Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Black Forest German Cafe Restaurant Review

After watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain featuring German food, T went online to search for German restaurants in Brisbane and came up with Black Forest German Cafe Restaurant. He told me about this last week but we never ended up going. However, after dinner with friends last Saturday who coincidentally mentioned that they ate at Black Forest and loved their Pork Hock, we decided to make a booking and go on Monday night. On the website, it mentioned that if we wanted to have the Pork Hock for dinner, we would have to give them 4 hours notice. So I dutifully rang up at midday to make a booking for that night and also to tell them that we would be having one Pork Hock. I was a little unnerved that the woman who answered the phone had a very thick Chinese accent.

Any-hoo, we got there and the decor freaked me out a little because there was a female mannequin at the front door and there were little dolls and antiques everywhere. As we sat down I also noted a musky smell which I didn't appreciate. The waitress was a Chinese woman who we had difficulty understanding and who also had difficulty understanding US apparently because she suggested the Mixed Grill for me as my main course and I said "Ok, let me have another look" and a few moments later when I tried to order what I wanted, she said "Oh! You want to change? Ok, I'll tell ... (she trailed off at this bit)" and I was surprised and explained that I didn't want to CHANGE anything, this is what I wanted. So she went in to tell the chef who immediately shouted "Are you STUPID?! I've already put it in the pan!". T and I looked at each other with eyes the size of dinner plates and then heard him start pulverizing the pork that was about to become my schnitzel. 

We were feeling quite tense there, waiting for our entree. A couple of times during dinner we heard the chef swear and yell pretty loudly. On the upside, T was loving his beer and I was happy with my super tall glass of coke :) Finally, our entree of Bratwurst with rye bread and butter arrived but hang on, where was the rye bread and butter? I whispered that we were missing the bread to T and as the waitress walked past, he said "Excuse me, does this come with bread?". The waitress sailed past us to collect the plates of the only other table of two in the restaurant. We weren't sure if she didn't hear him/thought he was talking to me/hated us because we got her yelled at by the chef so we decided to let it go. The cheese-filled sausages were yummy though and the potato salad that came with it was good.

T ordered another beer to come with the mains and finally, his Muenchener Schweinshaze (Pork Hock) served with Sauerkraut and Bavarian Dumplings ($31.90) and my Jaegerschnitzel with champignons, onions, mushrooms, creamy sauce and homemade noodles ($28.90) arrived. The pork hock looked like a force to be reckoned with, it was HUGE! My meal was pretty big as well but they were both delicious. The pork hock had ultra crispy skin and was succulent on the inside. Not too big on the sauerkraut and dumplings but the pork really was magnificent, cooked perfectly. My pork schnitzel was tender, moist and battered with buttered crumbs. The creamy sauce was tasty and sprinkled with a generous serving of mushrooms. The noodles were alright, I've never liked German noodles but these were better than a lot that I've had before.

Managed to finish the schnitzel between us but we couldn't finish the pork! We asked the waitress if we could take it away and when she came back, she had squished everything into one container - the pork (magically boneless), sauerkraut and dumplings. I don't think we even got any noodles! We really wanted the bones for Cocoa but I told T not to ask because of the language barrier. When we were paying at the counter, he did anyway, of course, and she said "Oh! You want the bone?! It's already in the bin!" and then she just walked away and started clearing our table. Sooo.. decor and service was pretty horrible but Black Forest was saved by the food. Don't think we'll be going back there again though.. Unless for some crazy reason we feel like being misunderstood and listening to the chef swear and yell throughout a tense dinner.

Rating: 5/10

Black Forest Cafe Restaurant
196 Gladstone Road
Highgate Hill

Telephone: 07 3217 2180

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bellaggio Woodfired Pizzeria & Ristorante Review

Interesting night.. T really wanted to get some cheesy pizza so while I was out, he looked up Italian restaurants online and when I got back, announced that we would be going to Bellaggio in New Farm. I checked out the menu online and was a little doubtful but agreed to go anyway because they had pastas as well AND because the website looked really nice (sucker). We were absolutely starving and immediately ordered the Frittura di pesce ($25) which is fried calamari, prawns and whiting fillets with their special dressing as a starter. I then proceeded to order the Tagliolini Carbonara ($21.50) - boring, I know but I wanted to compare it to the one at Tomatos where I work. And T could not even begin to pick a pizza from their extremely, extremely extensive pizza menu. Even I gave up after the first 10. Everything just started to sound the same. So we asked our waiter to recommend one and he told us about the special pizza ($22) which consisted of mushrooms, spicy salamai cacciatore, provolone and freshly diced tomatoes and so we got that (there may have been a few other things on the pizza but that was all I could catch through his accent).

The entree arrived and although I didn't have any because of the calamari, T said that they were really good and perfect as a starter so we started to feel a little better about the food that was to come. The pizzas that were being sent out to the other tables seemed to look good too. Soon, our pasta and pizza came and sadly, were VERY disappointing. The carbonara tasted like it had come out of a packet and was greasy. I could hardly have more than a few bites. T had some and he too, thought it was horrible. Size-wise, it was considerably smaller than the one offered at Tomatos which only cost $16.90 for double the size and definitely tastes heaps better. The pizza was below average, quite bland - T's made far better pizzas at home than the one we had.

When our waiter came over to ask us how everything was going, I responded with a bright "Good!" at exactly the same time T said "This carbonara is not very good, just being honest" and the waiter, English not being his first language said "Oh, it is good? Thank you!" and T said "No, it is NOT good, it's fine, just telling you" and the waiter said "Oh! I will tell them!".. all this while I was staring bug-eyed at T. After a few minutes, a lady came over and asked if there was a problem, upon which I immediately replied "No!" and T said "This carbonara wasn't very good that's all, it tasted like it came out of a packet". The woman then said "Oh no, this is made fresh on the premises, it must not be what you expected because we do a traditional carbonara" and I smiled and said "Yes, that must be it.. Can we take the rest of it home please?". She smiled and said "Oh! You're just saving your tummy!" and Tim said "The dog will like it". I swivelled my eyeballs towards him in shock and the lady replied "That's nice" in a sarcastic tone that really meant "You're an asshole" and T said "Well, we paid money for it, SOMEONE'S gotta eat it".. O-MY-GOD. I tried to shrink into my chair and appear as invisible as possible.

Needless to say, the lady was icy-cold to T when he paid at the counter. Afterwards in the car, he admitted that he probably shouldn't have blurted out the painful truth like that. TOO late! Putting that all behind us, I decided that I wanted to go to Freestyle Tout at the Emporium for dessert. When we parked the car, T jokingly suggested thae we go into Three Bistro for some oysters and garlic and gruyere bread that we love so much. I jumped at the suggestion and we walked into Three Bistro, shaking our heads in disbelief that we were actually going to do this.

A waiter that we were familiar with seated us and when we informed him that we were only there for oysters and bread he was totally cool with it but said that he had only a dozen natural oysters left and it all depended on whether a couple who just sat down would order them or not. If they did, they wouldn't have any natural oysters left for us! So we waited in nervous anticipation while our waiter went to take their order and as he walked past he said "I've got the dozen oysters!" Phew! We breathed a sigh of relief and T ordered 6 kilpatrick oysters for himself while I got 8 natural oysters with the champagne vinagrette that is absolutely to-die-for. T makes himself a little oyster sandwich with the gruyere bread which the waitstaff at Three started doing after seeing him do it a few times. We were fully stuffed after having that 2nd dinner and I thought I could still fit dessert in the end, declared myself filled to bursting point so we went home after a very unusual night of dining out. A proper review of Three Bistro to come soon (but you can tell already that it's going to be a positive one).

As for Bellaggio, one of the worst restaurants I have ever been to. The decor was cheap and tacky, it was uncomfortably cold and the food is really horrible. Adding insult to injury was the fact that their food was SO overpriced. Last time I let T pick the restaurant, ha-ha! Just kidding (maybe).

Rating: 3/10

Bellaggio Woodfired Pizzeria & Ristorante
695 Brunswick Street
New Farm QLD 4005

Phone: 07 3254 0275

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kim Khanh Review

Ok, I'll admit upfront that this is not going to be a very good review as we've been going to this restaurant for years and order the same thing EVERY single time. However, I'm still going to do it because if you don't already know about it, you should! Every now and then I get cravings for this place and we just have to go. Now, it is a vietnamese restaurant and as you can imagine, the decor is terrible and when you sit down you kind of question the level of hygiene of the whole place. But it's one of those places where you just don't care.

As always, we start with a plate of Sugarcane Prawn and Roast Pork each which comes with fish sauce, a stack of rice paper rolls, a plate of vegetables (carrots, cucumber, mint, lettuce) and a bowl of boiling hot water to soften the rice paper rolls. As you can see, T and I requested only cucumber because what with me not eating any greens, the big plate of vegetables usually go to waste. The fun part is making your own vietnamese spring roll, putting whatever you want it in and rolling it up! It gets a little messy if you're inexperienced but we LOVE it and have gotten pretty good at it over the years :)

The combination of the juicy prawn and pork with a fresh hint of whatever vegetable you use and the sweet and sourness of the fish sauce is just indescribable. My mouth is watering just thinking about it now. Come to think of it, I should've taken a photo of a finished roll that one of us had. Oh well!

Next, we had the Deep Fried Flounder which is always cooked perfectly. The meat is juicy and tender and the skin is crunchy and crispy. It is my absolute favourite dish! With the flounder we also had Moreton Bay Bugs on noodles cooked with ginger and shallots. I'm not a huge fan of this dish but T absolutely loves it. I just think that bugs in general taste a bit bland and ditto for the noodles.

Kim Khanh is one of those restaurants that will go on forever just because their food tastes so good. It's always packed with big tables of people celebrating some occasion or other and although I rarely see people order what WE order, they seem to love whatever they're having just as much. It's BYO and we have never ever made a booking but have always managed to get a table. Just-try-it.

Rating: 7.5/10

Kim Khanh
67 Cardiff Road
Darra QLD4076

Phone: 07 3375 3014

Closed on Mondays

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Quiche, Pumpkin Salad, Chocolate Tart & Chocolate Pots!

Remember how I said I had tons of egg yolks over and T requested that I make a chocolate tart? W-ell, he ALSO requested that I make a quiche lorraine since I was "making pastry anyway" and so I borrowed a large food processor from Y and went shopping with T to buy all the ingredients I needed (not much). To cut a long story short, I spent HOURS multi-tasking to make the quiche, a roasted pumpkin salad to go with it and a chocolate tart for dessert when I should REALLY have been studying!!! T came home to find me standing in the kitchen with a crazed look in my eyes as he tentatively stepped closer to give me a hug.

It got pretty hectic - I forgot to put the walnut meal in the pastry for the chocolate tart and I officially hate cutting up butternut pumpkin (first time, so I had no idea how hard it was). However, when we sat down to the delicious quiche and salad (both recipes provided by Exclusively Food, by the way), all the tension just dissipated and it was an awesomely yummy dinner.

The chocolate tart literally took HOURS to bake in the oven (I have no idea why, ask Donna Hay) and when it came out, still didn't look too good which was probably due to the fact that I was doing 10 things at the same time while melting the chocolate. I hated it on sight because it looked so ugly but T raved about how good it was and how it was "the best dessert you've ever made". I thought he was just saying it to make me feel better but he has had a huge amount of it ever since (only a small slice left in the fridge now) so I guess it wasn't bad. I had a tiny spoonful but as I'm not a fan of dark chocolate, didn't like it much. No photos of the chocolate tart because it looked hideous.

So this all happened about a week ago and while I was looking up recipes that used lots of egg yolks, I came across one from Exclusively Food - Chocolate Pots! Since I had heaps of the frosting left over from my Lemon Angel Food Cupcakes, I decided to make another batch of those (this time I could actually pipe the frosting because it had hardened from sitting in the fridge) and use the egg yolks to make the chocolate pots. Managed to do that yesterday and because I was only doing one thing at a time, stirred the chocolate and cream over heat CONTINUOUSLY and got a lovely, smooth mixture which I then ran through a sieve. Refrigerated overnight and voila! Beautiful chocolate pots.. woohoo!! Yummy too, recipe is highly recommended!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Liquorish Bistro + Bar Review

T and I felt like another nice dinner so we perused some menus online and eventually decided on Liquorish, mainly because their dinner menu sounded pretty good and also because we haven't been there in months and months! So I made a booking for that night and there we were, seated in the plush, cosy setting of Liquorish. It's all dark, rich colours except the huge, classy white leather bench seating on one side of the room. I love the decor, it just relaxes me somehow. T got himself a glass of red wine and I ordered a hot chocolate for myself. What arrived at the table was the smallest hot chocolate I had ever seen. It was so cute, like a shot of hot chocolate (almost). The taste? Pleasant, but could do with MORE chocolate! Hehe..

Liquorish provides a list of tapas for entrees and we started with FOUR to share because they all sounded so good! I didn't have the oysters this time *shock* but we did get the Seared Scallops with cucumber, seaweed salad & wasabi mayonnaise ($17), the Bangalow Pork Pie with apple pork pie and riddichio salad ($15), the Tiger Prawn & Crab Spring Rolls with coriander, ginger & palm sugar dressing ($16) and the 250 Day Grain Fed Beef Carpaccio with foie gras toast, balsamic onions & chive oil ($18). The scallops were by far my favourite because they were so cute and perfectly cooked (not too mushy or rubbery) and because I looooove seaweed. Combined with the wasabi mayonnaise (couldn't really taste any wasabi), it was great! A nice mix of textures with the chewy scallops and the crunchy seaweed.

The pork pie was also presented adorably with the pork in miniature puff pastry case and tiny jug of sauce. The overall flavours worked really well and was yummy (as you would expect from a meat pie) but the pastry was a little hard and chewy - not good! If the pastry had been light and fluffy, it would've been a cracking dish. The spring rolls were like any other spring rolls I guess, but for me, the vegetables in them overpowered the taste of the prawns and crabs. I could hardly taste them, it felt like I was eating a vegetarian spring roll and as you know, that does not bode well with me. Note to self, NEVER order spring rolls from ANYWHERE ever again!! T had most of the beef carpaccio and he absolutely loved it. He piled on the carpaccio on top of the foie gras toast and added balsamic onions on top - and he was in heaven.

While waiting for our mains, T just couldn't help himself so he ordered another tapas dish to come together with our mains. He had been eyeing the Crispy Fried Squid with shoe string fries & tomato chilli chutney ($15) longingly but didn't order it because I'm allergic to squid. After he kept talking about it, I urged him to get it so it came together with our mains of the Spanner Crab Lasagne with spiced avocado, tomato, basil dressing, creme fraiche & salmon pearls ($34) for me and the Barramundi Fillet with sweet potato gratin, shaved fennel, hazelnut, watercress salad & citrus sauce ($36) for T. I was secretly hoping that T would get the Roast Duck Leg so that I could have one but alas, it didn't happen :(

Obviously I didn't have any squid but T was making orgasmic expressions and going on and on about how tender the squid was and that it totally made the whole dinner blah blah blah.. Oh, how I wish I could have had some! Good to hear that he enjoyed them so much though! Hehe.. The crab lasagne for me was average. It probably could have been a little cheesier and would have done well with more crab in it (again, could hardly taste any). The phrase that popped into my head when I had my first bite was "Mexican Lasagne" because of the avocado, tomato and creme fraiche. T wasn't all that impressed with his barramundi fish and when I tried some, it was a little overcooked in my opinion. The flavours that went with it were good though, I DID like the creamy sauce (what else is new?) and T had no problem finishing it at all.

For dessert, T had the Espresso Creme Brulee with tonka bean poached prunes & orange biscotti ($14) while I had the Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownie with vanilla ice cream & candied pecans ($14). The creme brulee had a VERY strong coffee taste and T really liked it. He didn't care much for the prunes though but he did say that the espresso creme brulee was better than the one he had at Cha Cha Char. The brownie surprised me because I'm not really a fan of brownies, I tend to find them a bit dense and hard. But THIS one was chocolatey, soft, moist and crumbly - infused with crunchy pecans. YUM! The last time I was at Liquorish, I ordered the chocolate tart with the same feeling of apprehension and it was the best chocolate tart I have ever had in my whole life. The pastry was soft, crumbly and buttery and the chocolate just melted in your mouth. I am still waiting with bated breath for it to come back on the menu!

To sum up, Liquorish would make a great dining venue any day of the week. It's ambience is wonderfully relaxed and posh and the service there is impeccable. The food is good and the desserts are smashingly awesome.

Rating: 7/10

Liquorish Bistro + Bar
Shop 2/140 Oxford Street

Phone: 07 3399 1520

Open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Baking - 3, Studying - 0

I just couldn't help myself when I saw that Clara on had posted up a new cupcake recipe - eek! I have been traversing her site (and others) daily just as a way of procrastinating and just yesterday I said to T that no one had posted up any new cupcake recipes in aeons!! And to that he wisely said "There'll be something sooner or later, it all comes and goes in waves doesn't it?" to which I glumly nodded my head. And then this morning, ta-daa!! A post on Angel Food Cupcakes!! The only problem was.. I had no strawberries left :(

When T went out to run some errands for work, I asked him to get me a punnet of strawberries if he came across any (highly unlikely, of course) and then later on, I saw Y online and because I knew she was coming over to pick something up, I tried my luck to see if she had any strawberries lying around that she didn't want. Sadly, she said she didn't but a few minutes later, I got a glorious SMS from her saying that she'd bought me some on the way over to my place!! Woo-hoo!! Bless her little heart, within 15 minutes I had my strawberries! (T got back a few minutes before Y got here and of course, HE didn't get me any strawberries, hmpf!) J/k! :)

So I made the cupcakes with much zest and zelousness, partly because I had an excuse not to study and partly because these cupcakes sounded VERY promising indeed! In total, I used 8 egg whites and my right arm ached from all the beating I had to do with my handheld beater but the cupcakes turned out very pretty (they were all puffy when I first took them out of the oven but upon standing, shrunk considerably!!). However, the strawberry swiss meringue buttercream frosting turned out to be runny so I couldn't pipe them onto the cupcakes! I tried putting the bowl of frosting in the fridge so it would harden up but in the end I just couldn't wait anymore and spooned a dollop onto each cupcake.

Lemon Angel Food Cupcakes with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Now I have 8 egg yolks left over and I gave T the choice of me making creme brulee or a chocolate tart tomorrow and you know what he said? "QUICHE!!" Haha.. He eventually settled on the chocolate tart so we will be shopping for some ingredients for that as well as ingredients for the quiche and salad that I will make tomorrow.

You can see the numerous ways that I have been procrastinating and wasting my time NOT studying the last few days - multiple blog entries a day, baking, planning for baking the next time and also.. I've been dreaming about getting a GREAT standing mixer. All of the bakers whose blogs I follow seem to be using Kitchenaid so I googled it and because it's Breast Cancer Awareness month, they've got a special PINK one!!!! Of course, it costs like AUD$800 but a girl can dream right?

Sigh.. love love love it *stares off in space dreamily* Oh, I also need a huge-ass food processor for making the pastry for the quiches! More dreaming.. until next time everyone!!

Cha Cha Char Wine Bar & Grill Review

Continuing on in my theme of being a bad girl.. that same Sunday night, T and I went to Anise for their newly started Sunday Supper REALLY craving for some of their awesome oysters and crab crepes but when we sat down, we realised that their Sunday supper menu was a condensed version of their normal menu and that the oysters and crepes were not on it (totally understandable because it's the kitchen's only day off so the owner wanted to keep it sweet and simple) sooo.. we were brats and we left to go to Cha Cha Char, shame on us!

We've been to Cha Cha Char many many times and I've always only tolerated going there because T loved their Highly Marbled Wagyu ($95 for 150g) and everything I had tried was just alright. The desserts varied, they had changed their menu 3 times since the first time we dined there. The first time, I didn't like any of the 2 desserts I tried. The second time, I loooved their orange creme brulee and since their third menu change, I've tried the honey creme brulee and didn't enjoy it because I don't really like the strong taste of honey. T thought it was pretty good though! As for their entrees and mains, the first two menus didn't quite cut it for me but on the new menu, I tried the Crisp Duck Leg Confit with parmesan polenta, pickled cherries, poached prunes and mustard cress ($34) and fell in loooooooove. I am SUCH a big fan of crispy skinned duck leg confit AND polenta. The texture of the polenta was smooth and creamy with just the right amount of grainy-ness (is that even a word?!) and the cherries and prunes brought a nice sweet punch to the whole dish.

So back to Sunday!! For entrees we ordered 6 oysters ($22) - 4 kilpatrick and 2 mornay (3 kilpatrick for T and the rest for me) as well as the Prosciutto Wrapped Quail baked with porcini mushroom & pistachio nut farce, braise of leek, caramelised fig and goats cheese ($26.50) which I've had a couple of times before as a main.

The oysters were yummy! Not much I can say about kilpatrick and mornay oysters but these ones really hit the spot. The quail was good as always, perfectly cooked and wrapped in salty prosciutto, yum! I loved the fig and T loved the braise of leek - it was a wonderfully tasty dish. After we'd finished our entrees, we guiltily ordered another half a dozen oysters, this time 4 mornay and 2 kilpatrick - more mornay for mee!! Mmmm..

For our mains, of course T ordered the Highly Marble Wagyu but the new menu serves it with Green Tea Soba Noodle, Wasabi Leaf & Enoki Salad, Yamato Raw Woy, Pickled Ginger which T absolutely hated when he first tried it. He didn't think it went well with the steak at all so this time he had it served with the sides that came with the T-bone which was Baked Chorizo, Squid, Red Pepper & Tomato Salsa, Lemon Vinaigrette which he really liked, except for the chorizo. He also ordered a side of Double Cream Mash ($6.50) and I forgot to mention, T gets TWO serves of the steak so he gets not 150g, but 300g of steak!! No, I am not kidding - there has been a waiter who mistakenly thought that they were for the both of us and moved to remove our menus before I had ordered my food! He did a double take when he realised they were both for T. Yes, we are a couple of piglets hehe. No prizes for guessing what I had for my mains - the duck of course!! And shock shock, horror horror.. I DID NOT have any dessert *gasp* Not that I was too full or anything, just waiting for them to change the dessert menu again to better suit my liking!

Cha Cha Char is a great place to dine, it has an extensive menu and most things are done extremely well. The wait staff are pleasant and effcient, there is also an abundance of them. The place is very well managed and it has that informal yet classy feel to it. No wonder it is always packed on Fridays after work and late at night. T and I are there many a late night when every other restaurant's kitchen has closed so when it's 9.30pm and you're hungry and desperate for some good food and great service, pick up the phone and call Cha Cha Char! :)

Rating: 8/10

Cha Cha Char Wine Bar & Grill
Shop 5, Plaza Level,
Eagle Street Pier, Brisbane

Phone: 07 3211 9944

NED'S Cafe Review

On Sunday I was a very bad girl.. I didn't do an ounce of studying and went to the Gold Coast with T, Y and Cocoa instead! It was sort of T's belated birthday present to Cocoa since we didn't do anything special for her and she's been acting bored and moping around the house a bit (maybe because she just turned 4!!). We really didn't feel like having fish and chips at the coast again as we usually do because that's one of the only places we can take Cocoa for lunch, so I remembered that the Brisbane News had a little write up on a little place called Ned's Cafe in Yeronga and suggested it to T. I bulldozed into the pile of old Brisbane News's that we had lying on the floor and lo and behold, actually FOUND the write up and proceeded to read it out to T. It was a fairly glowing review with no negatives whatsoever although they did give it an average rating of 7.5 so I called up to make a booking for a table outside so we could have Cocoa there with us.

To my delight, I discovere that they had milkshakes so I ordered a chocolate one of course, while T got a mocha and Y got herself a skinny latte as she always does. The chocolate milkshake was quite good, although still not up to par with the one ones at Pearl Cafe. I didn't bother asking T and Y what they thought of their beverages, sorry!

All of us ordered from the breakfast menu even though the lunch menu did sound quite enticing. T got NED'S famous gourmet eggs with bacon, onion, garlic, parmesan, spinach, mushroom & tomato tossed through creamy scrambled eggs served with toast ($16.50) with a side of hash browns and sausages ($2.50 each), Y got the Potato leek and parsley rosti with smokey bacon, parmesan rocket served with tomato creme fraiche ($16.50) while I got the Eggs Benedict with salmon ($16.50).

NED'S famous gourmet eggs looked haphazardly thrown together, the toast looked a little burnt and unsightly and as T said, "I don't know what's so famous about these eggs". He thought the whole dish was a bit bland and wasn't a fan of the sausage. Y liked her rosti but commented that it was a little on the dry side whereas T deemed it tastier than his own meal. I enjoyed my Eggs Benedict - the sauce and the spinach were good but the toast could've been better and one of the yolks in my poached eggs was cooked through.

I had gone inside to have a look at the deserts offered in their display cabinet and made my choice pretty quickly! I had to have the Chocolate Velvet Tart ($5.50) after my mains and it was the main reason why I didn't have the buttermilk pancakes for breakfast ;) The tart was indeed velvety and rich and although I thought it was a little too "dark" for my liking, once you mix it with the cream that it's served with, it was beautiful - worth every penny!

The waitstaff were generally pleasant although we did get the sense that again, the place was understaffed and there was an undercurrent of tension and flurry. When we were done with our meals, a waitress even came out with the exact dishes that we had ordered and consumed and when we shook our heads in bewilderment, ran off back  inside, no doubt to an irate chef that had to prepare 3 meals twice for nothing.

Overall, a nice place for a quick bite and we appreciated that we could have Cocoa with us while we ate. They might want to get a manager in so that everything runs smoothly (there was also an issue with booking the table and with a muffin that Y got to take away but I won't get into that).

Rating: 6/10

NED'S Cafe
Shop 3.4, The Village
Cnr Fairfield Road and Kadumba Street

Phone: 07 3848 4406

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sono Portside Wharf Review

I have no idea why T suggested going to Sono Portside Wharf Restaurant as he'd been there about half a year ago with his friend and said it wasn't that great. I guess he wanted to give it another chance and having never been before, I decided to give it a go. The word 'posh' springs tomind when I try to describe the ambience and decor of this japanese restaurant. We were seated immediately and the good thing was that there didn't seem to be a shortage of waitstaff like alot of other restaurants nowadays. T noted that there were waitstaff coming at us at all angles providing us with food and water haha! He had no intention of having more than one beer at dinner as we had a movie to see right after but upon seeing 'Sancere' on the wine list, he pounced and proceeded to get intoxicated glass by glass.

The menu was VERY extensive and again, this worried us a little. We settled on Ebi Tempura ($26), Yakitori ($15) and a large Sashimi Moriawase ($48) to share and a California hand roll ($12) and Prawn Tempura large sushi roll ($15) for me. I'll cut a long, repetitive story short - EVERYTHING was pretty mediocre. Nothing that we couldn't get from Ginga Restaurant in Southbank and for half the price too! We felt that the sashimi was B grade and not that fresh. I had to stop after a few slices. The ebi tempura and yakitori were similar to what we've had at cheaper restaurants and the sushi didn't even match up to those that are found in sushi trains!

Oh, and I almost forgot.. T ordered the Scampi Springrolls ($18) as an afterthought and they, too fit the theme of the evening of blandness, mediocrity and poor value for money (2 measly pieces!!).

For dessert, I just HAD to order the Chocolate Terrine ($17.50) to see what a japanese restaurant would come up with and also a hot chocolate, while T ordered a macchiato to try to sober up for the movie. I waited in nervous anticipation and the hot chocolate was surprisingly very good! It was very rich and chocolatey, yum.. The chocolate terrine, however.. was ghastly. Just looking at it, you knew it was going to be bad. It was poorly put together and crumbled into dry chunks of chocolate when we tried to cut into it with our spoons. It also had a bit of a weird taste.. made me wonder what kind of chocolate they used. Needless to say, we couldn't finish it. I guess it's our fault for daring to order a dessert like that in a japanese restaurant, we should've stuck with the green tea ice cream, yes?

Soo.. the verdict is: DON'T BOTHER. It's all the way out at Portside (for West-side locals like me), it's waaaaaaaaay overpriced for below-average food AND the desserts are crap. The only good things about this restaurant are the decor, the ambience and the great, ample service and let's face it, you can do better than Sono - you know it.

Rating: 4.5/10

Sono Japanese Restaurant, Portside
Level 1, Building 7, Portside Wharf
39 Hercules Street, Hamilton

Phone: 07 3268 7765

Closed on Mondays