Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Kitchen Inn - Calamvale

A Malaysian chain restaurant opened in Calamvale lately. Having stores in Perth and Melbourne, and being famous for their handmade noodles, I was keen to try out what they could offer. So we headed there for lunch one lazy Saturday Afternoon.

As mentioned, I really appreciate when a restaurant has their menu available to be seen outside. It made our deciding whether or not to try it out a lot more easier.

We were provided menus upon entering, it was one page folded over, but had a large selection of various famous Malaysian Dishes. 

My companion ordered the Sarawak Laksa, heralding from Borneo, its soup has a more red tinge due to the Sambal base in their soup, which in turn consists of Chilli and Shrimp with garlic and shallot. It was topped with chicken strips, omelette strips, fish cake and tofu puff. Compared to the other versions of Laksa though, it only came with one type of noodle, as opposed to two. My companion enjoyed it and said it was an interesting twist to her usual, although she said that the portion was definitely very small. She compared it to the "afternoon tea" size servings that one would get at Sunnybank stores. 

My other companion, ordered the signature Kampua Special. It was home made dry noodle, topped with roast pork, bbq pork and prawns. Again, he found the portion to be very small, but the roast pork had a nice crackling on the top, however the bbq pork was rather unnaturally red. It was a little concerning for my friend.

Whilst my companions had small serving sizes, my Bak Kut The with Kampua noodles was considerably larger (which resulted in them eating significant portions of my lunch).  Whilst it looks like only noodles in a pot, it actually had copious amounts of pork ribs slowly marinated in a herbal soup base down in the bottom of the pot. As my friend Burger Connoisseur would say, Bak Kut The is a very strong tasting dish, and not everyone likes it. However I found the herbal tastes to be very comforting and delicious. The Kampua Noodles had a smooth texture, and were cooked quite soft, which is just the way I like them. 

Price Range: $10 - $15 per person (having later asked my friend who recommended this place about their portion sizes though, he readily informed me that when he goes, he usually orders two mains instead of one =_=)

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

Kitchen Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Fusion Cafe & Dessert - Sunnybank

Being always on the hunt for a nice non alcaholic place to get drinks after dinner, I've wanted to go to the famous "maid cafe" at Robertson for a while. One evening we went there after dinner. 

We got there at approximately 8.45, thinking it would be rather full like Sweet Treats. But it was surprisingly empty. I should have seen this as a sign not to go, but we forged ahead nevertheless. We ordered at the counter, and waited patiently for our drinks and cake.

Between the two of us, we ordered one pot of Ceylon Tea, and one pot of English Breakfast. Expecting something similar to Cha Tea, I was surprised to see it arrive in a transparent teapot, with one teabag (Twinings) and no milk. It took a lot of effort to convince our waitress to provide us with a tiny little portion of milk, and even more effort to get a refill. Needless to say, I was starting to question why it was necessary for me to pay a higher price to have a pot of Twinings when I could easily have hosted my friend at home with an even better pot of Elmstock.

Hoping the desserts would be a better option, we also ordered a slice of tiramisu to share. Unfortunately, this was definitely not an improvement on our experience. Whilst it was correct in using lady finger, and topped with cocoa, everything else was disappointing. Rather than have the mascarpone cheese/cream filling, what we actually had was more akin to a custard/pudding. It was definitely unlike anything I'd ever had before, and it definitely didn't fit my definition of a tiramisu. Other than that, the lady finger in the middle was not really soaked with coffee, and as a result of this, the biscuit was still hard.  Having previously noted that the opening hours for Fusion Cafe were listed to be "until last table" we thought that we would have ample time to sit and chat (as we do in Chatea, Sweet Treats etc), it came as a surprise to us when the waitress asked us to leave at around 9.25pm as they were intent to close shop at 9.30. We scoffed the remaining bits of cake and tea in quite a hurry.
Having seen their savoury mains in other reviews, I have no doubt that they probably do it better than desserts, but we had quite a bad experience here, and will not be back anytime soon.

Price Range: $10 - $20 per person

Taste: 3/10
Value: 4/10 (economic, but bad food - could make better at home)
Service: 5/10 (counter service)
Environment: 4/10 (quite worn and dirty).

Fusion Cafe and Dessert Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Animoto - Surfer's Paradise

Several years ago. My favourite Japanese restaurant of all time - Yamasakura closed as the chef decided to retire. Prior to this I'd been trekking down to the Gold Coast once every several months for the last half decade to get some of the best sushi ever. Since their closure, for the last several years, I've been on the lookout, trying to find something that could be remotely comparable to the joys I've previously had. 

