Friday, 31 March 2017

Espresso & Matcha's Delectable Tarriance: Sydney - Suminoya

For dinner, my companion and I came to a bit of an impasse. He wanted Chinese food, whilst I wanted Japanese food. So we both came to a compromise and got Japanese food. Having already gorged myself on sashimi at the fish market, I didn't want to go to a straight up sushi bar again, so we opted for a BBQ buffet at Suminoya.

Calling in early to book a table, we were told that they only had two sessions, 5.45pm or 7.45pm. Travelling from Brisbane, we opted for the later session. Dining on a Sunday, we could only opt for the Premium Buffet, as the Gourmet one wasn't available.

Arriving a little early at 7.30, our table was ready in a number of minutes. I liked the setup of the table, which had the bbq on the side, rather than in the middle. It meant that when we ordered food, it would be able to be placed in the middle of our table. 

Sauces, chopsticks and a hot towel were already awaiting us.

Drinks were ordrered through a paper menu, but all buffet foods were ordered through an Ipad, which appeared superior to our usual Nonbei in Brisbane, as we didn't need to write down orders on a piece of paper and wait for a waiter to pick it up from us, instead orders would shoot instantaneously into the kitchen, which definitely improved the timeliness of the meal, which was important as we only had 60 minutes ordering time and 90 minutes dining time.

From the drinks menu, I ordered the lemon chu hai. Compared to my usual at Wagyu ya, this had definitely a lot less by way of sake to lemonade ratio.

Our meats, which came in 100g portions soon arrived. We ordered the wagyu rib, wagyu harami, duck, and pork belly. Despite the beef being wagyu, the marbling was not thorough, and there were large fatty chunks and portions that were quite unmarbled, after being cooked, it was also quite chewy. The pork was slightly better, and thankfully not too fatty. It grilled well on the flame and was quite tender. Unfortunately we had high hopes for the duck (never having tried it before on this type of barbecue), but it was such a thick cut it was long toasted before being cooked through inside. Once it was cooked through the whole piece of meat was dry and chewy. My companion also made a point to say that the meats were really not presented very well, looking like they were tossed quite carelessly onto the plates.

Another dish of meat we had was the beef tongue, which was apparently highly popular here, since they only let you order one dish per person. It was considerably better marinated than the other dishes, and the meat was quite tender.

I also ordered the sashimi. Opting for five slices of Salmon, Kingfish and Tuna, they were soon delivered. The fish was not too fresh, with the flesh being quite soft and the cuts of salmon and kingfish being served with skin on, which was definitely disappointing after the high quality fish at the fish market.

Other sides we had included the potato salad, which was remarkably well seasoned and quite smooth.

I had some seaweed salad as well, which had a strong sesame oil fragrance to it.

I also ordered Unagi rice, which came with not as much chopped unagi as I would have liked, but there was at least more egg to accompany the rice. This dish was also drenched in the unagi bbq sauce, which made it quite delicious.

Being more of a noodle fan however, I also settled on a hot udon soup. It came with a large variety of toppings, including tempura, wakame, shallots and bonito flakes, giving it quite a flavour hit. The noodles however were a little too overcooked and soggy for my liking.

Price Range: $60 - $70pp

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

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

Espresso & Matcha's Delectable Tarriance: Sydney - Uncle Tetsu's Cheesecake

Holding onto my Green Tea from Coco, I rushed over to Kinokuniya to buy some manga before they closed. Nothing would stop me. Nothing would get between me and manga. Except, maybe, cheesecake. Making my way up George Street, I noted that Uncle Tetsu's which was still in construction last time I saw it, was fully up and running, with its the massive cheesecakes plastered around the building and small lineup outside, I knew I had to get one (despite having booked for a buffet afterwards).

Heading inside, I realised they didn't just sell cheesecake, but also had cheese tarts and Madeleine. Not having the opportunity to go back again as my stay was so short, I made a quick decision and went for their original cheesecake.

Thankfully the line wasn't too long, and soon I had the cheesecake in my hands.

After buying my manga, I headed back to the hotel and had to try it despite my dinner plans. 

Without any knives in the hotel room, I ate my cake with the spoon on hand, finishing a quarter before I could help myself. The cake was smooth, light and fluffy, and only lightly sugared. I almost couldn't stop myself until I was reminded of dinner. The rest of it, I took on the plane and finished it in lieu of dinner, much to the envy of the other people in the plane (it still tasted wonderful after sitting in room temperature for half a day).
Again, I hope Uncle Tetsu's decides to come to Brisbane soon.

