Back with the classic cars

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Garazi, 107 Gamon St, Yarraville. Phone: 9689 2677

It’s been more than a year since we’ve set foot in Garazi – back then, soon after it opened, it was once for a write-up and then on another closely following occasion.

Maybe it’s because, situated as it is on Gamon Street, our minds are already on foodie pastures further afield when we pass it.

So it is today.

Bennie’s copped a full-on meat-free, dairy-free vegan dinner on Friday and a healthy Lebanese lunch with pals on Saturday, so I’m very happy to let him have his way with Sunday lunch.

“Burger, masala dosa, fish and chips, roast lunch, laksa, Mexican …”

I tick off this list as we motor up Gamon and turn into Charles Street, without any noticeable enthusiasm being forthcoming from my CTS Partner.

By this time I begin to realise he simply may not be hungry.

Weird! Well, weird for a 13-year-old …




So I do a U-turn and head for home, happy to call it quits.

But as we pass Garazi he becomes more animated – so in we go.

It’s a treat!

The seating area has been expanded into the real-deal garage of classic cars, among which it’s a hoot to sit with late-breafasters and friendly pooches.

The service is grand and it dawns upon us that we should treat Garazi with more mindfulness for coffees and quick bites. (We don’t do breakfast, not while out and about anyway …)




For all his lack of interest to this point, Bennie makes short work of his burger with the lot ($18) from the specials board.

It’s a good, hearty cafe-style burger and the pattie tastes good and meaty to me.




It’s a good thing his meal comes with stacks of OK shoestring fries, as my reuben sanger ($13) is completely unadorned and even looks a little on the mean side in terms of size versus price.

But in its simplicity, it’s a ripper.

The bread is just right – not too light, not too heavy, toasted and buttered to perfection.

The thick-sliced corned beef is tasty, as is the Swiss cheese, while the plentiful pickles provide plenty of salty, piquant tang.


Garazi on Urbanspoon

So very Footscray




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.




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?”



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

But not for long.




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.




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






Fab Melbourne eats history on show in WeFo




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!






Phat cats go good

Phat Milk, 208 Mt Alexander Road, Travancore. Phone: 9376 6643

The FB message from good mate, former colleague and occasional Consider The Sauce lurker Lee was simple: “G‘day, our local cafe – Phat Milk – has ramped up its game and is worthy of a visit from CTS. I’ll even pay!”

And so it is that I venture to Mount Alexander road for a classic, enjoyable catch-up and a fine early lunch/brunch.

I’d noticed a cafe at this end of Mount Alexander Road just in passing on previous visits in the vicinity – usually to grab some biscotti and the like from Pace Biscuits.

Lee tells me the current crew has been on site for about two years and that he and his family have become very happy first-name regulars.




I love our brief time together, swapping tales of our current exploits in the journalism game; that game’s sometimes inexplicable twists and turns; the much-loved, good, bad and utterly indifferent of our various mutual acquaintances; our respective families and children; and food ‘n’ coffee doings in the inner west, especially over their way in Kensington and Moonee Ponds.

And I love the place.

And the food.

And the coffee.

Phat Milk’s front portion is all typical Melbourne inner-city cafe, with wraps and various other goodies on display.

Up and along a few hallways is a nice backroom, where we make ourselves at home, and an adjoining garden space with seating.

I’m intrigued and excited to take note of a pronounced Middle-Eastern slant in the breakfast and lunch menus, and waste no time in going in that direction when ordering.




Middle Eastern breakfast of grilled zaatar, poached eggs, beetroot relish, falafel and hummus is terrific.

The falafels are big, soft and crumbly. The chick pea dip is fresh. And all of it works really well together.




Lee goes for the purple carrot and sweet potato latke with blueberry cured salmon, quark cheese (see wikipedia entry here) and poached egg.

His latke tastes good and funky to me, and that house-cured salmon has me making a mental note: “That’s for me next time!”

And get this – for food so lovingly prepared and presented that is so very lovely to consume, we have paid $15 (me) and $17 (him).


My cafe latte is perfect.

Thanks, Lee, for the company and the hot tip.

My shout next time, when I’ll be sure to bring that Mark Twain foodie book for you.


Phat Milk on Urbanspoon




(The above menu pic will be replaced at the first available opportunity!)



Breakfast with wings

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Cafe Vue, International Departures, Melbourne Airport

Earliness is a pronounced Weir family trait.

So – headed to Taranaki for some quality Grandma Time – we are through long-term car-parking and various levels of processing with plenty of time to spare.

Plenty of time to spare, in fact, for breakfast.

Of course, just like everyone else, we are way past the times when we associated flying and airports with anything approaching yumminess.

So we are surprised and delighted to enjoy a fine breakfast while awaiting our flight – the surprise all the more greater for being provided by a group the flagship restaurant of which we will most likely never inhabit for reasons to do with both matters financial and plain old inclination.

We pay substantially above the going rates to be found in our greater neighbourhood, but we are happy to do so for such a pleasant experience.




Bennie and I both go for the Vue breakfast burger at $9.90 of brioche, poached egg and hollandaise, his with bacon, mine with smoked salmon.

I do much better – I get a heap of robustly-flavoured fish and the whole thing is a delight.

A pistachio and chocolate danish ($5.40) to share is freash-as and very tasty but almost ethereal in its lack of substance.

The high-price factor arises once more with our cafe latte and hot chocolate – they’re $4.70 but just fine.

The surroundings are civilised and enjoyable, and thus a stylish, engaging rebuff to notions that flying – or preparing to fly – must always be a drag.

The relaxed vibe continues when I take my allocated aeroplane seat and find myself seated to a young mum and a much younger, brand-spanking-new baby.

This a flying first for me – on any kind of flight, international or otherwise.

Nice to meet you, Maryanne and Brooklyn!


Café Vue at Melbourne Airport on Urbanspoon





Cafe madness in Seddon




The Charles Street video store is no more.

And the premises’ windows have had placed in them paperwork for a hospitality industry enterprise.

Normally, I would’ve noted this with interest and awaited further material progress.

But in this case, I have been alerted by CTS pal Tennille and colleague Xavier to the presence of plans for the site on the website of the Maribyrnong council.

See the plans here.

I do not know if all such plans submitted to council are as detailed as these.

For they certainly give a very real idea of just what is proposed.

Included are artist impressions such as the one above, as well as information such as a parking analysis, existing site photos, proposed “colour palette” and floorplans.




Also provided is a montage of “inspirational cafes & images”, including shots of Captains Of Industry, Flip Board Cafe and – quite bizarrely it seems to me – Common Galaxia from just up the road!



Greek treats made with love in Kingsville



Olive Oil & Butter, 196 Somerville Rd, Kingsville. Phone: 9315 1060

There’s an awful lot in the name of this great Greek bakery in Kingsville.

You see, that’s what they use – olive oil and butter.

Oh, of course, there’s other ingredients – but the name nevertheless symbolises a keen dedication to natural products.

No ingredients with numbers rather than names, no premixes … just a righteous determination to make and bake with the simplest and the best in an entirely old-school manner.

This is the kind of place at which the declaration, “Our products have a limited shelf life”, is a proud boast.

Olive Oil & Butter is run by Pelagia, her brother Chris and their mum Martha.

It’s a first restaurant/cafe/bakery outing for the family – and that’s a good thing, as it means the recipes are derived from an inter-generational tradition.

After my lunch is done and paid for (see below), I introduce myself to Pelagia, who is nice enough to set up a display platter of the Greek baking that is available this day. The line-up tends to change, but the prices are mostly in the $4-5 range (less for biscuits).


 Clockwise from top right:

* Koulouraki – biscuit with vanilla.

* “The best” galaktoboureko – Filo pastry, semolina-based custard, vanilla, syrup with cinnamon and cloves.

* Baklava – roasted almonds and walnuts filling filo pastry with a cinnamon and clove syrup.

* Revani – semolina cake flavoured with lemon and orange sweetened with an orange-zest syrup.

* Another version of koulouraki.

* Paksimadi – a crumbly vegan biscotti flavoured with orange.

As Pelagia explains the ins and outs of the baking before us, we are joined by her mum.

It’s easy to tell from the glint in her eye and the pride in her work that Martha is serious about “olive and oil and butter” and using only the very best ingredients. And no preservatives at all …

I try only a few of the above assortment – they’re delicious.

The rest go home with me – it doesn’t take too long for me to realise my insistence on paying for the lot is going to be rebuffed at every turn, no matter how hard I try or how long I persist.

Olive Oil & Butter does breakfast and lunch, too, though much of what is available in that regard is of non-Greek derivation – pies, muffins, focaccia and so on.


I do enjoy my pastitsio ($15), though.

It’s a hearty dish that is something of a variation of moussaka, with the good ground beef and tubed pasta melding into the rich bechamel sauce. The accompanying salad is just, fine, too.


And for dinner, I am also gifted this gorgeous scroll-style spanakopita ($9).

Like the bakalava and its variations (katafi, gianniotiko, saragli), the cheese and spinach scroll is made with filo pastry that is made from scratch in the kitchen.

How good is that?

My two cafe lattes ($3.50) are excellent, BTW!

PS: I will update this post with “tasting notes” as I work my way through my trawl!

The Olive Oil & Butter Facebook page is updated regularly with news and photos of what is available.

Olive Oil & Butter on Urbanspoon





The great western suburbs coffee debate



Regular readers who get their CTS fix via this blog’s Facebook page will be aware that yesterday I posted a link to a list of “Melbourne’s best coffee” as published on Urban List.

As ever with such lists, my beef is with the use of the term “best”.

Look, I’m a journalist – I know how these things work.

And work they did, in this case, with that FB post/link garnering more than 1000 views – way, way more than ever is accorded CTS’s own posts.

Another familiar beef is that in this case, as in so many others, the western suburbs did not score even a solitary mention.

So I reckon it’s worthy of a blog post – let’s have some have some entertaining discussion about your fave western suburbs coffee spots.

As listed on the CTS FB page, I have three that I absolutely swear by for friendliness, service and outstanding coffee – Cup And Bean, Feedback Cafe and Sourdough Kitchen.






In tune in Yarraville



Feedback Cafe, 31 Ballarat Street, Yarraville. Phone: 9689 1955

Bad impressions can linger.

Feedback Cafe has been around for what seems like forever – certainly as long as we’ve been in the west and hanging out in the village, and certainly long before we’d ever heard about food blogs.

Management changed about five years ago but we’ve been slow to re-frequent the place.

We didn’t have what you’d call rotten times at Feedback back then, but a certain charmlessness in both food and service terms meant the place fell into the “prefer others” category.

Following more regular visits in recent times, a beaut lunch Bennie and I enjoy there has us wondering why we haven’t made Feedback Cafe our Yarraville home base all along.

The music really, really helps.

Those recent visits have mostly been made to a soundtrack of greasy, swinging, rocking old-school ’40s and ’50s rhythm and blues.

For our Monday lunch, Bennie and I are serenaded in a different way – by troubadour Michael Hurley.

Hurley is part of a brilliantly crazy musical tribe that also includes the Holy Modal Rounders and Jeffrey Frederick.

Fully embedded in American music traditions, but always standing slightly, hilariously, magically apart, this whacko crew also includes my good Kentucky pal Gary Sisco.


During our lunch, I Facebook message Sisco to tell him we’re enjoying his mate Hurley while dining and that the music-crazed Feedback crew have even been known to enjoy a Holy Modal Rounders-themed week.

Now THAT’S cool.

Sisco had his own album, Sisco & Pals the End of the Trail, released through the Jeffrey Frederick website a few years back.

The album is still available there, as are heaps of other releases by these folks.

The site is chockers with memorable, incredibly funny hair-raising tales of the tribe’s history by Sisco and others.

And like Sisco, I reckon the 1976 album Have Moicy, featuring Hurley, Frederick and the Rounders, is an outright masterpiece that stands with the very best Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Chuck Berry or any other American genius you can think of has ever come up with.

OK, on with the food!

The feedback lunch menu (below) has a decided American south/south-west slant without getting too precious about it.

That’s a bit like the way the decor and general atmosphere go their own slightly scruffy, comfy lived-in way in a nice contrast to the increasing hipster-sheen of Yarraville and Seddon.

The staff, too, have that slightly scruffy, comfy, lived-in look. (Joke!)


As I did on my previous visit, Bennie orders the pulled pork po’ boy with slaw and chipotle BBQ sauce ($10).

It’s fresh and crunchy, and he likes it, but hankers for a more robust BBQ flavour.

And he frankly, rudely ogles the popcorn chicken po’ boy a lovely gran is attacking at an adjacent table.

It DOES look real fine!


My hillbilly chilli of chipotle, stout and puy lentils with corn chips and sour cream ($11) is unlike any chill I’ve ever had.

There’s no red beans, for starters!

But with the sour cream, a lesser amount of cheddar and some salsa, the beautifully cooked lentils make for a satisfying lunch.

The corn chips are the same quality brand we always have around home – that’s a good thing!

After a couple of stupendously fine cafe lattes, I remark to Bennie as we amble up Ballarat Street that my beverages have completely alleviated my back pain.

That’s not true, but they’ve sure made it more bearable!

(PS: I saw the Holy Modal Rounders live on Haight Street, San Francisco, in 1977!)

Feedback Cafe on Urbanspoon




Pod at P.I.D. – something exciting for WeFo



Meet Fiona, Mary and Jess.

Mary – she’s the one in the middle – is the proprietor of Post Industrial Design, the grooviness emporium at 638 Barkly St in West Footscray.

Soon she’ll be sharing that space with Fi and Jess and their new cafe/eatery called Pod.

Fi will be a familiar face to many Consider The Sauce readers on account of her varying roles over the years at Cafe Fidama, Touks and Sourdough Kitchen.

