6.242 Scallops


4 (Fri) September 2015



at Bacchus (Rydges South Bank Brisbane)

-South Bank, Brisbane-

with MN

IMG_2008 IMG_2012

Mission to the Solomon Islands, Day 6 (see previously 6.241 Grilled Chicken + Sausage).

On my way back to Manila.  Spent the past week in Honiara, where I helped to facilitate a workshop on national health policy planning. Departed this afternoon, flying via Brisbane via Singapore, due to arrive home tomorrow afternoon — 29 hours, door to door (24 hours on the way in).

The facilities at Honiara International Airport.

3 flights on the way in, 3 flights out, the trip will bestow opportunities to have 6 meals in the air: 4 on Singapore Airlines, 2 on Solomon Airlines.

Meal 4: lunch (IE 700) (HIR > BNE)

Chicken with Mashed Potatoes (1.5)

7-hour layover in Brisbane, plenty of time to score my first meal in the city.

MN, a colleague from my division, who is coincidentally flying back on the same route following an unrelated mission, elected to join me.

Located in the Rydges hotel…
…Bacchus is a restaurant, somewhat upscale, offering “Modern Australian” cuisine…
…currently ranked #6 of 2,984 restaurants in Brisbane on TripAdvisor.

Essential criteria for choice of venue were as follows: (i) close to a train station; (ii) solid on-line reviews; (iii) Modern Australian.

Preferred criteria: (iv) emphasis on seafood; (v) upscale.

Scallops = AUD 32 (about USD 22) / Venison = AUD 46 (about USD 32) — cheaper than the Solomons (see for example 6.239 Escargot).

Not a lot of choices on the menu, which can be a good thing, especially when every one of them is tempting.  Took us over half an hour to order.

Sagatiba Pura — cachaça, a distilled liquor derived from sugarcane; white/un-aged varieties are generally flavorless, like vodka, but with a sweetish undertone; the national distillate of Brazil.
Tomato Soup (4.0) — with pumpkin seed oil; savory + sweet, creamy + bright; absolute perfection — on the house.
Bread with Olive Tapenade, Whipped Butter, Sea Salt (3.5) — rustic grainy bread, piping hot; perfect balance of salty/sweet/sour in the tapenade (“the secret is that we peel each olive”—whatever) — on the house.
Scallops (4.0) — a kaleidoscope of contrasting textures/tastes, starting with the perfectly seared scallops, crispy/sweet crust and squishy/buttery core, plus the rubbery/briny seaweed, dense/earthy rice, chewy/savory octopus, crunchy/grainy deep-fried jerusalem asparagus, wispy/bitter fresh greens; the most dynamic scallop dish that I’ve had in my life.
Watermelon & Pomegranate Sorbet (4.0) — exactly what it sounds like, but infinitely/indescribably better — on the house.
Venison (1.5) — dry, flavorless meat; weak peppercorn sauce; uninspiring onion tatin; the one miss of the meal.
Meatball, inside the savoy cabbage, unremarkable; would’ve preferred something made completely of cabbage.
Broccolini (4.0) — lightly sautéed, topped with roast garlic and almonds; perfection.

PHENOMENAL.  Despite the crappy main dish, everything else was so exquisite that it didn’t matter.  Most notably the freebies — which could’ve constituted a fine meal in themselves — strategically served in between the paid items, elevating a relatively simple spread into an elegant 6-course dining experience.  Confirming that Australia does good food (see for example 5.341 Cecina), even in a small city like Brisbane.

Back at the airport, in the Singapore Airlines business class lounge…
…a small-scale version of the extravaganza at the lounge in Singapore (see generally 6.237 Coconut Panna Cotta).
Too bad I wasn’t in much of a mood to eat.

On the plane, I’m also attempting to try all 8 cocktails offered by Singapore Airlines (see generally 6.237 Coconut Panna Cotta), 2 per flight.

Cocktail 5: Skyhigh
Warm Walnut Bread Sandwich with Gammon Ham and Bush Tomato Chutney (1.5) — absurdly/amateurishly thick-cut bread; cheap ham, also oddly cut; chutney = bottled salsa; departing at 2335, this was literally a midnight snack, not a proper meal.
Cocktail 6: Solitaire Dreams

As always, I am grateful for and respectful of the opportunity to travel internationally, whether for fun or for work, especially via business class (see BEST IN FLIGHT), including airport lounge access (see in BEST IN LOUNGE).

3 thoughts on “6.242 Scallops

  1. I think I would’ve ordered 5 entrees and 4 mains. Looks incredible! But venison, really?

    1. if you think about it, a “degustation menu” is essentially a series of appetizers (“entrees” if you want to be continental about it). even a proper course menu provides the meat and starch and veg in separate servings. yeah, so i don’t really like ordering “main” dishes that much, too filling all on one plate…

      1. and the venison, well, i just wanted another venison on my list. i really wanted the mulloway. the server recommended the lamb. there was also a long steak menu on the back, each sourced from different ranches (that’s kinda silly). but i wanted something a bit out of the ordinary.

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