Sunday, 28 June 2015

Izakaya Goku - West End

Speaking to a friend about my blog last week, he suggested that I grab a meal at Izakaya Goku sometime. So after we went to solve a locked room mystery at Fort Locks in Fortitude Valley, we headed off to dinner at Izakaya Goku. The first thing we noted was how hard it was to find parking at West End on a Friday night. We had to walk around half a kilometere before getting there. Luckily, we had made a reservation for that evening, although it did take quite a while before our table was set up.


The restaurant was rather dimly lit by lanterns throughout the store. It was a small store, so we were very glad to have booked ahead.

The menu comprised of a lot of small plates which can be shared between groups. We ordered a large selection of them.

First to arrive was the salmon sashimi, which I found to be fresh, but could have been more generous in size, given that they cost $2 per slice. I would have preferred it to be thicker cut, and the wasabi to be freshly ground though.

We had the takoyaki next. We were surprised that for $8 we were only given 5 balls. For half the price, you could get the same at Kadoya. In terms of the takoyaki itself, it tasted rather store bought, in the sense that the outside wasn't very crispy,the batter was powdery and there wasn't much octopus inside of it.

Next up came the Eggplant Dengaku. The eggplant itself was quite tender, but it didn't have much taste, and the dish was drenched in copious amounts of oil. I think would have liked it to have a bit more miso flavour to it.

The Karaage Chicken was the highlight of the meal for me. I enjoyed the juiciness of the fried chicken and the lightness of the batter. It was especially enjoyable to have piping hot chicken on a chilly night.

We ordered two sushi rolls that evening. This was the spicy tuna roll, which contained ample amounts of fresh tuna, but this was mostly overpowered by the spicy sauce. I would also have preferred the rice to be a bit more seasoned with vinegar.

I found the miso aburi salmon roll to be far more agreeable. Despite there being also quite a lot of sauce, The salmon was nicely grilled, with a portion of it remaining relatively raw. The avocado was nice and ripe, which complimented the salmon well.

In terms of the Gyoza, the opinions around our table were rather divided, My companions rather disliked it because it was very toasted on the underside, but I liked how the skin was thin, and the fillings were juicy, with a great ratio of meat to veges.

After the Gyoza, we had quite a long wait before the Pork Okonomiyaki arrived. The pork was nice and grilled, but the okonimiyaki itself was quite small for my liking. Another issue was that it stuck to the paper under which it was served. The cabbage was also a bit hard for my liking.

Overall, we were a  bit disappointed with the food at Izakaya Goku, although from what we saw, the drinks were more popular with other patrons. Given that, I still think its a great place to meet up with friends and chill after a hard week.

Taste: 5/10
Value: 4/10
Service: 7/10
Environment: 7/10

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Thursday, 25 June 2015

Goong - Sunnybank Hills

Having gone to Oishii on many many occasions, I've always been curious about the Korean BBQ above it. With it being winter, I finally withstood the temptation of just getting sushi, and headed upstairs to try out Goong.

The sign downstairs set out the buffet menu, as well as the prices. The base price was $28pp, with options of paying extra for drinks or beers.

We were seated quite promptly, and we were the first to arrive (as it was a Monday night). I expected Goong to be like the other Korean BBQs which I've frequented to have a self serve meat cabinet, but in fact it was different. The waitress asks you what you want and refills the meat for you in the kitchen. Not knowing what was good, she offered to get us some of everything to start off, which we happily obliged.

The first plate that came out consisted of all the non spicy marinated meats. I was impressed that the meats were generally not overly fatty. Of the meats, I enjoyed the Bulgogi the best. I liked how the thinly sliced beef absorbed the marinate well, and how the flavours were infused into the meat. My companion though, said he enjoyed the meaty texture of the beef ribs. 

In terms of spicy foods, we had some spicy calamari and spicy octopus. I found that the strong spice of the marinate tended to overpower any freshness that the seafood would have had though.

Our final meat platter was some not marinated meat, including shaved pork, pork belly and ox tongue. The pork belly was very fatty, as expected, so I definitely appreciated the shaved pork a lot more, especially how it came out rather crispy when cooked.

They also had some prawns, which we found became a bit too dry when barbecued. 

We were also provided with rice and a salad which could also be refilled upon request.

There were also 4 types of sides provided, spicy kimchi, spicy cucumber, marinated sprouts and potato salad. I found the potato salad to be quite bland though.

Here are some gratuitous shots of our barbecue.

For what its worth, I enjoyed my dinner at Goong. I found it to be a very good deal for the price, and the service was efficient and friendly. I still dont think its as good as Midam, down the road, but it was definitely a good meal.

Price Range: $28 - $32 per person

Taste: 7/10
Value: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Environment: 6/10  (lack of ventilation means my eyes stung quite a bit with the burning charcoal)

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Monday, 22 June 2015

Kingsfood - Sunnybank

Being a regular at Market Square, friends have often found it unusual that I dont frequent Kingsfood very often. Having said that, I did go quite recently.

Some of the seating was outside, but as usual we opted to sit indoors. 

The menu was quite extensive, and contained a large selection of rice, noodles and other snacks and drinks.

Cutlery was brought to our table.

The one thing I really like about Taiwanese places is they have unlimited complementary soup. It goes without saying I had quite a few bowls.

Without much delay, or fried tofu came. We were very pleased at the generous portion. Whilst the tofu was nice and crispy, I would have liked the sauce to be put on the side rather than poured on top to ensure that the tofu stays crispy.

My companion ordered the Braised Beef with rice.  Again I was very impressed with the quantity of beef provided. It was cooked quite tender and the sauce was really tasty.

This is the signature fried rice. My companion could barely finish half of the dish, and had to have the remainder for takeaway. The rice was nicely fried and the grains didn't lump together, which was commendable. The rice to topping ratio was also rather generous. 

My other companion ordered the wanton noodle soup, which we were surprised to find it had a nice side addition of pork bits on the side, it really added to the dish. She said the portion of noodles was very generous, but she said that the meat inside the dumplings weren't well minced though.

I had the fried pork chop with noodles and soup. As my companion mentioned, the portion of noodles given was very generous and I found the texture to be very warm and well done but not overly soft. The pork mince was a bit oily, but I still found it acceptable. The pork was nice and crispy, but also not too oily. I also liked how it didnt have the strip of fat on the side.

Overall, I found it to be a very solid meal, and I can appreciate how Kingsfood has managed to survive so many years in the competitive food scene of Sunnybank. I would definitely go back.

Price Range: $10 - $15 per 

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

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Friday, 19 June 2015

Ph By Pho Hung - Garden City

Without a doubt since the refurbishment of Garden City, one of the places I've always wanted to to was Ph by Pho Hung, but every time I go there, I either end up at Motto Motto, or 8 Street. But after my confidante had mentioned how good it was there, I decided that it was time to try it out myself.

There was a little bit of confusion at the beginning because we didnt know whether to order and pay at the counter first or last. Turned out it was pay last. Staff were quite busy that day and it took a while before we were given a table.

Cutlery was provided on the table.

The menu was split into drinks and food menu.

We shared the pork and prawn rice paper roll, I found the fillings to be very ample, and refreshing. The pork was tender and the prawns were fresh. My companion enjoyed it immensely.

Shortly after, our sprouts arrived for our Pho. I note they were also rather fresh and didnt have as many dead ends as other places.

My companion ordered the Special Beef Pho.

I ordered the Rare Beef Pho. I found it really quite delicious. The soup was light, but strongly flavoured, it was definitely far better than the offering at fat noodle, and probably on par with rice paper at runcorn, but not as good as trang's. I could definitely appreciate the herbs and spices in the soup. I found the noodles to have a really good texture, being really smooth and nicely cooked. I found the beef to be quite tender too, although I would have preferred it to be a bit more on the rare side.

Price Range: $10 - $20 per person

Taste: 7.5/10
Value: 6/10
Service: 7/10
Environment: 8/10

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