Prime pizza & more

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Charles & Gamon, 2 Gamon St, Seddon. Phone: 9995 8868

The box-shaped building on the corner of Gamon and Charles has a colourful history – one that has been discussed on various comment threads here at Consider The Sauce.

It goes something like this: Servo, Balkan restaurant, cafe (The Bowser?), Sobraso, Charles & Gamon and – bringing us right up to date – Charles & Gamon once more. There may be missing stages in that list!

 

 

Visiting to check out the newest iteration, I am thrilled to bits to have it pointed out to me that evidence of the Balkan grill part of the building’s history remains on the brickwork in the form of “Bery’s charcoal grill” signage.

How cool is that?

We’ve driven/walked past a gazillion times in the past couple of decades and never noticed!

Anyone who has passed in the couple of months will likely have noticed that the outdoor garden area remains VERY popular.

Inside, new management has wrought many changes.

While retaining the C&G name, the new look is much brighter and lighter.

We like the way the seating arrangements are so diverse – a big communal tables, several smaller, some armchairs, a few tall tables with stalls.

They say: “Step in and linger a while.”

Disclosure: One partner of the new team running C&G is my accountant – and a top bloke he is, too.

But he knows me quite well  enough to know that I will cut him no slack when trying out the food – even if we aren’t paying.

We are expecting glorified bar food and a pizza list.

What we get is better than that – and sometimes wonderfully so (see menu below).

 

 

We never boil/steam asparagus at home – it always gets the high-heat, flash-fry treatment; and we love it that way.

So we have no hesitation in ordering the charred seasonal greens of asparagus and broccolini with pecorino and lemon zest ($11).

It’s excellent, though I’m told asparagus prices will dictate a replacement ingredient very soon.

 

 

We are a little wary of ordering hummus is such an establishment on account of the fact we eat so much Lebanese and related food elsewhere.

But the C&G version is recommended to us by our server so we take the plunge – and end up delighted.

The C&G hummus ($15) has a seasoning tang that is utterly alluring.

Cumin?

Nope, it’s all about dukkah we are informed.

Topped with walnut crumbs and half a dozen roasted tomatoes, this is a winner.

 

 

From a list of seven pizzas, the margherita ($22) is also recommended to us.

It’s beautiful in its simplicity – fior di latte, basil, cherry tomatoes, love.

We reckon this as good a pizza as you’ll find in the inner west.

 

 

Bennie is more enamoured of the buttermilk chicken sandwich ($20) than I.

And he is, after all, the CTS expert.

He digs the crunchy and juicy chicken, the mustardy dressing and even the iceberg lettuce.

The chips are good enough, though could be bit hotter.

We like that they are festooned with rock salt and chopped parsley.

We’ll be back at the new C&G – particularly to explore in more dept the pizza list.

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

 

 

Bougatsa boogie

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Fig & Walnut, 11-13 Bellairs Avenue, Seddon. Phone: 9687 2665

Fig & Walnut is one of our locals, one of our regulars.

But, a little sadly, that regularity is mostly confined to grabbing Saturday morning coffee on the way to our kung fu rendezvous in Carlton.

Today, though, there’s no class scheduled, so we sleep in a bit and resolve to hit Fig & Walnut for lunch.

Actually, it’s not lunch so much we’re desiring – our outing is more centred around the bougatsa that is invariably displayed on the front counter when we’re getting our takeaways.

But those in-and-out visits are never the right time for this sweet business, so we’ve resolved to fix that.

 

 

With custard on our minds, we ignore the menu and go for what we figure will be lighter items from the display cabinet.

Bennie’s sausage roll ($9.90) looks solitary and humble, but is beaut and then some – a really top, meaty effort and a bigger meal than it appears.

He is nevertheless envious of my bacon and egg pie ($9.90).

Normally he is not interested in anything that smacks of hard-boiled egg.

But this chunky slice is sensational – just like mum’s!

Except that in this case the bacon is layered through in fabulous quarter-inch slices.

(No photos of this item – I took a bunch, but they’re all blurry. Bad food blogger!)

 

 

As well, we’re presented with a complementary dish – chilli scram ($19.50).

Yes, they know we write about food and stuff.

This is an intriguing outing with a cake-like mound of egg scramble topped by fried enokis, miso mascarpone, pickled chilli and more.

There’s a whiff of ginger in there.

