Thursday, 30 June 2016

Sakura Japanese - Runcorn

After going to Mizu, the next place on my Japanese Food of Brisbane bucket list was Sakura at Runcorn. Having gone to it previously to find it closed, we made sure to check its opening times and head there when we were sure it was open. Being situated in quite a hidden corner in a little shopping complex in Runcorn meant that only people who were really looking for it could find it.

Being quite cold, my companion and I opted for one of the limited seats inside. The inside was somewhat small, but I liked the cozy environment, especially the sashimi bar, which allowed us to appreciate the sushi chef at work.

The menu was provided for us, and we noted a large assortment of entrees, mains, set meals, sushi and sashimi. 

Without the option of a medium sized sashimi, we went all out and got a large sashimi. It came out in a massive boat, containing salmon, tuna, kingfish, cod, snapper, calamari, flying fish roe, salmon roe along with sea urchin. We were very impressed with how fresh the fish was, and how generous the thick cuts were. I especially enjoyed the texture of the tuna, and the super thick salmon. The calamari wasn't too chewy, and the sea urchin wasn't especially fishy, which was a very good indicator of its freshness. Needless to say, I loved the platter, even more so because of its freshly grounded wasabi.

My companion, again ordered a Wagyu beef yakiniku, which came with a sort of pasta salad as the side. The rice was thankfully short grain, which was quite delicious, but the wagyu was a bit overcooked for his liking, but the sauce was strong and mixed well with the rice. The pasta salad though, was quite bland and tasteless, so he didn't finish it. 

I also ordered two sushi rolls, being the salmon avocado roll and the spider roll. Whilst I was super impressed with the sashimi, the sushi rolls were a bit of a let down. They were significantly smaller than our usual rolls at Oishii, and the rice to topping ratio was nowhere near as generous. Both rolls were topped with flying fish roe, but having been used to other stores offering sauces topping the rolls, I found them to be slightly bland, and rolls were a bit cold for my liking.

Price Range: $20 - $40pp

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

Sakura Japanese Runcorn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 27 June 2016

Mizu - Teneriffe

With my love for Japanse food, I have long wanted to try out Mizu at Teneriffe. Unfortunately for me, being lazy and situated in the south side meant that it took a while before I had the time to trek up and try it out (which actually happened because I overslept brunch time). Despite the popularity of the shopping strip, we found it relatively easy to grab street parking nearby.

We were promptly seated upon entering, and given menus. I liked how they had quite a lot of varieties, including sushi, sashimi, and set meals, but noted the lack in noodle varieties. 

Their massive fish posters on the wall told me how serious they were with their seafood. Of course that meant that to start our meal, I got .......

A plate of medium sized sashimi to share (of course).  It contained kingfish slices, tuna and our favourite, salmon. The fish was very fresh and generously sliced. I particularly enjoyed the firm texture of the kingfish, but would have preferred to have a portion of freshly ground wasabi to accompany instead. The portion was served upon a bed of salad, noticeably with seaweed, which I enjoyed greatly.

My friend ordered the Wagyu Yakiniku Teishoku (excuse the blurry photo). Despite the wagyu nametag, he found it to be a bit chewy and not as tender as one would expect wagyu to be. The sauce was warm and delicious though, and the salad was fresh and yummy. The sides were also very flavoursome, with deep fried salmon in some sweet and sour sauce, but we would have liked it to be warm instead of cool. The miso soup was quite comforting in the cool weather, and we could taste that it was evidently different from the regular instant types.

I ordered the Pork Katsu bento box, which came with more sashimi, to my greatest delight. It also came with two fried dumplings, some of that sweet and sour fish, some garden salad, and miso along with rice and of course, pork. Being a fan of fresh dumplings (both boiled and pan fried, I wasn't too keen on the relatively stale deep fried dumplings. Again, the sashimi was quite delicious and fresh, which was great, but the two main elements of the bento, namely the pork katsu and rice, weren't executed as well as we would have liked, as the rice was long grain and quite coarse, whilst the pork was smaller than I would have expected, whilst being a bit soggy and inundated with sauce.

Price Range: $15 - $25pp

Taste: 6/10
Value: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Environment: 6/10 (quite a few flies despite the winter, and table sticky despite being wiped down)

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

Friday, 24 June 2016

Chi Mc - Brisbane CBD

With the opening of Nene Chicken in Brisbane, came the quick opening of Chi Mc in Brisbane, situated on Creek Street. Being another large Korean Fried Chicken chain, it provides me a nice option to have something similar to compare with (not to mention being closer to my work).

I was quite surprised to find the menu containing quite a large variety of rice and noodle dishes, along with salads and burgers too. It also had a selection of lunch specials, which came with a drink for $10.

Being counter service again, I ordered at the counter and got a number.

