Sunday, 31 March 2019

Shinbashi - Underwood

Whilst there has been considerable confusion online about whether Shinbashi Yakiniku at Underwood is newly opened from Melbourne or if it's under new management. I can confirm to readers that through my unrivaled sleuthing skills, it has not changed management and has been open in the same complex along Logan road for over 10 years. What has changed however, is their new marketing team, WeCollective, who organised a marketing launch party last week, which I was privileged enough to go to.

Having been roughly five years ago, they've maintained their buffet offering on Monday, Tuesday and Friday with prices having gone up from $35pp to $45pp since I came last time. Reservations are essential as I've heard that it gets booked out quite often.

We were lucky enough to score seating in the private dining area, with their no shoes policy, you may want to come equipped with socks if you wanted a seat here. I loved the wooden theme to the place, especially accentuated with the bamboo separators, it definitely felt like I was in Japan again.

Starting off, we had some juice, edamame, kimchi and chicken broth. The kimchi was probably the sweetest I had ever tasted before. The edamame was fresh and delightful and the chicken broth was warm and soothing to the soul.

First of our cooked starters was the kaarage chicken. The taste and texture was reminiscent of Taiwanese salt and pepper chicken bites with a light starchy potato batter. 

Of course all Japanese meals should come with Takoyaki, These were freshly fried and delicious with chunks of octopus inside each of the balls. 

Before long our bbq was set up with hot charcoal to keep us toasty and warm.

Always starting off at the head of the ox, we began our meal with some premium wagyu ox tongue. As expected with tongue, it had a chewier texture than you would expect from a steak, but coupled with the melty fat content of wagyu, it was a pleasure to devour.

Our next dish was pork. We had both pork belly and thinly sliced pork jowl shaped into a rose. The pork belly was fairly fatty but fried to a crisp, it had quite a crunchy texture. My favourite would definitely be the pork jowl with the fatty tissue ingrained in the meat which results in a far more homogenized mouthfeel.

Next beef dish was a combination of three cuts, oyster blade, short rib and marbled beef which was shaped like a flower. All cuts were amazingly marbled and textured wonderfully. Of the three, my favourite would have to be the soft and tender short rib which was grilled to a perfect bloody rare.

Interluding with vegetables for balance, favourites around the table included the shiitake mushrooms and onions which soaked up the meat juices well.

Next we had some giant oysters, and being the wonderful girlfriend that I am, I offered mine to Adam, who was very happy about this. Fresh and tasty, he enjoyed both of them immensely. 

Best and last meats of the day was the thick cut wagyu sirloin. Compared to the other dishes, the texture was definitely far more meatier and firmer but still maintained a melty smooth mouthfeel. A memorable cut to end our meal.

Rounding off we had the nabeyaki udon to share. Tender and soft, I liked the udon, the egg was a little overdone, but the prawn was fresh and tasty. The homey dashi broth was definitely a winner too.

Washing the amazing meal down with some sweet plum wine, it made for a really memorable dinner indeed.

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

Shinbashi Yakiniku Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Ramen Danbo - South Brisbane

Despite what some other bloggers may have said, I’m hardly an expert on ramen. I am however, definitely a ramen enthusiast, and having heard that Ramen Danbo, the highly acclaimed ramen store in the Gold Coast with a cult following was opening in Brisbane, I made sure to hit them up on their first day and see what all the fuss was about. Situated across the road from the convention centre on Merivale Street, it places itself in direct competition with Taros Ramen’s West End venture. Arriving somewhat late in the evening after another launch event, I was quite concerned that they would have sold out, but even at 8.30pm, the line was still out the door.

 The venue itself was fairly small, there was a considerable line to order and after ordering, there was a substantial line up to get a table afterwards.


We perused the menu whilst standing in line. It consisted of six variations of ramen with customisable levels of noodle softness, broth richness as well as spiciness. Having had customisable ramen before in Japan, I was definitely impressed by this option.

Water and condiments are available on a DIY basis. Of course I had garlic, and whilst this looked like a mild paste, it was extremely potent and I could feel the burn even the morning after.

Starting off our dinner, we shared a dish of Hakata one bite gyoza. I found it interesting that there was no sauce dish, which meant we had to douse the gyoza sauce directly onto the dumplings. As for the dumplings, the skin was fairly thin and had a crisp edge, but the base itself could have been crispier. The filling was fresh though and the meat juices were delicious. 

Our noodles came out as we were halfway through our gyoza.