Very good!

After a savoury segment more hefty than we’d planned, we maybe should’ve been less gung ho about the bougatsa.

But, no, we order two slices ($7.90) with top-notch coffees to match.

What can I say?

This is sweet treat heaven – but not too sweet; rather demure in that regard, actually.

And the slices are BIG – half of each goes home with us to be lazily consumed over the next couple of days.

 

Ripper meal, $15

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The Brotherhood Yiros + Grill, 99 Buckley Street, Seddon. Phone: 9689 6318

It’s the same conversation every Saturday – very enjoyable it is, too.

Finish kung fu in Carlton, head in a vaguely in a westerly direction and discuss what to have for lunch.

This week, Bennie is pumping for Somalian in Flemington.

I’m not much in the mood for detours, let alone review material; home is calling.

So we settle on somewhere around Seddon, with parking to be the deciding factor.

As a fall-back option, Bennie suggests – as I know he would – Brotherhood.

I’m fine with that – I love their food.

But.

Two yiros for us two.

Chips on the side seem both excessive and essential – but we always order them anyway.

And two cans of fizz.

All that stacks up at about $40.

That’s fine for such good food.

But this is not a restaurant – so we end up eating on the footpath.

I don’t mind that – but it does sometimes make the $40 admission fee seem a bit steep.

But as we approach the famed yiros outlet, Bennie points out a sign that changes everything – our lunch, our day and quite likely future Saturday lunch arrangements.

 

 

In an investment in drumming up some brisker lunch business, Brotherhood management has introduced a special deal – one yiros, side of chips and a can of drink for $15.

Oh, yeah!

Our kind of deal.

The various posters say the deal will be around until the end of October, but we receive a strong hint it may be of longer duration.

Even better, we’re told a permit has been gained for some tables on Buckley Street, so a higher level of dining comfort is imminent.

 

 

As it turns out, this Saturday feed is the best we’ve had here yet.

The chips are so good, crunchy and hot that we’re grinning and eating simultaneously.

Even the chicken salt fails to dampen by glee.

When it comes to the yiros wraps, happiness turns to outright giggling on both our parts.

Maybe it’s because we’re among the day’s earliest customers, but our yiros are stuffed with the most wonderful lamb – much of it crunchy, crisp and salty.

Oh my – so very, very fine.

Obviously, in the CTS family we talk and think a lot about food.

But in this case, our constant celebratory post-meal chatter lasts all the way along Victoria, Charles, Gamon and Fehon streets and until we’re home.

According to their FB page, the Brotherhood crew serve lunch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

 

Vietnamese Seddon

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Miss An’am, 86a Charles Street, Seddon. Phone: 9048 4283

Consider The Sauce drives Charles and Victoria streets in Seddon so often that there is always the chance we’re taking them for granted.

The same holds true for CTS and other western suburbs roads and streets.

An informal business meeting is profound proof of us not seeing the forest for the trees.

Miss An’am had been blithely considered by us, if at all, as just another inner-west cafe.

But as soon as I walk through the door, I know I am way wrong.

Sure, Miss An’am IS an inner-west cafe – and the coffee is great.

But the perfumed air tells me immediately there is something else going on here.

I smell Vietnam – Vietnamese food and Vietnamese cooking.

Unmistakable.

 

 

Sure enough, the menu (see below) tells a tasty tale.

Along with some regular cafe fare, it lists banh mi, coleslaw and paper rolls.

 

 

But me and Bennie make a beeline for the two dishes on the specials list – though we suspect they are pretty much permanent fixtures.

For him, “authentic Vietnamese beef bourguignon” ($15).

This is, of course, the familiar bo kho.

And a good rendition it is, too, tender carrots chunks matched by plentiful beef cubes in a thinnish broth topped by coriander, the lot aided and abetted by baguette slices.

 

 

For me, pho ga ($16).

This is unusual in that the bean sprouts have already been added – and it looks a little light on.

Not so!

It’s a beaut version of another Vietnamese staple and more substantial than it appears.

The shredded chicken is delicious and plentiful.

The “with Miss An’am recipe” aspect?

Well, that just may be the significant black pepper inclusion and a broth that has a pronounced lemongrass tang, both of which add a welcome a refreshing twist.

Miss An’am is a cosy, cheerful place, with a lovely back dining garden and happy staff.

