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Showing posts from August, 2015

Where to find an innovative but authentic Asian tea room

It's all tinged with green at Sinmei Tea at Scrumptious Reads but that's because of one ingredient, matcha tea which finds it's way into everything.

The delightful Sinmei has joined with Julie at Scrumptious Reads (pictured below) to bring her style of tea house to Australia.  Sinmei has tea houses in Shanghai and Hong Kong but her James Street store in Brisbane is the only one where you'll find lamingtons with a touch of matcha which she created specially for locals to enjoy.

What is matcha?  It's a fine powder of specially grown and processed green tea.  The tea plants are shade-grown for about three weeks before harvest.

In the small Scrumptious Reads kitchen, Sinmei makes all the tea house treats with her staff and likes to experiment to come up with new ways to use matcha tea in cooking.  She matches western classics with green tea flavours and has created some crackers!

Her Hojicha Hot Chocolate with roased tea, white chocolate, milk and marshmallows is a fl…

It's all about organic at The Produce

What do you do when you can't find what you want close to home?  You open your own store!

At least that's what Ashgrove locals Kelly Duffy (pictured above) and Angelo Falco did when they came up with The Produce on Waterworks Road, Ashgrove.

Kelly comes from a background in the fitness industry and, along with partner Angelo, created exactly what she thought was missing from the local area.

"My skin reacts to chemicals and preservatives and we wanted to create a place where people would know it was okay to eat and drink.  We want to make organic affordable," says Kelly

The Produce is a of bulk foods and cafe combination where you can go to stock up your cupboard and your stomach at the same time.  There's also a selection of beauty products and eco-friendly cleaning items.

Everything is organic, including the organic fair trade coffee and the Barambah milk that goes in it, and it doesn't cost extra.

It's a small food offering with a cabinet display to c…

When only the best will do

There are are five different ways to wash, one of them a four-metre relaxation pool actually inside the room, in a space which redefines luxury for me.

The Banyan Tree Macau brings a new level of luxury to hotel accommodation.

What to do around Macau? Dine at The Eight Head to Hong Kong for Gordon Ramsay's Bread Kitchen Fly there with Cathay Pacific

The pool is filling as I enter the room and stays filled for the duration of my visit, which is good because it takes most of the afternoon to fill.  There's the gentle sound of a waterfall into the pool to lull me to sleep in my king-sized bed if I desire.

The room is 100sq metre and it's a standard room for this hotel.  There's a wooden hot tub flanked by a rain shower and  two basins.  I realise I'm going to have to make a list to ensure I use all of the washing methods at least once!

An instruction panel on the wall is the only way I know how to operate the intricacies of the wash and blow dry toilet. It even raises t…

Citron, Wilston

In the rush to try the latest new dining sensation, it's easy to overlook restaurants that have been around for a while like Citron at Brisbane's Wilston, and that would be a mistake.

Restaurants that have stood the test of time do so because they have a loyal band of regular diners who know exactly what to expect when they sit down and peruse the menu. They produce consistently good food and offer efficient service.  While all this doesn't seem that hard to achieve to a customer, restaurateurswill tell you differently.

Citron's owners, Robert Foley and Mark Newman are a well honed team.  Robert handles front of house and Mark works on the Asian-flavoured menu in the kitchen.

They call their food modern Asian and its a style that suits the climate and culture of Brisbane extremely well - light, but packed full of layers of flavour.

Other Asian restaurants to try - Spirit House, Yandina  Nahm, Bangkok
I first dined here about six years ago and the betel leaves with sandcr…

Shouk, Paddington

Breakfast like a king is what the experts say and it's no chore at Shouk Cafe, just off Latrobe Terrace in Paddington.

Established in March 2014, this cafe quickly established itself as a top breakfast destination and happily nothing has changed. Owned by Guy Frawley and Adi Shabtay, Shouk runs like a well oiled machine from the kitchen to the floor.

The dishes not only taste good, the presentation lifts the experience.  Pumpkin and halloumi on toast doesn't sound all that exciting but look at the top photo.  Roasted pumpkin with pumpkin puree accompanied by two 63 degree eggs topped with spicy zhoug sauce was irresitable.

Shouk's treatment of a latke stack sees Polish potato pancakes laced with smoked salmon and lined with slices of picked red onions.

If you're a little sick of the standard breakfast offerings around town, head to Shouk and you won't be disappointed.

Ed+bK Rating:  4 out of 5

Best tip:  You can't book for Shouk's popular breakfast unless yo…

Cat Cuddle Cafe, Red Hill

It's the purfect way for cat fanciers to spend an hour, sitting in a chair loved up with a cat or two and a catta-chino at Brisbane's new and only Cat Cuddle Cafe at Red Hill.

Better still, it's all love and no responsibility as all you have to take with you is a bit of fur stuck to your clothes.  However if you fall in love with one of the residents, they can become your own as these are all rescue cats looking for a furever home.

Here's a few of the locals.

The cafe has been brought to life by Katrina Balson who is a crazy cat lady dedicated to helping felines.  She runs Pussies Galore Rescue  and is in the business of saving unwanted, neglected, abused and abandoned animals. Many are rescued from death row at council pounds.

It took two months for the cafe to be fitted out with support from volunteers, including a plumber and handyman who donated their labour.  The outdoor area at the rear was donated by Happy Cat Enclosures.

Katrina also ventured into crowd fundin…

Capri by Fraser, Brisbane CBD

Wake up to a new morning in Capri by Fraser in Brisbane's CBD and you'll discover there's plenty to like. 
From the front entrance it's clear that this hotel is rather an adventure. Award-winning design specialists, Ministry Of Design, have incorporated vertical garden walls and art installations which make the foyer seem more like a club.
Best of all the wifi is fast and free, yes, free. 
On the ground floor is the new Pete Evans restaurant, Asana by Pete Evans which offers a mainly paelo menu.  Don't worry about the paelo thing,  the food is great.
Asana by Pete Evans

Bells and whistles in the rooms include an iPod docking sound system, a big (48") smart television, a Nespresso coffee machine, microwave and a rain shower.  Personally, I don't usually take advantage of rain showers unless it's a hair washing day, but it's nice to have the choice.  Same goes for the Nespresso machine - why make it yourself when there's an ample selection of gre…