It Just Has To Be Delicious

Hello Please Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

In a little back street called Fish Lane, hides a gem of a cafe called Hello Please. Specialising in Vietnamese street food, dishes like spring rolls, dumplings, chicken ribs, banh mi, salads, curry, rice paper rolls, pho and bun grace the menu, all ingredients fresh and nourishing, and making for a difficult choice because every dish sounded tempting.

We arrived on a sunny Sunday lunchtime and the friendly waitress gave advice on the menu wile she seated us. We sat on the tables in the courtyard where an impressive mural of Ali fills the opposite wall of the gym/boxing club.

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We chose to drink the house soda which was a lovely refreshing mix of lychee and lemongrass. For our food choices we picked a soup dish each and two plates to share – the chicken ribs and the dumplings.

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The dumplings were a bit quirky – not wrapped in a traditional rice flour dough, but wrapped in betel leaves and filled with full flavoured beef. Very nice both in flavour and texturally and a lot more filling than originally expected.

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The chicken ribs were an absolute standout dish, with such a beautifully spicy and very addictive crispy coating, succulent meat and a soy dip. Yum – I could have eaten a whole bucket of the ribs alone.

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My Bun Bo Hue was spicy with a lemongrass broth, pork belly, beef brisket and fine vermicelli noodles. The broth was intense and satisfying with a liberal sprinkling of herbs, mint, basil and beansprouts.

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My partner chose the Pho Ga which had thicker noodles, succulent chicken and an equally suitable range of aromats and beansprouts. He also chose kimchi – I am not a great fan of kimchi myself, but I did try this house made version which was a little salty but much more palatable to me than the regular versions, which can be quite intensely flavoured.

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All in all it was a lovely lunch and gave us a nice Vietnamese food fix. I always find Vietnamese broths very nourishing, especially when I have previously overindulged or am feeling tired – they seem to have magical properties which give me a lift.

Hello Please is friendly and satisfying and puts an emphasis on fresh and bright flavours, expertly put together to make a feast for the eyes and the soul. Give it a try – those chicken ribs are to die for.

I have two favourite restaurants for fish and chips in Brisbane. I generally don’t find the regular fish and chip shops very inspiring, but there is one in particular that stands out for its freshness and quality. Samie’s near Portside Wharf is very casual, cafe style with a few tables inside and several outside.
Samies Fresh Seafood Market Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The restaurant has it’s own free car park, but if you arrive on a weekend night you will be quizzed by the parking attendant due to the nearby ‘Eat Street Market’ traffic looking for a parking space. Once you are there, you can choose any of the regular fish and chip options – snapper, barramundi, salmon, whiting, prawns along with dips, and salads, We found the coleslaw salad to be very nice. If you want something more substantial you can choose a platter, you can have oysters to start, sashimi, fish pie – there is an endless list of fishy options and specials on the menu. You can also buy seafood to take home and the lovely staff will pin bone and fillet your choices for no extra charge.

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If you want to go for something more classy, try Reef at the Gasworks complex in Skyring Terrace. There’s a nice vibe to the environment, a comprehensive bar with lovely oyster shell decor. The tables and chairs are a bit more comfortable and the selection seems to be huge and incredibly fresh. I love the oysters at Reef – they had a variety of reasonably priced South Australian and Tasmanian oysters – delicious with a squeeze of lemon. You can have them cooked kilpatrick etc but I like mine natural.
Reef Seafood and Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
You can also choose one of their signature platters or make up your own fresh shellfish platter from the lobsters, crabs, prawns, bugs etc on display.

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The fish and chip options are wonderfully fresh, the batter is beautifully crispy, and the chips are very tasty and morish.

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Sashimi is also incredibly fresh and beautifully presented.

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Pablo, New Farm

Pablo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Pablo is a nice trendy little cafe in Brunswick Street, New Farm just by the junction of Merthyr Road. There is a selection of tables inside and out, and the vibe is quirky – it’s a little cramped in places, but that’s all part of the charm.

Every dish is cooked fresh to order and the place was packed so we were advised by the waitress that we may have a wait on our hands. She was right, we waited around 20 minutes, but it was okay because our expectations had been met and we could see the quality of plates emerging from the kitchen.

Persuaded by the board outside which said ‘Number one hot cakes in Brisbane’, I chose the ricotta hot cakes with lemon curd ice cream, berry compote, cacao nibs, and coconut crumb.

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The plate was a work of art, garnished with flowers, and the hot cakes did not disappoint. They were light and fluffy and not overly sweet with enough natural sweetness coming from the fruits. the ice cream was smooth, tangy and creamy – a lovely complement to the dish.

My companion chose the breakfast chilli.

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The chilli was made from slow cooked beef cheek, speck bacon, red beans and chorizo – it was rich, tasty and nicely spiced. The corn bread had a smear of honey which added a hint of sweetness, the egg was superbly oozy, and the guacamole and salsa a nice smooth contrast to the substance of the chilli.

We also chose some drinks – I had freshly squeezed orange juice and my companion had a large flat white which was nicely smooth and well rounded, the only criticism was that the coffee could have been a bit hotter in temperature.

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Pablo is a real neighbourhood gem, and somewhere that I will come back to. It’s easy to see why the locals love this cafe – it has a menu that makes you want to taste every option and the food definitely delivers. Well worth the wait for delicious, fresh, inspired dishes.

Rhubarb Rhubarb Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I had heard about this restaurant for a while and each time we tried to book, it was already fully booked, so this time I made a special effort to book in advance for a birthday meal.

It is one of those warm, cosy restaurants, a little old fashioned, almost takes you back to the seventies in atmosphere. It has French music playing and the menu is heavily French influenced. I like that the menu is just five entrees, five mains and five desserts. It doesn’t try to be all things to all men.

For starters we chose the twice baked blue cheese souffle with Waldorf salad and the seared scallops with prosciutto, salad and croutons. The souffle was nicely flavoured without being too overpowering and matched very well with the Waldorf salad with it’s nice fresh and crunchy texture. The scallops were perfectly cooked and a nice soft contrast to the salty prosciutto, another lovely dish.

The waiter was friendly and accommodating and he brought is a strawberry sorbet palate cleanser to keep us occupied between courses.

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For main course we chose the crispy pork belly on pumpkin puree with potato, sugar snap peas, hazelnuts and broad beans; and the sea trout with gnocchi, hollandaise and fennel salad. We chose a cauliflower and cabbage gratin as a side dish.

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The pork belly was nicely crispy, the potatoes well cooked, and the sugar snaps and broad beans a lovely contrast in textures. The sea trout was cooked slightly rare, very fresh and tasty with a beautiful fennel salad, and the gnocchi were soft, glossy, absolutely perfect in the mouth.

The side dish was also a triumph – the best cauliflower cheese ever with a wonderful hint of cabbage – I could have eaten that dish as a meal by itself.

Rhubarb Rhubarb is a restaurant that is old fashioned in atmosphere, but very modern in the way that it creates good fresh twists on French classics. It is quaint and friendly, and the food is a joy to eat. Every item on the menu is cooked to perfection, and the restaurant clearly has a faithful following who come back time and again. It is not cheap, but the food oozes quality and the staff do their job very well. I have already booked my next meal at Rhubarb Rhubarb. It sure beats the hyped up cheffy joints in the CBD.

The Swan is a hotel in the beautiful mediaeval village of Lavenham in Suffolk. The whole village is quaint and picturesque and the inside of the Swan has a sense of old world charm and splendour. This afternoon tea was a birthday treat for a relative and it certainly did not disappoint.

The Swan offers three types of afternoon tea – traditional, savoury and high tea. The high tea includes a substantial savoury starter such as scotch egg with crushed peas or smoked salmon and chive omelette, followed by two different scones and a selection of cakes. The traditional afternoon tea features finger sandwich slices followed by two different scones and a selection of cakes. The savoury afternoon tea features finger sandwiches, two savoury scones and a selection of savoury pastries such as smoked salmon and crab blinis and coronation chicken tart. There is also a tea menu, offering a variety of different teas including English breakfast, Earl Grey, fruit teas, lapsang souchong, darjeeling and oolong.

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The finger sandwiches included traditional cucumber, dill and black pepper, maple roast Suffolk ham, egg and light mustard mayonnaise, and smoked salmon with creme fraiche served on a beetroot bread. When we had finished, the waitress asked if we would like a further round of sandwiches for the table, quite a nice touch when other establishments seem to have strict portion control. We were also offered more than one pot of tea, and as much jam and cream for the scones as we liked – it was nice to know that we could really enjoy the food on offer.

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Two types of scone were offered – walnut and fruit – and they were both delicious. the cream was clotted cream and the jam seemed to be freshly home made, offered in both raspberry and strawberry flavours.

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Because it was Wimbledon fortnight, the cakes had a Wimbledon theme. This included a battenburg that was designed to look like a tennis court, strawberry and cream panacotta, a Pimms jelly cup with a green pistachio tennis ball macaron, and a victoria sponge with a chocolate decoration.

Every item served was beautifully presented and tasty with quality ingredients. We were allowed to take our time, and the setting added to the whole experience. Of all the high teas I have tasted this was definitely one of the best and when I am next in Suffolk, I will definitely return.

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This delicious curry is relatively simple to make and is best made fresh – there’s nothing quite like freshly fried katsu chicken. If you want to be healthier, you can cook the chicken in the oven. The sauce comes in ready made roux blocks called Golden Curry and they have different strengths – this makes it really simple, but you can also make your own curry roux, so I am going to include the recipe for that too. To serve 2, one large chicken breast should suffice, but feel free to use as much or as little of the ingredients as you wish – these are the approximate quantities that I use.

Ingredients:

1 large chicken breast
Half an onion, chopped into large pieces
1 medium carrot sliced or large diced
1 medium potato large diced
Half a cup of frozen or fresh peas
Panko breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons of flour (any kind, but I use plain most often – you can also use almond flour)
1 egg, beaten
Half a teaspoon of chilli powder
Golden Curry Roux blocks (approx 20g per serving)
Vegetable oil (enough to fill your frying vessel to a depth of at least 2.5cm)

To make the katsu chicken:
1. Heat the oil in a suitable pan for frying – I tend to use a deep wide pan. It will be ready when you place a wooden spoon in the oil and small bubbles rise quickly from the spoon’s surface.
2. Put the flour, egg and panko breadcrumbs into 3 separate large bowls. Season the flour with salt and pepper, (and chilli powder if you feel so inclined).
3. Trim and wash the chicken breast. Pat dry. Place the chicken breast between two sheets of baking parchment and bash it with a rolling pin until it is flatter and thinner.
4. Cut the chicken into 2 or 4 equal size pieces (depending on how you think it will fit into your pan.
5. Coat the chicken pieces in the flour, shake off the excess, dip in the egg, then coat in panko breadcrumbs, pressing the breadcrumbs onto each piece.
6. Fry the pieces in the oil for approx 10 minutes, depending on size, thickness etc. Check that they are cooked by cutting into a thicker part of the meat and checking for pinkness.
7. When you are happy with the doneness, put them on some kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.
8. You can also cook the chicken in the oven – approx 180 deg C for approx 20-30 minutes – again, check them regularly as the time will depend on the size of the pieces.
9. While the chicken is cooking, put the onion, carrot, potato and peas in a saucepan and cover them with just enough water. Simmer them until they are cooked.
10. Add the curry roux blocks to the vegetables and stir until dissolved. If the sauce is too thick, add some more water and keep stirring.
11. Slice the katsu chicken and serve with the vegetable curry sauce and some boiled rice.

golden curry

If you prefer to make your own curry sauce, do this:

Finely chop or whizz up half an onion, 2 cloves of garlic and a small (half cm) slice of ginger in a food processor. Cook in a little oil until fragrant.
Mix half a tablespoon of your favourite curry powder with one and a half tablespoons of flour. Stir this in and then slowly add equal quantities of vegetable stock and apple juice until it is a nice thick saucy consistency. Stir well to combine. Stir in half a tablespoon of garam masala. Taste to check the flavour.
If you don’t have apple juice you can whizz up a fresh apple and add this instead, but you will need to keep tasting to get the sweet/savoury balance right.
Now when you simmer the vegetables, drain the water off after cooking and add them to the sauce – you get the same result but all totally homemade.

 

 

 

 

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Shepherd’s Pie is one of those lovely warming winter dishes, nice tasty lamb mince with a mashed potato topping, finished off in the oven and served with veggies of your choice.

On the day that I made these 3 batches for the freezer, the supermarket had most of the ingredients I needed in a ‘bargain bucket’, and other than being a little misshapen or ripe, there was nothing wrong with them, hence the large quantities. I’ll give you the recipe here for 500g of mince which will serve at least 5 people and potentially 6 if you pack it with extra veggies. You can make one huge pie or split it into 3 portions as I have done.

Traditionally it does not contain zucchini or swede, but add whatever you like to make your own version.

Ingredients:

500g lamb mince, rinsed. (If it is very fatty you may wish to boil it first for a few minutes to get rid of excess fat then rinse in a sieve with boiling water.)
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 sticks of celery diced
1 dried or fresh chilli (optional)
2 carrots diced
1 small swede peeled and diced (optional)
1 small zucchini/courgette diced (optional)
5 large ripe tomatoes diced (peel them if you feel so inclined)
a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
a lamb stock cube
1 tablespoon of Worcester sauce
Half a tablespoon of Soy sauce
a bunch of chopped chives (optional)
1 tablespoon of mixed herbs (fresh or dried)
2 bay leaves
200g of potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons of butter or spread
a little milk (optional)
40g approx of  grated cheddar cheese (optional)
salt and pepper

1. In a large deep pan, heat approx 3 tablespoons of olive oil and add the lamb mince. Stir fry until it gets some colour and then add the onion, carrots, celery, swede, zucchini and chilli.
2. Fry until they begin to soften. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in some salted water in a large saucepan until they are soft enough to mash (takes about 10 minutes depending on the size of the dice).
3. To the lamb mixture add the tomatoes, fresh and tinned, herbs, Worcester and soy sauces, and crumble the stock cube in to the mixture. Rinse the tomato can with water and add, it if it needs thinning out a little.
4. Cook for approx 20 minutes, and taste. Add salt and pepper as necessary.
5. Drain the potatoes (leave a little water in the pan), return to the pan and mash with the addition of the butter, milk, part of the cheese and some salt and pepper to season.
6. Put the lamb mixture in an ovenproof dish and cover with mash. Top the mash with some cheese (as much or as little as you like).
7. At this point the pie can cool and be frozen for later use. If you are eating it now, pop it into an oven at 170 – 180 deg C for about 15-20 minutes until the cheese browns and bubbles. If reheating from frozen, thaw first (if you have time) for at least 2 hours, then reheat in an oven at 170-180 deg C for about 40 minutes. Cooking directly from frozen works but will take longer and a lower temperature is recommended to heat it through slowly before turning the heat up to 180 for the last 15 minutes.
8. Serve with a side of veggies such as peas, broccoli, spinach.

Optional other ingredients: Mushrooms, Eggplant, Button squash, Tomato paste, Sweet potato mash.
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Viet Lotus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We came to this restaurant on a whim for lunch as we had a craving for vietnamese food. When we arrived it was empty, but soon filled up with diners, and the host was very welcoming. They offer a special midweek lunch deal for $10 – very reasonable.

We chose to share starters of bbq pork on lemongrass.These were delicious, nicely seasoned with herbs and the flavour of the lemongrass came through too. Served with a sweet chilli dip.

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We both chose from the lunch special menu. I had the savoury prawn and pork pancake. This was tasty but didn’t have much pork or prawn in it, mainly beansprouts and vegetables and it was slightly greasy, but I did enjoy it.

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My companion chose the Sliced Beef Noodle Soup which was flavoursome and arrived in a huge bowl. The beef was tender, and the onion, mint and beansprouts gave a nice fresh and bright contrast. However, the broth could have been more intensely flavoured and some fresh cut chilli or chilli in oil would have made a nice accompaniment.

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I would like to try this restaurant for an evening meal. It is certainly a neighbourhood gem and full of potential.

 

Gusto Riverfront Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We came to Gusto because it had been recommended by a taxi driver earlier in the day. We didn’t book, but secured a table fairly quickly. The menu was nice but not particularly inspiring – not one of those menus where you can’t decide because everything sounds amazing.

I hadn’t eaten oysters for a while so I chose half a dozen and my companion chose a smoked trout and potato pancake with beetroot relish, horseradish and dill butter.

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The oysters were beautifully fresh and came with a nice onion and watermelon salsa – they definitely satisfied my oyster craving.

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The pancake was delicious, with a full trout and potato flavour – a very nice dish where the flavours matched well.

For main I chose the salmon with a date and pistachio couscous, rocket and lemon. The fish was high quality, beautifully cooked, and the couscous was a nice amount and full of delicious complementary flavours.

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My companion chose the spatchcock chicken with crispy prosciutto, a broad bean risotto, watercress and parmesan. He thoroughly enjoyed it – again lots of nice well-matched flavours and a well executed dish.

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We enjoyed Gusto and would return, but I would like to see a much more appealing menu. The chef is clearly very talented, but the menu is lacking and maybe it’s the way that it is written or explained. I would also have liked a special option for the main course – a special starter was offered, but not a main. A very nice meal, but an underplayed menu.

Thomas Corner Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We popped in to Thomas Corner Eatery for breakfast on a rainy Noosaville day. We were seated fairly quickly – the restaurant is large and airy with indoor and outdoor tables.

The menu was quite extensive with lots of nice choices. I settled for the locally hot smoked salmon, poached eggs, horseradish, lemon, capers, and watercress. The eggs were perfectly cooked and the salmon was very tasty, but I couldn’t detect the horseradish and I suspect that it was missed. It was still very nice, but I love horseradish, so I was a little disappointed not to taste it.

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My companion chose the Farmer’s Market breakfast. This was attractive to look at and tasty, but he would have preferred traditional pork sausages instead of the Bangalow pork sausage that was provided.

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Thomas Corner Eatery has a nice menu, friendly staff, and uses high quality ingredients. Definitely a nice spot for breakfast.

 

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