Far out Flemo burger

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Streat, 307 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Phone: 9629 4222

Consider The Sauce has stuck its nose into Streat numerous times.

But such has long been our penchant for the spicier, more exotic and evolving available elsewhere on Racecourse Road that we’ve never stayed to partake.

And that’s despite the fact we know Streat is a commendably community-minded enterprise that works tirelessly to fight homelessness.

So I’m happy to be meeting long-time CTS supporter Daniel for lunch and to be doing so at Streat at his suggestion.

I am surprised, however, to lay eyes on the blackboard menu (see below).

My recollection is of a more diverse line-up including the likes of Korean fried chicken.

Today, we’re gazing at a menu that runs simply from breakfast to bagels and burgers.

Still … no problem!

Especially when our lunches arrive.

 

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My “Racecourse Rd” burger ($11, $12.50 with bacon) really is excellent in every way.

Maybe not quite a 10, but a 9 for sure.

Everything is proportionately spot on, expertly assembled and of high quality – the beefy patty, the dressings, the salady bits, the sauce, the cheese, the perfectly two-handed size.

The wire basket of chips ($3.50) is just as good – there’s precisely right number of them to complete a fine and finely priced lunch.

 

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Daniel goes with his regular choice here – the “Wellington St” ($12.50) with fried chicken with coleslaw, mayo, Sriracha, mayo and cheese.

This looks the goods, too.

The chicken chunk is very fat and, my pal tells me, crisply fried.

At his request, we also get a couple of small pots of Sriracha for chip-dipping purposes.

I’m glad I’ve finally hit the Streat – ya never know where the next perfect burger meal is coming from!

 

STREAT on Urbanspoon

 

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Super Somalian in Flemo

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East African Restaurant, 28 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Phone: 0434 518 867

What a pleasure it is to welcome a new place to one of our favourite eats strips, Racecourse Road in Flemington.

Mind you, the premises that house East African Restaurant have hosted some sort of hospitality industry activity as long as I can remember.

But that activity always seemed to be of the coffee house/social club/meeting point of the blokey kind that is a staple of all sort of multicultural communities across the west … so we never paid it much interest.

Then, a few weeks back, new signage went up that strongly seemed to indicate the place was making a more concerted effort at getting its food out to a broader public.

 

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Issa (pictured at top) has owned the business for about a year and is indeed setting out to win more customers.

The place is charming in its ethnic cafe simplicity of trestle tables and relaxed vibe.

 

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During my time there, a number of regulars come and go … all of them, save a pale-skinned mum and son, are African gents, some wearing various degrees of traditional attire and some wearing taxi driver garb; there’s a few kids in among the mix, too!

I suspect Issa may be working on a menu proper, but in the meantime I like it a lot that there is none and that the boss man comes to my table to run down the food line-up for me verbally.

Who needs menus?

After quizzing Issa a bit about such things as soup, I tell him I will have whatever is the most popular.

This turns out to be an excellent move – what I get is not only very good but reassuringly familiar.

 

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What Issa calls “mixed food” ($12) he also calls “federation” … ah, yes the same federation as found at Ascot Vale’s Safari just up the road apiece, and every bit as good.

It’s all there and in good, delicious nick …

Tangy broth/soup that in this case has a touch of the curry powder about it.

Wonderful stock-cooked rice.

(As with the many previous times I have eaten this food, it seems like the soup and the incredible rice are the standards by which the meal should be judged.)

Heaps of dry-sauced spaghetti.

The pan-fried lamb with onion is actually rather wet, making it a bit like a stew – and that’s good, too!

The two lamb chops appear to be on the small side and as if they may be a bit tough. They’re not, and as for size … well, I fail to complete my meal anyway, so large is it, so they’re fine.

I could have done with a bit more the sautéed veg, but it’s been a great feed, indeed.

 

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Halfway through my lunch, however, I realise something is missing … and am duly presented with a cup of chilli sauce.

It looks like hot stuff, so I dab it on my meat and rice rather sparingly.

It’s a wise move.

Issa tells me a broader range of food, including injera-based meals, is available during the week.

I plan on trying some of them soon.

 

East African Restaurant on Urbanspoon

More Wayo wow

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Wayo Japanese Dining, 286 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Phone: 9376 5484

Wayo is not one of your more formal Japanese restaurants; nor is it your quickie purveyor of sushi rolls, though there are those available.

So … Wayo IS a rather elegant cafe-style eatery.

And on the basis of a second visit – see a story about the first here – it’s doing truly superb things.

This time around, four dishes are selected from the entree-sharing list.

This simple, affordable Japanese-style tapas spread is truly memorable, each and every dish an outright winner.

 

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“Hearty veggie miso soup” ($4.50) has deep miso flavour.

And there’s a goodly bunch of onion, carrot and potato in there.

“Hearty” is certainly the operative word.

We’re well used to Japanese potato salad being more like mashed spuds in the style also found accompanying BBQ in the US.

Such is the case with this “potato salad with Japanese gravy” ($5.50).

Here, though, the pile of dull-looking warm potato adorned with enoki mushrooms looks distinctly unappetising.

But the flavour is fabulous – surely there is a strong cooked-in-stock thing going on here.

Not sure about the clear “gravy” – is it a glaze or is it merely an oil slick?

No matter – we love this, too.

 

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Nasu dengaku ($8) also defies expectations of the orthodox.

Instead of a halved baby eggplant, this version consists of a thick slice of regular eggplant. The skin has separated from the flesh and gained a brittleness that makes it almost seem like a bottomless bowl.

Is it meant to be eaten? It tastes OK, with smoky flavour, but is a little weird.

But the flesh itself and the gooey miso sauce are sublime – so silky and delicious.

 

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“Tirikara fried chicken” (five pieces for $7.50) is made of ribs or ribettes rather the advertised fully-fldged wings – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

In any case, the price is still right for the simple reason they taste sooooo good – dry of batter with, I think, a strong garlic flavour.

Based on this rather randomly selected array of dishes, we’re definitely up for return visits to Wayo.

 

Wayo Japanese Dining on Urbanspoon

 

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A monarch among Melbourne’s laksas

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M Yong Tofu, 314 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Phone: 9376 0168

Driving home from a Saturday night function in Flemington, I do a double take as I tool along Racecourse Road.

What the … ?

What was once our cherished Grand Tofu has a new name and the exterior has a new paint job.

So naturally I make it my urgent business the next day to find out what gives.

 

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I am immediately re-assured upon seeing this sign in the window.

Inside, I find that everything is indeed the same – including the welcome from the ever-smiling Suzanne.

 

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Turns out some alterations in the partnership arrangements of the business have occasioned some superficial tweaking.

“Everything the same,” Suzanne tells me. “Laksa still good!”

“You mean the same angry management and crap service?” I ask.

Much laughter ensues as I await my laksa – because, yes, I just have to make sure.

And it is.

Heady broth packed with flavour, fresh mint brightly contrasting with the cooked curry leaves.

Greens beans, broccoli and two pieces of heavenly eggplant.

Supper sodden tofu, fish cake – and, oh yeah, chicken.

Look, I’m not going to proclaim this as the best laksa in the west or Melbourne.

There’s more than enough outfits and websites and blogs doing that sort of thing when it comes to food “lists” – almost always without having done the incredibly hard yards that would give those sort of claims to be definitive any sort of gravitas.

But I sure do love this laksa.

Regardless of the name change …

The crew here have printed up a new menu with lots of pretty pictures, but I am happy note the price rises have been very tiny indeed.

Such is not always the case when such overhauls take place.

M Yong Tofu on Urbanspoon

Cool cafe in a great ‘hood

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Mr Ed, 285 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Phone: 9376 6444

Consider The Sauce loves Racecourse Road, but coffee and cafes aren’t what come to mind when we head that way.

There is coffee to be had there, including a couple of longstanding businesses that may get the CTS treatment at some stage.

Mr Ed, though is a new place that inhabits what was formerly the premises of an undertaker.

It’s been open since February, and based on the jam-packed crowd on a recent Sunday when is stuck my nose inside for a look-see, it’s doing quite well, thank you very much.

At first blush, it appears Mr Ed could be yet another westie hipster haven.

Cool black-and-white artwork?

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Tick!

Cutting-edge design stools?

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Tick!

But the proof is in the pudding – or, in this case, the pies.

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Take a look at these beauties, which sell for $9.50. (They’re a lot bigger than they appear in the photograph.)

After my lunch, I take one of the veal, bacon and portolbello mushroom specimens home for dinner.

Like everything else in the place, as far as I can tell, they’re made in-house.

For a week-day lunch, I find the staff friendly and obliging.

In addition to breakfasts, Mr Ed does a nice line in creative sandwiches that all cost around the $10 mark.

There’s blackboard lists of specials such as a risotto, pulled chicken sliders and beer-battered flathead with purple congo wedges.

The adjacent list of “usual suspects” includes a “beef and basil burger”, and beyond that are offered about a handful of salads.

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I choose one of the more expensive dishes – smoked trout and warm egg salad with celeriac remoulade with salmon pearls on rye toast ($16.50).

This is way more “plated” and pretty than is normal for CTS, but it’s truly a lovely thing.

It’s mildly flavoured and falls into the light lunch category.

But all the components work together beautifully, celeriac strands almost like noodles and the trout given some added richness thanks to the egg and some just-right poppy texture thanks to the pearls.

Mr. Ed on Urbanspoon

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CTS Feast No.4: Slurp!

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Pho House, 318 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Phone: 9372 1426

It’s a thrill to contemplate that with the successful completion of the fourth Consider The Sauce Feast, a tradition has been established.

Long may it continue!

The fourth gathering took place at what has already become a favourite of ours.

Pho House adds just the right Vietnamese touch to Racecourse Road in Flemington, rounding out one of Melbourne’s best foodie strips.

So much quality and fun is such a small package!

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CTS Feat No.4 had some familiar faces from earlier escapades – namely Alistair and Michelle and their gorgeous daughter; and Charles, who brought along his daughter, Celina.

I was very excited to meet Pauline, a regular commenter on CTS with whom I enjoyed discussing Yarraville shopping and how to get kids to eat interesting, Pauline was accompanied by her pal, Sarah.

Also seated at our bubbly table was Jill from Spice Bazaar and her friend Angela.

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We were joined by a former colleague of mine, Corrina, and her partner Dave. So cool to have such a good mate from my previous life make an appearance!

Last but not least, we also enjoyed the company of my favourite food blogger in the whole world (other than myself) and Westies co-conspirator, Lauren of Footscray Food Blog.

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We started with samples of real nice and freshly made spring rolls and rice paper rolls before moving on to the soup dishes.

For the mains, everyone went the bowl route, with no one choosing the rice plate options.

Save for two customers, we all went for pho of various kinds involving a wide variety of beef.

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My own plain rare beef small was just fine.

There was much happy slurping done.

Pauline and Sarah went for the seafood curry laksa, which has a rather lovely story behind it.

When I had earlier asked Talina why she had laksa on the menu, she told me it was actually a carry-over from the previous inhabitants of the premises, the much-loved Vy Vy.

So another tradition continues!

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The girls enjoyed their laksa very much, and having dug it myself several times in recent weeks I can vouch for its excellence.

It’s mildly spiced and very creamy, but it’s the seafood that is the biz.

Apart from a plethora of surimi such as fish balls and fish cake, Talina’s laksa has fresh fish, a not very common laksa occurrence, and fat, bursty prawns that are very high on prawn flavour – also not a very common laksa occurrence.

Thanks to our Consider The Sauce friends for the company and thanks to Talina and her staff for taking care of us on what was an already busy night, even without us taking up so much space!

PS: Alistair, I can insert a close-up photo of the top of your noggin if you so desire.

See previous review here; the Pho House Facebook page is here.

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Consider The Sauce Feast No.4: Pho House,

318 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Phone: 9372 1426

Wednesday, Janurary 29, from 7pm.

Menu:

Assorted Pho House entrees and snacks.

Choice of pho, laksa or rice dish.

Soft drinks.

Pho House on Urbanspoon

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CTS Feast No.4: Pho House

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NOTE: THIS FEAST IS NOW FULLY SUBSCRIBED! NO MORE APPLICATIONS, THANKS!

Meet Talina!

She’s the boss lady at Pho House, the lovely joint that is adding even more diversity to Racecourse Road in Flemington.

You’ll be unsurprised to learn, given the name of her restuarant, that she is proud of her pho.

Very proud.

And she wants CTS readers to try it!

So in conjunction with Consider The Sauce, Talina and her Pho House crew will host the fourth Consider The Sauce Feast.

Talina really, really does want you to try her pho.

But, OK, if you insist, the lucky punters who gain feast seats can opt for a laksa or rice dish.

As well, there will assorted Pho House entrees and soft drinks.

If you fancy a beer or wine, you will be expected to pay for them yourself.

Pretty much the same ground rules as applied for previous CTS Feasts …

  • No restrictions this time around on those who have attended previous CTS dinners.  
  • First in, first served.
  • There are 10 places only available.
  • Fellow food bloggers welcome to apply but they will not be given preference.
  • No more than two places to be claimed by any applicant, though “singles” will also be accepted.
  • There will be no charge for food or soft drinks, but guests will be expected to pay for their own alcohol.
  • Applications only to the email address posted elsewhere on this site. Attempts to gain a seat by commenting on this post will be ignored.

Consider The Sauce Feast No.4: Pho House,

318 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Phone: 9372 1426

Wednesday, Janurary 29, from 7pm.

Menu:

Assorted Pho House entrees and snacks.

Choice of pho, laksa or rice dish.

Soft drinks.

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See earlier story here and the Pho House Facebook page here.

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