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

BEST IN CLASS – an on-going ranking of dining experiences on business class flights that I’ve taken, taking into consideration but not necessarily based on the average ratings of all items tried.

  1. Qatar Airlines — MNL>DOH(Doha) + DOH>DME(Moscow) (5.279 Assorted Hot Mezzah)(3.05); DME>DOH + DOH>MNL(Manila) ( (5.286 Chili Mango Prawns)(2.42)
  2. Asiana Airlines — ICN>MNL(Manila) (6.048 Ssambap)(4.0)
  3. Korean Air — ICN>NAD(Nadi) (5.175 Prestigious Repast) (2.5); MNL>ICN(Incheon) (6.021 Bibimbap)(2.5); MNL>ICN(Incheon) + ICN>NAD(Nadi) (6.101 Coconut Carrot Cream Soup)(2.4); NAD>ICN + ICN>MNL(Manila) (6.111 Asparagus Cream Soup)(2.13)
  4. * Singapore Airlines — MNL>SIN(Singapore) + SIN>BNE(Brisbane) (6.237 Coconut Panna Cotta)(2.5)
  5. Philippine Airlines — MNL>MEL(Melbourne) (5.335 Chicken Tausi)(2.63)
  6. Etihad Airways — MNL>AUH + AUH>AMM(Amman) (6.154 Shakshouka)(1.58); AMM>AUH + AUH>MNL (Manila) (6.160 Zaalou-Crusted Chicken Breast)(1.69)
  7. Cathay Pacific Airways — HKG>MNL(Manila) (5.182 Har Gao)(1.0)
  8. Fiji Airways — NAD>HKG(Hong Kong) (5.181 Sliced Roast Lamb) (1.0)

* Tentative, pending return flights.

3 thoughts on “6.242 Scallops

    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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