Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gambaro's Seafood Restaurant

Established in 1972, Gambaro's Seafood Restaurant is the jewel in the crown of a Brisbane family empire. Located on bustling Caxton Street, stepping into Gambaro's is remarkably tranquil. The restaurant has been refurbished since my last visit and though a tad dark, the area is clean and modern. The staff are attentive and welcoming and with a range of breads, I selected a moreish olive and herb bread. This was satisfying before my main arrived with a small seafood rissole taster (pictured above). A tastebud's lifespan is approximately 10 days, so when they are pretty happy critters when offered something deep fried ... however my arteries and thighs may be suitably horrified later.

For my main I had selected the Pan seared Prawns with Ravioli of Spinach and Ricotta. Roast garlic pods, parsley, saffron aioli and pinenuts. Though the prawns were plentiful, fresh and deveined, I was disappointed with this dish. For an establishment that prides themselves on seafood, you want this component to shine rather than obscuring it with layers of rustically chopped aromatic ingredients, you want to see your seafood. I didn't realise I even had additional prawns until I started shifting through my meal as the prawns were sliced in half and unrecognisable under the sauce. I really wanted something more from Gambaro's and it was unfortunately lacklustre with the bread and service being the only shining beacons.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Address: 33 Caxton Street, Paddington, QLD 4000.
Open: Lunch 11:30am - 3pm, Monday - Friday. Dinner from 5:30pm, Monday - Saturday.
Phone: (07) 3369 9500
Price: Entree $6.50 - $39.00, Main $26.50 upwards.

Gambaros on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

FaB Fish and Burger Grill

Located at the Barracks, FaB Fish and Burgers is a cheap and cheerful offering providing customers with a range of lunch and dinner options ranging from cheekily named burgers, fish and a small range of desserts. The store perfectly fills the needs for those customers who need to get to a movie or Suncorp Stadium game on time.

I decided to select the 'Number 1' which was a beef pattie, lettuce, tomato, relish and aioli served between soft bread. The waiter kindly brought me a glass of water while I waited for my meal. My burger arrived shortly after and was served on top of a simple piece of grease proof paper, stamped with FaB's half cow, half fish logo. All the ingredients were fresh and homely but I found the relish quite viscose so it was a tad messy to eat. But that's the joy of burgers and I'm sure it amused passers by. I've only had a mere taste of FaB Fish and Burger but I'm more than happy to go back and have another helping.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Address: The Barracks, Petrie Terrace, Paddington, QLD 4000.
Open: 7 Days a Week. 12:00pm - Late.
Phone: (07) 3367 8088.
Price: Burgers from $9.95.

Fab Burgers on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Watt Modern Dining

When I was a child it seemed we were forever waiting to get to Year 7, when we were in Year 8 we wanted to graduate, when we graduated we wanted to start university and when we graduated we just wanted to start our careers. In those days the seasons and holidays took seemed to last for ages but now I look up from my desk and it's March already. However March is a great month, its my little brother's birthday, its boasts brilliant weather and the Brisbane Comedy Festival is on. Angie and I headed out to see Sam Simmons Precise History of Things so settled on dinner at Watt Modern Dining.

Perched on the banks of the Brisbane River, Watt is a glorious location to watch the evening fall. If you have a show to catch and book at 6pm, you can take up Watt's Dusk Dining offer of two courses (entree and main or main and dessert) for $45. Angie and I decided we would select entree and main and selected the 'Cured Ocean Trout, Creme Fraiche, Cucumber and Mint' (pictured above). This dish was my favourite as it was so well balanced, soothing and beautifully presented.

I was feeling rather hungry so decided a robust manly meal was the solution and ordered the 'Roast Pork Loin, Mustard Spatzle and Apples.' Pork and apple is a classic combination and despite my hunger the portion size was a little overwhelming. The crackling was glorious and for those who haven't had tried spatzle, it is a soft textured European noodle and reminds me of gnocchi but without the potato texture.

