Sunday, January 20, 2013

Westie bits and bobs - a blog amnesty post

I'm writing this from Chinatown, Singapore.  Drums thrum and horns wail from the Indian temple down the street, and the air is thick with the smell of fat raindrops.  The Year of the Snake will soon begin, and I believe it's going to be a dynamic and exciting year for me.

But first I need a clean slate.  I admit I've been late to start back on the blogging train as all my half-finished bits and pieces feel like they're dragging me down.  Claire of Melbourne Gastronome has long been an advocate of the "blog amnesty", which is a chance to "post those stories you haven't quite finished; just the images, list the important bits in point form, do whatever it takes, just get the bloody things up so you/we can all move on" (via Eating with Jack).  In other words, I need a blog colonic.  With such an unsavoury image in mind, please now enjoy all this tidbits from the last month or so!


First up, a big shout out to Gamon Street's Advieh - a spot of sultry Middle Eastern flavour in a sleepy part of Seddon.


This well-hidden cafe makes tip top coffee.  They use Five Senses' Dark Horse blend - a rather aptly-named choice for this little-known gem!


It's a family business with handsome son on the La Marzocco and funky mum in the back whipping up Middle Eastern-influenced plates.  I love the combos, which might feature crusty felafel, wickedly good chicken shish or a mixed grill along with delicious, daily-changing dips and salads ($13.50 to $18).


Breakfasts are excellent too, with plenty of daily specials.  Advieh reminds me a lot of Flavours of Lakhoum in Richmond (now closed), which used to be my happy place in the early 2000s.  It'd be considered somewhat naff now, but the barista there used to draw faces on the top of your latte.  One friend took it back to the counter to check it was intentional - he thought he might have a contender for the Virgin Mary grilled cheese


Another cafe that's been there for a while but is new to me is the much-loved Jellybread in Barkly Village.  They were the first cafe on the strip and have a "secret" backyard oasis that is just heaven for parents and kids, including a vintage caravan the kids can set up house in, loads of ride-on toys, a sprawling lawn and more.


I thoroughly enjoyed this BRAT with Istra bacon and homemade aioli on Turkish bread made locally in Footscray ($13).  For kids there are creamed rice cups, organic yoghurt with poached fruit and two sizes of babycino.


Speaking of Turkish bread, get it fresh daily from Wally and family at Metro West Turkish Kebab House in Albert Street, Footscray (opposite the Coles plaza, on the same side as Savers).  It's $3 for a large or a mere $1 for a small and worth every cent.


Just around the corner is Sen, who really deserve more love.  They serve reliably tasty Vietnamese with a northern twist.


They're famous for their bun thit nuong or rice vermicelli with grilled pork.  For the ridiculous price of about $9, you get wickedly good charcoal-scented, marinated belly pork that's sliced thin so it's crispy like bacon.  I love their Vietnamese pickled vegies here, with big chunks of cabbage - so unusual and so delicious!


Sen are never all that busy but Hao Phong in Hopkins Street are perpetually so.


That evening we had muc rang muoi (salt n' pepper squid) and fried rice noodles, which were fine rather than spectacular, but this salted fish and chicken fried rice was fantastic.  Try the rice vermicelli version here too.


I've been thoroughly enjoying my avocado subscription with Barham Avocados.  For $36 a month, I get 12 glossy green emu eggs home delivered.  As the season has progressed, I've enjoyed Fuerte, Hass and just now received a box of gorgeous, grapefruit-sized Reed.  The season will be wrapping up in March, so get in quick if you want to try this beautiful fruit (just keep them in the fridge and take out progressively to enjoy perfect avos the whole month).


Sad news - the fantastic team at Rockfish are selling the business!  Apparently they need a break from their frenetic pace - they're a victim of their own professionalism and quality.  The hunt for great local fish and chips will therefore continue.  Meanwhile, we thoroughly enjoyed flake and chips from Top of the Bay in Williamstown.  I don't normally eat flake but this was tip top (the other option, flathead, looked somewhat dry and unappealing).


Grab your fush and chups and settle in at the park opposite to watch the boats and have girlie chats.  (PS:  They do have chicken salt - under the counter, like it's some sort of contraband!)

Whoa - I feel SO much better having gotten all that out there!  Hope you found something that tickled your fancy.  Next up - I dive into the Lion City, stomach first.  I hope you will join me for the ride!


  1. Oh, beautiful photo of the girls and Willy seaside! Top of the Bay is good.

    1. Top of the Bay is the best in Willi, among the 'new style' chip shops (i.e. chips in boxes, bagged up).

      Many a time had chips in the park over the road.

      For traditional wrapped Chippie... the one in Newport on Melbourne Rd (on the Willi side of the Newport overpass) is quality.

    2. "New style" indeed - I feel like an old woman bitching about fish and chips in boxes but I feel like it's unavoidable now. Will give the Newport one a try!

  2. Have been following your blog for a while now and am surprised to read you're in Singapore! Should definitely check out Newton Circus and Lau Pa Sat!

    1. Hi Alvin! Thanks for your comment; I'll definitely add those to the list! :-)

    2. YES! Lau Pa Sat!

      Fresh roti!

      ...a must!

    3. Awesome! Just had fresh roti prata at a tiny stall under a freeway today. It was out of control delicious!

  3. Oh lovely ! I'm going pickle crazy at the moment, and it's a good way to use leftover vegies (especially cabbage.. there are only so many things you can do with it!). Enjoy Singapore, I'm sure you have been inundated with recommendations - here's another for good measure: Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice Restaurant, 275 Thomson Road. SO GOOD !

    1. No way! I just had the best chicken rice at Nam Kee at 201 Thomson Road today!!! I wonder if they're the same place?

      You know what I do with cabbage? Make Japanese pancake - there's a recipe on the blog here if you google it. (I just use plain flour though, the okonomiyaki flour is too expensive, and if I can't be bothered making dashi I just use miso - there's a region in Japan that does that apparently, so that's my excuse!) They are so delicious and they use up shedloads of cabbage.

  4. Oh thanks so much for the avo recommendation - just signed up for monthly delivery

    1. That is great Juliette! They are so lovely as well. So helpful and flexible with delivery and with any issues you may have.

  5. Been to Rockfish since new owners a couple of times, and while they may not be as good as previously, they still are better than 95% of any other fish and chips around


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