Sunday, 26 May 2019

Peng You - Newstead

Some readers have pointed out that I don't really eat too much Chinese food when I'm out. My response is always "why would I eat Chinese food out when I can have it at home every single night". Alas, Adam is not one who shares such good fortune as me, so when he said he was craving Chinese, we went to get ourselves a fix at Peng You in Skyring Terrace, Newstead, a quick 30 min walk from his house.


The food and drink menu were both extensive. Luckily for him, I knew exactly what to order, and all he had to do was sit back and wait for the food to arrive. 

Starting off with cocktails, I had the Sakura and he the Ferrero (because it was the sweetest one). Mine was refreshing, his was creamy and I really enjoyed munching on the lychee whilst deciding on food.

The one thing he was craving more than anything else was Peking Duck. Given that there were only two of us eating, I thought that the half size portion with 8 pieces was ample for us to share. For $40 it wasn't too cheap, but the taste was authentic, the duck crispy and not too fatty with a bit of meat under the skin. The pancakes didn't taste too fresh, but were at least quite soft.

After his favourite poultry comes mine. The salt and pepper quail was freshly fried, slightly small but the taste was definitely like home. Bonus points for achieving a crispy skin whilst retaining the moist flesh.


As he was so happy to be eating Chinese for once, he decided on a second round of drinks. I had the fruity and citrusy Singapore Sling, whereas he had yet another Fererro (because chocolate).

Another family favourite of mine is steamed fish. We had the steamed whole baby barramundi with soy, ginger, and shallots. The barramundi was fatty and soft with a silky smooth meat texture. Accompanied with the sweet soy and condiments, this wouldn't be far off from other places at Sunnybank. 

Rounding off our savoury dishes, we had the stir fried black pepper beef with snow peas. Although the beef was definitely tenderised via alternate means, it was stir fried to have a lightly crisp outer shell which was garnished with cracked pepper. Juices from the beef soaked into the peas and corn to give it all the more flavour. Adam really enjoyed this dish.

Whilst I was done with my meal, he couldn't leave without dessert, so he had the tempura banana fritters. The batter was a little thicker than he would have liked, but the bananas were soft and ripe. Coupled with ice cream for some contrast in temperatures, it was a satisfying conclusion to our meal.

Price Range: $70 - $90pp

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

Peng You China Kitchen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 23 May 2019

The Frond Cafe - New Farm

Another weekend, another reason to indulge in brunch. This week we found ourselves at New Farm checking out The Frond Cafe, opening just opposite New Farm Park and placing it in direct competition with it's neighbour Cafe 63 as well as the unofficial brunch central that is Methyr Village.

With both inside and outside seating, we were seated outside, as Adam likes to say it allows better lighting for his shots. Menus were provided promptly and I could definitely see the appeal and contrast from other cafes.

Starting off, Adam had the black diamond, a concoction of espresso, sparkling and lemon, definitely not something you see on regular menus. Fizzy, sour and bitter, he found it an invigorating way to start the day. I opted for the safer bet of batch brew. For $5 you can get unlimited refills, which made it well worth the money spent. The blend was bold and intense. I had three cups.

Being a fairly busy day, it was a while until our food came, but it was well worth the wait.

Always going for the sweet option, so we will never ever fight about what to get, Adam ordered the banana pancakes with lemon curd, blueberry compote and vanilla ice cream. I guess there is a certain joy to the experience of having hot and cold mix in your mouth, and blueberries and lemon were definitely not too rich for a morning meal. He said that this was his two serves of fruit for the day.

For his added dairy intake, he had a side of haloumi, it was toasted wonderfully with a hot centre. Sneaking a piece, I really enjoyed the squishy texture too.

Reverting to my usual, this was the smoked bacon and eggs with a side of avocado and mushrooms. Salmon was on the menu, but not as available as an add on. Both the avocado and mushrooms were generous, especially the mushrooms which were well cooked but could have been seasoned a little more. I found the bread to be a little overly buttered and the bacon could have been cooked for longer but the eggs were done wonderfully. 

Price Range: $20 - $30pp

Taste: 7/10
Value: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Environment: 7/10
The Frond Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 20 May 2019

Table 26 - West End

Long term readers of my blog will know that Indian is one of the few cuisines that I am not too familiar with, but this cannot be said for Adam. So when he asked if I was keen to try out some Indian inspired breakfast at West End, I came along for the ride and expanded my horizons. Table 26 is situated along the residential apartments of Duncan Street, a fair way away from the commercial strip of Boundary Street. 

We were greeted warmly upon arrival and menus were already laid out. The menu came with a heartwarming origin story for the cafe, always a good read to set the context for our meal.

As mentioned, the menu draws Indian influences, so we decided to order with those in mind.

Drinks came promptly as we were still deliberating the menu. His iced long black was one of the largest I had seen in quite a while, and my campos blend coffee was bold and bitter as expected.

Our order was taken again very promptly and food was out in about 5 minutes, love the efficiency of the place.

Adam's breakfast was Pop's Paratha, a buttery paratha filled with spicy scrambled eggs, coriander & avocado, served with roasted tomato masala chutney, mint yoghurt, pappadums and side of tikka gravy with an added side of bacon for good health. Quite the feast on a plate, he particularly enjoyed the authentic tastes of tikka gravy especially on the crispy pappadums. Scrambled eggs are always his favourite and he said these were done really well. I commandeered some avocado and this too was sufficiently ripe.

Trying something out of my norm, I had the Sandcrab Omelette, which comprised of blue swimmer crab, confit shallot and camembert bound in a 3 egg omelette, served with pickled onion, dill & avocado topped sour dough with added haloumi and mushrooms. The omelette was huge and contained ample amounts of crab, to me though, the omelette was a little on the overdone side which meant that the texture didn't bring out as much contrast with the crab as it could have. The sauteed mushrooms were definitely a highlight for me with a mixture of enoki, oyster and button mushrooms, they were well seasoned and complimented the meal well. Makes for an exciting breakfast when you want to shake it up a little.

Price Range: $15 - $25pp

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

Table 26 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 17 May 2019

Halo Ground - Fortitude Valley

Saturday brunch during our long weekend. Luckily for us, we didn't have much planned and I was free to choose where to go that morning for a catch up with some friends. To this we decided to check out the new Halo Grounds which had opened recently along Brookes Street at Fortitude Valley, fairly close to the Emporium.

There were quite a few options on the menu, a lot of the dishes had an Asian twist to them. Other than what was on the papers, there were several off menu specials which I eventually chose from.

Arriving ahead of our friends, we had some coffees to start off. He had his cold press coffee and I my cappuccino with an extra shot for good measure. Once our companions arrived, we ordered quickly. I didn't sample their meals but this is what they had.

First companion had the Falafel Plate comprising of slow burnt eggplant, house made falafel, flatbread, cultured yoghurt, pickled peppers and onions and chickpeas with an addition of slow roasted lamb shoulder. 

Second companion had the Cock Waffle made up of a sweet potato waffle, Japanese fried chicken, wombok slaw, poached egg and house fermented kimchi.

As the waffle alone wasn't enough to fill him up, our second companion also ordered a side of Banana bread.

Adam had the Apple Dutch Baby with roasted apple and buttermilk souffle pancake, orange whipped ricotta, doce de leite and candied seeds. For once this was a sweet breakfast that I almost ordered myself, and will definitely be getting when I come back. Whilst the pancake wasn't as fluffy as I would expect of souffle, it was still very soft and delectable. I liked the mix of apple, blueberry and ricotta which struck a good balance between fruitiness and creaminess. 

As always, I stuck with the conservative option and once I heard that their weekend special was the Croque Madame, I knew I had to order it. Rich and decadent, there was no shortage in bechamel sauce and the Gruyere was infinitely stringy. Ham was thin shaved and generously layered whilst the egg was runny as expected. Given how indulgent it was, I definitely wouldn't have been able to finish it without help.

Rounding off our meal, we shared two sweets from the pastry cabinet. This was the chocolate fudge brownie, my favourite of the two. Although this was also super rich and filling, it was also amazingly moist. So moist in fact that chewing was not required, you could almost scoop it in your mouth and just swallow like you were eating a room temperature bite of ice cream. The chocolate was intense and bitter, with just the right amount of sweetness to balance it out.

Second cake was the Orange and almond cake. Although it was lighter by way of taste, the texture was definitely denser and coarser for those who enjoy the mouthfeel. It definitely had strong elements of orange and not so strong elements of almond, but I think I still prefer the chocolate brownie more.

Price Range: $15 - $25pp

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

Halo Ground Coffee & Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato