south wharf promenade

southwharfpromenade.com.au

Down the banks of the Yarra, past the Polly Woodside, a whole new neighbourhood is emerging. Forget the windy, desolate landscapes of Docklands: this north-facing area is full of sunshine and sheltered from the chillier southerly winds. Unless you are headed to the Convention and Exhibition Centre, shopping at South Wharf DFO or staying for the weekend at the Hilton, you’ve probably not had reason to head down here, but it’s worth the wander.

Continue reading

Advertisements

the fat duck melbourne

Even our means of entering the restaurant should have hinted that the evening was going to be less of a fine dining experience, and more of a lengthy piece of performance art.

We follow a wooden pathway down a darkened corridor towards a half-scale projected image – a video, or perhaps a live feed? – of the Fat Duck Melbourne’s kitchen. Once we reach the image, the video finishes abruptly with a wooden door slamming, and we are plunged into darkness.

Continue reading

rudimentary café

16-18 Leeds Street, Footscray
Tel 0497 058173
https://www.facebook.com/Rudimentarycafe
Mon-Fri 7-4; Sat-Sun 8-4

Rudimentary is the latest representation of Footscray’s stealthy gentrification-round-the-edges. Four forty-foot containers on a previously derelict block of land at the back of the shopping strip, with seating indoors and outdoors, and plenty of space for bikes, kids and growing their own veg. What’s not to like?

Continue reading

nuevo latino los rodriguez

553 Barkly St
Footscray, Victoria, Australia
03 9995 1198
This place used to be a video store. Nestled between Indian eateries and grocery stores, brothers Sal and Juan Rodriguez dared to buck the WeFo trend and open a Latin American restaurant in this drab-looking premises. And what a treat we’ve been given.
Our first visit was on a steaming hot Sunday afternoon in late November, when the restaurant was not long open. The decor was a little haphazard but homely enough. Electric fans tried in vain to help with air circulation. We were virtually the only people in the place. Sal came and welcomed us, bringing sangria and fruit punch to cool us down, with a sampler size of “Latin pho” as he called it: a casserole of vegetables and offal which tasted far better than it looked.
IMG_6728
The stereo was pumping out some good salsa music, so after ordering we got up to practise our newly-learned salsa moves. Sal immediately turned up the music, announcing that they were “chefs by day and salseros by night”. He and brother Juan, the chef, run this place – although their mum was also on the premises and looked pretty much in charge to me.
I got the sense that I was going to like this place, despite its basic look.
IMG_6727
IMG_6726
We focused on meat. The twice cooked pork belly came on a bed of fresh salad and a generous dollop of guacamole. The secret, we are told, is that they marinate the meat for at least twenty-four hours in rum. Right. All I know is that it was some of the best pork belly I’ve eaten, and a huge portion too.
IMG_6730
IMG_6732
The carne asada was served with a flourish on a steel skewer. Lighted cured in brine, it was delicious, although I would have liked it to be a little more “asada”. The salad was beautifully fresh.
IMG_6733
IMG_6736
Sal came and chatted to us, giving us salsa tips alongside the history of the family. Originally from El Salvador, the Rodriguez family migrated to Australia in the eighties and have always lived in the western suburbs. They wanted to bring to West Footscray a taste of home, some real Latin American cooking, live music and a sense of community.
Three months later we finally make it back to Nuevo Latino. It’s another steamy Sunday but we get down there just as the kitchen in closing and the band is packing up. The place is pretty busy this time and the decor has changed, with whitewashed walls, Latin American flags and the leftover balloons and flowers from yesterday’s Valentine’s banquet giving the place a festive feel. There’s nothing for it but to order a margarita.
IMG_7626
We are greeted like old friends, Juan waving madly from the kitchen. Are they mixing us up with somebody else, I wonder? Nope. Sal calls to the DJ to change the music to something more danceable, and calls to us to move the furniture if there isn’t enough room for us to salsa.
I couldn’t help but order the pork belly again. It was too delicious last time. Orlando went with a steak special. This time the meat was beautifully cooked, seared on the outside and perfectly pink on the inside.
We watched the waiter bust a few serious salsa moves with a friend and decided there was no way we’d be dancing this time.
Later Sal came and chatted, telling us all the news. They’d been a late invitee to that weekend’s Footscray Latin Dance festival, but they have been doing their own thing every weekend anyway, showcasing the cruising of different countries with guest chefs, and live music every Sunday. This weekend it was Colombian. Orlando chatted to the guest chef whilst Juan emerged from the kitchen to dance with me.
How can you not love a place like this?
IMG_6725
 Nuevo Latino on Urbanspoon

Continue reading

bax food co.

Bax Food Co.
83 Gamon Street, Yarraville
0402 751 108
https://www.facebook.com/baxfoodco
http://bossmanfood.com.au

It was opening night at Bax Food Co., the newest venture from Bossman Foods. Roderick is pretty well known by the small West Indian community in Melbourne for his Caribbean food wholesale business and his event catering, so a new Caribbean restaurant with his name behind it is of great interest.

Continue reading

po’ boy quarter

295 Smith Street, Fitzroy
https://www.facebook.com/poboymelbourne

Haircuts make me hungry. That’s why I go to a hairdresser on Smith Street: so much to choose from afterwards.

Po’ Boy Quarter on an early Saturday afternoon is pretty empty in the café, but Huey Long’s at the back has a decent crowd.

FullSizeRender

I order a deep fried shrimp po’ boy ($11.90) from the food counter and a glass of zinfandel from the bar. I toy with a side of fried green tomatoes or fries, but manage to keep it (relatively) healthy.

FullSizeRender

The shrimp po’ boy is delivered to my table in the bar within five minutes: a decent sized bread roll, substantial enough to hold the weight of the food inside. Deep fried spicy crumbed shrimp spill out of the ends; sliced fresh tomato, half a pickled cucumber, and a dollop of fresh slaw adds sharpness and crunch to the creamy mayo coating the bread. All washed down with a glass of decent Californian Zin – perfect Saturday afternoon drinking fodder.

In fact, all the wines by the glass are of US origin – mostly Californian, with a dash or two of Washington added.

FullSizeRender

Their weekend brunch menu is served till late afternoon: definitely worth a return visit to check this out.

FullSizeRender

Po' Boy Quarter on Urbanspoon