Taste Gallery, Market Square

As one of the grander restaurants in Market Square, Taste Gallery caters to families and big groups of friends who want a variety of delicious options whilst dining out. Learning to cook when he first arrived in Australia, the head chef Evan, has 39 years of experience under his belt. From his first job in China Town, his career has expanded to Toowong and Sunnybank, working at Kingsfood for 12 years before bringing his culinary skills to Taste Gallery.

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We started off our 10 course meal with the ever popular minced chicken in corn soup. A sweet corn soup with a good balance of chicken was the perfect dish to awaken the taste buds.

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Next up, we had the two course peking duck which includes duck rolls and san choy bao. The dish was uniquely presented with well sliced duck – a thin layer of meat with crispy duck skin. The duck is then wrapped with the cucumber, shallot and an option of hoi sin sauce or sweet chilli sauce.

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The san choy bao was refreshing with duck meat, peas, corn and carrot presented in a lettuce cup.

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The next dish that we devoured was the deep fried shrimp balls with mayo which was one of my top favourites. Even though it was deep fried, the shrimp balls were not oily. The batter was a good consistency giving it a soft crunch and the shrimp inside was filling. This dish was accompanied with pineapple which gave the overall flavour a zesty tang which became quite additive.

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Fried Rice

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The szechuan pepper chicken which came out next is one of my all time favourites. This is a staple dish that makes your taste buds tingle and you start drooling as soon as you take the first bite. It is the perfect dish if you’re dining by yourself with a big bowl of steaming hot rice.

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The green mussels in XO sauce which is made from dried seafood and chilli was juicy and flavoursome. Each mussel itself was quite large and soft to bite into. If XO sauce isn’t to your fancy, it comes with the option of szechuan sauce.

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After making our way through a few meat dishes, it was nice to mix it up with some stir fried veggies in garlic sauce. Although the veggies were lightly seasoned, it was quite flavoursome and crunchy.

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The deep fried ribs was so moist and flavoursome. Each bite of the ribs made your taste buds crave for more. The ribs were glazed with a special sauce which was so succulent, soaking into the meat itself.

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The tantalising smell when the sizzling beef fillet in black pepper sauce came out was absolutely mouth watering. The meat was tender with an earthy aroma of the black pepper.

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Trying to fit the dessert in after such a delectable ten course meal was quite hard. The pumpkin rice cake was so picturesque that it was almost hard to take a bite out of it. When you finally take a bite though, you’re welcomed with a soft red bean paste inside which compliments the rice cake. This was the perfect dish to end the meal as it wasn’t overly sweet but sweet enough to keep your taste buds satisfied.

Overall, the food at Taste Gallery was absolutely amazing. There is such a wide variety of dishes to choose from that it won’t leave anyone that dines here disappointed. If you can fight the parking traffic around Market Square, I would definitely recommend giving this restaurant a try.

In love and food,

Vivi

xx

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Travel Food Diary: Osaka, Japan

If a single word was used to describe Japan, it would be the word ‘mesmerising’ and all the synonyms that belong to it.

The people were charming, the landscape was captivating, the culture was enchanting and the food (*inserts a big sigh of love*) the food was absolutely spellbinding.

My love affair with Dōtonbori started as soon as I caught a glimpse of the bright lights and the whiff of food circulating from the street vendors. Time slowed down, but my heartbeat quicken as I wandered from store to store, enamoured by all the food on the menus. The hardest decisions were, what was I going to eat and how was I going to fit it all in.

From takoyaki to ramen, this is a sample of my food journey through Dōtonbori in Osaka.

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Okonomiyaki with mochi

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Fried oyster curry

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Tempura omu-rice

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Takoyaki

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Chūtoro bowl

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Mister Donut

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You can never go around the world without having the classic Starbucks

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150 yen sushi

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Takoyaki

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Vending machines with cold and hot drinks, genius!

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Salmon

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Ramen

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Chicken katsu curry

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Have you been to Osaka? If so, where is your favourite place to eat?

In love and food,

Vivi

Tokyo Express, Toowong

Nestled behind Woolworths near Toowong Village is Tokyo Express, a small family owned business that creates some of the most mouthwatering sushi on the west side of Brisbane. Although there is an abundance of sushi chains around Brisbane, it can often be quite a challenge to find fresh sushi that is light and full of flavour.

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Salmon aburi

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Chef’s special

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SAO (salmon, avocado, onion) 

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Salmon handroll

As an avid fan of both salmon and avocado, any sushi combination with the two ingredients are utterly delicious and very welcomed. The salmon at Tokyo Express is always fresh, and the avocados ripe to perfection (I swear restaurants must source their avocados from an Avocado God as it is never the same when you buy them to bring home).

Being at Tokyo Express is reminiscent to my recent trip to Japan – fresh fresh fresh! By using more salmon than rice, the rice simply sits on the side as a filler and lets the combination of the fresh salmon, smooth avocado and sharp onion creates a tantalising affect on your taste buds.

My favourite dish would have to be their salmon hand rolls (they also have other meat fillings in their hand rolls but I’m a sworn addict to salmon). The crisp crunch of the seaweed paired with the softness of the salmon and avocado is just a mouth orgasm that’ll want you having more.

If you find that sushi still leaves you feeling quite peckish, they also offers set meals and other snacks on the menu that’ll leave your tummy feeling happy and full. With seatings around the sushi train as well as booth, Tokyo Express is extremely family friendly.

In love and food,

Vivi

Tokyo Express on Urbanspoon

8 Street, Westfield Garden City

Westfield Garden City keeps getting better with the near completion of their renovations. The biggest highlight of the new centre is the Asian food precinct & beer garden, known as 8 Street, located on the ground floor towards Coles.

Stepping into 8 Street, you are transported into an atmospheric realm that replicates that of an Asian marketplace. The busy flow of people along the lane way, the delicious scent of food and the beautiful wooden fixtures sets up a scene that can be found in many places around Asia. A feature that enhances the dining experience is the clear glass panels that are situated at each of the 13 stalls which shows off the chef’s cooking skills.

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Teppanyaki Lovers specialises in Japanese cuisine. The chefs at this stall are quite the performers with their little fire tricks while cooking and can be quite mesmerising to watch as they cook the food on the large hot plate. A dish that they’ve mastered to perfection is the teriyaki chicken dish which is served in a bento box with rice, gyoza, tamagoyaki (a Japanese rolled omelette). The teriyaki chicken is succulent as well as slightly charred which gives off a tasty smokey flavour.

Teppanyaki Lovers on Urbanspoon

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Steamed juicy mini dumplings ($7.00/6 pieces)

Dim Sum by Taste Gallery offers a range of mini dumplings, savoury pancakes and soup. The most popular dish on their menu would be the steamed juicy mini dumplings. These mini dumplings have a delicious pork filling as well as a hot broth inside (so be cautious when biting into them). They make a great entree for enticing your taste buds before you feast on some more food at 8 Street.

Dim Sum on Urbanspoon

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Special Singaporean fried rice noodle ($10.90)

Noodle 8 is a Malaysian and Singaporean stall that specialises in noodles and laksa. They also serve satay chicken sticks, pork wraps as well as beef hand rolls. A signature dish at this stall would be their special Singaporean fried rice noodle. As the thin noodles are fried, it is quite dry however the seasoning and flavours make up for it.

Noodle 8 on Urbanspoon

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Hiroshima Seafood ($14.00)

Okonomi House serves up Japanese styled pizzas. There are two different styles which include the Osaka Style where you can choose from bacon, cheese, pork or beef or the Hiroshima Style where it comes with noodles and is available with seafood, beef or vegetarian. A personal favourite would have to be the bacon deluxe which comes with bacon, corn, potato and mozzarella cheese. You can never go wrong with bacon and in this case, it becomes a delectable cheesy bacon heaven as the cheese oozes out with every forkful.

Okonomi House on Urbanspoon

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Combination wonton ($10.90)

Won Ton Ton have a variety of wonton soups, dumplings, buns as well as snacks including crispy chicken and salt & pepper calamari. The combination wonton dish had fish balls, fish tofu, veggies and a decent amount of wontons. The wonton itself had a porportional amount of meat and prawns which was quite flavoursome. As well as that, the broth was subtle and complimented the flavours of the wonton.

Won Ton Ton on Urbanspoon

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Braise pork belly with rice ($10.80)

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Signature braised beef ($8.80 – $10.80)

Rice town offers a variety of popular rice dishes that suits every taste bud from curry chicken to braised pork belly, as well as mackerel  and prawns. The signature braised beef is a safe option for those who are wary of intense foreign flavours but want to experience an authentic Asian meal. With a copious amount of beef, it is sure to keep the belly full. The braised pork belly dish was the standout from the menu as it was soft and tender, balanced with the right combination of soy sauce. With the added steam veggies, it makes scoffing the dish down less of a guilty pleasure.

Rice Town on Urbanspoon

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Minced pork & preserved duck egg ($8.80) // Combo deal – Congee + Marinade + Side ($15.80)

Congee Master serves up the most delicious variety of congee with marinades and sides available. With marinades such as chicken wings, pork belly, steamed chicken, sliced beef and calamari, it becomes quite a difficult task to choose just one. However if you aren’t big on the extras, the congee itself has enough ingredients to excite the taste buds. The minced pork and preserved duck egg congee was extremely tasty and surprisingly came with quite a substantial amount of preserved duck egg. This is the perfect meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner as it is light but very filling.

Congee Master on Urbanspoon

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Dol sot bi bim bap ($11.00)

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Seafood udon noodles ($10.00)

Madtongsan is a stall at 8 Street that serves up an amazing array of korean food that ranges from snacks, noodles, rice and soups. With a few restaurants around Brisbane, this stall offers a condensed menu of the most popular dishes. A favourite dish here would definitely have to be the dol sot bi bim bap which is in a hot stone pot. This dish has rice, seasoned vegetables, and either beef or chicken which is then topped with a raw egg and their signature spicy sauce. It is then all mixed in together, creating an explosion of flavour as well a chilli hit, depending on your chilli tolerance.

Madtongsan V on Urbanspoon

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Roast duck pancake – half chicken ($16), pancake ($3.50/10 pieces), hoisin sauce ($1.50)

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Roast pork ($10.90), BBQ pork ($9.90) with steamed rice or noodles and seasonal salad

BBQ by Burlington has by far the most flavoursome peking duck and barbecue meats at 8 Street. They offer roast duck, roast pork, BBQ pork, BBQ chicken, wings, ribs as well as peking duck (roast duck pancake). The roast duck pancake is reminiscent of an asian kebab as the ones found at this stall is a big version of the original size. This is quite exciting as with the original small ones, there is usually never enough to go around. The roast pork had the perfect fat and meat ratio as well as a crispy top. The bbq pork on the other hand was tender and soft making you want to continuously snack on it.

Burlington BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Crazy prawn ($6/3 pieces)

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Teriyaki beef & onion ($6.50/3 pieces), Crazy lamb ($4/3 pieces, $8/half dozen, $15/dozen)

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Chicken fillets ($6/4 pieces), Crazy wings ($2.50/1 piece) – original, fresh garlic, asian curry, chilli pepper, honey soy, black pepper

Crazy Wings offers a large variety of meat on skewers including their famous crazy wings which comes in six different flavours. The most interesting skewers would have to be the ox tongue, the chicken fillet with soft bones as well as the enokitake mushroom. The teriyaki beef was succulent and spot on. The chicken fillet however was quite spicy, so if you find that you do work up quite a sweat when tackling chilli food, you can ask them to tone down on the chilli seasoning. The skewers make a great snack, or even an accompaniment to another meal.

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Crunchy hot n spicy chicken steak ($7.90)

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Grilled pork belly ($8.90)

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Tonkotsu (pork flavoured) ramen with slow cooked pork belly ($10.90) 

At the end of the winding lane way stands Grill n Bao. This stall offers a variety of gua bao burgers as well as ramen soups. Their gua bao burgers include chicken, beef, tofu and possibly the tastiest one, grilled pork belly. The grilled pork belly meat was extremely succulent and with the salad and jap mayo, it left a meaty but fresh tangy taste tingling on the taste buds. The buns are steamed and then placed on the grill, which gives the buns a bit of texture instead of being overly soft. The most notable thing about the gua bao at Grill n Bao is that the buns aren’t oily and greasy which sometimes is the case at other places offering gua bao.

Grill n Bao on Urbanspoon

 

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Oolong milk tea ($4.20), Lychee oolong with aloe ($5.00)

Gong Cha is a Taiwanese style drink shop that has franchises world wide. They offer brewed tea, healthy tea, milk tea, yoghurt drinks as well as smoothies. Two of the most popular drinks on the menu would have to be the milk tea with pearls as well as the lychee oolong tea with aloe vera. Both teas were refreshing and not overly sweet. However, if you’re a bit of a sweet tooth, the sweetness level can be customised.

Gong Cha on Urbanspoon

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If you’re stuck for lunch or dinner ideas or are dining with a large group of people, 8 Street is the ideal location as it has so many different food stalls which would cater to even the pickiest eater. The best part is, there is a licensed bar in the corner selling Asian beers so you can sneak in a drink whilst harbouring your food baby.

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8 Street is open from 10am – 9pm from Monday – Saturday and from 10am-6pm on Sundays.

In love and food,

Vivi

Hatch & Co., Garden City

IMG_0107Outside dining space and water feature at Westfield Garden City

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Chipotle BBQ’d chicken wings

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Chargrilled spatchcock freekeh, currants, almonds, labna, pomegranate dressing

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Braised duck ragù, basil, chilli, cavatelli

Westfield Garden City has just reopened its gorgeous new outdoor dining precinct with a stunning water feature. In celebration, J and I decided to try the much loved Hatch & Co., who has another restaurant by the same name located at Gasworks Plaza Newstead.

First impressions of the Garden City restaurant was that it was a lot more spacious than their Gasworks counterpart. As well as that, the view from the outside dining area was absolutely breathtaking. During the warmer months, this would be the ideal place to sit and dine whilst feeling like you were whisked away to another location.

The service and food was sensational. Although the main dishes didn’t look particularly big when served, they were extremely hearty and filling. (We didn’t manage to finish the wings and I found myself craving for it the next morning). Another standout was the labna in the spatchcock dish which gave it an extra zing.

With the revamp of the centre, it is exciting to see new restaurants opening their doors on the south side. I would absolutely recommend this restaurant for their food, view and extensive wine list.

In love and food,

Vivi

Hatch & Co on Urbanspoon