The Market Fish was Blue Eye Cod and came served with a Panzanella Salad and Salsa Verde. Angie reported it was a lovely dish and while we were tempted by the dessert menu decided to be good and headed to the show on time and content with the meal.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Address: 119 Lamington Street, New Farm, QLD 4005.
Open: Breakfast: Saturday & Sunday, 8.00 am to 10.30 am. Lunch: Tuesday - Sunday from 12.00 pm. Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday from 6.00 pm.
Phone: (07) 3358 5464
Price: Entree: $16 - $40, Mains: $24 - $34, Desserts: $12 - $14.

Watt Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

The Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking

Some girls like shoes, some like handbags while I love hats and expensive coffee table books. But 'The Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking' might even be a stretch too far for me with a price tag of $635.

This piece of visual splendor weighs 18kgs and is a six-volume, 2,400 page molecular gastronomy how-to book by The Cooking Lab's team Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet. Its taken a team of 46, five years to produce and features 1,522 recipes, 3,216 photographs and reported to have cost $10 million to produce.

Reviewers might be raving about this book but don't expect me to be cooking anything from it any time soon with a 30 hour hamburger recipe and must have equipment including liquid nitrogen, a centrifuge and a tabletop homogenizer!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


But I'm a crepe.

I'm a weird-dough.

What the hell am I doing here? I doughnut belong here.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


"Gee, Brain. What are we going to tonight?" "The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world."

This particular evening I was planning to take the over the world by baking an army of gingerbread ninjas and I started by doubling this recipe from I beat 250g butter with 1 cup of brown sugar until it was creamy, before adding 2 egg yolks and one cup of golden syrup.

After this wet mixture was combined I added five cups of plain flour, 2 tablespoons of ground ginger, 2 teaspoons of mixed spice and 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate soda. Note how ominously full the mixing bowl looks.

After combining all the ingredients, I lightly kneaded the mixture until it started to form a dough. I then placed the cling wrapped bowl into the fridge for half an hour.

At this stage you should preheat your oven to 180°C. After chilling you dough you can roll it to a 4mm thickness and cut with your favourite cutters. The shapes should be baked in the oven for 10 minutes and then set aside to cool. This photo looks a tad like a crime scene ...

Make the icing by beating the remaining egg whites until stiff and adding two cups of pure icing sugar. Pictured is my favourite icing tool, the Cuisipro Decorating Pen. It gives much better control then a piping bag for an intricate job like this one.

Here are my little ninjas all iced and waiting to set. I can taste world domination already ...

Unfortunately my ninja army was foiled by cellophane, organza ribbons and these adorable little tags by Luvs2create2. Sighs ... I always thought by 21 I would have least conquered my first small tropical nation ... ah well ... there is always another night!

Friday, March 18, 2011


Located in the inner city suburb of Paddington is the charming Montrachet. Opulently decorated the restaurant features warm red, brown and gold colours and whisks you away into another reality. Over the years I'd heard only glowing reports about this restaurant so I decided it was time experience this bastion of French cuisine and was joined by the lovely Alex, Kate, Kat and Patrick.

Montrachet has sitting times, so we settled down to business of ordering quickly and I decided on the Carré d’Agneau and the Grand Marnier Souffle. The Carré d’Agneauis comprised of a baked lamb rack resting on cauliflower puree, a petite lamb pie and carrot jus. The lamb was well seasoned and moist and the pastry of the petite lamb pie was just divine. If that pie was my last meal on Earth, I'd be pretty happy and all the dishes were served with fresh bread to allow you fully savour the rich sauces.

The Souffle was the dessert du jour at our table and it was beautifully presented and light. Though it wasn't a bad execution, I felt the example I was presented with at Alchemy was of a higher standard. The evening was full of good company and merriment but sadly the experienced by damaged at the end of the evening by the waitress.

We waited patiently for our change and after an extended period of time decided to enquire. The waitress returned with the change and stiffly commented, "ordinarily that would have been a tip." We were all taken aback by the rudeness and it disappointing to end the evening on that note. Montrachet is beautiful, the food is gorgeous but it obvious that the venue has a skewed perception of profits and dining experience. There is no where for customers to wait with the bar area being utilised for dining and the wait staff must slide the tables out to allow guests to maneuver in and out. Montrachet is still worth a look and would have rated as a lower end 4.5 star experience bar the final exchange.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Address: 224 Given Terrace, Paddington QLD 4064.
Open: Lunch: Monday - Friday: 12pm. Dinner: Monday - Thursday: Sittings at 6pm and 8:30pm.
Phone: (07) 3367 0030.
Price: Entrees: $12 - $28. Main: $38 - $42. Desserts:

Montrachet on Urbanspoon

Pancho's Pizza

My not so little brother recently turned 24 and when he asked to go to Pancho's Pizza for dinner to celebrate, I was delighted. I spent a lot of time in Bulimba during my university years, but thanks to work and living a million miles from anywhere means I rarely travel to Bulimba to enjoy its culinary delights. Which is a shame as I honestly believe one of the best ways to spend a Friday night is to collect some take away from Pancho's, a bottle of wine and spend it with good company.

I will admit upfront the dining area inside Pancho's is not pretty, it's dark and the decor is dated but the food makes up for it. We ordered two pizzas (including the Supreme Pizza, pictured above), the Ribs and Cheese filled Garlic Bread. The Cheese filled Garlic Bread is a Pancho's Pizza must have, it's full of gooey cheese and if you're going to have a heart attack, you must as well do it properly.

I was a little dubious when one of the family suggested ordering the ribs but my goodness, they were a pleasant surprise! The meat melted in your mouth and the thick sweet sauce was moreish. I really need to get over to Bulimba more often ...

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Address: 102 Oxford Street, Bulimba, QLD 4171.

Open: Monday - Tuesday 5pm - 9pm; Wednesday - Saturday 5pm - 10pm; Sunday 4pm - 9pm
Phone: (07) 3399 9149

Price: Pizza - $11.50 - $19.50

Pancho's on Urbanspoon


The rumoured origins of Baklava lie with the Ottoman empire and like many imperial Byzantine desserts there are no half measures with this dessert. To make the Baklava, I preheated the oven to 180°C and processed 2 cups blanched almonds, 2 cups pistachios, 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoon ground cloves and 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg. After these were finely chopped, I lightly roasted them to add aroma.

While the nuts and spices were roasting in the oven I cut my sheets of filo pastry to the size of a shallow baking pan, melted some butter and started to prepare the dish by laying three sheets of filo pastry for the base. Each sheet is lightly brushed with butter, before laying one third of the nut mixture and repeating the process until you finish with the filo pastry on top. So now you should have completed all three layers. Use a sharp knife to cut your tray into even squares and then halve the squares to form triangles. Pop the entire tray into the oven for 20 minutes.

While the Baklava is baking you can prepare the syrup. Place 2 cups of water, 2 cups of caster sugar, 180g honey and 2 teaspoons of rosewater into a saucepan and reduce until the sugar has dissolved the mixture has thickened.
When the Baklava has finished baking, remove it from the oven and pour the syrup over the pastry. The sound of the syrup hitting the pastry is just gorgeous.

Pizzazz Cafe

We had grand ambitions of heading to Silo Bakery for our Sunday breakfast but sadly it was closed, so Aaron made an executive decision to head to Pizzazz Cafe. The cafe lacks polish but the menu is reasonably creative and I quite enjoyed my Strawberry crepes came red current compote, ricotta and slivers of kiwi fruit.

Under no circumstances should you order the tea. I am always baffled when I am served an awful cup of tea but honestly this one tasted like someone had stolen the contents of Nana's dusty potpourri while was attending church and added water. It was horrid and I struggle through my two sips. So just have breakfast and you'll be fine.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Address: 41 Kennedy Street, Kingston, ACT 2604.
Open: Tuesday - Sunday. Breakfast and lunch.
Phone: (02) 6239 6200


I've always regarded Canberra as a beautiful but soulless town so it was refreshing to discover Brodburger. Brodburger is a Canberra institution and is prepared and served from a little red caravan by the lake. The photo doesn't depict it but by the time Mellie, Aaron and I came to collect our burgers there was a real crowd.

So what is a Brodburger? A standard Brodburger is a fantastic culinary execution of a homemade burger featuring a soft bun, thick beef patty, salad, lashings of aioli, tomato relish and your choice of cheese (swiss, brie or blue). However there number of other options including chicken (pictured above), fish, vegetarian and the Brodeluxe which features eggs and bacon.

To fully appreciate the joy of the Brodburger you must be (a) hungry and (b) have plenty of time. There is only one window to collect and order from and they appear to do this in batches. Once you have ordered your meal, it can take anywhere between 45 minutes to 1 hour to finalised ... but once you have the gorgeous burger in your eager little hands, you won't be disappointed.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Address: Bowen Park Carpark, Bowen Drive/Wentworth Avenue, Barton ACT 2604.
Open: Lunch - Tuesday - Sunday: 12:00pm - 2pm. Dinner - Wednesday - Saturday: 5:30pm - midnight.
Phone: 0424 635 824
Price: From $9

Brodburger - Flame Grilled Burgers - Food Caravan on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kingston Grind

I've always said that I am one strike away from the trifecta of bad driving being Asian and female, so all I need to do is drive a Volvo or apply a frangipani sticker to my vehicle. So it was with much trust and love that Mellie and Aaron put me behind the wheel on their car. Having successfully accomplished our mission we headed to Kingston Grind for a celebratory coffee. The coffee came recommended and it was probably the nicest beverage I had on my holiday. The coffee blend is unique to the cafe and is sweet and silky smooth. It lacks that coffee kick, so those who like something a little stronger may be slightly disappointed, but I was a happy little scamp.

The breakfast menu was a standard affair and I ordered the Eggs Benedict. The muffin base was lightly dusted with polenta, ham grilled lightly to add intensity to the flavour and the yolks of my eggs were runny and a vibrant orange. This offering could be improved with a homemade hollandaise sauce and perhaps a touch of wilted spinach ... but that's just my own personal preference.

To summarise, Kingston Grind: good coffee and a passable breakfast selection. If you're heading there for breakfast I would suggest having a look at the pastry cabinet ... they looked gorgeous.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Address: Cusask Avenue, Kingston, Canberra, ACT 2604.
Open: 7 days a week. 8am - 4:30pm.
Phone: (02) 6295 8189.

Kingston Grind on Urbanspoon


Located in Canberra's inner city in a historic building is the elegant, Sabayon. This fine dining experience offers modern Australian cuisine without any stiffness and it is possibly one of many reasons why the lovely Michelle selected this venue for my first Canberra dining experience.

I chose the 'Seared Barramundi with a ragout of Eden Bay mussels, Brocollini, kipfler potatoes and a Champagne buerre blanc' and wasn't disappointed. After the breaking the well seasoned crisp skin with my knife, the flesh was beautifully soft and complimented the champagne buerre blanc sauce. The Eden Bay mussels were gorgeous and reminded me of the flavoursome green lipped mussels I used to enjoy in my youth. Ah when seafood was economical!

I've always been a bit of fan of the traditional warm chocolate fondant and the Sabayon version came with fresh raspberries and pistachio malt ice cream. The ice cream was well paired as the pistachio malt flavours cut through the richness of the chocolate. It's a great venue after a long work week and provides satisfaction in the form of chocolate or in the lovely Michelle's case the vanilla bean creme brulee.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Address: Shop 4, Melbourne Building, West Row, Canberra, ACT 2501.
Open: Lunch - Tuesday - Friday: 12pm - 3pm. Dinner - Tuesday - Saturday: 6:30pm - 11pm.
Phone: (02) 6247 8212.
Price: Entrees - $18. Mains - $32. Desserts - $15.

Sabayon on Urbanspoon

Bill's: Darlinghurst

Ryan and I woke up early, determined to make the most of my time in Sydney before embarking on the next leg of my journey. After some deliberation we decided to head to Bill's at Darlinghurst for breakfast. Bill's is named and owned by chef, Bill Granger and its decor reflects his easy going approach to food. The Darlinghurst establishment is well lit with lovely honey wood and windows overlooking the gorgeous leafy streets. It isn't uncommon on the weekend for a queue of locals and tourists to line up for a table at this popular cafe.

I was sorely tempted by the idea of the 'Ricotta hotcakes, fresh banana and honeycomb butter' but I decided to selected the 'Sweet corn fritters, roast tomato, spinach and bacon.' The corn fritters were light as was held together minimal batter and had lovely savoury accents from small pieces of capsicum. While it wasn't health food it was a delicious start to the day.

Overall I really enjoyed my trip to Bill's but my only disappointment was the burnt coffee. The barista obviously tried as my mocha had a lovely melted chocolate base and a gorgeous leaf formation on the top, but burnt coffee is easily avoid by selecting the correct temperature setting. Burnt coffee is a sin ... but I'm a forgiving foodie. Bill's is still definitely worth a visit.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Address: 433 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney, NSW 2010.
Open: Monday - Saturday: 7:30am - 3:00pm. Sunday: 8:30am - 3:00pm.
Phone: (02) 9360 9631.
Price: Breakfast: $5.50 - $18.50.

Bills on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Super Epic Rainbow Cake

A couple of weeks ago the amazingly talented Nikki posted her attempt at creating Whisk Kid's Super Epic Rainbow Cake. From the moment I saw this confection of beauty, I knew I had to make it. However don't be deceived by its apparent simplicity, the Super Epic Rainbow Cake requires a certain degree of zen. This article is designed to catalogue the tips and tricks I learnt along the way to prevent you from rearranging the word 'dessert' into 'stressed.'

The image above is the creamed butter and sugar. I would recommend using a mix master rather than a hand beater for this project.

After completing the original cake mixture you can move onto portioning the batter into separate bowls and dying it with gel food colouring. It is important that you use gels to gain the intensity of colour and you can purchase these from Wheel and Barrow or Matchbox. I would recommend using at least two spring form pans to complete this process and lining them so the sponge releases easily. It is also important to ensure the batter is perfectly smooth as the high level of sugar in this recipe cause the sponge to burn easily.

The most interesting part of the recipe is making the Swiss Meringue Cream. I've never made a butter cream over a double boiler and had some concerns that I was going to end up with sugary scrambled eggs, but if you go slowly the butter cream will come together and the same goes for the frosting.

So here it is! The finished cake photographed by the talented Mr Barlin. Happy birthday good Sir, I hope you liked the cake!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Quay Restaurant

A short stroll from Sydney's Circular Quay train station and boasting some of the best views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge is Quay. Head Chef, Peter Gilmore creates more than just innovative cuisine, it is a complete immersion of your senses.

There are two ways to enjoy Quay and they are via the eight dish, Tasting Menu at $220 per person or the four course menu (there are five choices per course) for $155. Ryan and I decided to go down the four course menu and every bite was just exquisite. Here are some photographs from the evening.

The Sea Pearls are a signature Quay dish comprising of crab, smoked eel, octopus, sea scallop and sashimi tuna. Enjoyment is gained from the taste, texture and finite details such as the delicate flowers and the ruffle of edible silver.

The second dish I selected was the Butter poached coturnix quail breast with pumpernickel, morel, ethical foie gras pudding, walnuts, quinoa, truffle custard and milk skin. This was an extremely rich, earthy dish but despite all the luxurious ingredients, they all worked together harmoniously.

Confit of Suffolk lamb loin, smoked white carrot cream, fennel infused milk curd, pantelleria capers, nasturtiums, green almonds and fennel pollen. This dish had to be one of my favourite mains in presentation. Though the butter soft lamb is the feature of this dish, I found the white heirloom carrots to be a striking feature.

Made famous by MasterChef, the White Nectarine Snow Egg was the dessert du jour for our table. The light white nectarine granita, crisp maltose tuiles made this dessert incredible.

Those who follow my blog know I am a harsh marker and it is with great pleasure that I announce Quay as Eats Food, Hates You's first five out five. Quay is worth the visit and if you have room in your suitcase it's well worth purchasing a signed coffee table book so you can relive the experience visually.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Address: Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks, Sydney, NSW 2000.
Open: Lunch, Tuesday - Friday, 12 noon - 2:30pm. Dinner, Monday - Sunday, 6:00pm - 10:00pm.
Phone: (02) 9251 5600.
Price: Four course menu from $155.

Quay on Urbanspoon