Sono Japanese Restaurant for Amanda’s 22nd Birthday!

Thanks to Kee Ping for organising the surprise birthday party for Amanda on Saturday, June 16th! We had the private function room at Sono Japanese Restaurant with 17 people altogether.

IMG_4751

The privacy of the room was pretty nice, although I wish the 2 tables weren’t so segregated. Unfortunately, it was impossible to facilitate conversation between both tables at the same time. Service was very friendly, the servers wore lovely Kimino outfits and were very accommodating. Even though we were in a closed room, we weren’t forgotten and constantly checked upon.

IMG_4735

IMG_4736

The food, however, was quite expensive and dishes were hit-or-miss. Some people were quite happy with their dishes but others found theirs lackluster.

Here were a handful of dishes at my table:

Ebi (prawn) Tempura. Delicious, but expensive at $15 for 3 prawns.

IMG_4737

Unagi (eel) Kabayaki ($28) – thick cuts and very flavourful!

IMG_4738

Soft Shell Crab with Shiso Salsa ($15) – Great dish with nice flavour and acidity. A little too much salsa than needed for the burst of flavour so the crab quickly got soft.

IMG_4739

Tenzaru Soba ($19) – This was my dish, which I chose because I had never had cold noodles before and wanted to try something new. The dish was quite bland if not for the tempura and unfortunately, I got really bad food poisoning later that night (the only one in our group who got sick and who had this dish). I’m almost sure it was from the cold noodles itself, probably Bacillus cereus, which is often associated with improperly stored starchy foods (ie. rice, noodles, pasta). Seriously the worst pain of my life, thank god it was over quickly.

IMG_4741

The most interesting, but unfortunately, the most disappointing dish of the night: Seafood Houbayaki ($26). Individually served and cooked at the table, rice is extra.

IMG_4742

Extremely bland! You can even see there seems to be no seasoning involved.

IMG_4743

Moving on to dessert and festivities with the birthday girl! 🙂

Amanda was puzzled, trying to guess who was the person who ordered the chocolate cake decorated with macarons. Turns out it was from her sister back home in Malaysia!

IMG_4747

IMG_4746

Taking pictures!

IMG_4749

Many sweets! Chocolate cake from her sister, cheesecake from her friends and I made some pear cupcakes!

IMG_4753

All smiles! Happy birthday girl!

IMG_4756

IMG_4758

IMG_4760

IMG_4761

IMG_4762

IMG_4763

Great night and got to meet some lovely people! 🙂

Would we come back to Sono? Probably not. Don’t get me wrong. We had a fantastic evening – service was great, with lovely traditional decor and great ambiance. However, most of the group agreed that it was too expensive for less than impressive food. It seemed like half the group really enjoyed their food and the other half (which included the 4 people who ordered the Seafood Houbayaki) simply thought, “Meh.” Also, the food poisoning was unfortunate and extremely unpleasant!

Sono Japanese City on Urbanspoon

Mission Complete: The Bun Mobile

I saw The Bun Mobile being at the top Urbanspoon Brisbane’s ‘Talk of the Town’ list for months and months and thought to myself, “We’ve really got to try this.”

But we could never find the time to go for lunch because we were in clinic/hospital full time (with one failed attempt to go for lunch with a couple of the doctors). Dinner was hard because we often finished late, were tired, and the truck was never parked on our end of town.

But finally… we were on vacation! A glorious week (May 13-17) of no plans except one mission: Locate the Bun Mobile to feast and taste these wonderful buns for ourselves.

When Harry and Christine (finally) came back from their 2 week adventure-vacation-in-the-states-scoping-out-food-trucks, we were already approaching the end of our one week vacation.

But no worries! On Friday, May 17, we traveled 40 minutes to their dinner location: Southside Tea Room at 639 Wynnum Rd in Morningside.

IMG_4600

Dinner service opened at 5:30pm and we arrived at 5:40pm, there were already a couple of people in line. Service was extremely friendly and because we had already scoped out the menu and the daily special,  deciding what to get was easy. One each of the 3 regular buns ($8 each) and one of the special ($10). We held off getting the dessert bun ($10 – fresh banana with caramel sauce and salted peanut praline) because we weren’t sure we’d be able to eat it all.

IMG_4603

As we waited for our buns, the line got longer and longer… so great timing for us!

We didn’t have to wait long and soon our order was called. Oh, the excitement. As the truck is parked on the side of the road, there is no formal seating area for the Bun Mobile customers to sit and eat. Mike and I decided to walk back to a park nearby but after walking a block, we thought, “Screw it, we are going to sit at this bus stop and eat our buns while they’re nice and hot!”

And so, there we were, 2 of us sitting in darkness (wish the sun didn’t go down so early!) sharing 4 savoury buns between us with not a care in the world.

The first thing we noticed, the buns came in sturdy paper containers packed in a brown paper bag. Brownie points for environmental friendliness as everything could go into the recycle bin.

Sorry in advance, but taking pictures of food in the dark with a camera flash is not very flattering for food! The buns were amazeballs though!

The first bun we tried was the daily special: Pork Belly braised in Death Sauce, pickled cucumbers, fresh lettuce & coriander, Taiwanese red sugar & crushed peanuts. Delicious! Our favourite of the night.

IMG_4605

Next was the Twice cooked pork with hoisin sauce, Sakura pickled cucumber and shallot batons. Another winner. The pork was oh so tender!

IMG_4606

IMG_4608_2

Then the Char grilled teriyaki chicken with slaw with julienne carrot and mint, Japanese mayo and hoisin sauce. Loved the slaw! I’m usually not a fan of mint but I couldn’t imagine this bun without it.

IMG_4607_2

IMG_4609

Last, we had the Slow cooked Wagyu beef with butter lettuce, soy pickled shitake mushrooms and red dragon sauce. I have never had pickled shitake mushrooms before, it was quite interesting. Normally they have a very pungent flavour that people either love or hate. Pickling it cut the flavour without eliminating it. Although quite good, this was my least favourite bun of the night because I found it too salty for my tastes.

IMG_4610_2

As we sat there and wolfed all 4 buns down in record time – it’s goes without saying that they were delicious! The buns were actually bigger than we expected and despite being soft, held the filling well and didn’t fall apart. Eating these buns was a lot less messier than we had anticipated! I especially loved the fact that combination of flavours was so familiar to me (Asian/Vietnamese cuisine) but were combined and presented in ways I’d never experienced before.

Best meal we had in a while! Left super pleased with full bellies and already looking forward to the next time we are back!

Dear the Bun Mobile: Could you look into parking close to the RBWH for lunch/dinner occasionally? Pretty please?

The Bun Mobile Food Truck on Urbanspoon

Breakfast at Caffe di Vita

Since being introduced by our friend Fiona last year, di Vita has been one our favourite places, that’s close to home, to have breakfast with friends.

IMG_4598

It was only natural that we suggested to Josiah and Danya that we meet up there for breakfast and to catch up 2 Fridays ago on May 17th.

As Mike and I were walking towards di Vita, we realized it was completely void of patrons. On the other hand, Alcove Deli & Cafe, the establishment across the street that opened since our last visit in Wilston, was buzzing with people.

IMG_4590

I guess it could’ve been a sign, but since we had always been happy with the food and service in the past, we opted to stick to our original plans and stay at di Vita.

IMG_4589

We were soon joined by Jos and Danya and after some catching up, proceeded to place our orders for food and drinks.

The cute couple!

IMG_4593

From observation, there was only one staff member on duty out front and it was clear she had more on her plate than she could handle – especially since a number of additional customers had stopped to dine by this time.

I don’t know if there’s been a change in kitchen staff but the food that eventually came out was a little sub par compared to the number of times we’ve had in the past.

Josiah had French toasted brioche with apple & rhubard compote & an orange & honey yoghurt. I’m pretty sure you don’t need me to comment on this dish. Although it tasted good, it did not look very appetizing!

IMG_4594

Danya had the simple Eggs and bacon with toast. She noted the herbed butter on the toast – unexpected but nice flavour.

IMG_4596

Mike quite enjoyed his Eggs Benedict with ham.

IMG_4591

And I had the wild mushrooms sauteed in butter, thyme & garlic on toasted turkish bread with grilled haloumi, english spinach salad, a rocket & basil pesto & shaved parmesan. Very generous amount of mushrooms and nicely toasted bread but lacking the flavour of thyme and garlic.

IMG_4592

Unfortunately, due to being understaffed, the coffees also took very long to come out… too long. Danya’s coffee actually arrived after she was done her meal.

IMG_4597

It was a good opportunity to catch up with friends and grab a bite, however, I will be slower to suggest di Vita next time. Perhaps we will give Alcove across the street a try – especially when it was so popular, their menu was appealing and their prices cheaper!

Caffe di Vita on Urbanspoon

Beastie Burgers were not too Beastie

March 05, 2013

Two days before our Medicine in Society exam, we joined Nuangi for a long-awaited lunch date. We wanted to meet up in South Bank, and after a quick browse on Urbanspoon, it was decided that we’d try Beastie Burgers.

There was a nice variety of burgers on the menu and being pretty hungry, we were excited to receive our food. In addition to burgers, we also each ordered a side of either handcut chips with aioli and aged balsamic or onion rings with aioli.

Nuangi ordered the “Spice Route” without the bun – flame grilled beef burger with roast sweet potato, haloumi, chili jam, tomato relish & hommus.

IMG_3305

Yoni and I both ordered the “Cicciolina” – flamed grilled beef burger, roast eggplant, capsicum, haloumi, rocket & pesto. You can see why the burger is not “beastie.” It is simply a humongous bun with a normal sized patty, in this case, overcooked and dried out patty. The burger is also not constructed well, with everything haphazardly thrown onto the bun and smeared with a limited amount of sauce. The burger was simply “ok” and unfortunately not memorable in either taste or looks.

IMG_3304

After ordering, Mike was told they didn’t have any avocado (a shame, because it was the start of lunch service) so he had to change his original choice of the American in Noosa to the Swiss Miss – flamed grilled beef burger, lettuce, gherkin, gruyere cheese, tomato relish & homemade mayo.

The boys and their burgers

IMG_3306

Picture with Nuangi!

IMG_3307

The burgers were not impressive in any way, but their potato wedges were absolutely fantastic – best wedges I’ve ever had – for real. I will definitely visit again just to have these! The balsamic vinegar and aioli sauce were great flavours and worked very nice with the hot and super crispy wedges.

IMG_3308

With such few customers at the time we ordered, it took a disproportionate amount of time for our food to come out. Not only did it take long, our food also came out too staggered. We all started eating at different times and Michael was done his burger by the time his onion rings finally came out. With that being said, the server voluntarily took the onion rings off our bill, even though we didn’t voice any complaints. Much appreciated.

IMG_3309

A good time with good company but would we come back again? Maybe, but definitely not for the burgers – for the potato wedges! And perhaps next time we’ll try the milkshakes so many reviewers rave about as well. 🙂

Beastie Burgers on Urbanspoon