• Even though I didn't quite get the breakfast I wanted, we certainly got a very positive service experience from The Burrow  and I really hope to go back to have those Wookie Waffles.

    Not quite the breakfast I wanted at the Burrow, West End

    Even though I didn’t quite get the breakfast I wanted, we certainly got a very positive service experience from The Burrow and I really hope to go back to have those Wookie Waffles.

  • That walk took us up Brunswick Street and into Anise, a tiny restaurant squished between Gertie’s and Majo’s. Anise has been around a long time and has built a solid reputation for intimate fine dining. Save one small table right by the door, everyone else gets to sit up at the black bar.

    Anise

    That walk took us up Brunswick Street and into Anise, a tiny restaurant squished between Gertie’s and Majo’s. Anise has been around a long time and has built a solid reputation for intimate fine dining. Save one small table right by the door, everyone else gets to sit up at the black bar.

  • PUK Espresso was an unexpected find - I had just attended The Art of Fermentation with Sandor Katz session at Kangaroo Point and was on my way home via the Cityhopper when I stumbled upon this little off-the-beaten-track establishment.

    PUK Espresso

    PUK Espresso was an unexpected find – I had just attended The Art of Fermentation with Sandor Katz session at Kangaroo Point and was on my way home via the Cityhopper when I stumbled upon this little off-the-beaten-track establishment.

  • It's been too long since we dug down for yum cha and the ones we usually hit up were either too far or it would be too difficult to find parking. Talk about being lazy. Then we remembered that Bamboo Basket had just opened an outlet at Portside in Hamilton, a much more reasonable drive with better chances of scoring a park than its South Brisbane location.

    Bamboo Basket Portside

    It’s been too long since we dug down for yum cha and the ones we usually hit up were either too far or it would be too difficult to find parking. Talk about being lazy. Then we remembered that Bamboo Basket had just opened an outlet at Portside in Hamilton, a much more reasonable drive with better chances of scoring a park than its South Brisbane location.

  • For those of you on the north side, you're lucky - you now have the Phoenix Bar at the Bracken Ridge Tavern. It opened last year after extensive renovations and the White family have done a great job in bringing a little bit of the city to the north side.

    Phoenix Bar at Braken Ridge Tavern

    For those of you on the north side, you’re lucky – you now have the Phoenix Bar at the Bracken Ridge Tavern. It opened last year after extensive renovations and the White family have done a great job in bringing a little bit of the city to the north side.

  • So what better way to appreciate the gift than to use it at every opportunity? Here is no. 18 Bake an apple pie on my list ticked off, with the recipe for this pie. Thanks again for the adorable pie bird, Quizas!

    As simple as apple pie

    So what better way to appreciate the gift than to use it at every opportunity? Here is no. 18 Bake an apple pie on my list ticked off, with the recipe for this pie. Thanks again for the adorable pie bird, Quizas!

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Not quite the breakfast I wanted at the Burrow, West End

The last time I had visited The Burrow was after the Yelp and Giddyup photography walk late last year, but the SO and I had last been to the cafe together 2 years ago and there was no doubt plenty must’ve have changed.

Why had we waited so long to drop in again? In all honesty, it’s the parking situation. That end of West End is simply shocking for finding a park and we often drive off in frustration at having waited ages for something to free up.

Turns out the trick is to have a very early breakfast. We rocked up, had a breeze of a park and walked in to a relatively calm The Burrow. But alas, the perfect breakfast was not to be.

Breakfast at the Burrow

“Off with your Head!”. AUD$22

The “Off with your Head!” was the mother of all breakfasts. No guesses for which of us ordered it. This death by breakfast plate had black forest bacon, free range organic eggs your way (scrambled in this case), malt bread toast, ranchero beans, roast mushrooms, morcilla and potato hash with a Red Queens Virgin Mary shooter. This would be your hangover friend.

I however wanted the Wookie Waffles – the Han Solo version, which has black forest bacon and maple syrup. But several minutes after taking our order, our waitress returned to say the chef was cursing up a storm, because the batch of batter he had prepared the night before had gone missing. They had turned the kitchen and fridge upside down and inside out to no avail. No waffle batter, so she had to ask if there was anything else I would like.

Terribly disappointed (I really REALLY wanted waffles), I ordered a much more mundane The Bacon Enter instead

Breakfast at the Burrow

The Bacon Enter. AUD$14

Then halfway through my meal, the waitress slid up next to me and rather sheepishly said they had found the waffle batter. Someone had taken it upstairs and stored in a different fridge – something so out of norm, the chef was still super annoyed. She very kindly offered to doggie-bag my Bacon Eater, not charge us for it and the chef would cook up the Wookie Waffles for me. It was an extremely kind offer, but seeing as I was already halfway through my breakfast, I was sure I wouldn’t be able to finish a serve of the waffles, so declined.

