PEr FYI

February 27, 2011

Sheraton New Delhi…good dining options in hotel and its vicinity

Dated decor but friendly service – prompt and courteous.

Its location in the new and exciting commercial center of Saket in South Delhi is great as it is very near to three malls – MGF Metropolitan (you can skip this one. You won’t miss anything), Select Citywalk and DIF Place. With so many eateries in these malls (TGIF and Hard Rock Cafe are there if you want some comfort food) and the very good Dakshin, Sheraton’s restaurant that specialises in authentic South Indian cuisine, you’ll never go hungry during your stay. Dakshin’s prawn masala and mushroom masala is recommended but forget the kodi briyani. It’s mushy and soggy. Baywatch is their breakfast room with high ceiling, great pool view and lush landscapes. M Prakash, the chef remembers my special dosa order 2 days later. The mango shake is  a WOW. At this hotel and with the malls beside, you can find that glutton in you.

A couple of hiccups. The internet assistant blamed the  front office for my inconnectivity but when I called front office, they said there is no problem. At 1am, they conspired to waste 25 mins of my time when I simply wanted to send one email before hitting the bed. I ordered a car and driver at the concierge but the car arrived late, causing me to be late for my appointment.

All things considered, you can’t go wrong with Sheraton New Delhi. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 26, 2011

Taj Mahal, Agra…Incredible beauty and elegance. I was mesmerised!

It’s true. It’s all true.What they say about the incredible beauty and elegance of the Taj Mahal, the jewel of India. It is indeed one of the most beautiful monuments in the world I have ever had the privilege to see. Built of pristine white marble and surrounded by green gardens, the Taj Mahal is a breathtakingly beautiful sight. It is not only beautiful, but the story behind why it was built, makes it ever so amazing.  I was mesmerised!

One enters through an imposing grand gate made of red sandstones into a symmetrical Mughal style garden.  In the dark chamber under the gateway, framed by the arch of the doorway, the Taj Mahal slowly reveals itself reveals as I walked through the gateway. There are two mosques on the left and right side of the Taj Mahal, made mostly of red sandstones.

Up close, it is even more stunning – the intricacy and incredibly delicate carvings and details and inlay work (the while marbles are inlaid with precious stones like jasper, emeralds, mother of pearl, lapis, malachite and jade) would make you love it even more to a point where you won’t want to leave. Everything was hand carved. The style is a combination of Indian, Persian and Islamic architecture. There are 2 symbolic tombs for the king and queen, their real tombs are below not for tourists to see. I was totally gripped in awe and wonder to think that without modern technology, they were able to make working fountains, achieve perfect symmetry, use optical illusions and move very heavy marble rocks.

The Indian government has done a tremendous job on keeping the surrounding areas clean. No cars within one mile radious, hence no pollution. The only vehicles allowed are electric ones.

There is a pick-pocket problem there when it gets crowded so beware.

Having said that, everyone should visit the Taj Mahal at least once in their life. The tomb’s whiteness, its symmetry, its curves, majestic scale and exquisite detail are unreal. This is the true truth because I say it as it is…

February 21, 2011

Moti Mahal Delux, New Delhi…a BIG thumbs down!

This Moti Mahal Delux I went to was located outside Select City Walk, Saket. I am telling you its location, so you can avoid it and save yourself the misery I had. It was extremely disappointing.

First impressions were so good. The decor is elegant. The place is well lit and enough spacious. The service was quick but when the food arrived, that’s when it all went downhill. This place prides itself for serving the best tandoori food and this much I know: this claim is furthest from the truth. Our tandoori fish tikka was salty and remarkable. Remarkably bad and awful. In short: Inedible. We had the garlic naan and butter chicken which was acceptable but nothing out of the ordinary.

In all credit, the server came to enquire how our food was and when we told him our fish was probably from the dead sea, he retrieved it and offered to serve us a new portion. But once bitten, twice shy…we declined. However, he graciously waived the fish from the bill.

This was my first and and will be my last visit to Moti Mahal Delux. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

February 20, 2011

Rick’s Cafe, Casablanca…the highlight of Casablanca, Morocco

Of course, this isn’t the REAL Rick’s Cafe from the movie “Casablanca”, but an old mansion restored to resemble the era depicted in the movie – complete with arched doorways, a white bar and piano.  Immediately upon entering, you are rtaken back to the movie instantly. There are two floors, with antique tables and cvhairs surrounding a semi-circular bar on the first floor. If you’ve never seen the movie, it’s screened upstairs where the wall are also decked out in movie memorabilia.

For those unacquainted, it is the story of Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), an ex-freedom fighter who runs a nightclub in Casablanca during WWII. Despite pressure from the local authorities, Rick’s cafe became a haven for refugees looking to pruchase illicit letters of transit which will allow them to escape to America. The movie (and its song) is a captivating wartime adventure of romance and intrigue.

