Two Bros On Blyth, 51a Blyth Street, Altona.
Two Bros On Blyth in Altona has gone from agreeable neighbourhood cafe to something much grander.
A second storey has been added.
A much larger downstairs kitchen has been installed.
There’s two menus in place – see them both at the Two Bros website here.
A good deal of thought and creativity has been put into both.
Lunch runs to such attractive options as smoky spice rub chicken wings with bourbon BBQ sauce ($15 for half a kilo, $24 for a kilo), pulled pork and beef melts ($15), and reuben and cubano sandwiches ($16).
But we’re here for dinner, my company on this occasion being Nat Stockley and his niece, Yaya.
Yaya is living away from her Thai home while she studies in Melbourne. She appears to be taking to Melbourne and its myriad ways with aplomb.
And given the company she’s keeping, it’s no surprise she is becoming a pro eater.
Eating Tim Tams for breakfast – like that.
I think it’s fair to say that she and I enjoy our meal more than her uncle – but overall we all have an enjoyable time of it.
The upstairs dining room is far from ostentatious, but with its hanging greenery and roomy feel is a pleasant, tanquil space in which to dine.
The only downside we find is that our table is too small for the multiple dishes we order and which arrive simultaneously.
We order one entree, two sides, one of the big sharing-for-two mains and a dessert.
With a couple of non-booze drinks and a coffee included, the bill comes to a few bucks over $100, which I consider good value.
The service is fine.
Lamb ribs ($16) are excellent – and significantly more meaty than other versions I’ve eaten recently.
The impact of the advertised salsa verde is negligible but the mild, tasty chilli concoction also included is worthy compensation and the cumin seasoning on the meat itself is ace.
Hand-cut chips ($7) are good though there is only the scantiest trace of the listed “togarashi salt” seasoning. But I love the subtle pungency of the wasabi aioli.
Broccolini with toasted almonds and preserved lemon butter ($7) takes care of the veg component.
The dinner menu features three big, meaty share dishes – for two, the pork shoulder and brisket; for three or four, the whole braised lamb shoulder.
Our pork shoulder with chipotle adobo and coriander sports a heavy layer of fat, but I like it a lot.
The tender meat and its marinade/sauce have a fruitiness that is beguiling and overall this dish is a nice change from some of the drab pulled pork offerings that have come my way in recent years.
One of our trio grumbles a bit about the $48 price tag, but I figure that this dish is listed as a share deal for two and that $24 per person in that context is fine.
Chocolate brownie ice-cream sandwich with hot fudge sauce, Yaya’s selection, is a doozy.
It looks, somewhat necessarily, messy on the plate – and gets much messier very quickly.
But there’s no denying the intense pleasure to be had from the brownie’s crunch, the black-flecked vanilla ice-cream and the sticky sauce.
It’s worth every cent of the $12 we pay.