Saturday, 16 January 2021

Fritzenburger - Southbank


Sometimes you get really good experience with a food delivery, sometimes you wonder whether or not it's worth using at all. Unfortunately my experience with Fritzenburger at Southbank last weekend was in the second category. Having spent way to much time watching Netflix, I had lost track of the time and so we ended up getting our dinner delivered instead of cooking. The delivery driver was friendly but the food did take a while to get here.


I had ordered two burgers and a side of chips for the two of us. The first point of concern was the bottom of the bag which was already slick with oil and sauce and at risk of breaking from how wet it had gotten. I didn't really even want to put the bag on our kitchen table.


Dr L had the Bacon Burger, it allegedly contains a beef patty, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and onion. The only problem was that they missed the bacon outright. I would have been more forgiving if they had missed a special request I added on the side, but to miss the main ingredient of one of their most popular burgers was disappointing to say the least. As for the burger itself, the top bun was fairly light and fluffy but the bottom bun was quite soaked with sauces. The meat patty was quite thick compared to our recent foray into smash patties and obviously very moist with juices, oils and sauces. Salads were abundant.



I ordered the Cheese X Burger, with its two beef patties, onion and pickle. I was unsure why there were fragments of lettuce in my burger, but at least it wasn't short of stipulated ingredients. the bottom bun was almost completely disintegrated from the inundation of sauces, oils and juices to the point where it had leaked all over the box, out onto the bag and I suspect into the delivery driver's car. I was unable to lift the burger without getting all the sauces over my hands and ended up having to eat it with cutlery. Had it not been for this though, the burger was fairly average. The patties were thick and juicy but not overly flavoursome, I did enjoy the cheese and as mentioned, the was way too much sauce.


The redeeming factor was definitely the large chips. Although it was expensive for what was provided, at least dry and not soggy. It was only lightly salted and not overly tasty but after that burger was a welcome change. I was fairly disappointed in the overall experience and would definitely not recommend. The bad thing about getting delivery is the inability to even speak with staff about these kind of issues and all I can do is hope they improve.

Price Range: $15 - $25pp

Taste: 3/10
Value: 3/10
Service: 7/10
Environment: N/A 

Fritzenberger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Viet Pho Ever - Woolloongabba


Having ordered quite a few food deliveries lately, from being lazy over the new year to being forced to stay indoors due to the most recent lockdown, there is little that I appreciate better than restaurants that are actually able to follow special requests. Last Monday I had just that experience with Viet Pho Ever at Woolloongabba. Working from home whilst Dr L, being the essential worker that he is, had to head out into the unknown, I was left to fend for myself without wanting to head out to get some more groceries. Luckily Doordash came to the rescue and I got to try out Viet Pho Ever.


Having to meet the $20 quota for one wasn't easy but I ended up getting a bowl of pho and a side of spring rolls. Service was friendly and I ended up getting my food a lot earlier than I had anticipated which was great.


My spring rolls came with extra sweet chilli sauce and two complimentary prawn crackers, which was a little extra and made a bit of difference. Despite the distance it was served fairly crispy and warm with fresh fillings. Although it was quite expensive for what it was, the quality was fairly good.


It really says a lot about the current state of delivery services that I am very happy when a restaurant actually reads my requests on the order. I had asked for no sprouts (to save wastage because I am not a fan) and extra noodles (because there was no extras options on doordash for Viet Pho Ever). I was given both and this is highly commendable.


Onto the meal itself, another thing I really enjoyed was the soup being kept separate from the noodles. Although it came fairly hot already, I was able to heat it up to boiling before pouring it over my noodles. The serving size was generous and I could definitely appreciate the amount of extra noodles provided. Soup was a little light in taste but still hit the spot. Noodles were silky smooth without being overly oily and beef was not too rare but still thinly sliced and tender. Will definitely have to go back to the shop when I can for another round soon.

Price Range: $15 - $25pp

Taste: 8/10
Value: 9/10
Service: 9.5/10
Environment: N/A

Viet Pho Ever Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Canvas - Woolloongabba


Rainy summer evening and I didn't feel like cooking so Dr L and I decided to take a nice evening stroll whilst foraging for some food. We ended up at the food hub at Woolloongabba and decided on trying out moody cocktail bar Canvas for some light drinks and snacks that evening. 


 

We grabbed the last two seats of the night and luckily didn't have to wait. I liked the chilled moody interior. The menu had quite a few snacky foods to share as well as quite a good selection of cocktails, beer and wine. 


Our drinks came fairly quickly. I had a Kiss of Death whilst he had a fruity mocktail. Mine was expectedly strong with a smokey creamy texture to it all although it was fairly sweet. Next time will try a more refreshing drink instead.


 

We had three tapas to share, the first to arrive was the Pulled Pork Tacos. These were small and bite sized with a decent amount of pork per taco. The meat was tender and stringy and I enjoyed the creamy sauce on top although I would have preferred the meat were more seasoned. 


We also had a serve of Potato Croquettes. This was the perfect bar snack to go with alcohol. With a lightly crumbed and crisp exterior and a fluffy starchy interior it soaked up the alcohol well. 



Last dish was the Lamb Meatballs, it came with some sourdough to soak up the sauces. By contrast to the tacos this was a definite flavour hit with a very well seasoned lamb, some tomato sauce and crumbly feta. We really liked the complementary tastes and would highly rate this dish.

Price Range: $35 - $45pp

Taste: 7/10
Value: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Environment: 8/10
Canvas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 7 January 2021

1919 Lanzhou Beef Noodle - Upper Mt Gravatt


Those who follow trends in Chinese Cuisine will have noted that Lanzhou Beef Noodle is having a moment right now. There have been quite a few chains of the delicious dish having opened around Australia. The most recent addition is 1919 Lanzhou Beef Noodle which opened in Garden City, which has since been known for their extensive lines during mealtimes. I made a point to check it out with family last week to see whether the hype was indeed worthwhile.



Having received recommendations to arrive before 12pm, that is what we did and there were already short lines forming and we had quite a bit of difficulty getting a table. We got a menu and waited to put down our order. It was full counter service. There was of course a good selection of beef noodle soup and there were seven types of noodles to match with the selection of soup. Other than this there were also dim sim as well as cold side dishes. 



We ordered three bowls of noodles to share along with a few sides. These came out fairly quickly.


First one I tried was the Braised Beef Noodle with Thinner Noodles. The soup was warm and wholesome with strong beefy flavours. Upon first inspection there really wasn't too much beef to go with the bowl of noodles but it turns out that these were hidden underneath the noodles. I picked the thinner noodles which were highly popular, they were a little soft and slightly overdone but had soaked in quite a bit of the soup and was still quite delicious. Although the noodles were underwhelming the beef was surprisingly good being extremely tender whilst still being very lean. 


Mum's favourite was the Pickled Cabbage Beef Noodle Soup with Thin Noodles. These noodles maintained bite, probably because they were thicker than the thinner noodles and she really enjoyed the light sourness of the pickles added to the soup. The beef used in this was also quite lean although it wasn't as soft as the previous bowl. Portion wise, all three were fairly generous even without an extra noodle option. 


Never missing an opportunity to try the signature dish, this was the Lanzhou Beef Noodle Soup served with wide noodle. Given our experience with both the thinner noodle and the thin noodle, I was expecting this noodle to be the firmer of the three but it turned out to be quite soft. Despite being fairly wide, it was also very thin which meant that it turned soft very quickly. Soup wise this was the mildest of the three and we were able to appreciate the light beef flavours and taste of scallion a lot more. 

 

We didn't want any dim sims after such a large meal but still couldn't pass up on getting two cold sides, the tripe and brisket as well as the tofu salad. The tripe and brisket had slight hints of numbing spice but this was quite light. I do enjoy the chewy texture of tripe and this was no different. The tofu was also light and had more bite than their noodles. Overall it was a solid meal but I don't consider it worthy of hype, but I wouldn't be opposed to a return visit.

Price Range: $10 - $20pp

Taste: 7.5/10
Value: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Environment: 7/10 

1919 Lanzhou Beef Noodle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 4 January 2021

Butterfly - Woolloongabba


For most of us, 2020 had been quite an underwhelming year to say the least. I spent over nine months working from home and consider myself lucky in having little impact to my work, with neither my family nor friends being severely impacted. The same cannot be said however for the hospitality scene in Brisbane. Closures have been abundant and excited openings have been few and far between. I had anticipated a fairly muted birthday celebration this year, especially when considering the difficulties in finding an opening during the period between Christmas and New Year. Thankfully I was perusing the Courier Mail a few weeks before and noted the opening of Butterfly in Woolloongabba, a newly opened Korean Fine Dining restaurant run by two Michelin trained chefs.



With a dark aesthetic it was definitely moody. Lighting was set to the centre stage with the performance of the chefs forming an essential element of the dining experience. When the restaurant is at full capacity, it seats 22 people, however that night we were seated alongside four other diners for a far more cozy and intimate experience. 


We were looked after by chefs Alex Kim (who had worked at one Michelin starred Lee Jong Kuk 104)  and Emanuele Polenero (who worked at Il Piastrino and Accursio Ristorante in Italy and Texture in London), throughout the dining experience their professional skills and expertise really shone through. They also shared a lot of their invaluable insight into their respective cuisines and we left not only full but also thoroughly educated. 

 

The dinner was omakase and we weren't provided menus, adding to the element of surprise. The menu changes daily anyway depending on what is fresh and in season. Starting off our meal, we were provided with corn tea, with its mild sweet taste it provided a good accompaniment to our meal.




Our meal opened up with a welcome drink, the Korean Melon Shake with Sago. It was fairly thick with strong hints of rockmelon and pear with delectable sago balls at the bottom akin to a fruity bubble tea. The piece of mint on top added to the freshness of the beverage. I especially liked that it wasn't too sweet.


The first few starter courses were a lot lighter and delicate tasting before moving onto the heavier dishes, this was the five days aged kingfish sashimi with passion fruit. Readers would know that I am not often presented with the opportunity to try out dry aged sashimi, so I was definitely thrilled in being able to have some more. Compared to fresh sashimi, this was drier in texture but softer and with less of a fishy smell to it. soft and tender, the passionfruit seeds provided a good crunch and added sweetness to the otherwise soft dish.

 

Another fish we had was the one week aged Tasmanian salmon with chojang. Again like the kingfish, the salmon was a lot more dry and less fishy in smell but it retained the smooth oiliness that salmon is well known for. In fact the piece of salmon belly almost melted in my mouth. Served with chojang, a sweet and spicy red chilli pepper sauce allowed for variation from my usual soy and wasabi combination. The sweetness really accentuated the natural taste of the fish without being overbearing and neither did the spice. I really enjoyed this dish.

 

Next up was the, Gyeran Jjim also known in Japanese as Chawunmushi, it was served with with free range chicken and chestnut. It was lightly steamed to result in a super smooth and silky texture. Coupled with complementary flavours of chicken and the earthy flavours of enoki. Chestnut gave it some extra crunch too.


Our final fish of the night was the experimental one month cured blue mackerel. Compared to the other two, it was charcoal grilled and not served raw. The fish was far more firm and meaty. Although more pungent than the rest, I found it to be the most enjoyable on the part of it's fragrance and texture.



Meatier dishes came after the fish and we had the A8 grilled wagyu rib eye. With wonderful amount of marbling it was ever so lightly seared in front of us to allow for the fat to start melting without fully rendering. It made for a delightfully buttery mouthfeel that left us wanting more. 

 

Another famous element of Korean cuisine is Jun, which translates to pan fried, but has evolved to mean pancake. That night we had two types, the Hokkaido Oyster Jun and Pumpkin Jun. These were served crisp and had a good balance of batter to topping, the delicious oyster was a moist parcel of flavour within the pancake. I definitely enjoyed this course.


The other barbecue dish we had was Dr L's favourite, Gochujang marinated pork belly w mash and spring onion salad. Gochujang is chilli pepper sauce and it was thankfully not very spicy. Coupled with the smooth creamy mash, it was wonderfully balanced and a unique coupling that I would never have considered before and was definitely a highlight of our meal.


Another dish which was highly unique that I had not considered before was the crab salad with tofu dressing. After a few heavier dishes, this was definitely a nice chilled interlude. The favours were light and the fresh seafood flavours were highlighted by the silky smooth tofu.



 

As mentioned earlier on, Chef Emanuele Polenero heralded from Italy and is very passionate about Italian food. That nigh we were able to try his hand made pasta served with creamy Fermented Korean cod roe sauce as well as sesame leaf. I absolutely loved the pasta, it had an amazing texture being just soft enough with bite after the end. Chef mentioned that it was made on the day and we could definitely taste the difference. Served with the creamy cod roe it was lightly salty and decadent especially with the fragrance of sesame. This was definitely one of my favourites of the evening.


Our last seafood course of the night was Australian Wild Banana Prawn Tempura. It was unbelievably crunchy and the prawn was huge with a deshelled middle but the head and tail were retained. The prawn was firm and fresh with a fairly thick batter. It went well with the dashi dipping sauce.



Our last savoury course of the evening was the Kukbab wagyu beef soup with Aomori rice. It was served with house made radish kimchi. I was very full by the time this came out but still couldn't resist the allure of the creamy wagyu marrow soup with the smooth texture of rice that has a bit of bite despite being submerged in soup. The beef was cooked perfectly rare and tender. I also really enjoyed the shimeji mushrooms cooked in the broth. The radish was made in house, fresh and lightly spicy with a crunch to it. I would have enjoyed this as a meal on its own.


Our dessert for the night was a matcha panna cotta with caramel sauce. The matcha was fairly light in flavour and the red beans provided texture. I found the caramel sauce to be on the sweeter side and balanced out the smooth dessert. It was a delicious light dessert to finish off a decadent meal.


Dr L and I had a fantastic time at Butterfly. We really enjoyed our dinner and learned quite a bit about Korean culture and cuisine along the way. I liked the changing menu and it made for a very special birthday dinner after such an unusual year. Will definitely be back for another round in the near future.

Price Range: $150pp

Taste: 9.5/10
Value: 9/10
Service: 10/10
Environment: 9/10

Butterfly Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato