Saturday, January 31, 2015

Locanda for Dinner

No comments:
Locanda Osteria and Bar

I don't know about anyone else but I am personally LOVING all the new establishments that have sprouted up in the M and A centre. Whilst other girls might get excited about luxury retail precincts, my heart beats faster at the thought of all these delicious restaurants gathered in one location. Jenny told me about her visit to Locanda a few months back and the feedback was mostly positive so I was keen to give it a try. Marc and I made a date night of it last Tuesday night.

Firstly, a word of advice. We are terrible at finding parking in places like the CBD and Valley; we normally catch a bus or park far away and walk to where we need to go. On this occasion, we were running late and we drove right into the underground parking at M and A. It was $10 for 4 hours after 6pm on a weeknight, which isn't too bad but I didn't find out until after we'd come back home that we could have had our parking ticket validated at Locanda. So for others who intend to drive there, that's going to be your best option.

We got there on a weeknight after the Australia Day long weekend so things were looking fairly quiet all across the precinct. If anything, Locanda probably had the most amount of diners that night. We took up one of the outside tables to enjoy the evening breeze.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Dinner at Blue Raven

No comments:
Blue Raven Restaurant

We can all see that Southern American style food has been HUGE throughout 2014. One would imagine that after the influx of that type of venue (Mighty Mighty, Southside Diner, Ribs and Burgers and Bread and Meat Co... just to name a few) that the novelty of yet another Southern style restaurant would barely stir any interest. In my eyes, there's simply no such thing as too much ribs, burgers or pulled meats. I was still just as enthusiastic as ever to first hear about, and then try the delicious offerings at Blue Raven.

I went there for a catchup dinner + drinks with my friend Pizza, who hasn't been mentioned on this blog much since I moved out of Toowoomba however long ago. I didn't make a booking because I assumed Wednesday night wouldn't be too busy. I was WRONG. This place is hot, hot, hot. We were given an estimated 30 minute wait and I left my mobile number. Conveniently for us, Deer Duck Bistro was just around the corner and whilst I've had dinner there before, I didn't realize there was such a cute bar area downstairs! We had some delicious cocktails and in a case of perfect timing, Blue Raven rang us just as we were finishing our last sips.

The restaurant is fairly small, which I'm sure is what partially contributed to the hot demand for seating. That and the fact that it's a spanking new joint, owned by ex-manager of Beccofino, one of Brisbane's iconic Italian restaurants. There was a lot of hype when Blue Raven opened up and I'm pleased to have been amongst it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lunch at 3buns

No comments:
Shop 2, 100 Creek Street (Gresham Lane), Brisbane CBD

The saga of my failings with Jamie's Italy continues... Marc and I tried to go again for lunch last week and there was another estimated 30 minute wait. I know, I know. We should've made a booking. I'm just so lazy nowadays I hate committing myself to anything. To book a food date at Jamie's would mean knowing I'm in the mood for it at least a month and a half in advance. I'm more likely to know on the day if I can be bothered to force myself out of the house.

Too hungry to wait 30 minutes, I suggested we check out Gresham Lane instead. I considered Red Hook but decided to try somewhere I hadn't been before, because I'm sure you can all see I'm short on material to review for this blog. 3buns is a small vendor that sells Bun Mobile style burgers, using steamed bun to enclose the filling instead of conventional bread. For variety's sake, they also have the option of substituting with a regular bun, rice or salad (for the carb conscious).

Monday, January 19, 2015

Yum Yum Peking Duck for Dinner

No comments:
Yum Yum Peking Duck
146 Scotts Road, Darra

With a name like Yum Yum Peking Duck, how can you go wrong? This establishment first came under my radar a million years ago when Hien's mum claimed it offered the best peking duck in town. Fast forward to last week and Jenny and I were discussing food cravings (as you do) and peking duck surfaced and refused to die down. We made arrangements to get some later that week. She also suggested Yum Yum so that settled it for me.

From the outset, the restaurant looks like a plain Asian eatery. It wasn't fancy and stylish, but it was cramped, busy, noisy and IMO this adds to authenticity. There's nothing I hate more than eating at a 'modern' Asian restaurant and knowing I'm paying 3-fold what dishes are worth just for ambient lighting and slick matte-finish menus.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Dumpling Republic for Lunch

No comments:
Dumpling Republic
Wintergarden Shopping Centre, 179-201 Queen Street, Brisbane CBD

If Jamie's Italian was a boy, I'd be the repeatedly rejected girl with a delusional amount of unrequited love. Ever since it opened its Brisbane store, I've been DYING, absolutely DYING, to get in and try it. Months on, it seems like every single person in Brisbane has been except for me. As I write this, I STILL haven't been because when Marc and I tried to pop in last week for lunch, there was a 30 minute wait to get in and we didn't have enough time.

In my depressed and forlorn state, I was ready to throw a "FINE I WILL JUST SKIP LUNCH" tantrum when we stumbled across Dumpling Republic in Wintergarden. It looked interesting enough that I no longer felt like I was missing out on something. Horray the day was saved!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cafe O-Mai for Breakfast

No comments:
Cafe O-Mai

Living in West End gives me close access to some awesome and great value Vietnamese eateries. Marc and I are literally at Trang's at least once every fortnight. It suits us perfectly because we love Vietnamese food. I went through a phase when I was crazy over banh mi. It then follows that when I heard there was an East-meets-West Vietnamese inspired breakfast cafe in Annerley, I was very keen to try it.

Cafe O-Mai is a cute corner cafe that introduces some typical Vietnamese breakfast fare in a manner that might be less daunting to the uninitiated. For those who are familiar with Vietnamese cuisine, yes there is pho.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Hana Zushi for Lunch

No comments:
Hana Zushi
Shop 24/27 Sunny Park Plaza, Sunnybank

Sunny Breeze Restaurant had been a part of Sunny Park Plaza for so long that it felt almost like an icon. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever and when I noticed Sunny Breeze had closed down, I was curious to see what it would follow. Hana Zushi opened in its place and I was instantly drawn in by the elegant dark decor and photos of attractive Japanese dishes on display. It was marked away as 'something I need to try' and last week we made the time to try it.

Over the new year long weekend, Marc and I developed into pure sloths, getting out of bed close to noon, napping throughout the day and then sleeping well into the midnight-AM bracket. Last Friday, we planned to have lunch out but because breakfast was around 11am, lunch didn't end up happening until 2-3pm. As it happens, Hana Zushi still had a few tables of diners then but I imagine it would have been busier during more regular eating hours.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Dinner at The Charming Squire

No comments:
The Charming Squire
133 Grey Street, South Brisbane

Trying to find a place to have dinner on a public holiday is a pain. We probably shouldn't have picked Boxing Day to have a date night out but the truth was, there was no food in the fridge, the grocery stores were closed and it was either head out or starve. I wanted to try Jamie's Italy because I feel like everyone in Brisbane has been there except me. The online booking said they were booked out and we didn't want to pay for parking only to be told we couldn't get a table or had to wait over an hr.

After tossing up and declining a few other options, we went for a random drive around West End and became disheartened by how many restaurants weren't open. We ended up in Southbank and to our relief, almost everything was open. We made a beeline for The Charming Squire because that's a venue I've been meaning to try since it first opened.

We had predicted that The Charming Squire would be packed with people drinking up before the weekend. It was busy but it wasn't crazy busy, which was a relief to us. There's a more casual bar area but we decided to try out the restaurant section. We didn't realise at the time but the two sides have different menus.