Monday, 29 August 2016

Brewhouse - Woolloongabba

Last Thursday, Espresso and Matcha and some enthusiastic foodies were invited to Woolloonggabba’s revamped Brewhouse, which has long been an icon in the area since its first opening in 2005 and is famous for its freshly brewed beer, made locally at West End. 

There we were treated to some of the highlights of their new menu matched with some of their infamous beers. The menu we were offered was a four course selection featuring an entrée, a starter, a main and a dessert. It should be noted we were served via alternate drop. Luckily for me I was able to bring my co-blogger and which ensured we were able to sample all the courses. However I must confess our arrangement was not ideal as it meant we could not fully enjoy the dishes we were offered. 

Being a tavern, it would be improper if the first thing we were offered was not a beer. True to their form our first sample was the Brissy Pils. “Pils” being short for Pilsner is a type of pale lager from Bohemia, a region of the Czech Republic. It was introduced as an inhouse home brew lager. I found it bitter yet it was very cool and with a sharp crisp taste which I really liked. Perhaps I was thirsty (and hungry!) But to me it definitely looked like a good choice after a hot summer's day at the beach. 

The first course we were offered was our entrée, which was either Queensland Scallops or the Prawn Cocktail. 

The Queensland scallops were served pan seared with crispy chorizo, basil pesto in a raspberry balsamic reduction. I found the scallops and the chorizo to be a good contrast of both soft and rough textures along with both strong and mild tastes. My co-blogger however, thought the Chorizo was a bit too overcooked for his preference. Having said that we both agreed the contrast of the flavours and the textures was a positive mix of the mild and strong. It was to me a dish of contrasts. 

My co-blogger was offered the Prawn Cocktail which was a char-grilled paprika marinated Queensland tiger prawn served with fresh avocado salsa and chipotle mayo. The salsa had an Asian twist with zesty lime and a salty and peppery taste. The prawn had a good texture texture, being neither overly dry nor undercooked and was seasoned with delicious spices. The meat was tender and the flavours were well emphasised. It was a very inviting dish that got my appetite going. 

Our second beer was the BPA Brisbane Pale Ale, a group favourite and apparently a popular choice of the Tavern. The Pale Ale had a  passionfruit fragrance giving it a fruity sweetness that balanced the bitterness. Our host explained that crystal malts was used in giving it a fruity and sweet flavour. It was definitely milder and not as sharp as the pils. 

For our second course we were treated to beer battered barramundi and the bacon and brisket bruschetta. 

For the bacon and brisket bruschetta it was served on toasted corn bread topped with fried streaky bacon, beer braised cape grim brisket, house smoked tomatoes and crumbled hop feta. I found the brisket a bit chewy, but did enjoy what bacon I could find in the mix. My co-blogger appreciated the toast like interpretation of the traditional Italian bruschetta and found it quite filling. With its soft meats, warm bread, soft feta and dash of bacon it was a very comforting experience. 

The beer batter barramundi was a fresh cone bay barramundi, filleted in house and served in a crispy batter with a side of citrus raspberry vinaigrette. I found the batter to be very crispy and light. My co-blogger was surprised that it was easy to cut through, I on the other hand was impressed that it was not oily, but remarkably crunchy. However we and almost all of our companions agreed the vinaigrette was a bit out of place being extremely strong in the raspberry department minus the sweetness, much like a jam without sugar. 

For our third course accompaniment we were offered the Clarence Old Ale. Our host advised us this was a celebratory brew named in honour of the old Clarence Corner Hotel. As rich in heritage as it was in deep in colour, it had a strong caramel flavour to it. I found the ale rather dry and warming, which suited the cool winter's night very well. 

For our third course we were treated to either the Barrowdale pork belly or a duck dish “that bloody duck”. 

The Barrowdale pork belly was a free range Queensland pork, slow cooked in an 8 year old Chinese master stock served with asian herbs in an udon noodle salad, chilli jam and palm sugar caramel. I found the pork was very comforting, my co-blogger enjoyed the nice mixture of tender meat and fat, however we both considered the pork and the skin to err on the side of chewy, but loved its strong flavoursome stock marinade. As for the side of udon herb salad my co-blogger and I considered it a very light and was a stark contrast to the heavy flavour imbued pork, we would have liked it to come with a bit of dressing. 

That bloody duck was a confit duck Maryland, twice cooked and served with a spiced blood orange reduction. My co-blogger was captivated by the strong aromas and the sight of the dish as soon as it was set before him. We noted the meat was tender and the skin was crispy despite its strong blood orange fragrance. Here I can say the flavours were light and played a supporting role to the tender meat of the duck and the infused flavours. The sweet potato chip offered a rounded balance being softer and lighter in flavour to the duck

Having had such rich dishes we were offered the Toasty Oat Stout. More restrained in alcohol, there were strong flavours of vanilla and chocolate. It was a stark contrast to our opening Pils, with its sweet mellow tones. 

For our dessert we were offered Macadamia brownie and the beer malt dumpling. 

The Beer malt dumpling is served in nanna’s golden syrup dumplings, in beer malt syrup with a side of lemon curd ice cream. What looked like a simple dish was quite a surprisingly delicious treat with its soft malt layered pastry the soft ice cream offering a cooling contrast to the warm, comforting interior I found it very enjoyable. 

My co-blogger had the macadamia brownie which was a rich gooey Swiss chocolate brownie served with chocolate ganache, raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream. My co-blogger noted all three could be tried separately, paired or for the adventurer all three at once. The brownie I found was surprisingly crumbly, with the option of mixing the sorbet or the ice cream, I found it was a versatile dessert that could be whatever you wanted it to be. 

Overall I found our experience enjoyable at Woollongabba’s Brewhouse. With the friendly staff, the HD television and the three pokestops nearby, I consider the Brewhouse to be a solid choice for those looking for a little bit more. With over a hundred and twenty years of history, the Brewhouse has plenty to offer.

Espresso and Matcha were invited guests of Zomato and Brewhouse Brisbane, but as always, our opinions are solely our own.

Price Range: $20 - $30

Taste: 7/10
Value: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Environment: 8/10
Brewhouse Brisbane Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 26 August 2016

Rustic Olive - Redcliffe

My dearest readers, I have a confession to make, I am a Pokemon Go addict. As a result, my friends and I have been making regular trips to places around Brisbane for the express purpose of capturing Pokemon. One of those journeys took us to Redcliffe Parade where we discovered the Italian Restaurant -The Rustic Olive.

The store front was deceptively small but upon entering we discovered it was very spacious.


We were promptly seated and offered menus. What I appreciated most was the no frills presentation of the Chef's specialty. It allowed me the freedom to peruse at my leisure without holding up the wait staff.

Once we got into the menu we noted the various wide variety of dishes available.

We made our order and noted the staff were very prompt and accommodating of our needs to share.

We ordered two mains, The Godfather Pizza and the Fettuccine Florence. We were surpirsed at the speed of the service considering the generous portions.

The Godfather Pizza was served with meatballs, pepperoni, bacon, onion roma tomato and mozzarella cheese in Bolognaise sauce. We noted the toppings covered the entire pizza (and more!) and the toppings were well cooked. The meats were juicy and saucy and well seasoned. However we found the dough to be disappointing as the base was rather dense and difficult to chew through. Overall though we felt the Godfather was generous but unfortunately for me did not hit the spot.

For our second main we had the Fettucine Florence which was served with prawns, chicken, avocado, sundried tomatoes, onions, spinach in a creamy paprika sauce. As you can see from the photo there was a lot of ingredients in the dish and the colours were very vibrant. I found the paprika flavour to be a good contrast to the thick cream and fettucine. The pasta was comforting and a good contrast to the pizza.

Whilst I spotted a wild pikachu and went off hunting, my friend ordered a third dish in secret, the Chicken and Mushroom Risotto. Aside from the named ingredients it was served in  thick creamy white wine sauce. The rice was springy and the cream was dense in flavour. The dashes of paprika on the side added a bit of dimension to the dish. Needless to say my friend's eyes were bigger than his stomach and he had to take it home to finish.

Overall I found Redcliffe's The Rustic Olive to be a good choice for Italian food. Whilst the pizza base was disappointing, I found the friendly service and generous portions to more than make up for it. I would be happy to go back there in the future for my Italian fix.

Price Range: $15 - $25pp

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

The Rustic Olive Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Food Delivery Review : Foodora & Golden BBQ - Brisbane CBD

Most close friends and family would agree, that there is hardly anyone lazier or more of a control freak than me. With this in mind, it was inevitable that the recent prevalence of food delivery services, I would eventually put in an order, which is what we did last Friday upon giving in to our cravings for the roasted meats at Golden Barbecue. Not having ordered before, I was quite impressed with the order tracking facility which meant that I was able to have a good understanding of when food was being cooked and when it was due to arrive. 

It arrived for nicely packaged in a brown paper bag, which was quite well presented considering the trek from fortitude valley with its hot soupy contents.

Each of the meals were packaged separately, and cutlery provided as expected, but unfortunately they had missed one of our orders completely, and gotten another one incorrect (a noodle dish was served as rice). Without further delay, I called the delivery boy to advise him of this, and soon received a phone call from management, offering to redo the missed meal as well as the erroneous one.

We received the meal in about half an hour of making the call, which meant that I had exceeded the lunch hour and my colleagues had left, but at least it arrived.

Both meals were served piping hot.

As alluded to, I ordered the duck noodles again. Despite the delay in delivery, the noodles were still fresh and springy, and massive in quantity. The duck was well marinated, juicy and flavoursome, but I would have preferred it to have a boneless option, like the steamed noodles my colleagues had ordered.

All in all, I can appreciate that in all human endeavours, errors will be made, and what is important is the willingness to make corrections upon realisation. Considering the cheap cost of delivery and the subsequent rectification, I can say that I do not mind ordering from Foodora and will probably do so again in the near future.

Golden Barbeque Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Cafe O Mai - Annerley

Last week, a friend and I decided to (finally) take a break off work for one day. Being fully entrenched in the life of a full time employee, we opted to go out on our day off to better take advantage of the time rather than be responsible and recharge at home. Wanting to try something homey and soupy, we opted to try breakfast at the ever popular Cafe O Mai at Annerley.

Arriving at around 10.30 on a weekday, we were surprised to find the cafe around half full. I imagine it would be quite full during the weekend peak hours. My companion, who had been here several years ago, noted that they had definitely expanded their store from the last time he was here. We got were soon seated and given a table inside.


The menu combines cafe style brunch fare with Vietnamese street food and also a fusion of drinks.


Being given the option, my companion opted for the Vietnamese Ice Coffee, which was served hot, with coffee being filtered and dripped into condensed milk and then poured over ice. The coffee was super strong, as I like it, but unfortunately it was definitely too sweet for my tastes, although my companion really liked it. 

Having tried the Vietnamese Iced Coffee, I opted for my usual cappuccino. It came with the cocoa semi dissolved, which I don't mind. The coffee had a thick rich foam, but was relatively weak for my taste. 

We soon received our food, but were slightly concerned when both of our spoons came crusted with food residue. We asked for it to be changed another two times until we got clean spoons. 

Wanting a fusion type meal, my companion ordered the phat breakfast. It came with bacon, eggs, tomato, potato has, lemongrass sausage and sourdough. Having enjoyed the breakfasts at quite a few other cafes, he found this to be somewhat disappointing. The toast was overdone and rather dry and hard even on the inside, the tomato, on the other hand was underdone and could have been a little more caramelised. There was only one albeit big piece of bacon and the tomato has was definitely far too flour-y and dense for our liking. The only redeeming factors in our opinion were the eggs with the nice crispy bottom and the well seasoned sausage which really stood out as unique for us.

Wanting to try something different for breakfast, I settled on the pho, which turned out to be just what I needed to start the day. The soup was strongly flavoured but light enough for me to drink the whole bowl, the noodles were soft and cooked through, and the beef was very tender. Without a doubt this would fall within the top five of the best phos that we've had in Brisbane.

Price Range: $15 - $20pp

Taste: 7/10 (9 for the pho, 5 for the phat breakfast)
Value: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Environment: 6/10 (points reduced for concerns over cutlery cleanliness)

Cafe O-Mai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato