Diwali with Suneeti




Consider The Sauce never takes for granted the heart-and-soul situations that open up for us because we do what we do.




A year or so ago, for instance, I spent an entire day with our wonderful friend and fellow blogger the Urban Ma and her family, preparing and then eating a fabulous Pinoy feast.




This one is a bit like that …




I met Suneeti when she and some pals were guests at the CTS Feast held at Curry Leaves, the fabbo Sri Lankan eatery in Sunshine.




We sat at the same table, got talking and soon discovered that when it comes to sub-conintental eats – and what’s hot and what’s not so much in the western suburbs – we are very much on the same page.




All of which led to the question: Would Bennie and I like to be guests at her family’s regular Diwali bash in their Sunshine home?








And what a fine time we had!




We enjoyed meeting a varied bunch of lovely folks.




This was not you hardcore devout Hindu Diwali party – the assembled guests and family were from all over; there was meat and alcohol, though not a lot of either.




The food?




OMG – sensational!




Mildly spiced, as befits a gathering at which there are numerous young children, but still just so very fine.




Thanks, Suneeti!




And, yep, we’d really like to return next year!

This story and these photos are published with Suneeti’s happy approval – she was too busy to take pics so is looking forward to this post as a memento!



A Taste of Poland in Sunshine

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A Taste of Poland, 3/1B Bell Street, Sunshine West.

By Erika Jonsson

I’m a compulsive list-maker.

When I was in year 12 someone stole my study diary and wrote, “breathe in, breathe out” on every page, clearly amused by the idea I might not do it unless it was written on a list.

They weren’t far off the mark, really.

Most days I find myself creating a new list, from birthday present ideas a year out to playgrounds and cafes I’d like to visit.

Travel and lists go hand in hand for me – I have lists of places I’ve visited, countries I’d like to visit, cities I might otherwise forget to consider next time we are planning a holiday.

Travel and food also go well together in the western suburbs, where it’s possible to circumnavigate the globe without venturing far from home.

My family loves trying foods from previously unexplored cuisines, ticking off countries at every opportunity.

We’re racking up a pretty good tally – and we haven’t even made it to the Jamaican place in Yarraville yet.

So when my husband told me he was adding a new country to the list I was intrigued.

When he turned off Glengala Road in Sunshine West I was beyond curious.




Consider The Sauce has already documented my love of dumplings, so when we pulled up outside A Taste of Poland it’s fair to say I was thrilled.

It’s an unassuming café attached to a small Polish grocery stocking everything from large jars of dried porcini mushrooms and pickled vegetables to chocolates and sweets.

The menu is small and exceptionally well priced – the most expensive meal on the board is $13.

We ordered a plate of potato and cheese dumplings (which I felt certain would be a winner with my two sons), pork with salad and chips and Polish sausages with cabbage and bread.

The lovely lady at the helm asked me which salads I wanted from the array of jars – I chose red cabbage salad and also ended up with a mix of cabbage, carrot and capsicum.





The pork was tender and tasty, though nothing I couldn’t make at home.

The preserved salads were delicious and I added the cost of a couple of jars to our bill so I could enjoy them at home, too.

Five-year-old Joe and my husband both enjoyed the sausages, but the hands-down dish of the day was the dumplings.

No surprises there.




One-year-old Hugh especially loved the creamy, smooth filling.

The dough was easy to eat and not the slightest bit tough.




The dumplings are made fresh then frozen – you can buy them to take away from the freezer along with items such as croquettes and white borscht.

My coffee afterwards was quite satisfactory and my boys loved their jelly-centred chocolates as a treat.

Our three dishes plus a coffee, a juice and a soft drink came to about $35 and I also grabbed my jars of salad, pasta and dark chocolate to take home.

There is nothing fancy about A Taste of Poland but there doesn’t need to be, especially when you can feed four for less than $10 each.

I’ll certainly be returning for another dumpling fix soon.

CTS Feast No.13: Xuan Banh Cuon



Ang, Xuan and Carson.


To book for this event, click here.

Xuan Bang Cuon is a fabulous eatery.

Now look, I’m guessing a bit here – but I reckon it must rank among the top handful of Vietnamese restaurants in the southern hemisphere.

I have no way of knowing for sure, of course, as I don’t plan on trying them ALL!

But still … it’s high time Xuan Banh Cuon and CTS got together for a feast.

And so it shall be!

It’s not just about the food, as terrific and distinctive as it is, with a strong north Vietnamese bent.

(Yes, you can order pho here but …)

It’s also about Xuan and her family and the joy they derive from serving Vietnamese food their way come what may.

Here are the details:

CTS Feast No.23: Xuan Banh Cuon,
232 Hampshire Road, Sunshine. Phone: 0422 810 075
Tuesday, December 8, from 7pm

Cost: $25


Appestiser sampler plate for each guest consisting of:
Pho cuon thit bo – sautee beef wrap in fresh pho noodle
Banh goi – Vietnamese puff
Cha mrc hai phong – northern squid cake

A choice of ONE of the following for each guest:
Bun rieu cua ca – slightly tangy vermicelli soup with tofu, crab paste and fish cakes
Banh da do tom thi cha – prawn, pork and homemade fish cake soup noodles
Goi du du kho ba – papaya salad
Banh cuon nhan (co cha) – pork and prawn steamed rice paper roll

Rhach dua rau cau – homemade coconut jelly

To book for this event, click here.

Westie eats goss




This unremarkable building, on the corner of Whitehall and Hopkins streets, is in the process of becoming something exciting for Footscray and the western suburbs.

Under the auspices of the same crew that brought us 8bit, it is being transformed into an establishment named Up In Smoke 3011.

Honestly, when I was thinking about writing this story, I blithely assumed I’d be going with something along the lines of “Footscray to get barbecue joint”.

But since then, I’ve had a talk with one of the partners, Shayne, so now know that would not be accurate.

Yes, there will be smoking and barbecue techniques … but what’ll be happening here is something different, innovative and sexy.

“We didn’t want to do traditional American barbecue, as we are in Footscray, Melbourne!,” Shayne says. “And we didn’t want to conform to certain ‘rules’.”

More details – and updates – as they come to hand.

But I can tell you that as well as eat-in there will also be some retail and classy booze going on.

Opening some time in November.




Up in Avondale Heights, Impasto Forno Antico is expanding to take over the old takeaway premises next door.

This is great news, as while the products of this Italian bakery are pure class there hasn’t been much room for customers, including those who want to linger over a coffee.

As co-proprietor Alessio tells me: “On Saturdays, we have queues going out on to the street!”

It’s quite a big space they’re moving into and the wall will be coming down.

They’ll be serving panini, soups and salads.

But the main use for the new and expanded space will be for a gelateria!

When I ask Alessio how much the gelati machinery is costing, he answers: “I’d tell you but you’d want to be sitting down …”

Opening in mid to late November.




Sunshine has a Japanese place.

I hesitate to use the word restaurant or even the word eatery, as Soko is a tiny business in what was the equally tiny Dial A Mr Wong on Hampshire Road.

There is no seating and no eating in unless you want to stand at the window bench.

In the meantime at least, there are some rudimentary tables and chairs outside on artificial grass that I suspect are in place as a temporary measure to compensate for the heavy duty road works going.

So Soko’s main game is undoubtedly takeaway or home deliveries.

I have read some good online reviews.

And, intriguingly, friends speak highly of the lobster sliders they had.

But my $15 tonkotsu ramen (which I confuse with the crumbed tonkatsu – see Art’s comment below) was a bit of a dud – because ramen and takeaway containers don’t really work together and because the noodles and broth were dull.

Could be a hot spot for Sunshine and Albion and locals but I’d advise care.

CTS Feast No.12: The Wrap

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

Many, many thanks to Upeksha, Dillon and the rest of Curry Leaves crew for working so hard to make the latest Consider The Sauce Feast enjoyable!

As always, it was a delight to see so many familiar faces.

And just as enjoyable to meet so many CTS readers for the first time – and swap war stories and tips and faves about the Fabulous Foodie West.




The food ranged from this unannounced yet wonderfully delicious simple chicken and vegetable soup through to …




… biryanis …




… superb string hoppers and …




… equally great rotis and on to …




… hoppers and …




… lampraris before ending up with …




… a range of rather succulent desserts.




Thanks to everyone for supporting this CTS event!

The next one has yet to be devised or locked in any way at all, but wherever and whenever it is, we’d love to see you again.





Meal of the week No.18: Walia Ibex




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!




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.




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.



CTS Feast No.12: Curry Leaves




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.


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.
Roti meal
String hoppers meal
Hoppers meal
String hoppers pilau
(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.)