Vietnamese tucker AND great coffee – this here is a winner and no doubt a cherished “local” for regulars.

 

Winter Warrmer Fundraiser

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Katerina says: “Roll up, roll up!”

Winter Warmer Fundraiser, Fig & Walnut, 11 Bellairs Avenue, Seddon.

TO BOOK FOR THIS EVENT, GO HERE.

Great food, lovely people and a splendid good cause.

Yes, Consider The Sauce is happy to throw its lot in with another westie fundraiser.

And once again, the recipient of all these good vibes will be Climate for Change.

In some ways, this is a reprise of a similar event organised by Vera Xanthis of Fig & Walnut and CTS a little under a year ago.

That event – you can see the wrap here if you’re interested – was a winner.

But the flash new Winter Warmer Fundraiser promises to be even more fun.

And delicious.

In this case, Vera and Katerina are doing the heavy lifting.

Me? All I have to do is hoist up a blog post and help drum up some publicity and ticket sales for a party being billed as “a night of climate-friendly food, mulled wined and community building”.

Even better, Vera will be providing the food and its preparation at no charge.

And the cool crew at Fig & Walnut will be donating their time on the night.

That means every cent raised will go to Climate for Change to help it continue its important work – you know, stuff like saving the planet.

Here’s what Vera and the Fig & Walnut team will be serving up:

  • Grazing table on arrival
  • Choice of two soups
  • Spanish paella (sustainable seafood or vegan)
  • Choice of two desserts
  • Complementary Glass mulled wine

The night’s speakers will be Colleen Hartland and Climate for Change founder and CEO Katerina Gaita.

Tickets cost $55 plus service fee.

See you there?

TO BOOK FOR THIS EVENT, GO HERE.

To find the event Facebook page, go here.

For more information about Climate for Change, go here.

If you can’t make it to the fundraiser, but you’d like to support the good folk at Climate for Change who are working hard to make sure we get the action we need from government on climate change, them please support their annual crowdfunder. They need to raise $180k by June 7. Every bit counts. Go here to donate.

 

Burger doubleheader

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Slider Diner, 82 Charles Street, Seddon.
Fugu Fish Bar, 11 Wests Road, Maribyrnong. Phone: 7015 8733

In handful of months, Consider The Sauce will turn nine.

Much has changed in that time for western suburbs food talk.

A few westie-oriented blogs have come and gone, while the coverage in the MSM and other media outlets based on the other side of the Maribyrnong remains haphazard and selective.

Yet it seems to me the tempo of ongoing discussions about western suburbs food has actually increased.

I attribute that to the enthusiastic embrace of a plethora of community Facebook pages right across the west.

It’s a regular thing to see posts and photos of new places opening (and closing) and long threads of comments responding to recommendations for pizzas or coffee or vegan tucker – and much more.

For that reason, I long ago realised that aspiring to cover everything that is happening – and being eaten – across the west is the stuff of nervous breakdown.

So we go our merry way – and enjoy immensely, and participate in, the broader conversations.

For instance, very few of the bars that have bloomed in the inner west in the past few years have received coverage here.

And it’s for that reason that Slider Diner was not really on our radar.

Just another burger joint, hey?

But visit it we do when our Seddon eating destination of choice turns out to be closed.

That’s a fine outcome, for we enjoy Slider Diner.

 

 

Located in the premises formerly occupied by Ajitoya, the place is done out in nice and bright retro diner style.

And the slider angle?

Well, that seems to be all about the availability of half-size burgers in a menu (see below) dedicated to classy fast food – with a few twists along the way.

Usually, half portions cost significantly more than half the full price.

So Slider Diner deserves much kudos for the fact its “sliders” cost precisely half of their full-portion equivalents – and they’re generous to boot!

This means an individual customer can enjoy some diversity without paying a price in terms of quantity or money.

 

 

Bennie is well pleased with slider cheeseburger ($7) and kim cheezy ($7) with crunchy fried chicken, kim chi slaw, smoked cheddar and gochujang sauce (Korean red chilli sauce).

My fish burger ($15, top photo, not available in half size) is damn fine.

The deep-fried rockling fillet, juicy and flavoursome and meltingly tender, is accompanied by lemon dill mayo, lettuce and just the right quantity of finely sliced pickled onion.

 

 

We are utterly incapable of ordering the likes of burgers or gyros without also summoning chips.

But all we want is a taste, really.

So we wish more places would offer said chips in appropriately sized – and priced – portions.

Slider Diner does just that for $5.50 – though these are just OK.

Will we return to Slider Diner?

Yes – quite possibly to build a meal out of sides such as chicken wings, popcorn chicken, Tex-Mex corn cob, truffled mac n cheese and pulled pork doughnuts.

 

 

“Dad, your patty looks like it’s a frozen one!”

Such is Bennie’s gloomy visual assessment of my wagyu burger at Fugu Fish Bar.

A fresh-faced fish and burger joint, Fugu is located at the nexus of Hampstead and Wests roads, a few blocks from Highpoint and in a long-standing small shopping precinct that houses another dedicated burger joint.

This is an area undergoing rapid change as more and more people move in.

We both “combo” our meals for $3 extra, so my burger deal clocks in at $17 with the addition of coleslaw.

My burger is better than indicated by Bennie’s scorn – but it’s acceptable without being memorable.

The coleslaw is outstanding.

 

 

Bennie is happy with his southern chicken burger ($15 with chips), even though it appears a little crumpled.

The chips are OK. Just.

 

 

On an earlier, reconnaissance visit, I enjoyed my blue grenadier with chips and coleslaw, the latter again superb.

The little things count!

In this case, I was not offered a combo set-up so my lunch costs more through the addition of $6 worth of salad on top of the $12 for the classic fish/chip deal.

The fish was bigger than it looked at first glance and good eating, though the batter was a bit doughy.

Fugu has been recommended to us by friends/readers, so we are disappointed to be a little underwhelmed overall.

If we lived in the area, we’d be regulars, for sure – in the process, getting to know the menu and what really sings.

 

 

Buckley’s enhance

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Rocco’s Deli, 93 Buckley Street, Seddon.

It’s opening day at Rocco’s Deli in Seddon.

Post-kung fu, all we’re after is a look-see.

Lunch?

Maybe.

Upon arrival, though, we find the new operation in fully open mode, so we are delighted to settle in for a while.

Not just for lunch and sweets, but also for a big serve of opening buzz we share with the staff and numerous locals coming and going to have a gander.

This Seddon branch of the famous Rocco’s Deli in upper Yarraville is an adjunct of Lay Low Bar with which it shares the building.

 

 

Since our initial story about Lay Low, we have watched on with admiration as the place and its makers have put in a lot of hard work to successfully establish their business.

Along the way, they have demonstrated a level of smarts, savvy and wisdom in terms of self-generated community engagement that should be the envy of many.

There have been cocktail classes, a busy and cheerful social media presence, a pop-up stall at the Willy beer and cider festival, a food tie-in with the adjacent Brother Hood Yiros and Grill and more.

Lay Low’s Colin tells us the Rocco’s opening is all a part of that – and, more directly, the desire to have food available on Sundays when the Brother Hood goodies are unavailable.

So … the sourcing of grazing boxes from Rocco’s in Yarraville has quick-smart led to the establishment of Rocco’s in Seddon.

Remarkably, Colin also tells us the fit-out and set-up has come together in a matter of days – rather the usual months and/or years.

 

 

Food offerings are simple, cheap, sublime.

My sandwich is an Italian dream of singing flavours delivered by high-quality ingredients – hot salami, ham, provlone, roast red capsicum, pesto, split green olives.

It’s superb – and at $8.50 is a great contrast to some of the lame $15 sandwiches going around, and could even be said to inhabit the same pricing planet as banh mi.

 

 

Bennie goes a slightly different route involving prosciutto and sun-dried tomato.

Rocco’s Seddon is being described as a “spritz bar and deli” and as you’d expect – given the Lay Low breeding – there is some great booze on hand.

But we stick with bubbles of the soda water and ginger beer variety.

 

 

Dessert?

We snaffle the day’s last jam doughnut ($2.50) and a sensational ricotta cannoli ($3.90), both house-produced and the latter having a much smoother texture than the grainier vibe with which we are familiar from other ricotta fillings.

We’re assured that next time we visit to eat such treats, there will be coffee to accompany.

We admire Lay Low and the Seddon branch of Rocco’s.

And we love the way they are helping bring on a welcome transformation of what Consider The Sauce referred to in 2014 as “Footscray’s bleakest street”.