EAHA/Kokeb/CTS party – the wrap

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EAHA/Kokeb/CTS fund-raising party for Eritrean kids, Kokeb Restaurant & Cafe, 247 Barkly Street, Footscray. Phone: 9689 0157

Tuesday, July 22.

 

It was an evening to raise funds to support the work of Eritrean Australian Humanitarian Aid.

It was held at Kokeb Restaurant & Cafe in Footscray.

It was beaut!

Thanks go to many people …

 

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Thanks to everyone who supported the event through their credit cards and their presence.

Thanks to the Kokeb family – Helen, Melaku, Naeb … and, most particularly, thanks to Demet, who spent the whole day cooking the wonderful food we enjoyed so much!

 

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Thanks to Louise and Noray from EAHA for telling us about Eritrea and the group’s work.

Thanks to the rest of EAHA gang – Wafa, Namarek, Aziza and Amira – for providing smiles, great ginger-infused Eritrean coffee and popcorn, dates and sweet cake hombasha to go with it.

Thanks to Nat Stockley for his as-always fantastic pics. He really saved me. Maybe it’s time to face reality – that hosting these events AND taking good blog pics is too much of a stretch!

Thanks to Matt from Westgate Party Hire for providing the serving platters free of charge.

 

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What we enjoyed food-wise:

 Yebeg wat: Freshly made beef stew served with injera.

Doro wat: Chicken drumsticks slow cooked in dense stew of onions, berbere and Ethiopian butter. Boiled eggs are knife-poked and simmered in the stew. A high holiday treat in Ethiopia.

Misir wat: Split lentils stewed with onion, garlic and a blend of Ethiopian herbs.

 

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Alecha: Potatoes, carrot and split peas cooked in onion, garlic and olive oil. A mild dish with a touch of turmeric and a subtle blend of herbs and spices.

Salad, injera.

$1000 has been deposited in the EAHA bank account.

Thanks!

 

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Cold night, fried dough

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Mozzarella Bar, 103 Victoria Street, Seddon. Phone: 9687 0097

Some time before the end of year, Bennie will become taller than his dad.

His shoe size is already a step up from mine, so to speak.

This is all a far cry from his first appearance in Consider The Sauce – a late 2010 review of Laksa King in Flemington.

It’s to Bennie’s considerable credit that in that time he has continued to thrive in two separate homes with two very different adults/parents.

I was never going to be a movie-and-Maccas-once-a-month kind of dad.

No way!

Which isn’t to say I don’t mostly enjoy the bachelorhood our arrangement affords me.

Though things can get a little scary.

So the Bennie times are to be preferred, bringing a centredness and a sense of belonging.

On his first night back with dad, I generally make sure we have a meal at home – just to settle in once more and knuckle down for the work/school week ahead.

So this week, Sunday night dinner is yummy pies from a new Werribee bakery, tomato salad and yogurt/cucumber/garlic dip.

What we can do on such nights, however, is go for a post-dinner promenade around the nighbourhood.

Bennie sometimes may take a little persuading to leave the house, but once we’re out and about he truly digs walking the streets with his old man.

And happily, and despite their much-discussed trendy veneer, Yarraville and Seddon offer very, very little by way of food and drink temptations on a cold Sunday night – they’re pretty much locked-down and shut-up like small country towns.

This reduces us mostly to bat-spotting and talking to cats – no problem!

But Mozzarella Bar is changing all that.

As we enter, Bennie has his mind fixated on Nutella calzone.

Of course!

But a quick glance at the menu reminds me of the eye-catching Italian doughnuts I spied on my first visit here.

Oh boy, these are good!

Our zeppole are hot, chewy, crunchy with cinnamon sugar and spiked with plump sultanas. They’re served with a just-right bowl of cream infused with vanilla and coffee.

A $11 serve of five is fine to share for two lads who have already consumed a healthy dinner.

Our cafe latte and hot chocolate arrive, as requested, within seconds of our dessert – a touch of class and timing we appreciate.

As we depart, I ask Bennie which he thinks the superior concept – zeppole or Nutella calzone.

“Maybe if they deep-fried the calzone!” he quips.

Now, THERE’S an idea …

Check out Temasek’s review here.

Mozzarella Bar on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

 

Best schnitzel EVER!

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La Morenita, 67 Berkshire Rd, Sunshine North. Phone: 9311 2911

Meeting a fellow blogger and her friends a few weeks back – at La Morenita as it happens – I casually mentioned that I am happy for Consider The Sauce to cover a restaurant or business more than once.

This occasioned surprise on behalf of one of my new friends.

Me, too, I guess!

It has never been planned.

But somewhere along the way this blog has become an ongoing journey so updates and second-looks seem natural as the western subrubs food scene develops and evolves, menus expand or change and people come and go.

After several “reviews” and before-and-after stories on two separate CTS Feasts, La Morenita certainly fits snugly into that continuing scenario!

And for that we make no apologies – this after all, in our opinion, is one of the true gems of the west.

What’s more, exciting things are happening at this fine Berkshire Road emporium, with revamps and extensions planned for both the premises and the menu.

After a “research trip” to Sydney, Marco and Maria will be rolling out for testing a number of new dishes on coming Sundays – they’ll be of a more substantial nature, to match the grouse range of sandwiches/burgers and empanadas already featured.

First up tomorrow (July 20) will be fried fish (barramundi) and beef schnitzel with chips and salad.

I, of course, misread Maria’s Facebook announcements and bowl up on Saturday – but Marco whips me up a schnitzel anyway.

Oh … My … Lord – it’s sensational!

The crumbed coating so crisp and unoily, the meat so thin, tender and tasty.

And what looks at first blush like somewhat ordinary accompaniments turn out to be perfect – the chips and, particularly, a simple salad of tomato and onion.

It’s big, mind you – really really really big. So much so the $20 price tag seems like a bargain.

Half of it went home with me.

Unless you are of pronounced appetite, this’ll do as a light meal for two.

Schnitzel? Latin-American food?

Yup.

Maria tells me schnitzel and chips is an absolute Uruguayan classic.

“This is what I grew up on,” she says.

Best way to keep track of what the weekly dishes will be is to like their Facebook page.

 

 

Good, fresh Japanese in Moonee Ponds

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I Dream Of Sushi, 6 Margaret Street, Moonee Ponds. Phone: 9375 7951

I Dream Of Sushi is a brand new – Nat and I hit it for lunch on opening day – Japanese joint tucked just around the corner from Puckle Street, with a branch of Yim Yam and a fine fish and chippery nearby.

As this is his work nighbourhood, Nat has been watching developments with great interest as he sometimes gets cranky with despair and boredom concerning the same old same old lunchtime routines hereabouts.

The place is done in cheerful cafe style and the staff are on the go and smiling.

I suspect that, not unlike another Japanese CTS favourite, I Dream Of Sushi delivers sushi rolls not out of any great passion about doing so but because to do otherwise would be commercial suicide.

In any case, he and I happily focus on the rest of the menu (see below), which covers a tight but appealing range of smaller dishes and a line-up of rice bowls.

We do real good.

My miso soup ($3.50) is regulation but very good, with deep miso flavour.

 

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Gyoza ($6.50), too, are orthodox but also yummy with a nice garlickiness.

 

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Tofu salad ($10) is a winner and just the sort of light, healthy lunch I’ve been desiring.

The greens, tomatoes, cucumber and radishes are super-fresh and the dressing tangy.

 

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Nat is very happy with his salmon sashimi (12 pieces for $10).

 

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But it’s his teri may don ($12) of “tender chicken thigh cooked in sweet soy on steamed rice w/- Japanese may” that does it for him.

“I’ve hit the bullseye,” he happily proclaims.

I Dream Of Sushi is pitching itself cleverly for the local lunch market – it’ll do fine.

And, yep, Nat will be back.

 

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As we are wrapping things up, we get talking to Catherine and Barb, for whom this is a family affair – they could hardly be prouder of what Acko, Yagu, Miho and Con are doing!

 

I Dream of Sushi on Urbanspoon

 

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Fabulous and fancy @ Ebi

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Ebi Fine Food, 18A Essex St, Footscray. Phone: 9689 3300

Consider The Sauce loves Ebi; we adore the place, its charming host, the perfect fish and chips and bentos.

But $120 for a tricked-up degustation men?

Not exactly regular fare for CTS, as regular readers will understand.

How to justify such extravagance?

Birthday prezzie?

A few days out, but what the hey …

Tax return treat?

Having only just got all the required documentation in the one room, I haven’t even really started on this year’s effort yet …

Celebratory outing based on good results in the “scary medical tests” department?

Truth is, tonight’s Ebi event – the first of its kind – is simply too tempting to pass up.

I’m tingling with excitement at seeing John spread his wings with the sort of ritzy food, time – and labour-intensive sauces, and superior and refined ingredients of the kind that rarely come my way.

And I’m looking forward to sharing the experience with what I assume will be a small audience of Ebi regulars/fans and doing so with some classy beer, sake and wine on hand … though I suspect the booze may be wasted on a wine prol such as myself.

I’m expecting food that displays strong influences from both Japan and France – and maybe even Italy.

And so it largely proves to be …

Sharing the bar stools with me are Jake and Kim, on one side, with Daniel and Tom on the other.

 

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The table for two behind us is soon filled, to my happy delight, with CTS pals Justin and Sasha!

Wonderful!

And so it begins …

This is no ordinary degustation bash. For starters, the price is way less than those sought for most of the famed and storied options available elsewhere.

There’s the same paper serviettes as ever.

And John himself acts not just as chef but also waiter, maitre’d, busboy and dishwasher.

Frankly, I’d not be comfortable with a more formal arrangement.

 

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Spherified edamame with sea salt crystals is as out-there as tonight’s fare is to get – John even uses the word “Bulli” in relation to it. It’s a gorgeous, slippery, crunchy mouthful with pronounced edamame flavour served with Koshihikari Echigo rice beer.

 

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Anchovy and parmesan straws are rich, buttery and crumbly, the anchovies supplying just the right kind of salty flavour explosion.

 

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Seared Hokkaido scallops with soy wasabi butter are such a hit – for good reason – that John quickly whips up another round for us!

