Chook frenzy

6 Comments

 

Mun Korean Kitchen, G05, 102, Overton Road, Williams Landing. Phone: 0491 079 434

The men of Consider The Sauce are hungry.

There’ll be no mucking about tonight.

Specifically, there’ll be no trucking with the half measures of ordering half a chicken.

So we order a whole one ($34).

This a Korean first for us, ordering a whole one that is.

It’s ambitious, too, as we know that when Korean eateries say “whole chicken”, they invariably mean a whole lot of pieces that appear to amount to significantly more than a whole bird.

But just because we order the big deal, doesn’t mean we’re wanting – or are able – to eat it all.

We don’t.

So four pieces go home and will constitute, the next day, probably the best school lunch Bennie will ever have.

The cool thing about this chicken – we get half sweet chilli, half soy/garlic – is that despite being quite wet with the sauces, all the pieces retain wonderful crunch.

Did someone say Korean fried chicken is better than hipster joint fried chicken?

Yes.

We did.

 

 

Incredibly, despite the poultry excellence, our fried chicken is marginally upstaged in the flavour department by our other dinner selection.

From the chargrilled BBQ list we get spicy pork bulgogi ($22).

The thin-sliced meat is of heavenly taste.

It sits on crunchy cabbage and there’s enough miso-like flavour and chilli action going on to keep us very interested.

We eat it, in the style of san choi bao, encased in the accompanying cos lettuce leaves.

The caramelised kimchi and ssamjang sauce add diversity of flavour and texture, while the rice balls do the same in a plain way.

Mun Korean Kitchen is a lovely place in which to dine.

The service is impeccable, smiling and warm.

And the menu has your more regular offerings such as bibimbap and kimchi fried rice with spam.

Check out the Mun Korean Kitchen website – including menu – here.

 

Outlook: Very sunny

2 Comments

 

Cafe Sunshine & SalamaTea, 21 Dickson Street, Sunshine. Phone: 0491 605 775

CTS observed yesterday, on the Cafe Sunshine Facebook page, a very nice looking falafel plate being spruiked.

A dish that wasn’t on the menu when we visited at the weekend.

And the dishes enjoyed on two previous solo visits by CTS senior are no longer on the current menu (see below), either.

Cafe Sunshine & SalamaTea is a newish operation right in the heart of Sunshine.

If they’re still finding their feet, some menu tinkering is for sure in order.

Even better, I suspect new and surprising dishes will continue to pop up here with regularity, depending on the whims and passions of whoever is in the kitchen and what is available from the joint’s suppliers.

This will suit anyone prepared to go with the freewheeling flow of the place.

Perhaps not so much those who expect a menu to be a menu and that’s that.

That would very much be their loss – for the food here is rather wonderful, provides a distinct point of difference in Sunshine and is ultra-affordable.

As well, the place is also very much about providing employment and more for refugees and asylum seekers. See Star Weekly story here.

The simple fare is largely of Persian nature, with eggs the big players, in a warm and welcoming cafe.

And I’m told evening meals are in the soon-come category.

 

 

Bennie likes his Persian breakfast ($13) very much – including the tahini dip flavoured with honey.

This is a surprise to his father, as it tastes just like the halva he generally sneers at.

Also included are fig jam, butter and a concoction of walnut and sheep feta.

All this is teamed with Afghan flat bread sourced from the Afghan bakery that has opened up just around the corner on Hampshire Road.

 

 

I share the same basket of bread – more is happily supplied upon request – with my Persian omelette ($15).

This is simple and sensational – eggs and feta sent into the dizzy heights by the plethora of fresh mint and other herbs on the side.

The vegan baklava (top photo, $3) does show the absence of butter – it’s drier than regular baklava – but is still enjoyable, as are our $3.50 cafe lattes.

 

 

Enjoyed by me on previous visits were a tangy noodle soup utilising a variety of pulses and …

 

 

… Persian scrambled eggs with feta and herbs.

Yes – a very, very close relative of my weekend omelette!

 

Very Lux

Leave a comment

 

LUX afghan KEBAB Werribee, 3/49 Cherry Street, Werribee. Phone: 8714 6019

We are delighted to see the sort of Afghan food hitherto available in Sunshine and Footscray make its way to Werribee.

Lux is a lovely set-up – the dining room sparkles with welcome, the menu (see below) covers all the bases (including going beyond charcoal-grilled meats), the prices are almost absurdly low.

And the food is grand – so much so the very minor hiccups noted below barely register as any sort of speed bump.

 

 

Barley chicken soup ($7) is just as homely and satisfying as it looks. It is, though, very plain of flavour – if you’re like us, you’ll be reaching for the salt shaker.

 

 

Mantu ($13) are superb.

The delicate dumplings are festooned with two complementary sauces – a mincey/lentil number and one of minty yoghurt.

 

 

It’s taken us several years to fully get with the swing of the Afghan take on stews/curries.

But now we’re fully there, happily appreciating them in their own right.

Lamb qorma ($12) is a doozy – both runny and rich, with plentiful tender meat that falls away from the bones with ease.

CTS knows that all of the above food is pre-prepared, so happily accept some reheating is the order of the day.

