Monday, July 26, 2010

Otoya Japanese Cafe

Shop 2/227 Collins st


In a first, I am trialling blogging on the go with my latest toy, the HTC Desire. The trade off in convenience is speed, so will definitely be brief compared to normal.

So the first place to try out my new breakthrough in blog mobility is Otoya Japanese Cafe which has had a change of owner and a facelift, so two good reasons to retry what was an OK, but daggy location.

The cafe offers the standard range of Japanese lunch food, think bento boxes, sashimi, teriyaki all cooked to order for under $10.


On this occasion I opted for the great winter comfort dish of Katsudon. The pork cutlet was both good quality and well cooked with a good layer of egg and onion.

Based on the speed of service, price and quality, I will be back.

Otoya Japanese Cafe - Recommended

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Champagne Brasserie

2 Queensland Ave,
Broadbeach, Qld, 4218

Only 50m from the epicentre of tourist trap dining in Broadbeach, hidden away in the Hi-Ho holiday apartments is an unlikely slice of Gallic dining excellence known as Champagne Brasserie.

The restaurant had recently changed hands and it had been a few years since my last visit so I was looking forward to see what had changed.

L: Les St Jacques suste saisies, beurre a l'Absinthe
(Seared scallops, lightly minted peas puree, dried speck, Absinthe beurre blanc)
R:La crêpe au crabe, gratinée au parmesan
(Blue spanner crab crépe, gratinated with parmesan...a classic from Champagne

Upon being seated by the restaurant manager we noticed little had changed to the interior. This of course isn't a bad thing as it is nice and well balanced between formal and casual as you would expect in the sunshine state. The menu has seen a bit more work since the last visit with some new additions amongst the traditional classics. Orders were placed while we enjoyed a glass of the reasonably priced champagne.

The entrees arrived and the seared scallops were perfect. Slightly translucent, sweet and served with a very subtle minted pea puree, the waiter commented it was his favourite dish, I can see why. My wife enjoyed the generous crab crepe which had nice chunks of crab meat wrapped in a light cheesy crepe. Very good start.

L: Le contre filet de porc roti, sauce aux cepes et pleurotes
(Roasted prime black Berkshire Pork sirloin. served with porcini and oysters mushrooms ragout)
R:Le carré d’agneau rôti en croute d’herbes
(Roasted rack of lamb, herb crust, Provencale ratatouille and garlic puree

Mains came out and my leap of faith going for the Berkshire pork was well rewarded. A very generous plate of pork came out served on a rich mushroom ragout which complemented the pork well and included a side of ultra crisp pommes frites. The herb crust lamb was equally good, with 5 big cutlets of tender medium rare lamb served with rich ratatouille. This was the total opposite of the tasting plate craze in most fine dining restaurants these days and was nice to just enjoy a great feast of a dish.

L: La crème brulée à la vanille, aux framboises et au miel
(Raspberry, honey and vanilla crème brulée)
R: Le nougat Glacé
(Traditional French nougat, served frozen with red fruit coulis and vanilla chantilly cream

Of course a French meal would not be complete without a classic French dessert. Again the dessert's had classic elements but have been given a modern touch. The nougat glace came out and was a site and tasted as good as it looked, the rich creamy nougat had nice pieces of almond and glace fruit. The brulee was also a delight, the sweetness was balanced with the tartness of the raspberry and had a perfect brulee crack when breaking the shell.

Summary for the dining experience, Champagne Brasserie is simply great, Salut!

Champagne Brasserie - 14.5/20

Champagne Brasserie on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Shimbashi - Soba So Good

Shop 2, 54 Thomas Drive
Chevron Island QLD

Brisvegas, the lights, the surf...... the Soba?

I came across this place searching for restaurants in the Gold Coast, I was surprised to find that a bona fide Soba Master was operating on the tiny Chevron Island.

L: Edamame
R: Tempura Prawn

The Soba master, Yoshi Shibazaki, is one of only 50 recognised Soba masters and fortunately we made a booking as the small restaurant was full on what I would expected to be a quite Wednesday night. Amongst the patrons were several Japanese diners which is always a good sign.

We started with edamame and tempura prawns, both were well presented and the prawns were cooked perfectly with nice crispy batter and sweet prawn meat.

L: Tempura Noodle
R: Kamo Naan (Duck Soba)

The main course came out and lived up to my expectations. One of my fondest food memories of Japan were the noodle soups and the memories came back with a few sips of the soup. The soup had a great depth and viscosity to it, the soba noodles had an interesting texture with the buckwheat flour adding a pleasant coarseness to them. The duck meat was nice, pink and tender but was second fiddle to that broth.

Green Tea Ice Cream

Finishing the meal, the choice of deserts were green tea ice cream, green tea ice cream and green tea ice cream. Fortunately it was nice, creamy and had the unique bitter sweetness of green tea ice cream.

Soba So Good is that good and would recommend it highly.

Shimbashi - Soba So Good - 13/20
Shimbashi Soba So Good on Urbanspoon

Prawn Star