 

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Grilled, salted salmon belly is profoundly exquisite and served with Osakazuki Junmai Ginjo Sake.

 

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Lobster? CTS? Blimey!

Butter-poached crayfish is a dream, served with a yuzu kosho sauce that exhibits just the right kind of tartness to match the seafood’s sweetness.

John describes the sauce as made with a fruit that is a mix of lemon, lime and orange blended with salt and chilli.

This is served with a just-right Borgo Bello Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie 2012.

 

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We’re about to move into significantly more robust and richer territory …

 

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Duck and porcini kamameshi comes with blackcurrant jus.

Kamameshi turns out to be a sort-of Japanese version of the universal rice dish and is very much like risotto – it’s wonderful, too, as is the juicy duck.

(Served with Wynns Coonawarra Shiraz 1998.)

 

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Ahhh – the best of all!

Wagyu fillet with roast marrow, shallot and herb tartlet comes also with roast beetroot and organic kale.

It’s all terrific, the beef ultra-succulent and the tart pastry so very rich.

Served with Wynns Coonawarra black label Cabernet sauvignon 1997.

 

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And to finish …

Ginger and ume bombe with “plum” ice-cream, sponge and meringue – just my kind of grown-up, not-too-sweet dessert; served with lovely Osakazuki Umeshu (“plum liquor”).

So … has it been worth it?

Yes.

I’ve loved the food, the company, the conversation and the liquid accompaniments.

It’s been a beaut experience!

But we’ll still be loving those bentos and fish and chips …

And, yes, there may be more such events at Ebi.

See earlier stories here and here.

 

Ebi Fine Food on Urbanspoon

 

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An A1 arrival in Werribee

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A1 Bakery, 2/70 Watton Street, Werribee. Phone: 8714 1592

What good news this is – a branch of A1 Bakery in Werribee, a sister joint for the Lebanese shops in Sydney Road and Dandenong.

Yippee!

They’ve been open a week when I arrive, hungry, for lunch.

I’m expecting the big space and in-depth grocery range of the Brunswick establishment.

So I’m surprised to find instead a smallish but cheerful cafe, with only a minimal range of groceries.

There is a heap to eat, though.

There’s a range of 15 super-cheap pies and piazzas.

Plain zaatar goes for $2, zaatar with vegetables is $4 and a spinach and cheese parcel will cost you $4.50.

There’s wraps and salads.

And, best of all, there’s a range of platters – falafel, tawouk (chicken), labne, kibbe, “kafta” and the like.

They range in price from $6 up to $10 and all come with a varied line-up of pickles, yogurt, salad, chips, salad and pita.

 

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As listed, my $8 kofta deal is served without pickles, so I get them added for an extra $1. I’m pretty sure the cheerful and obliging staff will allow customers to customise their platter choices in terms of accompaniments.

My lunch is terrific.

The three kofta sausages, in particular, are wonderful – fat, juicy, mildly seasoned and pinkish in the middle.

The pies and pizzas I see being consumed around me look very much the goods, too!

 

A1 Bakery on Urbanspoon

 

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Breakfast with wings

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Cafe Vue, International Departures, Melbourne Airport

Earliness is a pronounced Weir family trait.

So – headed to Taranaki for some quality Grandma Time – we are through long-term car-parking and various levels of processing with plenty of time to spare.

Plenty of time to spare, in fact, for breakfast.

Of course, just like everyone else, we are way past the times when we associated flying and airports with anything approaching yumminess.

So we are surprised and delighted to enjoy a fine breakfast while awaiting our flight – the surprise all the more greater for being provided by a group the flagship restaurant of which we will most likely never inhabit for reasons to do with both matters financial and plain old inclination.

We pay substantially above the going rates to be found in our greater neighbourhood, but we are happy to do so for such a pleasant experience.

 

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Bennie and I both go for the Vue breakfast burger at $9.90 of brioche, poached egg and hollandaise, his with bacon, mine with smoked salmon.

I do much better – I get a heap of robustly-flavoured fish and the whole thing is a delight.

A pistachio and chocolate danish ($5.40) to share is freash-as and very tasty but almost ethereal in its lack of substance.

The high-price factor arises once more with our cafe latte and hot chocolate – they’re $4.70 but just fine.

The surroundings are civilised and enjoyable, and thus a stylish, engaging rebuff to notions that flying – or preparing to fly – must always be a drag.

The relaxed vibe continues when I take my allocated aeroplane seat and find myself seated to a young mum and a much younger, brand-spanking-new baby.

This a flying first for me – on any kind of flight, international or otherwise.

Nice to meet you, Maryanne and Brooklyn!

 

Café Vue at Melbourne Airport on Urbanspoon

 

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Indian “street food” joint hits West Footscray

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Akshaya, 1/578 Barkly Street, West Footscray. Phone: 8394 9713

We may be prone to speculate about when or if the West Footscray stretch of Barkly Street will reach Indian restaurant saturation point.

And we certainly don’t feel obliged to check out, let alone write about, each new arrival.

But when a new place goes the ultra-cheap “street food” route – we’re there!

Akshaya is a sister restaurant to the warmly regarded establishment of the same name in Ashley Street.

