Southern style in Yarraville

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Fat Thursdays by Bourbon Street @ The Commerical Hotel, 238 Whitehall St, Yarraville. Phone: 9689 9354

All your food trucks and fancy cafes are good and well, but we have to say we are happy and delighted to discover the Commerclal Hotel is up and running once again.

It’s only open three days a week but that’s a win when compared to the sad sight we observed whenever we drove past what seemed to be the abandoned Hyde Street institution.

Inside, all is as much as we recall – a scruffy, lived-in pub ambiance of a sort so hard to find these days that the Commercial almost comes across as a museum piece.

And there’s food – but only on Thursdays.

It is being provided by an outfit called Bourbon Street, which operates a lunch delivery service of southern American-style goodies to the Melbourne CBD and inner suburbs on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and to Yarraville, Seddon and Footscray on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

 

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We like it that they’ve called their dine-in project at the Commercial Fat Thursday; we’re rather less impressed with it being called a pop-up – a term much over-used and misused.

As ever with this sort of food, I keep my expectations and hopes in check.

In this case there seems good cause, because despite the use of the names Bourbon Street and Fat Thursday, the in-house menu is studded with items not usually associated with the famously non-BBQ city that is New Orleans – “cajun brown rice” (huh?), pulled pork and jerk chicken among them.

Of course, this is Melbourne, this is the west and in the end I’m oh-so-glad I don’t get hung up on stuffy notions of authenticity – for what Bennie and I have is a fine meal indeed.

We order a main apiece and then load up on the sides (see menu below).

 

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We rather regret getting our BBQ beef and jerk chicken with the rice rather than in roll form. The rice is OK but rolls would’ve been more in keeping with our dinner’s flavour.

My beef and his chicken are fine.

But it’s the sides that do it for us.

The prices are very cheap – surely the cheapest for this sort of food in Melbourne.

At places around town that serve similar fare, getting the number of sides we split between us would result in a rather hefty bill for what is meant to be blue-collar food.

No such problem at Fat Thursday – it falls comfortably inside the cheap eats realm.

But there’s nothing cheap about the quality and the serves are of a good size.

 

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 Fried okra – whole, freshly battered and yummy.

 

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Potato salad – very nice.

 

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Corn that is just corn but that fits right well with the rest of our meal.

 

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Coleslaw – very nice.

We also get mac ‘n’ cheese, which tastes good but is a little on the dry side, and jalapeno cornbread, which comes in the form of three small muffins – they’re good, studded with corn kernels and have a delicate spice glow going on.

It’s been a cool hoot to sit in the venue of so many previous happy times – all of them pre-CTS – and eat some pretty good southern-style food without feeling in the slightest bit inhibited by the pricing.

 

Bourbon Street @ the Commercial Hotel on Urbanspoon

Commercial Hotel on Urbanspoon

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West Welcome Wagon benefit – the wrap

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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.

Many, many thanks to everyone involved for making this such an enjoyable and worthy night.

Through a mix of ticket sales and our auction we all helped raise a handy figure of cash money to help West Welcome Wagon continue its amazing work.

Our friendly, terrific crowd included a number of CTS regulars and a bunch of WWW types – sometimes both at the same time!

 

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I had hoped to have WWW founder Mia address our mob, but the situation was a tad too noisy for that.

Nevertheless, Mia seemed to spend some time with all our guests and I hope she and her friends enjoyed the night as much as I did.

 

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The Plough staff were working very, very hard on what turned out to be a busy night but looked after us well.

The food – pizzas and a whole lot more – was truly fantastic.

I’d never run an auction before, and coming off a long day at my regular gig, I wasn’t sure I was up for it.

But it turned out to be a whole lot of fun!

So congratulation to Brigitte, who took home both the printer from Techville and the cookbook from the Sun Bookshop, and Amy who grabbed the lovely glassware from inviteme.

And thanks, too, to the other bidders who kept the interest levels high!

 

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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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hyde4
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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harts6

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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