PEr FYI

January 31, 2016

Laem Cha-Roen Seafood, Bangkok…tasty and satisfying but not as good as Somboon Seafood

Every seafood classic is here. In the broadest terms, the food is very good rather than excellent, slightly too pricey, not as good value as Somboon Seafood – still the best seafood restaurant in the country. But should you be in CentralWorld, you really should pay a visit.

The food for the most part hard to fault, and the venue’s charming vibe makes it worthy of your time. But there are a few shortcomings – and at these prices, you have to be famous to get away with them.

The steamed sea bass with chili, garlic and lime sauce has fragrant and light flavours while the deep fried dry squid isn’t quite the real deal. However, the prawn salad with sweet lemon dressing in taro basket has an extra burst of flavours and the fried shrimp cake are delicious. The ever so famous tom yum goong here has all the tanginess and spiciness that defines Thai flavour.

It was tasty and satisfying but not as good as Somboon Seafood down the road. This is the true truth as  say it as it is…

Laem-charoen-seafood bkk

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January 30, 2016

Jean-Georges, Shanghai…all the dishes fell just short of wowing me

Most foodies know about the lunch at Jean-Georges, which is often cited as the best value in fine dining.

One of the great things about 3-Michelin starred Jean Georges at the Trump Tower in New York is that the hospitality begins as you get out of the car, even before you enter the restaurant. Here in Shanghai, the service is professional and confident throughout.

This glorious restaurant at Three on the Bund has high ceilings and tall windows which were lovely, while the sweeping view of the Bund outside through the windows provided a nice contrast to the color scheme.

From the simplest dish of sea scallops with caramel used cauliflower, caper-raisin emulsion to the roasted beef tenderloin potato blintz apple-jalapeno puree, all the dishes fell just short of wowing me. Don’t get me wrong, it was still good, but was it OMFG-I-will-sell-my-children-and-my-soul-to-eat-here-every-day good? Can’t say it. My lips don’t lie.

I’d take Jia Jia Tang Bao over Jean-Georges any day, star or no star. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

JG Shanghai

January 24, 2016

Fulton’s Crab House, Orlando…Wowowowow!

Fulton’s is a seafood-centric restaurant in the heart of Downtown Disney.

The colossal Alaska King from the waters of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, 1.25 pound of sweet crab with a hint of salt was real succulent appetizing quality and mouth-watering. It was the largest Alaskan King Crab legs that I’ve ever seen on a plate. The body itself is fairly empty and all of the meat is concentrated in the long thick legs. The legs must have been precracked because they were easy to crack open. Fulton’s Crab Cake – blue crab, maque choux, fried green tomato, remoulade was rich, filling and delicious. That is a bold statement, but it’s true… If I was going to die and it was my last meal, I would want this crab cake. Ok, maybe two crab cakes.

It is pricey, but crab is always pricey and also you’re in Downtown Disney, so that’s expected. Totally worth the splurge. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

fulton crab house 2 orlando

fulton crab house orlando

 

January 23, 2016

Pollen, Singapore…Ridiculously photogenic food

Pollen is the younger brother of Pollen Street Social in London, the Michelin-starred brainchild of culinary alchemist Jason Atherton. This is as impeccably elegant and sophisticated a restaurant as you will find. I was equally impressed with the feel of the place and the front-desk welcome.

The main action, however, is in the open-plan dining room, one whose design is confident, with natural light, huge mirrors on the wall of one side and greenery outside. It’s not every day you can give a restaurant five stars for design and atmosphere, but Pollen’s intimately romantic room is irresistible.

The dishes were sublime. There were no low points – only a competing series of highlights. The masterly BBQ Iberico pork presa, baby leek, chicory, apple, sage polenta was a beautiful sight. The delicious subtlety and artistry butternut and saffron risotto, sunflower seeds, honey croutons, aged parmesan and the Angus beef short rib, celeriac, truffle potato, caramelized onions, too, looked just as gorgeous.

Pollen is simply brilliant. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

pollen

 

January 17, 2016

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Los Angeles…looks like it’s come out of a Gucci bag

LA is a city with what feels like an infinite amount of steakhouses. So what differentiates one steakhouse from the other?

First off, I really like the scene of this spot. Elegant ambience of rich, welcoming environment of wood, leather, and subdued lighting. It is so important for me for the wait staff to be pleasant so that I can enjoy my food and evening. EVERYONE was actually nice in this place. Definitely wins points from me.

