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Tarabish, 434 Sydney Rd, Coburg. Phone: 9354 4678

In a week in which higher volumes than usual of preposterous spam have arrived – in both email and blog comment forms – Matthew’s email is a breath of sincere fresh air.

He’s new to Melbourne, has plans to set up a falafel stand and could we meet up and talk foodiness?

Hell yes!

We settle on one of Consider The Sauce’s favourite places in the whole wide world – a purveyor of very fine falafel among other things – on Sydney Road.

Upon arrival, I soon discover Matthew has already checked out that particular establishment, so we wander down the road apiece to another Coburg stalwart, one that neither of us has taken for a spin – yet!

Tarabish has a modest exterior and relatively plain interior but is neat and tidy.

The service we receive from Nouha is wonderful, and eventually she picks up on the falafel-based nature of our conversation and chips in with her own observations.

I love it very much when the eatery folk we meet in our travels respond with such warmth and enthusiasm to our interest in their food and culture!

The Tarabish menu (below) and food is your basic straight-up Lebanese and quite similar to other places in this neighbourhood.

But what we have is fine.

Matthew, unsurprisngly, goes for the falafel meal ($12).


Various pickles, variously crunchy, sour and/or spicy, all present and accounted for.

Good, moist tabouli, though the cabbage salad is a mite on the dry side; smooth, fresh “hommos”, too.

The falefel balls themselves are very good, with unoily, wonderfully crisp but not tough outers and pale, delicate, mildly flavoured insides.


My “kebbeh” meal ($13) has slightly different accoutrements – the same tabouli, dip and cabbage, but also a rice salad with wonderful fried onion strands and a drier bulgur number.

The two kibbeh footballs are the highlights of both our platters.

The deeply tanned shells encase a filling that is a wonder to behold and consume – a filling that is far moister than is usual in kibbeh in my experience.

Mixed in with incredibly juicy lamb mince are herbs, onion and pine nuts.

Our kibbeh are high on “wow” factor!


Through all this I learn with much interest about Matthew’s falafel plans and dreams.

While he’s still in the planning stages, his scheme has enough substance to find him contacting prospective suppliers of “significant cost points” such as chick peas, parsley and pita bread.

We wonder about the lasting power of tabouli.

When I opine that maybe tabouli is one of those things that can actually taste better the day after it’s made, Nouha begs to differ – fresh is always best she proclaims.

Proving her point, she offers us a taste of the day’s fresh batch – and apart from the bulgur not being quite moistened all the way through, she’s right.

It’s been that sort of lunch in that sort of place.





Danny’s @ 525


Danny’s @ 52, 525 Glenhuntly Rd, Elsternwick. Phone: 9530 005

Before I meet our pal Nat at Danny’s, I have time to live.

About an hour and a half of it.

I spend it happily wandering … back along Warrigal Rd, along North Rd, zigging here, zagging there, along the Carnegie retail area and finally taking in the upper reaches of Glenhuntly Rd, which I have never before laid eyes on.

Even after parking, I have time so take in the sights of the Danny’s neighbourhood.

Of course, the whole way I am rubbernecking and on the lookout for foodiness.

There’s a lot of it about.

Naturally, all this browsing – and, in some cases, stopping, parking and getting out for a better look at some promising eats places – has sharpened up my appetite.

I’m hungry and ready for lunch.

Over lunch, I’m unsurprised to find that several of the food places I’ve spied on my journey have been covered by Nat at Urbanspoon. This is his stomping ground, after all.

We’ve arranged to meet at Danny’s for lunch as a natural extension of our mutual interest in Middle Eastern food, with CTS having this year gleefully travelling to Coburg and Brunswick, as well as various parts of the west, in a joyful search of discovery.

Here, then, is a grand chance to sample some Middle Eastern food from the “other” side of town.

Despite the area being known as a Jewish enclave, it’s not Jewish food I am expecting.

I’m expecting Middle Eastern food of the Israeli variety.

And so it proves to be.

We order the Mega Falafel Plate for $15.50.

We order, too, the Mixed Grill for $30.

This seems like over-ordering of the highest order, but we acquit ourselves well and do so without getting too full.

The falafel plate is a thing of deliciousness.

The falafel balls themselves – 14 of them – are small, fresh, grease-free and crispy on the outside. Inside they’re delicate, green and with great flavour.

They go great the hummus.

The salady bits make a perfect foil.

They include marinated cauliflower, pickled cucumbers and pickled onion, the pinkness of which makes it a sure thing it has been produced using the same method as turshi.

Also on board are coarsely chopped coleslaw and a happy jumble of tomato, cucumber, capsicum and the like called Israeli Salad.

The meat plate is good, too, but doesn’t quite hit the same high spots for me.

The meat is as juicy an tender as you’d expect, but some of the sauces are bit too heavy and sticky for my taste. For me, this is generally good-to-very-good rather than “wow!”

The exceptions are the two cigar-shaped kebab sausages, one lamb and one chicken, that have a lovely lightness of flavour and texture.

The chicken one, especially, is a winner, reminding of a weisswurst snag – except, of course, it’s not porky!

Danny’s is an ace place. The service, staff and their welcome are genuinely warm and friendly.

There’s lots more to explore – I’d love to get my choppers around something like the whole grilled snapper with the sort of sides and accompaniments available here.

Thanks to very much to Nat for the suggestion and the company!

Danny's @ 525 on Urbanspoon

Abbout Falafel House


Abbout Falafel House, 465 Sydney Rd, Coburg. Phone: 9350 4343

My third visit to Abbout Falafel House.

My third visit unaccompanied.

My fervent desire to share this great place and its amazing food with one or more of my eats buddies is thwarted again.

Last time I was in this Coburg neighbourhood, I had brother Kurt with me, but Abbout’s was closed; we found a more than acceptable alternative anyway.

As for today … oh well, I have the foodie bits from a newspaper and a door-stopping American classic by John Sayles for company.

Meet “Hommos Belahma”.

The zingy hommos is topped with pan-fried lamb mince and pine nuts.

It’s incredible!

The slightly sweet grease of the lamb works like a perfect teammate with the mild astringency of the dip.

Unlike on my second visit here, when perfectly acceptable commercial pita bread was served, today I once more get the rotund house-made bread. It’s beaut – a bit thicker than its commercial cousins and emitting steam when punctured.

No olives today, but the sour, crunchy pickled cucumbers, pickled chillis, pickled turnip, tomato slices and a profusion of mint are all present.

My lunch is perfect, even if I am unable to even go close to finishing it.

It costs $8 and at a pinch could serve as a light lunch for two people..

As I am packing up to leave, the young Asian cat sitting at the next table says to me: “Don’t you do a food blog? Consider The Sauce, right?”

His name’s Sern.

And not only is he familiar with Consider The Sauce, he’s evidently studied it quite closely.

In fact, his presence in this particular Middle Eastern noshery is a direct result of the previous CTS review of Abbout Falafel House.

Sean is of Malaysian derivation, lives way, way on the other side of town and works in the northern suburbs.

But in his soul and in his tummy, he’s a westie at heart.

He’s familiar with almost all of Footscray’s African restaurants and is a big fan of Safari in Ascot Vale.

“The food in the west just seems to have more soul somehow,” he says.

He’s a fellow traveller, he’s a soul brother.

We swap phone numbers and email addresses with a view to a lunch arrangement the following week.

I ask him what other food blogs he likes: “Ms Baklover!”

Abbout Falafel House on Urbanspoon

Half Moon Cafe


Half Moon Cafe, 13 Victoria St, Coburg. Phone: 9350 2949

After checking out – with some conscious method – Wang Wang Dumpling, Abbout Falafel House, Al-Alamy and Cafe Sarabella, it’s time to visit Half Moon Cafe and put a big tick against the last of the eateries that have called to me so eloquently to this fabulous stretch of Sydney Rd in recent times.

I’m sure there are many more fab places, fine food and great meals to be had here but these are the ones that first had me making the occasional drive from Yarraville.

For the finest of company I’ve today got Kurt, who is more than happy to get out of his abode and head out on something of mini-road trip.

Half Moon Cafe is a tiny joint of the Middle Eastern persuasion that is just a few doors along from Cafe Sarabella in the Victoria St mall.

The signage outside includes the boast: “Falafel Egyptian Style.”

Made with fava beans rather than chick peas, this is of course the ordering route we both embark on after snagging an outside table.

But first we try a small serve of three stuffed vines leaves ($2.50).

I love ’em, though Kurt is no big fan regardless of standards of excellence.

They’re lemony and firm of build – perfect. Oddly, the smallness of the cigars helps their cause – two mouthfuls apiece seems so right.

My falafel plate ($12) is fine.

The falafel balls are indeed worthy of their reputation – tender but grease-free, full of flavour (but not much different to chick pea falafels so far as I can tell) and coloured a fetching dark green.

Three dips are on board – the clear winner is the smoky eggplant number on the right.

The tabouli is lemony and wet as suits my preferences.

The pickled cucumber and turshi are fine, too, though the olives get lost between the hummus and a chick pea salad that is a little on the undressed side.

The lettuce, rocket and red cabbage seem a tad extraneous.

It’s a beaut lunch at a good price.

I confess to preferring Abbout Falafel House for delivering virtually the same lineup of goodies with a touch more class and finesse, but it’s a close call.

Kurt, meanwhile, loves the hell out if his $7 falafel wrap with fetta cheese, chilli and many of the same protagonists that grace my plate.

As we sit back after our lunch, watching the passing parade in the autumn sunshine, we both wish aloud that Footscray’s mall could boast such a lively, friendly, relaxed and unthreatening ambience.

A sign behind the serving counter more or less guarantees that one or both of us will be returning to Half Moon Cafe soon.

Half Moon Café on Urbanspoon

Abbout Falafel House


Falafel plate at Abbout Falafel House in Sydney Rd, Coburg.


Abbout Falafel House, 465 Sydney Rd, Coburg. Phone: 9350 4343

My falafel plate is breathtaking in its awesomeness.

It costs $10.

Food, in my world, simply does not get any better – at any price.

Even better, my faith in the eternal goodness of falafel – shaken somewhat earlier in the week – is emphatically restored.

It’s easy to miss Abbout Falafel House.

It has an unremarkable facade and is flanked on either side by several kebab shops.

But what makes me persevere is the endless stream of people trying to get a table in the dining room that adjoins the food preparation/takeaway area.

When I discover how good the food is, and why the place is so popular with many folks who are obviously regulars, the five-minute wait dodging staff members coming with empty plates and dishes and going with full ones seems a mere trifle.

Even if I am wedged between a tiny wooden table in the front area and one of the drinks fridges.

This is not a kebab house.

The fare is almost all vegetarian of the Lebanese variety – but it’s exceptional.

There’s dips and labneh and foul, all of them served with beaut trimmings.

My six falafel balls are amazingly unoily, true lightweights and terrifically tender – although some may find them a little under-seasoned.

The labneh and “hommos” are likewise state of the art, sprinkled with parsley, paprika and olive oil.

The pickled cucumber slices and turshi – pickled turnip – are sour and crunchy in their own different ways, just as I like ’em.

The pickled chillis are sour, too, although with a nicely mild kick.

The olives fall somewhere between green and black, and are fine.

The two pita breads arrive fresh out of the oven, plumped up like bladders and emit a puff of steam when punctured.

How good is that?

As much as I love our west, I have to concede it lacks a place just like this or Al-Alamy.

Abbout Falafel House is open for lunches only seven days a week.

Abbout Falafel House on Urbanspoon