Friday, September 5, 2014

Deer Duck Bistro

Deer Duck Bistro
Address: 396 Milton Rd Auchenflower, QLD 4066

Z and I choose to try the Deer Duck Bistro degustation to celebrate our birthdays. We've heard good reviews about the place; however, most people seem to indicate that when they were there 2-3 years ago, the food has been amazing. No one seems to have a clear indication on what the restaurant is like now.

From the outside, the restaurant looked unassuming. It was not until we stepped into the restaurant that we realised it is separated into three dining quarters. The first section (as you stepped in), is very simply decorated. It had an easy, casual feel that you would normally get in a nice cafe. The second larger room is a little bit more closely packed. The decor is very much art deco (think 1920s; chandeliers, dark walls, wooden floors and dim lighting...). The third room, which is where Z and I were seated, was a little bit more spacious and it continues the decoration ambience from the larger room.

We opted for the 7 course degustation that night (the picture will only show 6 dishes - the amuse bouche picture has gone MIA). Instead of matching wine for each dish (Z doesn't like whites); we opted for a bottle of red that would go with (almost) every dish.

We started off with the crackle and the miso soup, which was simply divine. The crackles were made from fish skin and it complemented nicely with the sweetness of the miso soup (although I did think miso soup was a touch too sweet).

This was followed by the cured salmon. That was probably my favourite dish of the night. The salmon was cured to perfection. It had just the right level of tartness, smokiness and sweetness. Overall, I felt the dish to be very refreshing and I was hungry for more.

Next up was the egg yolk, barley & foam (what I called the garden barn) dish. The dish was seasoned well and the freshness of the egg yolk was complemented well by the grains and nuts.

For (I guess what you'd call) the main, lamb was on offer. However, given my dietary restriction, whilst Z happily chomped away on his lamb chops, I went for the vegetarian option, which was filled with a variety of mushrooms. The dish again was done well, very delicate texture and the seasoning was controlled.

Next up was the cheese plate and the amuse bouche. There was not very much needed to be said about the amuse bouche as it was mainly flavoured shaved ice with egg roll. The cheese plate on the other hand, I also won't comment much as I am not a big goat’s cheese (or blue cheese) person and the dish was unfortunately mainly those two cheeses.

Hence, Z happily ate both of your portions as I eager waited for the dessert, which was a chocolate beetroot brownie.

I have to say, I was quite amazed at how nice chocolate and beetroot complemented each other. As the dessert were a good balance of sweetness and a hint of earthiness.

Overall, it was quite an exciting set and I was happy that I had the opportunity to try it.

Recommended: The degustation was pretty good!

Deer Duck Bistro on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sushi Kotobuki

Sushi Kotobuki
Address: Shop 3 - behind fish cafe, 53 Lytton Rd, East Brisbane, QLD

Sushi Kotobuki is probably Z's favourite sushi place in Brisbane. I probably need to explain that when I say 'sushi place', I don't include the luxurious Japanese restaurants with the likes of Sake or Sono, but more like simple Japanese restaurants that concentrates on sushi and curry.

I suppose the beauty of Sushi Kotobuki is in its simplicity...

The restaurant is hidden behind two other restaurants along the busy Lytton Rd. The shop is actually quite small which means that whilst there are seats indoor, they remain scarce and most patrons just sit on the metallic tables and chairs outside (don't worry, the restaurant do provide cushions and wraps just in case you get cold).

The menu actually offers quite a wide range of dishes ranging from sushi, bento boxes, curry and other tad bits.

I normally just stick to the sushi when ordering. I have tried their snacks (edamame, miso soup etc.) before, other than the miso soup, the other stuff was pretty average.

But the sushi on the other hand, is generally quite amazing. I normally stick to the salmon rolls and the spider rolls. But the other sushi I've tried, the restaurant always manage to keep it a perfect balance of flavour and the ingredients are always fresh (no stale rice flavour you'd sometimes get from the takeaway joints).

In terms of price, I wouldn't exactly categorize Sushi Kotobuki as cheap...

To have a decent meal there, it'd cost you around $15-20pp (per sushi roll is ~$12).

However, given that everything is freshly made, I'd say it's worth the price.

Recommended: I try different things every time, haven't found a favourite yet as they are all simply delicious

Sushi Kotobuki on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bacchus Dessert Degustation

Bacchus Dessert Degustation
Address: South Brisbane, Podium Level of Rydges Hotel
Podium Level Cnr Grey & Glenelg Streets South Bank, QLD 4101

This, I admit was a bit of over-indulgence on my part when I saw the offer of dessert degustation from Bacchus thought to myself 'pft, I LOVE desserts. I can eat dessert all day. A dessert degustation will be a piece of cake...'

Anyway, Z and I decided that we will do this as a double date with a good friend of ours. Now, dessert degustation generally starts from 8pm every night, but luckily, we managed to secure a 7.15pm booking (and given that we spent a good 4 hours in the restaurant in order to fit everything into our tummy, I reckon booking for an earlier start is much recommended).

We've also decided to go with matching wines that - a decision which ended up being a double edged sword simply because you only have so much stomach space and in the end, it felt like you could either eat or drink (but doing both was impossible).

The ambience at Bacchus was also very posh but warm, like something you'd expect out of a five star restaurant. The waiters were absolutely lovely and offered perfect service (to the point where one of my friends wanted to take one particular waiter home because he was so ridiculously funny).

The desserts however, I don't know if I can write well enough to do them justice as each dish was so spectacularly unique and superb - from the white chocolate donuts and hot chocolate in the appetizers to the chocolate forest amuse bouche (which for Z was the highlight of the meal) to the decadent dessert for the dessert degustation...

We must have at least 10 dishes of sugary goodness for the 5 course degustation that we thought we were in for.

Of course, we each had our favourites, whilst Z preferred the amuse bouche; my friends preferred the raspberry & sorbet pannacotta (1st course) and the soufflé. Myself, I must agree that the soufflé was possibly the best soufflé I've ever had. The flavour was just superb and the softness texture of the soufflé really contrasted well with the crunchiness of the walnut inside.

Needless to say, the night was unforgettable (in the best - great great food - and worst sense - I could not look at dessert for the remainder of the week)!

Recommended: with the matching wine!

Bacchus on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 1, 2014

Ramen Champion

Ramen Champion
Address: Shop 50 Sunnypark Shopping Centre Sunnybank, QLD 4109

After hearing much rave about the new ramen joint in Sunnybank, my friend and I made a trip to Sunnybank one rainy Friday night, hoping the broth of the ramen would provide some warmth and comfort for the both of us.

The Ramen Champion shop front is hidden in Sunnypark Shopping Centre (it's located near Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant). The shop is on that back corner and quite small. In total, I don't think the restaurant could fit more than 25 patrons at a time.

The decor is also very simple. With exception to the signage at the back of the small, providing a flash of colour, the idea of more like a street food stall that has some tables and seats.

Everything is also pretty much self-services. You find your own tables and chairs, you order at the counter and grab your own spices, water and utensils - like most Asian establishments really.

The menu is also quite simple. There are only 6 or 7 choices of ramen and 3 or 4 side dishes you could choose from.

Anyway, for our visit, I went for the simple Champion Ramen and my friend went for the Champion Ramen Men (yes, I think he specifically choose it because of the word 'Men' in the name of the dish).

The services was relatively fast given that the joint was fully seated by the time we arrived, we received our noodles around 15 minutes after ordering.

In my opinion, the ramen was not bad. The soup was flavoursome, the noodles had a decent amount of chewiness and the char-sui pork was so soft that it almost melts in your mouth and much more flavourful than Hakataya's. However, the egg was extremely bland and was not cooked to the same perfection as you would normally get (ie. yolk has set but gives the sign of slightly running and there's a slightly soy/salty flavour in the egg which compliments the ramen).

The Champion Ramen Men was basically the same stock, however, the noodles are thicker and are served separately. Instead of slurping away at the soup and noodle, you'd dip the noodle in the thicker stock.

I am not sure my experience at Ramen Champion is positive or negative. It simply left me with a sense of 'meh' after my meal.

Recommended: Champion Ramen

Ramen Champion on Urbanspoon