Reviews



Bamboo Garden, Caloundra

Cafes

Overall 3  1

3 Below Average

Food  3      Ambience  3      Service  3      Value  3     


Based on other reviews and the reputation of the previous (larger) business these owners had operated elsewhere on the Sunshine Coast we chose this venue over many others in our local area for a special Chinese meal.

Yet the San Choi Bau we ordered was like no other we have ever had anywhere else (in the world), with 50% of the dish being cubes of stir-fried zucchini! 6 lettuce cups for 3 serves ($25.50) and no more lettuce offered - so 80% of the filling remained on the plate going cold and we were just all sitting there whilst the owner walked to & fro.

Owner then wanted to clear the plate from the table when our mains were ready to come out. Not even an enquiry as to why there was so much left of our entree - were we enjoying (or not)?

2 mains (of our 3 ordered for 4 diners)& a large Deluxe Rice ($13.50) were then served. Yet we waited another good 7 minutes more for the third main to appear (Salt & Pepper Calamari $20.50) so one person just had rice to eat whilst waiting (or the rest of the cold San Choi Bau)as they didn't eat duck nor pork. The Calamari was specifically ordered for this gentleman as a main directly with the owner.

Eagerly anticipated when it finally arrived the S & P Calamari was probably the worst example we have encountered for a long time - presenting as a very small serve for the price and not particularly crispy, not salty & peppery. Rather greasy (as was the deluxe rice). Duck in Oyster Sauce ($24.50) and Pork with Stir Fry Veg also were fairly modest in size with lots of veg, apparent cornflour thickening and a distinct lack of flavour profile.

As a result, the majority of the meals remained on the plates as no-one was really enjoying the food, much less the atmosphere (or lack thereof) - no music, only 3 other patrons and the owner folding serviettes and doing paperwork.

With 1 Bundaberg Ginger Beer the bill was $110. Owner offered to put all the remaining food "in one container". May be more 'environmentally friendly' (or 'mean' depending on your point of view) but I couldn't stomach how the combined dishes would taste. Overpriced food, underwhelming service.

We felt extremely ripped off as locals and terribly embarrassed to have chosen this restaurant over all others for what was the most expensive (and lacklustre) lunch we all have had the misfortune of not enjoying in recent years. Overly expensive for what we received and overall, incredibly disappointing.

Aug 04, 2013

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Restaurants, Modern Australian, Licensed, Outdoor Dining, Serves Dinner

Overall 6.8  2

6.5 Recommended

Food  5      Ambience  7      Service  8      Value  6     


We've dined here a few times now, for both lunch and dinner and the results have been pretty inconsistent, even within the same meal order on the same day.

'The Wharf' at Mooloolaba's environs is in need of a serious upgrade, it looks tired, dated and dirty with numerous potholes to negotiate via both car and foot. Not the most salubrious scenery from the outside! Shame - because the complex commands prime position alongside the Mooloolah River, with riverside McMansions across the way, and marine craft ranging from tinnies to Super Yachts cruising past.

Eating outside at this tavern is certainly preferable in terms of ambience, but snagging a table with shade can be problematic and you will need sunscreen and hat. Inside, floors are always sticky for some reason with the smell of stale beer and the furnishings look quite tired.

On our last visit 'Classic Fish & Chips' ($21.50) - Aussie Barramundi in a 'Fat Yak' beer batter with chips and salad was a disappointment. The lone fillet presented in a flabby batter with oil that had seen out it's time. My fish special of the day ($25) was the same dish with addition of 3 cold Mooloolaba King Prawns in shell and a fresh avocado salsa.

Prawns were fresh and sweet, the salsa very enjoyable, but again, the oil used for the chips and fish was old and unable to produce a crisp result so I didn't enjoy the soggy serve.

Salad was colourful and contained all fresh ingredients including fine julienne of fresh beetroot.

The 'Seniors' lunch menu generally offers a fish dish and a 200g Graziers Rump, served with the same sized salad and chips as meals twice the price and represents fairly good value.

So, our score must represent the mixed results. However, on all occasions the serving staff have been pretty on-the-ball and certainly personable. Our advice? Steer clear of the fried foods, grab a spot in the shade on the deck (you may have to book at peak times) and you'll probably enjoy dining here more than many other pubs on the Sunshine Coast.

NB: In 2011, on Thursday nights a 'Seniors VIP' night offered a selection of meals from the a-la-carte menu for $12.50 to valid Seniors Card-holders. The venue was very busy as a result.

A few weeks ago we swung by intending after seeing a movie to dine under this particular offer, only to be told it had ceased in December 2011 and, "Chef is still deciding what he wants to do". As there were only 2 people dining in the vast space at the time I would suggest 'Chef' may choose to re-consider implementing this offer again sooner rather than later as price-savvy punters are clearly voting with their feet and in this economic climate businesses shouldn't be discouraging turnover of tables albeit it at a smaller profit. Just a suggestion.

Update: Chef may read 'Eatability'? As they have now re-instated the Thursday Night VIP Seniors offer. Will visit soon and keep you posted!

Update: As of July 2012 this venue has replaced the 'Seniors Night' offer and replaced with 'Uni Night' - aimed at the Uni Students and offering free bus to haul them in from the Western part of the Coast. Obviously a complete turn-around and aiming for a completely different clientele (Management change?).

As I've been told there's some pretty heavy-duty noise and agro emanating from this venue from friends who briefly lived opposite (and also read about it in the local media) will leave you to make up your own mind as to whether this particular venue is your style or not.

Aug 22, 2012

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Delicatessens, Fine Food Stores, African, Asian, Brazilian

Overall 9.1  3

9 Highly Recommended

Quality  9      Ambience  9      Service  9      Value  9     


Update: Red Hot Chilli Peppers Tea Bar is a great addition and we've now been back a number of times too. We try to order a different tea each time as there are a couple of dozen to choose from (although I have to say I have loved the Organic Lemongrass and Ginger this Winter whilst the better is going all out and enjoys everything from the Chilli Hot Chocolate, various Ginger Blend Teas, Chais and a new Green Tea with Licorice.

There's a really decent deal where you get a pot of tea (couple of cups worth) with something like a 'Moroccan' Rocky Road or yummy healthy spiced fruit and nut ball with sesame seeds or a little cakey treat for around the $4 buck mark. Bargain.

Vicki is also doing Spice 'Appreciation' Classes now which, I heard on the local jungle drums, are really good fun. You come away with lots of information and also some 'bespoke' blends to try out on your friends.

Every time I go in this shop I see something new from some pretty colourfully named local chilli sauces that will blow you away to more unusual Feijoa jam, all grown and made here on the Sunshine Coast. Will make great gifts for my foodie friends in southern climes this Christmas!

I previously reviewed: As I am not one to ever allocate a 'perfect 10' I must apologise to the Proprietor of Red Hot Chilli Pepper in advance of my review.

I was excited when this retail store opened just over one year ago not far from where I live, as access to Purveyors of quality food products on a daily basis are sadly still few and far between on the Sunshine Coast Strip.

The intoxicating aroma of destinations far more exotic than downtown Caloundra assail your senses even before entering this homage to seductive spices garnered from all corners of the globe.

Hats off to Vicki Taylor, who followed her heart after a successful career in the financial arena, to focus on a passion instead.

Chilli heads will be chuffed at the vast array of foodstuffs featuring this ingredient, from chocolate through to sauces, chutneys, carbs and seasonings.

Quality spices packs from 'Herbies' vie with bespoke 'Red Hot Chilli Pepper' blends, created on-site by Vicki, not to mention a selection of seed packs for those with a patch to plant, and other value-added mixes, pastes and even impregnated skewers for BBQ's and a baked dinner with a difference!

Gourmet items from Regional food producers around Australia create a point of difference here at RHCP. For example, here one can find 'Zimmy's' products direct from their small family business in South Australia's Barossa Valley.

Zimmy's has been creating Germanic specialties for generations and they are rarely found outside Tanunda, S.A. for retail sale. I'm a great believer in their 'Doc Away' - strange name but a great marinade/cordial replacement/ ingredient in salad dressings, with the base made from pure apple cider vinegar produced from their orchards and their own organic honey.

Zimmy's horseradish is the real thing, if you can't handle it 'as is', try mixing with sour cream or cream for a subtle taste sensation. Their
'Trinity' garlic will change your way of thinking regarding 'jarred' garlic, again with a hint of their famous apple cider vinegar and honey.

And the 'Barossa Valley Pickle'? Let's just say that the man of the house would have it on everything from a cheese or ham sandwich, through to urging me to make it into a delicious dip for crudites mixed with sour cream.

But wait! there's more! Again from the Barossa, Weich's hand-made Noodles are produced from Barossa Valley eggs and slow-dried to produce an authentic noodle that doesn't break apart. RHCP stocks them in the traditional wide egg noodle variety, perfect for a home-made Ragu or Carbonara with bite. Or try the Organic Chilli noodles, I boiled and then wokked them in a stir-fry to really fabulous results.

Calasperra Rice for a paella or authentic Arborio for risotto. Bronze die cut-pasta that both hold their shape and sauce can also be found.

Traditional Moroccan Tagines have long been a favourite of mine when treating friends to dinner, and here not only can you purchase the spices to make a memorable meal, but also the Tagine in which to cook it! Vicki stocks the same hand-made tagines as made for famous chef Steven Snow at 'Fins' Restaurant in Byron Shire by a talented local potter, not to mention some more purely decorative models and also terracotta ones sourced from overseas.

Great gift ideas include Masala Dabba Spice Tins which are filled with the spices of your choice and make a seriously practical gift for any enthusiastic cook. Decorative Indian ceramic spice drawers (not to mention the most gorgeous drawer pulls/handles you will find on the Coast) are all available here.

Do I sound like I love this store? Yes! And I love that there are free tastings every weekend so I can swing past and try something new, I also like the fact I can speak to a personable proprietor who believes in sourcing a varied range with a reasonable mark-up, whilst providing old fashioned service with a smile, whether a free sample here or a recipe there, nothing seems to be too much trouble (which is sadly a rarity nowadays).

So to quote a famous Aussie - 'Do yourself a favour' and visit Red Hot Chilli Pepper soon (and I won't mention the German designed Chilli grinder stocked, you will have to see it for yourself but I will go as far as to say that having this sit on your table may create many memorable conversations and meals!)

Aug 22, 2012

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West End Garden, South Brisbane

Restaurants, Chinese, Vietnamese, BYO, Licensed

Overall 6.6  7

5.8 Average

Food  5      Ambience  6      Service  6      Value  6     


Visiting for lunch the other day we noted dine-in prices on the lunch menu for the specials are now $9.50 eat-in. We ordered one of the 'standards' - 'Spicy Calamari' which was not as tasty as previously experienced, nor as plentiful. However, it was still served with choice of a small bowl of steamed or (egg) fried rice.

From the 'Vietnamese Specials' the Pork Spare Ribs with Spring Rolls and Vermicelli sounded appealing (and at $10.50 was at the top end of the lunch menu price scale) but in reality presented as a bowl of cold (undressed) vermicelli noodles, topped with water-logged carrot and cucumber - the 'spare ribs' comprising of some very small slivers of cold pork scattered with peanuts and the spring rolls (2) cut in quarters, and again cold.

The accompanying bowl of basically sugar, water and some chopped chilli lacked fish sauce and any real flavour profile and just added to the overall 'sogginess'. Overall, a real struggle to enjoy anything about this dish.

We previously reviewed in 2011 - Have continued to visit this venue over the years and in 2008 things went downhill somewhat but recalled West End Garden offers a $8.50 lunch special menu (they do offer other lunchtime choices on this menu but they are at their normal a-la-carte prices so read carefully).

On the way to the (superb) Valentino Retrospective at MOMA we were after something quick and tasty so decided to drop in last week. Ordered the 'Spicy Calamari' and the 'Mongolian Beef' from the fairly standard (read safe) choices. Both came with steamed or fried rice and we expected the rice to be on the same plate so were surprised when we received a more than decent sized separate plate of fried rice.

The spicy calamari disappeared in record time, the coating was crisp, the calamari tender with a thin spicy sauce spooned over.

Mongolian Beef was more pedestrian but also generous in size and vegies nice and crisp. Service was swift with iced water quickly provided. For $17 we left very full and certainly feeling we'd received great value for money. Noting the large amount of other lunch-time diners we are not the only ones to think this. Try here when next catching a movie at the nearby Southbank Cinemas during the week.

In 2007 I reviewed as follows: Have dined here on numerous occasions over the years. Pretty consistent food. Can get packed on Friday and Saturday nights especially with larger groups. Young staff well meaning but service can be somewhat haphazard. Picks are the Vietnamese dishes: Vietnamese Combination Spring Rolls, Sugarcane Prawns, Kung Pao Prawns, Garden Shin Beef, Salt and Pepper Squid, Spicy Fried Rice, Creamy Prawns.

Mar 04, 2012

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Duporth Tavern, Maroochydore

Pubs, Steak House, Ample or Convenient Parking, Free Parking, Off Street Parking

Overall 6  3

6.2 Average

Food  6      Drinks  6      Ambience  5      Service  6      Value  8     


Update 2012: The venue no longer offers a drink with a $10 lunch choice.

I've dined here twice recently and ordered the $10 steak lunch special, aprroximately 200g steak with sauce of choice served on the side (pepper, hollandaise etc.) chips and some salad. The cashier will give you a ticket reedeemable at the bar for a pot of Carlton mid-strength (or a soft drink if you prefer).

The meal was served promptly to our table with the meat cooked as ordered. My advice would be to ask for "no salad dressing" on the salad as it is 'bulk commercial stuff', thick viscous and vinegary. The fresh salad ingredients would have been far more enjoyable without it (plus you have your steak's sauce anyway).

There is easy, free parking (both undercover and off street or street side) at the Tavern and two public fishing platforms on the Maroochy river within a stone's throw, one at the end of the side street the pub is on and the other reached by walking down to the right of Ebb restaurant, which is behind the Tavern.

We chose to have our steak lunch, head off to cast a line or two in the sunshine and swing back to the Tavern after stowing the rods back in the car to exchange our drink ticket for a icy cold beer. The 'Purple Palate' next to the Tavern offers some point-of-difference wines and beers to take home so check it out too.

Mar 03, 2012

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Member since 2007

I'm Female and seriously taken

My home town is Sunshine Coast

My favourite cuisine is All cuisines (why limit yourself?)

Last updated on 4th Mar 2012





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Bamboo Garden, Caloundra

Cafes

Overall 3  1

3 Below Average

Food  3      Ambience  3      Service  3      Value  3     


Based on other reviews and the reputation of the previous (larger) business these owners had operated elsewhere on the Sunshine Coast we chose this venue over many others in our local area for a special Chinese meal.

Yet the San Choi Bau we ordered was like no other we have ever had anywhere else (in the world), with 50% of the dish being cubes of stir-fried zucchini! 6 lettuce cups for 3 serves ($25.50) and no more lettuce offered - so 80% of the filling remained on the plate going cold and we were just all sitting there whilst the owner walked to & fro.

Owner then wanted to clear the plate from the table when our mains were ready to come out. Not even an enquiry as to why there was so much left of our entree - were we enjoying (or not)?

2 mains (of our 3 ordered for 4 diners)& a large Deluxe Rice ($13.50) were then served. Yet we waited another good 7 minutes more for the third main to appear (Salt & Pepper Calamari $20.50) so one person just had rice to eat whilst waiting (or the rest of the cold San Choi Bau)as they didn't eat duck nor pork. The Calamari was specifically ordered for this gentleman as a main directly with the owner.

Eagerly anticipated when it finally arrived the S & P Calamari was probably the worst example we have encountered for a long time - presenting as a very small serve for the price and not particularly crispy, not salty & peppery. Rather greasy (as was the deluxe rice). Duck in Oyster Sauce ($24.50) and Pork with Stir Fry Veg also were fairly modest in size with lots of veg, apparent cornflour thickening and a distinct lack of flavour profile.

As a result, the majority of the meals remained on the plates as no-one was really enjoying the food, much less the atmosphere (or lack thereof) - no music, only 3 other patrons and the owner folding serviettes and doing paperwork.

With 1 Bundaberg Ginger Beer the bill was $110. Owner offered to put all the remaining food "in one container". May be more 'environmentally friendly' (or 'mean' depending on your point of view) but I couldn't stomach how the combined dishes would taste. Overpriced food, underwhelming service.

We felt extremely ripped off as locals and terribly embarrassed to have chosen this restaurant over all others for what was the most expensive (and lacklustre) lunch we all have had the misfortune of not enjoying in recent years. Overly expensive for what we received and overall, incredibly disappointing.

Aug 04, 2013

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Restaurants, Modern Australian, Licensed, Outdoor Dining, Serves Dinner

Overall 6.8  2

6.5 Recommended

Food  5      Ambience  7      Service  8      Value  6     


We've dined here a few times now, for both lunch and dinner and the results have been pretty inconsistent, even within the same meal order on the same day.

'The Wharf' at Mooloolaba's environs is in need of a serious upgrade, it looks tired, dated and dirty with numerous potholes to negotiate via both car and foot. Not the most salubrious scenery from the outside! Shame - because the complex commands prime position alongside the Mooloolah River, with riverside McMansions across the way, and marine craft ranging from tinnies to Super Yachts cruising past.

Eating outside at this tavern is certainly preferable in terms of ambience, but snagging a table with shade can be problematic and you will need sunscreen and hat. Inside, floors are always sticky for some reason with the smell of stale beer and the furnishings look quite tired.

On our last visit 'Classic Fish & Chips' ($21.50) - Aussie Barramundi in a 'Fat Yak' beer batter with chips and salad was a disappointment. The lone fillet presented in a flabby batter with oil that had seen out it's time. My fish special of the day ($25) was the same dish with addition of 3 cold Mooloolaba King Prawns in shell and a fresh avocado salsa.

Prawns were fresh and sweet, the salsa very enjoyable, but again, the oil used for the chips and fish was old and unable to produce a crisp result so I didn't enjoy the soggy serve.

Salad was colourful and contained all fresh ingredients including fine julienne of fresh beetroot.

The 'Seniors' lunch menu generally offers a fish dish and a 200g Graziers Rump, served with the same sized salad and chips as meals twice the price and represents fairly good value.

So, our score must represent the mixed results. However, on all occasions the serving staff have been pretty on-the-ball and certainly personable. Our advice? Steer clear of the fried foods, grab a spot in the shade on the deck (you may have to book at peak times) and you'll probably enjoy dining here more than many other pubs on the Sunshine Coast.

NB: In 2011, on Thursday nights a 'Seniors VIP' night offered a selection of meals from the a-la-carte menu for $12.50 to valid Seniors Card-holders. The venue was very busy as a result.

A few weeks ago we swung by intending after seeing a movie to dine under this particular offer, only to be told it had ceased in December 2011 and, "Chef is still deciding what he wants to do". As there were only 2 people dining in the vast space at the time I would suggest 'Chef' may choose to re-consider implementing this offer again sooner rather than later as price-savvy punters are clearly voting with their feet and in this economic climate businesses shouldn't be discouraging turnover of tables albeit it at a smaller profit. Just a suggestion.

Update: Chef may read 'Eatability'? As they have now re-instated the Thursday Night VIP Seniors offer. Will visit soon and keep you posted!

Update: As of July 2012 this venue has replaced the 'Seniors Night' offer and replaced with 'Uni Night' - aimed at the Uni Students and offering free bus to haul them in from the Western part of the Coast. Obviously a complete turn-around and aiming for a completely different clientele (Management change?).

As I've been told there's some pretty heavy-duty noise and agro emanating from this venue from friends who briefly lived opposite (and also read about it in the local media) will leave you to make up your own mind as to whether this particular venue is your style or not.

Aug 22, 2012

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Delicatessens, Fine Food Stores, African, Asian, Brazilian

Overall 9.1  3

9 Highly Recommended

Quality  9      Ambience  9      Service  9      Value  9     


Update: Red Hot Chilli Peppers Tea Bar is a great addition and we've now been back a number of times too. We try to order a different tea each time as there are a couple of dozen to choose from (although I have to say I have loved the Organic Lemongrass and Ginger this Winter whilst the better is going all out and enjoys everything from the Chilli Hot Chocolate, various Ginger Blend Teas, Chais and a new Green Tea with Licorice.

There's a really decent deal where you get a pot of tea (couple of cups worth) with something like a 'Moroccan' Rocky Road or yummy healthy spiced fruit and nut ball with sesame seeds or a little cakey treat for around the $4 buck mark. Bargain.

Vicki is also doing Spice 'Appreciation' Classes now which, I heard on the local jungle drums, are really good fun. You come away with lots of information and also some 'bespoke' blends to try out on your friends.

Every time I go in this shop I see something new from some pretty colourfully named local chilli sauces that will blow you away to more unusual Feijoa jam, all grown and made here on the Sunshine Coast. Will make great gifts for my foodie friends in southern climes this Christmas!

I previously reviewed: As I am not one to ever allocate a 'perfect 10' I must apologise to the Proprietor of Red Hot Chilli Pepper in advance of my review.

I was excited when this retail store opened just over one year ago not far from where I live, as access to Purveyors of quality food products on a daily basis are sadly still few and far between on the Sunshine Coast Strip.

The intoxicating aroma of destinations far more exotic than downtown Caloundra assail your senses even before entering this homage to seductive spices garnered from all corners of the globe.

Hats off to Vicki Taylor, who followed her heart after a successful career in the financial arena, to focus on a passion instead.

Chilli heads will be chuffed at the vast array of foodstuffs featuring this ingredient, from chocolate through to sauces, chutneys, carbs and seasonings.

Quality spices packs from 'Herbies' vie with bespoke 'Red Hot Chilli Pepper' blends, created on-site by Vicki, not to mention a selection of seed packs for those with a patch to plant, and other value-added mixes, pastes and even impregnated skewers for BBQ's and a baked dinner with a difference!

Gourmet items from Regional food producers around Australia create a point of difference here at RHCP. For example, here one can find 'Zimmy's' products direct from their small family business in South Australia's Barossa Valley.

Zimmy's has been creating Germanic specialties for generations and they are rarely found outside Tanunda, S.A. for retail sale. I'm a great believer in their 'Doc Away' - strange name but a great marinade/cordial replacement/ ingredient in salad dressings, with the base made from pure apple cider vinegar produced from their orchards and their own organic honey.

Zimmy's horseradish is the real thing, if you can't handle it 'as is', try mixing with sour cream or cream for a subtle taste sensation. Their
'Trinity' garlic will change your way of thinking regarding 'jarred' garlic, again with a hint of their famous apple cider vinegar and honey.

And the 'Barossa Valley Pickle'? Let's just say that the man of the house would have it on everything from a cheese or ham sandwich, through to urging me to make it into a delicious dip for crudites mixed with sour cream.

But wait! there's more! Again from the Barossa, Weich's hand-made Noodles are produced from Barossa Valley eggs and slow-dried to produce an authentic noodle that doesn't break apart. RHCP stocks them in the traditional wide egg noodle variety, perfect for a home-made Ragu or Carbonara with bite. Or try the Organic Chilli noodles, I boiled and then wokked them in a stir-fry to really fabulous results.

Calasperra Rice for a paella or authentic Arborio for risotto. Bronze die cut-pasta that both hold their shape and sauce can also be found.

Traditional Moroccan Tagines have long been a favourite of mine when treating friends to dinner, and here not only can you purchase the spices to make a memorable meal, but also the Tagine in which to cook it! Vicki stocks the same hand-made tagines as made for famous chef Steven Snow at 'Fins' Restaurant in Byron Shire by a talented local potter, not to mention some more purely decorative models and also terracotta ones sourced from overseas.

Great gift ideas include Masala Dabba Spice Tins which are filled with the spices of your choice and make a seriously practical gift for any enthusiastic cook. Decorative Indian ceramic spice drawers (not to mention the most gorgeous drawer pulls/handles you will find on the Coast) are all available here.

Do I sound like I love this store? Yes! And I love that there are free tastings every weekend so I can swing past and try something new, I also like the fact I can speak to a personable proprietor who believes in sourcing a varied range with a reasonable mark-up, whilst providing old fashioned service with a smile, whether a free sample here or a recipe there, nothing seems to be too much trouble (which is sadly a rarity nowadays).

So to quote a famous Aussie - 'Do yourself a favour' and visit Red Hot Chilli Pepper soon (and I won't mention the German designed Chilli grinder stocked, you will have to see it for yourself but I will go as far as to say that having this sit on your table may create many memorable conversations and meals!)

Aug 22, 2012

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West End Garden, South Brisbane

Restaurants, Chinese, Vietnamese, BYO, Licensed

Overall 6.6  7

5.8 Average

Food  5      Ambience  6      Service  6      Value  6     


Visiting for lunch the other day we noted dine-in prices on the lunch menu for the specials are now $9.50 eat-in. We ordered one of the 'standards' - 'Spicy Calamari' which was not as tasty as previously experienced, nor as plentiful. However, it was still served with choice of a small bowl of steamed or (egg) fried rice.

From the 'Vietnamese Specials' the Pork Spare Ribs with Spring Rolls and Vermicelli sounded appealing (and at $10.50 was at the top end of the lunch menu price scale) but in reality presented as a bowl of cold (undressed) vermicelli noodles, topped with water-logged carrot and cucumber - the 'spare ribs' comprising of some very small slivers of cold pork scattered with peanuts and the spring rolls (2) cut in quarters, and again cold.

The accompanying bowl of basically sugar, water and some chopped chilli lacked fish sauce and any real flavour profile and just added to the overall 'sogginess'. Overall, a real struggle to enjoy anything about this dish.

We previously reviewed in 2011 - Have continued to visit this venue over the years and in 2008 things went downhill somewhat but recalled West End Garden offers a $8.50 lunch special menu (they do offer other lunchtime choices on this menu but they are at their normal a-la-carte prices so read carefully).

On the way to the (superb) Valentino Retrospective at MOMA we were after something quick and tasty so decided to drop in last week. Ordered the 'Spicy Calamari' and the 'Mongolian Beef' from the fairly standard (read safe) choices. Both came with steamed or fried rice and we expected the rice to be on the same plate so were surprised when we received a more than decent sized separate plate of fried rice.

The spicy calamari disappeared in record time, the coating was crisp, the calamari tender with a thin spicy sauce spooned over.

Mongolian Beef was more pedestrian but also generous in size and vegies nice and crisp. Service was swift with iced water quickly provided. For $17 we left very full and certainly feeling we'd received great value for money. Noting the large amount of other lunch-time diners we are not the only ones to think this. Try here when next catching a movie at the nearby Southbank Cinemas during the week.

In 2007 I reviewed as follows: Have dined here on numerous occasions over the years. Pretty consistent food. Can get packed on Friday and Saturday nights especially with larger groups. Young staff well meaning but service can be somewhat haphazard. Picks are the Vietnamese dishes: Vietnamese Combination Spring Rolls, Sugarcane Prawns, Kung Pao Prawns, Garden Shin Beef, Salt and Pepper Squid, Spicy Fried Rice, Creamy Prawns.

Mar 04, 2012

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Duporth Tavern, Maroochydore

Pubs, Steak House, Ample or Convenient Parking, Free Parking, Off Street Parking

Overall 6  3

6.2 Average

Food  6      Drinks  6      Ambience  5      Service  6      Value  8     


Update 2012: The venue no longer offers a drink with a $10 lunch choice.

I've dined here twice recently and ordered the $10 steak lunch special, aprroximately 200g steak with sauce of choice served on the side (pepper, hollandaise etc.) chips and some salad. The cashier will give you a ticket reedeemable at the bar for a pot of Carlton mid-strength (or a soft drink if you prefer).

The meal was served promptly to our table with the meat cooked as ordered. My advice would be to ask for "no salad dressing" on the salad as it is 'bulk commercial stuff', thick viscous and vinegary. The fresh salad ingredients would have been far more enjoyable without it (plus you have your steak's sauce anyway).

There is easy, free parking (both undercover and off street or street side) at the Tavern and two public fishing platforms on the Maroochy river within a stone's throw, one at the end of the side street the pub is on and the other reached by walking down to the right of Ebb restaurant, which is behind the Tavern.

We chose to have our steak lunch, head off to cast a line or two in the sunshine and swing back to the Tavern after stowing the rods back in the car to exchange our drink ticket for a icy cold beer. The 'Purple Palate' next to the Tavern offers some point-of-difference wines and beers to take home so check it out too.

Mar 03, 2012

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Thai Lotus, Mooloolaba

Restaurants, Thai, Family Dining, Air Conditioning, Child Friendly

Overall 5.6  3

5.3 Average

Food  6      Ambience  4      Service  4      Value  7     


After having a favourite Thai for many years when living elsewhere we are always on the lookout for a family-run venue with good, honest, reasonably priced food.

Thai Lotus received an encouraging night-time review recently, so we thought we would try it for lunch.

Located adjacent to one of the main (free) public parking areas for Mooloolaba and just a block from the beach-front, Thai Lotus is very accessible and open for both lunch and dinner 7 days per week.

Offering both inside dining for about 35 covers or outside tables at a paved area open to the busy street, decor is definitely no-frills with laminex tables and minimal decoration, unlike many other Thai restaurants which boast a plethora of kitsch. Instead, large fridges containing various (non-alcoholic) drinks dominate the inside dining area.

An extensive menu offers the all usual suspects at reasonable prices with Veggie options around $10, two to three dollars more for Chicken, Beef or Pork, and $15.50 for Prawn or Seafood which is a good indication you can expect an imported product from Asia to be used in these dishes.

We ordered the Mixed entree ($7.50), always a good test of appetisers at any venue. It contained a Veg curry puff (home-made), coconut prawn, fish cake (not home-made but fine), spring roll (tasted home made) and fried wonton.

Beef Chilli and Basil Stir-Fry ($11.90) was a good size with lots of veg (fresh mushrooms, carrot, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, zucchini, baby corn and onion) along with thin slices of beef. Vegies were fresh and crisp, beef was minimal but tender, and the sauce had a good kick of chilli but was very watery. A separate dish with an upside-down bowlful of somewhat overcooked rice was served alongside. At least this soaked up the sauce, and overall, for $11.90 one could do a lot worse.

However, the other dish of Vegetarian Pad Thai (with Tofu) at $8.90 was a real let-down. I was feeling like something semi-healthy but there had to be about 2/3rds of a cup of oil in this one dish. I don't know if the kitchen staff had an accident with the oil bottle but it was like a re-visit of the 'Exxon Valdez' disaster lying on the bottom of the plate! Damn shame as there were generous batons of tofu and a good handful of very fresh bean sprouts atop the goodly sized portion. I would have liked a wedge of lemon or lime (or at least a spritz) to at least cut the oil content but it was pretty hard going without a bib with these rice noodles!

At under $30 for lunch for 2 there was more than enough food but, unfortunately, it didn't really hit the mark. I was keen to try the Black Sticky Rice pudding for $2.50 as this is a great standby Thai dessert and for $2.50 - hey! could probably be the best value dessert on the Coast but after all that oil I couldn't face it.

Maybe we caught this place on a bad day or maybe we should just go there at night (when a different cook is on?).

Service was with a smile and cold water bottle and glasses quickly provided although I was a little peeved after we had ordered from the laminated menus and I had gone up to get a printed paper menu for later reference to find 'Lunch Specials' listed on this for $9.50. As they included what we had ordered (Beef Chilli Basil Stir Fry with rice), for $2.40 less than on the proffered menu I feel these lunch options should have been mentioned (as we were charged the full a-la-carte price upon leaving).

A small quibble, but as there was no 'take-away' printed on the paper menu and prices/other dishes available were the same as the laminated one on the counter there needs to be some consistency.

Aug 12, 2011

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Alexandra Headland Hotel, Alexandra Headland

Pubs

Overall 4.5  2

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

4.2 Below Average

Food  5      Drinks  4      Ambience  4      Service  3      Value  5     


I have had to seriously adjust score after revisited this venue with a friend who was keen to try one of the $10 lunch specials available Mon-Thursday lunchtime. Our choice was the 'Flathead, Salad and Chips' as the waitstaff recommended this over the Chicken Schnitzel and other choice of the day.

There was an issue opening the till which required 10 minutes of (4) staff members time. 3 customers wanting to order lunch (after 1.30 pm) were kept waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Why could staff not have written the food order for the kitchen and got it underway whilst organising their (faulty) equipment? Common sense should prevail in circumstamces such as this or the (endangered) Monday lunchtime patron may move on to another place to dine (in hindsight we should have).

However, once the meal was finally ordered, the chef accommodated my personal request of a sauce other than bottled tartare to with our meals and thus we chose the garlic aioli (nice) and sweet chilli sauce.

Flathead was obviously cooked from a frozen, imported product and did not resemble any fillet of flathead I have ever caught/seen or purchased, being perfectly formed and about a 1/3 of the size of a small fillet. 2 of these were offered for the $10 special alongside some chopped salad greens (with That awful salad dressing again, note to self, please request left off!) and some (thankfully) crispy chips. I scored a lone cherry tomato on my salad offering whilst my dining partner was not so lucky.

Disappointing? Certainly. Staff were also uniformly uninformed, obviously new and with no knowledge of the menu they were selling/serving (or any obvious food knowledge either). Kitchen staff pro-active but cooking to a formula/budget from what we could see going out to the few other tables.

Would I return? Highly improbable, based on previous experiences. No wonder this venue is lacking trade.

My previous review read: I enjoyed a very nicely cooked and tender 200 gram 'Graziers Rump' steak here for my lunch, served with accompanying sauce and salad whilst my dining companion chose the 'Fish of the Day' from their 'Seniors Menu' which was beer battered Barramundi. Two really decent fillets were moist and very nicely cooked in fresh oil, my friend really enjoyed it and I had a struggle convincing him to part with some (for research purposes only of course).

The bistro also offers Sunday-Thursday $10 lunch specials of Chicken Schnitzel, Rump steak, Whiting fillet or Salt and Pepper squid all served with chips and salad. Additionally when we visited, a '2 for Tuesday deal' was offered, Buy a meal and receive a second meal free (free meal to be same or lesser price).

In the 'Weekender' available around the Coast on Fridays you can sometimes find 'Great Food Great Value' coupons which offer additional dining savings here and but I'm afraid this is why the service score is low.

Mum went here with a friend for lunch with a 'Buy 1 get 1 free Seniors Meal coupon' based on my friends fish experience yet was coerced into purchasing 2 x $10 lunch specials rather than the nicer (and marginally more expensive) seniors meals, one of which she would have received gratis and therefore spent only around $15 for 2 meals which they would have really enjoyed. So 'minus points' and 'shame on you' to the male staffer corralling two little old ladies!

Service was pretty pedestrian on our visit anyway and the view of the footpath, road and busy traffic roaring past beyond along the Esplanade into Aerodrome Road won't thrill those looking for ambience but hey, sometimes you get what you pay for.

Aug 09, 2011

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Reef, The, Noosa Heads

Pubs, Modern Australian, Seafood, Child Friendly Menus, Has Bar

Overall 7.4  1

7.4 Recommended

Food  6      Drinks  7      Ambience  8      Service  9      Value  7     


This pub set high on Noosa Hill is always packed on weekends and holidays (especially the outside tiered tables that give you a commanding view of blue Pacific ocean and a sea breeze).

There are always 'meal deals' to be had through the 'Great Food, Great Value website' and since it had been quite some time since our last visit (which had been so-so) we thought it was only fair to give this venue another shot.

The service received this time was top notch from all areas, whether the cashier, bar or wait staff. (e.g. a small sample given of a new beer on tap we enquired about, offer of a lemon or lime wedge in iced water etc. "Would you like your Caesar Salad with or without anchovies?"). Service with a smile too, other establishments take note!

I had a voucher offering a complimentary salt and pepper squid with any main over $15, so chose the 'Classic Caesar Salad' ($15) which was recommended by the cashier. My dining partner took advantage of a Mon-Fri lunchtime special of a 200 gram rump served with sauce of choice, chips and salad for $11 and a pot of beer (Bauer Bright/Carlton Cold/Cascade Light) or a house wine or soft drink thrown in for good measure.

The Caesar Salad was rather disappointing. Only 1 anchovy fillet and the poached egg was not runny but more hard-boiled. Dressing had no discernable flavour, parmesan shaved over the top and croutons soft rather than crunchy. However, there was lots of bacon, the Cos lettuce was fresh and crisp, and presentation was fine. The salt and pepper squid was, I suspect, not the 'usual' entree size, however, I wasn't fussed as it was quite flabby and oily but incredibly salty.

My partner fared better. His Bauer Bright beer was pronounced "nice"! and his steak cooked to medium as requested. The pepper sauce on the side had a nice bite with those lovely hot green peppercorns in profusion. One of the better pepper sauces we've had in a pub to be sure. Chips were fine, and the salad had a nice presentation with the tomatoes, onions etc. in a small dice reminiscent of a chunky salsa on the top of the crunchy lettuce.

All in all, good view, great service and fair food (for a pub). Without the vouchers/lunchtime offers one would be disappointed and not rush back.
However, there are worse places to sit under a shady umbrella with the days paper and a cold beer, glancing up at a cerulean sea.

Jul 21, 2011

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Beach House Bar & Grill, Maroochydore

Restaurants, Modern Australian, Seafood, Steak House, Vegetarian

Overall 3.5  1

3.5 Below Average

Food  5      Ambience  3      Service  2      Value  4     


Located waterside at Sunshine Plaza, this eatery relies on shoppers and cinema-goers for it's patronage. It's certainly not a 'destination' venue with its basic decor of easy-wipe, laminated tabletops, plastic chairs, TV and bar. You order and pay for your meal at the counter, are handed a 'buzzer' to alert you when your meal is ready and pick up paper serviettes and cutlery en-route to your table.

We've dined here once before for a late light lunch which was perfectly adequate, and there is a 200 gram lunch rump special for $12.90 served until 4 pm, but today being hungry ordered a 'petite' eye fillet (200g - $23.90) and a 'large' rump (100 days grain fed - $25.90) which looked to be at least 350g in weight. Both were served with bog-standard mesclun mix which, unfortunately, suffered fridge burn and was limp, half a large roma tomato, a good measure of sliced red onion and that dreadful bottled salad dressing I always forget to ask pubs to leave off the plate.

However, the steaks were cooked exactly as ordered and both were very tender and had a good cross-hatch of char-marks to boot. Our respective sauces were served on the side as requested, in small (read very small) metal jugs. The 'Diane' sauce was the pick of the two with some chunky sweated down onions for good measure. The pepper sauce lacked the de-rigeur peppercorns and thus, we were forced to add some tabasco to pep it up.

Both staff we interacted with were young, polite and pleasant but as also doing double duty with bar/counter and clearing numerous dirty tables. Coupled with the self-service aspect means we can honestly only rate a '2' for service at this venue.

A downside for the ambience score is that on both occasions we have eaten here, there have been male patrons of dubious sobriety drinking from the bar and loudly 'interacting' with young female shoppers walking past. This raises an issue of employing young females to oversee the premises who are obviously unable to deal with this type of situation - (and why should they)?

Management take note, regardless of the adequate food, return custom will vanish due to an unpleasant atmosphere, the other ladies lunching, elderly patrons and another couple nearby were clearly as uncomfortable as we were and possibly wishing they had chosen elsewhere to dine.

Apr 20, 2011

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LR Sushi, Brisbane CBD

Takeaways, Sushi, Parking Station

Overall 6.6  2

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful

6.5 Recommended

Food  9      Ambience  2      Service  6      Value  9     


Took the 'Sexy Senior Cit' down to Bris-Vegas to check out an exhibition at the Q'ld Art Gallery and en-route stopped by LR Sushi to grab some sustenance.

Having queried why we were standing in a queue on Adelaide Street I filled him in on the protocol. However, the sheer number of sushi roll choices defied him and therefore I ordered. 4 rolls - 'Karaage' Chicken roll with ginger, Tempura Salmon with asparagus, Soft Shell Crab and Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese came to $9.30 with those complimentary soy sauce plastic fish, wasabi sachets, copious serviettes and chopsticks.

(He couldn't finish his half by the way, "too much" he said. Now that's what I call a cheap lunch!)

On 1st April 2011 I said: Ever crossed over to the Adelaide Street entrance of Queens Plaza any weekday lunchtime and seen a queue of people stretching up Adelaide Street? Wondered what would make 'suits' and sight-seers alike do a shuffle for a sushi roll or two? This is Brisbanes' take on my favourite episode of Seinfeld, the infamous 'Soup' store, except here sushi is the snack of choice. Yet there Is protocol to follow, the queue enters single-file to the left of the tiny shopfront and you will immediately be prompted to state how many rolls and which type - "Next!".

Indecisiveness is not appreciated by the staff nor the hungry hordes behind you! (so use your time as you near the front of the queue to get a glimpse of the variety available that day). Ranging from Soft Shell Crab or Fresh Salmon to Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese, California Roll, Prawn, Avocado and Wasabi, Tempura Prawn, Wakame Seaweed Salad, Teriyaki Chicken, Tuna, etc. etc. Rolls range in price from $2.00 - $2.80 each, fillings are generous and size of rolls is too.

If you want Japanese Mayonnaise make sure you ask for it and your server will place an overly large squirt in your take-away container. Side-step to the right after paying, grab your sachets of wasabi, dinky little plastic fish full of soy sauce, disposable chopsticks and serviettes (all at no extra charge). Continue your crab-like movement (picking up the pace now) to exit on the right hand side of the shop-front, therefore, allowing another punter the opportunity to make it back to the office before their lunch break is over.

The queue actually moves fairly fast as many of the regulars are trained to get in and out in record time. However, to cope with demand, LR Sushi now has 4 locations in the Brisbane CBD: Queens Plaza (149 Adelaide St), MacArthur Central (255 Queen St), 26 Felix St and 400 George St.

I last visited at 11 am and was eating my sushi roll downstairs in the Queens Plaza Food Court by 11.08. When I exited just after 11.30 am the queue was stretched to the corner by then. So try and go outside 'peak lunch time' if you can. And don't worry, the rolls will still be fresh. I heard a rumour the Queens Plaza store can make up to 3000 a day!

Apr 01, 2011

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