Amazing New Menu at Lady Marmalade Cafe Stones Corner

Lady Marmalade Cafe had sneak peeks of their new menu on Instagram… I immediately made note to go in and visit!

Here’s the strange thing, I had never been before. My work is just around the corner from Lady Marmalade Cafe in Stones corner (I’m in the Gabba) and yet I hadn’t visited – mind blowing as it is now my new fave and local!

When I arrived I met Sonja who owns the cafe with her partner Howard and their passion and excitement for the cafe and the food is absolutely infectious. Sonja told us the story of how they found their new Chef and I love it too much not to share. So they found themselves in a position where they needed a new head Chef and Howard asked Sonja if she could choose any Chef, who would be be? Well the answer was Victor from Sirromet who previously owned the cafe they used to dine regularly at when they married. Two days later, Victor applied. Needless to say he took the job and now has full control of the menu and is creating beautiful, fresh and creative options with premium ingredients.

How do I know they’re premium? Well I ate there for starters but you’ll remember by adoration of Casa Motta and Alessandro who taught us how to make mozarella a few months ago. Alessandro makes the burrata for the parma at the cafe fresh each day. A-mazing.

Lady Marmalade is bigger than I expected. Heaps of space inside and out. The place was pumping for a Saturday late lunch at 1.45pm – goes to show it’s good. As does the chorus of ‘yummm’, and ‘this is amazing’ from all the diners.

Our juices arrived, with recycled bamboo straws. Adorable and deliciously refreshing and zesty. Also, love the glassware from the lady marmalade French era that the cafe has taken its style influence from. I want some for home.

Back to the food. The Burrata was sooo incredibly fresh. Delicate and subtle and just divine with the truffle honey and prosciutto. Great quality ingredients. Refreshing salad mm. Highly recommend.

The porcini gnocchi is amazing. I didn’t realise that the gnocchi itself would have the procini in it which was a lovely surprise and unique flavour. The crunch from the chestnuts and sage leaves was perfect and the sauce was delicate and pumpkin-y.

Sooo I was full. And so was Dave. But that apple pie french toast was calling our name for desert so it took little convincing for us to give in. Once you pour on the sweet, sweet salted caramel sauce, inside is the amazing stewed apples and oh my life! Just give it a go yourself.

This was one of my favourite reviews so far. I loved the passion on Sonja, the energy of the cafe and obviously the food was incredible. You have to try the new menu! I will be back for both breakfast (served all day) and lunch items. The coconut creamed rice, ricotta buttermilk pancakes, local cuttlefish and seared scallops are calling my name!

Let me know your faves when you head in to Lady Marmalade Cafe.

Lady Marmalade Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

*While this dining experience was complimentary, this blog is true and authentic. I just love the place and can’t wait to go back and try the rest of their menu. 

G&T Eggs Bene At Todd & Pup Moorooka

Anyone else fancy starting their day with a perfectly poached and stunning G&T eggs benedict? I thought so. All of you.

Well I started with just that today at Todd & Pup in Moorooka. And a fresh green juice to go alongside it. Perfect.

More about this G&T eggs bene you ask? Well, there was a very generous helping of gin cured salmon (amazing), with poached eggs, cumber, lime hollandaise, rye and finger limes. It’s even gluten free! And the finger limes are oh-so-pretty. A perfect contrast against the cucumber. The plate looks just stunning too. Perfectly insta-worthy.

You know how sometimes, hollandaise can be really rich, creamy and overwhelming? Well this wasn’t like that. It was lovely and fresh and there wasn’t too much of it.

Do yourself a favour and try some of the salmon on it’s own with just the cucumber and the hollandaise. Seriously a delicious bite. I was very impressed. A breakfast twist on an absolute classic drink that I would never have dreamed up.

I have to admit, I very nearly overlooked this for the special: fried chicken benedict with buttermilk fried chicken, smoked bacon, spinach and chill hollandaise on brioche…. you see my calamity?!

The exciting part is that pups are of course welcome. There’s a big outdoor section where they can all socialise and there’s special treats in store for them.

I grabbed a take-away almond chai latte as I ran out the door too – I was in a great mood when I arrived at work!

 

Todd & Pup Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

*While this dining experience was complimentary, this review is true and authentic. Seriously – G&T eggs bene!!