We sat at the bar and had a Casablanca bottled beer and simply soaked in the combination of the elegant atmosphere, nostalgic music and the fully-stacked bar. It really did make us feel as though we have stepped back in time and into a scene of Casablanca. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

February 19, 2011

Dans Le Noir, Barcelona…dining in complete darkness – a very bizarre dinner exprience

Filed under: Food & Beverage, restaurant, Spain — Tags: , , , , — PEr @ 6:00 pm

You have dinner here in complete darkness. The concept is simple: we are served a three-course  meal with guidance from visually impaired servers. It is so dark, you can’t even see the fingers on your own hand. You can’t see what you are eating. They don’t tell you what you’re eating until after the meal.

Unlike entering a cinema, when your pupils and eyes get used to it after a while and adjusts, here you REALLY can’t see anything. Nothing. I found myself opening and peeling my eyes as wide as possible but the human eye does not adjust to this kind of intense darkness. Then I began to cock my head to the side and tried harder to listen and use my other senses. This restaurant gave me a glimpse into the experience of the blind people. The eating process was rather primitive. I used my hands to try to locate my food and it was tedious to get it into my mouth.

You sit very close to the other diners but you can only hear them but not see them.The food is dissapointing for the price they charge. I’m no seasoned wine drinker but can tell a good wine from a bad one and this was not good. But then again, now I fully understand how a dining experience in a restaurant is made good or bad by the setting/ decor, environment and food presentation. Being stripped of sight certainly dampened the enjoyment of eating.

Mixed feelings about this place. None the less as long as you bear in mind you are not expecting Michelin starred food, it’s worth to go there at least once for that unique experience. I will never take my eyesight for granted anymore. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

February 16, 2011

Restoran Al Barakath, Johor Baru…Eat the mee rebus here but don’t take away

Mee Rebus is a noodle dish which consists of mee/yellow noodle served with a tangy ,spicy brown gravy ,top with some condiments

The thick gravy of the mee rebus here what differentiates Restoran Al Barakath (aka Zainal Mee Rebus) from the rest of the mortals. However, what used to make the mee rebus here outstanding were the toppings of crispy crackers which they have since cut back on.

Be warned, though. The mee rebus here is good only for dining in the restaurant. You will be grossly disappointed if you pack it for take-aways. This is the true truth because I say it as it is…

February 13, 2011

Restaurant Win Heng Seng, Kuala Lumpur…Oh. My. God. These freshly baked mini egg tarts are just heavenly.

The mini egg tarts here are as good as the portuguease ones I had in Macau. In the 20 minutes I sat in this coffeeshop, I observed trays after trays of over fresh egg tarts with wobbly egg custard being snapped up the moment it’s brought out of the oven.  The egg tarts here appeared dainty and small. These little devils are just heavenly – Oh. My. God. – sugary sweet plus the aroma of feshly baked pie crust. They were baked until just firm on top (not dried out nor scorched). The custard was silky smooth with the perfect balance of sweetness. The tart’s puff pastry crust was amazingly flaky, and crumbled easily to our bite.

Oh yes, when you are in this coffeeshop and you are tempted to try the chee cheong fun, don’t. It’s a waste of time and money. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

February 12, 2011

Teo Chew Bah Ku Teh, Melaka…well-balanced herbal broth

Bak Kut Teh (spare ribs soup)  is a spiced/herbal soup that contains primarily pork ribs. The name literally means “meat bone tea”. Some people order it with spare parts – other innards like stomach and intestines.

If you are not grossed out yet, read on…

The food here while not spectacular, was decent. I especially love the yam rice. It’s  fragrant and light. Unlike the hokkien style bak kut teh, which is darker in colour and more heavily spiced, the teochew bak kut teh broth here is served in heat-retaining claypots was subtly light, herbaceous – not too strong and not too light… just perfect well-balanced herbal taste.  The slices of pork (we had the half lean-half fat portion only) were tender, meaty, perfectly cooked and went well with the side dip of soy sauce + dark soy sauce + cili + lots of garlic.  However they would do better with better quality ”You Tiao’. 

Where is it? It is located somewhere in melaka Raya. Just follow your nose…the aromatic soup is evident a block away. I try to stop here for breakfast whenever I am in melaka. So should you. This is the true truth and I say it as it is…

February 11, 2011

Akashi Japanese Restaurant, Singapore…I wouldn’t recommend this place at all

Food was bad and by no means delicious. The gyoza was bland and ill-prepared. I’s not just awful, it’s AWFUL (note the word spelt in block letters) and totally devoid of flavour. Disgusting.

Service was very poor. The servers are not attentive at all. They don’t even serve green tea. Not good.

I won’t be returning and wouldn’t recommend this place at all. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

February 9, 2011

Bopha Phnom Penh Restaurant & Titanic Lounge, Phnom Penh…pricey and disappointing food

Khmer food with a view of the river and watch Classical Aspara dancing . That’s the only thing this place has to offer.

We were disappointed with all the dishes we ordered: bopha appetizers festival which includes spring rolls, prawns fishtempura, chicken skewers and fish cakes. The angel hair noodle salad with chicken was also forgettable, as was the khmer chicken amok  and the grilled duck skewers. The seafood fried rice and khmer hot and sour soup also did not leave an impression.

The food was rather pricey and even the restaurant’s captivating decor doesn’t justify the price. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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