June 28, 2015

Atschel Applewine Restaurant, Frankfurt…eat like a Frankfurter while surrounded by Frankfurters

If you’re looking for a fun meal and a truly German atmosphere…..if you want to eat like a Frankfurter while surrounded by Frankfurters…..if  you prefer to sit on communal benches, eat hearty local food and drink sour and tart German apple wine…..if you yearn for some unconventional hospitality typical of Frankfurt, which is a bit rough and ready…..head on down to Atschel Applewine Restaurant – a small and cosy apple wine tavern with a garden at the back.

All the schnitzel I’ve ever had were Weiner Schnitzel. This time around, I ordered the Frankfurter Schnitzel (breaded pork with fried potatoes and Frankfurt green sauce). The people of Frankfurt spruced up the dish with their “Green sauce”.   Green sauce contains only regional herbs. No dill and no foreign imports! I thought it was a very nice addition to a classic. You won’t be able to find this on a menu anywhere but in Frankfurt. I can hear your collective “ooooh” from here.  I had that same moment. The show stopping grilled knuckle of pork with sauerkraut and bread was so crispy on the outside and fork tender on the inside. The meat was butter soft. Be sure to give some skin to each person, that is one of the best parts. The schweinemedaillons (Pork medallions with sliced apples and calvados cream, fried potatoes and salad) were thick rounds cut from the tenderloin –  the flavour could have been much better.

atschel fra4

atschel fra6

Frankfurt is a city of cider. One place where you can become an authentic Frankfurter (that’s a native of Frankfurt, not the sausage), it’s in Atschel. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…


June 27, 2015

Storia Café, Johor Baru…The otak-otak (otah) here satisfy both the expert and the greedy.

Johor Baru happens to the birthplace of two of Asia’s undisputed cultural treasures: otak otak and the author of this blog.

Otah (or otak-otak in Malay) is essentially mashed fish and spices, which is steamed then flame grilled in banana leaves to attain that smokey yet moist aroma. The otah (or otak)  name is almost weird – “brains” in Malay language. It can be eaten on its own – straight down the hatch, with rice (particularly nasi lemak) or noodles (especially mee rebus) or slathered onto bread for a savoury lunch or breakfast. Simply thinking about it is often all it takes to get my mouth watering.

These soft, savoury but not too chewy fish cakes at Storia Café are very addictive. Yes, 3 is never enough! The spice is mild and I can taste the freshness of the fish. It meets all the criteria except that it’s not too generous in portion.

The otak-otak here satisfy both the expert and the greedy. This is the true truth as  say it as it is…

storia cafe, jb

June 23, 2015

Face Bangkok…jack of three cuisines, master of none

Face consists of three restaurants in one – Thai, Indian and Japanese cuisine – and that should have given enough warning signs that this is a jack of all trades, master of none. The extensive teakwood mansion complete with intricate paintings, artifacts and ornaments, in which the restaurant and bar operates is eerily like a ghost town. The dinnertime we go it is absolutely empty.

The food is hit or miss. The coconut prawn (Prawn peeled, deep fried and topped with a thick coconut sauce with red curry) was really good but the pineapple fried rice was average at most. No huge twist. The pandan chicken is exactly the same, a piece that gums the lips and the mouth without giving you the hit you crave. The red curry such a sad letdown – chicken breast meat was dry, tough and chewy. Meh. This is a Thai restaurant, yet the comfort dish tastes like food cooked at a school cafeteria or by someone who has no cooking skills. The service staff seem nice enough though, in the way of professionals who have worked in restaurants before.

Call me precious, but though I don’t find it offensive in any way, Face is just not very exciting.  It is a waste.  This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

face bkk5

June 21, 2015

Galaxy Diner, New York City…Fantastic breakfast place within a stone’s throw of Times Square

I can’t believe this kind of place – good food with a lot of choices (serving everything from bagels to steak and everything in between) and generous portions,  attentive staff, great service, and REASONABLY PRICED! – exists anywhere in Manhattan anymore, much less in Hell’s Kitchen/Theater District.

The meal was absolutely delicious, eggs perfectly poached. Decent coffee, too. The place is open 24 hours. Had a cool atmosphere which resemble outer space. Pretty clean. It is a diner and certainly not a fancy upscale kind of place but the service and food were much better than iHop. As diners in NYC go, this one’s a goodie. If you find yourself walking around Times Square and you’re hungry, don’t eat there. Prices are through the roof and many restaurants don’t even post a menu outside. For a good meal, walk west on 46th two blocks to 9th Avenue where you’ll see the Galaxy Diner in front of you on the NW corner of 9th Avenue.

Short story shorter: Fantastic breakfast place within a stone’s throw of Times Square. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

galaxy hell's kitchen ny

galaxy diners, nyc

June 20, 2015

The Old Man, Hangzhou…too light a taste for my liking

Su Dongpo, a Song Dynasty poet, once wrote that the best banquets in the world are made up of Hangzhou food. I beg to differ. Hangzhou food has too light a taste for my liking.

