Friday, March 28, 2014

Little Greek Taverna

Little Greek Taverna
Address: 5/1 Browning St, West End QLD 4101

The Little Greek Taverna is one of my staples in West End. Most of my experiences at Little Greek Taverna has been positive - food has fantastic flavours, the prices being very reasonable and the staff generally quite friendly.

The only drawback at Little Greek Taverna is that because the restaurant is quite small and popular, getting a seat without booking on some nights are quite impossible. However, the restaurant do offer deliveries and my friends and I often just get the food delivered to The Cobblers next door on Browning Street whilst we enjoy with a couple of drinks.

This visit however, I went with a couple colleagues and given we had quite a few people; we went ahead and booked for the lunch.

For this visit, I went ahead with spanakopita for entree and a chicken souvlaki wrap for main.

The spanakopita arrived quite quickly and although it did not look like the traditional spanakopita I've had before in other Greek restaurants, the main flavours and key ingredients were all present and it tasted terrific. I found that the addition of the chilli powder on the side really set off the flavour and lifted the presentation of the dish.

The wrap was also delicious; however I would recommend the ones with haloumi. The addition of the haloumi lifts the flavour of the dish and provides an addition texture to the wrap that I find very pleasing.

Other dishes that really do deserve honorary mentions at the Little Greek Taverna include the lamb shank, where the meat really just fall off the bones and the stuffed capsicum which is another delight of its own.

And to top it all off, the price is also very decent. To be able to have have a great meal (entree and main) and cap it at under $25pp, there's not that many places in Brisbane that can do it with such such flavours and flair.

Recommended: The wrap with haloumi, the spanakopita, the lamb shank and many more...

Little Greek Taverna on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Roti Chenai

Roti Chenai
Address: 52/53 1000 Ann St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006 (EMPORIUM)

Z and I share a great love for curry and roti and our favourite Malaysian curry and roti place in Australia would have to be Mamak in Sydney. The buttery fluffy roti bread that is golden and crisp on the outside, what is there to not love about it? And when that perfect roti accompanies with the flawless curry that is of just the right consistency and spices, it is match made in heaven...

However, it is unfortunate that whilst Mamak opened up several franchise around Sydney, it has not made the move to Brisbane and as result, we have been on the hunt for the perfect that perfect roti to replace Mamak.

Hence, when Roti Chenai opened up in Emporium and started getting good reviews, it gained our interest and attention and we looked for opportunity to try it out ourselves.

Thankfully, the gods were in our favour and we managed to chance upon a discount deal opportunity which allowed us to pay Roti Chenai a visit at fraction of what it would normally cost (not that Roti Chenai was expensive to start off with anyway, a meal that will set you back around $20pp).

For our meal, we went for the chicken curry and the dhal curry. Both arrived very fast (within 10-15 minutes of us ordering).

Now in terms of the roti, I have to say that I am a little bit disappointed. Whilst the roti remains very delicious and soft, it was a bit dense and not as fluffy as I would have liked (most likely because the roti was pre-made and not freshly made as you would have at Mamak in Sydney).

The chicken curry had a great flavour. However, I did find that it was too spicy for me (mostly because I had an inflamed throat). The dhal curry however was absolutely delicious! The consistency was nice and the flavours and the spices are well balanced - it was perfect for me to dip my roti into the curry to soak up that amazing flavour.

All in all, it was a great experience at Roti Chenai and I look forward to going back to try some of their other dishes too.

Recommended: The dhal curry

Roti Chenai on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ciccio's Pasta Bar

Ciccio's Pasta Bar
Address: 471 Adelaide St, Brisbane QLD

One of my good friend in Brisbane recommended Ciccio's Pasta Bar to me as she works close by and it is one of the places that her colleagues and her go to enjoy nice long lunches on a not so busy day.

A few others I have spoken to have also commented that years ago when it first started, Ciccio's handmade pasta was simply beautiful; however, most haven't been back for a few years and feel that their comment may no longer be valid.

On that basis, a few friends and I set out to Ciccio for catch-up and to give their pastas and pizzas a go.

Ciccio is located on the cusp between the CBD and the Valley. The decor of the restaurant is simplistic and modern and the waitresses are quite friendly and generally helpful. Whilst it's not first-date material, it is quite casual and relaxed and I do spot a quite a few lone diners there for their evening feed.

