Saturday, 20 May 2017

D's Sizzling - Sunnybank Hills

Being quite a fan of David's Sizzling from Little Taipei, I was somewhat shocked to see their closure a couple months ago. This was then replaced by relief when I saw that they had reopened at Pinelands Centro in the slot which previously held Secret beef. Needing to satisfy my craving for steak, we headed there for a quick weekday dinner.

There were perhaps a dozen tables inside, and it was around half full that evening. We got one of the high set tables with bar stools. 


Compared to the old menu at David's Sizzling, the menu here has been vastly expanded to include not just steak, but also pasta and rice dishes. Having said that, there was only one thing on my mind that evening. 

Our sides came shortly after ordering. I was thrilled to see the return of my favourite garlic bread in all of Brisbane. It was just as I had remembered, with a super crunchy exterior and a deliciously fluffy interior surrounded by tasty garlic butter. The corn soup was not too creamy but a little too sweet for my liking, but my companions enjoyed theirs very much.


Drinks that day included my companion's oolong milk tea and my watermelon juice. Her tea was a little weak and very sugary, but my watermelon juice was delicious and refreshing.

My first companion had the creamy chicken pasta, which she considered small for the price paid, but was still quite impressed by the parmesan and fish roe on top. The pasta was not fresh or homemade, but we would be naive to expect it from an Asian Steakhouse. The chicken was slightly fried before being mixed in with the pasta, it was quite delicious and slightly crunchy on the outside, although a bit salty.

My other companion had the salmon fillet. It came out fully cooked, but also served on a hotplate, served with the usual egg and spaghetti. She noted that the portion of salmon was huge (which I definitely agreed), but was poorly marinated (if any). She relied on mostly the salt and pepper shakers to give it more taste.

I had the rib fillet, cooked rare and topped with pepper sauce. The steak was also quite large, juicy and tender, and also cooked perfectly rare. I enjoyed the pepper sauce immensely due to its flavour and spiciness. As mentioned, the pasta wasn't fresh, so it was not as filling as I have now been accustomed to, but it was ample for its purpose. The tomato sauce was quite homey, and the egg had a delicious crispy edge to it. For the price, I consider it to be excellent value.

Price Range: $15 - $25pp

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

D's Sizzling House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Vue Lounge - New Farm

Having read the stunning review of Vue Lounge from the delightful Meatballs and Beef Cheeks, it has long been on my list of places to try. Catching up with Queen V over brunch made for an excellent opportunity for us to try it out.

Arriving at 9.30am, we got one of the last tables available. Thankfully it was indoors, but still very bright. The place was super busy and lively with people enjoying their weekend brunch.

Menus and water were provided promptly. They had quite a substantial coffee and tea menu (including a magic coffee, which made me very curious, but alas I didn't try it this time), and a very detailed all day menu, that had the build your own breakfast option, which I am very fond of.

I settled for the large cappucino, which came in a somewhat small cup for a "large" size, but was assured by the waitress that this was indeed their large. I found it to be sufficiently strong and chocolate-y with milk that could be a little creamier. Next time I'll definitely try the Magic Coffee instead.

With a big day out for us planned, we settled on a shared breakfast board, with an extra side of avocado. Wanting the eggs to be poached instead of fried, I was a little surprised to see the two fried eggs with an extra poached egg on the side. Splitting the portion into two plates, there was still a substantial amount of food for one person. I particularly loved the pork belly which was tender, soft and well seasoned. It melted in my mouth. The choizo was a little burnt, but I liked the spiciness. The fried eggs had a nice crispy edge around it, which is the way I like, whilst the mushrooms were also delicately seasoned to perfection. Needless to say this was the perfect way to start the day.

Price Range: $20 - $30

Taste: 8.5/10
Value: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Environment: 8/10

Vue Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Simmer Huang - Sunnybank

Being a Sunnybank regular, I've watched as Simmer Huang was gradually constructed at Sunnybank Plaza. Doing a bit of research online, I gleamed that they were a nation wide chain, with stores in Sydney and Melbourne, specialising in Simmer Pots. Although it managed to pique my curiosity, it proved amazingly difficult to get a table. On the opening weekend, I showed up at around 7.30pm to be told that they were full up and not to bother waiting for a table, so after a couple of days, I opted to call in and try to book a table, but was instead told that they don't accept table bookings, but did open at 5pm. Not wanting to eat dinner before 6pm, we headed there at 5.45pm to find a huge line, which turned out to be the line to merely grab a number to get a table (i.e. a line to join the queue). At the point of getting a number, I asked the waitress how long the wait would be, and was told one hour. We ended up finally getting a table at NINE O'CLOCK, despite the waitress assuring us multiple times that we would get a seat soon. Unfortunately for us though, at that hour, half the menu was already sold out. Dejected as well as annoyed at their poor time estimation skills, we left. After that time, my companion, although very frustrated, also had her interest piqued, and decided to line up at 3.30pm on Friday to make sure we did actually get a table. Heading there after work, I met her at the door at 5.20pm just as she was going in.

From my observations, I could already see that service wasn't that efficient. Despite having more than a dozen waitstaff on the floor, they didnt manage to seat everyone in the restaurant until almost quarter to six. 

Noting the slow service, I made it a priority to make sure our order was one of the first placed, and made our choice very quickly (the hours of waiting obviously allowed us ample time to consider all options). Of note, in ordering a meat and seafood pot, we were told that the pot came with two more choices of  meats so that we could customise our meal.

On our table were paper placemats which gave a thorough rundown of how the simmerpot was to operate. Naturally, we were very excited.

First to arrive was the chicken with chili sauce, which was actually very tasty and not too spicy due to the fact it was served chilled. The meat was quite tender and well infused with a sesame and chili flavour. We all really enjoyed it and found it a somewhat refreshing way to start the meal.

Our waitress soon brought out a bunch of plastic containers filled with ingredients to the cart next to our table, and proceeded to combine the pot as per the instructions on the placemat.

At long last, our meal was served. We ordered the meat and seafood pot, with the two extras being beef brisket (although we ordered lamb), and seafood stick. The pot itself was very tasty overall, and the sauces and seasoning was definitely very delicious with its homey spices, but there were a number of issues with the individual toppings. Firstly the prawns that were placed in the pot were already precooked, and simmering them for an extended period resulted in them being extremely overcooked. The chicken wings were quite large, and so the sauces and seasoning didn't absorb well into the meat either. of the dish, my favourite was without a doubt the seafood sticks which soaked up most of the yummy sauce.

One of my companions had ordered a bowl of rice to go with the pot. It came considerably later than the pot, and we were more than halfway through by the time it arrived. It was also a little undercooked, with the rice texture a little harder than I would have preferred.

We also ordered the shallot pancake, which was served freshly fried and crunchy, but very lacking in shallots. It was also a little salty for my tastes.


To round off, we also had the signature handmade noodles. Our waitress pulled the noodles right in front of us and put it in the pot with some extra soup.

The noodles were quite novel, but somewhat thick and doughy. It reminded me quite a bit of the thick cut type Shanghai Noodles, and didn't manage to absorb too much of the soup. Speaking of the soup, we also found it a slight shame not to be given bowls to appreciate the soup better.

Of note also, was that we were also charged for the two customised ingredients, despite being advised that it came with the pot upon paying. Telling the cashier this didn't make any difference in the result though. 

Overall, I'd have to say that he food at Simmer Huang is alright, the sauces and seasonings making up for the significant discrepancies indicated above, but given the chaotic execution by staff, the dining experience left a lot to be desired.

Price Range: $20 - $30pp

Taste: 6/10
Value: 5/10
Service: 3/10
Environment: 7/10

Simmer Huang Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Mister Paganini - Southbank

Having abstained from the temptation of getting Ubereats for some time, getting Grill'd delivered served to be a good reminder of how wonderful getting food straight to my desk was. So with a particularly stressful appointment the other day, a colleague and I opted to get lunch delivered rather than having to stress over it. Not wanting to get something readily available nearby (if it's close we might as well walk there) we settled for a delivery from Mr Paganini from Southbank. The food took a good 45 minutes to get here, but was reasonably hot (more than warm) upon arrival.

