Meal of the week No.18: Walia Ibex

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A lively FB discussion – inspired by a fellow blogger’s story about a Seddon institution and concerning the pros and cons of various Footscray African eateries – has me very much in the mood for injera and the stuff that goes with it.

But I’m not in Footscray.

I’m in Sunshine.

So I very happily hit Walia Ibex (197 Hampshire Road, 9312 3090).

This is a sister enterprise to the one a few blocks away.

That one is, I’m told, dedicated entirely these days to coffee and billiards.

If you want Ethiopian food, it’s to the Hampshire Road one you should head.

And you should.

While I continue to find it surprising that AFAIK this is the sole African eatery hereabouts, based on my profoundly enjoyable lunch, it’s at least a fine thing to know it’s a good one!

 

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It’s a cosy place with an upstairs dining room.

Upon my arrival, the vapid nonsense of commercial TV is blaring forth.

Soon after, the audio is extinguished – leaving me and the other customers happily with just the familiar sounds of low-key, funky Ethiopian jazz.

The longish Walia Ibex menu has all the usual Ethiopian staples, and while I don’t check too closely, there may even be a few unusual items in there.

The standard vegetarian combo of yetesom beyayneto costs $12.

 

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But I’ve a hankering for something lighter, healthier, cheaper – so foul it is.

I know there’s folks who would consider $10 a bit too much to pay for such a humble dish.

But so good is the Walia Ibex rendition that I consider it a bargain.

The creamy beans are hot and plentiful, anointed with onion, tomato, capsicum, egg, cheese and just enough chilli to make things even more interesting.

I’m provided, by request, injera instead of bread.

It’s a magical lunch.

Sometimes, often, that’s how it goes with the simplest of dishes.

 

Click to add a blog post for Wali iBex on Zomato

 

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CTS Feast No.12: Curry Leaves

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To book for this event, click here.

Right from our first meal at Curry Leaves in Sunshine – there have been several since – I knew this was the sort of place and the sort of people I would love to feature in a Consider The Sauce Feast.

And so CTS Feast No.12 is up and running!

Here are the details:

CTS Feast No.12: Curry Leaves,
463 Ballarat Road, Sunshine. Phone: 8528 3876.
Date: Tuesday, August 11.Time: 7pm.

Cost: $20.

Menu

Entree platter
Pan roll
Stuffed roti
Fish cutlet
Fish pattie
(The above can be made vegetarian but I will need to give the restaurant 24 hours notice.)

Gotu kola (herbal soup of greens coconut milk).

Mains – choice of one.
Biriyani
Lampraris
Roti meal
String hoppers meal
Hoppers meal
String hoppers pilau
Kottu
(All the above can be prepared as vegetarian.)

Dessert platter
Curd and honey
Wattalappam (steamed coconut custard)
Caramel pudding
Choc biscuit pudding

Bennie and I are looking forward to seeing you there!

To book for this event, click here.

(Ticket income from this event is being split 50/50 between CTS and Curry Leaves.)

West Welcome Wagon party – auction goodies

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The Brother Nancy team gives a cheery thumbs-up to being part of the fun!

 

There’s about a week and half until the West Welcome Wagon/Santorini/CTS Greek fundraising feast in Williamstown.

We have about 10 tickets left – if you’re thinking about attending, and we really, really want you to, I suggest you get your skates on.

For booking information, go here.

In the meantime, a couple of generous businesses have donated goodies for a simple, two-pronged auction on the night I hope will raise even more moolah for West Welcome Wagon.

Brother Nancy in West Footscray – see Erika’s story here and mine here – has donated lunch for two to the value of $50.

We reckon that should see a pair of you right for a cool drink, a main meal and a hot drink.

 

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As well, Maria and Marco of La Morenita/Latin Foods & Wines have donated a lovely half-dozen bottle of primo South American wine.

Meal of the week No.14: Curry Leaves

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Headed for St Albans with no particular joint or genre in mind for Sunday lunch, I pass a Curry Leaves (463 Ballarat Road, Sunshine) that is full of happy activity so I double back, park and proceed.

It’s busy – a heap of people in the kitchen and even more in the dining room, including one big party of about 30.

I’m told that, among other things, they’ll all be getting lamprais.

I’ve aborted my further west travel plans with just one plan in mind – to have the same kind of biryani I spied another customer having when I dropped in for a mid-week dinner earlier in the week.

This is the first Sri Lankan biryani I’ve had – and I simply love the fact that it’s recognisably the same dish I’ve had countless times at Indian restaurants in the west yet also one that displays marked differences.

The rice is a deeper yellow-going-brown that is studded with onion slices and curry leaves.

The lamb – unlike the on-the-bone version I’ve had almost without exception in Indian eateries – is boneless and cubed.

It is, however, very, very well done – though not to such an extent it affects my enjoyment.

The raita is much creamier than I am used to and packed with finely diced vege (I’m guessing – capsicum, onion, cucumber and, maybe, tomato).

The eggplant moju is a sweet alternative to the usual tart pickle.

The whole boiled egg has been given a grizzled exterior.

This a ripper dish for $12.95.

See earlier story here.

Sunshine eats goss

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Regular readers will readily understand that as part of the Consider The Sauce ethos, one of the reasons for our deep love for La Morenita/Latins Foods & Wines in Sunshine – apart from the food and the people! – is that it is in a setting about as far removed from a hipster cafe/food “precinct” as it is possible to get.

Still, we’ve often felt the Berkshire shopping strip of which it is part could do with a bit more livelieness and food.

Well, that will soon be happening.

To the left of La Morenita, Whad (that’s him on the right in the above photograph) and his pals are busy preparing their Afghan joint, which will be known as Berkshire Cafe.

They’ll be doing skewered meats over a charcoal grill, other kebabs and “tandoori chips”.

 

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To right of La Morenita, the premises that housed the short-lived El Parron restaurant has been leased to the people behind Roti Ria, currently situated in Sunshine Plaza.

They expect to be installed and up and running a bit more than a month.

 

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Super Sri Lankan in Sunshine

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Curry Leaves, 463 Ballarat Road, Sunshine. Phone: 8528 3876

Given the number of budget-priced eateries Consider The Sauce tries, it’s hardly surprising that when it comes to rotis we sometimes get less than what we hope for.

Specifically, it’s sometimes plain that the rotis we get are store-bought.

When they’re otherwise – when they’re made fresh and in-house – our delight is all the more.

That’s what we get at Curry Leaves, a newish Sri Lankan restaurant in Sunshine.

The outstanding rotis are just one of several high points of a tremendous meal.

 

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Curry Leaves is a nicely appointed eatery right on Ballarat Road and right next door to a discount grocery outfit.

It’s a pleasant space to be in on a cold night, waiting as the traffic whizzes by.

It’s not often we eat in an establishment that uses real linen serviettes – especially not at the prices we’re about to pay.

We’re told that later in the week and at the weekend, when there is a buffet available, the place is “packed”.

Early in the week, we’re the only eat-in customers but there’s steady takeaway business coming and going.

There’s much to ponder in the longish menu – what we share between Bennie and I is just a beginning, we reckon, of our relationship with Curry Leaves.

 

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Our fabulous rotis come as part of the special roti meal ($11.90) that includes two “godamba roti”, one “egg godamba roti”, dal and beef curry.

The rotis really are fabulous – big, not too oily, fluffy and chewy, and the perfect foil for the wet dishes.

The dal is simple and delicious – mildly spiced, sweetish.

The curry is spicier by quite a bit but the meat itself is very good and tender.

 

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Our other board serving is the string hopper meal deal ($12.90) of string hoppers, beef curry, the same dal and pol (coconut sambol).

The string hoppers are super fresh and dainty, and splendid for soaking up the gravy juices.

As instructed, we use our right hands to mix and mop the curry and dal and coconut sambol, doing the best we can based on our greater experience with injera.

We get messy but have an all-round, lip-smacking good time.

As we’d ordered chicken but got beef by mistake, a serve of chicken curry is also brought.

The string hopper meal deal, BTW, is topped price-wise on the menu only by the banana leaf-wrapped lamprais ($14.90), which we only bypass on account of the listed 30-minute wait.

Next time!

We’ve had string hoppers before but not often – all the rest is familiar from hundreds of meals.

It’s simply that these – the string hoppers, the rotis, the curries and dal – are way better than most similar food we eat.

The meats and other ingredients are better quality, the dishes fresher and the simple seasoning more vibrant.

 

Click to add a blog post for Curry Leaves on Zomato

New Afghani in Sunshine

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Afghan Shaheen, 231 Hampshire Road, Sunshine. Phone: 0449 988 753

The success of Afghan Master Kebab in Sunshine has seemingly inspired others to try their luck with likeminded eateries.

Further afield, in Fooscray, Kebab Surra has made its mark.

In Sunshine, it appears there will be three new kids on the block.

One, already open, is situated in the food court at Sunshine Plaza and yet to be investigated.

Another, on the wider bit of Hampshire Road, still has newspapered windows.

Afghan Shaheen is up and running on the narrower part of Hampshire, heading towards the station.

 

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It’s done out in cheerful cafe style with ornate and shiny furniture.

It’s an Afghani eatery with a few twists thrown in.

You’ll find the chargrilled meats that are the principal reason of the much-love for the already established places.

As well, though, the menu (see below) features a longish list of straight-up Indian dishes and even an Indo-Chinese section.

Additionally, Afghan Shaheen is big on baking.

 

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One display contains a glistening range of Indian-style sweet treats that go for $18 a kilogram.

 

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Another cabinet displays many biscuits that look just like Italian-style biscotti.

I’m told, however, that they really are Afghani!

Rest assured, though, they contain heaps of butter.

They sell for a terrific $16 a kilogram – I’m surprised how many I get for $7.

A bowl namakpura (top photograph) – cumin-seasoned strips of deep-fried pastry – are brought without being ordered.

Playing the same sort of teasing role as papadums, they’re yummy.

 

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Lamb kebab ($13.99) has superb chargrilled meat of high quality – the de-skewered chunks shown here are only half of what is served.

The bread is good but unlike either regular naan or the more chewy, crusty bread delivered at Afghan Master Kebab or Kebab Surra.

 

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What I first mistakenly take to be some kind of soup turns out to be an excellent mint dipping sauce – a vinegary version of the pale green version often served.

It’s piquant and delicious.

 

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Curry and rice for $13.99 doesn’t sound like such a crash-hot deal but qabuli palaw is excellent.

The same, good bread.

The same salad bits

Fluffy white rice studded with moist currants and festooned with cooked, tender and sweet carrot strands.

The lamb “qorma” itself is mildly spiced but as deep in flavour as it is deep in brown.

The lamb is of the same high quality and tenderness as found in the kebab serving.

With its many bits and pieces, this $15 dish could easily suffice as a meal for two.

 

Afghan Shaheen on Urbanspoon

 

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