Sunday, 31 July 2016

2016 James Street Food and Wine Trail - Fortitude Valley

Remembering last year’s James Street Food and Wine Trail I was eagerly looking forward to this year’s edition. Whilst parking is as always an issue, I found the stroll a healthy activity to any good meal! Unfortunately for us it appeared this year, the organisers had only scheduled most of their events on Sunday instead. 

Undeterred we noticed Sinmei had setup a stall outside their store selling variants of milk tea and Hong Kong styled dumplings. 

Whilst my friend was ordering his milk tea we decided to try the Matcha latte and the Matcha angel food cake. Suffice to say they were a yummy choice being the latte was smooth and the cake fluffy. 

I noticed the serving size had improved and the service was friendly as usual. 

Grabbing a brochure for the Food Trail from a nearby store and I was pleased to see a few stalls were making a return from last year. 

My friend decided to try the HK Milktea at Sinmei as a pickmeup. He found the tea fragrant and smooth. He enjoyed it thoroughly and found it quite refreshing. Whilst we noticed preparation work and preliminary stalls being setup around the area. Overall we were disappointed to see the trail reduced to a one day event but none the less look forward to its return next year.

Street Food Depot - Brisbane CBD

One fine Brisbane winters day, my colleague and I decided we needed a change in tempo from our hectic work schedules. Eager to try something different we decided to hit up Brisbane City’s Street Food Depot to investigate. 

Though we decided to take an early break, there were a lot of people already bustling about and a good variety of stores other than food trucks. As you can see there were a variety of stalls including Canadian and Indonesian/Malaysian foods. 

To kick things off, we decided to grab some fish and chips from Phunky Dory. Whilst the wait was a bit long (quite the popular choice!), the chips were generously seasoned and the fish was quite tender. The zest of the lemon was quite refreshing and balanced the seasoning. Overall a good kicker for the morning blues. 

My colleague decided to head off and grab a chicken bun from one of the nearby stores. Served with a nice roast chicken, a generous mix of coleslaw and onions, I found the combination quite healthy and yummy. He noted there were a few options to customise the order in particular whether to go with wrap or bun, a variety of sauces and even the option for apples. 

Being a little adventurous, as a final snack before we headed back to work, we grabbed a serving of Andy’s Kangaroo wurst. Our “patriotic” celebration of our national fauna was rather delicious. The mix of sauces proved flavoursome and the meat tender. Considering its location, the selection of foods available, we felt the journey well worth our time. Having said that we both agreed some extra seating would have made the experience more pleasant. Whilst beyond their control, the concrete setting made the glare and heat a little uncomfortable and dampened an otherwise enjoyable experience. 

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Satay House Noodle Club - Brisbane CBD

Feeling a bit chilly my colleague and I decided to try something more homely to warm ourselves up. Wishing something different from our usual we opted to try Satay House Noodle Club. 

The shop is located near Elizabeth Arcade next to AJ’s Vietnamese and the setup had a rather retro feel to it. Despite this I noticed the restaurant was popular choices as it became very crowded come lunch hour.

I should begin by saying the Satay Club is an Indonesian and Malaysian restaurant and the menu selection provides a diverse range of dishes from both styles. My colleague ordered a Xa Ho Fan whilst I chose the Duck and Dry Noodles with Special Sauce. Considering this was an Asian establishment, I was pleasantly surprised at the gluten free and vegetarian options. 

My colleague’s Xa Ho Fan came first, he noted the sauce was rather thick and gelatinous, but in an uneven manner, but after a bit of stirring through he agreed the dish was well balanced between the noodles, the sides and the sauce. In saying such he found the flavours light and there was a nice tinge of spice included to give it extra heat. 

My Dry Noodles with Special Sauce served with Duck arrived soon after. Included was a deep fried wonton some pieces of duck and some greens in a special in house sauce. I found the wonton crispy and the duck meat tender whilst the greens gave the dish a deceptively healthy spin. However as I neared finishing the dish the sauce pooled at the bottom of the plate soaking the noodles at the bottom. This made the noodles left over rather salty and I was unable to finish the rest of them which was unfortunate as I felt the dish was a solid choice and quite enjoyable.

Lastly we both ordered a cold The Tarik to wash down our meal. We both found the drink refreshing and quite milky and sweet, but could do with a bit more tea flavour. Overall I found Brisbane’s Satay House Noodle Club a solid choice, with its low prices, dish selection and options I consider this a good choice and explains why this restaurant has been established for so long and still so popular.

Price Range: $10 - $20pp

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

Satay Club Noodle House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Pony - Brisbane CBD

As a Brisbane resident, July is without a doubt one of the happiest months in the year (second to December), the reason to this is because it is also known as Good Food Month. For me, its the month when I go to three foodie festivals over the course of three weeks, and it also gives me the opportunity to try out different restaurants which offer a variety of set menus for the month. Unfortunately though quite a few of the meals were only available during weekdays, but Pony, which we had long been keen on, was conveniently situated near work, so we went there on a warm Friday afternoon.

Having made a reservation earlier, we were given a table with river views.

The environment was quite casual and laid back, aptly suited for our Friday Lunch.

As alluded to, we opted for the two course lunch special, which came with a drink.

Not wanting to return to work intoxicated, we asked for a change in beverage and got Lemon and Lime Bitters instead.

We both ordered entree and main combinations and our shared entrees came quite promptly.

The Rodriguez Chorizo was served with red pepper salsa, lemon, yogurt and olive crumb. As expected, the chorizo was pleasantly spicy, and this was mellowed out with the smooth creamy yogurt, and given a touch of freshness by the salsa. Overall a really well balanced and strongly flavoured entree which we both enjoyed.

The fried squid came with charred corn, chipotle, tomatillo and coriander. The squid was lightly battered, and thankfully soft rather than chewy. The corn gave it a slightly different texture, which made it even more enjoyable.

We both ordered the same main, being the MSA rump served with skordalia and gremolata. Having done my research, skordalia is a type of Greek garlic walnut potato puree, whilst gremolata is a chopped herb condiment. Despite the description, the base tasted more like regular mashed potato to me, but the gremolata gave both the steak and the potatoes a very good seasoning. The steak was marinated deep into the flesh and strongly flavoured, albeit a bit tough. As usual, I asked for it rare, but was given something more akin to medium rare. 

Price Range: $38 - $60pp

Taste: 8/10
Value: 6/10
Service: 8/10
Environment: 9/10

Pony Dining Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Mundo Churrasco - Bardon

With the cold winter well and truly here, A couple of friends and I decided to venture out of our comfort zone and try something new to warm up by grabbing some barbecued meats at Mundo Churrasco, after having previously tried the tasty caramelized meats at Navala

Tucked away in a bustling street in the idyllic suburbs of Brisbane’s inner city, Mundo Churasco is a humble establishment specialising in the Brazilian barbecue. As you can see from the above, there was a wide selection of well barbecued meats of varying seasonings and flavours. 

The d├ęcor was simple and the setup was clean, a set of tongs was provided so we could all reach for the meat as it was served to us.

 Much like Navala you could indicate whether or not you want more food. As long as it is flipped upwards to show green, the staff will keep serving food. Yay! 

Whilst Spanish is not my forte, I noted the menu had simple explanations of terminologies used in Brazilian dining. Who said eating can’t be educational, enjoyable and delicious? Ehem onto more serious matters, without any hesitation we all ordered the buffet.

Not soon after we notified the staff of our intention we were offered sides to compliment our buffet. The sides included, green salad, cheese balls and cassava chips. 

The salad was refreshing and the sauce not overpowering. I found the cheese balls light on cheese but none the less enjoyed the flavoured texture. Initially I was confused as to what cassava chips were. Being neither crunchy or soft, it had a rather chewy feel to it. When I asked the staff about it they informed me it was a type of root shrub from from South America.

A side of grain salad and potato salad were offered. The salads offered a nice contrast from the meats we had and because of their creamy texture were comforting as well. Potato Salad Whilst I appreciate the importance of minimising waste and promoting responsible consumption, I found it very disheartening that condiments and sauces were not offered freely at Mundo Churasco. As my readers would be aware I have a dislike for paying extra for sauces, firmly believing that they should increase prices if required, so that sauces can be complimentary. I noted on the menu there was an option to purchase sauces from a select choice but none the less quite disappointed that they weren't included in the buffet.

Our first serving of meats came in the form of the Chorizo sausage. The meat was well seasoned and the meats relatively springy. My companion though found the Chorizo rather salty but none the less enjoyed it. 

Our second offering from the carver was the Coconut Chicken, the chicken was well seasoned but the meat was tender inside. Whilst the coconut flavour was light I enjoyed the comforting homey feel the chicken which had quite a juicy texture to it.

Next up was the wagyu rump cap which was a slice of rare beef that whilst served rare was as unexpectedly chewy. My companion whilst appreciating the rareness of the meat preferred a softer cut. Overall it was at this point I felt a sauce would have made the difference. 

Anyone who knows me will know Garlic and I share a special intimate unbreakable relationship. So when the server came around offering “garlic beef” you could well imagine how enthusiastic I was. Alas for garlic beef it was not to be. Whilst the beef was well flavoured, I found it quite dry. Without a sauce to balance the texture it was rather disappointing. 

Next up we tried a piece of the grilled lamb leg, which had a smooth and tender texture, but was extremely fatty. Despite being quite tasty, I wanted to be a bit more health conscious, I opted to only have a little bit.

On the other end of the fatty spectrum, we tried the leg of pork, which turned out to be a lot leaner than expected, but still quite deliciously marinated. I particularly enjoyed how the meat maintained its moisture despite being grilled.

The chicken wing was glazed with delicious honey which made it rather sweet. It was a relatively larger than usual, and quite meaty, but other than that, not too different from home made ones. 

Next up we tried the marinated sirloin, which turned out to be my favourite cut of the night. Being both smooth and tender, it was well seasoned and very delicious.

We rounded off the savoury aspect of our meal with a more courageous finish. The chicken heart, tasted like a little cube of beef and was quite soft and meaty, definitely unlike liver or kidney.

We finished off our meal with some of the cinnamon pineapple, having tried and really enjoyed it from Navala. 

Price Range: $42 - $45 pp

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

Mundo Churrasco Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato