Friday, 29 September 2017

Kai Kai Chicken - St Lucia

A week or so ago I was contacted by veteran foodie Brisvegustation, who had organised a foodie meetup at the recently opened KaiKai Chicken at St Lucia, along Hawken drive. Taking a refreshing stroll through memory lane at my beloved Alma Mater, I arrived at 11.45am in the unusually hot spring heatwave.

The shopfront was deceivingly small, but the thought of All-You-Can-Eat chicken, pizza and ribs beckoned us downstairs into the cool air-conditioned restaurant. 

Downstairs, the venue was surprisingly large and spacious. I was seated on a large table together with foodies The Meatball Family, Brisvegustation, Just Island, Rebecca, Fizzyyuen, AteTooMuch, and BrisbaneFoodShots.


There was an a la carte menu, but we were all there for one thing and one thing only, buffet! Whilst some of the side dishes could be obtained yourself, the main event, chicken, chips and ribs were made to order.

For an extra $1.50, patrons are given plastic cups for bottomless home made iced tea. 

There were three flavours to choose from, Lychee and Lemon, Peach and Lemon and straight Lemon. I tried both Peach and Lemon and Straight Lemon, and found them to be slightly on the sweet side, but refreshing and delicious nonetheless, though the lemon did overpower the peach a little.

The DIY food bar included some pizza (they seem to only serve two at a time),

Hot foods of the day included miscellaneous fried things, stir fried glass noodles, and some cheesy pasta.

Cold salad was also available for those who wanted to make their own or have some premade coleslaw or potato salad,

Desserts consisted largely of dessert cups of fruity and milk based variations.

There was also a self saucing chocolate pudding.

Trying little bits of everything from the self serve bar, I really enjoyed the creamy egg and potato salad, as well as the rich cheesy pasta (which I couldn't overindulge on). The pizza was nice, but I've had better at more specialised pizzerias. 

Food soon started arriving from the kitchens. First up was the cheesy toast, which reminded me very strongly of Sizzler's famous cheesy toast. Whilst a little thin for my tastes (am definitely a thick cut fan), it was super crispy on the outside with a fluffy delicious interior.

Our meat then started to arrive. The ribs were coated in a savoury sauce as opposed to the usual sweet honey basting, and topped with green onions. Each rib was deliciously tender, with an a charred exterior and a moist juicy interior. The meat was super tender to the point of falling off the bone. It was definitely a highlight of the meal and well received by all.

The chicken started coming out right after. We had all the flavours that day, including: Original, Yangnyum, Nacho Cheese, Buffalo, Goroumaru, Black Dragon, Pink Panther, Soy Wasabi Mayo, Cajun with Spiced Mayo, Honey Soy, Sweet and Sour and Honey Butter. Overall, I found all the wings to have an exceptionally crispy exterior and a moist juicy interior. As for the specific flavours, Original was particularly good as it didn't distract from the fresh chicken flavours, Goromaru which was seasoned like takoyaki was particularly yummy with its complementary flavours of Japanese Mayo, green onion, takoyaki sauce and bonito flakes. My favourite of the day though was the Nacho Cheese, because I loved the melty cheese and bacon bits. This would definitely fall within my top five picks for Korean Fried Chicken in Brisbane.

We also had each of the four options of freshly fried fries: Honey Butter Fries, Takoyaki Fries, Tomato Chilli Fries, Nacho Cheese and Bacon Fries. As my readers would know, I consider shoestring fries to be far superior to thick cut chips. The fries were extremely crispy, and the toppings were wonderful. Whilst Cheese and Bacon gets a special mention, my favourite chips would be the Takoyaki option with its complex flavours of green onion and bonito flakes made the dish stand out heaps. 

Desserts we tried included the coffee and strawberry custard cups, which were bursting with flavour and also rich and smooth. I ended up having two just because I liked it so much. I also tried some of their self saucing chocolate pudding with some custard. Despite the super cracked top, it was surprisingly moist in the centre, and not overly sweet. 

Rounding off the meal, we were served with home brewed iced coffees, whilst the kid had iced strawberry. The drinks leaned toward the sweet side, but I loved the fragrance of the brewed coffee which was cooling and refreshing, making a good way to finish off an epic meal.

A big thank you is owed to the manager who was a great host for the afternoon and for Brisvegustation who organised this meetup.

Espresso & Matcha were invited guests of Kai Kai Chicken, but as always our opinions are solely our own.

Price Range: $25 - $35pp

Taste: 8.5/10
Value: 8/10
Service: 9/10
Environment: 8/10

KaiKai Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

C Fruit Life - Brisbane CBD

Quite a few of my friends would have heard my frequent rants about the lack of options when it comes to after dinner options that are not of the alcoholic variety. Readers would have remembered that my go to when I travel to Melbourne is Dessert Story (I make sure to go every time I'm down). Which is why I was super excited to watch as C Fruit Life go up. Expecting a juice bar or tea bar at best, it took only a little digging on my part to realise that it was in fact a Hong Kong style dessert cafe, which meant it immediately captured my undivided attention. Thankfully I didn't need to wait long. It was open within several weeks of the sign going up.

Inside, the shopfront was quite small, and could probably sit between 20 to 30 people. I really liked the bright fruity decor which was really quite cute.

The colourful bears on the table were also a great touch.

There were two menus, one was a condensed take away style menu and one was an extended illustrated menu. It was a little disappointing though that a few of the options were unavailable (we only found that out when we went to order).

Ordering at the counter, we didn't get a number or a buzzer, staff relied on facial recognition to deliver food, which became a little confusing when the store filled up.

After ordering, I was given a loyalty card. I found it curious that they would have cheesecakes as one of the rewards when it didn't appear on the menu. No doubt I will be able to investigate that further at a later date. 

I started with a serve of watermelon juice in medium size. It was fresh and sweet, whilst thankfully not being diluted with copious amounts of ice like other juice bars do. I also appreciated the lack of pulp in the juice, as I do like mine strained. 

To share, we also had a serve of the mango pochette, which was essentially a folded crepe with mango and cream filling. The crepe was nice and think, with quite a strong egg fragrance, whilst the mango was very ripe and sweet. The cream gave it a much needed balancing effect.

My first companion ordered a mango bowl. It came with mango pieces and "mini snowballs" (aka miniature rice balls). It was quite strong and a little on the sweeter end of the spectrum.

My other companion opted for a much more traditional Hong Kong style dessert, a simmered papaya bowl with lili and lotus seeds. She really enjoyed it, being both nourishing and a healthy alternative.

My choice for dessert was a bowl of Coconut Sago, served with a scoop of green tea ice cream and black glutinous rice. As a big fan of coconut sago, I found this to strike a good balance of creaminess whilst maintaining its freshness. The matcha ice cream wasn't overly sweet, and had a strong tea fragrance, which I liked, but this didn't carry through to the taste which was a bit bland. Both the sago and black glutinous rice was quite tender too.

Drinks wise, we also shared a pot of fruit tea. Wanting something to cleanse the palate (all other options were also sweetened), we asked that our pot be served without sweetening. It came as a pot of red tea with chunks of watermelon and kiwi in it. I really enjoyed the fragrance and fruitness of the pot, which cleared all the sugary-ness from other plates that we had, but one of my companions did say she found it a bit more sour than expected.

Price Range: $10 - $15pp

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

C FRUITLife Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Espresso and Matcha's Third Anniversary

Dear Readers,

Today marks the third anniversary of the establishment of Espresso and Matcha's Food Blog (´。• ω •。`)

To be honest with you, I did not think that I would have lasted this long .。・゚゚・(>_<)・゚゚・。.. Like all writers, I have suffered moments of writers block and dry spells where I've lacked inspiration, and it has taken every ounce of commitment to keep on writing and keeping up with my posting schedule(。•́︿•̀。).

In the last year though, I have met quite a few like-minded foodies (*¯︶¯*) who have been an invaluable source of motivation and given me quite a bit of insight into our shared passion.

With that, I would like to dedicate my third year post to thank Jeff, Mandy, Mat, Joe, Ann, Tom and many others for their encouragement and enthusiasm(*˘︶˘*).。.:*♡. Hoping that in the coming year and years to come, we can continue to go on more foodie adventures to create more memories☆ ~('▽^人)!

-Hsiao Fu

Plum Street - Runcorn

Have been reading a lot lately about Plum Street, a Taiwanese restaurant that recently opened at Runcorn near the train station. Wanting to see what all the hype was about, I made lunch plans to go try it out last Saturday. Being located in what appears to be a refurbished residential house, it was quite homely. Arriving at around 1pm, it was around a third full, and had quite a peaceful ambience which I find in places like oshin.

Service was very friendly, and the menu was provided promptly. The options were clearly traditional Taiwanese fare, with a few of my favourites on offer. 

Specials were also advertised on the wall. We made a note to try it out next time.

Fragrant hot Barley tea was provided very promptly and I really appreciated the strong fragrant taste.

Our food arrived quite quickly after. First up was our pan fried pork dumplings, which were shared across the table. The skin was reasonably thin and pan fried to a crisp. The pork and vege fillings were well seasoned and very juicy, so we found it had enough flavour without relying on the side sauce. 

One companion ordered the combination fried rice, it came with prawns, egg, naruto, and green onion. The rice was my favourite, short grain, and had a very delicious chewy texture which I find very preferable in rice dishes. The combination was one that I am quite familiar with and it was executed very well with generous toppings and comparable to one of the better fried rices' that I've had in my time.

Another companion ordered the chicken fillet with rice. It came with three sides, some tofu sheets, veges with mince, and a perfectly cooked tea egg. I loved the smokiness of the egg, but what I enjoyed the most was the gooey yolk which was just the right texture. The veges were quite standard, but I really enjoyed the taste of the mince on top, and the tofu was also quite average. What I did enjoy was the salt and peppery fried chicken which was super crispy and moist on the inside.

As with all Taiwanese stores, my calling was the Beef Noodle. I quite enjoyed this dish, the beef was tender and full of flavour, best of all I liked that it wasn't overly fatty like some of the other restaurants. What I was quite let down over though, was the noodles which were extremely soft. As a person who already prefers noodles to err on the softer side, they disintegrated in my mouth, which wasn't ideal.

We rounded off the meal with two bowls of tofu custard. They were sweet and refreshingly served cold. The tofu was freshly made and I loved the smooth texture which went well with the sweet syrup. Considering there really aren't too many options for tofu custard in Brisbane, this was definitely one of the better options.

Price Range: $15 - $20pp

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

Plum Street 梅廚 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato