Half Moon Cafe, 13 Victoria St, Coburg. Phone: 9350 2949
After checking out – with some conscious method – Wang Wang Dumpling, Abbout Falafel House, Al-Alamy and Cafe Sarabella, it’s time to visit Half Moon Cafe and put a big tick against the last of the eateries that have called to me so eloquently to this fabulous stretch of Sydney Rd in recent times.
I’m sure there are many more fab places, fine food and great meals to be had here but these are the ones that first had me making the occasional drive from Yarraville.
For the finest of company I’ve today got Kurt, who is more than happy to get out of his abode and head out on something of mini-road trip.
Half Moon Cafe is a tiny joint of the Middle Eastern persuasion that is just a few doors along from Cafe Sarabella in the Victoria St mall.
The signage outside includes the boast: “Falafel Egyptian Style.”
Made with fava beans rather than chick peas, this is of course the ordering route we both embark on after snagging an outside table.
But first we try a small serve of three stuffed vines leaves ($2.50).
I love ’em, though Kurt is no big fan regardless of standards of excellence.
They’re lemony and firm of build – perfect. Oddly, the smallness of the cigars helps their cause – two mouthfuls apiece seems so right.
My falafel plate ($12) is fine.
The falafel balls are indeed worthy of their reputation – tender but grease-free, full of flavour (but not much different to chick pea falafels so far as I can tell) and coloured a fetching dark green.
Three dips are on board – the clear winner is the smoky eggplant number on the right.
The tabouli is lemony and wet as suits my preferences.
The pickled cucumber and turshi are fine, too, though the olives get lost between the hummus and a chick pea salad that is a little on the undressed side.
The lettuce, rocket and red cabbage seem a tad extraneous.
It’s a beaut lunch at a good price.
I confess to preferring Abbout Falafel House for delivering virtually the same lineup of goodies with a touch more class and finesse, but it’s a close call.
Kurt, meanwhile, loves the hell out if his $7 falafel wrap with fetta cheese, chilli and many of the same protagonists that grace my plate.
As we sit back after our lunch, watching the passing parade in the autumn sunshine, we both wish aloud that Footscray’s mall could boast such a lively, friendly, relaxed and unthreatening ambience.
A sign behind the serving counter more or less guarantees that one or both of us will be returning to Half Moon Cafe soon.