Thursday, December 16, 2010

[Brisbane] Era Bistro

Era Bistro
102 Melbourne Street
South Brisbane (Cnr Merivale Street)
phone: (07) 3255 2033

Before going out to a restaurant, I like to peruse their online menu (to death :^D) and always already know what I wanted before stepping into the door.

Recently Era Bistro's menu looks very inviting. I went to check it out and decided to try its pre-show dinner to get a little taste of what they can offer. The experience did not disappoint.

Era Bistro

Era Bistro interior
Pre-show dinner: $49 per person, in by 6pm and out by 7.15pm, choice of one main and one dessert from a seection of three respectively.

If I see duck or lamb on the menu, I look no further.

Roasted duck leg & confit leg@Era
Roasted dusk breast and confit leg

The dish came out looking good and tastewise was good too. Breast meat was nicely pink and flavorful while the confit skin was crispy with tender meat. Sauce was savoury and smoky and it goes well with the duck.

Lamb with pasta@Era
Lamb loin with orecchiette pasta with jewel vegetables

The lamb was lightly marinated and then pan fried, delicious. Lamb was done medium, I breathe a sigh of relief when it came out sans the blood. Soup was tasty albeit a bit murky looking.

Dark chocolate parfait&caramel popcorn@Era
Dark Chocolate ‘Toblerone’ Parfait & Caramel Popcorn

Good parfait and ice-cream, smooth and creamy. Caramel popcorn flaccid and unnecessary. Something creative like a chocolate sand/snow or even praline would be more engaging.

Creme brulee of coffee,milk&cookies@Era
Crème Brulee of Coffee, Milk & Cookies

This plate comes out boring but brulee was very well made with a crunchy sugar coating. Half the fun of eating brulee was the spoon hitting the coating and hearing that 'crack'. Milk ice cream like the chocolate version above was smooth and creamy and the 'sand' around it was a nice touch which lend another dimension to the otherwise plain ice-cream. Again cookies was unnecessary, they are quite hard and adds nothing to the otherwise perfect dessert but its great for the little one to graze on.

There is no children menu but the waitress said the kitchen can whip up some child friendly food. We ordered a ham and pineapple pizza for Princess and it came out big enough to feed two adults!! It was very nice of the restaurant willing to cater to customers need.

A good restaurant with good food and excellent service.

Oh, before I forget. A reader wanted to know where to get stroopwafels. You can get them from Pennisi Cuisine, 17 Balaclava Street, Woolloongabba, 4102 and certain Woolworths stores on the continental food section.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

[Brisbane] Fishmonger's Wife

The Fishmonger's Wife
6/86 Lytton Road
East Brisbane QLD 4170
(07) 3891 6464
12pm to 8pm Sunday to Thursday
12pm to 8:30pm Friday and Saturday

Fishmonger's Wife

Fisherman's basket
Crumbed seafood basket AUD17.90

You get 4 whiting, 3 calamari, 2 prawns, chips, lemon and tartare sauce. Add AUD0.50 for beer battered chips.

Battered snapper & beer battered fries
Battered king snapper (AUD13.95) with beer battered chips (AUD4.25)

If I see snapper or red emperor on the menu, I looked no further. The batter was deliciously crunchy but the fish inside was even better. Soft buttery smooth and melt in the mouth flesh, the cooking time was spot time, few seconds more, the fish will be overcooked and few seconds less the thicker part will not be cooked through.

Beer battered chips are equally good, none of the soggy chips you expect from regular fish & chips shop. Crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. They were still a little crunchy when cold, amazing.

Salt & pepper calamari
Salt, pepper & garlic calamari AUD12.90

Cooked to perfection and nicely seasoned.

Calamari & chips
Kid's pack - 3 calamari and chips AUD5.95

Potao scallops
Potato scallop @AUD0.95

Perhaps my favourite item from the shop. I have a soft spot for potato scallop.

The Fishmonger's Wife actually stopped by and asked me of my opinion on the food.

To be honest everything was soooo good, I refrained myself from saying too much (but has since updated with some comments, I do think people really want to know). If you read food directory sites or past reviews done, lots of angry voices from other states for the fact that The Fishmonger's Wife has won the coveted much-deserved Best fish & chips in Australia.

Now I haven't been to ALL fish & chips places in Australia so I don't want to form an opinion on that lest I start a war.

This place has become our family's regular fish & chip haunt and we don't even live in the vicinity. That says a lot when the other 2 members of my family are not even seafood eater.

You know, gotta try it to believe it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

[Singapore July2010] TWG tea

TWG Tea Salon & Boutique
ION Shopping Mall
2 Orchard Turn, #02 - 21
Singapore 238801

TWG@ION Orchard

Eng breakfast tea@TWG Sg
We ordered English Breakfast tea and Darjeeling tea. Both were very good. A pot of English Breakfast is SG10.50.

Apple and blackcurrant gateau@TWG Sg
Apple and blackcurrant gateau

Apple mousse with some tea flavoured sponge and a layer of blackcurrant and some tea gelee. We had this in a tea set for SGD17.

I saw a lot of patron being put off by this cake. Their face grimaced when they saw the colour of the cake at the counter/patisserie trolley in the dining section. Some waiter was clueless and told patron it's pistachio mousse.

It was a good choice by me, the apple mousse was tangy and refreshing, soft sponge and well flavoured tea infused blackcurrent gelee.

Those grimaced missed out.

Chocolate fondant@TWG Sg
Chocolate fondant with ice-cream and butterscotch sauce SGD10

This a chocolate fondant? More like a chocolate cake. Very chocolatey, very more-ish.

Macarons@TWG Sg
Tea flavoured macarons @SGD2

These are tasty, flavours are good but I think the shell ought to be lighter.

The waiter who took my order was rude by telling me IMMEDIATELY when I finish my order and put down my menu,"We have a minimum order of a pot of tea each."

Eh hello, I already ordered A POT of English breakfast tea and straightaway tell him,"You HAVE to take this gentleman's order too (eyeing Big King who's still reading the menu), he hasn't even started!!"

Do we look like three paupers? He didn't even apologized. I was so mad, it's the first time I felt offended/mistreated in a dining estabishment. That include hawker/foodcourt/family restaurants/fine dining all over the world I have dined. I should refuse to pay service charge. Ah well, it's hard to be mean.......

And next 2 person table only had ONE POT of TEA on their table. Discriminate much, I feel like drafting my complain letter/e-mail now 哼,等着.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

[Singapore July 2010] Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck

Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant (Paragon)
290 Orchard Road
#05-42/45 Paragon
Tel: 6732 7838

As the tacky restaurant name suggests, they specialise in peking duck.

Imperial treasure Peking Duck
Duck (SGD68, whole) is roasted in lychee wood, thus the beautiful colour and juicy meat.

Normally I like my duck to at least have some marinades/aromatics, but in this case, it is superb just like the chef doing it au naturale.

Peking Duck@Imperial Treasure
We were first served the skin, advised to be eaten dipped in granulated sugar. It was a bit odd, but the skin was superbly crispy.

Rest of the sliced duck meat with skin were served in a duck plate, just like Quanjude.

The meat is moist and not too fatty, delicious eaten with cucumber and spring onions wrapped in soft and fluffy pancake with a smear of hoisin sauce. Sheer heaven!

Crab roe beancurd@Imp Treasure
Beancurd in crab roe and crab meat (SGD28)

Forgettable. My bad, it was not crab-by season. But I hanker after this exquisite dish as nobody does it in Brisbane.

Fried noodles@Imp Treasure
Fried noodle with duck meat (SGD10)

This is second course of peking duck. Leftover duck meat on the bone was used in fried noodles.

Spinach beancurd@Imp Treasure
Spinach beancurd (SGD14)

Homemade beancurd with spinach sitting on a bed of more spinach with a mushroom sauce. Default order in most Singapore restaurants. Imperial Treasure version never fail to please.

Another of my default order in Imperial Treasure chain of restaurant is deep fried yellow fish (SGD8.50 not pictured).

It is a small fish with sweet succulent meat and little bones. Doesn't look good on a plate but one taste, you'll be hooked forever.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

[Sydney Jun2010] Adriano Zumbo

Adriano Zumbo needs no introduction. He is Australia's answer to the world's famous Pierre Hermes.

I almost didn't go to his patisserie in Balmain due to rain and illness. But on the last day in Sydney, there was only a drizzle since morning and I felt better so Princes and me hopped on the bus outside QVB heading to Balmain.

I was so excited when I first saw the pink sign and the oh so tiny shop, so cute.

Everything looked so good behind the cabinet. Oh, calamity, what to choose??!

But I made my choice quickly as I excluded the chocolatey and caramely. I was not too happy when a Korean girl dragging her just-met skinhead european boyfriend squeezed past me, went straight up to the counter, cut everyone else's queue. Nobody chastised her but I gave her a dirty look. And she later returned some at the Adriano's chocolate cafe three doors up. Shot some murderous glances at Princess when she started singing loudly because she's happy.

Eh hello, she was the rude one in the first place, so I stared hard at the big pockmark on her face and fake some mock laughs. To be honest, I don't really think much of it in the first place. I don't judge a person by his or her looks.

Coincidentally, one of Adriano's girl staff also has a mark on her face which cover the bridge of her nose all the way across the eye and to the temple. But I find her pretty. Chinese has a saying "相由心生" which roughly means your inside will reflect on your looks.

The mean pockmark girl may think it's just queue cutting what's the big deal? Well, it's a matter of principle. If you are in a hurry or have some valid reasons and tell me in the first place, I wouldn't mind to let anyone go first. But if you do it purposely, it's a no-no in my book.

What a great pear of...@Adriano Zumbo
What a great pear of...........:Almond creme, pear vanilla creme patisserie, pate a choux sable, pear gel, almond crunch & almond struesel

You might recognise this if you follow Australia's Junior Masterchef. Glorious beauty, pear-fection.

This was set as the final pressure test for the two finalists, Jack and Isabella (last night) to determine who's the winner. Both the kids' versions looked really good. So talented and so young!

I think people should stop laughing at Queenlanders being the bogan in everything especially in the gourmet food/fine dining scene. The rest of the country was outrage when best fish & chips is won by Fishmonger's Wife in East Brisbane, best coffee a close tie between Merlo and Campos.

With recent major competitions on TV like Junior Masterchef, My Kitchen Rules and Australian Idol etc won by Queenlanders, I think people should really come to terms with the fact that Queenlanders are a force to be reckoned with.

X section of PEAR by AZ
Cross section pic of pear custard and pear jelly filled profiteroles sitting on a praline crunch base and separated by marzipan and white chocolate.

Roses are red, mandies are orange: Biscuit macaron, rose creme brulee, mandarin curd, mandarin creme legere

I also bought some macarons but they were wolfed down so quick, I forgot to take photos. To be honest, looking at the macarons rustic shells (top not smooth), I didn't have high hopes. But when you bit in, the shells are so light and slightly chewy and the ganache filling packed some serious flavour, it's one of the best if not the best I have tasted so far. For the first time, I fight with Princess for every bite. Safe to say, Big King never get to see even the crumbs hehe.

Words can't begin to decribe how good, great these work of arts are. You have got to make the PILGRIM yourself to his unassuming shop in Balmain to go on a gastronomic journey.

I can't wait for his book, out 2011!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

[Brisbane] God food and wine show 2010

Good food and wine show, a foodie's heaven.

