Long term readers would remember that one of my earliest reviews was at Nest restaurant, situated conveniently at the Jen hotel near Roma Street Parklands. More than two years on, I've been invited back again along with the Tomcat family to try out their new food and cocktail menu designed by head chef Mark Young.
Whilst the food had changed, the setting and decor was largely the same. We took the lift to level two of the restaurant where our table was already set for us. I loved the personalised touch of the named chalkboard which was very cute. With less crowds than the opening that we went to, we were able to better appreciate the decor without obstruction. I enjoyed the natural hues of the bamboo theme.
Soon after arriving, our drinks that night were prepared by the delightful bartender Simo. Our first round of cocktails included the Brisbane Mule, a delightfully fruity concoction with mango juice, vodka and Bundaberg Ginger beer, bringing out to essence of Queensland. The green drink was the Nest Garden Martini, containing gin, lychee, cucumber, mint and lime for a really refreshing hit. Third in that round was the Blushing Geisha, with vodka, liqueur 43, vanilla, lime and strawberry. Despite tasting quite mild, it packed the biggest hit in terms of alcohol.
Second round cocktails include the Nest in the City, a raspberry vodka, Cointreau, rum, cranberry and lime drink which was inspired by the infamous sex in the city. We also had the Honey Collins, containing, whiskey, lemon, apple and honey. This drink was particularly impressive for us as the honey was sourced from their garden on the roof of the hotel. Last but not least, no cocktails would be complete without my standard espresso martini, which was both smooth and strong.
Other than the cocktails, for our non drinkers, two mocktails were provided that evening. Both were exceptionally well received.
As we started on our drinks, baby Tomcat was provided with a children's kit as well as a dish of spaghetti bolognaise which she finished quite quickly before resuming her colouring.
Our entrees were served really promptly and individually introduced by our super friendly waitress Ayoko as we were still savouring the drinks.
This was the sticky beef Wanton. It came with a super crispy deep fried pastry outside and a soft sticky beef filling. The beef was extremely tender and melted in my mouth and was seasoned with a delicious sweet soy taste. Served with mayonnaise gave the dish an extra smooth texture.
Next we had the prawn toast. Whilst fundamentally similar to this standard toast with prawn mince on top, it was executed quite well with really crunchy bread and flavoursome fresh prawns. It was topped with yuzu mayonnaise and fresh herbs, giving the standard dish a slight fusion twist.
These were the satay chicken skewers. They were nicely charred on the edges, but was also quite dry on the inside. This was redeemed in part by the nutty satay sauce served on the side that was sweet without being overly so.
Our last entree was the crowd favourite double cooked lamb ribs. It came with a sweet and sour sauce along with chilli, lime and mint. The meat was so tender it fell off the bone for us and the flesh retained its delicious meaty texture. The sauce was also really strong and overcame any gamey taste that lamb would have had. This was Mrs Tomcats favourite lamb dish of all time.
Soon after our entrees were cleared, our mains were brought by the delightful Ayoko.
First off we have the stir fried morning glory with garlic, chilli and yellow bean. To me, this is quite a homey dish which my mum makes quite often. I found it to be fresh and well executed.
We also had a large bowl of jasmine rice to share. It was very fragrant and topped with crispy fried onion which added more fragrance to the bowl.
This was the crispy tea smoked duck with caramelised mandarin sauce. Whilst I did find the duck to be quite smokey, but not quite crispy. The mandarin sauce was quite sweet and tangy was though which was well liked by the table.
The beef cheek curry came with green beans and peanuts. It was exceptionally smooth and creamy, but also really quite spicy. My companions really enjoyed the tender beef cheeks which were very fresh and the beans and peanuts really balanced the dish out well.
My favourite for the night was the broken chicken and prawn salad served with coconut, lime and macadamia. The whole dish was very fresh and healthy. I loved the light and delicate taste of the prawns and chicken coupled with the crunch of macadamia and zest if lime. It really freshened up my palate.
Tomcats favourite dish of the night was none other than his beloved five spiced pork belly. Each giant cube was perfectly seasoned with a salty and peppery taste which I love. The meat wasn’t chewy or overly fatty and melted right in my mouth. I really enjoyed it.
Third and final course that night was dessert. This was served with much grace and hospitality from our waitress.
First dessert was the deep fried peanut butter ice cream with a salted caramel sauce. I really enjoyed the contrasting temperatures of the fried exterior and icy cold interior, but found the ice cream to be lacking in peanut taste, largely because it was overwhelmed by the sweet and salty caramel.
Our final dessert was the coconut tapioca with caramel, passion fruit sorbet and puffed rice. This was gonna favourite dessert as the caramel wasn’t too strong and I was able to sample the delicate coconut flavours along with the sour passion fruit. Puffed rice also gave it an exciting crunch which we liked.
From when I reviewed Nest last time, there has definitely been a marked improvement in the quality of their food, which is very impressive.
Espresso & Matcha were invited guests of Nest, but as always our opinions are solely our own.