Alex Take Away Food, 11 Ford Rd, Altona. Phone: 9398 4267
“If you aren’t paying for a product, you ARE the product.”
Such is the charge often levelled at Facebook
We’re not blind to the creepier aspects of the social media behemoth.
But while keeping them in mind, we find it almost impossible to remain unmoved by the connectedness it can foster.
Take the Altona, I lived there FB page for instance.
In its short life, it has quickly racked up more than 2500 members and become a lively, entertaining focal point for all sorts of stories, photos and reminiscences about Altona.
And it’s how we found out about Alex Take Away Food.
The address has nothing to do with what most of us non-Altonians think of when we think of Grieve Parade – the freeway exit after the Millers Road one.
Nope, this part of Grieve Parade requires taking the Millers Road exit, heading right down past the refinery, turning right on to Civic Parade and THEN turning right on to suburban – as opposed to industrial – Grieve Parade.
On the early week night we visit, the place is mad busy.
There’s a heap of customers in-house and there seems to be just as many phone orders coming in.
Everyone but us is a regular. We feel like strangers gatecrashing an intimate gathering of friends and families.
Certainly, the pace is sufficiently frantic to preclude any chit chat and inquiries about just how long this community asset has been doing business right here.
But judging by the funky decor, I’m guessing at least since some time in the 1970s.
We’re in no hurry though, so happily enjoy the vibe until our order is taken.
There are zero tables or chairs, inside or out.
And unlike almost all the other customers, we can’t simply whisk our goodies home – and even the beach, while reasonably close by, seems a stretch that will ruin our dinner.
So we prop on the footpath right outside the shop, get stuck in and make small talk with some local youngsters while we’re at it.
Bennie loves his “with the lot” ($7.50).
He’s enough of a burger maven to understand and appreciate that there’s a difference between more American-style burgers and the Aussie variety – and that there’s a time and a place for both.
My calamari rings ($1) are the of the surimi variety and just OK.
My deep-fried snapper ($7.50) is much better and a real classy piece of work.
The batter is crisp and deep brown, and adheres to the fish pretty good.
The snapper itself is a huge chunk of seafood and has juicy depth of the sort we’ve rarely encountered.
Our chips orders ($4) got lost in the hubbub somewhere, so we end up with some that appear to have been sitting for a while – they’re barely warm and a bit leathery.
But as we saw heaps of chips of what appeared to be excellent quality and appearance be prepared as we waited for our food, we wouldn’t let this minor lapse deter us from returning to this amazing and obviously much-loved neighbourhood joint.