So even though I didn’t quite get the breakfast I wanted, we certainly got a very positive service experience from The Burrow  and I really hope to go back to have those Wookie Waffles.

 

The Burrow on Urbanspoon

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Anise

Normally when I come home from work, I head straight in the kitchen to start cooking dinner. On this particular day, I was so tired and emotionally drained from the long day, I went into our bedroom to flop on the bed and stare at the ceiling. The SO (who has a sixth sense about these things) came over to lie down beside me and after several moments, dragged me out the door to go on a walk and to find some dinner.

That walk took us up Brunswick Street and into Anise, a tiny restaurant squished between Gertie’s and Majo’s. Anise has been around a long time and has built a solid reputation for intimate fine dining. Save one small table right by the door, everyone else gets to sit up at the black bar.

Anise

Punters get plenty of attention from the wait staff, who run up and down the length of the bar to deliver the extensive selection of wines they have available. And don’t be shy to ask for wine pairing recommendations if you’re a wine n00b (like me).

Anise - Kingfish cerviche, pineapple, radish. AUD$20

Kingfish cerviche, pineapple, radish. AUD$20

I knew I had to have the kingfish cerviche. Every other experience I’ve had with cerviches has been stunning – the backbone of a brilliant cerviche is the seafood’s freshness and I really wanted to see how Anise would deliver – I was not disappointed. The black slate plate was the perfect backdrop for the bright colourful garden bursting with a slight citrus tang that didn’t hide the fresh taste of the sea from the plump kingfish and crisp veg. If this came as a main, I would’ve demanded for it on the spot.

Anise - Kangaroo fillet, pommes dauphin, aubergine relish. AUD$35

Kangaroo fillet, pommes dauphin, aubergine relish. AUD$35

Anise - Greens, almonds, herb butter. AUD$10

Greens, almonds, herb butter. AUD$10

Anise - Pork shoulder pave, porcini & prune, fennel, truffled polenta. AUD$32

Pork shoulder pave, porcini & prune, fennel, truffled polenta. AUD$32

When it came to the mains, the SO and I chose quite differently – he went with the kangaroo fillet, while I was drawn to the pork shoulder pave. And to break up the meatiness, we ordered a side of greens with almondsAnise again delivered a beautiful dish of perfectly cooked kangaroo – juicy and full of promisingly game flavour. No wonder they served it alongside a very spiced aubergine relish.

While the pork shoulder pave I was served couldn’t be faulted – it fell apart with barely a touch and the truffled polenta was embarrassingly creamy, I thought the kangaroo fillet was the better dish.

The SO and I however agreed the side of greens was the best we’ve ever had. Normally, greens are hardly impressive – they serve to compliment the main, not out trump them. But Anise hadn’t simply given a cursory hand to their greens – the bowl was filled with warm purple kale, beans and broccolini, amply dressed in well-seasoned herbed butter and  generously topped with crunchy almonds.

Anise - Flourless chocolate cake with berry coulis. AUD$15

Flourless chocolate cake with berry coulis. AUD$15

Dessert was something we ordered on a whim, but no regrets! Anise‘s flourless cake was moist and slightly bitter from the rich dark chocolate. Unlike many flourless cakes we’ve tried in the past, I was surprised that I could detect the mild nuttiness – an unexpected joy I was glad we had to finish the meal and head home on a fine note.

 

Anise on Urbanspoon

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PUK Espresso

PUK Espresso was an unexpected find – I had just attended The Art of Fermentation with Sandor Katz session (organised by Milkwood Permaculture) over at Kangaroo Point and was on my way home via the Cityhopper when I stumbled upon this little off-the-beaten-track establishment.

Puk Espresso

Puk Espresso

PUK Espresso was a quaint and quiet little spot to stop and even though my first choice of an early lunch wasn’t available, the staff were friendly enough to recommend a couple of options. Beverage prices were also quite reasonable, considering this is inner city.

Puk Espresso

Chai latte

Puk Espresso

Avocado toast with chutney

Puk Espresso

But while I found the chutney a little watery, at least my avocado on toast came pre-seasoned. Thumbs up!

 

Puk Espresso on Urbanspoon

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Bamboo Basket Portside

It’s been too long since we dug down for yum cha and the ones we usually hit up were either too far or it would be too difficult to find parking. Talk about being lazy. Then we remembered that Bamboo Basket had just opened an outlet at Portside in Hamilton, a much more reasonable drive with better chances of scoring a park than its Southbank location.

Turned out we were right – we arrived at 11am to a relatively empty underground carpark and had our pick of spots. Bamboo Basket Portside opened at 11am, so with no one else to contend with, we surveyed the menu at our leisure and picked a couple of classics to gauge if this Portside outlet has the same standard as their Southbank store.

Bamboo Basket Portside

Bamboo Basket Portside

Bamboo Basket Portside

Yum cha at Bamboo Basket Portside is off the menu, not the more traditional push cart. But that doesn’t mean the food was any less piping hot, fresh out of the steamer or fryer. Portions were as generous and we were definitely not left wanting.

Bamboo Basket Portside - Salt & pepper calamari. AUD$7.90

Salt & pepper calamari. AUD$7.90

Bamboo Basket Portside - Prawn dumplings (har gao). AUD$5.90

Prawn dumplings (har gao). AUD$5.90

Bamboo Basket Portside - Pork and prawn siew mai. AUD$5.90

Pork and prawn siew mai. AUD$5.90

Bamboo Basket Portside - Scallop and prawn dumplings. AUD$7.90

Scallop and prawn dumplings. AUD$7.90

Bamboo Basket Portside - Steamed pork dumplings with soup filling (xiao long bao). AUD$7.90

Steamed pork dumplings with soup filling (xiao long bao). AUD$7.90

Bamboo Basket Portside - Steamed BBQ pork buns (char siew bao). AUD$4.80

Steamed BBQ pork buns (char siew bao). AUD$4.80

Bamboo Basket Portside - Egg and chive flatbread. AUD$12.90

Egg and chive flatbread. AUD$12.90

The prawn dumplings (har gao), steamed pork dumplings with soup filling (xiao long bao) and scallop and prawn dumplings had rather thick skins, though not to the point of being sticky and chewy. If you’re a yum cha connoisseur, you may find this unacceptable and prefer more soup in your xiao long bao, but it’s still a pass for the layman overall.

My favourite has to go to the steamed BBQ pork buns (char siew bao). The buns were light, fluffy and slightly sweet, but they kept the filling less fatty and sweet than commercial bulk prepared char siew baos. I could actually chew on meat in these guys.

I’d argue yum cha should be delicate and fit in one bite (and be easily picked up with chopsticks), but Bamboo Basket Portside portions leaned more towards two bites and it was better to stab the siew mai than have them escape across the table due to inadequate chopstick skills. So be wary of popping anything into your mouth straight away, lest you burn yourself.

 

Bamboo Basket on Urbanspoon

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The Garden Share Collective: And the Heavens opened

This is what my balcony garden has looked like the last couple of weeks.

Garden Share Collective

What a mess! Summer down under is harsh and there was a lot of brown going on. And the balcony garden has been in desperate need of a massive clean up. It took me awhile to pull everything out and mix up some worm castings into the pot mix, and sweep up the balcony in preparation for autumn and new plantings.

And good thing I did! Brisbane has had a glorious bout of rain the last week of March and everything has been springing up.

Garden Share Collective

Radishes

Garden Share Collective

Tomatoes

Garden Share Collective

Mint

Garden Share Collective

Garden Share CollectiveThe tatsoi has been loving the rain in particular. Just look at how plump those leaves are! I’ve already harvested one round of leaves for salad and it tasted divine.

Garden Share CollectiveWe also welcomed some basil plants to the balcony garden family. They are starting to turn woody at the bottom, so I’ve tried to keep up the watering and being ruthless with trimming its leaves back as much as possible (pesto, anyone?). Let’s see if I can keep these alive.

Garden Share CollectiveThe yellow cherry tomato plant has surprisingly lived and is enroute to producing its 2nd harvest. It’s not as bountiful as its first, but I’m not going to complain.

Some months ago, I had forgotten about a sweet potato in the bottom of our pantry and it decided to explode in growth, so I buried it into a gunny sack of soil. It grew into a bit of a vine and I didn’t mind it too much. But it has now died back, so I pulled its corpse out to repurpose the sack and look what I found. Garden Share Collective

Garden Share CollectiveThree baby sweet potatoes, which are probably too small to be worth while eating on their own. But hey, considering I didn’t expect anything since it hadn’t flowered or anything, this find isn’t bad.

Garden Share Collective

Unfortunately my last chilli has now given up its ghost. *sigh*

 

TheGardenShareCollective150pixThis blogpost is part of the Garden Share Collective, a group of bloggers who share their vegetable patches, container gardens and the herbs they grow on their window sills.

Got a balcony or small space garden and care to share its progress? Join us at the Garden Share Collective.

 

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