Ovest, 572 Barkly Street, Footscray. Phone: 9687 7766
Ovest has been open a while by the time Team CTS visits.
Every time I’ve passed by in recent weeks when the place has been open, it’s been jumping.
So our hopes are high – especially those of my friends, who live just a black away and for whom this shapes as a welcome local of the non-Indian variety.
Our hopes are fulfilled, and in terms of the food well exceeded.
Here’s the bottom line – we have one entree, one side, one pizza, two mains, one dessert, two glasses of wine and a soft drink.
The bill comes to just cents above $40 each.
What an absolute ripping bargain!
We’ve booked at 6pm on a Sunday night – which may have been a mistake as it’s family rush hour, the joint is very noisy and the service is a little scrappy, but not enough to cause any alarm.
When I amble back to my car, post-dinner and after having picked up a wonderful loaf of freshly baked bread from my companions’ place, Ovest is a lot more placid.
The dining room looks a treat and it’s a wonderful thing that this old bank is playing host to such vibrant life.
Coleslaw of cabbage, pear, radish, lemon and parmesan ($12) is a real big serve of yum.
At first, I wish for a little more salt and flavour bite, but by the end I come to love the rather perfumey flavours.
Saganaki kefalograviera, sherry vinegar-soaked currants and pickled onions appears modest of portion but is so rich that three of us are happy.
The cheese has a marvellously toasted and salty crust.
A mushroom pizza with taleggio, caramelised onion and fior de latte ($20) is very, very good, its many fungus chunks having a real meatiness about them.
Tuna nicoise ($26) is a stunner and very generous to boot.
Underneath that handsome slab of fish lie spud discs and heaps of superbly creamy mayo.
My roast of the day (top photo, $25.50) is a simple but good-sized snapper stuffed with lemon.
The fish is lovely but it’s the accompanying salad/salsa that makes this dish sing – the clever addition of pickled chilli discs adds not just random exclamations of heat but also a just-right tartness.
The good, hot chips are served in such quantity that there’s more than enough for us all to share – but then, that’s true of everything we’ve enjoyed.
By the time dessert selections are to be made, we’re stuffed.
So to speak.
So two becomes one with three spoons.
Panna cotta of yogurt, vanilla and strawberry jelly ($10) is just the sort creamy dream you’d expect and lasts all of about, oh, five seconds.
The jelly is a delicately-flavoured delight.
My pals are stoked.
So would I be if this “local” had just opened a minute from my front door!