15th May 2011

SurTaj Indian Restaurant

641 Stanley St, Woolloongabba Qld

You could easily pass this unassuming inner-suburban restaurant by, but that would be a mistake, for the two dishes we enjoyed there were excellent. Bagara baingan is a Hyderabad specialty, and the beautifully spiced aubergines come with potatoes, providing a nice contrast in flavour and texture. This is a dry curry, that teams up well with the moist dal taduka, based on yellow split peas. Again, the mixture of spices is exquisite, and the dish is enlivened by tomatoes and some dried chillis. The cook who produced these dishes is clearly an expert! We also had thin, crispy fried aubergine as a starter, but my advice to people dining here would be to go straight to the more complicated and subtly flavoured main dishes, where the skill of the kitchen can be better appreciated.

Surtaj on Urbanspoon

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8th May 2011

Vege Rama

Food Court, Myer Centre, 300 Queen St, Brisbane

Where can vegetarians and vegans who happen to be in town at lunchtime get decent food? Step forward Vege Rama, an entirely vegetarian outlet in a busy food court! They do enormous samosas and pakoras accompanied by a slightly sweet tamarind sauce; while not cheap, in terms of what you get they represent excellent value. The main dishes include vegetable korma, in which the carrots, green beans and aubergines come in a rich and delicate sauce, and a slightly sour, but wonderful, sambha dal;  there is a choice of saffron or brown rice. Veggie diners, all too often pleased to find anything at all available in a downtown food court, will not only find plenty of choice here, but food of a quality that surpasses that available at the non-veggie outlets. In fact, the large number of people waiting to place their orders suggests that the clientele of Vege Rama includes many potential as well as existing vegetarians!

Vege Rama on Urbanspoon

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1st May 2011

The Vietnamese Restaurant

194 Wickham St, Fortitude Valley, Qld

‘Make your own fun rolls’, the menu urges, with respect to a dish of bean curd, salad and rice paper. It’s a great idea if you’re not afraid of making a fool of yourself. Along with the salad ingredients of lettuce, mint, sprouts, shredded carrot and cucumber come bean curd with a sauce for dipping and uncooked rice wrappers with a dish of hot water into which you place the wrappers. When you judge they’re sufficiently soft, which can be a bit tricky, you pull them out and wrap them around the stuffing, making sure the bits and pieces don’t fall out, another tricky operation. The food is excellent, but  timid eaters may prefer to go for main courses that present no problems. The stir fried vegetarian Singapore noodles with bean curd and egg has an agreeably mild curry flavour, and we also enjoyed the combination of vegetables with fried bean curd. The restaurant was full of happy people, who didn’t seem at all worried about maintaining ther dignity.

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