Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Noodle Time - Brisbane CBD

With the year coming to a close, comes the end of year rush, which in turn resulted in my having a very late lunch one afternoon. Wandering over to Post Office Square to clear my mind, I found myself wondering what to eat. Opting for the conservative, safer option, I decided to grab some noodles at Noodle Time.

Being a regular food court outlet, I ordered at the counter and waited for my food. I got the Special Chicken, which came with the chicken and noodles separated from each other. 

Whilst other reviewers seem to really like the chili sauce, I didn't try it out that day, but rather had my noodles plain instead. On the egg noodles, I really appreciated their strong egg flavour, but found the noodles somewhat soggy, which was surprising because I didn't even walk it back to the office, but opted to have it at the food court, I'd imagine that by the time I had taken it back, it would have been really quite soft. The chicken was quite strongly marinated, fried and then topped with some mildly sour but very savoury sauce, which tasted quite homely. Portion wise though, it was only one chicken thigh fillet, which wasn't too impressive. However, given the price, it was still a really good deal, and the meal did indeed serve its purpose.

Price Range: $10 - $15

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

Noodle Time Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Alimentari - Brisbane CBD

Halfway through last week, I found myself up on the Spring Hill end of the city foraging for lunch, after having a work appointment nearby. Not having worked at this end of town for two years now, it was refreshing to be back in the area and I took the opportunity to try out Alimentari, which I used to walk past on a daily basis but took the time to try.

Arriving at just past 12, I was grateful to be seated inside, away from the sweltering heat outside. I noted though that they didn't have air conditioning on, but at the fan was sufficient, and the light jazz music had quite a calming effect.

The menu contained quite a bit of traditional Italian fare, with quite a selection of rustic mains and pastas. 

I made my order, and water was provided quite promptly, but I noticed that for some reason other tables were offered complimentary bread, but I wasn't, which was quite disappointing, as my food took longer than expected to arrive.

Upon ordering my food, I had mentioned to the waitress that I was in a slight hurry (as I had to finish my lunch to make it back for an afternoon appointment), but unfortunately my food still took approximately another 25 minutes to be served, which left me with around 15 minutes to rush my meal. I ordered the Spaghetti with Meatballs that day, which came with a generous portion of Parmesan cheese, on top and on the side. The pasta erred on the side of soft rather than al dente, and the meat balls could have been meatier in texture (it felt like it contained more breadcrumbs than meat), but the sauce was tangy and fresh, which I really enjoyed, and the fresh herbs on top were appreciated. 

Price Range: $20 - $30pp

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

Alimentari Bar e Trattoria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Il Centro - Brisbane CBD

For those of my readers who have long resided in Brisbane, you have no doubt heard of the highly popular, award winning Il Centro, a modern Italian restaurant situated along Eagle Street, conveniently near my workplace. Having wanted to go there for a very long time, but waiting for the right occasion, I was pleasantly surprised when a colleague of mine asked me to go with him as an early Christmas treat. 

We made a booking several days earlier, and were given a table indoors (thankfully), with a view of the Story Bridge and the Brisbane River. 

Water was provided to us immediately upon being seated. 

The menu consisted of  an assortment of traditional style pastas as well as some more modern interpretations of old classics. 

The specials were brought to us on a board, rather than have the waiter read it to us (usually very quickly). This little touch made a great difference for us not having to strain our memories to recount what was said to us. Needless to say we made  few selections from the specials board.

We ordered and took some time to appreciate the open plan kitchen whilst the chef prepared our food.

My colleague started with a cup of red wine.

We started our meal with a serve of Arancini Balls, served with Ham Hock, pea puree and crumbled goat's cheese. The arancini was perfectly cooked with piping hot risotto and had a really thin crumb batter, which I really enjoyed. Both my companion and I were a little hesitant about the pea puree, but it turned out to be a very tasty concoction when added to the delicious goats cheese. 

Our mains arrived around 15 minutes after we finished with our entree. My companion had the Risotto Antra, which was a slow cooked duck leg, served with roasted cauliflower, almond and spinach risotto. My companion really enjoyed his meal, especially for the delectable contrasting textures between the crunchy almond and the tender risotto. I managed to steal a spoon of his food and absolutely loved the tender meatiness of the duck which fell right off the bone, coupled with the rich gravy and the creamy risotto, it was absolutely delicious.

