Sunday, 29 September 2019

Reuben's Deli and Bar - Paddington

Have long wanted to check out Reuben in Paddington since I saw some articles about their opening a couple months ago. Reading subsequent reviews have only made me want to go even more, so last weekend I decided not to delay anymore and made some plans to get brunch there with a friend.

Arriving at 9.30 on Saturday morning, the cafe was half full and we got a table outside where we could peek into the kitchen and watch the chef make our meals.


I quite liked the menu with its abundance of savoury options. Most dishes contained elements of pastrami, which I was really keen to try out. 

My friend ordered a mocha whilst I had a cappuccino. These were fairly strong and served hot. I liked the additional biscuit on the side. Was a great way to start our meal.

Our meals came out without too much of a wait, about when we were half way through our coffee.

My companion had the bacon and egg melt. Comprising of grilled bacon, scrambled egg, American and Swiss cheeses along with bacon and onion jam, it definitely gave me food envy. He enjoyed it thoroughly. I liked the filling to bread ratio and it made for good value.

There was little doubt in my mind that I would be getting the Pastrami Hash with its roasted potato "home fries" tossed with house cured and smoked pastrami, caramelised onion and topped with a sunny egg. Of course I added avocado for good measure. The egg was fried perfectly. I love the slight crispy edge, and the runny yolk. The highlight of the meal was without a doubt the cured pastrami, which was deliciously stringy and smokey. As for the potatoes, they could have been a little crispier, and a bit less oily, but overall it was a satisfying dish of comfort food.

Price Range: $15 - $25pp

Taste: 8/10
Value: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Environment: 8/10
Reuben's Deli & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 26 September 2019

La Luca - Brisbane CBD

Mid week lunch catch up with Brisvegustation. Had a fair amount of decision fatigue lately, so I let him decide where we were to go. Having done a good amount of research, he opted to go to La Luca, a quick little lunch place conveniently situated between both of our workplaces.

Arriving at midday, it was definitely busy, but service was very fast, which was definitely necessary for the workday lunch rush.

Other than the menu above the counter, there was also a large selection of hot and cold foods in the bain marie to pick and choose. Customers were charged for their charge of small or large plate as you would for most of those self serve restaurants.

Brisvegustation opted for a selection of their self serve foods. He had the smaller dish for $14.95. Food wise, he found it enjoyable enough, but to get good value for money really depending on ability to stack on the plate. 

Wanting a lighter option, I tried their Caesar Salad on the menu and added some grilled chicken for extra protein. The portion size was definitely generous and filled me up. I liked how the chicken and bacon were reasonably warm. The sauce could have been a bit creamier, and I found it a little odd though that the greens provided were spinach and rocket when the signboard displayed lettuce.

Price Range: $10 - $20pp

Taste: 7/10
Value: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Environment: 7/10
La Luca Cucina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 23 September 2019

Shinobi Ramen - Brisbane CBD

Caught up with a friend for a quick lunch mid week whilst running some errands. Wanting to try something new, we decided to check out the recently opened Shinobi Ramen, situated on the lower level of Queens Plaza. The menu was pretty much identical to the one in Carindale, we ordered at the counter and had a buzzer for when our food was ready.

Despite being in a food court, there was still everything I could ever want in the condiment station, which can only mean freshly pressed garlic. Other things like pickles were also available, but nothing is better than garlic.

Since great minds think alike, my companion and I both happened to order the same dish, so it saves me reviewing two items I guess. This was the black garlic ramen. At $14.90 it was decent value. The portions weren't huge but it hit the spot for me. The noodles were cooked to a medium firmness and still has a good amount of bite to it. The soup was thick and creamy but didn't have the depth and dimension I've found in other places, however the egg was near perfect. Definitely a decent lunch spot for a quick ramen.

