The beauty of western vistas

3 Comments

rachel1

 

The western suburbs have certainly got their hooks into me.

When I am visiting other parts of the city, even those generally deemed as being more aesthetically pleasing than the west, I am frequently beset by an urgency to get home to our “industrial landscapes”.

And in those landscapes, I find beauty and allure.

I revel in the weirdness and the sometimes startling juxtapositions.

I love tooling around western residential areas only to be blindsided by paddocks and old farm houses.

That’s why the work of Tarneit artist Rachel Hanna reverberated with me when I learned of it.

Rachel has been painting for 10 years and has lived with her family in Tarneit for two, and she too reverberates with the west.

“You can breathe over here,” she tells me while installing her exhibition, On The Way From Here To There at the Point Cook Community Learning Centre.

Rachel tells me that, among other things, she adores shipping containers as subjects – although she confesses she finds them difficult to paint.

Looking at the paintings in her exhibition, I find some that I recognise immediately, others that are less obvious – but they all have a genuine western vibe about them.

The paintings are for sale, ranging in price from $150 to $650.

When I venture that such prices seem rather low for exhibition works, Rachel quips: “They’re priced to sell – I need more canvases!”

On The Way From Here To There at the Point Cook Community Learning Centre, 1–21 Cheethamis  Street, Point Cook, until September 19.

For more details, go here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yarraville eats goss

18 Comments

ygoss1

 

The pace of change in the Yarraville village in the past decade or so is likely to seem somewhat sedate when various properties take on new guises in coming months.

By talking to many Yarraville business folk, I have tried to verify the following – but it all must necessarily be taken as “street talk”.

If anyone knows more or can provide more concrete details, I will be appreciative!

1. The St Georges ballroom space (above) is to become, I am told, a cafe. The proprietors have ties, allegedly, with Picklebarrel in Williamstown and Pint Of Milk in Newport.

 

ygoss2

 

2. The Ballarat Street premises that housed the eatery called the Bank is being revamped, so I am told, as a bar that will serve some sort of Asian-fusion food.

 

ygoss3

 

3. The Ballarat Street shop that housed Trenta Cucina is to become, so several people informed me, a Mexican restaurant.

 

ygoss4

 

4. The Ballarat Street premises that formerly housed Ella Bache, opposite Feedback Cafe, is to become – so two sources informed me – some sort of “health food” cafe.

 

ygoss5

 

5.The Blarney Stone is in the process of being sold, with settlement due in days. Rumour has it the pub will close for about a month, with the new business going “country style”. Steak ‘n’ kidney pie and ploughman’s lunches, perhaps?

 

ygoss6

 

6. Not much information – or even scuttlebutt – could be had about the Anderson Street shop, next to the chemist, which was most recently home to a fingernail emporium. Two phrases I heard in conjunction with the property were “gelati” and “frozen yogurt”.

 

ygoss7

 

7. The Anderson Street shoe shop business has two weeks of its lease left to run. The proprietor told me she had no idea of what the incoming business will be, but another local told me she had heard it would definitely be a food business of some sort.

 

ygoss8

 

9. Finally – not food but … the Anderson Street panelbeater has closed after 35 years, with a fit-out underway that will see the premises home to studios for the purposes of “clinical pilates”, physiotherapy and “yoga/barra dance”.

So very Footscray

7 Comments

daf4

 

Cafe D’Afrique, 137 Nicholson Street, Footscray. Phone: 9689 9411

Consider The Sauce was once a regular – a few years back – at Cafe D’Afrique.

But for coffee only.

It was excellent coffee at an equally excellent price.

But I never got a handle on the food situation.

Sometimes there seemed to activity in the kitchen, sometimes not.

Sometimes some customers were eating, more often – IIRC – no one was.

Certainly, there was no menu or blackboard.

So I gave it up, and even moved on from coffee visits as work and other activities had me looking elsewhere.

 

daf2

 

But today, having completed a few chores nearby, I spy at least half the 20 or so customers chowing down.

“This is ridiculous,” thinks I. “There’s food here – and I want to try it”

So I initiate a to-and-fro discussion with genial gent I take to be the owner.

“Beans,” says he.

This would be the foul I see being happily consumed by several customers.

“Anything else?”

“Meat …”

“How much?”

“$10.”

“OK.”

Ordering done, I take a seat at a back table and wait.

