Wonderfally delicious

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advis_falafels, 16 Ballarat Street, Yarraville. Phone: 9396 1841

How cool is watching our favourite locals and those beyond integrating the virus-inspired pivots and swerves into their ongoing operations?

For instance … what was once Little Advi has become advis_falafels.



Along the way, the shop has been given a much fresher and brighter look.

It’s more spacious, as opposed to the lovely and much-loved yet cramped previous layout.

The menu, too, has been streamlined.

No meat as far as we can tell.

But the dips and salads remain – hooray!

And instead of what was my habitual order for several years – the falafel wrap – there is now an open falafel pita ($11, see menu below).

At first, Bennie and I are a bit bemused about whether to eat with hands or cutlery.

A bit of both turns out to be the go.

And while the ingredients are familiar from previous visits, somehow the flavours and textures seem to have bloomed and zoomed.

The falafels themselves are superb, while the crunchy slaw and hummous are the perfect foil.

Even the way the juices soak into the flatbread is wonderful!


Knocked out in Williamstown




Mezmez, 42 Ferguson Street, Williamstown. Phone: 9397 8804

When it was known as Plumm’s, 42 Ferguson Street was a quasi-regular for us – for breakfasts, lunches and even, IIRC, the odd dinner.

I think that between Plumm’s and Mezmez, there was another inhabitant of the address but I can’t recall its name.

Certainly, there has been a long period on non-use for the address before the recent opening of Mezmez.

Maybe that’s not a bad thing, with a view to dispelling “failed restaurant karma”.

Not that we’re suspicious or anything!

In terms of a fresh start, it’s also a fine thing the Mezmez crew has overhauled the room so that it bears little or no resemblance to what went before.




There’s lots of wall tiles, lots of wood and a variety of different seating and eating configurations.

When we visit for Saturday lunch, the place is buzzing, there are happy people in abundance and staff are on the ball.

Mezmez is a sister restaurant of Pint Of Milk in Newport, so as you’d expect has many of the same cafe strengths going on.

But the new place looks and feels very different.

More to the point, outside some orthodox breakfast items, the Mezmez menu (see below) – especially the brunch and lunch lists – evinces a strong Turkish and Mediterranean feel.

And that’s mostly why we’re here and excited about it.




We’re allocated a small wall-mounted table with tall stools towards the back of the room – and we’re happy about that.

Because we’re sitting right at the very spot where food leaves the kitchen and heads for the customers’ pleasure – so we get a good look, while we’re waiting for our meals, at what other folks have been ordering.

That ranges from breakfasts of the basic, toasted kind and the more ornate and decadent through to an “ancient grains” salad, panfried saganaki, crispy fried squid and preposterously fat lamb koftas.





Bennie chooses the buttermilk pancakes with sour cherries, toasted walnuts and halvah ice-cream ($18).

He’s happy enough, but reckons there’s too much sauce!

I grab a bite and am impressed.

Perhaps, at $18, a third pancake might not be too much to expect.

And perhaps he’s old enough and savvy enough to understand that just because his father lets him off the leash for a sugar hit doesn’t mean that’s going to be the best direction to head.

Because he’s frankly envious of my …




… “mez platter” ($16) with its olives, dukkah, falafels, cauliflower fitters, dips and bread.

It’s all good or much better.

And I always admire any such dish that is constructed with such skill that all the players are in correct proportion so they all “run out” at the same happy conclusion to the meal.

That’s certainly the case here.

The outright stars, though, are the tightly-packed and fragrant falafels and sublime cauliflower fritters.


Deep-fried yet ungreasy, they’re packed with flavour – and in the case of cauliflower, that always seems to me some kind of miracle.

That vegetable doesn’t have the most robust flavour characteristics yet often it seems to survive all sorts of cooking techniques.

The only faint quibble I have is wishing the dips had a bit more zing.




As we’d awaited our meals, Bennie went close to toddlerhood regression and the throwing of a tantrum when he saw the blackboard words “Nutella Donuts” had been crossed out.

No problem, my friend – that is yesterday’s news so we’re good to go.





Oh boy, this is awesomeness personified – and a bargain at $3.50.

Just so good – ultra gooey and divine.

And filling, even shared between the pair of us.




Nor surprise, eh, that my $3.60 cafe latte is brilliant?

Williamstown locals have a new star to adore.



Cafe Advieh

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Cafe Advieh, 71B Gamon St, Seddon. Phone: 0432 241 276

More often than not, Bennie gets over-ridden when it comes to choosing where we go to eat.

He’s a bit of a homebody at heart, so his dad’s wandering eye often has his eyes rolling.

He tolerates with good humour my restless adventuring.

But, really, instead of the long haul to Coburg or Deer Park – or even Sunshine or Moonee Ponds – he’d generally stay at home or within walking distance.

Today he gets his way – and we have a spectacularly fine lunch as a result.

We’d taken Cafe Advieh for a review outing early in its life, and have been back periodically – mostly ordering what we had the first time, the mixed grill plate.

Today we take a different tack.

Bennie’s small dips platter ($10.50) looks rather modest in size but does the job.

He likes the two stuffed vine leaves, preferring them unheated as they as they hold their form better.

He likes all the dips, but rates the eggplant number the highest.

I try it – and as on previous visits am knocked out.

This coarsely textured take on a classic is simply wonderful, with a robust smokiness.

The serving of toasted Turkish bread is in correct proportion to the amount of dipping fodder, and that’s even with dad filching some to have with his meal. He lets me eat most of the kalamata olives, too!

This puts to shame the lacklustre dips platters served at so many cafes.

My zucchini plate ($14.50) has more of the same very good hummus and yogurt, cucumber and dill.

The latter goes well with my zucchini fritter.

This, too, is unheated and all the better for it. It’s quite wide but rather thin, nicely salty, and its unheated stature gives it a nice leathery chewiness. Leathery in a totally good way!

My two salad choices are amazingly, lip-smackingly fine.

The coleslaw is not so much slaw in the common mayo meaning of the word but more a regularly dressed salad. Its mix of two types of cabbage, onion and carrot is homely, crunchy, heavy with lemon and utterly moreish.

So often I’ve been served – often, surprisingly, in kebab places that should know better and care more – tabbouleh that is an unappetising jumble of dry, undressed parsley and bulgar.

As far as I’m concerned – and based somewhat on repeated makings of the version found in Claudia Roden’s Arabesque – it should be damp almost to the point of dripping wet.

As it is here, with even more of a lemon accent than the coleslaw.

On the evidence of this lunch and others, Cafe Advieh has mastered the terrific trick turning out food that is refined but also has more than a few rough edges.

That is likewise reflected in a slice of tremendous house baklava ($4) with which I reward Bennie for making such a great lunch call. As on previous visits, it’s luscious and heavily scented with individually identifiable spices.

As a friend sitting at an adjacent table – Hi, Peter! – remarks, this is Middle Eastern food that seems less like restaurant fare and more like home cooking.

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Cafe Advieh


71B Gamon St, Seddon. Phone: 0432 241 276


What seems like a long time ago, Gamon St coffees, brekkies and even lunches were a central ingredient for us.

Lifetsyle changes mean we hardly ever do the brekkie thing these days, though coffee – hot chocolate for him – is still a big deal.

Truth is, cafes of the order found in Gamon St simply aren’t part of our routine – we find our coffee well enough at food places that more match our current yearnings for spice and aroma and exotica of various kinds.

Gamon St, mind you, gets travelled by us so frequently – at least once a day – that it is as familiar as any other aspect of our westie habits.

So much so that we hardly notice it.

It is only thanks to a visit to the street’s barber shop that we learn of a Significant Event in our very own neighbourhood.

As my locks are shorn and Bennie and I are discussing our Saturday lunch options, the barber says: “Why don’t you try the Moroccan place that’s opened next door?”

As my head shave winds up, Bennie returns from a scouting mission: “It looks good – they’ve got Lebanese pies!”

Moroccan? Lebanese pies?

Turns out Advieh is more your all-purpose purveyor of a wide range of Mediterranean-style goodies, with a strong Middle eastern element.

The restaurant inhabits a building that for most locals will be known as the former premises of the pet shop that these days lives further down the road, next to the wedding place.

The staff tell us the building had barely been touched for about 100 years when they took over, so a major update was required.

It looks grand – polished wooden floors, funky old chairs and tables of the wooden variety, colourful tiles.

When we visit, Advieh – I’m told it’s a Persian word for “spice” or “spice mix” – has been open for four days.

I reckon it’s already a smash hit.

There’s a breakfast menu that has some non-Mediterranean staples, along with the likes of scrambled eggs with Turkish bread, roasted tomatoes, halloumi, olives and cucumber.

Despite the fact the non-breakfast menu is split into sections such as antipasto, wraps, pastry, focaccia, salads and “meals”, it seems many of these are variations deftly put together from the contents of the great-looking display cabinet.

We order the mixed grill plate ($17), having been assured by the staff that it’s just about right for two moderately hungry chaps.

They are right – the photo doesn’t really convey the depth and quality of our wonderful repast, which is a riot of colours and tastes.

On our plate are …

Salads: A fine tabouli; a fantastic Mediterranean mix of spinach and beautifully cut capsicum, green onion, cucumber, tomato; a couscous studded with chick peas.

Meats: A single skewer of tasty grilled chicken and two superb rissoles that burst with cumin-infused flavour.

Dips: Tzataziki, crunchy with finely diced cucumber cubes and perfumed with dill; a funky, earthy beetroot dip requested as an extra by us and served as a side dish.

The flat bread accompanying is quite different from routine, commercial pita bread – it’s quite a bit thicker without being the least bit doughy. Not that it matters – for, like everything else about our lunch, it’s tremendous.

The only surprise, given the nature and heritage of the food, is that there isn’t a more pronounced zing from lemon and garlic. But given the quality and refined flavours before us, that is not a complaint.

Conservatively ordering a single dish to share allows wriggle room in our lunch budget to indulge in a sweetie treat.

Along with good latte and hot chocolate ($3.20 each) comes a slice of baklava ($3.50).

It’s rustic, moist, heavily spiced and easy on the fork.

Halfway through our respective halves, I lean across the table and whisper to Bennie: “Mate, this the best baklava I’ve ever had!”

Our lunch clocks in at a few cents over $27, which we consider to be a super dooper bargain.

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