Au Lac Gourmet Vegetarian Restaurant

I've never been a vegetarian in my whole life but i was rather eager to try a vegetarian restaurant in Dickson: Au Lac Gourmet Vegetarian Restaurant (4/35-39 Woolley Street, Dickson (02) 6262 8922). It is reputable for its mock meat dishes, so i decided to be a bit adventurous and give it a try. The worst case scenario will be me resorting to vegetables and tofu, which i love anyways.
Au Lac is not a fancy place but a small and simple restaurant with a few Vietnamese-themed decorations here and there. Its menu looks very similar to a normal Vietnamese restaurant's except the fact that its meat it's not real meat but soy meat.
As soon as i saw  Roast Soy Duck on the menu i knew i had to get it. I was really curious to see how the 'fake' roast duck would look and taste like. To my surprise, the mock duck actually had crispy skin and even 'stuff' that resembled duck fat (sorry, but i don't know what the fat is made of), that's imitation at its best no? The taste was pretty decent for an imitation of the real roast duck, although i still prefer to have the real thing.


Gold Coast: Mme Grenouille

It was a great surprise to find the French Bakery Mme Grenouille (Meriton Building, Shop 1, 2669 Gold Coast Hwy, Broachbeach, (07)5538 3111) during my last visit to Gold Coast. It is one of those places that you don't expect to find until you've reach the status of a local, if you know what i mean. I came across it purely by chance, when i unconsciously glanced at a magazine where their colourful macarons were featured. It must have been the macarons, somehow we are connected.
It was a hot day when we went to Mme Grenouille, so i decided to order an ice coffee to start with while i chose my cakes and enjoyed its chic ambience. The cafe does feel like a small Parisian Boutique with interesting macaron-inspired prints on their walls and a display with a variety of beautiful cakes and sweets for you to choose from. I was certainly  spoiled for choice and it took me a while to choose something from it. I ended up ordering the Strawberry Charlotte - a soft sponge surrounded by finger biscuits and topped with fresh strawberries and a Black Forest - consisted of two different layers of mousse decorated with a chocolate spoon and macerated cherries.
Ice Coffee
The ice coffee tasted really good, it wasn't overly sweet (like in many places) and the ice coffee didn't taste as if it was made from commercialized coffee syrups. Judging by other customers' reaction, i think Mme Grenouille makes pretty decent coffee. Let me know what you think about their coffee if you've been there!
My first cake choice was the Strawberry Charlotte simply because i love strawberries and also because it was one of the cakes that was going fast. The sponge was soft and moist, the finger biscuits were good and the strawberries were deliciously fresh. All components came well together not only in taste but also in presentation.
Black Forest was my favorite in terms of presentation. That chocolate spoon holding a cherry alone was enough for me to order it. Yes, i am a sucker for pretty and gimmicky things. Looks aside, the chocolate mousse was light and silky smooth and the bottom layer of macerated cherries complemented it very well. I guess it's not just looks, afterall.
Black Forest - recommend it!
I certainly enjoyed my time at Mme Grenouille's for both the food and ambience. The staff was friendly and very helpful in helping me choose the cakes we had. I will definitely be back (when i can) to try their breakfast menu and other cakes. You might be asking me...where are the macarons? Don't worry, i didn't leave without them! I bought a few flavours including Hazelnut, Pistachio, Rum & Raisin and Coffee - the filling was good but i was a bit disappointed with the macaron shells for its coarse texture. Apart from that, all good!
Don't forget to pay Mme Grenouille a visit on your next trip to Gold Coast!
*I reckon their little logo featuring a frog with a crown is tres chic, no?


Kingsleys Steak & Crabhouse

I've always wanted to try Kingsleys Steak & Crabhouse (North Quarter, 125 Bunda St, Civic 1300 546 475) but, for some bizarre reason, i never got to try it until i was formely invited by them last week. Perhaps the thought that "It's always there and i can try it anytime i want" was the reason why i did not put Kingsleys Steak & Crabhouse at the top of my 'to-try list'.
Kingsleys features a rustic decor with dark wooden chairs and tables which, to my opinion, are a perfect fit for a steakhouse; the addition of a few funny cow or crab-related humour on the walls adds that nice little extar touch to the restaurant. Their menu is not extensive but enough to leave you spoiled for choices, from steaks to seafood and an array of tantalizing entrees and sides; they also have a comprehensive drinks menu.
We started off the night with some Lemon, Lime & Bitters and an Alaskan King Crab Leg - with mayonnaise and lemon to share. The crab meat was succulent with a delicate and sweet flavour, definitely worth getting my own next time =P
For mains, we decided to sample some of the steaks that Kingsleys had to offer. We ordered the Rib Eye - 120 day grain fed, Riverine Premium Beef, marble score 2+ and the Wagyu Rib Eye - 350 day grain fed, marble score 6-7, Oakleigh Ranch (QLD), all served with a sauce and chips/potato mash. To accompany our mains, we got a Tomato, Bocconcini & Basil salad.
For the rib eye, i chose a mushroom sauce to go with it together with some chips. The steak had some marbling and was deliciously juicy and tender. The chips came out pipping hot and i just couldn't get enough of those!
As for the Wagyu Rib Eye, a Bearnaise sauce and potato mash were chosen to accompany it. Although the wagyu was a bit burnt on one side, the marbling was nice and definitely more evident than in the Riverine Rib Eye and the steak was equally tender. The potato mash was okay and quite a lot for a side.
The Tomato, Bocconcini & Basil salad was simple but refreshing. The tomatoes were tasty and sweet, especially the green ones, and it is one of my favorite combos that can never go wrong. It was a good side to go with the mains.
I personally liked the Riverine Rib Eye more than the Wagyu Rib Eye (not taking into consideration the burnt bit) maybe because i prefer my steak to be more on the lean side. I am not saying that i dislike Wagyu, on the contrary, i love Wagyu but i prefer to have it in smaller portions as opposed to a whole 400g wagyu steak. A bit too much for my petite-self...
After our mains, we decided to only order a Key Lime Pie to share because we couldn't fit another dessert in *i heard that their Creme Brulee is not bad either. The pie had a smooth and creamy texture and it wasn't overly sweet; the key lime taste was refreshing and the dessert was a perfect way to finish off our meal at Kingsleys.
The dinner at Kingsleys was lovely and the service was great. The staff is knowledgeable and diligent; the food overall was good and i will certainly come back to try other things from their menu.