On the evening of my visit, my friends and I decided to go down different paths, whilst one decided to try the braised beef cheek (which has been recommended by other people who've tried it), the others decided to give the pizzas a go.

The speed of which our food was delivered was very prompt. However, my good impression of the restaurant quickly faltered when the food arrived.

Whilst everything looked appetizing, improvements were direly needed in particular to flavours.

The pizzas for one were charred down the bottom (although this at least assured us that it came out of a wood fired oven) and I will agree that the base would be very delicious had I not have to scrap off the char dust on the bottom. Although my friend disagreed with me and thought that pizza with char dust has character and she enjoyed the pizza base very much.

The topping I have found to be much too sweet, the 'meatballs' were tiny and had a particularly funny flavour (I am not sure what sort of herbs they put in it, it was just overwhelmingly sweet).

As for the beef cheek, although the pasta was quite tasty and flavour of the dish was good, we did discover a small piece of plastic in amidst the pasta.

We did take it up with the waitress and whilst she was very apologetic, she also never came back with an answer of how the piece of plastic ended up in the dish.

It just felt sad that we paid around ~$20 for the pizza and almost $30 for the homemade pasta and it really didn't feel like it was worth the money we paid.

In summary, maybe what we experienced was a one off and we may not have picked the right dishes, but I certainly won't be going back to Ciccio's in a hurry.

Recommended:...not really

Ciccio's Pasta Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Saj & Grill

Saj & Grill
Address: Corner Of Grey Street And Tribune Street, South Brisbane, QLD 4101

Saj and Grill is one the first eatery I visited when I first hit Brisbane and since then, I have been going there on a regular basis. It's a little hole in the wall with a few casual tables and seats which takes up a small area on the pedestrian walkway.

It is probably the most reasonably priced food spot in the Southbank strip (and possibly the friendliest as Dan the barista always got a big smile for everyone) and hosts not only great sajs but also fantastic coffees (Dan also serves that).

For a tiny little restaurant, Saj and Grill do host an impressive range of food from saj to wraps to salads.

Now before Saj and Grill, I've actually never heard of 'saj' before. According to Google, 'saj'is actually the metal dome that flat breads are cooked on (see the dome in the photo above) and further research shows 'saj' as a traditional Lebanese dish where the bread is cooked in a dome shaped oven and then infused with herbs and can be filled with different toppings.

Comparing notes with a couple of friends, the most popular dishes would have to be either the lamb saj or the garlic chicken saj. Everyone I spoke to have a good word or two to say about it. However, as I don't eat lamb, I often go for the garlic chicken saj or the zaatar special.

As I like to describe it, the zaatar special is the vegetarian saj which you get herbs with cucumber, tomato and olives (basically, all the good stuff).

However, whilst the zaatar special is nice, the garlic chicken saj would have to be my favourite. It's filled with the strong fragrance of garlic and taken with a mouthful of chicken, mushroom, herbs and the flat bread, the flavour just carries through and you are left salivating for the next bite...

Saj and Grill is one of the places I frequent for lunch and whilst they can be a little slow in the busy hours, it is still worth the visit.

Recommended: The coffee and the garlic chicken saj

Saj & Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 24, 2014

Kind Living Cafe

Kind Living Cafe
Address: Shop 1, 25 Maple St, Maleny QLD 4552

Visit to the Kind Living Cafe came about as Z wanted to have a healthy brunch instead of the normal high cholesterol but yummy stuff that we normally have. This place was his bid to prove to me that a healthy vegetarian brunch can be both rewarding for the body and the palate.

Kind Living Cafe is located on Maple St (the main strip) in Maleny; it is just a few doors down from Colin James Fine Foods, which is famous for its ice-creams, coffee and cheeses. Hence, when Z took me past Colin James, my heart gave a lil whoop and I thought his vision of healthy living has included ice-cream in the menu!

Of course, it was just me being delusional...

As a result, when we reached Kind Living Cafe, I was being sulky and was practically looking for every fault possible with the place. However, despite my best effort, the decor at Kind Living Cafe was pleasant and spotless. There weren't many people in the shop and the lady behind the countered greeted us with a warm smile.

The menu offered a decent selection (about 6-7 dishes for brunch). The price was on the expensive side, but given that we were getting organic products, the slightly elevated price is probably justified.

Anyway, on that day I ordered the mango banana pancake and Z went for the Kofte balls with salad.

The wait for the food was a little bit long, but given there was only 1 person running the shop and that I wasn't particularly hungry, it was tolerable.

When the food did finally arrive, I was however very impressed with the presentation. The mango pancake looked sensational!

I took a bite into the cocoa-laden pancake and the fragrant of mango, banana and cream filled my senses. It was delicious! It was almost like a dessert for me. This is definitely my kind of healthy food.

Z's Kofte balls and salad was also very tasty. The Kofte balls were filled with nuts and the salad provided the much needed crunch in the dish.

The only drawback was that we did find a strand of hair in one of the Kofte balls, which marred our visit to Kind Living Cafe. The owner was very apologetic, but all she did was heat up and replate what was left on the plate and served it back to us. Given that we paid around $20 for 3 Kofte balls and salad, I was at least expecting a replacement Kofte ball...

Kind Living Cafe, that's definitely a call for improvement!

Recommended: The mango pancakes

Kind Living Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Cafe DOV

Cafe DOV
Address: 130 Victoria St, Potts Point NSW 2011

Cafe DOV is one of my favourite places for brunch in Sydney when I visit. It has great coffee, great food, friendly waiters... the only problem is that unless you live in the Eastern Suburbs, it's a bit of a pain to get to.

However, every time I went, the trouble is all worth it in the end when I sit down for my brunch. I have never sat outdoors, but the indoor is dark and cosy (fantastic for a sleepy Sunday morning brunch).

The waiters are always very friendly and attentive, they've even let me get away with ordering kid's menu once (as I wasn't particularly hungry and didn't want to pay for a full meal that I was going to leave behind).

In terms of food, I have tried a few things there. The specials on the chalkboard inside is always worth having a look. This time round, my friend ordered gluten free toast with spinach, egg and bacon and I had the kid size blueberry pancake with ricotta.

The wait for the food was a little bit long, but given how busy it was and that the waiter came back with our coffees quite promptly, we were happy to sip on lattes and chatter away whilst we waited for the food.

When the food did arrive, the flavours and the presentation were spot on. The blueberry pancake definitely was my favourite of the two meals that day, with the fluffy pancake and the balanced sweetness from the syrup to the ricotta and the blueberries.

DOV Cafe definitely gets thumbs up from me and I will be looking forward to going back the next time I visit Sydney.

Recommended: The coffee is pretty fantastic

café DOV on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 21, 2014

Odyssey Cafe & Bar - The Greek Club

Odyssey Cafe & Bar - The Greek Club
Address: 29 Edmondstone St, South Brisbane QLD 4101

Reviews of The Greek Club have often been mixed. Whilst some rave on about the wonderful and service they've received at the restaurant, others have told me horror stories of what could barely be described as food. Given so much contention on the establishment, I decided to embark on a journey to find out for myself whether or not The Greek Club is worth the praises and/or indeed, the negativity.

To help things along, it was fortunate that I managed to secure the Urbanspoon deal and The Greek Club offered 50% discount on my meal. As result, I set out on a Monday night on my own to enjoy the ambience and the food at the Greek Club (on my own mainly as result of Z refusing to go 'try' places with contentious reviews).

Either way, that was how I ended up on the veranda of the Greek Club, by myself, with a book in my hand and two extremely friendly waiters.

The dining area at the Greek Club is separated into two section, the indoors, which is big enough to host events and parties and the outdoor veranda, which overlooks Musgrave Park. Given the choice, I would highly recommend to sit outdoors as it does have a much better view and you won't have to deal with the rather old fashioned interior design.

On the night of my visit, I was feeling particularly hungry and ordered the spanakopita for entree and the beef stifado which the waiter recommended. Now, as I am not an expert on Greek food, I had to quickly google "stifado" and results returned indicated a meaty stew with onions - a lot of onions.

The spanakopita was served rather quickly and it was simply heavenly. The pastry was golden and flaky and the spinach filling inside was ample and not too oily. The size of the dish was also quite decent, the three slices of spanakopita would have been sufficient for a small meal.

I had a feeling that the chef that night was definitely timing my meal. Cos my stifado was not served until a good 15 minutes after the eager waiter (over friendly and eager at some point who kept on checking on me to see if everything was okay) collect my plates for the entree, giving me sufficient time to digest and savour the spanakopita.

When the stifado arrived, I was pleasantly surprised. It was well-sized in proportion (the dish was MASSIVE) and it came with heaps and HEAPS of beef and onions.

The dish was fragrant and the beef was well cooked and soft that I could almost break it apart with my spoon.

I sat in the Greek Club for ages trying to finish the massive meal and ended up taking most home (which basically was another meal in itself).

I understand that there might be varying experiences at the Greek Club, but I would definitely go back for more of that spanakopita!

Recommended: The spanakopita

Odyssey Cafe & Bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Gunshop Cafe

Gunshop Cafe
Address: 53 Mollison St, West End QLD 4101

I hit the Gunshop Cafe with a few friends over the weekend after many months of procrastination. I have always been interested to try the place as I see lines on the weekend for brunch every time I go past. However, given that the Gunshop Cafe does not take order before midday on weekends meats that you'd either have to go early or line up (and I am not a fan of lining up for food, especially when I am hungry).

Anyway, a couple of friends decided that to overcome the problem of lining up, we were going to have a really late brunch (mostly lunch) and made a booking for just past midday. 

The Gunshop Cafe is located close to the Coles intersection in West End, of close proximity to The Burrow and across the road from Coles shopping center and Mu'ooz. Getting there by public transport is quite easy with 199, 196 and the Glider bus stops close by.

The restaurant itself has three sections, the outdoor, the inside and the back yard. Whilst the outdoor section is great for people watching, you also have to deal with the passing pedestrians and people lining up. The indoor hosts an array of really cool decorations, ranging from interesting head busts to nest-like hanging lights. However, on a busy day, the indoor section tends to retain all the noise and can get pretty loud. The backyard is somewhat better in terms of noise but the decoration pales in comparison.

On our visit, whilst we heard many good things about its toulous sausages, unfortunately, it was sold out by the time we ordered. Hence, we decided to go for smoke bacon, poached eggs, tomatoes, hollandaise and sourdough, prawn omelette with wakame seaweed salad and avocado on toast with quark.

The smoked bacon with poached egg was probably the table's favourite. 
The bacon was crispy and the eggs are done to perfection with runny yolks and all. Most impressively, the bread - as my friends described - was as crispy as the bacon!

The avocado toast with quark was pretty nice too, however the portion do tend to be on the small side.

I had the omelette and I had to say that whilst it didn't quite live up to my expectation, it had some redeeming factors.

Whilst the egg was soft and fluffy and the flavor well balanced with the mayo and the wakame seaweed salad, the prawns were difficult to find in the omelette. There were also suppose to be toasted panko (which is like breadcrumbs). However, there wasn't very much panko on my plate and I was hoping that the panko would provide a different texture than the fluffy eggs.

On the other hand, the use of wakame seaweed salad, eggs and wasabi was pure genius. The combined flavor left quite an impression on me and gave me some new ideas for my simple home meals.

All in all, whilst it was a pleasant visit and that the Gunshop Cafe definitely has some delicious food, it is somewhat on the expensive side. I would go back for its bacon, eggs and toasted and I remain curious of its toulouse sausages, the omelette was rather disappointing for the price paid.

Recommended: The toulouse sausages

Gunshop Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Swampdog Fish and Chips

Swampdog Fish and Chips
Address: 186 Vulture Street, South Brisbane QLD 4101

Located towards the Woolloongabba side of Vulture Street, Swampdog Fish and Chips is one place that you will often drive past and see, but not often think of stopping and eat. Well, I am here to let you know that it is definitely one place worth a visit.

The restaurant is remodelled from an old house and has both indoor and outdoor seatings. The outdoors is generally more relaxed but you do get the fumes of passing cars. I generally prefer to sit indoors (despite the cooking smell) as they offer ipads for me to play on and magazines to flip through. But most importantly, I like to sit inside due to its close proximity to the free lemonade that Swampdog offers.

Now this may sound a little el-cheapo, but the Asian in me gets excited over free food and it sings with joy when it's delicious, quality free food!

The homemade lemonade from Swampdog has to be one of the best lemonade I've tried in Brisbane! The flavour is balanced, the sugar level is controlled perfectly to balance out the sourness of the lemon and it is just so so refreshing! Sad as it is, sometimes I go to Swampdog simply because I miss the lemonade.

However, lemonade is not the only thing Swampdog does well.

