Shumpty Eats: 1889 Enoteca

Saturday night, as a preamble to my birthday, I celebrated my becoming a year older with dinner at another of my favourite restaurants in Brisbane, 1889 Enoteca in the Woolloongabba. Now this is a tough review for me to write because, paradoxically, in over 10 visits to this restaurant I have come to love the food in particular, and this is going to be a pretty bad review.

As always, lets start with the service and the fit out of the restaurant before launching into a discussion of the nosh on offer. The service on Saturday night was, it would be fair to say, at best ordinary and at worst some of the worst service I have received in a high end restaurant. Our waiter could not be less interested, our entrees were brought out and dumped on the table whilst it was still full with plates from our pre dinner bread and it took an age for us to get our bill. An example of the lack of interest our waiter in us rests on the fact of that my water glass was only filled once. As someone who eschews alcohol that made for a long evening.

The restaurant itself comprises two cozy rooms upstairs, a large “function” room downstairs dominated by a large table and on footpath dining. Inside it there is a buzz of noise from customers sitting no more than a foot apart. I should declare here I have never had a cavil with how the restaurant is fitted out and indeed enjoy the coziness of the place. Tonight however it just looked like the place was too full: people were being served their dinner at the bar and the tables in the “main” dining room seemed closer than usual.

All of this leads me to why I could forgive the bad service received: the restaurant was very busy and our waiter had to serve a heap of people. It is not the waiter’s fault but the restaurant’s if too many bookings are taken. I understand though the principals of capitalism and know that a restaurant is in the business of making money so I understand the owner’s keenness to pack more and more customers in.

I am a lover of food and can forgive even the worst of service if the food served to me is good. I can not therefore forgive the service received on Saturday night because the food served was not of the quality I expect, based on past experience, from this restaurant.

For entree I ordered the Affettati misti (piccolo) which is defined in the menu as:

Selection of hand-made cured meats with caper berries, vine ripened truss tomato, house baked bread

I will concede that the selection of cured meats that came out was excellent but there my acclaim for this dish ceases. The way in which this dish was served was confused as it came out on three largish white plates which quickly filled the smallish table on which I was sitting. Raw tomato and capers were not satisfying accompaniments for this dish and there was too little bread.

For main I ordered the Bucatini all’amatriciana which is defined in the menu as:

Hollow spaghetti, guanciale, chili, fresh tomato sauce, Pecorino Romano

I love an amatriciana as a pasta option in the main because of the mix of flavours between the bacon and the chilli. Unfortunately to say the pasta served to me was bland would be an understatement. If there was chilli in the dish I could not taste it. To add insult to injury the serving I received was so oily that I struggled to finish it. I concede that any dish that includes guanciale in the recipe is going to have some oil in it as a result but in this case the oil was just too much.

The final negative of the night came with my coffee: I ordered a cappucino and received a flat white. By this point I had lost the energy to send it back and just drank it so we could leave.

If this was my first experience of 1889 Enoteca I can say without hesitation I would never come back. I will not be doing that in this case as every other time before this visit I have left sated and happy. I will be giving 1889 Enoteca another chance: just not on a Saturday night in the future me thinks.

Food: 5/10

Service: 4/10

Fit out: 7/10

1889 Enoteca on Urbanspoon

I am a rugby league fan: but only just after the 2013 draw announcement

If you did not know this already, let me be clear: I am a Canberra Raiders fan and I always will be a Canberra Raiders fan. I am also a Queenslander and nothing gives me more joy than watching Queensland defeat those who reside from below the Tweed. I am not, however, a fan of the NRL and have not been for many years.

I was lost to rugby league during the Super League wars and went from watching just about every game on free to air TV at the time to only watching my beloved Raiders and the State of Origin games. Rugby League test matches do nothing for me and I can’t say I have watched one in the last 3 years.

I was waiting with baited breath for the introduction of the ALRC to the game in the hope of some encouragement arising from their management of the game that might pull me back into the fray as a fully fledged NRL fan. To say that they have not done so would be an understatement.

Before we even get to my disgust with the draw, two other issues need to be mentioned in passing: the outlawing of the shoulder charge and the change in venue for the 2013 State of Origin series.

Rugby league is a tough game played by hard men: it involves body contact and one only needs to see the advertisements for the game run by Channel 9 and Foxsports to see that it is that one on one contact that sells the game. Fans of the game do not remember and do not discuss around the water cooler a tackle around the waist; they do however exclaim “did you see that big hit!”. I can not understand what the ALRC are trying to achieve by banning a form of tackle that has been part of the game since it started.

The State of Origin was meant to held with two games to be held in Brisbane this year. The commercial imperatives that relate to this decision I understand and frankly I could not be happier that Queensland will win their 8th series in a row at Lang Park in the second game. Will make the 3rd game a fizzer won’t it?

My major problem and why I can feel no attachment to the game is the way the ARLC treat their fans. There is no more clearer example of this than with the 2013 draw. The draw put out recently is frankly a travesty if you are a fan of any team other than Brisbane, Bulldogs, Titans or West Tigers. As a Canberra Raiders fan I have taken some time to consider when Canberra Raiders fans might get to see their team on free to air TV during the first 20 rounds of the season and it does not make for pretty reading. That is because, from the look of the draw, during the first 20 rounds of the season the Canberra Raiders will appear only once on Free to Air television. To put that in context: Channel 9 will have the rights to 60 games during that period and only once will the Canberra Raiders play in the 7:45pm Friday night or 3pm Sunday afternoon slots that get shown on Channel 9.

Mark your calendars those of you without Foxtel who follow Canberra because the only chance your going to get to see your team play on Channel 9 will be on 28 June against South Sydney. That is of course unless you go to the games or buy Foxtel. This is the way the ALRC have treated a team that came 6th on the table last year and made the second week of the finals.

It is not good for the fans. It is not good for the sponsors of the Canberra Raiders. It is not good for the game.

This fact has raised in my mind a broader question: is it just the Raiders that the ALRC is happy to ignore or are their other teams in the same boat?

I concede that I understand some of the commercial imperatives that sit behind Channel 9 showing the Broncos 14 times and I can understand showing the grand finalist Bulldogs 14 times. The problem though with scheduling is clearly broader than just a problem with the Raiders when you consider that the premiers, the Melbourne Storm, will only be seen on free to air TV 7 times in the first 20 rounds of the season whilst other teams that made the top 8 like the Sea Eagles (6 times), the Sharks (4 times) and the Cowboys (5 times) also receive only limited airplay.

Paradoxically, being a non-performing team does not seem to effect your exposure to the free to air television audience with the West Tigers (10th in 2012) to be seen on free to air TV 11 times.

This is a game built around its fans and the entertainment given to those fans. However it is clear that for the ALRC some fans mean more than others.

Now I know many readers will just consider this to be a whinge of disenfranchised fan looking for an outlet and part they will be right. The fact is though that I am sure I am not alone as a fan of a rugby league club who is not, in fact, a fan of the game any more. Am I the only one who now only watches my team play? Am I alone in only watching the Channel 9 coverage when my team plays?

This is obviously an issue for the grassroots rugby league fan base but it does not appear to be across the ALRC’s radar. If it is on said radar then clearly they have just been blinded by the wad of money coming from David Gyngell. Until the voices of the fans are heard I can’t say I expect to return to the fold as a fully fledged rugby league fan. This is something that saddens me because some of my favourite memories as child are of sitting with my dad watching Friday night football and talking to him and my mates in anticipation of the games ahead.

And with that there is nothing else really to say except go the mighty Raiders and bring on Super 15 season.

Australia v South Africa, 2nd test, final day

Sorry all: no time for a lengthy pre-last day blog about the 2nd test. Between work, birthday stuff and feeling a little poorly time has gotten away from me.

Suffice it to say it presents as an excellent day of cricket today. Many are writing off the Proteas however if they can get to lunch without loosing a wicket that surely gives them a sniff of a draw and makes Kallis batting again a real possibility. For Australia this must be Nathan Lyon’s day for a victory to be assured and a big question for me is just how many overs M Clarke will bowl. Surely him bowling in tandem with Lyon is the way to go today.

It will be a great day of cricket. Bring on 10am!

Australia v South Africa: 2nd test, day 4

Day 4 of the second test from Adelaide dawns today with the match fairly evenly poised. I did not get to watch any of the game yesterday due to a golf commitment and will be similarly indisposed today playing in the Ipswich Rugby League Old Boys Golf Day out at the Rosewood Golf Club.

Nonetheless, I have watched the highlights package of today’s play and analysed the score card and have some thoughts on what will be the keys to success for the combatants on day four.

1. The battle of the captains: Clarke v Smith

I think it would be fair to say there have been moments in this test, indeed in this series, where one of the two captains has clearly had the ascendancy in both the position of the game and the tactical nous they have put into their decision making. The game is even at the moment and could very well come down to which of the captains “bests” the other captain in the game of high stakes chess this test match has become.

2. How many runs is too many?

The largest run chase at the Adelaide Oval to win in the 4th innings is a little over 300 runs set in 1910. I think that record could be broken here simply because there is so much time remaining in this game and how good the pitch still is to bat on. Two full days of cricket remain or 180 overs. A lot can happen in that time and thus the run chase set by the Australians for their South African counterparts (if they are allowed to set a target rather than being bowled out) needs to be enough that the draw is secure as a result but also needs to be low enough so as to entice the Proteas to go for it.

3. Clarke / Hussey: can they do it again?

If Australia’s first innings showed fans one thing only, it was who fragile Australia’s batting lineup is at numbers 7 through 11 against quality bowling. Thus the course of the game will rest heavily on the shoulders of the men at the crease presently. If Clarke and Hussey can stay together till about tea today then it will be likely that the game will be out of the Proteas reach. Conversely if one of them falls early this morning then there is another real prospect that Australia will be “6 out and all out” (Siddle having been and gone as night watchman) which will open the game up for a South African run chase.

All of what happens today hinges on the partnership noted above and thus I have no more “keys” for readers to look for today. I for one will be glued to my cricket score apps on the golf course willing the Clarke / Hussey combination to another big partnership. If they can not produce one I fear that the game will fall directly into the hands of the South Africans.

It will be another fascinating day of cricket. I hope you enjoy it!

Shumpty Eats: Moo Moo Bar and Grill

For those of you who know me or have seen a photo of me it will be obvious to you that I love food and I love steak. My favourite steak restaurant in Brisbane and, indeed, just about my favourite type of restaurant anywhere is Moo Moo Bar and Grill which is part of the Stamford Hotel complex.

Last week, I again had cause to attend my favourite restaurant. It has been become a tradition for one of my colleagues from Melbourne and I to, in his words, “go for cow” when he is up in the sunshine state and this was one such occasion. Unusually we were not alone on this occasion with a group of six of us heading to Moo Moo on Thursday night for a feed after a long day in the office.

As regular readers of my food reviews will testify too, when I find a menu item that I like I generally stick to it. Moo Moo is no different an experience if you are dining with me: I know what I want to eat from the minute I cross the threshold into the restaurant.

More about the food in a minute: the restaurant itself is ultra impressive in both fit out and ambience. One enters by walking past the open kitchen which immediately gets the taste buds welling in anticipation. The staff are generally friendly and know the menu very well. On last Thursday night, our waiter was simply excellent: knew his stuff, gave great steak recommendations and ensured that we were served swiftly noting the late hour at which we arrived.

