Meal of the week No.49: Karlaylisi Restaurant

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A post-festive season catch-up with CTS pal Justin?

Sure, and why not at Karlaylisi Restaurant on Gordon Street in Footscray?

Even if the postal/correct address is 4/203 Ballarat Road?

Yes, we’ve been covered this place before – and not so long ago at that.

But we figure a follow-up “meal of the week” story is fully warranted because …

1. Its Uyghur cuisine is really good.

2. We’ve had good feedback from readers.

3. Nevertheless, we reckon more people should be hip to this place.

I persuade Juz to deviate out from our plan of a plateful skewers bearing cubed chunks of lamb.

Instead, we go for the lamb ribs (top photo, three ribs for $6) – and have no regrets about it.

They’re doused in the same cumin/salt rub as the regular skewers, but are a much more hands-on feed of gnaw galore – fatty, chewy and glorious.

And, as anyone who has ordered lamb ribs at other venues will know, these are an incredible bargain.

 

 

Noodles?

Of course!

Not only do we get super noodles, we enjoy a soundtrack of robust thumping coming from the kitchen denoting yet more house-made, hands-on goodness.

Aqqik gorush chopi kormisi $14.50) are those marvellously long noodles tossed with lamb, onion, bird’s eye chilli and celery.

The dish is marked by a three-chilli warning on the menu – and it IS very, very hot.

I enjoy the spice glow provided by the chillis while eating as few of them as possible.

Excellent eating, though!

 

 

As a delightful contrast to the fattiness and explosive spice levels elsewhere in our meal, we love this simple dish of flash-fried green beans with onion and capsicum.

Purqak kormisi ($14) is on the salty side, but is a crunchy treasure.

 

Uyghur cuisine is grand

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Karlaylisi Restaurant, 4/203 Ballarat Road, Footscray. Phone: 0413 955 515

Don’t let the Ballarat Road address mislead – Karlaylisi is situated on Gordon Street.

In fact, it occupies the exact same premises as the sadly short-lived Spice Klub and its Indonesian offerings.

Karlaylisi delivers Uyghur cuisine – the food of the Uughurs, who live mostly in China’s Xinjiang province.

Check out this SBS story for background on the people and their food.

There’s oodles to like about Karlaylisi.

Indeed, it could be tossed up as the perfect template for the perfect CTS eating house.

The menu is long, stuffed with dumplings, hand-made noodles, soups, cold dishes and kebabs.

And lots and lots of lamb dishes.

Some items are certainly for larger and planned groups – the roasted whole lamb ($350, $180), for instance.

Or even the lamb casserole with steamed wrap bread ($60).

Yet despite the ambitions inherent in the menu and that this appears to be a one-man show, we found our food to be fresh, hot and delivered to our table with admirable speed and wide smiles.

An early highlight – actually, THE highlight – are the lamb skewers ($2 each, minimum of five).

These feature bigger chunks of meat than we’ve had elsewhere.

They’re more tender, too, and a little less seasoned with salt and cumin.

There’s some fat, but it all tastes way more than good.

Siyi qanalgan lagman ($14.50) is a homely and nicely plain mix of lamb and vegetables on a mound of noodles.

You could pitch this to picky kids as a spag bol variant, no problems.

From the dumpling/pastry list come tugra ($13), lamb dumplings.

Once again rather plain, they nevertheless go fine.

Aqqik korulgan chop ($14.50) is a much sexier (i.e. oilier and with some chilli heat) noodle dish with lamb, garlic chives and sesame oil.

Kala til kormisi ($14) is stir-fried beef tongue.

I expected to this to have a more pronounced chargrill or wok hei aspect.

Instead, the meat is quite silky and very tender.

The overtly meaty vibe of our menu choices is ameliorated by the complementary salad presented to us.

Laohusai ($13) is a delight, zingy and fresh with loud voices of garlic and vinegar coming through.

We will return to Karlaylisi – there’s so much to explore!