Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Midam - Sunnybank Hills

For the last several weeks, I've had strong strong cravings for Korean BBQ. I've wanted to try Tobaki on several occasions and failed due to various reasons, I found Jongga to be too to go at short notice, so we ended up trying Midam. I had heard of Midam from several people over the past years, but have heard numerous bad reports, so I avoided it until now. 

Despite it being dinner time, the lunch sign was still up there. I would be interested to come back another day to try the lunch here. 

We arrived just after 6, and found it to be really quite crowded. My associate told me right after, that on peak times like Saturday night, there is almost no chance of getting a table without booking. Luckily my associate booked.

I found the decor to be a lot more fancy than I had previously expected from looking on the outside. There was a small indoors waterfall, and there was bamboo within the wooden furnishings. I really liked the peaceful atmosphere.

We were seated and given the regular cutlery.

Water was also provided quickly. It is also noteworthy that the tables had those buzzers installed. I've grown quite impartial to them, because they make it a lot easier to get the waiter's attention. 

Without further ado, the waiter came around and put the burning coals into the table, and pulled down the ventilator. 

To start off, we were given a small platter of meat. Initially, I found this a bit unnecessary as I thought we could easily go out and get it, but apparently what as provided to us was a premium wagyu steak that is only given once off.

Along with the meats, came the Banchan. There was the usual Kimchi, tofu, and what appeared to be either Aloe Vera or Konjac Jelly. Either way, it was a nice refreshing way to start a heavy meal.

We all elected to go without rice for the day, and were given bowls of cabbage salad. I wasnt too keen on veges at the offset, but after grilling so many meats, I definitely appreciated having some salad to wash down the heavy meal.

Chili sauce and what appeared to be sesame oil were also provided.

Without waiting any longer, we began grilling the meats. You can really appreciate the nice marbling of the beef in this photo. I definitely enjoyed it a lot.

After finishing the first plate (exceptionally quickly), we went off to get other meats at the bar. This is obtained on a self serve basis. 

In the second (and following rounds) we obtained lots of marinated beef, wagyu beef strips, marinated pork, pork belly as well as chicken. Apparently there were some selections of seafood, but we completely ignored them for the meat. I guess its also good to mention here that each table is only given one plate to gather food. Perhaps they use it as a mechanism to ensure wastage is minimised. Anyway, after all the juices are left on the plate, the waiter seemed happy to swap us a new plate, so that didnt turn out to be too much of an issue.

Whilst most of the meat was pretty delicious, I found the marinated beef to be the best. It was flavoursome, tender and not very fatty. For those of you who are familiar with me, I am also very peculiar with the thickness of the cuts of meat. I found the meats provided to be cut at an ample thickness, which is not always the case for other Korean BBQs that I have attended. Another worthy mention is the pork belly, which was cooked to perfection, with just the right amount of crunchiness.

We finished well within the two hour eating limit, and were very satisfied. Undoubtedly, we will be back soon.

Price Range: $30 per person

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

Midam Korean Charcoal BBQ on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Trang - West End

The last time we had a public holiday, I was dead set on taking my parents to try out Greek food and broaden their culinary horizons. Unfortunately for them, and myself, Lefkas was not open on Easter Saturday. Without any other particular preference, we wandered down the road to arrive at Trangs, which I've always wanted to try due to the large number of positive reviews on it. 

With the big column outside branded with 'Beef Noodles', I knew they were serious about their Pho.

We were given a table really quickly and water was provided promptly, however I was really quite dismayed by the number of flies swarming around the restaurant. Being someone who really values cleanliness, I definitely got quite worried. Indeed, we spent most of our time during lunch swatting flies, which I really dont relish.

Condiments and cutlery were pretty basic. As above, I saw quite a number of flies walking around on top of the cutlery, which made me very concerned.

The menu itself was quite extensive, having both a Chinese and Vietnamese section.

My father, being a boring middle aged man, ordered the Crispy Chicken with Fried Rice. He was very impressed with the portion of chicken given, stating that it was almost half a chicken. He also found the portion of rice to be ample and nicely fried, however I note that while other Vietnamese restaurants usually serve complimentary soup on the side of rice dishes, Trang notably did not.

My sister ordered the Special Beef Pho. For a regular size serving, it was quite an ample portion. It contained the regular suspects, brisket, tripe, beef balls, and rare beef. She really liked it.

As usual, I opted for the rare beef pho. I was definitely very impressed. The soup, without a doubt was the best beef noodles soup that I've tasted in Brisbane. It had the right balance of beef, and intricate combination of spices with the added zing of lemon that I really appreciate. It was also really strong and comforting. The noodles were also cooked to just the right texture and consistency, being semi transparent, but not overly soft to the point where I cannot pick them up. Despite all this, the beef is what impressed me the most. It was just the right thickness, and was also the right level of rarity, whilst maintaining a soft texture. Overall, I loved this bowl of pho, and can understand why the reveiws are so good.

It was noteworthy though, that we didnt get sprouts until we asked for them. In other places, sprouts would be the first thing they serve. We found the sprouts relatively fresh and clean.

To share, we also got the pork and prawn rice paper rolls.

The rice paper was extremely fresh and soft, whilst being also very moist. I found the filings to be quite ample as well. I particularly liked how the pork and prawn flavours complimented the sauce provided. It was definitely one of the better rice paper rolls I've had.

Price Range: $10 - $20 per person

Taste: 8.5/10
Value: 8.5/10
Service: 7/10
Environment: 3/10 (indoors, and had aircon, but as mentioned, all the flies and bugs made me very concerned with hygiene)

Trang Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 23 April 2015

100 Degree - New Farm

As the weather started to cool down lately, one of the things that came to mind was Hot Pot. With my confidant having fallen ill recently, I was further reminded that one of the best ways to target a cold is to eat spicy hot pot, which clears out the sinuses, headaches and makes you sweat a fair bit.

Wanting to try somewhere new after work, we headed to 100 Degree, which is situated on Brunswick Street in New Farm. Lucky for us, we made a reservation that night, because all the other tables were booked up as well.

Once we were seated, we were given a soup menu and told to order soup and pay at the counter. Aside from the four soups on the menu, their seasonal soup was tom yum. 

We were each given a small little gas stove, which turned out to be really strong actually.

Crockery was pretty basic. Plastic made me a bit worried about it melting with the heat of the stove, but I could definitely appreciate why it was all quite small. We were really cramped for space after everything arrived.

We were fortunate that night, to have four people. Coincidentally, we all decided on a different type of soup, which meant I could try everything. My sick confidant had the Spicy Soup, not from his own volition but from my direction, which he acquiesced. So I commend him for that, and note that it did relieve him of quite a number of cold symptoms. When we were ordering soup, our friend picked out the 'mild' spicy soup for him. Its probably noteworthy at this point to say that even mild was quite spicy.

This was the satay soup. It was not as spicy as the spicy soup, but also quite enjoyable.

This was the mushroom soup, which I also tried a little bit of. I found it to be mildly sweet, which definitely isnt my kind of thing. But the end user definitely enjoyed it.

I tried the special soup, which was a clear meat broth, with bits of spring onion and tomato in it. I found it very nourishing and comforting, although it was considerably more mild.

In terms of cold drinks, there was mango and orange, wintermelon, and black tea. I opted for the mango and orange, it tasted a bit like cordial, though it was refreshing and cooling throughout the meal.

In terms of hot drinks, they have the regular tea and coffee, but I particularly liked the Chinese Tea. Specifically because we could choose how much leaves to infuse, we could adjust it to just the right strength. I found the quality of the tea to be relatively high, higher than what is available in a lot of the generic chinese restaurants places.

They the usual meats available, including chicken, beef, pork and lamb. I didnt pick lamb because lamb usually has quite a gamey kind of smell, which I dont appreciate, but the other three were quite nice. My favourite, as usual was the beef, and the chicken breast came out a bit dry.

An assortment of noodles and veges are also available. 

As are the generic meat and seafood balls.

They also had the usual fish fillets, seafood sticks, tofu assortment as well as cheesy sausages.

The highlight of the meal was the seafood, there was prawns, pipis, mussells, crab and octopus, which was very popular and was snapped up pretty much right after it was served. I got a prawn and some pieces of crab. Lucky for me, I was able to convince my associate to peel all the shells for me. I found the texture of the flesh to be good, it was firm but not too hard, and it was really quite fresh.

There were a large range of condiments to choose from, I stuck with my usual soy sauce, garlic and sesame oil option. (Zingy and fragrant at the same time).

Here are a couple gratuitous shots of the hot pots bubbling away.

I finished off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream with strawberry topping, whilst my companion had caramel topping. I was impressed that they used Peters Ice Cream, rather than the generic brands that other buffets use. It definitely made an impression.

Before drawing a conclusion to this post, I think it is probably only fair that I also mention that there was also a large range of cooked foods like dumplings and fried goods. We didnt touch them because we were preoccupied with the hot pot, but it is also included for the price.

I really liked the buffet at 100 Degree, for the price, we definitely got value in the variety and quality of hot pot ingredients. I enjoyed the fact that drinks and desserts were provided, because I have a tendency to get desserts after hot pot, it meant that I didnt need to go find it elsewhere. 

Price: $28.80 per person

Taste: 8.5/10
Value: 8/10
Service: 5/10
Environment: 7/10

100 Degree on Urbanspoon