Hooked, 172 Chapel St, Windsor. Phone: 9529 1075
Supper Inn, 15 Celestial Ave, Melbourne. Phone: 9663 4759
It’s halfway through the school holidays, it’s grand final day and we’re feeling exuberant and a little bit mad.
We’d sort of planned on watching almost all of the footy before hitting the road to St Kilda and the Astor Theatre for a 5pm start.
But we find the whole thing so pitifully boring, so we head out heaps early.
And, naturally enough, there’s little traffic to speak of, so we have plenty of time to wander down Chapel St eyeballing a vibrant part of town we rarely visit these days.
The bonus time factor likewise settles the dilemma of whether to eat before or after our three-movie marathon.
We finally settle on the specialist and classy Hooked fish and chippery, of which there is also a branch in Fitzroy. I’ve eaten here before, but Bennie hasn’t.
We’re expecting excellence of the same kind we regularly experience at Ebi in West Footscray.
That’s what we get, too, though at first we are somewhat taken aback at what seems like rather tight-fisted serves of both our fishy protagonists and chips.
But once we remind ourselves that we’re having the daily lunch box special for $10.95 with salad extra for $2, we devour our early dinners with much enjoyment and consider them good value.
Bennie’s crumbed calamari is right up there with best I’ve had – grease-free, both fresh and nicely chewy, beautifully seasoned.
My two pieces of blue grenadier are more substantial than they appear, deliciously tender and superbly cooked.
In both our cases, the chips are very fine and the Asian-influenced salad with pickled ginger does OK – so actually is way better than the usual salad components found at fish and chip joints.
The most lovely surprise of our meal comes in the form of a punnet of one of the sauces available for 95 cents.
“Sambol” is unlike anything sambol we’ve ever experienced before.
It’s actually far more like the sort of oiled and gingery mash usually served with Hainan chicken rice.
With deep-fried seafood and potatoes?
It really works!
Booking a couple of tickets for the Astor’s Indiana Jones marathon was inspired by examination earlier in the week of the lacklustre school holiday movie fare on offer.
It’s a winning move and we have a ball.
We see three cracking good flicks for $20 in a gorgeous old theatre, sharing the experience with a happy, slightly geeky crowd that claps and cheers before and after each movie, during the more preposterous scenes and at some of the more crack-up lines.
There’s at least half a dozen cats dressed up as Indi, and one group with an Esky stuffed with food.
During the first interval, we see one bloke tucking into a can of Jim Beam & Coke AND a mighty slice of chocolate cake. At the next break, we spy the same dude wielding a packet of Malteasers.
We’d seen Raiders Of The Lost Ark at the same venue about a year before, so it holds little surprise for us.
I haven’t seen the next two since the time of their original releases and have little recall of the storylines, so lap them up with glee.
Temple Of Doom seems to suffer, to my mind, from a lack of exotic locations.
From a foodie point of view, however, it does boast a couple of brilliant barbecue scenes.
The Last Crusade is more upbeat, goofy and rollicking, with Sean Connery a real cool addition.
Across the three movies, we spy two stunts that have received the Mythbusters treatment, though there may well have been others.
Given the slightly late start and the breaks between flicks, it’s after midnight before it’s all over, so the early dinner has turned out to be just the right move.
But now, of course, we’re up for supper. Bennie wants to have his first ever crack at congee, so off we go down St Kilda Rd and into the CBD, where we find a park easily.
Supper Inn is a late-night Melbourne institution, though my one meal here was so long ago as to leave me completely bereft of any detailed recollection.
No matter – it seems like the perfect place to continue what has already been an awesome day in the life of Consider The Sauce.
The restaurant is bustling and doing brisk business. The dowdy decor doubtless hasn’t changed in decades.
Most of the punters do as we do and roll their eyes and grimace as a series of rowdy (drunk) Hawthorn fans periodically spark up with tuneless renditions of their club’s theme song.
Footy club theme songs being perhaps even more loathed in our home than the dreaded Christian Music …
I’m knocked out and proud as all get out that Bennie’s wanting to try congee for the first time – and that he orders the preserved duck egg with pork rendition ($7.50).
Even better, he slurps the lot up with glee. It tastes pretty good to me, too!
By comparison, my rice noodle soup with roast pork is a dud.
I appreciate the wealth of bok choy and the pork is equally plentiful, on the sweetish side and rather good and meaty.
But overall, my supper is bland – and, at $16, it’s at least $5 more pricey than we’d normally expect to pay for such a dish.
Should there be another late-night out for us – and on the basis of this one, it appears that is certain be the case – we’ll likely head for another late-night joint, China Bar, around the corner.
There, should we wish to do so, we’ll be able to have a better quality version of the same soup noodle dish at a more modest price, and probably better food overall – or at least more in line with our tastes.
Still, we’ve fully experienced two grand Melbourne traditions in a single day – a movie marathon at the Astor and a post-midnight feed at the Supper Inn.
Happy sighs punctuate our drive home.