Friday, 30 November 2018

Black Fire - Brisbane CBD

Having read a few reviews lately for Black Fire restaurant from a few fellow Zomato reviewers, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation to try it out. It made for a refreshing mid week lunch with Adam on Tuesday. BlackFire is housed in the old lodgings of Asana, on the corner of Albert and Mary Street, fairly centrally located in the CBD. 

The area was fairly spacious but there was a function going on in the main seating area (no doubt an early Christmas party), we were seated close to the kitchen, which is in line with my preference anyway as we got to watch the food being prepared. 


Owner Dexter came to introduce himself to us and also walked us through the menu. It mainly comprised of smaller and larger lunches, each of which came with a drink. Sides were also available as an option.

After ordering, drinks came fairly promptly. 


Always the coffee fan, he had the affogato and I the house sparkling. My sparkling was crisp and refreshing. His affogato had a large scoop of vanilla bean ice cream which was quite fragrant and smooth, with a small shot of espresso. Personally I would have liked another shot of coffee to go with it.

His choice of main was the pasta of the day, which happened to be gnocchi. It was served with a tomato based sauce and chorizo, along with a healthy swirl of pesto. The gnocchi was generous in portion and tender. It was considerably smaller than previous gnocchi I have had before, being roughly the size of two peas. The tomato was tasty and complemented well with pesto and the meaty bites.

Always a fan of steak, I had the Grilled Black Angus Rump. It was served medium rare with silverbeet. The steak was definitely cooked to a wonderfully pink medium rare. Although the steak was still quite chewy, it was well seasoned and quite moist and juicy. The silverbeet ensured that there was a healthy dosage of vegetables to balance our meal, it was quite tender and delicious.

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

Price Range: $20 - $29pp

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

Black Fire Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Moge Tee - Runcorn

With the endless opening of bubble tea places in Brisbane, I wouldn't go out of my way to try anything new unless it was convenient and well timed. That is, until I had heard about Moge Tee, which had been making considerable waves in the market, being touted as "the best bubble tea" in Brisbane by a considerable number of sources. So despite the fact that it was a school night, and despite the fact that I was severely jetlagged from a recent work trip, we went for a quick drive to Runcorn Plaza for some after dinner drinks.

The menu was short but had quite a few options that I was quite interested in. I found it a little intriguing though that they would have quite a few milk tea variations but no straight milk tea. Cakes were also sold out by the time we got there, so we'll have to try again later. 

The shopfront was very small and seating was limited. Most people who went got takeaway. 

Our number was called fairly soon after and our drinks were quite pretty.


Adam had the Oreo Milk Tea and I had the Creme Brulee Milk Tea. He was a little disappointed that there were only oreo bits sprinkled on top of the cream rather than mixed through. At full sweetness though, I had a sip and found it surprising not too sweet. Being interested in what cake foam was, I was told that this was their take on brulee, so I had the creme brulee milk tea. True to their word, their brulee definitely wasn't like pudding at all, and was a quasi savoury airy and light cake batter. I found it interesting and quite liked the saltiness to it which brought out the sweetness in my less sweet tea. Speaking of tea, it was fresh, creamy and fragrant. Although not particularly ground breaking, I would have to agree that this is one of the better bubble tea places in Brisbane.

Price Range: Under $10pp

Taste: 8.5/10
Value: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Environment: 7/10

Moge Tee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Gala Thai - West End

Like my fellow Zomato reviewers, Joe K and Ronnie Lui, Adam and I were invited to try out Gala Thai at West End. With the rush up to year end, we were busy running errands throughout the morning in the city and made our way there for a quick and enjoyable lunch before continuing on with our quests. Situated along boundary street, it is a quick stroll from the city, which I imagine would have been quite refreshing had it not been for the heat. Seating was split both indoors and outdoors with the outside seating getting the midday breeze whilst indoors was air conditions. There is no question of where we chose to sit.

Our friendly waitress then introduced herself and the menu. Ordering was done via touch screen tablet. Compared to other places which allow ordering via touch screen, I particularly liked this one as it had the option of adding notes to our selection if variations are required, which was a very convenient touch.

Our drinks came promptly, we were particularly appreciative of this given how hot it was. What we got was fairly standard, next time we're back we will definitely try the more specialty drinks like coconut milk.

Our starters started to arrive quickly after. This was the satay chicken skewers which were served with a side of pickled carrots. I liked that the sauce was served on the side so we could add just the right amount as we saw fit, the sauce itself was a sweet nutty concoction which added the soul to the dish. The chicken was a breast cut rather than thigh which has a superior texture and was well marinated with herbs and spices, infusing deep into the meat.

Our other entree was the Peking Duck pancake. These came premade and wrapped up ready for us to eat. The pancake was thin and soft, there was an ample amount of hoisin sauce in each wrap, giving the parcel some added flavours which were further accentuated by the sourness of the crunchy pickled cucumber and carrot. The duck inside the pancake though was a fairly thick slice with considerable amount of meat under the skin. Compared to ones we've had at Chinese restaurants, the duck was served slightly chilled, the skin wasn't overly crispy but the meat was well marinated. 

Our mains came soon after we were finished with entrees.

We both had white rice as coconut had sold out the night before, not wanting to overload ourselves we conveniently requested half portion of rice in both bowls, texture was spot on for fragrant Thai jasmine rice, which is what my mum usually makes at home every night.

Adam's choice of main was the Gai Yaang Chicken. A traditional Thai dish that involves barbecue grilled chicken with lemongrass and fish sauce it was meaty whilst still fresh and tangy. I liked dhte crispy onion sprinkles on top and how the chicken was complimented by the refreshing crisp side salad, but wish that the chicken was a little more caramelised.

My choice of main was their very popular, signature Duck Tam, a cut of roast duck breast served with crispy salad. Like the duck from the peking duck pancake, it was well seasoned throughout the meat and also brushed with hoisin sauce for flavour. I liked that there was minimal fat content in between the skin and the meat which I really enjoyed, especially as it was served heated. Again it was complemented by the tangy crisp salad, making for a very light and enjoyable dish over summer.

Speaking of summer, no meal would be complete without a chilled dessert (for Adam anyway, who would die without desserts). This was their yuzu sorbet, served with a side of mango. It was extremely refreshing with a lightly sour citrus taste to it, the peanuts added texture and the mango gave it some extra sweetness, making for a wonderful way to conclude a delicious meal.

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

Price Range: $25 - $35pp

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

Gala Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Giardinetto - Fortitude Valley

Another weekend, another date night. Undoubtedly, one of the biggest joys in dating another foodie is our ability to have hours and hours of conversation comparing notes and consolidating our list of places to try. A place that kept coming up in conversation was the long established Giardinetto, a traditional Italian restaurant situated down Brunswick street in Fortitude Valley. Having seen an online promo earlier in the afternoon, we thought it would be a good time to try it out. 

Without a doubt, Saturday night is a peak time for the restaurant. The front of the shop was packed and the two staff rostered that night were frantic. Had it not been for the newly opened California Lane situated out back, we would definitely not have been able to find seating. I liked the vibe, it was very Lady and the Tramp. The fragrant scent of Bolognese sauce and garlic bread waffling from the kitchen definitely added to the feeling and the laneway seating also filled up quickly after our arrival. 


I liked the traditional Italian menu. There were a selection of entrees, mains, pizza, pasta and desserts. It took a while for us to get the attention of one of the waitstaff who were no doubt busy with all the other patrons, but we managed to put our order through. 

We started by sharing a glass of Prosecco, because of course, everything is happier with bubbles. 

Smelling the garlic bread since walking into Giardinetto’s there was no chance that we would miss it. For $6, we had a serve of four slices. It was amazing. The bread was crispy outside without being overly crunchy or hard whilst the inside tasted like garlic and butter infused clouds. We were in heaven and absolutely loved this dish. 

Our second entrée for the evening was the Funghi Ripieni, mushroom caps filled with ricotta, pine nuts, spinach, dried tomato and shallots before being crumbed, fried and served with a creamy mustard sauce. As a concept, this was a fascinating dish which ticked quite a elements of flavour. Whilst I did quite enjoy the cheese and fillings, the mushrooms tasted a little undercooked and the crumbed batter was very thick and hard. If these two were fixed, there is no doubt that the dish would have been far more enjoyable. 

After a considerable wait, our mains came. Unfortunately for us, we had also ordered a side salad to come with the carb laden mains. This never eventuated and was forgotten. We had tried numerous times to get the attention of staff throughout the meal to query it but they were unavailable. 

He ordered his favourite type of pasta, Ravioli ala Zingara, meat filled pasta cooked with bacon, mushroom, cream and garlic. The only positive about this dish was unfortunately only the portion size which was evidently generous. The pasta was thick and some parts were undercooked. Opening it up, the meat was so granulated it was not far from being powdered. Despite the bacon and mushroom, the garlic cream sauce was bland and unappetising. The dish had so much potential for greatness but in the end it let us down. 

My choice for the evening was the meat lasagne, as I wanted to draw a contrast with his cream sauce pasta. I was surprised that it came without a layer of cheese on top, this was rectified with the availability of Parmesan on our table. My pasta was cooked better than his, being cooked through and soft at least. The sauce had evidently large amounts of meat in it, but any freshness of taste was overpowered by tomato paste in the dish. Like the ravioli, this dish had quite a bit of potential which was eventually left unfulfilled. 

I found our dining experience at Giardinetto to be such a disappointment. Starting on a high note and ending so low, the fact that they failed to honour the online deal we had also left a very sour aftertaste in our mouths. At least we managed to satisfy our curiosity about it though. 

Price Range: $30 - $50pp

Taste: 4/10
Value: 4/10
Service: 2/10
Environment: 7/10

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

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

ChanGe Cafe - Brisbane CBD

Keeping up to date with the Brisbane food scene, one could hardly miss ChanGe Café, the new café situated in the upper food court of Myer Centre, in the lodgings which used to hold Sweet Treats. Since then, ChanGe café has made a name for themselves in being the first café in Brisbane to offer photo printing on coffee. Having seen quite a few photos of it on social media, it has been on my radar for quite a while, but before I had the chance, I received an invitation from the owner Angela to try out their High Tea catering options. Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity and had some morning tea delivered to my work last Friday (much to the joy of my colleagues). At 10AM, the morning tea was delivered, in two pristine white towers of tasty goodness. 


Unboxing them was an absolute joy and there were quite a few glances of admiration from my colleagues. Each tower consisted of three layers, the bottom comprising of savoury mini burgers, the middle filled with sweet cupcakes and slices, with the top being macarons, offering a good balance for both lovers of sweet and savoury. 


I tried the chocolate mudcake, the salmon mini burger and the ham mini burger. The mudcake was moist and delicious, but erred toward the sweeter side of the spectrum than I would have liked, but it was well received by my colleagues. Preferring savoury myself, the mini burgers were very enjoyable. The buns were fluffy and fresh, although I would have preferred regularly coloured ones. Both the combination of salmon and cream cheese as well as ham, cheese and lettuce were classics, and I found them to be very tasty morsels. If they could include drinks as part of their catering package as well, this would have been a very well rounded morning tea.

Espresso and Matcha were invited to try the catering of Change Café, however my opinions, as always, are solely my own. 

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

  ChanGe Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato