Yarraville pub – back to the future

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It’s something of a surreal hoot to stand amid the gutted rubble of the Yarraville boozer as it undergoes a drastic refurbishment.

Consider The Sauce gets it that there is some sadness around about the demise of inner-west old-school blue-collar pubs.

But CTS has no doubt the Yarraville pub has been in need of a new look and a fresh direction for some time.

And talking to Jason (pictured above), spokesman for the new all-westie owners, I rather think there are grounds for optimism.

There will be no pokies and not even pizzas – or “not at this stage”, in terms of the latter.

He says the reopened pub – the mooted date is mid-October – will be “a traditional pub with a twist”.

 

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And it is surely a good sign that the joint will revert to being called the Railway Hotel – vestiges of which remain.

The menu is in the process of being formulated, so everything Jason tells me comes with an “approximately” qualification.

But and just for instance … chicken parma for $21.50, unless you buy one on $15 parma night (Mondays).

There’ll be bar food/tapas.

And there’ll be a Sunday winter roast deal.

As well as an all-new wine list couple, there will a selection of boutique beers, including Two Birds.

 

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Grazing in Yarraville

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tong210
Tong Food & Wine, 13 Ballarat Street, Yarraville. Phone: 9687 8877

Far sooner than expected – and after noting the multiple changes coming in Yarraville and writing a preview of Tong – we’re seated for a mid-week dinner at the corner location of what was previously The Bank.

Team CTS consisting on this occasion of B and K, C and J.

We’re four folks who are mostly used to eating heaps of food at ridiculously cheap prices, so it takes a little while to switch gears to Tong’s more refined style of “grazing”.

But we do so, having a real nice time spread over a couple of hours.

The place is fullish for a Wednesday night, there’s a buzz going on and the service – with a couple of hiccups – is fine.

We would only advise that anyone with a raging hunger be prepared to choose multiple dishes.

 

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From the “smaller” list (see menu below), mixed tempura vegetables with dipping sauces ($11) is an agreeable, fresh selection of red capsicum, zucchini and cucumber.

The sauces – one that seems to be of the BBQ variety, the other a lemony mayo – are much stickier than you’d find in a Japanese eatery.

 

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Steamed pork buns ($14), too, are different from those you’ll find at various Footscray outlets.

They’re terrific!

With less dough – they’re more like dumplings – there’s scope for the sticky, unctuous and meaty filling to shine.

 

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Julian and Christine enjoy their beef tataki with grilled quail egg and radish salad ($14), though as they point out it would be more accurate to refer to it as a rare beef salad.

 

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Moving on to the “bigger” section of the menu and … even with all the goodwill and generosity of spirit we can muster, Bennie’s crispy spiced lamb ribs leave us collectively bemused.

Forget the asking price of $16 and what that represents per individual rib.

That this mostly unadorned dish is listed as “bigger” rather than “smaller” surely leaves Tong open to unkind cracks about nouvelle cuisine.

Bennie loves them and wolfs the lot down … but there’s a wait of a good 10 minutes between him cleaning his plate and the rest of us receiving our corresponding dishes.

(I was tempted to use the phrase “main courses” right there but realise that may not be appropriate to the Tong philosophy …)

 

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Our friends enjoy their braised tofu with spring onion and crispy noodles ($18) without becoming truly animated about it.

 

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Our table gets two serves of the spicy eggplant sizzling plate ($17) – and good thing that is, as it’s far and away the hit of the night for all of us!

The eggplant flavour is sublime – I wish I could cook eggplant like that.

There’s a few bits of onion and red capsicum in there, the dish has a mild but effective spicy hit and – like  a lot of eggplant dishes – this is quite oily. In a good way …

 

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Moving to dessert, sticky black rice with coconut and pineapple crisp ($14) goes OK with she who has been most looking forward to it.

 

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Predictably, Bennie likes the sweet red bean dumplings ($9) while I remain wholly unmoved by what seems to be a sort of doughy blandness.

Christine points out that they’re quite like something her mum whips up.

 

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The Tong style and ambitions may not be a natural fit for we four, but as we saunter into the night we reflect on a lovely evening with great company and good conversation.

And good – sometimes very good – food.

