Two amazing iso meals

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House of Mandi, 326 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Phone: 9077 3963
Latin Foods & Wines, 809 Ballarat Road, Deer Park. Phone: 8358 5503

A substantial desire for Somalian food is upon us.

But instead of recourse to an icky app, I’m happy to head out on a Friday night to Flemington.

Discovering as I do so, and as I’m sure many others are, that driving logistics and stress is much lessened in current circumstances.

House of Mandi looks like just about every other eating places these days – the place is in a state of friendly disarray, with tables pushed back to the walls.

But it’s open!

I order, get our food and am back in Yarraville in what seems like no time.

Just what sort of meal we’re getting remains a mystery until we open the polystyrene boxes on the kitchen counter.

 

 

Gosh – it’s all brilliant.

And then some.

There’s no soup involved, which is not unexpected as this takeaway.

The rest is sublime.

Rice – studded with cardamom and cloves.

But this has depth of smoky flavour that we have never before encountered in countless Somalian meals.

Bennie has no qualms about calling it: “This is the best rice I’ve ever had!”

Spiced yogurt and green chilli sauce – plenty of both.

Our lamb shanks are tender, tasty and perfect in every way.

We’ve paid $15 for this amazing meal.

 

 

The next day is as bleak a Saturday as can be imagined.

Because of the rain and chill, I have something of a plan that involves grabbing empanadas and other supplies at Latin Foods & Wines and then whizzing home on the ring road to enjoy our lunch in warmth and comfort.

But Bennie has other ideas – he definitely wants to wrap his choppers around our fave Latin Foods & Wines sandwich, the chacarero.

So far as I can recall, we’ve never eaten a meal while sitting in our car; the idea has no appeal.

But I reluctantly let him have his way – and it turns out to be a most excellent call.

We get what I strongly suspect is an iso deal – so my advice would be get it while you can.

Chacarero, top-notch chips that are hot and crisp and a can of soft drink – all for $10.

Our sandwiches?

Wonderful, with their squeaky green beans and sliced beef that is of such high quality that it defies the gnawing aspect that usually leads to regular steak sandwiches disintegrating.

We enjoy our lunches yet never spill a drop of food juice on ourselves or the car.

Maybe I should re-adjust my attitudes to this kind of eat-in meal?

Rib and curry sensations

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Santorini, 1 Parker Street, Williamstown. Phone: 9399 8520
podatpid, 638 Barkly Street, West Footscray. Phone: 0404 904 900

Never order ribs from a non-specialist barbecue joint.

This is the emphatic lesson rammed home to Consider The Sauce through tedious confrontations with mediocrity.

Or worse.

But in the case of Santorini, we figure this is a rule worth ignoring.

Observing on FB the ingenuity and passion with which the whole Santorini crew is confronting the virus brouhaha is truly heartening.

That includes free delivery – yes, even as far as Yarraville – and specials events such as “souvlaki night”, free donut nights and more.

So order ribs, we do.

What we get is simply sensational.

Great lemon potatoes and heaps of them.

Greek coleslaw, and heaps of that, too, with just enough onion to add a little bite and quite a lot of feta, which crumbles into the dressing.

What a magic mix!

Given the superb accompaniments, and the fair asking price of $25 per person, we’d be quite unfazed to get a single big beef rib each.

Unfazed, but disappointed.

But no!

We get two of the beefy blighters each.

And – you guessed it!  – they, too, are very, very excellent.

And tender.

And delicious.

To order from Santorini online, go here.

 

 

Another of our faves, podatpid on Barkly Street in West Footscray, is also having lots of fun and satisfaction in keeping on trucking.

The cafe is selling a select range of top-notch grocery items, including bread.

And pick-up/take-home meals.

After having two encounters with it, we’ve become particularly fond of their pork-and-pineappple curry.

A really big serve for two cost us a fine $22.

It’s not so hefty in the pineapple department – it being outweighed by sweet potato.

Now that’s something that normally have both of us wrinkling up our noses in disgust because of its similarity to pumpkin.

But here, mixed in with the rich brown (and mild) curry gravy, it’s fab.

And our curry boasts a really good amount of tender pork chunks.

 

 

This particular meals ends with a sweet treat from yet another of faves – Olive Oil & Butter on Somerville Road.

Baklava for two – with yogurt. Greek, of course.

Hunkering down at home like everyone else, we’ve actually been cooking/eating healthily and affordably to a quite amazing extent.

So it’s been good to enjoy such great food from outside.

Even if we’ve not been sitting inside.

 

Naked and hungry

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Naked Egg, 32A Ballarat Street, Yarraville. Phone: 9396 0309
Panjali Banana Leaf Malaysian Restaurant, 3/10 Sun Crescent, Sunshine. Phone: 9193 1740

We’ve been hearing the talk – that Yarraville cafe Naked Egg has been doing fab takeaway meals.

So we check them out.

And the outcome is outstanding.

Some takeaway meals don’t suit us as we don’t have a microwave oven.

So I get two serves of chicken cacciatore at $18 each.