But here the focus is quite different – with the spick and span new outfitting reflecting the budget cafe-style menu (see below).

There’s chat dishes, dosas and idlys and vadas, some Indo-Chinese, a few other things of interest … all vegetarian.

 

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Bhel puri ($4.99) is OK and fully fresh enough, but lacks a little in the zing department for my tastes. But then, it just about always does. Maybe bhel puri simply isn’t for me or I keep hoping it will be something it isn’t.

 

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My thali ($9.99) is way better.

I’m told the fundamental difference between the joint’s north Indian and south Indian thalis is rotis (with the former) and rice (with the latter).

The rice with my south Indian thali is excellent.

It’s basically a pulao studded with nice spud bits. But with its mint, cinnamon and other spices, it comes across as a sort-of vegetable biryani.

The sambol – heavily spiced with corianader – and tomato chutney are as you’d commonly find with a dosa meal and are fine.

The vegetable curry also has potato among the other vegetables. It’s oily and delicious.

The crumbed okra looks like it may an Indian take on the Korean popcorn fried thing.

It’s not – the lady finger pieces are tender and not at all crunchy.

But they’re beaut, packed with okra flavour and go nicely with the really thick dollop of yogurt.

On the basis of this preliminary meal at the brand new Akshaya, I’d caution that spice levels here are high.

Not uncomfortably so for me, but in the above thali only the okra and yogurt escape intense spicing.

Bravo for Akshaya for developing a different angle on what is a very competitive strip.

Akshaya on Urbanspoon

 

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A sharing thing

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Cooking Connections at Yarraville Community Centre, part of the Care To Share Project

CTS missed the first, Vietnamese outing of the Care To Share Project’s Cooking Connections program, but was very happy to make the weekend pairing as host.

Thanks to the Care To Share crew for granting me the opportunity (see link below for more information).

Thanks, too, to the punters – many from the west but more than a few from all over Melbourne.

But most of all, warm thanks to the families and individuals who shared their cooking and food with us.

There will be photos and comments about the food in this post, but really they’re only part of the story …

First up on the Saturday were Jamshid from Afghanistan, Sara from Iran and the family of Ebi, Roya and Marianne, also from Iran.

All these folks are on bridging visas.

 

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Marrianne did a fine job of splitting the dates and inserting walnuts in them for the Persian sweet rangenak.

 

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But in the digital age, some things are universal with young folks.

 

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The guests lost no time in leaving their chosen seats to talk to the asylum-seeking cooks.

Jamshid was busy making korme koftas, chicken biryani and Afghan pulao.

 

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Along with a stack of finely chopped greens – spinach, coriander, dill – dried limes went into the ghormeh sabzi prepared by Roya and Ebi.

 

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Jamshid’s lamb meatballs and Afghan pulao were fab …

 

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The ghormeh sabzi – with its greens, potato, lamb and red beans – was piquantly amazing.

 

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Everyone thought so!

 

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The walnut-stuffed dates were drizzled with pan-roasted flour mixed with oil and, finally, coconut for a suave “grown-up” post-meal sweet treat.

 

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On the Sunday, it was time for Rosa, her mum Nigest and niece Betty to present their Ethiopian cuisine.

The guests were split about 50/50 between those who had tried Ethiopian food and injera and those who had not.

The dishes cooked were lamb dishes key wat and tibs, and the cabbage, potato and carrot of key wat.

 

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Having long admired and respected the fresh zing with which our African cooks imbue their salads-on-the-side, I was tickled to discover how one family at least does it – marinating sliced green chillies in lemon juice and using it as a dressing.

 

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Once again, the guests lost no time in getting up close and personal with the cooks and the dishes they were cooking.

 

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For more information on the Care To Share Project, check out their website here and “like” their Facebook page here.

 

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Going the whole chook

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Frying Colours, 520 Macaulay Road, Kensington. Phone: 9939 9679

Frying Colours does Korean food with an upbeat, swish attitude.

The long room, which formerly housed a noodle shop, has undergone a substantial refit that cleverly combines a hip suaveness and the feel of a more traditional Korean cafe, especially thanks to the old-school wooden tables.

On a Friday night, the place is humming.

The staff are everywhere and very good at their jobs.

The open kitchen/servery takes about a third of the space.

We’re very happy that our food arrives in approximately the same amount of time it takes us to work what we are going to order – bravo!

For tonight, Team CTS numbers four, so we expect to make merry with the menu.

We do.

Everything we have is good.

There’s a couple of major hits and a minor mis-step that has more to do with our ordering than the food.

Just for fun and to experience as much of what’s available as we can, we order a couple of skewered starters.

 

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“Mouth-watering chicken skewers” ($3 each) are good in a kind of Korean satay fashion.

 

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Eggplant skewers ($3) are way better – they’re tender, juicy and with immense smoky eggplant flavour. We’ll be ordering a stack of these next time.

 

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We order a whole fried chicken. They’re $32; $19 for half.

There’s something enormously liberating and reckless about ordering a whole fried chook – or the equivalent bits there-of.

We split our order 50/50 between “spicy” and “sweet soy” (there’s also “original” available).

Our selections turn our expectations upside down.