However the soup and mantu are barely warm enough, the qorma not so – it is returned to the kitchen for a blast.

 

 

Our qorma arrives without rice, so we have to order that extra – and it’s very good.

 

 

We suspect most Lux customers go for the charcoal meats, as opposed to our wanderings detailed above.

We love those kebabs ‘n’ things, too!

Mixed kebab ($14) is a treat of two skewers of classy chicken and one each of cubed and minced lamb.

 

 

Afghan bread is invariably so flamboyantly large that we applaud the Lux move to offer half-size portions – for $1. Full size goes for $2.

Lux runs a buffet every Thursday for $25 per person – which sounds like a bloody good deal to us.

Going by the clips on the joint’s Facebook page, it’s popular, so booking is advised.

 

A Footscray legend returns

6 Comments

 

Cafe d’Afrique, 137 Nicholson Street, Footscray

Cafe d’Afrique is renowned for the being the first African coffee shop in Footscray.

Proprietor Faisel Pkesy reckons it’s also the first African business of any kind in this neighbourhood – and who am I to argue?

Keen Footscray watchers will know that Cafe d’Afrique was closed for what seemed like ages.

But – oh, joy! – Faisel and his wonderful enterprise are back.

There’s new artwork on show, but the welcome and the food remain the same.

Faisel says he may introduce a menu once things settle down a bit.

But, heck, we like the no-menu set-up.

We’re not the only ones who wander in here and say: “What’s on?”

 

 

For Bennie and I, that means a gloriously rich lamb key wot – that terrific gravy is made without tomatoes.

Bennie has his with rice.

 

 

I have mine with injera.

There are some bones in the lamb, but the meat is fall-apart tender and delicious.

We each also get a serve of an equally scrumptious okra stew, also with lamb.

 

 

As well, we  are provided a side bowl of a beaut lentil stew and …

 

 

… matching crisp, fresh salads.

The price of our lunches is $15 apiece – that seems to be the going rate for everything here, no matter what choices or configuration you go with.

The coffee, of course, is excellent.

And that costs $3.

Croatian cravings sated

Leave a comment

 

Ragusa Republika, 139 Nelson Place, Williamstown. Phone: 9069 6690

There’s good food to be had on Nelson Place in Williamstown.

Good food created and served in good places by good people.

But, sadly, the overall vibe is rather downbeat when it comes comes to tasty high times.

CTS has discussed this seemingly unchanging situation with many Willy locals and other westies over the years.

Yet no one quite seems to know why it is so.

But in that context, we applaud what Eva Maddox and her crew are doing at Ragusa Republika.

 

 

Here there are no shortcuts, cutting of corners or scrimping.

Everything is high class and stylish, the dining room itself elegant and warmed just right on the chilly night we visit.

That hands-on approach extends to just about every aspect of the food, from house-made stocks and on up – everything bar the ice-cream.

Eva and wine expert Pino are enthusiastic out front and Team CTS – Kenny, Bennie, Nat – very much enjoys taking up the invitation of a complementary meal (see full disclosure below).

The prices here are on the high side –  but punters most definitely get what they pay for.

The building is gorgeous, extending out the back to a high-ceilinged cathedral-like former chapel.

 

 

A forerunner had been running for several years before briefly closing as some behind-the-scenes changes were effected, re-opening in April with “Republika” added to the name and a bright new look – but pretty much the same food line-up.

 

 

Our Croatian food adventure starts with a bang and hardly ever lets up.

These warm, fresh-baked rolls are sensational and served with olive oil and (house-made) ajvar (relish).

 

 

Zagorski štrukli are traditional baked pastry pillows filled with ricotta and truffle oil ($19).

We get one apiece – and it’s almost like they float to our eager mouths.

 

 

The squid ink dumplings that come with crni njoki ($20/$39) are almost as light, though it is the fresh-as calamari with garlic and chilli that truly grabs the attention.

 

 

Amid richness, it is the plain that triumphs for us.

The chicken noodle soup is the big hit of the night.

It has just the right amount of oil to lend every mouthful a velvety feel.

And, yep, the noodles are housemade.

We are each served a less-than-full bowl for reviewing purposes.

A full bowl goes for $15 – making for a lovely light lunch when teamed with the complementary bread rolls.

 

 

Bennie is very satisfied with his svinjska rebra iz paca sa satarašom ($44).

He reports that while the marinated and roasted pork belly meat is not fall-apart tender, it remains moist and “just right” to his way of thinking.

The accompanying jumble sautéed eggplant, capsicum and tomato is fine.

 

 

Ribarska popara – traditional seafood stew with paprika, chilli, tomato and polenta ($42) – juggles the delicate and the lusty just as well as I have been expecting.

The mildly seasoned broth turns from red to a sort-of orange as the polenta gradually blends in.

And the plentful seafood is very, very good.

 

 

The one dish that falls short of delighting us is Nat’s lignje u prošeku of roasted calamari with potato, capers and prošek ($41).

For all we know, this could be an outstanding rendition of this dish.

But the combined sweetness of the onions and dessert wine leaves us more puzzled than anything.

 

 

Are we up for dessert?

Yes we are!

Well, the Weir portion of tonight’s Team CTS is.

Štrudla od višnje (sour cherry strudel with hazelnut ice cream, $17) and …

 

 

… knedle (plum dumplings with plum sauce and sour cream, $17) are every bit as perfect and sweet-with-some-sour as father and son were hoping for.

Will we return to Ragusa Republika under our own steam and as paying customers?

Yes we will – for more of that chicken soup.

Though I also fancy getting stuck into the sarma/stuffed cabbage leaves.

Check out the Ragusa Republika website – including menu – here.

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

 

Making Aussie pizzas better

18 Comments

 

Cheezy Pizza, 75 Gamon Street, Yarraville. Phone: 9078 9392

Consider The Sauce likes pizza.

But not that much, other eating-out options in the wonderful west usually pushing our buttons much more often.

And when we do opt for pizza, there’s two kind that take our fancy.

One of them being Lebanese pies – they’re cheap and wonderful, though in Australia they’re not what readily springs to mind when the word “pizza” is bandied about.

Our other pizza affection is the real-deal Italian style now able to be found freely.

In our experience, they’re pricier, but are worth because of the care put into them, with an accent on high-quality ingredients – but not too many of them.

Your Aussie pizzas?

Not so much.

Sure, they have their place – and we’ve eaten plenty.

But we just don’t reverberate with joy at the thought of messy, greasy piles of poor-quality makings.

Processed ham especially rankles.

But one thing we do love is absolutely love is reader feedback, suggestions and tips.

One such tip leads us to try Cheezy Pizza on Gamon Street in Yarraville.

 

 

Here Steve Evagora and his partner have set up shop in what has been a pizza joint like forever.

It’s a bare bones pizza place, though quite comfortable.

And it is ALL about pizza.

Aside from garlic bread, two dessert pies and choc mousse, it’s all pizza, pizza, pizza (see menu below).

No sign at of salads, pasta, steaks or schnitzels.

We like that.

And we like Steve’s gameplan.

“When we were setting this place up, we decided we want to take Aussie pizzas – and make them better,” he says. “There’s no processed ham here.”

This strikes us a wonderfully laudable aim.

And, after sampling the Cheezy Pizza wares on two dinner-time occasions, we reckon they’re nailing it good.

 

 

Of the four Cheezy Pizza pies we try, the champion is our large American ($15.90).

It’s a simple affair – mozzarella, tomato and salami.

But it’s the tomato sauce that is the winning key – this is plentiful and has depth of flavour and texture foreign to most Aussie pizza places.

“I’m in awe of how good this is,” Bennie enthusiastically opines.

He’s not kidding.

 

 

On the same visit, we also try a small capriciossa ($9.90).

Sporting tomato sauce, mozzarella, leg ham, mushrooms and olives, this is good – though doesn’t have quite the same tasty flavour hit as our American pie.

 

 

The following week, we phone in an order and pick it up ourselves.

The eternal popularity of home delivery for pizzas puzzles us, as they seem to suffer in the process just as much as hamburgers.

Our large New Yorker (tomato sauce, mozzarella, prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, feta and rocket, $19.90) is excellent.

 

 

With it we get a small pesto chicken (pesto, mozzarella, chicken breast, pine nuts, olive oil, fresh basil, $12.90).

This lies outside our usual purist pizza inclinations.

But it’s also a winner – and we love that the pine nuts are generously festooned across our pizza.

Little things like that make a big difference.

Well there you go.

Looks like we’ve found an Aussie-style pizza place that will become a regular haunt for us.

 

Westie eats goss 13/6/19

4 Comments

 

In Anderson Street, Yarraville, the shop next to Alfa Bakehouse, most recently used for secondhand clothing and associated stuff, is being fitted out for what I am told will be a dumpling palace of some kind.

 

 

Right across the road, the now closed Commonwealth Bank premises is being gutted.

Seems a bit institutional for food/drink purposes, but maybe …

 

 

Further along Anderson Street, the shopfront that was most recently home to Inspired Cafe now houses a “bar lounge eats” business.

 

 

And a few doors from there, the former home of Heather Dell bakery remains on the market.

 

 

On Barkly Street, West Footscray, the shop next to the barber is being fitted out for some sort of food/drink action.

 

 

Directly opposite, and right next door to the coin laundry, a Vietnamese dessert house is taking shape.

 

 

Elsewhere on Barkly Street, new hopefuls have set up shop in a couple of places in a bid to break into the area’s fiercely competitive sub-continental food scene. 

Biryani King, right opposite the library, will be the subject of a CTS investigation – the prices here, from my look at the menu, are significantly cheaper than those of its competitors.

For example, most biryanis are listed at $10.

 

 

Up the other end of “Little India”, Night Spark is offering Pakistani food.

 

 

On Hopkins Street in Footscray, the Curators Lounge is now operating under the name Chip’s Loft.

Same management, but a cool makeover has been undertaken.

 

 

Where once the bar was are now booths.

 

 

Where once was the in-house barber is now the bar.

 

 

And an alfresco area – with super dooper views of the street life beow – has been created.