Who wants to join the Greater Footscray Liberation Front?

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The recent post about Buckley Street – a walking tour thereof and commentary upon – drew many comments.

It also unloosened much curiosity and speculation about the Footscray, Middle Footscray, West Footscray, Tottenham, Seddon and Yarraville – and the seemingly flexible borders that separate them.

So this a follow-up post.

I am specially indebted to the sleuthing of CTS pal Juz.

I figure there’s folks around who may have a much more soli handle on this than I – perhaps at the Footscray Historical Society.

But I get a kick out of looking at this stuff anyway.

I hope you do, too!

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Wow!

The above map from 1870 – trackled down at the State Library – is of what is now Yarraville.

It talks of “very desirable” allotments in Stephen and Sussex streets – in Footscray South!

According to the wikipedia entry on Seddon, “The Original State Bank of Victoria in Charles Street, Seddon used to stamp its Bank Account passbooks as Footscray South Vic”.

However, wikipedia also maintains that “Seddon Post Office opened on 29 September 1908 and closed in 1976. Seddon West Post Office opened in 1924 and remains open”.

 

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The State Bank’s annual report from 1982 lists a Footscray South branch.

At Australian Surname Geneaology, there is reference to labourer Jack Rodney Lane living at 8 Hamilton Street, Footscray South in 1954.

Hamilton Street is, of course, part of modern day Seddon.

 

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On the other hand, in 1955 a Cadbury’s milk bar had struck a deal (above) with signwriting company Lewis & Skinner to “clean off and repaint” the shop’s pelmet. Thanks to Melissa for this one!

This family history site twice lists Pilgrim Street as being in Footscray South.

A final question: Will the headline of this post find the electronic gaze of the spooks focusing on Consider The Sauce?

I kinda hope so.

After all, spies gotta eat as well!

Village Cantina – excellente!

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Village Cantina, 30 Ballarat Street, Yarraville. Phone: 9689 8000

Barely a week after Village Cantina’s opening, Team CTS descends on the joint for a taste of what it has to offer.

It’s busy as all get out.

Wait time is prolonged but the staff do their best.

We recommend, while the place is so busy with folks checking it out for the first time, that the best times to visit are early or late.

The expectations and hopes of we three are quite finely calibrated.

We don’t expect the authenticity of La Tortilleria.

OTOH, we’re hoping for something better and more enticing than what is offered by the likes of Salsa’s or Guzman y Gomez.

Sometimes – like right now! – Mexican food through an American prism is just the ticket.

That’s exactly what we get.

But … it’s very good.

Much better than we expect!

 

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Jalapeno poppers ($6 for three) are wonderful, with gooey cheese centres and breadcrumb coatings.

They’re spicy, too. Much hotter, in fact, than any of the array of hot sauces at hand.

 

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We try them all just to make sure!

 

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Instead of fiddling around with a bunch of other entrees, we go for the nachos ($12), which is another winner.

That the beef is shredded and lovely, rather than merely ground, is testament to the fact that Village Cantina is staking out the high ground when it comes to this sort of food.

 

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My beef burrito ($13) is good, with the cheese shining out amid the other ingredients – rice, black beans, salsa and shredded beef.

It’s solid, satisafying and enjoyable.

 

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But I do look with envy at the selections chosen by my companions – they appear both more interesting and more refined.

The bloke who chose the pork quesadilla ($12) is very happy indeed.

 

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Fish and pork tacos ($6 each) also hit the spot, with their recipient telling me the former has good, crisp and solid chunks of fish.

Our dinner, including three Mexican soft drinks, has cost us precisely $65.

And that, we reckon as we very happily depart, is a bargain.

 

Village Cantina on Urbanspoon

 

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Williamstown eats goss

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At Williamstown Beach, the lovely property that until recently and for many years housed Sirens has the forlorn look of a failed business.

What it does not have is the look of dereliction or neglect.

Yet.

You’d think somebody would get in quickly before summer really gathers momentum.

 

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At Nelson Place, what was once Tai Hoong is now Fong’s Kitchen – though a section of the menu is labelled “Old Favourites From Tai Hoong”, so presumably there is a connection between old and new, family or otherwise.

The menu (see below) has a tight selection of Malaysian and Chinese selections, and definitely has some things I’d like to try.

 

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I like the look of the dark wood and minimalist cafe vibe, too.

But today I ordered the Hainanese chicken rice – after ascertaining a bowl of chicken broth was part of the deal – only to be told 30 minutes later that they’d only just commenced to start boiling the chook!

So I departed unfed, but will be back.

 

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A few doors along is the Advertiser Bar & Grill.

According to its Facebook page, it opened in early September – and yet is already undergoing a massive overhaul.

The story, according to a neighbouring trader, is that the joint was hit by a fire, insurance issues have been settled and they’re looking to reopen early next year.

 

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And a few doors along from there is the newly opened Williamstown branch of New York Minute.

Despite having a rather average time of it on our last visit to the Moonee Ponds place, we still have a soft spot for NYM so hope the new outlet is going great!

Reports, anyone?

 

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A monarch among Melbourne’s laksas (2)

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Kitchen Inn, 469 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne. Phone: 9328 2562

Appointment in the city, park at Vic Market, left enough for time for a quick lunch – of course!

I have no great plans or destinations in mind.

Indeed, this stretch of Elizabeth Street is so busy at lunch time I’m happy to get a seat just about anywhere.

I have no plans to write or take pictures.

But then I get Kitchen Inn’s Sarawak laksa ($10.90).

CTS has been here before.

I’ve even had the laksa here on another occasion.

But …

I don’t remember it being THIS good!!!

Gravy that looks like a rich chocolate milkshake. Spice/heat levels that are just right and plenty of deep, dusky flavour – quite unlike the more regular laksas around town.

Vermicelli only in terms of noodles, which is real nice for a change.

And the extravagant goodies … oh my!

Shredded chicken, two monster pieces of chewy tofu sucking up that amazing gravy, fish cake, bean sprouts, quite a few very good prawns, noodle-like strips of omelette.

And – best of all – stacks of salty pork belly/crackling that is wonderfully crunchy to begin with but that becomes equally wonderfully soggy as the eating of my meal unfolds.

Wow.

This is a 10/10 laksa – a masterpiece of Melbourne cheap eats.

See earlier Melbourne laksa monarch post here.

 

Kitchen Inn on Urbanspoon

 

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Footscray’s bleakest street?

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buck2

 

It’s a well-known if rarely utilised fact that you’ll always see more walking somewhere than by driving – or even pedaling.

So it is that I park and check out Buckley Street on foot for the first time in at least a decade.

Buckley between Nicholson and Victoria has remaining vestiges of earlier times, decades and uses.

But there’s a reason why it’s such an inhospitable stretch of street, and why there is little or no street life, and why the very little retail or business activity is heavily weighted towards tradies and the like.

That reason is traffic – lots and lots of traffic.

And lots of trucks.

The reason, in turn, for that is that this stretch of Buckley is a gateway, in one direction, to Sunshine, Geelong and Williamstown.

And in the other direction, it’s a gateway to Footscray Road and, less directly, Dynon Road.

All that traffic, and all those people in hurry, makes the intersection of Buckley and Victoria (above) one of the most accident-prone we know of.

Barely a week passes that we don’t see the aftermath of prangs, mostly caused we presume by cars and trucks barreling towards Melbourne having unpleasant interaction with those heading in the other direction and turning right into Victoria to go under the railway line.

Be careful here, folks!

But let’s go for a wander, hey? Down one side of Buckley and up the other?

 

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On the Seddon corner at Victoria, what was for a long time a Vietnamese pool hall is undergoing refurbishment that will see it reopened as a “convenience store”.

 

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The application posted in the window doesn’t generate much optimism that this will be good stuff for Consider The Sauce and its readers!

 

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A little further along, what seems like it was almost certainly a service station many decades ago is now home to West Suburban Taxis.

 

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It was unveiled as such by the then premier in 1995.

Heck, there must have been an election in the wind!

 

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Then comes a block or so of double-storey terrace houses, some done out nicely, some looking rather tatty.

I wonder who lives here.

 

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The business activity among these older properties ranges from electrical …

 

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… to the spiritual.

 

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Moving a bit further towards the CBD and we come across one of the very few newer structures on the street – a block of apartments.

 

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The empty, large block right next door could become home of even more apartments – if a buyer is ever found.

 

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From there, and before we cross Buckley and head back the other way, there’s a bus depot … and then the university.

 

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OK, heading back the way we came, but this time taking in the other side of the road …

The Belgravia Hotel is no more.

And nor is its colourful array of, um, “entertainment”.

This too is destined to be a site for apartments – and going by the sign, those plans do not include use of the existing structures.

 

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Next door, what was once the home of the Hot Shot pool hall and coffee emporium is uninhabited. We never made it in for a game or a taste.

 

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Moving past Paint Spot and across Albert Street …

 

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… what once housed an arts supplies outfit is now home to a recruitment agency …

 

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… while the arts supplies outfit itself has moved a few doors away to a more utilitarian property.

 

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Now we’re moving into spaces and places with which Bennie and I definitely have a shared history.

I once bought him a paint set at West Art Supplies.

And we spent a lot of time at the swimming pool.

It was nothing like the gleaming edifices to be found at Kensignton or Highpoint – rough concrete floors were all the go.

Rough, clammy concrete floors … but the place had a water slide and we liked it.

I presumed this property, too, had fallen into disuse – but I spot a pair of slippers through the frosted windows so walk around the side.

Surprise!

The whole place, including ancillary buildings, is now a Salvos aged-care establishment.

 

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The brick building next door, once home to child-care activities, is these days used by a handful of community service groups.

 

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And one of the rooms is, on the afternoon of my ambulatory inspection, being used for a grungy metal gig!

 

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Moving right along …

What was once a florist/garden/homewares business morphed at some stage, and briefly, into all of the above plus coffee and rudimentary eats.

And now it’s nothing at all.

 

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Next in line is another surprise – what was once a display home, now fallen into ruins and dereliction, has another, older house – also a complete wreck – behind it.

 

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The once-was-a-display-home still has floor plans with “sold” stickers on them!

 

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The cheap meat place is these days called More Meat.

We once shopped there quite regularly, and I know people who still do so.

 

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Moving closer to Victoria, there’s a Japanese bookshop with residence behind … which is right next door to …

 

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… a Chinese medicine place, which is right next door to …

 

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… another shopfront with, rather mysteriously, no signage and matting in the entire window space.

 

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Finally, right on the corner of Buckley and Victoria is the purveyor of all things canvas that seems to have been right there forever.

So is this stretch of Buckley … Footscray? Seddon? Both?

According to Google maps, it is both.

But I have a friend, a decades-long resident of Charles Street, who maintains the Buckley-as-boundary concept is a scam fostered by real estate agents eager to see more properties included in Seddon with a view to higher prices.

According to him, Charles Street was – and still is, in his opinion – the boundary between Footscray and Seddon.

Ripper Sri Lankan buffet: $15

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Chef Lanka, 50/B 217 Mickleham Road, Tullamarine. Phone: 9338 3839

This Chef Lanka is the youngest of three siblings – the others are in nearby Glenroy and the Melbourne CBD.

It’s a big, ritzy room with a raised area lined with many serving “chafing dishes”, the premises being sandwiched – so to speak – between a Subway outlet and a restaurant of the pizza-pasta-seafood-steaks variety.

Just up the road is fine Lebanese place done out in fast-food livery.

Only a few of those heated serving contraptions are in use for the Saturday lunch buffet – makes sense, as we are the only customers.

But there’s more than enough range for a grand lunch and the quality is high.

This is, in our estimation, very good Sri Lanka tucker.

(I’m a bit disappointed in the pics – they make the food look less good than is the case!)

 

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Two kinds of rice …

Fried rice that recognisably of Chinese derivation but somehow different – it’s plain wonderful.

Chicken biryani quite different from those we get from our fave West Footscray haunts – milder, sweeter thanks to the currants, but still real nice.

 

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Lamb curry with meat quite well done but of deep flavour that’s somewhat like the vinegary tang of a vindaloo. I’m told, however, that it’s nothing of the sort …

Devil Chicken – another dish of seemingly Chinese heritage. The battered meat is nicely chewy and the dish as a whole is very mild – this surprises us as it appear as though it may quite spicy-evil.

 

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Jackfruit curry that looks so unappetising that I give it a miss. At first glance, I take it to be made of overcooked fish cutlets!

A highlight – cashew curry, the nuts with just enough gravy and just enough softish crunch left in them.

 

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Spicy potatoes so very, very familiar from my workplace’s weekly, Friday curry runs to another fine Sri Lankan place just up the road apiece.

Another highlight – a super mix of carrot, broccoli and cauliflower done in coconut milk and crushed mustard seeds.

It’s very yummy!

 

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As well, on hand is an endless supply of pappadums and maldive fish, if you like ‘em!

Chef Lanka has a mixed bag of buffet offers, depending on the days of the week and times of the day.

The lunch buffet we have dug costs $15 on Saturdays and Sundays.

The same deal costs $12 for lunch from Mondays through to Fridays.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, a $25 buffet is on offer – and we imagine this will be fabulous when we get around to trying it.

On those nights, all the many serving contraptions come into play – that’s a lot! – and so the food will be even more colourful and diverse, and perhaps even include a goodly dash of seafood.

There’s an extensive a la carte menu as well – including hoppers.

At dinner time Mondays through Thursdays there’s a superb thali-style deal I checked out on an earlier, solo reconnaissance visit.

 

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How’s this for $10.90?

The same lamb curry as in our lunch buffet, coconutty chick peas, coconutty and scrumptious okra, an oily but delicious mix of eggplant and potato, rice and pappadum.

Superb value!

The achaar I ordered separately out of curiosity. It was fresh and crunchy but I found the mustard oil flavour somewhat overpowering.

Check out the Chef Lanka website here.

 

Chef Lanka on Urbanspoon

 

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Deer Park eats goss

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deer2

 

Western Pho in Deer Park is on the move.

The humble yet excellent Vietnamese eatery on Burnside Street – written about and given a new and glowing thumbs up from CTS regular Juz here – will move around the corner to the service road shopping strip on Ballarat Road in three months or so.

Proprietor Phi tells me there will be more food, more staff and more seating – the new joint will have a seating capacity of at least 60.

I caught up with Phi and his builder, “Junior” Espinosa of GE Builder, at the old premises as they were discussing the floor plan for the new place.

“Junior” tells me has worked on such CTS faves as Hyderabad Inn, Dosa Hut and Pandu’s – that’s a nice pedigree!

 

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The new place still bears the signage of the previous tenant.

 

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And just a few doors away preparations are underway for an Indian eatery and …

 

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… another Vietnamese place!

This phases Phi not at all – competition being good and helping to build a happy neighbourhood eats destination, he reckons.

 

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Meanwhile, in even more good news for locals, the current Western Pho premises on Burnside Street, will be renamed Western Roll and feature banh mi, rice paper rolls and the like, including sauces from Phi’s hometown near Cam Ranh Bay – and coffee.

It’s all happening in Deer Park!

 

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