Adam ordered the  Se Abura Ramen with firm noodles, rich soup and standard spice. By way of background, Se Abura is type of ramen in which pork back fat is cooked for a long time until it melts, and then more is sprinkled on top of the ramen, where small pieces stay afloat, to enhance the flavor of the soup. Although by definition it appears to be a very decadent dish, the fact that the soup wasn't as creamy as taros or genkotsu meant that the fatty bits struck a good balance with the soup. Adam enjoyed the firm noodles al dente and he also considered standard spicy to be quite mild.

Opting for a more classic dish, I had the Nitamago Ramen with soft noodles, light soup and no spice. For the price of $15, I found the portion to be fairly small in quantity, if we hadn't been to an event earlier, we would definitely have been a little pecklish after ramen. My soup was definitely not as rich as the Se Abura, but it was still quite salty. Again it was nowhere near as rich and creamy as other places, but it still clung onto my noodles quite well. I enjoyed my soft noodles which weren't too soggy and had a great texture. The eggs were soft boiled to a good consistency but in my opinion the yolk could have been more runny. The char siu had a melt in your mouth softness but was also a little fatter than I would have liked. 

Price Range: $15 - $25pp

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

Ramen Danbo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Three Beans Cafe - Brisbane CBD

Despite working just next to Eagle Street, I was surprised not to have heard of three beans cafe, a fairly popular cafe hailing from the southern states which had opened up where the sanitarium cafe used to be. It was only when Adam took me out to lunch there that I learned of their existence, better late than never I guess.

Seating was largely outdoors, and although we had no air conditioning, we had the consolation of a large pitcher of icy water to start with.

The menu is as you would expect of a cafe, there were breakfast options (all day!), healthy bowls, sandwiches, burgers and wraps.

Starting off, we had some drinks to begin.

He had his standard cold brew, crisp and refreshing but on the lighter side. Given the recent weather, I was not able to indulge in a hot drink, so I tried out their mixed berry smoothie, which was delicious and tart with a considerable amount of berries.

Our food came as we were halfway through our drinks. 

Adam, of course had the burger special. In fact, that was the main reason why he went. With a brioche bun, pickled cucumber, meat pattie, lettuce, and melty cheese, he couldn't resist but to add bacon to it (to balance out the healthy salad on the side). Sneaking a bite myself, the bun was quite fluffy, the cheese and sauce added moisture to the crumbly beef patty whilst the cucumber and lettuce kept it fresh. It was a surprisingly well balanced burger, especially for someone who often prefers the double pattie ratio on their burgers.

Nothing compliments a burger like a side of fries. These were the large fries, shoesting cut as all the best fries are, and served with mayo. Fresh and delicious, I had more than my fair share.

Never forgoing a chance to indulge in all day breakfasts, I had the powerhouse breakfast, their take on the big breakfast. It consisted of eggs, bacon, sausage, hashbrown, mushrooms, grilled tomato and toast. I added extra avocado for health ;). I'm glad they separated the butter from the toast, so I could avoid it. The hashbrown was unbelievably crispy, the bacon had a nice edge to it and the mushrooms were well seasoned. The eggs were a tad overdone though with a fairly gelatinous centre, making for an overall amazing meal.

Espresso and Matcha got to enjoy this complimentary meal by freeloading off FoodieAdam's invite. But as always, my opinions are solely my own. 

Price Range: $15 - $25pp

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

Three Beans Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Jacaranda - West End

Have long been curious of the highly acclaimed Jacaranda Coffee Lane at West End, but with Adam's busy schedule, it's always hard to find time to go try places on my hit list. Luckily last weekend, he had a business appointment across the road and I was given the opportunity to have an hour of alone time to check it out for a quick Saturday Brunch.

Arriving at 10, the place was packed, as you would expect from such a popular cafe. 

The menu was different from the usual cafe menus we see, with quite a few Asian inspired dishes. That doesn't mean that I won't stick with my usual favourite though ;).


Being such a hot day, I couldn't resist a second drink. Opting for an orange juice to start, it was sweet and refreshing, also served delightfully pulp free, as all orange juices should be (if I wanted pulp, I'd just eat an orange). My second drink was an iced latte. It came out with some cold milk foam and was chilled via coffee ice cubes, always a winner in my books.

As always, I had the eggs on toast option, this dish was served with avocado and roasted mushroom. I added on a side of smoked salmon. Plating was pretty spectacular. The eggs were a little small, but poached perfectly and garnished with black and white sesame. The avocado was ripe and delicious whilst the mushrooms were well seasoned. Salmon tasted fairly standard like you would be able to get from a supermarket though.

Finishing off my meal, my friendly waiter gave me a a complimentary fruit dessert. With apple, grape and watermelon topped with cream and sprinkles, this simple addition added a great deal of happiness to my day.

Price Range: $20 - $30pp

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

Jacaranda Coffee Lane Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato