NZ & Australian East Coast Travel Guide - Flights, Hotels, Tours & Tips

During my trip visiting New Zealand and the east coast of Melbourne, I thought I’d share some reviews & info of who I flew with, where I stayed, how I travelled to & from the airport, tours or attractions I attended, and maybe some tips or good shopping spots (for guys not that . . . → Read More: NZ & Australian East Coast Travel Guide – Flights, Hotels, Tours & Tips

QLD, Brisbane - Pancake Manor

Pancake Manor - Regular Stack with Cream & Ice Cream

Pancake Manor doesn’t just serve pancakes. The Charlotte Street venue is open 24 hours so they serve all kinds of meals and they’re available anytime. I ordered the regular stack and received 3 much larger than the picture in the menu pancakes that were soft, fluffy and light. They were really tasty and went extremely well with maple syrup, cream which is rich, and ice cream. Delicious. . . . → Read More: QLD, Brisbane – Pancake Manor

Qld, Brisbane - Red & White Peruvian Restaurant - 2 May 2014

Red & White Peruvian - Tasting Peru

Take a relaxing walk from the CBD to Southbank and you will find Red and White Peruvian Restaurant, the only Peruvian restaurant in Brisbane. I had the tasting plate to start where there are smaller versions of 4 dishes from the entree menu. This gave variety and different flavours. I really liked the 2 ceviche dishes which were very different from each other, the octopus in a mushroom like olive sauce, and the milder potato and tuna dish which was a welcome relief to the stronger flavours of the other dishes. The Peruvian chilli is unique, not initially pungent, but providing some real burn that keeps building in the background. I had a Peruvian herbal drink, emoliente, which was interesting and quite tasty, providing relief to the chilli. It’s quite a filling drink too. For mains I really enjoyed the paella. Lots of seafood and I loved the succulent prawns and scallop. The white wine flavour provides a richness to the flavoursome paella. An absolute steal at just $22. I had an excellent experience and loved the food, but was really disappointed to walk away without dessert as I was too full. . . . → Read More: Qld, Brisbane – Red & White Peruvian Restaurant – 2 May 2014

Qld, Brisbane CBD - Saj & Grill - 2 May 2014

It’s always wonderful to discover something new and different and while this may seem like any other Lebanese joint where you pick up a wrap and off you go, this is certainly not the case. The Saj is a traditional Lebanese bread cooked on a clay dome oven and the taste is just delicious. Nothing like the normal pita breads you get at the shops or eateries like this, but something completely different. It’s really tasty, light, and flavoursome. The filling was also delicious. Warm gooey melted cheese, tender chicken pieces with ample garlic flavour, succulent mushrooms, soft olives, and a moist delicious garlic sauce. I really enjoyed this meal for a late breakfast. Fantastic. . . . → Read More: Qld, Brisbane CBD – Saj & Grill – 2 May 2014

QLD, Brisbane - Embassy Bar

Embassy - BBQ Smoked Pork Ribs

Based on the comments from Urbanspoon, a visit to Embassy Bar is a good choice if you want some true American fare. The much talked about ribs is what I ordered but I found them really underwhelming. A lot of gristle and inedible stuff on the ribs, while the pork meat didn’t come off the bone easily. The marinade on the ribs was pretty good but it needs to increase it’s intensity in flavour. The cornbread is delicious, a lovely corn flavour with just that hint of sweetness. The green beans were a little crispy for my liking and would have preferred further cooking. It’s good value at $20 considering the serving, but an improvement on the cooking and cut of ribs would make this dish fantastic. . . . → Read More: QLD, Brisbane – Embassy Bar

QLD, Brisbane - Aria Brisbane

Aria - Chocolate Centred Cherry Souffle & Coconut Ice Cream

For $72, a meal at Aria delivers lovely views of the river and represents excellent value when you receive 3 carefully crafted courses in a smart, sunlight filled environment with professional service. I liked the entree of kangaroo but felt it was overpowered by the acidity of the vinaigrette. Further there could have been a greater serving of kangaroo and if it were cut thickly one could get the rich flavour, allowing the other elements to come into play. The succulent coffee infused chunk of brisket with bits of fat was delicious, though needed far more jus to add additional flavour to counteract the meatiness of the beef and richness of the puree. It becomes a little one dimensional and may be better enjoyed with a side or the complimentary bread. The cherry and coconut soufflé was superb, especially with that tease of chocolate at the bottom. Please, some more chocolate! Paired with a light coconut flavoured creamy ice cream, this was a fantastic dish to finish. If the entree and mains were at the same tastalicious level the dessert deliver, this would have been a knock out meal. . . . → Read More: QLD, Brisbane – Aria Brisbane

NSW, Sydney - Est

Est - Goat's Feta Panna Cotta

The service element in this fine dining restaurant is once again highly professional. I particularly appreciated the service provided by one of the men who was professional but still friendly. Sometimes service can become very stilted. The whole dining experience at Est was excellent, as was the high quality food served. I find the style of cooking is to use quality ingredients, not do too much to them, and use other elements to provide the flavour, thereby keeping the integrity of the proteins intact. The first course of goat’s curd panna cotta was absolutely outstanding and the highlight of the meal. Unfortunately, while the following dishes were delicious, they didn’t meet the same standard set by this fabulous dish. The silky smooth panna cotta had a lovely creamy texture, a slight richness, but was counteracted by the vinaigrette and Jamon. The Moreton Bay bug and other seafood elements were cooked perfectly and the butter sauce provided the flavour with the peas providing a freshness. The Murray cod was super tender and the ginger vinaigrette provided a lovely Asian inspired flavour to the dish. I also loved the complimentary half bowl of shoestring fries which were crisp, golden brown, and moorish, perfect. The slow poached quince was another dish with beautiful presentation, however, the differing types of sweetness from several elements and the richness of the vanilla cream, overpowered the dish and threw the flavour balance out. A few slight tweaks and this dish can be excellent. I had a really lovely dining experience and am very full. . . . → Read More: NSW, Sydney – Est

NSW, Sydney - The Lobo Plantation

Lobo Plantation - Pulled Pork Tamales

Plenty of people started filling in to the bar which is always a good sign. I was only after a simple dinner and the bar food menu fitted the bill. The golden puff pastry was delicious and the mince filling was good too with the lovely dipping sauce. The tamales are really soft, a nice mixture of soft pulled pork, polenta, and corn, but not too rich. The tomato salsa on top provides a nice tartness to the dish. They’ve certainly created an environment fitting with the name of the bar. Nice atmosphere. . . . → Read More: NSW, Sydney – The Lobo Plantation

NSW, Sydney - Quay

Quay - Custard Apple Snow Egg

It’s been a privilege to travel around and visit some fine restaurants. I was keen to see what Peter Gilmore’s creations at Quay would be like. The service is highly professional and the quality of the dishes are perfectly executed. The location and view of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, plus the river views are amazing. However, on reflection of the whole meal, I expected more. The XO sea was a lovely dish creating excellent flavours and the perfectly cooked delicate seafood was special. The tender just pink poached duck with crunchy leaves and the green salad was very enjoyable. Though neither dish really wowed. What did wow was the dessert. I can see why the snow egg is a signature dish and this truly is a special creation. A dessert with several layers and components that compliment each other perfectly, I loved the refreshing granita, the meringue, the custard apple flavoured ice cream, the custard apple flesh, and especially the last layer on the very bottom – the vanilla custard. This dish is to die for and blew me away. It would be hard to get the other courses to match the impact this dish has but if the other dishes could rise a few notches it would make the dining experience all that more satisfying. . . . → Read More: NSW, Sydney – Quay

NSW, Sydney - Mamak

Mamak - Roti Canai

A visit to Mamak and eating this authentic Malaysian food reminds me of my travels in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The dishes are simple and the menu slightly limited. But it’s better to offer a limited selection and do them extremely well than to offer lots and have a few star dishes. The curry and soft puffed roti and really delicious. It’s a simple meal that people are flocking here for. The curry has a lovely flavour and tearing the roti into pieces to sop up the curry is yum. I liked the Satay sticks with a slight grilled flavour and a different kind of sweet peanut sauce. To finish, the ais kacang which was one of the first desserts I had in Malaysia was delicious. It’s a cheap dinner with variety and EFTPOS facilities are available too. . . . → Read More: NSW, Sydney – Mamak