We checked out the dinner routine at Up In Smoke (28 Hopkins St, Footscray, phone 9689 8188) very early in the piece, and Bennie I have been back a couple of times – most recently to share very happily the Big Tray.
But it’s taken this long for me to try the lunch-time fare at the adjoining store.
The shop has a range of beer, hot sauces, pickles and condiments and the like, and has a range of ready-to-toast sangers on hand.
But I’m here with hopes of seeing how they integrate the restaurant’s barbecue fare with a more low-key, quick-bite and affordable lunch philosophy.
What’s available is listed on a blackboard.
Chips ($5) are fine, though I reckon halving the serve and charging $3 might better serve those wanting to top up their lunch orders without going overboard.
My beef brisket roll is a knock-out!
Here’s the thing – it’s something of fusion of the Up In Smoke barbecue thing and the banh-mi scene of a few blocks away.
The banh-mi-style roll is stuffed with a very Asian, finely chopped coleslaw, cucumber batons, fresh red chilli discs and coriander.
But it’s also handsomely filled with thick slices of very tasty and wonderful smoked brisket.
The price is $9 – which is, of course, almost precisely twice the going rate for Footscray central banh mi.
But it’s also a good handful of dollars LESS than such a high-quality sandwich/roll would cost you in a hipster cafe.
Given how much I enjoy it, I consider the $9 fee a bargain.