Banter Bar Kangaroo Point – Fresh Fish & Chips

A new-ish edition to Kangaroo Point, Banter Bar has been on my list to visit for some time.

The restaurant itself is a converted Queenslander, well fitted out with a beach-side, simplistic feel to the interior. The bar is a bit more funky with a giant neon sign and there’s plenty of tables around.

I ordered the special of the day, the Red Emperor and chose for it to be crumbed with a Greek side salad. I didn’t drink (I know you’re all shocked – ha) BUT they have a big selection at the bar and even nice champagne by the half and full bottle (hello Louis Roederer!) would go down well with some of their fresh oysters if you ask me.

Our meals came out quickly and looked as good as they tasted. Crunchy chips, fresh Greek salad and a herb crumbed, generous piece of fish. Delightful!

I’ll definitely go back soon, especially now I have oysters and champagne on my mind. They have a take away menu too, would be lovely to grab some and watch the sunset on the Kangaroo Point Cliffs.

You’ll find Banter Bar right off Main Street, next to The Pineapple Hotel and there’s parking out the back.

PS. I’ve been back since and the beer battered fish is just as delish!!

 

Banter Bar & Seafood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Best Pre-Theatre Dining In Brisbane? Bacchus South Bank

Bacchus was the Roman god of agriculture, wine and fertility. It’s a fitting name for this Brisbane restaurant, let me tell you why…

I was lucky to snatch tickets to opening night of Aladdin and wanted to show my friend, Benny some of the beautiful food Brisbane has to offer.

Enter the Bacchus pre-theatre menu. Limited choice (seriously, if you need me at the theatre by 7.30pm, I CANNOT have the full range of options!), and still I had issues deciding which to go for. Bacchus is in South Bank too, right across from QPAC thankfully, otherwise we would probably have been late.

Of course I went right into questioning Andrew, the phenomenal Bacchus Sommelier about his wine list. Andrew said that while there were LOTS of suggestions for what to put on the extensive list, he listened to no one. He created the list himself five years ago and nobody else has touched it since. I could happily waste a month of Sundays coming to visit just to taste the wines!

It was a hot day so we thought we would start with a white wine. Andrew picked the Woodlands chardonnay. I am one of those weird people that enjoys very oaked and smoky wines and this one matched my tastes.

The warm bread arrived, made in house. Superb.

The amuse-bouche followed. A spinach and tapioca-chip ricotta with blue tea foam – the sweet baby blue is naturally coloured. Next to that was the deep-fried pecorino croquette with mortadella mousse – delicious and full of flavour. The oysters were quite a surprise, filled with an oyster sponge, carrot and ginger puree and puffed quinoa. They were light and filled with flavour. What a way to set the stage for a meal!

For our entrees, we shared the beef tartare and the squid ink and kingfish gnocchi. The beef tartare (O’Connor eye fillet), with hand cut mustard seeds, crostini and topped with a quail egg was just a taste of the quality of what we were in for next.

The winning dish for me was the squid ink and kingfish gnocchi. First of all, it looks gorgeous. Stark black poufs on the plate with vibrant orange dollops and green dressing. When I learnt how it was created, I was even more impressed. There is no flour and no potato in the gnocchi. And that gorgeous dollop of sauce is tomato purée, sitting on cannellini puree and sprinkled with tomato dust. Mussels and Stradbroke Island cuttlefish give the dish some more texture, a bit of crunch. The tomato puree is a perfect twist, a pop of acidic flavour. Nicely done Chef Speroni.

When I praised the entrees, the waitress probably summed it up best when she said, ‘the tasting menu is the best, they don’t want to offer any half way dishes.’

Cue the apple and rosemary granita for a palette cleanser.

While I have dined at Bacchus Brisbane a number of times (it’s a favourite), it was my friend’s first visit to the restaurant. He reminded me just how spectacular the design is. Stunning rich brown leathers and mahogany wood with warm lighting makes for quite an opulent feel. It oozes quality. You quickly realise the staff and the food are of that exceptional quality too, you know you are being well taken care of and in great hands.

We went with white wines to match our mains, the kingfish and the herb risotto. A Murdoch Hill chardonnay and a Dog Point Marlborough – perfectly matched by Andrew.

The herb risotto with fennel, chevre and blood orange dust was delicious. It’s one of those comforting meals you have to purposefully consider making each mouthful last longer.

