Looking For Winter Comfort Food, Head To Vapiano Garden City

I visited Vapiano at Garden City to check out their new Yumderland menu!

Specifically, I was there to try the new hearty pumpkin soup. Everyone knows that Queenslanders can’t handle the cold very well, so it should come as no surprise that we start hunting out our favourite comforting winter foods. Pumpkin soup and pasta are definitely that for me.

I was impressed at how busy Vapiano was for a Sunday evening. The place was packed with groups celebrating at the newest Vapiano restaurant.

Anyway, back to the food! I ordered the pumpkin soup to start, and the Gamberi pasta; prawns, tomatoes, spring onion in their homemade tomato sauce. The soup was creamy in texture (they put the cream on the side for me as I am lactose intolerant) and full of flavour. The croutons were sooo good at the end all soaked in the soup but still slightly crunchy, mmm. I at the entire bowl in about two seconds flat. A bit later my pasta came out (you have to order pasta at Vapiano, it is made fresh on site!), beautifully cooked, a lovely, rich tomato sauce and lots of prawns, al-dente of course. Dave tried a pizza and a mojito and gave rave reviews.

Did you know that you can also buy fresh pasta from Vapiano? I didn’t! I took home two packets and they were amazing! Perfectly fresh and al-dente, highly recommend grabbing a pack or two on your way out the door.

Vapiano Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

*While this dining experience was complimentary, this review is true and authentic.

Magical Salads At Vietnamese Mint Bulimba

I’ve been meaning to visit Vietnamese Mint in Bulimba since it opened. As you should all know by now, I am an absolute pho-fiend and love trying all there is in Brisbane. And around the world for that matter!

Anyway I heard that Vietnamese Mint had created some pretty funky and interesting salads so I went in to check them out. I ordered both (naturally) and a pho (obviously) and was impressed by all three! The Unicorn noodle salad was chicken based with a traditional vietnamese salad mix but with noodles infused with natural food colouring to make them look just like what a Unicorn would delicately eat before prancing about. The Magic noodel salad (my favourite) was a thai beef salad with noodles infused with Butterfly Pea Flower! They were gorgeous and blue. What I loved most about them, was that while they were fun and beautiful, they both still maintained their authentic, fresh salad flavours.

The pho, well damn. Damn delicious. Pho-nomenal. I was a happy little diner there with my three meals. Did I look ridiculous? Slightly. Did I care? No. I was too busy devouring everything and deciding which I would keep for lunches over the coming days. I ended up taking away some pho for breakfast and salad for lunch. Mmmm-mmm.

Oh! And I tried these special new drinks they have too, sparklers. I tried the Butterfly Pea Flower (honestly, why would you chose anything else?) and it was sparkly and sweet and fun.

A fab place to take the kids during the school holidays for a bit of lunch time fun too.

Vietnamese Mint Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rustic Italian At Mariosarti Toowong

Who knew that there was a beautiful rustic Italian Restaurant hidden in Toowong?!

Mariosarti’s is right next to Toowong Village not far from Brisbane city and from the outside looks quite unassuming. Inside, you know you’ve stumbled into somewhere special.

We ordered the scamorza to start – best choice ever! You could smell the wood smoked mozzarella before you see it. The beautiful smokey flavour was just delightful and mouthwatering. The smokiness had permeated throughout the entire cheese. Be sure to pair with the lemon and the salt for that little bit extra.

We tried the Frutti di Mare, Moreton Bay bug sauteed with chilli, garlic and ginger, finished in a light creamy tomato and cognac sauce next. This came out differently to how I expected, served almost as a soup which was perfect for dipping the housemade, crusty bread in.

The Ragu (Rigatoni al Ragù di Agnello) was amazing. A stand out dish. The sauce was incredibly flavoursome. The lamb was soft and delicate, probably because it was cooked for 6-8 hours, then simmered again with root vegetables and then with the wine. I know all that because I was so impressed I made sure to ask why it was so good! The basil made for a beautiful flagrant hint and was the perfect pop of freshness with the rich sauce.

We also tried the veal (Vitello Funghi) which was a lovely, light mushroom sauce with tender meat. I’ve found at other restaurants the sauce can be somewhat overpowering but here it was creamy and flavoursome, nicely contrasted with crispy, fresh greens. It delivered on everything it said.

Finally, (with giant, happy stomachs) we tried the spaghetti con polpette. Black angus Wagyu meatballs filled with smoked white mozzarella, cooked in a Napoli sauce served with truffle infused ricotta and fresh herbs. Yup you read that right! A lovely dish and definitely one of the unique menu items.

Now, the wine list here is very impressive. We went with a lovely bottle of chainti, and I highly recommend asking the staff which wine will go with your meal. The list is extensive and I was more than happy to leave it to Kim (the owner) to make a decision for us.

