FOOD: PEASANT.

A well-stocked bar? Well, thank-you.

A really long time ago we decided to celebrate my friend’s/friends/friends’ birthdays. Yes, the placement of the apostrophe will remain to be a enigma to my simple brain. I wasn’t created for higher thinking. That’s just the way my mind works. In any case, we wanted to take my good companions out for a nice dinner and after a little poke around the food-o-sphere, I managed to dredge up this little beauty: Peasant. The big thing going for this place is definitely the decor and atmosphere – I have to admit, the food portions are a little on the tiny and pricey side, but the sangria is an overwhelming food experience in itself!

Mini blackboard tapas menu.

The birthday couple, who I like to call joekat. Tee hee.

The rustic and artsy interior is riddled with cute, personal touches.

I’ve recently heard some fairly awful things about the service here, but when we went we encountered an absolutely lovely waitress and waiter combination that were more than eager to explain the items on the menu to us – this was a welcome gift as, let’s face it, we didn’t have much clue as to what was actually on the menu – it being riddled with all sorts of delicious sounding food that we couldn’t even begin to pronounce let alone understand what they actually were. We were tended to quite well – all things considered and were often asked if we were enjoying our meal. I have to admit, this MIGHT of been because we had in tow several large cameras. I may be reflecting a cynical view of things, but I’ve found that if people know you might be doing a review on them, they have a tendency to be a little bit more service-friendly.

Sangria by candlelight.

While were were there, we drank far too much sangria – yes, that’s right, two delicious carafes of the stuff – taking care to try both the white wine and red wine takes on the Spanish classic. The white wine version is deliciously tropical and is laced with so much freshly chopped fruit, it feels much like you’re glugging down an SPC-sponsored version of sangria. The red, on the other hand is heady and full-bodied and left me feeling a little light on my toes (but in a good way, of course). Taking a look at the menu now, I wish I were more immune to being dosed by alcohol – there are some absolutely delicious looking cocktails staring back at me from my my computer monitor, just asking to be drunk down in a heady glee.

MY FAVOURITE: Wagyu sirloin with romanesco sauce and horseradish creme friache.

Quail and broad beans.

Bread with roast garlic.

Spicy clams in manzanilla sherry with garlic migas.

Spanish tomatoes with basil.

Chicken with Spanish roasted potatoes. 
(Special of the day, so it probably had a much classier name that I can’t recall)

Jamon and egg croquettas.

The food portions are not large, I have to admit, and can seem a little pricey – but don’t be put off by this – the price is reflected by the sheer high quality of the meals sent out – I have to say though, if you’re on a budget, it’s probably best to either stay away or only cruise in for the bar and a light snack (the churros here, I’ve heard, are delicious). To be honest, the main rave items seem to be those on the lunch time tapas menu (only available Fridays and Sundays) – which was a little saddening. We finished the night comfortably full after an entree, four tapas dishes and two sharing plates, with just enough space left for dessert.

The busy kitchen.

The Barracks.
PS. Happy Birthday Joekat! We love you dearly!

Peasant on Urbanspoon

  • Address: 61 Petrie Terrace, Paddington, QLD 4000.
    Open: Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 9pm. Saturday: 11am – 9pm. Sunday: 12pm – 9pm.
    Phone: (07) 3367 8066
    Price: Tapas: $6 – $26. Shared Plates: $25 – $32. Desserts: $12 – $22.

FOOD: HARAJUKU GYOZA.


Super adorable gyoza mascot.

After seeing Instagram picture after Instagram picture of this locale and being taunted by delicious-looking pictures of juicy, grilled up parcels of meat and pastry, my friend Jasper and I finally caved in to our cravings and tried this little gyoza nook, fittingly called Harajuku Gyoza. Situated in Fortitude Valley, Harajuku Gyoza is a restaurant bar born of an obsession for gyoza (Japanese dumplings) and beer. All of this, quite frankly, is quite fine by me as I host the same longings and find both of these items on my Insatiable Need list.

Hai! and Yum! lampshades.

Harajuku Gyoza’s walls are decorated flamboyantly with a massive selection of printed plates (on which you are also served) and are splattered with a gleeful combination of wood, neon lights and lashings of red – all of which will hype you up for the oncoming food assault.

The menu has a nice, however conservative, selection of gyoza. I have to admit, I was actually expecting more flamboyant variations from the norm – on the upside you can choose whether or not to have your gyoza grilled or poached. They were very fresh and clearly prepared on site. If you get a bar seat, you can peer into their grilling and poaching kitchen while you munch – and you can literally eye off your serving staff. The menu is also peppered with a happy selection of side dishes (including my ultimate favourite: edamame) and other popular favourites (noted as “Izakaya Dishes”) like agedashi tofu and chicken karage.

A packed Harajuku Gyoza.

Most notably on the menu is the special dessert gyoza: the mystical apple gyoza with ice-cream. One can only imagine what that would taste like. Unfortunately, you may have to keep on imagining – as by the time Jasper and I competed our meals (including a mini-tankard of Kirin each), we were both absolutely stuffed and could not bear to jam any more food into our maws in fear of stomach explosions.

Grilled pork gyoza – $8

Edemame deliciousness – $4

Agedashi tofu – $7

The pricing is extremely conservative for the Valley area, with 5 delicious gyoza setting you back a nifty $8, side dishes under $5 and izakaya dishes all priced under $11. Drinks are a little on the pricey side, but the pricing is still considered reasonable as the majority of the beers are imported. If you’re planning to choose a beer, go for the Kirin which is on tap, and it’ll arrive in the most adorable little tankard with the happy gyoza mascot imprinted on it in frosted glass. If you’re feeling the need to draw attention to yourself, order yourself some sake – and you’ll receive a serving from a bottle half the height of the girl pouring it and an enthusiastic and genuine cheer of approval.

Kirin (on tap) – $8

Spotted a Rilakkuma-clad plate.

As Brisbanites love a new eatery, I firmly support going for a late lunch or as a casual snack as a tester – no one wants to wait an hour to eat. It’s still steaming with its New Eatery Sheen and doesn’t take bookings so make sure you’ve got your Patience Boots on, or don’t bother (or try The Brunswick Social instead). Also, the added little perk to Harajuku Gyoza? Yes, that’s right, they have a classic high-tech japanese-style loo. Feel the Japanese-ness. Even on the seat of your bottom.

Best perk – a high-tech toilet.

Harajuku Gyoza

07 3852 4624

394 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley
Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006
Open 7 days midday to midnight for lunch and dinner.
No bookings.

Harajuku Gyoza on Urbanspoon

BEIJING, DAY ONE: BEDRAGGLED.


I’m thinking it’s about time I started posting about my trip to Beijing. Or posting. Anything at all – since I’ve neglected my little blog for a while now. I know, I’m ashamed. Let’s move on. Anyhow, the trip on the plane(s) to Beijing weren’t half bad – I survived. The on board movies didn’t suck and there were enough episodes of House (the greater part season seven) to keep me more than occupied. I also had my PSP and iPod in tow, so I was pretty much set for the entire trip. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of our trip from Beijing Airport to our actual hotel. Not that the hotel was particularly difficult to locate – rather, my dear father decided to take a coach to a bus station and then WALK TO THE HOTEL.

NEVER DO THIS.

After my horrid experience with the coach system in Taiwan, I staunchly disagreed with my father’s cheap-skate idea – and made it clear that I thought he was being ridiculous and that we should take a taxi. He disagreed. We were packed on to a coach bus. We ended up in a random parking lot, an hour and a half later, no idea where we were and with no one to give us directions. We then found out that the hotel was FIVE KILOMETRES AWAY. With luggage, that’s no easy haul.

AND THEN WE COULDN’T GET A TAXI.

And do you know why? They all claimed that the distance was too close and that it was “worth their time”. It was sweltering hot, the pollution was suffocating and we were lugging suitcases. I wasn’t in a particularly forgiving mood and was shooting daggers at my dad.If looks could impale, the man would of been a shish kabob.

After about an hour of wheedling in the sun we managed to snag a benevolent cabbie and rolled into our hotel. I breathed a sigh of relief and also a gust of relatively cold air – our hotel was a bedecked space of ming vases, huge murals and mind-blowing chandeliers. Thank God.

For the first three days of our stay, we were at the Capital Hotel – a few blocks down from Tiananmen Square – it wasn’t a particularly new establishment and was a little dodgy in terms of upkeep – but clean, and that’s all you really need when you just want to crash like a tonne of bricks. And crash we did – after having hot hot hot showers, we all slept like babies.

Our flight came in at 10AM Beijing time.

We didn’t get to the hotel until 3 PM.

After that kerfuffle and finally awakening from our slumber to the grumbling of our stomachs, we decided to trek out to find some dinner – and after a little bumbling about – poking squid legs and Crossing The Road (definitely deserves caps) we found a nice place that served pretty much everything with lamb. Funnily enough, we’re not lamb eaters – they also had chicken. Lots of delicious chicken. In our enthusiasm to get delicious food in our bellies, we thanked our servers profusely, so much so that the cook came out to see how our meals were going. Our meals were going awesome, kthnx very much, moar please.

At about 7PM we were all stuffed and exhausted, so we trundled back to our hotel, picked up few necessities at a flickering, fluorescent lit convenience store and then passed out like beached whales on a sandy shore.

Parents in the moonlight.

MORAL OF THIS STORY: CATCH A DAMN TAXI.

FOOD: DANDELION & DRIFTWOOD

While driving down leafy Gerler Road, an unexpected treasure pops up at you and that unexpected treasure is the adorable shop-front that is Dandelion and Driftwood. Known as “tea and coffee crafters”, this little store certainly upholds its amazing reputation as a great place to catch up over delicious specialty coffee and tea – and as a lover of both of these beverages, and at the suggestion of my beloved friend Jasper, we headed out with my sister in tow to experience this café first-hand.

After a suitable amount of time spent coo-ing over the shabby-chic décor, attention to detail with the furnishings and menus, the intimidating array of menu-items, coffee and tea choices and unashamedly adoring the friendly staff-member’s uniforms, we finally settled down to coffees:

JAYNE – KENYA GETHUMBWINI ESTATE.
JASPER – DANDELION BLEND.
FIONA – TANZANIA BLACK BURN ESTATE.

The overall decision was that the Kenyan was the ultimate winner, mainly because it was mine, and damn, I love my coffee.

And of course, as our bellies were a-rumblin’, we decided to joyfully brunch on a selection of delicious toasted sandwiches and an exquisite zucchini fritata. The fritata arrived with a field’s worth of rocket and was so delicious, I had to keep my eyes adverted from Jasper’s plate, otherwise I would of consumed the lot. By the way, the meals are also very comically named and are just as fun to order as they are to eat.

After stuffing our faces joyfully with these savoury delights, I decided I had better try one of their freshly baked red velvet cupcakes that I had admired the day before on their Facebook page, Jasper decided to give their chocolate fudge a run for its money and we were both very happy with what arrived on our plates. The chunk of chocolatey fudge was served with a dollop of thick cream that melded ridiculously well with the sweet and creamy flavours of cocoa.

Served by staff dressed in jaunty bow-ties on crisp white shirts, we admired their wide-welcoming smiles and their willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty to help out their customers. Shortly after we entered this domain of driftwood, Ikea-chic and splashes of feminine gingham, the tiny store was assaulted by an onslaught of cheery customers, looking for a delicious brunch to fill their stomachs. Clearly, the café is as much a local favourite as it is a Brisbane institution in the coffee industry, boasting four single origin choices at any one time and enthusiastically informing their customers on specific bean types and their flavours – in fact, so dedicated they are to providing coffee-information, that each cup is served with an informative card packed with information about the creamy bean deliciously presented in your cup.

This café is also known in Brisbane for it’s undying focus upon filtered coffee and it’s impressive equipment: notably La Marzocco, Mazzer, Über Boiler, Syphon and Trifecta (all of which, I had to information stalk, because I was far to eager to consume food to have much of a snoop-about). An added bonus is the vintage coffee-cart that sits just outside the store, under it’s broad awnings – so even if you don’t have enough time to indulge in a full-coffee-assault, you can still get your caffeine hit in a jiffy.

As the first café on Beanhunter to reach 100 reviews, I have to say that this café is a must-visit if you’re a coffee-fan/coffee-nerd/drink coffee. It’s cute. It’s chic. It’ll make you want to go home and refurb your living room and most importantly, it’s a great cuppa and feed at a reasonable price.

Price: Under $15 per main.

Operating Hours:
Monday-Saturday: 8am – 4pm.
Sunday: 8am – 2pm.
Public Holidays – CLOSED.

Address etc:
Phone – 07 3868 4559
Shop 1, 45 Gerler Rd
Hendra Qld 4011

what_the@dandeliondriftwood.com
www.dandeliondriftwood.com

Dandelion & Driftwood on Urbanspoon

WE LIKE IT; JAMES STREET NIGHTS.

Sister + balloons.

I love taking time out and walking around the city – which I think everyone has established as being my all-time favourite pastime. It’s even better when you get to do it while in the company of your sister – which is exactly what I did after her working one day. Meeting my sister after work can swing towards being arduous and time-staking, and I waited for a good while until she was finished – but given that we both work in unpredictable fields, I wasn’t at all miffed – however, I had taken to waiting in the Women’s Hospital even though my sister was working the in the Children’s. Now, this doesn’t seem to be incredibly ground-breaking news to the uninitiated – but to those in the know, the Royal Brisbane Hospital is about as easy to navigate as Melbourne’s backstreets under a thick curtain of fog with extra whiskey in your system. In no way is the hospital friendly to those without an iota of spatial awareness. With this is mind, I made the weary trek to the Children’s Hospital, packed down like a Sherpa.

10 Minutes, 3 lifts, 1 wrong turn, 2 overpasses and 1 kilometer later.

Once in the presence of my sister (and her car), we made our way out to James Street. To say that we are unfamiliar with the area is a gratuitous understatement. We really didn’t know where we were, but hell’s bells, we were going to find something delicious to consume. But before stuffing ourselves, we stalked out a handful of shop windows. The James Street area has a few qualities that are unique to it – located about 2 kilometers north-east of the Brisbane GPO, the James Street Precinct is stuck in the heart of the “Urban Renewal precinct” of Fortitude Valley. In other words, a previously (and still quite) shady district trying it’s best to be upper class. Which means – DESIGNER WARES AND CLASSY-DRESSED FOLK X STREET ART.
Continue reading

FOOD: PURPLE GORILLA.

On the weekend, my dear boyo and I decided to try out Purple Gorilla – and were further encouraged by the fact that we had scored a sweet LivingSocial coupon and a previous fervent recommendation. Keeping this in mind, we bravely set out for an early lunch on Saturday morning – and were well-rewarded. Purple Gorilla, although sounding much more like an exotic zoo for individuals on far too much Happy Drug, stands by its name by presenting a hugely-purple and enthusiastic façade – you can’t miss it and it practically screams: HERE BE SOMETHING YOU MUST TRY. Facing Stanley Street and just opposite the Gabba, this little burger joint is usually visited by the occupants of Gabba Central and from the surrounding office buildings. Oh yes, and hungry pre-game and post-game punters.

After quickly perusing the burger menu, we decided on the classics – a Purple Gorilla Burger and the PG Ultimate Beef & Cheese – both of which were fresh and succulent. The salad mix in my Purple Gorilla Burger was crisp and crunchy – and it had just enough pickle in it to give it a zing. The relish was full of creamy onion and the beetroot salsa accentuated the moist prime beef pattie. The PG Ultimate Beef & Cheese really lives up to it’s name by slamming you in the face with a full-on assault of meaty goodness – the patties are so juicy and thick and are separated by crispy bacon and cheese.

PURPLE GORILLA BURGER ($12.50): Prime beef pattie, bacon, Mamma's relish, tasty cheese, tomato, beetroot salsa, dill pickle, sala mix and aioli.

PG ULTIMATE BEEF & CHEESE ($15): Two prime beef patties, two rashers of bacon, two slices of cheese, the Gorilla's own BBQ sauce, dill pickle and aioli.

These burgers came along with a regular serving of special PG Potato Planks – in other words, beer battered potato chips sprinkled in rosemary infused seasoning. These chips were delightfully crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside – and after scoffing down most of our burgers, we couldn’t finish this small serving between us. Our Potato Planks also came with a choice of sauce – and we bravely chose the chilli apply chutney – a chunky sauce with a slightly spicy tang and strangely enough, you can actually taste a bit of the apple in it.

"MADGUNS": Extra hot habanero chilli sauce.

Part of the LivingSocial deal was also the choice of one bottle of PG sauce to take home – and we decided upon the “Madguns” chilli sauce. This sauce really isn’t for the faint hearted – after smearing only a tiny amount on a Potato Plank, it literally caused my boyfriend to cough violently and gulp down Coke at a rate seen only in manly Solo advertisements. After viewing this course of events, I humbly wussed-out and decided to stick to the chilli apple chutney.

This burger joint boasts are few fantastically alternative flavours, including a Bush Tucker Roo burger (bush spiced kangaroo meat and spicy cranberry sauce) and lamb-inspired Kiwi Love Interest (which includes babaganoush and feta cheese). There are also two vegetarian options and a selection of burgers can be made gluten-free (+$1) and low carb upon request – the menu isn’t the largest I’ve seen, but there are enough choices up to suit most tastes.  With external seating and sparse internal seating, the site is small to say the least – and if seated outside, you may well be blasted by the sounds of passing heavy traffic – and when we visited; we had the unfortunate task of having to eat with the sun in our faces – and yes, we were indoors. This meant, unfortunately, that I had to eat whilst wearing sunglasses and developed an unseemly headache. Pro Tip: Install blinds. Despite this, with burgers prices between $12.50 and $15.00, Purple Gorilla supplies the burgeoning burger fanatic population of Brisbane with fantastic and specialized burgers at a reasonable price.