Thanks Sarah, Marcus and the Canberra Kingsleys Steak & Crabhouse team for their awesome hospitality!

Kingsleys Steak & Crabhouse on Urbanspoon


Gold Coast: Amimoto 網元

Amimoto (Shop 13 Lido Arcade, 24 Orchid Avenue (07) 5538 7816) is, by far, the best Japanese restaurant that i've tried in Gold Coast. It is literally a very tiny restaurant quietly tucked away at the Lido Arcade (just remember that it is just next door to a Korean restaurant). Amimoto doesn't have any fancy decor nor extravagant tables and chairs, just simple white tables and a few japanese drawings hanging on the walls...ohn...and a bookshelf with very old mangas. Honestly, i probably wouldn't have gone in if it hadn't been strongly recommended by a good friend of mine. I'm glad that i went in, or else i would have missed this little gem from Gold Coast.
Like, Yama Sakura Japanese Restaurant, we were spoilt for choice and the set menu literally went from A - Z and further to AA, AB, AC...it took us, again, a while to choose what we wanted. Since we didn't have breakfast, we had a bit of extra room to fit dishes beyond the sets that we ordered. We ordered a Sashimi Set and a Chirashi Set, which came with soup and rice (only for the sashimi set since Chirashi already contains rice). The sashimi set came with a good variety of fresh sashimi (scallops, variety of fish, squid, fish roe and octopus) and everything was beautiful and delicious. The same can be said for the Chirashi too!  
Sashimi Set
Chirashi Set
We also ordered a Grilled Unagi (Eel) and a Mixed Tempura. I was utterly impressed by the grilled unagi for being so flawless. It's a strange word choice, i know, but everything about it was just perfect that left me wanting to order another one *if only i wasn't full. I am usually not a fan of deep fried food but i have to say that the Mixed Tempura was great! It didn't leave your mouth feeling like it had been soaked in oil and you could really taste the freshness of the ingredients (vegetables and seafood) used. I particularly liked the fish fillet and the sweet potato tempura.
Grilled Unagi
Mixed Tempura
Lunch was great and very satisfying. I loved the use of good and fresh ingredients by Amimoto as it highlights the essence of Japanese Cuisine. Everything was great and particularly loved the sashimi set and the grilled unagi. I will be back for more and perhaps try their sukiyaki too! It is a little restaurant worth visiting if you happen to be in Gold Coast!

Amimoto on Urbanspoon


Mecca Bah - Canberra

Went to Mecca Bah for a friend's farewell and the first thing i've noticed about Mecca Bah (25-29 Manuka Terrace, Flinders Way (02) 6260 6700) was its beautiful and rustic decor. Mecca Bah has a very relaxed atmosphere and it is divided into two sections: the restaurant and the bar. The restaurant itself was very inviting and the patterned-lamps were my favorite things. The staff was polite but not very attentive as i had to keep asking them to refill the water for our tables. Our order took a while to come but it could be because we had 20+ people.
The lamps had the same pattern design as the menu
I ordered a Middle Eastern Spiced Swordfish with Spicy Couscous and loved the fish. The fish was lightly marinated and grilled beautifully - moist and juicy. The couscous was gently tossed with some pistachio which added a nice touch to the overall dish. 
Lamb Meatballs with Egg & Spicy Tomato Sauce Tangine was the most oredered dish at our table. I don't usually fancy lamb but the meatballs were really tasty (and not as 'lamby') and went well with the couscous. It's a very delicious and hearty dish but seemed like it wasn't enough for the guys.
Overall the food was good and i enjoyed dining at such a lovely and cozy restaurant. Will certainly be back to try their mezze menu as well as their Turkish pizzas.

Mecca Bah Canberra on Urbanspoon
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