Saturday, 25 January 2014

Kingsley's Crab and Steakhouse - Lunchtime by the riverside

A new year means its time to work on my relationships both personal and professional, and in some cases both at the same time.  I have a buddy that I met through work and we've become pretty good friends and we like to try to catch up for lunch fairly regularly, especially during tennis season.  You see, I'm a big Roger Federer fan and my mate, being Scottish (won't hold that against him) is a big Andy Murray fan.  Yeah, I know, it must be pretty hard for EC, watching so many close - but not close enough encounters with the worlds top tennis players :)

A little while ago, we'd arranged to catch up for lunch during the week and as luck would have it, the day we met up for lunch was the day of the Australian Open quarter finals which just happened to feature our boys. Yep, could not have been better timing.

I'd arranged for us to have lunch at an old favourite of mine that I hadn't been to for ages.  Kingsley's Crab and Steakhouse is just across the street from me, as part of Riperian Plaza.  I remember the days when Riperian Plaza was being built and wondering what wonderful restaurant would open it's doors in the brand new building.  That a restaurant might not have gone into the plaza never crossed my mind, it was after all Eagle Street and for me it was a given.  Completed in 2006 and at a cost of approximately $1.5 million, Kingsley's was designed by peckvonhartel (PVH) to integrate the inside with outside and and fully embrace Brisbane's climate and river views.  A task PVH has been extremely successful with.

I had been thinking about going back to Kingsley's for some time and tried, unsuccessfully, to book a table in the latter months of 2013, so I was pleased that I was finally able to make it back. EC's head office is in the area so we decided to meet at the restaurant, bang on midday and as usual I was right on time with EC only a few seconds behind. It had been a stinking hot day, and we were pleased to be inside in the air conditioning.  We were seated at a table with an amazing view of the Brisbane River, right next to the sliding glass doors that can be opened up for great effect at night or when air-conditioning is not an absolute requirement.

We were given our menus to look over, but we didn't really look at them for a bit, we were too busy giving each other heaps, through friendly banter, about the impending match between our two favourite tennis players. Hunger eventually got the better of us and we cracked on with ordering our food.

Being at one of the premier steak restaurants around, I was always going to beef it up and that meant for entree and main.  I'm a big fan of beef tartare so the choice of Cape Grim tartare with eschalot, capers, mustard covered in a free range yolk was easy.  EC had never had a beef tartare before, so was pretty curious to see what it looked like and to have a taste.  Some tartare's come with the ingredients already mixed in but I'm increasingly seeing the extra ingredients on the side, ready for the diner to mix in themselves and this was the case at Kingsley's.  I know you're supposed to mix to taste, but I always assume that you need to use the lot and just went crazy mixing them all together, with the yolk being the great binding agent it's supposed to be. It was a great steak tartare made better with the addition of some toasty croutons and a good first taste for EC, who could not believe it was actually raw meat.

EC didn't make the decisive move on an entree like I did but with a little gentle push finally settled on the Mooloolaba prawns with chorizo, harissa, guindillas and almonds.  EC was kind enough to give me a decent taste of his starter (like he had a choice) and I thought the well cooked prawns worked surprisingly well with the hot pepper based harissa sauce and fairly mild chorizo.  EC loved the dish but commented that a dollop of creme fraiche would have provided a cool balance to the spicy sauce. 

I was totally committed to ordering steak on my visit to Kingsley's but have to admit to a little food envy when EC's baked pork belly with an apple salad came out.  It looked incredible and even now, looking at the photos of the pork, I get a stab of envy that I didn't order it.  The pork was juicy and so full of wonderfully sweet flesh that it had to be tasted to be understood.  I was stoked that EC shared a decent slab of the pork with me, just so I could see what a winning choice he had made, even better was he didn't rub my nose in his choice!  While EC loved the dish he lamented that the crackling on top had lost a little of it's crispiness through the cooking process.

With the sweet taste of EC's pork belly on my palate, I got stuck in to my 'caveman' steak.  Kingsley's called it the 500 day grain fed, Diamantina, marble score 5+ wagyu rib-eye but I called it a caveman steak because that's all I ordered.  No sides, no sauces (although one came with the dish) and no distractions from the meaty goodness of a great steak.  I'd ordered it medium rare and after my first cut, thought it had came out medium.  A quick check in with the kitchen confirming it's medium rare status and an explanation that due to the ageing process and thinness of the steak there was no blood to give that really pink look, it was in fact perfectly cooked.  Satisfied I cracked on with the wagyu and was in beefy heaven.  There was just the right amount of fat to give some amazing flavour and I quickly devoured the meat (I'm sure making some caveman grunts as I did so).

We were doing well for time so threw caution to the wind and ordered dessert, mine a white chocolate and raspberry pudding with creme anglaise and EC the warm chocolate brownie with caramel sauce and ice-cream. My pudding came out steaming hot with a thick coating of creme anglaise which had pooled around the plate and was covered in white chocolate chards.  It looked pretty from the side but looked almost like a rose from directly above.  The pudding was light and fluffy with raspberry cooked throughout, so every now and then there was an explosion of tartness in the sweetness.  The anglaise was delicious and sweet and appreciated as I mopped up the vanilla pudding to stuff down my throat.  It was a huge dessert and I was litterally stuffed when I finished, I could not have eaten another morsel (a Mr Creosote moment if there ever was one).

I think I scored the best dessert, a fact I confirmed when I had a bit of EC's chocolate pudding.  It was nice and there were some surprising dates and nuts (likely to be walnuts) in the brownie, but for me, I think my vanilla and raspberry pudding was better.

We'd had a great meal and an awesome catch up, which led to our usual Fed v Murray bet that the loser would have to buy the winner lunch (ha ha EC, I'm thinking of where to go).  It was such a good meal that I had to think back to why we stopped going so often.  Reflecting back it was a combination of so many new restaurants opening up to became the new 'shiny shiny' combined with Kingsley's not serving up their incredible cob loaf upon arrival any more.

Kingsley's is an sensational location for lunch or dinner, the view is amazing and the service impeccable.  It's quite a big dining area when you include inside and out, with a more relaxed booth style area as well as a private dining room.  EC and I had figured out during out meal that we had used the private dining room four years earlier to celebrate the closure of a massive project our companies had been working on together.  Good times, good times.

It was time to head back to work and get on with the rest of the day.  I'd had a great lunch and was feeling very content, if not a little like I'd eaten too much, at least that feeling only lasted a few hours!

The complimentary bread was ok but it made me think about the amazing cob loaf that used to be on offer. 
Our entrees were great but my steak tartare was delicious
You can almost see a rose here, right?  Well, use your imagination!
It was a hot day and everyone was inside.  A lot of suits come to Kingsley's for lunch
There is a more relaxed and laid back bar and booth area too
Not a soul outside - it must have been 36 degrees but you can picture what this would be like at night!

Kingsleys Steak and Crabhouse on UrbanspoonKingsleys Steak & Crabhouse

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