Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Melt Brothers - Garden City

Most of my readers will know that there are two ingredients that (in my humble opinion) there can never be too much of, garlic and of course, cheese. Cheese is one of the most versatile ingredients, able to be eaten savoury or sweet, hard or soft, chilled or melted, but regardless of the variations, it is undeniable that there is nothing more comforting than a tasty grilled cheese sandwich for dinner, which is why I am a big fan of Melt Brothers. Having gone to their Gresham Lane venue numerous times, I was super pleased to land an exclusive chance to try out some of the items on their new menu with the Tomcat family last Friday.

Setup was much akin to the city store, with a similar clean white brick theme.

We grabbed a table inside, and were presented with a copy of the new menu. Noticeable differences from the old one include:
  • The permanent addition of Mi Goreng Crazy which is insanely popular and has a near cult following;
  • Signature Mouse Trap has now become four cheese instead of three cheese (yay more cheese!)
  • New breakfast item Shake that Hass for those wanting a lighter alternative
  • Additional add on items to allow for more customisation
  • Price point adjustments.

Making our order at the counter, we were given a buzzer.

Drinks also came quite promptly, and the standard variety of juices and soft drinks were available. 

One of the infamous brothers, Justin then came out to introduce himself to us and have a quick chat about the inspiration for his love of cheese, the desire to push the limits of what can be found in the burger and the desire to eventually open Melt Brothers all across the country. For the love of cheese, I sure hope this does happen!

Before long, the main event arrived. That night, we shared four grilled cheeses'.

First off was the ever popular Mi Goreng Crazy, containing the namesake Mi Goreng, roast chicken, fried eggs, spring onions, sriracha mayo, mozzarella and cheddar.  Honestly I was quite skeptical of this before trying it, but after, I can say that I am a believer. The noodles were cooked to a perfect tenderness without being over or underdone. The abundance of chicken, egg and onions gave the dish some much needed protein to balance out the carb on carb combination. Overall I found it to be quite a delicious sandwich tasting just like a comforting bowl of noodles, a bit more spring onion would have helped give it a bit more zing and made it that more refreshing though.

From the all day menu, we also tried the Morning Glory, a glorious classic comprised of maple bacon, fried eggs, sriracha mayo, mozzarella and again cheddar. What would have been a very savoury mixture was definitely complicated by the delightful sweetness of the maple bacon, which was wonderfully crispy. Compared to the Mi Goreng Crazy, the mozzarella and cheddar took centre stage of this sandwich. I loved the wonderful stringy texture of mozzarella combined with the sharp tang of cheddar. This would be a grilled cheese worth waking up for.

The monthly special, which I couldn't resist trying even though it isn't on the permanent menu was the Royale with Cheese. Comprised of two beef patties, onions, pickles, American cheese, ketchup and American mustard, this was essentially a burger in a sandwich. The beef was ground a lot finer than what I've been used to in other burgers, and didn't have the usual meaty texture I am quite fond of. I did really enjoy the distinctive taste of delicious American cheese, and with the sauces and pickles (which were thankfully not too sour), it almost transported me back to America.

Our final grilled cheese, the Meltdown, was Mrs Tomcat's favourite of the night. Comprising of pulled pork, slaw, pickles, bbq sauce, mozzarella and cheddar, it was definitely the healthiest of tonight's options. I too really enjoyed the refreshing touches that the slaw provided, with the slight tang of pickles. The pulled pork and cheese were a little overpowered by this, but given the amount of cheese we already had that night, this was fine.

As a side, we also had a serve of the loaded tater tots. They were freshly fried, crunchy and I particularly liked that the cheese ran through the whole cup rather than being just on top. As a side though, this appealed to me as a single sized portion (or perhaps I'm just greedy), but I would definitely welcome larger share portions to satisfy both myself and Baby Tomcat.

No meal is complete without dessert, no matter how full we were, so we got a dessert bun to share. Consisting of vanilla ice cream, nutella and sprinkles inside a freshly toasted bun, my inner child screamed with excitement. The warm toasty bun contrasted the ice cream and vanilla really well, creating an almost deep fried ice cream taste to it. Also, I love sprinkles.

Price Range: $6.50 - $20pp

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

Espresso and Matcha were invited guests of Melt Brothers, but as always our opinions are solely our own.

Melt Brothers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Chatterbox - Sunnybank

As mentioned by Joe K, we went to Chatterbox, the site of the recently closed Coffee Club for some after dinner drinks and some in depth discussions about our mutual love of food. It was a real shame that Ronnie left us early.

As with most Cafes, there was a cake cabinet at the front near the counter. Both Joe and Tomcat went and inspected it, whilst I already saw and noted what I wanted from afar. As expected, we ordered though counter service, and the food was brought out quite soon after.

Between the four of us (including baby Tomcat), we shared two pieces of cake. 

Ever the doting father, Tomcat attempted Baby Tomcat to eat carrot cake as the healthier alternative. This failed abysmally, and he had to eat it alone.

To be fair, you really couldn't blame Baby Tomcat, for who could eat carrot cake when Tiramisu was an option? To her credit though, she referred to it as Chocolate Cake, and she wasn't far off. With a chocolate sponge cake base, a vanilla sponge centre, icing and chocolate on the side with cocoa on the top, there really wasn't much by way of coffee taste or flavours except for the small amount of syrup soaked into the top piece of sponge. To me, this definitely wasn't much of a tiramisu, but as a cake generally, it was reasonably moist and wasn't too coarse.

Both Joe and Tomcat had the Iced Latte, which was reportedly quite weak.

Wanting something unusual for a standard cafe, I settled on the Ocha Matcha, a kind of green tea frappe. It came out well blended and wonderfully not too sweet, though I would have enjoyed a stronger matcha taste.

Price Range: $5 - $20pp

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

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

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Zen Flavours - Sunnybank

Tried out the (not so) newly opened Zen Flavours a couple weeks ago with foodies, Ronnie Lui, Joe K and Tomcat. It was a spur of the moment meeting, and with Tomcat's quick thinking, we found ourselves at the restaurant at 6pm that fateful Friday evening. As the sibling store to Zen Corner, it was conveniently located right next door at Sunnybank Plaza. It was great idea to get there early, as before long all the tables were gone and there was a small wait outside. 

The menu was soon provided, and it consisted of a fair few options. But given the name, they were of course rice dishes as opposed to noodles, which Zen Corner specialises in. I liked the bbq dishes, baked rice and set meal options. Cutlery was also provided on the table long before we ordered. On the topic of ordering, that heavy responsibility fell upon me that night, and I decided to try a range of everything on the menu (thanks for paying, Uncle Tom!).

First to arrive was the sizzling sliced wagyu beef with pepper and rice, which was served with quite a bit of theatrics by the owner Alex.

The end result being a glorious sizzling mess of beef, rice, shallots and corn. As expected, the dish was piping hot and very fragrant. I loved the charred bits of crunchy rice especially. Sadly though, the beef it was served with was actually quite chewy and fatty, without much beef taste and didnt melt in my mouth like standard wagyu.

Ordering it as a set meal though, it came with a drink, a lemon tea which baby Tomcat thoroughly enjoyed even though I didn't try.

In addition to the drink, the set meal came with soup of the day, which owner Alex was gracious enough to give us four bowls of. What we had that day was a seaweed, carrot and pork broth, which was both light and appetising, but could have been a little saltier for my taste.

On the topic of soup, our next dish was the preserved vegie and fish soup. When it was set down, I almost thought that it was an extra bowl of complimentary soup for baby Tomcat, and was wondering why it came with a side bowl of rice. It was only then that I realised that it was indeed a main that we had ordered. Taste wise it was quite good, the fish was quite flakey and well infused with the taste of the vegies, but the size was really a letdown. 

The set meal also came with a side dish of fresh vegies, this was done just like home and was well received across the table. I liked the generous portion of oyster sauce on top.

Speaking about homey flavours, the next dish was the Flame Grilled Pork Ribs, which were cooked just like we have it at home. Grilled to a nice charred perfection, it was slathered with barbecue sauce and honey. Although the meat was tougher than the usual fall-off-the-bone tenderness, it wasn't too tough and made for some light chewing. Now if only I could convince mum to make it more often...

Our last dish was by far the crowd favourite being the Baked Rice with Creamy Chicken. As a HongKonger, our "national" comfort dish would have to be creamy baked rice topped with cheese. The cheese was deliciously toasted, with strings of it gluing the rice with the creamy sauce and tender chicken thigh pieces. No doubt a simple dish, but executed really well.

Price Range: $15 - $25pp

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

Zen Flavour Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Roti Chenai - Brisbane CBD

Met up with highly regarded food reviewer Brisvegustation for a quick lunch before the end of year. Being as methodical and organised as ever, he had compiled a list of places we ought to try, and we settled on Roti Chenai at Post Office Square which was highly recommended and merely a short walk from both of our offices. Arriving at 11.45am, we were able to find a table very easily.

As expected in a food court type venue, the menu was quite short, but consisted of both Malaysian and South Indian Cuisine, both of which I was keen to try out. 

Our meals came out very quickly as we arrived before the crowd and were one of the first orders of the day. After getting our food, we saw a line build up very quickly.

Brisvegustation ordered the Rose Lassi. I've never experienced this before, so I tried a sip. It was definitely not like any drink I have had before. Having tried yogurt drinks at Taiwanese tea bars, this was a far richer, far creamier and more sour drink, almost like drinking a tub of yogurt straight out of the tub. I liked how it wasn't really sweet, but it didn't have too much rose flavour to it, definitely very interesting.

We shared our mains, and this was the Kottu Roti, a Sri Lankan speciality consisting of chopped roti with chicken mince, egg, onions and spices and was served with a small dish of green curry to be poured through. The look reminded me a little of stir fried ho fan or char kway teow, the taste was somewhat comparable, but the texture was firmly bread-like, meaning it was able to soak up quite a bit of green curry. I quite enjoyed the tastes of onion and small hints of chilli, giving it quite a bit of flavour hit.

We also shared a plain roti and a chicken murtabak (Malaysian stuffed Roti). The roti was quite well layered and flakey on the inside, though not as fluffy as other ones I've tasted. Being freshly made they were also hot and crispy, making for a highly enjoyable dish. I found the chicken mince that was inside the roti to also be quite flavourful, with quite a few curry spices, without the heat of chilli. 

Price Range: $10 - $20pp

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

Roti Chenai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato