Westie eats goss 20/9/19

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In Seddon, the interesting life story of the old servo on the corner of Charles and Gamon streets is getting a whole new chapter.

 

 

The building is being given a substantial makeover, as is the inviting garden area outside.

New management will continue with the Charles & Gamon name.

 

 

Consider The Sauce’s source – my accountant Ross, actually, he being one of the partners in this new enterpise – says folks should think along the lines of “pizza, beer and wine”.

 

 

Coming soon to Barkly Street is Filipino eatery Chibog West Footscray, sandwiched between a barber shop and Bawarchi.

The posts on the joint’s Facebook page seeking staff describe it as “aiming to bring a mixture of modern and traditional Filipino cuisine to the public in a laid-back gastro pub setting”.

 

 

Yarraville has a brand new, shiny gelati outlet.

The shop at 175 Somerville Road, joins sister Augustus outlets in Pascoe Vale and Essendon.

 

 

Also new to Yarraville – at 13 Anderson Street – is Mabu Mabu.

Described on its website as a “Torres Strait owned and run business with an emphasis on using fresh, seasonal and native ingredients to create beautiful dishes that bring people together”.

The menu – also on the website – lists such intriguing dishes as kangaroo tail bourguignon with native thyme and pepperberries and island fried chicken burger with pickled sea succulents, seaweed mayo and taro chips.

 

 

The aim of the crew behind Grazeland – the food precinct/theme park slated for erection in the vacant lot next to Scienceworks – to be open some time this summer appears to be on the overly ambitious side going by the non-activity at the site.

When contacted by CTS, a Grazeland spokesman said: “We are still waiting for our permit. Nothing else to update but we will keep you posted.”

 

 

Down at the Cotton Mills in Footscray, swish and new Gathered Cafe will soon be joined by Broadford & Barnett, which will inhabit the premises of the long-time cafe/takeaway shop at the mills’ entrance.

Vietnamese Seddon

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Miss An’am, 86a Charles Street, Seddon. Phone: 9048 4283

Consider The Sauce drives Charles and Victoria streets in Seddon so often that there is always the chance we’re taking them for granted.

The same holds true for CTS and other western suburbs roads and streets.

An informal business meeting is profound proof of us not seeing the forest for the trees.

Miss An’am had been blithely considered by us, if at all, as just another inner-west cafe.

But as soon as I walk through the door, I know I am way wrong.

Sure, Miss An’am IS an inner-west cafe – and the coffee is great.

But the perfumed air tells me immediately there is something else going on here.

I smell Vietnam – Vietnamese food and Vietnamese cooking.

Unmistakable.

 

 

Sure enough, the menu (see below) tells a tasty tale.

Along with some regular cafe fare, it lists banh mi, coleslaw and paper rolls.

 

 

But me and Bennie make a beeline for the two dishes on the specials list – though we suspect they are pretty much permanent fixtures.

For him, “authentic Vietnamese beef bourguignon” ($15).

This is, of course, the familiar bo kho.

And a good rendition it is, too, tender carrots chunks matched by plentiful beef cubes in a thinnish broth topped by coriander, the lot aided and abetted by baguette slices.

 

 

For me, pho ga ($16).

This is unusual in that the bean sprouts have already been added – and it looks a little light on.

Not so!

It’s a beaut version of another Vietnamese staple and more substantial than it appears.

The shredded chicken is delicious and plentiful.

The “with Miss An’am recipe” aspect?

Well, that just may be the significant black pepper inclusion and a broth that has a pronounced lemongrass tang, both of which add a welcome a refreshing twist.

Miss An’am is a cosy, cheerful place, with a lovely back dining garden and happy staff.

Vietnamese tucker AND great coffee – this here is a winner and no doubt a cherished “local” for regulars.

 

Back in West Footscray

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Bawarchi Biryanis Melbourne, 551 Barkly Street, West Footscray. Phone: 9394 2200

In its now near decade-old life, Consider The Sauce has gone through various cycles and obsessions.

For instance, a few years back, we were all over Somalian food and the Flemington outlets and lovely people who provide it.

Not that we’ve turned our back on Somalian food – Bennie and I had a super feed at Mama’s Cuisine just last week.

But in terms of CTS stories, it’s fair to say our focus has moved.

Likewise with Indian food and restaurants, especially those in West Footscray – was a time when we seemed to be methodically ticking of the Barkly Street eateries on a weekly basis.

So it’s good to be back – with CTS A Team member Bennie Weir and Nat Stockley in tow.

We’re here at the invitation of Santhosh Xaveir, proprietor of Bawarchi Biryanis Melbourne (see full disclosure below).

And we’re in familiar surroundings – the premises were formerly a dosa place and, before that, those of Hyderabad Inn, which was written about by CTS on several occasions and was the venue for the first-ever CTS Feast.

 

 

This Bawarchi is tied in terms of nomenclature and branding to a parent company/chain with many restaurants in the US.

I had presumed, though, this would not extend the Melbourne branch’s kitchen and menu.

