Restaurant Review: Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers

Recently we visited one of my favourite restaurants and Brisbane’s first gnoccheria,  Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers. They first opened in Paddington about a year ago and are still one of the best and busiest place to get homemade gnocchi. We have visited them a few times, but I haven’t been often enough since they are usually so busy that without a booking you need to get takeaway. Unfortunately, they are a little too far from my place for UberEats, but Marco orders their food to his work all the time. I actually first came across Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers when they had a food stand in the city. The gnocchi was delicious and the cannoli was so good. So I was thrilled when they established a permanent restaurant.

So we visited Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers recently on a busy weeknight with a friend, who hadn’t tried them before. We did make a booking, to ensure getting a table. The restaurant is actually very small, with a limited amount of tables outside and some bar stools inside. I have noticed that they seem to have added more tables since the last time I visited, which is good to see. The menu itself is also quite limited since the star ingredient is gnocchi. However there is a good selection of sauces that you can order, so there is something for everyone. I have also noted that they run special sauces for a limited time. Each gnocchi dish does come with a slice of ‘Italian mopping bread’, which you can always order more of. They do offer a few sides, which look like some nice complementing dish.  Additionally, they have a great selection of desserts (which I’ll get to later). I usually don’t comment on prices, but I have to say their prices are very reasonable. Especially since most Italian restaurants in Brisbane charge between $20-30 for a main sided pasta or gnocchi dish.

Since we already had a late lunch we thought we would just share a few dishes. Last time we visited we had ordered the Bolognese, Duck Ragu and Wild Mushroom dishes. The stand out for us was the Bolognese sauce. So this visit we decided we had to order that one as well as a couple others dishes we had yet to try. Those were the Creamy Pesto and Prawn and Cherry Tomato Sauce. The boys love their bread, so we had to order a few more for them, but like I mentioned each dish came with a slice of fresh Italian bread.


Gnocchi with Traditional Slow Cooked Bolognese
Gnocchi with Prawns and Cherry Tomato Sauce
Gnocchi with Genovese Style Basil Pesto


The food was just as good as I remembered. The gnocchi were so fresh and pillowy and the sauces were each so full of flavour and really complemented the star ingredient. You can just taste that it is all freshly prepared with love and using traditional recipes. I can’t say which was my favourite this night since I really enjoyed all of them. I did quite like the butterflied prawns, so definitely will order that one again. Octavia was just loving the Bolognese and polished off most of the dish.


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Serbian Slava Celebration

Over the weekend Marco’s sister’s family celebrated their annual Slava. This is a Serbian Orthodox tradition, which venerates the family’s patron saint. We were invited to a family lunch to celebrate the day. This year we are unable to attend their big Slava, that they will host for their friends. The date and day change every year, so if the family can’t make it to the big party, there is always usually a small family lunch.

I have been attending most of their Slava’s for nearly 10 years now and I always look forward to this special lunch. The last time I wrote about this celebration was in 2013 (on Live Blissful), so I thought it would be nice to give you guys a bit of a taste of what it’s all about.

Although I have been attending these celebrations for a long time I really don’t know much about it. I am not Serbian Orthodox and Marco doesn’t really follow the religion either. Similar to being an Italian Roman Catholic,  you are kinda born into the religion, typically baptised when your little and it’s up to the individual to keep the faith going. I usually ask the same few questions every year and then we start talking about what we are going to eat. So I thought I would ask some questions to Marco’s sister, Maria directly so she can explain to you all about her Slava.

  • Why do you celebrate Slava?

We celebrate it because it is Milan’s [my husband] family tradition and a great excuse to get together. Every slava or saint has a little story as to why people started celebrating them. People then like to make a big feast and invite friends and those people they go to slava to during the year.

  • Who is your families patron saint?

Milan’s family patron saint is Saint Theodore. The date of the Slava is by the Orthodox calendar, which can change depending on when Easter will be.

  • What are the rituals that you follow for your Slava?

We make the bread and zito (boiled wheat flavoured with nuts, spices and honey) and take it to the Serbian Orthodox priest, on the morning of the Slava. He blesses the food we made with red wine. After we spending the day with our closest family and friends and remembering the good that the particular evangelist did. 

  • What are some typical dishes served on Slava?

Typical dishes are sarma, pig or lamb on the spit, bob (broad bean paste), prebranac (baked lima beans), punjene paprike (stuffed peppers) or anything really, there are no rules about that. If a Slava falls in one of the fasting periods in the year, the Easter or Christmas fast, then you have to eat and serve only vegan on that day but if not, you can serve anything you like. Our slava is during a fasting period so we can’t use any animal products, except fish. So we make similar dishes but veganised. 

  • Do you hope that your kids will continue celebrating your Slava?

We hope Stefan continues to celebrate with his own family when he is older. The girls can too if they wish, there are no specific rules about that.

  • Can Marco and I pick a Saint and start our own Slava or is that against the rules?
You can pick up a Slava. I think it would be great to keep the tradition going. Marco’s slava is St Luka, that Victor’s father (Marco’s grandfather) used to celebrate. Zoran (Marco’s uncle) in Serbia celebrates St Luka as the oldest son and Dusan (Marco’s cousin and son of Zoran) will continue on. Victor (Marco’s father) could have here but he never really thought about it. It is on 31st of October and it’s called Luke the Evangelist in English, you can search it up
  • How many other Slava’s do you attend during the year? 

We attend a few in a year, almost all our friends celebrate a Slava. The slava outside the fasting period is usually the best. 


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Restaurant Review: PappaRich, Garden City

Since I got back from holidays I have still been craving Singaporean food like crazy. I love the flavours and variety of the cuisine. Kway Teow, Laksa, Satay, Nasi Lemak, Roti, Kaya, Kopi…all so good. So when I discovered a new Malaysia restaurant serving all of my favourites I was over the moon. PappaRich recently opened a restaurant at Garden City Shopping Centre in Brisbane.

Pappa Rich is a Malaysian chain restaurant. They have locations in Wintergarden (Brisbane CBD) and Gold Coast. They have more locations across many cities in Australia, New Zealand, United States and Asia. Although PappaRich is a chain,  it doesn’t serve mass produce food. From what I could gather,  they are consistent with their quality and authenticity of Malaysian cuisine and the food is all cooked freshly on site.

The menu consists of multiethnic dishes from Malaysian, Chinese and Indian cuisine “with a twist of South East Asian flair”. So there are many of the classic dishes that I saw in Singapore, which also features all of these cuisines. The menu is broken into breads (eg. kaya toast), dim sum, noodles (eg. fried noodles, noodle soups), rice (eg. Hainanese Chicken Rice, Nasi Lemak), roti (pastry with curry), satay (sticks), sharing (meat and vegetable mains), vegetarian, signature dishes (best sellers), desserts (eg. puddings, iced kacang), and beverages (eg hot or cold teas and coffees).


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Valentines Day: Double Shot Espresso, New Farm Park

Happy Valentine’s day friends! I hope you had a wonderful day and spent it with someone you love.

Did Valentine’s Day sneak up on you this year? It snuck up on us. I was aware it was coming but I didn’t get a chance to organise anything special for the day. Instead, we decided we would go out for brunch as a family. I actually wanted to start doing brunch somewhere different every week with Octavia (and Marco when available) and post my experiences on here, so this was the perfect opportunity to start today.

We decided to visit the cafe Double Shot Expresso in New Farm. This is one of my favourite areas of Brisbane and it has many lovely cafes throughout this affluent neighbourhood. What I really liked about this cafe was the almost alfresco dining and the extensive brunch menu. They also have an amazing array of sweets and pastries in their cabinet. If you have a canine companion you are also welcome to bring them along as well. Our dogs are no cafe-friendly dogs, but Octavia got a kick out of seeing some canine customers.

We started off with coffee of course, which was quite good. We are a little picky with our morning cappuccino, so it was nice to be treated with a nice one. Marco ordered the Eggs Benedict special with bacon, I had the Caramelised spicy mushrooms with poached eggs and sourdough and Octavia had the fresh baked croissant. All the dishes were nice and definitely above average in care that it took to prepare and generous in size. Marco really enjoyed his dish. I didn’t mind mine either, as everything was cooked well. I just wish I knew the mushrooms were going to be spicy and sweet. I should probably have checked what seasoning they were going to use before ordering since I made noodles the night before with sweet chilli sauce. I probably go with something else next time. Octavia really enjoyed her butter but did not want to eat her croissant. I don’t know what her problem was because it was delicious. It wasn’t the perfect French croissant but it was warm, with soft layers of flakey pastry and had a nice savoury flavour. So it was a pleasant experience at Double Shot Espresso so I would recommend them for a well made, satisfying breakfast or brunch and great coffee.


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Srećan Božić: Merry (Serbian) Christmas

Today our family celebrated the Serbian Orthodox Christmas. It was held at my mother-in-laws home, where we were greeted with “Srećan Božić” and given 3 kisses on the cheeks.

Serbian Christmas held every year on the 7th of January. They follow this date from the Julian calendar, which was created under the reign of Julius Caesar in 45 BC. Other countries that are celebrating on 7th include Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Israel, Egypt, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

I’m not Serbian and Marco has been here living in Australia since he was 7 years, so we are not informed about all the traditions. My inlaws lived in Serbia when it was a communist country as well so I’m not sure they follow the religious customs for this day. They did mention fasting on Christmas Eve, but that was it. It was wonderful to celebrate their Christmas with a delicious Serbian lunch and luckily this year the whole immediate family were able to attend.

We started the meal with chicken soup with vegetables and pasta. I think this is like a Domaća supa (domestic soup). This was followed Pogača (bread), which everyone has to grab at the same time and rip off a piece. This was accompanied by the roasted lamb, roasted potatoes, carrots and pumpkin; Serbian green salad,  and sarma (cabbage rolls). For desserts, we went a bit vegan. My sister-in-law made a Double Layered Chocolate Fudge Cake (linked photo last time I made it) from the Oh She Glows Cookbook. I made the Crispy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie from the Oh She Glows app (which I also made for my Christmas).

Do you celebrate Christmas on the 7th or on an alternative date?
What do you traditionally eat for Christmas?


Weekend roundup of delicious eats

Over the past weekend and mid-week, we have been eating out quite a bit so I thought I’d share some of the photos and details of these delicious eats. These include some restaurants and cafes on the Gold Coast and in my hometown of Brisbane.

This roundup started from last weekend when we took a little break to the Gold Coast.  We stayed in two family hotels, at Sanctuary Cove and Benowa. We don’t normally do hotel crawls, but it was great fun to do. We got to experience two different places and give my toddler new surroundings to explore.


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Crazy for pasta at Spaghetti House

Recently we visited a restaurant I haven’t been to in a long time. The Spaghetti House Trattoria is a family-run Italian restaurant in Southbank. They were previously situated in West End, which is where we used to frequently visit them.

They offer a great selection of Italian fare, including bread, small share plates, pizza, pasta and main dishes. The dishes are a collection of regional favourites prepared very traditionally. Over the years we have tried many of their dishes and they never disappoint in taste and quality.

Over the past couple of years, they moved from Westend to Southbank on Little Stanley Street. The new location does feel a bit more formal than the previous one and is styled like a modern trattoria. From the polished floors, beautiful rustic table settings, lighting and gold framed mirrors, everything is perfectly elegant, yet cozy.

On the day we visited we were all really hungry and were craving pasta. We all ordered the thicker kinds of pasta with simple sauces. I had the Pappardelle Boscaiola, which had pancetta, porcini mushrooms and olives in a fresh tomato sauce. The fresh pasta was cooked perfectly al dente and the sauce had a full depth of flavour. My companions had Pappardelle Carbonara and Fettuccini Ragu alla Bolognese. They were also very happy with their dishes. We all ordered the larger size plate, which were generous and very filling. If we ordered more food, I’m sure a small portion would have sufficed.

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Mothers Day at Jamie’s Italian

Happy Mothers Day to all the mums out there. This year is my third mothers day. I can’t believe I’ve already had three. Time has gone so fast. This year I got my first present from my daughter. A plant and painted card with a picture of her and a lovely message that she made a Kindy. It was the sweetest thing ever. This year Marco and I decided to have a nice lunch without our toddler. She spent some time with her nonna and we had a relaxing lunch at Jamie’s Italian.

We have been to Jamie’s Italian a few times since it opened. I know it gets mixed reviews, but we have had good experiences every time. The food is always fresh with quality ingredients and cooked well. What I love about this place is that its real food, cooked from scratch. We have only been to the Brisbane location, but you can find the franchised restaurants in most capital cities in Australia and more across the world.

The Brisbane location just off the street level but actually has a second level of seating under the ground. The top level features the entrance bar and a beautiful marble bar with hanging Parma hams, garlic and chillis, where the antipastos are prepared. The lower level also houses the kitchen, so it’s also nice to sit in the hustle and bustle of the kitchen atmosphere. The rest of the decor is very industrial, yet homely. The walls feature exposed concrete and recycled wooden panels and the floors are polished wood. The tables are mostly wooden, with leather booths or red metal seat. The ambience of the restaurant really makes you feel like your in an Italian trattoria.

I have noticed the menu has changed over time to keep up with the current trends. However, the heart of Italy still shines through with their handmade pasta, classic antipasti and some traditional secondi dishes.


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I can’t believe I only just found out about this great little cafe in Newstead.  I had actually seen Nodo donuts at Pando Cafe in Brisbane city, but I never stopped to try them. I have been a bit out of the loop since my daughter was born in 2015, which is probably why I never knew Nodo opened their own location in October that year. Then a friend who recently returned to Brisbane told me about this cafe with amazing gluten free donuts. After seeing his Instagram I knew I had to try this place.

Nodo cafe has two locations, in Newstead and the CBD. Although they are known for their amazing gluten-free baked donuts, they also make a variety of other gluten-free baked goods, brunch and lunch dishes and drinks using wholesome ingredients.

I visited the Newstead location, which is quite contemporary and minimalistic in style, yet very inviting. The corner location is flooded with natural light from large windows and features pale timber furnishings and polished concrete flooring and counter. The indoor plants also give the space a fresh and welcoming vibe. Patrons can choose to sit outside, or inside along the windows or upstairs.

The front counter features all the beautiful freshly baked donuts, as well as other baked goods, raw treats and cold-pressed bottled juices. Their menu features a selection of gluten free breakfast and lunch dishes, both savoury and sweet. There are burgers, salads, smoothie bowls and eggs, all featuring super healthy ingredients. The drinks include coffees made from their own house blend, specialised coffee drinks, teas and a variety of super natural shakes. They don’t just cater this menu for gluten-free, but also dairy-free, refined sugar-free, vegetarian, vegan and carnivores. So there is something for everyone.


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The Velo Project

Recently we took a short trip to the Sunshine coast to have some family time together. Unfortunately, the weather was dreadful so we didn’t get much beach time. We still made the most of it, exploring rock pools and collecting shells when it wasn’t raining.


The second day we were forced to go home because of storms, but we wanted to have breakfast before we left. Marco found this hidden gem in Mooloolaba.

The Velo Project is a cafe housed in a garage amongst suburban homes.  They are all about high quality, sustainable food, sourced from local farmers and producers.



The decor was very quirky and vintage, yet homely. The furnishings and accessories are secondhand and the front counter looks to be made from repurposed materials. On the tables, there were old fashioned games to play while you wait for your food. The menus were old books with the selection of dishes stuck inside.

We didn’t just come here for the decor though, we came for the coffee and the food. The menu offers fresh baked good, smoothies, a variety of eggs dishes, salads, heavier dishes with meat and buckwheat crepes with different toppings. There are options and modifications for gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian and vegan dishes. So if you a person with dietary requirements, you have more than one option to choose from.

For drinks, Marco ordered a cappuccino and I ordered the chai latte made with cane sugar, cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom, star anise,  and tapioca. The coffee was spot on and my chai latte nicely spiced was exactly what I needed on a cold rainy day.

For breakfast, Marco ordered the Bacon & Egg Turkish which had free-range ‘sunvalley’ bacon, fried eggs, rocket & housemade tomato chutney. It looked really nice and he enjoyed it. I decided to get something to share with O, so I got the Buckwheat crepes with roasted spiced pumpkin, grilled zucchini, red onion, goats cheese, toasted seeds & basil oil. The crepe itself was really nice and fluffy and didn’t have a bitter taste from the buckwheat. The toppings, although a little tricky to eat, were all really fresh and the flavours worked well together.

We all left very satisfied and will have to visit The Velo Project next time we’re back up north.

Moo Free Burgers

Finally, a completely plant-based burger joint has opened up in Brisbane! Moo Free Burgers is the new creation of the people behind Charlies Fruit MarketCharlie’s Raw Squeeze and Veganyumm Bakery. I am lucky enough to live right up the road from these three gems, so whenever we need extra groceries or have a craving for a fresh juice, indulgent smoothie or cheeky brownie we drive five mins and our wishes are answered. One of the perks of moving to the northside of Brisbane. Moo Free Burgers is a little further away in North Lakes. However, it will coincide well with our trips up to Costco or Ikea.

Moo Free Burgers is situated in a small complex, shares its space with another Charlie’s Raw Squeeze. So while tucking into a burger and chips you can also have a nice healthy drink and dessert. It also has a great play room for little ones, so it’s a great family friendly place.

The menu is quite extensive, including breakfast, sides, a kids menu and a crazy monster burger challenge. As for the burgers themselves, there are eight to choose from, 4 different sliders, three different burger buns and extra ingredients to add. On the side, you can order potato and sweet potato chips and dips to dunk them in. The menu is completely vegan, dairy free and also has gluten free options. It’s like a vegan version of the popular burger chain, Grill’d and just as tasty.

I ordered the VBD “Vegan Brothers Delight”. It included a Moofree Burger pattie, Rasher’s (faken bakon), Cheeze, Carmelized Onions, Tomato, Lettuce and Mustard Mayo. I paired it with a side of Beer-Battered Potato Chips. It was better then I thought it was going to be. Ok, obviously it doesn’t taste the same as a beef burger with bacon but it was a pretty good alternative. Even Marco approved, although he didn’t order his own since he had already eaten. The chips were just as good as our favourite Grill’d ones. As for the dips, I didn’t get one today since I wasn’t really sharing. My only con was that the Mustard Mayo was squeezing out everywhere, so it got a bit messy. It was also a really big meal for a small girl to eat, so it would definitely satisfy any big bloke.

While I was tucking into my giant meal, Marco and Octavia were sharing a spectacular looking smoothie from Charlie’s Raw Squeeze. It was the Salted Caramel Loaded Smoothie. There were both really enjoying it and after tasting it I could see why they were both eager for me to give it back.

So if you live in the area or going up north for a visit I recommend you try Moo Free Burgers. You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy their food, just hungry.