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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Spaghetti House Trattoria | 164 Grey Street, SOUTH BRISBANE QLD 4101

People often say to me, you eat out so much. Yes, I do and I have no shame in admitting it. I think of dining out as an experience, a pleasurable memory of which I can hoard and take out of my memory bank one day to savour. I mean, of course sometimes I go out and eat just to fill up an empty tummy, but more often than not it’s about the experience and what I can take from the experience at the end of a meal. When I encounter a good experience, I remember everything from the taste of the food and the decor of the restaurant, to the outfit that I was wearing. One of these experiences was at The Spaghetti House a little over two years ago when I tried some figs wrapped with prosciutto in cheese sauce.

Forget about West End, The Spaghetti House has a new address and it’s located in the trendy, happening dining precinct of South Brisbane. With the new address, comes an appropriate new look for the trattoria. Think warm timber, bright letter marquee lights, crisp white and blue colour scheme, beautiful white flowers and jars of basil and rosemary.

Tuesday night, the sky just got dark and the trattoria was a full house. Sitting at a table in the corner, the other travel bunnie and I shared the figs wrapped in prosciutto with gorgonzola fondue ($17.90). How could I not? That dish is a classic. In fact, it used to be a once off, special of the night sort of dish but it was so delicious, it made onto the menu permanently. It tasted exactly like how I remembered it. The sweetness of the soft figs contrasted against the saltiness of the slightly crispy prosciutto all whilst immersed in the creamy, strongly flavoured Gongonzola fondue. I wiped the rich cheese sauce with the very last bit of my bread and wondered if it was inappropriate to lick the plate in front of my baby son. 

Orecchiette alla Norcina, and Cannelloni con Granchio” said in a thick Italian accent, our waiter, smartly dressed in the uniform designed by local luxury tailor Mark Ferguson of Will Valor, presented our main meals. The dishes, of which the presentation will not leave you in awe, but not that it was meant to. Instead, these hearty, home-styled plates remind you of a smily, apron-wearing Nona who’s spent all afternoon making fresh pasta and cooking you her classic comfort food. The pasta tasted exactly as you would have hoped. Comforting and delicious. My baked sand crab, pomodoro & béchamel cannelloni ($26.90) was saucy and cheesy, it was a dish that kept on giving, and every mouthful was like a pleasant ride to the land of happiness. I thought that it was the perfect winter dish as it made my tummy warm and satisfied. The other travel bunnie also enjoyed his orecchiette with pork & fennel sausage, onion, tomato, wine & cream ($25.90) as he literally finished the dish in under 5 minutes. 

We shared a panna cotta with berry coulis and biscuit crumb ($14.90) before we left. It was a nice touch to end our night, a dessert without too many layers of flavours and textures, much like the mains, rich yet humble. Did I mention that all was enjoyed in a room filled with tiramisu scented candles? I think The Spaghetti House Trattoria is such a wonderful place for any Italian food lovers, and with a fantastic price tag, why wouldn’t you be a regular? 

*Disclaimer: the bunnies were invited guests of The Spaghetti House Trattoria, however my opinion is as always, my own. 

The Spaghetti House on Urbanspoon

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
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