Thursday, 29 May 2014

Boston Coffee House and Warehouse Grill

To Whom It May Concern,

I have never been overly drawn towards the 'Americana' food phase that seems to be all the rage at the moment. You know what I'm talking about, big cheesy burgers, hot dogs, chili fries... all of that Man Vs Food type stuff.

Don't get me wrong, Man Vs Food makes me drool (as much for Mr Richman, as much as the trillion calorie meals he presents), but maybe it's just been a lack of availability til recently, or a fear of turning into a giant fatty.

because I can.

My two dinner pals, however, have visited the USA several times, and LIVE for its indigenous cuisine.

I was around at Mr D and Ms S's house playing with their new puppy, Ghost, when we tried to decide what to have for dinner.

The Sunshine Coast has had an explosion of new cafe's, bars and restaurants in the last 12 months, it's really been quite extraordinary. One of them is the Boston Coffee House located in the quiet and relitively new residential area of Brightwater. Whispers of their burger menu had made it's way to our ears and one of those whispers contained talk of the Fenwick Park, aka the burger served on a glazed donut.

We made our way out to Brightwater. The Boston Coffee house would have been quite missable had we not known it was beside the Aldi, so we parked the car and went to see if it was in fact open.

Located in Brightwater, about a 5 minute drive south-west of Mooloolaba

By day, the aptly named Boston Coffee House serves (oddly) coffee, breakfasts, lunches, and sweets. The waitress informs me that by night, the coffee house becomes the Warehouse Grill, and has been doing so for about 5 weeks.

We are informed that we may grab a table and a menu and order when ready. We take a table inside and make our way through the expansive menu.

This excerpt is just the beef burgers. Also available is chicken, pork and lamb burgers.

I decide that I simply MUST try the donut burger aka the Fenwick Park. Mr D opts for the Bullpen, and Ms S the Breaking Ball.

For sides we decide on the Frickles (Deep fried pickles), onion rings and fries.

Ms S decides to get a vanilla milkshake, while Mr D and I take advantage of the BYO option and pick up some Blue Moon beers from the bottleshop next door.

We make our way up to the counter where we wait behind 2 other patrons.

The patrons in front of us wait about 2 minutes before being served, and then Ms S and I get served about 5 minutes after waiting at the counter.

I didn't like this, but it is forgivable. The cafe wasn't busy.

Ms S's milkshake arrives in a timely fashion and looks absoutely adorable in a olde style glass milk bottle.

Before too long we are greeted with our dinners.

My Fenwick Park:
Let me say...

I would so let myself gain 100kgs if it meant I could eat these everyday. It not only lived up to my Adam Richman created dreams but surpased it many times over.

I had an idea that the sweet and salty/savoury would work well, but it's so much more than that. The spongy, squishy texture of the donuts against the meats, and the crystally, syruppy glaze versus the slowly meating cheese... Oh it's almost too much.

Mr D's Bullpen:

 This burger was an absolute stonker, two massive patties, cheese and onion rings. It really was quite a sight. D complimented the use of turkish bread as a bun, however, there was no "hot flowing cheese centre", as advertised on the menu.

The sides were a real highlight. They were out of frickles, which literally broke our hearts, so we replaced that segment with hot wings.

But the chips were perfectly seasoned and were cooked as well as any chip I have ever had.

The onion rings also had the perfect crunch when you bit into them, beautifully sweet onion inside and not a sign of greasiness.

The hot wings (with chili sauce) were beautifully cooked, flavoured and with a nice strong hit of heat. Aioli was kindly provided as a side which came in handy when that heat kicked in.

Ms S's Breaking Ball
Ms S asked for this burger with no onion and with sauce on the side. It did come with onions, and the sauce didn't come til requested, it also came with bacon on it, which wasn't on the menu and was not requested.

The meat did have a lovely bourbon flavour, but I thought they might have gone a little heavy handed on the peppers, lovely flavours but we all decided after tasting that this burger needed something creamy on it.

Apart from a few forgivable faux pas, I would really recommend a visit here to try to burgers. I will certainly be coming back to try the Home Plate, with pastrami, saurkraut and swiss cheese on a beef pattie and of course for another Fenwick Park and more onion rings. And to hopefully try some frickles.

The cafe itself has a really lovely atmosphere, and plenty of outdoor tables as well.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Wasabi Noosa

Last night, Miss M and myself finally got to Wasabi at Noosa Sound. We had been planning this date for months on end, but illness, conflicting engagements among other things had stopped us. But this Wednesday night, we made it.

I had wanted to eat at this restaurant for quite a while now, it's accolades alone start my salivary glands off.

Awarded Two Hats and Regional Restaurant of the Year – 2013
(One of only five restaurants in the state to hold a two hat ranking)
Restaurant Guide 2013 – One Star
Queensland (Regional) – Top 10 list
Australia (Japanese) – #2
Australia (Top 100) – #95

So along we went.

The interior of the restaurant is faultless and pure class the whole way. Clean off white walls with tasteful artwork, crisp linen tablecloths, and Sinatra softly on the speakers.

We announce our arrival and are shown to our table.

I start with a Shio Martini, and Miss M a Sav Blanc.

Cocktail Menu

We took time to study the menu, but both had it in mind that we would be having the chef selction.

I think the thing that separates a good restaurant from an amazing restaurant, is the 'nothing is to much trouble' ethic. And our incredible waitress, as well as the kitchen staff certainly made us feel as if nothing was too much trouble at all.

Miss M announced her dietary requirements, and the staff were more than happy to make sure these were addressed.

We decide on the 5 course option, and happily accept some edamame while we wait to begin.

Our amuse bouche is a ginger and daicon soup. It is warm, savoury and tangy. And certainly excites the taste buds.

Our next step on our culinary journey is for myself Eel, and for Miss M mushroom with a sticky glase served with refreshing cucumber on a base of the most unusually textured glass-type noodle I have ever tried. This was an exceptional course. I love eel at the best of times, but this eel was outstanding. Miss M commented that she thought it was lovely, that even though she had an altered menu, the 2 plates still looked identical.

Following this we have a tuna tartare served on sticky rice. Apart from being presented beautifully in earthern pots, the drama comes as our gorgeous waitress grates fresh wasabi root at the table.

The tuna itself is divine, as fresh, natural and exquisite as any I have tried, and pared with the sticky fragrant rice is delicious, but we discover the dish only comes alive with the addition of the heady wasabi.

Course three is the aesthetically pleasing tempura shoot stuffed with whitefish served with salad of candied and fresh radish.

At first bite, this dish seemed okay, the tempura was light and crisp, the flavours balanced. But as I went back for my second bite I was blown away by the subtle complexity of the harmony of the flavours within. And then I got sad, because it was all gone.

For my second drink of the night I choose the other Martini from the menu, the Umetini. (You may be noticing a pattern here. I really enjoy Martinis at the moment).

For out second to last course is the most interesting of the courses, however did the least for me. The highlight of course is the 2 hour slow cooked egg which forms the sauce that binds the dish togther, however, it was all just a little too breakfasty for me.

Don't get me wrong, I most certainly did get excited breaking through the egg revealing the beautiful runny yolk inside, and the textures together were stunning. But not my favourite.

But the moment we had been waiting for... the Wagyu.

Presented rare and only slightly seasoned to keep it's most natural form, it not only lived up to, but surpassed that thing that every red-meat lover craves. I don't know what the word for it is, but when you get the most beautiful piece of perfectly cooked steak and your eyes kind of roll back into your head a little... it's that thing.

We finish up with a palate cleansing mandarine sorbet with berry jelly on crumble, which is refreshing and beautfully tangy.

The high quality of service, beautiful locally sought produce, the sheer class has certainly placed Wasabi in the top shelf of restaurants I have dined in.

I must mention that I foolishly did not take notes from the nightly chefs menu, so some of the descriptions may seem a little vague, and I apologise.

I would also like to state that I hope these photos are slightly better than the last post. I dispise using flash inside restaurants and really apprecite when my co-diners have the patience for me to take my time with my photos, it's still really hard in a dark restaurant though.

Thank you again, Wasabi for a spectacular evening, and Miss M, for dining with me, and driving.


Wednesday – Sunday
Dinner from 5pm
Friday & Sunday
Lunch from 12 noon
Wednesday – Sunday
5pm – Close
Holiday season trading times may differ.  Please contact us for additional operating hours.

07 5449 2443

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Food on a Cruise

They say one thing can be guaranteed when you come off a cruise, and that is that you will put on weight.

I recently boarded a P and O short breaks cruise keen to find out of this is in fact true.

The P and O Pacific Dawn
This was not my first cruise. I cruised with my parents about 6 years ago. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but my focus back then was more on tanning and cocktails than on food. Don't get me wrong, they were important aspects of this trip as well, but I paid closer attention to the food this time around.

My cruise was a 3 night "Lifestyle" cruise, departing Brisbane, bobbing around at sea, then returning to Brisbane.

The first night myself and my first mate C made more of a dint on the bar than we did on the food service, however we did make stop in at the Plantation Restaurant, the 'buffet' if you will.

It was about exactly what I expected from a round the clock buffet, with salads, meats, cheeses, breads, a variety of wet dishes and carvery. Honestly, nothing memorable. The next morning and one other morning we ate at the Plantation for breakfast and again, totally what one would expect from a run-of-the-mill, family-friendly buffet.
photo courtesy of

For lunch on day 2, myself and C percured about 15 delicious rolls from Plantation and kept the leftovers in our room for snacks.

Dinner for night two, 'cocktail' night on board and we decided to make a reservation at the Waterfront Restaurant, the a-la-carte. On my previous cruise, and most cruises, set dining times are assigned, and that is when everyone is seated and served. P and O have brought in anytime dining, which does offer more choice, but meant we could not get a table until 8:30, so we decided on some pre dinner cocktails in the Mix Bar.

Having done a Martini Masterclass that affternoon, I decided that a Martini would be in order. I started with a Belvedere Martini, and followed with a Grey Goose Dirty Martini.

Needless to say, I love Martinis now.

After the very naff 'portraits' in our formal attire, we make our way to the Waterfront restaurant where we are seated and promptly brought menus.

The menu is vast... very vast. This is not a bad thing, but there really is many, many choices on there.

You can choose basically any and all of what you want.

I hear 'challenge!'

I start with the Crusty Blue Crab Cake, C opts for the Country Style Pork and Juniper Pate

My crab cake was beautifully crisp on the outside and a great ratio of crab, all too often any seafood-based patty can be so predominately potato , but this one was lovely.

C's pate was terrine style, and was tasty enough, however the outside was not cooked well enough and wasn't served with anything to spread it on..

For starter I decided on Pumpkin Ravioli with peccorino and pesto. It was delicious enough, certainly no show stopper, but a good size and cooked well.

We were most excited about our mains. Pork Belly used to be my 'radar' dish, in that, if it was on a menu, I would radar it and it would be a definite for me, however, all too many sub-par bellies put me off, this time though, I thought I'd give it a go. C ordered the ribs.

This photo really doesn't do the dish justice. The pork belly was cooked BEYOND perfectly, with an exceptional ratio of fat to meat. The capsicum gazpacho and Asian greens provided a beautiful tartness/acidity to cut through the fat, it was one of the best pork bellies I have ever had. (And that's a pretty big call.)

C's "ribs" didn't look like ribs, but none the less, was also cooked to the point of not needing a knife. I would have been more than happy with his choice.

Parmesan fries came with my main, we also ordered roasted veg and brussel sprouts with caramalised onion.

There was no room for dessert.

Luke Mangan is one of the many celebrity chefs opening restaurants onboard cruise ships.

I was very keen to get in, so as soon as we embarked, we made our way to reception to make a reservation. We were lucky to get a table, as all the dinners and almost all of the lunch spots had already been booked!

Although food on board is included in the price, some of the restaurants have a surcharge. The Salt Grill had a set $30 surcharge for 3 courses, which is a fraction of what you'd pay in one of his restaurants on land.

Our meal started with white and saltana bread with dukkah and olive oil and balsamic.

I opt for the seared beef carpaccio while C chooses the scallops.

Both of these dishes were absolutely top rate.

By beef was tantalizingly marbled, paper thin, and the Asian inspired garnish was a stunning accompaniment.

C's scallops were fresh, cooked beautifully and were stunning with the mushrooms.

I did wish to order the oysters, but was informed they were not available. In hindsite, as we had been at sea for 3 days already I can understand that they could not possibly have been fresh enough.

For main I had the rare tuna, and C lashed out and ordered the lobster tail.

I contemplated the lobster, but to this day I have never lad lobster that I believed lived up to the 'hype'.

Apart from sashimi and canned, I have never actually eaten tuna before. All I can say is, how ignorant am I?! What an amazing fish. In this case especially!

It was so beautiful. It was seasoned with indian spices and served with raita. I don't think I'll actually ever forget this meal, also there was ALOT of it.

I really can't believe how 'meaty' it was. I was amazed by the texture as well.

Eat Tuna!

C mentioned that one of his tails was a little dry, but said the rest was beautifully cooked. I did try it, and can say again, lobster just doesn't live up to the hype that surrounds it. Tasty- yes, extraordinary- no.

We ordered sides of truffled mash, which was incredible. A salad of rocket, pear, blue cheese and candied walnuts, which was a game changer as far as salads go! And zuccini with bacon and parmesan, which was okay.

Sauces of chipoltle aioli and burnt nut butter.

 The licorice parfait, as ordered by C was recommended, and he loved it. I did not enjoy it at all. The colour, texture and flavour all put me off. All I could think of was refrigerated face mask.

However, the creme brulee... CRACK, gasp, delicious. A perfect brulee, served with incredible biscotti.

So did I come back more rounded then when I got on the boat... slightly.

The utter decadence rather than the amounts had to do with that. Combined of course with a fairly constant input of cocktails, whisky and beer.

All back to normal now.

To sum up. The Pacific Dawn is a 3 star ship. I think the overall experience you get on board is a high 3 star, there are some amazing parts and some utterly nose-scrunchable parts. But it is a great value, enjoyable and relaxing escape, with some very tasty food to enjoy along the way...

Oh, and cocktails.