Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mondo Organics – 166 Hardgrave Rd, West End


Mondo Organics is an interesting little place, with a surprising array of services. They offer wine appreciation, Catering, Cooking Classes and just for fun they run a restaurant.

My visit on Saturday was for lunch & wine. If you are interested in the cooking school side of things – don’t tune out – I’m doing a couple of classes there in the upcoming weeks.

The breakfast menu veered slightly in the direction of health food (quinoa making a superfood appearance) without forgetting to turn back to decadence (bacon eggs and hollandaise, washed down with a breakfast cocktail – maybe an Earl Grey Martini if you please?)

The menu is largely organic without seeming obsessively so – they explain some of their sources, they offer a variety of organic & biodynamic wines, but they complement them with conventional to allow for a full portfolio.

Our menu for lunch included:

Coffin bay oysters with a verjuice vinaigrette
- Sadly a bit of a letdown, they oysters lacked creaminess - a little bitter for my taste, with little sweet or sour to offset.

Warm quail salad with prosciutto, pickled pear rocket & a balsamic reduction
- Very generous and nicely balanced

Braised bendele farm duck, swiss brown mushrooms, du puy lentils with an asparagus & spinach ragout.
- Now I’m probably biased, but there is no better guilty pleasure than the blend duck with du puy lentils. This was nicely done. A luxurious texture & richness. My thighs wouldn’t tolerate me having this kind of dish too often, but that just makes it all the more delish.

For wines we tested out the following, please bear in mind my enthusiasm about wine is by no means balanced by any depth of knowledge!

Carlei Pinot Gris (Biodynamic)
- A truly beautiful wine visually, with the lightest touch of pink. The flavour was lovely, but with a clarity I’m not accustomed to in a conventional wine. I’ll be hunting out a case of this for home!

Carlei Shiraz (Biodynamic)
- Yes, we liked the Pinot so much we tried the Shiraz. Also lovely, but a bit light for my taste.

We indulged in some cheeses, which were very pleasant, but not outstanding. However the accompanying homemade fig preserve deserves a mention.

We did try a desert wine, but the name of it escapes me (perhaps because of all the Pinot & Shiraz that came before it ;o)

The service was personal and very professional, overall I couldn’t fault it. I will be going back to try out the wild venison one night at dinner time.

Comin soon

Reviews of the Northey St Organic Market

The rundown of organic food home delivery services

Fundies Wholefoods in Paddington, the store and the cafe.
Fundies Wholefoods & Café
219 Given Terrace Paddington 4064 – open til 4 weekdays, 3 on weekends

The Café

The lunch menu at Fundies Café is mostly vegetarian, almost entirely organic, but certainly not dull. You have to go the (Byron Bay) pie and salad option if you like a spot of meat with your lunch.

The salads are exceptional. The standout for me was the rocket, mushroom, pecan and feta. A great example of the extra attention applied to a salad when it’s treated as a key part of the meal, not an afterthought.

As one would expect there’s an excellent selection of juices, cakes, and organic coffee. Vegeburgers are treated 3 ways – tofu, lentil or chickpea with a variety of accompaniments.
I had Thai Chicken Pie with 3 types of salad ($11) and it was all delicious. I would, and will go back. They also do breakfasts.

The Shop
There’s a small dairy/deli section with the usual Barambah Organics fare plus plenty of tofu and other meat substitutes. Organic ice cream & a small frozen organic meat section, with whole chickens thigh, wings and drumsticks at fairly standard prices, a small selection of red meats – they even have goat, ideal for an authentic curry!
If you like a good pie (guilty pleasures) check out the frozen section for the Byron Bay Gourmet Pies, they’re pretty awesome, largely organic, but best of all you don’t need a degree in food science to read the ingredients panel.

Tip - if you are into cloudy apple juice try the Greenwoods Biodynamic variety… it’s really tasty. You can get this in a few spots around Brisbane. Olive oils and tinned foods are available alongside a good selection of spices & pulses. In fact this is one of the places I go to get my favourite Dahl (Moong) for authentic Dhal Thadka… yum!

They also have an online shop.

The fruit & veg is really fresh, probably due to the adjoining café which would allow a rotation.
The bread selection is pretty average. The organic eggs would be much cheaper if you get them at a supermarket or local market, as is often the case

If you’re into supplements, organic beauty products, hair care and the like, this shop has one of the bigger selections I’ve seen.

Summary – a good allrounder. Prices are fairly high in general. If you want to get a bit of everything in one spot you could likely find what you need here, but naturally you pay for the convenience of coming to a 'shop'.

If you prefer fresh meats, better prices and a wider selection you would have to split your shop or look at one of the delivery services

Upcoming.... Organic delivery services for produce, meat and much more. I have tested out several of the local services & will give you the best to choose from

Thanks - and let me know your thoughts.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

In the interests of allowing you to decide whether or not you will find by blog/twitter interesting or informative I will start with a bit of info on my motivation for setting this information loose into Cyberspace..

I’m interested in food.

I’m not an expert on the topic, I don’t work in the food industry. I’m not associated with anyone who does. I love to cook, I mostly do ok but I’m not entering Masterchef anytime soon. I have spent a lot of time seeking out new and interesting ingredients, trying new styles of dishes, and generally poking around in shops and markets. I figure there may be some people out who would be interested in what I find. Please also be aware that I am most definitely interested in what other people find!

Why organic?

I’m not an eco crusader - but I appreciate the value of ethical farming practices & humane treatment of animals.

I’m not a health nut – but I believe you should know what is in the food you eat. And you should know something about how it was produced.

I’m not a purist – In our house we eat ordinary foods, and organic foods.

I genuinely believe that in many cases organic food tastes far better than the standard fare we find on the shelves in the supermarket. Tastier ingredients can only mean better tasting meals.

Above all – conventional food is really easy to find in Brisbane, so it would be pointless for me to write about finding conventional foods. Sometimes it’s tricky to find variety in organic foods, and I’ve spent a bit of time digging around for places that offer it, so I decided to put some information out for others to use.

It started out with a tub of organic strawberries. I’ve never looked back. If you don’t believe me, seek out some organic strawberries. The taste and smell takes you straight back to stealing strawberries out of the garden when you were five. They taste the way strawberries should taste.