Strong contender in the westie burger stakes

1 Comment

nomics5

 

Burgernomics, 286 Ballarat Road, Braybrook.

These days, it seems, Wednesday night is burger night for Consider The Sauce.

So off we trek to Ballarat Road in Braybrook.

We’ve tried Burgernomics previously – a few days after the joint opened – but it was all too busy and crazy.

On a lovely mid-week night, things are a lot more orderly and we’re keen to see what’s on offer.

What we find is a small, tidy fast-food cafe with a fairly typical menu of burgers and variously souped-up fries – think cheese, bolognese, nachos and so on.

The small crew on hand are upbeat, smiling and doing a top-class job.

Turnaround time – from ordering to eating – is about as brief as possible and thus way shorter than some places we could mention.

 

nomics4

 

While I mostly disapprove of the many leaning towers of customised burgers I see splattered across social media these days, I choose not to deny Bennie when his eyes light up at seeing the blackboard Burgernomics special of the Bulldog Burger ($14.90) of beef, fried chicken, double cheese, bacon lettuce, tomato, mayo, BBQ sauce.

 

nomics6

 

In truth, while his Bulldog Burger is substantial it is still a burger of manageable proportions.

Bennie’s unsure about the compatibility of the cow ‘n’ chook – but is thrilled with his burger nevertheless, and particularly the wonderfully crisp and big slab of chicken.

He downs the lot.

My own Baconator ($10.90) with extra beef patty ($3), too, is excellent – though the extra patty is hardly warranted given I don’t quite manage to finish eating my meal.

The beef is plain but good and all the trimmings and dressings are fine.

We’ve become a little cynical about the use of brioche – or brioche-style buns – in burgers, finding them often either dry or used as an excuse to go small.

These are both fresh and of regular burger dimensions – yay!

Our “beer-battered” fries ($3) are fine but somewhat superfluous given the girth of our burgers.

 

nomics2

 

So … we’ve enjoyed a very good burger dinner.

But as Bennie says: “They’re only burgers.”

So we’re not going to claim “best in the west” status for the Burgernomics fare.

But we are happy to include them among our short list of faves in the west alongside Burger Business, Gemelli and Zigzag.

 

nomics3

West of Kin: Winter menu

Leave a comment

wok23

 

West of Kin, 17 Lacy Street, Braybrook. Phone: 9317 7553

West of Kin in Braybrook has quickly established itself as something of a star.

And it continues to defy the cynics by making “Asian fusion” something that works and delights.

I know, because I respond in the affirmative to an invite for Consider The Sauce to be guests of management again in order to try out the new lunch/brunch menu (see full disclosure below).

But instead of resorting to the usual routines in such cases, for the first time (and not the last) I throw open the invite to CTS readers through the blog’s Facebook page.

And the prize goes to … reader Lisa, who rocks up for Saturday lunch with brother Phong, sister Nikki and the latter’s daughter, Jasmine.

A more interesting, gregarious and talk-happy crew I could not dream of – so I thank them sincerely for joining me!

Given we are effectively five hungry adults, and that the new lunch/brunch menu is as compact and succinct as that which greeted CTS on its earlier visit, it’s no surprise we give the list a very solid workout.

Here’s what we enjoy in the course of our lovely meal:

Lap cheong and beetroot arancini with scrambled egg ($8, top photo) are muffin-like treats that are both delicate and chewy – and a very vivid purple inside.

 

wok21

 

The Hunan-style sticky lambs ($8) are fine – and a holdover from the previous menu.

 

wok22

 

Japanese croquette with red capsicum and pea and mint relish ($5) is crunchy on the outer wonderfully molten in its core.

 

wok24

 

For sides, there are beaut, crunchy and unoily wonton fries ($6) …

 

wok29

 

… a very good Asian slaw ($6) and …

 

wok210

 

… and kimchi ($6), though this gets a little ignored because of the profusion of food with which we are presented.

 

wok211

 

The big hit of the day is the prawn burger ($28).

Served on a “steamed black brioche bun”, the patty is chopped-up prawn that nevertheless has the same pop and texture and flavour as the whole variety.

It’s the same clever, and delicious, style that we found in the prawn toast of that earlier meal.

The burger is attended by another bowl of wonton fries, “yuzu” mayo and pickles.

This is a winning twist on “burger”!

 

wok25

 

The recipients of the egg noodle ramen with braised pork belly, slow-cooked duck egg, nori and spring onion ($19) and …

 

wok27

 

… the “Korean rice bowl bibimbab” ($18) of braised semi-dry mushrooms, pork, carrot, daikon and more enjoy their meals.

But both seem a little on the routine side when contrasted with the fantasia of sharper flavours and colours that surround them.

 

wok28

 

The soft-shell crab bun mei with lemon-cured spring onion and gochujang mayo ($14) is a sexy treat that is necessarily light of weight – and is thus gone in a flash.

 

wok26

 

The master stock shredded duck with egg noodles, fried quail egg and all the trimmings ($28), another survivor from the earlier menu, goes down well – particularly with Jasmine!

But it does seem a little on the dry side to me.

 

wok212

 

Desserts?

We try all three!

Panna cotta with scorched fruit and saffron syrup ($12) and …

 

wok213

 

… the choc mousse with freeze-dried fruits and mint sugar ($10) are just as smooth, tasty and wonderful as we expect them to be.

 

wok214

 

The Taiwanese pineapple cake with yuzu granita ($9), however, is an enigma that leaves us a little bemused.

Maybe the word “cake” leads us to expect more – or, at least, something different.

This has good pineapple flavour but seems more like a “slice” that loses out somewhat on the perhaps unfair basis of visual perceptions alone.

There’s no doubting that granita, though – it’s brilliantly tangy flavour explosion!

As ever, I have endeavoured here to be honest – even when the food is provided without money changing hands.

So … yes, a couple of flat spots.

But nevertheless, West of Kin impresses me – and my new friends – as something special.

My understanding is that the heritage factor prevents signage – but that just makes West of Kin even more of a slinky, oh-so-Melbourne gem.

It’s a gorgeous place to spend some time and the staff and service are very good.

(The Consider The Sauce crew dined at West of Kin as non-paying guests of the management. CTS chose the food involved and West of Kin neither sought nor was granted any access or say in the writing of this post.)

 

wok215

Asian-fusion for Braybrook

8 Comments

kin1

 

On Ballarat Road in Braybrook – right opposite La Porchetta – is a rather unlovely commercial edifice.

The new part houses a couple of furniture outlets and a gym.

At its glassy and more interesting and two-storied end are a childcare centre and the offices of a certain MP.

This building, as I’ve discovered through reader feedback to this post, has a venerable history.

It’s at that end, the official address is actually 17 Lacy Street, that West of Kin is taking shape.

 

kin3

 

It is the baby of Andy (above) and Tram Tran, who run Kin in Chapel Street, Prahran.

But where that eatery is pretty much an orthodox Vietnamese place, it’s sister restaurant in Braybrook will be of the Asian-fusion persuasion.

Andy tells me there’ll be tapas-style dishes (priced $7 to $10, or three for $20), as well as offerings with Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese influences.

The menu will be developed by consulting chef Sam Pinzone, who has earned his stripes from his time working under Neil Perry at Rockpool, Jacques Reymond and most recently as executive chef at the refurbished The Rose Upstairs in Fitzroy.

 

kin4

 

The location is a whirl of carpenters and fitting out at present, but Andy reckons they’ll be up and running in about a week.

West of Kin will be no humble ethnic eatery quietly slipping into the neighbourhood.

It’s going to be surprisingly large and very swish, encompassing in an L shape a bar/kitchen area and a more dedicated dining zone.

Those areas will wrap around a “beer” garden, while Andy says the place will be very friendly when it comes to kids and pets.

 

kin5

 

Andy and Tram figure this is a good location – and I reckon they’re right.

In terms of eating/drinking, there’s not much to be had between Footscray (in one direction) and Sunshine (in the other).

In terms of eat/drinking any time after about 9pm any night of the week, there’s very little – aside from the nearby kebab shacks – for many kilometres around.

Andy and Tram live just a few minutes away so are well aware of all this.

Andy tells me he’s looking for ward to “doing something for the west” by opening a business that means his friends won’t have to travel to the likes of Brunswick for entertainment purposes.

Plans are that West of Kin will be open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and until 11pm.

Tropical garden in Braybrook

1 Comment

blue5

 

Blue Bamboo, 156 Churchill Avenue, Braybrook. Phone: 8394 2617

The Churchill Avenue shopping strip opposite Braybrook Community Centre has a perpetual rundown look.

We’ve noticed a few shops come and go over the years at a strip we presume caters to a strictly local clientele in a low-key way.

As for eats, Consider The Sauce has had little reason to stop as we cruise to or from Sunshine or beyond.

Until now …

Blue Bamboo is a three-week-old Vietnamese restaurant that’s set out in orthodox Viet style up front, with a lovely outdoor “tropical garden” area out back with gold fish.

It’s still too cold for that but it’ll be a sweet spot once spring kicks in.

 

blue6

 

The staff tell me business has been slowly growing.

It’s the sort of place where, until now, paleskin customers have been rare so chop sticks are not routinely provided.

When I ask for a pair, a minor language contretemps sees me almost handed the tooth pick dispenser.

Much laughter ensues!

Bennie and I pass by the further reaches of the menu (see below) – the hot pots, clay pots and sizzling plates – and go strictly for the familiar.

 

blue1

 

Chicken spring rolls ($8) are regulation and fine – hot, ungreasy and a little bit peppery.

 

blue2

 

Bennie’s had a thing lately for “shaking beef” ($10.50), so I’m happy for him to have it here – with the requested tomato rice.

All is good, though the serve seems not overly generous to me.

He prefers a drier interpretation of this dish but is only a little bit disappointed.

 

blue3

 

No such problems with my pho of sliced beef and brisket ($9.50).

I had endeavoured to keep expectations in check, as I generally adhere to the notion that pho ordered away from Vietnamese centres such Footscray, Sunshine or St Albans can often be mediocre or worse.

But this is a winner – as attests the first slurp of broth, high in flavour and not too sweet.

The sliced beef is of excellent quality and the brisket, only a little bit fatty, provides a fine contrast.

 

blue7

blue8

blue6

Cool cafe for Braybrook

1 Comment
mist1

 

The Mist Factory, corner South Road/Duke Street, Braybrook.

There was a quite a buzz going on when Quan Viet opened in 2011 on the South Road shopping strip in Braybrook.

Quite rightly, too, as their Vietnamese tucker was very good.

Sadly, it closed quite some time ago now, replaced in the first instance by a generic-style noodle shop (I had a single, very mediocre meal there) and in the second instance by a new Vietnamese place, the quality of which we have yet to ascertain.

Happily, still on the strip – though currently undergoing renovations – is the home of Gerry’s Pittes.

Our 2012 story on Gerry’s continues to be read regularly, confirming these flatbreads’ cult status!

Now, in good news all-round but especially for Braybrook locals, the South Road shopping strip boasts its very own cool cafe.

 

mist7

 

I love the fit-out of The Mist Factory – there’s wood and enamelled chairs and stools; the vibe is elegant and simple.

(The name, BTW, comes from the “vape” business run by the same folks, with some of the products available down the back of the cafe.)

Having a hunch The Mist Factory would not be a serious lunch place, I did not soak muesli the previous night so am happy to step out for a rare breakfast engagement.

 

mist2

 

My breakfast ($12.50, from the handwritten list presented with printed menu – see below) is very nice.

The eggs are expertly scrambled and sprinkled with just right amount of dukkah.

There’s a bunch – so to speak – of lovely spinach under those eggs, while the sourdough toast is fine and the bacon of high quality.

 

mist8

 

For lunch or other non-breakfast times, there’s a range of filled Turkish rolls, panini, slices and cookies.

My two cafe lattes are good.

One of The Mist Factory crew, Peter, tells me it’s very early days for their cafe and that they consider the present situation pretty much “a soft opening”.

He hopes the place will become something of a late-night hang.

 

mist5

mist4

mist6

mist9

 

 

 

 

 

Good Vietnamese in an arid area

1 Comment
an1

 

An Phat Pho Restaurant, 65a Ashley Street, Braybrook. Phone: 9077 7984

Where do all the newly arrived residents of West Footscray’s Bunbury Village do their shopping?

Sims doesn’t seem to be all that much busier – and we visit there often.

Nor do they appear to be hitting Braybrook’s Central West Plaza shopping centre, which appears to have had the same moribund vibe for years.

As well, food-wise Central West has never kicked any goals for us.

So that makes the arrival of An Dat Pho well worth celebrating.

 

an2

 

It’s situated on the other side of the car-park from Central West central, sharing a smaller business precinct with a fish and chippery, a charcoal chicken shop, a kebab/pizza place, a noodle shop, a TAB and a Subway.

I’ve tried them all except the latter two – nothing disastrous eventuated but nor did anything that inspired me to post on CTS.

So An Dat Pho is good news for locals – Vietnamese food in an area about midway between the riches of Footscray and Sunshine.

This is especially true as the very good Quan Viet, just up the road a bit on South Road, has closed, seemingly to be replaced in due course by some sort of noodle cafe.

On our visit, Bennie and I enjoy some good, solid if not spectacular Vietnamese food.

 

an3

 

Grilled pork skewers (nem nuon, $7) are yummy wrapped in lettuce leaves with herbs and dunked in dipping sauce.

 

an5

 

Com ga nuong (grilled chicken with tomato rice, $10) is a hit, with nicely flavoursome chook and fine chicken broth to accompany.

 

an4

 

Combination stir-fried thick rice noodles ($12) lets the meal down somewhat.

It’s OK but almost swimmingly wet – in fact, you could just about call it soup!

No problem – we like An Dat Pho and where it’s at, and the service has been grand.

We suspect gravitating towards the vermicelli, pho and rice dishes is the go here.

 

an6

World Cup: Hope lives

Leave a comment

cup1

 

In the face of all available evidence, I am – like no doubt many thousands of people around the country – falling once again for World Cup optimism.

Here’s how my thinking goes: “Well, let’s see now … if the Socceroos can sneak a win against the Netherlands – another country with a young, inexperienced team … and if, somehow, they can sneak a draw against either Spain or Chile … well, who knows?”

It’s completely ridiculous, of course.

But I can’t help myself.

Actually, considering the utterly odious nature of both FIFA and a lot of what is going on in Brazil, the best result for Australia may well be three straight losses, homeward bound and bring on the Asian Cup.

In the meantime, though, there is much football to be watched.

So far, I have found three different venues offering a more social way than a living room sofa to take enjoy the spectacle.

Anyone know of any others?

 

1. Spot On Kebab Station

Just how the playing times will work with this late-night joint, I do not know.

Food: Yes.

Booze: Nope.

Coffee: Unknown.

Check out their Facebook page for updates.

 

2. Village Cinemas, Sunshine.

As far as I am aware, this is only for the Socceroos’ opening game against Chile on Saturday, June 14.

Doors open 7.15 am, kick-off at 8am. Entry is free

This sounds pretty cool!

More information here.

Food: Unknown.

Booze: Nope.

Coffee: Unknown.

 

3. Mozzarella Bar

Seddon’s new Italian establishment is throwing parties for Australia v Chile and Italy v England on Sunday, June 15.

The cost is $40 a head.

Food: Yes – “Unlimited Pizzas & Drinks”.

Booze: Yes.

Coffee: Yes.

Bookings: 9687 0097

 

4. Hyde Street Hotel

Yarraville’s newest foodie pub is opening it’s doors from 7.30am for the Soccerooes-Chile game for an 8am kick-off. As far as I can tell from their FB page, admission is free though table bookings can be made.

The cost: Free

Food: Yes – “$7.50 Egg & Bacon rolls!

Booze: Yes.

Cofee: Yes

Table bookings: 6892163