West Welcome Wagon – the auction

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For further information on this event, go here.

In addition to the fine food and company to be had at the fund-raiser for West Welcome Wagon – co-hosted by Consider The Sauce and The Plough Hotel – we will be auctioning some goodies generously donated by three fine Yarraville business as follows …

( … and get those hands in the air, people!)

1. Chris and Andrew of Techville (above) have provided a Brother MFC-J4510DW printer with wireless networking, FAX and A3 capacity.

Value: $300.

 

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2.Simone from inviteme has provided beautiful glassware.

Value: $80.

 

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3. The Sun Bookshop has donated the lovely cookbook Streat.

Value: $45.

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To book for this event, go here.

Yarraville pub – back to the future

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It’s something of a surreal hoot to stand amid the gutted rubble of the Yarraville boozer as it undergoes a drastic refurbishment.

Consider The Sauce gets it that there is some sadness around about the demise of inner-west old-school blue-collar pubs.

But CTS has no doubt the Yarraville pub has been in need of a new look and a fresh direction for some time.

And talking to Jason (pictured above), spokesman for the new all-westie owners, I rather think there are grounds for optimism.

There will be no pokies and not even pizzas – or “not at this stage”, in terms of the latter.

He says the reopened pub – the mooted date is mid-October – will be “a traditional pub with a twist”.

 

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And it is surely a good sign that the joint will revert to being called the Railway Hotel – vestiges of which remain.

The menu is in the process of being formulated, so everything Jason tells me comes with an “approximately” qualification.

But and just for instance … chicken parma for $21.50, unless you buy one on $15 parma night (Mondays).

There’ll be bar food/tapas.

And there’ll be a Sunday winter roast deal.

As well as an all-new wine list couple, there will a selection of boutique beers, including Two Birds.

 

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Let’s help West Welcome Wagon

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Plough Hotel/CTS Fund-raiser for West Welcome Wagon
Plough Hotel, 333 Barkly St, Footscray.
Tuesday, October 7, from 7-9pm.

To book for this event, go HERE.

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Like anyone else who receives the Facebook feed from West Welcome Wagon, I am super impressed with the work they do.

It’s a small, tight volunteer group that helps asylum seekers in the western suburbs.

It’s run almost entirely through the group’s Facebook page.

They take care of many needs facing about 200 homes containing about 1000 people.

People who are facing an uncertain future, who cannot work and have very little to get by on.

West Welcome Wagon, its volunteers and drivers provide them material help.

They provide them, too, something just as important and often sorely lacking in the lives of these folks – simple human contact and companionship.

A lot of what West Welcome Wagon provides comes in the form of donations – furniture, clothes, toys and so on.

But a lot of what they provide requires cash – items such as food and underwear, for instance.

So Consider The Sauce is very happy to be raising some of that cash in conjunction with the Plough Hotel in Footscray.

Our party will be held on Tuesday, October 7, from 7pm.

The cost is $30 and the ticket limit is 40.

Our party will be held at the bar end of the Plough and the vibe will be mix ‘n’ mingle rather than formal and seated.

The terrific food will be in the form of tasty canapes, antipasto-style treats and pizza.

The Plough will be reimbursed to help cover their food costs. The ticket price does not include drinks.

All the remaining money, minus TryBooking fees, will go to West Welcome Wagon.

Between us all, we’ll be able to get that amount significantly above $1000 by auctioning some goodies that are being donated by some generous local businesses. Details unveiled in coming weeks!

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

To book for this event, go HERE.

Yarraville’s new foodie pub

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Hyde Street Hotel, 188 Hyde St, Yarraville. Phone: 9689 2163

As Victoria On Hyde and in our now many years in Yarraville, we’ve had close to no use for these premises.

Sure, an occasional quick-stop for beer and/or wine … but the only time I ever stuck my head inside the pub proper, I promptly fled.

Now, though, oh boy!

The place has been re-branded as The Hyde Street Hotel and given a radical makeover – and we’re very happy to be taking it for a whirl on Easter Eve, about a week after it has opened.

There’s a rather spartan public bar where a limited choice of menu items is available at significantly lowers prices than in the dining room.

There’s a couple of cruisey lounge areas.

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And there’s the dining room itself – airy, bright and attractive. It almost has an outdoor feel about.

It has booths, widely separated tables and lots of room.

The menu starters are in the $10 to $20 range and display the most diversity of the kitchen’s output, with influences from Asia and the Middle East.

From there the menu diverts to regular pub fare, including “classics”, mains including roasted lamb rump and “bbq’d” kangaroo loin, pizzas and steaks – including a kilogram rib eye for two at $75.

Overall, the prices seem less than at the Mona Castle and more in line with the Plough.

We are served well by young staff dressed uniformly in hipster black and our meals arrive promptly, the wait time spent checking the place out and frankly ogling with much interest the plates bound for the tables of other families and groups.

We go for a couple of the classics.

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My fish and chips ($26) hit the spot.

The salad is a fine thing for this kind of food in this kind of place – fresh greens and some finely cut cucumber, radish and red onion, all well dressed.

The fish is three medium-size pieces of rockling that are sweetish, delicate and add up to a good feed.

Plate aesthetics have dictated the fish is placed atop my chips, so some of the latter are spoiled by oil seep – but the rest are hot, crisp and hastily consumed.

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By contrast, I feel a little sorry for Bennie in regards to his choice of the wagyu beef burger ($24), which comes with the same chips.

It appears to be a good, unfussy burger but it simply doesn’t seem to provide him much of a dinner experience.

It’s gone in about two minutes and is a messy handful.

It has good melted cheese, some greenery, sauce and mayo, caramelised onions and that’s about it.

No bacon; just sayin’ …

But brevity of eating has, in this case, no bearing on quality.

As we walk home, Bennie spends the first block or so expounding with passion and enthusiasm on his burger … the deliciousness of the meat, the “crisp on the outside and soft inside” chargrilled bun, the whole deal.

To the point of saying bacon may have been of nuisance value only.

“Next time, you’ve just gotta try it, dad!” he proclaims.

An obvious winner …

Hyde Street Hotel on Urbanspoon

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Back to our former local

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Victoria Harts Hotel, 43 Victoria St, Footscray. Phone: 9687 7581

This pub was once our very local local.

That was two moves ago and several years before the advent of Consider The Sauce.

We only ate there once, but yours truly spent time there – much time, actually – watching various football games in the days before a subscription to Foxtel made such unnecessary.

We no longer live so close, but we’re interested in checking out how it shapes up under “new management” – not that that is always, if ever, a particularly hopeful sign.

Inside, all remains much as we recall.

The new crew seems to come straight from the same template as the previous and the kitchen staff are wearing Jack Daniels polo shirts.

I even get called “Darl” when ordering.

The menu is very much your basic pub grub – steaks, some pasta, kids meals with chips for $10, a daily specials blackboard.

Bennie’s dinner desire is not featured on the menu, so he settles for chicken schnitzel ($17).

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The schnitzel itself looks rather ghastly – almost diseased, actually.

But that’s because the cheese is far more grilled than is usually the case.

The certainly brings out the cheesy factor, and Bennie’s meal tastes good to his dad.

And while I’m no expert and could be fooled in this regard, I’m pretty certain this is your actual slab of actual chook meat, as opposed to the re-constituted variety.

The chips and salad are OK, but the former seem to adhere to the dictates of a lack of generosity we seem to be coming across more and more lately in similar meals in similar places.

Health-wise, that may actually be a good thing, but still …

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My bangers and mash ($13 regular price, $10 for me as a blackboard special) looks unglamourous and drab.

But in the eating it is much better.

The snags appear cheap and nasty but are just the kind of tightly-bound Italian-style pork sausages we eat at home.

The mash is hot and plentiful; the gravy is dark and just the right kind of salty.

Both are classic cheap pub grub.

Having ordered this exact same meal in any number of places and received nothing BUT bangers and mash, I am pleased to see and eat the carrot and zucchini on the side.

There’s a big bunch of room in our lives for pubs and pub food that have none of the swishness of the Spottisswoode Hotel, Plough Hotel or Junction Beer Hall & Wine Room.

The Vic seems to be doing a fair job.

And certainly, the fact there’s a heap of locals lining up early in the week for a feed speaks well of the place.

But for similar food presented with a tad more panache, at similar prices and marginally closer to home, we’ll most likely stick with the Mona Castle.

As we depart, Bennie asks with puzzlement: “What kind of pub doesn’t have a burger?”

Victoria Harts Hotel on Urbanspoon

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Nice buns at beer hall

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Junction Beer Hall and Wine Room, 15 Hall Street, Newport. Phone: 9391 8188

The now fading days of the Geelong commute were undertaken mostly by car, but some of it was courtesy of the uncertainties of train.

