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.


Chinese, fabulous



Sun Wong Ky, 51 Byron Street, Footscray.

Footscray’s Little Saigon Market will never be replaced – figuritively and, it often seems, quite literally.

But we mostly have an ability to live in the present and appreciate what we have, rather than what once was.

So we enjoy the sparkling neighbourhood that has grown up around the burnt-out shell of the old market.

Centred on Byron Street, the neighbourhood has numerous businesses and a chilled-out vibe that is a nice retreat from the traffic and bustle of Barkly, Leeds, Hopkins and Nicholson streets.



Sun Wong Ky is fully symbolic of an area in transition – its new shop sits right opposite the premises it once occupied in the old market.

When the new place opened, the offerings and set-up seemed to us rather basic and aimed more at take-home customers.

Now, though, there is a much more eatery thing going on (see menu below), so we are right up for taking their Chinese roast meats for a whirl.

There are a few tables and chairs inside, but we take one of several outside tables and enjoy watching the world go by as we wait.

Bennie and I both choose the two-meat roast combo, priced at an excellent $12.80.



Soya chicken and barbecued pork for him and …



… soya chicken and roast pork for me.

Oh my!

This is great stuff – as good as any Chinese roast meats we’ve enjoyed in the west.

And that’s saying a lot.

The chicken – even the bigger, denser pieces – is very tender and juicy.

Likewise with Bennie’s barbecued pork.

The roast pork has superb crackling – not too gnarly, yet with plenty of crackle.

Cooking juices have been poured on the rice and under each pile of meat is good bok choy.



By contrast, our serve of chicken feet ($6) is dull, with none of the zingy saltiness from blackbean sauce or chilli kick we expect.

They’re big, though, and even surprisingly meaty – more like eating wings than feets!


Famous Blue Raincoat


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

The Famous Blue Raincoat, which shares the Vernon St strip with Tandoori Flames and Motorino, was one of our semi-regular haunts in our early, pre-CTS days in the west.

I’m not sure why it ceased being so, although preferring to get our grub gratification in non-cafe settings has prolonged that status.

A recent visit for a terrific coffee after an afternoon exploring the west made me think: “Why don’t we come here more often?”

After a momentously fine Sunday lunch, I reckon we may soon be doing just that.

They’re big on music here, with a gig list that features some Very Famous Names.

No live music this lunchtime, but there’s some serious sounds on hand anyway … the classic John Coltrane Quartet seems a bit passionately overbearing for so early in the day, thankfully giving way to Tom Waits, Bonnie Raitt and more rootsy, bluesy stuff.

The Coat does a range of food ranging from breakfasts to wraps, tapas, more substantial fare and a neat kids’ list.

But I’m here specifically to try the regular Sunday roast special – a $12 roast lunch sounds like a very fine thing indeed.

Today it’s pork:

It’s a lot bigger serve than first appears to be the case.

The accompaniments are as expected – three potato segments, parsnip, carrot, broccoli.

And the unexpected – two lovely bits of beetroot.

All are beautifully cooked.

The meat ranges from crusty to lovely and tender, and there’s quite a lot of it. There’s some fat, but it’s easily discarded.

The two pieces of crackling aren’t so much crackly as rock hard – but come good with a good soaking in the flavoursome gravy.

This a sublime lunch at any price, and as good a roast meal as I’ve had.

At $12, it is surely one of Melbourne’s finest dishes.

And I can’t help but compare it with a dish I spotted in the $unday Age while awaiting my fodder …

Is that a parallel universe or what?

Food aside, this place has a warmly welcoming vibe, the back courtyard is as cool and funky as one could wish, and the cakes look to-die-for.

There’s more magic before I depart smiling … just as my perfect cafe latte arrives, the sounds switch to classic late ’30s Duke Ellington, with singer Ivie Anderson and trombonist Lawrence Brown wailing on Rose Of The Rio Grande.


The regular Sunday roast is matched by a more wide-ranging $12 “locals’ night” on Wednesday.

The Famous Blue Raincoat website is here.

