Monday, March 31, 2014

Lunar Cuisine for Family Dinner

Lunar Cuisine
Sunnypark Plaza, Sunnybank

Anyone who's part of the Chinese population in Brisbane will acknowledge that there's NOTHING in the way of good Chinese restaurants. Sure, there's the odd passable yum cha restaurant (which is a type of Cantonese cuisine) and plenty of eateries that target uni students but at a restaurant level, choices are severely lacking.

This might explain why my parents were so keen on this new restaurant they read about in the local Chinese-language newspaper. We rushed to the location one weekend, fighting heavy confusion because the place where the restaurant was supposed to be was actually a different restaurant. It turns out that this new venture they read about was so new it hadn't even opened yet. Not to be deterred by such a minor detail, they went back the following weekend. It STILL wasn't open. So they tried again the weekend after that and bingo, Lunar Cuisine had launched and my mum and dad made it as part of the pioneer lunch crowd.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sylvia's Restaurant and Wine Bar at Shangri-La Gardens

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Sylvia's Restaurant and Wine Bar

I'll start this post with a slight side story about geographic disorientation. What I mean is... have you ever noticed that places you are familiar with don't feel that far away but anywhere new and uncharted automatically feels a world away? I grew up in the Eastern suburbs of Brisbane on the south side of the river. Whenever someone tells me a suburb I've never heard of before, I assume it's in the northside. 9 out of 10 times, I'd be correct.

Contrastingly, if I hear of a restaurant in a familiar-sounding suburb, I don't think twice about booking a meal there. Never mind the fact that I now live in an inner city suburb and said restaurant takes close to 40min to get to.

This was the case with Sylvia's restaurant in Wynnum. We made our (lengthy) way there a few Wednesday nights ago for dinner. I'm still not entirely sure what the Shangri-La Gardens in Wynnum is but it provides accommodation and also acts as a venue for wedding receptions. We felt a bit strange going there for dinner, especially since there wasn't another dinner guest in sight (a couple of wine drinkers excepting). It ended up being rather nice, actually, with the vibe of having an entire restaurant staff to ourselves.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Billykart Kitchen for Lunch

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Billykart Kitchen for Lunch

I had a long overdue catchup with highschool friend Tracy on the weekend. We arranged to have lunch at a venue of my choosing and I was grateful to be able to select one from my ever-increasing list of 'need to visit' restaurants and cafes. Billy Kart Kitchen appealed to me because the photos I saw online looked promising and once I read the menu, I was sold.

The cafe stands out as a social hub in an otherwise suburban crossroad. I'm so used to inner city cafes that are a nightmare to park at. It was refreshing to be able to find close street parking without incident.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Blackbird Bar and Restaurant for Dinner

Blackbird Bar and Restaurant 

Last night marked the break in our drought from dining out at a proper restaurant. It feels like a long, long time since we've ventured out to somewhere more upmarket than the local Asian/Indian eatery. To me, dining out isn't just about the food but about the extravagance; getting dressed up, ordering fancy drinks with descriptions I don't entirely understand, ordering way too much food in multiple courses, with sides on the side (even if your meal already comes with sides). Because most of these elements are clearly a luxury, we toned down to keep the bank balance happy but decided to splurge as a celebration for some good news.

We made a booking later on in the evening and got there later again (bus troubles) but the restaurant was still buzzing with activity. I suppose late night dinner on a Friday is nothing out of the ordinary. It was our first time visiting the Blackbird venue and we didn't expect to see bouncers out the front. I can only suppose their presence is more for the bar section of Blackbird, which we were relieved to find was a separate area to the restaurant. Why relieved? Do you realise how loud a Friday evening drinks crowd in the CBD is? I wouldn't have been able to hear myself think let alone enjoy my meal. Luckily, the restaurant was lively but not so overbearing

Friday, March 14, 2014

Rangla Punjab Indian Restaurant for Dinner

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Rangla Punjab, New Farm 

Indian food is interesting to me. I'm not always in the mood but when I do want it and I get it, nothing feels as satisfying (besides a slice of chocolate cake). West End has an abundance of Indian restaurants but a couple of weeks ago, Marc and I ventured slightly beyond our neighbourhood to try Rangla Punjab in New Farm.

The first thing to note is that the restaurant is huge. There are tables outside but once you step into the building, it felt like there was dining space as far as the eye could see.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Corner Store Cafe for Brunch

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Corner Store Cafe

Prelude: I've changed phones more times in the past year than any sensible person should have (lost, stolen, broken x 2) and as a result, I lost all my photos from my first trip to Corner Store Cafe bar a montage I uploaded on Instagram. I made a special extra trip to get more piccies for a complete post. Most of the start of this post below was written at the time of my first visit with a summary of my second visit at the end.

I've recently become obsessed with Instagram. And I mean obsessed. I'm refreshing/uploading at least as often as (if not more than) Facebook. And for me, this is ALOT. I came across some mouthwatering photos of breakfast items at Corner Store Cafe uploaded by a fellow Brissie foodblogger. I'd never heard of this cafe before but the photos were enough to put it on my radar. When Kat and I decided to have a midweek lunch date, I knew that's where I wanted to go.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Roast Capsicum and Goats Cheese Tart

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Roast Capsicum and Goats Cheese Tart
Home Cooking

This post is an example of what could be called Cooking Vanity. This again, goes back to my family Christmas dinner where we were all supposed to bring some food. I wasn't even going to bake a tart; in fact, I initially was just brining salad and later stretched that to include and ice-cream. I was leafing through Nick Malgieri's The Modern Baker for dessert recipes (where I found this) and accidentally fell onto this recipe for a goats cheese tart. I decided right then and there that I would also bake that for my family.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lan Zhou Noodles for Lunch

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Lan Zhou Noodles
Shop 46/342 McCullough Street, Sunnybank

My parents and I went on a really lame adventure last weekend trying to track down a new restaurant dad read about in a local Chinese newspaper. It turns out (after embarrassingly sitting down and then moving on from 3 incorrect restaurants) that the place he had in mind hadn't even opened for business yet. Our last stop took us near Lan Zhou Noodles, which is also a newish venture and interesting enough that we decided to have lunch there instead.

The shopfront is long and narrow with a window at the front where you can watch the noodle master at work.

Lan Zhou is a part of China famous for something called pulled noodles. This doesn't need much explanation because in summary, it describes noodles that are literally stretched and pulled into shape before being cooked.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Torba Restaurant for Dinner

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Torba Restaurant

I was really curiously excited about Torba Restaurant, not only because it's close to me and I'm lazy but because it offers Eastern European cuisine. What on earth is Eastern European cuisine? I spent 3 months in Europe recently and whilst I've pizza'd, gelato'd, French fried, kransky'd, souvlaki'd and streusel'd my way through Western Europe, we didn't venture further east than Germany.

Torba may or may not be the first Eastern European restaurant in Brisbane but it's definitely the first I've ever tried. Marc and I made our way there on a Thursday night speculating about what kind of food we were in for. When we reached the restaurant, most of those thoughts exited my mind because it looked far too trendy to be thinking about food. In my puzzlement about what Torba would feed us, I forgot that it was also a lounge and cocktail bar. I admit that I expected, I don't know... stone walls and low rustic wooden benches with mounted boar heads and buckets of potatoes. Instead, Torba is chic and totally suited to the South Bank Parklands night scene.