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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Jamie's Italian | 237 Edward Street, BRISBANE CBD QLD 4000

Jamie's Italian is without a doubt the hottest thing in town right now. So much anticipation was building up in the days leading up to the opening of this popular restaurant chain by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

For months, the other travel bunnie and I have hoped that someone would walk out from the shuttered facade so that we could get a glimpse of the fit-out. Finally, the wait is over. Jamie's Italian opened its doors last Tuesday! Being the impatient bunnie that I am, we went there for a quick lunch shortly after they opened.

Set in the heritage listed Rowes Arcade, a certain someone has done a brilliant job at transforming this sizable space. Reservations can be made online but on the day of our visit the system was down so we crossed our fingers and walked in. Fifteen minutes later, our table was available.

Our waiter was a nice and polite chap with a fitting English accent. Two glasses of soda water infused with strawberry and elderflower cordial (the other with ginger and lemongrass ($4.50 each)) was how we elected to start off so that we could cool down from the unusual scorching heat outside. Both the other travel bunnie and I had decided to have pasta, being such an iconic staple food in the Italian cuisine, it's hard to surpass it on a first visit. I ordered a squid-ink risotto ($14), which was cooked with creamy black rice, crispy squid, white wine then topped with herby breadcrumbs. As I wasn't feeling particularly hungry, I had a small serving of this dish and that's another thing that I like about the menu at Jamie's Italian, the fact that they provide you with different sizing options. The risotto was presented how I imagined it to be. I developed a liking for squid ink when I visited Barcelona a few years ago and have been craving it every now and then. The risotto itself was unfortunately quite undercooked. No I don't mean 'al dente', I mean crunchy rice. It was unfortunate because everything else about the dish was delicious, the squid was crunchy and the sauce had a hint of heat from the chilli and was so good. The other travel bunnie had a lamb & ricotta tortellini ($26) which according to him was absolutely tasty, but it would've been better if he had a little more on his plate. To accompany our meals, we also shared their famous polenta chips ($8.50) topped with parmesan and rosemary. One word of advice, get it! Stat!

Still feeling rather disappointed with my almost-perfect-if-it-wasn't-for-the-rice risotto, I told the waiter about the undercooked rice. To which he responded “we use a special Italian rice that is meant to be harder than usual and that's how the risotto is supposed to be, sorry.” Okay. I supposed that's one way to put it.

There are so many other items that we want to try from Jamie's Italian and I'm not willing to let some undercooked rice stop me from going back there, after all the service was pleasant and a casual (which I think is just the way that the Brisbane food scene is heading), the atmosphere was brilliant and the food, well that's the highlight of having Jamie in town.

Total Bunnie Dollars Spent: $57.50

Jamie's Italian on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 21, 2014

Artie & Mai | 340 Sandgate Road, ALBION QLD 4010

A few weeks ago the bunnie family made a quick stopover at Artie & Mai to have breakfast before heading to a 1st birthday party. We picked Artie & Mai because for a while there, my instagram was bombarded with alluring food photos from this cafe.

Artie & Mai occupies the space that once was Stockholm Syndrome which we visited back in 2012, for breakfast as well. From memory the breakfast surpassed our expectation and I had high hopes for Artie & Mai.

We started off with a lemon iced tea and a freshly squeezed juice, both were yummy. Unfortunately the breakfast dishes failed to impress us. I really liked the sound of the banana french toast w' salted caramel, tomato jam, candied bacon ice-cream ($17) and as for the other travel bunnie, he decided to have something savoury and ordered the sautéed mushrooms, poached egg, pecorino, truffle oil on sourdough($17). While the mushroom dish had a nice rustic touch, the banana french toast looked uninspiring and the clamps of icing sugar certainly didn't help. The french toast tasted overly sweet and it was rather disappointing that I couldn't taste any saltiness in the rich caramel sauce. Half way through the meal, the other travel bunnie was kind enough to swap his dish with mine. I was definitely grateful for the gesture as the mushrooms were delicious.

Despite the fact that we would like to return to Artie & Mai to try out their dinner before we completely cross it out of our list, I can't see us going back there any time soon.

Total Bunnie Dollars Spent: $45.00

Artie & Mai on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lennon's Restaurant & Bar | 72 Queen Street, BRISBANE CBD QLD 4000

As far as transformations go, the newly opened Lennon's Restaurant and Bar at the NEXT Hotel in Brisbane might just be one of the best I've seen in this city. While I love the minimalist yet welcoming interior and open space, that's not the only reason why the other travel bunnie and I had been wanting to visit the restaurant. The most important reason above all, is the fact that the restaurant's executive chef, Todd Adams has worked in a number of the big guns in Brisbane, namely Urban and the Stokehouse, both of which we adore.

And you know what's even better? You can have a 3-course fixed express lunch for $35 and the menu changes daily. I couldn't say no to that and so took up the offer.

To start off the lunch affair, I was presented with a roasted baby beetroot, pear, lentils, goat curd & creamy cashew dressing salad which was plated beautifully with vibrant colours splashed throughout. Both the texture as well as the flavours of the salad were balanced extremely well with the softness and the creaminess of the goat curd mixed with the mild sweetness of the juicy baby beetroot, while the lentils were cooked “al dente” which gave the dish a wonderful nutty texture and flavour.

My main course, the wood fired free range chicken burger, slaw style salad, chipotle aïoli was rather different to the healthy and light entrée that I received. The burger was packed with flavour and very generous in its portion which I certainly didn't mind. To match what I was having, the other travel bunnie opted for the cheese Kransky hot dog ($18) and a side of chips with spiced salt and aïoli ($8) and a Peroni ($8) which was the recommend drink for his meal. Judging by the look on his face, the hot dog was thoroughly enjoyed.

To finish off what turned out to be a lovely lunch (and to my surprise they indeed kept it to just a little over an hour), we were given the deconstructed mascarpone cheesecake and oat biscuit that was garnished with seasonal berries. Albeit creamy, the cheesecake wasn't overly sweet or heavy, and the berries put a fun touch to the dish.

I'm not going to lie, I really enjoyed the lunch at Lennon's Restaurant and Bar. In a way, they are very cheeky with the design of their express lunch menu, because I want to visit every other weekday just so that I can try them all.

Total Bunnie Dollars Spent: $65.50

Lennon's Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Watt Restaurant and Bar | 119 Lamington Street, NEW FARM QLD 4005

The weather was beautiful on the weekend and a lazy Sunday session spent devouring juicy meat off the bone, while listening to cool tunes at Watt Restaurant + Bar was definitely my kind of Sunday. In the lead up to Summer I was invited to the relaunch of The Watt Sunday Spit Roast, and it was sizzling hot.

Situated at a prime riverfront location in the beautiful suburb of New Farm, Watt Restaurant + Bar has been providing not only contemporary Australian food and mouthwatering drinks but also a relaxed lifestyle.

The table started off the affair with a mezze of assorted dips with toasted Turkish bread, and of course, jugs of delicious sangria and pimms. Well, at least I heard that the drinks were delicious and trust me, given the looks on everyone's face, they couldn't get enough! I opted the non-alcoholic choice and had a virgin apple mojito, which was made with apple juice, lime juice, fresh mint and fresh apple. Presented in an old school Mason jar, the drink was icy cold and tasted very refreshing.

When the beast on the spit was ready, everyone from the table rushed to see it. The aroma of herbs mixed with oil-dripping meat that had been roasting on a spit for hours smelled sensational. It was a carnivore's dream come true. That carnivore being me, of course. I was ready to eat. Oh yeh, bring it on.

The carved meat off the bone was served with salad as well as four different condiments selected by the chef. It was a scrumptious dish with the meat being soft and flavourful, and the salad being fresh and crunchy, not to mention that it also provided the perfect balance to the lamb. Would you believe that you can get the dish for only $20?

Watt makes your Sunday sizzle?!

Disclaimer: The bunnie was invited as a guest of Watt Restaurant + Bar and My City Life.

Watt Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 7, 2014

Bread & Meat Co. | 200 Mary Street, BRISBANE CBD QLD 4000

Late last week the other travel bunnie and I met up with S and X for a casual lunch catch up at Bread & Meat Co in the CBD. We picked the venue due to its convenient location (across the road from our bunnie pad) and its popular gourmet sandwiches. Lunch time at the Bread & Meat Co. in the city is always busy, so in order to avoid the crowds it's not a bad idea to get your lunch delivered to your office with a reasonable minimal spend.

Both the boys decided on having the sliders trio board ($12.50) with porchetta & crackling w' salsa verde on ciabatta, beef brisket w' horseradish aioli and Swiss cheese on a fresh baguette and BBQ pulled pork w fresh coleslaw on a brioche bun. I love this option as I think it's great for first-timers who may not know what to order, or in my case, those that are just too greedy and want a bit of everything. My personal favourite of the sliders  is the pulled pork, although the brioche bun for this particular sandwich is quite thin and the bottom half of the bun usually gets rather soggy from the heavily sauced juicy pork.

S and I both really liked the sound of buffalo chicken salad with spinach, coleslaw mix and blue cheese($9.50). In comparison to the boys' dish, we thought that the salad was slightly underwhelming as the chicken wasn't that crispy and the salad tasted a little bland. I guess from now on, I'll stick to what this place does best, gourmet sandwiches.

I just recently found out that Bread & Meat Co. in the city also offers breakfast! I think I might have to check it out sometime next week.

Total Bunnie Dollars Spent: $25

Bread & Meat Co on Urbanspoon
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