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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Cake it home this Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and I always get stuck for gift ideas. I mean there’s also birthday and Christmas,  but how many jars of night cream does my mum need (yep, I tend to always go for skincare for my mum as I’ve always thought that was an easy option)? 

Mother’s Day is a time to honour our mothers, to show our appreciation and express our gratefulness for having them in our lives. Sure, presents are awesome but is that what they really want? When I was little, holding onto the conner of her dress I followed my mum everywhere, wouldn’t let her get out of my sight. Years later, I graduated from uni, have a career, dragged my luggage travelling around the world, even started my own family; I spend lesser and lesser time with mum. 

So I think to myself, the best present for mum is time. Time devoted to her. Sitting down with a pot of tea, a nice cake and talking about anything and everything. 

Michel’s Patisserie has kindly offered a tasty treat for me to review - a Dusky Pink Rosette Cake. Layered with vanilla sponges, jam and cream, the cake looks absolutely beautiful with the hand piped rosettes coloured in two shades of pink.  I sliced a small piece to taste, and couldn’t help myself but to take another huge bite into the fluffy sponge as the rich cream melted in my mouth. 

Cake it home this Mother’s Day and fill your mum’s heart and tummy with all the sweetness you have to offer!

*Disclaimer: The cake was provided to the bunnies free of charge courtesy of Michel’s Patisserie, however my opinion is as always, my own.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lefkas Taverna | 170 Hardgrave Road, WEST END QLD 4101

Being half Greek, Minibun George celebrated his first ever Name Day last Thursday, and as you do when it comes to a big celebration, you eat! So that how we ended up at Lefkas Taverna. 

The other travel bunnie first introduced me to Lefkast Taverna years ago when we just started dating. Back then, the Greek restaurant (which might I add is much loved by locals) had only a small space and most people would walk in and grab take-away. Fast forward a few years, Lefkas Taverna has a whole new look with its expansion, however the village style atmosphere remains. 

Once seated, we ordered the absolute essential drinks that we always order in Greek restaurants - Mythos and iced frappé (although I personally like the iced frappé at Little Greek Taverna better). Entrées were a good spread of cheeses - haloumi ($6.90) and saganaki (which is quite a salty cheese made of sheep’s milk)($8.90), as well as grilled eggplant topped with fetta and fresh garlic ($8.90). The pungent taste from the garlic mixed with the creaminess of the crumbed feta worked wonderfully with the grilled eggplant which had an extremely soft texture. 

I had been craving for moussaka for a while there; my mother-in-law makes really good moussaka and I always find that dish really comforting. Moussaka is a classic Greek dish made with layers of mince, eggplant and potato. At Lefkas Tavern, moussaka ($18.90) is served with either veggies or Greek salad and the portion is very generous to say the least. I might have been spoilt by my MIL’s cooking as I prefer her version for it’s slightly more oily and heavier. But moussaka wasn’t the star of the night, as the other travel bunnnie and my mum shared a 1kg roast lamb served with crispy potatoes and green beans ($59.00). Let me tell you, the lamb was the bomb! It was so tender, the meat practically fell off the bone with a gentle prick of a fork and it smelt way too good for me not to get amongst it and abandon my moussaka. I wanted to pick up the lamb shoulder by the bone and eat it like a chicken drumstick, but I resisted (but not without a battle…). 

We couldn’t eat anymore but still decided to get a rizogalo for later. The rizogalo may only cost $4.50 take away, but the pure pleasure of going to bed with a satisfied tummy is priceless.

Total Bunnie Dollars Spent: $116.50

Lefkas Taverna on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

DINING IN - Domino's new Pulled Beef Range

What makes you happy? It doesn’t usually take much to put a smile on my face. In fact, I was recently at Starbucks working on my blog while Minibun George took his nap when I received an email from Domino’s, asking if I’d be interested in trying their new pulled beef range. That made me happy.

If you recall, last year I did a review post on the pulled pork range and both the other travel bunnie and I thoroughly enjoyed our dinner. Adapting the popular street food trend in Australia right now,  the new pulled beef range includes three delicious pizzas. The first is Hickory BBQ Pulled Beef, complete with slow cooked pulled beef, rasher bacon, pepperoni, red onion & mozzarella on a BBQ sauce base, topped with a Hickory BBQ sauce swirl. The second is Spicy Harissa Pulled Beef, with slow cooked pulled beef, pepperoni, Italian sausage, fresh tomato, red onion, jalapeños & mozzarella topped with chilli flakes & a spicy harissa sauce. The third pizza is Argentinian Pulled Beef, with slow cook pulled beef, fresh tomato, red onion & mozzarella topped with a chimichurri drizzle. Now unless you don’t like pizza or pulled beef, you should be drooling right now. 

I’m supposed to be on a post-cruise diet, but I can never say no to a good pizza. My personal favourite had to be the Spicy Harissa one as it’s got a kick-ass punch that just makes you beg for more. The other travel bunnie however, absolutely loved the Hickory BBQ one. The sweet BBQ sauce has a hint of smokiness that makes the rasher bacon even more tantalising; it’s an absolute winner for meat lovers. 

If you are suffering from a post-long-weekend depression and don’t feel like cooking tonight, perhaps you can try the new pulled beef range from Domino’s! 

Disclaimer: our dinner was provided free of charge courtesy of Domino’s, however my opinions is as always, my own. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Bucci launches new lunch menu | 11/15 James Street, FORTITUDE VALLEY QLD 4006

My first Bucci experience was an accidental discovery. The other travel bunnie and I had been out for dinner and we happened to walk past Bucci when I became distracted by the Fornasetti-cross-renaissance design of the bar. I quickly checked out the menu and decided to have some dessert. I vividly remember the deliciousness of the cannoli filled with rosemary ricotta, dark chocolate and praline sauce and since that encounter, we had been back with our close friends for a complete dinner affair and it did not disappoint. 

Bucci was the talk of the town for a long time and this week, they celebrated their 3rd birthday. Along with the celebration, Bucci has released a new lunch menu which is divided into four digestible sections - pesce (fish),  carne (meat), verdure (vegetables) and dolce (desserts). It is designed in a way so that everyone can enjoy a quality, delicious yet speedy lunch in a relaxed environment. Ahead of the birthday celebration, I was invited to the try the new lunch menu. I brought mum as my plus one and minibun George decided to tag along as well. 

Mum was the perfect plus one because she’s not, hmm how should I put this, she’s not very adventurous when it comes to food. She thinks homemade Chinese (by her) is the best. So having her there with me was the perfect opportunity to get her raw, honest opinion. First up, we shared a carprese salad ($15) made with sweet ripe heirloom tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil & garlic. Mum didn’t look impressed as she thought that it didn’t involve any “cooking”. For me, looking at the salad made me happy. Seriously. It took me back to Europe, on a sizzling hot summer day when the heat from the sun caressed every part of my skin. I remember being hungry from from all the walking around yet I just couldn't possibly imagine devouring a whole plate of ragu because that would have been too heavy. A nice plate of salad. Simple, yet so refreshingly pleasant. The sweetness from the juicy tomatoes, the aromatic scent from the basil, the creaminess of the buffalo mozzarella with just the right amount of dressing that is as sweet as it is acidic with just a hint of garlic. Oh the pure pleasure. 

Mum had the crab linguine ($26) for lunch and she absolutely loved it. If I was eating with the other travel bunnie, I would’ve claimed it as my own and eaten it, but in this case I let mum have it, being the good daughter that I am. The linguine was cooked with local spanner crab, chilli, parsley & lemon. It was a dish that evoked all sense. Upon receiving the dish, you immediately get the scent of the aromatic garlic, which is then replaced with the spiciness of the chilli as you place the al dente pasta into you mouth, but then the heat in your mouth is soon taken over by the sweet flesh of spanner crab. You’ve gotta try the crab linguine when you go to Bucci.  Not doing so is the equivalent sin of going to Naples without having any pizza. 

If you are a fan of seafood, then you might like to order the Italian fish & chips. What? What’s the difference between traditional fish & chips and the Italian version? That was my question when I saw this dish on the menu. For $29, you will be presented with mixed local seafood fried with patate fritte, lemon & accompaniments. Served on newspaper-like paper, the seafood is placed inside of a cardboard box with Bucci proudly printed on top. Fish fillets, prawns, scallops, mussels, just to name a few; I was spoilt for choices. Not to mention how good the house-made ketchup and tartar sauce is.

Just when I thought that I couldn’t be any happier with my lunch, our waiter, a cheerful guy with an Italian accent, who definitely set the scene given we were dining at an Italian restaurant, brought out the desserts - cannoli filled with lemon curd & toasted Italian meringue ($12) which is available for dinner service but co-owner and executive chef Shaun kindly offered to me at lunch, as well as Bucci’s new take on crème brûlée. Both desserts were as tantalising as they looked. Served in a pot with cameralised sugar sealed on top, I thought the presentation of the crème brûlée was so innovative and fun! 

You know what, all these things that I’ve written are just words, they are just blah, blah, blah based on my experience. Go and let Bucci transport you to Italy! 

Disclaimer: DolceBunnie was an invited guest of Bucci, however my opinion is as always, my own. 

Bucci on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 30, 2015

Autumn tasting dinner menu at ARIA | Eagle Street Pier, BRISBANE CBD QLD 4000

I found it difficult getting to sleep a few nights ago. I didn’t get home until ten-thirty that night as I had been at ARIA devouring their new autumn tasting menu with a group of stylish foodies. My mind was intrigued by the amount of good food that went into my stomach in the space of a few hours. My mind kept running until eventually I went into a state of what I believe is called, food coma. 

We had an elegant table at the back of the restaurant with a panoramic view of the glistening river and the beautifully lit Story Bridge. Placed on the table in front of everyone’s seat was the autumn tasting dinner menu and it was designed to impress. 

Everyone’s eyes widened upon the arrival of the amuse bouche. Presented on a small plank of wood was the squid ink prawn cracker with hommus and chorizo chips, and if the amuse bouche provided a glimpse into the chef’s approach to the art of cuisine, then it would be safe to say that we were in for a fabulous night. 

Call me crazy but I have a simple theory about butter offered at a restaurant and I believe that the quality of butter directly correlates to the quality of the dining experience that follows. I loved the butter at Vue De Monde and the dining experience was amazing; I loved the butter at Le Bernadin and the dining experience was spectacular; and I love the butter at ARIA and yep, the dining experience never ceases to amaze me. 

We had everything from cured and scorched kingfish with miso, cucumber and radish to smoked Wagyu short rib with daikon, spinach and paprika, not to mention that they also spoilt us with smoked duck liver parfait and foie gras with maple and apple, as well as steamed snapper fillet with fennel, mustard and red onion in between. Is your mouth watering yet? Every dish was presented as a work of art. Head Chef Ben Russell, who has been with ARIA (Sydney and Brisbane) for almost ten years, took the time to explain each dish to us, and his passion and knowledge for cooking and food transcended through his words. There was be a moment of silence every time when everyone settled into their dish while sipping on the particular wine that had been perfectly paired by the Head Sommelier Ian Trinkle. It was hard to pick a favourite dish, although the general consensus was that the smoked Wagyu short rib tasted almost orgasmic. The lightly smoked meat was so tender that it melted in my mouth, it tasted so…comforting, l wanted to curl up with that Wagyu in front of a fireplace and cuddle it to sleep. Having said that, the smoked duck liver parfait and foie gras was a luxurious indulgence for its creamy texture, sweetness from the maple and ever so slight tang from the apple.  To be honest, it was hard to remember the taste of each dish as my memory from the previous one was overwritten by my amazed reaction to the following dish. 

By the time when they brought out the dessert - poached rhubarb with ricotta ice cream and beetroot marshmallow, everyone looked so satisfied but I suppose quality food does that to you. The dessert wasn’t overly sweet which was what I had hoped. It was such a pretty ending to the autumn tasting dinner menu that most of us didn’t want to touch the plate and ruin its presentation. The pastry was crusty and buttery while the ricotta ice cream was silky smooth. 

I mean, can you really go wrong with ARIA? Mention “fine dinning” to anyone in Brisbane and ARIA always without fail pops up. It is the quintessential dining experience in Brisbane. What are the secret ingredients to a well-balanced seasonal menu at ARIA? The freshest local and Australian produce, a stellar cellar selection, impeccable service and a passionate team, just to name a few. 

So what are you waiting for?

Disclaimer: DolceBunnie was an invited guest of ARIA Brisbane, however my opinion is as always, my own. 

Aria Brisbane on Urbanspoon
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