A good thing on Nelson Place

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General Food Co, 117 Nelson Place, Williamstown. Phone: 9397 8239

General Food Co is on Nelson Place but not really of it.

It’s down towards the shipyard area of Williamstown and separated from Nelson Place’s hit-and-mostly-miss range of eateries by Thompson Street with its Greek restaurant on the corner.

This is a good thing!

Instead of having a Willy food hub vibe about it, General Food Co has a friendly, we-love-locals thing going on.

 

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The interior is small but cosy; there’s an outside area that must be simply great on nice days and there’s more tables on the footpath.

The service is fine, kids are greeted on a first-name basis and the coffee is outstanding.

The two dishes CTS tries – one smaller, one larger – are lovely to eat and behold, and are cooked and presented with skill.

But they are of modest proportions.

They’re perfectly fine for a light lunch but we advise against bringing a rampant appetite here – or perhaps, if that is the case, heading towards the breakfast list, several selections of which I spy as being more generous.

 

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I’m told the “dakos” in my smashed beetroot dakos ($12.50) is a kind of Greek rusk.

Atop the pleasantly chewy bases is a cool, luscious and tangy mix of beetroot and fetta.

The balsamic reduction seems a little out place and is too sticky.

 

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Lamb keftethes ($19) are three plump, generously sized lamb meatballs, deliciously chewy and well-seasoned, with a fine tzatsiki, pita bread that is both crisp and chewy and good salad components.

Some more yogurt/cucumber and a few more slices of pita would’ve been appreciated.

It is genuine regret that I have included some critical comments in this story – General Food Co is a lovely place and, as already stated, the coffee is fab.

 

General Food Co on Urbanspoon

 

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Altona/Willy eats goss

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Dropping into one of our favoured locals haunts – Altona Fresh at 62-76 Second Avenue – seeking coffee, great pork sausages, even greater lemon zest-marinated green olives, I am delighted to find coffee is now on the menu.

How marvellous!

 

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Now shopping for Altona Fresh’s superb goodies can be accompanied by an excellent caffeine chill-out and maybe even a $3.50 canoli fresh from Cavallaro’s in Footscray.

 

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The sorts of older shopping strips of the kind on which Altona Fresh is situated are our favourite foodie destinations – all this one needs is a bit of street life and it could be really lovely.

Even on a mid-week afternoon, with not many people around, it’s already apparent this coffee breakthrough could play a role in doing just that.

 

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Also talking Italian, but moving over a suburb, Pizza d’Asporto – which has rapidly become one of our very favourite regulars – has extended its trading hours.

It’s now open for lunches on both Thursdays and Sundays, as well as Fridays and Saturdays and seven nights a week.

Yum!

 

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Staying in Williamstown … fine Greek restaurant Santorini is hosting, with Consider The Sauce, a fundraiser to benefit West Welcome Wagon and its work with hundreds of asylum-seeker homes in the west.

It’s going to be a wonderful night!

See story here.

 

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Live in or near Altona North?

Love pho?

Give Window Cafe a try.

See story here.

Fabulous Greek feast for WWW

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TO BOOK FOR THIS EVENT, CLICK HERE.

Ever since running a successful event at the Plough in Footscray to raise money for West Welcome Wagon, I have been wanting to run another.

It’s been what they call a learning curve.

Picking a suitable restaurant is easy.

Finding one with the required community spirit and generosity is significantly harder.

Finding one with both that is big enough to hold the sort of numbers required to raise a good whack of WWW-bound cash is MUCH harder.

 

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When the proprietor of Williamstown Greek restaurant Santorini contacted us with a view to having Team CTS eat at his establishment, I had a hunch.

“Maybe this is the one!” I thought.

And I was right – when I asked Craig if he would be interested in hosting a WWW fundraiser, he said: “Yes!”

And, just for the record, he did so before the CTS story about our fabulous dinner was published.

I’d earlier contacted Mia of West Welcome Wagon to tell her I was eager to organise another fundraiser.

Here’s what she said of West Welcome Wagon’s efforts to help asylum-seeker households in the west:

“We have had money flying out the door of late. So very many households arriving here with absolutely nothing … the influx was so sudden and great that donations in kind haven’t been enough and we’ve been buying things like food and paying for trucks to help move beds. My point being, we are definitely, more than ever, open to fundraising!

So our June 24 feast date is more than timely!

Of course, a worthy cause is no reason not to have a bunch of fun and eat exceedingly well.

And for that, both Mia and I thank Craig and the Santorini team very, very much.

Here’s the drill …

At our fundraiser, there will be heaps of great food in the generous Greek tradition.

The ticket cost is $50 per person – with 40 per cent of the takings going straight to West Welcome Wagon.

(CTS will be taking none of it and we will be buying tickets.)

The banquet we will be served normally costs $55 – so we are getting it for $5 less and still raising money for WWW.

How cool is that?

 

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Here are the details:

West Welcome Wagon/Santorini/Consider The Sauce fundraiser

Santorini Restaurant, 1 Parker Street, Williamstown.

Wednesday, June 24, from 7pm.

Cost: $50.

Food: Banquet (see above).

Drinks: Not covered by the ticket price but freely available on the night from the bar.

Tickets: There are 50 places available.

TO BOOK FOR THIS EVENT, CLICK HERE.

We are looking forward to enjoying your company!

Wot’s hot in Willy

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Consider The Sauce loves Williamstown.

We love being there, throwing frisbee there and going for drives around the bay.

But it’s also true we’ve long been a little underwhelmed by the food available there.

But we keep on trying.

Our destination upon departing Yarraville for a feed – into the hinterlands of Footscray, Seddon, Sunshine and beyond, OR turn left and head for Willy, Newport, Spotswood and Altona – usually pretty much comes down to a metaphorical coin toss.

But that’s just us … Williamstown CTS readers, friends and potential pals we meet along the way almost invariably tell us, with heartfelt sighs, they wish their local eating-out options were better.

And yet … in  recent months we’ve had some truly magnificent food in Williamstown.

It’s true, you won’t find the same spicy diversity as in other western suburbs realms.

And you will pay more – but not that much more.

Here’s what Willy food has put a skip in our step in recent times …

 

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Pizza d’Asporto, Rifle Range Shopping Centre, 71 Kororoit Creek Road. Phone: 9397 2033

Can’t be beat, we reckon.

Fabulous pizzas, pastas and salads – and, perhaps even more importantly, a friendly welcome that makes you feel like regular even when you’re still to become one.

See story here.

Pizza d’Asporto was also the joyous location of a recent CTS Feast – read the wrap-up here.

 

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Santorini, 1 Parker Street, Williamstown. Phone: 9399 8520

Superb Greek on a lovely heritage Williamstown building.

The marinated lamb shoulder “shaved off the spit” is highly recommended.

See review here.

 

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Mezmez, 42 Ferguson Street, Williamstown. Phone: 9397 8804

Nutella doughnuts.

Actually, there’s much more to be had at this swell Ferguson Street cafe, including salads and more with a zippy Mediterranean outlook.

See earlier stories here and here.

 

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Prince Albert Hotel, 149 Douglas Parade, Williamstown: 9397 5117

Delightful pub on Douglas Parade that manages to be both elegant and casual.

Excellent service and a killer rib eye with superb extras all part of the deal.

See review here.

 

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Shelly’s Beach Pavilion, 26 The Esplanade, Williamstown. Phone: 9397 7878

The new venture that has taken up residence in what was Sirens has been visited just once by us but we were impressed.

See review here.

New crew at Willy Beach

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Shelly’s Beach Pavilion, 26 The Esplanade, Williamstown. Phone: 9397 7878

Our lunch adventure destination was a Willy pub we’re told does a real fine Sunday roast meal.

We soon discover that the pub in question does do a Sunday roast – but only for dinner.

So we end up at Shelly’s Beach Pavilion somewhat by default.

No matter – this replacement for oft-derided Sirens has been high on our radar anyhow.

As it turns out, given the happy hubbub that is in evidence, I’d say we’re lucky to snag a table for the two of us.

 

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I have an open mind about this new venture.

I’ll be trying hard to not let the knowledge that it is being run by an “events company” colour my impressions.

Though I confess that upon reading the menu several weeks earlier my heart sank a little when I spied the inclusion of a cliched “trio of dips”.

The place’s interior and most-excellent patio appear little changed but the furnishings, zippy, apron-clad staff and the professional service give the place a swish feel.

We dine off a real tablecloth and use real serviettes.

Could it be that this signature, landmark western suburbs venue is finally getting the eating place it warrants?

Our verdict, based only on a simple, light and very nice lunch, and the deftness with which we are served, is: Yes.

 

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Spaghetti vongole ($26) has all it needs – heaps of garlic, oil, breadcrumbs, chilli and clams.

If the resultant dish falls a little short of really impressing, it’s nonetheless rather nice.

The clams themselves are plentiful, gorgeously tender and delicious.

 

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Our pizza of tomato, rocket, prosciutto, tomato and cheese is good for its $19 asking price.

The toppings are excellent, though they do slide from the base with slippery ease.

Regular readers will know we now favour a nearby outfit that does excellent pizzas, a wide range of them, for very good prices.

But we’ll not be turning our noses up at a pizza pie of this calibre, especially given the lovely beach-side setting.

 

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A garden salad ($8) of fine leaves and baby tomatoes is a good accompaniment.

It’s to Shelly’s credit that they are having cheapo “special” nights away from the regular menu in a bid to win over regular, local customers …

On Wednesdays, there’s pizzas with a beer or wine for $15.

And the Tuesday $20 steak deal doesn’t sound too shabby, either.

As well, they’re doing breakfast – though going by their website, not for real early starters.

Regular sourdough toast goes for $7 and a “double” bacon and egg roll with gruyere for $15.

Smashed avo with goats cheese AND poached eggs sells for what sounds like a good-deal $14.

So … our inaugural visit to Shelly’s has done more than enough to encourage a return.

Our total bill comes to $61, which includes two $4 Cokes.

Check out the Shelly’s website, including menu, here.

 

Shellys Beach Pavilion on Urbanspoon

Great Greek in Willy

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Santorini, 1 Parker Street, Williamstown. Phone: 9399 8520

On the eve of our mid-week dinner at Santorini, I spend some time checking out the restaurant’s website and menu – and hatch a plan.

I will, without blushing, hijack the ordering for our table of five.

As it turns out, one my companions, Jacqui, the Urban Ma, has received advice that puts her mindset in the same place as mine.

Says Jacqui: “My friend said to me, ‘Whatever you do, don’t have the dips, don’t eat the bread!'”

Indeed, why bulk up on those reliably nice things when, as non-paying guests (see full disclosure below), we can order whatever we desire?

Why not make the most of the opportunity by ordering elsewhere?

So we do!

 

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We – Jacqui, hubby Wes, son Daniel, Bennie and myself – proceed to enjoy a spectacular Greek feed in a lovely Williamstown building.

Built in 1850, the triangular building was once the local post office, and looks out on the bay as it does so the then postmen (and women?) could observe when the boats were incoming.

The interior is elegant yet casual, the service spot on.

 

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Had we gone the regular route with dips or one of the banquet choices, we would never had tried the simple yet amazing horta ($10) – greens, lemon and olive oil.

This chicory looks plain, eats delicious.

 

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Fasolakia ($12.90) is another green and healthy treat, with its beans, spinach, feta and toasted almond slivers.

 

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Our three-starter line-up is completed by the spuds.

What can I say?

How about: “OMG, OMG, OMG!!!”

Really, these humble tiganites patates ($7.90), pan-fried in olive oil, oregano and “kalas salt”, are so so simple yet so very yummy.

So much so that none of us mind at all that quite a few more of them turn up as “trimmings” for our main selections.

 

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Chargrilled prawns ($34.50) and …

 

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… kota souvlaki (marinated chicken cooked over charcoal, $26.50) are good, solid, enjoyable Greek fare, though the chicken is a tad on the dry side.

But they are well and truly aced by …

 

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… the arni gyros of marinated lamb shoulder “shaved off the spit” ($28.90).

This is fabulous stuff that well and truly destroys my some-time belief that the only difference between the food to be had at your typical souvlaki shop and that from more swish Greek restaurant proper is the price.

Wrong!

You’d be very lucky indeed to find lamb this good, this crusty, so unfatty, so joyously enjoyable in a takeaway joint.

What’s more, it’s an impressively big serve.

With its spuds, pita bread and tzatziki, and with the addition of a salad on the side, this would make a perfectly satisfying and affordable meal for two.

Our lamb is unanimously voted the hit of the night.

Along with them spuds!

 

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Our mains have been suitably accompanied by a good horiatiki salad ($14.90).

 

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Did we leave room for dessert?

Yes.

Loukoumades are smaller than those I’ve eaten in the past but they are nicely chewy and really nice.

And in Bennie’s world, deep-fried = good.

 

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Galaktoboureko is even better, it being a semolina custard sandwiched between filo pastry – this is a sort-of Greek-style vanilla slice, but less sweet and cloying.

Check out the Santorini website, including menu, here.

(Consider The Sauce dined at Santorini as guests of management. No money changed hands. We ordered whatever we wanted. Santorini management did not seek any editorial input into this story.)

 

Santorini Restaurant on Urbanspoon

 

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A terrific Willy pub

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Prince Albert Hotel, 149 Douglas Parade, Williamstown: 9397 5117

Consider The Sauce has got a lot of advice from doctors in the past six months.

Some of it has even been about food.

One of them, for instance, a Williamstown local, spoke admiringly about the Prince Albert, its $12 burger nights and its perpetually $15 parmas.

Bennie and I stuck our noses in one Sunday night, really liked the vibe of the place and vowed to return, though we did dine at our fave pizza joint that night.

Then, a few weeks later, the following arrived by email:

“Hi Kenny, I’ve recently discovered your Blog & Facebook Page. I am Michael, one of the new owners at the Prince Albert Hotel in Williamstown. I took over this pub four months ago alongside my father in October, and would love to invite you down for a meal on us to check it out and see what you think and if it’s worthy of a blog post, which I hope it would be.”

Why sure, we’re into that!

(Full discolsure below …)

On the night we visit, I find out that Michael and his dad have little or no pub or hospitality experience, though Michael did work at the Prince Albert for 10 months or so before the pair took the joint over.

Perhaps that fresh-faced approach is no bad thing, as I reckon these guys are definitely doing something right.

 

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There’s a casual bar area and there’s a beer garden.

But it’s the slightly more formal dining room that knocks me out.

This has an elegant ambiance, without being stuffy.

We have a lot of good foodie pubs around us these days but a newish sheen is often part of the deal.

At the Prince Albert, I feel like we are soaking up the love from a comfy yet spiffy local, the whole deal accentuated by the very good black-clad, relaxed staff.

The four of us share two starters …

 

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Chicken and sweet corn croquettes with avocado and tequila dip ($16) are daintily crisp on the outer, rich and gooey on the inner, though there seems only the mildest chook or corn flavour to me.

The dip is OK but not, IMO, a very good match for the croquettes.

 

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Salt and pepper squid ($14) is likewise dainty and fresh but is under-seasoned by the rights of our four palettes and their utter familiarity with highly-spiced food of various Asian varieties!

But wait … we’re just getting started and things get better for us.

Lots better …

 

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The recipient of the seafood linguine ($26) likes her choice plenty, telling me that with it absence of tomato it is a bit different from what she might expect in a swish Italian eatery but still very enjoyable.

I’m surprised to see unbidden grated cheese atop the pasta prawns but my pal is fine with that as she likes it that way.

 

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Two of us choose the top-of-the-line rib eye steak ($34), mine with a basket of fine chips, red wine jus, a good slaw and equally fine and fresh rocket, cucumber and tomato salad.

 

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My meaty companion gets the same slaw but opts for mash and asparagus.

Wowee, this is the best steak I’ve had for a long, long time.

It has a just-right but suitably subtle charred and salty exterior and is cooked perfectly to the requested specifications (medium rare).

It’s perfect!

There’s a heap of places where you can get an equally great chunk of beef, of course, including in the west.

But the great thing here is that Prince Albert steaks come complete; there’s no need to top up with extra sides.

The accompaniments are all terrific and make this something of a bargain.

 

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Our visit coincides with Tuesday’s $12 burger night, so predictably that’s what Bennie chooses to do, getting the $12 sandwich as opposed to the $24 job that’s on the regular menu – we’re told they’re very similar in any case.

He likes his burger but is a bit “meh” on it, telling me the relish doesn’t “do much”.

I dunno, mate – it looks mighty fine to me.

Could be it’s time for this young man to start thinking about what other food is available to him.

Could be a case of too many burgers!

We four share two desserts …

 

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Eton Mess ($12) looks like a disparate array of components but the raspberries, passionfruit, meringue and ultra-rich cream work together to very yummy effect.

 

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The waffles ($12) are also tasty, though I do wish the very good brought-in ice cream and strawberries had been served to the side in order to preserve waffle crispiness for our eating pleasure.

As ever, Consider The Sauce partaking of food for which we don’t pay is no impediment – and never will be – to an honest appraisal of our experiences.

But the minor quibbles mentioned above should in no way be seen as detracting from our enjoyment of the Prince Albert, the esteem in which we hold it and the super night we’ve had.

We wish it was our local!

And I reckon we’ll be back soon … if only so I can try that burger for myself and see if Bennie’s “meh” should have rightly been “mighty”!

Check out the Prince Albert website here and check out the pub’s Facebook page for the cheap weekly “night” specials.

(Consider The Sauce dined at the Prince Albert as guests of management. No money changed hands. We ordered whatever we wanted. The Prince Albert management did not seek any editorial input into this story.)

 

Prince Albert Hotel on Urbanspoon

 

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