The corn really bought the kingfish dish together, with the textures changing each bite of the succulent fish. Marinated corn, dehydrated corn, popcorn – all subtle taste changes and textures for each mouthful.

Had I have had the time I would have also chosen a dessert but Aladdin was calling. Or rather, Genie was getting ready to hypnotise the crowd with his captivating eyebrows.

With the pre-theatre menu you can choose an entrée or a dessert and a main with a wine. Phenomenal value at $69 and the quality and taste is up with the very best to try in Brisbane. They have packages for overnight stays too – I wish I had considered that earlier.

While we were dining I also took the opportunity to try the house red. I was so impressed that I asked the Sommelier to come back and explain why it was so impressive. He explained that he felt there was no need for house wine to be sh*t. After travelling around Europe and experiencing the house wines there for many years, he felt it was important to bring something like that to Bacchus. And the result? A wine so good the wine house even put their brand on it! A Bacchus Shiraz, from the Barossa Valley made by Kaesler. Give it a try next time you’re there and let me know if you agree on the taste and the quality.

PS. Bacchus is the Queensland home of Dom Perignon, the champagne is offered by the glass! For this champagne and wine fiend, Bacchus is a VERY happy place to visit.

I hope to try one of their degustation menus one day too.

**While this dining experience was complimentary, this review is completely authentic and true. I have dined at Bacchus many times over the years and will continue to do so.

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

Authentic Ramen Right In The Gold Coast!

Guys! I found true, authentic Japanese ramen on the Gold Coast! Yasssssss!

‘Irasshaimase!’ Although food is usually my first note, when you enter Ramen Danbo, there is a distinct atmosphere and energy. The staff are all ready and excited and happy to see you.

Your first mission, and I call it a mission for a reason, is to choose your ramen. Now, if you’re like me, this is a massive mission because I want to try every flavour!! I am always torn between a traditional tonkontsu and trying something a little different. Kim and I eventually decided on sharing our ramen (because we are greedy and wanted to try both) and a side of bite-sized gyoza each (see greedy, above) and a Kirin beer. Can’t beat a Kirin on a hot day and the Gold Coast was certainly turning it on!

What’s a little different here was that you were able to customise your ramen right down to the your noodle firmness, the richness of the soup and the spiciness. And of course there’s the extra sides but you can choose extra house braised pork belly (chashuu-men) or rekka ramen option which loosely translates as inferno – yummm. We were given a heads up by the team that the best way (how the Japanese do it) is firm noodles, a lot of richness and as much spice as you like, however a little, is more advised than none. We stuck by this advice and it definitely paid off.

We chose a booth to sit in but I would go for the bar next time, I enjoy watching the Chef’s do their thing. Kim’s choice was the nitamago ramen which is the classic ramen but with the rekka option and extra “nitamago” or soft boiled eggs. I chose the negi-goma ramen  with freshly sliced spring onions and toasted sesame (apparently a Japanese favourite) with the rekka option and nitamago soft boiled eggs as an addition. I love those eggs – ramen just isn’t the same without it.

The ramen came out first – they were quick! We tried each other’s and decided we preferred our own (that worked out well) but agreed they were both delicious. Mine was slightly more spicy and rich than Kim’s, absolutely delicious. The difference is the ramen is truely authentic. Imported Japanese ingredients and all. Some of the staff have even come from the Ramen Danbo group in Japan! No wonder it’s so good.

Gyoza followed quickly afterwards, they’re special ‘Hakata’ gyoza, big enough to devour in just one bite! Hand made, delightful little parcels of happiness! If you read my blog, you know my obsession with anything from the dumpling family. These little babies are flavoursome and even more so when you add the green paste to them that comes on the side! It’s made up of Japanese lime, green chilli and pepper. You eat it the same way you would wasabi, either mixed in with the gyoza sauce or dabbed on before you dip. It’s quite a unique flavour and I bet you will wish all places served it up after you’ve tried it.

The restaurant in Southport was pumping. There were lots of customers coming through and many were Japanese (always a good sign). Although, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Ramen Danbo is such a success if you know the history. The original Ramen Danbo opened its doors in 2000 with a simple mission – to deliver a tonkotsu ramen with top quality and flavour, with strict consistency. After placing number one in a TV poll of the top ramen shops in Fukuoka, the brand expanded quickly all through Japan. We are pretty lucky to have it right here on the Gold Coast!!

If you’re from Brisbane and a fan of Taro’s ramen, this is a must try. I will be there again soon to try the classic tonkontsu option! And the gyoza… rude not to.

Ramen Danbo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

**Although this meal was complimentary, this review is authentic and true. I can’t wait to go back and eat more – I will try the classic next time. Plus it’s a great excuse to hit the beach too!

Charley Noble Wellington – Delicious Dining in the Capital

If you’re looking to enjoy world-class dining with quality New Zealand produce while you’re in the Land of the Long White Cloud, then you’re in luck. Charley Noble in Wellington has long held a reputation for being one of the best restaurants around and if my dining experience was anything to go by, it certainly holds up to its name.

We chose to sit at the bar for lunch for a bit more of an entertaining experience, watching the chefs expertly prepare the meals. I would absolutely chose to sit there again, I may have even picked up a few new chopping techniques!

We explored the menu and soon called over Justyna to help us choose – everything looked good. She pointed out a few items (some I would never have chosen without her suggestions) and we put together a few complimentary plates.

To start, we ordered the market ceviche, venison carpaccio and the pig’s tail salad. Yes, you read that correctly, the pig’s tail salad! Right there is one of the menu items I would have never chosen without Justyna’s influence. It is not what you would expect, well it wasn’t what I expected! Mandarin provided a perfect burst of sweetness contrasting the texture and taste of the crunchy pig’s tail (almost like crackling) and slightly acidic dressing. I highly recommend giving it a try.

The market fish ceviche was beautiful and light, with a lovely orange flavouring and delicious sweet and spicy candied chillies! The candies chillies were a first for me and I was both surprised and delighted with their flavour and texture – slightly crunchy, still with a nice chilli bite but also sweet from the sugar.

The venison carpaccio was a classic dish, well delivered. Quality, fresh local produce. The meat literally melts in your mouth. Must try.

The Charley Noble somelier, Jordan, was very knowledgeable and personable – my favourite! He perfectly matched my wine (Colere Pinot Gris – Pinot Blanc from Marlborough) with my entrees so that it didn’t clash with the candied chilli in the ceviche. The wine was lovely and oak-y, aged four years. Beautiful pairing to bring out the flavours.

For my main wine pairing I sampled two reds, ultimately going with a Waipara Pinot Noir from Greystone. Jordan said that particular wine is very popular, he can pair it with almost anything.

Again, Justyna was called in to help us chose our mains. We went with the super juicy and flavoursome house made pork sausages with had some wonderfully charred radiccio and pears to accompany them. The meat is sourced from the Wellington region and always free range. We couldn’t go past the risotto with zucchini, pecorino, house pesto and smoked baby tomato. Full of flavours and still quite light. Finally, we chose a side of eggplant, zucchini, parmesan and mozzarella bake, which as you can imagine was cheesy greatness.

On my next trip to Charley Noble I’d like to try their fish of the day. When I visited, snapper was sitting pretty on ice, sustainably caught, in the restaurant within a few hours. Actually, my list to try next time is quite large. There is the fire grilled cauliflower steak (looked amazing), anything from the woodfired rotisserie (dinner only) and their steaks are legendary. Can you see why I had so much trouble choosing what to eat?!

You’d think I would have no room left, but I couldn’t miss out on dessert! To sample some of everything I went with the petit fours. I loved the fluffy marshmallow with raspberry. The yoghurt panna cotta with crunchy ginger snap and caramelised pineapple was absolutely suburb, but the winner for me was the peanut butter and chocolate bar. I washed these down with a Passage Rock late harvest Cabernet from Waiheke. It was silkier than a port but still sweet in flavour, without being overbearing.

Amazing food, knowledgeable staff, lunch with a show, fantastic local wines, I was in a happy place.

Side note – I also wish I had tried the house made pasta. I was daydreaming watching the Chef making the pasta, when a waiter came over and asked me if I was done. I was so mesmerised that I nearly jumped out of my chair! The poor guy got such a surprise. Ha!

Charley Noble Eatery & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

*While this dining experience was complimentary, this review is true and authentic. I will be back at Charley Noble on every trip to Wellington that I have an opportunity. And I’m starting with the pasta!

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