Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ebi Fine Foods, Footscray by Snooze

Since Big Fil and I started our eating odyssey a few short years and many kilos ago, he invariably chose the better of our meals (although I've recently been making inroads). What I will never top is Big Fil's ability to find the most interesting places with good food ... and our visit to Ebi Fine Food is his most recent triumph.

Big Fil and I arrived almost on the dot of midday to find the door closed, and we stood there wondering what to do next. Lucky for us the door opened almost immediately, and we were welcomed inside. Ebi Fine Foods is tiny, seating about a dozen in close quarters. We occupied what I thought of as the best corner at the back and Big Fil had to move his bag and umbrella to make room for people to sit at a neighbouring table. But for me that was part of its charm, and unlike some small places I didn't feel crowded.

Ebi Fine Foods was my choice for choice for lunch but only because Big Fil offered me a choice of a couple of places for lunch and I opted for fish and chips, a treat I don't often indulge in. So when we arrived I was surprised to find Japanese as well as fish and chips, a combination I never expected but which seems curiously Australian. Feeling hungry myself (and Big Fil always a bottomless pit), we shared a number of things and curiously chose exactly the same items from the menu for us to eat.

The fish and chips arrived as small pieces of battered John Dory, chips and salad. If I was asked to sum this up in word I'd choose delightful but I'm going to use more than one: light beer batter, moist fish, and the salad was actually a salad and not just salad greens doused with appalling olive oil. I don't know everything in the salad but it was different and enjoyable. The only downside and negative to the entire meal: my pet hate for chips which is too much salt.

The choice for Bento box was a Big Fil favourite: pork belly which came with braised daikon, egg, rice and the same salad. No issues with this dish. The bento box arrived with three succulent pieces of pork that melted in the mouth and despite my preference for removing all fat the pork belly was melt in the mouth. I especially enjoyed the egg and the topping on the rice, and I was more than happy for a second order of the salad.

Still ready for more we shared the tofu cheesecake and got the very last mandarin curd donut. The tofu cheesecake was beautiful to look at and was displayed with a coffee maple syrup sauce, and topped with candied lemon peel. I can't say the cheesecake in itself was a standout taste wise but its texture was soft and creamy and didn't compete with the delicate sauce and the crunch and acid of the lemon peel. I often find myself liking the garnish or the salad to a meal, and the lemon peel garnish to the cheesecake was a standout

I spied the donuts as we entered and given my surprise re the fish and chips and Japanese food combination thought these lived outside my expectation but how nice they looked all the same. By the time we got around to ordering sweets there was one left and we thought ourselves lucky. the donut was light and hot, covered in crunchy sugar and filled with a delicately sweet mandarin curd. Something I think I'd order early if I was in the area again.

Accessed by us from West Footscray station, the station itself and the streets around Ebi Fine Foods are unproprocessing. But the location is the only thing that fits that category. From the time we arrived we were greeted so nicely by the owner/chef who shared with us his love of Japan, of cooking and for life in general. And what is so disappointing is that if Footscray can deliver the standard of food it does what is the southern suburbs thinking.

Food - 8
Ambience - 7
Service - 8
Price - 8

18A Essex Street
Footscray VIC 3011
Tel: 03 9689 3300

Ebi Fine Food on Urbanspoon

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