Trawling through blogs and reviews online, I found something that looked promising. So last Saturday, I convinced a friend to drive me down to the Gold Coast on my sushi quest.

Following the address, I realised that Animoto was situated in a dingy little alleyway not far from where Yamasakura used to be. My friend was quite concerned that I would take them to what appeared to be a deserted alley where most of the shops were not open (at 11.45 a.m.)

We found the shop after searching for a little while, to find that it had not opened yet. We waited until 12 for it to open. It was lucky we did because by 12.05, there was only one empty table left in the restaurant. A sure indication of how popular it was.

The environment was very homey and reminiscent of yamasakura, which was also a family run business. I noted that aside from our table, everyone else was speaking Japanese, which was a very good sign indeed.

The menu provided was one of the longest I've seen. Consisting of over 20 pages, it had a very extensive range of sushi, sashimi, sets and a la carte. I was very surprised that such a tiny store with a small kitchen could offer such a large variety of food. It took me quite a while to decide what we wanted.

I was pleasantly surprised by the provision of free tea, in both hot and cold variety (all other Japanese restaurants I have been to offer tea for a charge). It was a very warm and comforting barley blend, which I enjoyed immensely.

Before long, our food arrived, all at once, which impressed me greatly. My companion noted that the crockery was mismatched, but I reminded him that as long as everything was hygienic, what is contained within is far more important than the container.

The main size sashimi was deliciously fresh. I loved how large the portion was. All of the fish was fresh, and reasonably thick cut. The tuna was very firm, the salmon had a sweetness to the flesh, but my favourite was the cod, which had a very good texture to it. 

The tempura prawns was deliciously fried with a light batter and served with traditional dipping sauce. I was really impressed with the timing of Animoto in serving their food. The prawns were at just the right temperature when served and the size was quite generous.

The Sake - Oyako Don (Salmon and Salmon Roe rice) was the highlight of the meal. It had been a picture of this that drew me to drive down to the gold coast for this meal, and it was so definitely worth it. The salmon don was fresh and deliciously thick cut. Portions were amazingly generous. The cucumbers added a bit of crunch to the dish, and the short grain rice had just the right texture. It came served with a bowl of miso soup. Being quite a fan of miso soup (I have a bowl of instant miso every day at work), I can say that this one tasted like a freshly made bowl. It was absolutely delicious

My friend really enjoyed the shoyu ramen. It had a deliciously light soup with curly egg noodles. He liked it so much that he drank all the soup after eating the noodles! In this day and age, where hakata style ramen is so common, it is pretty hard to find a good tokyo style ramen, which made this experience all the more delightful. The only improvement I would have suggested in this instance was to make the pork a little bit softer, as it tasted a bit tough. Otherwise it was a very very enjoyable bowl of ramen.

Price Range: $20 - $30 pp

Taste: 9.5/10
Value: 9/10
Service: 7/1
Environment: 8/10

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

Thursday, 24 September 2015

1889 Enoteca - Woolloongabba

1889 Enoteca has been long on my list of places to go. The only reason why I have not yet been was because there were no special events for me to justify going. With a friend achieving a significant milestone, we decided to go there for dinner last Saturday. It was really lucky we made a reservation that evening, as the place was completely packed.

The whole place was very elegant and the ambiance felt quite sophisticated.

There was an extensive drinks menu, and a food menu that consisted of two pages containing entree, a selection of pastas, mains and desserts.

We started off with the bread, which was nicely warmed. I could taste from the soft texture that it was freshly made. The crust could have been toasted a little more crispier for my liking though. Of interest was the accompanying olive oil. Being usually used to butter, I found it to be a lot lighter and less salty than butter, which meant that we weren't as full, and were able to better appreciate the dinner.

Our mains to share came soon after that, to much fanfare and appreciation.

This was the Pappardelle el Ragu. Apparently the pappardelle was house made. I found it distinctively different to the pappardelle I tried at Jamie's Italian, in the sense that the sheets were very wide. It reminded me more of lasagne sheets than flat ribbons. Despite this, I found the pasta sheets very well done. They were quite thin and delicate, but retained a bit of firmness. When eating tomato based sauce pastas, I find it a rather big risk that the sauce overpowers the whole dish. The ragu sauce at Enoteca didn't do this. It was light enough for me to taste the grated cheese on top and appreciate the tasty meat juices.

The other main we shared was the Spaghetti alla carbonara. Again, a usual setback I experience with carbonara is that it is very rich. That was not the case in this instance, where the sauce was creamy, but sufficiently light so that we could appreciate the eggy taste as well as the guaniciale, which was delightfully crispy. The spaghetti though, being thicker than the pappardelle was still a bit firmer than I would have usually liked.

We finished off the meal with a tiramisu. The tiramisu we had in this instance was a lot different to the traditional ones that I'm used to. The regular cocoa on top was switched with shaved chocolate and the lady finger was swapped with more of a strong coffee sponge. It proved to be quite an interesting take on the usual, but I still found it to be very enjoyable.

Price Range: $40 - $60 per person

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

1889 Enoteca Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Espresso & Matcha's First Anniversary

Dear Readers,

Today marks the first anniversary of the establishment of Espresso & Matcha's Food Blog.

I wish to take this moment to reflect on this wonderful milestone.

Looking back at my posts throughout this year, I realise I could not have possibly achieved so much without you , my loyal reader's ongoing support without which I could not have been so dedicated to my blog.

I hope in the coming years to continue to contribute to your reading pleasure and together grow in our knowledge of yummy food.

Thank you for everything you have made it a wonderful experience for me .☆*:. o(≧▽≦)o .:*☆


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Mr Claude - Brisbane CBD

Working near Eagle Street in the city means that I walk past a short little laneway off Elizabeth Street. For as long as I can remember, I've noted a lot of utes and trucks parked in there. Thinking thats where tradies go to park when they do jobs in the city, I didn't think much of it until I saw the Corbett & Claude sign go up at the entrance to the alleway.

Looking down, I noted two little doors. One was to Corbett & Claude, a branch to the Italian restaurant that had opened in the Station Road Dining Precinct in Indooroopilly. The second one was the entrance to Mr Claude, a little coffee and pastry shop. As my mother had already packed me lunch for the day, I decided to pop in with a friend and get some coffee.

The shopfront was quite small, and had a very rustic feel to it. With a coffee menu on the left, and a small selection of pastries and sandwiches on the right. Service was very friendly and chatty.


My companion ordered the cappuccino whilst I ordered the cold drip coffee. Whilst the coffee wasn't as strong as he would have liked, he said that it was definitely very creamy. What I found quite impressive though, was the shaved chocolate on top of the coffee (as contrasted to the usual cocoa powder, which I usually accidentally inhale and end up making a scene as I choke on it). I was very impressed with the cold drip coffee though. Compared to the other cold drip coffees that I've had over the years, this one is made fresh in house, and mixed after you order. For $3, I found it exceptionally good value. I really enjoy cold drip coffee, because it eliminates the sour acidity that you may get when coffee is slightly burnt, this was definitely the case for the cold drip at Mr Claude's, which I really appreciated. I will definitely come here fore the cold drip during summer for a refreshing coffee.

Price Range: Under $5 for a coffee

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

Mr. Claude Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Morgan's - Redcliffe

Fish and chips, isn't usually something that I would spend excessive amounts of time travelling to get, except my classmates told me that Morgans, at Redcliffe had the best fish and chips in Brisbane. Having gone there quite a few times as a kid, I definitely remember it as something I'd enjoy every several months. Seeing that the weather was quite beautiful last weekend, we braved the treacherous trek up to the north. 

The store is broken up into two parts, one that sells fresh raw seafood, whereas the other half sells cooked fish and chips.

We took our time to appreciate the fresh seafood before ordering our lunch.

Despite the fact that we got there at around 2 in the afternoon, we were very surprised to see a significant line up of people waiting to get their lunch. For those who are familiar with my posts, I am actually a huge fan of being able to see the food before it is cooked, which ensured to me that the fish was freshly fried.

After ordering, we sat and got to appreciate our food being prepared.

We ordered a family pack and a couple of extras. There was a not insignificant wait before our food was served, and there was a slight mixup with what we ordered and what we got. Thankfully it was sorted out very promptly.

Seating was outdoors, and on Scarborough boat harbour. I note that there were a lot of seagulls around the place, so there was a little trouble finding a table without bird droppings on them.

Our food arrived soon after us finding a table.

The family pack consisted of chips, four pieces of fish, some calamari and some prawns. We got extra prawns and extra whiting.

The fish fillets were apparently Hake, I like how the batter was light, and the fish was reasonably flaky. It was freshly fried, lightly salted and definitely not too oily, which made it quite delicious. 

The chips were super crispy, as they were freshly fried also. It was served with a pack of aioli, which tasted a bit more like tartare sauce to me. 

The whiting fillets were nicely deboned, and calamari wasn't too chewy, which made it rather delicious. 

Whilst I've read a lot of mixed reviews about Morgan's I can say that it still lives up to what I was used to back in my youth, and still enjoyed it immensely.

Price Range: $10 - $20 per person

Taste: 7/10
Value; 5/10
Service: 5/10
Environment: 7.5/10

Morgans Seafood Takeaway Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato