Monday, February 27, 2012

Teppanyaki Lovers

Teppanyaki Lovers
Shop 7, The Myer Centre, Brisbane CBD

It's astounding that I practically lived in the city for 3+ years doing uni and never ate at this place. I recall they refurbished at one point and came up with the current cartoony shop front and food that wasn't just teppanyaki-based.

Byron and I were in town last weekend. We arrived absolutely famished some time in the afternoon. It was pouring too. We had planned to go to Ajisen on George Street but with the increase in hunger and rainfall, we quickly changed our plans to somewhere closer.

After fleeing to the Myer Centre for shelter, we spotted Teppanyaki Lovers and thought BAM: fast food Japanese. How perfecto.

Orders were given and we received our order number... and waited. There are a few communal food courty tables/chairs to sit at. The counter lady had a really quiet voice and we had some communication problems so I was a bit anxious about whether everything had been processed corrected.

Many moons passed (ok, not really, but it was a torturously long wait for a fast food joint and yes, I did consider that maybe time slowed in correlation with my hunger but I took that into account and it was still a long time) and finally no 38 was called and we could collect our boxes.


We had some takoyaki (octopus balls) to start with. My expectations for these were quite low, which may seem strange since no one forced me to order them. They were a pleasant surprise. There was a significant portion of octopus in the filling, as opposed to big flour balls like I imagined.

Large chicken katsu curry

Byron had ordered the chicken katsu curry in large. It was a huge serving size - enough to satisfy even a hungry male who'd just travelled from Toowoomba. The curry was topped with a sprinkling of Japanese pickles, which I'm not a fan of but I do believe most people like to have with their Japanese curry. The katsu was nice and crunchy.

Vegetable okonamiyaki

My pick was the vegetable okonamiyaki, aka Japanese pancake. This was also huge and topped with a crunchy fried noodle basket, filled with pickles and things. I'm not a pickle hater, though this post may suggest otherwise, but I didn't see how pickles would compliment my pancake so I handed the basked over to Byron to devour.

The pancake itself was delish. These things are very simple and homely, and as Byron pointed out, seemingly a mix of left-overs fused together with pancake batter (a bit like English bubble and squeak). Nothing wrong with that, IMO. I was happy with the generous quantities of vegetables, made interesting with batter, sweet soy and mayo.

Complimentary miso soup

We were also given complimentary mini miso soups. These were disappointing. Byron's was icy cold and mine, well I don't love miso soup to start with but I thought this was foul. The intentions were good but they were probably better off not giving us any.

Though the waiting time at Teppanyaki Lovers was too long for my liking, I was happy with the food. It's cheap, you get huge serving sizes and most importantly, it all tasted good.
Teppanyaki Lovers on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lure on Latrobe for Breakfast

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Lure on Latrobe
24 Latrobe Tce, Paddington

After a wonderful, big weekend (happy birthday shoutout to my dear friend Howl!), Byron and I were hung over and starved on Sunday. We woke up relatively early and picked up our stuff from a mate's house in Paddington. While we were in the area, I thought it'd be crazy to bypass the local offerings, since Paddy is considered a cafe hotspot.

Mochi recommended Lure on Latrobe ages ago but while I have a goldfish memory when it comes to almost everything, my food memory is still sharp as a tac. We did a quick Google search to locate this cafe and hopped right to it.

While Saturday was sticky, overcast and sporadically wet, Sunday morning was beautiful. We picked a nice covered table on the deck and started looking through the menu. From what I could see, Lure only has deck seating but it's spacious and inviting.


For drinks, Byron got a cappucino. He said it was good but admittingly he is not much of a coffee drinker and I wasn't in the mood for coffee (rare for me) so didn't try it myself.

Banana and honey smoothie

I thought about ordering the juice but when I heard the only juice available was orange juice (I hate that stuff) I quickly changed to a banana smoothie. It was a really nice banana smoothie - not too thick and a nice yogurty tang that cut the sweetness of the honey. Cinnamon was a pleasant touch too.

Vego big start - with poached eggs, haloumi, oven-roased tomato, mushrooms, spinach, potato and feta hashbrowns and Lure's own baked beans, plus a side of bacon

Byron's food pick was the vegetarian big breakfast... with bacon. Though that might sound a little strange at first, he explained it to me as 'I didn't want any sausages and I wanted the baked beans that only come with the vegetarian version', it made sense. It was indeed a very big breakfast. The haloumi was delish.

Inside of potato and feta hashbrown

The potato and feta hash brown reminded us for potato mashies. Unfortunately the bacon was severely overcooked. I like my bacon crispy and I thought this was OTT. It's a shame because a lady came and asked how our meals were but at that time, Byron hadn't tried the bacon. I'm sure if we had said something they would've ammended but after that point we just couldn't be bothered.

Chili scrambled eggs - with roasted tomato, avocado, mint yogurt and toasted rye

I went with the chili scrambled eggs. It was... interesting. I'm not sure that chili and egg goes that well together (why did I pick this dish then! Loser!) but it wasn't unpleasant and the eggs were cooked nicely. Together with the toasted sourdough and fresh avo, it made for a clean, healthy, well-rounded breakfast.

We had a good experience at Lure on Latrobe. The environment was pleasant and the staff were quite nice. I was happy with the food we got but expect that some of the other options would be even better. It's now been placed on my 'to revisit' list.Lure on Latrobe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Beastie Burgers

Beastie Burgers
Shop 60d Little Stanley St, South Bank

As an avid fan of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo franchise, I was hell keen on the release of the Hollywood version of the first film. I love the books and thought the Swedish movies were brilliant. I was a bit skeptical as to how I could accept any new versions when the first were already so good but there was no way I was going to miss out.

Marc and I headed to South Bank for the movie and as a pre cinema lunch, we decided to stop by at Beastie Burgers because I'd never been to Beastie Burgers and at that period of my life (a couple of months ago), I was absolutely addicted to burgers (a really bad addiction to have if you're trying to diet).

Beastie Burgers is located in South Bank Parklands. It has a small shopfront with a scattering of outdoor seating. We picked a table and later had to relocate due to rain.

The menu promises many classic burger options involving all our favorites of beef, chicken, lamb and vegetarian, all with cute names ('IT Support' for a tandoori chicken burger anyone?)

American in Noosa - flame grilled beef burger, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato relish and Kenilworth cheddar

Marc being a typical guy went for a beefy beef burger - the American in Noosa. It came out rather huge, which I suppose is considered a desirable attribute in burgers. He said it was good!

I got real lame and went with a salad. Yes I am on occasion one of 'those' people who do stupid things like order salad at a burger joint or fish at a steak restaurant. I'm ashamed about it, ok?

Grilled BBQ chicken salad - with sweet potato, grilled eggplant, Persian feta, lettuce and salad onion

I went with the grilled chicken salad that came with feta and sweet potato... because I love sweet potato. There were ample amounts of chicken with the salad (good but a tad dry) but unfortunately the sweet potato didn't mix as well as I thought it would. Strange combo. Still edible though.

Hand cut chips with aioli

Finally, we had some chips to share. The chips were shaped like mini roast potatoes and were to die for. They were crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside with a real homely, earthy potato flavor. YUM!

Overall, Beastie Burgers was a pretty good place to get burgers. This is a huge positive since South Bank is the kind of environment that you often feel like getting burgers in. It's ideal for popping into before a movie because you don't have to worry about being delayed and missing the trailers. I'd like to go again and order a burger this time.
Beastie Burgers on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Jiu Wan Ban

Jiu Wan Ban
Shop 22-23, Sunnypark Shopping Centre, Sunnybank

A Hang Zhou style restaurant opened up in Sunnypark where Soman used to be. As a keen tester of new Chinese restaurants, my grandpa actually scouted the site a few times to be amongst the first to try it once the restaurant opened for business.

Unfortunately for him, my parents and I beat him on that one. We walked past by chance (grocery shopping perhaps) and noticed that there were already customers inside. We lost no time in popping in ourselves to see what the go was.

I find it hard to explain when my friends ask me what Chinese food is like in China. For one thing, the notion of 'Chinese food' here is either the Westernized takeaway variety or what you get at yum cha restaurants which is predominantly Cantonese-style Chinese food. In China, the restaurants don't tend to serve food that is classed as generally 'Chinese'. I'm normally in Shanghai when I get back and I'd go to restaurants that serve Shanghainese food, Szechuan-style food, Cantonese food or perhaps Hang Zhou-style food. Because China is so large and diverse, the style of cuisine from each area can be very different.

For this reason, it was interesting to see a Chinese restaurant in Brisbane boasting of Hang Zhou cuisine.

We ordered a number of dishes to share.

Smoked squid

The first was a smoked squid cold dish. I thought it was OK but not amazing. Mum and dad found the flavor overly sweet.

Red cooked pork cube

Dad chose the red cooked pork cube. I think that each portion is just a single serve but I wouldn't want to munch through a whole block of this stuff. Honestly it was very tasty (mum did think it was too sweet again but I didn't mind it in this case) but so fatty!

Salted pork and bamboo soup

The soup we ordered is a classic that I've had in Shanghai a few times. I only know the Shanghainese name and when translated, means there's both fresh and salted meat together. The third essential ingrediennt is bamboo shoot, which is hard to get in Australia. This soup was alright. The bamboo shoot component was nice and crunchy. The soup itself was much too salty. The bean curd skin knots are there to soak up the soup. I liked them.

Preserved vegetables, pork and bamboo

Dad also chose a pork and preserved vegetable dish that had a soupy consistency, not unlike the previous dish. They were actually quite similiar, especially in that they were both too salty to the point of nearly being inedible.

Kidneys in chili oil

We tried a chili kidney dish. The kidney pieces were tossed in a Szechuan-style numbing chili oil. I didn't mind this dish. It wasn't amazing but it was good compared to the others.

Fried rice

Finally, we also had a fried rice. The fried rice had an interesting short-grain, almost sticky texture. It didn't have much flavor on its own but I admit to liking the texture. Dad had saved some of the sauce from the red cooked pork and said that we're supposed to pour it over the rice. I tried that and it was amazing.

It's a shame the dishes from Jiu Wan Ban have to be modified to be acceptable. The soupy dishes were excessively salty and needed rice. A couple of the others were too sweet. The fried rice on its own lacked flavor. The service was a bit slow and unsure (maybe because they were just starting up). We thought it might've been because we ordered the wrong dishes but mum and dad went back again more recently, ordered different things and arrived at the same conclusion. Brisbane's Asian dining scene is getting too competitive for poor quality food so I don't imagine Jiu Wan Ban will stick around for too long.
Jiu Wan Ban on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hotel Bravo - Bravo Bar b que

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Bravo Bar b que

I remember going to Hotel Bravo a long, long time ago back when Monsoon was there. We were actually dining in Monsoon and my family (who arrived separately) accidently found themselves at the Bravo bar and were sipping water and getting comfortable before they realized we were in the adjacent restaurant.

Well, Monsoon is gone now and in its place, Bravo's grill restaurant. I headed there one weekday night with my mate Marc for dinner. We took a seat at an outdoor table and started looking through the menu.

We decided to get a main and side each, plus a couple of desserts and a jug of sangria to wash it all down.

Red sangria

There was red or white sangria to choose from and we went with the red. It was a loaded jug full of fruit and winey goodness. I don't normally like red wine but I love it in sangria.

Eye fillet

For mains, we both went with steaks. Mine was the eye fillet, cooked medium rare. It was nicely cooked and overall, a good piece of meat.

Eye fillet cut shot

What really made an impression were the chips. They were fat and rustic, a bit like potato wedges but had a glass-like crunchy exterior. There was also a nice chivey/bacon flavor to them. Probably some of the best chips I've ever eaten, rivalling the truffle shoestring fries from Moo Moo's.

o.p. rib on the bone

Marc got the rib on bone with mushroom sauce on the side.

Green beans in cashew butter

For our sides, I went with the green beans in cashew butter. They were fresh and well-buttered but unexciting compared to the chips.

Cheddar glazed broccoli, cauliflower and bacon

Marc ordered a side of cheddar glazed caulifower, broccoli and bacon. It was a bit like a mini veggie bake and he claimed it was very good.

Dark chocolate fondant - with raspberry sorbet and hazelnut glass biscuit

Our desserts were the creme brulee and chocolate fondant. These are 2 dessert classics and often a good means of comparing different restaurants. Unfortunately, I was quite tipsy on sangria by this point so my judgement might be a tad off.

Inside chocolate fondant

The fondant was very rich and chocolatey with the essential ooze in the middle. I wasn't mad about the raspberry sorbet, just because I'm not a raspberry lover but I suppose it did need something tart to cut the heaviness.

Brulee - with pistachio biscotti

The brulee was standard. It ticked the boxes: creamy, toffee topping etc. You can't really complain about that but I personally prefered the fondant. Also, I think it needs... something lighter or more refreshing on the side than a piece of pistachio biscotti.

Bravo Bar b que surprised me. I thought the steak and sides were of high quality comparable to many big name restaurants in Brisbane. The chips were exceptional and the desserts uncreative but still tasty. I would recommend anyone to go there for a meal or drinks and am looking forward to heading back myself for another round.
Bravo bar b que on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Caffe Republic, Gold Coast for Lunch

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Caffe Republic on Hedges
3 Montana Rd,City of Gold Coast

After our breakfast at BlackStar, Trinh and I were thinking about going to Southbank to jump around in the pools and dispell some heat. Then we figured, why not go to the Gold Coast?

Prepped for adventure, we drove down a bit past Surfer's Paradise and had the most fabulous time sunning and swimming and gossiping.

All that can work up quite an appetite. We initially went to Caffe Republic just for a cool drink but ended up getting a light meal too.

Republic fizzer - with cranberry, apple and mint

My drink was called a 'Republic fizzer' which was a fruity frappe type deal that was just perfection for the weather. It was bout 36 degrees and you could literally see heat waves coming off the roads. Mint and ice is just the solution for those kinds of days.

Smoked ham sandwich - with mature cheese, roma tomato, capsicum, balsamic relish and lettuce

I didn't want anything too heavy for lunch because I was going out for dinner in Toowoomba later that night (busy busy girl) so I ordered a smoked ham sandwich. It was so yummy. People often forget just how good a simple ham and cheese sandwich can be. This one had other stuff too but the fundamentals were there and I scoffed it dow quite eagerly.

Smoked salmon sandwich - with dill cream and lemon, capers, Spanish onion, cucumber and lettuce

Trinh's sandwich was salmon and salad and she asked for the dill cream cheese on the side. It was chockas full of fresh leaves and smoked salmon. Yummo.

We liked hanging out at Caffe Republic. It's got a relaxed, local vibe and being 5min from the ocean isn't half bad either ;).
Caffe Republic on Hedges on Urbanspoon