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Brisbane Kitchen not so much a Champ

RIGHT: The quail entree described as "delicious".

The other night on the way to the Cremorne Theatre in Brisbane my wife and I dropped into Champ Kitchen and Bar for dinner. That is the eating house underneath the ABC building and directly opposite the Playhouse Theatre.

We were ignored for several minutes (the waiters were busy serving) while waiting to be seated at one of many available tables. A “we will be with you in a moment” would have been nice. But once we were seated the waiters were helpful and polite.

The menu was not inspiring, it looked heavy for a summer night, with mains lamb loin, chicken roulade, rib fillet and pork belly, which ranged in price from $32-$38, but I settled for pork belly while my wife went for the more elegant quail entrée with toasted baguette. She declared the tiny morsel (a pair of quail) delicious. I thought that for $25 they should be. The four sections of baguette came in at $5

My meal was something different. The pork belly (at $34) came embedded in a cold concoction called kimchi, an Asian style salad with sesame dressing and topped with cold grated vegetables.

The meal was a disaster. The pork belly skin was black and totally immune to the knife I was given. I had to peel the meat from the skin to eat it. Then I tasted the “salad” which was so full of salt that it was inedible and once again the knife I was using was not sharp enough to cut through the cabbage I assumed was in the salty marinade.

I asked the waiter what I was trying to eat: he said it was a preserved cabbage similar to Sauerkraut and added “it’s not to everyone’s taste”. Then why serve it without a warning?

After my complaint was taken on board we were offered a free cup of coffee. Then at checkout, because it was recognized that the pork belly wasn’t properly cooked we were given a 10 percent discount.

Even so with a glass of wine at $9 the bill still came to $65.

Personally with such a disaster I would have not have had the nerve to charge for the pork belly.

I don’t think we will be back.

Champ Kitchen and Bar, 114 Grey Street, Brisbane.

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