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Prêt-a-portea, afternoon tea at the Berkley Hotel August 24, 2011

I started the day shopping in Harvey Nicols, which was very appropriate for what I had planned in the afternoon.

Prêt-a-portea at the Berkley Hotel, which is a modern take on the traditional English afternoon tea.  Prêt-a-portea is supposed to be inspired from fashion trends and encompasses inspirations from Tom Ford, Victoria Beckham, Chloe, just to name a few.

It was a rainy, gloomy day so I arrived early to my 3:30pm reservation.  The hostess who met me was absolutely lovely, apologetic that my table wasn’t ready (at 3:10pm) and seating me in the foyer with a few magazines.

I wasn’t forgotten either, at 3:25, I was ushered (with the magazines – as I was dining alone) to my table.  There was a place card, with my name on it! Very nice touch!

Personalised Place setting

I was presented with the menus, and the hostess also gave me a copy of the menu and the postcard inspiration to keep.  I went for the standard prêt-a-portea without the champagne and started off with a beautifully scented caramel and pear tea. The teapots and plates were all Paul Smith, brightly coloured stripe.

Menu – I can’t seem to rotate it!

Not too long after, the first of the savouries arrived.  Sandwiches, egg in a sweet, soft bun, tuna in tomato seeded bread, smoke salmon and teriyaki chicken rolled in tortilla.  All the sandwiches were served without crust, the bread soft, and reasonably tasty. These all went very well with my hot tea.

Egg sandwich, tuna and tomato bread, salmon, cucumber, terriyaki chicken wrap

Pear Caramel Tea

Paul Smith Dinnerware

Next up were the savouries: along with the savouries came with a 3 tier stand with brightly coloured, beautifully presented cake, savouries and shot glasses of little desserts.

Top tier, that was like a mint and coconut, I wasn’t a big fan of the Yellow shot glass

The savouries: Potato salad in a crispy crust, lobster nori roll, artichoke (sour with a nice crunch), cold spicy melon soup (delicious!) and Beef tenderloin.  All tasty and when the waiter asked if I wanted some more, another plate of savouries (all of them!) were quickly brought to me.  As I finished those, with a nod of my head, another plate of sandwiches.

Bottom tier, Savouries

After the 2 rounds each of savouries, I was ready for the sweets.  They looked too pretty to eat! They were all delicious with very distinct flavours, my favourite being the Chocolate and hazelnut praline.  I also loved the cookies, simply because I loved how they were iced.  Many of the desserts were quite mousse-like so it was very light and none of them were too sweet.

One of the cookies

I was also asked if I wanted to tea change and this time I got amazing apple and amazing it was.  Real fruit pieces, that were seeped in hot water.  Delicious, it was something to drink and something to eat!

I didn’t like one of the desserts, which was mandarin flavoured, but the rest I quickly devoured.  With a smile, another lot of desserts was brought, but this time, I was so full I was taking small short breadths.

After I finished everything, I was asked if I enjoyed everything? When I confirmed that I did, they said, “Would you like us to pack some for you to take home?”…WOULD I?! YES! I WOULD!

I got given a cardboard printed box that was shaped as a pretty handbag in colours of pistachio and pink and it contained three other desserts.

Overall, the only criticism was one of the (many) desserts that wasn’t to my taste, and some of the fondant that was used in shaping of the desserts…other than that, the whole experience was perfection.

I would recommend it to anyone and never did they once make me feel uncomfortable for dining alone.  Pictures are allowed too, so feel free to snap away!

I’ll be going back in a few months time – the menu changes every six months.  So, so worth it.


Caramel Room (The Berkeley Hotel) on Urbanspoon


Gordon Ramsey at Claridge’s, Mayfair April 20, 2011

Filed under: Fine Dining,Food review — Dobsessed @ 6:05 am
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I went to Gordon Ramsey at Claridge’s at Mayfair for my birthday and I had high expectations.  It was my first Michelin Starred dining experience.  Because I’m poor, I decided to go for the lunch service which included a £30 three course set lunch.

I got very excited when I saw the building, and went to the bathroom pretty much straight away (I always think that’s an important part of the dining experience).  The building was old style and elegant and fresh flowers were everywhere.

This was in the bathroom

There was a bathroom attendant and when I came out of the toilet, she had turned on the tap for me, with a cloth ready for me to wipe my hands. Very impressive. I must admit I was a bit starry eyed.

We had booked for 4 but were one short.  A chair and the fourth place setting were quickly whipped away and replace with a flower. Nice tough.  We were led into a beautiful room, high ceiling. Even though it was a lunch, the room quickly filled up.

Water wasn’t free, we were only offered the choice of sparkling or still…could I really have said tap? It was Evian, and it came in a glass bottle. Posh.

Water even has a little ‘place mat’

We all went for the set menu, which had quite a few nice selections.

Complimentary Amuse Bouche

Our first course was a really lovely,  generously portioned Amuse Bouche which was a delightful green soup (can’t remember what vegetable) and had absolutely delicious tasty mushroomson the bottom. Was soooo delicious.

Complimentary bread

Yes…even the butter was worth a photo opportunity

Complimentary breads soon arrived, sour dough, onion and olive.  Two lots of butter was also provided, salted and unsalted.  I went for the onion and the olive bread.  The onion bread was not strong in onion, the olive one was crusty and soft in the middle, yummy.

Smoked Burford Brown egg, morel and leek ragoût, toasted focaccia

My entree was absolutely delicious.  I loved the strong taste of mushroom in the ragout and the egg was beautifully cooked, and deep orange yolk burst out when I cut into it.

Citrus-cured sea trout, cucumber sorbet

This was my friend’s favourite course (entree)…the cucumber sorbet really tasted like cucumber!!

Ceasar salad with maple bacon

This was a good Ceasar salad, and the egg was perfect but to me, it was just a Ceasar salad.

Fricassée of bass, sole and salmon, crab ravioli, shellfish bisque

This was my main, I was hoping that the shellfish bisque would be stronger in shellfish flavour, but it was quite light.  The salmon was cooked beautifully (medium rare) although the crab ravioli was a little tough (still yummy thouhg).

Braised shoulder of rose veal, roasted pear with a Fourme d’Ambert crumble

I had a bit of my friend’s veal and I was having major food envy.  The sauce was full of flavour.

Beef with Yorkshire pudding etc…

This wasn’t on the menu on the website so i can’t remeber the exact name of it.  Beef was cooked medium rare, and very melt in your mouth and tender.  The vegetables were really crisp and tender too.

Hot chocolate and pistachio fondant, rhubarb sorbet

I must admit the fondant was slightly dry and had a bit of a ginger taste but I really enjoyed the tart sorbet with it.

Passion fruit and coconut parfait, white chocolate ice cream

Another food envy…my friends’ dessert was really really yummy…they woudn’t stop going on about the coconut tuille.  Jealous.

Petit Fours

My friend had actually ordered a birthday cake for me but I won’t show it here…but it was like a delicious, delectable slab of ganache…

We also got a tour of the HUGE kitchen and then were shown to a table where petit fours were served.  Marshmellows and chocolates, yum, yum.

Would I go again? Definitely! I wanna try all his restaurants, I had such a good time!

It didn’t end up just being a cheap £30 lunch though, a 12.5% gratitudity was automatically added to the bill, the water wasn’t free, and we also ordered cocktails. I would say it was worth it though, you’d seriously get about less than that in Brisbane…and I must say the service was impeccable.

Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's on Urbanspoon


My Favourites List December 5, 2010

Filed under: Casual Eats,Fine Dining,Food — Dobsessed @ 2:52 pm

I’ve look at my last few blog entries and other than a recipe blog entries, I seem to hate every single restaurants out there!!

That’s not true by the way, I love lots of restaurants!  I just gt the urge to blog a lot more when I’ve had a bad experience.  I guess I just need to get it off my chest, or I want to make sure people don’t make the same unfortunate mistake that I did.

To prove it, here’s some of my favourite restaurants in BRISBANE:



4/380 Cavendish Road, Coorparoo – (07) 3324 0999

I have never had a bad breakfast here, the food, the coffee, everything is excellent.  It’s on the pricey side (breakfast wise), ranging from about $16 to $24 or something.  They have an interesting menu too, steaks and polenta for breakfast anyone?? Yum yum! Never been disappointed and I’m pretty picky.



697 Brunswick Street, New Farm QLD 4005, (07) 3358 1558

Very small restaurant and only seats 15 people, all at the bar! It’s really great, serving Modern Australian/French cuisine and the menu changes all the time.  One of the best duck confit, the best quail, best duck fat truffle potatoes.  EVER.

Their desserts aren’t anything special but everything else is pefecto.

Best Gluten Free Pizza

Hell Pizza gluten pizza are pretty good.  I think they taste pretty much exactly like normal crust (in my opinion).  Great gourmet toppings too, but a bit pricey.  Their pizzas are about $18 – $20 with $3.50 surcharge for gluten free crust.

I also like getting gluten free Pizzas from Dominos Pizza.  I’m not above eating fast food hehe. Their gluten free pizzas are $2.95 surcharge and it’s like their classic crusts.


I loooooooooooooooove sushi, I eat sushi at least once a week.  At least!  And my favourite is:

Hanaichi Sushi Bar & Dining

Shop E128 & E129/171-209 Queen Street Brisbane QLD 4000 – (07) 3221 1450

I love it here…my favourites are Seared Salmon Scallop, Salmon Belly and Avocado (yuuuum), Soft shelled crab hand rolls, Crab Claws, Kani Korokke…list goes on.  And you HAVE to try the black sesame ice-cream, it’s seriously the best.



Taringa Central Shopping Centre, 165 Moggill Road, Taringa, 4068
Only tried this place once and it is pretty awesome.  Feel of Izakaya with authentic Japanese food.
Quan Thanh
5/75 Hardgrave Road West End (Brisbane) QLD 4101 – (07) 3846 3849
Golden Buddha
3 The Corso, Seven Hills QLD 4170, (07) 3902 0005
Bow Thai
14 Wickham St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006, (07) 3216 1700
Punjabi Palace
135 Melbourne St, West End (Brisbane) QLD 4101, (07) 3846 3884
Mint Indian Courmet
394 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006, (07) 3252 0300
1/19 Barker Street, New Farm QLD 4005, (07) 3358 6336
My mum’s  (HA).
That’s all I’ve got for now, I’ll add to it as it comes to me! 🙂


Worse High Tea: Joseph Alexanders | Milton December 4, 2010

Filed under: desserts,Fine Dining,Food review — Dobsessed @ 4:38 pm
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So, went to Joseph Alexander’s for high tea for a friend’s Stepford Wives themed birthday today.

*SIGH* What can I say, Joseph Alexanders isn’t how it used to be. They used to be my favorite place for high tea, but I can now say that it’s probably the worse that I’ve been to.

Joseph Alexanders is housed in a pretty nice space, wooden floor boards, big windows that overlook the Brisbane River with bright sunlight streaming in. Linen tablecloths, with floral China (all mismatched)…that’s where all the nice things ended.

The table were lined with paper (…ok, I can overlook that) but they didn’t even give us linen napkins. We got paper napkins, not the nice thick ones, oh no…we got these flimsy, rough napkins that you would usually get from surbuban food courts.

I was very hungry (no breakfast) so I was excited when the three tiered plates came. I ordered the gluten free high tea and this is what I got for $36.90.

Not very pretty right, let me describe everything from the bottom plate up.

First tier Sandwiches (not finger sized):
Smoked Salmon with cucumber and tomatoes:
This was alright, the bread was pretty bad. I could tell that the bread were the ones you get in package and it’s very, very crumbly, like they’ve had it for three days. The bread actually completely fell apart and I couldn’t actually physically pick it up to eat. This sandwich was OK…I was hungry and I snaffled it up.
Chicken and Avocado:
Same stale, crumbly bread, but this time, the chicken tasted like cold rotisserie chicken and had absolutely no flavour at all. Not appetizing.

Second tier Almond cake and Macarons:
Once again, the cakes tasted like it has been sitting around for three days, the cake was very, very dry and very crumbly. Taste wise, it was OK, nothing spectacular, I would expect to buy an almond cake like this from the local coffee shop with my $3 coffee. You know those cakes that are pre-ordered from like a catering company. Once again, not very impressed.
Now the macarons. I know macarons ok, and these LOOKED nice…but macarons are made from almond meal and egg whites, they’re supposed to be light, airy and slightly chewy…these were as hard as rocks. Like the texture of Violet Crumble, but hard. The flavor was OK, nothing spectacular but once again, very disappointed.

Top tier, Petit Fours:
The chocolate mousse cups were nice. Just a thin chocolate casing with soft chocolate mousse inside. It tastes nice, like chocolate mousse, but it wasn’t really anything exciting or interesting. Probably one of the only faultless thing that I had on my plate though.
Now, I saved the creme brûlée for last because I looooove creme brûlée. When I went to eat it, I was very pleased that the top gave a resounding crack, but was very curious about the green.



Creme Brûlée.

You know what it was? Avocado.

Yes, Avocado flavored creme brûlée and it was disgusting. The texture was perfectly smooth actually, but I felt like I was eating sweet (too sweet) guacamole. It was gross, I felt like asking for some corn chips and salsa, didn’t even finish it. Seriously one of the worse creme brûlées I’ve ever had. But…good job for trying to be creative. Too bad it failed.

Now, with the tea, they didn’t bother asking for our tea orders until after about 30 minutes so half of us had finished nearly two of the tiers before the tea even came. We all got our own individual pot and the tea list was very small.

I ordered a Chai and it was pathetically weak.

They didn’t give us a tea strainer each, and because we all ordered different teas, we had to share tea strainers which is just wrong.

Milk that were provided was skim, (how thoughtful, is it because we were women?!) and when we added it to the tea, it gave this weak, palid colour. Not impressed.

So anyways, we had some good chats, and the service was fine…but overall, the food, the tea was just pathetic and all I can say is…I didn’t choose the spot.

I have to say though, everybody there looked LOVELY and I think the birthday girl had fun…but food wise…disappointing.

I guess I can’t talk for the normal high tea, but the gluten free one was just bad. I really can’t say much for restaurants that is OK with serving subpar, stale cakes even if it’s for their gluten free patrons.


Bistrot Bistro & Bar | Logan Road | Woolloongabba June 27, 2010

Filed under: breakfast/Brunch,Casual Eats,Fine Dining,Food,Food review — Dobsessed @ 1:48 pm
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One of my favourite meals are breakfasts…although, I must say I like going out fine dining too, so I guess I can’t really say that. To be honest, there isn’t a meal of the day I don’t like.

Anyways, still fresh from week 2 of my 21-Day Wonder Diet, my friend and I decided to go for a nice, long morning walk. Both of us have already had breakfast but after over an hour of walking and chats, we decided to stop at Bistrot Bistro & Bar for break.

I really liked the decor, it looks Parisian with pendant lighting, exposed brick walls and beautiful booths and timber floors. The service was very attentive (too much so), we were asked if we were ready to order three times in two minutes.

I don’t want to be overly negative, but our food came before our coffees (which we’d ordered first). Not much for adaptation, I thought the food was seriously overpriced. They had no gluten free bread (and no other alternatives) so I ended up paying $10 for 2 poached eggs, and ordered a side of house made beans with ham hock for an additional $7,

The eggs were poached beautifully, the yolks a vibrant orange, but that’s where the good ended. The beans were very sour with the tomatoes, and undercooked, so very hard, salty (with the ham hock) and unappetizing.

My friend had also ordered poached eggs, and her toast came grilled but she said you could taste the grill – and not in a good way. Neither of us was particularly wowed by the boring, unimaginative, overpriced food.

Our coffees were weak, lukewarm and insipid.

Oh yeah, one other criticism, the whole menu was written in jargon. Eg. Nduju $5 – that was apparently a Japanese style salami. Kessler $5 is actually just bacon…couldn’t they have just had that on the menu? Or am I just not ‘refined’ enough for Bistrot Bistro? Probably…which is why I probably won’t go back either. At least not for Brunch.


DISH: Bad attitude is best served cold April 25, 2010

Filed under: Fine Dining,Food review — Dobsessed @ 3:13 pm
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My friends and I went to Byron Bay for a lovely, relaxing long weekend.  We stayed centrally and everything was within walking distance, the shopping was great, the weather, beautiful and the beach…absolutely lovely.  I woke up one morning at 5, and went down there and just sat there, taking in the breezes.

I was excited to try Dish, situated near the Main Streets of Byron Bay and was in a beautiful building/house.  It was light and airy with an open kitchen and it had a few different dining areas, a bar (Marvell Bar), the main restaurant area and a little alcove painted terracotta.  I loved the space, and it was breezy with open doors letting in the fresh air, my friends and I even commented on how it would be a lovely (small) wedding reception menu.

I guess I shouldn’t say that the service was that BAD…it was just this ONE waitress, haughty and uptight, she never once cracked a smile, and was never warm.  I have to say though, one of the lovely things, was that our water glasses was never left empty long.

The food started off beautifully with a free amouse bouche of a lightly crumbed and fried polenta ball sitting on top of a dollop of aioli and topped with crisp pancetta and micro herbs.  Yummy…it was rich and creamy and I could have kept on eating it.

Next came the housebaked bread which came warm with smooth butter and my scallops.  The scallops was served with a cumin and carrot puree, pickled carrots, I also saw tiny crotons in it too.  The scallops was small, seared lightly and raw in the middle.  That’s exactly how I like it usually, but for some reason, the outside of the scallops were hard and slightly bitter.  The purree was totally overpowering with cumin and the pickled carrots, too sour.  The dish, was by all means, not offensive…but the balace just wasn’t there.  The delicate and sweetness of scallops were completely lost.

Next came our mains, Gnocchi with heirloom tomatoes, spiced pumpkin and truffled parmassen.  It came beautifully plated…I have to say, every single one of their dishes was plated like an artwork.  Each of the tomatoes and gnocchi were placed just so…the gnocchi was pan fried and I liked the slightly crisp outsides, but after eating about 3 or 4, it started to feel a bit stodgy.  Overall though, I really enjoyed the subtle truffle with the cheese eaten with the gnocchi.  I thought the tomatoes were a bit sour, but my friend who also ordered the dish thought the tomatoes were the stars on the plate.  My other friend ordered a duck dish which came rolled in some sort of leaves and looked like sushi.  I thought the duck was cooked beautifully tender and pink, but I thought the celeriac puree was way too overpowering.  I usually like celeriac but hate celery and all I could taste was celery for some reason.  We also got a side of truffled mash, which was again, subtle in truffle but not in salt.

After our meals, we were way too full for dessert and this is when the haughty waitress, I felt, gave us attitude.  I’m sorry that we had to check the prices of the receipt to see how much each of us had to pay, but really, there was absolutely NO need to stand that and say, “Are you done?” with such an attitude.  What could have been otherwise a satisfactory dinner just left me with a sour taste in my mouth.  We were waved off by another friendly waiter, but I don’t think he could undone how she left us feeling.


Augustin – French cuisine in Vietnam March 18, 2010

I’m in Vietnam.  A plethora of dining choices.  Hot bowls of pho, crusty breads – filled with pickled vegetables, pork and pate, freshly steamed rice noodles and I go to a French restaurant.  I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch, they have a huge french influence due to the French colonization…so why not have some French cuisine?

The restaurant we went to was listed in the Lonely Planet guide, so we thought it shouldn’t be too shabby.

We started the evening with some very pricey cocktails (about $13 including tax – which is very pricey considering you can buy a bowl of very delicious filling bowl of pho with meat balls and beef for $2) at the Sheraton sky bar.  The view from the hotel was absolutely magnificent, basically 270 degree view of the city.  Very formal though, people openned the doors for us, guided us to our seats and it was all very civilised.  I don’t think you’d see Speidi’s crew with the brosters downing shots here rowdily!  – Sorry about that…I’ve been totally addicted to the Hills recently…and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you haven’t lost that much, so just don’t worry.

After our pricey drinks, we hopped across the road, walked around the corner or two and ended up at Augustin.  It was a very small restaurant, with air-con, table linens and all the waitresses were wearing a uniform.  It was by no means elegant interior, if I were in Australia, I may consider it old fashioned…like I was in a granny’s sitting room.  All the same, I’d spent the last couple of days sitting on plastic stools, wiping all my cutlery before I eat, so this felt very luxe indeed.

The menu was extensive, they had a menu of local meats, and imported meats and everything was reasonably priced.

For entree, I ordered the crab gratin which came plated on a crab shell.  The plating was rather rudimentary, your basic tomatoes and cucumber laid out, I felt like I was at a Chinese chicken shop.  Regardless, the food was delicious, the crab was real crab, definitely NOT seafood extender and sweet, it wasn’t too heavily ladened with cream either.  KK, who is not a big foodie was even rolling her eyes in ecstasy.  COC’s entree of clam soup was rich and full of clams, delicious, but she couldn’t finish it, so I helped.

We had all chosen duck as our mains, cooked in various ways. KK had ordered duck with cream which was a simple duck breast, served with a cream sauce and fries – because they’re FRENCH fries.  I had been tossing up between ordering this instead of the duck I ended up with, and I am glad I went with my eventual choice.  The duck breast was fine, cooked well, not dry but the sauce was just strange.  It had the look of a creamy mushroom sauce, but even now, I can’t place the strange cream sauce that it was.  KK seemed to enjoy it though.

COC’s duck l’range was very sweet, certainly the sweetest duck l’range I’ve ever had, almost syrupy, but went nicely with the duck breast.

I’d ordered duck confit (which came oddly, with no sauce) but it was fall of the bone delicious.  The duck leg was tender and the skin crisp and full of fatty goodness, I definitely couldn’t complain.  I thought the mash potatoes were really strange though, they were very, very sweet and wasn’t buttery like the mash I was used to.  Having said that, I still finished off the plate…so I guess it couldn’t have been that bad.

We’d also ordered a rose between the three of us, and some mineral water and we ended up dropping about $20 each for the whole thing.  Not too bad considering I’d pay more than that for just an entree here!

Augustin |10 D Nguyen Thiep | Dong Khoi Area, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam