Meal of the week No.12: Brother Nancy

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Brother Nancy escaped my radar right up to and past Erika’s marshmallow story.

Lately, though, it has become for me a very good road coffee alternative to my usual haunts – I love it that parking is such a breeze.

Today is just right for a Brother Nancy lunch.

I’ve been driving around somewhat aimlessly – to Sunshine and back, for gosh sake – without fixing on an eats decision.

You know what?

I realise that while driving I had been far from idle – I’ve actually been working on a blog post.

Really.

I suspect I’m far, far from alone in being a writer who, by the time I front the keyboard, has the whole story virtually complete “in my head”.

Including punctuation.

Anyway, now it’s time for lunch.

I love the Brother Nancy space and vibe.

And I love the menu – with its Francophile outlook, it has really strong and laudable points of difference with all other inner-west cafes.

My crisp polenta chick pea and warm vegetable salad ($13) is a pearler that eats every bit as good as it looks.

The chick peas are superb in their tomatoey sauce.

The plump polenta patty is crisp only on the exterior – inside it’s delicate, steaming and wonderfully homely.

All the bits and pieces are good, too, including peeled baby tomatoes!

Though the shaved fennel adds nothing by way of flavour.

 

 

Meal of the week No.10: Footscray Milking Station

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Footscray Milking Station has been around for about three years now but never before covered in any way by Consider The Sauce.

We’ve dropped in for coffee or sanger on a few occasions but …

Recently it’s become a regular for me when seeking a nice place to have a quick lunch on one of my mid-week days off, after I have taken care of blogging and associated tasks at home.

I like it – a lot – that there always seems to be ample parking.

The place is always warm and inviting.

And the coffee is grand.

A few weeks back, I had – from the specials board – a fine panini of house-smoked salmon, creamed cheese, rocket and pickled shallots.

That board is always worth checking out – one of these days, I’ll have the soup.

Today I go for the salad bowl ($12).

Normally, roast vegetable salads are no-go territory for me as they invariably number pumpkin among the ingredients.

Not today – so I’m in.

Instead, there’s big, beefy chunks of succulent fennel, chick peas, lots of parsley and even – unadvertised! – pistachio nuts, all of them dressed with a masterful touch.

I mind not in the least the other salad also includes fennel.

In this case, it’s shaved so there’s a very cool contrast with the roast version.

In my second salad, there’s also cucumber, baby tomatoes, rocket, dill and black sesame seeds.

Again, the dressing is amazing –  tangy and with just right amount of moisture to ensure ease of eating without sodden-ness.

It’s a superb, knockout lunch.

 

Footscray Milking Station on Urbanspoon

A good thing on Nelson Place

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General Food Co, 117 Nelson Place, Williamstown. Phone: 9397 8239

General Food Co is on Nelson Place but not really of it.

It’s down towards the shipyard area of Williamstown and separated from Nelson Place’s hit-and-mostly-miss range of eateries by Thompson Street with its Greek restaurant on the corner.

This is a good thing!

Instead of having a Willy food hub vibe about it, General Food Co has a friendly, we-love-locals thing going on.

 

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The interior is small but cosy; there’s an outside area that must be simply great on nice days and there’s more tables on the footpath.

The service is fine, kids are greeted on a first-name basis and the coffee is outstanding.

The two dishes CTS tries – one smaller, one larger – are lovely to eat and behold, and are cooked and presented with skill.

But they are of modest proportions.

They’re perfectly fine for a light lunch but we advise against bringing a rampant appetite here – or perhaps, if that is the case, heading towards the breakfast list, several selections of which I spy as being more generous.

 

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I’m told the “dakos” in my smashed beetroot dakos ($12.50) is a kind of Greek rusk.

Atop the pleasantly chewy bases is a cool, luscious and tangy mix of beetroot and fetta.

The balsamic reduction seems a little out place and is too sticky.

 

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Lamb keftethes ($19) are three plump, generously sized lamb meatballs, deliciously chewy and well-seasoned, with a fine tzatsiki, pita bread that is both crisp and chewy and good salad components.

Some more yogurt/cucumber and a few more slices of pita would’ve been appreciated.

It is genuine regret that I have included some critical comments in this story – General Food Co is a lovely place and, as already stated, the coffee is fab.

 

General Food Co on Urbanspoon

 

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Inside Est.1906 + menu

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Est.1906, 81 Charles Street, Seddon. Phone: 9689 1906

When I visit Seddon’s swish new cafe, I’ve already lunched elsewhere.

But I enjoy a good cafe latte and a wonderful, very intense chocolate brownie.

And I have a good look around and, with the management’s blessing, take a bunch of pics.

 

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Proprietor Ken, pictured here with Jordan, tells me business has been good in the few days they’ve been open.

At the moment, it’s a breakfast and lunch proposition (see menu below), closing at about 4pm.

But extended hours and a booze licence are in the works.

 

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It’s a big place and the makeover of what was once the local video store is drastic and spectacular.

It’s has a bit of clinical feel to it at the moment but that’s only to be expected.

The main dining space adjoins the coffee/paying area and the semi-open kitchen.

 

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Next door, and with big windows facing Charles Street, is another area with window seat and a big communal table.

 

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Further back is another, more secluded dining area, while out back and outdoors are more seating, a play space including a sandpit and a fledgling herb garden.

Th outdoor space looks like an outright winner for the bub brigade – it’s big and there is no escape route for wandering toddlers.

 

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Meal of the day No.9: Grandpa Joe

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After a business coffee in Ascot vale, I’d planned on a Williamstown lunch.

But honestly, after our fruitful and enjoyable meeting is over, it feels like quite enough work on my day off – if you follow me.

I know there must be somewhere right nearby that will do.

A revered (by us) place we reckon is one of the very best eating houses in Melbourne is right next door to our coffee spot – but I don’t feel like anything quite so filling.

Ah, yes – Grandpa Joe, at 197 Union Road, will do just nicely.

 

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The place is small and welcoming.

It’s done out in old wood and pale wood, with the classic old ceiling left intact.

Observing the customers and their inter-action with the staff, it’s reassuring this seems to be a favoured local hang-out.

I’m very interested to see if a place that isn’t one of the new-style places that specialises in American food, and sandwiches in particular, goes with a $15 reuben.

The answer?

Pretty darn good.

 

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It looks a little on the small size but eats big.

Purists beware – there’s rocket.

Probably too much rocket.

But the corned beef is thick–sliced, very tasty and plentiful enough.

The cheese is melted and there’s “hunter’s cabbage” aplenty.

I like it that a fine not-too-sweet pickled cucumber is skewered on the knife that skewers my sandwich.

 

Grandpa Joe on Urbanspoon

 

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A prize-winning lunch

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Erika won our guest post contest with a wonderful piece of writing that touched people – read it here.

Now she’s done it again, finding that taking her family to Woven to enjoy their prize lunch evokes all sorts of fabulous family foodie memories.

She’s a star!

 

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By Erika Jonsson

When my sisters and I were young, Mum used to let us choose the menu for our birthday dinners.

The options were endless. Would it be pasta, Sichuan-style chicken, oyster beef or tacos?

Roast pork with crackling, chicken with lemongrass or wonton soup?

My mouth still waters thinking about it.

Funnily enough, my younger sister and I always chose the same dish, albeit with different sides.

Trish picked steamed vegetables (which I still find odd) while I chose corn and twice-cooked chips.

The meat was schnitzel – usually veal – that was succulent and tender, crumbed to perfection and fried

just long enough to cook through.

It was heaven.

Year after year our menu remained unchanged.

When I was 14 and nine months old, I started working at a toyshop on Friday nights and Saturday mornings.

My family lived out of town, so my little part-time job meant spending the night at my grandparents’ place.

They had immigrated to Australia from England when my mum was a child, and

Grandma’s cooking was Britain’s finest.

Pork pie, battered fish, Yorkshire pud, roast anything.

The only herbs I remember in her kitchen cupboard were salt, pepper and season-all.

Everything she cooked was simple but so tasty.

On Fridays before I started work, Grandma would cook big fat pork schnitzels with chips and corn – my favourite meal.

While the meat was the star of the show, the chips were really my favourite.

Potato in any form was welcome on my plate – with a combination of English and Swedish heritage, that’s probably no surprise.

My love for potatoes led to disaster when I left home and headed to the big smoke to study.

I’d been led to believe a fast metabolism was the reason for my then slim figure.

Well, my metabolism and I both got lazy at uni – and I put on about a dozen kilos by eating twice-cooked chips for dinner around five nights a week.

The day my knee-high boots wouldn’t zip up properly, I swore off chips, lost most of my potato weight and gave away my deep fryer.

Since then, chips have only been an occasional indulgence – a special return to my youthful addiction.

Last week I came as close as I ever have to ordering chips as a main when my family went to Woven in Yarraville for lunch.

And that was after I had already eaten my main.

My meal was a perfectly modern re-imagining of my favourite childhood dish.

The pork tonkatsu burger was made up of a juicy pork loin crumbed in panko inside a brioche bun with house-pickled daikon, Kewpie mayo sauce and a cabbage and fennel slaw.

Right next door to the burger was a generous serve of hand-cut chips, still in their skins – just like I like them.

Those chips transported me to Friday nights at Grandma’s, to special birthday dinners and to university over-indulgence.

Normally, I share my meals with my kids but not this day.

My husband, who had the bang-up burger with chips, also found his plate was under attack – but I protected my potatoes with a ferocity I didn’t know I possessed.

“Please, Mama? Could I please share your chips?” my son Joe pleaded after he had finished with his crumpets with honey, caramelised pear and mascarpone.

I feigned deafness and kept eating with greedy abandon, using my chips to mop up tasty drips of Kewpie sauce.

There is magic in food.

Smells and tastes can evoke stronger memories than pictures – such was the case for me at Woven.

It was a magical meal – I definitely plan to go back soon, though I’ll have to watch my waist.

Thank you to Dan, Dave and their team for a great meal and a great experience.

Thanks also to Consider The Sauce for offering such a special prize – I’ve never won anything so tasty!

Kiwi connection in Sunshine

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Bro’s Choice Cafe, 250 Hampshire Road, Sunshine. Phone: 9939 7512

You can buy Kiwi-style Ka Pies all over.

But where they are made is at 250 Hampshire Road.

But 250 Hampshire Road is also home to Bro’s Choice, a humble cafe that – naturally – sells Ka Pies!

It’s a straightforward place and about far from hispsterdom and smashed avo as it’s possible to get and still be a cafe.

I’m happy to call it home for half an hour as I sample my choice of pies.

Yes, I have two – at $4.50 a pop each.

Smoked fish pie is delicate, subtle and very nice.

Lamb roast pie is some kind of magic.

Yes, it tastes of lamb.

But more than, it tastes like ROAST lamb!

How cool is that?

With it sheep meat, bits of spud, carrot and corn, and gravy, it’s very, very good.

I take home four cold pies for further exploration with Bennie – two apiece of hangi pie (with smoked pork, kumara and potato) and pork and watercress.

I’m knocked out to find the price of the cold ones is a real fine $3.50.

Bargain!

And significantly less than the prices listed on the Ka Pie website, never mind delivery costs.

So Bro’s Choice would seem to be logical destination to stock up on these goodies.

We’ll be doing so.

Ka Pies may not have the same heft or all-out richness as Pure Pies but they taste just as good and are a whole cheaper.

 

Bro's Choice Cafe on Urbanspoon

 

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