Thursday, May 31, 2012

Il Centro

Il Centro
Address: Eagle Street Pier, 1 Eagle Street, Brisbane, Qld

Located on the Eagle Street Pier, Il Centro overlooks the Brisbane waters as you enjoy the fragrant food the chefs prepare. The restaurant has a very clean and crisp ambiance, perfect for business lunches. In stead, on the weekdays, almost all patrons are dressed in business gear.

The waiters at the restaurant is very friendly, giving you a very good idea of what is on the menu.

Il Centro is known for its modern twist on Italian food. The restaurant also boost that the ingredients used are sourced from Queensland.

The restaurant's most famous dish is the sand crab lasagna.This dish was created by Gillian Hirst and has been a staple of the menu for years. I was fortunate enough to taste the lasagna today and must agree that it deserves all the rave that it has received.

The sand crab lasagna has a rich and creamy sauce, seasoned to perfection. The crab is fresh and soft and when blended with the sauce, it is just like heaven on earth and for not the fact that I am in a fancy restaurant, I would be highly tempted to lick the plate clean. It is simply devine on this cold, rainy, winter day.

However, it is necessary to note that the lasagna is very rich and filling. I had entree size and it kept me full all the way til dinner. It is also perhaps more suited to a colder winter day when your body achieves a greater appreciation of the calorie intensive dish.

The restaurant is on the expensive side. The entree size sand crab lasagna will set you back A$26.

Recommended: Sand crab lasagna

Direction: Exit Central Station, cross the Anzac Square. Go down the tunnel and through the post office square. Cross Queen St and go through the post office building. Cross the road, and go through the garden path of St. Stephen's Cathedral. Turn left once you hit the street and you would be able too see the Eagle Street Pier. Il Centro is hidden on the inside.

Il Centro on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Italian Week at the Jan Powers Farmer Market

Italian Food Week
Address: Reddacliff Place (top of the Queen St Mall)

The end of May and beginning of June marks Italian Week in Brisbane. This is the time of the year to indulge in pasta, pizza and fresh breads. Yes, it is a lot of carbs, but on cold winter day, it is much welcomed.

Instead of a full fledged Italian market, the Italian specialty stores are woven between fresh food stores, German bakery, Asian eateries and other delights. The market looks small on the outside but once inside, it is easy to spend an hour without realising.

The first store I hit was this little Asian store called 'steamed'.The store only sells two products - steamed dumplings and steamed buns. The dumplings come in three variations - beef, vegetarian and pork. I tried two of each and was somewhat disappointed by them. The pastry was not as soft as I would liked and beef dumplings had a distinct lamb flavour.

However, the steam bun was to die for. I consumed one in matter of seconds and was highly tempted to return immediately for more. The skin was fluffy and soft and the filling had a very balanced flavour. Two enthusiastic thumbs up!

I managed to catch a little bit of the Italian cooking class at its end and was awarded with a taste of the freshly cooked vegetable penne. It was seasoned to perfection and a good change to the normal tomato or cream based pasta that you would normally get.

My absolute favourite however, was the banner on the store 'Eat or be Eaten'. Somehow, that really connected with me.

Recommended: the bun at Steamed

Direction: Exit Central Station, cross the Anzac Square and keep going until you hit Post Office. That'd be Queen Street. Turn right and keep on going pass all the shops until you hit water front. The market is right there.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Taro's Ramen & Cafe

Restaurant - Taro's Ramen & Cafe
Address - Ground Level, Boeing House, 363 Adelaide St. Brisbane, Qld

Taro's was rated as one of the best ramen place in Brisbane by Couriermail along with Hakataya and Men-Jikan. Located in Brisbane central, it is definitely the easiest to get to.

Finding the place was a little bit hard. I was looking for a traditional ramen shop and was not expecting a fully cafe styled place. But given the restaurant's name, on hindsight, it made a lot more sense.

The menu offers a range of food - including fish and chips and shabu shabu at dinner time. At between A$10-A$15, it's not cheap but fair.

Taro's ramen uses no preservative or MSG and the noodle is made by the owner. The noodles are cooked to al dente to give that little bit of chewiness. Granted, it cannot be compared to 開化樓 noodles from Japan, it is quite special.

I tried the tonkatsu ramen today and the soup is rich with a very balanced flavour. Not overly heavy and dense as some could be, but heavy enough to satisfy me on this rainy cold winter day.

I am looking forward to try the gyoza and the spicy ramen next time.

Recommended: Tonkatsu Ramen

Direction: Exit Central Station, cross the Anzac Square and you'd hit Adelaide St. Turn left and keep on going down. When you hit Wharf St., cross the road and the shop is on the right hand side.

Taro's Ramen & Café on Urbanspoon