Pasta Al Dente, 18 Assembly Drive, Tullamarine. Phone: 9335 1944
Eiffel Tower, 12 Assembly Drive, Tullamarine. Phone: 9330 2588
Comments are one of the truly great things about blogs – something that sets them apart from regular websites, unless they have active forums incorporated into them, and in most cases regular media, including newspapers and their online versions.
It’s great to get such feedback – and sometimes that feedback is immediate. It’s immensely gratifying to know what you’ve written means something to someone somewhere!
It’s also often fascinating to see how the comments on any particular blog post evolve, the twists and turns they take.
And – this is the really cool part – the comments often come in the form of reader tips.
We love that and often follow up on them.
So it was when CTS regular Lou commented on the post I knocked out about finding lunch at my new Airport West work venue.
Lou asked: “If you’re in Tulla for a while, a write up on all the wholesale food places near assembly drive would be great. I hear there is a fine deli, a pasta outlet, and cake shop at least, but have never made my (short) way down the ring road to check them out!”
It’s only as I navigate myself towards Assembly Drive, with a few missed turns along the way, that I realise I have been this way before.
But that was long ago – when Bennie was just a baby.
I wear Consider The Sauce goggles these days, so places and people can look quite different.
What I find at Assembly Drive is some really good stuff.
Pasta Al Dente is somewhat inaccurately named. Oh sure, there’s stacks of dried and frozen stuffed pasta all over the joint, but there’s also regular grocery lines and good deli and bakery sections.
But anytime around lunchtime, as I immediately discover upon entering, Pasta Al Dente is all about pizza.
Lots and lots of pizzas, freshly baked and served at $5 a pop to a neverending stream of customers.
There’s some pretty good-looking rolls/sandwiches, arancini and suchlike, but I don’t observe anyone having anything other pizza.
Some of the pies go straight out the front doors, others stay to be consumed at the single high, long table.
My wonderfully irregularly shaped pizza (second top photo) is real fine, chosen from a list of about 11.
It’s not heavy on rampant flavours – nor should it be, with the toppings amounting to the basic cheese and tomato joined by mildly flavoured ricotta and spinach – but it’s as fresh as can be, emitting steam when the cardboard box is opened.
Oh dear – those cardboard boxes.
I understand the physical restrictions that probably make these containers an unavoidable business decision on the part of the place’s management, but still … one cardbaord box for every $5 pizza sold; that’s a lot of cardboard boxes!
Finally, the price tag makes me wonder anew why there is such a vast price differences between most classy Italian thin-crust pizzas and, on the other hand, Lebanese pizzas. I know we’re talking different kinds of businesses with different kinds of overheads and pricing.
But still … $20 and $5 – that’s a BIG difference.
After my terrific pizza, it’s time for some shopping. Nothing heavy duty; just green olives, some biscotti, a few cans of tomatoes – and I’m keen to see how this house brand lasagne shapes up on the plate, given I am way too lazy to make it myself.
When I wander a few doors down the road to an even more inaccurately named house of pure Italian-ness, I realise I should’ve saved my biscotti money.
Eiffel Tower sells pizza and good-looking focaccia, too, but as the intensely pleasurable yeasty, vanilla-laden perfume tells my nostrils as I enter, this is a serious baking house.
They’ve got all the bases covered, too, from epic wedding cakes and lollies to heaps of high-quality biscotti and cream-filled goodies such as canoli.
I’m all filled up, so am disinclined to pursue the matter, but I’m told a slice of the cheesecake in the top right of this photo costs $2.50.
I do, however, pay $2.50 for a fine cafe latte and 50 cents each for two biscotti mouthfuls of joy, one of them an intensely chocolatey semi-gooey flavour bomb.
So what else is there on Assembly Drive?
All within walking distance of the two businesses discussed above are discount liquor and clearance outlets, an OK fruit and vegetable place and a cheese factory and shop. There may be other food-related places in adjacent streets.
But Pasta Al Dente and Eiffel Tower alone guarantee we’ll be back this way soon.
Besides, Consider The Sauce gets a real kick out of finding food on industrial estates!