Friday, 30 January 2015

Nest Restaurant, Roma Street

The top end of Brisbane's Roma Street has not been known as a dining destination but that's all set to change with the opening of Asian-inspired Nest Restaurant.

With very funky decor that includes wooden 'nest-like' ceiling sculptures, walls covered in graffiti-style street art by local artists and a surprising view over the atmospheric 200 red lantern adorned 100-year-old fig tree, Nest is sure to encourage more than a few to roost.

Located on the second floor of the newly renamed Hotel Jen (formerly Traders Hotel), the large space has been cleverly broken up to provide intimate nooks and comfortable spots for grazing.  This suits the menu which is largely designed as share plates.

Local workers will find the lunch options a quick Asian fix with a budget that won't break the bank.  Most dishes, which includes the ever popular pad thai, beef teriyaki and a wagyu beef burger, are priced around $12 to $15.

It should also prove a popular spot for after work drinks with a large bar over looking Roma Street.

There's plenty of small nibbles to share including fried vegetable dumplings, rice paper rolls and honey glazed chicken wings.  You'll find a lot of honey on the menu and that's because the hotel has hives on it's roof top garden and their bees are prolific.  The kitchen makes good use of this resource.

One of my favourite dishes was the duck salad which came with green pear and a well balanced dressing including ginger, lime and coriander.

Unusually for an Asian themed restaurant, desserts are a menu feature.  It's hard to pick a favourite between the caramelised banana which includes two local favourites - Buderim Ginger and Bundaberg rum and the honey creme brûlée using honey from the roof.  Try both and share is my best tip here.

Master Chef Kenneth Ip says the menu has been designed to showcase traditional Asian flavours with a modern Australian twist and there's evidence of that with the inclusion of prime local ingredients. However I would like to see him amp up the flavours a little as Brisbane's Asian palate is used to more highly seasoned food.

Recommended for:  Travellers, city workers looking for a lunch escape, groups who like easy Asian food.

Best tip:  Parking is available on premise and great deals are available. Check

Bottom line: Dinner mains range from $19 to $25.

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest of Nest Restaurant & Bar

Thursday, 29 January 2015

My Mistress, Clayfield

"It's time to visit My Mistress" are words that only become okay to hear from your partner if they are talking about the coffee shop newly opened in Clayfield.

Head there for a cheeky fling, something on the side or the main affair - yes these are all all the menu.

Owners Natalie Vostok and Rhiannon Redmond have certainly had a lot of fun developing their menu which has a delicious selection of offerings. Rhiannon, who also owns She Bangs Coffee in nearby Albion, told me that just about everything is made in house.

The delicious peach, white chocolate and coconut muffin that I tasted certainly was freshly baked and made to a home style recipe.

I'm heading back to try some of the other offerings and hope I won't fall over laughing as I work my way through the menu.

You can start with a Cheeky Fling (as many do) and dabble in some middle eastern fruit loaf or Levian toast with a layer of gourmet jam. There's also the now-mandatory acai bowl with fruit for health nuts.

When it comes to the Main Affair the choice includes Eggs Marilyn, two golden sunny side up eggs with a  creamy hollandaise, or Eggs Monica which are scrambled with a bit on the side including blistered tomatoes.  I love the subtle puns.  Can you suggest some more egg dishes in the same vein.

There's Morning Glory which has smoked bacon along with the egg and some swiss cheese, all on a toasted bagel and french toast with the same bacon topped with maple syrup that's called Sweet Thang.

You can have a bit On the Side (haloumi, avocado or mushrooms) with any Main Affair.  It's all a bit like life really. 

I imagine the locals are loving My Mistress and it's sure to hot on the dinner party conversation circuit.

Recommended for: The casual cafe setting will suit anyone looking for good food without fuss.  Suitable for children and dogs.
Best tip: Lots of parking available in the adjacent streets.
Bottom line: Expect to pay between $12 to $18 for a main, small coffee is $3.50.

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer: Ed+bK paid for her meal.