Thursday, 29 October 2015

Kafe Meze - West End

With the new season of Green Jam happening in QPAC every Friday, I now find myself hanging around West End around dinner time looking for food on friday evenings. Last week, we decided to get some Greek food for dinner. Having dined at Lefkas, Little Greek Taverna and Zeus, we decided it was time to give Kafe Meze a try.

Situated on Mollison St in the middle of West End foodie precinct, it looks like a refurbished residential house.

We were given a table on the veranda at the back of the house. 

The one page menu consisted of quite a number of very authentic dishes, 

Chilled water was provided to us, and our order was taken shortly after.

Our meal started off with the Keftedes, which are Greek style roasted chicken meatballs. It was slightly tangy in flavour, and not as lemon-y as I would have imagined it to be and it was also very dry. I appreciated the herbs mixed into the meatballs though, it really added some depth to the dish.

We then had three portions of Souvlaki, two chicken and one lamb. It was again not as lemon-y as what I've had at Lefkas or Little Greek Taverna, but at least it was much more moist than the Keftedes. The chicken was far more moist and juicy than the lamb, and I noted that whilst I usually don't mind lamb in Greek food, as the marinades and sauces are so strong as to cover the gamey lamb taste, but in this instance, I found the marinade and herbs had not been sufficient to cover the gamey taste of lamb, which was quite disappointing.

In terms of mains, we shared a portion of Moussaka, was introduced to me as a Greek style eggplant lasagne served with mince and bechamel sauce, and was served with salad and a side of lemon potatoes as well as salad. This is the first instance where I have ever tried Moussaka, so I am not in a position to give much judgment on whether it was good or bad, but I found it to be very mild in taste, potentially like comfort food, and very soft in texture. Perhaps something added to give it a bit of contrast would have made it more enjoyable for me. As with the other dishes, the sides here were very bland, particularly the lemon potatoes, which I enjoy when very strongly seasoned with lemon, like at Lefkas, this made the dish rather disappointing to me.

Our final shared main was the Grilled Ortiki (Quail) served with salad and pita bread. The quail again was grilled to a very dry and tough state despite being very oily, whilst the salad and chips were refreshing.  The pita bread was also quite dry, hard and bland for my taste.

Price Range: $25 - $40 per person

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

Kafe Meze on Urbanspoon

Monday, 26 October 2015

Gelateria Cremona - Rosalie

Being a regular movie goer, a friend and I went to see a movie at Blue Room Cinebar lately. Whilst we didn't order food there, we still enjoyed the environment. After the movie though, we were in for a late night snack. As we were walking to our car, the lights at Gelateria Cremona caught my eye, and having previously read multiple reviews on it, I decided it would be the ideal opportunity to try it out.

The shop itself was quite small, but looked very authentic with its gelato machine up front and a quality statement on their wall abut their ingredients being all natural.

A sign on the wall showed all the flavours that were available for the day, as the gelato was hidden in metal cannisters behind the counter. They had a good variety of both gelato and sorbet.

We settled for a cappuccino and three scoops of gelato.

The gelato was one of the best that I've ever had. We ordered dutch chocolate, espresso and earl grey flavours. I found them to be minimally sweet, whist maintaining a very strong flavours of the aforementioned subject matter. I particularly enjoyed the Earl Grey gelato, which was fragrant and flowery. The cappuccino ice cream was very smooth and rich, whilst the dutch chocolate was far less sweet than I had anticipated. As a lover of dark chocolate, I was very impressed with it. Without a doubt, this is definitely one of the best gelato stores I've been to.

The cappuccino was also one of the best I've ever had, not because the coffee was very strong, but rather the frothy milk gave it one of the best textured coffees I've ever had, it was rich and decadent. I also liked how it was only lightly sprinkled with cocoa, rather than being overdone.

Price Range: $5 - $15 per person

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

Gelateria Cremona Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 23 October 2015

Roti Place - Brisbane CBD

With my most recent posts about Malaysian Food, my long absent Burger Connoisseur (yes, he's still alive) suggested that I try out Roti Place as a good go to spot for Malaysian food. We took a ten minute stroll on Thursday to try it out for lunch.

Compared to Pappa Rich, it was definitely no where near as flashy or populous, but it did have a not insignificant amount of patrons, and service was still prompt.

My friend ordered the Char Kway Teow. Having been educated on the essential elements in a proper char kway teow, I can say this is one of the most authentic ones in Brisbane. It had ample amounts of Ho Fan, doused in dark soy sauce, stir fried until caramelised. In terms of toppings, it contained the essential components of bean sprouts, preserved sausage, fish cake and prawns. Additionally, they also had pieces of fish ball and calamari, which was quite soft and tender. Compared to the one we had at Pappa Rich, it was definitely far more authentic and tasty.

Despite our great experience with the Kway Teow, I was rather disappointed with the Bak Kut Teh, which was something I was very keen to try out. Having tried it before at Kitchen Inn, I fell in love with the super strong herbal smells and taste of the soup. Hoping that there would be a reasonably similar one located in the CBD, I ordered it at Roti Place. It came served with bread sticks which were soft and freshly made, but the Bak Kut Teh itself was exceptionally underwhelming. The soup itself had very mild hints of herbs, and was by far the weakest Bak Kut Teh I've ever had. The pork was very fatty, and bland, whilst the tofu was merely lukewarm. I was offered the option of having rice to go with the soup, but found the bread sticks to be sufficient. 

Overall I consider roti place to be quite a hit and miss. the Kway Teow was really quite delicious, whilst the Bak Kut Teh was quite a let down. I would try this place again though, to try other dishes, as I spied other diners having what appear to be very tasty laksa and hainan chicken.

Price Range: $10 - $20 per person

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

Roti Place Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Woolly Mammoth - Fortitude Valley

With the recent specials on Dimmi, our usual group decided to have our regular dinner at Woolly Mammoth Alehouse, on Ann Street, Fortitude Valley.

Having made a reservation early, we were given a circular booth table for the five of us.

For a Thursday night, it was considerably empty, given the half price special going on.


Water was provided very promptly.

The menu consisted of quite a few options, snacks sides, burgers, pizzas, and desserts.

We started off with a jar of lemon lime bitters. Our food came quite promptly after that.

Due to the significant discount for the evening, my companions went full out in ordering. This is a large portion of the USA pork ribs, which came served with mash. I was surprised at the presentation, whilst it was quite a large pile of ribs, I would have expected it to come as a rack. In terms of the food, my friend commented that the pork had a very tough, dry and a bit bland. He had to pick out the pieces at the bottom to start eating. The mash was nice and creamy though, and fragrantly seasoned with herbs. 

This was the Exotic Mushrooms Pizza. My companions commented that whilst it had hints of truffle oil, it was nowhere near the amounts of truffle oil as the pizza we had at Alfredos Pizzeria. It was topped with button mushrooms and enoci mushrooms which was quite delicious. The creamy sauce also complemented the pizza. The base was a bit thicker than the specialised pizza parlours that we had been to, but this was to be expected. What was unexpected though was the piece of plastic in the pizza which my companion bit into.

Between myself and two other friends, we shared three mains and two sides. We ordered the mammoth burger, which came with a beef patty, bacon, cheese, relish and we had it without beetroot. It came served with a very generous portion of onion rings. The beef patty itself was generous in size, however like the patty itself was dry and rather bland. What disappointed me the most though, was the bacon. Usually when one orders a burger that contains bacon, you would expect strips of bacon (which if you're lucky, are crispy), in this instance however, we were provided with little bacon bits (like the ones on top of the chips we got).  The bun could have been a bit softer, and overall I found there to be a lot of places that needed improvement.

The second main we shared was the poached sausages and mash. I was quite surprised at how nicely toasted the sausages were, despite being poached, it tasted a lot more like bbq sausages. The red wine gravy really complemented the dish, and the mashed potato was well seasoned with herbs and I loved the fried onions on top.

The final main we shared was the lamb shanks, which was served with apricots. It was very moist and cooked to a point where the flesh fell off the bone. I usually avoid lamb for its gamey smell, but in this instance, the lamb was cooked quite well, and the lamb smell was very light, which was very much to my liking.

We ordered two sides to accompany our meal, being the bacon fries and the beef brisket fries. The beef brisket fries were quite dry, despite our anticipations, as there was minimal gravy and cheese on the chips. The brisket itself was soft though. 

Our second order of fries was the bacon fries, which we enjoyed a lot more than the beef brisket fries. It had quite a bit of soft stringy cheese, and ample bacon bits, topped with fries. The fries itself could have been a bit more crunchier though. 

For dessert, we opted for the berry crumble, which was served after a very significant wait. The ice cream was quite delicious, with clearly observable vanilla bean. The crumble was crunchy and had a good texture, with the added fruitiness of caramelized berries.

Price Range: $20 - $40 per person

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

Woolly Mammoth Alehouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Seoul Bistro - Sunnybank

Having gone to Madtongsan on a regular basis, a friend suggested we go have dinner at Seoul Bistro on Turton Street last week, as a bit of a change.

We were lucky to have booked in advance, as the restaurant was all full up. I noted that a significant portion of the customers were enjoying the fried chicken wing buffet, but we settled for a la carte that night.

The menu was quite simple, despite being split over two sheets of A3 papers. 

Between the three of us, we ordered a set meal and an extra Kimchi Fried Rice

The set meal began with a portion of takoyaki. There were four balls between the three of us. It was covered with bonito flakes and shallots. The takoyaki at Seoul Bistro were crispy, but didn't have as much octopus content as I would have liked.

Our second dish was the Yangynam Chicken, which is the signature dish of Seoul Bistro. It had a very very thick batter, and was very sweet. It was undeniably crunchy, but I think that it covered way too much of the chicken flavour. 

 Next up we had one of the grilled dishes to share. It looked absolutely amazing! We picked the Dak Bulgogi, which was a sweet soy chicken, served with rice cake and vegetables. It was served with two bowls of rice. We were advised that the chicken and veges were not fully cooked yet, so we took the time to stir fry it on the platter and appreciate it sizzle away. Once stirred through, the dish seemed a lot smaller than initially thought, perhaps it was very thinly spread over the metal plate when served. I found the the dish looked a lot better than it tasted. The sauce was exceptionally sweet. So sweet, that it completely overwhelmed any soy flavour and any freshness the ingredients would have had. My personal preference is also against cabbage (I much prefer lettuce), as it is very thick and hard. There were copious amounts of cabbage in the dish, additionally, the rice cakes (which I was really looking forward to) were super dry and hard to the palate, which was very disappointing. 

Our side dishes arrived a bit later, it consisted of kimchi and some freshly preserved vinegar cabbage. The kimchi was very very spicy, whilst the vinegar cabbage was also exceptionally sour.

Given how spicy the kimchi was, you would expect that the kimchi fried rice would be very spicy. In fact it was not. It was actually very very bland. Actually, as you can see in the picture, it was really wet and mushy. Whilst I enjoy sauce on top of my fried rice, it's still good practice to serve it with the rice grains reasonably dry. The salad on the side was quite refreshing 

Considering the amount of positive reviews of Seoul Bistro, I was really quite surprised to be disappointed as I was that evening. I note that we probably ordered the wrong dishes, as our neighbours meals did look far more appetising. 

Price Range: $10 - $20 per person

Taste: 4/10
Value: 6/10
Environment: 7/10

Seoul Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato