Footscray Best Kebab House

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93 Nicholson St, Footscray. Phone: 9689 0777

Such a humble exterior, such a humdrum name … but behind both lies what is indisputably one of the landmark hot spots of the Melbourne eating firmament.

In fact, such unabashed fans are we of this establishment that we firmly believe it should be permanently lodged on the same list of Melbourne Sacred Sites that pays homage to the likes of the MCG, Hound Dog’s Bop Shop, Pelligrini’s, Brunetti’s, the Vic Market and so on.

No kidding!

The term kebab, of course, means different things to different people.

For many Australian, kebab is meat (usually lamb, and usually carved from a vertical spit), salad goodies and a garlciky yogurt sauce served in bread – pita or pide.

Indeed, some of the FBKH customers do just that.

(Kebab also means meat on skewers – which make satay sticks technically, if not nominally, kebabs.)

The FBKH has skewers, too – namely sublimely juicy and marinated shish kebabs of the lamb and chicken variety, and the minced, spiced lamb of the adana kebab.

Finally, it’s my understanding that kebab simply means meat – and that’s where the FBKH is at.

As already noted, some customers go for the pide sandwich with the fillings of their choice.

But the savvy, loyal and greatly numbered regulars – and we certainly count ourselves in that happy band – know better, and go for the preposterously fantastic plated meals.

Those regulars are a glorious and fair representation of rainbow Footscray.

There’s Mediterranean types, of course, but the FBKH is also a major hit with the local African community, while it’s fully part of the everyday routine here to see members of the various Asian demographics likewise chowing down.

The regulars place their orders at the front then grab one of the several and prized tables.

Prices have inched up over the years, and these days run from $10 for the small vegetarian to $22 for one-size-only mixed grill.

However, the large plates – except maybe for the ravenously hungered or plain old gluttonous – are fine for sharing, as many folks do. And that puts the FBKH firmly in the cheap eats bracket.

The meats are all superb.

The dips are good, too, but we have two outright favourites.

The beetroot is normally a lurid pink and comes with just the right blend of sweetness and earthiness.

The chilli dip, I find, is a little too spicy to slather on bread like the others – rather, used sparingly it is a crunchy, tangy taste sensation when used as a meat enhancer.

In terms of non-meat fare, the stuffed vine leaves are exceptional, with a firmly packed and tomatoey filling that is best inhaled cold. Combined with the falafels, dips and salads, we often go that route for the vegetarian plate.

The large meal of the day ($14, and featuring the quick and easy option of meat from the spit) was our review meal (4/9/10), with the beetroot dip on this day being an unusually restrained pink.

The lamb and chicken carved off the spit is of the layered variety – not the reconstituted, sausage-like meat also sometimes found in such places.

They’re both good, but the lamb is our favourite – crunchy, salty, crusty. Oh my!

Each plate comes with a cheerful, lemony salad jumble of red cabbage, carrot, lettuce, green onion, while we routinely also request the addition of a portion of the potato salad – oily, but divine!

Along with two dips of your choice is served a basket of  warm, fresh Turkish bread, while the large plates usually are also usually accompanied by a grilled green chilli, grilled large slice of tomato and marvellous rice with slivers of almond threaded through it..

Crockery and cutlery is real.

Service is friendly, but can be on the brisk side – this is only natural, as things can get a little insane in here during the lunch rush.

The FBKH is not open on Sundays, and not for dinner on the remaining days – which is probably just as well, given that the mall in which it is situated can be a mite scary after dark.

The Footscray Best Kebab House – it’s a treasure, and one of those rare places where genius is matched at every step by consistency.

Footscray Best Kebab House on Urbanspoon

8 thoughts on “Footscray Best Kebab House

    • Top spot, oh yes indeed. Weight? No worse nor better than most eating out options. I know that here and at others like it, I DO shred the bread for mopping up dips, as the pide is a rather hearty meal in itself and can spoil the rest of the fare. Lebanese-style pita makes more sense to me in that regard.

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  1. Yum! This might be the place to go after swimming lessons this week. Any place that does good, crispy lamb kebab is a winner IMHO. Khartoum Centre Restaurant’s mixed grill is also a winner (they are further down Nicholson St, heading towards Irving).

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    • The whole strip/neighbourhood surrounding Khartoum is a subject of ongoing exploration for us. We’ve been to Babylon a few times, Cafe d’Afrique has amazing and cheap coffee, and Star seems to be the Viet joint of choice for seafood. The other Turkish places in the area are not in the same league as Footscray Best Kebab House.

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  2. Yay, a food blog for my food “neighbourhood”! After moving over to this side of the city in March, i have been doing my own exploration, but am always looking for new recommendations!

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    • Hey, Anna! As you’re no doubt discovering, food on this side is simultaneously cheaper, healthier, funkier than on the “other” side of town. Or so I parochially reckon! You may also like to check out the Footscray Food Blog of Ms Baklover – see the links section. She’s been going longer than me and has a stack of reviews up.

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