Aarth Cafe, Taigum – New Menu Reviewed

This week we were privileged to attend Aarth Cafe for an early introduction to some of the new menu changes. Starting with entree, choices on tonight’s test menu were a couple of new bread, calamari, Haloumi, soft shell crab and pork belly.

Lets fade into these entrees as we begin our food journey ….

My choices this evening I decided, needed to be foods which can be overcooked easily. Tonight I chose to start with the Grilled Haloumi Salad which sat atop a delightful mixed salad accompanied by an interesting mix of pomegranate & date jam. This jam lifted the Haloumi with a flavour burst which brought the taste buds to life. The thinner slices of haloumi were that little bit crisper compared to larger pieces and were for me, my preferred choice of size. Interestingly the cold carrots on the salad provided a good partner for the jam and haloumi. Will also add here the Endless Pinot Grigio paired beautifully with this dish.

Hubbys choice was the Soft Shell crab with mascarpone and a green apple verjuice salad. We were both tasting the dishes and I did try this soft shell crab was beautifully crispy and again married well with the salad. In fact the selling point here is Hubby ate all his salad, nothing left on the plate. Now as someone who avoids salad whenever he can, that has to be a good advertising point!

Onto the mains. Tonight’s choice included a burger, chicken schnitzel, salmon, duck, steak, lamb, pork belly and pork ribs. Plenty of choice here. For me, it was to be the confit duck leg and candied orange salad. For hubby, grilled lamb with garlic reduction and a poppadum topped with sumac yoghurt salad.

Presentation of the dishes was certainly eyecatching. The poppadum filled with salad not only looked good, it gave the lamb a boost. As Hubby pointed out, the lamb itself was plain, very tender, and paired exceptionally well with the salad. Again, this salad plate was cleared by Hubby. That’s saying something! I did try this dish and in my opinion, felt the lamb should be plain and not flavoured as the yoghurt salad definitely added the flavour, whilst the poppadum gave you your crunch. Here’s a closer look below at the two dishes.

The duck where do I start. These were very large duck legs, and knowing how duck can be easily dried out during cooking, it was with some trepidation, I sliced into the leg. Juices flowed and the meat simply fell off the boat. Never, have I enjoyed such a beautifully tender duck with the slight crispness around the edges making this a superb dish. The salad also held its own surprise with small candied orange pieces popping up at random. These crunchy citrus delights added to this gastronomical delight, were a fantastic additional choice. I paired this one with a French FB Pinot Noir. Not too bad a match for this dish either.

All credit to Sunny and his team, they did do a fantastic job not only with the running the evening, but also with designing this new menu. I did talk to Robin the chef at the end and he told me the duck is slow cooked, well however its done, keep it up as it most certainly works.

To finish tonight was one dessert, a Belgian Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Bean Icecream, chocolate fudge and whipped cream.

The brownie simply melted in the mouth, a soft chocolate delight. Icecream, big tick, loved it!

Talking with Sunny, his intention was for everyone to give an honest opinion or suggest any changes on the dishes. My husband suggested perhaps a jus or sauce drizzled over the lamb, again this I think depends on your taste.

Sunny and his staff are interesting to talk to and happy to explain or answer questions. The reason behind using the pomegranate was nice to hear, especially how common it was for Sunny growing up to have this fruit which is now not as accessible.

We agree that this menu has upped the ante. These are dishes which need to be going out to the table as soon as they are prepared. The pressure is going to be on the kitchen to uphold the standards and front of house to ensure everything is delivered to diners as soon as it is ready.

Drop in and try for yourself. New menu launches fully on December 6. Check it out and remember Choose YOUR Mood!

Lakeview and Mandys on the Mountain Restaurants, Mecure Clear Mountain

Beautifully located on the side of Clear Mountain, with incredible vistas to the side and front, you will find the Mecure Clear Mountain Resort.   Two restaurants are onsite.  One being the general Lakeview restaurant boasting a wide wrap around verandah area giving you a choice of indoor or outdoor dining.

The second is the adults only dinner restaurant Mandy’s on the Moutain.  Menus are similar and simplistic, in a good way.  We enjoyed a lunch at Lakeview on a balmy weekend day, followed by an intimate dinner at Mandy’s, with a backdrop of wine, and nightcaps on the balcony overlooking the evertwinkling Brisbane & surounds lights.

This soft shell tempura crab lunch special, was incredibly soft, with the light tempura giving some crispness to the dish.  Presentation was superb.

Pairing well with the stuffed jalapeño dish and delightful platter, lunch was most enjoyable.


With lunch definitely not disappointing, we were left wondering what delights would be in store for this evenings meal at Mandy’s..  

We had a lovely conversation with new restaurant managerduring lunch.  Interesting  to see new staff learning the ropes.  Certainly no complaints from us regarding staff, everyone we came across was friendly and helpful.

Natural oysters displayed on a bed of salt with crisp lime slices,  provided that wonderful raw seafood flavour to the tastebuds.  They were also a perfect starter to our dinner at Mandy’s on the Mountain.Crispy duck was my dinner choice.  Never have I eaten such a delectably soft duck.  With a crunch on the outside, the inside meat simply fell apart and melted in the mouth.Hubby declared his bangers and mash to be superb.  Apparently a very enjoyable dish.Why not finish with a dessert?  This tiramisu with pistachio ice cream, finished off hubby’s meal with that taste of sweet, but not too sweet.  Again service here was superb.

There is no doubt we will be going back to either of these restaurants. To combine this wonderful food, with the atmosphere, views and service, why would we not return!  Look forward to our next visit.

Dragonfly Restaurant – Eden Gardens Carseldine

Situated on the busy corner intersection connecting Beams & Gympie Roads, lies the Eden Gardens. Browse the gardening, landscape and homewares or treat yourself to meal or drink break at the Dragonfly Restaurant.

Local wildlife enjoy the comfortable safe environment, which adds to your relaxing entertainment for the duration of your stay.

Today’s choice for lunch was two of the delectably described salads.   Once you have selected your meals and or drinks, head up to the counter for pay & order.     

The first meal delivered by a very pleasant staff member, was the Avocado Caesar which not only looked superb, but I’m told was most enjoyable.Choosing the Pork Belly salad I was not disappointed.  Juicy pork belly, married beautifully with the soft, slippery noodles and combination salad.   


A very enjoyable meal, nice fresh food and beautiful setting.  Certainly a lovely place to enjoy lunch.

With an intriguing selection of cakes and desserts as well as cold drinks and coffees, you are likely to find something nice here to treat yourself.   Enjoy!

Mecure Clear Mountain Lodge 

Sometimes you need to relax, chillout, have some down time,  What better place than the stunning setting at Mecure Clear Mountain Lodge.   From the time you arrive to the time you reluctantly leave, this location embraces your being with a feeling of peace.  

Stunning vistas unfold in every direction.  The ceremony area frames a picturesque background, who wouldn’t want to tie the knot here.   To have such an incredible venue on the outskirts of Brisbane’s Northside, is a massive bonus in itself.  Couple this with the friendly, helpful staff and food to a high inner city quality, and you have an awesome combination.

Your own balcony, should you choose to take advantage of the onsite accomodations will most likely provide you with a very restful area to spend some time whilst watching the city of Brisbane and surrounds, going about their business.   Planes landing, taking off, cruise ships disappearing into the distance, and a city just doing what a city does.

Pastel hues gave way to the twinkling Brisbane lights as night fell on the area.  Sit back, relax and enjoy.  Maybe from your balcony, maybe from one of the restaurants on site.  Wth a choice of the spacious Lakeview or the more intimate adults only, Mandy’s on the Mountain, you are sure to find something to suit your taste.   To do these restaurants justice, a separate review will follow.  Keep an eye out for it.

On site gardens supply the chefs with fresh produce in the creation of their meals.  Even a small vineyard, supplies grapes which find their way from vineyard to plate.

To give you a taste of what is yet to come, lets tantiilise your tastebuds with this platter for two. Superb!After eating your and drinking your fill, take the time to linger on the deck with a nightcap and drink in the twinkling atmosphere laid out before you.  Eventually you will have to tear yourself away to head back to your  comfortable room, or home, whichever the case may be.  Should you be lucky enough to have decided to stay, see if you can rise in time to watch the sun dawn on a new day.   Our hope is that upon reading this review, you will check this venue out.  Perhaps a wedding venue is what you are after, maybe just somewhere for a relaxing meal, or perhaps you will visit here to enjoy the onsite spa facilities.   Whatever the reason, enjoy your visit.  Remember to take time to relax, its a feeling oozing around you here, which just shouldn’t be resisted.   If you take time to enjoy a restaurant balcony meal, watch out for the local bird life, they enjoy a meat treat, and may feel the need to remove their own meat from your plate if you linger in feeding them!  

One last word in closing, Relax!

Bistro G – Geebung RSL

Its been a while since we have visited the RSL club.   The club itself has undergone a revamp, with a new memorial area outside the main door, and changes within the club building.

At this time of year, the beautiful Jacarandas bloom above the carpark, adding that breath of fresh colour to the greenery.

As with any club, there is a two tier pricing system for mostly drinks and food.   Members or Non-Members prices.    Memberships for this club are kept affordable at $7 per year. This entitles you to discounts, birthday vouchers, members only draws and club reward points.   

As members, our glass of chardonnay and schooner of beer totalled $9.50.  Hardly likely to enjoy those prices at venues outside  of clubs.    

We started our meal at Bistro G with the soft, generously sized slices of garlic bread pictured above.   Not something we do often now, however it is nice to start with a garlic bread on occasions.

Meals were delivered without much of a wait, with staff efficiently clearing tables and delivering the next course to patrons.

For my main, today I chose the 200gram rump with salad and chips.   The salad bar is gone now, where you used to take your bowl and help yourself to whatever salads you desired.  Salad is a side served with your meal.

This rump was surprisingly tender, draped in the mushroom sauce I ordered, with freshly cooked chips, adding a little crunch to the meal.  For myself, this meal was large enough, and left me feeling satisfied.  Those preferring larger meals would probably find the meal a little small.   As a $14.50 meal though, it wasn’t bad at all.


Hubbys choice was the Fetticune Carbonara.  A creamy, garlic sauce tossed though the pasta with the $3 add on of chicken & bacon bringing the total meal value to $16.50.   Im told this meal was fresh and well enjoyed.  Although Hubby could have eaten more, one could tell by the way he wiped the plate clean.

Non-members prices are a couple of dollars more per meal.  It certainly doesn’t take long for a member to recoup their $7 membership fee.   Even as non-regulars, one visit a year and membership would pay for itself.

Staff were pleasant, efficient, with one staff member enlightening me as to why it was for quiet on Saturday lunch time.  Apparently the $10 meals had been phased out and a week later drink prices rose.  Since then, patronage had dropped.   

With any luck this does not have a long term impact on the club, or they return $10 meals to the menu.   Most of the local pubs run a $10 lunch menu, which do not not need to be a member for. These days, the competition is more likely to dictate your prices, as people seek out value for their $$.  In saying that we still found prices to be reasonable and would return to enjoy another meal.

You can finish your meal with some very reasonably priced tempting desserts at Bistro G, or head across to Zacs coffee shop, just opposite the Bistro, for decadent iced chocolate or coffee.

Saturday lunch stil has the Goose Club running their raffles.   Make sure you support these friendly chaps, purchasing tickets from them as you come in the main door, or when they do the rounds of the tables.   We were lucky enough to win a meat tray, size has decreased immensely to what meat trays used to be, however, there is something feel good about leaving a venue with a meat tray.   It does make you feel like your visit was worth it!

Drop in if you’re looking for a fresh enjoyable meal at a reasonable price.   Standard menus are usually topped up with daily specials, you never know what might be offer.

Ziggablis Italian Restaurant – Strathpine

Everyone loves a birthday.  Which meant what better way to spend a lazy Sunday lunch than attending an Italian Restaurants Trattoria to celebrate their 13th birthday.

With so many new venues opening around the city, it is easy for us to constantly be visiting somewhere different, something new.   Today we were to be reminded of those who have been around for years and remain successful.With the colours of the Italian flag used in the signage, a popular choice amongst the real Italian Restaurants, one was looking forward to the delights on offer.

In true Trattoria style, long tables were laid out within the restaurant, groups of strangers seated next to each other.    First to come out was the garlic bread.   A beautifully soft, very large slice per person.

And then it began.  At first a couple of large pastas appeared at the table, followed up with a smattering of salads and then the pizzas…..This Italian Salad above was simply superb.   In saying that, all the food was beautifully fresh, no dish was tired or overdone.   Not only superb, this salad was a work of art, encouraging you to eat with your eyes first.  It was almost a shame to destroy it, however with salavia following, one had to test the delights contained upon this plate.

So many different pastas, creamy carbonara to seafood marinara.   And they kept coming, right up until the last person stopped eating.

I will be the first too admit Im not a pizza person. To be honest I would be lucky to have one slice per year, if that.   But, as they say, when in Rome…..

These packed pizzas on an ultra thin base were simply superb.  Tastebuds danced as the juices of these softly handcrafted pizzas filled your mouth.  I do not know how many slices I ate, nor do I know how many different pizzas and pastas there were, however, I do know that after a couple of hours of this continuous meal, we all lost the will to do anything else that day.     Hubby himself, really enjoyed this continuous flow of gastronomic delights.

And then, just in case you still had that square inch of room left in your stomach, out came an alternate drop of dessert, chocolate mousse and baked cheesecake.Now again, Im not a cheesecake fan, however Hubby is a devout cheesecake follower.   Baked is not his first choice.   Today though, one could not help but be impressed by the superb softness of this dessert.  It was incredibly soft and light.   Nothing like your usual shop brought baked cheesecake, definitely one of the nicest I have ever tasted!

With the final dish over, and after a chat with the friendly owner, it was time to move on, if we could!   For their $25 per head birthday special, this had been an awesome lunch experience.

Stop by when in Strathpine, the food here wont disappoint, nor will the friendliness of the staff and if you’re lucky, owner Earl will be on hand to have a chat.

 An one final tip, wear loose fitting clothes!!!

Darun Thai – Taigum

Only opened in the past few weeks, this brand new restaurant caters for both dine in and takeaway.   A lot of thought has gone into the setting inside the restaurant with a faux brick wall adorned with interesting  sculpture styled frames.  Spot lighting has been to set to highlight the images.

 BYO, with a $2 per head corkage surcharge, leaving you free to take along your favourite wine to accompany the meal.

 Prices are reasonable with a very large main plate from the bbq menu costing only $19.90.    A very extensive menu, which caters to many and varied tastes. 

 My choice was this delightful bbq beef meal, named the ‘Crying Tiger’. The beef plentiful, tasty as well as soft.  Very easy to eat.  A lot of effort had been put into the carrots alone, with spirals in the salad plus corrugated, chip style carrots in the vegetables.   Sauce was on the side,  and supposedly mild, but still a little to spicy for me.  However this tender, juicy beef, did not require any sauce, with plenty of flavoured juices coating your mouth upon every bite.  BBQ chicken was the other choice, which arrived looking tantalising juicy as well.   Huge meal too as this honestly seemed to be about half a chicken!   The photo does not depict the true size of these meals.

To finish, who can resist a little dessert.  Why not try the deep fried. Ice cream…😜 

 it doesn’t hurt to indulge every now and then!    And yes, this did taste as good as it looks!

Overall the setting, food quality and prices here are a winner for this new restaurant.   Front of house though still requires some work and co-ordination.  There appeared to be a lot of confusion with taking phone & walk in customer  orders,which left the few dine in guests, sitting waiting for sometimes long periods of non service.  Staff were friendly and I’m sure, given time combined with better planning, the front of house will improve. 

Will check this one out again further down the track.  In the meantime though, drop in when they’re quiet, I’m sure you will enjoy your meal!

Matthew Thomas Cafe- Sandgate

 Standing proudly between residential housing, Matthew Thomas Cafe, on Eagle Street Terrace Sandgate enjoys a fabulous tree filtered view across the bay.   Should you be able to tear yourself away from the interesting wares on display and for sale, you will be sure to find something of interest on this menu.   Plenty of choice on the breakfast menu, with the option of continuing to choose a breakfast item for lunch if you so desire.

 Choose your meals, order & pay at the counter, then sit back, relax, soaking in the ambiance  whilst you await your chosen delights.  Table service here was good with everything delivered without any real delay.  Staff were also polite and unobtrusive.

Today my choice was The Onesie.  One each of poached egg, corn fritter, zucchini fritter, one rasher of bacon and avocado, all delivered onboard a sourdough base.  Sided with my added extra of roasted mushrooms, I would have to say, this was a most enjoyable fulfilling breakfast. 

All of the meals were enjoyed, with no complaints.  This included the colourful array of smoothies and coffees delivered to the table.   Even though the tea selection was limited, to few teabag choices, the delivery of  the tea did create a point of interest, with this regal looking cup & saucer combination below. 

One of the dishes on our table, was definitely an indulgent breakfast choice, fit for royalty.

Freshly made waffles, topped with vanilla bean gelato, banana, strawberries, drizzled with maple syrup, topped with a dusting of icing sugar and grated chocolate.    Definitely an appealing looking and tasting dish. Sandgate foreshore is always a nice area for a drive, perhaps while you’re enjoying the sea breeze, the hunger pains might see you checking out this interesting cafe.   With fabulous bay vistas directly across the road, you are bound to enjoy your time at this little slice of Sandgate.  

 

Grilling Art, Rhode Road, Stafford Heights

 After a brisk Saturday morning walk, it was time to tidy up and head out for breakfast.    Grilling Art wasn’t the first choice on this day however, it ended up being a very pleasant place to enjoy breakfast.

Full table service, with a choice of indoor/outdoor dining, this cafe/bar is nicely set out, with an open kitchen at the rear of the inside area.    A few booths are available along one wall, for those who prefer a booth.  My choice, the above Grilling Art Terrine.   Who could resist three layers of eschallot cream cheese, smoked salmon salsa and avocado.

This delightful dish was beautifully presented, making for a change from the usual standard breakfast choices.   The ingredients married perfectly to create a light, tasty and very enjoyable meal.

 Another choice at our table was the Grilling Art French, pictured above.  Rib fillet, mushroom, onion, cucumber and capsicum resting on a bed of sourdough, with a choice of sour cream or hollandaise.   Certainly enjoyable too, as this plate was  fully devoured!

Blue Ocean smashed salmon breakfast, below, included, boiled egg and aioli smashed onto the sourdough base.   Another fabulous combination which was greatly enjoyed.

 With an extensive menu throughout the day, I’m sure everyone will find something to their liking from any of the meal menus.  Takeaway meals and menus are available here too.    

I think we will be heading back here shortly so that hubby can test out the burger side.   Meanwhile I’m looking at the lunch menu thinking the strawberry and salmon salad sounds enticing!

 

The Full Moon Hotel – Sandgate

Waves of fresh sea air wash over you, as you sit at a table overlooking the Bay,   Glimpses of the sea and beach appear between the trees.   The bonus here, you can enjoy a long lingering lunch, with the kitchen open during the afternoon, only closing briefly to prepare for dinner service. 

Sprawling along the corner block, this establishment offers plenty of choice for everyone.   Perhaps you’d like a quiet drink, a lingering lunch,  a wedding venue, or a sports bar.   Here, your requirements will no doubt be catered for.
There’s plenty of room to spread out.    Our group enjoyed a long lunch, ordering entrees and mains whenever we desired.  No need to run up a tab here, everyone can pay for their own as they go.

 
Our meal choices included plenty of seafood.  The prawns pictured above, we’re so beautifully fresh, you were convinced the chef had run across the road to haul a few out of the sea.  

The calamari below was the softest calamari we had enjoyed in a very long time.  Again delightfully fresh. 

Jam jar cocktails were a hit at our table.  Hubby likened their taste to Redskins lollies.   A little to sweet for my taste, however there still a few enjoyed over the course of the afternoon. 

Our mains today included a couple of the seafood platters for sharing.   With more of the fabulously fresh prawns, calamari, teamed with Moreton Bay Bugs and scallops resting amongst this fabulously presented dish, it was a good choice.
If there us such a thing as too much seafood, then we probably had it,  if not, then these dishes were certainly filling  and very enjoyable.   Staff were friendly, and tolerant given we chose to spread our meal over an entire afternoon!   
Definitely worth visiting!