CTS Feast No.12: The Wrap

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CTS Feast No.12: Curry Leaves, 463 Ballarat Road, Sunshine. Phone: 8528 3876. Tuesday, August 11.

Many, many thanks to Upeksha, Dillon and the rest of Curry Leaves crew for working so hard to make the latest Consider The Sauce Feast enjoyable!

As always, it was a delight to see so many familiar faces.

And just as enjoyable to meet so many CTS readers for the first time – and swap war stories and tips and faves about the Fabulous Foodie West.

 

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The food ranged from this unannounced yet wonderfully delicious simple chicken and vegetable soup through to …

 

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… biryanis …

 

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… superb string hoppers and …

 

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… equally great rotis and on to …

 

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… hoppers and …

 

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… lampraris before ending up with …

 

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… a range of rather succulent desserts.

 

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Thanks to everyone for supporting this CTS event!

The next one has yet to be devised or locked in any way at all, but wherever and whenever it is, we’d love to see you again.

 

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CTS Feast No.12: Curry Leaves

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To book for this event, click here.

Right from our first meal at Curry Leaves in Sunshine – there have been several since – I knew this was the sort of place and the sort of people I would love to feature in a Consider The Sauce Feast.

And so CTS Feast No.12 is up and running!

Here are the details:

CTS Feast No.12: Curry Leaves,
463 Ballarat Road, Sunshine. Phone: 8528 3876.
Date: Tuesday, August 11.Time: 7pm.

Cost: $20.

Menu

Entree platter
Pan roll
Stuffed roti
Fish cutlet
Fish pattie
(The above can be made vegetarian but I will need to give the restaurant 24 hours notice.)

Gotu kola (herbal soup of greens coconut milk).

Mains – choice of one.
Biriyani
Lampraris
Roti meal
String hoppers meal
Hoppers meal
String hoppers pilau
Kottu
(All the above can be prepared as vegetarian.)

Dessert platter
Curd and honey
Wattalappam (steamed coconut custard)
Caramel pudding
Choc biscuit pudding

Bennie and I are looking forward to seeing you there!

To book for this event, click here.

(Ticket income from this event is being split 50/50 between CTS and Curry Leaves.)

Meal of the week No.14: Curry Leaves

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Headed for St Albans with no particular joint or genre in mind for Sunday lunch, I pass a Curry Leaves (463 Ballarat Road, Sunshine) that is full of happy activity so I double back, park and proceed.

It’s busy – a heap of people in the kitchen and even more in the dining room, including one big party of about 30.

I’m told that, among other things, they’ll all be getting lamprais.

I’ve aborted my further west travel plans with just one plan in mind – to have the same kind of biryani I spied another customer having when I dropped in for a mid-week dinner earlier in the week.

This is the first Sri Lankan biryani I’ve had – and I simply love the fact that it’s recognisably the same dish I’ve had countless times at Indian restaurants in the west yet also one that displays marked differences.

The rice is a deeper yellow-going-brown that is studded with onion slices and curry leaves.

The lamb – unlike the on-the-bone version I’ve had almost without exception in Indian eateries – is boneless and cubed.

It is, however, very, very well done – though not to such an extent it affects my enjoyment.

The raita is much creamier than I am used to and packed with finely diced vege (I’m guessing – capsicum, onion, cucumber and, maybe, tomato).

The eggplant moju is a sweet alternative to the usual tart pickle.

The whole boiled egg has been given a grizzled exterior.

This a ripper dish for $12.95.

See earlier story here.

Super Sri Lankan in Sunshine

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Curry Leaves, 463 Ballarat Road, Sunshine. Phone: 8528 3876

Given the number of budget-priced eateries Consider The Sauce tries, it’s hardly surprising that when it comes to rotis we sometimes get less than what we hope for.

Specifically, it’s sometimes plain that the rotis we get are store-bought.

When they’re otherwise – when they’re made fresh and in-house – our delight is all the more.

That’s what we get at Curry Leaves, a newish Sri Lankan restaurant in Sunshine.

The outstanding rotis are just one of several high points of a tremendous meal.

 

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Curry Leaves is a nicely appointed eatery right on Ballarat Road and right next door to a discount grocery outfit.

It’s a pleasant space to be in on a cold night, waiting as the traffic whizzes by.

It’s not often we eat in an establishment that uses real linen serviettes – especially not at the prices we’re about to pay.

We’re told that later in the week and at the weekend, when there is a buffet available, the place is “packed”.

Early in the week, we’re the only eat-in customers but there’s steady takeaway business coming and going.

There’s much to ponder in the longish menu – what we share between Bennie and I is just a beginning, we reckon, of our relationship with Curry Leaves.

 

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Our fabulous rotis come as part of the special roti meal ($11.90) that includes two “godamba roti”, one “egg godamba roti”, dal and beef curry.

The rotis really are fabulous – big, not too oily, fluffy and chewy, and the perfect foil for the wet dishes.

The dal is simple and delicious – mildly spiced, sweetish.

The curry is spicier by quite a bit but the meat itself is very good and tender.

 

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Our other board serving is the string hopper meal deal ($12.90) of string hoppers, beef curry, the same dal and pol (coconut sambol).

The string hoppers are super fresh and dainty, and splendid for soaking up the gravy juices.

As instructed, we use our right hands to mix and mop the curry and dal and coconut sambol, doing the best we can based on our greater experience with injera.

We get messy but have an all-round, lip-smacking good time.

As we’d ordered chicken but got beef by mistake, a serve of chicken curry is also brought.

The string hopper meal deal, BTW, is topped price-wise on the menu only by the banana leaf-wrapped lamprais ($14.90), which we only bypass on account of the listed 30-minute wait.

Next time!

We’ve had string hoppers before but not often – all the rest is familiar from hundreds of meals.

It’s simply that these – the string hoppers, the rotis, the curries and dal – are way better than most similar food we eat.

The meats and other ingredients are better quality, the dishes fresher and the simple seasoning more vibrant.

Ripper Sri Lankan buffet: $15

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Chef Lanka, 50/B 217 Mickleham Road, Tullamarine. Phone: 9338 3839

This Chef Lanka is the youngest of three siblings – the others are in nearby Glenroy and the Melbourne CBD.

It’s a big, ritzy room with a raised area lined with many serving “chafing dishes”, the premises being sandwiched – so to speak – between a Subway outlet and a restaurant of the pizza-pasta-seafood-steaks variety.

Just up the road is fine Lebanese place done out in fast-food livery.

Only a few of those heated serving contraptions are in use for the Saturday lunch buffet – makes sense, as we are the only customers.

But there’s more than enough range for a grand lunch and the quality is high.

This is, in our estimation, very good Sri Lanka tucker.

(I’m a bit disappointed in the pics – they make the food look less good than is the case!)

 

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Two kinds of rice …

Fried rice that recognisably of Chinese derivation but somehow different – it’s plain wonderful.

Chicken biryani quite different from those we get from our fave West Footscray haunts – milder, sweeter thanks to the currants, but still real nice.

 

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Lamb curry with meat quite well done but of deep flavour that’s somewhat like the vinegary tang of a vindaloo. I’m told, however, that it’s nothing of the sort …

Devil Chicken – another dish of seemingly Chinese heritage. The battered meat is nicely chewy and the dish as a whole is very mild – this surprises us as it appear as though it may quite spicy-evil.

 

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Jackfruit curry that looks so unappetising that I give it a miss. At first glance, I take it to be made of overcooked fish cutlets!

A highlight – cashew curry, the nuts with just enough gravy and just enough softish crunch left in them.

 

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Spicy potatoes so very, very familiar from my workplace’s weekly, Friday curry runs to another fine Sri Lankan place just up the road apiece.

Another highlight – a super mix of carrot, broccoli and cauliflower done in coconut milk and crushed mustard seeds.

It’s very yummy!

