Saturday, 15 November 2014

Breakfast Series - Chow House

Another Saturday morning rolled around, but this one was a little different.  An early personal training session meant there was time for leisurely breakfast, a treat that normally is deferred to Sunday mornings (often depriving us of choices).  With the world at our feet, figuratively not literally, we decided to head into the Valley for a breakfast at the Chow House.

One of the funkier looking venus on James Street, Chow House is the Phoenix 'rising from the ashes' of the James Street Bistro.  Not that there were new owners, but more of a strategic move to freshen up a spot that hadn't really changed in a long time.  A move that seems to have paid off considerably! I'd never been to the previous incarnation, although I'd often wondered about it, and thought it was finally time to check out the space.

The Chow House is a fairly informal dining experience and is inspired by the street stalls of all exotic parts of the world, but mostly the Asian continent.  The menu reflects the use of the finest local seasonal produce and is prone to regular changes but regardless of how often, the menu always reflects its Asian inspiration.  

Feeling a little pooped from her PT session, we drove the short distance from our apartment in the CBD to James Street - yeah, I know, it's not that far to walk but we didn't want to waste any time either.  We were worried about parking, which can be quite unpredictable on a Saturday, but we were in luck, scoring a park (paid unfortunately) just around the corner in Robertson Street - which left us with a walk of only twenty metres - it was a great park!

Walking into the Chow House on a fine and sunny Saturday morning left us feeling invigorated and optimistic and when we easily scored a table with views of James Street, we had an inkling that the morning was to be a good one. We were handed a couple of menus to peruse and had our drinks orders taken.  Already caffeinated from an earlier excursion, SC decided upon an English Breakfast tea, but when I ordered an excellent sounding banana, honey and cinnamon smoothie, decided that she'd scrap the tea and ordered a mango and coconut smoothie instead.

With our waitress getting our drinks underway, we alternatively looked over the menu and 'people watched', deciding on the best course of direction for breakfast.  Was it to be the house specialties with a heavy influence in Asia, such as the coconut crumpets, nasi goreng or the Thai chicken omelette?  Or would we take a more traditional Aussie breakfast?  

It was about this time that the first (and only) mistake of the day occurred!  With my banana smoothie delivered and SC expecting a mango smoothie, her cancelled tea arrived with a comment that her smoothie was still to come.  I urged SC to comment, but she shrugged her shoulders and decided that she'd drink the tea as well.  It didn't bother me either way, so I cracked on with my smoothie and I'm not gonna exaggerate here, it was pushing for honours as the best smoothie in town - so smooth and silky with a hint of honey balancing out the cinnamon and banana - bliss.  I wouldn't be until our breakfast came that SC received her equally stunning smoothie.

In the end, we'd decided to take the safe route and order a more traditional breakfast, which meant the eggs benedict for SC.  For the second time in as many months, we'd stumbled across a menu where you could order a half serve of the benne, which just makes so much sense.  The expertly poached eggs sat atop the wilted spinach, crispy bacon and an English muffin but what made the dish was the incredibly hollandaise sauce - it really was supreme.  Once the yolk from the freshly cracked open poached egg mixed with the hollandaise, it was like sparks were going off.  The only thing that made it better was the bacon!  Yeah, it was a good version of a very traditional breakfast and the cut down sizing was ideal.

My big fry up of scrambled eggs with roasted tomatoes, crispy bacon and a side of mushrooms looked a little plain, especially with the huge piece of toast taking up a fair chunk of the plate. Plain as it looked, it couldn't have been much tastier.  I'll kick off with the scrambled eggs, which were just about creamy perfection - seasoned beautifully, the eggs were just tasty!  The roasted tomatoes were proper slow roasted tomatoes, ones that had retained their heat and moisture and when I cut into my first piece, the tomato juices exploded out.  Even better, the strong flavour of tomato burst on my palate!  As good as the eggs and tomato were, the winner on the plate for me was easily the bacon, which was of the highest quality, cooked beautifully with a little bit of a char that just blew my mind! I'd have to say that the mushrooms, while cooked in garlic and butter, were nice, they lacked seasoning and were a little disappointing after the other components of my breakfast had rocked my world.

I'm not sure why we'd not been to the Chow House, I guess I'd heard mixed reports about it, so it had fallen down my list a little.  What I do know is that the breakfast we had was superb and sitting here typing up the blog, I'm thinking a return visit tomorrow morning might be in order (if we can get out of the city due to G20).  We both agreed that the bacon from the Chow House was as good as it gets and overall the breakfast was a winner.

Apart from our waitress doubling up on SC's drinks, the service was excellent, but it was fairly quiet during our visit and I could imagine that it could get quite hectic with a full house.  I really liked the layout of the place, especially the Lichtenstein inspired coffee machine and the very modern fit out that blended the inside with the outside and really was perfect for people watching.

I'm definitely going to head back to the Chow House for breakfast, that's pretty clear, but I'm thinking that I might need to get along for a dinner service too.  It's the type of modern fusion menu that really appeals to me and if dinner is as good as breakfast, then its going to be a real treat.... Will have to wait and see!

It was a quiet Saturday morning - but we had a good spot for people watching
Loved the little cactus at our table
The team that wasn't supposed to be 
The presentation was little boring, especially with the toast - but boy, did it taste great
The eggs Benne was a real highlight
We loved the modern feel of the restaurant
I loved the Roy Lichtenstein inspired coffee machine
Just cool fit out!
The obligatory cakes on display
The outside inside feel of Chow House is perfect for a Brisbane summer
Yeah, we will be back

ChowHouse on UrbanspoonChowhouse

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