Saturday, 31 January 2015

Dot Cod Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Bar - Our first HK meal

Wow, it seems like an age since I've sat down at my computer to share some of my latest foodie adventures. In fact, when I sit back and reflect, it's probably been a month since my last update, which for me is a lifetime!

I guess a lot has happened in the last month and it's taken me a while to settle down and find the time to write about my food escapades. While I haven't been writing, you can be sure that there has been eating!

Where do I start, well, to begin with, I'm sitting in a serviced apartment in my new home of Hong Kong - yep, that's right, if you didn't know it, I've moved to Hong Kong.  New year, new job and new country.  Exciting.  But what does that mean for my blog?  Well, FoodMeUpScotty has always been about my food adventures, so now they're just a little more exotic than they used to be.  International food blogger has a nice ring to it :)

Right, down to business.  Our flight to HK was awesome and our QANTAS flight produced some pretty decent food by Rockpool head, Neil Perry.  While the food was OK, by the time we landed in Hong Kong, we were still pretty hungry. So, after the ride from the airport to our apartment and a quick test walk to my new place of work, we found ourselves on the hunt for a late dinner.

We were in Central Hong Kong, with absolutely no idea where to find food, where to find much that was open and just a little tired and cranky from the flight.  We'd spied a set of steps leading down to a little restaurant called Dot Cod and while we didn't necessarily feel like seafood for dinner, our hunger got the better of us and we found ourselves gravitating towards the entrance of the restaurant.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

The FoodMeUpScotty Top Ten

Top 10 restaurants in Brisbane

I've been writing about food and restaurants in my blog for over two years now and it's been a heck of a ride.  I'm often asked what my favourite restaurants are or for recommendations of places to eat and I always find it difficult to limit my choices, there are just so many great places to eat in our fair city! 

My time as a Brisbane blogger is almost over, I am moving to Hong Kong (I will have already moved if you're reading this after the 10th of January).  I've had quite a bit of time to reflect on Brisbane's restaurants, especially as my time in the city comes to an end and I've decided that I will put together a list of my Top 10 restaurants.  Some you might agree with and others, you probably won't, but it's my list and each of the restaurants on the list is special in its own way.

There are many elements and factors when considering my favourite restaurants, having a top quality chef is part of the story, but equally important are service, diversity of menu and that all important 'X factor'.   A good indicator for me is repeat visits, if I want to go back (and go back often), then all the elements have usually come together and for me, thats what makes a top restaurant.

It's been a painful process and I've had to leave out some amazing restaurants, some that would have easily made a top twenty list, but I have had to limit my choices to ten....   So here it goes, here is my top ten list.  

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Casual Dining - Communal Bar and Eat House at Brisbane Square 

Change, change, change!  The amount of change that's happening in Brisbane seems unprecedented, right?  I was completely blown away by the big hole in the ground that used to be the Law Courts up on George Street and pretty excited for the high rise apartments and hotel that are slated to be built in their place. George Street has seen a transformation over the last few years and it seems as if the 'top-end-of-town' will continue a resurgence.

One of our funkiest buildings is the Brisbane City Council building in George Street, which houses the Brisbane library and from a distance, looks like a colourful kaleidoscope of falling books.  The BCC building has recently undergone a new transformation, with most of the older style eateries being transformed into a 'diner's delight' that includes a pretty wide range of modern looking cafes and restaurants.  I'd already checked out Meat and Eat (see post here) but was pretty excited to get along and check out the showpiece of the Square - the gastro pub style Communal Bar and Eat House.

As part of the ever growing stable of cafes and restaurants run by General Manager Anthony Attard, The Communal Bar and Eat House is the biggest and boldest of the group's ventures, which includes The Cutting Board (see post here), Hive (see post here) and Meat and Eat (see post here).  Communal Bar and Eat House is inspired by the gastro pub culture and combines this with the communal theme by featuring many share tables among the two hundred available seats (yeah, it's big).

What turns Communal into a gastro pub is the huge mix of food and booze options, with both a huge food menu and an even bigger range of beers on tap, as well as a huge range of cocktails. In fact there are twenty four beers on tap as well as twenty different cocktails and eight cocktail jug specialties!  While a gastro pub should have plenty of alcohol options, for me it's always going to be about the food and I was keen to see what head chef Ben Limpus had done with the menu, which included a wood fired pizza oven, plenty of burgers and dishes from a flare grill.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Coppa Spuntino - the Italian snack shop

The ever changing Brisbane CBD restaurant scene has been active again, with a brand new Italian spot opening in the heart of the city. No, I'm not talking about Jamie's Italian, which opened up a few weeks ago. I'm talking about a funky little spot in Creek Street called Coppa Spuntino, which as luck would have it, can be seen from my office window!

There is a little spot in Creek Street that has had a little bit of misfortune over the last few years. Originally part of the new development at the back of the National Australia Bank building on the corner of Queen and Creek Street, the little spot at 88 Creek Street was once slated for bigger fish.  It was rumored that Melbourne institution Taxi was to take over the lease, but a little thing called the GFC kicked in and killed that plan.  Adelaide coffee institution CIBO espresso got a little bit further, establishing yet another attempt at the Brisbane market before fading away (pretty quickly too).

Cursed site?  Maybe, but well respected Brisbane duo Bonnie Shearston and Tom Sanceau, of Public and Red Hook, saw an opportunity to expand their culinary empire and had Italian cuisine firmly in their sights.  The site is quite compact, so instead of going with a full blown Italian joint, the pair have come up with an interesting concept.  Spuntino means 'snack' in Italian, and that's pretty much the concept for their restaurant Coppa Spuntino.

I'm a huge fan of Public, which in its first year of operation won a Brisbane Times Good Food Guide chefs hat, as well as taking out that year's 'Best New Restaurant' (see post here).  I'm less enamored with their US of A style offering, Red Hook, which is OK, but inconsistent (see post here), but given I love Italian cuisine, I couldn't wait to get in and check out Coppa.  As it turned out, I loved the place so much, I've practically lived there since!


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