Tag Archives: West End

DAKBLA

So I have no idea what “Dakbla” means, but in West End, it means nice Asian and Vietnamese food.

I first went to Dakbla with friend as a table of four and we had four meals and two entrees for less than $80. Impressive. Dinner also came with green tea from the manager, who was lovely.

Ben and I went back recently for lunch on a hot day. We felt like something light and full of veggies.

I immediately ordered a coconut water, as did Ben. These are the real deal and even come with young coconut pieces to fish out of your glass and chew on. So yum.

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Like many Asian cuisines, there are vegan options if you’re careful to avoid fish sauce.

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I ordered the Rice Paper Rolls with Tofu and Ben ordered the Temple Delight. Another vegan warning is that the tofu is made with egg, so vegetable dishes might be the way to go.

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Our meals arrived together, but the service was very slow. We think it was because it was lunchtime and only one other table had people at it, so by having us sit by the window for a long time, we looked good for business. This is a shame as we had very speedy service the first time we came here and the food really is lovely and affordable (most vego dishes hover around the $14 mark).

my Rice Paper Rolls were perfect: light and filling with a great dipping sauce. Ben’s dish was more filling and substantial and also delicious.

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My suggestion: If you don’t want a drawn out lunch (we were there for over an hour start to finish) eat here for dinner or at busier times.

Here’s another gratuitous coconut water shot, because it was a hot day and I was thankful for it:

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Dakbla Vietnamese and Asian Cusine on Urbanspoon

Enjoy.

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THE BURROW

So I love Alice in Wonderland. It was read to me often as a child and a beautiful full-coloured illutrated version was given to me by my nanna and pop for my 7th birthday (obviously Lew Carroll wrote it, but this version was illustrated by Greg Hildebrandt). I still have the book, the plastic cover that protects it and the caterpillar bookmark I made to use just for that book.

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When The Burrow opened up on Mollison Street in West End, I got it. Even if the rabbit’s feet on the logo has nothing to do with Alice in Wonderland, I don’t care. I pretend it does.

The location used to be a Turkish restaurant, but it really shines as a pizza and beer bar. The backyard, side yard, verandas and  upstairs space are well-utilised to create nice pockets to sit and eat and drink in.

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You have to love the pizza names. With titles like The Kracken and Snoochi Bootchies (Jay and Silent Bob fans much?) you’re gonna have fun just reading the menu. We ordered a Mama Said pizza (Char-grilled eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, feta, roast capsicum & mozzarella) and a bowl of chips with relish and aioli. They were out of aioli so we got tapenade instead. Ben ordered too many different beers to mention, but the list is extensive. They pride themselves on finding interesting local and international craft beers and have a regular rotation on tap.

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Our food was timely and delicious. The pizza crust is homemade and thinnish, but with good flavours. The chips were like pizza: Even when it’s bad it’s good. But these were really good. I wanted to take that tapenade home and bed it.

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Downstairs, large wooden communal tables are used and it’s kind of nice. During busy times, it’s a little awkward to be put next to a large group on a communal table if you’re just two, but considering big share tables seem the way to go in Brisbane these days, suck it up (Please).

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On their lunch menu, there’s a pizza called the Stephen Seagull, which is Napoli base, mozzarella, topped with hot chips and aioli. It’s only available during lunch and, if you’re like me and enjoy both hot chips AND pizza equally, life changing. Order this pizza. Or lie and tell me you did.

Not particularly vegan friendly (unless you’re happy to order a vego without cheese, as I would be), this is a great casual option for a birthday or dinner with friends.

My suggestion? Book ahead and don’t be in a rush. This place is hugely popular and this can mean slow (though always nice) service.

 

 

The Burrow on Urbanspoon

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CAFE CHECOCHO

So if you go to Cafe CheCoCho on Hardgrave Street, you must not sit at the Hobbit Table.

What is the Hobbit Table, you may ask? Well, frankly, it’s my table. Okay not literally but it’s decoupaged in dozens of pictures taken from Tolkien stories and as someone who has read “The Hobbit” over a dozen times and “The LOTR” about six, I feel compelled to sit there and sad when I don’t. Don’t worry, the other tables are just as charming and skillful. I’m also partial to the vintage ladies table when the Hobbit is occupied.

So enough about tables.

Ok, one more thing about The Hobbit table: You can see Middle Earth in the background.

Ok, one more thing about The Hobbit table: You can see Middle Earth in the background.

I passed Cafe CheCoCho (Chess, Coffee, Chocolate) for years before I finally went in. I’m sorry I didn’t go earlier. Until the move this year, we went there while our laundry was washing up the street on a Sunday morning. It was a ritual we had. Although I don’t miss lugging laundry to a laundromat, I do miss that ritual!

CheCoCho does a standard-ish cafe menu really well. You’ll find some lovely vegan options for breakfast and drinks and they make a mean bowl of chips.

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The All Day Breakfast, vego option.

The best breakfast option is by far the $9 All Day Brekkie. The veggie option comes with roast veggies instead of bacon, which sounds unusual but works so well. This time, I ordered The All Day and Ben ordered an omelette. Ben got a latte and I got a chocolate milkshake. Vegan milk options are happily used.

Omelette you look at that for a while.

Omelette you look at that for a while.

I love how consistently excellent the poached eggs are here. I really can’t recall getting a bad one and as regular readers will know, I eat a fair few poached eggs in and around Brisbane. Just after this breakfast, I took a good non-vego friend here who also ordered the vego All Day Breakfast and she loved it. It was totally satisfying sharing the poached egg love.

I’m also happy that there are a few places left that serve milkshakes in metal canisters. Does anyone else remember getting them when you were little? I loved that. Or, at a close second, in a milkshake glass with the leftovers in the canister and both served to you. I’m getting flashbacks to this diner from my childhood in Victoria called …something “Park” which served milkshakes this way and HAD A SMOKING SECTION (Today, there is no smoking in any Australian shopping centre or food service area). So very old. I digress. Here’s our drinks (Ben always enjoys the coffee here and orders a huge one):

Don't spill your drink on The Hobbit table. Unless it's on Mordor. No one likes Mordor.

Don’t spill your drink on The Hobbit table. Unless it’s on Mordor. No one likes Mordor.

Seriously, just eat here. It’s old, it looks a little grubby at times, it’s not air conditioned but it’s really affordable and it sells books for $2 (Such a cool and varied selection as well). It’s just very West End.

Yoooooooolk.

Yoooooooolk.

Ooey gooey.

EDIT: The owners have had to get rid of most of their decoupage tables except for the big indoor one because, due to age and rain, they had gotten gummy and were peeling. This means the Tolkein Table is gone and I am sad forever, but I’m sure I’ll adjust to eating on a non-fantasy epic table. In time. Perhaps.
Checocho on Urbanspoon

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RUMPUS ROOM

So I’ve been to Rumpus Room a fair few times over the years. The most memorable was definitely a 29th Birthday party where we had hired a party bus and frantically drove all over Brisbane to some of the best and worst bars whilst playing party games. At Rumpus Room, the game was simple: if someone put their head on the floor, everyone else had too as well. The last person to put their head on the floor had to drink a shot. It was a complex game.

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This time as the Rumpus Room was much more tame but still lots of fun- we arrived during happy hour (5 until 7) and had many $5 wines and beers and a few $10 cocktails. My sister-in-law and I checked out every guy in the bar (sorry if you were subjected to our oggling) and debated who looked like a decent person for my sister-in-law. I thought there were some interesting looking guys but she wasn’t impressed. I once came here with a friend who was them chatted up by three guys in 20 minutes! Maybe my S-I-Law needed to be there a little later.

Rumpus Room is open later than most West End bars (most close at about midnight) and has a good mix of people- diverse ages, subcultures and styles. I miss the giant bean bags. Those things were FUN (but probably grotty).

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I like it.

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UGEES

So there are so many coffee places in West End it can be hard to figure out where to go. I tend to opt towards busy places at quiet times- you know people go there for good coffee but you get peace and can savour your drink. Ugees just does coffee. I was introduced to this place a few years ago by a Parisian friend- considering the French don’t do the best coffee, this information might not be helpful.

Regardless, I like Ugees coffee, especially their soy iced coffee, because they have generous servings and don’t skimp the quality of the coffee just because you want it cold. They don’t serve breakfast or lunch, just coffee, drinks, and a few sweet things on the counter. There’s cool decor and hoards of tiny stools to sit on inside and out, so it’s basically hipster paradise. You know it’s good though when you see the office crowd braving tiny stools for coffee.

As a West-Ender, it’s the kind of place you run into friends, which we happened to do on this occasion.

The fact that it has stood the test of time on Boundary Street tells me all I need to know.
Ugees West End on Urbanspoon

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SPAGHETTI HOUSE

So Ben treated me to Spaghetti House on Boundary Street in West End. Isn’t he the best? Even with a Sunday dinner booking, we had to wait a little while (less than 10 minutes) because this place had a tight turnover every night of the week.

We were right out on the street, which was fun but less nice when a guy started harassing us for money. His son found him and took him away but it was kind of awkward. You really don’t get much of that in Australia, so I was waiting for the waiter to do it (like in Europe) but dealt with it myself. All good. Not the restaurant’s fault.

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We were served olives and bread sticks to start and I loved the serving ware- it was all quality stuff with nice touches like a bowl of salt crystals. Cute.

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We ordered a starter of buffalo mozzarella and pesto bruschetta which was very fresh and used very real ingredients.

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We also had this starter, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called and the menu is no longer online, so I can only guess that it’s pan-fried gnocchi in a creamy sauce. Take that, blogging professionalism. I do, however, remember it was great and we squabbled over the last piece.

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For our mains, the waiter advised us that their smaller plate size would be adequate and he was spot-on. We were stuffed and couldn’t imagine eating the large serve, especially with a starter. I ordered gnocchi (again!) with butter and sage sauce and parmesan and Ben ordered the Cacio E Pepe (Parmesan and pepper).

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We couldn’t believe Ben’s dish- served in a Parmesan lace bowl!

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They were really generous servings, but we managed it.

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Well, Ben almost managed it.

It was a good night with good service and ambiance and great food. I have read some other online reviews knocking the amounts of meat in dishes and sometimes the service, but we were looked after from start to finish. Perhaps a perk of the vegetarian choices. Next time, I would book a table for two inside and save the group booking for outside, as large groups on the street are less likely to be hassled by “interesting” locals.

There were tomato based sauces suitable for vegans (if asked for without the Parmesan garnishes) but the pasta was freshly made, meaning there was egg. You could always call ahead or, as I recently read one gluten free blogger do, bring your own approved pasta (although gluten free peeps would also need to carefully specify fresh cooking water). I find this idea fascinating and if anyone has done this, I’d be interested to know the restaurant’s response.

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Will I be back? Yes we will!

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Spaghetti House on Urbanspoon

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ARCHIVE BEER BOUTIQUE

So it’s no secret that I like quieter places to eat and drink. When I don’t have to go to Boundary Street Hotel because they have some of the cheapest beers in West End, I enjoy Archive with Ben and a couple of friends who drink beer. I don’t drink beer, but enjoy Archive during the week because they are quieter, have pool and most importantly, have walls covered with Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics. That someone would cut these up for wallpaper is a tragedy, but it means that while I avoid playing pool, I have beautiful walls to read and stare at. I must look a little special.

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In the worlds of the beer drinker: “The beer’s good, it’s got couches, it’s comfortable. The people aren’t always nice, [some are] kind of snobby… I like that there’s pool tables”.

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During the weekend and some evenings, be prepared for a dinner crush (they pair beer recommendations with their food) and then a uni-aged crush later into the night. This of course, will suit many people just fine. During the day, it’s a good place for a lunch time beverage.

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While not ridonkulously vego-friendly, you can still get some good noms and snacks. Currently, there’s a pasta and pizza option for larger serve-seekers and a salad and finger food for lighter fare. The pizza is margherita so not suitable to simply remove cheese to create a vegan option. As a place that promotes beer over everything else, there are lots of hearty non-veg options floating past you during mealtimes, so if this isn’t for you, then you are now forewarned. The prices on my photo are now a little off- the beer-battered fries and Turkish bread are now cheaper, the garlic bread is now a garlic pizza and is a little more.

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Most bottled beers start from about $7 although there are a few cheaper light beers as well. If you’re a beer fan, you will be well looked after with their reserve and imported beer menus and can pay as much for a beer as you want!

Enjoy.

 
Archive Beer Boutique and Bistro on Urbanspoon

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Happy Saturday

So it might be a little cloudy, but nevertheless it’s a good weekend to celebrate your wedding anniversary.

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You know what I love about this picture? The egg is on Ben’s homemade sourdough bread, plus who can resist crunchy salt?

 

Today we are indulging in simple pleasures:

  • Head over to Simply Good dry foods to restock our many types of beans. I feel kidney beans in a rich tomato sauce coming on.
  • Walk into the city to do some window shopping. My wardrobe is looking decidedly shabby and what I wear to work has become very  French (about 3 outfits worn different ways). Normally I love the French but my go-to pinstripe pants from CUE’s 2005 range are looking a little threadbare and showing one’s derriere is never chic.
  • Wandering down to the Swiss Deli on Boundary street for some cheese. I want to try more of the Portuguese sheep’s cheese I tried last weekend.

Who knows what else? I suppose we’ll make plans for our anniversary Sunday but they will be very modest.

Enjoy your weekend.

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TEMPO CAFFE AND BAR

So yes, I must begin by saying that’s how Tempo spells cafe. Just so you know.

Anywho,

Tempo is a West End Boundary Street option which offers street dining where other cafes sometimes don’t have the room. We went for an indulgent Saturday lunch and it didn’t disappoint. We ate out the front but I’ve also grabbed a juice inside before. Outside you are going to have the glory of West End walk by and curious birds hoping for a crumb, so if you want solitude, head into the cave-like interior.

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Tempo advertises itself as Turkish, but the lunch menu is mostly modern Australian cafe fare, although dinner is more traditional Turkish. If you look up Tempo on Urbanspoon, you might notice there are two entries. One is rated 86% and the other 68%. Weird. I think it’s the difference between lunch and dinner. The dinner diners rave and the lunch diners smile politely or dislike the slow service.

Well we didn’t have dinner but we found Tempo pleasant. I ordered the Haloumi burger and chips with a juice and Ben ordered a vego brekkie with a beer. Yeah, I know, brekkie with beer. Men.

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Service wasn’t fast but it certainly wasn’t anything to complain about on the day we went there. Having said that, we were having a late-ish lunch at about 1.30/2pm. My juice was freshly made and refreshing, and any beer is good to Ben, although he didn’t like the selection very much and ended up drinking Heineken. Never his first choice. Although I have recently written about how Turkish is great for vegan options, the lunch menu was a little more limited. Despite that, there was still a vegan brekkie- very cool!

Ben’s breakfast was huge and delicious. There’s a piece of haloumi hiding under there somewhere.

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Ben’s only criticism is that it was a but oily, as you can see by the shiny avocado. My burger was exactly what I felt like- solid noms and carbs that hit that cheesy, potatoey spot one feels from time to time (which is why I love spaetzel and cheesy gnocchi so much).

IMAG1203Overall, Tempo gave us a break from the cafes and restaurants we often wander into without thinking. It wasn’t life-changing, but it was generous portions and standard West End prices (read: medium). It’s probably somewhere I’d prefer to go to with friends but wouldn’t go to with Ben regularly. We were full, happy, sitting in the sun and full of haloumi.

‘Nuff said.
Tempo Cafe on Urbanspoon

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THREE MONKEYS CAFE

So in Brisbane, Three Monkeys is an institution. Everyone going there for the first time is pleasantly surprised as they finish ordering and venture down the hallway to find a dark nook to sit in or continue through to the shady, plant-filled courtyard. It really doesn’t look large from the front, but rewards those who dig deeper. Wall tapestries, dozens of signed theatre posters and dim lighting line the walls and ceilings.

Amazing Cake, how sweet the sight. Excellent to gaze at whilst lining up.

Amazing Cake, how sweet the sight. Excellent to gaze at whilst lining up.

 

This is NOT a vegan friendly place, nor is it fine dining. It’s lots of cake and cafe food done well. Be prepared to line up out the door on busy evenings! There are days where your food takes a while, but the staff will always fix issues pleasantly and quickly. I haven’t had any issues in quite a while.

Generous nachos, your way.

Generous nachos, your way.

I love coming here with ex-Brisbanites and used to come here with a book club. 3M were very accommodating and take bookings.

Lovely lemon tart, and a mud muffin in the background. Cakes come with ice cream if you wish.

Lovely lemon tart, and a mud muffin in the background. Cakes come with ice cream if you wish.

The eye-popping element of 3M is the chai bowls. HUGE. Don’t order food if you order chai. You won’t finish both without feeling over-full!

Soy Chai bowl on the left, mocha cheesecake with a brownie base on the right!

Soy Chai bowl on the left, mocha cheesecake with a brownie base on the right!

There are three dishes I rotate between: Mama Rossa Pizza, Vego nachos with beans and avo (no sour cream for me, but they do have it) and the haloumi plate (Ben’s fave).

Hello Haloumi. Ben's fave.

Hello Haloumi. Ben’s fave.

It’s a big place. Sometimes the waitresses take a little time to find you. That doesn’t worry me and if it worries you, order take away. The generous serves, bohemian decor and student/creative industries clientele make up for any faults in this laid-back local, in my opinion.

Eat no evil.

 

 

 

Three Monkeys Coffee & Tea House on Urbanspoon

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