Friday, November 14, 2014

Made in Africa, Moorooka

A great place for something a little different.


WHERE // Made in Africa, 197-201 Beaudesert Road, Moorooka

We were invited along to Made in Africa, which is tucked inside a small suburban complex of shops along Beaudesert Road, Moorooka. The manager, Tesfaye, was a lovely man who was passionate about Ethiopian cuisine. We were treated to traditional handwashing prior to the meal and between courses, with water poured from a gilded teapot over our hands into a similarly adorned basin. The brightly coloured tables are known as mesobs, adding to the atmosphere.

WHAT // We tried one of the platters for two, which included a range of meat and vegetarian curries. The food was certainly different from anything we'd tried before, especially the bread (a sourdough known as injera) which had a stretchy texture that made picking up the curry quite easy. Tesfaye encouraged us to try eating with our hands, as is the local custom - it may have gotten a bit messy! We ended the meal with Ethiopian coffee, served up with beautiful crockery.




VERDICT // Made in Africa is a friendly, well priced little restaurant that definitely serves up something a little out of the ordinary. If you're looking for some spice that isn't your usual Indian or Thai, give this traditional Ethiopian restaurant a go!

INFO // Made in Africa

Disclaimer: BNE Cafés was an invited guest of Jo-Jo's. All views expressed are the author's own.


Made in Africa Ethiopian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Spring Hill Deli & Produce, Spring Hill

Great food in a cosy environment makes this Spring Hill joint a success.



WHERE // Spring Hill Deli & Produce, 2/537 Boundary St, Spring Hill

I last visited this cosy inner city café a couple of years ago, but was drawn back by the numerous bloggers who had visited more recently and posted rave reviews. The red shop front is eye-catching and enticing, drawing you into an airy set of rooms. Staff were friendly, despite one of my friends remarking that the girl at the front counter seemed to be, how shall we say... a bit high. The menu hadn't changed much from my previous visit - if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

WHAT // All day brekky, as follows. I had a spiced chai coffee (sorry, the actual menu name slips my mind) as per the first picture. This blew my mind - please try it!

Avo on house made bread, with feta and chilli jam (15). We were off to a rocky start with this - definitely expected two pieces for the price. Since we commented on this to the café via Instagram, they've changed it to two pieces - great to see them listening to our feedback. However, it was quite disappointing on the day.

Israeli Shakshuka with poached eggs, feta & parsley and toasted sourdough (17). Huge serve, would have fed two if you were looking to eat more moderately. It had a generous amount of feta and a nice amount of spice to it.


Eggs benny with bacon (18). A good rendition of the breakfast classic, although one of the eggs was a bit over. The smoked salmon version must have magical powers for it to cost $23 vs the bacon at $18 though!


Banana bread with raspberry coulis and mascarpone (15). We saw this go by to another table and couldn't resist that incredibly glossy coulis. It was huge and delicious - recommend sharing as a 'breakfast dessert'.


VERDICT // Aside from the little avo on toast blip, we enjoyed all our meals at the café. They were flavourful and well executed. I didn't see much of a deli element - a few organic veggies and groceries occupying a small part of the side room. I'd definitely return for the shakshuka.

INFO // facebook


Spring Hill Deli and Produce on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Jo-Jo's Restaurant, CBD

Unexpectedly good food from this 1980 Brisbane classic.

WHERE // Jo-Jo's Restaurant, Queen St Mall, Brisbane CBD

Jo-Jo's is, quite frankly, a Brisbane institution. If you haven't been at some point over the last thirty years, you can hardly call yourself a Brisbane native. To be perfectly honest, I always tend to bypass Jo-Jo's in favour of the more boutique cafés that populate the CBD these days, with my last visit being around four years ago for a friend's birthday. I was excited to re-evaluate my opinion when invited along to sample some of their menu, which is filled with options from no less than 4 separate kitchens. These include a grill, Thai, Mediterranean and a dessert bar. On a Friday lunchtime, the place was full and buzzing. It had a great airy feel - perfect for the upcoming summer.

WHAT // We tried out a few of their starters, mains and desserts. Overall impressions - huge portions, and the quality was definitely high - much more than I was expecting from what I'd misjudged as a glorified canteen. Although the prices are fairly high, they are fair enough for the CBD and the portions you get. The drinks we had (pictured above) were probably the most disappointing thing, with my green 'smoothie' coming out as a very foamy juice.

Salt and pepper calamari (17), with beautifully crisp batter. Well seasoned and very tender, these went down very well.

Black angus rump skewers (18), lots of meat here. Tender and we loved the accompanying tomato-based sauce.

 Moreton bay bag risotto (27), peas and braised leek with soft goats cheese and crispy speck. I'm a bit of a risotto nut, always ordering it when it's available. I was extremely surprised with this one, which successfully avoided being gluggy and too salty as risottos often are. Polished off the whole thing - no mean feat, if I do say so myself.


Vietnamese salmon fillet salad (27), aromatic herbs with rice stick noodles and tangy dressing. Nicely cooked salmon with crisp skin, which is all you really need. The salad underneath was very light, but fresh. It may have been a little bland for some, but definitely good if you're watching out for heavy dressings.


Belgian waffles (15), with vanilla ice-cream, berries and chocolate. Gorgeous to look at and to eat. The berries were plump and tangy, offsetting the sweetness of the dish.

VERDICT // I had reservations before going, but they've been overturned. Recommend this place for a long lazy lunch or large groups, as it's easy to pay separately and provides a huge variety of choice - you'll definitely find something you like. The Thai food is apparently very good - will return to try it out! 

INFO // 10.30am til late, 7 days.

LINKS // Jo-Jo's

Disclaimer: BNE Cafés was an invited guest of Jo-Jo's. All views expressed are the author's own.

Jo Jo's on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 29, 2014

Habitat Restaurant and Bar, West End [Spring Menu Tasting]

A creative menu driven by unique Australian produce.





WHERE // Habitat Restaurant and Bar, 187 Melbourne St, West End
 
Nestled on a street corner in West End, Habitat is one of the many new restaurants that have popped up this year. The atmosphere is very trendy, with the restaurant floor sitting under street level. The fitout is finished with mood lighting and wooden tones to all the furnishings. We were invited along to try out the new Habitat Breakfast and Lunch menus.

WHAT // We had a good look at a large portion of the menu, so instead of posting individual thoughts on everything, I will summarise. My overall opinion was that each dish was well thought out, with various interesting flavour combinations that I hadn't seen before. Some options were more daring and probably too advanced for my palate (see: anchovy salad), but most of the dishes were presented very nicely. The prices were very good for the dining experience you have at Habitat (most around $15).

BREAKFAST

 Smashed avocado, sliced kumato, fresh basil (13.5) + haloumi (4)


Coconut soaked Quinoa, spiced rhubarb dukkah, toasted almonds (13.9)


 Habitat feast plate, free range eggs, baby chorizo, free range bacon, white bean casoulet, fried mushroom and tomato, sourdough bread (22)


Savoury mince burrito special.



Free range Eggs Benedict, smoked leg ham, spinach,  sourdough toast, hollandaise sauce (16)



 Vegemite and cheddar loaf, smoked bacon, free range poached eggs, rocket macerated tomatoes (13.5)



Twice baked pumpkin and honey soufflé, rocket parmesan feta (14) Sounded a lot more interesting than it looked - didn't get the chance to taste it though.


LUNCH/DINNER

 Salted brown anchovies, white bean, baby kale, saffron aioli, garden flowers (16)


 Crocodile dumpling with an Asian inspired consomme (14), which was very flavoursome.


 Pickled watermelon radish, tatsoi avocado, chervil, pumpkin mousse, beach bananas (14).



 Pulled pork and rice burrito, pineapple coriander salsa, bean, baby kale salad (13)



 Battered fish of the Week, beer battered fries, salad, lemon, tartare sauce (15)



DESSERT

 Eggplant and espresso tart, crème frache, candied beetroot (14) - The tart was delightfully rich.


 Milk chocolate mousse, almond tuile, fresh berries, mint (13.5)



 Deconstructed vanilla, honeycomb cheesecake, coconut jelly, chocolate (12.5) - beautiful and delicious!



 VERDICT // A good price point for this trendy establishment, with a very inventive menu. It can be a little hit and miss as we found some of the flavours weren't altogether cohesive, with some dishes lacking seasoning. However, it is worth a visit - I can imagine it as a great place for after work drinks with the ambience perfect for a group gathering.

INFO // 7 days, 6.30am til late.

LINKS // Habitat
Facebook

Habitat Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Street Cafe, Indooroopilly

A cosy surprise by the train station.


WHERE // Street Cafe, 10 Lambert Road, Indooroopilly
 
Having spent much of my life in school just up the road, I was very interested in visiting this cafe open only on weekdays at the station end of Lambert Road. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and devote a lunchtime to studying at Street Cafe. Run by the same people that operate Street St Market (found at Eat Street and various other markets around Brisbane), I knew that they specialised in roti and was eager to try it out. Inside, it was pleasantly inviting, with flowers adorning each table and plenty of vintage décor - not at all what you'd expect from a place serving Malaysian curry.

WHAT // There were heaps of all-day brekky and lunch options, but I couldn't go past the roti - and some dessert, of course.
Signature roti - onion, cheese, mushrooms and spinach wrapped in roti canai. Love a good roti, and this was certainly fresh and tasty. Pretty decent serving size - I was quite satisfied. The salad seemed a bit of an afterthought, but helped break through the oiliness of the roti.
Also tried a banana smoothie ($6) and a cupcake ($3). The baked goods aren't made in house but are supplied locally. I do appreciate it when the slices and cakes come in smaller sized (with smaller prices to match), as I often don't need a whole giant brownie after a full meal. The smoothie jar was massive as well. Neither of these were particularly special, being standard cafe fare.

 
 And a look at the menus.




 VERDICT // Good place for a roti fix, and a very pleasant atmosphere to while away the day. I've tried the coffee before (Genovese) which was pretty good, and it's in the ideal spot for local commuters. Drop by if you're in the vicinity. I'll probably go back and try some of the more regular breakfast offerings.

INFO // Monday 7-11am, Tues-Fri 7-2pm. Very limited opening hours!

LINKS // Facebook


Street Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Miel Container, CBD

A tiny corner of the CBD made delicious.

WHERE // Miel Container, 96 Albert St, CBD
This bright, red container nestled at the corner of Mary and Albert St in the city has been attracting burger fans from far and wide. I'd heard a lot of great things about their DIY burgers, so visited on a chilly Friday night. It was freezing - definitely bring a coat in winter, as all of the seating is outside! They are licensed and have a range of beers and ciders, being a great place to eat before heading out. It's also frequented by office workers during the day.
WHAT // We all elected to have DIY burgers after some onion rings. They (pictured above) were very crispy and well received.
I won't trouble you with all the details of which ingredients we picked - here's their DIY menu (from their facebook). Each burger comes with 5 or so chips, so order extra if you need!


 Blue cheese, beef, bacon.

 Beef, pumpkin, brie, caramelised onion.


Beef, lettuce, tomato.


A special - artichoke lamb.


VERDICT // Great burgers and great prices - I think the beer was about $7 so decently priced as well. Will return for some other combos and to try the set burgers!
INFO // Mon - Thu: 11:00 - 22:00 Fri - Sat: 11:00 - 00:00
LINKS // facebook


Miel Container on Urbanspoon