Price Range: $10 - $20pp

Taste: 7.5/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: 7/10
Environment: 7/10

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

Espresso & Matcha’s Fifth Anniversary

Dear Readers

As September rolls around, we have again reached our anniversary date, marking six years of consistently documenting my gastronomical adventures around Brisbane and interstate. Another year having passed, it comes time again for some reflection and contemplation. For those of you familiar with my previous anniversary posts, this one has been one of the hardest for me to write, and comes from a place deeper than I thought was humanely possible.

If you asked me two months ago where I thought the direction of my blog (and my life) was headed, I would have given you a completely different (and far more naively joyful) view than I currently have. Until now. a person who I had devoted myself to and given to unconditionally had been living a double life for months before I found out. In a matter of days the sky fell down around me and the ground under my feet gave way. For a long time now, I had unknowingly been walking through an insidious hall of twisted mirrors of warped realities. Everything I believed was true was a fabrication and it shook me to the very core of my being and made me doubt the very essence of veracity.

Yet in the midst of adversity, I found strength. I found courage from my most beloved friends and family. I found support from new friends and the broader community in a way I had never fathomed. I found dedication and passion in the pride I have in my work and the results I had achieved. I found humanity in knowing that even though I had gone through a disaster, there are many people in the world who are far less fortunate than me and now maybe I could do my part to help those who need it more than me.

Honestly, when reality struck me, I had considered giving up my blog and my insta. Perhaps it was stubbornness, perhaps it was vanity, but here I am, still updating every few days. In the face of adversity, I have found the truth that I am stronger than I had ever believed possible as well as the determination to carry on what I believe in. So after six years of writing, I thank you, dear reader, for coming with me along this journey. At this point, I have no clue what the future holds, but all I can do is face it head on.

As always, thanks for reading. If you want to contact me, feel free to send me a message to my insta Espresso_and_Matcha or email me at

-Hsiao Fu

Friday, 20 September 2019

Allium - New Farm

Had a long awaited dinner at Allium last week for a friend's birthday. Had long heard of the great reviews about this place so I was super excited to check it out. 

Made a booking for a mid week dinner. The place was dim, moody and quite cosy. Perfect for long catch ups over good food.


There were two menus, one was a winter banquet, another was the full menu with a degustation option. Pressed between the choice of two set courses, we decided on trying the winter banquet menu at $64pp.


Drinks for the evening included the Peccorino, a curious savoury white wine, the sweet Bloody Jasmine and my crisp refreshing French 75. All drinks were moderately strong and provided a nice way to start off our meal.

We had some bread to share come out first, this was the Allium Malt Sourdough served with Wagyu Fat Butter. Interestingly, there was only two pieces of bread despite there being three of us, so there was a bit of inconvenience in splitting the bread. The bread itself was rustic and crusty, but we would have liked it better if it had been toasted for extra crunch. Having said that, the wagyu fat butter spread wonderfully. 

Entrees came fairly quickly, this was the Rangers Valley Beef Tartare, Fermented Chilli, Nashi Pear with Jerusalem Artichoke. This was definitely a highlight for me, as someone who really enjoys steak tartare, it was very fresh and well seasoned. The Nashi Pear was crisp and delicious, I only wish there was more to share and some bread or biscuits to go with the tartare. 

Our second entree was the Heirloom Tomato, Housemade Ricotta, Basil, Black Olive with Sour Cherry. Like a cross between fruit salad and veggie salad, it was fresh and I liked the light vinegarette it was served with and how it complimented the mild ricotta.

The wait between entrees and mains took a little while, this was the first main, Potato Gnocchi, Truffle Cream, Oyster Mushroom with Ewes Milk Whey. Flavour wise, I really enjoyed the complimentary mushroom flavours of truffle cream and oyster mushroom. The texture of the gnocchi was a bit mushy though and tasted a bit like mashed potato.

Our second main was the Borrowdale Pork Belly, Soy Caramel, Green Pawpaw with Asian Herb Salad. Again I found it a little odd that there was two pieces of pork belly between the three of us. The pork belly was a bit fatty and the skin was soft and sticky, unlike the usual crispy skin we are used to. The flavour was extremely sweet and we could only balance it out with the herb salad.

We had two sides to accompany our mains, this was of course the Shoestring fries, Malt Vinegar with Aioli. The portion was generous, and I do love shoestring fries, but they didn't stand out as something special compared to other offerings on the market.

Final savoury dish was the side of Roasted Sugarloaf Cabbage with XO Sauce. This was tender and enjoyable, especially with the pungent XO Sauce which really added an Asian twist to the dish.

The wait between mains and desserts though was extremely long, at close to 40 minutes. Dessert of the evening was the Vanilla Cheesecake, White Chocolate, Toasted Macadamia, Strawberry Ice Cream. Again we had two portions to awkwardly split between three. Having said that, I really enjoyed the deconstructed cheesecake. The vanilla cheesecake element was very creamy and rich, while the strawberry was fragrant and the macadamia gave it a lot of much needed texture. We definitely ended the meal on a high.

Price Range: $64pp Banquet

Taste: 6/10
Value: 7/10
Service: 6/10 (long wait times between courses)
Environment: 7/10

Allium Restaurant and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

La Casa - Runcorn

Ambling around Runcorn on a lazy weekend, I found myself outside of La Casa, a fairly new Asian Bakery which had opened along Runcorn Plaza a couple months ago. Having been a fan of baked goods since birth, I made a point to check it out and get some for home.

Stepping inside, the shop was definitely very small, but it was packed with a wide assortment of wonderful baked goods. Ranging from typical sweet and savoury buns to cakes as well as the seasonal moon cakes, it was like stepping into heaven. 

As usual, we got some baked goodness on a try and paid at the counter.

One thing I really enjoyed from the store was the freshly made coffee buns which were heated in store. That meant they were kept warm in the toaster and not put on the shelf to cool and you had to order one when you paid at the counter. Although  not as fragrant as the ones from Pappa Roti, what they lacked in scent they made up for with texture. It was extremely fluffy and I really enjoyed it.

Not one to stop at one bun, I also got a Matcha Polo Bun to go. Although different from the standard Hong Kong style polo bun, it was still extremely delicious. The outer crust was not as crispy or crunchy as the traditional Hong Kong types, but it was super intense in matcha taste and the inside was just as light and fluffy. Definitely a bakery to come back to when I'm nearby.

Price Range: Under $10pp

Taste: 8.5/10
Value: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Environment: 8/10
La Casa Patisserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Come Buy - Woolloongabba

As a proud HongKonger, to me there is no snack that better represents home than the traditional egg waffle (controversial topic, I know, given the popularity of wanton soup and beef offal noodle soup). So as always, I am on a never ending quest to try out new exciting venues in my pursuit of the perfect egg waffle, and this journey has now brought me to the new branch of ComeBuy in Buranda Shopping Village. 

I am always a big fan of their Myer store, always picking up a waffle and a drink before each movie, and it was nice to be able to get some in the suburbs without having to go all the way to the city. Menu wise, it was far more similar to the Myer branch than their boutique at Garden City. Having said that, both their drinks and waffle menu were a lot more condensed. The waffles were by default plain but you could add on any number of fillings and toppings for extra charge. 

Ordering at the counter, our drinks were made fresh and quickly.

In terms of drinks, we shared a Pearl Milk Tea, Jasmine Green Tea and Ceylon Teaccino. These were fresh, fragrant and definitely reminded me of the teas I had in my trips across Taiwan. Compared to the newer type bubble tea places with a variety of fruits and foams, I definitely enjoy the traditional options a lot more.


We also had two egg waffles to share, one original and one with chocolate chips. Compared to the Myer store with its chocolate egg waffle, I actually found the chocolate chip to be a really enjoyable in the fact that it provided a good variation in waffle texture. Fresh and crispy, we really liked the egg waffles here.

Price Range: $5 - $15pp

Taste: 8/10
Value: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Environment: 8/10
Comebuy Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato