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Brisbane Brunch & Breakfast: The Burrow October 23, 2012

The Burrow

37 Mollison Street | West End

The Burrow is in the old spot of the Ottomon (Turkish food) restaurant, a few steps up for the Gunshop Cafe and diagonally across from Three Monkeys. On walking in, it seemed pretty bohemian with Spanish/mexican music playing, long wooden shared tables and also smaller round tables scattered about.  There was an upstairs area, but I didn’t see it.  It was pretty much a seat yourself affair and orders at the counter.

The breakfast menu was awesome.  SO many things I wanted to try like ‘A bit Cheeky’ – beef cheeks with duxelle mushrooms, poached egg on rye toast with a red wine jus ($17) or ‘Little Pig, Little Pig’ – Cider braised pork belly with celeriac puree, fried egg, poached pear and apple jelly ($17).

I wanted to have A bit Cheeky, but it was sold out (excuse for another visit! YAY!) so ended up with my second choice of ‘El Desperado Taco’ – pulled pork in soft totilla, huevos rancheros, salsa, poached egg, sour cream and this awesome-though very hot-green chilli thing.

It was a hot day, so I ordered a soy ice coffee, made on real espresson, and came without cream.  The meals took slightly longer, but wasn’t a ridiculous wait and came on a huge round bread board.  It wasn’t really Huevos Rancheros (which is supposed to be corn tortilla topped with refried beans, guacomole, salsa, chilli and a fried egg) instead, it was like a housemade – tomato beans with chopped salad, salsa, sour cream and the green chili which I took to be avocado, but wasn’t. The pulled pork in the soft corn tortilla was BRILLIANT and absolutely delicious, so I didn’t mind that there weren’t refried or black beans. The poached egg oozed beautifully too…although there had to be some quick manuvering of food on the board so it didn’t ooze all the way onto the table.

Now, I pretty much ate everything, and was so full, and fulfilled I didn’ t even have lunch that day (a RARITY).  This could be my new favourite breakfast venue.  There were also lots of gluten free cakes, vegan cupcakes that looked devine.  I can’t wait to head back next time to see if the other breakfast items measure up.

 
The Burrow on Urbanspoon

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Brisbane Brunch and Breakfasts: Cafeine

One of the things I didn’t do much when I was in London was go out for brunch.  I found that Londoners generally started the day a lot later on weekends and some of my friends didn’t want to emerge until after 1 on a Sunday!! By then, it’s too late for me to want to order eggs and beans…so it’s just usually lunch fare.

I’ve been back in Brisbane for about four months now…and I think my weekend brunch ritual has well and truly been reinstated.  Some have been great…some, not so much.  Below is my thoughts on Cafeine.  I’m definitely a fan.

Cafeine

186 Cavendish Road | Coorparoo

It’s small and owned by a waitress that used to work at (overrated) breakfast heavyweight Gunshop Cafe. From the outside, it seems quite small, one table on the inside and two on the outside, you order, pay at the counter and take a seat.  I didn’t realise this the first time I went, but last week I visited, I realised there was a whole other section for seating inside (with aircon!!).

The food here slightly deviates from the usual and it is DELICIOUS.  The first time I went, I had scrambled eggs with mushrooms, tomatoes, feta and pesto.  The eggs were done in a ramekin and soft and fluffy almost like it was souffled and it’s tasty, and full of flavour ($17).

Worth mentioning also is their Mushroom and omelette toastie which is pretty much the above breakfast (sans tomatoes and feta) toasted between two turkish bread and is crisp and delicious (13.50).  Their coffees are fairly good, and their coffee smoothie is childlike yum (nostalgic of camp coffee) ($6).  I live not too far from here, so it’s a no brainer for brunch when I want to go local. Breakfast is served til 2pm also, so a bonus for those who like to have a bit of a sleep in.

Cafeine on Urbanspoon

 

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.

http://www.the-berkeley.co.uk/fashionista_tea.aspx

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

 

Review: Mud Dessert Bar February 22, 2011

Filed under: Casual Eats,desserts,Food review — Dobsessed @ 7:01 pm
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I was excited to hear that there was a new dessert cafe, and my expectations were high. There really isn’t many decent dessert cafes in Brisbane…and with Freestyle Tout at the top, many places are rushing to open but none has really measured up.

 

Mud Dessert Bar is located in Oxford Street in Bulimba…street of lots of cafes, pretty good location.

 

On entering, it was a little bit strange.  The cafe has been painted completely black, with black tables and black chairs, I guess to get that edgy look, but the red and white pendent lighting in the room had bright white fluorescent lights and it was really strange in a cafe environment in the black room.   Room had stainless steel fans and it did little to stop the mugginess that hung around.  Come on, really? No air conditioning? Brisbane is pretty hot MOST of the time, but it was so hot to the point with the tables being sticky.

 

They actually served normal food, not just desserts and a varied dessert menu ranging from make your own ice-cream sundaes (choosing from different ice-cream flavours) for $15, to different plated desserts, $16 – $19.

 

Quite pricey considering Bulimba is the burbs.

 

The menu was quite creative and I was excited.  I chose a Mars Bar Creme Brulee and my friend chose a Banoffee.

Mars Bar Creme Brulee, chocolate Churros, chocolate sauce, chocolate ice-cream and Mars Bar Creme Brulee

My Mars Bar Creme Brulee came on a wooden board, looks impressive.  The whole dessert was incredibly rich, I’ve been known to eat 300 gram blocks of chocolates in one sitting, so chocolate overload is not usually a problem for me, but I couldn’t eat all of it.

The Brulee was huge, and I could not taste any caramel associated with Mars Bar, it just tasted like chilled chocolate cream honestly.  Very, very rich.  The chocolate ice-cream in a Chinese soup spoon was just silly, a scoop of ice-cream is hardly a one bite deal, and it was just ridiculous to try to eat, I couldn’t scoop my ice-cream up with a teaspoon so I had no choice but to just eat the whole scoop in one go.  The churros were pretty good, coated with sugar but honestly, the whole dessert had no balance.  I would’ve love some vanilla ice-cream, or some pouring cream…something to counter all that chocolate.  I was disappointed.

Banoffee, pistacio ice-cream, pistacio crumble

My friend’s Banoffee was equally disappointed, not because it tasted bad, just totally unbalanced.  The plate was piled with a strange oat-like crumble, my friend described as like cornflakes crispiness and piles of cream.  A very small layer of sliced bananas, like 5 20 cent pieces worth and a very tiny amount of caramel.  She said the caramel was incredibly tasty…but you only got a bite full.

Again. Disappointing.

There’s so much potential in the cafe, have air-con, refine the menu, drop the prices so it actually reflects the locality …but overall, I doubt I’d be visiting again.

 

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.

Yes.

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.