Purple Gorilla

(13) 0046 7455

Gabba Central, Cnr Ipswich Rd & Stanley St,
Woollongabba
Brisbane Qld,

Purple Gorilla on Urbanspoon

ICE SKATING; A LESSON IN TRAGEDY.

It should be no surprise to anyone to know that I am completely bullocks at propelling myself across the ice. Knowing this, one would be even more surprised to find out that I openly decided to expose myself to ridicule and partake in the Brisbane Winter Festival merriment just a few short days ago. Taking advantage of a splendid Spreets deal, the boyo and I managed to score a double pass, including two glasses of mulled Glühwein wine and souvenir mugs for the crisp price of $33.

Now, as noted before, I’ve never been fantastic at keeping my balance. I have problems walking straight on solid ground, let alone making a merciless waddle across an icy surface – and what made it ten times more nerve-wracking was the onslaught of curious onlookers – the wise children who had decided to brave-out the cold not on the ice, but in the Lipton Chai Latte Lodge sipping free cups of warmth. Smug bastards. Also, this whole shindig takes place in King George Square – and thus people WILL GAWK AT YOU. This may inspire you to greater heights of ice-carving/showing-off/narcism. In my case, I awkwardly waved at onlookers and then shakily lurched towards the hand rail – hey, someone has to be on the end of the bell curve!

My boyfriend, in stark contrast to me, is very good at ice-skating and other activities that involve balancing and/or co-ordination – so while I slowly inched my way around the rink, he gallantly guided me around, skated backwards, weaved around in circles and took pictures of my general mortification. At one point, while chatting to his mother he managed to send his dear iPhone skidding across the ice. Smooth.

Here’s an interesting segue – HOW ARE THERE SO MANY PEOPLE IN BRISBANE THAT KNOW HOW TO ICE SKATE? I mean, seriously, ice is not a naturally occurring natural phenomenon in our state, so why are there so many people who can skate with grace and much in the way of skill and agility? I imagine these people are swirling around us less-fortunate with self-indulgent smirks on their silly faces. Gyeh.*

After flopping (me) around on the ice (I got off easy, one very diligent and determined young woman managed to fall over at least 13 times – of which we managed to glimpse) – we (me) wobbled over to grab a hot drink and bratwurst. Already warm from our escapades** we were soaking in steaminess while nursing our glasses of Glühwein. In the end, we had to tip out some of each mug (one can not simply wander out of the area with an alcoholic beverage in tow) – but look at the adorable design imprinted on our mugs! I was hoping for one of each (the other depicted a snow-flake emblazoned with a semi-sexual reference to general warmth) but the Saint Bernard on our take-homes was cute enough to keep me entertained for hours.

Pichlers Tiroler Glühwein: A traditional European winter feast isn’t complete without a warm mug of Glühwein, (spiced, mulled wine, pronounced “glooh-vine”). Our friends at Pichlers Tiroler Glühwein are joining the festival feast, bringing their traditional Glühwein recipe, brew bags and syrups to the Winter Festival for you to enjoy and even take home! Pichler brew their delicious mulled wine with specially selected spices and syrups, keeping to the traditional recipes loved by Europeans for generations. Take in the taste of the Alps by a roaring fire and celebrate winter in authentic European style.

We also managed to pick up a smoked bratwurst to share. Not knocking the great work of the German Sausage Hut, but my preference for German meat-product-filled-intestines lies with the smoky bratwurst that we managed to score (I’ve managed to forget the name, but it’s the same one that sets up at the Wednesday City Farmer’s Market in Reddacliff Place) – and it’s because I don’t particularly like sauerkraut – give me caramelised onions any day. Also, don’t be stingy with the German mustard and tomato sauce.

All in all, the experience was a heck of a lot of fun – despite my lack of skill on the ice. I can imagine that during the peak period (5.30 PM onwards/weekends) the ice would be packed to the gills – so Brisbanites, if you can snag a day off and launch yourself onto the ice during the middle of the day, I firmly support this – you will most likely have it all to yourself. YOU COULD BE THE KING (OR QUEEN) OF THE ICE. Well, at least until the 26th of June, in any case.

PRICING: ( 45 minute skating session )

$20 for adults
$15 for kids
– additional $7 for skate hire
– additional $5 for Winter Festival Bobby

BOOK YOURSELF IN FOR A SESSION, YO.

* I wish I knew how to ice-skate. /EMO.
** Me concentrating on not falling over. Him, concentrating on laughing at my efforts to not fall over.