Friday, 27 April 2012

Mizu @ Teneriffe

This morning I met up with a close friend of mine to try Japanese-style breakfast at a restaurant called Mizu in Teneriffe. Despite the pouring rain, we still managed to get there and were immediately greeted by energetic Japanese staff members. I wanted to try Mizu not only because I absolutely LOVE Japanese food but also because it is probably the only Japanese restaurant in Brisbane that does Japanese-style brekkies.

I was really interested as to what would actually be on the menu – I have been to Japan before and the traditional breakfasts were very healthy, often consisting of rice, miso soup, grilled fish and some pickles.

Some of their menu options included onigiri (grilled rice balls), okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes), simmered chicken mince on rice and breakfast obento boxes with prices ranging from $6.00 to $16.00.

In terms of drinks, they have coffees, western teas, Japanese green teas, etc. What caught my eyes was the hot Matcha Green Tea Latte (also available iced).

My friend and I both tried the hot matcha green tea latte. It was very authentic and the creamy texture of the milk and the bitter aroma of the green tea balanced well with just a tad of sweetness. The frothy milk on the latte was sprinkled with some green tea powder and the latte was served even with a little paper crane next to the glass.

I ordered the Mizu Breakfast Bento Box which usually comes with the chef’s selection of traditional Japanese dishes – today, I got grilled salmon, simmered taro, lightly battered fish cakes and chicken, potato salad, tamagoyaki and a selection of pickles. These dishes were accompanied with rice and miso soup.

All the side dishes were very appetising and even the rice was quite special. Rice to me is more like a side dish than a main. I hadn’t tasted rice as delicious as Mizu’s in a while – each grain had just the right amount of water and stickiness. It wasn’t too dry nor was it mushy. You might think I’m crazy when I say that rice does make a huge difference to how the rest of your dishes taste like but believe it, it makes a lot of difference!

I love traditional Japanese bento boxes because they offer you a huge variety of food in small amounts so you can taste lots of different types of foods in one meal! I was hoping it wouldn’t be too heavy for a breakfast option and it really wasn’t! However, it was a big meal though – I had to ask my friend to help me eat some dishes!

My friend ordered the “Tori Soboro Gohan” which consisted of simmered chicken mince in teriyaki sauce accompanied by Japanese-style scrambled eggs and green beans on a bed of steamed rice.

I managed to try a little bit of it and again, it was delicious and not at all too heavy for a breakfast option.

If you like traditional Japanese-style dishes, I’d really recommend you to pay Mizu a visit on a weekend and try their breakfast! I’d really like to come back here one day to try their lunch bento boxes! The price seems adequate for lunch and breakfast but dinner can become a little pricy. I would also like to come back to try their sashimi! Being a huge sashimi lover, I usually base my opinion of a Japanese restaurant on how good they make their sashimi. Presentation, degree of freshness and serving portions are absolutely crucial to making the perfect sashimi dish! I will be back one day, Mizu! Please have good sashimi! Onegaishimaaaaaasu!

Mizu on Urbanspoon

Dandelion & Driftwood @ Hendra

If you’re looking for a place with excellent coffee accompanied by little sweets, then Dandelion & Driftwood is the perfect place for you! Located in the suburban streets of Hendra, D&D is a small café with an indoor seating area and a cute little courtyard at the back of the café. It is probably one of the most decorated-cafes I have been to in Brisbane. 

As soon as you enter the shop, you feel like you’ve stepped into another world – a world where people share the same love for coffee as you do, a world where travel back in time to visit your favourite childhood sweets store, a world where the people there want to share their stories about coffee with you, a world where you can escape from Brisbane for a few hours and travel back to a 19th century garden in England and just sip away with your coffee!


At D&D, their baristas have spent years perfecting their coffee and you will not be disappointed! Their team of baristas and staff are all very welcoming and passionate about what they do!

They have a wide range of different blends of coffee from their signature blends to single origins and other monthly specials. Today, I ordered their Dandelion Blend. The presentation of the coffee was very thoughtful as they gave you a little card, sharing with you a little bit about the origin of the beans and what it tastes like.


The aroma of the coffee is very inviting and when you actually drink it, you can taste a sweet base with distinct flavours of the coffee which varies from your first sip to the very end!

My friend and I each ordered a savoury item from their lunch menu – which consisted mainly of sandwiches. I thought the sandwiches were not going to be as good as the coffee simply because D&D specialises in coffee. However, their food was presented nicely just like the coffee, and the food was really delicious,! What can be better than a toasted sandwich with a cuppa coffee on a gloomy day?

We shared our orders: Salmon and cream cheese bagel and the toasted chicken sandwich.

After finally catching up with my friend and giving our tummies a little bit of a break, their desserts on the high tiers at the front counter were really starting to call out at us! Red velvet cupcakes, cotton candy cupcakes, whoopee pies, brownies, mini caramel tarts… what more could you ask for?

I ordered a red velvet cupcake, which had a nice cream cheese icing.

Dandelion and Driftwood is perfect for an afternoon catch up with fellow coffee lovers. The atmosphere is amazing and the coffee is exquisite, so head in here for a truly memorable experience!

Dandelion & Driftwood on Urbanspoon

Elk Espresso @ Broadbeach, Gold Coast

Having only opened for a year, Elk Espresso is a vibrant café located in Broadbeach and is easily accessible by public transport. The atmosphere of the café is simple, modern and pot plants on tables and their wallpaper bring in a touch of nature.

I visited Elk Espresso on my first Café Crawl on the Gold Coast with my friends. Their menu options are mainly for lunch including salads, sandwiches, burgers, chips as well as freshly baked goods from the cake cabinet.

This was the last stop of our Café Crawl that day and we were all pretty full by the time we got here. We ended up ordering:

Chicken Sandwich on cord bread with chilli jam, avocado, roasted sweet potato, feta and leaves accompanied by a side of fries.


Cherry and Almond Tart. The tart was very average – too sweet for my liking. More almond meal texture would’ve have made it a lot better.

Elk Espresso is supposed to be well known on the Gold Coast for the coffee so I ordered a latte to see for myself. The latte was quite nice – above average, but still not the best I’ve had on the Gold Coast.

The highlight of our this stop however, was the Crème Brulee Thickshake! It was absolutely amazing! It was my first time trying anything like that but wow!


If you’re not a thickshake lover, this can get sickening though. We struggled to finish it off because it was so thick, rich and creamy! It was at that point where our stomachs could’ve have exploded if we ate any more food.

Elk Espresso’s menu changes on a seasonal basis, so I would like to come back when they change up their menu and perhaps this time, not during one of the café crawls.

Elk Espresso on Urbanspoon

Duo Deli Café @ Chevron Island

I’ve been to Duo Deli Café twice – once on a Café Crawl (where we were too full to order, but promised to come back) and on another occasion for breakfast with friends.


On the Café Crawl, we all shared Duo Deli’s Cheese Plate, where we could choose from a selection of cheese from the deli – Brie and Cheddar were our choices that day. The Brie was from France and it was absolutely divine – rich with a creamy aftertaste! The cheddar strong and sharp, and it really did leave an impression!


The cheeses were accompanied a wide range of crackers, toasted fruit bread, fresh and glace fruit and chutney. My favourite combination was the Brie with quince and walnut paste on the Lavash crackers.

On my second visit, we got to taste the chef’s breakfast creations and these were:

Manuka-smoked Wild-caught Salmon, Poached Eggs, Sumac Roma, Grilled Asparagus, Herbed Rosti

Roasted Field Mushroom, Avocado, Sumac Roma, Poached Egg, Lemon, Turkish Bread

“Israeli” Eggs, Chilli, Parsley, Mint, Garlic, Coriander, Tomato, Evoo, Lemon, Turkish Bread

I actually saw the table next to us order the Israeli Eggs when I was on the Café Crawl and ever since then, have wanted to come back to try it. However, maybe my expectations were a little too high for this dish because it wasn’t exceptionally yummy. According to my friend, a Melbournian, apparently they have quite a few cafes that make really nice Israeli eggs or baked ones, and this one at Duo Deli Café was average. However, the presentation of it was good enough that it’d win patrons' choices for this dish over the others.

Their coffee isn't too bad either! It's always good to have a cuppa coffee to start you day off smoothly! 

My friend ordered their Orange and Strawberry Fruit Ice Crush which was very refreshing!

I wouldn’t say that their breakfast options were outstanding, but there is potential for the café! The staff members were very attentive and friendly, the atmosphere is really relaxed, and the presentation of the food was creative as well. The ingredients they used were very fresh and the menu selection’s well balanced! I must say though, that the cheese platter still stood out the most from the others! 

Duo Deli Cafe on Urbanspoon

Bumbles Café @ Budds Beach, Surfers Paradise

On my first Café Crawl on the Gold Coast with some of my friends, Bumbles Café was the first café we visited that morning. Located within walking distance from the heart of Surfers Paradise, the atmosphere of Bumbles was quite refreshing and welcoming. The interior was sectioned off into different themes accommodating both small and large groups of people. The area we were seated at was surrounded by vases of fresh flowers, comfy pillows, pinewood tables and next to huge floor-to-ceiling windows that lookout onto Budds Beach.

Because it was only our first stop of our Café Crawl, we didn’t want to order too many things. They had a huge selection of breakfast options as well as cakes and desserts from their selection cabinet. We decided to order savoury things just to save up for later on.

Pesto Scrambled Eggs with Herbed Mushrooms on Ciabatta
The herbed mushrooms were juicy and the pesto with strong basil to complement the creamy scrambled eggs.

Eggs Benedict with Spinach, Avocado and Salmon
Eggs were poached nicely with runny yolk. Avocado, salmon and spinach were all fresh. My favourite out of the three.

Sliced Field Mushrooms Tossed with Red Onion, Flat Leaf Parsley, Garlic and Persian Fetta on Turkish Bread.
The ingredients speak for themselves! The garlic and onions really went well with the field mushrooms and the juiciness was just right that it didn’t make the bread soggy.

Overall, the food was good with a lovely atmosphere in the café – would like to sit in another area for a different theme the next time round and would also love to try their cakes!

Bumbles on Urbanspoon

Au Cirque @ New Farm

On my occasional visits to New Farm, I’d always see a huge line outside Cirque. It wasn’t until a few months later I found out why….

Cirque is located on Brunswick St in New Farm and is easily accessible by public transport – the 199 or 196 bus. It is a small and narrow café but its two-storey set out maximises the café space. On the second level, there is also a small balcony that looks over the rest of Brunswick St – the perfect spot for a Sunday morning brekkie!

Their coffee is very aromatic, with a strong blend that really does wake you up!

Apple and Cinnamon Muffin served warm

They serve a daily selection of home-made cakes and muffins and today’s special was apple and cinnamon muffin served with butter and raspberry jam. I really enjoyed the muffin because it wasn’t too sweet and you could really taste the fresh apples and cinnamon. And if you did want it to be sweeter, the raspberry jam and butter complemented the muffin extremely well.

Buttermilk Hotcakes with Kirsch-soaked Black Cherries and Couverture Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

Their hotcakes were not disappointing at all! The black cherries and ice cream balanced the hotcakes nicely. For those who are French-toast Lovers, their hotcakes can be switched with French toast.

Buttermilk Hotcakes with Roasted Fresh Figs topped with a Honey-and-vanilla Anglaise Sauce

This one was the better-liked hotcake option for me! I love fresh figs and I love custard-based sauces! Normally, I’m not a big fan of honey but today, the combination really complemented each other!

Sweet Corncakes with Avocado and Tomato Salsa served with Cirque Relish

If I had to choose one savoury dish that I would recommend someone who was trying Cirque for the first time, their sweet corncakes would be the way to go!
Two small pancake-sized corncakes and the salsa were served with some rocket leaves and their own blend of creamy salad dressing. The corncakes weren’t too greasy and it was pan fried so that the outside was crispy and the inside was still chewy. When you bite into it, you can really taste the sweetness of each individual corn kernel! The condiments blended really well with the corncakes, not at all stealing away the main “star” of the show.


The Chowdown consisted of softly-poached eggs, bacon, sausage, roast tomato, potato and parmesan rosti, onion jam and sourdough. This one is definitely for all the meat lovers out there! Everything was nice from here but what really stood out for me was, again a Cirque exclusive, the potato and parmesan rosti!

The only bad thing about Cirque is that the portion sizes are quite small for what you pay for – but then again, would you prefer quantity or quality?

The menu at Cirque is simple yet intriguing at the same time. Each dish is complemented with some sort of Cirque-exclusive condiment and that’s what makes a café special. There was something in each dish that you would order again for and I guess that explains the never-ending lines of customers who are willing to wait for some Cirque-goodness!

Cirque on Urbanspoon

Campos Coffee @ Fortitude Valley

Campos Coffee, located just next to James St Market, is the flagship store of Campos Coffee Queensland that opened in 2007. You may have heard of Campos Coffee beans and may have even tried it in other cafes but it is at the flagship store where you can enjoy both exceptional coffee and high standards of food.

When you walk into the café, you automatically get sucked into its vibrant atmosphere with friendly staff, comfy seats, light green wallpaper and a team of hardworking baristas. 

They have an extensive range of menu options from simple to creative dishes that are updated regularly on a monthly basis. Additionally, they have a selection cabinet of cakes and sweets that lures you in and shouts out “there’s always room for dessert!”.

Coffee wise, I ordered a regular latte and it was absolutely divine! The latte art was quite impressive as well – each cup of coffee was finished off with their signature logo. Everything was just right – the aroma, sweetness, bitterness and creaminess of the coffee! YUM! The after taste of the coffee just lingers on in your mouth that little longer, tantalizing your taste buds, leaving you craving for more!


It sure was one of the best coffees I’ve had in Brisbane!

Banoffee Tart
Being a bit of a sweet tooth, I couldn’t resist visiting the cake selection cabinet. There was a wide range of sweets including carrot cake, lemon meringues, muffins, cookies, and tarts, but what caught my attention was something I’d never seen before: banoffee tart!

It was a mixture of bananas and toffee with a crunchy cookie base, topped off with fresh cream! Even though it was just a slice of dessert, it was still presently nicely, with raspberry sauce and a dollop of mascarpone. It’s definitely become one of my favourite desserts!

Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie

After trying my newfound love for the day, the brownie couldn’t compare with the banoffee tart at all. Yes, it was nice but I found that it would’ve been better if it had more of a nutty texture and taste.

Campos Vego Fry Up
WOW! The serving portion for this was massive! I think two people sharing this would be plenty already, let alone eating all this by yourself!

I’ve always been a vego-food lover so instead of the normal Campos Fry Up, which comes with bacon, lamb & mint sausages, the vegetarian version substituted those with spinach, mushrooms and avocado. Of course, the usual brekkie options were not to be missed – sourdough, eggs, grilled tomato, haloumi and also another Campos addition – potato and herb hash.

Herbed Polenta with Grilled Mushrooms

This was one of the Campos monthly specials – the grilled mushrooms were very juicy and it was served on a bed of herbed polenta and tomato relish. Some basil pesto and leaves accompanied them. Shout out to the chefs for creating such a well-balanced and appetising dish!

We all left Campos extremely satisfied with the coffee and food! Lunch that day was not mentioned at all because of how generous they were with the food! Will definitely be back soon! 

Campos Coffee QLD on Urbanspoon