I got a table in the corner, and note that it was getting very popular despite being only 11.30 in the morning. My only point of criticism was the extremely loud music, but I really liked how much larger it was compared to Nene and the rustic feel to it.

I was soon provided with sides, consisting of cabbage salad and some fresh radish. A table top bin was also provided for the chicken, along with tongs and a fork. I note the lack of other utensils, having to call waitstaff to ask for chopsticks. 

I had the lunch special, tempura udon and a drink. Whilst the udon was chewy and delicious, I was very surprised at the lack of toppings in the dish. At the minimum, I would have wanted some sort of tempura veges or meat. I like how the drinks came with the option of special Korean imported drinks, which was quite refreshing and delicious.

Being a fried chicken store, my meal would have been incomplete if I hadn't tried their Korean Fried Chicken. Dining alone, I would have wanted a small portion to try, but was quite surprised with the minimal serving being half a chicken, with the larger option being one chicken. I opted for the half chicken portion, in original flavour. It came with a buttermilk sauce, which was quite comforting. The chicken was freshly fried and quite delicious without being oily, but as a companion mentioned, it lacked the fragrance of KFC's secret herbs and spices. It also came with a portion of freshly fried potato crisps, which was slightly oilier than I would have liked, and a little bit chewy.

Price Range: $10 - $25pp

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

Chi Mc Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Espresso and Matcha's Flash trip to Hobart - Pilgrim Coffee

Having thought that I had finished travelling for the year, I was surprised to have found myself in Hobart last week for a flash one day trip. For the one meal that I did have there, I had it at Pilgrim Coffee, which happens to be quite a popular joint with the locals. 

We arrived at the awkward time of 10.30am, being after the breakfast rush, but well before the lunch peak hour. The cold outside made the rustic interior all the more warm and welcoming for us, as we were given a table inside.

The menu consisted of a few food items, and a larger selection of drinks.

My companion, being a flat white connoisseur, ordered his usual, and really enjoyed the frothiness of the milk.

As usual, I ordered a cappuccino, and really enjoyed how the cocoa was dissolved into the foam (thus alleviating the risk of my inhaling the cocoa and creating an embarrassing scene).

Our food came in soon after the coffee.

My colleague opted for the Pilgrim Breakfast, without beans and mushrooms. It came with two slices of freshly toasted sourdough, poached eggs, bacon and kale. The eggs were slightly underdone for my preferences, but my companion seemed to really like it. The bacon was cooked to a nice crisp, and the kale was fresh and delicious. 

I ordered the strawberries and cream, which had roasted strawberries, baked cream, with green tea, and sesame seeds served with what felt like crumbed biscuits. This was quite a unique style of morning tea, unlike my usual brunches at Double Shot. The cream tasted like panna cotta, which was quite delicious. I would have liked for there to be a lot more green tea, on the cream though. The strawberries were roasted to quite a tender soft texture, and the crumbled biscuits gave the dish an added texture and substance.

Price Range: $15 - $25pp

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

Pilgrim Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Three Blue Ducks at the Farm - Byron Bay

Last week, I found myself on a road trip to no other than the infamous Three Blue Ducks, situated on The Farm at Byron Bay, just south of the border. It took quite a long drive to get there, and we definitely had some trouble finding the entrance to the farm, but after a good two hours on the road, we finally got there.


Unfortunately it was a bit overcast on the day, but thankfully it didn't rain.

Other than a restaurant, the farm also consisted of a grocery store and a bakery (which is where I also bought ingredients for my dinner).

Upon waiting at the entrance, we were soon given a table quite quickly due to the fact we had arrived way past lunch time at 2pm.


We had arrived just in time for the end of the lunch period, and made our order from the menu selection available. 

Water was provided very quickly, which we really appreciated.

After grabbing our table, I took a short break to walk around and appreciate the surroundings, I came back to the food and drink having already arrived. For starters, we ordered a portion of the sourdough from the bread social, swerved with house churned butter. It was very delicious, with a chewy crust, but a soft squishy interior. The butter was smooth and delicious, and we enjoyed it very much.

My companion and I ordered the same main, being the slow cooked beef brisket with smoked potato mayo, beer mustard, farm dill pickle and buttermilk onion ring. I was really impressed with the portion size, especially with how big the slab of beef brisket was. The beef itself was very tender, and I appreciated how the fat had mostly been rendered, so we were left with sinewy, meaty goodness. I also loved the beer mustard, which tasted a bit like freshly ground wasabi. The potato mayo added a bit of texture to an otherwise smooth and rich sauce, and the onion rings were freshly fried and very crunchy.

My companion really enjoyed his Killer Bee Blend flat white, which was served hot and strong.

Having missed out on my morning tea, I opted to try their Big Red Robe, and really appreciated how the blend had a strong smokey taste which was quite comforting. 

Price Range: $25 - $40pp

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

Three Blue Ducks - The Farm Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato