App zap brings fish and chips

4 Comments

log1

 

Consider The Sauce is skeptical about apps.

Sure, since belatedly joining the smart-phone world, I make daily use of a variety – gmail, wordpress, ColorNote, the ABC, my credit union.

But when it comes to our zeal for exploring the world and new things in it, apps – it mostly seems – are all about limiting choices and discoveries.

After all, apps are a closed world – you are limited to what the app creators/owners have included.

And then, of course, there’s the familiar joke – an app is someone wanting to sell you something.

However, we have been won over by Menulog.

Really, this app and the attendant service are beaut.

And we offer that endorsement freely and with no support or inducements from the company.

(A few years back, Menulog did try repeatedly to get me involved in doing promo work for them. The approaches were painfully inept:

“I am a major fan of your writing and thought you would appreciate if I send you a few ideas that might help you grow your audience:

1. Partner with other bloggers (I can give you some contacts if you want).

  1. Run a competition (do you need free prizes? Just let me know).
  1. Use infographics in your posts …
  1. Give back to the community: review your local restaurant and help them to promote their name (I can organize a free meal from them for you).
  1. Have you thought about having a guest post on your blog? Menulog can send some really fun editorial content and stats e.g. Top 5 takeaway meals in your city or even Top takeaway orders to cure a hangover.”)

So we have come to appreciate Menulog all on our own.

We’ve found the service and its cost and processes pretty much faultless.

OK, once – a few weeks ago – the delivery guy failed to include a can of soft drink.

But that’s it.

Getting food delivered is not something of which we’re REALLY big fans of – we much prefer getting out and about; meeting the people who make the food we love makes it taste so much better.

But sometimes it is just the ticket.

Inner-west favourites we’ve used Menulog on so far are Kitchen Samrat, Mishra’s Kitchen, Kenny’s Yum Cha House, Rizq Bangladeshi Cuisine, Motorino and Krishna Pait Pooja.

For this lazy Friday night, we’re taking a Menulog punt with one of our favourite westie fish and chip places – Dough! in Newport.

We’re usually rather fastidious about always wanting to eat F&C we’re they’re made – so we’re a little nervy about what sort of nick our meal will be in by the time it arrives.

 

log2

 

Our fears turn out to be completely unfounded – our food has, it appears, gone straight from the deep-fyers into a car and thence driven straight from Newport to Yarraville.

Everything is hot and fresh.

Two two big, handsome slabs of battered fish are wonderful.

Two serves of BBQ corn at $1.20 each turns our to be three slivers – they’re fine and juicy but it’s not clear how BBQ-ing has been going on with them.

The chips?

Those legendary rough-cut, warts-and-all chips?

“Wow – these chips are so great!” quips Bennie.

These are terrific fish and chips – and our meal has turned out to be much the same price (and better) as if we’d walked around the corner to Anderson Street.

With a $5 delivery fee and a 10 per cent discount for a first-time order, the total is $25.61.

Forgetting about the corn and getting a small serve of chips (which would’ve been ample) would get that price down to a very splendid $21.15.

Ordering a home-delivered meal from Dough! has also seen us not left to deal with the plastic containers that go with all other delivered food, save for pizza.

Another potential downfall?

I wonder if the delivery drivers, in general, are caught up in the same onerous work/pay/conditions situation as convenience store workers and Myer cleaners.

I’m very interested in some reader feedback on this.

Do you use Menulog?

Or another service?

If so, what have been your westside winners?

What – if any – have been the disasters?

Meal of the week No.6: Ebi

5 Comments

f&c

 

The dinner hour for CTS and, we suspect, many other bloggers and foodies is somewhere between 6pm and 7pm.

For some, this is the legacy of having – or having had – very young children.

Perhaps “available light” has something to do with it.

I’ve even heard of bloggers who only do lunch for that very reason!

But a big part of it for us is … we’re hungry for food, hungry for adventure.

So 8pm seems way too late, especially on a work/school night.

The Mediterranean post-sietsa 9pm or later?

Unimaginable!

Early evening dining also means missing rush hour and always getting a seat.

In the case of tiny Ebi in West Footcray, that latter point is no small thing.

Entering by myself and taking a seat at the bar, I go through the usual routine … look at the display cabinet, consult the blackboard menu, peruse the regular menu, before saying …

“I’ll have fish and chips thanks, John – large!”

John: “How did I know you were going to say that?!”

Me: “Hmmpf! You must have other regulars who always order the same thing?”

The genial, chrome-domed Ebi host the proceeds to count off a long list of regulars with whom he is on first-name terms and their invariable choices – “fish three ways”, vegetable balls, udon, bento and so it goes.

Everyone gets their own groove on at Ebi …

Old-school WeFo

2 Comments
cons4

 

Con’s Fish And Chips, 577 Barkly Street, West Footscray. Phone: 9689 280

Bennie and I had good fish and chips from Con’s many moons ago but haven’t explored the place further since then.

This time, I’ve been nudged through the door by Col and the very excellent Barkly Village Facebook page he runs – he’s raved about the Con’s burgers several times, arousing my interest.

Truth is, we’d looked elsewhere largely based on our preference to eat in and sit down whenever possible, no matter what kind of food is at hand.

So I’m delighted to find, in what is a basic take-away operation, a small table and chairs for my comfort and enjoyment.

Long tells me she and Hung have run the joint for about 11 years but that they still see the eponymous Con from time to time.

 

cons1

 

Did I say old-school?

How can you tell?

 

cons2

 

I’m super impressed that Long provides me a half serve of the minimum serve of chips for $2.

They, too, look old-school but are fine, hot and enjoyable.

Predictably, even a half serve is way too big.

 

cons3

 

My “one with the lot minus egg” ($7) is a two-hands job that is demolished quickly – it’s a typically enjoyable, um, old-school burger.

In the way of such places, the patty has been smashed flat.

I don’t have any problem with that – tradition is tradition, after all.

But next time, I’ll request an extra patty.

These folks are so friendly and obliging, I’m sure that will not present any problem!

 

cons5

Meal of the week No.1

Leave a comment

dough21

 

CTS has become quite besotted with the fish and chips served up by Dough! in Blackshaws Road, Newport.

They’re quite different in vibe and personality from those created by our other fave F&C joint – but no less excellent.

The chips are tumbler-peeled, hand-cut and all-terrific.

The fish, in this case a nice piece of blue grenadier, is always beautifully cooked although it does usually fall apart in my hands.

I don’t care, so good is it!

The calamari, too, is always tender and tasty – and it’s the real thing.

See earlier story here.

The BeeeasT of Tarneit

2 Comments
beeeast2

 

BeeeasT Burgers, 1 Alexandra Avenue, Tarneit. Phone: 9974 6971

It’s difficult to imagine a more whitebread upbringing than school life in particular and life in general than that experienced by CTS in the ’60s and ’70s.

There were occasional exotic influences and people – though not much in the way of exotic food – but by and large Maori people and culture in particular were something that happened in textbooks, the North Island or the All Blacks.

A later career move that found me living, and surfing, in Gisborne and, before and after, in Wellington brought a more homogenous New Zealand to my life.

Still, the Melbourne move when it came was made at least in part because of the desire not to simply slip into a Kiwi sub-culture in, say, Sydney or Brisbane.

I love my Kiwi brothers and sisters, whatever their genre, but I have no desire to be surrounded by them at the expense of all else.

But after almost 15 years in the west, there has been a change.

It started – or, rather, I started to notice it – at Bennie’s primary school, where one of his best pals was a young Maori lad.

It continued with the thoroughly Kiwi-infused vibe of the Footscray Bulldogs Rugby Union Club, for which Bennie played for a couple of seasons.

In more recent times, I have enjoyed monitoring the ups and downs of the Altona Roosters Rugby League Club, though I have yet to make it to a game.

As well, I am enjoying observing through Facebook the beaut work of Victoria Maori Wardens and their efforts to keep Maori and Islander youngsters from getting into big trouble. I will make it a point to meet them one day.

I even diary-marked a couple of Waitangi Day functions this year – one in Elsternwick, one in Altona – but sadly missed both.

Maori may not flow in my blood but it resides in my soul, and is capable of surprising me with the force and profundity with which it sometimes surfaces.

 

beeeast1

 

All these things are but a reflection of the fact the Maori and Islander population of Melbourne’s west has increased dramatically in the past decade or so, drawn like so many of us from around the world by housing prices but also, these days, no doubt by a sense of community as well.

Honey knows all about it.

She and her family live in Point Cook, but Honey travels to Manor Lakes p-12 College for her regular gig as assistant principal.

Assistant principal of a western suburbs school of 1800 or so kids?

Oh yes, she knows very well the changing face of the west in general and its Maori/Islander face in particular.

Incredibly, Honey has another job – she is a co-owner and co-proprietor of BeeeasT Burgers in Tarneit.

And the BeeasT itself, which shares a small business precinct with the likes of branches of Briyani House and International Foods, is testament to the growing Maori/Islander community in the west.

The business has been up and running since November yet in that time it has amassed a staggering 9000-plus Facebook likes.

 

beeeast3

 

So it is with an easy smile that I front up for a chat and a feed.

In truth, aside from sweet potato chips on the menu (see below) and L&P in the fridge, there’s nowt that is particularly Kiwi about the fare here.

But there is no mistaking the nature of the management or the joint’s customers.

Many of the burgers listed are more complex and grandiose than fit my immediate needs, so I go for the Fair Dinkum ($10) – minus the pineapple.

All Beeeast burgers come with chips.

Those chips appear a tad nondescript but are really excellent and hot.

Similarly, my burger looks modest but goes down a treat.

It’s like a cross between an Aussie-style corner store burger and Grill’d, mostly because the very good patty has a real beefiness about it.

 

beeeast4

Finally trying the local F&C

2 Comments

under3

 

Under The Sea Fish & Chips, 49 Anderson Street, Yarraville. Phone: 9687 6912

Consider The Sauce has long held a preference for fish and chip joints that offer more than paper-wrapped bundles.

We like our F&C and accoutrements fresh-as and eaten at restaurant-provided seating – even if it is of the most rudimentary kind.

We like it, too, when proper cutlery and crockery are part of the deal.

So we’ve never gotten around to trying our very popular local fish and chippery.

But with Bennie being a happy fish eater these days, he’s several times recent in months declared his preparedness to troop around the corner and bring our dinner home.

So off he goes … and back he comes with a meal I find OK in some regards but disappointing in others.

Low expectations met?

Yes.

 

under1

 

The chips are hot but on the dull side for me.

Ordering instructions had been for a small so naturally the medium Bennie gets is excess to our requirements.

The calamari rings are of the reconstituted surimi variety, so are automatically graded “OK”.

Fish of the day is blue grenadier and it’s real good.

What’s more, we receive three generously sized pieces instead of two, so we eat really well.

But the batter of one of them is stuck to the paper and is only messily removed.

It’s been good fare, especially as the whole lot cost something under $20.

But I won’t be in a hurry to return.

 

under2

 

And with dinner?

Bickford’s, of course.

We go through at least a bottle of this stuff a week – lemon or lemon barley now that the bitter lemon variety seems permanently unavailable.

But tonight at the IGA we spied a new flavour – apple and cinnamon.

I detect only the faintest of spice undertones but Bennie reckons it’s the best of the lot.

Fabulous and fancy @ Ebi

6 Comments
ebix1
Ebi Fine Food, 18A Essex St, Footscray. Phone: 9689 3300

Consider The Sauce loves Ebi; we adore the place, its charming host, the perfect fish and chips and bentos.

But $120 for a tricked-up degustation men?

Not exactly regular fare for CTS, as regular readers will understand.

How to justify such extravagance?

Birthday prezzie?

A few days out, but what the hey …

Tax return treat?

Having only just got all the required documentation in the one room, I haven’t even really started on this year’s effort yet …

Celebratory outing based on good results in the “scary medical tests” department?

Truth is, tonight’s Ebi event – the first of its kind – is simply too tempting to pass up.

I’m tingling with excitement at seeing John spread his wings with the sort of ritzy food, time – and labour-intensive sauces, and superior and refined ingredients of the kind that rarely come my way.

And I’m looking forward to sharing the experience with what I assume will be a small audience of Ebi regulars/fans and doing so with some classy beer, sake and wine on hand … though I suspect the booze may be wasted on a wine prol such as myself.

I’m expecting food that displays strong influences from both Japan and France – and maybe even Italy.

And so it largely proves to be …

Sharing the bar stools with me are Jake and Kim, on one side, with Daniel and Tom on the other.

 

ebix5

 

The table for two behind us is soon filled, to my happy delight, with CTS pals Justin and Sasha!

Wonderful!

And so it begins …

This is no ordinary degustation bash. For starters, the price is way less than those sought for most of the famed and storied options available elsewhere.

There’s the same paper serviettes as ever.

And John himself acts not just as chef but also waiter, maitre’d, busboy and dishwasher.

Frankly, I’d not be comfortable with a more formal arrangement.

 

ebix2

 

Spherified edamame with sea salt crystals is as out-there as tonight’s fare is to get – John even uses the word “Bulli” in relation to it. It’s a gorgeous, slippery, crunchy mouthful with pronounced edamame flavour served with Koshihikari Echigo rice beer.

 

ebix3

 

Anchovy and parmesan straws are rich, buttery and crumbly, the anchovies supplying just the right kind of salty flavour explosion.

 

ebix4

 

Seared Hokkaido scallops with soy wasabi butter are such a hit – for good reason – that John quickly whips up another round for us!

 

ebix7

 

Grilled, salted salmon belly is profoundly exquisite and served with Osakazuki Junmai Ginjo Sake.

 

ebix10

 

Lobster? CTS? Blimey!

Butter-poached crayfish is a dream, served with a yuzu kosho sauce that exhibits just the right kind of tartness to match the seafood’s sweetness.

John describes the sauce as made with a fruit that is a mix of lemon, lime and orange blended with salt and chilli.

This is served with a just-right Borgo Bello Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie 2012.

 

ebix8

 

We’re about to move into significantly more robust and richer territory …

 

ebix12

 

Duck and porcini kamameshi comes with blackcurrant jus.

Kamameshi turns out to be a sort-of Japanese version of the universal rice dish and is very much like risotto – it’s wonderful, too, as is the juicy duck.

(Served with Wynns Coonawarra Shiraz 1998.)

 

ebix13

 

Ahhh – the best of all!

Wagyu fillet with roast marrow, shallot and herb tartlet comes also with roast beetroot and organic kale.

It’s all terrific, the beef ultra-succulent and the tart pastry so very rich.

Served with Wynns Coonawarra black label Cabernet sauvignon 1997.

 

ebix15

 

And to finish …

Ginger and ume bombe with “plum” ice-cream, sponge and meringue – just my kind of grown-up, not-too-sweet dessert; served with lovely Osakazuki Umeshu (“plum liquor”).

So … has it been worth it?

Yes.

I’ve loved the food, the company, the conversation and the liquid accompaniments.

It’s been a beaut experience!

But we’ll still be loving those bentos and fish and chips …

And, yes, there may be more such events at Ebi.

See earlier stories here and here.

 

ebix14

ebix16

ebix9

ebix6