Double banger

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Angie’s Kitchen, Shop 75, 21-31 Hall Street, Moonee Ponds. Phone: 9939 5821
Macelleria, Shop 74 Moonee Ponds Central, 21-31 Hall Street, Moonee Ponds. Phone: 9372 8441

Periodically, we find ourselves in Moonee Ponds and, more specifically, on Puckle Street.

And it’s then that we wonder: “What the hell are we doing here?”

It’s all a perfectly OK retail/eating precinct – and we love scoping out some of the gorgeous real estate between Puckle Street and, say, Highpoint on our way home.

But by and large, when it comes to the kinds of food that sets our pulses racing, the neighbourhood is, well, just average.

But there are hot spots.

We continue to love shopping, when we’re in the area, at Fresh On Young – the subject of the second ever CTS story.

More recently, on Hall Street – on the other side of Puckle Street from Young – there is a food flourishing going on, one we make the most of with twin winning lunches at adjoining newcomers.

Both Angie’s Kitchen and Macelleria front Hall Street, but are part of the wider Moonee Ponds Central retail/food/services set-up.

 

 

The colour scheme, fittings and all-round general vibe in Angie’s Kitchen make it feel like the kind of place you’d be very comfortable taking your gran.

But there is some real serious, delicious and keenly priced Chinese food going on here – and it’s all produced and created in house from the ground up.

As we takes our seats, we are entertaining thoughts of trying up to a handful of the many dumplings featured on the menu (see below) – and chicken feet.

We lose out on the chicken feet.

“They wouldn’t work in Moonee Ponds,” we’re later told.

Meanwhile, we mention to the staff member serving us that we’re used to ordering (and eating) Chinese roasts in combos of two or three meats, accompanied by rice and bok choy – as we’d enjoyed the previous week.

Yet this option is not open to us at Angie’s Kitchen.

No problem, we’re helpfully informed – just order the mixed roast platter ($30), a small serve of greens with oyster sauce and a bowl of rice.

So – big change of plans – that’s what we do.

The photo of the mixed roast platter at the top of this story does not adequately convey the generous size of the portions – nor their outright deliciousness.

Oh boy, oh boy – this is fabulous stuff!

And this is quite a different setting from that in which we more normally enjoy this kind of food, but we revel in it.

The portions of duck and barbecued pork are chunkier than the norm, but nevertheless excellent – and, for the most, juicy and tender.

The roast pork pieces, including their crackling, are quite delicate.

 

 

Our small serve of mixed greens ($9.80) is purpose made for accompanying the roast meats and does the job admirably.

 

 

The roast/greens mix makes for quite a substantial lunch, but we cannot resist the temptation of trying the steamed BBQ pork buns ($6.20).

 

 

These, too, are superb, with wonderfully sticky and sweet fillings.

We’ve eaten like royalty so have no qualms whatsoever about the $49 price tag – it seems like a bargain.

 

 

When I first heard about Macelleria and its slogan – “The Butcher That Cooks For You” – I was skeptical.

It sounded a bit gimmicky to me.

We discover that, to some extent at least, that feeling is warranted.

 

 

Customers can and do buy meat from Macelleria to take home – but mostly this a steak/grill joint (one of four in Melbourne) with a display cabinet.

But what arouses our curiosity, impels us through the door and – eventually – finds us taking a lunch-time table is the menu item that is the half rack of beef ribs (menu below).

Based on our previous experiences with the bigness of beef ribs, a half rack with a side salad and mash for $24.90 sounds like a fine deal.

 

 

The dining room is a lovely, airy place in which to lunch and watch the passing parade on Hall Street.

 

 

Bennie is the lucky punter who gets to order and enjoy the beef ribs.

It proves to be excellent.

The ribs aren’t as big as many we’ve enjoyed, but plenty big enough for lunch.

The meat and its rosemary and garlic marinade are terrific.

The side salad is beaut and the creamy mash also fine – though so voluminous is the latter that Bennie falls quite a way short of finishing it.

 

 

My own bangers and mash is a much more modest outing, both in ambition and price ($17.90).

The finely ground beef snags are very flavoursome and the mash the same as that which adorned Bennie’s ribs.

But the high point of my meal is the rich, perfect onion gravy.

 

 

I bolster my meal with a serve of coleslaw ($7.90).

This proves to be a mistake.

For starters, Bennie’s side salad would’ve sufficed for both of us.

And this slaw is just OK – in fact, it’s a bit drab.

 

Burger defies expectations

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YOMG, 17-19 Pratt Street, Moonee Ponds. Phone: 8548 9577

Burger places – or, rather, burger franchises and chains – seem to be sprouting up like weeds.

Perhaps a move to a semi-official CTS non-coverage of them is due.

And the non-eating of their food, too.

 

 

YOMG in Moonee Ponds – the chain’s sixth store in Melbourne – seems at first blush less likely than most to arouse our curiosity and burger lust, with its cutsie slogan in pink neon, blandola fast-food look and a name that is more about yoghurt than meaty fare.

Certainly, Bennie was very sniffy when we ambled past a few weeks back.

“I don’t think so, dad,” he snorted.

But an experienced burger hand of our acquaintance has suggested that, in this case at least, appearances and all-round vibe are no indication of burger merit and that YOMG is well worth a try.

So, flying solo, I give it a whirl.

 

 

Nat Stockley is correct – this is some pretty good stuff.

From the menu (see below) I choose the Howler ($12.50) with its excellent beef patty, cheese, lettuce, onion, pickles, jalapenos and habanero mayo.

The added bacon is also excellent, but costs $2.50.

Some of the protruding lettuce leaves are a bit bruised, giving them a dirty look, but overall this is a good, two-handed burger – nothing world-beating, but solidly enjoyable.

The chips ($4.50) are hot and fine – but they’re been profusely sprinkled with chicken salt or one of its kin.

Not my go.

Combining burger, bacon, chips and a can of soft drink nudges my lunch cost above the $20 mark – but I guess that’s the going rate these days.

Don’t be tempted to pay even more by going with one of the pay-for sauces, as there’s a good supply of chilli sauces away from the serving counter to be had without payment.

 

Superb Japanese food

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Kingyo izakaya, 12 Margaret Street, Moonee Ponds. Phone: 9372 8585

Some Consider The Sauce stories are succinct and full of brevity.

Others are long-winded, going off tangents to explore side and back stories.

Neither scenario should ever be taken as an indication of quality, enjoyment or passion – or lack thereof.

This Kingyo izayaka review, for instance, will be briefish – yet this is some of the very best Japanese food we’ve had in a long, long while.

It is superb.

It’s all about way more than good cooking – it’s also about quality ingredients and, most of all, extremely beautiful presentation.

This joint, with its simple and elegant dining room, is a sister eatery to I Dream Of Sushi just up the street.

Nat and I choose from the lunch menu. Both lists can be found below.

 

 

My “chotto plate” is a ripping bargain at $24.

How good – and gorgeous – is this?

Lovely housemade pickles – a rarity in any Japanese place.

Sashimi with regular pickled ginger.

Ridiculously luscious stewed eggplant.

A crisp panko-crumbed spud-and-eggplant croquette.

Excellent agedashi tofu and delicious gyoza with stuffing far superior to most.

Rice and top-class miso soup.

Wow.

 

 

Contemplating a hefty evening meal to come, Nat goes with the lighter sashimi set for $20 with equal delight the result.

We’ll be back – Bennie will love this place.

And so will you.

 

Meal of the week No.38: Magic Mint Cafe

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Magic Mint Cafe is one of those old-timers in the Puckle Street precinct – been around so long, it’s easy to overlook.

I’d have continued to do so – thinking it’s not open for lunch or that the food would be old-school average, and thus not of much interest – had not the ever diligently researching Nat Stockley discovered otherwise.

