Piefection – Brisbane

I am still in the process of culinary discovery on my side of town – there is a LOT to try around here!

For something a little different, I recently tried some food from a small little pie shop set amongst a bunch of local shops – Piefection.  Now, I don’t eat many pies, but do enjoy a good one – there is a local place near my parents that I’ve enjoyed for many years, as well as a good ‘ol pie from Rock n Roll in Greenslopes.  I did wonder how Piefection would measure up…

On my way back from visiting a friend, I was starving for a bit to eat, so took the opportunity to pick up a pie.

When I entered the little shop, I made a beeline straight to the pie cabinet.  I had to jostle a few people out of the way to have a peek – clearly this was a favourite lunch spot for local workers.

The standard pies available all sounded delicious – Guinness beef and mushroom pie, Jack Daniels BBQ pork rib pie, lamb shank and rosemary pie…  The list goes on!  And for around $5, it’s a pretty decent priced lunch!  The day that I visited Piefection had a few interesting additions – the Mexican pulled beef, chorizo and chilli con carne pie, and the Char Sui pork rib pie.  What to do???

I ended up chosing the Mexican pulled beef pie – I love a good chilli con carne on anything 🙂  I also took the plunge and ordered a floater combo ($10.95), which consisted of the pie top being opened and loaded with mashed peas, and then topped with mashed potato and gravy.  The combo also came with a serve of chips and a drink.

I was surprised how much mashed potato was loaded on top of the pie and had to take off half of it.  The mash was creamy and cheesy, but too heavy for my liking.  The mash peas were pleasant enough, but distracted me from the flavour of the pie.  I don’t think i’d order a floater next time, as I love a crispy pastry and the floater took away from that.  However the pie was tasty – the beef was flakey and generous, and the hint of chilli con carne gave it a familiar taste that I enjoyed.  I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t taste any chorizo.

I had to wait a while for the chips to be cooked but BOY was it worth it!  The chips were super fresh and crisp on the outside, and chewy on the inside.  The chips were seasoned with some spice prior to cooking which gave it a delicious morish taste.  Yummo.

Piefection have sausage rolls as well – including a wagyu beef sausage roll that I’m itching to try.  Next time.

Mr Ana asked whether it was worth returning to Piefection.  I thought about it.  Yes, I do think it’s worth returning to if you get a craving for a pie.  Even just for the chips – because they are worth returning to all on their own 🙂

Edit – Mr Ana and I have since returned and tried the Guiness Beef and mushroom pie, and the triple prime beef pie.  Both were very delicious and rice in flavour – no need for additional sauces for these two babies!  We will return!

1373 Logan Road
Mount Gravatt
Piefection Gourmet Pies on Urbanspoon

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French Twist – Paddington, Brisbane

As I have a bit of time on my hands at the moment, I met a friend for coffee.  I hadn’t seen Ms M for some time, so she suggested a pretty cafe in The Barracks in Paddington.  I confess that I haven’t been there as it’s a tad trendy for me, however having coffee at a pretty cafe appealed to me.

The French Twist.  Hmmm.  Well, I’ve seen them in quite a few shopping centres and confess it is not where I would go to get a croissant.  But I do trust Ms M’s judgement on prettiness, so was happy to check it out (besides, I was there to catch up with Ms M, not eat an overpriced croissant).

The entrance of the cafe is indeed very pretty and I snuck in a photo:

Upon entering I saw little groupings of big armchairs and coffee tables piled with newspapers and magazines.  Further inside the cafe was a long table and several small tables for diners.  I sat quietly to check it all out.  While there is a ‘no photo’ policy, I took a few discreet photos anyway 🙂  I figured that if I had to go to the counter to order my coffee and food, well it couldn’t be that pretentious not to let me take a few pics!  I didn’t take photos of the delicious cakes and pastries though…

I wasn’t sure what to order, so I stuck to simple things – a croissant ($3.50), orange and almond cake ($4.90), and a latte ($3.60).  The croissant came out warm and crisp which was nice.  It was quite flakey and buttery as you would expect from a decent croissant.  Overall I quite enjoyed it, but not as much as the 90 cent croissant I ate every morning in Paris.  Why are croissants so expensive in Australia?  I still don’t get it.

I moved onto my little orange and almond cake.  It had a lovely citrus smell and flavour to it, but I couldn’t find any rind in it (I love a smattering of rind in citrus cakes).  The cake was quite light and the cream cheese icing was a good touch.  I do wish it was a little bigger – I’m a piglet I know!

Now the latte.  It was quite hot but not burnt.  Good.  The flavour was very mild, perhaps a little too mild for my taste.  However overall it was an easy latte to sip.

I spied Ms M’s brunch that arrived -herbed halloumi tartine with grilled cherry tomatoes, avocado and basil pesto on toasted bread ($12.90).  It wasn’t a complicated dish that required cooking, and is something easy to replicate at home – but boy it looked yummy.  I sampled the tomatoes which were lovely and tart, which would have gone very well with the creamy avocado and halloumi.  I think I’ll give this one a try the next time I go there:)

Overall the French Twist is a good environment to catch up with friends and enjoy a sweet treat (or two).  While I have had better pastries and cakes elsewhere, I must admit that the environment of the cafe is well set up and reminds me a little bit of Paris…

French Twit
61 Petrie Terrace
French Twist on Urbanspoon

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Tobaki Korean BBQ – Brisbane

Have a hankering for an all-you-can-eat buffet for a reasonable price? Happy for a no frills dining experience? Want to mingle with the locals? Do you like Korean BBQ food?  Do you like to eat meat???

Well do I have the place for you. We actually came across Tobaki while visiting another place in the Sunnybank Hills shopping complex, and boy, was Mr Ana intrigued. He now often comes up with places to go, and this was on ‘the’ list. When I asked him why he wanted to try Tobaki, Mr Ana replied ‘because it’s Korean BBQ. And it’s all you can eat. And it’s crowded. What more would you want?’

So off we went. When we arrived, the restaurant was buzzing with diners, all at tables with individual charcoal grills. The tables went right out to the car park edge and people kept streaming in, us included. We nabbed a table and waited for Mr S to arrive. While we waited, we were served a jug of cold water and given some cups to serve ourselves. Mr Ana went inside to check out what the buffet had to offer – cabbage and diakon kim chi, fried Korean dumplings, sweet glass noodles with vegetables and beef, fresh lettuce, corn cobs, soba noodles and potatoes. And the BBQ meat. Wow. Chicken thighs marinated in hot bean paste, chicken bulgogi, pork marinated in hot bean paste, thinly sliced pork belly, beef steaks, beef marinated galbi (short ribs), mussels, baby squid…….. the list actually goes on…

When Mr S arrived, the swift service staff came out and placed two charcoal boxes in our BBQ and a clean grill on top. So we got started. Plates of kim chi and dumplings, another of glass noodles (my favourite!), and an assorted plate of BBQ meats ready to grill. We were each given some tongs and a pair of scissors which came in handy later on.

I’ll cut the chase and focus on what I really enjoyed. The glass noodles were a typical sweet flavour, and easy to eat. I enjoyed the capsicum and onion mixed in. The dumplings were a hit also, but once they got a bit cool they weren’t as enjoyable. Didn’t really stop me from eating a dozen or so of them! The kim chi, was surprisingly mild (ish) despite the hot red colour of the pickle marinade. And I really enjoyed the kim chi daikon radish – however I confess that love picked daikon.

My all time favourite meat cut of the night was the short rib galbi. Oh. My. Gosh. We took our time to grill it so it became lovely and brown, and it was well worth the wait. The beef was tender, sweet and sticky, and I had great joy with ripping the meat off the rib like a little carnivore. The chicken bulgogi was also enjoyable and I confess I was very distracted by the beef short ribs.

Tobaki is worth visiting if you like to eat BBQed meat and are happy to cook for yourself. The service is prompt, with staff changing the grills over to ensure that your meat is cooked well (as opposed to burning it to a crisp) – staff do not speak fabulous English however, so if you have questions, ask the owner. At $25 per person, it is reasonably priced for a casual night out. As I mentioned earlier, don’t wear fancy clothes, and this really is a no frills restaurant, and be aware that you will go home smelling like BBQ meat and will need a shower!

Would I go to Tobaki again? Yes I would!

Ps – sorry that there are not so many photos in this post, I got distracted and ate too much.

Time to be rolled home…

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The Little Larder – Brisbane

Mr Ana and I both had a day off from work (yay!) so we decided to indulge and go out for breakfast.  Where to go…  Hmmm…  Since we were near the city, we decided to try The Little Larder in New Farm.

The Little Larder has a good reputation for yummy breakfasts so I wanted to check it out myself.  Was it as good as everyone says?

We were lucky and found a park around the corner from TLL, and strolled to the cafe to find it packed.  We nabbed the last table outside and ordered a couple of lattes.  Our lattes took quite a while to come out to our table, but it was very busy.  Over 15 minutes had passed and we finally got our caffeine fix.  The froth tasted a teeny bit bitter, but it gave way to a very smooth tasting latte – perfect drinking temperature, velvety, and mild.  There was no need for any sugar to take the edge off.  The coffee was a tad too mild for my usual taste, but I really enjoyed it.

While waiting for our coffees, we perused the menu.  There were quite a few yummy sounding choices, and after a bit of a debate, I decided to try the pesto scrambled eggs with grilled ham and spinach ($14).  Again, our meals took quite a while to come out, but when we did it was worth the wait!  I could smell the pesto straight away.  The scrambled eggs were just cooked and incredibly moist.  There was a very generous amount of pesto laced through the eggs (contributing to the moistness I’m sure!), but it wasn’t so strong tasting to take away from the rest of the dish.  The sourdough was very crunchy, and the ham was slightly salty.  I do wish the spinach was slightly more wilted, but that is just my personal preference.  I really enjoyed my breakfast.

Mr Ana ordered the crispy polenta, which came with poached eggs, avocado, spinach and dill mayonnaise ($14).  The mayonnaise was house made and very tasty – the dill wasn’t too strong and it was nice and creamy – which made the dish a success in my mind.  The eggs were still a little runny but not so much that it oozed everywhere.  The avocado was a nice addition and was just ripe.  I wish I got to taste more of the dish but it was, after all, Mr Ana’s breakfast!

Mr Ana and I both really enjoyed our breakfast – it was very filling and cooked to our liking.  The food was well worth the wait.  However I don’t think I would visit on the weekend – TLL will remain a weekday visit for me 🙂

We will definitely return.

The Little Larder
76 Moray Street
New Farm 4005
Little Larder on Urbanspoon

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Guzman y Gomez – Brisbane

I’ve craved Mexican food since returning from California.  Yes, yes, I know I didn’t go to Mexico, but considering how close California is to the border, the Mexican influence is immense.  Especially their food.

Where to get it in Brisbane?  Well, there are some restaurants here and there, but it’s slim pickings…

When we heard that Guzman Y Gomez was about to open a store in the Carindale Shopping centre, we decided to visit when it opened.  It’s been open for like, 3 days, and we’ve already visited!  Told you I craved Mexican food.

Yes, it is essentially a fast food joint.  Yes, it is cheap.  Yes, it is a chain.  But compared to some of the more well established Mexican style restaurants around here, we really had nothing to lose.

Guzman y Gomez was cheerfully decorated with pops of yellow – timber look tables with bright yellow chairs.  I liked their mini cactus wall, which was smack bang in the middle of the shop.  Luckily we arrived a little before the dinner rush so we grabbed a table – 30 minutes later the place was full.

Now, what to order…  Mr Ana has been amored with burritos since eating them in LA and San Diego, he loves the black beans and rice stuffed in these things.  So he ordered a steak chipotle burrito bowl ($10.50 plus $2 for guacamole).  Mr Ana’s meal arrived quickly and it was a bowl of rice topped with slightly spicy beef, cheese, spanish onion and tomato, and guacamole (which they forgot, but bought it out very quickly when we mentioned it).  Mr Ana loved it.  I had to ask for a bite – the beef was more mild than I expected, the tomato was cool and very fresh, and the rice was yummy.  Very filling.

I ordered a chicken guerrero burrito ($10.50 plus $2 for guacomole).  The chicken had a smokey flavour to it which I really enjoyed.  The black beans was a nice addition, and the rice was very filling.  I do wish that they included a bit more guacomole – I love that stuff.  The burrito was put together neatly and I could have walked around the shops eating it – no messy food here!

We also ordered some nachos topped with beef guerrero ($10.50).  I loved the nachos – the corn chips were the proper ones that I enjoyed in LA (no dorito style ones here!), with melted cheese, a generous serve of black beans, tomato and spanish onion.  The beef was tender and flaky so I could shred it and top a little on each corn chip.  AND a very generous serve of guacamole.

Guzman also sells frozen magaritas ($8.50) – Mr Ana had a few of those, and I enjoyed a lemon and lime Jarrito soft drink ($4). Yum.

Keep in mind that this is a fast food place – the food components are pre-prepared and put together efficiently by the kitchen.  However despite this, you still receive smokey flavoured chicken, flaky stewed beef, and fresh salad.

I’m not a big fan of fast food places unless I’m in a hurry – however despite this I will return to Guzman, just for a little reminder of the food I miss.  And seeing as their meals are very reasonably priced, why not??

Edit – we’ve since returned and tried their pork burrito.  While the pork has been stewed well until the meat is tender and flaky, the flavour was too light for my liking.  I much prefer the chicken guerrero burrito.

Guzman y Gomez
Westfield Carindale
1151 Creek Road
Carindale 4152
Guzman y Gomez Mexican Taqueria Westfield Carindale on Urbanspoon

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Season at Salt – Kingscliff

For our special weekend away, I wanted to try a restaurant that we haven’t been to before (we’re quite familiar with Fins back from its Byron days). So I chose Season, which is conveniently located at the Peppers resort. I’ve heard a little bit about Reuben Radonich and wanted to see, well, what he was all about. Would you believe that this dude started his career out at KFC??!

So we turned up for our booking on Saturday night, was warmly greeted and lead to out little table. Mr Ana wondered why we didn’t get a booth. Didn’t know there were any – something to request for next time.

Both of us were quite full from lunch so we decided to share an entree. There were a few to chose from, but we chose the Bangalow pork belly braised in tamarind with crab, served with green papaya and dry mango salad ($22). My second choice would have been the Tasmanian scollops wrapped in Italian ham ($22), but I don’t think we could have squeezed it in.

Now I love pork belly. It’s used in a lot of Asian cuisine and I love to eat and cook with it. I also love pork from Bangalow – what can I say, they really know how to breed flavoursome and juicy pork! Pork goes very well with rock sugar as it produces this wonderful caramelization and brings out the sweetness of the meat. Mr Ana was wowed by the pork – it was so tender yet had a crispy skin – great combination texture. It was deliciously sweet and salty at the same time. I wish the dish was a bit more generous with the crab, however the bits of crab that we ate were sweet and went well with the dill from the salad. The salad that came with the pork was so so yummy. The julienned green papaya was slightly seasoned in a chilli lime dressing, and I really enjoyed the chewy texture of the dried mango (which had been rehydrated). Loved the entree.

For my main dish, I chose the crispy skin snapper fillet with celeriac purée, wilted wombok and oyster mushrooms, and truffle jus ($34). The snapper was very fresh and flavoursome. While the edges of the filler were crispy, the middle wasn’t – this was a bit of a let down. The celeriac purée was so smooth and creamy, I really enjoyed it. The wilted wombok was lightly seasoned and cooked just right. I love oyster mushrooms, and they really brought out the truffle flavour in the jus. The dish was just right in size for me.

Mr Ana ordered a rare rib fillet, which came with potato fondant, butter beans and baby carrots, and a confit garlic purée ($40). I was lucky enough to have a try, and while the steak was cooked appropriately, the actual flavour of the beef was lacking – Mr Ana said the natural flavour in the beef wasn’t quite there. However overall, Mr Ana was happy with his main.

While we shared our entree, I wasn’t willing to share my dessert! I ordered the V6 chocolate cake and vanilla bean ice cream ($14). The cake essentially has 6 layers to it – chocolate, sponge cake and various types of genache. The cake slice was generous and was incredibly rich. Too rich. The layers of genache were too thick and very sweet. The layers of sponge cake was nice, however I was too distractedly the chocolate genache. Despite the pleasant vanilla ice cream which cut through the sweetness, I couldn’t finish my cake. Which is very, very unusual for me. I was disappointed.

Mr Ana ordered a trio of creme brûlée ($14). The creme brûlées came out in little espresso cups on a little wooden tray. The flavours of the brûlée were orange blossom and leatherwood honey, raspberry, and peppermint chocolate. Mr Ana was generous to let me try all three – the raspberry brûlée was lightly flavoured and fresh. The burnt sugar topping went well with the tartness do the raspberry. The orange blossom and honey was very nice – I loved the orange flavour and the hint of honey. Yum! I tried a few bits of the peppermint chocolate brûlée and it was simply too heavy and creamy. It really didn’t go with the other two brûlées. I think an alternative flavour, such as rosewater, would have been more complimentary. I really enjoyed the raspberry and orange blossom brûlées though.

The restaurant service was friendly, and the service time was prompt – signs of a well run restaurant. Overall the dishes we chose were pretty good. It wasn’t fine dining, however I don’t think this is what Season is aiming for. I appreciated that the chef has worked hard to produce some good dishes and it was evident in our food. I think with a little more fine tuning, the food would be great.

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Mughal Palace – Brisbane

One great thing about living on our side of town is that we have access to a few decent Indian restaurants. Sure, it’s not India, or London, or even Melbourne, but there are some restaurants that make yummy curries. And that’s all I’m after, yummy food.

We heard from a number sources that Mughal Palace had awesome food, in particular their butter chicken, puri bread, and spinach and cheese naan.

The restaurant itself is massive, but incredibly quiet inside. When we arrived I was a little worried as there weren’t many diners. I soon discovered why – throughout our meal, there was a very steady stream of huge takeaway orders making their way out the door.

We ordered a puri bread – a deep fried flat bread that reminded me of a soft version of the Chinese ham ching peng (which I love). The bread was kind of plain on its own but it was fantastic with a curry – slightly crunchy and great to scoop up a bit of curry gravy. Mmmmmm……

We also ordered a spinach and cheese naan. Now I always order garlic naan, it’s my staple naan and I can happily eat it on its own all day (just don’t come near me afterwards!). Of course I prefer naan that has been baked in a traditional tandoor oven – something I became fascinated with in the Bangladeshi pavilion at the world expo in Japan some years ago, of all places. I knew the naans at this restaurant were no longer baked in a traditional oven, but wanted to try them all the same. Spinach and cheese is a great combination and this naan was delicious! A tad oily, but the cheese was slightly salty, and the spinach nice and wilted. Not soggy at all.

To start we shared a Mughal combination platter ($11.90), which came with chicken tikka, seekh kebab, onion pakora, and aloo bhonda. The chicken tikka was well cooked and tender, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice gave it an extra tangy flavour. The seekh kebab we a lamb mince kebab with a variety of spices. I was expecting a grainy long kebab, however what we got was more of a sausage. It was tinted red with spices and was surprising tasty. That being said I would have preferred the meat to be less processed. I really enjoyed the onion pakora, it was small and slightly spicy. The aloo bhonda (mashed potato and chickpea deep fried balls) were perfectly cooked and had a pleasant spice to it.

For our mains, we stuck with butter chicken ($17.90) – I know it’s a stock standard, almost western dish, but I do love a good butter chicken (if you’re in Melbourne, try the Curry Connection – yum!). This butter chicken was creamy from the cashews and rich in flavour. Although mild, it held a lot of spice and the chicken was well cooked and easy to eat. The puri bread was perfect with this dish.

The second curry we ordered was chicken shahjaha ($17.90). I had not tried this style of curry before, and was curious with the addition of scrambled eggs. The overall flavour reminded me of a mild masala spice mix. While it was pleasant enough, it was too mild in flavour for my taste buds. Perhaps medium spiciness would have suited me better.

Overall my favourite fish was actually the spinach and cheese naan! It was lovely to eat and went very well with the butter chicken gravy. However I think Mughal Palace will go on our take away list. The dishes are more expensive to eat in, and frankly the done in experience is a little odd with so little diners in such a big restaurant.

By the way, we’ve since ordered take away and tried their vegetable kofta balls ($14.90 for take away). I was expecting lovely kofta balls in a rich tomato-y and capsicum sauce, and we didn’t quite get that. It was too mild in flavour and I wish the capsicum flavour was stronger. We’ve also ordered the beef bhuna ghosh ($14.90 for take away). This was a rich beef curry flavoured with fried sweet onions and tomatoes, the gravy was thick and spicy.  We loved it!

Overall Mughal Palace is a reasonable place to get take away when you’re not in the mood to cook dinner.  We’ve ordered take away a number of times since eating there, and haven’t been disappointed.

Mughal Palace
1407 Logan Road
Mount Gravatt
Mughal Palace on Urbanspoon

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