 

Tong Food & Wine on Urbanspoon

 

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Tong – opening Friday

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Tong Food & Wine, 13a Ballarat Street, Yarraville

See review here.

As a follow-up to our recent Yarraville eats goss story, Consider The Sauce is happy to report the following …

Tong Food & Wine, inhabiting the Ballarat Street premises the formerly housed The Bank, will be open for business from tomorrow night (Friday, August 29).

Co-proprietor Ben gave CTS the scoop on the classy fit-out (above) and the compact and very interesting – and affordably  priced – menu (below).

 

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Tong – as it will most certainly become known – will be open for lunch and dinner from Tuesdays through to Sundays.

From 3pm to 6pm food offerings will be of the bar snack variety.

 

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The old bank vault is the office!

Food truck weather

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big7

 

Big Cook Litle Cook. Phone: 0450 395 344

Food truck.

I reckon there’s ground for considering that phrase as a food style.

You know … Vietnamese, Ethiopian, fish ‘n’ chips, burgers, Indo-Chinese, pizza, food truck.

Like that.

Take, for instance, my rather nice Saturday lunch from a new arrival in the ranks of  Yarraville Gardens truck squadron … Big Cook Little Cook.

 

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Big Cook’s Classic has tandoori chicken pieces, rice, hummus, Big Cook’s salad and roti.

It’s a good feed and I’ve been more than happy to pay $12 for it.

The chicken has good tandoori flavour, the hummus is fresh-as, the roti hot and flaky.

And there’s nothing at all incongruous about various elements of my meal deriving from various parts of the planet.

But it does seem like a food truck meal!

 

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Same goes for my friend’s Smoky Chilli Jam Chicken, also costing $12, with its sticky Indo-Chinese vibe.

I get talking to Conan, the offspring part of the father-and-son duo of Big Cook Little Cook, the name of which was chosen to give them flexibility in terms of not being tied down to a single style of food.

Conan and Raymond are much-travelled and passionate about what they are doing.

Conan asks me what I think about the pricing of the food trucks in general.

The prices of the regular Yarraville truck gang actually seem remarkably consistent.

 

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I tell him I’m sure the trucks are setting their prices very scientifically and where they must – any cheaper and they’d not be in business.

Our $12 meals have been fairly priced.

But the truth is a fully satisfying truck meal of main, a little something extra for, say, $5 or so plus a drink can run to about $20.

Many people, I suspect, compare that with the plethora of nearby regular eatery options that are cheaper and also involve tables and table service.

Still, as the several hundred folks out and about and busily trucking on what feels like the first day of spring attest, the food trucks have certainly found a place in the collective heart of the inner west.

It’s a happy scene indeed!

 

Big Cook Little Cook on Urbanspoon

 

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Happy Camper delivers

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A cold Monday night after a hard day’s work.

Nothing much to look forward to except thawed out soup, an NRL game I don’t really care about and a good night’s sleep.

And another solid day at work when I awake.

Then I see the Happy Camper Pizza Facebook post about how they’re all set up and ready to go at Yarraville Gardens.

It’s way too cold for that sort of carry on, IMO.

But home delivery?

Oh yeah, that sounds real good.

I last spoke with Remi at a Footscray game at the Western Oval, him mentioning then that delivery service was in the works.

So I phone up … and get the man himself taking my order.

From the menu at the  Happy Camper website, I choose the Playing With Fire with tomato, mozzarella, hot salami, olives and red onion.

 

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No more than about 15 minutes later, it’s Remi who cheerfully hand delivers my pizza, with which I get a cute fridge magnet and a one-off $10 off offer if, next time, I order through Delivery Hero.

I pay $14 for my pizza plus a $3 delivery fee – not really economical for solo dining, but pretty good for two or more.

As for my pizza … well I really am a happy camper.

It’s not particularly fiery but it IS a whole heap better than your typical home-delivered pizza.

It’s delicious, with a beaut crust.

I wonder if I am the only home delivery this night that involves a customer clad in Spongebob pyjamas …

 

Happy Camper Pizza on Urbanspoon

 

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Back with the classic cars

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garazi22
Garazi, 107 Gamon St, Yarraville. Phone: 9689 2677

It’s been more than a year since we’ve set foot in Garazi – back then, soon after it opened, it was once for a write-up and then on another closely following occasion.