I am wrong, according to Santhosh – the Melbourne restaurant duplicates, or tries to, the food at all the other branches.

Is this an issue?

I don’t think so – such standardisation gets dicey and worse when junk food unfood is involved.

Indian tucker?

No problem!

And so we eat – choosing an array of dishes of the wide-ranging Bawarchi menu.

 

 

We start with vegetable hot and sour soup ($6.50).

Like all such soups in Indian places with Indo-Chinese food, this is loosely based on the chicken/corn soup style found in Chinese eateries, though this one is more runny, less viscous.

It’s good – but what does surprise us is the heat level.

This is too spicy – mostly from pepper, we suspect – even for us three experienced chilli fans.

 

 

Staying in Indo-Chinese mode, we try gobi Manchurian ($10.50) – deep-fried cauliflower.

Bennie and I like this a bunch, Nat less so.

There’s just enough crunch in the vegetable coating, after being doused in the tangy sauce, to keep dad and son happy.

 

 

A sizzler platter of chicken tikka kebab ($17) is also good, though a bit on the dry side.

 

 

Another sizzler platter – this time of tandoori pomfret ($32) – is the undoubted hit of the night, full and positive proof of the ugly-but-good theory.

Actually, better than good.

There’s a heap of fish flesh in there on both top and bottom of the bones – and it’s all firm yet far from dry, with an earthy, trout-like flavour.

As is often the case, the shredded cabbage into which the juices of the tandoori chicken and fish have dripped, is a nice, delicious bonus.

 

 

Two garlic naan ($3.50) are superb – hot, fresh and glistening with melted ghee.

 

 

Finally, given the name of the place and our three-way fondness for biryani, we have to make sure the rice is nice.

It is.

Gongura goat dum biryani ($16.50) is fine, with all the bits and pieces in place – goat on the bone, tender enough and coated in sorrel; good, darkish rice; half a hard-boiled egg; gravy and raita.

Check out the Bawarchi Biryanis Melbourne – including menu – here.

(Consider The Sauce dined at Bawarchi as guests of the management and we did not pay for our meals. We were free to order whatever we wished. Bawarchi management neither sought nor was granted any input, oversight or pre-publication access to his story. Does anyone actually read this stuff?)

 

Kurt’s place

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Be Quick boss Kurt Schwier is enthusiastic about Dietz range of organic, Fairtrade teas.

Be Quick Bargains, 465 Ballarat Road, Sunshine. Phone: 9312 7244

There has been a discount grocery on the corner of Ballarat Road and Leonard Street in Sunshine for a long time.

In fact, it was suggested by a reader as a worthy of a story right back at the start of CTS – closing on 10 years ago.

I didn’t follow-up then.

But now I’m in the place – and happily confess that’s because it’s been run for the past year or so by long-time CTS pal and fellow hardcore music nut Kurt Schwier.

Kurt’s background in the biz shows – I am impressed by the foodie-friendly nature of his line-up and, of course, the prices.

 

 

Use-by dates?

Well, they’re part of this sort of set-up.

Kurt tells me he his straight-up and honest with his customers about individual products being offered here.

My understanding is that for some products, those dates are vital.

For others they are less so – and for many, they are effectively meaningless.

 

For years, CTS HQ has been going through a pack of these every week or so. I wish we’d been paying this price all that time!

 

Kurt tells me his customers come from a wide catchment.

Sunshine locally, of course, but also from the likes of Caroline Springs, Taylors Lakes and Deer Park.

And among them come a wide range of folks with various European backgrounds, as well as many with roots in the Philippines.

 

Kurt knows his booze.

 

One of the first things Kurt did when taking over the business was install a suitable sounds system.

Of course!

He confesses the music is mainly for the enjoyment of he and his staff – but customers are free to enjoy it fully, too.

The volume is far from obtrusive, though the strains of good, funky sounds are always thereabouts.

 

 

The most impressive thing in Be Quick for the CTS foodie sensibilities?

This array of pickles and the like – almost all of which are regularly stocked items.

 

 

Though I’m told these sloths are also good, steady sellers.

I leave Be Quick with quite some booty – mainly cookies and so on – for which I have paid $15.

 

Meatloaf? Here is your grand final winner!

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The Garden Feast, 63 Railway Avenue, Werribee. Phone: 9741 3100

Consider The Sauce tries to avoid too much hyperbole.

Words such as the “best ever pho” or the “greatest Hainan chicken rice” are sometimes too tempting when we get so excited about being served tremendous food in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

Nevertheless, we try for restraint.

But …

When it comes to the meatloaf at the Garden Feast, that semi-official rule is abandoned without hesitation.

This really IS the best meatloaf we’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.

Sorry, Mum!

“Mama’s meatloaf” ($20) is served as a huge wedge.

There’s carrot in there, as per meatloaf tradition, but otherwise it’s a meaty delight.

It’s topped with what I at first mistake for some rendition of tomato relish.

But I am told it’s actually “herbs, resting juices, spices, coconut and molasses”.

It, too, is grand.

And who knew that meatloaf could be cooked rare?

Not that there is blood puddling my plate or anything – but the meatloaf is wonderfully tender and almost of fall-apart consistency.

The meatloaf is served with a quartet of firm, delicious roast brussels sprouts and potato mash that is OK – but I would’ve preferred something a little more rustic.

 

 

The Garden Feast is relatively new adjunct of a long-standing garden supplies outfit.

The dining room is large, spacious and a pleasure in which to dine.

The staff are efficient, smiling and on the go even when it’s busy.

The menu (see below) features a longish line-up of egg-based breakfast/brunch dishes, a concise lunch list and a kid menu.

 

 

Our other lunch selection is also superb – arguably as good, in its own genre, as the meatloaf.

The bucatini ($18) with mushrooms, pecorino, black pepper and “poor man’s parmesan” (toasted breadcrumbs) explodes with shroominess.

The CTS photo portrays this dish as rather pallid.

The photo lies.

 

 

Garden Feast showcases a line-up of fabulous cakes – they’ll have to wait until next time.

 

Chook frenzy

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Mun Korean Kitchen, G05, 102, Overton Road, Williams Landing. Phone: 0491 079 434

The men of Consider The Sauce are hungry.

There’ll be no mucking about tonight.

Specifically, there’ll be no trucking with the half measures of ordering half a chicken.

So we order a whole one ($34).

This a Korean first for us, ordering a whole one that is.

It’s ambitious, too, as we know that when Korean eateries say “whole chicken”, they invariably mean a whole lot of pieces that appear to amount to significantly more than a whole bird.

But just because we order the big deal, doesn’t mean we’re wanting – or are able – to eat it all.

We don’t.

So four pieces go home and will constitute, the next day, probably the best school lunch Bennie will ever have.

The cool thing about this chicken – we get half sweet chilli, half soy/garlic – is that despite being quite wet with the sauces, all the pieces retain wonderful crunch.

Did someone say Korean fried chicken is better than hipster joint fried chicken?

Yes.

We did.

 

 

Incredibly, despite the poultry excellence, our fried chicken is marginally upstaged in the flavour department by our other dinner selection.

From the chargrilled BBQ list we get spicy pork bulgogi ($22).

The thin-sliced meat is of heavenly taste.

It sits on crunchy cabbage and there’s enough miso-like flavour and chilli action going on to keep us very interested.

We eat it, in the style of san choi bao, encased in the accompanying cos lettuce leaves.

The caramelised kimchi and ssamjang sauce add diversity of flavour and texture, while the rice balls do the same in a plain way.

Mun Korean Kitchen is a lovely place in which to dine.

The service is impeccable, smiling and warm.

And the menu has your more regular offerings such as bibimbap and kimchi fried rice with spam.

Check out the Mun Korean Kitchen website – including menu – here.

 

Outlook: Very sunny

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Cafe Sunshine & SalamaTea, 21 Dickson Street, Sunshine. Phone: 0491 605 775

CTS observed yesterday, on the Cafe Sunshine Facebook page, a very nice looking falafel plate being spruiked.

A dish that wasn’t on the menu when we visited at the weekend.

And the dishes enjoyed on two previous solo visits by CTS senior are no longer on the current menu (see below), either.

Cafe Sunshine & SalamaTea is a newish operation right in the heart of Sunshine.

If they’re still finding their feet, some menu tinkering is for sure in order.

Even better, I suspect new and surprising dishes will continue to pop up here with regularity, depending on the whims and passions of whoever is in the kitchen and what is available from the joint’s suppliers.

This will suit anyone prepared to go with the freewheeling flow of the place.

Perhaps not so much those who expect a menu to be a menu and that’s that.

That would very much be their loss – for the food here is rather wonderful, provides a distinct point of difference in Sunshine and is ultra-affordable.

As well, the place is also very much about providing employment and more for refugees and asylum seekers. See Star Weekly story here.

The simple fare is largely of Persian nature, with eggs the big players, in a warm and welcoming cafe.

And I’m told evening meals are in the soon-come category.

 

 

Bennie likes his Persian breakfast ($13) very much – including the tahini dip flavoured with honey.

This is a surprise to his father, as it tastes just like the halva he generally sneers at.

Also included are fig jam, butter and a concoction of walnut and sheep feta.

All this is teamed with Afghan flat bread sourced from the Afghan bakery that has opened up just around the corner on Hampshire Road.

 

 

I share the same basket of bread – more is happily supplied upon request – with my Persian omelette ($15).

This is simple and sensational – eggs and feta sent into the dizzy heights by the plethora of fresh mint and other herbs on the side.

The vegan baklava (top photo, $3) does show the absence of butter – it’s drier than regular baklava – but is still enjoyable, as are our $3.50 cafe lattes.

 

 

Enjoyed by me on previous visits were a tangy noodle soup utilising a variety of pulses and …

 

 

… Persian scrambled eggs with feta and herbs.

Yes – a very, very close relative of my weekend omelette!