Monday, February 28, 2011

Salt Food Wine Coffee @ Rosalie, Brisbane

The suburb Rosalie lies very close to the heart, a place that we frequent for breakfast and our dosage of sugar. Not to mention, the rather expensive butcher and gourmet mart too. It's been weeks since the floods and we heard wind that the suburb that was once flooded 1.5 metres from the ground is up and running again, so we headed there with enthusiasm.


Flute which we visited once was closed the week that we were there, although when we were around the corner last week, I am happy to say it is up and running again too.


So Salt is was, which has a similar concept to their neighbour Flute; big portion breakfasts with a slight premium, with meals starting from AUD18-22. 


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Iced coffee for the hot day but this comes with ice-cream making it a very sweet caffeine dosage.



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As you can see, the portions are huge and for small eaters, this should last you the whole day. Just look at the amount of mushrooms served with truffle oil, it was heavenly with some egg yolk from the poached eggs. The only problem is that the eggs are poached in a mold, rendering it slightly harder than it should be. 



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If you have left over roast beef, may this be inspiration for your next breakfast. Served inside a huge omelette with cheese and served with jus, this apparently kept my friend full for the whole day whereas i enjoyed every bit of the dish.



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Haloumi cheese for you maybe?



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The safer options like smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce is also available. 

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The mushrooms were so good that we had an extra order to share around.

There is something about the area; the peace and serenity i suppose that lures us over the area, or it could be that we can't resist a slice of cake at Welsh Lady which is a compulsory stop after breakfast.

Address and contact details:

Salt Food Wine Coffee on Urbanspoon

Verdict: 4 stars out of 5 stars. You pay a bit more but you don't have to worry about having to order poached eggs as a side or any other items as a side because they make sure the plate has enough components to satisfy any appetite. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lure on Latrobe @ Paddington, Brisbane

This week has zoomed past and it can only go faster at the rate that work is piling on my desk. I can't say I hate it but man, I need to get this all finished. That aside, today is yet another breakfast place that I like to share with you all.


So far, majority of our "outside" meals have consisted of breakfast and it is only going to continue till we run out of places to visit.


Another excellent spot to have breakfast or brunch is Lure on Latrobe. Once you spot it and manage to find a car park spot, you will settle into their outdoor terrace very nicely. With plenty of shade, provided the weather is not too hot too, sitting outside is the way to go. 


Plenty of choices in the menu with a balance of savoury and sweet. 


Somehow that particular morning, I was suddenly in the mood for vegetarian, well almost. 


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The zucchini and haloumi fritters was not a pretty sight but with the spicy tomato jam and yoghurt, not to mention beautifully poached eggs, it was a nice change to my big breakfast. That being said, someone on the table did order the big breakfast and it look so mouth watering with everything you can imagine on the plate.


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The Wife ordered the French Toast and from the second the plate touched the table, my eyes couldn't leave it. Brioche, egg, cream, poached apples (I think), what more can one ask for? I suggest sharing this as a dessert but you can always have it on your own as a second breakfast.

Service was good, the waiter and waitress were entertaining although I couldn't believe they had no syrup for their summer coffee so do tell them if you want it come with sugar. We had a good laugh when the waitress had no idea what we wanted. 

I reckon a keeper with prices around the AUD15 range.


Address and contact details:


Lure on Latrobe on Urbanspoon

Verdict: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. Not sure what we had deserved the 4 star mark but we like outdoor seating arrangement and it helped that the morning was overly hot or you can always order summer coffees to cool yourself down. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Two Small Rooms @ Toowong, Brisbane

Apparently, once in a while, a fellow thinks it is funny to compile other people's entries and pass it off their own. So for those reading it on his/her website, the original source is here. With that aside, let's continue with the reviews.


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Two Small Rooms have been garnering a few reviews especially one from Rick Stein, a celebrity seafood chef. So it was a pleasant surprise that day, when we spot an offer from Cudo;  3 course meal for 2 with a cook book for AUD 79. With the original value of dinner being AUD 55 per pax and the cook book probably worth AUD 20, there was a savings of around AUD 50. 


Calling themselves "boutique fine dining", the restaurant is literally Two Small Rooms big with the main front room seating probably around 30 people. The sense of boutique continues with the compact menu with a couple of choices for entree, main and dessert.


Alas, with the voucher that we had, we were limited to the Markets Menu; a fixed 3 course meal that apparently changes every month; I suppose a more affordable way to eat here. The ala carte menu costing probably close to 20-30% more. 


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With fine dining, you can expect a huge mark up on wines. Although we have no idea how much this wine cost outside, we reckon the AUD 57.50 was pretty value for money, smooth and light on the palate, as how i would like my wines. 

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Fortunately with fine dining, bread is complimentary even if it is one slice; with unsalted butter. 

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Beetroot Cured Trout with Micro Herb Salad; the vibrant plate of purple hue trout was tempting. I just wished there was more of a salad or left my bread to eat it with. 

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Twice Cooked Pork Belly with Coleslaw,Apple Puree and Red Wine Jus; the dim environment made it a nightmare to take pictures so the rather blurred out pork belly was my best attempt before the Wife dug in with great hunger. The crackling was crunchy but could be crunchier but i would have liked the apple puree to have given a greater contrast to the savoury components.  

That all being said, the entrees were enjoyable.

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The mains were a bit boring and almost seemed significantly easier to cook compared to the ala carte menu.  The 200G Sirloin Steak with Lyonnaise Potatoes, Spinach & Jus was cooked according to preference. The thing that we will never be able to replicate though is the smoky char imparted from cooking your steak on the charcoal grill. That reason alone, will get the Wife to order this again.


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The Salade Nicoise is served with a twist. Instead of canned tuna, you get a chunk of swordfish and the meal is served as a main opposed to an entree. The compulsory egg and potatoes make it comfort food but for a big guy like me, I was glad I got a piece of steak, if not I be leaving the place hungry.


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Vanilla Bean SoufflĂ© with Berry Sorbet. With the standard for souffles set by Ecco, this fell slightly flat or either that I didn't feel like an overly sweet dessert as what is expected with eating souffle. 

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Eton Mess: Broken Pavlova with Strawberries, Mint and Chantilly Cream; looked like a very simple recipe but was well executed. No complaints from the other half. 

Overall well cooked food but while with no surprises, I got a very safe, simple and slightly boring Markets Menu. Service though was spot on, warm and friendly and there was no delays in between meals. 

Address and contact details:
  
Two Small Rooms on Urbanspoon

Verdict: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. If we had the opportunity to dine on the ala carte menu, I believe the rating would have been much higher or so I hope anyways. I loved the small and cozy ambience and i reckon that alone is worth a visit.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ahmet's Turkish Restaurant @ South Bank, Brisbane

Walk past Ahmet's at South Bank on a weekend and you will usually see a crowd like packed sardines in a can. We have heard pretty good things from a friend who in turn heard from another friend but with crowded restaurants usually mean it is good but one may expect long waiting time and probably hurriedly cooked food. 


On Friday just before our musical, the Wife decided we shall dine there, seeing that it was virtually empty and it was only 6pm. 


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Something that I realised in Australia is that bread at most places is not complimentary. Instead you have to pay AUD 5 for warm Turkish bread which thankfully was worth paying for. However, it was another AUD 5 for the Hummus dip which was alright as i had better.  

Before we had two bites of the bread dipped in hummus, the mains arrived. Clearly, they only know how to work in extra fast mode. 

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The Mousakka was served without the bechamel sauce and cheese that I remember having in our last meal of Mousakka back in Malaysia. This feels much lighter with the tomato paste bringing the eggplant and minced meat together in one dish. Although the highlight of this dish has to be the Turkish rice, fluffy and light, I wonder what did they put inside.  


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The Iskender is basically roast lamb, more turkish bread, tomato puree served with yoghurt and rice. It wasn't superb but the meat was well flavoured and cooked. 

By the end of it, the bread and rice almost put us into a comatose. 


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The Baklava came calling and the Wife ordered the hazelnut version. Unfortunately, it came out all oily and it wasn't as sweet as what we expect from baklava. Sweet tooth or not, i think some sugar is missing. However don't attempt to polish a plate on your own, it is a very heavy dessert.

Prices aren't cheap but not overly dear with mains at the AUD20-30 mark and the whole meal came just a tad over AUD80 for two.

Will i come again? Maybe if it wasn't as rushed and judging from some of the reviews I have read, definitely not on a weekend night when the crazy crowd is apparent.

Address and contact details:

Ahmet's Turkish Restaurant (South Bank) on Urbanspoon


Verdict: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. I don't know if it is authentic or not but whatever we ordered was pretty good.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wicked is down in Brisbane Town!

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For those who don't know, I was a musical convert after visiting London Town. Since then, when a musical pops by in Kuala Lumpur, we make an effort to visit. With only The King and I and Mamma Mia having only arrived on shore in the last years, our journey continued with West Side Story when they came to Brisbane shores and finally Wicked.

While we had crap seats for West Side Story, I thought the cast couldn't pull off the heavy Latin accent, with a lot of words lost in thin air. The set was simple but impressive how they sync so well. 

Wicked was simply in a world of it's own.

With so many different sets throughout the two hours, the friendship between the funny, love and hate Galinda and the Green Elphaba, it never fails to entertain you throughout the whole show. Despite the understudy of Elphaba performing (she was kind of petite and her voice too controlled at most times), this is one of the best we have watched.



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If you want the best seats, don't go further than rows G-J. The experience is a whole different thing altogether when you can see the facial expressions of the cast when they perform. 


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QPac is quite strict about the use of cameras so a sneak peak for you all.

Due to the floods, their shows have been extended so if budget allows, go catch the show!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Gunshop Cafe @ West End, Brisbane

It is Valentines today, do you smell the love in the air? 


Erm, nope.


Do you see the love in the air?


Ermmm, nope.


Do you feel the love in the air?


Ermmmmmm, nope.


Having fallen to the same trap over the years of paying over the odds for bad food, this year we will be cooking at home. A good piece of rib eye on the bone is waiting for me in the fridge, bright red with a little bit of marbling and calling out to be dropped on to the sizzling pan and finished off in the oven. I might go get some red wine but the beer and the cider in the fridge might do for the time being.


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The Wife has a short term memory especially when we touch on the topic of what sweet things i have done for her during the years of being together. 


I suppose just yesterday was a prime example, when we decided that i would accompany her to take the bus to West End on an early Sunday morning to see the exact route the bus will be taking and making sure she won't get lost on the way to work on Monday. Taking the train for her, requires a good 20 minute walk and it just doesn't make sense. 


Although admittedly I wasn't in the perfect mood for the trip, we still went ahead and I would like to start inking this little things i do so that i can finally have an answer when she asks me what have i done for her.  


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So after the bus trip, we surveyed the area, an area badly hit by the floods, most restaurants had postponed their opening indefinitely, losses probably too much to bear except for one; The Gunshop Cafe, packed to the brim and with a queue outside too, a sign of good food. Awarded Australian Cafe of the Year 2009, the place was running at full capacity.


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No guns at sight, but would the food though go "all guns blazing" ?


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With industrial fans at each corner, it is quite cooling without getting too hot and stuffy. I heard whispers that the courtyard is rather calming and a good place to sit if you want some sun. 


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The breakfast items are split into traditional and new; the vanilla and vodka trout with poached eggs, herbed hollandaise and sourdough falling under the traditional side. The trout does have a hint of vanilla if you taste it on its own and muster every ounce of your palate. Paired with sauce, egg and bread, it is no difference from a good smoked trout. A delicious breakfast but not worth the 15 minute wait outside and the 30 minute wait inside.


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From the New menu, we wanted the blood sausage with poached duck egg but that ran out so for some reason which we can't comprehend, the next item down was a chicken liver pate and we ordered that. If you were wondering how chicken liver pate would be served as a breakfast item, it is no difference from any other meal as we found out. Why is chicken liver pate served for breakfast was beyond my imagination but all we can do is laugh at ourselves for ordering it. Not exactly an old schooled breakfast item, the pate was smooth with an extra dose of vodka to gel everything. 

With many items that does look rather exciting, I think we will return at an earlier time and this time, we will be reading the menu much more carefully.

Address and contact details:

Gunshop Cafe on Urbanspoon

Verdict: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. The crowd looked the 5 stars but the wait and the wrong choice of dishes disappointed us. A re-visit is probably deserved.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Salsa's Fresh Mex Grill @ Garden City Shopping Mall, Brisbane



Whether you are in Australia or Malaysia, you would have heard of Boost Juice. I remember my university days, i would substitute lunch with a Boost Juice and come to think about it, i need to start doing that to lose some weight before the food binging begins end of March.


How many though would know that the founder of Boost Juice also founded Salsa's, a fast food version of Mexican food that is prepared upon order?


Well now you know.


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Commonly found in food courts, like the one at Garden City


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For AUD 10, you will get 2 Beef Tacos and this addictive french, i mean mexican fries. The tacos is crunchy and once you bite into the warm and juicy filling, it is another layer of texture. The fries are tossed with probably is a mix of paprika and salt reminds me of the fries we used to get at the cafe opposite our school. For those who remember Buddy Cafe opposite Garden International School, the fries and flavoring were all in a paper bag and you would shake it till everything mixes evenly. What good old memories.


For a quick fix meal, Salsa's is another good option amongst the stalls of kebabs, fried chicken, salads, japanese and chinese stalls.


Lets just hope that it will be as famous as the sister Boost Juice.


Verdict: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. If you had AUD10 for lunch, it is a good option, although not as filling as a huge japanese curry chicken rice of course. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chat Thai @ Sunnybank, Brisbane

I read the other day that a blogger and Google was sued by a restaurateur after the man read what I would call a rather blunt and obviously negative review of his own food. Instead of taking it in his own stride, it is rather obvious that he has been told from some thirsty lawyers that he will be able to squeeze RM6.5 million from the two parties, close his restaurant down and retire. Seriously who would want to eat at his restaurant now anyways?


It got me thinking as to how I should approach future reviews especially when the food is you know; has a lack of spark. Unfortunately, Chat Thai at Market Square seem to fall under that category. While, the dishes we had that day was by no means inedible and matter of fact we finished everything, I felt slightly disappointed because the "Thai" food that we were eating was obviously modified for a lack of a better word to satisfy the majority crowd in the area.   


Doesn't help that I could not see a single person that looked like a Thai in the kitchen or at the restaurant and the TVs were blasting korean MTVs. 


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The Red Duck Curry was probably the best dish of the lot. Creamy, spicy and went well with rice. A nice touch with the lychee which worked with the chunks of duck meat.


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This dish spark off the blatant fact that this restaurant is owned by Chinese, the food is cooked by Chinese and the place is probably run by Chinese. To me the fish did not taste like Thai, rather it was fried fish fillet with a chili mixture that could have passed off as any cuisine really.


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The minced chicken with basil is a true and classic Thai dish yet it came out like this came out from any Chinese household kitchen, with lashings of soy sauce, bit of oyster sauce and finished off with some dark soy sauce for colouring. 


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The Pad Thai, thankfully still looked the part but was slightly too sweet for the taste buds around the table. Being a hardcore fan, I still found it possible to finish up the plate.

I understand Chat Thai is a famous Thai place in Sydney, well you are not starring at a branch nor a very good imitation. To me, the dishes we ordered had only the slightest hint of thai and it is very clearly that the food is cooked to suit certain taste buds. 

Now it is also quite saddening that in Sunnybank, one can still find mediocre food, i mean after all it is an asian town right?

Address and contact details:

Chat Thai on Urbanspoon

Verdict: 3 stars out of 5 stars. Thai influenced Chinese food might be a better phrase to describe the place.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Piaf @ South Brisbane, Brisbane

The name Piaf brings back memories of the movie "La Vie En Rose" and Edith Piaf, the French singer with the mesmerising voice. Now if I am not mistaken, Piaf also means "Little Bird" and the display wall of the restaurant features none other than a picture of a sparrow (i think).


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However the picture of the helmet remains a mystery.

Piaf is a casual quaint cafe that serves French food, I suppose a simple yet elegant enough place to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of when the Girlfriend was legally and officially upgraded her status as the Wife. Most hatted restaurants were either closed from the floods or not open on Sunday (and obviously the bill would have been another barrier), we were happy with the relaxing sitting.

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The onion tart started the meal, a small little quiche with not too much onions, topped with a dollop of sour cream and salad leaves. Refreshing.

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The problem with the escargot is that they came without the shells which is not much of a big deal since you get de-shelled escargots with the shells separately in the supermarkets anyways. However without the shells meant it, it tasted slightly rubbery and chewy (probably over cooked) but the thought of serving bread to mop up everything was a nice touch.

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The duck confit was done beautifully; sticking to a balance of salty and sweet. The succulent duck meat being the savory element and the cranberries used in the sauce to keep it light. 

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The roast pork sandwich got our attention, thinking that we will get what we got from Earl's Canteen. Disappointed that it was more of a pulled pork sandwich, it was by no means bad but we were shattered as we didn't get that crispy crackling we had conjured up in our mind. Kudos that they served when asked, aioli to go with the chips without a surcharge.

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Alas we wanted to skip desserts but succumbed in the end to the creme brulee which had to be disappointing. The dessert was not set and what we had was a delicious custard beneath the hard caramel top. The flavours was good but there was a gooey texture.

While there were hits and misses, we liked the casual bistro / cafe setting and the alright food (as there are alot of hits and misses along the street).

Address and contact details:

Piaf on Urbanspoon

Verdict: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. Not as mindblowing as Edith Piaf's singing but its an option if you want a place to stop by for a nice lunch 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gong Xi Fa Cai, Gong Hei Fatt Choy, Xin Nian Kuai Le or just a simple Happy Chinese New Year

Having celebrated literally every Chinese New Year with the family and in Malaysia, this year is a little different.

For one; I am working because Australia doesn't recognise it as a public holiday. I mean with the growing Chinese population and a Chinese Finance Minister in the cabinet, lets hope this changes in the future.


For two, there has been no over indulging in food and gambling.


Gosh almost makes me feel like an extremely old fart.

In any case, to all those celebrating Chinese New Year, eat heaps, have heaps of fun and may you achieve all your wildest dreams.

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Just in case you had no idea why the picture above; "The footprints are meant to represent the journey to whatever you hope for" 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mamanee Thai @ Smith Street, Collingwood

It was just that week when a friend suggested to have thai food for a change; fine by me. Unfortunately that experience was a bit of a damper but that is a story for another day. After that experience, the usual flash backs started again with visions of Melbourne. One of the last few nights before we were about to fly off to Brisbane, I met up with my cousin and sister for a mini re-union. 


Since my cousin's boyfriend is part Thai, we had to trust his taste buds in searching for Thai food. With the Ying Thai 1 and 2 covered (literally one of the most famous thai restaurants in Melbourne town), we settled for Mamanee Thai. Manned (or wo-manned) by two thai aunties in an open kitchen, this is as thai as it can get with the waiters and waitresses speaking in thai too.


The thai food here is more wholesome and has a home-cooked feel unlike other restaurants that might focus on different regions or royal cuisine, this is scrumptious in its own way.


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A very casual setting, so come in your t shirt and short pants

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We started off with a catfish mango salad (i reckon along those lines, the item names have blurred from all the months, not to mention the floods too) Punchy and stark, there is a combination of spicy, sour and sweet, the perfect thing to start off a meal.


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For the mains, I have slowly strayed away from green curry and with open hands welcoming the red duck curry more often as evident from this order. Again creamy, spicy, and so warm and if i reckon it would be a crime to not eat this with rice.  


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Something slightly more unusual is the wild boar curry. I mean i have eaten wild boar curry but not done Thai style. While i can't remember much, i remember the dish tasted scrumptious.

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When it comes to thai food, i must have my Pad Thai, and it is a must with a capital M (bold and underline if need be). The Pad Thai delivered, one of the good ones that you should dig into when carbohydrates are called for.

Although i can't remember much, i do remember that the flavours were not "aussified" or "bastardised" in any way, everything tasted authentic enough to pass off as thai cuisine available from Thailand. So if you are looking for some home cooked Thai food, look no further.


Address and contact details:

Mamanee Thai on Urbanspoon


Verdict: 4 stars out of 5 stars. Now to find something as close as this in Brisbane.