Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Il Piatto - pizza, wine and the sunset

On Friday the 24th we went to Il Piatto with the sole purpose of enjoying what they do well. That is pizza, ambience and a view of the sunset.
The wine list had some nice selections on it so we had Jansz schparkling and 9th Island Pinot Gris to follow. Both were delicious.

We had one of each of the 5 pizzas on offer between the 6 of us and that worked really well. We also had some desserts.

The bases of all of the pizzas are light and crisp and obviously made on site.
The quattro stagioni, or 4 seasons was perhaps a favourite, the ham was moist and had really good flavour.

The margherita was divine in its simplicity. Fresh tomatoes, basil and cheese.

We also had the quattro formaggi (4 cheeses). Some delicious goat cheese and three others made a really luscious pizza topping.

The salami on the siciliana really stood out as a quality ingredient, it was tender and had a nice amount of garlic in it.

I didn't have the frutti di mare (seafood) one but it was all really big pieces of seafood - mussels, clams, prawns and fish - with no cheese just lots of fresh tomato sauce.

The desserts were delicious as well. I didn't get photos of all of them but the almond parfait and the three scoops of home made ice cream were real winners! I would also recommend the pistachio panna cotta with strawberry sheets, caramelised pop corn and saffron anglaise. The stand out dessert for me, however, were the the lemon curd donuts.

Caf Parap

On the 10th of June my work colleagues and I did our yearly team-building cycle. This year our destination was Caf Parap for brunch.

I'd not been there before, it's on Parap Road near where the old Tai Hung Tol was.

I'd heard it was very small, but we got there to find they had recently expanded, so our group of twelve fit well.

The menu has a great variety of sweet and savoury breakfast/brunch dishes. They make all of their own pastries, bit of a French influence going on. Their coffee is good and they serve loose leaf tea in pots for one, two or three.

The dish that was highly recommended was the french toast and it didn't disappoint! It is served with banana and mango. The toast itself is fruit toast, so the combination of the spices in it with the warm fruits was really lovely.

I had the short stack of pancakes with berry coulis and creme anglaise. To my delight, the berry coulis also had some lovely tart rhubarb in it.

There were also some fabulous club sandwiches that a couple of colleagues couldn't finish they were so generous. I suspect that if we hadn't been cycling back to work, those sandwiches would have done for lunch too!
There were so many options with eggs, from fancy eggs like eggs benedict to eggs how you want them with an enormous range of add-on sides.
One colleague chose haloumi, tomatoes and spinach to go with hers.

Another colleague went totally vegan with her choice of a combination of sides, including farmhouse potatoes, mushrooms, avocado and spinach.

The ambience was a bit bright and noisy, but the food is awesome! I'm looking forward to working my way through the menu :-)

Friday, June 3, 2011


Last Sunday I went to Hom. It's across Mitchell Street from the Tap bar.
The restaurant has lovely soft ambient lighting combined with wood patterned laminated tables. The menu offers a good variety of dishes, but I must admit, I was there for one thing only, the Nasi Goreng. I had heard it was just like they serve it in Bali.
I was not disappointed, it was delicious! It came complete with a fried egg on top. You can choose what meat you'd like through it, I had chicken in mine and it was tender and well-cooked.
They have a small selection of wines by the glass, I had a tasty Sauvignon Blanc.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wild Oats Wine Maker's Dinner at Bogart's

On Wednesday the 25th of May I went to a wine maker's dinner. There were 8 courses and 7 wines. Phew, hard work but someone's got to do it!

To start the evening off, we had a glass of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.

Ok, the first two courses were queen bouche and eggplant caviar, they were served with a Sauvignon Blanc.
The queen bouche comprised a pastry casing filled with capsicum marmalade topped with grilled goat cheese. The rich sweetness of the capsicum marmalade was well combined with the creamy, slightly salty goat cheese. The eggplant caviar was a delicious mix of eggplant, garlic, cumin and olives - it had a lovely smooth texture.

The next two courses were prawn tartare and spanish mushroom. They were served with the Rose and the Pinot Grigio.
The prawn tartare was marinated in lime juice, coconut milk, red onion and green chilli. It was tender and slightly spicy and went very well with the Rose. Corn chips and prawn tartare = winner combination of texture and flavour.
The spanish mushroom was really delicious, there were seared red emperor slices atop a field mushroom with chorizo cream (and a bit of mash!). The flavours in the dish went really well with the pinot grigio. We all agreed that the Pinot Grigio would stand alone as a quaffing wine too!

Courses 5 and 6 were an eye fillet carpaccio served with Temperanillo and cajun lamb cutlet served with a Cabernet Sauvignon.
The carpaccio had black pepper and capers with it and a generous amount of good olive oil. The slices were wafer thin and wonderfully tender. The Temperanillo was a lovely surprise, fruity and light, another very good quaffing wine!
The cajun lamb fillet was absolutely delightful, tender and juicy and lightly coated in a delicious mix of spices. It came with a yoghurt sweet chilli sauce on the side.

Course 7 was dessert! A creme brulee topped with Grand Marnier, served with a Traminer. The brulee was gorgeously silky and the wine had delicious fruit, they went really well together.

The last course was the cheese course, served with Shiraz.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tim's/Ten Litchfield, whatever it is called!

On Friday night I went to this restaurant, I'm not sure what it's name actually is, as both names are up on signs at the front.
There were five adults and two kids in our party. Kids eat for free if you order before 6:30, so that's what we did.
We ordered chilli prawns, garlic prawns, 2 steaks and a thai beef salad.
The steaks were reported to be really good (as one of our party is a chef, I feel safe in that conclusion!).
The creamy garlic sauce that covered the prawns tasted more like a white sauce :-( but the chill prawns were good.
The flavour of the dressing and the tenderness of the beef in my Thai beef salad were excellent and the portion of meat was generous. The salad part wasn't particularly "Thai" as it consisted of cos lettuce tomato and cucumber with some grated carrot and snow pea sprouts. All of the ingredients were fresh and tasty though, so it was a nice meal.
If you have a young person whose birthday it is, take note that the restaurant owner will sit at your table and do a magic trick which will have them amazed! A great touch and I think that the young girl in question that night will remember it for a long time!

even more April and May!

Okay, two more dining times.

1. More good food from the burbs: I had a beautiful lamb kofta meal (topped with minted yoghurt sauce) with pulao rice at a friend's place recently, preceded by delicious little tomato and feta tarts (with fresh basil from her garden!) - TALENT!

2. I go to Nightcliff markets most Sunday mornings with a bunch of fantastic folk who get together to train at 7am and then we have coffee and a bite. I had a wholemeal crepe with slivered almonds, sliced banana and maple syrup - YUM! There were also BBQ pork ball rice paper rolls and thai fish cakes. What a great start to the day!

more April and May

I went to the Cool Spot for breakfast and got the vego cooked breakfast. It had mushrooms, spinach, tomato and eggs. The mushrooms were really delicious and the tomato was lovely and ripe. They also use real butter on the toast.

Also, on the recommendation of a friend at work, I have been trying their iced milk drinks and they are really good. My favourite is the iced mocha or the iced coffee as they use espresso coffee and a scoop of coffee gelato in it!

April and May

Quite remiss of me, but I have been dining out and not blogging! Time to get back to it.

Most notably, I had what turned out to be an Easter French toast odyssey!

First there was the new menu at Jamaica Blue (at Casuarina) which includes different toppings for toast and french toast that are all very tempting. Some of the toa
st toppings I'll be going back for include roasted tomatoes and mushrooms or ricotta, banana and honey.

On the day I went with a friend, I ordered french toast with caramelised bananas and
caramel sauce - sadly, no bananas (?) so I had to "settle" for bacon and maple syrup. The bacon was beautifully crisped and the slices of toast were thick and fluffy.

The second French toast moment was at Il Lido. A friend flew in from Bali in the early morning and I got a call saying let's go for French toast!
WOW! This French toast is just awesome! It was served with poached pears, King Island vanilla yoghurt and tangy berry sauce. The view of the waterfront area is really lovely and it was a gorgeous dry season day.

The third French toast moment unfortunately has no photo. I visited my parents and was greeted with hug and a plate of French toast! Delicious.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Virginia Tavern

So, Desi and I landed at Virginia Tavern on St Patrick's day. We'd been out to Bees Creek teaching Soo Bahk Do and rather than wait until we got back in to town to eat, we thought eating locally would be better. The food was very good.
Desi had the grilled fish and chips while I had the chicken parmigiana with chips and salad.
The chicken parmigiana was made from a whole huge chicken breast (I had to take half home) and the chips were awesomley(?) crispy and cooked with fresh oil.

The grilled fished looked tender and well cooked. All of the salad ingredients were fresh and tasty.
It took a while for the food to come, but I'd eat there again, the food is good :-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Good Food in the 'burbs

I dined out in the suburbs last night. The meal was gorgeous as always, but I'm blogging about what was being made for the kids lunches the next day!
The most delicious little sausage rolls. The pastry was light and crisp and the filling was a delicious, meaty mixture with lots of vegetable in it (tricky parents!). No tomato sauce required!

Saturday, March 5, 2011


This time with pictures, thanks to my awesome new Nokia C5 phone :-)
Desi and I went to K-tong (at Casuarina, above the food court) on Friday night, she already knew what she was going to have, as did I :-)
Desi ordered the beef noodle soup and I ordered the BBQ pork chow mein, the same dish as I have had the last two times I came here!
When her soup came out, I could smell the star anise that had been used in the broth, fabulous!
The chow mein is just awesome! The noodles are fried and then covered in a delicious savoury sauce that tastes a little of ginger. There is a lot of vegetable in the dish and generous amounts of the BBQ pork that I love.
On the two previous occasions I came here and had the same dish for my lunch, it was large enough for two! I had to take it away. This time it was simply a nice large serve for one.
They are pretty busy here, so the only downside is that you don't always have a clean table to sit at.
At $14.50, the chow mein is a good price for the amount you get and the service is quick and friendly.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Raging Bull Steak House

Took my pa out to lunch for his birthday. We went to the Raging Bull steakhouse in Parap.
Those of you who have been around for a while will remember the location being called "Jessies", where you got awesome steaks and chilled red wine Darwin style back in the 80s.

The steaks were beautifully cooked. The distinction between medium well and medium was there and the flavour of the meat and it's tenderness were excellent.
You have a choice of salad and chips or mash and vegetables. I like lightly steamed vegetables, but the vegetables that came with the steak that day were so lightly steamed that they were almost raw. However, the mash was all smooth excellence!
Your drinks are brought promptly and the table service is reasonable (although last time I came here, they forgot our entree entirely!) and the food comes out when the steak is cooked - so if you order your steak well done it states on the menu what the cooking time will be so you know what to expect.
They appear to have a wine cellar but we weren't offered a wine list and I didn't think to ask.

I will go back as the steaks are fantastic, the rest I can cope with in the pursuit of such excellence :-)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Finlay's Joint

Brand new year! Yay! More dining out to be done.

First foray for the year was Finlay's Joint. I went with a friend on Sunday last.
I'd booked for lunch at 12 but we were both hungry earlier so we got there at 11:30.
Man that place is noisy! The acoustics are really bad and as soon as there are more than about 12 people inside the large dining room it's hard to hear each other talk.
I love the old furniture and the chairs are really comfortable.
We grabbed menus and quickly went to order.
We were informed that the lunch orders wouldn't be made until after 12 as it was still their breakfast service time. The only other places that do this so strictly to my knowledge are places like MacDonald's and Hungry Jacks. Finlay's is a restaurant/cafe with a full kitchen so I'm at a loss as to why they couldn't do a steak sandwich and a chicken parmigiana before 12.
We were told that we could order now (11:30) but wouldn't get the food for at least another 25 minutes.
As we didn't want breakfast foods, we made our order and ordered tea to drink in the interim. The tea came out quickly but was really weak, it was awful.
There are self-serve/shared bottled sauces and self-serve water from a cooler.
When the food arrived, there were generous servings.
The steak in the sandwich was good quality and tender; and the chips were really good.
The chicken schnitzel was a good thickness and well-cooked.
Unfortunately there were rotting greens in the salad. I find this disgusting and it's really a pet hate for me - it should never happen.

ambience: 5/10
food: 7/10
service: 6/10
wine list: none
value for money: 8/10