 

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As well, on hand is an endless supply of pappadums and maldive fish, if you like ’em!

Chef Lanka has a mixed bag of buffet offers, depending on the days of the week and times of the day.

The lunch buffet we have dug costs $15 on Saturdays and Sundays.

The same deal costs $12 for lunch from Mondays through to Fridays.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, a $25 buffet is on offer – and we imagine this will be fabulous when we get around to trying it.

On those nights, all the many serving contraptions come into play – that’s a lot! – and so the food will be even more colourful and diverse, and perhaps even include a goodly dash of seafood.

There’s an extensive a la carte menu as well – including hoppers.

At dinner time Mondays through Thursdays there’s a superb thali-style deal I checked out on an earlier, solo reconnaissance visit.

 

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How’s this for $10.90?

The same lamb curry as in our lunch buffet, coconutty chick peas, coconutty and scrumptious okra, an oily but delicious mix of eggplant and potato, rice and pappadum.

Superb value!

The achaar I ordered separately out of curiosity. It was fresh and crunchy but I found the mustard oil flavour somewhat overpowering.

Check out the Chef Lanka website here.

 

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Sri Lankan for Sunshine

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Jaffna Chef, 21 Sun Crescent, Sunshine. Phone: 9311 3131

We’d spied Jaffna Chef in the process of being fitted out while walking to our rendezvous at Dragon Express for CTS Feast No.3 and took note.

Returning just a few weeks later, I’m surprised to find it up and running.

Though it appears that is a case of only just.

A modestly-sized grocery is still in the process of being stocked and the eat-in fare is so far restricted to a mostly regulation line-up of bain marie goodies, but I am nevertheless made to feel welcome.

I’m told that a more formal menu and longer list of dishes will be unrolled in coming weeks.

I look forward to that, and am happy to make do with what’s available in the meantime.

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My $8.50 plate is fine – and very familiar on account of the now regular work Friday lunchtime curry runs to Spicy Corner in Tullamarine.

The dal is coconutty, creamy and studded with still-crunchy green chilli.

The lamb curry is on the bone and bit fiddly. Still, it’s nothing unexpected – but take care of your teeth!

Like all else, the spud curry is at the higher end of spiciness.

 

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Couldn’t live without it

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Bennie and I are yet to return to Spicy Corner in Tullamarine, and are unlikely to do so any time soonish.

But I am delighted to be able to report that this cool, old-school Sri Lankan joint in Tullamarine has become a regular, lovely part of my life.

The food situation at my current place of employment in Airport West remains as dreary as ever.

So I’ve been really happy to play a part in organising Friday “curry runs” to Tullamarine that are proving to be well worth the 20-minute round trip.

Today there were about half a dozen eager and hungry colleagues making inquiries and drawing up a list as early as about 10am.

It’s true that this cheap and simple Sri Lankan foods looks even less stylish and appetising than usual when crammed into plastic takeaway containers.

But it tastes mighty when being wolfed down at our desks.

Even better, the accompaniments to our choices of lamb or chicken curry seem to be changing as the weeks roll by.

Today, for instance, we were blessed with a swell dry green bean dish and a more creamy spud and cauliflower outing.

It’s not super-spicy food, but it does have a kick, thanks mostly to the added dry chilli mix, relishes and chutneys.

And certainly I’m no macho fool when it comes to spice/heat levels.

I have no truck at all, for instance, with the ugly chilliness perpetrated by Crazy Wings.

But today I noticed how profoundly better I felt after lunch when compared with how I felt before lunch.

I’d put it at about 20 per cent better.

I’ve read that there is actually a very real aspect to chilli addiction – if addiction is the right word.

But I reckon a lot of it is also due to very subjective and emotional factors.

Nevertheless, after today’s meal break I felt fully refreshed, of exceedingly good humour, full of goodwill and ready for many more hours of work.

Spicy food?

Hell, yes!

Energy drinks?

Meh …

The heat treatment – couldn’t live without it.

Spicy Corner is at 49 Dawson Street, Tullamarine.