Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Il Centro - Brisbane CBD

I read on a blog somewhere about Sandcrab Lasagne and how it just took everyone's tastebuds to heaven with it's rich creamy crabby comforting pasta and sauce. After reading it, I couldn't help but drag my hubby to the place which serves it - Il Centro.

As an entree, my hubby and I shared some pan seared scallops ($27). Three plump perfectly cooked scallops (seared on the outside and just the right cookedness) were served with bits of artichoke, broad beans and cotechino sausage. This was all covered with a truffle vinaigrette. Quite yummy :)

Pan-seared scallops - $27

Hubby couldn't look past the confit of duck with truffle mash which was a special for the day. The duck was very tasty and the mash was super super smoothness. Unfortunately, the skin of the duck wasn't as crispy as I would have liked. But overall, it wasn't a bad dish.

Confit de canard

Now for the crazy main character of the night - Sandcrab Lasagne. Our friend waitress advised me to order an entree size as it is super rich and filling. I couldn't disregard his advice and hence, an entree-size was opted for. When this came out, the lasagne smelt AMAZING. It didn't seem like a complex dish, but it was definitely worth all the calories it brings along - two thin layers of pasta sheets which sandwiched a crazy large heap of super tender and flavoursome crab meat. A little dab of tomato sauce was placed in the middle which made it more aesthetically pleasing... but didn't really add much to the taste. The super crazy part was actually the sauce. It was super rich and creamy and crustaceany and just left me speechless. I could just lick the plate dry of this sauce!!!

Sandcrab lasagne

As a side, we shared a mushroom and artichoke dish ($11). There was a mix of portobello and swiss brown mushrooms all cooked and tossed with caramelised onions and a massive artichoke. It was deliciously tasty and flavoursome.

mushroom and artichoke side dish

By now, we were both full and satisfied but I just couldn't pass on the dessert menu which looked super tempting. My choice was for the frozen pineapple cheesecake ($17). The cheesecake was slightly frozen, which is exactly the way I like cheesecakes. It sat with a blob of salted caramel gelato which was really really yum and peanut brittle which my hubby adored. It was a really awesome dessert :)

frozen pineapple cheesecake - $17

All up, this was an amazing meal. Sure, the service wasn't awesome... but the food more than enough made up for it! And if sandcrab lasagne is not yet on your 'must eat before you die list' then it really damn well ought to be!

Food - 9/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall - 30/40

Il Centro
1 Eagle Street
(Eagle Street Pier)
Brisbane QLD 4000
Tel: (07) 3221 6090

Saturday, March 24, 2012

MOS burger - Brisbane Sunnybank

Almost 10 years ago, a bunch of enthusiastic high school students roamed wild in Japan and discovered none other than a super awesome burger joint - MOS Burger. From that first bite, all of us fell in love with this Asian style burger so much so that we had all wanted to franchise it back to Sydney. Unfortunately back then, franchises outside of Japan was unavailable (and we had insufficient funds) and hence, our dreams were dropped.

In recent years, MOS burger had opened in HK and we had all tried it. But... it was just not the same. Then one year ago, MOS burger decided to open up in Brisbane. Brisbane? All us Sydney-siders were disappointed. Not only was it in Brisbane, it wasn't even in the city! It was opened up in a heavily Asian-populated suburb of Brisbane (in Sunnybank Plaza), making it even MORE difficult for us to reach! >.<

Nonetheless, whilst in Brisbane, we couldn't NOT hike up to find MOS burger. It may have taken a while to get there, but it was definitely worth it!

MOS burger

There's drinks and soups to choose from. I decided to get the iced matcha latte whilst hubby couldn't look past the creamy corn soup. And boy was it creaminess! And extremely full of corn flavour. My matcha latte was also deliciousness!

iced matcha latte and corn soup

The original MOS burger was what my hubby ordered 10 years ago in Japan and so it was the burger he ordered. Super tender beef patty served within two really soft and fluffy buns with a giant slab of tomato and lots of their famous MOS tomato relish, all forming a crazily tasty and yummy burger.

MOS burger

My first order at MOS was a Chicken Teriyaki burger. And I remember how amazingly delicious it was. Luckily, it still is crazily good! Tasty real chunk of chicken marinated with sweet teriyaki sauce and served with super crunchy lettuce (fresher than any lettuce I've had in other burgers) and a massive dallop of mayo. Burger heaven :)

chicken teriyaki burger

The chips here were really nicely golden and crisp on the outside, good amount of salt flavouring and each chip was almost delicately cooked to perfection. The chicken nuggets were... well, chicken nuggets.
chips and nuggets

After posting several pics of MOS burger on my FB page, I had a good number of comments about the seafood okonomi rice burger. Hence, on my return to Sunnybank Plaza, I couldn't resist but to order it. It was pretty crazy - well cooked seafood combination of scallops, calamari, prawns wrapped with lettuce, onion stuff and loads of bonito flakes in 2 heavy patty of rice. I'm undecided about the rice buns but the seafood okonomi inside was delicious!

seafood okonomi burger

I can't wait til MOS burger decides to come to Sydney!!! :)

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall - 30/40

MOS Burger
Shop 34, Sunnybank Plaza Shopping Centre
Cnr Mains Rd and McCullough St
Tel: (07) 3345 4567

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sono - Brisbane CBD

My hubby was attending a business trip in Brisbane and so I decided to tag along for a eating and shopping trip. As we were both craving sushi and sashimi, one of our first dining destinations was Sono - a Japanese restaurant in the CBD (and at Portside). They have a variety of seating - tatami, tepanyaki and normal. As we booked last minute, we had to settle for normal seating.

Our sashimi craving meant an order of a large sashimi platter ($48). There were super deliciously fresh slices of salmon, tuna, king fish, snapper, dory (?), scallops and one more type of white fish (don't remember the name). It was all super super yum!!!

large sashimi platter - $48

Sushi-wise, we decided on a salmon and avocado small roll ($9). This was again really tasty and really yummy. The rice was perfect consistency and was a good proportion of rice and salmon and avocado :)

salmon and avocado roll - $9

A 'special' of the month caught our attention - Queensland scallop, prawn butter-yaki ($15). This comprised of tender perfectly cooked Queensland scallops and large prawns pan-fried in butter. It was served with dashi marinated mushrooms and seaweed cream sauce. Mmm... yum!

Queensland scallop, prawn butter-yaki - $15

Further, my hubby couldn't go past the wagyu beef (kobe striploin 100g) of marble score 6 which was grilled on the table with a magnolia leaf ($35). It smelt amazing!!! The kobe beef was very well marbled and soooo super tender - almost melt in your mouth!

wagyu beef - $35

Another interesting dish for the night was the kani cream korokke ($15). This was golden deep fried croquettes filled with cream and crab meat. The innards were super silky smooth and super super crabbily tasty! Zomg YUM!!!

kani cream korokke - $15

Last but not least, we ordered the potato salad ($12). This was a japanese style mashed potato with garden green salad. It was served in half a potato which made it more interesting. But other than the looks of it, it was just your normal japanese potato salad (which isn't bad really) :P

potato salad - $12

All up, this was a fabulous dinner. The service was attentive enough and we were surrounded by fantastic aromas all night :)

Food - 9/10
Service - 7.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall - 31/40

Level 1 Tattersalls Building
cnr Queen St and Edward St
Brisbane CBD
Tel: (07) 3220 1888

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Taste of Sydney Festival 2012

It had been a pretty crappy few months in terms of the weather in Sydney but fortunately the sun decided to come back and give us a fantastic time at the Taste of Sydney Festival. My hubby and I were at the Sat 11am-4pm session and were able to thoroughly enjoy the food and the sunshine :)

Walking around, we were drawn by the fantastic aromas in the air and the crowds of people surrounding various tents. My hubby was being super nice for the day and let me make most of the choices on what foods to get :) One of the first tents we got to was the one for 'The Montepellier Public House' (Chef: Matt Kemp). They had also offered lamb and panna cotta but I opted for the beef brisket. The beef brisket was served as golden brown crispy sticks but the pasture fed beef inside was soft enough to just fall apart at the fork. What more was the creamed wild mushroom sauce. It was soooooo shroomy in flavour and so deliciously creamy! It went very well with the crunchy stringy tender beef.
Crisp brisket of pasture fed beef with creamed wild mushrooms - 10 crowns

The next tent we stopped at was for Sake Restaurant & Bar (Chef: Shaun Presland). They offered an awesome looking pan seared ocean barramundi, a hiramasa kingfish 'double crunch' sushi roll and a hiramasa kingfish ceviche. I could not go past the ceviche. We got chunks of kingfish coated well with citrusy, chilli ish sauce and tossed with onion, cucumber, tomato amongst other herbs (coriander I think?) It was quite tasty but maybe would have been better if it was a touch more delicate in the flavours.

hiramasa kingfish ceviche - 8 crowns

Quarter Twenty One (Chef: Justin North) won my heart with their slow cooked caramelised short rib with bone marrow persillade. It was OMG so tender and so flavoursome and so smooth and so silky and so everything! Absolutely melt-in-your-mouth moment, not to mention the smooth rich mash that came with it. How did beef taste so good?

Slow cooked and caramelised short rib with bone marrow persillade - 12 crowns

I had to atleast let my hubby pick one dish - and he went for the pork belly skewers from L'etoile (Chef: Manu Feildel). Manu was actually at the tent when we were there and a massive crown gathered as he took photos with people and did a bit of a 'happy dance' with his staff at the tent. The pork belly was tender and juicy but really quite fatty. I think more than half the cube might have been pork fat - which makes for a fantastic flavour but also sets alight the guilt-trip in my mind going ' this is going to kill me'. The pork cubes were separated with prunes and served with a small portion of char-grilled silver beet.

'murray valley pork belly' with prunes and char-grilled silver beet - 12 crowns

In my mind, the smoked salmon, chorizo and mozzarella croquette from Four in Hand (Chef: Colin Fassnidge) sounded delicious but my hubby was eyeing their roast suckling pig plate. Hence, I was nice enough to opt for the pig instead. I was not disappointed - stringy yet tasty pull-apart suckling pig was served with super tasty coleslaw and a puffy onion ring. The 'hot sauce' on top of the pork wasn't really hot, but it added a good flavour to the pork.

roast suckling pig, coleslaw, onion rings and hot sauce - 12 crowns

As we were walking around, we saw people with burgers and hot dogs everywhere. And so I couldn't resist either the chilli dog or the classic wagyu beef and cheese slider from Charlie & Co Diner. Hubby decided on the burger over the dog. Compared to previous years, the burger was less succulent and more 'meaty' in texture. I preferred previous burgers but hubby liked this one. The bun was super soft and somewhat sweet tasting, making it just dissolve in your mouth. The chips were quite impressive. Golden brown sticks of potato which were perfectly crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. YUM!

Charlie wagyu beef and cheese slider - 10 crowns

Last but not least, dessert time! I was hunting for my favourite icecream that I get to eat once a year from the New Zealand tent (Kohu Road Ice cream) only to find that it wasn't exhibiting this year!!! Full of dissappointment, I had to hunt down a substitute. I settled for Duccio Gelato (Five Dock) - coffee flavour and that was nice and all that... but I still missed my Kohu Road!

Duccio Gelato - 4 crowns

All up, Taste of Sydney Festival was a pleasant experience (as always), full of wonderous foods and yummy freebie taste tests offered by lots of exhibiting stores of wine and juice and salmon and bread and olive oil etc etc. If you are a HSBC customer, you also get free access to their lounge where you're treated to a free drink, live music and unlimited complimentary water :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dong Fang Garden Restaurant - Kogarah

Dong Fang Garden Restaurant

We've been to some fail restaurants before and this one probably is one to add to the list. We were in Kogarah, near to train station trying to look for something to eat but seeing nothing too appealing. We eventually settled for Dong Fang Garden Restaurant as it seemed to be one of the few places which actually had people in it. Outside, it advertised lunch specials for $9.80 which offered a soup, a noodle/rice dish, and a coffee or pudding to finish. And so we went in.

Ushered to our table, the waiter asked what tea we wanted (normal chinese tea selection). Then we ordered. My hubby ordered a set with a main of shredded duck noodles and I ordered a beef brisket stir noodle set. Having ordered the sets we were immediately and abruptly informed that we were to be denied our coffee/pudding finish. What? Why? Because we named a chinese tea when asked 'what tea would you like?' *sighz* ripped.

Second disappointment came with the soup. Erm... soup? The waiters thumb was practically in the soup when he bought these out. It was umm... murky. I had one sip - not much taste. Abandoned.

The redeeming factor must be my hubby's noodles. These were slightly on the oily side but tasty. Good amounts of duck and noodles and veges.

Shredded duck fried noodles

My noodles, though not brilliant, were also OK. They were quite skimp on the brisket - I counted five pieces of brisket and tendons all up. There were noodles-a-plenty though.

Beef Brisket stir noodles

Would I return? Definately not. LOL

Food - 6.5/10
Service - 5/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 6/10
Overall - 23.5/40

Dong Fang Garden Restaurant
74 Railway Parade
NSW 2217
Tel: (02) 9588 7999

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tobawo - Eastwood

You know when you enter a restaurant and it makes you happy? Well, Tobawo is probably one of those restaurants. I haven't been to the Korean side of Eastwood for a while so it was the first time I've seen this restaurant (I'm assuming that it's relatively new), but it was the happy almost-childlike attraction that drew me in - the happy looking piggies on the wall!!! :)

At Tobawo, there's individual meals you can order, as well as bigger meals to share. My hubby and I decided to order an individual meal each. Hubby chose the Bossam ($12) and I chose the Jokbal ($12).

cute little piggies on the wall


Our meals come with a pumpkin soup, a spring onion pancake and 5 side dishes. The pumpkin soup was cold and mixed with a ricey gluggy thing that did not appeal to me much, but the rest of the freebies were AWESOME! I loved the spring onion pancake! It was thin but packed full of shallots. Not too floury or dense and full of flavour. The other side dishes were also good - especially the little anchovie type fishy thing. That was salty (but not overly so) and tasty. I could eat platefuls of those I think!

side dishes

On top of all those sides, we also get a spicy tofu soup and rice. The soup came out bubbling hot and was a touch on the spicy side. But again, full of flavour. Not a bad soup (especially if you like chili stuff).

Tofu soup

Now onto what we actually ordered. Hubby's bossam was quite nice. The boiled pork had a good layering of meat and fat and skin. It was served with kimchi and devoured happily by hubby. The pork wasn't as tender as it was at Jangdory but it was tasty all the same. My Jokbal (caramelised pork hoof) was also delectable. Smooth and silky due to the fat and the caramelised skin, and full of porky flavour. Mmm...

Bossam meal - $12
Jokbal - $12

For $12, I think we both got more than we bargained for. Definately a place to return to for a cheap and happy meal :)

Food - 8/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 9/10
Overall - 31/40

Rowe Street
NSW 2122

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Outback Steakhouse - North Strathfield

For a quick bite, my hubby and I decided to dine out at Outback Steakhouse at the Bakehouse Quarter. It was pretty much a full house on a Sunday night and the place was totally bustling with customers and waitresses alike. We figured that the mains were probably enough to feed us and hence, decided to skip the entree.

Hubby ordered the 'outback special' which is a sirloin cut whereas I opted for a more marbled, succulent ribeye steak. Steaks come with either a soup or a salad, and a side dish (e.g. chips, mash, jacket potato etc). I have to say, I think that one of the main reasons why we like Outback Steakhouse is because of their soup. The soup of the day that we got was the creamy potato soup. This was amazingly rich, creamy, potatoey, starchy, super super YUM. It came with freshly baked bread. So amazingly deliciousness!!!

Potato soup with freshly baked bread

Hubby's sirloin with jacket potato was not bad. Cooked medium-rare, it was full of flavour and relatively more lean compared to my ribeye. My ribeye, likewise cooked medium-rare, was less flavoursome but more tender and succulent, probably because ribeyes tend to be more marbled. Nonetheless, both steaks were cooked quite well. My chips were also really yummy - crunchy outer, soft fluffy inside and nicely flavoured.

Sirloin with jacket potato
Ribeye with chips

Not a bad joint for a steak. Will be back I think :)

Food - 8/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 29/40

Outback Steakhouse (North Strathfield)
Restaurant Level 1,
3 George Street
North Strathfield
NSW 2137
Tel: (02) 8756 5741.