As for my meal, I ordered their signature dish, the Lasagne alla Granseola. I had ordered a half portion, as I had previously heard that since the dish was very indulgent, most people were unable to finish the full size portion. Indeed it was very luxurious, with layers upon layers of pasta, sandwiched around delectable fresh sand crab, topped with creamed crustacean sauce, and some tomato puree. Whilst opulent, the meal wasn't overbearing, and I was able to comfortably finish my wedge of lasagne. I especially enjoyed the delicious crustacean sauce, which balanced the dish whilst providing a mechanism to cool down the piping hot lasagne. As for the pasta, it was very tender and infused with a delicious seafoody flavour. The little portion of tomato puree on top added a lot to the dimension of flavour and was a firm reminder that this was a lasagne.

Desserts came again, around 15 minutes after our mains were removed. As mentioned, we ordered them from the specials board. and opted to share both. First up was the warm chocolate and walnut brownie. It came with a large portion of salted caramel, was topped with chocolate ice cream and garnished with some seasonal fruits. Whilst enjoying the sand crab lasagne, I couldn't help but feel that the brownie was a little rich for my tastes. The brownie itself was warm, crumbly and rich, but I couldnt help but feel overwhelmed when the salted caramel was added to the mixture. The ice cream, which provided some temperate contrast, didnt lessen the sweet indulgence of the dish. 

Our other dessert was the Passionfruit Souffle. Whilst much lighter than the brownie, my companion and I did find quite a few strands of cooked egg white, which hadn't been fully beaten, in our souffle. Other than that, whilst it did have hints of passionfruit taste to it, this was definitely overpowered by the super strong egg taste to it. It was so strong that my companion mentioned it was akin to a fluffed up sweet scrambled eggs, and I found it like an omlette. We both really enjoyed the light creamy ice cream and crunchy biscuits served on the side though.

Price Range: $50 - $70pp

Taste: 8.5/10 (would have been 9 if not for the desserts)
Value: 7/10
Service: 9/10
Environment: 9/10

Il Centro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 21 November 2016

Nodo Donuts - Brisbane CBD

With the summer well and truly hitting Brisbane, there is little doubt that I would hole up in the office and refuse to travel far for food (especially during the hot lunch hour), which is why I was thankful not to need to walk too far to indulge in an afternoon snack at Nodo Doughnuts, situated on the Eagle Street end of Elizabeth Street, a stone throw away from my office. 

Compared to the other doughnut chains like Krispy Kreme and Doughnut time, Nodo prides itself on being gluten free, as well as baked rather than fried. A colleague and I headed down to get some and were instantly entranced by how pretty they all looked. 

After a long deliberation, my companion settled on the Passionfruit Coconut doughnut. Being one who isn't a fan of sweets, he actually really enjoyed the doughnut, especially for its texture and sharp passionfruit tang.

Being a big fan of chocolate, I settled on the Strawberry and Hazelnut. Whilst the doughnut definitely had a strong chocolate hazelnut hit, it was somewhat lacking in the strawberry department. Nevertheless, I could definitely taste that it was a lot more healthier than other doughnuts I've had. Indeed, the texture of the doughnut was far more similar to a lighter style muffin than other doughnuts. I definitely ate it with a lot less guilt afterwards.


I washed that doughnut down with a small cappuccino. Whilst it wasn't as strong as I would have liked, it was surprisingly creamy, and had a rich foam that lasted quite a while.

Price Range: $5.50 per doughnut

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

NoDo Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 18 November 2016

Cha Kee Too - Runcorn

Those of my readers who frequent Warrigal square,  would  be familiar with Cha Kee, which opened early last year. Wanting some authentic Hong Kong style food last week, we decided to pop over there to get some dinner. Upon arriving did we see the massive crowd and celebration underway. Apparently Madtongsan III, which had long been Cha Kee's neighbour, had closed down, and Cha Kee decided to open its sister store, Cha Kee Too, next door, quite a bold business strategy if you ask me. 

To celebrate the opening, lion dances were on show. They were quite the spectacle, but of course, we were more interested in the food. 

We entered the restaurant and were promptly given one of the last tables. The waiters here were exceptionally friendly, whilst maintaining their efficiency, which I really appreciated. 

We ordered from the menu (which I forgot to take a photo of), and then cutlery was provided. More than half of the menu was traditional Hong Kong style food (which could have been found next door at Cha Kee), but we were much more interested in trying out their new style fusion options.

 My companion settled on a lobster stir fried with spaghetti in creamy tomato sauce. For the price of $25, we were very impressed with the generous portion of lobster provided in the dish. The pasta was served slightly soft, rather than al dente, but what really made the dish stand out was the delicious sauce, which struck just the right balance between the freshness of tomato and the creaminess of the cheese. My only recommendation would be that it needed a bit more herbs to really make it perfect.

On the topic of sauce, I got the mixed grill, with a side of pepper sauce and beer batter chips. As mentioned previously, Cha Kee is a master at making tasty sauces, Cha Kee Too's pepper sauce was no different. My mixed grill came with chicken fillet, a chicken wing, a thin slab of wagyu steak, a piece of spam, some mashed potoato, corn as well as coleslaw. Both the chips and the crumbed pork chop were super crispy, the chicken wing was flavourful and the salad was fresh. The spam was a little ordinary, as was the corn. I hesitated a little when I saw such a thinly sliced steak, a bit apprehensive at the thickness of it, because it almost guaranteed that it would be cooked well done, and well done it was, however despite being cooked through, it still wasn't overly coarse or chewy.

My companion and I rounded off the meal with two drinks. I got the coffee with milk tea, whilst my friend got just milk tea. Both were super strong and super bitter, luckily they were balanced out by the condensed milk and sugar (which was unavoidable for me).

Price Range: $15 - $25pp

Taste: 9/10
Value: 8.5/10
Service: 9/10
Environment: 9/10

Cha Kee Too Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Food Delivery Review - Foodora & Bishamon Japanese - Spring Hill

With the recent intense competition in the food delivery market, it was no surprise when I received a very generous deal on my next order from Foodora in my inbox. With work piling up in my in-tray, my reluctance to go out to buy lunch, and the blazing hot sun outside, the choice to have lunch delivered was quite the no brainer. 

Readers will recall, I don't like having my food deliveries from restaurants close enough for me to have easily wandered down and grabbed food from, which is why I opted to try out Bishamon, located in the outskirts of the CBD, up on Spring Hill.

Ordering mid morning, we requested that the food be delivered at 12 pm, and it arrived quite promptly. The first thing to catch my interest was the separation of the hot and cold portions of the meal, which I really appreciated. 

My colleague had ordered a beef niku udon. Having received multiple deliveries by now, I was quite surprised that the noodles and the soup were not separated to prevent the noodles from going soggy, but instead it was delivered just as you see in the picture above. Despite the noodles having absorbed a little soup and become a bit soggy, the portion was extremely generous, with almost the whole of the bowl covered with a decent layer of beef. Whilst the beef wasn't cooked rare, it was deliciously marinated with soy, and reasonably tender.

Not in the mood for rice, I had ordered the Salmon and Tuna Set with a note to exchange rice for more salad if possible. Unfortunately, it still came with rice, and a tiny little portion of salad. 

The portions of sashimi were relatively generous, with five pieces of thick cut tuna and salmon respectively. Despite the long bike ride from Spring Hill, I was pleasantly surprised that the fish was still reassuringly chilled. 

Considering my note for no rice in that set, the set came with a very large portion of rice. It also came with some sides, including a small portion of salad, which was quite refreshing and lightly dressed, a small portion of some extremely delicious potato salad (I only wish there were more), and two pieces of tuna sushi. Whilst I liked both portions of salad, the sushi pieces were akin to food court quality and felt somewhat like an afterthought to the meal, as the sushi rice was very heavily vinegar-ed, and the tuna tasted not unlike the canned variety.

The meal was rounded off with some miso soup. Those who are familiar with miso soup would be aware that it consists of a dashi stock and soy bean paste which dont dissolve and eventually settle at the bottom when left for a short period of time. What was interesting about Bishamon's miso soup though, was the complete lack of soy bean paste at the bottom, but rather completely consisted of a very very salty soup stock instead. Unfortunately, due to how salty it was, I was unable to finish it.

Price Range: $15 - $30pp

Taste: 6.5/10
Value: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Environment: N/A

Bishamon Japanese Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato