Food, drink, Keilor Park

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Consider The Sauce has celebrated in recent weeks the arrival of nifty food option at its place of regular employment, the Star Weekly newspaper office in Keilor Park.

But now things have gone from edging towards sublime to outright sublimely ridiculous.

The new arrivals, providing tasty options to those who live and work in the area, include The D’s Souvlaki and Theo’s Greek Cakes.

But where those two food outlets are walking distance from my office, 5 NY Bite And Brew will be right across the road, under a minute’s walk and on the corner of Keilor Park Drive and Thompson Road in the new industrial estate there.

Now on any ordinary day, if you said to me that a New York-themed bar heavy on dude food was simply not my thing, you’d be dead right.

But being shown around by the instigator of this enterprise, Steve Raftellis, I am won over by his drive and enthusiasm.

Steve is bringing his experience with similar outfits to bear with spectacular vision.

It’s fair to say that these fit-out photos will bear hardly any resemblance to the finished venue when it is opened some time in August, so ambitious are his plans for deocr and artwork.

Steve reckon he’s on to a good thing – and that includes the location.

He wants to serve the greater west and even right up to Sunbury and Ballarat, access is easy and parking will be a breeze.

It’s a gamble surely, as all new businesses are, but Steve already has about 20 function bookings for December.

As he says, there’s a lot of sports clubs and other organisations around here.

It will be open 11am-midnight, seven days a week – with longer weekend hours on the agenda.

 

 

The ground floor of 5 NY Bite And Brew will feature a dining area with regular seating, a long bar backing on to the kitchen, booths …

 

 

… and a “VIP area”.

 

 

The stairs leading to the rooftop alfresco area will be done out in New York subway style.

 

 

And up on the roof, there will be more booths, a “rain forest” of plants and a bar constructed out of a shipping container.

There will be live music up here – and Steve assures me it will not be of the lame cover version variety.

Drinks and food?

I’m told there will be 100 US craft beers, 49 by American-style cocktails and 10 mega shakes.

CTS has been shown a provisional menu.

Here’s just some of the items included:

Pork belly “thingies”
Empanadas
Lobster mac n cheese
Buffalo wings
Loaded fries including curds and gravy
Coney Island and chilli dogs
Half a dozen burgers
Crispy chicken with velvet waffles and maple syrup
Beef and baby back ribs
Lobster roll

Bennie’s eyes lit up when saw that lot!

Steve tells me almost items will be priced from $5 to $25.

 

Sweetness!

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Theo’s Greek Cakes, 11 Fosters Road, Keilor Park. Phone: 0434 099 450

We are delighted to herald the arrival of new Greek baking emporium on the smallish shopping strip on Fosters Road in Keilor Park.

Theo’s has all your sweet Greek dreams covered at great prices.

Parking is no problem.

And it’s simply a cool place to be.

 

 

We suspect most customers treat it as a shop, taking their goodies home.

But for eating-in purposes, the place is set up in simple cafe style.

 

 

Theo’s is very much about the sweeter side of life, but there are limited savoury options available.

We love our slices of spanakopita ($6).

Rich and flavoursome in a home-style way, they eat bigger than they look.

And at a place in which we would’ve been unsurprised about being presented with plastic plates and implements, we are very happy to have our lunch accompanied by real-deal unplastic gear, along with water.

 

 

For dessert, Bennie opts for this profiterol creation ($5).

He enjoys it, but perhaps not as much as he’d been hoping – likely because the chocolate is not the dark, more bitter kind he likes these days.

He plainly envies my politiko ($5, top photo).

And in that he’s right on the money – as this is superb.

It’s bit like a heftier Greek version of tiramisu, the base of syrupy semolina cake topped by a layer of cream and plenty of powdered coffee.

It is wonderful – and so healthy, too!

Our $4 cafe lattes are a fine foil for all this sweet heaven.

As an added bonus, a delicious trek to Theo’s can become a one-stop outing that includes, a few doors away, Frank’s Supermarket, a happy business a bit like a scaled-down version of Altona Fresh or Mediterranean Wholesalers in Brunswick.

Though, sadly, it is closed during our Sunday visit.

Theo’s joins the D’s Souvlaki is building a whole new food vibe at Keilor Park.

Long may they both prosper and the trend continue.

 

Food life looks up at Keilor Park?

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The D’s Souvlaki @ Fury & Son Brewing Company, 46 Concorde Drive, Keilor Park. Phone: 0404 818 137

Could it be?

That the parched desert that is eating in Keilor Park – and surrounding the Star Weekly office, in particular – is giving way to new blooms?

Yes – it is so.

In coming weeks, CTS will chronicle a sooper dooper Greek bakery/cake shop that has opened up in Keilor Park – and walking distance from my office.

In the meantime, The D’s Souvlaki has taken up residence in our resident brewery.

We’ve been meaning to try The D’s souvlakis for a while, as they’re apparently highly regarded.

But its long-time location on Matthews Avenue over in Airport West proved tricky for us Yarraville boys – no lunch service and a night-time drive too long when similar options abound closer to home.

But the D’s crew is now on the same block as Star Weekly, lunch and dinner is being served on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays – and the the joint has hit the ground running.

Indeed, it seems this classy souvlaki operation is an even better fit for the area and its brewery than the previous tenants, the Houston’s barbecue team.

The D’s Souvlaki is tapping into the plethora of Keilor Park and environs workers, presumably as tired as I of the tawdry fare of the many local tradies cafes.

As well, the D’s move to a new location has pulled regular night-time customers right along.

The menu (see below) is a simple, compact list absent such accessories as chips.

That’s fine by us – and no doubt helps with turnaround times.

 

 

However, my first visit, on the second day at the new location, does prove to be something of a trial.

It’s hosing down with rain, I arrive at an unusually (for me) late, post-noon hour and the crowds are building.

 

 

But all becomes good and fine when contemplating and eating my medium lamb souvlaki ($12).

This is excellent stuff – good, ungristly meat, all the usual souvlaki bits in good order.

 

 

I return the following Friday and enjoy a much earlier and sunnier outcome.

 

 

This time I go the medium chicken – also priced at $12.

Now, chicken souvlaki – or doner or shish – is not normally my style, but journalistic duty requires variance from the previous week.

But I’m happy as this, too, is a winner.

If, in both cases, I have wished for more flame-induced salty crustiness, I understand that souvlaki is a dice roll of luck and timing.

In any case, continued visits to The D’s Souvlaki for this lad’s Friday lunch are a safe bet.

 

Excellent barbecue

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Houston’s Barbecue, 46 Concorde Drive, Keilor Park. Phone: 0434 434 303

Keilor Park, home of the Star Weekly office, is on the edge of a sprawling area of inter-connected industrial estates hugging Melbourne Airport.

Around here, there appears to be a tradies-style cafe on almost every block.

Good food?

Way more sparse.

One of our locals, for instance, has rotating bain marie offerings of beef vindaloo, satay beef, beef ragout and so on.

And they all taste the same.

In this place I have seen a beefy trucker gleefully tuck into a vast bowl of super-rich cream sauce with a pasta garnish – all gracefully topped (covered) by a hefty chicken schnitizel.

Such grotesqueries are not uncommon around here.

But each to his own.

And business is business.

As previously noted here at CTS, no matter how much such operations may wish it to be otherwise, in most cases they simply must do the potato cake and dimmie routine.

That’s why myself and a handful of colleagues continue our weekly curry run to get wonderful Sri Lankan goodies from Spicy Corner in slightly further afield residential Tullamarine.

And that’s why I and most of my Star Weekly colleagues pack lunches – in my case, especially earlier in the week.

And that is also why the opening of a bona fide barbecue joint just around the corner from our office – a two-minute walk, no need to get in the car – seemed so surreal.

Still does.

 

 

Houston’s Barbecue is located in the premises of Fury and Son Brewing Company.

And it’s open only on Fridays.

Of course, I was VERY interested in checking it out – for both CTS purposes and as a break in the Keilor Park eats routine.

However, initial visits – several months ago now – left very mixed impressions.

For example, brisket burgers and beef hot dogs that were OK – but not really nailing it.

I can sympathise.

This is a new operation – a very unique one, operating in an unusual (to say the least) location.

There had to have been doubts about whether it would even draw sufficient numbers, especially at Friday lunch-time, and about what would or would not work.

Some fine-tuning, tweaking and settling-in time has definitely been in order.

I returned a couple of weeks ago – and was mightily impressed.

The menu has been constantly revised.

For the in-a-hurry, keep-it-cheap lunch crowd, there are still burgers and punters can still customise meals by ordering 100-gram meat portions and sides.

But the introduction of substantial – and, yes, pricier – platters has seen Houston’s Barbecue reach new heights.

Heights that deserve to make it a destination for a wider audience than merely those who work nearby.

 

 

This platter was superb.

Two hunka-chunka slices of wonderful spicy-crusted brisket.

An excellent cheesy, greasy smoked sausage.

Just the right amount of good coleslaw and pickles.

And – oh, yes! – none of that brioche nonsense; instead, two slices of perfect white, sliced bread in true barbecue joint fashion.

Entirely delicious – and worth every cent of the $18 I paid.

 

 

Returning a week later, I have an even better time.

The menu has changed again (see latest incarnation below).

For CTS purposes, I am happy to splash out in a way I hope doesn’t become too much of a weekly habit!

This beef short rib conglomeration costs $25 and it’s a doozy!

The chips are just OK – maybe less crisp and hot than I would like on account of me being the day’s first customer.

Slaw and pickles as previously enjoyed.

And I would’ve appreciated that white, sliced bread again – and as seen on new photos on the Houston’s Barbecue Facebook page with this platter.

But forget all that – what about the meat?

My single, hefty rib is amazingly good.

Less fatty than many barbecue beef ribs I have eaten, it’s meat is tender, plentiful and heavenly.

The spicy crust might be too salty for some tastes, but I love that as well.

As for doubts about the commercial viability of the singular location and one-day-a-week opening hours, I couldn’t be happier to observe that Houston’s Barbecue is a hit.

In industrial Keilor Park.

How about that?

Houston’s Barbecue is open on Friday from noon until 10pm – or until sold out!

Check out their website here.