Saturday, 18 January 2020

Joy - Fortitude Valley

Second birthday dinner at the end of 2019 and we were lucky enough to secure seats at Joy, which had only recently been bestowed two chef's hats by Good Food Guide 2020. I had long been looking for a good enough excuse to try out the food here and a birthday was the perfect opportunity. Staying up to midnight 3 months ahead of time to book the last 3 seats for the night, it was definitely exclusive.

As mentioned on quite a few other blogs and sites, the menu changes regularly and is individually sealed with wax. We were super excited when we got ours. That night, rather than an option between a short and a long course, there was one option of a Joy course, which saved us having to make a decision.

Starting off with a glass of Genmaicha to accompany our first course, this was warm, toasty and light. 

Our first course was the Japanese inspired Chawanmushi with smoked cream, quinoa, corn tarragon and scallop. Compared to the chawanmushi I have at home or at other Japanese restaurants, this had a far smoother and creamier texture almost like a custard rather than the usual gelatinous feel. Corn tarragon added a lot of texture to the dish. I also really loved the ikura that it was topped with. 

Our next course was the Venison and Wagyu Tartare with golden sesame, celeriac and buckwheat. As a huge fan of tartare, this was a very delicious rendition of one of my favourite dishes. The tartare was well seasoned, fresh and went well with the crisp celeriac.


The highlight of our night was Zucchini with confit squid and fragrant herbs, this was served with Buckwheat bread. The squid was thinly sliced and amazingly tender, with a texture that was almost noodle like. The zucchini and herbs added so much depth of flavour, and the buckwheat bread soaked up the residual juices wonderfully.

This was the Octopus with prawn xo crunchy veg and garlic. This was a very light and refreshing dish, the octopus was very soft and well seasoned, the xo packed a spicy kick to the dish and I loved the addition of garlic.

Final savoury dish for the night was the Wagyu with banana blossom, wasabi leaf and roasted cabbage. This was cooked to a rare pink centre and melted in our mouth. The wasabi leaf and cabbage added balance, but we woul

Palate cleanser for the night was a Cucumber, jalapeno, mint, melon and blue pea flower granita. Cool and refreshing with a hint of spiciness, it was a good interlude before our much anticipated dessert.

First dessert was the Japanese inspired Cherry Blossom with green tea, roasted white chocolate, musk and strawberry. I absolutely loved the smooth fragrant cherry blossom, the texture reminded me a little of the chawanmushi that we commenced our meal with. The green tea element was crunchy and textured whilst the strawberry gave it some added tartness.

Final dessert was the signature Joy Mont Blanc with hazelnut, artichoke and salted cream. It was a very decadent dessert, with a crisp biscuit base, smooth hazelnut and artichoke, the salted cream gave it balance to ensure it wasn't overly rich. Of course, gold flake made it all the more special, and the perfect way to round off our meal.


We loved our time at Joy, especially the wonderful hospitality of Tim and Sarah :) Can't wait for another special occasion to come back again!

Price Range: $100pp

Taste: 10/10
Value: 10/10
Service: 10/10
Environment: 10/10

Joy Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Moge - Southbank

Am a big fan of Moge Tea at Runcorn, but being inconvenient for me to get to from both home or work, I am unable to frequent it as much as I would want. With that in mind, I was fairly pleased to hear they opened a second branch at South Brisbane, so we decided to do a quick pit stop after dinner the other week. Being situated under a student accommodation building made it fairly popular that night.

Although they had the same name, it appeared that there were quite a few differences in the menu choices between branches. Gone were the oreo and cake foam options, but a few of our regulars were still available.

There were also a selection of souffle and dorayaki for dessert options. We weren't hungry enough to order the souffle and the dorayaki were long sold out, so guess we will have to come back next time.


Our drinks were made quite promptly. He had the Dirty Brown Sugar Milk Tea with Pearls and I had the Dirty Strawberry Milk. We both found our drinks to be relatively bland. Compared to the Runcorn branch, my strawberry milk came with an extra scoop of ice cream, but it wasn't particularly creamy and didn't add much to the drink. The strawberry was also fairly sour. Trying some of his drink, despite the apparent brown sugar smeared around the cup, it tasted largely like milk with pearls. Looks like I'll have to go back to their other store for my usual fix. At least the cup was cute though.

Price Range: $5 - $10pp

Taste: 5/10
Value: 5/10
Service: 7/10
Environment: 7/10
Moge Tee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Yoko - Brisbane CBD

Some of you may recall that last year for one of my birthday dinners, we went to the (then) recently opened Greca on Howard Smith Wharves. It just so happened that a few weeks before my birthday, the same company opened their newest venture Yoko, a Japanese Izakaya, also on Howard Smith Wharves. Which is why it didn't take much thinking this year for me to decide that this would be the place to go for annual festivities.

Having made a booking well in advance of the date of opening, we were still left with super early or super late slots. with prime times being booked out. I opted for the earlier spot right after our locked room adventures had wrapped up. Being the middle of summer, we were glad to be given an inside seat rather than one without the comforts of air conditioning. 

The menu was definitely a modern take on Japanese, with most of the dishes leaning towards fusion creations rather than traditional washouku. Having gone through it extensively, we were very keen to try out most of the dishes. Although there were banquet options, we decided against that for the opportunity to customise what we wanted instead.


Starting off with the drinks, I had the Yoko Spritz and a companion had the Yuzu slushie. Perfect for the hot muggy Brisbane summer, they made for a good appetizer for our meal.

First dish to arrive was the Scallop, yuzu kosho, silken tofu. Perfect to start off the meal, it was delicate and refreshing. Served chilled, the tofu made a good texture contrast to the bouncy scallop. Both elements were fairly light in taste, so neither overpowered the other.

Of course we couldn't have Japanese without ordering a Sashimi Platter, so that came up next. For the price point, I definitely expected a larger portion of fish. Having said that, these were fresh and well presented, but I just wish that there was more.


Other small dishes we had included the Mushroom gyoza with chilli and ponzu and the  Miso-glazed eggplant. The gyoza were surprisingly fairly spicy, even for my moderate tastes. It had a good texture to it and was filling despite the lack of meat in the dish. The eggplant was well seasoned with miso, and thankfully texture was improved with the addition of copious amounts of puffed rice on top.

The most underrated dish of the evening was probably Chicken karaage. It was perfectly crisp with a light batter and moist meaty interior. Definitely one of the best karaages I've had in a while.

Onto the larger dishes, this was the Charcoal chicken with sansho pepper, which was quite well received. With a caramelised toasty exterior, it was definitely flavoursome. I would have enjoyed it better if it were less bony though.

To balance out the meatiness, we also had the organic soba noodle salad with mushroom and snowpea. Offering some light wholesome reprieve from heavier dishes, this was served chilled. I found there to be a lot more toppings than there were noodles, so more balance would have been better.

Of course we had the signature Tonkatsu, a fried pork chop served with Japanese curry and rice. The pork chop was massive as you would expect for the price point and it was fried to give a delicious crunch, although the moisture didn't retain well inside the somewhat thicker panko crumb. 

Another side we had was the Shredded Cabbage. It went well with our large dishes with its crispy texture and light vinegar dressing.

The highlight for the evening (for me) was definitely the Wagyu intercostal served with onion salad. For those of you who are curious, intercostal refers to the meat in between beef ribs, with the bones having been removed, perfect for lazy people like me. The wagyu was fatty and melted in our mouth, the flavours were deep, smokey and super intense, balanced out only by the onion salad and shredded cabbage which we had ordered on the side. 

Great food and wonderful company, what more could you want on your birthday? :) Will definitely be back sometime in the new year for more.

Price Range: $50 - $70pp

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

Yoko Dining Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato