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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

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Where were the bunnies?

Now perhaps I have gone a little slack and the blog is looking dull with no new contents having been uploaded for a while. But you can’t really blame me, because I had been super duper excited about a trip onboard the magnificent luxury cruise ship - Queen Mary 2 as a part of our second wedding anniversary. I was so excited prior to the trip that QM2 was all I could think about was the cruise liner and how much food I would be able to eat onboard. 

But I’m back now. Feeling relaxed and ready to share our experience on the QM2 with you. Stay tuned guys!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Jetty Oxford | 1 Oxford Street, BULIMBA QLD 4171

We happened to be in the neighbourhood of Bulimba on the weekend and decided to have breakfast there given that we don’t usually venture out to that part of town. Why were we there? Well, it’s something that I’m extremely excited about, but I feel as though it is slightly premature to share my excitement with you. I will no doubt be announcing the big news when the time is right. 

With a fitting name, The Jetty on Oxford Street is situated right next to the ferry terminal and looks very inviting. Think white wooden walls against copper and stones, freshly baked pastries, and tables made of thick wood.  

I ordered a caramel latte ($5) to start my day, a caramel latte in a mug to be precise. Yep, I needed the caffeine and it tasted delicious. The other travel bunnie opted for a slightly healthier option - freshly squeezed carrot and orange juice with ginger ($7). 

Breakfast took a while to come out, but all was forgiven as the tastiness of everyone’s dish was definitely worth the wait. The winner was mum’s sautéed mushrooms, organic olive toast, soft feta, rocket & truffle oil ($16.50) with a side of scrambled egg ($3.50). While you can never go wrong with the traditional scrambled eggs with maple bacon, ciabatta toast, roasted vine tomatoes & basil ($15.50) which is what the other travel bunnie had, I thought my coconut quinoa bircher, golden raisins, strawberries, bowen mango, ‘COYO’ coconut yoghurt & toasted shaved coconut ($14) (wow that was a mouthful), looked so pretty! I didn’t think it would be enough to fill my tummy but the quinoa bircher was surprisingly filling and the COYO was so light and fluffy, it melted on my tongue and left a lingering coconut flavour in my mouth. 

Breakfast at The Jetty was without a doubt an enjoyable one. The servings were generous, the food was tasty and the ambience was lively yet relaxing. Plus, it’s baby friendly! You can’t go wrong with this one. 

Total Bunnie Dollars Spent: $61.50

The Jetty Oxford on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sofitel Brisbane Central 10th Anniversary

Sofitel Brisbane Central celebrated its 10th anniversary last week and I was lucky enough to be invited to join in the celebration. Just like its dress code, elegant with a touch of white, the event was all about elegance and glamour featuring delicious morsels from the new Privé249 menu. It was a slice of Paris in the centre of Brisbane CBD, complete with a beautifully lit Eiffel Tower under the stars and thanks to the Brisbane Astronomy Club, guests had a chance to be mesmerised by the bright moon that illuminated the night sky. 

Joyeux Anniversaire Sofitel Brisbane Central!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Cha Kee | 261 Warrigal Road, EIGHT MILE PLAINS QLD 4113

Every now and then I develop cravings for oily Cantonese stir fry. The other day I was just casually swiping away on my iPhone and a photo taken at Cha Kee popped up in my feed. If you haven’t heard, Cha Kee is the newest addition in Hong Kong styled cafes also known as cha chaan teng and has opened up in Warrigal Square. 

Last Saturday we didn’t have much on so the other travel bunnie decided to drive us out there for a feed to satisfy my cravings. The cafe was pumping so we were told to wait outside for a seat. The staff didn’t seem to know what was going on when I went inside twenty minutes later to enquire about our table, which was empty and had been ready for us  for a while. Insert frowny face. 

Too lazy to read the menu, the other travel bunnie and I decided to opte for the specials of the day - Set A Stir fried beef ho fun and Set B Fried chicken with Japanese curry sauce and rice. The set menus ($10.95) come with a beverage, so I recommended their house special lemon iced tea to the other travel bunnie and I ordered a Hong Kong coffee milk tea. The lemon iced tea was very refreshing but the drink that I had was very bitter and lacked sweetness. 

Before our meals got here, we shared a buttered bun drizzled with condensed milk. The beef ho fun was exactly what I needed. It was oily and heavy, and tasted even better with a drizzle of chilli oil. The Japanese curry chicken was ok. Just ok. The chicken pieces had way to much coating and curry tasted like one of the ones that you can get from a packet. Why would you even order Japanese curry from a cha chaan teeng anyway, you may ask. I don’t know, it was there and it was their special of the day so I just got carried away I guess. Throughout the meal, we received really friendly service which is always a bonus for me. 

I quite liked the decor of Cha Kee and the aromatic smell of brewing tea filled the air, but it’s probably not something worth driving all the way out of town for if you don’t live in the area.

Total Bunnie Dollars Spent: $27.50

Cha Kee on Urbanspoon
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