Friday, April 08, 2011

March 30, 2011: Ebi Fine Foods

Some last minute work chaos had delayed the start time of our Footscray tour, so our initial plan to split a roll at Tan Truc Giang had been derailed by our ravenous 2pm lunch-hungers. So, with a roll each under our belts, even an hour or so browsing Savers, a few other op-shops and a shopping spree at Vincent Veg wasn't enough time for us to get hungry enough for our initial plan of a big meal at Aangan or Dosa Hut. Instead, we decided to check out the curious-sounding Japanese-inspired fish and chip shop that our Cheap Eats guide promised us would provide fine vegie takoyaki and other snack-sized treats.

The decor is a strange combination of neighbourhood chippy and cute sushi place, and the menu offers up a similar mix: beer-battered fish and chips, but also sushi, bento boxes and tempura options, along with a range of Japanese-inspired snacks. We were intrigued by the vegan friendly veg-bento box ($15), but could only face a couple of snacks: a vegie croquette each ($2 a pop) and some of the veg takoyaki ($5, inspired by octopus balls, which are apparently a common Kyoto street-food).

The croquettes were pretty good - a potato heavy vegie filling, crumbed with panko and drizzled with a delicious sweet Japanese bbq sauce. But the real stars were the takoyaki, which apprently started life as festival food cooked up by Ebi proprietor John Byrne. They've got a crispy outer and a gloriously squishy texture, presumably dominated by tofu (although we didn't actually ask) and are served with a splash of light soy sauce and a smothering of Japanese mayo. Amazing - and a steal at $5 a serve.

The dessert menu includes donuts, fudge and home-made ice cream, but be warned - the tofu cheesecake contains both eggs and gelatine, so it's not as vegan-friendly as it sounds. Still, I'm pretty sure vegans would be well rewarded by the bento box - we're definitely going to check it out next time we're in the west.

All in all, our afternoon in Footscray was a winner - delicious and reasonably priced food, decent coffee at the Dancing Dog Cafe, a haul of books and shirts from Savers, and a freezer-load of Vincent's mock meats. We really need to explore more widely - our previous Footscray dining has been fairly limited but with help from Footscray Food Blog and commenters on our previous post we're already building up a massive list of places to sample. Any more hot tips for wonderful veg-friendly places would be appreciated.


Despite the Cheap Eats love and a rave in Epicure, Ebi hasn't exactly been overwhelmed by blog reviews. Still, what's there is positive - Ms Baklover at Footscray Food Blog has given it the thumbs up (twice!), Fill Up on Bread is a fan, as are Charles Whyte and I dream of a brewery.


Ebi Fine Foods
18A Essex St, Footscray
9689 3300
Snacks: $2.5 - $5, bento box: $15

Accessibility: Ebi has a tiny step as you enter and is a little cramped (outdoor seating is more spacious). Ordering and payment happen at a high counter.


  1. This looks like a great little place!xxxx

  2. never thought my beer blog would be getting referenced by a Vego blog, Cheers! Ah those takoyaki balls, The ones at Ebi Fine Foods are great and thehy go really well with a beer. In Kyoto (and I'm guessing other bits of Japan),you'll find at street festivals etc. They are great with some octopus in them but I rate this Vego version, even though I am a full blown carnivore.

  3. Welcome, GWLTG! It is pretty cool, and to my knowledge quite unique. :-)

    Hi Darren - we like to link to a diversity of opinions on the places we visit. :-) We are big fans of veg-friendly Japanese snack food wherever we can get it!

  4. can argue with you on the excellentness of Japanese snack food however I have no idea what GWLTG means?

  5. Darren - GWLTG is short for "girls who like to gorge", the commenter above you. :-)