Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sushi Burger aka J Cafe

Located on Exhibition St, J Cafe is one of those places that has been around for ages. J Cafe was one of the first places to offer sushi burger and is well known for it. On a particular Friday with my usual burger friends Mario, Bear and Miss Pika, we decided it was more a sushi burger day than a beef patty burger day.

Bear decided to go with the bento sushi burger combo. For the sushi burger he picked hamburg which was a beef and pork patty and tonkotsu as a main. The patty was nice and juicy together with the big piece of green and mayo, it was a perfect size treat. The tonkotsu was done with a well crumbled exterior. He got the spicy salmon sushi burger


Miss P decided she wanted 2 sushi burgers and nothing else. She got the spicy raw salmon and the croquette sushi burger. Both sushi burgers hit the spot, the rice was soft and the seaweed held it together nicely. There might have been a bit too much sauce, but it's more a personal preference.

Mario also got the bento and he got his with the soft shell crab burger. His sushi burger was my favourite out of the whole table, I love how the deep fried soft shell crab gave the burger that crunchy and bite.


I was having a 'guilty, fat day' so I got the chirashi salmon bowl. This came with generous amounts of salmon with a drizzle of terriyaki sauce and kewpi mayo. Not bad value, considering how much was in the bowl.


Overall 14/20 this is the original sushi burger in Melbourne, some say it's not quite Mos Burger, but I actually like it more than Mos burger. If you don't want a sushi burger there are other choices too.



Sushi Burger on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

D'Elephant Thai - Chadstone

I was fortunate enough to be invited to D'Elephant Thai's VIP tasting event. D'Elephant Thai is a new casual Thai eatery which caters for authentic Thai at a family friendly price point. It's located at Chadstone Shopping Centre near the Paparich/Simon Johnson entrance

To start we were served 4 canapes of pla goong, toong tong, mhu bhing ans satay gai. Pla goong was a prawn salad with line leaves and lemon grass. It was light and refreshing. Toong tong was a small fried dumpling with wonton skins of corn kernels and  pork. Perfect if you come with kids.

Mhu bhing was a  grilled pork skewer and satay gai was chicken satay served with a peanut sauce.

Then we were invited to try the som tum by the owner Phoon. This was done at a salad station where there were jars of salted duck egg, prawns, crackling, bean shoots, cherry tomatoes etc. It was made for you on the spot and you can tell them exactly how spicy you want it. The salad was fresh and crisp and the dressing was the right amount of zest and heat. I didn't like the duck egg in it but D was happily chomping them down, while I went for more crackling.



For starters we picked the tom yum prawn and red curry roast duck. The red curry roast duck was a rich creamy curry that had coconut milk fragrant laced into it lightly. It's the type of sweet curry that is good for those who don't like too much heat and prefer a mild, sweet curry.

Tom yum prawn was my favourite dish of the night. The broth was perfectly sour with just the right amount of spiciness. Loved how it was generous with the vegetables too.

Next was the mains, D picked the Chinese broccoli stir fried with pork belly

 I went for the chilli jam cashew chicken. Really enjoyed the classic flavours in this one.

For dessert we were all served a mango sticky rice with coconut ice cream and cantaloupe sago with coconut milk.

D'Elephant also offers a range of Thai drinks such as Thai ice milk tea,  Nom yen (ice rose milk) and pandan lemon grass cooler. Be warned though, Thai drinks are on the sweet side.

Verdict?

I think it's a great addition to the Chadstone food scene, it makes a great local restaurant and on the likes of Paparich, it's one of those places you can bring your family and expect good classic dishes.


D'Elephant Thai on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 6, 2015

Miss Marple's Tearoom

If you feel like going for a drive to Mt Dandenong or doing the 1000 steps, Miss Marple's is a good place to stop by. Located on Tourist Road in Sassafras, it's hard to miss, there is usually a long line or large groups of tourist outside waiting for a table. It's a small tea house and when you walk in, you are instantly greeted with a cottage feel.

 We come here a lot so we knew exactly what we wanted once we were seated. To start we got the chicken, cheese, pineapple fingers to share. These were no frills chicken pieces, pineapple and English cheddar melted on top. Garnished with a handful of alfalfa. This is nothing fancy but satisfying in the way it feels like how 'mum would make it'.

Next on the agenda was the beef cottage pie. Served in a small baking dish, there was mince beef filling topped with fluffy potato mash and a side of home made relish. This is not your fine dining type of pie, but more so the pie you would find at grandma's house.

We moved to the sweets next, we got their famous Devonshire scones. These are by far the softest scones I've ever eaten, it boarder lines a cake and it's so good. We got 4 to share between us, 2 fruit and 2 plain. Four was excessive but just 1 each is never enough either. They come out steaming hot and with the whipped cream and home made jam, it makes that long drive up there all worth it.





Together with a cup of Yorkshire Gold it was just the perfect afternoon tea.

After the scones, there was the ice creams, I don't know why I always make the same mistake, I can never finish it but I always order it. The first dessert was the Sundae Best, this was a massive sundae with layers vanilla ice cream, fudge, whipped cream, flaked almonds and topped with a glacier cherry. This dessert is very big so I would recommend to share. It is any child's dream dessert and I still get every time, even though I can't finish it.

The other dessert we got was the vicar's folly. This sundae came with butterscotch ice cream honeycomb, caramel fudge, chocolate and whipped cream. It is very old school palour feel and it taste as you would expected.

Overall 15/20 I always enjoy a visit to Miss Marple's, the home style food and old school desserts. It is not your fancy dishes but it hits the spot. Oh and those scones.... it's a must try.


Miss Marple's Tearoom on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Nest Restaurant


Ness was back in Melbourne when this invitation came and I thought since me, (Jar Jar) was Ness' usual partner in crime for Brisbane, I was a good enough representation for the blog.
When Ness told me the event was Nest Restaurants & Bar’s launch, I immediately knew I was in for a good night. I was going to bring the boy but he was out of town so 5 mins later, J agreed to be my partner in crime and everything was set.

The location made me check the map twice, to make sure that I got it right because Nest is located in the most unusual place – right above the Roma Street Station. However, a bit of research showed that this precinct is currently being developed into Brisbane’s new food, bar & lounge destination.

As we walked through the door we were greeted with a glass of champagne and some fortune cookies which were our tickets for a competition. The space itself is very funky, with interior designer making some very bold choices – a collection of unusual down lights and gorgeous timber “nest” installation were my highlights.



However, what completely won me over was actually outside – a massive fig tree decorated with hundreds of Chinese lanterns which will surely not only increase street appeal but serve as an invitation to all the passerby.


Food was served canapé style, with canapes representing samples of the dishes on the menu. We started with some grilled Turkish bread with olive oil dukkah, house grown herb butter which was a good start, but nothing too special – I felt like there is something missing, but that might just be a factor of me eating way too much dukkah avo toast.



Vietnamese rolls didn’t just look very pretty with asparagus spears, but they were also perfectly light and tasty – definitely the dish we felt the least guilty about eating.


Next we had crispy fried vegetable dumplings with fruit chutney. The dumplings themselves were a bit bland, but fruit chutney was spicy and thus did wonders for lifting the flavour of veggies.


My personal favourite for the night came next – a duck salad with green pear, seasonal greens and a ginger, lime and coriander dressing. This dish was uncomplicated but delicious, with flavours and textures complimenting each other perfectly.






 Laksa, was the one that got away. I managed to take a photo when it was on the counter but it was all gone by the time it reached us. So didn't get to try it.




Onwards to some of the heartier dishes, I opted for nasi goreng with prawns, beef, chicken, market greens and fried egg. J went with the pad thai which came with all the usual suspects. Both very classic, no fuss dishes that we both found very satisfying.

Pad thai 
Nasi goreng

Once when our champagne glasses very empty, we were recommended a rum cocktail made with house made honey (from the roof!) and served in jars which made it look very innocent. However, as myself and rum don’t go too well together I got for vodka, cranberry and lime cocktail and didn't regret it.

Finally, we finished the evening with some crème brulee . My expectations of dessert are always high, but every box was ticked – crème brulee was perfectly creamy and crunchy on top. Good thing that waitress didn't come around with seconds because I wouldn't be able to say no! (Sorry about the blurry photos, I've had a few cocktails by this stage).




Overall 13.5/20 I definitely see myself coming back to Nest, mainly for two important reasons – one is tasty, no fuss lunch on a weekday and the other one is some after work drinks in a great atmosphere and with a view of that gorgeous fig tree.


Nest Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Grand Trailer Park Taverna

I was fortunate enough to be invited to try out the burgers at Grand Trailer Park Taverna, and they were nice enough to let me bring 3 friends along, so Bear, Miss P and Mario staked their spot with great pride. The three of them actually came without me when it first opened (because I ended up stuck at work on a Friday) so they knew what to expect.


Grand Trailer Park is actually created by the people behind Dandenong Pavilion (if you have read my other post before, you will know that I have a secret love affair with the burgers there behind Mario's back) and Pawn &  Co. So I was expecting nothing less than amazing burgers.

When I saw the place I was actually quite surprised because in my mind I had pictured it being outdoors and full of fake grass; it was actually located upstairs on the corner of Exhibition St and Bourke St. We got there at 7 and the place was packed and buzzing, there was an outdoor section but we opted for the indoor section near the bar so I could watch burgers come out of the kitchen. We were greeted by Brooke who was friendly and explained our menu to us. Despite how busy the place was, she ensured we were looked after well all night.

Now to the important part, the food! I eyed the McDowell on the menu and was very tempted to get that but was convinced by Miss P I should get the Francis Underwood like her because last time when they came the boys had burger envy. So I took her advice and decided tonight was the night I tried something else. The Francis Underwood came with a beef patty, cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce, burger sauce, mustard and the hero filling of a potato mac and cheese croquette. The combination worked really well. It was a very big burger but all the fillings each played a part. The patty was juicy and the croquette was that thing you didn't need but glad you got. Miss P was right, it was a damn good burger.


Bear got the Ivan Drago. I asked the guys behind the counter and this is actually the least popular burger. This came as a surprise and you'll see why in a moment. Ivan Drago came with a beef patty, cheddar cheese, bacon, beetroot, black Russian tomato and tsar burger sauce on a brioche bun. This burger has everything you want in a good burger, it has CRISPY BACON and it tastes like heaven on the lips and nowhere near as oily as I expected it to be. The beetroot gave the sweetness to cut through the meat mass in the burger. So if you go, I suggest you don't rule out Ivan Drago, as soon as you skim pass it.

Mario got the Atomic which had a beef patty, cheddar cheese, chilli cheese kransky, bacon, bbq sauce and truffle mayo. If you love truffle, you can't go past this burger; the creamy, potent truffle mayo is going to win over any truffle lover. The cheesiness from the cheddar and the kransky then a kick of truffle mayo..... best burger of the night!

Besides burgers, we each got a spiked milkshake. This is as the name suggests.... an alcoholic milkshake. Miss P and I got the Kinder Surprise which was a nutella milkshake laced with frangelico and baileys topped with a big kinder surprise on top. This was a fun and delicious shake. Chocolatey enough to be indulgent but not to the point it's too rich.


Mario got the Peanut Butter and jelly which was a strawberry, peanut butter milkshake with rum. This was very sweet, as you would expect it to be.

Bear's one was the most interesting one, he got the salted caramel with maple bacon. This was the strongest out of all the shakes, the only one where the alcohol tasted strong, but I didn't mind it and quite enjoyed it, especially with a bite of the maple bacon.


What is a burger meal without chips? We got 2 large chips to share (which we couldn't finish) and it came with some of the burger sauces. The hand cut chips were well seasoned and with the truffle mayo it was a delight.

Even though we were all very full, I was determined to fit dessert in as well. I really wanted the Bananarama but sadly had no space for it and the other 3 refused to share it with me in their food coma state, so I had to get the smallest dessert on the menu which was the wizz fizz ice cream. These were actually perfect in their bite size form. 3 cones of vanilla ice cream topped with sherbet. I would have liked more sherbet on the ice cream but I was too full to care at that point and the dessert hit the spot for me. I got my ice cream fix and wasn't struggling to finish it.

Overall 17.5/20 I loved my experience here. The burgers were constructed with care, and quality ingredients in the filling. My only criticism is they don't offer kid size burgers and maybe another vegetarian option. If I was starving I would come here but if I wasn't feeling a bit peckish and wanted a burger, I might have reservations. I don't think they should change anything now, but I see potential for that menu to be expanded for a second vegetarian option and a smaller size burger for small eaters/dieters/kids.

  Grand Trailer Park Taverna on Urbanspoon