The punt taken by CTS friends Marco and Maria in moving their Latin Foods & Wines from Sunshine North to much bigger premises up the road in Deer Park appears to be paying off and then some.
The scenes witnessed by me a few weeks back could accurately be described as cheerful bedlam.
They’ve secured the services of Chilean-bred chef Arnoldo and consequently the eat-in food on offer is expanding beyond the usual, fabulous sandwiches.
That includes a simple breakfast menu Maria assures me is true-blue South American!
This weekend I tried these pork ribs with chilli mash and cabbage salad ($26.50) – one of the very best meals I’ve enjoyed this year.
These are not you barbecue-style ribs; rather they’re oven-cooked and seasoned with sage and cumin.
Very piggy, very delicious.
The mash is very mild in terms of chilli but superbly done and the cabbage salad, with a dob of guacamole on top, is a tangy dream.
As you can see by the hand-written, there’s a bunch South American specialties still be tried.
Located between a massage shop and a pop culture collectibles place, newly opened Burgernomics appear to be attracting hordes of the ever-reliable burger curious.
Further towards Sunshine, and on the same side of Ballarat Road, Sada Bahaar is being prepared for delivery of its Pakistani and Indian fare.
Something cool and exciting is coming to Seddon – in the row of former shops adjacent to the station on Bellairs Avenue.
Consider The Sauce hopes to run an interview/profile with owner/proprietor Vera before the opening.
On Racecourse Road in Flemington, the shop formerly home to I Love Dumplings – which is these days in the old bank building a few doors along – is now home to a place simply called, as far as I can tell, Chinese BBQ.
The properties that formerly held a couple of Asian places and the mall at the end of which was once Green Tea and (before that) Laksa King sadly remain vacant.
Further toward the railway line, it appears Pho House will soon have some competition in terms of hardcore Vietnamese offerings.
Also on Racecourse Road, long-running socially aware Streat cafe has permanently moved on.
The chicken shop on Whitehall Street – the chicken-salted chips of which are highly regarded by a couple of members of the CTS Panel of Experts – is for sale.
The property includes the chicken shop and three flats.
The bar area of the Station Hotel appears to be still in a state of some disarray following their fire calamity – but according to the pub’s Facebook page, they’ll be reopening on Friday, July 1.