Kebabbque

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Waterfront City, Docklands.

Melbourne’s Docklands has copped some pretty strident criticism over the years, but on a nice summer’s day it can seem like a fine place to be – and maybe even a cool place to live.

Certainly, it appeals as somewhere between the CBD living that one of us still misses and the westie wonders that have become such a big part of our lives.

But food? That’s a different curry of fish completely.

Before we depart for the two-wheeled jaunt down Footscray Rd, I check out some of the places likely to provide tasty fare at Docklands. The prices scare me.

Bhoj, Mecca Bah,Yum Cha Dragon, Man Mo and more – we’d love to love you, but you’ll have to wait for a special occasion.

Wending our way towards the non-circulating Big Wheel – what a debacle! – we come face to face with the drab, mediocre side of the area.

Away from the undeniably attractive waterfront and its swish multi-million yots are dozens and dozens of clothing stores of no allure whatsoever.

And so we end up – again – in the food court area  surrounding the non-operative wheel.

I’ve read stories about how the traders here have been devastated by the wheel farce, so have some sympathy. But I have sympathy, too, for the many young families seeking something tasty and affordable as the heat increases.

There’s franchises and chains like RFC and a bunch more, an interesting looking burger bar and even a Chilli Paddi outlet. But mediocrity seems as prevalent as it does in the retail therapy sector.

Last time we were here the meal we, ahem, “enjoyed” was so bad I prefer not to reveal its ethnicity.


This time we settle on the Turkish of Kebabbque. I try to rustle up some enthusiasm for the vegetarian platter for a touch over $15, but Bennie’s adamant – donner kebab with chilli sauce it will be. Going with the flow, I order the falafel equivalent, with a 600ml Pepsi putting our meal at $21.30.

Our wraps come in a surprising form – the meat/falafel, their salady buddies and sauce are wrapped in the flat bread, which is then sealed and heated. The result looks and handles something like a burrito. On the downside, the salad quotient can’t help but be a bit wilted; on the plus side, it makes for tidy and unmessy eating. Pretty cool!

Bennie’s lamb meal – fully packed with that traditional, unmistakeable flavour of a million kebab joints – is clearly superior to my forgettable chick pea patties.

Our meal is OK, but I suspect we’d have been better off with the $12 noodles or laksa at Chilli Paddi – if a few dollars lighter.

There may be various reasons for visiting Docklands – Lord knows we feel some kind of weird attraction ourselves – but great cheap eats is definitely not among them. If you’re up for some card-bashing, well fine …

Despite sitting under a transparent awning, we gain little or no protection from the sun while eating our lunch, so we are done well by its completion.

It’s a pleasure to head up the river where the greenery and water lends a coolness to the day. For the first time ever, we take Dynon Rd home. Despite the cars, barbed wire and industrial scenery, it turns out to be a surprisingly shady, leafy bicycle thoroughfare.

We stop at Happy River Cafe at the Footscray Community Arts Centre for an excellent $3.30 latte and a pricey but fine $5 caramel milkshake. We used to visit the various setups on these premises quite a lot – as we used to frequent cafes in general … in the days before places where English, even when spoken very well, is a second or even third language came to dominate our outings.

But scoping out a neighbouring table’s $19 lamb cutlets with cous cous and $13.50 ploughman’s lunch with envy, we figure a return visit is on the cards.

At Happy River Cafe (above); Bennie checks out some tree limbs (below).

4 thoughts on “Kebabbque

  1. Love the pics, love your T-shirts. Your articles are funny, jaunty and always inspiring. This is my favourite food blog, even though I don’t live in your area. Thanks for providing yet another bright spot in my day. By the way, I’d love you to find a cheap and great Italian pasta place to review some time. A lot of pasta in Melbourne is over-sauced and boring. What are your suggestions?

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    • Thanks for the love, Caron! Over-sauced pasta seems to be an Australian commonality – at joints high and low. We even do it at home. I’m only guessing, mind you, as I’ve never been to Italy, so am basing my assumptions on what I’ve read/seen/eaten here and in the US. Maybe it’s because we’re so much more affluent, so don’t have to make the sauce go so far. Italy’s not a biggie out where we live, though there’s an interesting place near Vic Market I’ve been meaning to check out. As website master, I reserve the right to re-define the term “western suburbs” whenever and however it suits me … stay tuned! (We make long pasta with garlic, parsley, anchovies, chilli flakes, VOO that is, I’m guessing, pretty close to Italian dinky di!)

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  2. Hi Kenny, talking of Italian, we just had pizza last Tuesday at Gusto, a new place at the Ashley St end of the Barkly St, West Footscray strip. In a word… Great! Thinnish crust, interesting toppings, and well made. The owners are very friendly and since the place has only been open less than 2 weeks they were doing the right thing and making everyone feel right at home.

    They are only open for dinner now and just doing pizza and a few entrees/sides, plus about 4 desserts. However the owner said they are expanding the menu soon to include pasta (and possibly other stuff). Also will be opening during the day with a cafe-style menu. Liquor licence coming soon too but they are BYO now.

    We were impressed. Worth a look a reckon 🙂

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