Actually, with its sausage and beans involvement, it’s more a cassoulet.

But let’s not split hairs, eh?

 

 

Bennie has somehow become the tightwad of the family, so gets a bit sniffy about the asking price of $18 a serve.

I beg to differ.

Adamantly.

Our “stew” is gloriously rich and delicious, with seeming multitudes of chicken bits, sausage and vegetables, all in a rich, thick sauce of profound delectableness.

Expert cooking going on here, methinks.

In a restaurant setting – oh, those were the days and hopefully will be again – I’d expect to pay in the mid-$20s or even more.

So this strikes me as very good pricing. I expect any decrease in price would inevitably mean a drop in quality.

The side serve of spuds and sauerkraurt is OK, but no match for the main event stew.

In a word: Fabulous!

 

 

For another take-home meal, we venture a bit up the road – to Panjali in Sunshine.

This time, I’ve phoned in our order beforehand and the whole procedure is sweet and swish, our food (mostly) awaiting when I turn up.

We get two murtabaks – one lamb ($12.90) and one chicken ($11.90).

It may be thought in some quarters that anything involving flatbreads purchased for later heating up is a recipe for ugh.

But we know from previous experience that is not the case with murtabaks.

Panjali murtabaks, anyway.

 

 

Our Saturday night meal is, well, orgasmic.

Perhaps we’ve been missing a certain level of spice and oil and funkiness?

Anyone else in that bag?

In any case, our Panjali meal of murtabak has us both ooh-ing and ahh-ing an sporting happy grins.

Not only do the murtabaks re-heat very well, but the accompanying gravies – one beef curry and one dal and vegetables – are wonderful.

 

Happiness delivered

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Eleni’s Kitchen + Bar, 28 Anderson Street, Yarraville. Phone: 9943 4233
Safari Restaurant, 159 Union Road, Ascot Vale. Phone: 9372 7175

Once these crazy times have abated, perhaps one of the lasting legacies will be a determination by many restaurants to continue taking care of their own home deliveries, leaving the icky apps out in the cold.

Wouldn’t that be great?

We have watched online as small businesses across the west have re-imagined their operations with passion and ingenuity – it’s been awesome to observe!

We are adhering pretty much to the “stay in your village” ethos, but even in and around Yarraville there is plenty from which to choose – and we plan on doing so about once a week in the coming months.

First up, a special Saturday night treat, is Eleni’s!

And because it’s a treat on the heels of a week of excellent home-cooking, we go all in and order the $63 meat deal for two. The toasted pita bread costs us an extra $2.

It’s all terrific, superb – and much more voluminous than the above photo indicates.

What we get: Lamb and chicken gyros, loukanika (sausage), lamb cutlets, Greek rissoles, pork kalamakia (skewer), tzatziki and salad.

The meat is cooked dead right and we love the different flavours and seasonings.

Hot? No. It’s warm – and that’s fine by us.

If we get around to Eleni’s again in the coming months, we’ll likely opt for one or more of the home-style dishes such as gemista, moussaka or pastitso.

Check out Eleni’s takeaway/delivery menu here.

 

 

When it comes to our meal from Safari, we do succumb to the use of a delivery app.

Safari was our Somalian hot spot several years before we became fully entranced with the Somalian eateries of Flemington.

Because of “stay in your village”, we have no idea how most of the Racecourse Road places are faring – or even if they’re open.

Though we note with happiness that #SomaliEats IS now up and running, offering pick-up and delivery – though I doubt that delivery option would stretch as far as Yarraville!

But such is our desire for a taste of Somalia, that we do the Door Dash thing with Safari – and it is absolutely outstanding!

We both opt for the lamb federation meal – fragrant, cardamom-studded rice AND pasta, heaps of tender lamb on the bone, some salad and veg.

No soup, but that’s no biggie; one banana between the two of us and tubs of chilli sauce and “Safarinaise”.

Really, this was just as good as having a Somalian feed in a restaurant, though without the vibe and colour!

The cost?

A mere $18 each.

CTS Readers & Friends Eats Digest 13/4/20

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Lisa writes from Airport West: “Hi Kenny, Happy Easter long weekend. I’m a long-time reader of your blog that lives and works in the west, so have thoroughly enjoyed your posts and recommendations.

“Thought I’d send through a pic of home-made pumpkin and olive bread (c/- Dan Lepard) and spicy cauliflower soup. Have been dabbling in no-knead bread and easy bread recipes, since my previous disasters in breadmaking (bagels and the like).

“I live in Airport West (more north-west, but consider it west) and work in Braybrook, so have tried pretty much every restaurant along Barkly Street, West Footscray! Always look forward to your updates and goss to try somewhere new with friends.

“I always seem to be returning to Latin Foods & Wines, various Afghan restaurants in Sunshine, Brother Nancy and Smokehouse 101. Have yet to try Theos in Keilor Park – have been wanting to try their spanakopita, but have sold out a couple of times by the time I get there late afternoon.”

 

Sylvia writes from Caroline Springs: “Some photos of my home made hot cross buns. As an enthusiastic home baker, it was really stressful seeing supermarket shelves devoid of flour. I found some at a convenience store and decided to start some festive Easter baking. One batch is chocolate and orange, second batch traditional fruit buns. I soaked the fruit (which was a little old and dry) in earl grey tea to revive it which worked a treat!”

 

 

In West Footscray, Justin and family are cooking up a storm – including this pumpkin, chick pea and harissa soup.

He says: “Truth be told … the sort of recipe I would never have considered in normal times. Too many steps. But not when you’ve got all the time in the world on your hands!”

 

Also emanating from the Justin kitchen – lasagne and …

 

… “pork meatballs in sugo that I made and froze a couple of weeks ago. And using up the fag ends of three pasta packs. So easy. Classic meatball mix of mince, breadcrumbs, onions, herbs … fried and simmered. So good.”

 

In Carnegie, the Nat family enjoyed this “excellent tripe with the spicy Thai dipping sauce”.

He tells me the meal also included larb with chicken mince, a kilo of boiled prawns and a Chiang Mai herbal chicken soup and steamed rice.

 

Our lovely neighbour Vanessa, whose garden we raid regularly for herbs, enjoyed these fish tacos.

 

Up on the Gold Coast, Judith Weir and partner Tim enjoyed this classic steak and salad combo.

 

My own nourishment, during two weeks of solo living, has included this yummo coconut, spud and chick pea curry sourced from Woven in Stpehen Street, Yarraville and …

 

 

… classic basic sausages from Andrew’s Of Yarraville with rough-mashed potatoes and tomato and …

 

… your standard chicken biryani ordered in from Dosa Corner in West Footscray.

Asked for “mild”, got blazing over-hot heat!

 

I also enjoyed this rustic pasta dish, yiouvetsi, from Olive Oil & Butter on Somerville Road.

Their menu describes it as: “Slow-cooked lamb and orzo pasta baked in stew pot in a rich tomato base, finished with grilled kefalograviera and feta.”

Despite its humble appearance, it was fabulously delicious!

CTS Readers’ Eats Digest 31/3/20

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From Sharnae in Werribee: “My almost five-year-old learning the joys and deliciousness of homemade pasta. It’s a simple carbonara with bacon, garlic, eggs, and parmesan and parsley.”

 

From Greg in Flemington: “Grass-fed rib eye for two, done sous vide, parsley and roquette salad, parmesan dutch creams, fresh horseradish. Please forgive the opened boxes of vinyl gloves … a sign of our current time.

“The wine was exceptional – Hickinbotham Trueman vineyard cabernet Sauvignon 2012. Have cellared since 2014. Sadly, no change from $75, but we wanted to say to ourslelves, ‘great produce deserves great wine’.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long-time Consider The Sauce readers and supporters Sian and Michael are eating well in West Footscray.

Sian: “We’ve had a couple of takeaway meals from Bruger and West 48, but probably the favourite thing I’ve eaten so far has been Eat Me Soulfood’s lasagna. But I didn’t take a photo of that. They’ve upped their range from single-serve meals (which we typically get two serves out of anyway) to include some ‘family size’ dishes since all this started, which has been great.

“So while we haven’t been shopping ourselves, we’ve had some fresh food to eat anyway!  I did make my own bread the other weekend – AND mozzarella from scratch!

“This Saturday past I ventured out to see what Restaurant Navi were doing with their new bakery option. Turned up five minutes before opening and stood in a carefully distancing queue for an hour, ordered at the door and brought home my sourdough and treats eventually. Turned some of the sourdough into epic three-cheese toasted bread.

“I also made my own pickles for the first time, pictured with a lunch frittata (we’re working from home now, a cooked lunch is viable).

“Next weekend I’m thinking of giving Cobb Lane a go _ they’re offering delivery for orders over $20 in the inner west and I’ve missed them a lot since they went wholesale only.”

 

From the Nat Stockley family in Carnegie: “Chiang Mai-style dishes – pounded jackfruit herbal and herbal chicken soup with mushrooms,”

(Editor’s note: I’m pretty sure Nat took the photos and Kanchana Auttama did the cooking!)

 

Some of what we’ve been eating

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Here’s some of the fare we’ve been enjoying while being sociable distancers …

 

Our own Yarraville tomato sauce with smashed pork sausages from A&L Gugliotta & Sons and spaghettini.

 

Stewed quinces with flourless choc brownie from Second Ave Grocer and Greek yoghurt.

 

A great delivered deal from Cheezy Pizza on Gamon Street – one large Australian, one large American, garlic bread, bottle of soft drink for $30!

 

Lamb koftas (hamburger style) from Andrew’s Of Yarraville, tzatziki, fennel and tomato salads, grilled ciabatta.

 

Fabulous Chilton’s Moroccan lamb pie from Second Ave Grocer with green beans in olive oil, salt, pepper.

 

More of our tomato sauce – this time with ricotta and parsley, basil and marjoram from Vanessa’s garden. And rigatoni.