beef with veg (14.90) does me real good.

The three slices of beef are well done but cut easily enough – though a serrated knife would’ve been appreciated.

The meat serve is very generous – so much so that what at first appears to be a surfeit of gravy is only just enough to make my meal work.

I like the spuds and peas.

But I am enough of a roast traditionalist to find the veg “medley” a bit over ambitious and fiddly – I do not want capsicum with my roasts.

See other recent stories about roasts here and here.

 

Carv'n It Up on Urbanspoon

 

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Hot lunch and free soup

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pacific5

 

Pacific Seafood BBQ House, 295 Racecourse Road, Kensington. Phone: 9372 6688

Let’s hear a big cheer for places that serve soup – soup unordered, soup served simply as part of the dining experience, soup that is a tradition and not added to the bill at the end of the meal.

Safari, the brilliant Consider The Sauce Somalian fave in Ascot Vale, serves sublime bowls of broth almost as soon as you are seated.

On several visits to Kebab Surra in Footscray I have been provided a marvellous lamb-and-vege-and-barley soup – though it seems to depend on just which main is ordered.

Pacific Seafood BBQ House, the newish Chinese place on Racecourse Road that is a sibling to older establishments in the CBD, Richmond and South Yarra, follows the same tradition when a frequent CTS dining pal and I visit for lunch.

Our soup seems to have a what I regard as a rather robust corn flavour, even though there are no corn kernels in evidence, and has what I at first take to be spud chunks.

My companion reckons, no, it’s winter melon.

She’s right.

We also subsequently discover the gratis soup is indeed corn-infused and is a pork broth.

Whatever the details, we love it.

We also love the enthusiasm with which our curiosity about the soup’s contents is greeted by the bloke manning the soup ladle.

 

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From there, ignoring the many specials detailed on wall paper that seem more suitable to night dining and larger groups, we head straight to the quickie lunch list.

We are very happy we do so.

We both order roast meat dishes that cost $11.50.

We rank them as being at the highest end of what is expected from such dishes.

 

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My soya chicken and BBQ roast pork with rice is wonderful.

The meats are moist and, as is almost always the case, more generous of proportion than eyeball or photographic impressions may convey.

The crackling is a crunchy, sinful delight.

The rice has enough soya cooking juices to do the job and the bok choy is fine.

The oil/green onion/ginger mash is very, very welcome though I wish there was more of it.

 

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My friend goes the roast duck with noodles.

The noodles glisten atop a bed of soya juices and bok choy – she fails in the mission of consuming them, as I do with my rice.

The roast duck is expertly done.

The meat comes from the bones more easily than is often the case and the skin is a dark brown and, yes, another sinful delight.

We love Racecourse Road – and now we love it more.

 

Pacific Seafood BBQ House on Urbanspoon

 

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Meal of the week No.11: Saudagar

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Saudagar has been a Footscray fixture for years.

I’ve had their cholle bhatura and tried some of their sweets.

But it’s never appealed as an obvious or attractive place in which to obtain a nice, cheap feed of Indian tucker.

 

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So I am delighted – thrilled even! – to discover the place has been spruced up a bit with some new furniture and a much more welcoming look that says, “Come and eat here!”

Aside from the sweets, the prices – AFAIK – are the cheapest in the inner west: Vegetarian main courses all about $8, meat mains about $10, chicken biryanai $9.

 

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I enjoy a vegetarian thali priced at $8.

Unbuttered naan – and that’s fine by me.

Excellent, uncreamy daal that has a nice hit of ginger and appears to be made of aduki beans.

Malai kofta – wonderfully delicate and toothsome potato and cheese balls in a creamy cashew nut sauce.

Fluffy rice, pickles, onion slices.

I love my Saudagar lunch but I’m not about to tell you that it’s exceptional in any way – and that’s a profound testament to just how rich we are in the west of terrific Indian food.

 

Saudagar Sweet Shop & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

 

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198 apartments for Barkly St, WeFo?

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wefo1

 

More than a year ago, I tried to sweet talk the proprietor of 501 Receptions in West Footscray into letting me do a story on his operation.

Specifically, I wanted to spend a Saturday night at 501 Receptions taking in the go-to-whoa of an event such as a wedding – taking in along the way the staff, the kitchen, the food, everything.

Nothing came of my idea – even after a mutual acquaintance, someone who is something of an elder statesman of western suburbs food, tried to ease the way with 501 Receptions on my behalf.

Now I find that, under plans before Maribyrnong council, the future of 50 Receptions is very much up in the air.

 

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According to a story by my Star Weekly colleague Benjamin Millar – read it here – council is considering a development proposal that would see the property home to 198 units in twin five-storey blocks plus eight retail tenancies.

I am not automatically opposed to such a development but such a plan certainly raises many questions.

The plans show carparking spaces to the tune of 201 while, according to Ben’s story, council guidelines would require a minimum of 260 spaces.

According to Ben’s story …

“A traffic assessment by engineering consultant Cardno found ‘anticipated traffic volume … is expected to have no significant impact on the surrounding road network’.”

Hmmm … I wonder what data and/or methodology they used to reach such a conclusion?

 

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As anyone knows who regularly drives on Barkly Street, West Footrscray, or on Rupert or Cross streets, which run parallel to the railways tracks, the traffic situation in the area can get quite intense even with the current housing/resident levels.

And it would seem the revamp of West Footscray station is rather timely – but are there, or should there be, limits?

I’m interested in hearing from anyone who regularly uses either West Footscray or Tottenham stations as to whether either is nearing or already at peak capacity, especially in peak hours.

And on top of Banbury Village, what would such an apartment block plan mean for the area more generally in terms of what is often referred to as “amenity”?

Bug Boxes and Burmese

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Bug Box party, Footscray Makers Lab, West Footscray

Bug Boxes are very clever self-watering, modular raised garden beds that uses wick technology to water plants from the bottom up.

Bug Boxes are built by a team of former refugee and Australian-born carpenters at the Footscray Maker Lab in West Footscray.

They are being created, using 100% recycled materials, under the auspices of BEAUT – Burmese Enterprise Association for Urban Trading.

As it says on the BEAUT website: “When you buy a Bug Box, you give an ex-refugee tradie a job.”

They are priced from $49 to $119, with delivery with seedlings to suburbs in the west costing $10.

To arrange a Bug Box purchase, visit the BEAUT Facebook store – but be warned: the Facebook store doesn’t load on mobile devices so you will need to order from a laptop or desktop. 

Bennie and I felt very honoured indeed to be invited to the Bug Box party at Fooscray Makers Lab – but we did wonder how many, if any, people we would know there.

We need not have worried in that regard.

Among the cheerful throng were …

 

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… Mia from West Welcome Wagon – you can read about the forthcoming WWW/CTS Greek feast fundraiser at Santorini here.

There are still tickets available but they WILL sell out.

Mia is the one with the very surprised look on her face.

On the right is Liana, one of the wonderful brains behind Footscray bar Littlefoot.

Consider The Sauce has taken its time about getting around to visiting Littlefoot but as it happens we had visited for dessert post-Pandu’s just a few nights before.

So I was happy to tell Liana that I consider Littlefoot’s “injera and hazelnut chocolate pinwheels with creamy coconut dipping sauce” a work of intense genius.

Frankly: We can’t wait to return to try out the entire menu.

Stay tuned!

Liana and her family were just some of the friends I’d made during the Dancing Dog building campaign who were in attendance at the Bug Box shindig.

 

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Some of the teenagers attending were only too happy to display their social deftness.

Crowning the happy gathering was a really fine spread of Burmese tucker.

 

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The lighting situation was challenging to say the least – suffice it to say the food was delicious, even if the photographs fail to convey that fact very well!

 

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The Black Devil, exterior feline

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boris31

 

In the end, it happened suddenly and by accident.

Bennie and I were doing routine housework on Saturday, when I heard a despairing cry …

“Dad, dad!!! Boris has escaped!!”

Just like that, Boris became an outdoor cat.

And what a very excellent thing that has turned out to be.

Look, we tried really, really hard to adhere to the advice given by cat-lovin’ friends and readers – that keeping Boris inside was all for the best for various reasons.

But as the ramifications of his new lifestyle become apparent, it is clear the full-time indoor life was never going to be sustainable for this particular cat in this particular (small) house.

Within 24 hours of his “escape”, all ours lives had been transformed.

 

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Bennie and I have not been scratched or bitten since.

We no longer have to worry about powers cords and other electrical leads being rendered useless.

Maybe we can unfurl the blinds and drapes, as they no longer appear under threat of terminal shredding.

My paperwork is no longer being turned into confetti and maybe we can remove the layers of foam rubber from beneath the couch.

The several months it took us to get to this point since his arrival appear, however, to be serving us well.

Boris knows where home is, who are his humans and where the food is at.

He appears to mostly be respecting the four fence lines of our property.

But he is happy and very stimulated.

He’s coming running when hailed, even if that means taking some time out from his Very Important tree-climbing crusade.

 

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He is being a little on the aloof side, at least for the time being – coming inside every couple of hours to make sure everything is as should be.

His face is frequently adorned with spiderwebs and other crap from under the house.

And he has made a start on getting to know – and reach some sort of accommodation with – the numerous local cats.

When I awoke on Monday morning, there was no sign of him.

“Uh oh, he’s gone …”, I thought.

But he was waiting on the veranda when I got home from work.

Sunday pub roasts? We have a winner.

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Railway Hotel, 35 Anderson Street, Yarraville. Phone: 9687 2034

Sunday roast lunches at pubs – $10, $15, $20, $25?

Do you get what you pay for?

As far as we know, the Spottiswoode Hotel continues to offer a grand $10 deal on Sundays.

Others we know of in the inner deliver offer $20+ offerings.

This Sunday, Bennie gives up on his desire for Vietnamese tomato rice in the face of his dad’s determination to go roast.

We first head for a certain Williamstown pub we believe now has $15 roast lunches on the menu, but on arrival we discover they will not start until the following weekend.

Plan B is return home, park the car and walk to our local, the Railway Hotel, which has been advertising $18.50 Sunday roasts – sort of a middle ground price-wise , with two kinds of meat on offer.

Will it be worth the extra dollars?

We pay, get our number and wait.

 

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Bennie chooses the pork.

I try a mouthful.

Perhaps unsurprisingly it’s dry but – good stuff – tender enough.

But it IS full of strong, good piggy flavour.

The crackling is a tad salty but all of it is crisp and a joy to eat.

One pub manager has told me it’s simply impossible in regards to power bills to serve roast veggies at these sorts of prices.

That I don’t mind.

The spud is roasted and herbed and very good.

The beans, broccoli and beans may be steamed but they are wonderful – cooked more than al dente and perfect.

 

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I select the roast beef (top photograph).

It’s fabulous.

It appears to be smothered in good gravy.

But as it turns out there is just enough gravy – and only just enough – to support the meat.

I am served three slices that are just shy of half an inch thick.

The meat is tender and tastes grand.

It breaks apart in strands that I more familiar with from dining on brisket at BBQ joints.

This is new and wonderful territory for me when it comes to roast beef.

There is so much of it, I keep offering Bennie hefty chunks even as I close in on the final slice.

“I can’t eat it all, mate!”

“That’s because you aren’t manly enough …”

I am on a serious food high as we skip down the street for some sugar and spice from our fave ice-cream joint.

The Railway Hotel Sunday roasts have convinced me that sometimes, at least, you do get what you pay for.

And it’s still a bargain.

 

Railway Hotel on Urbanspoon

 

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