Cairnlea pie shop does excellent Vietnamese



Vic Pies Cafe, Shop 6, 100 Furlong Rd, Cairnlea. Phone: 9361 2188

Vic Pies, situated in Cairnlea Town Centre, sells pies – and, of course, other likeminded pie shop savouries and sweeties.

But there’s something else going on here … I see one outside table adorned with really good-looking rice paper rolls as a staff member whizzes by me bearing a plate of pork chop and broken rice crowned by a glistening fried egg.

Yes, no matter what Vic Pies Cafe’s original focus, it has gradually become also and as well a purveyor of Vietnamese and Asian goodies, as the photos arrayed on the walls attest.

I’m meeting CTS pal Jacqui, Cairnlea resident and perpetrator of the lovely blog Urban Ma, in which she covers food (including westie haunts), fashion and more with style.

Our plan to eat elsewhere is thwarted by the place in question being unopen, but it all turns out for the best, as our Vic’s repast is swell.

And how cool, how Melbourne is it to be able to order bo kho in a pie shop?


The beef stew ($12) is simply wonderful.

It seems like a relatively new batch of stew – the carrots are intact yet still tender, while the onions are quite crunchy.

There appears to be two kinds of beef – big fat-free chunks and smaller pieces with some fat. Both are good.

The broth is nicely spicy and quite viscous.

The baguette that accompanies is wonderfully fresh, and bigger and crustier than I’m used to being provided in Footscray, Sunshine or St Albans.


Jac’s beef claypot (also $12) is good, too, and seems like a pretty healthy option as well.

There’s lots of crunchy vegetables along with the beef, all flecked with chilli bits and sitting on top of a rice bed.

Both our meals are too spicy for Baby D.

So he gets what babies get.


Sorry, bub – maybe next time.

Or, more likely, not for a good few years!

The Vietnamese alternative at Vic Pies Cafe strikes us as a real winner in a shopping centre and neighbourhood not overly burdened with ace eating options.





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Tasty-T, Shop 5/100 Furlong Rd, Cairnlea Town Center. Phone: 8361 8868

Four courses for $9.90, five for $11.90?

Sounds like the sort of cheapskate desperation lunch deal you’d score at an Asian eatery in a shopping centre, right?

Well, that’s just what this is – but with a few wrinkles.

For one, Tasty-T is of a shopping centre but not in one. Instead, it’s situated off to the side in a longish building also housing a gym and other non-retail businesses.

More to the point, Tasty-T is far from being a plastic-seated food court cheap eat.

In fact, it’s super swish by Consider The Sauce standards, featuring well-padded and comfortable seating and otherwise lavish but still quite tasteful furniture and fittings.

(Unfortunately, I become so thoroughly enmeshed in enjoying my lunch and the company that goes with it that I forget to take photographs of the premises – bad blogger!)

I’ve been hipped to Tasty-T by Eve from Conversation With Jenny – read her review here – and it’s she and colleague Linda who join me for this mid-week lunch.

All three of us go the $9.95 route – soup, two entree snacks, main and drink, doing without Thai sweets in the interests of a short lunch break for my companions.

Tom yum goong is a suitably small lunchtime serve. It’s very sweet but with quality contents.

The good, unoily spring roll seems to be mainly stuffed with spud and/or pumpkin.

The fishcakes are a highlight of our lunch – only mildly spiced, they have really nice texture and flavour, and little of the rubbery aspect often found with these, especially at less expensive places.


My massaman curry with rice is possibly the most mildly spiced curry dish I have ever eaten. Having said that, it’s not overly sweet, the spuds are perfect and the meat is tender and only a little bit fatty.


Based on the hefty gobful of her noodles I consume, Eve is the big winner with her pad Thai gai. The noodles are vermicelli rather than the usual flat variety, the dish is surprisingly unoily and the whole thing sings with crunchy textures from the vegetable quotient.


Linda seems quite content with her gai pad med mamuang (chicken stir fry with mixed vegetables and cashews).

In a neat bit of synchronicity, as I was preparing to write this story, I was engaged in email correspondence regarding another matter with Consider The Sauce fan Jacqui.

Turns out Jacqui is a Cairnlea local, lives just a black or so from Tasty-T and is well familiar with the place!

These are her comments:

“We go during lunch on the weekdays and weekends and have also ordered take out for dinner a few times! I like the thai fish cake entrees – so tasty! We also like the yum ped yang (roast duck salad). The pad Thai and massaman curry are also OK. There’s also a dish I had at lunch once with fried chicken, rice and salad so I thought that was quite good value! It’s so good because it’s spacious and the staff are really helpful when I bring my little bubba with me!”

With the proviso that the seasoning levels here are way, way below what I suspect almost all Consider The Sauce followers expect or desire from Asian food in general and Thai food in particular, Tasty-T is an attractive proposition in a variety of ways.


Kabayan Filipino Restaurant


Shop 10/100 Furlong Rd, Cairnlea. Phone: 8390 1346

PLEASE NOTE: More recent review of revamped Kabayan can be found here.

We’ve spied Filipino groceries in Footscray, Braybrook and St Albans, but we’ve never been to the Philippines, and the only Filipino food we’ve seen ready to buy and eat has been that of two stalls in the food hall of the Market That Doesn’t Allow Cameras.

And that food, to cowardly us, has always looked more than a little daunting.

Happily, we had a brief conversation with Adrian of Food Rehab at the Food Bloggers’ Mad Hatter Spring Picnic regarding Filipino food, him telling us that the stuff can sometimes look ugly but taste terrific. He also suggested some dishes for newbies, but I wasn’t on the ball enough to take notes, and gave us the tip on this fascinating eatery out Deer Park way.

We’re happy to have made its acquaintance, and have had some tasty food there, but are still far from convinced we have any sort of handle on Filippino food.

On a weekend lunch, Bennie and I bypass the bain marie and opt for the simple grilled dishes – he ordering the chicken skewers with garlic fried rice ($10.50) and me the pork chop with ditto accompaniment ($9.50).

It’s already been a long day and we’re Very Hungry, so we top up with a couple of segments of Filippino sausage ($1.50 each) and an interesting looking slab of fried eggplant ($5).

Our main dishes are tasty but plain. Bennie’s chicken is beaut – and has a distinct Japanese teriyaki sweetness about it. My two pork chops are a little less tender, but no less toothsome. I suspect the charred rind and fat is meant to be treated as simply part of the meal deal, but I fastidiously set it aside. The rice is OK, but nothing particularly notable.

These two platters are very similar to the meat and rice dishes we find in Viet restaurants, or the Hainan chicken rice and nasi lemak of Malay places, with similar trimmings of cucumber and tomato slices but much less seasoning or spiciness.

Bennie gobbles up the smallish sausage segments, but I find them dull.

In some ways, the eggplant is the star of the day. What I presume is half a large eggplant sliced in half lengthways has been flattened and coated an extremely eggy batter. It all tastes good, and has that delectable smoky tang we associate with eggplant dips of Middle Eastern cuisines. It’s hefty for a side dish – something like a vegetarian steak, in fact – and seems to lend credence to the “ugly but good” theory.

As we amble away quite satisfied, Bennie opines: “That was like Asian food but not really!”

I know what he means.

We would have liked to have known more about the food we were ordering and eating (including the correct Filipino names), but the staff were busy and, perhaps, a little shy or taken aback by our interest. However, whatever our disappointment with our experience here, we are happy to confess it surely has at least as much to do with our ignorance of Filipino food as anything else.

Next time, we’ll revert to bain marie mode. On a previous visit, I’d had a ridiculously oily but otherwise awesome beef stew with spuds and carrot in a sweetish red gravy, and a minced pork concoction with peas and potato. Served with plain rice, the combo cost $9.

On the day of our grilled lunch visit, the bain marie hosts an interesting looking dish of beef tongue with a mushroom sauce, another of beef on the bone in a peanut sauce and a couple of fish dishes.

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