Sunday pub roasts? We have a winner.

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Railway Hotel, 35 Anderson Street, Yarraville. Phone: 9687 2034

Sunday roast lunches at pubs – $10, $15, $20, $25?

Do you get what you pay for?

As far as we know, the Spottiswoode Hotel continues to offer a grand $10 deal on Sundays.

Others we know of in the inner deliver offer $20+ offerings.

This Sunday, Bennie gives up on his desire for Vietnamese tomato rice in the face of his dad’s determination to go roast.

We first head for a certain Williamstown pub we believe now has $15 roast lunches on the menu, but on arrival we discover they will not start until the following weekend.

Plan B is return home, park the car and walk to our local, the Railway Hotel, which has been advertising $18.50 Sunday roasts – sort of a middle ground price-wise , with two kinds of meat on offer.

Will it be worth the extra dollars?

We pay, get our number and wait.

 

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Bennie chooses the pork.

I try a mouthful.

Perhaps unsurprisingly it’s dry but – good stuff – tender enough.

But it IS full of strong, good piggy flavour.

The crackling is a tad salty but all of it is crisp and a joy to eat.

One pub manager has told me it’s simply impossible in regards to power bills to serve roast veggies at these sorts of prices.

That I don’t mind.

The spud is roasted and herbed and very good.

The beans, broccoli and carrots may be steamed but they are wonderful – cooked more than al dente and perfect.

 

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I select the roast beef (top photograph).

It’s fabulous.

It appears to be smothered in good gravy.

But as it turns out there is just enough gravy – and only just enough – to support the meat.

I am served three slices that are just shy of half an inch thick.

The meat is tender and tastes grand.

It breaks apart in strands that I more familiar with from dining on brisket at BBQ joints.

This is new and wonderful territory for me when it comes to roast beef.

There is so much of it, I keep offering Bennie hefty chunks even as I close in on the final slice.

“I can’t eat it all, mate!”

“That’s because you aren’t manly enough …”

I am on a serious food high as we skip down the street for some sugar and spice from our fave ice-cream joint.

The Railway Hotel Sunday roasts have convinced me that sometimes, at least, you do get what you pay for.

And it’s still a bargain.

 

Railway Hotel on Urbanspoon

 

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Yarraville Mexican better

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Village Cantina, 30 Ballarat Street, Yarraville. Phone: 9689 8000

It’s been six months since Consider The Sauce’s first visit to the then newly opened Village Cantina in Yarraville.

I’m happy to return, especially as Bennie has yet to do so and it fits right in with our mid-week nothing-planned-for-dinner situation.

Without intending to make such a direct comparison to that first visit, we end up ordering two items had on that occasion – and it’s something of a revelation.

 

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First though we start with “street style chargrilled corn” with chipotle mayo, queso fresco and lime ($5).

Our single serve cut in two lasts all of about five seconds.

It’s yummy but oh-so-very small!

 

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Bennie’s beef burito ($14) is a big step up from the same item ordered by me on that initial visit.

This is much more deftly done with none of the solid if enjoyable stodginess I experienced.

The filling has very nice shredded beef and there’s salsa, sour cream and guacamole on the side.

 

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But the real eye-opener is the nachos ($13).

I’m not sure why I order this, as nachos can so often veer between acceptable bar/snack food for sharing and a gloopy, unappetising mess.

The new-look Village Cantina nachos has real good melted cheese, guacamole, black beans and salsa in great profusion atop a big mound of good corn chips.

But this nachos is lifted to a whole ‘nuther level by the fabulous strips of grilled chicken that have tremendous flavour and a bit of a cajun thing going on.

It’s the best nachos I’ve ever had.

There’s so much of it – and its tastes so good – I’m happy to fully share with Bennie once he’s done with his burrito.

Heck, it’d make a fine light meal for two!

 

Village Cantina on Urbanspoon

 

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A prize-winning lunch

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Erika won our guest post contest with a wonderful piece of writing that touched people – read it here.

Now she’s done it again, finding that taking her family to Woven to enjoy their prize lunch evokes all sorts of fabulous family foodie memories.

She’s a star!

 

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By Erika Jonsson

When my sisters and I were young, Mum used to let us choose the menu for our birthday dinners.

The options were endless. Would it be pasta, Sichuan-style chicken, oyster beef or tacos?

Roast pork with crackling, chicken with lemongrass or wonton soup?

My mouth still waters thinking about it.

Funnily enough, my younger sister and I always chose the same dish, albeit with different sides.

Trish picked steamed vegetables (which I still find odd) while I chose corn and twice-cooked chips.

The meat was schnitzel – usually veal – that was succulent and tender, crumbed to perfection and fried

just long enough to cook through.

It was heaven.

Year after year our menu remained unchanged.

When I was 14 and nine months old, I started working at a toyshop on Friday nights and Saturday mornings.

My family lived out of town, so my little part-time job meant spending the night at my grandparents’ place.

They had immigrated to Australia from England when my mum was a child, and

Grandma’s cooking was Britain’s finest.

Pork pie, battered fish, Yorkshire pud, roast anything.