Price Range: $17.99 for a whole cheesecake, less for smaller items

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

Uncle Tetsu’s Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Espresso & Matcha's Delectable Tarriance: Sydney - Coco

This week I was lucky enough to be sent on a whirlwind three day trip across the country, from the east coast in Sydney to the west coast in Perth. Needless to say, I tried the best I could to eat at as many places as possible. With my super short stay in Sydney (less than 24 hours), I hit the streets right after checking in. Having just been around half a year ago, I was super pleased to stumble upon the newly opened Coco. Having been to quite a few of their stores across Asia, I do believe that they do the best bubble tea in the world. Needless to say, I immediately lined up. 


The drinks on offer were somewhat generic as you would expect from a bubble tea place, offering a selection of teas, slushees, yoghurts and chocolate. 

As usual, I ordered my Coco Green Tea, with no sugar and no ice. It was amazingly refreshing, and the tea was very strong without being overly bitter. I could smell the fragrance from the moment I popped the straw in before even drinking it. One sip and it brought back all memories of my travels. I really hope they open in Brisbane soon. 

Price Range: Under $10pp

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

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

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Excellent Cup - Sunnybank Hills

Last weekend, I finally caught up with Mr Burger Connoisseur, who has been spending all his spare time frolicking in Wonderland. We met up for a meal at Yangs Cuisine for some lunch, wandering through the restaurants at Pinelands Centro, I couldn't help but notice that David's Sizzling from Little Taipei appeared to have reopened in the centre, along with a new tea bar Excellent Cup. Being situated right next to Yang's we headed off right after our meal.

True to its name "Third grade, eighth class", the place had a classroom theme to it, which was quite adorable.

The menu was extensive, but consisted mainly of drinks with a small portion of shaved ice as well. Ordering at the counter, we were advised that they still hadn't set up their shaved ice facility, but as an opening special, all drinks were on the house. Service was fantastic and the counter staff were extremely friendly. Mr Burger Connoisseur was ecstatic when he heard about the free tea.

What had me really impressed though, was their loyalty card. Boasting buy 5 get 1 free, it was one of the most generous that I had ever seen.

Mr Burger Connoisseur ordered the plum tea, and I had the black tea with ice cream. I was surprised about not being asked for sugar and ice level, so my drink came with standard ice and sugar, which was a little sweet for my preference. The ice cream was smooth and rich, but also added to the sweetness of the drink. The tea itself was very fragrant, and complemented the ice cream well.

Price Range: $5 - $10pp

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

Excellent Cup Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 27 March 2017

La Casamia - Rosalie

Being quite the fan of cakes and pastries, one of my favourite places from before I started blogging was La Casamia, which used to have a store in the Sunnybank Hills area. Unfortunately they closed before I got my chance to review them. Fortunately for me though, I read Cino's mum's review and found out that they had reopened in Rosalie. After a disappointing dinner at the Normanby hotel nearby, I headed there for some dessert to satisfy my cravings.

Arriving at their shopfront, I was enthralled by the cakes on display, they were almost exactly as I had remembered years ago. 

We headed in and were immediately given a table. Service throughout the whole evening was very warm, attentive and gracious, which we really appreciated.

Two menus were provided for us that evening, a regular menu and their new light menu. Of course, I had already considered my options before even stepping through the front door, so it didn't take much deliberation before we ordered.

My companion ordered the English Breakfast tea, which came in a plunger, despite being a tea bag. She found it a little weaker than expected, but it grew in strength after steeping for a longer period of time.

I had the cappuccino in a mug, which was quite big, and had rich frothy foam. The coffee was also quite strong, which I liked.

Water was provided for us also.

Soon enough, our food came. First up came the Baked Alaska, ice cream surrounded by sponge cake wrapped in meringue which was then doused in alcohol and set alight. The flame was very captivating and we almost didn't want to blow it out. Digging inside, the meringue was light and sweet, whilst the sponge was soft and fluffy. The lingering heat of the meringue was stark contrast to the smooth cold ice cream. The little coloured pieces of candy on the outside were also absolutely adorable.

The other dessert we shared was the Tiraamisu en Glass, my favourite dessert of all time. It came impaled by a shard of sugar, and served with ice cream in a biscuit base, and sugared strawberries. The tiramisu was as good as I remembered it to be, with its smooth and rich mascarpone cheese, hint of espresso and strong cocoa on top, it brought back all my memories of the past. The biscuit base that the ice cream was in also deserves a special mention as it was really light and crispy. The strawberries were also fresh and delicious. Needless to say, I'll definitely have to come back soon and sample more from their menu.

Price Range: $15 - $25pp

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

La Casamia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato