Wow – great offer

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Consider The Sauce has not been in the habit of talking up specific offers by particular restaurants – so far as I can recall this is a first.

I am happy to do so not on the basis of giving yet another plug for a favoured eating place but because I genuinely think CTS readers will appreciate knowing about the beaut offer I came across during the course of a Monday night “can’t be bothered cooking” quick bite in West Footscray.

Regular readers will know that Hyderabad Inn, at 551 Barkly Street, is among our faves among the bustling West Footscray Indian contingent – indeed, it was the venue of the first-ever Consider The Sauce Feast!

The joint’s “spring special offer” is currently available Mondays through to Thursdays and between 6pm and 7pm.

Heck – that’s eating hour for Team CTS! And I suspect most all families, too …

Here’s how it works …

Get any regular dosa and a can of soft drink for $3.95.

Insane!

The dosa lineup numbers 30 and ranges from masala, lamb and chicken dosas through to chicken tikka and tandoori vegetable.

They’re normally priced at up to $13.50.

Or you can choose from the smaller range of 70mm dosas, grab a can of drink and pay $6.95.

The 70mm dosas usually sell for up to $16.50.

The biryani deal of which I partook is just about as good.

My chicken version (pictured above) was its usual excellent self, with all the bits and pieces present and in working order – moist rice, high spice levels, fried and raw onion, peanutty gravy, raita, hard-boiled egg, two good-sized chook bits.

For this, and a can of soft drink, I paid $9.95.

Normal price for the rice alone is $15.

Get it while you can!

 

 

 

Food truck weather

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Big Cook Litle Cook. Phone: 0450 395 344

Food truck.

I reckon there’s ground for considering that phrase as a food style.

You know … Vietnamese, Ethiopian, fish ‘n’ chips, burgers, Indo-Chinese, pizza, food truck.

Like that.

Take, for instance, my rather nice Saturday lunch from a new arrival in the ranks of  Yarraville Gardens truck squadron … Big Cook Little Cook.

 

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Big Cook’s Classic has tandoori chicken pieces, rice, hummus, Big Cook’s salad and roti.

It’s a good feed and I’ve been more than happy to pay $12 for it.

The chicken has good tandoori flavour, the hummus is fresh-as, the roti hot and flaky.

And there’s nothing at all incongruous about various elements of my meal deriving from various parts of the planet.

But it does seem like a food truck meal!

 

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Same goes for my friend’s Smoky Chilli Jam Chicken, also costing $12, with its sticky Indo-Chinese vibe.

I get talking to Conan, the offspring part of the father-and-son duo of Big Cook Little Cook, the name of which was chosen to give them flexibility in terms of not being tied down to a single style of food.

Conan and Raymond are much-travelled and passionate about what they are doing.

Conan asks me what I think about the pricing of the food trucks in general.

The prices of the regular Yarraville truck gang actually seem remarkably consistent.

 

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I tell him I’m sure the trucks are setting their prices very scientifically and where they must – any cheaper and they’d not be in business.

Our $12 meals have been fairly priced.

But the truth is a fully satisfying truck meal of main, a little something extra for, say, $5 or so plus a drink can run to about $20.

Many people, I suspect, compare that with the plethora of nearby regular eatery options that are cheaper and also involve tables and table service.

Still, as the several hundred folks out and about and busily trucking on what feels like the first day of spring attest, the food trucks have certainly found a place in the collective heart of the inner west.

It’s a happy scene indeed!

 

Big Cook Little Cook on Urbanspoon

 

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CTS Feast No.5: Indian Palette

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Indian Palette, 140 Victoria Street, Seddon. Phone: 9689 8776

Consider The Sauce Feast No.5 at Indian Palette in Seddon was a rip-roaring winner.

Thanks to Francis, Sue and their kitchen crew and staff, the food was wonderful and there was plenty of it.

As I’d hoped, everyone was knocked out by the wonderful eggplant dish andhra kodikura with its utterly distinctive flavour generated by peanuts, sesame seeds and tamarind.

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This being the first paid and ticketed CTS Feast made the whole vibe quite different.

Fours tables of eight made for a happy, bubbly atmosphere as fellow foodies and westies got down to it.

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I managed to speak to most of our guests at some point during the course of the night.

Among the happy throng were …

* Serial Feast attendees Michael and Sian, and Daniel and Richelle.

* New friends met for the first time such as Michelle, of Good Day, Scumshine, and Jenni, who I missed out on talking music with – such is the burden of being host!

* Jill and Patrick of Spice Bazaar.

* Marco and Maria of La Morenita in Sunshine – one of our fave places. Stand by for a forthcoming announcement of a joint CTS venture with them!

* Tom, principal of Bennie’s old school Sunshine Christian, his wife Robyn and their friends Adrian and Emma.

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Thanks for coming everyone – I had a ball.

And thanks for so eagerly embracing the new CTS Feast model – more is definitely better, and I’m absolutely thrilled that between us all we made it work so well.

MENU

Entrees

Cut mirchi (fresh green chillies cut and dipped in gram flour batter and deep fried)

Lamp pepper fry (boneless lamb pieces cooked with pepper and Indian spices)

Mains

Gutti vanakaya kura (mini eggplant seasoned with ground nut, tamarind pulp, finished with South Indian spices)

Andhra kodikura (a favourite homestyle Southern Indian spicy chicken dish with garam masala, caramom, green chilli, cloves and cinnamon)

Dal fry (yellow split lentils cooked and fried with onions, ghee and coriander)

Other

Butter naan

Saffron rice

Dessert

Badam kheer (ground almonds cooked in milk and sugar, flavoured with cardamom)

The Indian Palette on Urbanspoon

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Holy cow – bunny chow!

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Cafe Indigo, Sanctuary Lakes Shopping Centre, Point Cook

Sanctuary Lakes shopping centre for a meeting with a new friend, new contact, new editor of a new newspaper.

But lunch first.

Am headed for a centre stalwart we have enjoyed on previous occasions, sparing only a quick glance for a cafe I have previously noted with some interest but which has been put in the “another day” category.

But what’s this? Cafe Indigo just got a whole lot more interesting.

Item: Chole bhature. Hell yes! A CTS favourite … but perhaps not today.

Item: Bombay breakfast of eggs poached in spiced mince. Hmmmm …

Item: Samosa burger … well, that sounds pretty good, too!

But what is bunny chow?

Pradeep explains that it’s a South African dish in which curry is stuffed into bread.

Curry-stuffed bread?

OK, I’m in … just the kind of thing I love taking a punt on.

In the meantime, and as I await my lunch, I get sleuthing  – and discover a whole world of funky working man’s tucker that fits right in with the Consider The Sauce world view.

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While bunnies can be found all over South Africa and even the world, the spiritual home of the bunny is Durban.

This apparently authoritative piece at Wikipedia has a rundown on bunny lore, as does this one at Facts About Durban.

I especially like this knowing quote from the latter:

“The correct way to refer to Bunny Chows when talking about them or asking for directions to the nearest purveyor is as Bunnies. The use of the word Chow will indelibly mark you as an outsider, and a pretty uncool one at that. When talking to friends it would be quite correct to suggest ‘Let’s go get us some Bunnies’. You could say to your host, taxi driver, tour guide or concierge ‘I’m really desperate for a Bunny’, ‘I need a Bunny’, ‘Show me the nearest Bunny’, or ask ‘who makes the best Bunny in town?'”

 I even discover the most fabulous blog, Quarterbunny, which is run by a crew I “heart” instantaneously – they’re driven, possessed and obsessed, and completely unapologetic about it.

Quarterbunny has reviews and photos of such splendidly named establishments as Patel’s Vegetarian Refreshment Lounge and Mrs Govender’s Curry Kitchen And Take Away.

I’m not sure what the Quarterbunny experts would make of my Cafe Indigo bunny, but it tastes really fine to me.

The lamb curry is mild but wonderfully sticky, and has the odd cardamom floating about and some nice potato chunks.

I eat my bunny with cutlery, though I suspect this is flouting some sort of fundamental bunny etiquette. (I subsequently discover this is indeed the case!)

I just love the way the curry gravy soaks into the bread.

And that bread, by the way, is your standard white loaf.

This is working man’s food and your boutique bread nonsense is not only unwanted in this sort of terrain but would be an outright disaster.

Artisan sourdough?

Stuff that! Or not, if you follow me …

The asking price for my Cafe Indigo bunny is $11.90, which I suspect would horrify your typical Durban bunny maven.

But I consider it a good deal given shopping centre rents and the opportunity to embrace a soul food genre of which I have been – until this very hour – completely ignorant.

As I await my new friend, I enjoy a long chat with Pradeep and Ankur about many things Indian food and eateries, especially those spread across the west, resolving all the while to return soon to try their vegetable and chicken bunnies.

Café Iñdigo on Urbanspoon

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Yummo – CTS Feast No.2 at Vanakkam

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Vanakkam, 359 Barkly St, Footscray. Phone: 9687 7224

Our second Consider The Sauce Feast was every bit as enjoyable as the first.

Bennie and I made some new friends, all of whom had never eaten at Vanakkam before, so we were thrilled to be able to share one of our favourite restaurants with them.

So our thanks firstly to Jagadish and his staff for turning it on for us in such splendid fashion.

Thanks, too, to Amy, Giselle, Daniel, Rochelle, Paul, Jacqui of Urban Ma (read her post here), Wes, Charles, Bronwyn, Danielle and long-time CTS supporter Keri – we loved hanging with you and talking food and more, and cherish your ongoing support for Consider The Sauce.

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Our mixed appetisers were three.

Unsurprisingly, gobi 65 and chicken 65 were somewhat similar in terms of seasoning and batter, but still different.

The cauilflower gently crunchy, the chicken plump and meaty, they were both nevertheless excellent in every way.

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The Vanakkam onion bhaji Bennie and I were already familiar with – with their crisp chick pea batter, we reckon these are Melbourne’s best onion rings.

Then came the chicken biryani – lots of it.

The heavenly spiced rice and all its accoutrements – raw and fried onion rings, hardboiled egg, vibrant red and spicy gravy, raita – all seemed just as fine as ever to us.

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Consider The Sauce Indian Feast No.2

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PLEASE NOTE – THIS DINNER IS NOW FULLY SUBSCRIBED!!!

Hyderabad Inn – venue for the recent curry celebration involving Consider The Sauce readers – is one of our favourite places to eat Indian in Footscray.

Our other favourite place is Vanakkam, also on Barkly St but on the other side of the Geelong Rd.

It has been known for us to order dishes other than biryani there – but I have difficulty recalling the last time we did so.

Yep, we sure do love the Vanakkam biryanis – mounds of spice-perfumed rice hiding chicken pieces or goat on the bone, hardboiled egg, topped with raw onion slices, and fried onion, too; biryani-specific spicy gravy; raita.

MMMmmmmm!

So that’s what Jagadish will be cooking for us on Tuesday, September 24 – along with a range of mixed appetisers for starters.

Here are the rules:

  • No applications accepted from any of those who attended the Hyderabad Inn bash.  
  • 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.
  • Please state preference for chicken, goat or vegetable biryani. Stating such preference will in no way restrict guests from eating any or all of the biryanis on offer.
  • There will be no charge for our food but guests will be expected to pay for their own drinks.

To grab your place, send me an email telling me whether you want one or to places.

The address is elsewhere on this site.

Applying by commenting on this post will not work.

Consider The Sauce Indian Feast No.2: Vanakkam, 359 Barkly St, Footscray. Phone: 9687 7224 Tuesday, September 24, from 7.30pm.

Mixed appetisers

Biryanis – chicken, goat, vegetable.

And a yummy time was had by all …

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Hyderabad Inn, 551 Barkly St, West Footscray. Phone: 9689 0998

What a nice time we all had at the Indian Feast co-sponsored by Hyderabad Inn and Consider The Sauce.

So first thanks go to chef Nagesh and his staff for so generously providing us with such a fine meal.

My own favourites were a spicy, creamy tomato soup with a garlic and ginger kick, and – somewhat surprisingly – the homely delights of a fabulous peas pulao and simple dal.

Mind you, we all loved the gulab jamun with insanely good pistachio ice cream as well!

Thanks, too, to CTS readers Russell, Loren and Brenton, Kat and Natasha, Ms Baklover of Footscray Food Blog fame and Bianca, Alastair and Michelle, and Kelly and Alison for attending.

So much fun to converse with so many westies with so many mutual and overlapping interests, pertaining to foodiness and much else besides.

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Bennie surprised and delighted all – including his dad – by firing off really good pen-and-paper caricatures of everyone present.

I knew my boy had some drawing skill, but this was something else.

Wow!

Where did that come from?

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The evening’s consisted of the following:

Soup

Cream of tomato soup

Appetizers

Spinach Pakora

Chilly prawns

Chicken tikka spring roll dosa

Chicken Manchurian

Mains

Paripu (South Indian & Srilankian style dal)

Vegetable Taka Tak

Chicken Do Payaaza

Lamb Kohlapuri

Rice

Basmati rice

Peas Pulao

Breads

Amritsari Kulcha (most famous in Punjab & nobody serve in Melbourne)

Mixed breads

Desserts

Gulab Jamun with Ice cream

See earlier Consider The Sauce stories on this restaurant here and here.

This gathering was a joint initiative of Hyderabad Inn and Consider The Sauce, the former of which devised the evening’s menu. Our guests did not pay for their meals.

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