Vamoska Cafe, 22 Hunter Road, Altona North. Phone: 9193 3374
Let’s face it – the broader western suburbs are not without their share of unlovely shopping centres.
But even in that context, Millers Junction Village is a doozy.
Spectacularly ugly, it is.
Actually, it is more like a shopping enclave than centre; there are roads and stuff.
And while Bennie and I may make fun of the place and its predominantly grey-on-grey colour scheme, it serves the local community very well. And that includes us.
So much so that even about noon on a public holiday Monday, the place is a-bustle with people and cars.
Happily for us, Vamoska Cafe is tucked away in a far corner of the village/centre/enclave, mostly surrounded by gyms and fitness places.
Parking is no problem.
Even better, the full menu is available. It ranges from the full gamut of breakfast dishes through to burgers.
But son and dad are more up for lighter lunch/brunch fares.
Bennie chooses the Bao Wonder.
The basic dish clocks in at $17 and includes three bao, Asian slaw, mint, coriander, sriracha mayo. And a side of fries. With tomato sauce!
Fried chicken or fried tofu are added at $3.
The fries are real fine, but seem a bit incongruous with the bao.
We can’t help feeling the fries should’ve been omitted and the $17 bao trio provided already loaded with chicklen/tofu.
But these are minor quibbles – the bao are excellent, the chicken crunchy, the flavours zingy and the meal surprisingly substantial.
I go with the Miso Steamed Salmon Salad ($19).
The salmon has no doubt undergone steaming, but it’s also experienced some kind of grilling as the skin is admirably crisp.
The fish is well cooked and cooked through, but far from dry.
It goes just right with the tangy sauce.
Both fish and sauce sit atop beaut cauliflower rice.
The garnishes all go down well. They include a jumble of the sort of flowers/micro-herbs that would normally have me snorting with derision.
But here, in the context of this sort of dish, I gleefully gobble the lot.
That includes “cider-soaked figs” and “pickled target beetroot” that contribute to the whole but whose cider/pickle components are not discernible.
But again, these are quibbles – my lunch is a very fine, light yet pleasantly filling.
Vamoska Cafe presents as a treasure; we’ll be back to road test the burgers, which we suspect may be awesome.
Mighty bonus: Our takeaway coffees – latte for me, decaf flat white for him – are as good as coffee gets.
Vamoska Cafe is currently open for brunch/lunch seven days a week.