The only herbs I remember in her kitchen cupboard were salt, pepper and season-all.

Everything she cooked was simple but so tasty.

On Fridays before I started work, Grandma would cook big fat pork schnitzels with chips and corn – my favourite meal.

While the meat was the star of the show, the chips were really my favourite.

Potato in any form was welcome on my plate – with a combination of English and Swedish heritage, that’s probably no surprise.

My love for potatoes led to disaster when I left home and headed to the big smoke to study.

I’d been led to believe a fast metabolism was the reason for my then slim figure.

Well, my metabolism and I both got lazy at uni – and I put on about a dozen kilos by eating twice-cooked chips for dinner around five nights a week.

The day my knee-high boots wouldn’t zip up properly, I swore off chips, lost most of my potato weight and gave away my deep fryer.

Since then, chips have only been an occasional indulgence – a special return to my youthful addiction.

Last week I came as close as I ever have to ordering chips as a main when my family went to Woven in Yarraville for lunch.

And that was after I had already eaten my main.

My meal was a perfectly modern re-imagining of my favourite childhood dish.

The pork tonkatsu burger was made up of a juicy pork loin crumbed in panko inside a brioche bun with house-pickled daikon, Kewpie mayo sauce and a cabbage and fennel slaw.

Right next door to the burger was a generous serve of hand-cut chips, still in their skins – just like I like them.

Those chips transported me to Friday nights at Grandma’s, to special birthday dinners and to university over-indulgence.

Normally, I share my meals with my kids but not this day.

My husband, who had the bang-up burger with chips, also found his plate was under attack – but I protected my potatoes with a ferocity I didn’t know I possessed.

“Please, Mama? Could I please share your chips?” my son Joe pleaded after he had finished with his crumpets with honey, caramelised pear and mascarpone.

I feigned deafness and kept eating with greedy abandon, using my chips to mop up tasty drips of Kewpie sauce.

There is magic in food.

Smells and tastes can evoke stronger memories than pictures – such was the case for me at Woven.

It was a magical meal – I definitely plan to go back soon, though I’ll have to watch my waist.

Thank you to Dan, Dave and their team for a great meal and a great experience.

Thanks also to Consider The Sauce for offering such a special prize – I’ve never won anything so tasty!

Big Yarraville excitement

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Little Advi, 16 Ballarat Street, Yarraville. Phone: 9689 0004

For a lot of people, particularly those who live and work in the village, their Yarraville eatery has arrived.

As you’d expect, the food line-up at Little Advi, which has slotted into the premises of a former boutique on Ballarat Street, closely resembles that of the mothership, Cafe Advieh, on Gamon Street.

Equally as expected, though, there is no diminuation in terms of quality, freshness, affordability and service.

 

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The place looks gorgeous, with a lot of old wood, brick and tiling.

The staff area really on the ball in every way.

The menu (see below) has brekky, wraps, focaccias and a longish list of really appealing plates with fritter, falafels, skewers, dips and salads.

 

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I go for the large dips plate.

I pay $13.50 but it’s so generous that the small at $10.50 may have been a wiser choice.

The dips – eggplant, yogurt ‘n’ cucumber and eggplant – are so fresh they sing with flavour.

Even better, they are personalised in the Advieh fashion, making them delightfully original in texture and taste, especially when sprinkled with sesame seeds and chopped pistachio nuts.

With them – and olives and two very nice stuffed vine leaves – come two Lebanese pita breads, brought in, warmed and more than enough to go with the dips.

Little Advi is s breakfast-and-lunch establishment.

 

Little Advi on Urbanspoon

 

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Meal of the week No.2: Bax Food Co

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After having already hit Gamon Street’s fab new Jamaican eatery with a largish group that pretty much ran through the entire menu, I’m excited to be taking Bennie there.

And I know just what to order to press my teenage dude’s buttons.

Mine, too.

BBQ pork ribs, jerk Piccapeppa chicken wings, BBQ corn, cassava chips.

It’s a lip-smacking feast for two moderately hungry lads.

The chicken wings, at $9, strike us as a bargain.

The superb chips provide affordable bulk.

Between the slaw with both meat choices and the corn, there’s enough veggie action going on.

Even with a couple of $3 soft drinks, we pay a very good $41.

As we amble back on to Gamon, energetically flossing our teeth, Bennie opines:

“That’s the best food I’ve had in Yarraville.”

I’m inclined to agree with him.

See earlier review here.

Jamaica in Yarraville: Review

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OK, Roderick – you’ve for sure taken care of us tonight; now we need some sugar!

 

Bax Food Co, 83 Gamon Street, Yarraville. Phone: 0402 751 108

How wonderful is it that a Jamaican restaurant is up running in Yarraville?

“Very” is the conclusion of our table of five after a spectacular mid-week dinner.

There’s enough of us to try – and share – just about everything on the menu.

It’s all good or better.

And much of it is very, very good indeed.

CTS has a long, pre-blog relationship with these Gamon Street premises – oft times Bennie and I used Gravy Train as a regular breakfast spot, those breakfasts being mostly made up of just toast and hot beverages.

Somehow along the way, Gravy Train seemed to get overtaken by foodie developments in Yarraville village, Seddon and several points in between.

So fronting here, to a refurbished location, to join my four dining companions has something of an air of circles turning and regeneration.

 

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The makeover, both inside and out, is substantial but also very colourful and funky rustic.

It fits the casual, happy vibe of the place to a tee.

We found the service to be very fine and the wait times for our choices shorter, if anything, than we might have expected.

 

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Cassava chips ($7) are plain of flavour but a crisp delight nonetheless.

 

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Ackee, saltfish and mushroom patties with tomato love apple sauce ($10) are like delicate treats something like curry puffs with a taste like mum’s homemade fish pie.

 

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Jerk roast corn with coconut jerk may ($6) is a wild, different and delicious contrast to plainer versions of roasted corn.

Yum factor: High.

 

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In a meal of many highlights, perhaps the most giddy, moan-inducing reactions come with dishes that mirror and even best many of those we’ve enjoyed in recent months at various BBQ joints around town.

These smokey BBQ pork ribs ($13), for instance, are immense in every way – spicy, charred, OMG.

 

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Likewise with the jerk Picapeppa hot wings ($9).

These are even spicier than the ribs, a little more piquant and every bit as awesome.

 

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Goat curry ($24) has wonderfully tender, fall-off-the-bone meat and is gorgeous.

 

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Our curry is served with roti bread (also available as a side, $4) unlike anything roti we’ve tried before.

It’s almost-crisp and spongey but does the mopping-up job expected of any kind of roti just fine.

 

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Oxtail stew with butter bean and carrots ($25) has sweet meat easily exctracted from gnarly bones and is another winner.

With its star anise, you know what this reminds me of?

Vietnamese beef stew!

Only two of our party had any depth of experience with Jamaican food before our meal, but I had a strong intuition that the Bax fare would be somehow familiar in any case, perhaps based on my familiarity with New Orleans and South Louisiana food.

Such turns out to be very much the case.

The Bax goodies can sit comfortably alongside other westie options such as  Vietnamese and African – right at home but strikingly different.

As chef Roderick points out, such is always going to be the case as creole food (using the word in it its most universal sense) the world over often draws on shared traditions.

As regards to pricing, the oxtail stew and the goat curry are substantial, bigger than they appear in the photographs, are sharing material for up to four (with other dishes alongside) and  quite good value.

 

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Rice ‘n’ peas ($6) is a Jamaican staple that is nice enough but gets a bit lost amid the richness of what surrounds it.

 

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Sadly, the same can be said of our fried snapper with pickled condiments and salad ($28).

The fish is beautifully cooked but arrives at our table last of our mains and at a point where we’re just about full to the ears, its plainness overwhelmed by the spiciness that has preceded.

Full, maybe, but still able to find room for shared desserts …

 

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Dark Shadows ($10) is an intriguing mix of condensed milk and grapefruit – it’s tangy and smooth.

 

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But sweet potato pudding ($12) is more our go – it’s like a very dense, rich bread and butter pudding-meets-caramel slice.

 

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Rum and raisin ice-cream ($5) is brought-in but nevertheless very good – it has, as several of my companions note, an unusually high level of “rumminess”.

In her review on Fill Up On Bread – see here – Mairead comments that perhaps Bax has gone a little overboard with the bax (box) concept in the form of too much cardboard, especially given the prices.

To tell you the truth, we have been so busy eating and enjoying we didn’t notice.

Bax Food Co, it seems clear to me, is sure to be a successful ornament to the local eats scene.

Very highly recommended!

 

Bax Food Co on Urbanspoon

 

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Jamaica in Yarraville: Update

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Bax Food Co, 83 Gamon Street, Yarraville. Phone: 0402 751 108

SEE REVIEW HERE.

Since our initial story reporting the exciting news that a Jamaican restaurant is soon to open in Yarraville, Consider The Sauce has made contact with two of the three partners involved, and enjoyed some cordial conversations with Dalton and Roderick about their plans.

Unfortunately, efforts to synchronise all three partners and myself to be in the same place at the same time for a photograph were bettered by busy schedules all round.

Oh well – it’s time for an update anyway, especially as opening night is almost upon us!

Here’s the details …

The restaurant will be known as Bax Food Co and will operate out of the former home Gravy Train at 83 Gamon Street.

Opening night will be this coming Friday, February 20, on which night there will be 6pm and 8pm sittings.

Bookings can be made via roderick@bossmanfood.com.au 0402 751 108.

The “bax” part of their name comes from a casual style of eating in Jamaica whereby instead of sit-down meals, customers get a “bax” (box) full of goodies.

Bax Food Co will, of course, serve their food this way, too, though Roderick assures me some of the sides will be presented regular style on regular plates!

At the time of going to press, the menu was still being completed … but Roderick did number off several dishes that will be available:

Jerk chicken.

Oxtail stew.

Goat curry.

Salted cod.

Rice ‘n’ peas.

BBQ ribs.

Casava chips.

Spicy jerk roast corn with coconut jerk mayo.

Fish will be in the form of whole snapper, which will be the top-priced item at about $30.