Friday, February 24, 2012

Besito - Colombia comes to West Footscray

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I saw a hashtag on Twitter recently - #WeFo, as in West Footscray.  This prompted much undignified snorting at the time.  SoHo and TriBeCa, watch out, WeFo is burning up - bringing velour blankets and split peas to all the hipsters!  A new opening, however, is making me eat my words, and with pleasure, too.

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Besito is just three days old today, a cafe that serves Five Senses coffee and a really exciting Colombian-informed menu.  The colours blossom like a tropical flower inside, with joyous, rustic  rainbow tables and an effervescent mural on the walls bursting with colourful silhouettes of rainforest birds.

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Uncompromisingly great coffee, coaxed from a Synesso machine.  They use Five Senses' Dark Horse blend never more than 6 to 12 days post roasting.  The sugar is panela, evaporated cane juice, ie, totally unrefined sugar.  It actually has healthy qualities such as trace minerals compared to regular sugar.  The lovely Colombian waiter explained that back home, a Colombian version of Gatorade is panela and lemon juice mixed with water.

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Arepas, $6.50

These are arepas which are a Colombian staple.  They are thick pancakes made from low-processed whole white corn.  They're not made from a flour as are tortillas and pupusas but more of a meal, similar to polenta I believe.  The right way to eat these is to nick with your knife all over and then smoosh with heaps of butter, letting it meld with the soft middle.  They were delish, perfect with the great quality butter and salt flakes that melted like snowflakes on the tongue.

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"Plate of everything", $24.50

There is so much to try on the menu, from intriguing breakfast dishes such as changua, free range eggs poached in coriander-infused milk, to lots of little bites like smashed chickpeas or things with manchego cheese.  This tasting plate seemed a good place to start.  The jamon (similar to prosciutto) was divine, with multidimensional saltiness and savoury umami hum.  Gorgeous creamy guacamole melted in the mouth while the fat little potato-stuffed empanadas were great with the zesty coriander salsa dressing. The Spanish tortilla (egg and potato omelette) was excellent while light queso cheese-filled peppers were slippery and delicious.

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Sweets, $2.50 each

That shot of happiness is arequipe, fudgy Colombian caramel sauce made from fresh milk, served here with a raft of chocolate ganache.  Mini salted caramel cakes are next.  We loved the swirl of luscious caramel on top but the cake was slightly on the dry side - it's hard to get these tiny cakes still moist.  As well as espresso, they serve filter coffee with regularly-changing single origins (currently Colombian, of course!)  I'm really getting into filter.  It's like a tea, and taken without sugar and milk, so many more floral notes come out in the coffee and you can relax languidly into a cup or two in a way you can't with a punch-in-the-face short black.

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This is probably funny from me who photobombed them on their second day, but GO SLOW - they are very new and still getting settled.  Be neighbourly and just be patient.  A liquor licence is coming soon and then they will be opening for WINE and NIBBLY THINGS in the EVENINGS.

WeFo, I'm sorry I doubted you.  ¡Bienvenido to the neighbourhood, Besito!

Besito on Urbanspoon

Besito (Facebook) - www.besito.net.au
590A Barkly Street, West Footscray
Phone:  9689 0586
Hours (updated Aug 2012):  Wed 9am-4pm, Thu-Fri 9am-11pm, Sun 9am-4pm


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48 comments:

  1. Brilliant! And soon West 48th will open on Essex St, it's really happening in this neighbourhood.

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    1. IT HAS A NAME.... IT IS (soon) ALIVE!!!!!!!! I would like to think I am the most excited person around about the Essex St cafe, but I know that's not true!

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    2. Someone mentioned the name early January on a Facebook page for the Essex St dog park. Was supposed to have opened by now. Here's the post (from Jan 8th)

      "A cafe called West 48th is openning on Essex near Stafford street (btw Summerhill and Elanor). Met the owner Jack who works for Movida, and tells me the coffee will be awesome. Opens the 3-4 weeks. told him to be ready for an crowd of dog owners"

      For the record, I live in NoWeFo (North-West Footscray aka Maidstone)

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    3. Here are more details- West 48 will be opening in the next few weeks... Owners are Steffan & Jag.. Looks like there will be lots of good coffee and yummy food!!!!!

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  2. Glad you now recognise WeFo is hip, the coolest part being SoBa (south of Barkly).

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    1. Oh that made me chortle. Love it. I am still grateful you took me to the Post Industrial Design opening, after which someone else saw the photos on Facebook and sniffed, "Well I see YOU'RE part of the West Footscray A-list".

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  3. YAY some more foodie action in WeFo

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  4. How awesome!!! The cafe looks beautiful. Will definitely pay it a visit when i'm in the area. WeFo. Love it.

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    1. It's gorgeous, it's got a lovely vibe and props for the use of colour when every new cafe it seems has a. bare brick walls b. raw wood and c. oversized light globes.

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  5. Oh my - how fabulous! It looks great! But allow me to express a little tremor of fear. How long can this sort of thing go on - this place and two new Indians just down the road - before Epicure cover stories and no parking threaten? I wish these businesses success, but I'm being selfish!

