Cha Cha Char (much to Charlie’s chagrin) with the GFD

August 18, 2009 at 1:33 pm 2 comments

Cha Cha Char (much to Charlie’s chagrin) with the GFD

 

My brother, the Good Food Dude (GFD) is in Brisbane this week and since I am too, we decided to catch up for dinner last night.  Mr L had given me instructions… Since I’d eaten my way through the weekend and spent quite a lot of dosh in the process (while he was out drinking with benevolent round-shouting friends) it had been suggested that a cheaper dinner be in order last night.

So I’m staying on Queen Street and GFD came up to see my pad.  From here it made sense to walk to Eagle Street Pier, so we set off and decided to find something middle of the road for dinner.  The restaurants all looked pretty good, and offered diversity in cuisine and price.  We had to stop and take a photo of Aria Brisbane which was having its official opening night last night.  The photo is for my sister-in-law (SIL) for whom Aria Brisbane is held rather dear!

ARIA Brisbane's sign shines from its location on Eagle Street Pier

ARIA Brisbane's sign shines from its location on Eagle Street Pier

Dazzled by the brilliance of Aria, and exhilarated by the thought of rebelling against the spend lock imposed by Mr L, we took the photo then snuck away to investigate the other offerings.  Despite the thrill at the thought of breaking the spend lock, we decided upon Cha Cha Char, which really, we did choose as a homage to Mr L who is often called Charlie, despite the fact that it’s not his actual name.  (And, well… because their wagyu and mustard fruit spring rolls sounded might tasty!)

So through the front door we went, GFD in search of a beer, and me looking for a water.  No tables were available, so we sat at the bar and had a couple of drinks.  The ambience was good and the restaurant bustling, which was a mean feat for a Monday night in Brisbane. 

The GFD was very pleased to be able to order one of Matilda Bay’s Fat Yak beers (slogan: “big, hairy, but nice”, which he tells me is a bit like a Beez Neez, or a Little Creatures.  I have a sniff, and agree they seem similar.  The Fat Yak is a good experience beer for the GFD, for it had been fed to him in the Virgin Lounge on Virgin’s tab, thanks to a full priced corporate fare.  He seemed pleased with the result.

After about 30 mins we were moved on to our table.  When we sat down and really looked at the menu, it dawned on us that we were about to well and truly break spend lock.  Not quite the same sorts of pricing as Aria, but, um… not far off!  I’m pretty sure it was at that point that we adapted an “if you can’t beat em, join em” mentality, and set about deciding on entrees.  We resolved we’d order a couple and share. 

We probably should have thought more about that.

Our choices were:

  • Wagyu Beef & Mustard Fruit Spring Rolls ω chilli plum dipping sauce & Asian herb salad and
  • Seared Scallops ω twice cooked pork belly, Szechuan spiced tofu, watermelon syrup & chilli caramel

The Wagyu was what got us through the door and helped us wait 30 minutes for dinner.  And well, GFD and I are genetically linked… It appears we both got the “I freakin love pork belly so much that I’ll order it at every available opportunity” gene, so it was only natural that we ordered it too!

The Wagyu beef spring rolls coaxed us through the door of Cha Cha Char and won favour on the night

The Wagyu beef spring rolls coaxed us through the door of Cha Cha Char and won favour on the night

Both dishes were nice, but I wouldn’t rate them more than a 7/10.  Of the two, the wagyu spring rolls were the winner.  The mustard fruit added a sweet background to the beef, and a small salad of mint, coriander and mung beans (that’s right baby!) helped to break up the richness of the spring rolls.

The pork belly was a disappointment.  The scallops were nicely done, and the tofu pieces that accompanied the dish were okay, but kind of strange next to their plate fellows.  I wouldn’t recommend it.  I’d probably prefer to be able to buy a scratch n sniff of pork belly and just smell it than receive the tiny little pieces of belly that came on the plate.  And if you think I’m being melodramatic, note, dear friend, the distinct absence of crackling on said pork belly!  Sorry person in the back of the crowd screaming out something?  Oh “cardinal sin!” yes, I agree!

The disappointing pork belly... I forgot to take the photo before we tucked in!

The disappointing pork belly... I forgot to take the photo before we tucked in!

We sat back and waited for our mains to arrive.  The GFD decided to go for the:

  • Slow cooked Maryland of Duck ω dauphinoise potato, char grilled chorizo sausage & braised puy lentil

And I somehow convinced myself that I needed the:

  • Slow braised Beef Cheek ω goats fetta, black pepper mash & tomato relish

A question for me:

Why?

Why would I have chosen that dish knowing particularly well that I really don’t like slow cooked dishes like that?  I think the words “mash” and “goats fetta” blurred my vision.  I convinced myself I was going to love it!

Another question – not just for me this time… For the GFD too..

Why would we have thought we needed those entrees?

I suppose we weren’t really to know just how big the portions of everything were going to be…  The GFD was full before the mains arrived.  I was pretty stuffed too, but had been practicing eating on the weekend, so my capacity meter wasn’t yet hitting the red line.

The dishes arrived, but our hearts weren’t really in it.

The duck was soon stripped bare.  GFD's knife and fork make a celebrity appearance!

The duck was soon stripped bare. GFD's knife and fork make a celebrity appearance!

I watched the GFD strip down his duck, and make a feeble attempt at the dauphinoise potato.  He enjoyed the chorizo, but even his sausage loving streak couldn’t elevate his eating spirit.  The duck was over before it really started.  Puy lentils lay stranded around his plate.  There was no hope for them. 

How now brown cow?  My unappealling looking cheeky coo.

How now brown cow? My unappealling looking cheeky coo.

When Donna Hay was on Masterchef, she emphasised the importance of not serving up a plate of brown.  That’s what I got.  My beef cheeks had been cooking for so long that they had become the colour of dark chocolate.  The mash was hidden under the cheeks, and I have no idea where the fetta was. 

I’m so sorry to admit this because I do very much know that there are people in the world who would have appreciated those cheeks, but I really just couldn’t do them.  I ate a bit of one, and swapped a couple of bits for the GFD’s duck dish.

One thing I will say is that Cha Cha Char makes a mean bean.  I had asked our waitress if I could just have a few beans on my plate.  What I got was a lot of beans on their own plate and an extra $9 on the bill!  Anyway, as they often said in the classics, “whatev”!

All in all, I wouldn’t personally recommend Cha Cha Char.  The service wasn’t great, and while the portions were large, the right flavour really just wasn’t there in any of the dishes except the spring rolls.  Our bill total was $151.80.  Far more than Mr L’s spend lock allowed for.   😦  (Bad wife!)

Food aside, the GFD rated the wine list and the beer list, and of course he rated the company – as did I!

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Entry filed under: Brisbane, Dinner, Expenso.

29 degrees in Sydney, the Bay Walk past sparking waters and honourable mentions to three establishments! Somebody say cheese?

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. The GFD  |  August 19, 2009 at 5:22 am

    GFD rates the meal a 6/10. Service 5/10. Company 8.6/10

    Reply
    • 2. myfavouritefruits  |  August 19, 2009 at 7:42 am

      Oh – only an 8.6 on the company rating?

      I guess I’ll need to blog about our dinner last night GFD – perhaps the company metric will rate higher?!

      😉

      Reply

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