Tasty on the Hudson



Hudsons Road Wine & Beer, 2/88 Hudson Road, Spotswood. Phone: 9131 1069

Hudsons Road Beer & Wine has been open just a week or so, but is already a big hit on that strip.

And so it should – it’s a very cool place where the passion for the produce speaks very eloquently.

The accent is on small producers and quality all the way.



The fit-out, including furniture from neighbouring Quazi Design, is sleek and welcoming.

Partners Alistair Smith (a long-time reader and supporter of CTS) and Leigh Boin stock about 200 beers and 150 wines.

The deli section is compact and the hand-picked philosophy no less evident.



My lunch, for instance, is a simple and superb platter that costs me $16 and is matched with a glass of La guardianese fiano from Italy.

On my board is an amazing, fine-sliced Mr Canubi capocollo of dry cured pork neck, free range from the western plains.

Also in attendance are a wedge of Challerhocker (Swiss) cheese, ciabatta from Candied Bakery across the road, a gooey quince paste and some fresh pear slices.

The deluxe board for $45 shapes up as a very enticing lunch for two that Bennie and I will try soon.

Alistair and Leigh will continue to fine-tune their business hours, but as it stands they are noon-11pm Monday-Friday, 10am-11pm Saturday and 10am-9pm Sunday.


Seddon Wine Store


Seddon Wine Store, 2/101 Victoria St, Seddon. Phone: 9687 4817

There’s competition facing Seddon Wine Store within spitting distance – one a big wine and beer and spirits emporium right across the road, the other a smaller bottle store more like your local pub, just up the way in Charles St.

Nevertheless, it’s made a handy go of it by specialising for the wine set.

Which is probably why we’ve never tried the place out – Bennie is as much a wine buff as his dad is.

Besides, we’d long ascertained that what food there was on hand was of a lightweight variety.

But today that seems just right, as my lunch companion, Lady Rice, is no more hungry than I am but we’re both up for some vino and engaging conversation.

The Seddon Wine Store food list – see below – was actually introduced some time after the store opened.

It reads like something between tapas and antipasto.

As neither of us are ravenous, we go for the grazing plate ($18).

The olives are the hit – few in number, big in flavour.

The terrine, too, is good, especially wrapped the fine bread and a dab of mildish but tasty mustard.

The pancetta (or maybe it’s prosciuitto?) seems rather flavourless to me, as do the marinated mushrooms, which look like enoki, but are darker and bigger.

The hard Italian cheese – that’s as good an explanation as I afterwards get – is good with the little dab of quince paste.

All this is OK, but the conversation is better.

We talk about the Lady’s new blog, my slightly older one and our respective journeys.

The contrast, in a Melbourne context, could hardly be greater, but oddly enough we’ve ended up in spaces and places that are recognisably of the same planet and city.

Our light and snacky lunch suits us fine.

But while it may be unfair, it hardly bares comparison with the fresher, zingier, superb, significantly larger and only slightly more expensive antipasto spreads the Consider The Sauce boys regularly enjoy at Barkley Johnson.

And while there may be ways of chowing down with more specific items on the food list here, I suspect treating the place as a tapas bar could get rather pricey.

It’s prudent, I surmise, to think of it as a place that does some eats for drinkers rather than as a place that does drinks for eaters.

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As Rob and I talk with the Strangeloves guys as they prepare that night’s curry feast, Bennie makes himself scarce – I subsequently find he’s found some friendly locals to thrash at checkers.

577 Mt Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds. Phone: 9078 3574

We experienced vicariously the trials, tribulations and satisfactions as our buddy Kurt and his business partner Michael set up shop in the hospitality industry with their Moonee Ponds wine bar Stangeloves.

We made a few visits soon after hung they out their shingle.

But as its primary focus is booze, it’s struggled to find traction for son-and-dad food adventures.

Throughout, though, as the pair have worked hard at establishing themselves, they have hosted special events such as tastings, organised a modest food list of tapas-style items and made it clear to their customers that they’re welcome to order in fare from the many surrounding restaurants.

More recently, they’ve introduced $10 curry nights for Sunday evenings, the first two comprising Jamaican goat curry and beef Madras.

So it is that we venture to Strangeloves on a chilly and blustery evening with the splendid company of our next-door neighbour Rob, himself something of a veteran stalwart of western suburbs cheap eats.

Strangeloves occupies a stretch of Mt Alexander Rd just down the hill from Puckle St.

The neighbourhood is cluttered with a  diverse range of eateries, some of which shape as potential Consider The Sauce features, some of which don’t, and some – such as the swanky Greek joint Philhellene – we’d love to try when an occasion comes along that warrants that kind of expenditure.

As well as eateries, there are a number of nightclub-style bars that we presume cater to a much younger and raucous crowd than us.

It is into this environment that Michael and Kurt are trying to carve themselves a prosperous niche, and by all accounts slowly succeeding, though one should never under-estimate the hard slog that starting such a business can entail.

Michael tells me they envisaged their customer base would be an older crowd looking for a quiet, comfy and cosy place to have a drink and socialise.

To that end, they boast a cracking wine list, while Rob – who is partial to imbibing Scotch – gives a big thumbs up to the whiskey list. There’s also a small but very hip range of boutique beers.

Happily, the customer demographic has developed an unforeseen bonus aspect, in that it seems there are also quite a few  20-somethings who find such a place offers plenty.

As Rob and I talk with the Strangeloves guys as they prepare that night’s curry feast, Bennie makes himself scarce – I subsequently find he’s found some friendly locals to thrash at checkers.

Curry night at a wine bar? I keep my hopes and expectations firmly in neutral.

Unnecessarily, for it turns out Michael is a dab and experienced curry cook – and the tucker they turn on for us is top-notch and quite unlike anything any of us has eaten previously.

The white rice is studded with grains of its black sibling.

The spiced potatoes are beaut, with the onions almost becoming part of the gravy.

But the highlight is the pork curry.

This features belly pork and two kinds of bamboo – the crunchy strands of the preserved variety and the spud-like chunks of the smoked kind, which has a somewhat similar texture to the canned bamboo shoots we’re all familiar with from Chinese food.

Health food this is not, but the taste and textures impress us no end. The chilli rating is kinda high, but Bennie and I both moderate the effect by pushing several small red peppers to the side.

And at $10, we conclude this is a primo cheap eat of a thoroughly and delightfully distinctive kind.

All three of us love the pleasant and convivial couple of hours we spend at Strangeloves, and we suggest getting along to one of the Sunday curry nights  is a fine thing to plan on – before the boys move on to something else.

A warning though …

The streets around this stretch of Mt Alexander Rd are a minefield of parking restrictions ready to trap the unwary and the hasty.

So keen were we to chow down, that all three of us failed to notice the “permit holders only” signs on the side street in which we parked, costing us a $72 fine.

We were in good company – there were at least four other vehicles in he same short street similarly pinged!

For the latest curries and details of others special events, you can visit the Strangeloves website or check them out on Facebook.

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