Expecting the sweet soy pieces to be the more moist, we find them instead to be the most like orthodox fried chicken. They’re fab.

The “spicy” pieces, by contrast, are moist with a glaze that seems almost Chinese. The spice levels are modest for this table-full of western heat hounds.

But still, this is great stuff and the other big hit of the night.

We’d do it again in a flash.

We’ve accesoried with “wasabislaw” ($5) and kimchi ($5). Both are good and well-priced for the serve sizes.

 

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Bulgogi hot pot ($36) is one of a handful of dishes to share.

It’s of a more traditional Korean bent, with sweetish stocky broth, sliced beef, two kinds of onion, heaps of glassy noddles and some nice slithery mushrooms.

It’s nice enough but is, we suspect, not really what this place is all about or well worth visiting for.

Christine eloquently sums up our collective feelings: “This would seem really good if we hadn’t ordered the chicken!”

We reckon stuff such as the fried chicken or the “FC mixed grill” to share ($40) are the go here.

On the way home, we make a West Foostray stop for peanut butter and vanilla ice-cream courtesy of tonight’s dining companions. They’re both so very, very fine. The ice-cream AND the companions.

Check out the Frying Colours website, including menu, here.

 

Frying Colours on Urbanspoon

 

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CTS Feast No.8: Vicolo – the wrap

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Maria (La Morenita) meets Maria (Vicolo).

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CTS Feast No.8: Vicolo Cafe & Risotto Bar, 28-30 Young Street, Moonee Ponds. Phone: 9372 9500. Tuesday, June 17, from 7pm.

It’s something to marvel at – that what started as a simple gathering at Hyderabad Inn in Footscray for about 10 people almost a year has seen the Consider The Sauce Feast concept progress to an eighth outing.

This time we were the guests of Maria at Vicolo in Moonee Ponds.

Of course, a fine time was had by all.

And once more, it seemed like about at least half of the guests had been attendees at one or more previous Feasts.

Thank you!

The Vicolo turn-out was a particularly gregarious crew, all of whom seemed happy and eager to make happy conversation with their immediate table neighbours.

That made my task as host very relaxing – a big thank you for that, too!

I thought the food was super.

 

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Conchiglioni ripienne di ricotta e spinache al forno (giant pasta shells filled with ricotta and spinach, oven-baked in our delicious Napoli sauce) was a light and simple starter with a fine tomato sauce.

 

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Those who chose risotto paesana di vegetale verde e pesto Genoese (risotto with zucchini, asparagus, leek, and green peas and our home-made basil pesto) as their main course were happy.

The sample I tried was flavoursome with pesto and beautifully, slightly al dente vegetables.

The serves were huge!

 

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If anything, those who opted for osso buco cacciatore-style con polenta (tender beef osso buco oven-braised with rosemary, red wine and winter vegetables over soft polenta) were even happier.

It was rich, sticky and wonderful.

This was Bennie’s first experience with this dish – he loved it, but drew the line at sucking up the marrow.

 

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Panna cotta della casa di mandola (homemade almond cream dessert) was divine, the wafting flavour of marzipan being all the more effective for its subtlety.

 

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The lemon tart was equally luscious.

Plenty of people managed to have a good taste of both desserts by doing deals with their neighbours!

Thanks again to everyone, particularly to Maria and her staff.

 

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More Wayo wow

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Wayo Japanese Dining, 286 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Phone: 9376 5484

Wayo is not one of your more formal Japanese restaurants; nor is it your quickie purveyor of sushi rolls, though there are those available.

So … Wayo IS a rather elegant cafe-style eatery.

And on the basis of a second visit – see a story about the first here – it’s doing truly superb things.

This time around, four dishes are selected from the entree-sharing list.

This simple, affordable Japanese-style tapas spread is truly memorable, each and every dish an outright winner.

 

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“Hearty veggie miso soup” ($4.50) has deep miso flavour.

And there’s a goodly bunch of onion, carrot and potato in there.

“Hearty” is certainly the operative word.

We’re well used to Japanese potato salad being more like mashed spuds in the style also found accompanying BBQ in the US.

Such is the case with this “potato salad with Japanese gravy” ($5.50).

Here, though, the pile of dull-looking warm potato adorned with enoki mushrooms looks distinctly unappetising.

But the flavour is fabulous – surely there is a strong cooked-in-stock thing going on here.

Not sure about the clear “gravy” – is it a glaze or is it merely an oil slick?

No matter – we love this, too.

 

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Nasu dengaku ($8) also defies expectations of the orthodox.

Instead of a halved baby eggplant, this version consists of a thick slice of regular eggplant. The skin has separated from the flesh and gained a brittleness that makes it almost seem like a bottomless bowl.

Is it meant to be eaten? It tastes OK, with smoky flavour, but is a little weird.

But the flesh itself and the gooey miso sauce are sublime – so silky and delicious.

 

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“Tirikara fried chicken” (five pieces for $7.50) is made of ribs or ribettes rather the advertised fully-fldged wings – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

In any case, the price is still right for the simple reason they taste sooooo good – dry of batter with, I think, a strong garlic flavour.

Based on this rather randomly selected array of dishes, we’re definitely up for return visits to Wayo.

 

Wayo Japanese Dining on Urbanspoon

 

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New Seddon place impresses

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Mozzarella Bar, 103 Victoria Street, Seddon. Phone: 9687 0097

Having tried and failed to get a table at Seddon’s brash new Italian joint a week or so previously, a friend and I have no problems on a public holiday Monday night.

It’s her second visit.

We have a wonderful time. The style of the place is not necessarily a natural for CTS, but what can I say?

The service – even before the camera came out – and the food we try are pretty darn fabulous.

 

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We share a beetroot, goats cheese and rocket salad ($10).

It’s simple-as but just fine – the plump beetroots are firm yet tender, and vinegary in a way that reminds of me of my mum’s very own.

High praise!

 

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My pal’s gnocchi de casa with “rich tomato sugo, mozzarella di bufala, basil” ($19) is a huge serve.

But she makes lip-smackingly and happy short work of it for good reason – my stolen taste is fabulous, the pillows so light and fluffy it seems they may float away.

I do something unusual for me – well, two actually.

I order the most expensive meal on the menu; and it’s a steak.

 

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T-bone Toscana of green beans, roasted rosemary potatoes, cherry tomatoes and pesto ($32) is simply fabulous.

I’m actually happy that it’s quite a lot less than the inches-thick slab of meat I had been expecting. This makes it a filling but not overly so experience.

It’s perfectly cooked to order – medium rare. And while there’s some gristle and (of course) bones, I’m knocked out by its rustic appeal.

There’s a heap of wonderful green beans under that meat. And there’s plenty of fluffy, gorgeous spud chunks, too.

It’s a no-sides-needed feed that makes the price tag seem something of a bargain.

Best of all, there’s lashings of pesto, salt, pepper and oil – perhaps this is the sort of unapologetic blow-out repast I should consider more often.

Because I dig the hell out of it …

 

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We love the theatre of the open kitchen.

The pizzas whizzing by us as our meal unfolds look awesome.

As do the deep-fried zeppole (Italian doughnuts).

Check out the Mozzarella Bar website – including full menu – here.

 

Mozzarella Bar on Urbanspoon

 

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Cafe madness in Seddon

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The Charles Street video store is no more.

And the premises’ windows have had placed in them paperwork for a hospitality industry enterprise.

Normally, I would’ve noted this with interest and awaited further material progress.

But in this case, I have been alerted by CTS pal Tennille and colleague Xavier to the presence of plans for the site on the website of the Maribyrnong council.

See the plans here.

I do not know if all such plans submitted to council are as detailed as these.

For they certainly give a very real idea of just what is proposed.

Included are artist impressions such as the one above, as well as information such as a parking analysis, existing site photos, proposed “colour palette” and floorplans.

 

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Also provided is a montage of “inspirational cafes & images”, including shots of Captains Of Industry, Flip Board Cafe and – quite bizarrely it seems to me – Common Galaxia from just up the road!

 

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CTS Feast 7: La Morenita – the wrap

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Consider The Sauce Feast No.6: La Morenita, 67 Berkshire Rd, Sunshine North. Phone: 9311 2911. Sunday, June 8

The follow-up La Morenita CTS Feast was absolutely smashing* – just like the previous one.

Different day of the week, different time at night, almost completely different crew aside from Marco, Maria and myself.

Same food, too - cheese, spicy chicken and beef empanadas; choripan (chorizo in a roll); cocktail hallullas (Chilean bread), pebre (spicy chilli sauce); traditional ham and cheese sandwiches de miga; churrasco (burger with beef, tomato, avocado and mayonnaise); custard berlin (doughnut); milhoja (“1000 layers”) cake; and soft drinks including many Jarritos.

And, once again, some special-addition black pudding – still too rich for me, though!

 

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As on the previous occasion, it was sublimely gratifying to see appearances by a number of repeat CTS Feast offenders.

Thanks to them and everyone else who attended and helped us sell-out not one but two fine evenings.

 

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Most especially my heartfelt thanks to Maria and Marco.

They bought into the CTS Feast concept right from the start with gusto, passion and pleasure.

For CTS, their fine establishment is emblematic of what is great about western suburbs food and the people who make it.

There are still places remaining for CTS Feast No.8 at Vicolo – go here for details.

(* Thanks, Christine!)

 

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Care To Share?

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The Care To Share project is a fine community initiative that aims to “connect residents with local refugee communities through simple acts of sharing”.

There are three strands to this project started by westerners Bree Anastasi, Danielle Entwistle, Kerry Sanders and Nikii McCoppin – two of them involve food, so naturally CTS pricked its ears up.

The Welcome Table sees “families from the inner west of Melbourne to open their homes and dining tables for one evening to a local refugee individual or family” for the purposes of eating, sharing and conversation.

CTS, on account of the restricted space of our tiny pad, had to beg off from this one – as excellent an idea as it is!

Cooking Conections will see “cooking classes delivered by members of the refugee community to individuals from the inner West” at the Yarraville Community Centre.

Our interest in this aspect of the project was rewarded by a request that we host those events we are able to – a request we were very excited to agree to!

