Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Himawari Japanese Restaurant

Himawari Japanese Restaurant
Shop 28D, Sunnybank Plaza, Cnr Mains Rd and McCullough St, Sunnybank

Saturday or Sunday lunch at Sunnybank is a weekly bonding ritual for my parents and I. It's great and I totally look forward to it but the fact is, we've nearly exhausted everywhere there is to eat at Sunnybank. Last Saturday, I didn't even try. I was craving Hakataya ramen and that's where we headed.

The queue outside Hakataya was phenomenal. As a family united in hunger and impatience, we decided not to wait. The easiest alternative was a small, Japanese eatery right next door called Himawari. None of us had eaten there before so we thought 'hey, may as well give it a go'.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lady Marmalade for Breakfast

No comments:
Lady Marmalade Cafe

My weekend party trick is waking up at the crack of dawn... for no reason. There's no work and no errands to run; I just -bam- wake up. And that's that. As soon as I'm awake, I have to be on the move. It's no mystery why I'm tired all the time! I'm just too much of a fidgety/agitated person to get enough sleep.

The only plus side to this particular mental ailment is that I can go out for breakfast and it doesn't use up any of my day hours, although sometimes, I'm awake so early that there's nothing open. On the Saturday that just passed, I took my chances and headed out to Lady Marmalade. It was on the way to my mum and dad's house and I was both relieved and surprised to see it was already open at 7am. Horray!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sakura Japanese, Runcorn

Sakura Japanese
Shop 8, 957 Beenleigh Rd, Runcorn

Last week, I became very conscious of the fact that I hadn't updated my blog in what felt like ages (in actual fact less than a week) so I was determined to go to at least one new restaurant on the weekend. In an effort to stay 'healthy', I opted for Japanese cuisine. My old food cronie, Mochi, is now based in Melbourne but still has a few Brisbane recs up her sleeve. She sent me onto Sakura as a reputable place for fresh sashimi and as someone who's very picky with freshness of sushi and sashimi, I figured that she would know what she was talking about.

We had a spot of trouble trying to find the restaurant. The actual shopping centre wasn't too difficult to locate because there was a big, lit up 'Sakura' sign out on a front wall. The parking area seemed rather deserted and all the shops were dim. We pulled over and walked around hoping for something to pop out. It was raining and I was ready to give up when Marc ducked his head into an alleyway (one that I had regarded as 'nah, can't be there') and said 'I think this is it'.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Suburban, West End for Lunch

Suburban Cafe

My mate Jaws and I caught up over lunch recently in West End. It was the Queens Birthday public holiday on a Monday and most cafes/restaurants were closed so we jumped into the first one we saw that was obviously doing business. This happened to be Suburban.

I'm not sure if it's just that I've been dining in Brisbane for a long time now, or what, but it seems like the turn over of restaurants in West End is on the high side? I swear this is the 3rd restaurant I've seen in that exact location. On that note, is Freestyle West End gone now too? Crikey.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sichuan Spice Chinese Restaurant

Sichuan Spice Chinese Restaurant

Sichuan cuisine must be one of the most annoying things to blog about, for one reason: no one can agree on the spelling. There are so many variations! Even on this blog, I'm not sure what spelling I normally use. Do I normally incorporate a 'z'? *sigh* Anyway, throughout this post, I'll be following the example set by the restaurant I'm reviewing. They're cool with Si followed by Chuan so that's the way of it :).

Sichuan is a province in China that is known for its cuisine of spicy, numbing food. I love the stuff and it appears that many others do too because Sichuan-style restaurants are popping up throughout Brisbane.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Breakfast at Ave Cucina

Ave Cucina and Coffee Bar 
16 Eva St, Coorparoo

I admit to a bout of transient slackness last week. I left my Mother's Day planning till the last minute. It's bloody hard trying to secure a booking for the most popular breakfast Sunday of the month when it's already Saturday! I went into frenzy mode, short-listing nearby popular cafes from Urbanspoon, sorting them into my order of preference and laboriously phoning each one, one by one.

Ave Cucina was actually the first on my list and when I called, was told they had a cancellation at 11am so I could go in then. I had a movie commitment in Chermside at 12 so that was out of the question. The lady on the phone was extremely friendly and sympathetic and offered to take my name down, along with the time and wanted and she promised she would see if she could move things around a bit.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Melbourne in May 5 - Breakfast at Auction Rooms

No comments:
Auction Rooms Cafe

On our last day in Melbourne, we could have either slept in and gone straight to the airport or wake up early and have breakfast somewhere on the way. Of course we chose to get breakfast.

Mochi had shown us 2 cafe options the night before and being lazy and indecisive, Nina and I  gave her the 'surprise us' routine. At 7:30am sharp, she picked us up from the city and off we went to our unknown destination.

Melbourne in May 4 - Dinner at Vegie Bar

No comments:
Vegie Bar

Something strange happened to me on the Sunday we were in Melbourne. After a ginormous meal from Vue De Monde, we went back to the hotel and napped. I woke up STARVING. What the heck? Did the food evaporate from my stomach? I WISH it were that easy. Who knows. Maybe my appetite just grew 10 fold. In any case, it was 8pm and I was growling for food.

Mochi arrived at our hotel with a short list of possible options. There had been talk of going to Chin Chin but the no reservation policy made things inconvenient. We called anyway and were told there was roughly an hour long wait for a table. Uh, no thanks. I'm not sure I'd wait an hour for a table on a normal day and especially not when I have a dire hunger situation happening.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Melbourne in May 3 - Lunch at Vue De Monde

Vue De Monde

This is the post I've been looking forward to the most, yet also dreading slightly. I have more photos from my meal at Vue De Monde than any other restaurant that I've been to. The reason for this is that our experience was about so much more than the food.

The moment we set foot on the 55th floor,  we felt like we were in another world. There are many photo repeats of the same dishes because I wanted to show the process and how they evolved.

Time to start from the beginning...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Melbourne in May 2 - Cockails and Tapas at The Long Room

1 comment:
The Long Room

Mochi was our perfect Melbourne host, painstakingly planning our itinerary and arranging our shopping and dining trip. Our Saturday night was a large group event, starting with a late dinner in the form of tapas from The Long Room, followed by more cocktails (we ended up heading to 1806 for that).

A few of us were a bit hesitant about The Long Room as we headed down. It was located downstairs and had a nightclub feel to it. The cuisine was confusing, with a sushi bar immediately visible on the right and Spanish tapas items on the menu. It was East and West, not quite mixing into fusion cuisine, but rather, random dishes of both made available in one place.

Melbourne in May 1 - Chef Lagenda for Lunch

No comments:
Chef Lagenda

I have seemingly gone straight from my Singaporean and Malaysian posts to Melbourne (there are several Melbourne restaurant posts to come), with a pitstop at De Vietnamien. If you think I've been busy, I've probably been even busier than you think. Truth is, my Sydney trip (Marque and Subsolo) came before Melbourne but I got those posts out of the way first.

These days, I seem to be spending an awful amount of time in airports. I booked Melbourne to take advantage of the QLD Labor Day long weekend and my friend Nina decided she could make it too. We were on different flights there but managed to score the same flight back. I usually transit through quite smoothly (although I do get selected for 'random' explosive checks and bag searches more than seems reasonable for a 'random procedure') but my flight to Melbourne wasn't so.

After an initial 30min delay, I boarded the plane (around when it was originally scheduled for take off). All the passengers all got comfortable in their seats and waited. And waited. After another 30min or so, we were instructed to disembark the plane. I had my earphones half in so I'm not sure exactly why - something about an unscheduled maintenance. The result was, I had to get my hand luggage again, get off the plane, walk to a different terminal, wait for a new plane and repeat the procedure.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

De Vietnamien for Grandma's Birthday

De Vietnamien

Congratulations to me! I've finally plowed through all my overseas posts and can get back to Brisbane. In truth I haven't had too many opportunities to dine out at new restaurants in Brisbane since my return... but luckily, this is a big post.

I heard about De Vietnamien through the Twitter grapvine. It looked familiar and I realized this is because I drive past it to get to my parents house from Brisbane city. There's rarely anything to write home about from the Eastern suburbs of Brisbane so I was instantly drawn to it.

Kuala Lumpur 5 - Du Viet

Du Viet

Say hello to my last Kuala Lumpur post, also the final entry from my recent overseas fling. We found Du Viet at the top floor of Suria, KLCC (aka my KL second home). I suspect that the craving for Vietnamese food originated from an excess of curry the day before (from Spice of India and Old China Cafe).

As a generalization, Vietnamese cuisine tends to be lighter and projects the illusion of healthiness. Whether it actually is healthy or not would depend on what you order. I find that I rarely hold back when I'm eating out :).

Monday, May 7, 2012

Kuala Lumpur 4 - Spice of India

No comments:
Spice of India

Indian cuisine features heavily throughout Singapore and Malaysia. We didn't get a chance to try some Indian food in Singapore but I ADORE the stuff so by the time we got to Kuala Lumpur, it featured heavily on my to-do list.

We went to Spice of India, located at the top level of Suria. It's a chain restaurant though, so there are several others scattered around the city.

Kuala Lumpur 3 - Old China Cafe

No comments:
Old China Cafe

While we were still on the Intrepid tour through Borneo, we started picking everyone's brains about what we should do in KL. Our tour guide recommended this restaurant. She said that she used to take her tour groups there to eat and one day, found it was more popular than usual and learnt that it had been featured in the Lonely Planet guide.

We set off to find it late one night with the aid of Google and a tourist map. I'm still amazed that we didn't get lost or give up (on the trip we learnt that we fail at maps).

Kuala Lumpur 2 - La Bodega

No comments:
La Bodega

The first of my KL restaurant posts feature La Bodega, a tapas restaurant near The Pavilion in Bukit Bintang.  We walked around for AGES before deciding 'what the heck, let's just chose something' and walked into this place. I recall the criteria at the time being something along the lines of 'I'm not sure what I feel like eating but if I see it I'll know' and 'they better serve drinks'.

We picked a nice outdoor table and started off by poring over the drinks menu. It didn't take very long to make a decision. Spanish restaurant. Sangria. Simple. We ordered a jug to start with.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Kuala Lumpur 1 - Misc Fast Food and Street Food

Random eating around KL

That last portion of my holiday was spent in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We stayed in Traders Hotel, right opposite the Petronas Towers. On our first walk exploring the city, we found ourselves at Suria, the giant shopping complex at the foot of the Towers. Over the next few days, this quickly developed into my go-to spot for shopping and food.

I've separated the eating in KL into 'misc' (which is what you're reading now) and individual posts specific to restaurants that we went to. Marc and I got into a bit of a time lapse once we reached KL (because we weren't forced to be up at the same times as we were on tour). I wake up very early and he... doesn't. As a result, I spent a number of lunches/mornings wandering solo through the shopping centre, picking up small treats and spending a lot of money.

This post will cover some of the things I tasted, as well as a couple of meals we had at streetside eateries late at night.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Borneo 4 - DURIAN

My first (and perhaps only) taste of durian

Durian gets its own post because... durian blew my mind.

The backstory to this is that before we embarked on our holiday, Marc and I were traversing the internet for things we should do while away and I think it was he who brought up the topic of durian. Durian is available in Australia so it's hardly a holiday-specific thing to do. I had never given it much thought in the past aside from "oh, it's that prickly thing that stinks" and I wouldn't be surprised if that's how many people think of it.

Borneo 3 - Rural

Traditional Borneo chow eaten throughout our Sabah Tour

This post will concern itself with the food I had during the Intrepid tour I went on through Sabah. The tour was called Sabah Adventure and got fully booked fairy far in advance... for good reason: because it was awesome! I'll run through what we did/saw/ate chronologically and share some non-food related feedback and photos too. I hope you enjoy the read.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Borneo 2 - Gayana Eco Resort

Gayana Eco Resort

This post will almost sound like an advertisement for Gayana Eco Resort because it's all about the food we ate there, but I assure you I'm not being paid to write any of this. To be fair, I was there for 2 nights and it is an island so I was limited in my food options. We could hardly kayak off to the mainland for a meal (although we would have tried if we were allowed to, and would have probably died in the attempt).

Borneo 1 - Urban

No comments:
The Cities of Sabah

The 2nd leg of my recent overseas stint involved a tour through the Sabah region of Borneo. I learnt something while I was away. Borneo is divided into 3 areas: the portion owned by Indonesia, the portion owned by Malaysia and the part that's Brunei. The Malaysian part of Borneo has 2 states: Sabah and Sarawak.

Marc and I flew from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu, which is the capital city of Sabah. We spent a night there before heading to Gayana Eco Resort, which is an island retreat off the mainland, before returning to start the Intrepid tour.

I didn't really know how to categorize the food I tried on my journeys since they weren't really at proper/famous restaurants so I thought I'd roughly segregate the experience as urban/rural with a separate post for what we ate at Gayana. To be fair, there isn't a huge distinction between the food we had in the cities vs the food we had in 'rural Borneo' (quotations because I'm not even sure what I'm defining as rural; I guess, just 'not city').

Singapore 3 - Pizzeria Mozza

No comments:
Pizzeria Mozza

As well as being famous for its choice selection of street food, Singapore is an international commercial hub and hence also attracts big name award winning chefs and celebrity chefs. There was a whole section in the Marina Bay Sands shopping complex that was titled 'Celebrity Chef Restaurants'.

My aversion to making bookings whilst on holiday prevented us from going to anywhere too posh and prestigious. I did some Googling and found a lot of recommendations for Osteria Mozza. I was going a little crazy trying to identify why that name sounded so familiar when it dawned on me: the restaurant was being advertised in our hotel lifts (poster of Mario Batali with a string of sausages around his head stuck in my mind). Ah...