Saturday, June 30, 2012

Oldtown Kitchen

Oldtown Kitchen
Address: 221 Mcwhirters Mall, Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley

Dining out in Brisbane can be very much a hit or miss affair. In the past week, I must have reached a trough as my miss greatly outweighed the hits. As a result, I was delighted to have come across Oldtown Kitchen in the Valley to at least start the weekend on a good note.

I could sit here and write half a page about the restaurant's location (extremely easy to find) and its decor and ambiance (very traditional, but why waste my breath on all those frivolous things when the stand out of the restaurant is the food?

Being Asian myself, I believe that one of the most basic and the difficult thing for little eateries like this to get it right is the rice. The rice must be a good support and balance for the dishes whilst providing some characteristics of its own. I know enough eateries who either do rice so heavy that it overpowers the dish or provide rice that chews like plastic.

Oldtown Kitchen has definitely got the rice done perfectly. It is moist and chewy without being soggy and each grain is separate. I have a feeling that the rice was steamed with shallots and ginger to give that distinct Singaporean/Malaysian flavor.

I ordered the salty fish and chicken with vegetable and tofu hotpot with rice. The dish came quick and the moment the hotpot lid was lifted, fragrance of the dish filled my nose and made me salivate. Indeed, even the girls at the table next to mine commented that the smell made them hungry.

The proportion of the dish was decent and the balance between meat, vegetable and rice was simply perfect. This is the first time in a very long time that I have finished the dish with all of the accompanied rice (I normally barely touch the rice).

Given that the whole thing costed just a little over $10, I have to say, it is definitely worth every penny!

Oldtown Kitchen, I am definitely coming back very soon to fix my Asian food cravings.

Recommended: Anything rice or noodle based. I heard good things about their laksas too. Will be returning to try.

Directions:Out Fortitude Valley Station, go through the mall and exit at the 7-11 exit (that'd Brunswick St?). Turn left. Go straight, cross Wickham St and the restaurant is close to Ann Street.

Oldtown Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 22, 2012


Kadoya - Brisbane City
Address: 99 Elizabeth St Shop 29-30 Brisbane 4000

Afer much positive feedbacks I have heard in regards to Kadoya, I decided to go and check out the little eatary myself and see if it is true.

given that I am relatively new to Brisbane, finding the place was not the easiest feat. Kadoya is inside a little arcade that links Elizabeth and Charlotte St (towards the Charlotte St end).

The front of the shop is quite small but given that the main eating area is the next room, there's sufficient tables and stools for a quick lunch.

Kadoya is famed for their curry and the fact that you can select your level of 'hotness'. There are six levels available and will surely suit all tastes. But please do note that the top level of hotness do have an extra charge of $5. However, they also do good bento boxes and I do recommend the eel and the teriyaki selections.

What is very disappointing at Kadoya is their Tokyo Ramen. Most people comment on their 'clear broth', which in reality pretty much translate to a soy sauce based soup base. For $9, there's not much there other than two small pieces of fried chicken, half an egg and a slice of seaweed. Overall, it was bland and I didn't felt it was worth the money paid.

What is recommended to do here is to pay $1 extra and go for the combos, at least there's a bit more side dish to satisfy the hunger.

Recommended: The Curry or the bento boxes

Directions:From Central Station, go across Anzac Square, Post Office Square and you come out on Queen St. Recommended to go down two more streets, which would take you to Charlotte St. Turn right and keep on going down. Once you go past Albert St., keep an eye out for an arcade. Kadoya should be highly visible from the Charlotte St. end.

Kadoya on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Little Singapore

Little Singapore
Address: 42 Charlotte Street Brisbane Qld 4000

Being a major fan of Singaporean food, Little Singapore has been on my to-do list for some time. They have a few chain stores around Brisbane including one in Sunnybank and two in the city.

I have visited both Little Singapore in the city and I have to admit, I have a preference for the one on the Charlotte Street for that more authentic atomsphere - from the run down building on the outside to the pictures of Singapore hanging in the inside.

In my opinion, the epitome of a good Singaporean restaurant is fully dependent on their Hainese Chicken Rice. If they could get that dish right, the other dishes will not pale in comparison.

In my delight, the chicken came out fast enough and it was juicy and tender. I especially liked the preserved vegetable that was served on the side to balance out the dish.

However, what I did have a problem with, was the butter rice.

I am used to the normal chicken, shallot, ginger flavored rice which balances out the chicken. The butter rice made the dish heavy and in my opinion, less palatable.

Saying that, I am keen to try out Little Singapore's other noodle dishes and Nasi Lemak.

Recommended:Nasi Lemak

Directions:Charlotte is the fifth street parallel to the Central Station exit. So, once you exit station, just go straight down. Once you hit Charlotte, turn right and keep walking. The restaurant is located is not far from AJ's Vietnamese.

Little Singapore (Brisbane) on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sono (Tattersall)

Sono - Tattersall
Address: 202 Edward Street Brisbane, QLD 4000

Sono happens to be right beside my work and given that it is my birthday day and I was hoping to treat myself to something nice, I decided to give Sono a try.

Now I understand that there is another Sono on Eagle Street, but this one is nice and close to the malls and was just too easy to get to.

The best thing about Sono I think would have to be its ambiance. Whilst the food is very authentic and nice (definitely better than some of the other places I have tried), what did win me over was the fact that once inside Sono, you really do feel as if you are in another world.

From the wooden surrounding, the friendly waitresses in kimonos, the tatami room and the little Japanese garden on the balcony. For the next hour, I did forget about the daily grind and salivated over the freshness of the sashimi (here I do point out that with the bento boxes, you only get three small pieces of the sashimi which is a shame because they are very nice).

Now, Sono is kind of pricey. Which is why most people there you see are business men/women. But I do believe that the best kind of restaurant are those that not only serve great food, but also take you away from/to places. And with Sono, they definitely do take you away.

Definitely would be going back to Sono once I get my paycheck.

Recommended: I went for the lunch bento special

Directions: Exit Central Station, across Anzac square and post office square and you will be on Queen Street. Turn right, and cross one street (that'd be Edward St). Go past Bank West, Sono is upstairs of Bank West.

Sono (Tattersall's Building) on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 7, 2012

MOS Burger

MOS Burger
Address: 250 Albert St, Brisbane 4000 (I think it's more like 205 Albert St, Brisbane)

I am fully aware that I am reviewing MOS Burger - a chain store. However, given that they are the second largest franchise in Japan (right after the golden arches of McDonalds) and is only available in Qld in Australia, t is probably worth a visit if you happen to be in Brisbane (even if it is to look).

The little restaurant is located near Queen St Mall and is unmistakable with its green backdrop and red logo. The store has two levels for seatng and it even has an area upstairs for those who prefer the traditional Japanese way (tatami).

The menu plays to a distinctive Japanese twist - wasabi wagyu burger, teryaki burgr & rice burgers. You get the drill.

I had the wasabi wagyu burger, and can certainly say that although it is not the best burger I have had, the novelty was there.

If you are a Nippon-holic (what do you call someone who loves Japanese thing?), MOS Burger is definitely worth a visit.

Recommended: Tickle your fancy. Don't expect gourmet, just do it for the fun of it!

Direction: Exit Central Station. Go straight down until you hit Adelaide St (where you will see Coffee Club). Turn right, go down and first traffic light (Albert St), turn left. MOS Burger is on that strip, right next to the CBA branch.

MOS Burger on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Freestyle Tout - Emporium

Freestyle Tout - Emporium
Address: 50/1000 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006

It is an aboslute shame that Freestyle in West End closed down. For someone who is heavily reliant on public transport, Freestyle in the Valley was somewhat more difficult to get to. However, the track and the wait is well worth the desserts that Freestyle offers (think of it as burning the calories that you'd consume in Freestyle?).

I know many people complain about the services but when I was there last Saturday, the service has been nothing but lovely. Yes, there was a bit of a queue outside the door, but the wait was no long and time pass quickly if you go with some friends.

Once inside, it is warm and well, busy. Everyone has desserts on the table and everything looked delicious.

I went for the white chocolate raspberry brioche dumplings with dark chocolate sauce (being the dark chocolate fan that I am). My friends were more adventurous and went for the fruit crumble.

All desserts were lovely, however, the brioche dumplings in my opinion were the best (yes, I admit a chocolate bias here). The warm dumplings with melting white chocolate on inside, covered with dark chocolate on the outside and balanced with the raspberries and vanilla ice cream was simply superb.

Definitely will be finidng my way back to Freestyle soon!

Recommended: White Chocolate Raspberry Brioche Dumplings

Direction: rom Central Station, head to Adelaide St. Find stop 23. It is near David Jones. Catch the 306 and get off at Wickham St in the Valley (Stop 7). Turn right on Murn Way and right again on Ann Street.

Freestyle Tout on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

AJ's Vietnamese

AJ's Vietnamese Noodle House
Address:70 Charlotte Street, Brisbane

This restuarant is the epitome of "don't judge a book by its cover". Whilst the exterior is far from impressing, the food is well made and of reasonable price (all below A$10!).

AJ's tends to be very popular around meal time. I was there at 12.15 lunch hour, there was a short queue forming outside the door already. However, the turnaround is quite fast as you don't actually have to wait long for your food. The girls are also super friendly and kept me updated on my position in the queue and were patient with me constantly changing my mind about what to order.

At any Vietnamese restaurant, I normally beeline for the special beef noodle soup, however, the spring roll vermicelli salad looked so enticing, I was very tempted. Nevertheless, given the chilli weather today, I must say, the decision for noodle soup was well made. The noodles came out within 5 minutes of ordering and all the ingredients were fresh and the soup very tasty.

If I have to pick any fault with it, it would have to be the addition of MSG in the soup and chilli & hoisin sauce.

I don't have anything against MSG, I mean, kind of grew up on that stuff. However, it does make you thirsty afterwards. As for the sauces, it is a habit of mine to have pho with the chilli & hoisin sauce mixture so the meat will have more flavour. Whilst the chilli sauce was fantastic, the hoisin sauce was watered down.

Nevertheless, on a cold winter day, it is definitely satisfying.

Recommended: Special beef noodle soup, springrolls

Directions: Charlotte is the fifth street parallel to the Central Station exit. So, once you exit station, just go straight down. Once you hit Charlotte, turn right and keep walking. The restaurant is located in close proximity to Rio Tinto.

AJ Vietnamese Noodle House on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sage on Ann

Sage on Ann
140 Ann Street, Brisbane

The restaurant is known for its coffee. Or so the coffee shop claims with the big banner which reads "Best Coffee in the City.

I am not sure if their claim is true - as I have never drank their coffee before, their sandwiches are definitely a cut abvoe the rest.

The cafe has a very nice ambience inside. Very quiet so you could actually talk to your lunch buddy without being drowned over by music or other patrons. The verandah is also very nice, however, I did find it a little bit dusty because of all the construction works that's going on in the area at the moment.

Sage offers a good range on its menu. The specialty is of course, its sandwiches. However, they also do salad and pies, which I heard are also good (sorry, I just go there for the sandwiches. Mental note to self to try the other things next time). At A$8.90 for its most expensive sandwich, it is quite fair.

Whilst its peking duck & chilli plum sauce is especially good, however, the one on my plate today was the roast pork belly with shredded apple on turkish.

And I have to say, it was so juicy (I literally had juice running down my hands)and the rind was so crispy, I devoured the entire thing in less than 10 minutes. The sandwich was very rich however and although the shredded apple took some of that away, I will guarantee that you will feel the effect well into the afternoon.

Recommendation: Peking duck & chilli plum sauce sandwich, roast pork belly with shredded apple on turkish

Directions: Exit Central Station. Do not cross any streets as you are already on Ann Street. Turn right and go straight down until you hit 140 Ann St. The cafe is on the same side as the station.

Sage on Ann on Urbanspoon