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    1. Kenny, it will happen. As bloggers we hasten the process, but just as you say, much as I want things to stay mine, all mine, ultimately I want the businesses to be successful and the neighbourhoods to flourish. In some ways it's already happened with the rise and rise of Aangan; it's nigh on impossible to find a spot in Barkly to return your videos on a Friday or Saturday night.

      Also Epicure did make Los Latinos and Ebi absolutely packed but only for a couple of months - both seem to have now calmed down.

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    2. I was kidding, as I'm sure you know! Bring it on, really. As you say, things seem to balance out. So let's shine a light for those less fortunate than us - i.e. those who live elsewhere - knowing the fuss dies down. The kind of places we all love here need and deserve more than just a hyper-local customer base.

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  6. Mini Salted Caramel Cakes??? Yes I will marry you!! Pity they don't open for dinner ... or do they?? And I can't wait for that Essex street joint to open. Its definitely all happening down here. Oh and we live in MaMa(where maidstone and maribyrnong intrecept).

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    1. Oh re dinner, they will be opening soon when they get their liquor licence.

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  7. Smart looking fit out, presumably excellent coffee and interesting dishes. They should do well.

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    1. I reckon too Nathaniel, I think they have all the right ingredients for a successful Melbourne restaurant.

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  8. SO CAN'T WAIT TO TRY! It's right around the corner from our house, and yep SoBa is the best part of WeFo!

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  9. Kenny, if parking is an issue, get a bicycle or catch the 220. Be kind to the rest of us and use fuel less for local sojourns.

    This place is 2 mins from me. My partner is Spanish and we'll be seeing if the jamon is up o standards soon. Also COFFEE. DECENT COFFEE! Fantastic. I haven't ventured into the cafes on upper Barkley because I absolutely hate paying for a coffee and then having it be crap. I was a barista for 8 years, I know what is crap. I'm not happy to pay over 4.00 for a poorly made Long Mac just because cafes don't train their staff correctly. But here now... I might just be brave enough to give this a try.

    Also, what's with the child-care centre cafes around here? sheesh! I'm child free by choice and very often I will choose NOT to eat somewhere teeming with creepycrawlies. Ugh. Yes. I am Angry Osita. Hear me vent. :/

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    1. Angry Osita, I may have creepy crawlies but I do see your point - sometimes I want a coffee without kids around, mine or anyone else's! Whether Besito becomes the grown-up cafe while Jellybread stays the family one, I'm not sure. The demographics are just too skewed towards young families at this point in the Inner West's development.

      Would love to hear your thoughts on coffee and jamon when you get a chance to try it!

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    2. Dont think there are any cafes on upper Barkly that charge over $4 for a coffee! I have been to them all and $3.50 is the average price - as it is at most cafes. The coffee at at least one of the "child-care centre" cafes is quite good actually. As a mum, coffee lover and food lover I am happy to see places that welcome mums (and or dads) with their "creepycrawlies" in tow. There are plenty of cafes across Melbourne that welcome "child free" people and turn their noses up at us with kids. It makes for a nice change! Take a peek inside these childcare centre cafes and you will see that they are obviously fulfilling a much needed demand from local families for cafes that do make them feel welcome.

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  10. OK, we'll drive and you hate kids, OK? Un-angry Kenny :)

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  11. Such a sunny space with all that color! Loving the Latin flavors as well - the "plate of everything" caught my eye right away, especially the beautiful marble in the jamon. The eggs poached in coriander-scented milk, too - what an idea.

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    1. Isn't the colour gorgeous, compared the usual Melbourne monochrome everything! Apparently the egg/milk thing is a hangover cure!!

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  12. Oh hurray! Looking good already for their third day of opening. Do they have many main meals?

    Watch out Los Latino's hehehehe ;P

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    1. Yes, they have breakfast-y type meals and I think some more meal-y type things like fried tacos. I was a bit deer in the headlights when I was reading the menu as I was so excited. They will be a good complement for Los Latinos who are much more homestyle.

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  13. To whoever is trolling this post - I'm certain you are a troll and not a genuine customer. Out of respect of the other local establishment you are obviously trying to promote in competition with Besito, I won't mention that restaurant here but you are doing them a grave disservice if you are trying to "play" them off against this one by writing bullshit comments. If you are actually FROM that restaurant and not some misguided friend or relative, I'm even more deeply disappointed.

    I've turned comment moderation on which will suck for genuine readers but it's simply not fair for a brand new business to be slandered on its third day with what are very obviously made-up, intensely nasty comments.

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  14. Hooray! How exciting! I will however need to wear a disguise when visiting between 9am & 3:30pm as I have made good friends with the crowd across the road. I have been very very unfaithful to them (and can only manage hot chocolate when I do go there these days.. I think you all understand why).

    I also have "creepy crawlies" (by choice) and am just loving the judgey judgey going on up there (do I have to write "NOT"?).. Cars, kids.. Aren't we all just eeeeevil!?