Maybe it’s because, situated as it is on Gamon Street, our minds are already on foodie pastures further afield when we pass it.

So it is today.

Bennie’s copped a full-on meat-free, dairy-free vegan dinner on Friday and a healthy Lebanese lunch with pals on Saturday, so I’m very happy to let him have his way with Sunday lunch.

“Burger, masala dosa, fish and chips, roast lunch, laksa, Mexican …”

I tick off this list as we motor up Gamon and turn into Charles Street, without any noticeable enthusiasm being forthcoming from my CTS Partner.

By this time I begin to realise he simply may not be hungry.

Weird! Well, weird for a 13-year-old …

 

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So I do a U-turn and head for home, happy to call it quits.

But as we pass Garazi he becomes more animated – so in we go.

It’s a treat!

The seating area has been expanded into the real-deal garage of classic cars, among which it’s a hoot to sit with late-breafasters and friendly pooches.

The service is grand and it dawns upon us that we should treat Garazi with more mindfulness for coffees and quick bites. (We don’t do breakfast, not while out and about anyway …)

 

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For all his lack of interest to this point, Bennie makes short work of his burger with the lot ($18) from the specials board.

It’s a good, hearty cafe-style burger and the pattie tastes good and meaty to me.

 

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It’s a good thing his meal comes with stacks of OK shoestring fries, as my reuben sanger ($13) is completely unadorned and even looks a little on the mean side in terms of size versus price.

But in its simplicity, it’s a ripper.

The bread is just right – not too light, not too heavy, toasted and buttered to perfection.

The thick-sliced corned beef is tasty, as is the Swiss cheese, while the plentiful pickles provide plenty of salty, piquant tang.

 

Garazi on Urbanspoon

Pay parking for Yarraville, Seddon, Footscray South

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Maribyrnong council is seriously looking at introducing paid car-parking for parts of the municipality that have thus far gone without having it imposed.

There’s obviously a lot of huffing and puffing and “public consultation” to go on before this becomes a done deal.

But the tenor of the council’s community and services special committee report on Pay Parking In Maribyrnong – which you can read here – leaves little doubt that this will eventually happen.

The pay parking areas being proposed are:

Yarraville:

1. Anderson Street Between Buninyong Street and Willis Street.

2. Ballarat Street between Simpson Street and Canterbury Street.

3. Canterbury Street between Railway station and Willis Street.

4. Canterbury Street car park.

5. Simpson Street off-street car park.

Seddon:

1. Charles Street between Gamon Street and Bourke Street.

2. Gamon Street between Charles Street and Station Road.

3. Victoria Street between Charles Street and Buckley Street.

Footscray South:

1. McNabb Avenue.

2. Nicholson Street between Buckley Street and Irving Street.

3. Albert Street between Buckley Street and Hopkins Street.

4. Albert Street car park.

Joseph Road Precinct:

1. Maribyrnong Street between Hopkins Street and Joseph Road.

2. Joseph Road.

3. Neilson Place.

4. Moreland Street between Hopkins Street and Neilson Place.

5. Warde Street.

6. Wightman Street and Selina Street.

7. Whitehall Street between Hopkins Street and Neilson Place.

I have an open mind about this.

The report is honest in stating that whatever other issues are at stake, revenue-raising is a significant part of these proposals: “The generation of non-rates revenue such as paid parking, is an important element towards achieving a long-term financially sustainable City.”

I can’t help feel a certain sadness that the sleepy village feel of Seddon and Yarraville is to give way to a more regimented form of commerce.

Pay parking for the Jospeh Road area is seen as a forward strike with the push for full-on development there growing: “Whilst Joseph Road precinct is not currently a saturated location, imminent multi-level development up to 32 storeys will create a substantial increase in parking demand.”

“Information and feedback sessions” to discuss these proposals will be held as follows:

Yarraville:

Tuesday, September 2, 4.30-6.30pm,

Sun Theatre, 8 Ballarat Street, Yarraville.

Footscray and Seddon:

Wednesday, September 3, 4.30-6.30pm,

Footscray Town Hall, corner Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray.

 

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