Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bar Petite

We have a tendency to hop on a plane or take a short road trip impromptu when we feel like a little adventure. Newcastle was our chosen 4-day budget holiday end of 2010, which included the Hunter Valley region and Port Stephens. Oh and after the splurge at Hunter Valley, it was not anymore a low-cost trip! Yikes!

Before we post a summarised wrap-up of our trip, we would like to mention seperately Bar Petite, a bar cum restaurant in the heart of Newcastle. We planned ahead for this visit on the eve of New Years, so that we could take a comfortable stroll to the foreshore for the fireworks display after.

We were drawn to this place simply by the gallery photos on their website and truly, Bar Petite exudes this old charm of a bygone era, that of colonial french perhaps, as their name suggests and from evident hanging wall pics of Cambodia and Vietnam. Soft lighthing and table lit candles provided the extra cosy factor.

Food and drink orders are taken at the bar and tabs can be taken. Our dishes arrived promptly, they were to start a Chicken Terrine with pistachios, and mains of Asian Poached Chicken and Beef Short Ribs.

The Chicken Terrine with pistachos was a classic combination and it was the chunkiest we've ever eaten. It was moist and subtly seasoned, somewhat peppery. The baby cornichons and crsip croutes were essential but wished we could have more of each to accompany the good-sized terrine.

The Asian Poached Chicken salad consisted of walnuts, grapes, watercress, bean sprouts and zucchini ribbons. The salad was termed 'asian' more so because of its components rather than the overall flavour. One would expect perhaps a burst of sweet, salt, sour and sometimes spice but the dressing was a simple olive/nut oil dressing. The slivers of chicken that formed the base of the salad tower was moist and plentiful and the mild dressing helped the bitterness of the watercress and sweetness of the plump grapes to come through. This was a very textural salad.

The honey glazed Beef Short Ribs came with coconut rice, chinese pak choy and sesame onion rings. The tender ribs were braised in a star anise and cinammon type stock which was great with the coconut rice but the reduced sauce could have been less sweet.

Bar Petite offers a menu that is not solely asian. We would think modern australian is apt to describe their menu. There is a good selection of wines offered by the glass and cocktails too to fill the night!

Bar Petitie
Shop 5 The Royal
5 King street
Opens daily from 11am to late

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Egg Bistro

Woolloongabba is an area we are not too familiar with, so when Miss food hunter suggested we try Egg Bistro, I am always adamant that she has clear instructions to get there. Alas, even with directions in hand we still managed to drive pass this very inconspicous eatery.  So for our readers we decided to take a roadside picture to help with the spotting.

Eggbistro is located on a busy main road, so we were a little uneasy about how much we might enjoy the atmosphere with so much traffic beside us.  Thankfully once we stepped in, we were well isolated from the busy world outside.  The decor inside is warm and relaxing with soulful music in the background to further set the mood.  There is the option of sitting in the courtyard behind, which is great on a cool night. 

Egg Bistro offers a concise menu of entrees and mains, with a few additional specials. We ordered the Lamb Rump with white polenta and shakshouka and a Chicken Brie sandwich for lunch. The Goat's curd with roast tomatoes & toast must have been a popular choice for breakfast as we first opted for the goat's curd risotto and had already sold out.

The Lamb Rump was a well though out dish as the components worked together and were cooked perfectly.  A nice sticky jus in combination with the flavours of the morrocan spiced shakshouka created a lively well-balanced sauce for the lamb rump. Sitting beneath the rump is a white polenta mash that is lightly-seasoned for a reason.

The Chicken sandwich was composed simply of a grilled chicken fillet, brie, cos lettuce, slices of avocado and a light spread of mayonnaise. As a lover of sandwiches, the use of crusty polenta bread (our guess) was a good change to other leavened breads and the aged brie provided a nice subtle pungency. But at a cost of $16.50, which is expensive for a simple sandwich, one would expect either more substantial fillings or an additional side salad.

Overall, we love the ambience, the concept of the food, the execution, the service and it is really a pleasant place to return to. But we would wish for slightly increased portions with both dishes or adjusted pricing for lighter meal options and particularly so, for a lunch service.

Yes, we did linger on a little longer with a solid cuppa Genovese cappuccino and affogato....

Egg Bistro
989 Stanley street East
East Brisbane

Egg Bistro on Urbanspoon

Brio Espresso & Juice

This about a month overdue. We kick started our blog having already visited a good number of places so, please do bear with us as there are just a couple more to go. We will still keep our blog as current as possible!

