Rib and curry sensations

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Santorini, 1 Parker Street, Williamstown. Phone: 9399 8520
podatpid, 638 Barkly Street, West Footscray. Phone: 0404 904 900

Never order ribs from a non-specialist barbecue joint.

This is the emphatic lesson rammed home to Consider The Sauce through tedious confrontations with mediocrity.

Or worse.

But in the case of Santorini, we figure this is a rule worth ignoring.

Observing on FB the ingenuity and passion with which the whole Santorini crew is confronting the virus brouhaha is truly heartening.

That includes free delivery – yes, even as far as Yarraville – and specials events such as “souvlaki night”, free donut nights and more.

So order ribs, we do.

What we get is simply sensational.

Great lemon potatoes and heaps of them.

Greek coleslaw, and heaps of that, too, with just enough onion to add a little bite and quite a lot of feta, which crumbles into the dressing.

What a magic mix!

Given the superb accompaniments, and the fair asking price of $25 per person, we’d be quite unfazed to get a single big beef rib each.

Unfazed, but disappointed.

But no!

We get two of the beefy blighters each.

And – you guessed it!  – they, too, are very, very excellent.

And tender.

And delicious.

To order from Santorini online, go here.

 

 

Another of our faves, podatpid on Barkly Street in West Footscray, is also having lots of fun and satisfaction in keeping on trucking.

The cafe is selling a select range of top-notch grocery items, including bread.

And pick-up/take-home meals.

After having two encounters with it, we’ve become particularly fond of their pork-and-pineappple curry.

A really big serve for two cost us a fine $22.

It’s not so hefty in the pineapple department – it being outweighed by sweet potato.

Now that’s something that normally have both of us wrinkling up our noses in disgust because of its similarity to pumpkin.

But here, mixed in with the rich brown (and mild) curry gravy, it’s fab.

And our curry boasts a really good amount of tender pork chunks.

 

 

This particular meals ends with a sweet treat from yet another of faves – Olive Oil & Butter on Somerville Road.

Baklava for two – with yogurt. Greek, of course.

Hunkering down at home like everyone else, we’ve actually been cooking/eating healthily and affordably to a quite amazing extent.

So it’s been good to enjoy such great food from outside.

Even if we’ve not been sitting inside.

 

Naked and hungry

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Naked Egg, 32A Ballarat Street, Yarraville. Phone: 9396 0309
Panjali Banana Leaf Malaysian Restaurant, 3/10 Sun Crescent, Sunshine. Phone: 9193 1740

We’ve been hearing the talk – that Yarraville cafe Naked Egg has been doing fab takeaway meals.

So we check them out.

And the outcome is outstanding.

Some takeaway meals don’t suit us as we don’t have a microwave oven.

So I get two serves of chicken cacciatore at $18 each.

Actually, with its sausage and beans involvement, it’s more a cassoulet.

But let’s not split hairs, eh?

 

 

Bennie has somehow become the tightwad of the family, so gets a bit sniffy about the asking price of $18 a serve.

I beg to differ.

Adamantly.

Our “stew” is gloriously rich and delicious, with seeming multitudes of chicken bits, sausage and vegetables, all in a rich, thick sauce of profound delectableness.

Expert cooking going on here, methinks.

In a restaurant setting – oh, those were the days and hopefully will be again – I’d expect to pay in the mid-$20s or even more.

So this strikes me as very good pricing. I expect any decrease in price would inevitably mean a drop in quality.

The side serve of spuds and sauerkraurt is OK, but no match for the main event stew.

In a word: Fabulous!

 

 

For another take-home meal, we venture a bit up the road – to Panjali in Sunshine.

This time, I’ve phoned in our order beforehand and the whole procedure is sweet and swish, our food (mostly) awaiting when I turn up.

We get two murtabaks – one lamb ($12.90) and one chicken ($11.90).

It may be thought in some quarters that anything involving flatbreads purchased for later heating up is a recipe for ugh.

But we know from previous experience that is not the case with murtabaks.

Panjali murtabaks, anyway.

 

 

Our Saturday night meal is, well, orgasmic.

Perhaps we’ve been missing a certain level of spice and oil and funkiness?

Anyone else in that bag?

In any case, our Panjali meal of murtabak has us both ooh-ing and ahh-ing an sporting happy grins.

Not only do the murtabaks re-heat very well, but the accompanying gravies – one beef curry and one dal and vegetables – are wonderful.

 

CTS Readers & Friends Eats Digest 13/4/20

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Lisa writes from Airport West: “Hi Kenny, Happy Easter long weekend. I’m a long-time reader of your blog that lives and works in the west, so have thoroughly enjoyed your posts and recommendations.

“Thought I’d send through a pic of home-made pumpkin and olive bread (c/- Dan Lepard) and spicy cauliflower soup. Have been dabbling in no-knead bread and easy bread recipes, since my previous disasters in breadmaking (bagels and the like).

“I live in Airport West (more north-west, but consider it west) and work in Braybrook, so have tried pretty much every restaurant along Barkly Street, West Footscray! Always look forward to your updates and goss to try somewhere new with friends.

“I always seem to be returning to Latin Foods & Wines, various Afghan restaurants in Sunshine, Brother Nancy and Smokehouse 101. Have yet to try Theos in Keilor Park – have been wanting to try their spanakopita, but have sold out a couple of times by the time I get there late afternoon.”

 

Sylvia writes from Caroline Springs: “Some photos of my home made hot cross buns. As an enthusiastic home baker, it was really stressful seeing supermarket shelves devoid of flour. I found some at a convenience store and decided to start some festive Easter baking. One batch is chocolate and orange, second batch traditional fruit buns. I soaked the fruit (which was a little old and dry) in earl grey tea to revive it which worked a treat!”

 

 

In West Footscray, Justin and family are cooking up a storm – including this pumpkin, chick pea and harissa soup.

He says: “Truth be told … the sort of recipe I would never have considered in normal times. Too many steps. But not when you’ve got all the time in the world on your hands!”

 

Also emanating from the Justin kitchen – lasagne and …

 

… “pork meatballs in sugo that I made and froze a couple of weeks ago. And using up the fag ends of three pasta packs. So easy. Classic meatball mix of mince, breadcrumbs, onions, herbs … fried and simmered. So good.”

 

In Carnegie, the Nat family enjoyed this “excellent tripe with the spicy Thai dipping sauce”.

He tells me the meal also included larb with chicken mince, a kilo of boiled prawns and a Chiang Mai herbal chicken soup and steamed rice.

 

Our lovely neighbour Vanessa, whose garden we raid regularly for herbs, enjoyed these fish tacos.

 

Up on the Gold Coast, Judith Weir and partner Tim enjoyed this classic steak and salad combo.

 

My own nourishment, during two weeks of solo living, has included this yummo coconut, spud and chick pea curry sourced from Woven in Stpehen Street, Yarraville and …

 

 

… classic basic sausages from Andrew’s Of Yarraville with rough-mashed potatoes and tomato and …

 

… your standard chicken biryani ordered in from Dosa Corner in West Footscray.

Asked for “mild”, got blazing over-hot heat!

 

I also enjoyed this rustic pasta dish, yiouvetsi, from Olive Oil & Butter on Somerville Road.

Their menu describes it as: “Slow-cooked lamb and orzo pasta baked in stew pot in a rich tomato base, finished with grilled kefalograviera and feta.”

Despite its humble appearance, it was fabulously delicious!

CTS Readers’ Eats Digest 31/3/20

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From Sharnae in Werribee: “My almost five-year-old learning the joys and deliciousness of homemade pasta. It’s a simple carbonara with bacon, garlic, eggs, and parmesan and parsley.”

 

From Greg in Flemington: “Grass-fed rib eye for two, done sous vide, parsley and roquette salad, parmesan dutch creams, fresh horseradish. Please forgive the opened boxes of vinyl gloves … a sign of our current time.

“The wine was exceptional – Hickinbotham Trueman vineyard cabernet Sauvignon 2012. Have cellared since 2014. Sadly, no change from $75, but we wanted to say to ourslelves, ‘great produce deserves great wine’.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long-time Consider The Sauce readers and supporters Sian and Michael are eating well in West Footscray.

Sian: “We’ve had a couple of takeaway meals from Bruger and West 48, but probably the favourite thing I’ve eaten so far has been Eat Me Soulfood’s lasagna. But I didn’t take a photo of that. They’ve upped their range from single-serve meals (which we typically get two serves out of anyway) to include some ‘family size’ dishes since all this started, which has been great.

“So while we haven’t been shopping ourselves, we’ve had some fresh food to eat anyway!  I did make my own bread the other weekend – AND mozzarella from scratch!

“This Saturday past I ventured out to see what Restaurant Navi were doing with their new bakery option. Turned up five minutes before opening and stood in a carefully distancing queue for an hour, ordered at the door and brought home my sourdough and treats eventually. Turned some of the sourdough into epic three-cheese toasted bread.

“I also made my own pickles for the first time, pictured with a lunch frittata (we’re working from home now, a cooked lunch is viable).

“Next weekend I’m thinking of giving Cobb Lane a go _ they’re offering delivery for orders over $20 in the inner west and I’ve missed them a lot since they went wholesale only.”

 

From the Nat Stockley family in Carnegie: “Chiang Mai-style dishes – pounded jackfruit herbal and herbal chicken soup with mushrooms,”

(Editor’s note: I’m pretty sure Nat took the photos and Kanchana Auttama did the cooking!)

 

Some of what we’ve been eating

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Here’s some of the fare we’ve been enjoying while being sociable distancers …

 

Our own Yarraville tomato sauce with smashed pork sausages from A&L Gugliotta & Sons and spaghettini.

 

Stewed quinces with flourless choc brownie from Second Ave Grocer and Greek yoghurt.

 

A great delivered deal from Cheezy Pizza on Gamon Street – one large Australian, one large American, garlic bread, bottle of soft drink for $30!

 

Lamb koftas (hamburger style) from Andrew’s Of Yarraville, tzatziki, fennel and tomato salads, grilled ciabatta.

 

Fabulous Chilton’s Moroccan lamb pie from Second Ave Grocer with green beans in olive oil, salt, pepper.

 

More of our tomato sauce – this time with ricotta and parsley, basil and marjoram from Vanessa’s garden. And rigatoni.

Show us what you’ve got!

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Hello Readers!

Well now, what use a food blog these days, eh?

Particularly one primarily based around eating out and about at eateries all over the western suburb and then going home and writing about them.

Not much use.

Not much use at all.

Truth is, we’ve been eating extremely well and (mostly) healthily – and I suspect we’re far from alone in that.

So here it is – Consider The Sauce is throwing open its doors to community contributors.

We’d love you out there to send us photos of your socially distanced meals.

Anything goes – burnt toast, a cup of instant noodles, a lavish five-course feast, a backyard barbecue.

Words?

Not if you don’t want to or can’t be bothered.

But OTOH feel free to send reviews, recipes, poetry or even reflections on our current situation and how it’s affecting your world – and what you are eating.

We are in utter awe at the passionate, ingenious and brilliant efforts being put in by so many restaurants, cafes and shops all over the west – many of them run by people we know personally – in turbocharged adventures aimed at keeping their businesses going, their staff employed and the rest of us well fed.

I want to order deliveries and/or takeaways from each and every one of them.

But, of course, I can’t do that!

And while my journalistic instincts are to go zipping all over the place gathering snapshots of them in smiling action, even that is not advisable.

So feel free to sing the praises of your favourites by sending pics and words conveying your pleasure on how your fave eateries are rising to the occasion!

Unfortunately, I cannot pay for reader contributions.

And, sure, you can post your pics on your favourite social media platform – but that means they will be seen friends and family and then rapidly buried underneath the daily post flow.

Send them to us and they may be enshrined in perpetuity on the western suburbs’ longest-standing and most widely read food blog.

Depending on response, I will turn contributions into individual stories – or perhaps a weekly or daily digest.

Digest?

Hah!

C’mon – show us what you’ve got!

Send your efforts to Consider The Sauce by either of the following methods:

email: kennyctsblog@gmail.com

Or by Messenger through the CTS Facebook page.

Nutty stuff

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Clockwise from top left: Peanut butter Nutella, salted caramel, choc orange, cinnamon, cookies ‘n’ cream, lamington jam cream.

 

Daniel’s Donuteria Hoppers Crossing, 4/150 Hogans Road, Hoppers Crossing. Phone: 8742 4997

Despite having – until now – never visited Daniel’s Donuteria, I am so used to thinking of it as a Hoppers Crossing fixture, that it comes as something of a shock to discover it is but one.

There are others – thanks Bennie, Nat for wising me up – in Springvale, Carnegie, the CBD and even (blow me down) at Highpoint.

But here we are at Hogan’s Corner in Hoppers.

How to describe Hogan’s Corner?

It’s a weird collection of shops and and caparking seemingly distributed at random.

When it comes to shopping centre/precincts, Hogan’s Corner is definitely at the unlovely end of the spectrum.

 

 

But it serves the local community pretty well, I suspect, and we enjoy the unfamiliar setting as we get familiar with Dan’s “donuts”.

They are very, very good, though it may be some time (maybe never) before we partake of a post-midnight deep-fried batter run to Hopper’s Crossing for the place’s popular 24-hour opening hours on Friday and Saturday.

 

 

We have been envisaging sharing three donuts between us for lunch.

But we succumb to the attractions of a great offer – six of the joint’s top-line specimens for $14.

That’s about $2.30 an item – and that makes for a ripper deal when compared with the prices I see Krusty Kreme products going for closer to home.

 

 

We do indeed account for three of our six – peanut butter Nutella, salted caramel and choc orange.

And I, for one, am very full at that point in what is an usual non-savoury, non-spicy lunch for us.

I had half expected the Daniel’s range would involve plain donuts with different frostings/icings.

But, no, all our donuts not only have their own individual toppings, but also fillings to match!

How splendid!

But better was to come.

The next day, for a mid-morning snack-with-coffee, I gobble our lamington, jam and cream donut.

Now, I’m not going to claim that donuts are anything but at the top of their game when fresh as.

But in this case, a certain amount of day-after staleness lends my snack pronounced extra yumminess.

The chocolate/coconut frosting, in particular, has a crustiness that works in explosively fine tandem with the great gobs of real cream and jam that constitute the filling.

Divine and decedent!

 

Westie eats goss 06/02/20

 

Located below Chinese eatery Palace Royal and in the premises of a former clothes shop, Footscray will soon have a swish new Japanese-style barbecue restaurant.

 

 

The 45 Leeds Street food emporium looks like it will be quite something, will feature at-table cooking and is expected to open in a couple of months.

 

 

Staying in Footscray, the shopfront location on Barkly Street, right next door to Anh Tuk and just around the corner from the mall, is being fitted out.

 

 

The presence of many stools suggests something of an eat/drink nature is on the way here – but I have yet to see anyone in the place to find out more.

Goss about this most welcomely received!

 

 

We’re a bit sad to see that Ammas Pantry has closed – we really enjoyed the meals we had there.

The corner shop at 33 Parker Street, Footscray, right opposite Footscray City Primary School, will soon be up and running as Baby Elephant.

 

 

Work continues (slowly) on Filipino joint Chibog at 553 Barkley Street in West Footscray.

 

 

Management has been seeking staff on Facebook.

 

 

At Rifle Range shopping centre in Williamstown, the chicken shop is being transformed into a Greek taverna.

 

 

On Anderson Street in Yarraville, what was until very recently the Village Store has been well and truly gutted as the property is prepared for a forthcoming Woolies Metro outlet.

Once it’s open, CTS will walk the aisles to gauge how it goes in serving the local community.

 

 

Across the road, the former Bakers Delight shop is being prepared for a new venture under the auspices of Anna Quayle.

To be known as Romanee, its Facebook page is here if you’re interested in monitoring progress.

 

 

Around the corner on Ballarat Street, one of our fave village places, Little Advi, is now doing dinners.

 

 

We have yet to avail ourselves of this service, but the menu looks like it’ll be just the ticket for us!

 

 

The latest whisper I have heard regarding the ComBank building on Anderson Street runs along the lines of brewery downstairs and botox upstairs.

 

 

Sunshine’s Afghan Bread bakery, at 250 Hampshire Road, sells its wonderful flatbread for $2 for a bag of four.

 

 

And it’s also serving eat-in Afghan/Persian food.

When I tried the lamb qorma, the salad bits were just OK, the bread was typically the size of a front door mat and the dish itself looked ugly.

But it was of prime deliciousness – and cost a mere $12.

 

How we ate great in 2019

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August of 2020 will mark the 10th anniversary of Consider The Sauce.

There will be a party.

The outlines of what I have planned are, at this stage, very hazy.

I am open to suggestions about a venue or any other ideas.

Likewise, I remain open to suggestions for employment – paid or not.

For the time being, Consider The Sauce IS my job – and that’s a pretty cool place to be.

As for 2019, for the Consider The Sauce family it has been a momentous year, one filled with loss and several varieties of pain, but also one full of wonderful life, love and surprises.

Thanks as always to our readers, the many friends who lent us their eating and the small business people of the western suburbs, without whom etc etc!

The following wrap-up by no means covers all the fine food we enjoyed this year – if I were to bash this out tomorrow, the outcome would quite likely be different!

 

 

Cannoli Bar

This Avondale Heights treasure has become a firm favourite – not just for sweets, but also for pasta and other lunchy delights.

 

 

On The Bone

Nat and I finally made it to One The Bone in Maidstone and had an incredibly super time of it.

We lucked into the very first of their Sunday lunch deals.

The advice is simple and adamant – once the Sunday lunches resume in the new year, just go.

 

 

Kites

Away from the western suburbs, we loved our visits to Kites in Clayton South for top-notch Sri Lankan tucker.

 

 

Fusion Ceylon

Just before Christmas, Bennie and I struck out in search of Lebanese food in Hopper Crossing.

The place, our destination, was boarded up.

And definitely not serving lunch.

So we headed for an old fave – Fusion Ceylon in Werribee.

He had one of their fabulous fried rice dishes.

I opted for the $9 “curry in a hurry” bain marie deal – and it was a lot more glamourous and sexy than that sounds.

“I’d forgotten how good this place is,” Bennie enthused.

Yes indeed – absolutely a star of the west.

 

 

Chi Bao

We welcomed Chi Bao to Yarraville – and loved its dumplings and more.

 

 

Balkan Grill

We first made the acquaintance of Danilo Majmunovic at Balkan Grill when it was set up in an Ardeer soccer club.

After he moved to a more orthodox eatery premises in St Albans, we adored his brilliant take on burgers.

 

 

Biryani King/Barwachi

Welcome, too, to two new additions to the West Footscray Indian scene.

We had happy times at both Biryani King and Bawarchi.

 

 

Panjali/Annapoorna

For a different take on curry, we very much enjoy having the banana leaf meals and more from Panjali in Sunshine and Shri Annapoorna in Braybrook as part of our regular fare.

 

Doug The Barber

In the course of food-related research, I discovered Doug, formerly of Williamstown Road and Francis Street, had set up shop in Brooklyn.

Getting a haircut from Doug is always a pleasure.

 

 

Tanoor

No story about Tanoor this year, yet this Hopper Crossing purveyor of Lebanese tucker remains one of our leading regulars – both for eat-in dips and accessories AND for takeaway pies and pizzas.

 

 

Mama Lor

Our troubled relationship with Filipino food was given an affirming filip thanks to the arrival of Mama Lor in Werribee.

Love that crackling and roast pork!

 

 

Kingyo Izayaka

The best Japanese food we had this year was provided by Kingyo Izayaka in Moonee Ponds.

And it was very, very good.

 

 

Mun Kitchen/Mumchan

Korean food?

Oh, yes, we were right amongst that, too.

Mun Kitchen at Williams Landing and Mumchan in Laverton both served us great fried chicken and more.

 

 

Cafe d’Afrique

We were excited and delighted to welcome Faisel Pkesy and his Cafe a’Afrique back – here be the heart of Footscray.

And excellent food, too.

 

 

Cheezy Pizza

“Making Aussie pizzas better” is the motto of Cheezy Pizza in Yarraville.

And that’s precisely what they do.

Make ours a large American plus whatever.

 

 

Laksa King Kitchen

For several reasons, we do not favour the main Laksa King on Pin Oak Crescent in Flemington.

Yet we are returning regularly to the new branch office on Racecourse Road – particularly for the various chicken rice options.

 

 

Olive Oil & Butter

We are looking forward to the forthcoming provision of evening meals at Olive Oil & Butter in Yarraville.

In the meantime, it has become another much-loved CTS regular.

 

 

Karlaylisi

Hand-made noodles, cumin lamb and many other spicy delights – there is nothing not to love about Karlaylisi on Gordon Street in Footscray.

 

 

 

Second Ave Grocer

It’s gone from Altona Fresh to Second Ave Grocer – but we continue to love this place, which has become a big part of our weekly routines.

 

 

Ragusa

We enjoyed a number of swish meals this year – none better than that served to us at Ragusa in Williamstown.

Croatian joy on many plates!

 

Much more than cannoli

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Cannoli Bar, 23 Riviera Road, Avondale Heights. Phone: 93377049

In the months since CTS first wrote about Cannoli Bar, the place has become wildly famous.

A great big bunch of media coverage has ensued, but I’d like to think it’s the sheer outstanding quality of what is on offer that is the main driver of all this feverish fandom.

Since then, too, Cannoli Bar has expanded its fare.

There’s a much longer range of cannoli available, many of them of a colourful and creative bent.

And that expansion means lunch.

 

 

Lunch options include really good-looking pizza slices.

And a couple of daily pasta selections.

I decide against the cannelloni with beef, opting instead for the eggplant parmigiana ($18, top photo).

Oh my, my, my – this is heaven.

It arrives in a very hot bowl, its contents still bubbling.

It’s a glorious mix of eggplant, the top bits nicely crunchy, tomato and cheese.

Perfect.

My lunch is wonderfully enhanced by a parade of hardcore blues classics – Albert King’s Born Under A Bad Sign, Bobby Bland’s Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City, Sonny Boy William’s Help Me and more.

Thank you very, very much.

 

 

My wonderful lunch is completed by biscotto cherry ($2) and cafe latte – both equally fine.

I had originally intended this outing to be the basis of a story about panettone – more precisely the merits of the cheap, mass-produced ones we get from the supermarket compared to more rustic renditions.

 

 

But all that seems a bit redundant in light of the fact that I grab the very last of Cannoili Bar’s pistachio amaretto panettone ($25) and that the eight remaining choc chip versions will likely be gone by the time you read this.

 

 

Back home, Bennie and I soon discover that all panettones are most definitely not the same.

Yes, the pistachio crust is super.

But it’s the “cake” itself that truly wows us.

It’s chewy, much more fibrous than the cheapo versions we’re familiar with, delicious.

We won’t be casual about this one.

No hacking off a slice at a mere whim.

This is something to be savoured.

Cannoli Bar is open Wednesdays through Saturdays.

If you can make it, I suggest week-day visits, as I suspect this place gets crazy busy at the weekends.

There is something ridiculously fine about tootling down a rather ordinary suburban street, headed for this very cool Italian establishment.

 

Snag mission

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A&L Gugliotta and Sons Butchers, 314 Blackshaws Road, Altona North. Phone: 9391 1606

After noting the front-of-house upgrade at Gugliotta and Sons in the most recent edition of Westie eats goss, I have been invited back to observe the making of sausages.

The old joke goes that after watching sausages being made, you’ll never want to eat one again.

In this instance, that is definitely not the case.

I am impressed by the simplicity of the process and the freshness of the ingredients.

The odours are likewise fresh and clean – if odours can be clean!

I love watching Nick and his offsider, Anthony, at work as their colleagues hussle about us taking care of other meaty chores.

 

 

The business makes quite a big range of sausages, but the main task today is a big batch of your basic Italian-style pork snags.

They start with two tubs of cut-up pork, one leaner and …

 

 

… one that includes a good deal more back fat.

As Nick says, a sausage without fat is a tasteless sausage.

 

 

The two tubs of meat are put through the mincer.

This is one of three machines used in the sausage-making process.

The machines are all simple affairs and, really, provide quite close facsimiles for what would take place if the whole process was done by hand.

 

 

To blend and bind, the meat is then put in the mixer.

At this stage, salt, pepper, some wine and a little water are added.

That’s it – that’s your basic pork sausage!

 

 

Given the homespun approach taken here, you’ll be unsurprised to learn Gugliotta and Sons use natural casings.

 

 

They are delivered to the Blackshaws Road shop packed in salt.

So while the meat is being prepared, the casings are being rinsed in lemon-infused water to remove the saltiness.

 

 

The minced-and-mixed meat is placed in an air pump and the meat forced into the casings.

The comes the most magic part – and the most manual!

With flashing dexterity, Nick ties off the long tube of sausage into near-equal lengths.

Here it is the thinner pork sausages that are being created.

Nick looks for all the world like a grandad making balloon animals for the grandkids.

 

 

Also being made today is a smaller batch of Sicilian sausages.

 

 

The provlone, chopped fresh and canned tomatoes and endive are mixed into the same meat base.

 

 

Anthony tells me it took a while for him to fully get the knack of the tying off process, but that these days he could pretty much do it in his sleep.

 

 

Here’s Nick with a water pump/sausage filler of the kind used in an earlier era.

Thanks for inviting me, guys!

 

Westie eats goss 17/10/19

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A&L Gugliotta and Sons Butchers has been operating at 314 Blackshaws Road, Altona, for 50 years.

Nick Gigliotta (on the right) has been working there for as long.

These days he does his meaty magic there with brother Nick and six other staff.

This is a proudly old-school butcher shop where everything is done on the premises.

 

 

The place has just unveiled a whole new look and upgrade, better enabling the team to showcase such delights as the range of sausages, the quality of which is familiar to CTS.

 

 

There’s room, too, for a nice line in high-class pasta and sauces.

 

 

Just around the corner and a few blocks away is what used to be Altona Fresh.

The wonderful shop has a new name – Second Ave Grocer.

 

 

I figured the name change was probably down to trying to make the place’s renown part of the greater western suburbs, rather than just Altona.

But smiling Phil tells me that’s not the case.

He says with a laugh that the only people who called it Altona Fresh were those visiting from the other side of the river.

“All our other customers just say, when they’re on their phones in here, ‘We’re at Second Ave’,” he says. “So when we were upgrading our systems, we thought it was the obvious thing to do!”

Since first writing about this food emporium, it has become a weekly regular for the CTS household, including brunch last weekend for the regular Saturday kranski barbecue outside.

 

 

The Mid-East food presence in the western suburbs has received another lovely lift with the arrival of Oscar’s Teta in Spotswood.

Located at 143 Hudsons Road, just of Williamstown Road, Oscar’s Teta boasts a wonderfully welcoming dining room.

 

 

The menu is pretty much straightahead Lebanese – which is a fine thing, we reckon.

 

 

CTS is very much looking forward to taking the Oscar’s Teta food for a spin.

 

 

Opening this Sunday, October 20, is Le Petit Cafe Rose at 229 Somerville Road, Yarraville.

 

 

Taking over the premises formerly occupied by Happy Maree, the place will be doing a nice line in cakes, muffins, sandwiches, croissants and the like.

 

 

Now operating at 67 Berkshire Road in Sunshine North is burger joint Coal Workshop.

It’s in the shop once home to Latin Foods & Wines.

The burger, onion rings and fries CTS tried were good, solid efforts.

Kurt’s place

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Be Quick boss Kurt Schwier is enthusiastic about Dietz range of organic, Fairtrade teas.

Be Quick Bargains, 465 Ballarat Road, Sunshine. Phone: 9312 7244

There has been a discount grocery on the corner of Ballarat Road and Leonard Street in Sunshine for a long time.

In fact, it was suggested by a reader as a worthy of a story right back at the start of CTS – closing on 10 years ago.

I didn’t follow-up then.

But now I’m in the place – and happily confess that’s because it’s been run for the past year or so by long-time CTS pal and fellow hardcore music nut Kurt Schwier.

Kurt’s background in the biz shows – I am impressed by the foodie-friendly nature of his line-up and, of course, the prices.

 

 

Use-by dates?

Well, they’re part of this sort of set-up.

Kurt tells me he his straight-up and honest with his customers about individual products being offered here.

My understanding is that for some products, those dates are vital.

For others they are less so – and for many, they are effectively meaningless.

 

For years, CTS HQ has been going through a pack of these every week or so. I wish we’d been paying this price all that time!

 

Kurt tells me his customers come from a wide catchment.

Sunshine locally, of course, but also from the likes of Caroline Springs, Taylors Lakes and Deer Park.

And among them come a wide range of folks with various European backgrounds, as well as many with roots in the Philippines.

 

Kurt knows his booze.

 

One of the first things Kurt did when taking over the business was install a suitable sounds system.

Of course!

He confesses the music is mainly for the enjoyment of he and his staff – but customers are free to enjoy it fully, too.

The volume is far from obtrusive, though the strains of good, funky sounds are always thereabouts.

 

 

The most impressive thing in Be Quick for the CTS foodie sensibilities?

This array of pickles and the like – almost all of which are regularly stocked items.

 

 

Though I’m told these sloths are also good, steady sellers.

I leave Be Quick with quite some booty – mainly cookies and so on – for which I have paid $15.

 

Sweetness!

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Theo’s Greek Cakes, 11 Fosters Road, Keilor Park. Phone: 0434 099 450

We are delighted to herald the arrival of new Greek baking emporium on the smallish shopping strip on Fosters Road in Keilor Park.

Theo’s has all your sweet Greek dreams covered at great prices.

Parking is no problem.

And it’s simply a cool place to be.

 

 

We suspect most customers treat it as a shop, taking their goodies home.

But for eating-in purposes, the place is set up in simple cafe style.

 

 

Theo’s is very much about the sweeter side of life, but there are limited savoury options available.

We love our slices of spanakopita ($6).

Rich and flavoursome in a home-style way, they eat bigger than they look.

And at a place in which we would’ve been unsurprised about being presented with plastic plates and implements, we are very happy to have our lunch accompanied by real-deal unplastic gear, along with water.

 

 

For dessert, Bennie opts for this profiterol creation ($5).

He enjoys it, but perhaps not as much as he’d been hoping – likely because the chocolate is not the dark, more bitter kind he likes these days.

He plainly envies my politiko ($5, top photo).

And in that he’s right on the money – as this is superb.

It’s bit like a heftier Greek version of tiramisu, the base of syrupy semolina cake topped by a layer of cream and plenty of powdered coffee.

It is wonderful – and so healthy, too!

Our $4 cafe lattes are a fine foil for all this sweet heaven.

As an added bonus, a delicious trek to Theo’s can become a one-stop outing that includes, a few doors away, Frank’s Supermarket, a happy business a bit like a scaled-down version of Altona Fresh or Mediterranean Wholesalers in Brunswick.

Though, sadly, it is closed during our Sunday visit.

Theo’s joins the D’s Souvlaki is building a whole new food vibe at Keilor Park.

Long may they both prosper and the trend continue.

 

Expanded taverna

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Olive Oil & Butter, 196 Somerville Road, Kingsville. Phone: 9315 1060

Before there was Eleni’s, Meat The Greek or Brother Hood, there was Olive Oil & Butter.

Yes, the renaissance of Greek eateries in Yarraville and nearby suburbs was spearheaded by this Somerville Road institution.

We’ve done two stories on it, but they’re getting old now.

And in the meantime, Olive Oil & Butter has become a regular for us, but mostly for takeaway coffee and treats.

Eating in?

Not so much.

Time for another look?

Yes.

Because we feel like it for a post-kung fu Saturday hoot and lunch.

And because it’s worth recording that Olive Oil & Butter has expanded considerably, the dining area stretching down the back to an outdoor area.

These days it’s got a lovely feel of a real-deal Greek eatery with happy bustle all about.

Of course, this is Melbourne, so coffee and breakfast are front, centre and popular.

But the menu (see below) also features a nice round-up of rustic Greek dishes for lunch.

It’s for them we’re in the house.

 

 

Bennie opts for the open souvlaki ($23).

All present and accounted for as per the menu – two fine skewers of lamb, herbed pita bread, chips, tzatziki, tomato and onions.

He loves; he clean it all up.

I suspect he’s probably making unkind comparisons of the price-to-quantity ratio kind with his beloved Brother Hood in Seddon.

Buddy, that’s unfair – this is a sit-down restaurant situation and you’ve just had a lovely feed.

I get, as recommended by our wait person, the fasolakia lathera ($22, top photo).

Oh boy, this is so wonderful – green beans slow cooked in tomato, onion, garlic (and, I’m sure) a heap of olive oil.

Again, I can hear naysayers proclaiming: “What – $22 for a plate of overcooked beans?”

Ah, but there’s so much more here than that – this is rich and complex, the lemon potatoes and olives fit right in and it’s an ample serve for an all-veg dish.

So delighted am I, that I have another look at the menu and take note of the other home-style meal available here – spanakorizo, moussaka, yemista, fakes – for future consumption.

It’s these sorts of dishes that are the heart of Olive Oil & Butter.

We spy only one seafood dish on the menu, for instance, and the lavish mixed grills you’ll find at other Greek eateries are absent.

But, for me at least, that makes the place all the more appealing.

 

 

All of the above AND the outstanding sweet treats, many of them syrup-drenched, and …

 

 

… the equally terrific spanokopita, tiropita, kreatopita and bougatsa and …

 

 

… and a nice line in Greek groceries make this a Very Cool Place.

And the staff are always on-the-ball and smiling.

See earlier stories here and here.

 

Gordon Street Bakery

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Gordon Street Bakery, 63 Gordon Street, Footscray.

Much excitement has attended the arrival of a French bakery in Gordon Street, Footscray.

Several readers have contacted CTS to express their pleasure and curiosity.

For them and everyone else, we have good news – but we would also counsel patience.

The place is up and running – and baking.

But while it is done out in bright cafe style, the arrival of a coffee machine is a couple of weeks away.

 

 

The bakery is the work of Wilhelm Isaac (above), who tells me he’ll be providing simple in-house fare such as ham-and-cheese croissants and filled baguettes.

 

 

In the meantime, there’s goodies to go.

The baguette I take home is a ripper – crunchy, chewy, superb.

The kind of thing, in other words, that elevates the simple fillings I use – cheese, roast red capsicum, rocket, tomato – well into sublime.

OK, it IS Red Leicester I use – but that’s what is in the fridge.

And it isn’t it great to see Gordon Street Bakery join Karlaylissi in injecting some cool life into this dreary precinct?

Gordon Street Bakery is open 7am-5pm, Tuesday to Saturday.

 

Mid-East treats in South Kingsville

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Dukkah, 23 Vernon Street, South Kingsville. Phone: 9399 3737

Dukkah is a bright new arrival on Vernon Street.

The long dining room has been done up a treat.

 

 

It’s casual and elegant, spacious and warm.

There’s a lot of old, gorgeous wood in use.

At the bar in the form of doors (above) …

 

 

… and even rulers for the outdoor seating.

 

 

Bennie and I choose the easy option of getting stuck into the share platter, which sells for $48 for two people.

It starts with three dips, all with clear and concise flavours – and all offering something different from most Mid-East eats emporiums.

Lemon turmeric hummus with Egyptian dukkah, fel-fel (chargrilled capsicum cream cheese with sweet paprika, walnuts and chives) and beet labneh (caramelised beetroot and yoghurt with black sesame seeds) come with good toasted bread that runs out just before we’ve slurped the last of the dips.

But as Bennie quips, more bread and we’d be stuff before the mains arrive.

 

 

And the mains?

Oh my golly gosh – they are splendid!

Two fat, exemplary cigars of lamb kofta – dense, perfect and with just the right mild level of ME-style seasoning.

Two skewers of chicken shish tawook with capsicum and red onion.

The chook chunks look sufficiently and worrying large to promise dryness, but such is emphatically not the case.

In other words, superb.

Out meaty skewers are accompanied by very nice quinoa tabouli and rice pilaf in exactly the right proportions.

As we gleefully devour all, father and son banter a bit about the merits of our meal – and its price.

Bennie reckons $48 is a bit steep, with the sort of deal he gets at his beloved Footscray Best Kebab House colouring his views profoundly.

I beg, very much, to differ.

Dukkah is a quite different sort of place and the quality – especially of the meats – is above that of the majority of kebab shops.

And the combined regular cost of our dishes from the menu would be $54.

 

 

No such quibbling is possible with the Dukkah desserts – and we try both.

Om ali – puff pastry pudding with coconut, cinnamon milk, hazelnut and sultanas served in a tagine – is the Egyptian version of bread-and-butter.

It’s wonderful, rich, quite heavy.

This beauty – which could easily serve two – clocks in at a very cheap $12.

Kunafa (layers of shredded angel hair pastry, mango and cream topped with pistachio dust and rose petals, top photo) is lighter, a good deal more playful – and just as tasty.

It, too, is priced keenly at $11.

The days when Vernon Street was a regular haunt for us – remember Famous Blue Raincoat? – seem long ago now.

As a food destination, the street faded for a while there, with the introduction of one-way traffic undoubtedly altering the neighbourhood’s dynamics and probably the viability of some business.

But perhaps Dukkah is joining other local businesses in creating something of renaissance here.

We’d like that.

Check out the Dukkah website – including menu – here.

 

Meal of the week No.48: Somali Star

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It’s always a nifty pleasure to visit the Footscray Hub arcade – a key component of what makes Footscray central such a cracking place to be.

But today we have another motive.

We’d heard that Somali Star was for sale – or perhaps even under new management?

So we’re here to find out what the go is.

Well, it turns out all is much the same.

The lovely Johara is still running the joint.

She tells me she was considering selling up for a while, but has since dug in for the long haul.

That means Somali Star remains a happy place that is very popular with the locals, especially those seeking the world famous sambusas.

For eating in, there is an appealing mix of Somalian and Ethiopian fare.

 

 

There being no pasta immediately on hand, Bennie is thwarted in his ambition to have such like with “beef curry”.

So he joins me in having a simple meal of “tips” with injera ($15).

The “tips” are wetter, and more tomato-based, than we normally get in this neighbourhood, but we still enjoy our lunches very much.

Somali Star is on Uber, though last orders are taken at 6.30pm when the arcade closes.

 

Westie eats goss 19/12/18

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The former home of once-loved, now-gone Michael The Deli at 50 Leeds Street, Footscray, is getting a revamp and a new life.

 

 

According to the building permit notification in the window, the new business here will be “a cafe during the day” and “a bistro during evening hours specialising in European cuisine”.

How intriguing!

 

 

In Stephen Street, Yarraville, the old takeaway shop at No.127 (opposite Yarraville Village Animal Hospital) is getting a makeover that definitely suggests “cafe”.

I am reliably informed this will be a second cafe for the owners of the popular and classy Kodama Coffee in Williamstown.

I wonder what’s become of the shark?

 

 

On Vernon Street in Kingsville, Dukkah has opened – though I’m told they won’t be running at full strength until a week or so into the new year.

 

 

The menu has the expected Middle-Eastern content, but also some touches of North African/Moroccan that have us even keener to try.

Review/story coming!

Get updates here.

 

 

At Central West in Braybrook, the ongoing saga of the fresh produce space will see an outlet of the Sacca’s chain “opening soon”.

 

 

In Moonee Ponds, the former home of the Ripples F&C joint – subject of the first ever CTS story – is being remade.

 

 

It will be taken over by Gourmet Kitchen Cooking School, which has been living a few doors away for years.

 

 

Right next door, Kingyo Izakaya has opened.

Run by the same folks who captain I Dream Of Sushi, also on Margaret Street, I’m told it’ll be more along the lines of grills/Japanese “tapas”.

 

 

Also in Moonee Ponds, the Pratt Street place once home to a Chinese eatery and (before that) a branch of China Bar, is now Dee Dee Thai Cuisine.

 

 

What looks like it may be a temple of mediocrity surprises Bennie and I when we drop in for lunch.

Choosing from the $15 lunch deal menu (which includes a can of soft drink), we are delighted by the sticky, rich panang beef curry with rice and …

 

 

… the papaya salad with Dee Dee wings.

Fresh, good, cheap.

 

Westie eats goss 06/09/18

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With several apartment blocks in the throes of construction, Footscray-on-Marybyrnong will undergo a population boom in coming years.

Truth is, though, the area has had apartment dwellers in their hundreds in residence for many years, so it’s perhaps a little surprising that more businesses haven’t been stepped up to service them.

Maybe some kind of tipping point has been reached?

One outfit looking to take care of these folks is Harry and Larry’s General Store at 4 Yewers Street.

Ambling up for a look-see, cynical me was ruminating along the lines of: “Yeah, yeah – organic cola and not the regular kind; and lots of over-priced ‘gourmet’ products!”

I was wrong.

Some real smart thinking has gone into stocking Harry and Larry’s.

In a modestly sized yet appealing and light-filled space, they’ve stocked an amazingly comprehensive line-up of stuff.

Products run from the everyday to, yes, your more gourmet and specialty lines.

But the general impression I gain is that the prices are very competitive.

For instance, the likes of regular-line tinned tomatoes and cannellini beans seem only a little pricier than barn prices – and less expensive than in some supermarkets I can think of.

 

 

Harry and Larry’s is being run by Victoria Lukacs (left) and Jo Harvey, who plays a role at the adjacent Slice Girls West and Back Alley Sally’s.

 

 

Goodies in-house include fine cheese such as Marlo organic brie and camembert …

 

 

… to myriad hot sauces and condiments.

 

 

There’s a nice mix of cheaper and classier pasta.

 

 

Loo paper and …

 

 

… fur-baby necessities?

Of course!

 

 

Vegan-friendly condoms?

I don’t even know what that means!

 

 

There’s a kitchen shared with Slice Girls West, so the grocery store serves up a range of sandwiches.

 

 

And there’s a nice spot set aside should you wish to consume your sanger on the spot.

 

 

There’s enough fresh fruit and vegetables on hand to meet most needs.

If we lived locally, we’d be shopping here at least a couple of times a week.

As it is, I suspect it’ll become something of a regular shopping haunt anyway …

 

 

In Williamstown, a new place named Porters – on the corner of Nelson Place and and Ann Street – is being fitted out as we speak.

It’s part of the new Waterline Place apartment set-up and you can keep tabs on progress at the joint’s Facebook page.

 

 

Now this is exciting!

On the location of the former fruit/veg/organic deli on Vernon Street in South Kingsville is coming a Middle Eastern restaurant called Dukkah.

 

 

Operating with aplomb at the site of the old Fisher cricket bat “factory” in Kingsville is the appropriately named Willow Wine Cafe (126 Williamstown Road).

 

 

It’s run by the lovely Ellen, who will be a familiar face to many based on her long stint at the Plough Hotel.

 

 

The main dining space cleverly harnesses the old building’s verandah to create a wonderful summery feel.

 

 

At the moment it’s operating until 7pm Tuesday-Sunday, but later closing hours are being negotiated with local residents.

 

 

Is there any tougher strip than Gordon Street in Footscray?

Sadly, Indonesian restaurant Spice Klub has already closed.

Taking its place is Karlaylisi Restaurant, which is serving up Uyghur cuisine.

The menu is very long and features many, many pastry/dumpling dishes, cumin lamb skewers, tongues, house-made noodles, chillis and much more.

We’ll be taking it for a run very soon!