The three Cooking Connection sessions thus far planned are:

Tuesday, June 17, 6-9pm - Vietnamese
Vy Cardona, Vietnamese foodie extraordinaire will take you on a culinary journey – and you’ll learn to make beef pho, rice paper rolls, spring rolls and lotus root salad.

Saturday, June 21, noon- 2.30pm - Afghani and Iranian
Jamshid and friends will share some their stories and some of the staple dishes of their Afghani homeland. Qabli pulao, Afghan biryani and the sweetness of sheer pira may be some of the lunchtime delights.

Sunday, June 22, noon-2.30pm - Ethiopian 
Abdi from Konjo restaurant in Footscray will take your tastebuds on a sub-African journey – their famous kitfo, tibs, injera amongst others –  and hopefully their specially roasted Ethiopian coffee makes an appearance, too!

Consider The Sauce truly will be hosting the last two of those.

There is a maximum capacity of 12 guests for each session.

Tickets cost $48 per person and all ticket monies go towards costs associated with holding the classes. Yours truly and the chefs are volunteering their time.

Visit the Care To Share Project here, or you can go straight to the booking page here.

And you can read the story written by my Star Weekly colleague Benjamin Millar here.

The third aspect of the Care To Share Project is I Hear You, “an art installation comprised of letters, pictures and various story telling mediums contributed by individuals of the local refugee community that are participating in ESL classes”.

It will run at the Footscray Community Arts Centre from Thursday, June 12, to Sunday, June 29.

Coming to Barkly St (not Indian)

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In our very early days, Bennie’s mum and I had a single, desultory upstairs meal at Palmerino’s.

A few times back then I stopped by for a beer or three but never managed to crack it with the regulars in what seemed like a rather odd amalgam of bottle store, bar and social club.

Then it became a franchised bottle shop.

Well, all that is no more – and the Bottle-O is no longer a bottle-o.

Instead, it is being rapidly transformed into a restaurant-bar, with the upstairs space to continue to be used for functions.

The man behind 540 On Barkly is Simon Matkowsky, formerly chef at the Mona Castle in Seddon.

He tells me his new baby will be up and running before the end of June.

To start with, dinner will be served Tuesdays through to Saturdays, and lunch Wednesdays through to Saturdays.

The draft menu Simon shows me covers all the bases in what could be informally described as “modern Australian”, including tapas, “hand-helds”, pasta and risotto, and grills.

I reckon Simon has snagged a good spot here.

Heading in one direction, there’s not a lot of food, particularly of this variety, all the way to Sunshine and beyond.

Heading in the other direction, 540 On Barkly is situated a nice kilometre or so from the Plough and the eateries of Seddon.

 

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World Cup: Hope lives

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In the face of all available evidence, I am – like no doubt many thousands of people around the country – falling once again for World Cup optimism.

Here’s how my thinking goes: “Well, let’s see now … if the Socceroos can sneak a win against the Netherlands – another country with a young, inexperienced team … and if, somehow, they can sneak a draw against either Spain or Chile … well, who knows?”

It’s completely ridiculous, of course.

But I can’t help myself.

Actually, considering the utterly odious nature of both FIFA and a lot of what is going on in Brazil, the best result for Australia may well be three straight losses, homeward bound and bring on the Asian Cup.

In the meantime, though, there is much football to be watched.

So far, I have found three different venues offering a more social way than a living room sofa to take enjoy the spectacle.

Anyone know of any others?

 

1. Spot On Kebab Station

Just how the playing times will work with this late-night joint, I do not know.

Food: Yes.

Booze: Nope.

Coffee: Unknown.

Check out their Facebook page for updates.

 

2. Village Cinemas, Sunshine.

As far as I am aware, this is only for the Socceroos’ opening game against Chile on Saturday, June 14.

Doors open 7.15 am, kick-off at 8am. Entry is free

This sounds pretty cool!

More information here.

Food: Unknown.

Booze: Nope.

Coffee: Unknown.

 

3. Mozzarella Bar

Seddon’s new Italian establishment is throwing parties for Australia v Chile and Italy v England on Sunday, June 15.

The cost is $40 a head.

Food: Yes – “Unlimited Pizzas & Drinks”.

Booze: Yes.

Coffee: Yes.

Bookings: 9687 0097

 

4. Hyde Street Hotel

Yarraville’s newest foodie pub is opening it’s doors from 7.30am for the Soccerooes-Chile game for an 8am kick-off. As far as I can tell from their FB page, admission is free though table bookings can be made.

The cost: Free

Food: Yes – “$7.50 Egg & Bacon rolls!

Booze: Yes.

Cofee: Yes

Table bookings: 6892163

The elegant Italian in Seddon

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Casa Di Tutti, 160 Victoria Street, Seddon. Phone: 9687 4582

We head for the big, brash new Italian eatery on Victoria Street.

Like lots of folks, we are curious – especially after friends who know about these things have raved about it after a recent birthday meal.

But we wonder, given the buzz surrounding the place, whether there’ll be room for a couple of blow-ins like us – even this early on Friday evening.

We wonder, too, about what sort of impact its arrival is having on the other Italian joint on the street and right across the road.

As it turns out, the new place does have no room for us, so we rather happily head to the other, sensing it may be more our go anyway.

We’re right about that.

We love how Casa Di Tutti is warm, cozy and elegant, all at the same time.

We love the attentive staff in their long black aprons and crisp, white monogrammed shirts.

We love that even with the competition across the road, there’s a steady flow of takeaway customers coming and going.

Casa Di Tutti provides a concise menu of mostly classic Italian dishes.

Mains are in the upper $20 range, pizzas clock in at about $20 give or take a few bucks, pasta the same, while starters go for $10 to $15.

 

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Bennie cherry-picks the menu for the bestest, sexiest pizza he can find – the Casa Pizza of Napoli sauce, basil, buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomato and pork and fennel sausage ($18) .

If his pie doesn’t quite do the charisma overkill for which he is hoping, Bennie gleefully gobbles it up anyway – save for a nice mini-slice he allows his dad to consume.

It tastes just fine to me, in a way of charming homeliness.

 

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My linguine alla pescatora of seafood, “touch” of chilli, garlic, cherry tomato and extra virgin olive oil ($22) displays similarly homespun appeal.

The pasta, house-made as they all are here, is odd in a rather squiggly sort of way – kind of like the of egg noodles you’d get in a big bowl of wonton soup noodles.

And the “touch” of chilli is very, very fleeting indeed.

But the seafood is fresh-as and plentiful, and I enjoy my dish – especially the mopping up of the last remnants of oily broth.

 

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If our savoury choices have been a matter of satisfaction rather than sensation, our dessert heads helter-skelter in the opposite direction.

Calzone di Nutella e fragola of nutella, mascarpone and strawberries IS a sensation – and an outright bargain for $14 when shared between two.

Wowee! The casing is by turns crisp and chewy, and the chocolately filling hot and oozy.

I detect minimal strawberry content, though Bennie begs to differ.

The vanilla gelati is brought-in but nevertheless superb.

We’ll be returning for a return bout of this, for sure … as for our other choices: Maybe we eat way too much spicy food?

Check out the Casa Di Tutti website, including full menu, here.

(NB: The blogger wrote this post while wearing Spongebob pyjamas.)

 

Casa di Tutti on Urbanspoon

 

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Fine dining in Braybrook

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Spot On Kebab Station, 263 Ballarat Road, Braybrook. Phone: 0449 545 786

A blog I have started following recently is called Mon’s Adventures.

I like Monique’s writing style and perspective, and she ventures into the western suburbs occasionally.

And while she covers food and places that are normally outside the scope of Consider The Sauce, she also is happy, as she puts it, to get “down and dirty” – as when she visited a Ballarat Road kebab shack.

Moreover, it’s a kebab joint that has hitherto escaped our notice.

Initially, and prompted slightly by Mon’s photos, I presumed this was because the establishment concerned is set back from the busy thoroughfare and next to La Porchetta.

And I found it of great interest that in Mon’s opinion, she would choose the Spot On “Bomba Burger” above “the overrated Huxtaburger any day”!

So it is that Team CTS – comprising, for this outing, yours truly, Bennie and by-now regular CTS helper Rob – heads for Braybrook in high spirits and replete with robust burger appetites.

 

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Turns out Spot On Kebab Station has escaped notice by us until now not because it’s set back from the road – quite the opposite.

It’s sits right beside the road, with cars and trucks whizzing by just a few metres away.

It’s set up pretty much like your typical kebab shack.

But there’s a covered, turfed dining area with a wide-screen TV and heating facilities, should they be necessary.

There’s plenty of cheerful, obliging staff on hand, and even early in the evening there’s a steady flow of customers coming and going.

 

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In some ways, we know that by being here so early in the night and early in the week, we are missing the point of this place.

Going by upbeat postings on its Facebook page, the Spot On team has already established its venture as something of a westie social hub.

Later at night, perhaps even on this night when game 1 of State of Origin kicks off, or in a few weeks time when the World Cup starts – this may be a very cool place to hang.

There’s certainly something that delights we three about chowing down right here.

 

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Bennie and Rob both go with the chips-in Bomba Burger ($8.50), upgrading for an extra $2 each for more chips on the side and a can of soft drink.

According to the sign menus, the Bomba includes a 140-gram beef patty. As well, this being a solid halal joint, instead of bacon there’s a “rasher” of lamb doner kebab.

Chips, salad and dressing complete the picture.

Both my companions are very impressed with their meals, Bennie nodding enthusiastically after just a few mouthfuls and eventually giving it a 8/10 thumbs up.

 

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I go the cevapi route, my large sandwich ($11) generously stuffed with swell-cooked sausage cubes and simply dressed with sour cream and onion slivers.

It tastes great and goes down a treat – or most of it, so hefty is my meal.

As with my mates’ burgers, the bread is fresh and lighter than might be expected from an eatery of Turkish derivation – and this no doubt helps elevate our combined experience.

Quite apart from our food – which we have really enjoyed – we simply like the very fact of Spot On’s existence.

Just one suggestion …

Come on, guys, make the switch – ditch the polystyrene for cardboard!

 

Spot On Kebab Station on Urbanspoon

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