Westie eats goss 13/6/19

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In Anderson Street, Yarraville, the shop next to Alfa Bakehouse, most recently used for secondhand clothing and associated stuff, is being fitted out for what I am told will be a dumpling palace of some kind.

 

 

Right across the road, the now closed Commonwealth Bank premises is being gutted.

Seems a bit institutional for food/drink purposes, but maybe …

 

 

Further along Anderson Street, the shopfront that was most recently home to Inspired Cafe now houses a “bar lounge eats” business.

 

 

And a few doors from there, the former home of Heather Dell bakery remains on the market.

 

 

On Barkly Street, West Footscray, the shop next to the barber is being fitted out for some sort of food/drink action.

 

 

Directly opposite, and right next door to the coin laundry, a Vietnamese dessert house is taking shape.

 

 

Elsewhere on Barkly Street, new hopefuls have set up shop in a couple of places in a bid to break into the area’s fiercely competitive sub-continental food scene. 

Biryani King, right opposite the library, will be the subject of a CTS investigation – the prices here, from my look at the menu, are significantly cheaper than those of its competitors.

For example, most biryanis are listed at $10.

 

 

Up the other end of “Little India”, Night Spark is offering Pakistani food.

 

 

On Hopkins Street in Footscray, the Curators Lounge is now operating under the name Chip’s Loft.

Same management, but a cool makeover has been undertaken.

 

 

Where once the bar was are now booths.

 

 

Where once was the in-house barber is now the bar.

 

 

And an alfresco area – with super dooper views of the street life beow – has been created.

 

 

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.

 

Footscray star’s makeover

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Hien Vuong Pasteur, 164 Hopkins Street, Footscray. Phone: 9687 9698

The many shoulder-to-shoulder eating houses of Footscray are forever in a state of flux.

Old ones close, new ones open, stayers are overhauled, new names and a lick of paint are applied to the tired – and some disappear forever.

It’s a fascinating cycle, one experienced – often subliminally – by anyone who spends time there.

And so it is that our fave pho joint has had a makeover.

We’ve always favoured Hien Vuong Pasteur – for the high-quality of its food, but also because it’s a smallish family operation that can relied upon to always have a seat or table to spare.

So in some ways we’re sad to see its old-school formica/utilitarian/white classic pho house appearance give way to something hipper.

But in truth the revamp here has been done with more class than most in this neighbourhood – its stylish and welcoming, a central high table with stools surrounded by orthodox tabling.

And it appears to be working!

On both our recent visits here, the place has been bustling.

 

 

And the food?

Well that hasn’t changed – still top-shelf pho house classics.

Including superb medium pho with sliced chicken and beef ($12).

 

 

Like most of its kind, Hien Vuong Pasteur has a smallish range of more exotic dishes, including bo kho (beef stew, $12).

This one – served with both egg and rice noodles at my request – is a bit different from others in the west, in that the beef pieces are smaller and there are no bones.

But the keys, as always with this dish, are the soup/broth (very good) and the carrot.

The carrot is invariably in big chunks – and hopefully holding together yet on the verge of disintegration.

As is the case here!

 

Bar won

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Littlefoot, 223 Barkly Street, Footscray. Phone: 9396 1282

What an ornament to Foostcray Littlefoot has become.

Was it the first bar to set up shop in Footscray central?

I think it was.

In the years since, it has been joined by a bunch of others – and they all appear to have something of their own to contribute to the local scene.

But Littlefoot continues to set a high standard – not only in food and drink, but also through deep immersion in the community through live music (beyond covers), a plethora of DJs and all sorts of “special” events.

As well, Littlefoot continues to carry a kitchen, unlike most of its neighbouring bar fellows. The Cheeky Pint, a few doors away, also cooks.

We are happy to accept an invitation to take the new winter menu for a run (see full disclosure below).

On this night, Team CTS consists of myself, Bennie, Justin and Will.

We eat well and deeply, coming away happy and satisfied.

Some of the tucker is right there in bar food mode – the sort of things you’d be happy to get a bite of if you were imbibing at Littlefoot anyway.

But some things we think are on another, higher level – making Littlefoot a food destination in its own right.

 

 

The charcuterie board ($25) is a good starter for us – tonight we are hungry lads.

It’s mix of  sour, salty, oily and chewy would also be an ideal light meal for two.

 

 

The DIY taco board ($18) is a hit – the undoubted highlight that elicts admirational comments all round.

The fours fish pieces – snapper – are superbly crumbed and deep-fried, holding together beaut even under the strain of taco construction. The flesh is both firmish and delicate.

Of the bits and pieces, it’s the red cabbage that adds tangy contrast. It’s is joined by guacamole, jalapenos, lime and swathes of fresh coriander.

This is a bargain – and zooms into Great Dishes of the West reckoning.

 

 

Just as expertly fried are the mac ‘n’ cheese croquettes ($12) – this is glorious stodge. Could’ve done with a bit more seasoning, IMO.

 

 

My friends seem a little less enamoured of our two burgers than I.

Perhaps we’re all a little burgered out?

But I reckon they’re both good, solid efforts.

The burgers are available in three modes – Littlefoot, Wild West and Bulldogs.

The beef burger ($20) comes in Bulldog garb of cheese, pickles, red onion, pickle, lettuce and “special burger sauce”.

This handy handful is accompanied by good chips.

 

 

If anything, our jackfruit burger ($20) is more noteworthy for the simple reason it offers an alternative to lentil patties and the like.

It’s done out in Wild West style – and that means a zingy combo of jalapenos, sriracha, caramelised onions, mustard, cheese, tomato and lettuce.

 

 

Another flavour hit – of the snacky variety – is provided by the lip-smackingly good edamame ($7) with garlic and black pepper.

Beer food supreme.

 

 

Unfortunately, amid this avalanche of food, the nachos ($14) and the fries loaded with pulled pork and slaw ($16, not pictured) get a bit lost.

Perhaps at another time with liquid redreshment in hand?

(Consider The Sauce dined at Littlefoot as guests of the management and we did not pay for our meals. We were free to order whatever we wished. Littlefoot management neither sought nor was granted any input, oversight or pre-publication access to his story.)

 

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.

 

Yarraville cafe scene does a new block

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Boma Coffee, 127 Stephen Street, Yarraville.

The long-standing old fish and chip shop, opposite the vet where we take Boris, is no more.

In its place has arisen a swish-yet-welcoming cafe.

Boma Coffee, a sister outfit for Kodama Coffee in Williamstown, has quickly made itself right at home – just as a heap of happy customers are doing likewise in their new local.

 

 

The interior is compact and comfortable; and there are outside tables, too.

The menu (see below) is succinct – breakfast various ways plus a handful of heftier brunch/lunch items.

The latter all clock in at about $18.

I know that will be a beef with some people.

But we are by now used to paying that sort of money for this sort of food – at Bruger in Barkly Street, for example.

And, as I happily discover, the Boma Coffee food is excellent and worth every cent; and the serves are generous.

The beef burger ($18, top photo) looks like an austere outing given all the multi-layer architecture-inspired versions going around.

But simple is good – and this burger is very good.

Its has an Angus beef patty of chewy, tasty delight, along with cheese, tomato, lettuce, ketchup and mustard.

Importantly, the dill pickle atop is crunchy and sour.

The waffle fries are OK.

But.

Honestly, waffle fries appear to be a new gimmick.

I just wish people would stop.

Give me spuds – or something closely approximating them – every time.

Still, this a fine burger that delivers deep pleasure through simplicity and great ingredients.

 

 

Super foods?

Well, we can’t really get with that concept, either.

To us, super food is something that tastes bloody fantastic.

But the Boma Coffee superfood salad ($18) wins me over with similar elan.

I might expect Bennie “Salad Boy” Weir to be a fan of this.

Except it has kale.

Indeed, my salad does sport a vibe that is perilously close to ernest.

I keep on glancing at my feet, expecting to find myself wearing sandals. With socks.

As well, the salad’s ingredient are all finely chopped, finding themselves just a few degrees short of being a smoothie.

But the kale (yes!), quinoa, roasted corn, black turtle beans, tomato, avocado, toasted almonds and salted ricotta, all with a tangy japapeno and lime dressing, go down an absolute lip-smacking treat.

My bowl is empty and shiny when I finish the lot.

 

 

As you’d expect at a cafe that has the word “coffee” in its name, my cafe latte ($4) is terrific and has me gaily chirruping like a spink in spring.

Boma Coffee is on a for-sure winner in terms of location.

Suitably removed from the congestion of Ballarat and Anderson streets, and with a good distance to Woven (in one direction) and Fig and Walnut (in the other).

 

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.