My colleague got the carbonara. Whilst it didn't look particularly impressive, it was very tasty. The home made pasta was definitely softer than al dente, and soaked a lot of the creamy sauce. I liked the chewy salty bacon and the cheesiness of the sauce too. On the down side though, for the price of $24 to be somewhat steep for half a container's worth.

On the other hand, I had a Prosciutto Pizza, which contained tomato, prosciutto, smoked mozzarella and rocket. The base was quite light and crispy, but like other reviewers mentioned, there was definitely not enough topping for the crust, so whilst the pizza was big, the toppings stopped at around 5cm from the edge, which made good portions of it quite tasteless. For the bits that did have toppings, I liked the prosciutto which was nice and salty, but found the cheese significantly lacking. Again, for the price, I would have expected a bit more than that. 

Price Range: $20 - $30pp

Taste: 6/10
Value: 6/10
Service: 8/10 (the uber guy was nice)
Environment: N/A

Mister Paganini Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 8 May 2017

Grill'd - Brisbane CBD

As some of my readers would know, I generally try to avoid reviewing chain stores and rather prefer to write about independent stores which my readers may not have gone to. Having said that, I find myself breaking this guideline today as I won a competition and got to try out one of the new range burgers at Grill'd Eagle Street. It was even delivered straight to my office, which was awesome.

My prize was the fragrant Sir Truffle, and I also got a portion of chips on the side. For regular sized chips, the portion was huge. I liked the added herbs on top which gave it some really great flavour. The herbed mayo was delicious too, but the chips themselves could have been a bit more crunchy on the outside, but were still quite fluffy on the inside.

Sitting down with the Sir Truffle, I realised just how long it's been since I'd had a burger from Grill'd. It came with a Wagyu pattie, truffle mayo, aged cheddar, lettuce and basil on a panini bun. The bun was far denser and more filling than any buns I'd had lately (from Charboys or Miel were considerably lighter and fluffier). Whilst the bun was quite fragrant with truffle flavour, the first bite didn't offer much by way of taste, as the truffle mayo wasn't spread evenly on the bun. My second and third bites however were definitely packed with truffle. The beef patty was cooked well through and not pink at all (which I don't mind in a burger), it was well seasoned and crumbled in my mouth. The lettuce was fresh and crunchy, but I couldn't find the basil. The cheese gave the whole package a strong bite, which I really enjoyed too.
Price Range: $10 - $20pp

Taste: 7.5/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: 8/10
Environment: 7.5/10

Grill'd Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 5 May 2017

Gong Cha - Brisbane CBD

Without a doubt, those who work in the CBD (like me) would have noticed the consistently long lines outside Gong Cha on Elizabeth street. Every time I have gone past, I was either in a rush to be somewhere else or my companion didn't have the patience to line up. So last week when I was waiting for a friend to show up after work, I made a point to head over there and do some investigation for once and for all.

Lining up, I realised immediately that the menu wasn't apparent from the outside, and we didn't get to see it until we were at the counter, which meant that everyone who ordered took a substantially longer time as they had to take time to decide what they want once they got to the counter. Arriving there, I noted that they had a large selection of drinks, but nothing particularly unusual compared to what would normally be found in a bubble tea place like Cha Time or Easyway.

Making my decision at the counter, I got a number and waited to be called. It took around 10 mins or so before my drink was made.

Opting for my usual, I had a Taiwanese Green Tea, without sugar or ice, to allow me to have more appreciation of the base flavours of the tea. To this, I found the tea to be very strong, but not as crisp in taste as I would have preferred, which made it a little underwhelming considering their popularity.

Price Range: approx $5pp

Taste: 5/10
Value: 7/10
Service: 6/10 (could be faster)
Environment: 6/10

Gong Cha Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato