OMG Indian sweets

Leave a comment

kumars3

 

Kumar’s Sweets, Shop 3,¬†85 Mount Derrimut Road, Deer Park. Phone: 8361 7303

After my story about Kumar’s Sweets was published in The Age in October, I thought that was that … next!

However, in the subsequent months, Kumar’s Sweets has become a firm favourite of CTS – meaning it’s high time it had a highly justified post of its own right here!

 

kumars1

 

Look, at Kumar’s you can get typically rich staples of Indian sweetdom, such as barfi or gulab jamun.

You can get, too, a line-up of savoury snacks – often, salty and spicy; always delicious.

 

kumars4

 

But we what REALLY like is a tight line-up of gorgeous and jewel-like Indian sweets largely based on little more than nuts and dried fruit.

That’s right – they could even be loosely labelled as “healthy”; but these are about a gazillion light years in every way from your dreary “health food bars”.

Ugh.

 

kumars2

 

Nope, these – including the wonderful cassata in the top photograph – are something else.

Very highly recommended by CTS.

 

kumars5

kumars6

 

Yum cha blow-out

1 Comment

gold16

 

Gold Leaf, 491 Ballarat Road, Sunshine. Phone: 9311 1863

In the past year or so, CTS has dined yum cha – see here and here.

But as enjoyable as those outings were, in places that run yum cha a la carte and to order and without trolleys, we figured it was time for the real deal.

 

gold11

 

You know the drill – huge barn of a place, high noise levels, trolleys whizzing everywhere.

 

gold12

 

So CTS and a bunch of willing pals hit Gold Leaf in Sunshine.

Typically, Bennie and I arrived first and somewhat early.

We were forced to cool our heels with other early arrivers as the staff meal tables were cleared and then – in we went!

 

gold3

 

Within half an hour, the joint is packed and rocking.

With a group of eight eating madly, I don’t even think about keeping note of individual items and their prices.

Suffice it to say, it really does make a difference – the food here was of a very high standard and the service fine.

 

gold6

 

We had many of the staples and a few more adventurous things.

 

gold1

 

Eating the divine roast pork/crackling, for instance, I placed in my bowl some of the attending noodles – only to learn I was eating jellyfish for the first time.

It was lovely!

 

gold5

 

It was a wonderful experience and the price – a buck or so over $30 per head – equally splendid.

 

gold18

 

But some things never change …

As we’re wrapping up desserts and wrapping up generally, I notice even more trolleys sallying forth laden with very interesting a delicious-looking items.

No room for them … this time!

 

gold14

gold15

gold13

gold10

gold4

gold8

gold9

gold2

 

Square jewel

4 Comments

sister11

 

Little Sister Cafe, 55 Wingara Avenue, Keilor East. Phone: 9336 2270

Wangara Avenue is one of three streets that make up a secret Keilor East Square.

Sounds a bit nutty, hey?

But it’s true.

The square has an old-school small-town vibe and is within cooee of the busyness of both Millera Road and the Calder Freeway – but I doubt few beyond the locals know of its existence.

The square has all sorts of food outlets – kebab and chook shops, noodles, pizza and even, quite wonderfully, a craft shop that does stuff like scones. That’s for another post on another day.

 

sister6

 

The square hot spot without doubt is the fine neighbourhood cafe that is Little Sister.

We’ve eaten here before and are happy to do so again as guests of the management (see full disclosure below).

We arrive as the Saturday overlap between breakfast and lunch is in full swing and the many cheerful and on-the-ball staff are busy and doing a grand job.

All the eggy dishes we see go whizzing by look very nice, but I manage to steer Bennie away from the ricotta hot cakes and towards the lunch list.

 

sister2

 

He inhales with gusto the “Hanoi brothers” ($19.90) of prawns and calamari with Vietnamese herbs, chilli, tomato and lemongrass and pepper on steamed rice.

With its tomato base and Asian seasoning it has a touch of Ital-Asia about it.

He reckons his dish is superior – or the luckier choice – than mine, which is an amazing thing to say because …

 

sister4

 

… my oven-baked Atlantic salmon ($20.90), from the specials board, is wonderful.

The fish may have been cooked in the oven – to a pleasantly well-done degree by the normal rare-in-the-middle standards of this species – but it is finished in what amounts to a tomato stew with capsicum, onion and saffron.

The overall vibe is sunny Mediterranean and the toasted bread on the side is a fine foil.

This a terrific and keenly priced dish.

 

sister1

 

A side serve of chips (a $3 bargain) is very good.

 

sister9

 

For afters, we share a house-made brownie ($4.90).

It’s rich, of deep choc flavour and has a range of textures – and goes good with my beaut cafe latte.

Little Sister is a member of the stable that will soon unveil Dear Abbey at Moonee Ponds.

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

 

sister10

sister3

sister8

sister5

sister7

Yarraville Thai

1 Comment

blue4

 

BlueStone Thai, 58 Ballarat Street, Yarraville. Phone: 9689 0110

It seems like a lifetime ago …

Pre-blog, and before taking up our now long-time residency in Yarraville.

I recall visiting the venerable bluestone building in Ballarat Street when it was still a pub and had something of a name for steak and chips.

After that it became Dig A Pony, which we never got around to before it folded a few months back.

Now it houses BlueStone Thai and we’re up for it.

Having scoped out the menu online, I have no expectations of anything too adventurous or regionally based or unusual, like we might find up the road apiece at Yim Yam.

But that’s OK – just some nice, straight-up orthodox Thai will do us fine.

That’s exactly what we get.

The dining room is all dark-wooded niceness and warmed up on a chilly night.

The service is very good.

 

blue1

 

Chicken satay ($9.90) is excellent, four sticks bearing thigh meat perfectly cooked and served with a runny peanut sauce.

 

blue2

 

Mildly spicy green curry ($14.90) is a good-sized serve stuffed with plenty of meat pieces and vegetables.

 

blue3

 

Basil chilli stir fry with pork ($14.90) is likewise mild, by our standards, and also rather good.

Two bowls of rice cost us $5 and the total bill is an excellent $44.70.

BlueStone Thai seems likely to have found a nifty niche – serving the kind of Thai food in which many punters delight and away from the frequently nutty crush and madness of the Ballarat/Anderson streets nexus.

On the way home on this Friday night, we witness Anderson Street absurdly gridlocked for blocks in both directions either side of train tracks – and with not a train in sight.

 

blue5

Westie eats goss 17/5/16

Leave a comment

wgoss1705165

 

It’s taken a while but the extended, swish version of Impasto Forno Antico on Military Road in Avondale Heights is just a couple of weeks from being unveiled.

After being walked through the new place by Armando, whose baby this is along with his son, Alessio, I’m inclined to think this going being to very good indeed.

All seating of the combined new premises/old shop combo will be in the new area, with the baking staying in the old, to which will be added a very Italian line of groceries.

 

wgoss1705166

 

Also in the new place – with an appropriate hole in the wall between the two – will be:

  • Fresh-made gelati.
  • Simple but classy Italian food that will run from panini and the usual (excellent) baked desserts through to fritatta, schnitzels, Italian sausages and salumi of many kinds.
  • Fresh-squeezed juices.
  • And, of course, lots of great coffee.

The hours are likely to be 7am-6pm Monday to Thursday and 7am-9.30pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Sta tuned for more!

 

wgoss1705162

 

In West Footscray, Banbury Village will soon gets its first official eats/coffee joint with Lot 10 Eatery being prepared for opening. It’s on Barkly and almost facing Summerhill Road.

 

wgoss1705163

 

Further on up the road apiece, Dosa Corner is closed for what looks like extensive renovations that will result in a whole “new look”.

 

wgoss1705164

 

Around the corner on Argyle Street, and right next door to Footscray West Primary School, a lot of work is underway on a new place, the name and nature of which I’m not yet aware.

 

wgoss1705161

 

Signs of the times in more ways than one at 501 Receptions on Barkly Street!

Pork ribs you can afford

1 Comment

gorilla7

 

Gorilla Grill, 36 Edgewater Boulevard, Maribyrnong. Phone: 0401 830 800

It’s opening day – or, rather, night – at Gorilla Grill, the bricks-and-mortar carnation of the food truck of the same name.

With the recent opening of splendid Japanese eatery Shinmai Tasty just a few doors away, Edgewater Boulevard has, effectively for the first time, got something of a foodie buzz about it.

 

gorilla3

 

The Gorillas are churning out fries, burgers, fried chook and more – some, but not all, with a Korean touch – with rush-hour steeliness.

The place is smokin’.

Those who followed CTS BBQ adventures of the past couple of years – at, say, Smokehouse 101 or Up In Smokemay have noted we have a cost-based aversion to pork ribs.

We love ’em!

But the cost, including bones, inevitably seems out of whack compared to other available goodies such as brisket.

At Gorilla Grill, we feel liberated.

Here, a half rack costs $18 and a full rack $27 – both served with chips.

 

gorilla4

 

Hoorah!

Our half rack is excellent and is a goodly sized slab of meat.

There’s a heap of terrific, juicy meat on those bones, the sauce is excellent and the chips are fine, too.

This just about does the pair of us – for $18, it presents as a cracking meal for one.

OK, this is ribs in a fast-food setting, but we do not care.

Lip-smacking good is the verdict.

 

gorilla5

 

Coleslaw ($3) is nicely crisp jumble of white and red cabbage daubed with mayo; good but not a knock-out.

 

gorilla6

 

I’m so rapt with our ribs that I barely notice our Krusty Burger ($12) with its nice, crunchy chunk of chook, salady bits and bacon, though Bennie gives it a firm thumbs up.

 

gorilla1

gorilla2

Vietnamese star

Leave a comment
trang7

 

I can still vividly remember discovering Alfrieda Street in St Albans. Bored with the footy game in which Bennie was participating at a nearby oval, I went for a wander, turned a corner and – bam! – there it was: A whole street and neighbourhood of food and fine folks of which I had been utterly unaware. Since those pre-CTS days, St Albans¬† has become a regular haunt. Now, thanks to sponsorship from the St Albans Business Group (see full disclosure below), I am looking forward to getting to know Alfrieda Street and environs even more intimately. This is the first of a series …

****

Trang Tien, 11 Alfrieda Street, St Albans. Phone: 9078 1677

Trang Tien can be easy to miss.

It doesn’t front directly on to Alfrieda Street, being angled away as part of a sort-of courtyard it shares with Cafe U And I.

As well, Trang Tien has a somewhat modest shopfront, though it does sport typical photographs of some of the food offer.

Inside, though, is a menu and eatery that offer a wonderful and bewilderingly long range of dishes from all over Vietnam – some of them rarely seen in Melbourne.

 

trang4

 

Pho?

Sure, you can get that here – and numerous other Vietnamese staples.

But why would you when there’s a grand opportunity to chance your arm a bit?

Banh canh do bien (S $12 and L $13), for instance (top photograph).

This is fat, slippery udon noodles in a viscous broth (think corn and chicken soup) made with, I’m told, seafood but which the internet tells me can also be pork-based.

The broth is of terrific depth in terms of flavour and nicely peppery.

The seafood component hidden in there comprises nice fish chunks, calamari, a couple of prawns, seafood balls, seafood extender and seafood loaf, with onion slices and other trimmings adding textures of a more strident nature.

This a terrific alternative riff on the more familiar soup noodles we all know so well, be they Vietnamese, Chinese or other.

 

trang6

 

More prosaic, though also not often seen around Melbourne, is bo bit tet ($15).

More of a breakfast dish, this is your Vietnamese steak and egg – beef steak, fried egg, bread roll, salad.

The roll is crusty and hot and right fine for mopping up the juices and fried onions.

Simple and good, this is.

 

trang1

 

Beef satay ($8.50) looks, let’s be frank, something of a scraggly mess.

But it works!

The mix of fried, nicely chewy meat, onions slivers, roasted peanuts and sticky sauce is just right and deeply satisfying.

Trang Tien is a gem.

(This post has been sponsored by the St Albans Business Group. However, Consider The Sauce chose and paid for the food involved and the STBG neither sought nor was granted any access or say in the writing of this post.)

 

trang3