Pork rib glutinous rice was a complete miss. I kid you not, the rice were like stones and small bits of bones make eating this dish very irritating. You tiao in soya bean soup was okay, but it was pretty one-dimensional and was boring after the first few mouthful. I wouldn’t order it again. The steamed enoki mushroom with garlic and spring onion and the small shrimp in dark sauce were hits. The fruit tea was a perfect way to end the meal, sweet and refreshing, what a perfect combination.

Overall, the whole experience was kind of a let down. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

old man hz

June 19, 2015

Harry Ramsden, London…..the most disappointing legendary

Fish & chips. Britain’s comfort food. These are not two separate food items that happen to share a plate — they are intrinsically linked in a dance of lusty oil and crunchy desires, while a bottle of malt vinegar flirts around the edges.

It states choice of Cod or Haddock. I asked for Cod. It looked as though it had melanoma. It did not taste of Cod it tasted like they need to change the oil! The real star of the fish and chips show is the batter. One’s heart sinks a little. I wasn’t a huge fan of the batter and the chips were limp and pallid.

Harry Ramsden was the uncrowned king, his Fish & Chips were unbeatable, and since then the name has gone on to become a worldwide franchise. Oh! How the mighty has fallen. I think I’m still on the lookout for that perfectly amazing Fish & Chips in the UK. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

harry ramsden london2

harry ramsden london

June 14, 2015

Soi 19, Thai Wanton Mee, Singapore…simple, plain and unassuming

Thai wanton mee is a simple dish: dumplings are made with sweet tasting pork held together by a delicate wrapper and served with springy egg noodles. I have discovered that when done right, Thai wonton mee need not be the cheap appetizer of choice, but a worthy dish unto itself.

Truth be told, there is really nothing extraordinary about Soi 19 in Singapore. These wonton are nice, delicate and lightly crunchy with sweet tasting pork. Those who must have condiments can load up on chilli flakes, sliced chillies and fish sauce, laid out at the stall. Overall, the unadorned bowl which included some extremely thinly, sliced char siu is simple, plain and unassuming. Lunchtime queues attest to the popularity of this place. The stall is low on character, but the crowds of locals and an open kitchen keep things buzzing.

Those who are fans of the Cantonese Hong Kong style of wanton noodles would frown at this but given Singaporeans’ familiarity with Thai street food, this is as good as it gets to the real thing. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

soi19 sin

June 13, 2015

Apfelwein Wagner, Frankfurt… full to the brim of porky goodness

To me this felt like a great typical German experience with great pork fest. Its a shared table experience which is unique and worth the experience to meet new people even if its just a nod hello as you join them at their table. Indoors and outdoors, the décor was fabulous; head to toe everything was made of dark aged wood and had that old German tavern feel to it.

Food is hearty, robust German fare in large portions at fair prices. I had the gegrillte schweinshaxe (roasted ham hock or pork knuckle) and downed that with a glass of apfelwein. Apfelwein is like cider, but without bubbles…. and with less flavour. The schweinshaxe was beautifully crispy, yet tender inside. Gross though this may sound, but the combination of pork fat and crisp was just too good.

Wagner is the authentic traditional Frankfurt experience in this financial hub of Germany. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

wagner fra3

wagner fra1

June 7, 2015

KGB (Killer Gourmet Burger), Kuala Lumpur…Fantastically flavorful burgers

A good burger is a thing of beauty.

If you haven’t yet heard about Killer Gourmet Burger, it’s a chic, but comfortable, high-brow burger concept. The distinction lies in the food. Waste no time with fries nor onion rings. You came here to eat meat: freshly ground grass-fed beef formed into patties, then sandwiched into brioche-like buns branded with the letters “KGB”. They are supremely delicious, each juicy, messy bite.

“How on earth are you going to eat that?” I ask in amazement looking at the enormous burgers as they towered in front of Dave and I. To be honest it was so good I didn’t care who saw me with sauce dripping down my face. Truffle’d swiss mushroom with caramalized onions consisted of grilled beef, Swiss brown mushrooms, Swiss cheese, truffle infused and herbed ranch dressing was perfect. Every bite was just right. Bash, which was topped not only with beef bacon relish & caramelized onions but also provolone cheese & maple cornflakes, exploded with crunchiness and savors

Go to KGB …go there soon. It was just that good. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

kgb kl1

June 6, 2015

Burger & Lobster, London…deserves every bit of oohing and aahing

There’s no printed menu, they told me, only 3 options. A blackboard by the entrance announces “Burger or lobster or lobster roll. All with chips & salad. £20”. That’s it.

You get a pretty big, stonking beast of a lobster with lots of meat inside and it comes with a bucket of perfectly golden crisp fries and underwhelming salad. You have a choice of steamed or grilled. The lobster – steamed to a turn and marked on the griddle – lay there and I could have swore I heard it screaming to be anointed with garlic butter. DO get that lemon garlic butter – that stuff is addictive and it’s hard to stop yourself from just drinking this butter concoction.

The decor is… different. The restaurant has a modern feel with statement lighting. The staff trained to exhibit well-judged chirpiness. The service was on point and the food comes out QUICK! You have my lobster-loving heart here.

When you name your restaurant after what you serve, you’d better do it damn near perfectly. Burger & Lobster has a huge bang for its buck. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

burger lobster london2

burger lobster london3

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