Their fish and chips are also top notch (probably there amongst some of the better fish and chips places in Brisbane). The fish are fried to perfection, the outside is nice and crunchy and the fish is still moist and juicy inside.

Their spicy fish wrap is also one of my favourites for a light lunch. Unfortunately, the grilled section of the menu tend not be as consistent as the other options on the menu.

I have had the Cajun grilled fish to be excessively salty for most tastebuds. The grilled barramundi with pesto to be somewhat light in taste...

Swampdog will remain as one of my favourite fish and chips place in Brisbane. However, I do wish their grilled menu selections to be more consistent as it will greatly improve my opinion of the restaurant.

Recommended: The free lemonade is a must try

Swampdog Fish and Chips on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Yard Bird Ale House

Yard Bird Ale House
Address: 6/24 Martin St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006

Yard Bird Ale House is hidden behind Montezuma’s and Hotel Bravo in the Central Brunswick complex. Given that I do not frequent the Valley, despite the fact that Yard Bird has opened for a while now, I never noticed its existence.

I chanced upon Yard Bird Ale House when a friend and I went looking for food following a comedy show at the Tivoli Theatre. Whilst it was probably not the closest restaurant to the Tivoli, it did have a casual atmosphere which allowed us to eat, drink and chatter (more importantly, as I later found out, he wanted me to see if I could handle the Death Sentence Wings).

The establishment offers craft beer and Southern comfort food. The range of beer is generally US-centric; however, they do host a few Australian ones. I am not particularly big on beer, but the given the chillin atmosphere, I joined everyone else in Yard Bird, ordered some food and sat down to enjoy with night with a cold and good company.

As for food, I understand that there are some pretty negative reviews out there. However, as I only tried the wings that night, I won't be able to comment much on the other options on the menu.

The wings comes in a couple of flavours – original buffalo and BBQ chipotle, death sentence wings and etc - all come with complimentary sauces and some celery sticks.

I remembered those three as it came highly recommended to me and I myself quite enjoyed their flavours which was akin to something that you'd really get in mid-west in the US (St Louis at least).

As for the death sentence wings, they are chilli! But finger-licking chilli!

And no, I did not shed tears over the spiciness (but I did take big gulps of beer and stole most of the celery sticks).

All in all, I reckon that if you to go Yard Bird for the beer and experience and concentrate less on the food; it is not too bad after all.

Recommended: Death Sentence Wings

Yard Bird Ale House on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 17, 2014

Viet Hoa

Viet Hoa
Address: 220 Melbourne St, West End QLD 4101

Located on the Melbourne St running down between South Brisbane and West End, Viet Hoa has to be one of the places that I frequent for lunch.

Although the little restaurant sports a simple exterior (and interior for that matter), the restaurant is neat little spot for a quick, relatively cheap Asian meal. And Sam, the restaurant owner always has a friendly smile every time I visit.

The restaurant offers a range of Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines - namely the vermicelli noodles, pho and stir fried noodles and rice.

I have tried a few items on the menu, but my preferred meal choice would have to be the vermicelli noodles. The pho, whist isn't too bad, generally is not as flavourful as what you'd get at the other Vietnamese restaurants down on Hargraves Rd. The chicken stir fried noodles was pretty tasty, with lots of chicken and vegetables. However, quite vigorous stir fry do mean that the noodles are somewhat broken and lacks somewhat in presentation.

The beef vermicelli noodles would have to be one of the better dishes they offer. The vermicelli is done perfectly -not clumped together or starchy, there's a nice balance of different type of vegetables and the grilled beef, that's the best part.

Whilst the beef can be a little bit dry (due to the cooking method), it has a fantastic flavour that really lifts the meal to next level.

The only drawback however, would be the amount of peanuts they sprinkle on the vermicelli noodle. As Viet Hoa do generally sprinkle quite a lot, the taste of peanuts can overpower the other flavours.

All in all, Viet Hoa is a nice little place to visit for a quick meal or lunch. Although probably not somewhere I'd suggest for a foodie's night out.

Recommended: vermicelli noodle with grilled beef

Viet Hoa on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Chili Macs Diner

Chili Macs Diner

Address: 510 Pine St, St Louis MO 63101

This is the Part 2 of my St Louis trip. I have to admit, as it was a work trip and I spent most of the time with my colleagues in US, I wasn't as comfortable as I'd usually be to take out my camera and take snaps of my food and the restaurant. As a result, there is a few more restaurants that probably deserves a mention but ultimately would miss out.

Chili Macs was suggested to me by both my colleagues and the concierge at the hotel as an alternate solution to my morning feed other than sourcing it from the hotel or Starbucks. And I have never been to a true American diner before, I was extremely curious to find out if it is anything like what I see on TV with the black and white checked floor and the red dining seats.

Given that I did not know downturn St Louis well, finding the diner took somewhat longer than I expected (despite maps and directions from the concierge). But once I did, I was feeling somewhat foolish as I managed to walk past the place to work every day and did not notice the big red and white exterior.

And the interior!

It's exactly like what I have seen on TV, with its red dining seats and checked floor (although not black and white I noticed).

All of the foods are reasonably priced. The bacon & egg plate I had was around US$5 and you are filled with toasts, fries, bacon and eggs. I mean where else in a first world country (other than McDonalds) can you get a decent breakfast at this price! At least not in Australia...


In terms of flavour, as I haven't tried that many American diners, I really can't compare. However, the eggs were cooked perfectly (runny yolk in the centre and all) and even the bacon (yes, I have been warned about American bacon - that it can be a bit plastic-like and people tend to deep fry them) was quite tasty too.

The fries was probably my least favourite part of the meal and that's probably because I took too long to get to it and it was a little bit soggy by then.

All in all, I had a great experience at Chili Mac's and can't wait to go back again next time I hit St Louis!

Recommended: whatever tickles your fancy, I really liked the bacon & egg plate

Chili Macs Diner on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 14, 2014

Alfred & Constance

Alfred & Constance
Address: Corner of Alfred & Constance Streets, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006

I have a bit of a love and hate relationship with Alfred & Constance. Whilst I love the food, the drinks and the atmosphere (pretty much everything), to have a spontaneous dinner and dessert there without making any booking is generally a terrible idea, in fact trying to have drink sitting down is pretty much impossible and trying to make a booking for a group less than 8 people is well... not accepted. Alfred & Constance also get very crowded every Friday and Saturday evening as tired and weary souls look for an outlet in scrumptious food, lively music and that social lubricant - also known as alcohol.

Alfred & Constance is located on the quieter side of the valley, in closer proximity to Limes Hotel than the hustle and bustle of the central Valley district.

The establishment is of one big re-modelled house, and is split into several levels and sections. There is the dining room, the cafe on the lower floor and the tiki bar upstairs (which is also the smoking area).

I have been to Alfred & Constance several times now for food and for drinks, but recent more for the drinks.

For drinks, Alfred & Constance offer a wide of range of choices, ranging from the typical beer and wine to some very delicious cocktails, which you have got to try at least one when you visit (and more than one if you are out on a big night).

In terms of the food, I have tried their beef lasagne and the pulled pork burger.

And whilst people's opinion on this may differ, I have to say, Alfred and Constance had the best ever lasagne I have ever tasted in Australia! The flavours were balanced, and there was just the right amount of cheese to sauce.

Whilst their mains are great, what I love more however is the dessert.

Their dessert bar is open til late on the weekend, serving those with sugar cravings (and cake cravings) after consuming copious amount of alcohol.

Per slice of cake is at around $8.50 (at least that's what I remember as I am generally much less sober by the time I get around to cakes) and the very cute waiter diligently plates up the cake (I had the salted caramel one), drizzling it slightly with espresso coffee and some chocolate and in his words "to help soak up the alcohol".

In summary, Alfred and Constance are a few words that I generally associate with a fun night out with a big group of friends. And just by that alone, I'd definitely be back for more.

Recommended: The lasagne

Alfred and Constance on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pony Lounge & Dining

Pony Lounge & Dining
Address: Upper Level 18/45 Eagle St, Brisbane QLD 4000

According to Urbanspoon, Pony Brisbane has got spectacularly bad reviews and sometimes I do wonder if it deserves the negativity it receives.

A friend and I went to Pony for dinner on a regular week night. And whilst we agree some aspects of the restaurant could be improved, most of evening was a delight.

Pony is situated at the Eagle Street Pier, overlooking the Brisbane River on one side and the Brisbane CBD on the other side. The restaurant is divided into a few section including small booths, communal tables, bar seating, a private dining room and a bar which opens onto the terrace.

On the evening of our visit, due to the fact that over half of the restaurant was booked out by a corporate function, we only had access to booths, which was well separated from the noises over on the other side of the restaurant.

As neither of us felt like drinking, we only quickly scanned through the drinks menu and it felt that the restaurant had a good range of drinks available on offer.

Now for the meal, whilst my friend opted to have a range of entrees, I decided to skip straight to the main.

Despite our unusual request, the staffs were very accommodating and made sure that our food almost came out at the same time.

Whilst my friend ordered the squid, the lamb and the wagyu, for my main, I had the seafood, which happened to be whiting with vegetables and garnished with foam.

I cannot say much about my friend's meal, except she thought that both the squid and the lamb was delicious (she thought the lamb was especially exceptional.

As for my dish, the fish was seared perfectly, crispy on the skin and food flavours with the meat. Overall, the dish balanced nicely with the exception of the foam. Which I thought other than the nice presentation it added to dish, it did not add or subtracted to the flavour of the food. Reflecting back now, at the price we paid for our meal, it did somehow feel like we were paying a lot more for the presentation and atomsphere.

For dessert, I had the chocolate cake with raspberry and mango. That was definitely the highlight of our meal. Both my friend and I thought the dessert was so fabulous that we'd return to Pony just to have dessert in the future.

However, unfortunately, when we checked the menu again a couple weeks ago, we realised that the menu has been rotated and the current selection of dessert does not sound as appetizing as the old range they offered.

I am definitely waiting for the next menu rotation and fingers crossed, the dishes we like returns.

Recommended: The desserts

Pony Dining Eagle Street Pier on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Zafron on Brunswick

Zafron on Brunswick
Address: 726 Brunswick St, New Farm QLD 4005

Zafron is one of these restaurants that came to my attention under mixed reviews. Whilst some friends found the dishes overly expensive and flavourless, others swears by its authentic Iranian flavours (this actually came from a friend who is from Iran).

And since I have never been to the Middle East and have never tried Iranian food, I have been very curious to find out for myself what Iranian food tasted like.

So with a few friends, we decided to try Zafron out on a nice Friday evening.

Zafron is located in a renovated house on Brunswick Street in the heart of Fortitude Valley, diagonally across the road from Gertie's (which is a great place for a drink or two after dinner by the way).

The owner and the waiter was friendly and did their best to serve our ever changing needs as my friends turned up in dribbles over the course of 1.5 hours (very bad traffic jam and troubles with parking that night apparently). But despite all the troubles we caused, they always had a smile for us and adapted to our needs.

On that night, I ordered the Fesenjan. Which according to its description is Persian casserole of chicken Pieces slow-cooked With crushed walnuts & pomegranate molasses, served with Saffron Rice.

The dishes arrived in good time, however, everyone got their dishes at a different pace (although it's not completely their fault as the group ordered in batches)...

In terms of the flavour of the food, I am not sure whether it is meant to be of lighter tasting, however, I do find the fesenjan a bit on the sweet side despite its stronger fragrance.

I also looked hard for the pomegranate molasses, which by the end I concluded that it must have melted into the dish and hence contributed to the dish's sweeter taste.

However, most of my friends who ordered lambs and other dishes all enjoyed their dishes and thought the flavours were great.

All in all, Zafron offered a very pleasant meal and experience and we were delighted to have tried Iranian food without actually having to leave Brisbane.

Recommended: My friends who ordered the Caspian chicken and the lambs really enjoyed their dishes

Zafron on Brunswick on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mu'ooz Eritrean Restaurant

Mu'ooz Eritrean Restaurant

Address: 54 Mollison St, West End QLD 4101

I have always been curious by cuisines around the world, especially places that I've never been to. It's my belief that a country/region's cuisine tells a lot about the culture and the history of the place.

The fact that the restaurant is a non-profit organization that tries to integrate Eritrea migrants into the Australian society and provide the Australian an opportunity to understand Eritrean culture also seemed like a worthy initiative and further fuelled by curiosity.

When Mu'ooz Eritrean Restaurant opened up in West End and became much more accessible for me, I was dying to try to it out. Hence, on a lovely Thursday evening, a group of friends (around 15 people) decided to go and give the place a try. Mu'ooz is located between the Coles shopping complex and Cafe Meze. It is easily accessible through via the Glider and is only a short walk via the 199 or the 196.

