Thursday, 31 May 2018

Chotto Matte - Brisbane CBD

So, as some of my readers now know, I blow a lot of money on eating when I'm with Iron Fist due to his love of extravagant fine dining. Most other times I live the life of a poor broke girl that I am, and what does a poor girl like more than anything? Free food. So when I heard that Chotto Matte (translating to "Please wait a second"), a new venture by the owners of Kamikaze (another entry on my to-go list), were having an opening special of free food all week, I made sure to get there early. Arriving at 10.45am in anticipation of an 11am opening time, I was greeted with a line of what appeared to be mostly uni students. 

With the crowd of people, it took me over an hour to be in a position to make an order. The menu itself comprised of Japanese rice bowls, hot plate meals and sides.

Drinks were also available, although the prices were a little steep for this broke girl.

On that day, there were four rice bowl options in their free food promotion.

Putting my order through, I was given a number and made my way inside to find a seat. The seating wasn't too big, and it accommodated roughly 20 - 30 people, which is probably why it took such a wait to get a table.

Food came rather promptly afterwards. 

My chicken katsu don with egg was quite substantial in size, which was very pleasing. The chicken was crispy and the coating was quite delicious with a well seasoned and tasty meat texture was quite firm. The egg was also done quite well, with it being well done in some places but still retaining liquidity in some parts. The downside however was the rice, which was severely under-cooked and hard.

On the side, I ordered a serve of tako karage. It was basically octopus coated with karage batter and deep fried. It was quite large for a side portion. The batter was crispy and crunchy, but the octopus was a little firm.

Rounding off the meal, I also ordered a matcha soft serve. For 50 cents, it was a great deal. The matcha was quite intense, and the texture was sufficiently creamy, albeit a little icy.

Price Range: $15 - $30pp

Taste: 6.5/10
Value: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Environment: 7/10

Chotto Matte Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 28 May 2018

Hog's Breath Cafe - Garden City

Friend of mine who loves watching tv saw the ad about Hogs Breath offering a three course dinner for under $30. Being easily swayed by advertising, she asked me to go with her. Not having gone to any of the Hogs Breath Cafes in around a decade, I was a little skeptical at first, but at her insistence, we ended up going with another companion. Having made a booking for 6.30 on a Wednesday, I was surprised to see the place was quite packed, with our table being the last empty indoor seat. Unfortunately though, whilst service was friendly, it was very slow throughout the evening due to staff being so busy.

As mentioned, my companion had their sights set on the three course meal which came with three options for each course.



Wanting to try something else, I poured over the menu, which was huge. It took myself and my companion a considerable amount of time before we could settle on our order. 

Companion who ordered the three course meal started off with a serve of calamari. Served in a cone with sweet chilli and aioli, there really wasn't too much calamari in the container. It was freshly fried, but bits of the batter were already falling off, and it wasn't overly crunchy.

For his main, he opted for the prime rib and had it upgraded to standard size. Having ordered it medium rare, he was quite disappointed that it came out quite well done. For a standard size steak it was considerably smaller than expectations. The pepper sauce though was quite creamy and rich. My companion found the side salad to be crispy and fresh and delicious with its light vinaigrette garnish, but the sweet potato wedges weren't very crispy. For a steakhouse, its steak was really not comparable to the local chains like beach house.

My other companion ordered the Cheese Burger in Paradise with a side of hog tail fries with aioli. The burger contained beef, cheese, tomato, beetroot and bbq sauce. The burger was surprisingly large, with considerable fillings to bun ratio. My companion found the beef to be substantially thick and well seasoned, and the salad to be quite ample. The bun could have been fluffier and softer though. The chips were also generous in portion, freshly fried and I always enjoy the novelty of curly fries.

Wanting to be good, I opted to get a serve of caesar salad. It was also quite generous in portion with lettuce, bacon, egg, Parmesan and a large piece of grilled chicken breast. The salad was very crispy and fresh, and I liked the substantial amount of chicken that was provided with the dish. The cheese was also very sharp and had a nice bite to it. 

We finished off the meal by sharing my companion's dessert, the Rocky road sundae. Again, the portion was quite substantial The ice cream was standard soft serve with a large chunk of hot fudge and brownie at the bottom. It was a pretty average sundae and didn't really stand out as anything out of the ordinary.

Price Range: $20 - $30pp

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

Hog's Breath Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 25 May 2018

Louisiana Redclaw - Fortitude Valley

Being a great lover of seafood, there is very little that is more satisfying than sitting in front of a large bowl of crab and slowly deshelling it to reach the treasures inside. Being used to the Asian flavours of garlic and shallot stir fried with my seafood, I always had an interest in trying out other cuisines and flavours, so having heard that a new seafood place opened in the valley, with a focus on spicy Louisiana Boil, I knew I had to check it out. Adding it onto my list of places to check out, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an invite from the owner to try out their classic platter, so we headed off to try it out without further ado. Arriving at our booked time of 6pm, we were granted the option of inside or outside seating, of course we chose inside, where we could appreciate the seafood themed decor, especially the crab traps hanging from the ceiling. 

I quite liked the menu, which comprised of almost solely seafood and sides. Of note were the three options in tossing sauce, "mild", "hot", and "burn baby burn". Not wanting to go out of our depths, we settled on mild for our first try.


We were also provided with a drinks menu, and made a few selections off that. A handy toolbox was also placed on the table, containing all utensils that we would require that evening to enjoy our selection of seafood.

We were also provided with a bib to make sure that no matter how messy our meal was, it wouldn't get on our clothes. Being fully geared up, we were finally ready for our meal to begin.


First to arrive were our cocktails, the blu-hito, cosmo and my cotton candy. All were refreshing and sweet, but somewhat light on the alcohol content. I especially liked the warmth of the cotton candy as it went down.

Before long, our main event arrived, to much fanfare. This was the classic platter, in all its glory.

The platter consisted of diamond clams, green mussels, crawfish, crab and prawn, tossed in the signature red claw zing sauce, which is apparently the owner's secret recipe. Without disclosing too much to me, he told me that it is a long process of two four hour stages, that results in a very delicious, intense, spicy, garlic-y concoction that took our breath away. My companions and I enjoyed the sauces so much that we also dipped our tasty toasted cobb bread in the sauces after we finished with the seafood. Of the platter, highlights for me were without a doubt the crab claws (I don't think I've ever had that many in my life), and giant prawns, which were fresh and well cooked. I also really enjoyed crawfish, being the first time I've ever tried it in my life. Like their appearance, they tasted like a combination of prawns and lobsters, and it took a while to work out how to deshell one.

Polishing off the whole bowl of seafood, I rounded off the meal with a liquid dessert, in the form of an espresso martini, perfectly sweet and went down nice with some warmth.

Espresso and Matcha were invited guests of Louisiana Redclaw, but as always, our opinions are solely our own.
Price Range: $40 - $60pp

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

Louisiana Redclaw Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Todd and Pup - Moorooka

With the cool winter setting in, there is nothing better to start off a weekend than with a hearty brunch to warm us up before our busy schedules kick in. Having heard and seen much online about the recently renovated Todd and Pup, I was quite pleased to receive an invitation from the owner, Kate, to try out some of their brunch offerings. Taking a quick drive to the bustling shopping strip on Tarragindi Road, I was quite happy to secure the final inside table which had been reserved for us that morning. 

I really enjoyed the cozy relaxed atmosphere of the cafe, especially with the hanging plants, which brought a bit of nature indoors.

There was an all day brunch-y menu, which also comprised of not only breakfast options, but also more substantial things like ribs and burgers. My companions, ever decisive, made their minds up very quickly and we gave our order to our friendly waitress promptly.

Our coffees arrived very promptly afterwards. Both companions ordered lattes in a cup. I had a cappuccino in a bowl.


All three coffees were well received. They had a strong fragrance, a full body and weren't overly acidic. I liked the creamy milk and the fairly strong caffeine hit. I was particularly impressed with the size of my cappuccino in a bowl, which was easily double the size of my companions drinks.

Whilst our drinks were fast, our food took a little while longer to come out. Without a doubt this is because the cafe was unbelievably busy in the morning. I was lucky to get a seat with a good view of the kitchen, so I could spy on all the delicious food as it came out.

After around 20 mins or so, our food arrived, and it was definitely a sight to behold.

My first companion had the G & T salmon benedict. Consisting of gin cured salmon, poached eggs, cucumber, lime hollondaise, rye and finger limes, it made for a wonderfully colourful and aesthetically pleasing meal that captured a lot of glances from our neighbours as it came out from the kitchen. The dish itself was very fruity, with pieces of crunchy cucumber topped with a wonderuful citrus-y garnish, it made for a really light tangy zesty start to my companions meal. The cured salmon was also delightful with light delicate gin flavours atop the toasty rye. She only wishes that there were some bolder flavours to really contrast the softer flavours.

My other companion ordered the fried chicken benedict, which consisted of buttermilk fried chicken, smoked bacon, wilted spinach and chilli hollondaise served on a brioche bun (this was the double meat double brioche option). Compared to the salmon benedict, my companion was amazed at the strong flavours in the dish. The chicken was wonderfully seasoned, with a crispy batter and tender juicy insides. The bacon was really smoky and the spinach had a delightful garlicy taste to it. The bread was fluffy and soft too, and the eggs were done just right. The only improvement my companion could suggest was that the chicken was more on the burnt side and could have been a bit less toasted.

Having done considerable research before arriving, I opted for the sauteed mushroom madame, with garlic mushrooms, fried eggs, mascarpone, mozzarella, fried enoki with garlic yoghurt. Despite the fact that it was a vegetarian dish, and I am a self professed meat lover, it was an amazing dish. The garlic and mushroom puree sandwiched between the two pieces of sourdough were wonderfully fragrant with a strong truffle-y aroma. The fried enoki was definitely a highlight, with a crispy exterior and slightly chewy interior, which went very well with the garlic yoghurt. The eggs were also fried well, but I would have liked a crispy edge around the whites. 

To share, we also had two sides, avocado and bacon. The avocado was delightfully ripe, and the bacon was nice and crispy, and I really appreciated that it didn't have too much fat on it. They both made for wonderful compliments to our meals. 

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

Price Range: $20 - $30pp

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

Todd & Pup Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato