Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Brents Restaurant

Brents Restaurant

I read about Brents somewhere but didn't think much about it until recently, a friend told me he had a really good experience there. I'm not one to ignore a recommendation from a fellow foodie so I immediately made a booking.

It so happens that we almost forgot about the booking. Luckily, we drove past Toowong sometime in the afternoon and I thought 'what's good to eat in Toowong?' and it hit me: BRENTS! I HAVE A BOOKING THERE TONIGHT!

Honestly, I'm going senile.

All the same, I DID remember about the booking in time so when the time came, off we went. Brents is located on a quiet street with not other restaurants or shops around. In fact, it looks very much like any other residential house. I walked up to the front door feeling like I was approaching someone's home for a dinner party.

A waitress opened the door for us and showed us to our table. The dining space is tiny. It's even more cozy and homely than Two Small Rooms since it is just one small room (ha ha).

Amuse Bouche

After selecting our food (2 starters, 2 mains), we are given 'amuse bouche' which is something small and tasty to get the senses going. In our case, it was a piece of lavosh, some grilled mushrooms and soft cheese. Strong flavors and very cute.

Pasta dura bread, parmesan & truffle butter

Charlie and I had chosen some starters - the warm bread with butter, and also, the duck pate with toasted brioche. I loved the bread. The texture was fabulous but most stand out was the crust, which had a crunchy, almost 'fried' crispness. Coupled with the truffle butter, it was just perfect.

Home made duck liver pate, port syrup, toasted brioche & lavosh

The duck pate came with some lavosh and toasted brioche pieces. Duck pate is not for everyone. Whilst Charlie wasn't a fan, I thought it was smooth and beautiful.

Venison fillet & shank, confit chestnuts, blueberry jam & reduction

For my main, I chose the venison fillet and shank. The presentation was quite intricate with each of the smaller components artistically combined on the plate. The veal fillet was tender and cooked to perfection. The shank was pressed into a ball and tasted fabulous with the blueberry jam. You don't expect that to work but boy, it WORKS.

Kobe 9+ rump, oxtail pie, potato gnocchi & mousselline, red wine jus

Charlie had chosen the Kobe steak. In terms of presentation, it was similar in style to my own dish. Again, the meat was perfectly cooked. You don't get to chose how you want it - it comes medium rare. I don't normally eat medium rare but I think it's perfect for this meat. The rare, pink portion is practically melt-in-the-mouth. I didn't see the appeal of the gnocchi but the little oxtail pie was delicious!

We didn't stop there... I really wanted to try dessert. I had read online that Brents has a carrot cake. I just LOVE carrot cake and would die of curiosity if I missed the opportunity of trying a $14 restaurant-style carrot cake. Needless to say, that was one of our choices. We also selected the dessert special of the day: a date and fig pudding.

Carrot Cake, toffee walnuts and cream cheese frosting

The carrot cake is deconstructed with the cream cheese frosting and toffee walnuts on the side rather than ON the cake. Each component was delicious and brought all together - just yum. I know not everyone likes carrot cake and even those who do might not be as crazy about it as I am. Short yet relevant story: I once was so obsessed about carrot cake that I went through the whole of Brisbane city buying any that I saw. My favorite had been one that I made myself (I'll make it again and post it on here, I promise) but I must say, this one at Brents is just amazing.

Fig and date pudding with butterscotch sauce and condensed milk ice-cream

With the fig and date pudding, I couldn't really taste the figs but it was like an extremely soft, moist and delicate sticky date pudding. Having just made sticky date pudding recently, I was completely humbled by the texture of this pudding. Again, this is one of those home-style desserts that I adore and so I might be a bit biased here but yes, I did thoroughly enjoy the pudding. The condensed milk ice-cream was amazing too. Who doesn't like condensed milk? I used to eat it straight out of the can. I'm not sure that condensed milk compliments the flavors of dates and figs but it was great on its own.

When you click into the Brents' website, the title is 'Brents - the dining experience' and I really see what they mean. It WAS an experience, not just about the food. Service was top notch - friendly, efficient and neat. The little room we were in was comfortable and peaceful. Food tasted great and was beautiful to look at. Brents might be tucked away on a suburban street but it's worth the effort to find.

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