Sunday, 10 June 2012

Blackboard Specialty Coffee @ Varsity Lakes

I’m a regular at Blackboard Specialty Coffee. I think that says it all.

For all you coffee lovers out there – Blackboard is the place to be!

They also have simple, but amazing food!

What I’d recommend: their muffins!
They bake their muffins on a daily basis and always have about 4 different kinds – fruit and nut muffin, blueberry, ricotta and cinnamon, choc-chip, raspberry, etc.

My favourite is the fruit and nut muffin!

Feel like something a bit more? Try their banana cake! Don’t judge a book by its cover – it is actually very filling!

Toasted banana bread and a cup of latte on a rainy day… mmm.... !

Also some people prefer fancy breakfasts, I really do like the generic breakfast options – two poached eggs on sourdough with avo mushrooms and all that jazz!

And I think Blackboard does a good job! They emphasise on using organic and fresh local produce, and you can really taste the freshness of their food!

Oh and one thing you must try: their iced coffee!

They put maple syrup in their ice coffee – but it’s not those types of iced coffees where they add lots and fresh cream and sugar to add to the taste of the coffee. Theirs is real – real coffee.

For lunch, they do a variety of different kinds of sandwiches, salads, etc.

They used to have really nice salmon bagels, but the menu has recently changed.

They do yummy chicken burritos as well – not too oily, not too saucy (but still flavorsome at the same time) and that’s how you can taste the freshness of it too!

Overall, Blackboard has a really chilled atmosphere to hang out at, friendly staff, nice food and amazing coffee and it is really a hidden gem in Varsity Lakes!

Blackboard Specialty Coffee on Urbanspoon

Vue Lounge 2 @ New Farm

So I decided to bring my family here to try something new and we all really enjoyed the food! The service was a let down though. We were left unattended for quite a while, the tables we got still had leftover over scraps of food not wiped down and the staff took their time to provide us with their menus.

Although it was a rocky start to our brekkie, we discovered some more yummy treats this morning!

Bircher muesli with berry compote, greek yoghurt, honey and pistachios

I love Bircher muesli and I loved this one.

Chipolatas, cherry truss tomatoes, poached eggs on sourdough with beetroot relish and aioli.

I’m usually not a chipolata or a beetroot person, but I actually quite liked this one! The chipolatas tasted really good with the beetroot relish and aioli combo! The tomatoes were sweet and juicy too.

Creamy mushrooms, date and early grey puree on sourdough with cherry truss tomatoes.

I think the special thing about Vue is the sauces they make. They make good sauces that are unique to Vue and that’s why their food has that sprinkle of surprise to it. However, I also think you have to “know” what to get – some dishes are good, some are really just average.

The most average dish today was the smoked salmon, poached eggs, grilled lemon, zucchini fritters drizzled with tomato bernaise sauce. This was surprising because I really thought this would be the best one and was really looking forward to it!

The zucchini fritters were too bland for my liking. Those who love fritters, I’d really recommend Au Cirque’s corn fritters! A-m-a-z-i-n-g!

Overall, Vue generally serves good food but their service definitely needs improvement. 

Vue Lounge on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Fiasco’s Steakhouse, Morrison Hotel @ Woolloongabba

Fiasco’s steakhouse has amazing steak. I don’t usually like steak, but there’s always an exception. This place is reliable and reasonably priced.

The standard here is high and they are not stingy with sides of chips/baked potato/mashed potato and salad. You can’t go wrong with ordering steak here.

They also have a range of other dishes like wood-fired pizzas, pasta, seafood dishes, etc.

Beer-battered barramundi

The batter was crispy and the aioli was yummy! However, the barramundi had a distinct fishy taste that I didn’t like.

Fettucine chilli, olive oil, spinach, semi-dried tomatoes
The pasta was well cooked and the ingredients were balanced well. If anything, it had too much olive oil.

Overall, Morrison Hotel is quite amazing for steak! As for their other dishes, it might be a hit-or-miss.

Morrison Hotel on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 2 June 2012

The Cardamom Pod @ Broadbeach

The Cardamom Pod - I’ve heard about this hip, earthy and colourful vegetarian restaurant a couple of times now but never got to try it until last night!

Each set of tables was unique with plants, bright paintings and decorations surrounding you. The vibrant atmosphere was indeed very inviting.

We ordered a couple of dishes to share:

Chewy tomato and avocado salad
Pumpkin and feta salad with pomegranate seeds and quinoa

Sushi rice salad

Kofta ball salad with house-made creamy beetroot sauce

Mousaka with lentils and eggplant
Vege Masala

Vegetarian Lasagne

Malaysian curry

Pumpkin filo

These were definitely my favourites: tomato and avo salad, pumpkin and feta salad, kofta balls with beetroot sauce, pumpkin filo and the mousaka.
It’s often hard to find vegetarian restaurants that make really nice food, but The Cardamom Pod happens fit that description perfectly!

For desserts, we tried:

Pumpkin Cheesecake - Smooth and creamy texture of pumpkin with a dash of ginger mascarpone

Vanilla bean cheesecake topped with berries

Chocolate tart with poached pears

In terms of desserts, they were all too rich and too sweet for me – luckily, we shared all the desserts! They also came with complementary ice cream, though! 

However, the pumpkin and vanilla cheesecakes were my favourite!

Overall, if you’re looking for a place to chill on a Friday night with comfy atmosphere and good food, this is the place for you!

The Cardamom Pod on Urbanspoon

Friday, 1 June 2012

Vue Lounge @ New Farm

We came here on a Saturday morning for brunch and Vue was packed with people. Vue is situated in the “café zone” of New Farm, just outside of Merthyr Central shopping complex. The café looks small from the outside until you realized that there are actually two adjoining rooms with the kitchen area in the middle.

We waited approximately 10 minutes for a table. As we were starving by then, we couldn’t help but drool at each dish that came out of the kitchen.

This didn’t help us to order at all. The dishes on the menu all seemed to have a special twist to the normal generic breakfast dishes.

Drinks wise, latte hands down for me! The texture was very creamy and smooth.

We ended up ordering the brioche French toast with maple syrup, strawberries, passionfruit and mascarpone.

After giving French toast so many chances, I have come to the conclusion that French toast is just not my thing. However, to a French toast lover, I think they would’ve been pretty impressed by it!

The roasted pumpkin and poached eggs pistachio dukkah and pumpkin sourdough seemed light and refreshing to eat.

I got one of their daily specials which had grilled mushrooms, haloumi, caramelised onions, poached eggs drizzled with Hollandaise sauce on sourdough.

The serving size was huge! I was very content after my brunch! The amout Hollandaise sauce was just right for me, as it didn’t overpower the whole dish and it blended well with the mushrooms, haloumi and onions.  Surprinsingly it wasn’t the mushrooms that stood out for me, it was actually the caramelised onions! It complemented the mushrooms and the eggs really nicely!

I also brought some macarons home - chocolate, vanilla, pistachio and caramel ones! They were pretty good, but if anything, maybe just a taddddd too much ganache? 

Overall, brunch at Vue was a good experience – good food and bustling atmosphere! Will be back to try other things, but hope that their service will improve as well.

Vue Lounge on Urbanspoon