That often entailed an early evening train switch at Newport, so I spent quite a bit of downtime loitering at Newport Station, sometimes taking the opportunity to do a bit of mostly desultory shopping in the Hall Street shopping precinct.

Maybe it was more about my morose state of mind than anything else, but the recall of those times is largely one of drabness and even a certain sense of menace.

Right in the middle of that shopping strip was a down-at-heel old school boozer.

In Saturday lunchtime sunshine – and with the Geelong trip just a memory – the whole vibe seems quite different.

We pass a couple of busy cafes on our way to what is now Junction Beer Hall & Wine Room.

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The management of the various establishments may beg to differ, but the new-look Junction seems to us to have a lot in common with two other pubs we have been frequenting of late – the Spotiswoode and the Plough.

That extends to the fit-out as well as the food, although the Junction – as befits its full name – has very long beer and wine lists.

Out back there’s a roomy lounge that has – we are tickled to discover – three sofas identical to the Scandinavian-style number that sits in our living room, as well as many other of the same model in different colour schemes.

The Junction has separate food menus for the beer hall and wine room, though they appear to overlap.

The beer hall menu has pizzas and steaks, going for around $30, as well as some novel snacky items such as prawn sliders and fried chick peas with cumin and salt.

But having scoped out the menu before leaving home, we’re pretty sure we know what we’re having so waste no time ordering.

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“This sure is a shiny bun,” says “Five Bowls” Bennie.

Yes, it’s my boy’s first experience with a fancy foodie burger using brioche as its bookends.

His burger with “cheese, beetroot relish, aioli and brioche bun, served with onion rings” ($14) is less of a glorious handful than he is accustomed to, so the sandwich lasts all of about three minutes.

However, the mouthful of burger I snag in the interests of science tastes outright excellent.

The good onion rings are joined on the chopping board platters by some crunchy cornichons.

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Bennie freely casts envious and admiring eyes at my pulled pork sandwich “with house made BBQ sauce and coleslaw” ($13).

That’s only right – as it’s a beauty.

Stuffed between a wonderfully fresh ciabatta-style roll are just the right proportions of chewy, flavoursome pork and tangy, crisp slaw.

Unlike Bennie’s burger, this sandwich IS a handful – and a suitably messy one at that.

Throwing in extras such as fries ($9) and alcohol could see your Junction bill climbing skywards, but the immediate locals would seem to have every reason to be happy about having this foodie pub at hand.

Check out the Junction website – including menus – here.

Junction Beer Hall and Wine Room on Urbanspoon

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Killer burgers in Spotswood

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Spottiswoode Hotel, 62 Hudsons Rd, Spotswood. Phone: 9391 1330

Even with the contemporary makeover, the Sunday night scene at the Spotiswoode is cheerily like any pub anywhere in Melbourne.

There’s family groups all over the joint, couples and single diners, too. Some are watching footy but everyone is having a fine old time.

Some folks are even chowing down on the $10 Sunday roast special this late in the day.

It’s that sooper-dooper special that has seen us return several times since our first visit.

But tonight we’re here to try the broader menu, about which we’ve heard very mixed reports.

We have to report, however, that the meals we see scurrying around us – shanks ‘n’ mash, two kind of ribs, steaks, F&C and pasta among them – look amazingly tasty and very big.

Whether this is testament to a triumph of substance over style, we know not.

But still, we’re wondering if we’ve really goofed by BOTH of us ordering the burger with lot ($15.50).

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Those doubts are accentuated when our meals arrive looking nothing special at all.

That turns out to be largely an optical illusion caused by the large white plates on which our food resides.

The truth is, these are killer burgers – hands-on, gooey, messy, unrepentant macho classics.

The buns are big and fresh.

The good-quality bacon and cheese both taste real fine.

Even the fried egg – something I can and do live without when it comes to burgers – seems just right.

The beef patty is partially charred on the outside, nice and chewy and just the right dimensions in relation to the other ingredients.

Finally, the various green bits and the tomato have a crunchy freshness to match it with the more greasy elements, providing just the right kind of contrast.

Thee are the best burgers we’ve had for a good long while, and the price is a steal.

But we both wonder how they’d go when being assessed by our pal Nat, a hardcore, finger-on-the-pulse Melbourne burger maven if ever there was.

The chips?

They’re a deep brown and look like they may be ace – but they’re just OK.

Spottiswoode Hotel on Urbanspoon

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