Alright, so this visit to Teneriffe was on a pouring sunday in mid-dec with our good ole' friend, Shu. Our initial plan was to lunch at Grasshoppers Kitchen but it was Brio that was bustling on that very afternoon and so we decided to see what the big HooHa may be.

Miss food hunter always settles for a cappuccino and Brio's was mild and had a good froth. We settled for a Pumpkin Pinenut salad with grilled Chicken, Chorizo sausage with Salsa and Lamb koftas with Haloumi.

The salad was a decent portion. The leaves were fresh, pumpkin tender, chicken grilled to perfection and the chunks of beetroot, mushrooms, sweet cherry tomatoes all married well with the sweet dressing. Sweet balsamic or honey was probably in the emulsion and Miss food hunter remembered it to be a little too sweet towards the end.

The Chorizo orginally came with poached eggs but scrambled was the preferred choice that day. Apart from the overcooked & dry sausage and the under-seasoned but well-scrambled eggs, everything else i.e. the salsa, mashed avocado and flatbread were alright.

The Lamb Koftas were tasty and all 3 golf ball-sized meatballs were polished off the plate. Shu must either be very hungry or the dish was simply-delicious!

There is a good selection of light offerings from the cabinet-bakes, sweets and sandwiches to heartier options off the cooked food menu. Brio caters to most weekend "Brunch" tastebuds with an all-day breakfast menu. Aside from the london club, we see why it can be the choice amongst the other restaurants along the Teneriffe strip.

Brio Espressio & Juice
8/36 Vernon Terrace

Brio Espresso & Juice on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tea Master

We have long wanted to return to this little vegetarian restaurant but never got round to it as they only open weekdays lunch and selected weekday dinners. We tend to avoid the valley on fridays and shun having to pay parking fees for a simple lunch. As we were really craving for some good vego pick me up, we thought even if it meant to meet up in a car and a bike and pay for parking tickets, we would just head to wherever our tummies want to...

It has been more than year since we last visited and it is therefore of no surprise that the interior has undergone a modern revamp and the menu is even more inviting than ever before. There is a good selection of soups, appetizers, noodle and rice dishes as well as bento boxes. The colourful laminated menu is complete with pictures of every single dish! The difficulty lies in what to have??

We have always enjoyed their laksa noodle and herbal soups. This time we opted for something different, a cold appetizer of vinegared red seaweed salad, a pickled vegetable mince noodle soup and a three cup chicken rice dish. Another must order, are their fragrant teas, brewed teas or iced teas with choice of several toppings....shaken by hand and believe us, this is not your conventional sugary sweet Easy Way or Tea Etc. bubble teas! They are named 'TEA MASTER' for a reason.

Don't see much red in this vinegared seaweed salad but no matter, the taste was refreshingly zingy with a hint of chilli and sesame. The texture of the seaweed was a cross between the japanese wakame and crunchy jellyfish.

The broth of the pickled vegetable vermicelli was akin to double-boiled soups; clear, light and yet intense in flavour. The vegetable mince and mushroom were very well seasoned, they were pan-fried together then added to the noodle soup.

This place never fails to amaze us! How do they transform gluten/mock meat into such flavourful 'protein'! The three cup chicken is a very popular taiwanese dish and easily, this place rivals most competitors who use real chicken in their versions.  My only complaint, the servings are small.... more please!

Hazelnut Milk Tea

Shiso (plum) Green Tea with Almond Pudding

We didn't know what Shiso was but thought to give it a go. The almond pudding is good but is not a match with the salty sour plum i.e. Shiso.

Tea Master is our no. 1 vegetarian food and tea place.  Now now...if only they were closer to where we live!

Tea Master
Shop 18 115 Wickham street
Fortitude Valley
Closed on weekends

Tea Master on Urbanspoon

Bavarian Bier

Wow! We had such a great evening with a few of our dear friends, the eve of Australia day. Fortunately, we booked ahead as the restaurant looked to be swamped of people sitting and standing shoulder to shoulder. Talking turned to par-screaming as we were saturated in a sea of noises....yep even the loud music was drowning in it too! In anycase, it somewhat brought out the feel good holiday mood.

Now onto the food...we ordered a Tuna Nicoise, a Munich Brewer's Platter, a Bavarian Tasting Platter, a Zurich Veal and a side of Bread basket and Sauerkrat. The Pork Knuckle was our friend's first choice but had sold out early in the night and so, she settled for a Roast Pork Belly instead.

The Tuna Nicoise had a nice subtle white vinegar dressing. The garden leaves and vegetables were all fresh and crisp. However, the tuna (first thought to be chicken tenderloins) was not "char-grilled" as stated on the menu. It was also a touch overdone.

Munich Brewers  Platter, Heart Attack on a plate!

The Munich Brewer's Platter is truly a meat lovers heaven.  The chicken schnitzel was full of an indescribable flavour and perfectly cooked.  This was the highlight of the plate and is a definite must try.  There is a good selection of smokey sausages and ham combined with creamy mashed potatoes and crispy onions for texture.  The only short coming of the plate was the crispy crackling pork.  The crackle was stiff and hard with the pork meat underneath not tender enough either.  Ideally when roasting pork, the skin should puff, making it light and 'crackle', while the fat layer underneath melts to keep the meat moist and tender.  This seemed likely the case of wrong cooking temperatures?? Sadly all of our friends who had roast pork on their plates had similar issues.   

Bavarian Tasting Platter, Gentler on the Tummy!

The Bavarian Tasting Platter is essentially the mini version of the Munich Brewer's minus the grilled Kassler.  This would be the ideal choice as the latter, was a real feat to finish.  

The Roast Pork Belly as a 'main' was served with a tasty green apple compote and sauteed potatoes.  Like everyone else though the roast pork had the same letdowns. Our friend also mentioned that the meat layer was a bit thin. Thankfully everything else was alright!

The veal was slightly overcooked, but tasty nonetheless with the accompanying mushroom cream sauce. The rosti was perfectly crisp.

It was the desserts eventually, that gave a nudge up the food expectation laddar. Not perfect but still they were satisfactory sweet-endings...

The Apple Strudel was a delight. Warm crispy layers of pastry and thin slices of tangy apple in between, eaten with vanilla ice-cream...Yum! This is a must order dessert that is not overly sweet. 

Easy to eat, Walnut and Date pudding
Our friend had nothing but praises for the Walnut and Date pudding with honey ice cream. Perfectly cooked, moist with a delicious flavour.  It's nice to get the caramel sauce in a bowl as opposed to some places which serve the pudding drowning in sauce.

Chocolate Delice with summer Berries and toasted Almond ice cream

Death by chocolate sums up very well this dessert!  Our friend who is a real chocolate/dessert fiend struggled to get her way through this supremely decadent dessert. In her opinion, she would have preferred a biscuity base and also more proportionate chocolate layers. Here, the mousse/brulee in between was a little too thick. This is a dessert best shared.

As mentioned, it was indeed full-house and service staff were kept very busy on their feet! So this time, we shall forgive the overcooked meats, the hard crackle and the melty ice-creams when served. And hey... there were some highlights to be remembered too! With such an extensive beverage and food menu plus an added bonus of a great interior and atmosphere, why not make Bavarian your next venue for gathering with friends?!

Note from the waiter....fridays and weekends are indeed busy (loud) days so avoid these days if a good conversation with friends is on the agenda.

Bavarian Bier Cafe
Level 1 45 Eagle St Pier

Bavarian Bier Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Little Greek Taverna

It has been a quite while since we've last visited West End and so last sunday, we decided to check out which eateries have resumed business.  It was nice to see that a good number of places were still operating although the vietnamese and thai restaurants opposite the coles remained shut.  Lately we have been watching Come dine with me Greece and with that on our minds, our bellies settled on this popular eatery for lunch.

Yiayia dommas Cheese bread.

Normally Miss foodhunter is put off when the words 'cheese bread' are used to describe a dish as the idea of greasey melted oily cheese pops into her mind.  Thankfully when our starter arrived it was nice to see that it wasnt the case at all.  This dish is light and lovely to eat.  The rich tomato puree is a refreshing contrast to the olive oil drizzled bread and fetta and looks absolutely stunning sitting on the plate.  The only criticism I have with this is I wish the bread was more toasted to give it a bit of texture.

Lemon lamb shank with lemon potatoes

After such a good looking starter I was a little disapointed with the appearance of the lamb shank.  A bit small and sad looking for my liking but tender and juicy all the same.  At $12 though I cant complain too much.  The potatoes are prepared nicely with a squeeze of lemon over the top to justify the name.  In addition to the choice of potatoes, you can also choose to have greek salad or chips on the side.

Grilled fish with greek salad

When this dish first arrived we were a bit apalled by the amount of char on the john dory.  But we didnt raise any alarms as we thought this was their style of cooking, I mean what chef in their right mind would still send out something so 'charred'??  After the first bite though, it was clear something was really wrong with the preparation as the flavour of the fish is completely overwhelmed by a burnt taste as well as a liberal sprinkling of salt.  I could imagine this dish being really pleasant had the fish been cooked right.

We have heard many good reviews about this place but after this experience, we do have mixed impressions.  There is cleary potential for good food to be served here but can be let down by 'some' poor execution.

Little Greek Taverna
Shop 5 1 Browning street
West End

Little Greek Taverna on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Just Soy Cafe

Just Soy is another one of our dessert haunts and we have been here countless number of times... Now that we are in the heat of summer, a cool ice dessert is always ideal! But one mustn't forget their specialty soy custard (tofu)that comes with an assortment of toppings.

These are two of our many favourites (ha!), the soy custard with matcha syrup and an ice shaving with 3 toppings of choice; taro balls, green beans and fruit pieces were chosen this round.

The soy custard here is light, smooth and has a near jelly-like consistency. There really is a distinct difference among the other soy cafes around Sunnybank and it is really up to individual preference as to which cafe has the "best" soy. The matcha syrup is only available at Just Soy and is a good match with adzuki beans.

The ice shaving here is a little coarse but that didn't matter too much after a thorough stir. The amalgamation of ice, light syrup, condensed milk and toppings really makes for one Sssaa-weet summer quencher! The taro balls are firmer here as they are made of sweet potato flour and another variation is the sweet potato balls. There are also rice flour balls available either original or matcha.

Just Soy tends to be really busy after dinner hours and be prepared to either takeaway or wait for available seating. Hmmm...our next visit will be very soon...perhaps tomorrow??

Just Soy Cafe
Shop 1 Pacific Centre
8 Lear street
Sunnybank Hills
Opens daily except Tuesday

Just Soy Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sumire Japanese

Sumire is abit of a hit and miss place. Our first visit to Sumire was average and our second visit saw quite a dip in our food radar. On our first visit we had sushi rolls, sashimi salad and a mix tendon and recently, we had the seaweed salad, teriyaki chicken and katsu chicken sets.

The sashimi salad was not bad. It was quite generous with small chunks of salmon, tuna and kingfish .

The mix tendon consisted of crumbed prawn, fish and pork and had a dressing similar to that of an Oyakodon (chicken & egg rice bowl).

The seaweed salad had a good zesty sesame based dressing and we liked the fact there were added beetroot and mizuna leaves to tone the strong sesame flavours a notch.

The disappointment was with the teriyaki chicken rice set with miso soup. The chicken seemed slapped onto the plate randomly, it was way over cooked and too greasy. A visible pool of oil was noted. The zesty side cabbage salad was the only saving grace.

The katsu chicken on the other hand was cooked well and still moist. However, it was felt to be underseasoned, lacking in flavour apart from the drizzle of tonkatsu sauce.

They do reasonable priced lunch sets ranging from $9 to $12. Another chance perhaps? Not anytime soon and if we were to return, it would be for their sushi rolls.

Sumire Japanese
Shop 30 Centro Pinelands Plaza
Opens daily lunch & dinner

Sumire Japanese on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 21, 2011

Lady Marmalade

Lady Marmalade was the place of choice for lunch today after reading an excellent review the night before. Besides, it wasn't too much of a detour as we planned for a movie at Balmoral after. Hmmm...immediately, we loved the retro outfits of this little corner cafe! We were hoping for some air-conditioning on a warm day like this, but we survived the heat sitting indoors, right where the open expansive windows are.

There is a good selection of sandwiches, baked goods sweet and savoury and an impressive looking couscous salad. Sandwich lovers, you will be spoilt for choice! A cooked food menu is also available if heartier choices are desired. We went straight for the Turkey sandwich with Quince paste and a Ploughmans lunch.

Moist turkey slices, swiss cheese, softened red onions complete with a spread of sweet quince paste on a well toasted sourdough (could it be Banneton bread?)- Hearty & simply delish!

Nothing makes Mr foodhunter feel more humbled than having somthing as simple as a ploughman's lunch.  Imagine yourself after a hard morning's work outdoors and then tucking into somthing that is just so wholesome and unpretentious.  Generous servings of cheese is always a plus as well as nicely pickled carrots made this meal for me. Yum!

and this pumpkin man was our table number!

Lady Marmalade
Shop A, 269 Logan Road, 
Stones Corner
Opens monday to friday 7am - 3pm
Saturday to sunday 7am - 2pm

Lady Marmalade on Urbanspoon