Sunday, 21 April 2013

Casual Dining - Kettle and Tin

It's Saturday morning and your plans for the weekend have been thrown into disarray due to a late change with your mate, what do you do?

Our regular dinner and movie night needed to move from Sunday so CI could attend Supernova on the Gold Coast.  There are a heap of great places around Brisbane where you can get a booking at the last moment and some that are a little more difficult.  I decided to try my luck to get into Kettle and Tin for a 7pm sitting, what I didn't know was that there was a Reds game on at Suncorp Stadium on the very night we wanted to go to Paddington!  Unbelievably I was able to get a table for three within a few hours notice, score!

I've been wanting to check out Kettle and Tin for ages and have tried to arrange things on more than one occasion to get there, but have always been foiled a the last second.  Kettle and Tin is fairly new in Paddington and is in a beautiful old Queenslander that used to be Pandemonium.  It was established by the crew that run the The Ponycat Cafe in Newfarm and adds to the list of great and affordable cafes and restaurants in Paddington.

Our plan had been to watch a movie early, then catch a cab up to Paddington to visit K&T but another of our plans was foiled due to the rugby.  There was no chance of getting a cab leading up to kick off, so we decided it was a nice night for a walk and set off from the CBD.  I'm really glad we did, it was fun walking in the thick of the Reds supporters all walking up to the stadium, if not a little crowded at Caxton Street on the way through.

When we arrived at Kettle and Tin the place was full to overflowing and when we finally caught the eye of a wait staff were told a bit curtly that they were booked and had no tables..... A quick update that we had a booking and a significant change in attitude had us waiting for about 5 minutes for our table to be cleared.  Not surprisingly, it was just as packed inside as it was outside, so we had a little bit of a wait to have our meal orders taken, but this was OK as we already had our drinks in hand and were just happy enjoying the ambience.

Kettle and Tin shares its approach to dining with many of the newer restaurants around town in that it is all about share dining.  There is a great cross selection of small plates, medium plates, large plates and sides and pretty much all of it on our 'try it out' list.  Given TB was not dining with us tonight and it was just the three of us, we opted for six of the small and medium plates.

First up was one of CI's all time favourites in Corn Frittas with a sweet chilli jam and we were all keen to see if these would live up to his high standards for frittas.  It seems as if I was the only one of us that had never had corn frittas before, so for me they were really amazing, nice and creamy with lovely chunks of sweet corn in the perfectly cooked frittas.  The chilli jam was sensational, with a little bit of heat and a little bit of sweetness and combined with the savoury frittas was delicious.  CI confirmed that these were some of the best corn frittas that he has had also, and we all argued who would get the spare one left over.  Sanity ruled the day and we cut it in thirds.

Next us was my personal favourite of the night and was Half Shell Scallops, oven baked with creamed leak, macadamia nuts and parmesan.  There was an intense and wonderful flavour coming from the dish which came from a combination of expertly cooked scallops and the remaining ingredients working in sublime harmony.  I can't overstate how good these scallops were and I was fortunate that I managed to score two of them, with SC being the unlucky recipient of a single serve.  We all agreed that this was sensational.

The great dishes just kept on coming with the Salt and Pepper Squid with Kettle & Tin's salsa brava and aioli.  The squid was again cooked to perfection with a light dusting of the salt and pepper coating, which had only a hint of pepper flavour.  The flavour of the aioli and tomato based salsa worked a treat with the squid, but I preferred with the aioli alone.  SC and CI loved the salsa brava and scooped most of it up with the tender squid pieces.

The dish that SC was most looking forward to was the Pork Belly Fries with spicy dipping sauce.  Of all the dishes of the night, this one caused the most controversy at the table.  Two of the pork belly strips were very tough and the other three pieces were soft and gooey and wonderful.  Unfortunately the two pieces CI had were the tough and chewy pieces, so SC and I had to share our pieces with him so he got to see how we were reacting to them.  He agreed that our pieces were much better and we all agreed it was a little disappointing that not all the pieces were perfect.

Another dish I had never tried before (unbelievably for CI and SC) is mac and cheese, so was intrigued to be trying the Macaroni and Cheese with truffle, bacon bits and toasted sour bread.  I will say one thing about the dish, even though it looked a bit ordinary, it sure did smell amazing and I wondered if it would taste as good as it smelled.  After trying it I will say I don't think I missed out on much as a kid by not having mac and cheese.  It was nice and worked really well spread over the toasted sour bread but it didn't taste as good as it smelled.  SC and CI assured me that it was a very good rendition of mac and cheese and SC in particular liked it.

The last of our courses was the Confit Duck Nachos with house made tortilla chips covered in avocado, tomato, coriander salsa, beans and sour cream.  Whew, that is a mouthful to say and when the dishes were presented I could tell would be more than a mouthful to eat.  We are all big duck fans, so it's no surprise that we loved these nachos, which to me were more like tacos than nachos.  The flavour combination worked really well and there was a definite taste of Mexico in my mouth.  This was a great way to finish up the savoury part of our meal.

There were three dessert options available on the night, so this worked out well with three of us in attendance.  CI and I had a little bit of a debate about who would have the Creme Brûlée but after a short discussion I agreed to take a bullet and let CI have the Brûlée.  The little sample of the Brûlée was superb with a expertly glazed sugar coated top and a smooth and creamy custard centre that was lovely.  I had a moment of jealousy until I dug into my dessert.

My dessert was decadence on a plate, it was rich and it was a little bit over the top, but it was amazing.  The warm Chocolate Brownie with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice-cream was a vision to behold.  One mouthful and I knew that it would be an extra couple of runs during the week to make up for it.  The brownie was dense yet soft at the same time and the chocolate flavour was ridiculously good.  As good as it was, it was elevated by the warm, runny chocolate sauce covering it!  Yum!

SC rounded off desserts with the Sticky Date pudding with vanilla ice-cream.  The pudding was soaked through with the sticky caramel sauce but was still moist and firm.  I had a little taste of this one and also thought that it was a great dessert.  It would be a tough decision to try and pick one of the desserts as the best, but since I am writing this blog, I will declare the chocolate brownie the winner!

Given how busy it was on the nigh and how packed Kettle and Tin was with boisterous Reds fans, the service was excellent.  Sure, we had to wait a bit more that we normally like at times, but we were having such a great time and enjoying the food so much that we didn't really want to rush through the meal anyway.  We had a lot of laughs as the night wore on, with much of the mirth revolving around the sticky date pudding, I think we can be a bit juvenile when we all get together!

There was a fantastic vibe in the restaurant that remained even when the game started and two thirds of the customers piled out and headed for the game.  Of course all of the empty tables filled up quite quickly, which is unsurprising for a great restaurant like Kettle and Tin and especially on a Saturday night.  

As we paid for our meal and drinks, we reflected on how great the value was at Kettle and Tin, with most of the food items being in a very reasonable price range.  The drinks were a little on the pricey side, but we didn't have too many, so not a problem.  We coincided our walk back to the CBD with the end of the Reds game and was an interesting affair, we were on a high from a great meal and they were flat from a drawn game.  Oh well, I don't really like the Rugby anyway!

CI had a flaming drink, the black you can see is the melted straw.  Point of note, take the straw out!
Specials for the night and the Kettle and Tin in blocks 
The staff did not stop moving all night, they were super busy but very good 
I loved this painting
There was a little more breathing room after the Reds fans moved out!
That's a well stocked bar
Before the Reds game started there was wall to wall people here!

Kettle & Tin on UrbanspoonThe Kettle & Tin

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