Celebrity theatre@GFWS2010
Celebrity theatre. I got tickets (free) to see Matt Moran and of course, George and Gary. I am so excited!

George's and Gary's shows were extremely popular. I was kind of shocked when there were some audiences who admitted they never watch Masterchef or that much interested in food. I mean hello! what are they doing there?? or at a food and wine show for that matter???!! Oh well, I guess all the free wine-tasting was already well-worth the ticket price. Not to mention free tasting of ice-cream, smoked salmon, ducks, all kinds of delicious dips (I am liking aged balsamic vinegar) and regional produce, all very exciting. A great day out!!

Matt Moran@GFWS2010
Matt Moran was very funny. He made lots of sarcastics jokes (in a good way) about George, Gary, Manu and vegetarians. He gave out a bottle of wine to a vegetarian, reason being,"they best get drunk when they go to a restaurant because there is nothing for them to look forward too." He might have offended some vegetarians along the way but I think he was spot on and I thought his cynical jokes were really humorous.

George chill out@GFWS2010
Matt Moran making some jokes on George. He had the whole theatre roaring.

Jacob's Creek's stand was just outside the celebrity theatre, I had several tastings there, hehehe.

Sunbeam cupcake academy@GFWS2010
There was a celebrity cupcake decorating war and Matt Moran won. I was disappointed Manu's cupcakes didn't look half as good as the man himself!

For a video link, click here.

LG stand@GFWS2010

LG appliances@GFWS2010

cooking school@GFWS2010
Gourmet Garden cooking class.

Outback Spirit@GFWS2010

Bushland produce@GFS2010
I am seriously loving Outback Spirits stuff. They sell chutney's, sauces and jams with an indigenous food theme. My picks are pickled wild lime and green tomatoes chutneys. I tried the jams and they were delicious too.

They are based in Victoria and hadn't really done much show in the past. We are so lucky to have them at the Brisbane expo this year.

Rice cube@GFWS2010
I heard lots of women discussing 'the rice cube guy'. Looker, dish, hot were some of the words used. Personally, I reckon the 'Chilean Food' guy gave him a run for his money. Smokey dark Latino, mmmmm.... Er, I should be talking about food and

Ezi seal@GFWS2010
Only a housewife like me and the pensioners were interested, hahaha. They are doing a fantastic deal and I think this is one of the best household invention in many years.

Careme pastry@GFWS2010

Never-ending queue at Ben & Jerry's stand but it moved quickly.

B&J ice-cream@GFWS2010
Full generous scoop for free!! How generous! I can't say much for Movenpick nearby as they only offer a miserable teeny tiny taste on a teeny tiny spoon and they didn't acknowledge me or offer me a taste when I went to check out the flavours they offer(I was alone in front of their chiller). Later when I pass by again, I saw the Movenpick lady frantically serving a group of LV clad, high hair and expensive scarve draping across body, ladies. And I pass by again (the place is small!), they are serving Birkin clad lady and suit-up gentlemen. Oh man, I shouldn't have left my bubblequilt flap bag with double C logo at home, pffft.

Hypnotiq etc@GFWS2010
Some very serious liquer.......served neat on the rock in tasting cup, wowowo....I knocked back a tiny sip and was light headed instantly. I think the alcohol content was some 46%. I am not used to such strong alcohol, I should carefully check on the bottle before knocking back, er I mean, tasting the stuff on offer.

Wild Oats@GFWS2010

Granite Belt@GFWS2010
Granite Belt, I have heard so much about it but when I went to try some relish and wine, I .......

GFWS loot
I had tasted so much wine till I can't really remember which is which but there were some which stood out like the Finnish vodka, some strawberry wines I couldn't remember the name and Jacob's Creeks 2010 moscato both blanc and rose. They are so good, I did three tastings before I decided to bring them home.

I only concentrated on tasting sparkling wines and liquer at the show (sigh, there is only so much I can drink because I had to drive and I had a Nespresso to 'sober-up' before heading home kakaka). JC's 2010 moscato were only released two weeks ago, how lucky are we!! I got a free Pete Evan's cookbook for getting the moscato for only $30!

Mayfiels chocolates also had a stand and the chocolates were only $1.60 each! There were lots more stuff I wanted to buy but I was running out of time. I had so much food tasting that I had to forego lunch. What a pity. The exhibitors were really generous with the tasting portion except, you know who.

Nespresso was doing such a good deal at the show, selling Le Cube with the aeroccino for only $299!! Including the rrp$4xx bronze patina model! However, I had a taste of their coffee and wasn't too impressed, I was sooo close to bringing home one. Oh well.

The other exciting exhibitor was Thermomix, as seen on Masterchef and Iron Chef (Australia) but they retail for $1939.............

I am so there GFWS 2011!

Monday, November 01, 2010

[Sydney Jun2010] Mosaic, The Westin Sydney

It was late when we arrived in Sydney. Raining. That went on for the next 3 days we were there.

At Westin, Big King did his checking in at the counter, Princess running around the lobby. "This place is beautiful, mummy," she kept yeling at me as she ran past me everytime -_-". Arrrrggghhhh, we were like a bunch of country bumpkin. I went straight to check out Calleija's window but the place was shut. I walked across to the GPO heritage wing and try to bath in the history. Eh.... no feel.

There were lots of after work crowds drinking at the bar downstairs. Lots of suits walked around the place especially after 5pm.

Mosaic's advertisement was everywhere, posters, flyers (a whole rack of it!) stating exactly the same thing. The restaurant was promoting their 2 courses for $58 and 3 corses for $68 and a sunday brunch at $65 per person.

We decided to give it a go on our last night there.

Mosaic seafood trilogy
Mosaic seafood trilogy

Trilogy is made up of mulloway, mashed beans, potatoes; kingfish with vegetables; and deep-fried yabbies with vegetables.

The fish was well-cooked (kingfish a bit fishy though) and subtly flavoured with clean-tasting consomme style sauce. Vegetables were lightly cooked, nice and fresh. Yabbies were lovely and sweet. I enjoyed this though I can't say they are fantastic or to die-for. It's just well, a nice dinner.

Duck leg & sausages@Mosaic Sydney
Duck leg, sausages & speck, white beans

I had a nibble on the various items on the plate. Let's just say, the plate was too busy. There were way too many different things around (lots of other things in the beans) and the flavours were all over. I can't even remember what I ate and tasted some 2 minutes after tasting.

Fish & chips @Mosaic Sydney
Fish and chips

This is Princess' order from the kid's menu. The serving is huge! It could easily feed two adults!!

However, the fish was cooked to death. Fish was hard and grainy, quite difficult to swallow. The batter and the fries were good and crisp though.

Mosaic trilogy@Mosaic Sydney
Mosaic trilogy

Since this dessert bear the restaurant's name, it's content must be the restaurant's signatures. The trilogy is made up of orange creme brulee, strawberry waffle and lime and white pepper ice-cream.

Creme brulee was nice and smooth, however, the orange flavour was so subtle, it was a little hard to detect. Waffles hard and chewy, strawberries quite tart, very forgettable. Ice-cream texture was good and smooth, lime is tangy and refreshing however, just a tad heavy-handed on the white pepper.

Chocolate  raspberry tart@Mosaic Sydney
Raspberry tartlet

This was the biggest let-down. Tartlet case was extremely hard, there's no hope of even cutting it with a knife. Fillings was just melted chocolate and fresh raspberries with some nut pieces on top. Lucy from Junior masterchef could beat this with her creations anyday. Blah.

Enough with my rantings, I still think it is good value as we went for the $58 for two course selection deal.
Now the duck leg and the raspberry tartlet are no longer on their menu which is a good riddance, I would say.