Cool local cafe? You can’t do better …



Willow Wine Cafe, 126 Williamstown Road, Kingsville.

Our regular martial arts routine has been dispensed with on account of a niggling health issue.

And if we’re not exactly licking our wounds after a tough week, we are not in the mood for the sort of galavanting around the west that is our usual Saturday staple.

So we’re very happy to be walking to lunch.

But there’s a wrinkle – instead of ambling towards Yarraville village, we are headed in the opposite direction.

Willow Wine Cafe has been set up in what was once the Fisher cricket bat “factory”, the place’s flanelled history still proudly worn on its side-street mural.

This is very familiar territory for Bennie, as he was once – when much younger – outfitted here with custom-made bat and pads.

The half-hearted innings that was his cricketing career ended long ago!



The place, with its dining area looking out on to Williamstown Road’s passing parade, has been done out in a really lovely, bright and relaxing way.



We take up pews at the window bench and proceed to enjoy a terrific lunch.



I earnestly warn Bennie against ordering the pulled pork sanger ($15), given the rank and serial disappointments he has, um, enjoyed in that regard in the past.

He proceeds anyway – proving, in the process, his father’s gloomy outlook to be comprehensively unwarranted.

Between the covers of his milk bun are generous serves of superbly tasty pork and most excellent aioli slaw, with pickled jalapenos and potato chips on the side.



My toastie special appears, at first blush, to be less worthy of the $14 price tag.

But the proof is in the eating.

And I know after just a few mouthfuls that this could be used as a template for the perfect toasted sandwich, with bread still softish yet sporting a top-notch crisp exterior.

Inside are Salt Kitchen mortadella, burratine and radicchio.

The cheese is oh-so-rich, melted and stretchy.



Our matching 5 Senses cafe lattes ($4) are just right.

Moto a-go-go




Motorino, 29A Vernon Street, South Kingsville. Phone: 9399 2121

Motorino has been around for years but we’ve never until now been through its doors.

Not sure why.

Certainly, it’s been in the mix many, many times as we’ve pondered our options – but we’ve chosen to go elsewhere.

A recent, indolent incident of home delivery pizzas quickened our interest – our couple of simple, vegetarian pizzas were simply the best to-our-door food we’ve ever invested in.

On time, hot, delicious.

So here we are, trying our luck without a booking on a Friday night.

No problem – we snag a table for two and take in our surroundings.

Having peered through the windows so often, it seems I’ve bred the impression that Motorino is somehow a sleek, trendy sort of place.




So I am bemused to discover that from an insider’s point of view that it’s not like that at all – it’s just like any popular Italian eatery in Melbourne.

It could be in Carlton or Brunswick.

Gee, that sounds like I’m damning with faint praise – and that’s not my intention.

Mororino IS kinda cool and classy and the cooking aromas are intoxicating.

But it’s all a hubbub on this Friday night, with family groups galore and kids everywhere.

The staff are obliging, smiling and efficient.

We settle in for a slightly longer duration than planned but enjoy the hell out of our Motorino stay.

And why wouldn’t we when we have a pizza, a pasta, a dessert pizza and two hot drinks and pay a most admirable $56?




Pizza funghi ($17.50) with caramelised onions, ricotta, olive oil and mozzarella is good though we find it a little austere and plain.

We unambiguously cast envying eyes at the specials-board marinated lamb number being consumed at a neighbouring table.




Fusilli Tuscan of Tuscan sausage, caramelised onions, garlic, tomato sugo and parmesan ($19.50) we think is utterly brilliant.

I make a version of this at home but no way have I ever attained the sort of succulent, tasty, sticky and rich heights this plate does.





Having such a swell time are we that ordering a dessert pizza is a no-brainer.

Bennie’s outside talking on his phone – so I make the call: Raspberry and lemon curd pizza with double cream ($12).

As you’d expect, it’s on the tartish side – but that’s fine by us.

It lasts, maybe, about three minutes and is sluiced down by a just-right cafe latte ($3.50) and hot chocolate ($$3.50).

During the course of the evening, we’ve seen very many delivery drivers come and go.

I’m told that a typical Friday night will see about 80 deliveries made involving about eight or nine drivers.

Man, that’s some serious pizza moving business.

As we recently discovered for ourselves, there’s very delicious reasons for that.

But based on tonight’s meal, we reckon we should make the effort for an in-house visit much more often.

Greek treats made with love in Kingsville



Olive Oil & Butter, 196 Somerville Rd, Kingsville. Phone: 9315 1060

There’s an awful lot in the name of this great Greek bakery in Kingsville.

You see, that’s what they use – olive oil and butter.

Oh, of course, there’s other ingredients – but the name nevertheless symbolises a keen dedication to natural products.

No ingredients with numbers rather than names, no premixes … just a righteous determination to make and bake with the simplest and the best in an entirely old-school manner.

This is the kind of place at which the declaration, “Our products have a limited shelf life”, is a proud boast.

Olive Oil & Butter is run by Pelagia, her brother Chris and their mum Martha.

It’s a first restaurant/cafe/bakery outing for the family – and that’s a good thing, as it means the recipes are derived from an inter-generational tradition.

After my lunch is done and paid for (see below), I introduce myself to Pelagia, who is nice enough to set up a display platter of the Greek baking that is available this day. The line-up tends to change, but the prices are mostly in the $4-5 range (less for biscuits).


 Clockwise from top right:

* Koulouraki – biscuit with vanilla.

* “The best” galaktoboureko – Filo pastry, semolina-based custard, vanilla, syrup with cinnamon and cloves.

* Baklava – roasted almonds and walnuts filling filo pastry with a cinnamon and clove syrup.

* Revani – semolina cake flavoured with lemon and orange sweetened with an orange-zest syrup.

* Another version of koulouraki.

* Paksimadi – a crumbly vegan biscotti flavoured with orange.

As Pelagia explains the ins and outs of the baking before us, we are joined by her mum.

It’s easy to tell from the glint in her eye and the pride in her work that Martha is serious about “olive and oil and butter” and using only the very best ingredients. And no preservatives at all …

I try only a few of the above assortment – they’re delicious.

The rest go home with me – it doesn’t take too long for me to realise my insistence on paying for the lot is going to be rebuffed at every turn, no matter how hard I try or how long I persist.

Olive Oil & Butter does breakfast and lunch, too, though much of what is available in that regard is of non-Greek derivation – pies, muffins, focaccia and so on.


I do enjoy my pastitsio ($15), though.

It’s a hearty dish that is something of a variation of moussaka, with the good ground beef and tubed pasta melding into the rich bechamel sauce. The accompanying salad is just, fine, too.


And for dinner, I am also gifted this gorgeous scroll-style spanakopita ($9).

Like the bakalava and its variations (katafi, gianniotiko, saragli), the cheese and spinach scroll is made with filo pastry that is made from scratch in the kitchen.

How good is that?

My two cafe lattes ($3.50) are excellent, BTW!

PS: I will update this post with “tasting notes” as I work my way through my trawl!

The Olive Oil & Butter Facebook page is updated regularly with news and photos of what is available.






Great burgers – $12 with chips



Famous Blue Raincoat, 25 Vernon St, South Kingsville. Phone: 9391 8520

“You look familiar – you look like a blogger!”

Ahhh, our cover is blown.

Hardly surprising, given my anonymous moustache and the fact this likely to be our third post on this Kingsville institution.

FWIW, I doubt very much that our splendid burger meals are in any way compromised, good or bad, by the ‘Coat’s knowledge that Consider The Sauce is sitting in the back garden.

This is an impromptu visit – we like that.

There’s Greek salad makings in the fridge at home, but we’ve hit the road … lured by the restaurant Facebook reminder that this is $12 burger night.

On a pleasantly muggy, hazy summer’s night, the back garden is a wonderful place to await our dinners.

We spy a young mum tucking in to a parmagiana as her partner’s steak sits unmolested.

He’s walking their toddler.

He returns; they swap roles.

Been there, done that … many, many times!


They may have been purchased at special burger-night discount price, but it’s interesting to note that our whole meal deals end in dollar terms where a food truck stand-alone burger begins.

And here we’ve got real cutlery and crockery, and a lovely setting in which to enjoy.

The chips are deeply tanned and very good. And there’s a good-sized serve of them on both our plates.

Between standard but good buns are some greenery, tomato, beetroot, bacon and tomato relish.

All good.

The meat looks less patty and more big, fat meatball.

But they squash down well to serve our burger purposes well.

They taste magnificent – beautifully seasoned and a little bit peppery.

Bennie, happily smiling, raves about our burgers all the way home.


New Kingsville coffee spot, WeFo momo update …



What was once Petitou at 206 Somerville Rd is now Project 206.

The place looks a treat, the coffee is good and they have a buy-five-get-one-free loyalty card and wifi.

Food runs, at present, to breakfast regulars, such as eggs and pancakes, and light lunch fare, such as a soup special, frittata and lasagna.

The kids/toy space at the back has given way to more regular seating and a liquor licence is in the works.

Owner Natalie tells me there are plans afoot to see the abandoned servo across the road become a four-level apartment block.

Whatever our collective ambivalence about rampant apartment development, that will surely be an improvement on the current eyesore!

Project 206 is open 10am-3pm Mondays, 9.30am-4.30pm Tuesdays to Fridays and 9am-430pm at weekends. Phone: 90044563.


Meanwhile, over in Barkly St, Magic Momo Kafe proprietor Ravi tells me his baby is still at least a week away from opening its doors for the first time.

He’s taken a realistic approach to competing with the varied Indian options in the area, so is excited about a menu that covers a number of bases.

He promises a lively cafe vibe with great coffee and a spectacular range of Indian sweeties.

Kingsville Primary School Fete


Kingsville Primary School, Somerville Rd, Kingsville

What a winning school fair this was – plenty of room to move, well run, heaps of food, a spinning wheel raffle, happy people everywhere.

I had a hot dog and a brilliant coffee, and bought some real-deal homemade coconut ice.

Tandoori Flames


Tandoori Flames, 15 Vernon St, South Kingsville. Phone: 9078 2769

“So very disappointing, the place seemed to be full of family.”

This line from a recent diner’s comment about a new Yarraville eatery springs immediately to mind while we are enjoying our dinner at Tandoori Flames in South Kingsville.

Look, I know there’s horses for courses when it comes to restaurants, and that some folks like a quiet time.

Others are looking for a romantic vibe.

Others, too, don’t dig kids cluttering up cafes … and others again think flat-screen TVs have no place in any kind of eating establishment at all.

I’m sure it’s possible to have a quiet time at Tandoori Flames and even a romantic dinner, if that’s to your liking.

But based on this Father’s Day evening, you’d probably aim for a night earlier in the week.

By the time we’re halfway through our meal, the place is packed and the staff are very busy.

Even better, a passel of kids – half of them in-house variety, half of them customer offspring – are cavorting merrily all over the place and even playing tag between the tables.

No one minds.

No one cares.

No food is spilt.

Everyone is happy – including us!

And I see just a single admonishment issued to the young man who is the senior member of the group – something along the lines of, “Keep it down a little, eh?”, I presume.

I had earlier asked this character, who was polishing cutlery with his sister, how much he was getting paid.

His reply was instantaneous and emphatic:

“I don’t get paid – this is my restaurant!”

This would be Harnoor, son of Tandoori Flames proprietor Jimmy – and we’ll let them settle the ownership details.

We’re here as Jimmy’s guests (full disclosure below).

We were always going to make it to Tandoori Flames at some point, but his email spurred us into action – yes, we’d love to join the throng for Father’s Day dinner.

Jimmy tells me he and his crew have been at these premises for five years and that previous to that the building housed, variously, a Yugoslav social establishment, a sports club and a gay/lesbian hangout called My Sisters Lounge.

The interior is quite different from what I am expecting.

An irregularly-shaped room, plain brick walls, exposed beams, chandeliers, dancefloor and even a disco ball.

It’s funky and welcoming and we feel right at home.

As we enter, the band is cranking out – much to my surprise – a rowdy version of Cannonball Adderley’s Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.

After that, they throttle back for wide-ranging mix of soul and pop covers that sit right well with the crowd – by the time we leave, the dancefloor is doing good business.

In his email, Jimmy had stated: “I would love to serve you with our speciality items …”

So we take the bold option of leaving our meal in his hands, just mentioning that we’d like to try some stuff from the tandoor oven and a little seafood.

This proves a mistake – but not because the food we are provided is bad or even unenjoyable.

I just wish I’d kept my wits about me and said: “Please, Jimmy, no butter chicken!”

Being only a moderate fan of paneer, chilly paneer lazeez ($14.90) – “cottage cheese cubes battered fried then wok fried with shallots, bell pepper soya sauce and red chilli sauce” – finds only moderate favour with me. I actually prefer the accompanying vegetables more.

But, to my surprise, Bennie really likes the paneer, happily stabbing successive cubes until our next platter arrives.

Tandoori mixed grill ($19.90) is the goods and one of two outright food highlights of our night.

“Seek kebab”, like shish kkofta and nicely chewy but maybe a little on the dry side.

Two succulent lamb cutlets.

And, best of all, chicken tikka and tandoori chicken.

The various bits of chook are outstanding and juicy.

Maybe a little less of the lurid orange of typical tandoori chicken, and a whole lot more herbs and spices and a big flavour whack of lemon.

And all the meats go even better with the onions into which the cooking juices have soaked.

We scarf the lot, no problem.

Butter chicken ($15.50)? This is probably a good version, but it’s simply not my thing – or even of much appeal to Bennie.

Tender chicken, but it’s so rich and so sweet!

(Any ideas why this is THE dish most people order in Indian restaurants?)

Dal makhani ($12.50) is creamily rich, too, but the blend of black lentils is silky and smooth.

After all that richness, prawn malabar ($17.90) comes as a relief and is our other big thumbs-up for the night.

There’s a lot of prawns, every one of which have that “bursty” thing going on that fine prawns always do.

The gravy is just right – coconut-based and laced with mustard seeds and flavoured, too, with curry leaves.

Our meal is completed by one apiece of good garlic ($3) and mint ($3.50) naans.

We’re full and then some – but, naturally, Bennie has no problem finding room for his tall glass of jelly, ice cream and fruit that goes by the title of Tutti Frutti.

Aside from getting a couple of dishes we wouldn’t normally choose – no one’s fault, that, except mine – we’ve had a ball at Tandoori Falmes and really adore the happy family vibes.

There’s Indian music of a more restrained variety on Friday nights and belly dancing on Saturday nights.

And, yes, the place has a couple of wall-mounted flat-screen TVs!

Check out the Tandoori Flames website, including menu, here.

Our meal at Tandoori Flames was provided free of charge by the owner in return for a story on Consider The Sauce. The food we enjoyed was chosen by the management. Tandoori Flames had no editorial control of this post.

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