Bao boogie @ Littlefoot

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The Bao Bros Pop-up @ Littlefoot, 223 Barkly Street, Footscray. Phone: 9396 1282

The Bao Bros are coming to Footscray.

They’ve secured a very interesting location.

But its unveiling is several months away.

In the meantime, they’ll be testing their recipes, processes and skills at that sublime monument to good times known as Littlefoot.

For details of how that pop-up-style project will unfold in terms of how and when, check the Facebook pages of either the Bao Bros or Littlefoot.

 

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Littlefoot’s Liana and Stu with the Bao Bros crew – Mickey, Kiet and Long.

 

If you look up “bao” at, say, Wikipedia, you’ll find the main reference is to the likes of pork buns familiar from yum cha.

The Bao Bros offerings, though, are by way of a Taiwanese variation in which the buns are turned into fat sandwich casings.

The idea, I’m told, is that the buns be so ethereal and lightweight that they virtually disappear and let superior ingredients shine.

On that account, Bennie and I reckon the Bao Bros score really well.

We loved their handiwork and were grinning right from the first mouthful when he and I joined a group of folks acting as guinea pigs for the Bao Bros bun line-up.

We reckon these make for a delicious fast-food experience.

The pricing will be in a very good $5 to $8 range, and maybe two for $10.

We tried all five.

Or, in my case, almost all five.

I didn’t make it as far as the tofu number (top photograph) but Bennie actually liked it the best, digging its crisp tofu, crunchy veg and dollops of pesto.

As for the rest …

 

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Pulled pork was, for me, top dog (or top pig) – salty, wet and with a bit of a spice kick.

 

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The beef was almost as good.

 

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The fish items were, too, very good, with crisp-battered fish, tartare sauce and dill.

 

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The fried chicken bao looked a treat but were the only ones that fell down on the job a little for us. The chook was beautifully cooked but rather flavourless, while the slaw could’ve been more finely chopped and had more dressing.

Those minor quibbles aside, we loved our bao!

See earlier Littlefoot story here.

 

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CTS reader Zelda (on the right) and her pals were on bao test duty, too, and were as impressed as we were.

Feeling the love in Hoppers Crossing

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Glory We Cafe, 3/76 Old Geelong Rd, Hoppers Crossing. Phone: 9394 8845

While we enjoyed our first visit to Glory We Cafe, the chances of return visits seemed slim at best, especially given the options we have in the greater western suburbs for the sort of food it serves.

But since that visit, a few things have happened – with the upshot being the Glory We crew have earned our return custom through their goodwill, sincerity and dedication in engaging with their customers.

For one thing, they have made the switch from plastic, disposable implements and receptacles to those of a more re-usuable variety.

We don’t know or care if Consider The Sauce had anything to do with them making that change – we are simply happy that they have.

For another, we couldn’t help but notice the regular updates on their Facebook page in which they have been introducing new, alluring and seemingly authentic dishes of a Singaporean and Malaysian nature.

So off we go for Sunday lunch!

That Glory We remains a rather charmless, utilitarian space is well and truly compensated for by depth of the warm and caring service that is bestowed upon us on our return visit, service way above that we commonly expect from such places.

Combined with reliably good and sometimes very good food and the lack of alternatives in this general neighbourhood, we reckon Glory We fully deserves whatever good reputation it is earning as a westie hotspot.

The same photos that have appeared on the joint’s Facebook page grace the walls of the restaurant, so we take only a few minutes to make our selections.

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Mee goreng ($9.50) looks nothing special – like what might get served in any old shopping centre food court, in fact.

But this wet version tastes a whole lot better than that.

A wonderfully gooey fried egg sits atop lovely al dente egg noodles, with calamari, prawns, egg and tofu complemented by crunchy onion slivers and some greenery.

It’s simple, homely and fine.

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Our second dish is the subject of today’s Glory We Facebook post: “XO Sauce Fried Carrot Cake – Introducing our NEW weekend delicacy which is a common dish in Singapore which Singaporeans eat throughout the day whether at breakfast, lunch, dinner or even supper. This dish consist of stir-fried cubes of raddish cake. You can order it fried with or without sweet black sauce. To order one fried with sweet black sauce, you have to tell our friendly staff you want it ‘black’.”

This is a new one on us, so we had sought advice from Ms Baklover, who spent a week or so eating her away around the island state a while back and so whom we consider an oracle of all things Singaporean.

She told us it’s a delicious dish “when made right”, but to be cautious when it comes to the “black” version as she finds it a bit on the cloying side herself.

So we order and don’t ask for dark – and end up with the dark variety ($9.50) anyway.

It’s OK and Bennie likes it but, truthfully, I do find it too rich and oily.

Our bemusement over what we’ve been provided sparks some charming back-and-forth dialogue with the staff, with the chef explaining that the dark version is a Singaporean preference and light a Malaysian one.

“That’s OK – we’re Malaysian,” I proclaim.

(Cue much laughter all ’round …)

So we’re served a plate of the lighter variety of the Glory We Cafe XO Sauce Fried Carrot Cake at no charge.

(It’s important to acknowledge that this generosity and level of customer care would have been afforded us no matter who we were or that the staff members eventually twigged that we were food bloggers or some other sort of busybodies.)

