Handpicked for Melton

Food and hospitality have long been a part of Ankit’s life, even before he opened up his spice shop, Fusion Spices in March this year. Back in Jaipur in Northern India, he worked in his father’s business, supplying hospitality uniforms to airlines and hotels. After completing a Masters in Accounting and Finance in Australia, Ankit eventually set up two eateries – Spice Cube in the Woodgrove food court and another restaurant in the CBD – along with two separate spice shops. “I enjoy eating and like to feed people,” he says with a laugh. “I’ve always had a passion for food. With my ethnic background and Indian culture, I wanted to get into this business.”

With four businesses under his belt and another restaurant on the way, Ankit doesn’t get much time to sit down, let alone cook for himself (though he tells us he used to be a “very good cook”). His favourite meal is chicken lababdar, a flavoursome Mughlai dish with a rich curry sauce involving numerous spices.

Ankit loves the diversity of the Melton community and his customers’ openness to trying new products. “It’s good because you get to interact with people from different cultures and backgrounds,” he says. “A lot of the products we stock are used across various nationalities’ cooking. I like telling people about our products and seeing them love it and come back with good feedback.”

Find Fusion Spices.  

Stop by Quality Cuts Halal Meats and you’ll find a fresh-faced Sarah behind the counter, ready to recommend the best cuts on offer. Sarah began managing the store only a month ago, having previously worked in various butcher shops over five years. “Customers are very friendly here in Melton, and we all work as a team in the shop so I’m hoping to stay here for many years,” she says.

Aside from fresh chicken, lamb and beef, Quality Cuts Halal Meats also stocks a range of Turkish and Lebanese specialty products including yoghurt, dips, preserved and canned goods, and
drinks. According to Sarah, the store’s number one selling specialty product is sucuk (pronounced “su-joock”) – a spicy and aromatic beef sausage eaten throughout Turkey as well as in parts of the Middle East, Central Asia and the Balkans. “It’s similar to a sausage but way better,” Sarah says with a laugh. “You can put it on pizzas, cook it for breakfast with an egg, or eat it in any meal. It’s very popular.”

Elsewhere in store, you’ll find freshly baked Turkish bread along with various ‘dolma’, including stuffed eggplant and vine leaves, both imported from Turkey. Stuffed with rice, nuts and a mixture of spices, the eggplant and vine leaves come in small, bite-sized portions – making them the perfect picnic snack or accompaniment to fresh bread.

Asked about her favourite meal, Sarah nominates kofte (also known as kafta) – a Turkish and Lebanese minced meat skewer made from a simple combination of minced meat, parsley, onion, salt and pepper. Quality Cuts sells a variety of pre-seasoned kofte meats which are ready to cook. “You can pan fry it, do it on skewers over the barbecue or make burgers out of it. However you want it, you can do it,” Sarah says. “My family cook it on the barbecue and have it with some dips and salad on the side. Delicious.”

Find Quality Cuts Halal Meats.