The exterior of the restaurant is open and gives the sense of spaciousness and the simple wooden decor really pushes through the idea of a rural village. It also has a sizeable backyard behind, good for hosting for a large number of people.

On my visit, given that we had a large number of people, we were seated in the backyard, under the stars. Which is quite lovely given the breezy winds at night, however, it also meant that given our close proximity to the restaurant's freezer, every time someone opened the freezer to fetch food, we'd get a gust of cold air.

In terms of drinks, I'd probably also advice to steer away from ordering wine or simply, just BYO. Whilst the restaurant offers wines, it comes as either red or white (do not throw fancy names like Pinot Gris and Riesling around as the same white will be served). The flavour of the wine is poor and the red taste worse than some casket wines you'd get from the bottle shop.

Entrees were generally pleasant and especially since they can do them gluten free and still make them taste good, it was especially impressive.

The mains are generally a meat or vegetable curry served on a sourdough pancake with a side serving of fresh salad. However, if you are especially unadventurous, they do also offer beef lasagne with chips and steak and chips.

For my main, I went for the chicken zighni, most of my group went either for the lamb, the goat or the soso chicken (Soso is the name of the dish by the way).

The wait for our food was not particularly long, however, when we did receive our food, the results varied greatly. The goat received great reviews, being quite tasty and the meat soft and falling of the bones. The lamb on the other hand was less appreciated as it was quite chewy.

The chicken zighni was quite hot (as described on the menu), however, given that the whole curry had three pieces of chicken and rest being made up of runny curry, the pancake on the bottom was soggy by the end and became difficult to eat.

The soso chicken fared somewhat better, however it has the same problem of the soggy pancake by the end.


In terms of the service, what we experienced on the night had its highs and lows.

Whilst the waitress was very attentive throughout the meal and the lady who ran the restaurant came around in the end and asked if everyone enjoyed the meal and was happy to serve us a small taste of different food if we didn't like our particular dish, the happy experienced was marred when it came to the bills.

The restaurant managed to double charge us with entrees and we were silly to have paid for the bill before realising something was incorrect. After a good 15 minutes of sorting through our order, we went back to the waitress, asking for a refund of the additional $50 that we have been wrongly charged.

That is when they accused us of not having the paid the $50 at all!

Another 5 minutes of fuming, arguing and searching, we realised that the $50 note was on the counter, on top of the menus!

In summary, whilst Mu'ooz is worth a visit once and try out new food, patience and understanding is a must.

Recommended: The goat Mu'ooz Eritrean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 10, 2014

Malt Dining

Malt Dining
Address: 28 Market Street,Brisbane QLD 4000

Malt Dining has to be one of those places that despite the expensive prices, I really did enjoy my visit and would like to go back again and again.

The establishment is located near Eagle St Pier in the CBD and is split between in three levels.

Whilst downstairs is good for a drink and catch up for some casual chatter with colleagues on a Friday evening, the restaurant in the Attic is a hidden gem (maybe because the menu is quite pricey?).

Anyway, I have been to Malt several time before for drinks and never had the opportunity to venture further up to try the restaurant despite the raving reviews I have been hearing about the place.

So one fine Friday evening, I dragged a friend along to find out what Malt is all about.

We were quite pleasantly surprised as we were seated almost immediately without a reservation on a busy Friday evening. The waiters were attentive and knowledgeable (without being too pushy).

As the mains were prices at around $40 pp, we did decide to forego entree and jump straight to the main. My friend orders the rabbit whilst I had the beef cheek.

We did not have to wait for long for our dishes and when they arrived, the flavours on both were simply fantastic. The meats where tender and juicy and even the salad (and vegetables) accompanied the dishes were seasoned perfectly.

Accompany that with the beautiful presentation of each dish, we simply devoured our mains and rubbed our tummies in culinary delight.

Now, from what I am aware of, the rabbit that they use to serve has been rotated out of the menu (I have a feeling that the menus are seasonal). However, that should not deter anyone from going to Malt! Given the amount of care and attention that we were shown during our visit and the great reviews I have been hearing from my friends in Sydney (no less!), they take great care in making sure every visit is a pleasant one.

Recommended: The beef cheek... I am still drooling

Malt Dining on Urbanspoon