But not for long.

 

daf1

 

I’m very happy with my lunch.

The salad is typically African – fresh, zingy and powdered with pepper.

The lentils are mush, mild and nice.

The lamb is fantastic – lean, pan-fried, free of fat and gristle, seasoned with something that could be just plain curry powder but definitely includes turmeric.

It’s a beaut, light, tasty and satisfying lunch.

 

daf3

 

An ultra-low coffee price means nothing if the brew isn’t good.

Still, I’m stunned to discover the admission price for my cafe late is STILL $2.50 – same as it was several years ago.

Best of all, my coffee is utterly excellent.

I’m told the name of the Sudanese dish I’ve just enjoyed is cheya. From what I can gather from Mr Google, this means something like “fried meat”.

As I depart, I see a recently arrived customer served what appears to be tibs and injera, so there’s more going on here than the absence of a menu might seem to indicate.

But you do need to ask.

Personally, I enjoy this sort of scenario – it requires enjoyable engagement that can be missed by merely pointing at a menu entry.

It feels good to be fed and back on familiar terms with such a righteous Footscray fixture.

 

Café D'Afrique on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

 

 

Mother Nora’s charity lunch

9 Comments
char10
Eid Mubarak/Selamat Hari Raya Aidul Fitri and Fundraising for the Homeless, hosted by The Migrant Hub and Australian Malay Foundation, held at Kelly Park Centre, Werribee

Sometimes, it seems to Consider The Sauce, the idea of running a western suburbs food blog by focusing solely on community events and festivals – and ignoring completely reviews or stories about regular restaurants and cafes – seems entirely viable.

Doing so would, I suspect, render CTS of less practical use to most of our regular readers, lurkers and friends.

But nevertheless such an idea – even if somewhat fanciful – holds appeal.

Because there’s no doubt whatsoever that we immensely enjoy our visits to and involvement in community events – the fabulous people, the food, the whole darn vibe.

 

char3

 

So when we learn that Mother Nora is organising a charity bash for the homeless in Werribee, we pay attention.

Mother Nora is one of the brains behind Werribee’s MiHUB Cafe (see recent and lovely posts at Footscray Food Blog and Let’s Get Fat Together), a wonderful community activist in all sorts of ways and someone CTS holds in the highest regard.

In this particular case, though, I had an ulterior motive.

Recently, I was rapt to discover that one of my Star Weekly colleagues is a fellow blogger.

You can check out Sumeyya’s work here.

I read through many of her essays with mounting excitement – truth is, I am a little bit in awe of the power, precision and beauty of much of her writing.

Yet lest it be thought she is all about utter seriousness at all times, she has a crack-up sense of humor and invariably a twinkle in her eye!

And as I read, two thoughts hit me almost immediately: “I bet Nora would love to meet Sumeyya, and I bet Sumeyya would love to meet Nora!”

 

char1

 

And so it was the Sumeyya, Halil and myself gaily hit the road for Werribee on a chilly Sunday in high spirits.

So … my two friends did meet, but only briefly, as Nora was very busy scuttling about keeping the event’s momentum going.

Oh well – at least a connection was made!

In the meantime, the three of us settled in for an enjoyable afternoon that entailed, among other things …

 

char9

Halil is obviously completely enthralled with proceedings; Walter and Mother Nora bottom right.

 

… chatting with our table companions …

 

char4

 

… and eating MiHUB-style food – of course!

I was particularly impressed with a gloriously sticky chicken curry and what was among the best beef rendangs I’ve ever encountered.

We’re talking really long, slow cooking here!

There was music, too.

I really enjoyed the beautiful and hypnotic sounds provided by the Jawa Pitu Band.

And it was to the vamping of those artists that I was persuaded to participate in a “booty shaking contest”.

It was all good fun!

 

char8

char2

char6

Afghan kebabs for Footscray?

Leave a comment

surra1

 

Consider The Sauce pal Juz has alerted us to something interesting happening on Barkly Street – at number 241 to be precise.

My first thought on looking at the pic he sent me was: “Afghanistan!”

As in the sort of kebabs found at Master Afghan Kebab in Sunshine and Rezah Afghan Kebab in Brunswick.

The best I can do with some sleuthing is to discover that Surra is a residential area of Kuwait – which appears to be, perhaps coincidentally, the home of the Afghanistan embassy.

A lunchtime Saturday visit by myself fails to reveal much more – just a couple of blokes working on the windows.

So … not a lot go on.

Yet.

 

surra2

Fab Melbourne eats history on show in WeFo

2 Comments

menu1

 

Pod @ Post Industrial Design, 638 Barkly Stree, West Fooscray. Phone: 0400 193 038

Pod in West Footscray has something special on show.

Chef Jess has come into a possession of a collection of perfect-nick menus from famous – legendary even – Melbourne restaurants of the 1970s.

They have been mounted on a wall adjacent to Pod’s kitchen – and, yes, you’re very welcome to go and check them out!

I was fascinated reading them – check out the prices for starters!

So far as I can see, there’s nothing priced above $5 in the three examples below.

I even spotted a handful of establishments that I had dined out at least once my own self.

The display includes menus from The Eltham Barrel, Didjeridoo, Tolarno, Geoff Brooke’s Steak Cave, Nutcracker, Sukiyaki, Maxims, Pickwick, Bird & Bottle, Charley Browns, Lamplighter, Mayfair,  Society Restaurant, Fanny’s, Two Faces, The Reef, The Gallery, Bernardis, The Terrace, La Bouillabaisse, Cafe Florentino, Golden Phoenix, Coonara Springs, Beefeater, Stage Coach Inn, Jamaica, Casa Manna and Omar Khayyam.

As you can see, with few exceptions they are pretty much all of variations of one sort or another on French, Italian, steak and seafood. And represent, I’m guessing, a large swathe of the then extant Melbourne restaurant mafia!

Fascinating!

 

menu3

menu4

menu2

So good in Meadow Heights

6 Comments
mea3
Meadow Heights Classic Lebanese Bakery, 19/A Meadow Heights Shopping Centre, 55 Paringa Boulevard, Meadow Heights. Phone: 9309 8206
Sweet World, Shop 20, Meadow Heights Shopping Centre, 55 Paringa Boulevard, Meadow Heights. Phone: 9309 2552

Working at Airport West has changed the way I think about the Ring Road.

So, too, has the cessation of the long-running works that made the road a sometimes stressful route.

Instead of ploughing my way across the city, it now seems like a breezy avenue to foodie riches in the northern suburbs, especially on a sunny if cold Saturday with light, free-flowing traffic.

Take the Pascoe Vale Road exit, a few clicks past Broadmeadows central, turn left on Paringa Boulevard and I’m at Meadow Heights Shopping Centre.

It’s a mid-sized centre with a nice, relaxed vibe as folks go about their business.

Inside, there’s an Asian grocer, an IGA, a halal butcher and so on.

Outside to the left, there’s what looks to a pretty good Turkish kebab place and, right next door, a halal pizza joint.

On the right are the two businesses a colleague has given me a great tip about.

 

mea2

 

Meadow Heights Classic Lebanese Bakery has, I’m told, been on these premises for about four years.

But it’s got a lovely, warm, lived-in vibe and the staff are super.

The range of pies and pizzas is mostly regulation, superbly and cheaply priced, and attracting a steady stream of hungry customers.

I choose for my lunch, though, a pizza I have never come across before.

The zayban ($5, top picture) has tangy yogurt, fresh mint, olives, cucumber and tomato.

Right here, right now its seems like a brilliant contender for my meal of the year.

It’s perfect!

I grab four spinach and cheese pies for home use. They’re $3 apiece, also outstanding and more heftily filled than is often the case.

Then it’s time to switch from savoury to sweet and Lebanese to Turkish with a stroll right next door to Sweet World.

 

mea9

 

The baklava, as fully expected, is excellent and full of dusky flavour.

I like it that it is served in a modest, $1.50 size, too.

Coffee can be a bit of a lottery in such places, so I am happy to report that my $3 cafe latte is expertly done.

 

mea8

 

I get a modest package of take-aways here, too.

But not of the baklava or the other syrupy items; instead I get lovely looking, and buttery, cookies.

I know not the Turkish name for them, but they look awfully similar to Italian biscotti!

The wikipedia entry on this suburb is blunt: “Meadow Heights offers little in the way of attractions …”

Consider The Sauce disagrees!

 

Meadow Heights Classic Lebanese Bakery on Urbanspoon

Sweet World on Urbanspoon

mea1

mea4

mea5

mea8

mea6

mea7

mea11