Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weis Restaurant for Seafood Buffet

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Weis Restaurant
http://www.weis-restaurant.com/


When I mention I have a food blog and that I live in Toowoomba, the first question on most people's lips is 'have you been to Weis Restaurant?' I suppose it's the only restaurant of any fame in Toowoomba... but up until last week, my answer was sadly 'no'.


Amusingly, I was going to go to Weis on my birthday back in March this year but decided it was too dear. How I ended up going last Friday was: we tried to go to Sizzlers (yes, I do want to go to Sizzlers at times, don't flame me please) but the queue was too long so we went to Weis instead. Basically a similar fling but more upmarket.


I'd driven past Weis a zillion times heading to and from Brisbane. Stepping inside, it was completely different to what I had imagined. Rather than the spaced out restaurant cross cafeteria feel that Sizzler has, it's exactly like a cosy manor. The buffet section is probably in what was once a lounge room and diners are spread out in various smaller rooms.

We were placed in the Allora Room which only had about 3 other tables.

Enough about the seating... we want to talk about the food! At Weis, there is classic buffet (non-seafood) available at lunch, seafood or seafood and steak buffet at night and breakfast buffet on the weekend.


We sat down to the seafood buffet. There were a few islands of food... to summarize, it was basically organized by seafood, hot food, soups, salads, cold meat and dessert.

Seafood plate

I started with some seafood. What got me most excited was the huge prawns (very fresh and juicy).

Oyster shooters

The oysters were quite small. There were oyster shooters too, which I found amusing.

Hot food plate

Hot food was next. The ribs were divine and that's what Byron filled up on. I think he must have had about 4 plates of ribs. I tried a piece of roast lamb and found it was really drItalicy. Unfortunately there was no gravy in the gravy jug when I wanted some and I couldn't be stuffed to wait.

There were a few salads available. I liked the potato salad best and Byron liked that as well as the pasta salad.

Seafood chowder and bread roll

I chose seafood chowder for my soup with a hot roll. The soup was creamy and generously filled with seafood (and seafood sticks). Not bad actually.

Dessert island

The dessert island was extremely popular. Everytime I went past trying to take a photo inconspicuously, I'd find it surrounded by people. There was no lack of choice for desserts.

Dessert plate

I grabbed a small portion of nearly everything. I wasn't full before dessert but I was close to bursting afterwards.

Weis was a pleasant experience for us. The service was lovely and there was a certain charm to dining in the homely environment. I didn't think the food was jaw-dropping. I'm aware that it's a buffet but I've had more exciting buffets. There was a good selection though and I noticed the food turnover was quite high, which kept things nice and fresh.
Weis on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

MOS Burger

6 comments:
MOS Burger
Shop 34, Sunnybank Plaza, Sunnybank


I've been itching to go to Mos Burger since it first popped up on Urbanspoon. The idea an Asian-themed burger shop sounded pretty good to me. Also, I noticed that Mos Burger remained in the 'Talk of the Town' list week after week so I figured if everyone else is talkin' bout this joint, so should I.

What does MOS mean? It stands for Mountain, Ocean, Sun. What does that have to do with burgers? Not a clue.


Nevertheless, it took me a while to get around to it because too many other restaurants got in the way and I only have one belly that I'm not keen to expand too much.

I arranged a get together lunch with good old Hien (my most reliable Brisbane eating buddy) and Mork, my self-adopted brother. As much as it is exciting to catch up with these guys who I hadn't seen for ages, trying to plan anything with 2 males is next to impossible. It was practically lunch time and I still didn't know where/when we were meeting. Mork pointed out that my mistake was asking them because I should be 'telling'. I told them 1 @ Sunnybank and that was that.

We gathered up around Mos Burger at the allocated time. It's a very... cheery fast food joint that manages to look cute rather than greasy. I think that's the Asianness shining through i.e. staff yelling vaguely-Japanese sounding greetings and cute bubbly font/menus.

I left the ordering up to the boys and they promptly broke the rule of 'everyone must order something different when the meal is to be blogged' by both ordering wagyu burgers for themselves. I was allocated a seafood rice burger.

Soups

The food was served very promptly. As well as the burgers, we had chosen a selection of sides. My corn soup and Hien's mushroom soup came first.

The corn soup was quite nice - creamy and smooth. For fast food soup, it's satisfying enough and I do like sweet corn soup.

MOS nuggets

The boys also had chips and nuggets to go with their burgers.

MOS chips
Align Center
I tried some chips but didn't think they were anything special.

Wagyu burger with cheese

I thought the wagyu burgers looked small and indeed, by the time I finished my own burger, they had been chomped down so I couldn't snatch a taste. I'm guessing they were decent because Hien says the wagyu with cheese is what he orders every time he eats at Mos burger. You can also get it without cheese.

Kakiage rice burger

I'm not at all a fan of rice burgers so maybe my review to follow will be biased but I didn't like my burger very much. The filling was OK I suppose but it was crunchy and vaguely seafood-tasting so that is appetizing by default. The rice patties themselves were very greasy and I thought the filling to be too... sweet? Without enough other components to balance it out.

Matcha green tea latte

To wash down my meal, I also ordered a matcha latte which was probably more washed-out than most from fancy cafes but it was acceptable (again applying fast food standards).

I think MOS Burger wins on concept. The burgers are cheap and provide good alternatives to many conventional fast food options. In terms of flavor, they are in no way gourmet but I liked the place enough to try some of the other burgers. I think the chips could do with some improvement. MOS Burger has potential but it's 'ok' not 'great'.
MOS Burger on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 22, 2011

Engine Room Cafe for Breakfast

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Engine Room Cafe
http://www.engineroomcafe.com.au/


I had a precious and much appreciated Saturday morning off work last weekend. We were thinking about making a breakfast feast at home but without eggs, there weren't many options. Eggs are the life force of a good breakfast!


Never fear, there's always the option of going out. I wanted to try Engine Room Cafe because (and pardon me if this seams like a rediculous reason) I'd seen people Check-In to it on Facebook and people seldom check in to places that aren't good.

With this internet logic backing me up, Engine Room is where we headed.


Engine Room cafe is located opposite Platform 9, sticking with the railway theme. It's in a large building with a small inconspicuous wooden door and we weren't sure if it was the entrance or just an ornamental door. I pushed at it tentatively and was relieved when it opened into the cafe.


We ordered our breakfast at the counter and left to find a table. As well as some sparse outdoor seating and the usual indoor cafe tables, Engine Room has an adjacent gift shop with long tables to sit at. That's where we ended up.


liked it because it had an unusual outdoor yet indoor feel even though there weren't any signs that that was what they were trying to achieve. I think it might be because the room was so large and the tables were out like picnic tables.

Cappucino

For our morning dose of caffeine, I chose my usual latte and Byron, a cappucino. The coffee was decent though a shade watery for my liking.

Latte

The coffee actually arrived after our food, which is unusual and not to my preference.

Blueberry and brown sugar porridge

My choice for food was the porridge with blueberries. It came in a large bowl with a side of skim milk to thin it out if need be. I quite liked the porridge. Byron had a taste and said it was OK but just normal porridge. I suppose he was right in that it wasn't anything amazing but usually, amazing for porridge means lots of cream and sugar. I was glad for something that was warming and comforting but could still come under the umbrella of 'maybe healthy'.

Eggs benedict with smoked salmon

Byron went with the eggs benedict and that surprised me. Don't get me wrong, I love eggs benedict and my blog will confirm it's my most frequent breakfast request. It's more that every time I've mentioned it, he's always babbled on about how disgusting hollandaise sauce is. I maintain that anyone who thinks hollandaise is disgusting must be on something. He thought this hollandaise was fantastic and admitted he was previously judging the gross bottled stuff.

Bite shot of egg

The egg was nicely done but I suspect it was poached either in a machine or was one of those vacuum-sealed poached eggs because it was an unnatural shape. That's just me being pedantic. I'm sure it tasted fine.


The food at Engine Room Cafe was nice. I can't say it was outstanding compared to some of the breakfast places I've been to but the prices weren't as exuberant either. It is definitely somewhere you can go regularly and feel justified in doing so. I liked the environment best. It was busy but in no way rushed and hectic like so many Brisbane cafes. The service was friendly too.
Engine Room Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes with White Chocolate Ganache

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Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes with White Chocolate Ganache
Home Cooking


On Monday, our clinic organized a Cupcake Day to raise money for the RSPCA. I was at a loss as to what type to bake when Mochi suggested coffee and walnut. Ignoring the host of baking/cupcake cookbooks I have, I found it easier to just Google 'coffee and walnut cupcakes'. This is the recipe I followed. Apparently 12 cupcakes are supposed to result but I only managed 8. Maybe my cupcake paper holders are huge.

Rather than using the mascarpone frosting, I made a white chocolate ganache. This was partly because I was baking them the night before and thought that mascarpone might go manky. The other reason was I simply didn't have mascarpone at home but I had plenty of white chocolate.

In a frenzy of inspiration, I also made an impromptu wanut praline to use as decoration.

Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes
Makes 8

Ingredients:
  • 100g butter , well softened
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp instant coffee, mixed with 100ml boiling water, then cooled
  • 25g walnut halves, choppedBulleted List
For the ganache
  • 200g white chocolate
  • 100ml cream (I used Philadelphia Cooking Cream)
  • 1 tbsp butter
For the walnut praline
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
Procedure:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line 8 cupcake holes with cupcake cases.
2. Beat together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, 3 tsp of the coffee mixture and the flour.3. Stir in the walnuts.
4. Spoon the batter into the cupcake cases. Add a full tablespoon to each case and then divide any remaining batter up through all the cases.5. Bake for 18-20min until cooked (they should feel light and springy).
6. Cool the cupcakes for a few minutes in the tin, then remove from the tin and then leave in the wrappers until cooled completely.7. For the ganache, melt the white chocolate and cream over low heat. Usually it's recommended that this is done in a water bath but I tend to just use a non-stick saucepan, low heat and stir heaps so that nothing burns.8. Once the chocolate has mixed evenly, cool it to room temperature and then in the fridge. Whip the ganache with a beater before spreading on the cooled cupcakes.9. For the walnut praline, create a dry caramel by heating the sugar in a non-stick pan until it starts to melt and turn golden.
10. Line the walnuts on some baking paper and pour the caramel over the top. Wait until it cools before breaking into little pieces.11. Use the walnut praline as decoration on the cupcakes.


I haven't had much luck with cupcakes in the past. They're not supposed to be difficult but I've followed recipes exactly and still ended up with mutant creations. That was years ago and I haven't reattempted until this batch.

I'm not sure what was different this time because the recipe was so easy (basically, beat everything together and bake) but they turned out great.

I had lots of fun decorating them and they were very tasty too. The Philadelphia Cooking Cream I used in the ganache was good because the tanginess cuts the sweetness. You could do the same by using a bit of cream cheese or sour cream in the ganache.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Meat Lovin' at Cha Cha Char

6 comments:
Cha Cha Char Wine Bar and Grill
http://www.chachachar.com.au/


After breaking his wagyu seal at Grossi Florentino a couple of months ago, Byron started to believe that I knew what I was talking about when it came to steak. Prior to that, he was convinced that there's no point in ordering steak from a restaurant because the taste was completely dependant on the produce and there's nothing done to it that you can't do at home.


There is some truth to that but from what I can see, there are some cuts of meat that only good restaurants seem to have access to. Aside from that, I'm sure they can do the meat more justice than my little electric stove top at home.


We made a booking aaaages ago but there was a bit of a stuff up because they changed their website during and whilst I got an initial confirmation e-mail, I subsequently had to alter the booking and never heard from them after that. I figured I'd get a call the day before but that didn't happen so I had to chase up my booking.


After we arrived, we were told the table was still being prepared so we chilled at the bar. Byron ordered some beer I've never heard of before and I went with a Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic.

Not long after we were directed to our table. The man who showed us where to go was very gruff and wore a Mister Important attitude that I wasn't fond of. We later had a different waiter who was much nicer and there were a few moments where we were talking to the waiter and Mister Important rudely barged between us without so much as an 'excuse me'.

Cha Cha Char is a large restaurant. I had spent ages reassuring Byron that it wasn't quiet, posh and romantic because we have a phobia of being stuck in one of those places. Indeed, Cha Cha Char comes across as quite a 'manly' restaurant to me. The crowd is well-dressed but loud. The place is well-lit.

Cha Cha corn roll - with butter, beef jus dipping sauce amd pistachio dukkah

We ordered the signature corn rolls to start with. They were served with a dukkah and a beef jus for dipping. By that time, we were hungry as anything and the bread rolls went down very well. I liked the beef jus best because it was rich like fine gravy, whilst Byron favored the spiced dukkah.


With the steaks, there are a selection of sides that are recommended but you can mix and match to your liking.

Wagyu sirloin - with parish mash and buttered green beans

Byron chose the wagyu sirloin with the paris mash and buttered green beans. The steak was cooked perfectly but the taste was beyond perfection. It had this amazing caramel crust that I haven't tasted in a steak for a long, long time. As horrible as it is to say this, the fatty bits were the best... so delicious.

Wagyu cut shot

The body of the steak was just melt in the mouth and the flavor was just pure and superb. He ordered a roast mushroom sauce and had a dollop of hot english mustard on the side but to me, the steak was perfect au naturale. The mash was good but the beans were... beans. Nothing more nothing less.

Rib-eye bone - with wood roasted baby tomatoes, basil oil and goat's fetta

I ordered the rib-eye bone, which came with roasted baby tomatoes and goat's fetta. My steak was also great and ordered on any other occasion, I would've been a happy girl but after trying Byron's wagyu, I couldn't help but feel that my choice paled in comparison.

Bite shot of rib-eye bone

Mine was a good steak but didn't have the complexity of flavor or the devilish fatty crust that his had. It was also a bit too rare in parts. I ordered bernaise sauce but the sauce was overly vinegary and didn't compliment. The meat did taste better with the hot english mustard though. I also quite enjoyed the baby tomatoes, which were cooked perfectly.

Peas, goat's fetta, mint and shallot

In an effort to increase the greenery on the table, I ordered the mint pea salad. This might sound rediculous but I adored this salad! Byron wouldn't go near it because he didn't want anything to erase his wagyu flavor but I inhaled this dish because I liked it so much. The mint, peas, red onion, feta and vinegary dressing was perfectly fresh and fabulous. I'm thinking of doing something like this for my next dinner party.

Overall, it was a great meal at Cha Cha Char. We know no that if we were to go again, we'd both be ordering the wagyu and recommending others do the same. I liked the sides too; I think they did a good job. Our waiter was nice but I wasn't keen on the other man who just stomped around with his nose in the air.
Cha Cha Char Wine Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon