Monday, 28 July 2014

Grilling Art

I was driving to my best friends house one night, and stopped in to buy a bottle of red to have with dinner, just off Rode Rd at the border of Chermside and Stafford. As I left the carpark of the BWS I noticed 2 of those big flame heaters out the front of a restaurant. On this chilly winter’s ever, I thought it looked absolutely charming, if not a little out of place in the Northern ‘burbs.

Once I had gotten to my destination, ate dinner and had some wine, I thought I’d look up this charming mystery restaurant I had seen on my journey. I was Grilling Art, and had very good internet reviews/ratings..

Now before I go on, I would like to state, I think the Brisbane burger market is incredibly flooded at the moment, it seems you can’t go more than 2 blocks without passing a trendy burger joint announcing itself as gourmet or otherwise.

For me, a great burger doesn’t take too much: a bun that holds together, juicy, well seasoned meat, a good sauciness ratio, texture differentiation and a great side (chips, onion rings et al.) (See GBK Liverpool post / Paris airport post). Truffled fries, wagyu pattie, lettuce imported from Iceland… none of this is important if those other things are spot on.

So in this Great Burger Flood of 2011 onwards, it would seem, some burger joints are destined to drown.

It was actually the night of my birthday that an imprompu catch up with my brother had lead us to to visit Grilling Art.

For a bitterly cold Wednesday night, it was a pleasant surprise to see a two thirds full restaurant in the 'burbs, we were shown to an indoor booth and given menus. Grilling Art offers beer, wines, spirits and mocktails or BYO.

The menu is expansive, with breakfast lunch and dinner offering, burgers and other mains. We decide to go all-out. My brother is very health conscious, so I always feel blessed when he opts to have a ‘cheat day’ with me.

Bro orders a meal deal that comes with a drink and fries, and chooses the Tokyo Art Burger (meal $15.40), I go for the Art Works Burger by itself ($11.90) and between us we order the half serve of beef ribs ($22.95) which also comes with fries and a serve of the chicken nibbles ($7.50).  To drink I grab a glass of Giesen Sav Blanc ($8.90).

We request everything come out at the same time, and it does.
The burgers are presented beautifully, with their 'hat's a little off to the side. The ribs are a huge glistening rack and the wings are a very good size indeed.

The Tokyo Art: chicken, teriyaki, caramelised onion, cos and aioli.

Bro doesn’t rate his burger as highly as I do, but I sense he is a little underwhelmed with the size. I think for the circa ten dollar mark, they are excellent value.

The Art Works, beef, salad, onion relish, egg, bacon, beetroot, cheese, aioli.
My burger is outstanding, everything I love in a burger. Great amount of sauce (channeling Manu)

Perfect burger ratio.

 Chicken nibbles

The ribs are absolutely sumptuous, so much juicy, slow cooked meat, no taste of fattiness and the marinade is good enough to drink.
Even the fries get a sold 4/5. (Although, like the Great TFP, I also believe meat should not be served on top of fries as it has a steaming effect and makes the fries prematurely sioggy.)

As we eat our meals, the restaurant fills with diners, all seem very happy with their meals.
The staff is chatty and courteous and the d├ęcor is warm and inviting, (and not a plastic crate seat or jam jar glass to be seen *bonus 5 points).

I really enjoyed my visit to the Art of Grilled and look forward to my next visit.

Oh and yes, we ate everything we ordered.

(07) 3359 0003

Monday, 7 July 2014

E'cco Bistro

The second of July was this blogger's birthday, and also the one year anniversary of the Supper Club.

We had decided on E'cco Bistro on Boundary Street in Brisbane, and met just prior to 7 for a pre-dinner drink at the lovely Gresham bar for a Whisky Sour.

As per usual, I had perused the menu before we arrived, and all three of us were so excited to get in and make our choices.

We started by ordering drinks: a half carafe of red for Miss A and Miss C to share and I started with a glass of bubbles. The waitress gave us a selection of breads to choose from.

To start, I could not go past the scallops, pork belly and mushroom in duck consomme ($24.50) . It was all of my favourite things in one dish, and it was incredible. The scallops were fresh and sweet, the pork belly was flavoursome, and the consomme was delicately accentuated with Asian inspired flavours, the ginger was divine.

Miss C also went for this option and Miss A had decided to get the gnocchi with prosciutto and clams ($24.50). The gnocchi was absolutely breath-taking. These two entrees were by far, two of the best I have ever tried.

For main I decided on the slow-cooked wagyu short rib ($42.50) served with pumpkin puree, swiss brown mushroom and chestnuts.

The meat was rich, and cooked to perfection, the puree sweet and all of the extras were delectable. This was a great choice for a mid-winter's eve main. I loved every second of it.

Miss C had the eye-fillet of beef with char-grilled vegetables ($42.50) which looked divine, and Miss C looked and sounded very happy with her choice.

We also ordered a side of greens and a side of chips and aioli ($8.50 each). Miss A and I always get the chips, and it always drives Miss C crazy cause we never get close to finishing them.

What can I say? I am really intrigued with chips. I've had great chips and really bad chips in both greasy spoons and top restaurants, you can just never pick what you are going to get.

In this instance they were seasoned immaculately and perfectly crisp, but I do believe they were from a packet.

Miss A was kind enough to let me try a bit of her lamb- porcini crusted with mushrooms and leeks ($42.50). It was very impressive.

I really believe that E'cco has their winter menu perfected.

With my main I also treated myself to the Bindi premium pinot noir ($25 glass). I really enjoyed its lightness (as I am not much of a red drinker), however Miss C, who only drinks red, didn't rate it at all.

The dessert menu was platinum, and we were all certain that we would be happy with out choices.

Miss C chose the affogato ($17.50):

I got the milk sago with passionfruit sorbet and rum bananas ($16.50). When I used to work in a Leagues club years and years ago, the kitchen used to make sago for the oldies, that's where I first fell in love with it, and have loved it ever since, even making it myself. The texture can turn people off though (fish eyeballs).

I loved everything about this dessert, it was fruity and tropical, not too sweet, I loved the varying textures and flavours.

Miss A loves peanut butter and chocolate and this dessert was obviously made with her in mind. She loved every bite. Chocolate brownie, peanut butter mousse and dark chocolate ice cream ($17.50).

Overall, a very enjoyable night.

The restaurant and service is refined but still has a casual air. The menu had something that each of us truly loved.

Would really like to go back in either spring or summer to try a change in the seasonality of the menu.

A great big thank you to Miss C for taking the photos and thus allowing me to enjoy a few birthday drinks.

E'cco Bistro