Famous Blue Rain Coat on Urbanspoon

Hong Kong Noodle Bar

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Hong Kong Noodle Bar, 306 Main Rd E, St Albans. Phone: 9367 2525

Hong Kong Noodle Bar has a very similar name and look to a very similar establishment in Footscray – could be they’re even related in some way.

We’ve generally found the Footscray version to be of such haphazard service levels that we stay away.

But that’s not the reason we’ve taken so long to check out the one in St Albans.

That has had more to do with more alluring options around the corner in Alfrieda St.

For this lunchtime, though, none of them appeal … and even the banh mi places are all a-jostle.

So in I go … and end up very happy that I have done so.

For this seems like an everyday eats joint of quite some excellence.

The basic vibe is Chinese-style BBQ meats, with the roast beasties hanging in the window, the comforting chopping sound that can elicit pavlovian drool and – at one end of the kitchen – a handsome, large and rotund oven that indicates the roasting is done in-house.

Although double-banger rice or soup noodle plates are not on the menu, I have little trouble in arranging a soup bowl with both soya chicken and BBQ pork.

I love the way the sediments from the roast meats flavours the broth.

I don’t ever remember having this sort of soup bowl with anything other than squiggly, commercial egg noodles. I’m not sure I’d like it if I did.

Same goes with the MSG. Fine by me … for eating out. Does anyone use MSG at home?

There’s a good supply of bok choy.

As for the meats …

The chicken seems to be almost all breast meat, and thus a little on the dry side but blessedly free of bones.

The pork is sinfully rich, fatty and delicious.

It’s a cracking lunch for $8.

Honk Kong Noodle Bar flirts with a few dishes of Thai or Malaysian derivation, but I reckon tried and true is the go here.

Indeed, some of the rice plates I see around me look both fine and big, with bells and whistles – small bowls of soup and fresh chilli slices – that are not always the norm.

I wish we had one in our immediate neighbourhood.

Hong Kong Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

Mr Roast Carvery & Salad Bar


Mr Roast Carvery & Salad Bar, Shop 7 Coles Centre, 19-21 Douglas Pde, Williamstown. Phone 9397 7878

Being in a meaty mood and with other shopping endeavours taking me to Williamstown, I ponder a visit to Mr Roast, tucked away at the rear of the Coles complex on Douglas Pde.

I’d stuck my nose in on previous occasions, only to be dissuaded by the rather soul-less vibe and not particularly attractive meats and salads on display.

So today’s the day curiosity will be assuaged.

We’d been tipped to the existence of the Caroline Springs Mr Roast outlet by the bloke who sold us our car. He no longer works for that dealer and we have no idea what the phrase “good food” means to him.

Mr Roast sells chicken, beef, pork and lamb in styles and sizes ranging from rolls ($7.50) and kids meals up to more expensive Mr Roast Meals and Scalloped Potato Meals, both of which sell for $11.95 for a one-person serve.

After asking the “what’s hot” question, I opt for the roast pork meal, with spuds and peas, obtaining a swap of coleslaw in place of pumpkin.

Yes, yes, coleslaw and roast pork are perhaps not a natural fit – but anything is better than pumpkin. (Hi Mum!)

My meal, on real crockery and with metal utensils, is brought to my table with a gravy boat on the side.

The meat is not the super tender I’d been led to expect but it’s a huge serve and really tasty. I make happy with the gravy to make up for the slight dryness.

The gravy tastes good but I don’t want to think about how it’s made or what with.

It’s in a congealed state when it arrives and cold even before I finish my lunch.

It’s a sunny but nevertheless cold day and the doors/windows out to the Coles carpark are wide open, so the rest of my meal is likewise chilly by the time I finish.

There’s so much pork on my plate – I try hard to eat it all, but fail.

The thankfully small serve of crackling is crackly, utterly delicious and sinfully salty.

By contrast, two meager and undistinguished half roast potatoes and what seems less than half a cup of peas seem a bit miserly. The peas are not of the canned variety, but their dull green colouring hints that they may be close cousins.

Reads like a litany of disappointment, doesn’t it?

Funnily enough, though, the sum is much greater than the parts and I enjoy my lunch very much.

Best bet at Mr Roast is to get there soon after the food is ready, as I suspect it will become less appetising as the day wars on.

The Mr Roast website is here.