Now, did I mention food? Any meal at Moo Moo consists, for me, of three essential parts:

1. Entree

2. Steak

3. Side dishes.

Let’s start with the entree: as is my usual custom I ordered the Charcuterie platter for one for entree. The menu describes this “dish” in this way:

Moo Moo house prepared charcuterie accompanied w. Branston Pickle, field mushrooms, Spanish peppers, wood fired onions , sourdough + cornichons

A pick of 3 charcuterie from a rolling list of six always leads to some difficult decisions. On Thursday last I went for Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, Wagyu Bresaola and Sopressa. They were excellent and the accompaniments were all fresh and quite tasty. To be honest I could have just asked our waiter to replenish the charcuterie on my plate and I would have been a happy man however there was steak to be had.

For my steak, I went with my usual order: the Cape Grim all natural pasture fed 350g rib fillet. I had this cooked medium and it came out cooked to perfection. One of my favourite aspects of eating at Moo Moo is the option to order 3 sauces with your steak and, as per usual, I obliged with the combination of the Moo Moo Jus, chilli and garlic butter sauces coming up a treat.

I mentioned sides before in a separate category and that is in part because Moo Moo is like a number of steak restaurants around town inasmuch as it allows you to pick your own sides to go with your steak. The other reason I mention the side separately is simply because they are so good they could be a meal on their own. I was tasked, having been to Moo Moo Brisbane at least 10 times, with sourcing our sides on this occasion and went with what I consider to be the two best sides on the menu: Moo Moo Truffled parmesan shoestring Fries and Tempura Onion rings served with smokey bbq sauce. The onion rings are the best I have had: I tell people when I describe them to imagine the best onion ring they have ever had and then multiply the taste sensation of that onion ring by a factor of 100 and you have the Moo Moo onion rings. Yet again on Thursday night the side dishes were the perfect accompaniment to my steak.

All in all, yet again I had a great meal (with great company and great service) at Moo Moo Bar and Grill and would happily recommend to anyone that this is a restaurant you must to go if you are ever in Brisbane. Those of you from Brisbane who read this blog, if you have not yet made it to Moo Moo Bar and Grill you need to do yourself a favour and get there as soon as you can. You will not regret it.

One final postscript: if you are looking for a cheap steak then I am afraid Moo Moo Bar and Grill is not for you. Simply it is a quality restaurant that gives a five star experience coupled with a fantastic menu. Frankly if are not expecting to pay for such a place you are in the wrong place. I love the place and will happily pay for what I consider the best meal in town.


Food: 9/10

Service: 9/10

Fit out: 9/10



Moo Moo The Wine Bar + Grill At The Port Office on Urbanspoon

Shumpty’s Punt: some Saturday bets

It has been a bit of a barren spell on the punt on this blog and frankly that has been a combination of not having much spare time to do the form and really think about my bets and not being able to pick my nose when it comes to a winner.

This week (and particularly last night as I watch the highlights of today’s play at the Adelaide Oval) I have had more of a chance to think about some bets for this week.

Here is where I think there might be some winners over the rest of the weekend and where I will be investing my hard earned cash.


Eagle Farm:

Best win bet:                      Race 2 Number 4 Jugahlation

Best each way bet:            Race 6 Number 16 Soft Angel


Best bet:                               Race 7 Number 11 Our Design


I will be looking at a small multi this weekend made up of the 4 legs (all odds are from and are as at the time of writing):

Leg 1: Everton to defeat Norwich at home in the EPL ($1.44)

Leg 2: Stoke to defeat Fulham at home in the EPL ($2.20)

Leg 3: Tennessee Titans to cover the line (-3.5) against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL ($1.90)

Leg 4: Denver Broncos to cover the line (-10.0) against the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL ($1.90)

These four legs combined will pay a tidy $11.44.  Here’s hoping come Monday morning (after the NFL games complete) followers are laughing their way to the bank.

Good luck and good punting and, as always, please gamble responsibly.