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Ahhh, this is more like it – and much more to both our liking.

There’s a lighter touch going on here and much more textural variety, with the raddish cake pieces having nicely tanned and crisped exteriors.

At this stage of our meal, though, it’s more than we can consume so what’s left goes home with us.

If this dish, no matter how good, is unlikely to become a firm CTS favourite, we’ve had such a fine time at Glory We that this place already is.

Check out the Glory We Cafe Facebook page here.

 

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Glory We Cafe

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Glory We Cafe, 3/76 Old Geelong Rd, Hoppers Crossing. Phone: 9394 8845

If we lived anywhere in the vicinity of Glory We Cafe, we’d be habitual visitors for sure.

In other words, we’d feel compelled to turn a blind eye to the overwhelming use of plastic cutlery and containers.

Why?

Because this neat Asian cafe with a fast food vibe inhabits a part of the western suburbs of dismal foodiness, so much so that this is our first Hoppers Crossing story.

On one side of Glory We is an unlovely piece of Old Geelong Rd that is a seemingly endless string of discount furniture stores, while on the other is a small local shopping strip and all around are soulless supermarkets and car yards and parks.

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Glory We sells a hybrid mixture of yum cha and dumplings, Asian snacks and sweet drinks, and larger but still very cheap plates of the laksa and nasi lemak variety.

I’m told our yum cha selections are imported but our chicken rice and curry puff are made in-house. But we’d much rather live with brought-in dumplings than disposable implements!

The Taiwanese-style chook ($6.90, top picture) – served on a disposable bento tray with rice, mayo and salad – is truly fine, tender and beautifully seasoned.

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Bennie likes the prawn and chive dumplings ($4.80 for three), but I prefer the small pork dim sims ($3.80 for four) – they’re chewy in the right kind of way and flavoursome.

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I leave the “good” pork bun ($1.80) to Bennie as I dive right into a fabulous curry puff ($2.40) – lovely pastry, big chunks of vegetables and even some hard-boiled egg, with a mild curry sludge holding it all together.

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Bennie loves his ice shaving lemon fig jelly ($4.50), his wide straw perfect for sucking up the jelly blobs, though he confesses it’s more lemon than fig.

My boy’s growing adoration of weirdo Asian beverages is of significant budgetary concern.

Glory We Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Peko Peko

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Pop culture shrine, Japan-Taiwan-style, at Peko Peko in South Melbourne.

Pop culture shrine, Japan-Taiwan-style, at Peko Peko in South Melbourne.

Peko Peko, 190 Wells St, South Melbourne. Phone: 9686 1109

Peko Peko is tucked away in a back street near the junction of Domain and St Kilda roads.

This is a surprisingly large part of South Melbourne that seems to go largely unnoticed by the rest of Melbourne – unless we’re whizzing along Kingsway or headed for the South Melbourne Market or the gardens.

But, of course, it’s teeming with life and people.

Yes, a stack of office workers of various kinds, but there’s also a lot of apartment blocks hereabouts.

For those reasons, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised by the presence of lovely Asian joint like Peko Peko here.

But I am.

Perhaps that can be put down to lingering memories of a previous life spent working amid the eating blandness of the Southbank neighbourhood just up the road.

Peko Peko is done out in nice Asian cafe style.

It’s comprehensively packed for this week-day lunchtime, and I suspect it’s the same at night.

It’s menu is long and varied, though it concentrates on dishes of Taiwanese and Japanese derivation and has items that broaden their base quite a bit.

The prices surprise, too. The average price of the many main meals seems to be about $10-12 – no more than you’d pay for similar food in the CBD or the west.

The serves are big and generous.

The entrees include more than a handful of spring roll variations, as well as Peko Sausage (“unique house-madeĀ  Taiwanese sausage”).

Curries all seem to be of the Japanese persuasion, while main meals can be had as either in bowls or in Peko Boxes, which turn out to be the familiar bento boxes of laminated legend.

My lunch companion chooses one of the left-field dishes – Singapore noodles ($10).

Singapore noodles at Peko Peko in South Melbourne.

Singapore noodles at Peko Peko in South Melbourne.

She’s had it before so knows well what she’s getting into, and enjoys it accordingly. It seems more stuffed with goodies than most of its kind.

Yours truly goes for menu item No.1 – Pork Chop Addiction ($12.50), described as “traditional Taiwanese deep-fried pork cutlet, served w. pickled cabbage”.

Pork Chop Addiction at Peko Peko in South Melbourne.

Pork Chop Addiction at Peko Peko in South Melbourne.

The spring roll – hard to tell if it’s filled with pumpkin or carrot or both – is just OK.

The salady, cold beans are wonderful, tossed in – I’m guessing – some sort of sesame dressing.

The cabbage pickles lack any sort of pickle punch.

The deep-fried pork cutlet is heart attack material – and there’s a huge amount of it.

It’s crispy and nice, with a flavour that comes down to – I later discover – salt, pepper, garlic and five-spice. It’s also on the fatty side.

Still … a fruit salad dinner for me beckons tonight!

Peko Peko is a bit out of the way for us, but I have an inkling we may return – Bennie will love the pop culture shrine at the pay point and I’m learning he’ll eat just about anything, no questions asked, if it’s in one of those bento boxes.

Peko Peko on Urbanspoon