Thursday, August 7, 2014

Kwan Brothers, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

Too Bao To Handle, Too Cold To Hold
Okay.. I finally tried Kwan Bros, though after a long delay of not trying them when they opened. I finally visited Kwan Bros and made new friends along the way too. Kwan Bros is the newest establishments of Damien Griffith's line up of restaurants, following Alfred and Constance, Alfred's Pizzeria and Chester Street Bakery. Though parking may be a hassle once you realise it's in the Valley, but don't worry, Kwan Bros offers free parking right in front of the restaurant, just remember to get it validated. Before I go on, Kwan Brothers isn't really your typical asian restaurant, nor is it your typical western restaurant, I may just call it as a fusion.. but, not as a fusion of normal typical asian food, but focusing more on street food. This includes, hawker markets of Singapore, street carts of Bangkok and Izakayas of Tokyo.. Now, where should I begin?
Kwan Brothers' Entrance
Once you enter, or even you do, you would notice the bright red neon lights, the graffiti walls which I have to say is very 'Asianized' (If that's even a word..) a hint of different countries around Asia, with also I have to add, neon lighted words.. Though the outside may look like a brick warehouse with a roller door similar to a garage, you wonder where you end up once you enter the restaurant...
May it be a seating for two or four or even a big group, they will be able to accommodate your needs. The Japanese oil paper umbrellas, also known as 'Wagasa' in Japanese, are placed on top of the long table, joining along is the lanterns with printed Japanese words.
Interior by Alexander Lotersztain
While waiting for the food to arrive, I ordered a cocktail called 'Geisha Colada' which was a combination of vodka, strawberry syrup, house-made cream of coconut, fresh pineapple juice and Demarara syrup.. The add on of the Pineapple leaf and the strawberry was a nice touch on the cocktail. It's nice to see that people can present cocktails attractively and not just giving someone mixed liquid in a glass.. The green straw however does remind me of Bubble Tea, those straws you get when you order one..
Geisha Colada
It seemed as if we may have ordered 'a bit' too much.. But anyway, we started off with 'Fried Chicken Wings' ($14.9) which included 4 wings twice cooked with Vietnamese mint, chili lime and fish sauce glaze.
If a chicken is suppose to be fried, then it shouldn't be drenched in sauce, but if a chicken is suppose to be saucy, then yes, I would expect it to have that leftover sauce or dripping sauce underneath the chicken. This? The sauce was nicely balanced with a hint of chili and the mint, also the fish sauce glaze seemed liked it was the main taste. However, overall, it was just okay, nothing extra ordinary..
'Crispy Peking Duck Spring Rolls' ($14.9) consisted of shiitake mushrooms, fresh herbs and plum sauce. The peking duck spring roll was quite nice with the shiitake mushrooms, with the accompanying plum sauce was quite strong. The plum sauce was nicely drizzled with simple sesame seeds along with the coriander was a nice touch. The spring roll itself was not greasy which was good..
'Korean Fried Cauliflower' ($12.9) was something which I did not expect, the cauliflower was nicely battered and fried, allowing the cauliflower to still be a bit crunchy which was nice. I wouldn't like soggy cauliflower.. But also, it came with Yuzu red dragon sauce and sesame seeds. If you don't know what Yuzu sauce is, it's a mixture of both tangy and sweet from citrus fruits which is one of the many sauces in Japanese food.
The batter of the cauliflower, the cauliflower itself and the yuzu sauce definitely mixed in well together and was a nice cute petite side dish or even a starter to nibble on while waiting for your mains or even just a part of your many few plates ordered.
'BBQ Pork Ribs' ($15.9), a dish which I usually wouldn't order if the restaurant doesn't actually or focuses on specializing it, or maybe even a Rib restaurant.. Yes, I still have my favourite restaurant to go to for Pork ribs.. The pork ribs had a few in each portion, which I think was around 6. Though petite, they were quite flavoursome.. Don't compare to your typical pork ribs where it's glazed and everything.. This one was asian fusion, with Honey soy and Shao-xing wine glazed, cooked over charcoal.
Being able to see bits of the darker bits on the ribs, it made it smell and look like it just came out fresh from the charcoal. It was chewy and moist, and was easy off the bone, not all restaurants can achieve this meat texture and I quite enjoyed it with its Honey soy and wine based marination. A dipping sauce is also included, but I reckon that the rib itself already had its strong flavour that you don't really need the sauce in the end, unless you just want or like saucy ribs..
'Pineapple Fried Rice' ($14.9) was quite something, fried rice consisting of garlic, chilli, pineapple, cashews and spring onion placed inside of a pineapple, on a plate.. It's quite interesting how they plate it up, but I think that this would be a dish which many people may like to share around, and even its outlook looks pretty, the plate may be heavy, and the pineapple leaf may kind of over covering the whole plate which kind of makes the dish seems a lot more than it is.
Big chunks of pineapple, thin slices of chili and spring onion allowed a dish typically that included some sort of meat such as beef or chicken or prawns to be classified as a Vegetarian dish, it was an interesting dish but yet, the flavour of the fried rice was much nicer than the typical Chinese fried rice you order which would had no colour at all.. I don't typically like those no-coloured fried rice, though I'm not too sure why they even sell it here and deceive people that fried rice are suppose to just have white rice, peas, corn, shrimps, egg and ham? That is definitely, not real fried rice.. Well, to me it's not..
'Crispy Pork Belly' ($25.9), I've seen it online and thought that it was quite a weird combination to have pork belly and watermelon together in the same plate.. Main and dessert in one? Maybe.. But what surprised me was though presentation was a bit messy, the pork belly was cut into chunks and fried in a thin batter, all topped on pickled watermelon and sweet ginger.
Usually pork belly could be served either braised, battered, fried or just crispy skin pork belly.. But this pork belly had that dryness in it, but surprisingly balanced out nicely with the pickled watermelon. I could not really taste the strength of the watermelon being pickled and the sweet ginger was just an add on, but the highlight of this dish would be the pork belly.. I would have preferred if the batter of the pork belly had a bit more taste in flavouring as when you eat the pork belly, and the watermelon after, the taste of the pork belly is somehow cleansed off by the watermelon.
Ordered both Baos, the 'Fried Chicken Bao Bao' ($9.90), fried chicken bao sliders, cucumber, coriander and lime chili mayo and the 'Soft Shell Crab Bao' ($12.9) which had chili jam, vietnamese mint and crispy fried garlic. I think that I forgot to take a photo of the Chicken Baos but they basically look
Soft Shell Crab Bao
I preferred the Soft Shell Crab Bao than the Fried Chicken Bao.. But if you're not a crab person, then do order the Fried Chicken Bao Bao.. Though I don't think you should compare it to those Bun Mobile's buns, since they are different in both price and environment..
And lastly, 'Happy Ending' desserts.. We ordered a few so we could try what they had to offer. First up was their 'Sticky Date Pudding' ($14.9) which was Ginger caramel and kaffir lime custard.. It was quite a unique combination but it was just okay for me, though the kaffir lime custard was a quite interesting sauce to have along with the sticky date pudding.. The pudding itself, was rich and moist.
'Too Bao To Handle, Too Cold To Hold' ($14.9) is something you don't find around very much, or maybe at all actually.. Nope, not your typical fried ice cream nor your ice cream sandwiches.. They are Bao Ice Cream sandwiches, three different flavour ice cream (Toasted Sesame, Pandan and Palm Sugar & Ginger Ice cream). I didn't end up trying the toasted Sesame Ice cream but I did have a bite of the Pandan ice cream and ate the Palm Sugar & Ginger ice cream. From my opinion, toasted sesame and pandan is always going to be nice, it just depends on what you feel like or what you like. However, the palm sugar & ginger ice cream was interesting..
I wouldn't really prefer it or choose it if I had to choose but if you do want to try something different, then this is the one. The ginger was really strong which I think seemed to overpower the taste of the palm sugar a bit, though it tasted more of a sweet ginger.. For those who may know, but maybe many won't know is the Indonesian Ginger Drink called 'Wedang Jahe' which simply is Indonesian Ginger Tea which is made out of ginger rhizome, freshly and thinly sliced with palm sugar or granulated cane sugar. This drink is quite hard to find here in Brisbane, but I did spot in last time in a Korean mart but the tea is healthy and does soothe your body and lung, similar to peppermint teas but just this is ginger, and the taste is stronger.
'South Eastern Brulee' ($14.9) was a brulee of kaffir lime and lemongrass. I found this to be quite a yummy and consistent and was made well, the combination of both lime and lemongrass blended in well, allowing you to be able to taste a bit of both when taking a bite.
Well, those were the food.. and I guess you never suspected that there would be a 'Secret Bar' within Kwan Brothers. I won't tell you where it is, but I'll leave you to figure it out, so don't forget to try and find it when you visit Kwan Bros..
With a relaxing sofa seating, it may not hold a big group but a sufficed amount of people in the room. Decorated simply by spotlights, dark black walls and black themed cozy sofa, stools and tables and there is a bar, allowing you to order what you want and usually the bartender may even show you their Ice tricks or history and other than just eating and having fun, you could even learn about Ice..The way they deal with Ice and how they handle it, the way that Ice can be carved in certain ways to be able to fit in different glasses and shaped out..
We were able to get a demonstration of Ice from one of the bartenders. This bar project was created by Richard Boccato which is one of the world's most influential bartenders in New York..

*mynameisFood. dined in Kwan Brothers as a guest of Kwan Brothers and Lucid Media

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