Sunday, 29 March 2015

Che Asado - Southbank

Last Friday, I was walking through Southbank after dinner. As I walked around, I was captivated by the fragrance of burning meats. As I followed the smell, I found myself outside Che Asado, an Argentinian BBQ restaurant that opened at the end of 2014. Without much hesitation, my companions and I made plans to go this week.

We arrived just past 6.30 and found the restaurant to be quite packed. We waited at the entrance for a short while and were lead to a table.

As we walked past the kitchen, we could really appreciate the aroma of the food coming out.

The menu is pretty simple, with one side dedicated to food, whilst the other side is dedicated to drinks. 

Cutlery was then provided to us. It's probably noteworthy that we found the knife to be really quite insufficient for cutting the meats we ordered to share.

We were also given some Chimichurri, a traditional Argentinian sauce made from parsley, minced garlic, sunflower oil, oregano, and white vinegar. Some of my companions found it to be not very sour enough, but I found it sufficient.

Table water was also provided quite promptly.

The first thing to arrive was our Deep Fried Cauliflower. I really enjoyed the crispy batter on the outside, as well as the nice touch of the paprika aioli. On the flip side though, my companions did consider the cauliflower to be slightly under done.

One of the highlights of our meal was the skewers. We got the tiger prawns as well as the chorizo skewers. I liked how the prawns were well seasoned, as well as how the middle bit was already shelled. It meant that I didnt need to get my hands dirty.

 For an option of an additional $3, we got the additional hand cut chips and salad. I found the salad to be a really refreshing interlude in the meaty meal, however I found the hand cut chips to really be cut too big. They shape reminds me more of thick cut wedges or roast potatoes than chips. I would definitely have liked them more if they were more 'chip' shaped. I would also have liked it better if it came with some sauce or condiment.

The Chipa was the next thing that arrived. Chipa is a small baked cheesy bread roll that originates in Argentina, which is often sold in street markets. Having never tried this before, I was quite keen to get a taste. I found it to be quite bread-y, but not very cheesy. I could definitely taste the cheese, but it was not more than a hint. For a cheesy bread roll, I would have liked it better if it were cheesier.

Our mains were served next, and the first to arrive was the 400g Flank, served medium rare. Compared to the rump (next photo), it was much more easy to cut up, although it would have been nicer with more sauces or marinade. The meat texture was good, though, and I definitely liked how it was served cut up, which made it all the more easy for us to share.

Next up came our shared 600g rump. For once in a very long time, I found it cooked just right. I really liked how the beef had a strong meaty flavour to it, as is expected from a rump, however it did proove to be quite difficult in cutting up (it was very very chewy). There was also quite a thick strip of fat on the side, which was easily dealt with. In terms of flavouring, I definitely liked this more than the flank, however I would have enjoyed it more if it were more tender and had a bit more seasoning.

Our final shared main was the Crispy Pork Belly. Of all the mains, this was probably done the best. It was deeply seasoned so that we could get a good taste, even deep into the meat. The skin was very crispy and had a great smokey taste to it. We also found it considerably less fatty than pork belly we have had at other places, and thoroughly enjoyable. 

Last to arrive was our side of the hand cut fries. For some reason, the hand cut fries in the side portion came out a lot better than the hand cut fries as an optional add on for the skewers. The cutting was a lot more like wedges, (i.e. they were relatively thinner), and the chips were better seasoned. I also liked the aioli, but think it would be better with more garlic flavour to it. 

Overall, we had a pretty interesting meal at Che Asado. This is the first time that I've had Argentinian, so I am not able to say whether or not it is authentic, or traditional, but I can say that I enjoyed it and was happy to try out something new and exciting.

Price Range: $25 - $35 per person

Taste: 7/10
Value: 5/10
Service: 7/10
Environment: 6/10 (clean, but no aircon)

Che Asado on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 26 March 2015

La Dolce Vita - Milton

One Thursday evening, a friend and I had decided to go to dinner somewhere nice so that I could probe deeper into his tormented, psychotic state of mind in hope to shine light upon it. We decided that La Dolce Vita in Milton would be the perfect place to do that. 

We arrived at 6.30 and were seated quite promptly. I note that it didnt really get busy until after 7.  As usual, my first preference was to get a table inside, in hope that there would be air conditioning on such a hot day. Unfortunately, it was very very weak. We ended up swapping tables and eating outside in hope that there was better ventilation.

The decor was nice, and the place had a really European ambiance to it. 

The menu was quite consise, comprising of two sides, offering mains, and pizza and pasta. 

Iced water came pretty quickly after that, and service was friendly and attentive. 

Cutlery also came after ordering. Between the two of us, we ordered two pastas to share, and a side.

First to arrive was the Fettuccine Con Polpette, which was basically Italian Meatballs served with fettuccine. The portion looks small in the photo, but it was actually quite large when it came to us having to eat it. The meatballs were huge compared to the ones I'm used to, and the sauce was really strong. I found the pasta to be cooked softer than Vapiano and Jamies Italian, but I am also rather impartial to softer pasta, so I enjoyed it. I would have liked it a whole lot better if they had some cheese on the top though.

Our Spaghetti Alla Marinara came next. It came with half a Moreton Bay bug, three mussels, several prawns and some calamari and some octopus. I found the pasta to be cooked nicely as above, and the portion of seafood provided to be very generous. Overall, we found the seafood to be slightly overcooked, but nonetheless tasty. The Moreton Bay Bug had a good texture to it, and I was blown away by the tenderness of the calamari and the freshness of the prawn, but I found the sauce to be very overpowering. Again, I would have liked it more if it had cheese on top.

Our 'Fries' came last. Speaking directly, I was quite disappointed, because to my understanding, fries are long and skinny, whereas chips are short and thick (Mcdonalds sells fries, KFC sells chips). By this definition, we were definitely provided with chips, when we ordered fries. If I had known they were chips, I would have ordered the Garlic Bread instead actually. The chips themselves were hot and crispy, which was good, but it would have been a bit better with more seasoning I think.

Whilst the meal wasnt exceptional at La Dolce Vita, we will always still go for the ambiance and the view at night definitely makes it worth the visit.

Price Range: $20 - $35 per person

Taste: 6.5/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Environment: 9/10 (would be higher if they had indoors with aircon)

La Dolce Vita Ristorante on Urbanspoon

Monday, 23 March 2015

Green Jam & The Cafe @ QPAC - Brisbane CBD

Those who know me, will know that I'm a big fan of Jazz. Having gone to the Brisbane Jazz Club last year, I was pretty keen when Green Jam started up again. Last Friday I went when the Billy Saunders Quartet was playing. 

We really enjoyed the atmosphere and the cool vibe of the place. The music was a really great way to finish off a tiring week. 

Of course, it wouldnt be a perfect afternoon without afternoon tea. My companion and I grabbed a drink and a piece of cake each from The Cafe just next to the performance. 

Seeing other people with glasses of wine and beer, we assumed that the lemon and lime bitters would have been freshly made, but we were quite surprised when we were actually given a can of drink.

In line with the citrus-y theme for the day, my companion also got a piece of the citrus cheese cake, which was quite refreshing and chilled. We were glad to have it during such a hot day, because to be honest we weren't sure if we would have liked to have cold cake on a cold day. Another note though, my friend was especially impressed with the crockery that the cake was presented on.


I got the iced coffee, which looked really nice in the afternoon sun. So nice, that I've decided to post two photos of it. It's still not as good as Merlos (who in my opinion have the best ever iced chocolate), but it was a pretty good attempt. The coffee could have been stronger, and the drink could have been less sweet, but the ice cream was nice and smooth.

I got the chocolate mud cake, which was also served chilled like the citrus cheesecake. I found it to be not too sweet, but rather dense for my liking. I would have liked it if it were a bit lighter. Thankfully it was a small piece. Next time I think the hot chips with aioli would be a better option.

Price Range: $10 - $15 per person (Performance was free)

Taste: 6/10
Value: 6.5/10
Service: 7/10
Environment: 8/10

Cafe at QPAC on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Chur Burger - Fortitude Valley

In my research into the best burgers in Brisbane for our upcoming guide, one of the places I knew I couldnt miss out on before doing my guide was Chur Burger, which has long been on my list of places I need to try out.

After ordering my cake at Cheung's one day, I decided it was about time that I went to try Chur. It was a short walk from Chinatown to Constance Street.

Chur Burger is situated under Tryp Hotel in Constance Street. It is pretty impossible to miss. 

The entrance is reminiscent of a Melbourne laneway. I guess that is whats popular at the moment. I ordered and paid at the counter, and found my seat indoors (as usual).

The indoors decor followed on from the outdoor type of decor, with the graffiti look. I got a table at the back corner of the restaurant and got table water quite promptly. 

I was quite pleased to arrive relatively early (11.45am) because in 15 minutes, the line was out the door. Being one of the earlier customers means that my food did not take too long to come out.

Whislt I was waiting for my food, I did note the definition of Chur on the back wall. I posted it here because a lot of friends (and myself included) have been curious about what 'Chur' stood for.

Anyway, after not very long, my food arrived. I got the Beef Burger, and Chips. 

It is a bit of a regret on my part that Mr Burger Conniseur didnt go with me on this particular lunch. I would have really appreciated his input into this critique, but sadly dear reader, you'll just have to live with my amateur review. 

To begin, I decided to order the beef burger because after reading quite a few other reviews, the general consensus by other diners seemed to advise sticking to more conservative tastes, which agreed with me just fine (being the boring conservative person I am). Upon ordering, I was given a choice in whether I minded my beef patty being medium done. I guess this accommodates for the people who do not like rare patties.  Sadly for me, it all went downhill from that point onwards.

I found both the bun and the patty to have a very rough texture, which was surprising when considering that the patty was already medium done. I found the texture of the bun to also be rather rough, although not stale like the ones at Red Hook, but nevertheless, I would have preferred a softer bun. I liked the mustard mayo, but sadly this was really overpowered by the pickles. The tomato jam was a nice touch though, a bit different from the usual tomato sauce.

Usually, I am a big fan of chips/fries. In this instance though, I felt really quite disappointed. As you can see in the photo, the chips were completely covered in chili salt. It was tear inducingly salty. To the extent that I was pretty much unable to finish the chips because my kidneys might have broken down before then. This was particularly surprising because I went before the crowd, I would have expected the chefs to have more attention to detail when there's only one customer.

Price Range: $10 - $20 per person

Taste: 4/10
Value: 5/10 (price is acceptable, but once you consider that the burger is sub par, then no, not value for money)
Service: 7/10 (staff were warm and friendly)
Environment: 7/10

Chur Burger on Urbanspoon