*I dined as a guest of The One, however all opinions are my own.
I was contacted by Tom Luxton, co-owner of the newest food stall to open at Westside Acton Park, to try out their popular dishes on offer. The One offers a variety of pressed buns, Thai tacos and soon chicken wings once the new deep dryer arrives. The special thing about The One that should be known is that they sous vide their beef short rib and pork belly for 12 hours overnight. As you can imagine, this makes their meat extremely tender.
I got to try the Pork Belly Thai tacos ($6.50 each or 2 for $12) with Thai slaw, guacamole and garlic emulsion in a flour tortilla. I found a very soft thick slice of pork belly that isn’t too fatty mixed with crunchy slaw and lots of soft guacamole. I squeezed the fresh lime over the top to add some zestiness. An important part of Thai cuisine is that complex mix of sweet, salty, sour, spicy and bitter flavours. These tacos have sweet (slaw), salty (pork belly) and sour (lime) down pat.
What came next blew me away. The beef short rib pressed bun ($12.50, or $8.50 for a mini) consists of the 12 hour sous vide short rib, caramelised onion, slaw, cheese mix and BBQ emulsion before being pressed between a buttered American style bun.
I could see that the beef took up the length of the bun and was expecting to taste the beef as I took a big bite into the corner of the bun. However, as there wasn’t any chewiness that you would expect from biting into beef, I thought I must have only eaten the corner ‘bun’ part and missed the beef entirely. A couple of seconds of confusion ensued as I was sure the long strip of beef reached past the edges of the bun. When I took a closer look at the bitten bun, that was the moment I realised that I had taken a bite of the beef. It was SO SOFT that it didn’t occur to me that I had bitten into the beef. Now that took a few sentences to explain, but it all happened within about 4 seconds. Basically it went like this – bite, chew, softness, confusion, realisation, WOW! That beef short rib is AMAZINGLY tender. It pulls apart when using my fingers and is soft as butter to bite through. The thin layer of crunchy slaw works well with the short rib. The BBQ emulsion is the icing on the cake, giving some sweet and tangy goodness to the pressed bun.
You won’t have to wait long for your food since everything is sous vide overnight ready for the next day. When I asked Tom and co-owner Chris how they decided on the name ‘The One’, Chris stated it’s because once people taste the beef short rib pressed bun, they know that it’s ‘the one’. And I have to agree! I would go back for this in a heartbeat. A must try! Tom mentioned he wanted the stall to be called ‘That’s Delicious’ while Chris wanted the name ‘The One’, so they’ve added ‘That’s Delicious’ as the slogan. Win win for both. I was surprised to find out that the beef short rib is from Korea. The boys say the beef there is of high quality, and it’s noticeable when you eat it. Other items are sourced locally. The chicken wings and beer battered flathead tacos are coming soon once the deep fryer is installed. I can’t wait to try out the chicken wings which will be sous vide for 2 hours before being fried.
While at Westside, my partner J and I decided to check out the other food stalls I hadn’t yet tried. Habibiz specialises in Mediterranean style charcoal chicken and other meats. You can peek into the small rotiserrie in the window where the meat is cooking over hot coals.
We noticed a sign saying $5 tapas on weekends from 12-3pm, and ordered the meat sambusik (usually $8). I didn’t know what sambusik were but luckily there’s a definition on the menu. They are homemade pastries filled with Mediterranean style lamb mince or cheese, then fried. These came in a serve of four with hummus.
I really wanted the fries roll (it’s been too long since I’ve had a chip roll / chip butty!) but the food blogger in me took over knowing I should try at least one of the charcoal dishes. When I asked the owner, he told me the most popular item is the charcoal chicken roll ($10) with garlic dip, fries, pickles, tomato and lettuce wrapped in Lebanese bread. So I ordered this to try out, completely misreading the fact that it had fries in it and got a lovely surprise when I saw fries in the roll (winning). Unfortunately I couldn’t taste much charcoal flavour on the chicken which was disappointing. It was nice tender chicken though. I think next time I’ll order the skewers ($5 each) which should have more of a charcoal flavour after being grilled over the coals. We then walked over to Damn Fine Coffee Roasters for a coffee and to sit in the sun.
I noticed the menu had Crema Cafe listed and I had no idea what that was. I asked the staff member there who described it as similar to ice cream but more like a frappe. It comes in coffee or lemon flavours, and both were slowly being mixed in slushie machines.
She provided us with a small sample in tiny plastic cups to taste. Her description is correct – it’s thick, creamy and very sweet like ice cream with the consistency of a thick frappe. J decided to buy a small cup of the crema cafe ($5), which came in a small ice cream cup with a spoon. It soon got sickly sweet so I don’t think a large is necessary.
It seems some of the food stalls have moved around again since my previous visit. La Crepe has moved to another stall with The One taking its place. Miss Van’s now has pho available and it’s perfect weather for it! I’m hoping heaters will be placed outside soon.
Opening hours for food vendors seem to be Thursday to Sunday for lunch and dinner. Check out the Westside Acton Park website for more details.
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