Jess reckons the lack of gas for cooking sits well with the food and drink philosophy to which he and Fi will be adhering.

I’m sure there’ll be some heartiness involved, but much will be of the lighter variety and you won’t be seeing the likes of a Big Breakfast at this joint.

Their motto – inscribed on their business card – is “Darn Good Food”.

While almost all of the hard yards of fitting out remain to be done, Fi tells me they’ve already started making their own pickles and cordial.

How good does that sound in terms of hopeful signs for really yummy, hands-on and soulful tucker?

They’re aiming for an early November opening.


Could be burger of the year …



Chase Kitchen, 80 Hudsons Road, Spotswood. Phone: 0423 742 460

The initial aim of our Sunday drive is to eyeball the tall ships parked in the bay at Williamstown.

But that plan comes to nowt when we find the traffic backed up way before our destination and even some way down The Strand.

No way – we’re not that keen on things nautical!

So off we go with lunch on our minds.

Bennie – surprise, surprise – fancies a burger; his dad’s fancy is turning to the roast lunches available in the vicinity.

Bennie gets his way, but that’s a good thing indeed in this case.

We park expecting to hit the Spotiswoode pub, but choose to check out the action on Hudsons Rd anyway.

And what do we find but a new arrival.

Well, relatively new.

Chase Kitchen is open for business on a shopping strip that has become rather competitive – there’s a hip bakery and three other coffee/breakfast/lunch places right across the road.

We decide to give it a go based on the Boston Burger advertised on the footpath blackboard sign and end up being really delighted we have done so.

Inside is a chic but mostly regulation cafe space with stools and tall tables at the front, other seating further in, a back room between the front counter and the rear kitchen, and a garden further out back yet to be utilised.

The service and welcome we are provided are exemplary.

Certainly, the sharing of our two choices – the burger ($14.50) and the pulled pork roll with Asian slaw ($16.50) – is obligingly handled by the staff.


The pork roll is fine and generous, although the crunchy, creamy, delicious slaw rather overshadows the pork.

But the burger is better – Bennie even rates it the best he’s had this year.

That’s high praise from An Expert.

The patty has great flavour, although it does seem a little mushy – more of a meaty texture would be grand.

But what really makes this a burger supreme is the tangy, spicy mayo given a righteous kick from jalapenos and terrifically crispy bacon.

It’s really, really good.

We are both given heaps of thin fries that are hot, salty and pretty damn fine, too, though some of them seem a bit limp to me.

We are not the first Melbourne bloggers to cover Chase Kitchen – that honour falls to our pal Jacqui at Urban Ma – read her review here. Although it may seem a bit boring that Jacqui and her family ordered exactly the same as us!

Chase Kitchen on Urbanspoon


Backyard Vietnamese and a huge flying octopus

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Weasels Garden Cafe, 8 Murray Street, Abbotsford. Phone: 9410 0214

It’s been an ordinary sort of week.

No actually catastrophes, but the senior partner of Consider The Sauce has felt harried and frazzled, and a bit down on life to boot.

All of this was exacerbated by the sudden arrival on Friday morning of explosive lower back pain.

The last occasion of such a severe episode – a few years back – saw me attempting to soldier on and ending up in an ambulance.

So this time, Bennie and I know just what to do.


More particularly, the cessation of all normal activity.

So … no work, no getting paid for work (such is the life of the casual employee), no driving and – hence – no school for the boy. (Mind you, Bennie’s teacher is happy for him to miss a day of schooling for some quality home/dad time …)

Happily, all that horizontal rest and sleep pays profound dividends, so the next day finds me well on the way to wellness.

Not fighting fit mind you, so not up for anything too tumultuous or strenuous – so that counts out the Ethiopian festival in the mall.

But we ARE up for a leisurely drive to Richmond/Abbotsford, especially as we have a hunch our destination will provide not just fine food but also a tranquil, beautiful setting in which to enjoy it.


Weasel’s Garden Cafe is, well, a garden cafe set in a Victorian home on a residential street about a block from the intense Vietnamese vibe of Victoria St.

After we’ve ordered, I get talking to the other person taking photographs of the lovely garden that features chillis and lemons and much else besides.

This is Jen, who is part of the family responsible for this newish business.

She tells me it is the brainchild of her sister, Linh, a keen gardener after whose cat the cafe is named, while their mum, Phuong, does the cooking.

The cafe has been open about five weeks, with most of the customers being just plain old Australian, with only the occasional visit from those of a more Vietnamese Australian persuasion.

Jen reckons that’s down to Richmond no longer being residentially affordable for the wider Vietnamese community, even while Victoria St remains one of Melbourne’s most storied Vietnamese precincts.