    Anyway, I digress.. I am with the rest of you in sharing the excitement about decent coffee in #WEFO. Just recently discovered The Reading Room at Vic Uni and a certain barista huzbo of mine may have just been hired to work some evenings there... Oh coffee coffee coffee.. how I love thee!

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  15. We motored over in the heat from SoHo (South of Hopkins) on Saturday to try Besito . A vego version of the Plate of Everything was a "gastronomic explosion of flavours" according to She Who Must Be Obeyed, and who am I to argue. Coffee was great with the caramel and chocolate ganache desert. The service was ideosyncratic, but it is early days and it was clear systems were still being established. We will definitely go back.

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    1. Yes I agree, we did have to ask for water, side plates etc but it was day 2 and I totally forgive that. Glad you liked it Andy! We had takeaways this morning and they were fabuloso. Ahhh, could become a bad habit! Hey and great they whipped up a vego tasting plate for you!

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  16. Had Breakfast there today was very good the rice pudding is delicious. So was the other dish that we can't remember the name of but had beans avocado and corn cakes Jordy liked this one. I am glad we were not that busy in our first week we wouldn't have coped as well
    Gun Batte (good luck) Besito (glad they are not doing Japanese) JB


    What was all the trolling thing hope they didn't dis us john@norenichiban.com.au

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    1. G'day John! Ebi John right? I'm glad you liked it and love your neighbourly good wishes. Re trolling, I got three really nasty comments in quick succession with an identical style but different pseudonyms for each one. It became apparent they were going off the photos and hadn't been there. The punchline was "if you want good food and not rubbish, head to restaurant X".

      We had a discussion about this type of comment on the Melbourne Food Bloggers Facebook group recently and everyone has a different approach. I've always published just about everything (apart from "YOU ARE YUPPIE SCUM!!11!"... OK! Love you too!) and let people make up their own minds whether they think hysterical rants about cockroaches are true or a venomous competitor. The comments I deleted were really personal and as Besito hasn't had the chance to build up much repeat loyal clientele or much word of mouth stuff yet that would make people take negative comments with a grain of salt, I got rid of them. It's got me thinking though about what's an appropriate comment to publish and what is just totally unconstructive.

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  17. Love the "!!!" and the "11" ... so typical!

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  18. Great review Lauren and I support your right to delete nasty trolling comments. It's your blog and you are ultimately responsible for what is published in the comments so keeping an eye on comments is essentially compulsory for bloggers. Well done for exercising your editorial control.

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  19. Can't WAIT till West 48th opens! I met the guy too and he promised the best coffee this end of Melbourne. But there is already great coffee at Jelly bread so they will be hard to beat. I think he said there would be Tapas and a drinks! I hope they have outside tables. What's going to be next?

    Did you see the old school Chinese Take Away in Charles St Seddon has had a groovy facelift?

    Who are the snobs who think you can't get a good coffee in Barkly St??? Ignorant ones I'd say.

    I think we need a big bakery in Barkly. And what about a live music bar? The crows at the Post Industrial Design opening showed people are hungry for some live music.

    Dosa Hut looks like it may be doubling in size too.

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    1. Ooh I will check the Chinese takeaway joint out! Yes bakery would be great...organic butcher too, if I'm allowed to dream! I'd take any kind of bar at this stage, live music or not! Besito will be licensed soon and opening evenings.

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  20. WeFo?! Nice one!

    I can't wait to check this place out. My boyfriend lives interstate but when he does come down to visit, he can't leave without going to Footscray at least once. He'll be happy to hear that there is something different to try in his next trip :)

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  21. Lovely to have your opinion and hard 'research' work on local food places.
    To this end I always try read your blog whenever I get the chance.
    I especially like the philosophy of improving the awareness and valuing of little known food places in the west and I admire your range of culinary travels to this end.
    Keep up the great work!

    L.

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  22. Oh wow AMAZING! It's all so foreign to me I'd love to experience it. If only I had known about it earlier before my Colombian friend moved to Adelaide, I'm sure he'd be excited to share his culture with me. But then again, prolly wouldn't have been open then? Good stuff, Lauren! =D

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  23. As Temasek's (most times silent) editor, M, I'd like to belatedly correct a bit of un-researched info about MaMa. In one of it's multiple personalities (originally Maidstone) it went on to be known as Upper Footscray, so I guess it should possibly be UpFo. Unfortunately, this incarnation didn't stick and it became an appendage known as Braybrook (BrBr?). I'm not sure of the timeline, but now it has come full circle and reverted to it's original - Maidstone.

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  24. Shame I missed out on going to this place whilst it was open. Unless they do manage to sell it and it retains its awesomeness??

    I notice there is a Magic Momo Kafe opened up next door (I think that is its name). But can't find any details about it on the internet!

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    1. Hi JP! Thanks for stopping by. You can check out my latest post for more info about the future of the Besito site, and Magic Momo Kafe: http://footscrayfoodblog.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/dumplings-in-west-footscray-and-more.html

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I love getting your comments! They're what make blogging worthwhile. Unfortunately, the amount of spam I get is obscene and it is so tiresome to have to moderate every comment, so I have had to turn on annoying word verification. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but please know how much I love you having your say!

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