Sunday, 9 March 2014

Moose and Gibson - getting the silent treatment

2013 will definitely go down as a watershed year in the annals of Brisbane dining, there were openings and closings and just a heap of movement in what had been a stagnant dining and bar scene.  There were many wonderful moments for me last year, in my first full year of writing my food blog, and a couple really stand out for me.  One in particular causes me to smile every time I think about it, for various reasons.  I went to the opening of a cool little spot over at Woolloongabba called Moose & Gibson, then followed it up with a visit for what turned out to be one the best breakfasts I had all year (see post here and here).

Most notably was that through this event, I met a pretty good bloke whom I've become friends with, and because to this day, the Moose & Gibson post remains in my top two most popular blog posts of all time!

So I was quite excited to learn that Moose & Gibson was trying something a little different and went along to a test night to provide some feedback on their Silent Cinema Tapas night.  The concept is quite simple but ingenious:  tapas menu and silent cinema.  The menu has been put together by head chef Luke Tye, who has been producing some amazing food since moving to Moose & Gibson last year.  Owner and all round great bloke, Malcolm Watts was pretty excited about the new concept telling us that it's not really been done before and that he wanted to create a space where you could come and get some great food, a few drinks and enjoy some old style silent cinema.

The menu for the Moose & Gibson silent cinema was being tested for our visit, so we had the opportunity to check it out and then contribute to any final little tweaks to make sure it was perfect for the launch.  Looking over the condensed menu, there were lots of tasty little tapas options that would appeal to most, with a couple of items that really excited me - even before tasting!

We started off with a trio of dips with crusty bread and balsamic, which was a good way to start while we chatted to the rest of our table and got to know a little bit more about each other.  It's so easy to absently pick at the crusty bread while chatting and before long the bread was all gone and the dips devoured.   Of the three, I only tasted the carrot dip, which was lovely and fresh.  The other two dips were olive and pumpkin with mint, I didn't try these dips because I knew I would not be a fan, but SC really enjoyed the pumpkin with mint dip.  The feedback was that the balsamic was really good as well. 

As a huge oyster fan, I was extremely happy when plates of delicious and fresh oysters were delivered to our table.  There were two types, oysters natural and oysters with a pomegranate tea jelly.  I jumped straight in and grabbed some of the natural oysters, which were huge and creamy Sydney rock oysters and were incredibly fresh.  I was initially a bit dubious of the pomegranate tea jelly but after one taste, was sold.  The sweet jelly had a slightly bitter taste that came from the tea infusion that worked surprisingly well with the salty oyster flavour.

The surprises kept coming with an unusual twist on cured salmon.  The house cured salmon with rye bread, caviar and a cucumber salad was unusual in that the salmon was cured in a whisky, which gave it a strong flavour, without detracting from the freshness of the salmon.  There was a general consensus around the table that it was the best cured salmon we'd tried.

There should be no surprises when I say the next dish was pushing as my favourite for the night!  I love chorizo and the times I've had it at Moose & Gibson, its been excellent.  The fried chorizo sausage, dusted with smoked paprika and a herb salad was pretty popular with everyone else at our table too!  The chorizo was grilled to perfection and even though the predominant flavour of chorizo is paprika, the dusting of smoked paprika worked really well, enhancing the slightly sweet and slightly spicy sausage.

Our next dish of wild rice pork belly and cabbage rolls with lime marinade was the dish we provided the most feedback to Malcolm and Luke about.  The rolls were served cold and as a consequence, the cabbage had become a little tough.  We loved the flavour of the rice and pork belly inside the cabbage, but all agreed that the dish would be better served hot, or if not hot, replaced with rice paper instead of cabbage.  Malcolm took on our feedback and agreed that this was the dish they were most likely to change and thought our feedback was right on the money.

Vying for my favourite tapas of the night was the slow cooked beef rib and blue cheese salad with lemon, which was just sensational.  The flesh had been cut away from the rib and cooked to absolute perfection.  The beef was incredibly tender, so much so that a butter knife easily cut through and was equally full of beautiful beefy flavour.  I thought that something may have been lost by the beef not being cooked and presented on the bone, but no, it was spectacular.

The most interesting dish of the night had to be the popcorn chicken with a sweet mayonnaise.  KFC could learn a thing or two from this dish, with a wonderful crispy coating covering extremely tender chicken strips.  Where this dish took a turn for the creative was that there was actual popcorn for the crispy golden coating that provided the intense popcorn flavour.  I think this was the most talked about dish of the night, just for its creativity.

Lastly, the table shared a bowl of chilli lime sugar glazed cashews.  I've never been a fan of cashew nuts but these were OK, I guess.  I'm not a good one to judge them, but by the comments from SC and the rest of the table, you'd have thought these were the most amazing nuts ever.

Throughout the night Malcolm had come over to check on how we were going and get some feedback about the dishes and how they worked together.  The last piece of feedback that I gave Malcolm was that the menu was crying out for something sweet to finish off the meal.  Perhaps some creme Catalana or some churros would be a great way to finish off a tapas meal and Malcolm agreed, so hopefully the final menu will end up with something sweet.

While we were sitting around eating and in the case of the rest of the table drinking our way through the test menu, a high quality projection of old black and white movies were playing on the big screen.  I say big screen, but it was really against the bar wall and while we were there we watched a Charlie Chaplin classic, A King in New York.  I was sitting with my back to the wall, but luckily there were huge mirrors along the opposite wall for me to keep an eye on the slapstick action of one of silent movies biggest names.

I think the concept of tapas and silent movies to be a winner.  I know there are heaps of people out there who love nothing more than having a glass of wine or a beer (or cocktail - TB) and enjoying a film from the golden era of silent movies.  Woolloongabba is the perfect spot for a little bit of kitsch action on a Thursday and Friday night, so if that sounds like a great way to spend a few hours leading into the weekend, I suggest you get in and check it out.

**I was a guest of Malcolm and Moose and Gibson for this test menu 

A new movie is about to start
Luke busy in the kitchen
A classic Chaplin film 
Conveniently there are mirrors around so I could still catch the action
I love the eclectic space at Moose and Gibson
I just love this antler light fitting - classic

Moose and Gibson on UrbanspoonMoose & Gibson


  1. How about next time you let us know it's a paid ad at the top of the "review" so we don't read all the way to the end before we realise you're not a genuine critic?

    1. Thanks for your comments Andrew - I'm not a critic, nor do I do 'reviews'. I simply write about my food adventures and sometimes, like on this occasion, I was invited along by the restaurant.

      I'll take your comments on board and note at the top of my blog that I was a guest (if and when that happens)


Thanks very much for your comment, I really love and appreciate feedback and your thoughts


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