So on the basis of pikkshas he’d sent of an earlier lunch he’d enjoyed at the place (9 Hall Street, Moonee Ponds, phone 9326 1646), I am very happy to join him for another.

And for our purposes, lunch is the key – the lunch special list includes a nice line-up of curry dishes that are accompanied by dal, rice, naan and a papadum.

The same sort of deal is offered for biryani or chicken sizzler.

All of them cost a few cents under $15, that fee also covering a glass of wine or a soft drink.

Which would count for nothing if the food was average or worse.

But that’s not the case here – the food is significantly better than that found at many places offering similar deals.

The boneless chicken is plentiful in our curry bowls, submerged in a lovely gravy, the appealing tartness of which has me thinking it’s like a vindaloo without the heat factor.

The dal is wonderful, simple and earthy.

If anything, it is our naan that best express the difference between our lunches and your typical curry-and-rice quickie around town.

These naan are fresh, pliable and shimmering with a ghee coating.

$15?

A very swell deal!

That’s not coleslaw!

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Hunky Dory, 28 Pratt Street, Moonee Ponds. Phone: 9326 0350

CTS had been wanting to try the new Moonee Valley branch of the Hunky Dory chain right from day one, but has been thwarted by its popularity and a lack of communal seating.

The latter, in particular, seems foolish in a high-turnover swish fast-food place.

But, finally and during a very busy Friday lunch hour, I grab one of the small for-two tables and settle in.

The plates – platters is more accurate – I see whizzing about me are massive and laden with way more than simple fish and chips.

Indeed, F&C seems a minority – mostly it appears to be all about salads, grilled seafood and heaps of molluscs.

So how do I go with my CTS benchmark order of F&C, chips, coleslaw?

Not so good …

Chips – excellent; I eat each and every one.

Fish of the day (blue grenadier) – the batter is not crisp, it is leathery. The fish itself, however, is beautiful, moist yet firm, delicious.

Coleslaw – oh dear.

I ordered this with profound misgivings as all I saw in the display cabinet was a pile of chopped cabbage. Assured that what would be on my plate would be dressed, I took the plunge – so to speak.

And, yes, it is dressed – with quite a tasty mayo concoction.

But it’s a dribble that in no way dresses or is adequate for the masses of veg on my plate.

Often F&C places, and chicken shops, serve coleslaw that has so much mayo that it’s more like a broth with some cabbage in it.

This one goes in precisely the other direction.

Chopped cabbage and coleslaw are not interchangeable terms or concepts.

Mind you, the price for my lunch – $13.50 under the guise of the Hunky Dory “grilled fish pack” – is ace and significantly below what would be the combined prices of the three components.

It’s just one meal and I’m happy to believe/hope that I simply had a bad day.

Meanwhile, this Fairfax story has what seems to be the latest update on Hunky Dory, its fish-labelling practices and state of fish imports in general.

 

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Westie eats goss 17/4/16

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Moonee Ponds is soon to have a rather spectacular new cafe.

Dear Abbey will be located in the lovely old church at 23A Gladstone Street – across the road from the Coles/Young Street carpark.

It is being brought to us by the crew behind Little Sister in Keilor East and Hey Jude in Essendon North.

 

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One of them, Joe Avery, obligingly walks me through the new place …

Much of the old church is taken up by apartments, with the cafe taking up roughly the front quarter, with much of that space taken up by the kitchen.

There will be a corridor of seating along the front and down one side of the cafe premises.

 

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But what will set Dear Abbey apart is the glassy, classy structure – with much more seating – that will be located on the church’s forecourt.

 

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Taking shape on the V intersection of Ascot Vale and Mount Alexander roads is a wholefoods outfit.

Eat-in food and coffee will be served from the caravan outside.

 

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Coming soon on Puckle Street is a deli that will be in the New York tradition – think reuben sandwiches and the like.

Brought to you by Johnny the Dude Food Man.

 

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Not far from Puckle Street and down the cul de sac/alley named Aspen Street, it appears a South Indian eatery will soon live where the Sri Lankan joint Spicy Hut once did.

 

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In Footscray, and on Barkly Street near Geelong Road, Vanakkam – purveyor of very fine biryanis – has become Spicy Chef.

 

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It’s the baby of Prasad, himself a former employee of Vanakkam.

 

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Prasad also worked in Rajdhani, the Indian joint that was open in (roughly) 2008 and ’09 in the Barkly Street premises that now houses Roti Road.

He even remembers my regular order there of onion bhaji in those pre-CTS days!

 

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As an opening special, Prasad is offering an enticing meal deal …

Any starter, any biryani, salad and any drink – including beer! – for $11.95.

Blimey!

 

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The frontage at 34-36 Irving Street, which has sported at least a couple of Indian carnations in recent years, will soon be open as Station Restaurant.

I’m told the “East African” food advertised in the exterior signage will basically mean Ethiopian fare, though there are photos of rice dishes in there, too.

 

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Also on Irving, Saudagar is up and running again after a fire-enforced closure.

 

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The Station Hotel, meanwhile, will be closed for a month or so as it recovers from its kitchen fire mishap.

 

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Footscray has a new Japanese eatery – at 84 Hopkins Street, where 1+1 Dumpling Noodles lived until very recently.

Okami is a sister restaurant to establishments in Hampton, Caulfield and Wantirna.

Review forthcoming on CTS.

I would’ve hit it last night solo but every seat was taken!

Judging by the takeaway menu, the food is likely regulation Japanese.

Oakmi Footscray offers an “all you can eat” buffet for just under $30.

 

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Speaking of Japanese food, Edgewater Boulevard has two new eats places soon to open, one being Shinmai Tasty …

 

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… the other being a bricks-and-mortar version of Gorilla Grill, known until now for its food truck offerings.

A deth in the park

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cur5

 

Curators Collective, 778 Mt Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds. Phone: 9042 4560

Consider The Sauce visited the cafe in Queens Park several years ago – it was known then as Olivers Garden.

Had an OK meal.

Then promptly thought no more of the place.

Lately, though, we’ve got a hot tip that things have changed – management, name, food.

So we’re here on a lovely late spring day to check it out.

 

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In truth, and in terms of the building, furniture and all-round vibe, not much at all seems to have changed.

We take a nicely shaded table outside.

This is not our normal practice but there’s no wind and thankfully the pigeons at ground outnumber the flies in air.

The menu (see below) comprises a fairly typical cafe line-up.

We avoid the beef and chook burgers, and I prevail upon my son to choose something other than the Pork Bennie of eggs with pulled pork on a muffin.

 

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So he goes the reuben sandwich ($15), with chips extra ($3).

It’s a good sandwich, with lusty tang from the sauerkraut, good corned beef, cheese, mustard and pickles.

The chips are hot and fine.

 

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I scarf a good handful of the chips to compensate for the fact my farro & beets salad ($15.50) is undoubtedly the most insidiously healthy thing I’ve eaten all year.

Happily, it’s also extremely tasty.

The “beetroot three ways” seems more like three kinds of beetroot but they’re all delicious, mixing it in lightly dressed and grand style with spinach, blood orange, goat’s cheese and heaps of chewy grains.

After that, it seems only right to let Bennie off the leash to enjoy one of Curators Collective “Deth Shakes” ($12).

Ours (top photograph) is a grinningly evil and delicious mix of dark chocolate Oreo milkshake, chocolate, chocolate brownie, coconut, cream and Persian fairy floss.

It tastes real good.

I know … because Bennie told me so.

I didn’t try any of it.

Really.

Curators Collective is a very nice spot!

(This story has been sponsored by Moonee Valley City Council. But in all other regards it is a regular Consider The Sauce post – we chose the restaurant and when to eat there; we ordered what we wanted and paid for it ourselves; and neither oversight nor an editorial role were sought by the council.)

 

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