I reckon it could be down to Vietnamese folks being unused to chowing down in such a setting.

Could be we’re both right.


Jen also tells me there was only one formal objection to the opening of the cafe on a residential street.

That makes sense – after all, this is not a night-time joint and, besides, who wouldn’t want a lovely garden cafe serving coffee and Vietnamese food on their street, or even right next door?

Weasels Garden Cafe is working on several fronts – breakfast, coffee, Vietnamese food (see menu below).

But we’re definitely here for the latter, of which there are half a dozen offerings.

We drove here vaguely assuming we’d be supping on pho, but as it turns out we end up splitting a couple of very different dishes.

Bennie opines that what we’re served is very much your standard Vietnamese tucker of the kind we’d be served much closer to home.

He has a point – though the point is only so sharp.


Grilled chicken with fried egg and rice ($12.50), for instance, IS standard issue, but all is freshness and the chicken is intense with marinade flavours and free of skin, gristle or fat. The egg is runny and perfect.


Marinated pork with lemongrass, ginger, salad, herbs and vermicelli ($12.50) is just as fine, with the presence of celery and red capsicum making it stand out.

We enjoy our lunch very much, especially in such a grand setting. If we have any wistful desires they would be along the lines of wanting a little more chilli oomph and sharper, more robust flavours in both dishes.

By this time we are loving the joint so much we have easily abandoned the idea of stopping somewhere in Carlton for gelati, and dig in right where we are for coffee and a sweet treat.


My cafe latte and his hot chocolate are just right.

Our gluten free rock crackle ($3) seems to be weirdly misnamed – world’s best hedgehog would probably be more accurate.

It’s both light and incredibly rich, and studded with puffed rice and (I think) dried raspberries.

It’s more substantial than it looks, too, so much so that my normally ardent sweet tooth son does not finish his portion.

By the time we’re done with Weasel’s, our only regret is that it’s on the wrong side of town.

This place has us hoping that some westie entrepreneurs might take up the challenge.

After all, we have hundreds of cool ethnic eateries in our wider neighbourhood and a growing numbers of fine cafes – but, as far as we are aware, none that combine both with quite this level of harmony and style.

As we depart, little do we know our day’s adventures are not yet completed – for we have yet to meet Tony The Kite Man.

Tooling home and driving alongside Royal Park – something we’ve done thousands of times before without finding cause to stop – Bennie spies something mysterious and thrilling in the sky.

So this time we do stop.


In the middle of a wild paddock behind the hospital and high in the sky, what we find is a kite.

And not just any kite – this is the biggest by far either of us have ever seen.

It’s at least 50 feet long and in the form of an octopus.

Even better, instead of the tentacles being flat, plain cloth, they’re inflated by the wind.

It’s a magnificent sight!

We get talking to the kite’s flyer and owner, Tony, as the darkening sky threatens an afternoon apocalypse.

At some point, the kite shakes free of its moorings, so we all run off in pursuit.

Well actually, the other two run … I walk gently.

The kite is on its way to a gentle landing, but luckily Bennie apprehends its line spool before it becomes embedded in a tree.

As our new friend and kite expert quips: “All trees love kites and getting a kite out of tree is mostly impossible.”

The impending rain nixes out combined efforts to get the kite flying again, but somehow I’ll think we’ll be back some Saturday afternoon soon to see Tony in action.

As Bennie points out as we move on homewards, there’s something both marvellously exciting and sublimely peaceful about kites.

They’re good for the soul.

And crook backs.

Weasels Garden Cafe. on Urbanspoon



Linh, owner of Weasel the cat and Weasel’s the cafe.






Making a toilet call in Yarraville

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Garazi, 107 Gamon St, Yarraville. Phone: 9689 2677


A new breakfast/coffee/lunch place on Gamon Street?

By my count, Garazi makes it six.

But let’s not get all ho-hum about this.

Situated at the less caffeine-crowded Somerville Rd end of Gamon, Garazi seems well placed to prove attractive to locals who may prefer the ease of access compared to, say, the more congested and busy Yarraville village in one direction and Seddon in the other.

The new joint is an adjunct of the longstanding wedding car business that shares the property, while the cafe itself was formerly a wedding photo business.

Owner Tony, who has run the various businesses here since 1984, tells me the cafe space has had quite a lot of work, time and money put into it.

It’ a big, roomy and bright space, despite the overall blackish colour scheme. And it’s pleasingly uncold when I visit.

There’s an automotive theme going on here, but it’s not excessive.




Apart from some wall trappings and a great-looking “sofa and two chairs” obviously extracted from a motorised vehicle, at the moment there’s an old-school Mini in the house as well as a chassis and engine of what I at first take to be some from sort of truck.

No so, says Tony – they’re actually from a 1948 Jag, the body of which sits next door, in a corner with the many gleaming Rollers looking on.

A novel twist is the entrance to the loos – through a vintage telephone box!

The menu is well thought out, with a lot of options and the line between breakfast and lunch fodder rather blurred.

“White bean mash, field mushroom with fennel salad and capers” ($14.50), for instance, is listed with the eggy dishes but sounds like a fine light winter lunch to me.




Instead, I go for the “beaut napoli meatball baguette with swiss cheese” ($13.50).

It IS beaut, too, a nice chewy loaf over-stuffed with three plump and flavoursome meatballs, lots of gooey cheese and an excellent tomato sauce.

It’s hands on and messy – and that’s a compliment. Some fresh rocket wouldn’t go amiss, but it’s easy to admire my lunch’s singular focus.

My cafe latte ($3.50) is a fine thing.

Some of the sweeties and pastries are imported, unlike the luscious-looking blueberry, banana and chocolate pudding that will sadly have to await another day for a CTS outing.


Garazi on Urbanspoon








Meat-free but even Garfield would dig it

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The Pickle Barrel, 60 Ferguson Street, Williamstown. Phone: 9399 8338

The Pickle Barrel prospers without the groovy factor sported by other coffee/breakfast/lunch places in Williamstown and the wider inner west.

It does so, from what I’ve been able to gather as a sometime customer for a quick coffee and/or lunch, by providing good, solid food, excellent coffee and good service.

The place seems habitually busy, yet there are always plenty of staff members on hand to handle the load.

It’s a smallish cafe, with a limited range of takeaway produce and deli lines, three small tables along one wall, two more larger, communal tables and high stools facing the windows.

The outside tables are always popular, even in winter, and there’s always newspapers on hand.

There’s longish lists of both breakfast and lunch fare, but the main stock in trade are the numerous and good-looking flour-based options – wraps, paninis, baguettes and other sandwiches.


Today, though, I take a punt by opting for the unmeaty version of the lasagna dishes on display (both $9.90).

What a handsome slab of stuffed pasta it is.

Beneath a nicely toasted cheesy cap are multiple pasta layers sandwiching plentiful amounts of ricotta, potato (I think), zucchini and more – including a tomato-based sauce so deeply, intensely coloured and flavoured that I have to eyeball the display cabinet again to make sure I haven’t been presented the meat lasagna by mistake.

It’s all fantastic and hearty and tasty – so much so that I easily forgive the fact my meal slides from lukewarm to cool at the centre of what is, after all, a very generous serving.


Before I depart, I tumble into another serendiptous conversation with a complete stranger.

But Megan is a writer and West Footscray resident, so we become fast pals as we gleefully compare notes on mutual places, people and topics of interest.

Despite not being a Willy local, Megan regularly travels here for The Pickle Barrel’s coffee, of which she is a huge fan.

So … I order one for myself and a repeat for her.

She’s right – my cafe latte is superb.

The Pickle Barrel on Urbanspoon


New Kingsville coffee spot, WeFo momo update …



What was once Petitou at 206 Somerville Rd is now Project 206.

The place looks a treat, the coffee is good and they have a buy-five-get-one-free loyalty card and wifi.

Food runs, at present, to breakfast regulars, such as eggs and pancakes, and light lunch fare, such as a soup special, frittata and lasagna.

The kids/toy space at the back has given way to more regular seating and a liquor licence is in the works.

Owner Natalie tells me there are plans afoot to see the abandoned servo across the road become a four-level apartment block.

Whatever our collective ambivalence about rampant apartment development, that will surely be an improvement on the current eyesore!

Project 206 is open 10am-3pm Mondays, 9.30am-4.30pm Tuesdays to Fridays and 9am-430pm at weekends. Phone: 90044563.


Meanwhile, over in Barkly St, Magic Momo Kafe proprietor Ravi tells me his baby is still at least a week away from opening its doors for the first time.

He’s taken a realistic approach to competing with the varied Indian options in the area, so is excited about a menu that covers a number of bases.

He promises a lively cafe vibe with great coffee and a spectacular range of Indian sweeties.

Pre-match brekky a lark at the park …

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TOFWD* the organic food and wine deli, Orrong Park Tennis Centre, Sydney St, Prahran. Phone: 9510 6481

For a couple of reasons, Bennie has missed both footy practices this week.

Still, we’re up for the Saturday game, prepared to front up, make our apologies and get into it.

Feeling a bit out of the loop, we rely on the bare bones information on the official draw – which tells us it’s the first away game of the season.

Easy – over the bridge, along Kinsgway and eventually turn left on to Orrong Rd.

It’s only on awakening that I recall this fixture the previous year started a full hour earlier than usual, supposedly to preserve the afternoon tranquility of the sensitive residents.

So just to make sure, we hit the road at 7.30, only to arrive and find … no one, save for an adult exercise group and a heaps of dogs chasing balls.


How to pass the time? That decision is a breeze on account of the presence of a rather lovely cafe.

Breakfast was bananas so we’re for sure up some actual on-a-plate food and suitable beverages to accompany.

In junior football settings, I find the usual canteen fodder of snags in white sliced bread sublimely appropriate, but given we have the time, we certainly plan on making good use of what is at hand.

TOFWD, a sister establishment to the one in Degreaves St in the CBD, has some inside seating, but a whole lot more outside in the sun.

It’s a lovely setting, which we are delighted to find is matched by the food, service and coffee/hot chocolate.


Bennie’s “egg & bacon butty w spinach and bbq sauce on toasted ciabatta” ($10.50) looks a little light on for the price.

But it looks and smells divine, and does a fine job for the boy.

My repeated requests for a taste are deftly waved aside by my smirking offsider.


My “avo & fetta smash” ($10.50) is likewise satisfactory.

It’s fresh as can be and on good bread.

So if you’re not here to play tennis, play fetch with a four-legged buddy, otherwise exercise or await your junior rugby teammates, is there any reason to visit TOFWD?

Well, yes.

The lunch menu (below) features such items as salads, pasta and a pie.

It’s quite the gem and this has been a fantastic Melbourne accident.

Open 7.30am-3pm Monday-Friday , Saturday 8am-3pm and Sunday 8am-2pm. Through the tennis term, are open until 5.30pm Monday to Wednesday.

TOFWD* the organic food and wine deli on Urbanspoon









Brunetti, 380 Lygon St, Carlton. Phone: 9347 2801

If there had been a red carpet and VIP list involved, we wouldn’t be up the first or on the second.

Nevertheless, we reckon we’re smack bang in the middle of a bona fide Melbourne event – a happening packed with buzz and delight.

It’s the opening day of the ultra-swish new Brunetti and we’ve fronted for breakfast.

So have a lot of other people; everyone, staff and customers alike, is revelling in the moment.


We know there are those who never had much or any time for the previous Brunetti incarnation in Faraday St, finding it too slick, flash and imposing.

For them, the new premises are likely to be even more problematic – because the new Brunetti is huge, taking up almost the entire space of what used to be Borders and running from the Lygon St entrance to the more formal restaurant space at the Drummond St end.

In between there is everything you’d expect – gelati, pizza oven, biscotti, pastries, cakes and more.

And a raised caffeine hub with two gleaming monster machines already doing grand business.


Our semi-regular Brunetti visits have almost always been about mid-week gelati treats, takeaway biscotti or breakfast, and doubtless that will continue to be the case.

We’ve never had much truck with the more substantial fare, though it seems it may possible to pursue those avenues in the new place with more ease and perhaps even greater quality.

Because there is a lot of comfortable seating spread along the length of the premises.

The place will still be a madhouse at peak times – in our experience, that means any weekend after about noon in spring or summer.

But there is no denying the spaciousness and style of the new place – it’s like the old Brunetti on steroids.

If you loved Faraday St, you’ll likely love Lygon St. If not … run!


It’s a special adventure so I let Bennie off the leash – he enjoys not one but two apricot Danish pastries at $4.10 each. They’re fresh and hit the spot.

His two hot chocolates are slightly better than good but don’t send him into raptures. Same thing goes for my two cafe lattes.

My toasted ham, cheese and tomato is a $9.50 dream that has me issuing moans of delight.

Really, it’s hard to imagine how a toasted sandwich could be better – excellent bread uniformly, perfectly toasted; great tasting ham; gooey melted cheese.

When Bennie has a taste, the cheese strands stretch from his sandwich-holding hand to his gob until they snap and bounce happily off his chin.

Brunetti on Urbanspoon









The Rusty Fox



All smiles on opening day – (from left) Rusty Fox crew members Jennifer Galea, Kim Scott, Rebecca Creighton and Manuel Santeiro.

The Rusty Fox, 501 Macaulay Road, Kensington. Phone: 9372 1218

It’s very early on opening day for the Rust Fox, a brand new and ultra-chic “old-style provedore and locally driven deli” on Macaulay Rd.

As such, we’re happy to leave a closer examination of the food available – both eat-in and take-home – for another day.

Which isn’t to say we’re not tempted by the list we spy that includes, among other lunchy and brunchy items, Vietnamese chicken coleslaw and a simple sandwich of leg ham, cos lettuce, cheddar and Dijon mustard.

But we make more than do with a very excellent cafe latte, a hot chocolate and a couple of crunchy, buttery chocolate and walnut cookies.

Bennie’s hot chokkie adventures can range, often within a single week, from magnificent to thoroughly unmemorable. So we’re happy to report the Rusty Fox is very definitely of the former category.

The Rusty Fox fit-out is a true delight, capped off by a number of murals by street artist Kaff-eine.

We enjoy our beverages and munchies in the back garden space.

Front of house has a single table in the window area and a number of stools cuddling up to the servery/bar area.

Between the eat-in menu, the blackboard list of available meats and cheeses, a refrigerated area containing soups and the like, and a wall adorned with house-made condiments and other tasty items, it seems the Rusty Fox crew have put a lot of thought into making the best use of the space available to feature a lot off high-class foodiness.

The Rusty Fox on Urbanspoon






Mama Bear




Mama Bear, 526 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Phone: 9376 0386

In terms of location, Mama Bear really has it nailed.

Roughly equidistant from the coffee-and-more riches of Union Rd, the swell Asian smorgasbord on the other side of the railway line on Racecourse Rd and undistinguished Macaulay Rd, it really stands out.

Even better, unlike the situation on those three nearby strips, the parking here is unrestricted on both sides of the road. You may have to look for a wee while at weekends, but I doubt it’ll be any great problem.

Lovely exterior artwork, concrete floor, random yet stylish furniture, vintage signs, a high communal table with stools – yes, this is hipster cafe territory.

As you’d expect, breakfast is the big deal here. Heck, there’s not even a lunch menu – the post-noon fare falls under the heading “Brunch”.

The building was previously a Mexican joint the threshold of which we never crossed.

Co-proprietor Daniel tells me that ithe building’s first role was as a stables or some other equine-related business. He shows me the indentations where horses had gnawed away at the window frames.


I love the display of $3.50 old-school slices and hedgehogs. Some are brought in, some are made in-house.

The non-breakfast line-up is compact and appealing, with all items sitting on or around the $17 mark.

There’s a pesto-based pasta, a blackboard risotto, a calamari salad and a beef cheek slider.

I go for the Angus burger.


The orthodox in me yearns for something more usually related to burgers for accompaniment – coleslaw maybe, or chips. Or both.

But truth is, I am a fan of the rocket and fetta fad – and this is a good one: Fresh, lemony, tangy.

The skewered pickled cucumber is a crunchy, slightly sweet and delicately seasoned delight.

The beef patty looks modestly sized but is quite substantial. More importantly, it tastes fantastic. If only all burgers were this juicy! Maybe it could’ve done with a slightly heavier hand in the salt, pepper and seasoning department, but it’s still a very fine thing.

By the time the beef is all gone, I’m left with a handful of other ingredients – high-quality bun, shredded red cabbage that looks pickled but doesn’t taste like it, tomato, good and gooey cheese, mustard and mayo. But they’re all so classy, I enjoy consuming every last morsel.

Has my Mama Bear burger been worth the extra few bucks above what you’d pay for a basic sandwich at, say, Grill’d or Jus Burgers?


To finish, a cafe latte is ordered.

It’s insanely excellent.

Mama Bear on Urbanspoon



Mo Jo La Coffee

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Mo Jo La Coffee, Cherry Lake, Millers Rd, Altona.

Laurence has been running his coffee service at Cherry Lake since September.

He tells me the business is going fine, to the extent he’s even pondering an extension into food realms.

A carpenter in his previous life, he built his very cool cart himself.

He’s open seven days a week and from around 6am on week days.

That’s when he gets good custom from the commuters; later on in the day there’s an influx of mum with babes and toddlers in tow.

The cafe latte he makes me is terrific – hot and strong.

The business gets its name from Laurence’s daughters – Moana, Joanne and Lauren.


Over by the lake itself, I get talking to a trio gregarious fishermen.

Vladimir, Paul and Vladimir are all from Altona by way of Slovakia.

They tell me they’re trying catch the pest species carp.

When they then tell me it’s not unusual for the anglers hereabouts to pull in carp weighing six, seven, eight and more kilograms, I frankly and rather rudely express strident disbelief.

Surely they’re winding me up?

So Paul sends me over to examine the contents of a big red bucket at the fishing pozzie of some fellow fishermen about 20 metres away.


Peering in, I am gobsmacked to see a still very much alive fish that is at least a foot and a half long!

The boys tell me that the carp they catch here make good eating, but that they remove the oily skins and that the fish does have a lot of bones.

One of the Vlads cheerfully informs me that if he were to reveal the secret ingredients of his bait balls, he’d then be obliged to shoot me.