Hot tip: Make sure you try Mariosarti’s house-made lemonchello! It is made the traditional way and is lovely and light with no preservatives. A very different taste to the commercial versions. It takes six weeks to soak the lemon skins and then it isn’t ready for another six weeks. It’s gooood.

Also, make sure you check out the private dining function room at the back, I was gobsmacked!! It’s like stepping into a room in Vegas. Very impressive and worth a peep!

Mariosarti Ristorante Italiano Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

*While this dining experience was complimentary, this review is true and authentic

Than Nuong – Woolloongabba’s New Vietnamese Restaurant

I LOVE Vietnamese. I’m a pho addict, so no surprises that when I found out Than Nuong Vietnamese restaurant opened up in Woolloongabba right by my work, I quickly locked in a lunch date with my colleagues to check it out.

You can smell the restaurant before you get there, the beautiful charcoal smell wafts around. Than Nuong translates to ‘Charcoal’. There’s a great outdoor area which will be perfect with a beer in Summer for lunch too.

We shared the prawn rice paper rolls and soft shall crab to begin. Both were fantastic. The soft shell crab was complimented by the fresh herbs and vegetables and the rice paper rolls were classic Viet-goodness.

I had food envy over my colleague’s dish, the prawn and papaya salad. It looked phenomenal and she said it tasted amazing. My other colleague loved her chilli, coriander pork pork salad, it looked really fresh.

No surprises for what I ordered, the pho! I love pho! I had the medium size and it was still very generous, particularly with the fresh ingredients to put on top and there was a generous serving of meat too. The broth was lovley, a few hints of spices that were subtly different. The noodles weren’t what I expected, still rice noodles but thick ones. I asked if it was a regional thing but the owner said it was just a preference of his. I quickly forgot about that and it was devoured it!

I’d like to go in for dinner and try something that really showcases the charcoal flavour on the meat, it smells supreme!

While this dining experience was complimentary, this review is true and authentic.

Than Nuong Charcoal Vietnamese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Certainly Curious At Curious Affection, GOMA Brisbane

This is a very different exhibition. Not in a bad way. The title gives away the most; Curious Affection. You become very curious while looking at the different pieces, it’s difficult not to. It’s unlike anything you’ve seen or possibly imagined before. The exhibition is by Patrica Piccinini, and occupies the entire ground floor of GOMA. At first I was quite disturbed almost, I’m not sure that is the right word. Perhaps confused. Eventually a sense of affection develops… its hard to describe but you can imagine the lives of these creatures and the artist has done an incredible job to showcase their feelings with relatable qualities.

The GOMA website describes the artist as ‘Known for her imaginative, yet strangely familiar, lifelike hybrid creatures, Piccinini invites us to think about our place in a world where advances in biotechnology and digital technologies are challenging the boundaries of humanity.’

Although fantasy, the pieces have human and animal-like features blended to create these creatures that people connect to. The scenes are often primal, spruiking raw emotion from the viewer. A mother feeding children, protecting an infant. Often vulnerable.

I can’t describe this exhibition well enough to do justice so instead, I encourage you to go visit. Go with an open mind and be curious.

Curious Affection is on at GOMA until 5th August.

Would love to know what you thought if you have been! Leave a comment below.

P’Nut Street Noodles New Windsor Home

I was invited to the opening of P’Nut Street Noodle’s new store in Windsor (there’s a couple around Brisbane) however I was overseas. They were kind enough to invite me back to try their dishes when I returned and I was intrigued by the story of P’Nut that was on the invite. P’Nut as a young boy of only 6 begun helping his Grandmother in the street stall kitchen in Thailand, developing his love for authentic flavours which he wanted to share in Australia when he eventually moved here many years later. All the sauces are created in Thailand with authentic ingredients so you can be sure you will get that street food taste you know and love.

For starters we shared the mixed entree and the spicy chicken dumplings. The squid was my favourite (hard to beat usually) but the biggest surprise for me was the Tofu! Crunchy shell and especially great with the satay sauce. I may or may not have dipped one in the dumpling sauce too…

Speaking of which, the spicy chicken dumplings weren’t too spicy – don’t be afraid! You guys know how I feel about dumplings.

Next time I visit I will choose the Buddha’s steamed vegetable bowl and the dumplings – I prefer steamed to fried but it’s nice to spice it up every now and then.

I ordered the Pad C U with beef (this dish has been my favourite since my first trip to Thailand around ten years ago) and was impressed by the authenticity of the flavours and textures. Delicious.

The Laksa is next on my hit list.

My favourite part of the evening was chatting to the ever hospitable Gade. Gade (that’s her in the pic of the restaurant by the way) looked after us and afterwards came over and showed pictures of P’Nut and his family. Unfortunately P’Nut had to travel back to Thailand and wasn’t in. I would love to meet him, I bet he tells amazing stories!

Images are a little red due to the giant neon logo glowing above my head!

 

P'Nut Street Noodles Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

*While this dining experience was complimentary, this review is true and authentic. 

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