PEr FYI

March 28, 2011

Mellben Seafood, Singapore…butter crab is mouth-watering, finger-licking, must-check-out immediately GOOD!

Everyone in my family is a crab junkie and this is our all time favorite place to go for crabs.  The crabs here are big in size yet juicy, firm to the bite and succulent.

Their signature butter crabs is the recommended dishes that you have to try. If you have no clue what butter crabs are, picture this – whole Sri Lankan crustaceans deep fried with butter and more butter.  The butter taste was not overwhelming but it was sweet, thick, rich and creamy. In short: super nice!  It is best eaten with deep friend mini buns to soak up and savour the buttery sauce. The crab bee hoon (vermicelli)  is a white creamy soup-based dish but despite all the rave, it didn’t hit the spot for me.

Cospicuous long queue of hungry customers tend to formoutside it’s premises  during dinner time (as early as 6pm). Here’s the tip: avoid the waiting time by calling up to make a booking in advance. Alternatively I highly recommend going in early to avoid the crowd and really… the line outside is worth the hype and wait!

The butter crab here is mouth-watering, finger-licking, must-check-out-immediately GOOD! This is still the true truth and I still say it as it is…

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March 27, 2011

Khmer Surin Restaurant, Phnom Penh…there are other better choices in Phnom Penh

They claim authentic Khmer & Thai cuisine. The green mango salad was awfully sour and salty. We also had the omelette with dried salted fish (then again, every food item seem to have a bit of dried fish and prawns in them), stir fried bean sprouts and trai bang koo chait (a fish dish). The fish amok is served in little pots, each with a subtle difference of flavour. Frankly, there are other places to serving better tasting amok in Phnom Penh.

Housed in an old, wooden traditional building with plenty of greenery, the second level you are seated on cushions on the floor and low tables – Thai style and the third level is on the rooftop. The service is indifferent.

There are better choices in Phnom Penh for socially-conscious dining. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

March 26, 2011

Punjab Grill, New Delhi…pretending to be a 5-star restaurant

This place pretends to be a 5-star restaurant. It is most definitely not!

We had the tandoori duck and fish curry. It’s average. Nothing much to write about. Perhaps the only thing worth mentioning is the grain and texture of the rice is very nice. Overall, it was relatively pricey as well.

The staff were attentive but they simply don’t understand the meaning of the word prompt. They were  awfully slow in serving the rice and bringing the bill. If it wasn’t for my constant reminders, by the time we received the bill and rice, we wouldn’t have been young anymore.

Do yourself a favour and eat elsewhere. This is the true truth as I still say it as it is…

March 23, 2011

Oriole Cafe & Bar, Singapore…it disappoints

Oriole Cafe & Bar disappoints. In an age where cafes are trying very hard to build customer loyalty and get people to hang out at their outlets, Oriole Cafe seems to think that it is not really worth it.

We’d called up to make a reservation for lunch for a table for 5 informing them to allocate a nice table as we were entertaining some important guests. Their idea of a nice table for important guests is the one that’s got shelled by Gadaffi in Libya…one to which I am averse. The tired-looking sofa seat was in desperate need of a facelift –  worn, torn and soiled as if it has been a playground for their pets.  You’d think that’s the last seat they would give a customer, but no, this is the one reserved for me and my important guests. This must really be a special seats for VIPs because it took a lot of persuasion by us to be allocated a different table, even when the restaurant was obviously not that busy that afternoon.

The food was not too bad, but not good enough to counteract the shortcomings of the staff with a “I don’t give a damn” attitude. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

March 20, 2011

Sea Terrace, Melaka…unfailingly fresh seafood Portuguese style

I’m not Portuguese. I don’t live in Melaka. But I dine here quite a bit.

This Portuguese-style seafood place at the Portuguese settlement opens only at night and tends to fill up pretty fast, so it’s best to go early.Most of the dining takes place by the waterfront with a view of the sometimes trecherous surf with closely packed tables. Service always seem rushed.  There is a whole row of shops selling the same stuff (read: expect lots of touting the moment you step out of your car) but this is the best of the lot.

While the cooking here can be uneven and the quality of the food mixed, the seafood is unfailingly fresh. I love the otak-otak in Portuguese sauce and sambal prawns but the supposedly most famous dish here is the BBQ fish. Dessert, well- I usually can’t handle it after dinner otherwise I’ll have to open my pants but I ask for fresh coconut juice.

The prices have been the main draw in previous times but have risen sharply over the last couple of years. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

March 19, 2011

PLA Restaurant, Barcelona…perfect for a special meal for two

PLA is a lovely restaurant with a very intimate setting and romantic mood ambience just a short walk from Las Ramblas.  If you’re celebrating a romantic occasion, book ‘la cova’ –  a little private alcove which is perfect for a special meal for two.

Location-wise it is close to impossible to find, but it is worth the trouble. The service was excellent, the amiable, bilingual staff very friendly but pity the Catalan food doesn’t match up to everything else. That’s not to say that it is bad, but it’s just that it is nothing special.

PLA is a feast for the senses. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

March 18, 2011

Restoran Ho Seng Kee, Johor Baru…a good match to any Hong Kong wanton mee

“Kon-lo-mee” or dry-tossed noodles simply divine here. It’s a regular sight to see a crowd of customers patiently waiting to enjoy this simple but tasty dish.  

The homemade egg noodles (they  are produced daily) are very fine and have a very  springy texture and almost al-dente. I would dare say the noodles alone could be a good match to any HK wanton mee. The wanton mee here is served relatively plain (without the dark soya sauce) with their own special sauces and chilli sauce, smooth wantans (they make their own wantan skins) and slivers of char siew, which incidentally are not roasted until charred, but just reddish,

The wanton mee here is delicious and not to be missed. I am a big fan! This is the true truth and I say it as it is…

March 16, 2011

Restaurant du Port de Peche, Casablanca…fresh but inexplicably bland, bland bland

This smoky seafood restaurant next to the harbour has a French colonial feel to it. Decor and general setting was okay but nothing special. The service is very French, bordering on stuffy, but the food was anything but. The fish was fresh out of the ocean but it was absolutelyinexplicably  bland, Bland, BLAND. That fish was SO bland you’d need to flavour of any sort, just to help you swallow it. In fact, everything we tasted were bland, we couldn’t even say anything was good – not one thing.

This is not your stop if you are looking for great seafood.  This is the true truth and I am still saying it as it is…

March 15, 2011

Manastirska Magernitsa, Sofia…bring a chain saw for the meat

On our 1st visit, the service was top notch. On our return visit two days later, things were in reverse. The service (different set of wait staff) was non-existent. It was like night and day, chalk and cheese. They served food to everyone else (even those who came after us) except us. They didn’t serve us small plates for the meat we were sharing until we asked them to.

On our table, was a two-tiered wooden stand with incredibly tasty, tender, puffy chunks of white bread, and sharena sol (spiced salt for dipping, a Bulgarian tradition).

The meat dishes were disgraceful. The parzhola (meat pork on charcoals neck chop) was so tough, perhaps this was what they used to bring the Berlin wall down years ago. You don’t need cutleries at this place. You need a chain saw to cut through the sausages. Perhaps the chef and the kitchen staff were on holiday celebrating Bulgaria National Day, along with the rest of Sofia, but there really is no excuse for poor food and chaotic, arrogant service.

The atmosphere and decor was awesome though, old country style, typical Bulgarian. But with such variable levels of service and food quality, I would hesitate to take someone I really wanted to impress there. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

March 14, 2011

Carol Parc Hotel, Bucharest…Prices are too high and location-wise this hotel sucks

The interiors were very warm and relaxed atmosphere. The bellman and front office staff were all very friendly. I was checked-in by an Angelina Jolie look-alike. David’s room number 103 has a corner terrace with unmatched views of the Palace of the Parliament.

Prices are too high as it was just average and location-wise. this hotel sucks. It’s in the middle of nowhere. Even our cab driver does not know where it is hence we ended up on a city tour for 1/2 hour at 1am until we eventually paid another cabby just to lead our driver there. Oh yes, they don’t have a gym.

I’m going to stay somewhere taxi drivers know the next time I am in Bucharest. This is the true truth as I say it as it is….

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