So much exciting food… so little space to write about it. The certified Angus beef porterhouse for two was cooked to perfection and absolutely divine. If it ain’t obvious to you already, I like meat. I deal with it a lot. It’s tasty. I’m good at it. It was an amazing piece of steak but so damaging to the waistline!! Whatever, we only live once, right? Having steaks and don’t know what to order for the sides?  Asparagus is a no-brainer. The grilled high country asparagus taste as awesome as MacGyver was cool.

Fleming’s holds up against the top tier steak houses in LA, which says a lot. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

fleming's 2 nla

fleming's8 la

January 16, 2016

Bread street Kitchen, Singapore…Definitely not worth another visit

We were fans of Gordan Ramsay’s television shows (Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares etc) and were bent on dining at his restaurant in Singapore.

Our tastebuds were buzzing when we bit on the bread. Following that, the seared scallop starter had a textbook luxuriousness.

And then, as I thought about the main meal there – the blah baby chicken thing with the blah chimichurri sauce and the blah burnt lemon, the fish and chips with the, yawn, crushed peas – I would doze off only to awake a few days later, my face stuck to the desk.

The baby chicken looked like a science experiment gone wrong. One slice of the knife reveals the grossly undercooked bird. It looks malignant and was so disturbing. How was the fish? Who knows? All I could taste was glop.

Too many other things weren’t good enough. And the mark-up! The cheapest main on the menu is fish and chips for $26. The issue is less the exact numbers, but whether you end up looking at a dish and questioning the value. Here you do.

The compelling sense is that Ramsay, probably England’s most famous chef, draped in Michelin stars, has no feel for this end of the market; and that his name, tarnished or not, is not enough to rescue this sterile venture from sublime irrelevance. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

gordon ramsey sin1

gordon ramsey sin2

January 10, 2016

New Lane hawker centre, Penang…avoid this place like a leech-infested swamp

People usually don’t have high expectations from hawker centres. Hot and delicious will do.

New Lane used to be a street food paradise with concentrations of about 50 street side food vendors. USED TO BE!! By all that is holy and good in the world, I say unto you, eat anywhere else in Penang, except at New Lane. For nostalgia reason, I went there recently, and, oh my, I paid the price. The food is, simply, diabolical. It is probably the worst, most overpriced and inedible food I’ve endured in all my visits to Penang since my first trip twenty eight years ago.

The good: the congee with pigs innards was decent. But lest we get lulled into complacency, the texture of the congee was more like porridge than congee.

The bad: The char kway teow was perversely bad, chewy and insipid and completely devoid of “wok hei”- the flavour imparted by a flaming wok.

The bladdy horrible: The gummy or chien (oyster omelette) contained a lot of starch but hardly any egg and very few oysters. One spoonful of it and you realise it was probably not intended for human consumption. The viciously overcooked ikan bakar (chargrilled fish) was dry and totally inedible that I took one bite and then leave untouched.

I have to stop writing this review, my blood pressure is thru the roof just thinking about that pathetic place. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

new lane pg

 

January 9, 2016

Somboon Seafood, Bangkok…fried curry crab is heaven on a plate

One of Bangkok’s utterly superb and most delicious restaurants, Somboon is a classy place with outstanding Thai seafood with Chinese influences. Some mighty fine exhilarating Thai flavors, excellent service, pleasant setting and the price is right.

So, what’s to love?

As a matter of fact, every dish is rich in flavour. Coconut, lemon grass, basil and chiles are employed to magical effect.

The innocuous-sounding, obsession-worthy fried curry crab (Pu Pad Pong Gari) , cooked in a fragrant medley of spices and aromatics is gloriously unique. It’s a curry that hums with the power of a jet turbine and the finesse of an Apple Watch, fueled by radioactive levels of heat and subtle layers of sweet, salty and sour that creep down the back of the throat…its spicy punch set off deliciously by the fat, sweet crab meat. It’s definitely not what you sometimes get at other crab restaurants. Next time I’m here, I also really want to try fried curry crab meat where the meat is separated from the bisected crab body.

More intricate is the steamed fresh water prawns with garlic. No section of the tongue was left unstimulated. The stir fried baby cabbage with crispy pork is a textural delight and one of the best I have ever had. This is one of my benchmark dishes for most Chinese restaurants.

Run, don’t walk to this critically praised and nationally recognized Thai seafood restaurant. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

somboon bkk

somboon bkk2

January 1, 2016

Taman Emas Assam Laksa, Penang…I’m a huge fan after one visit.

Assam Laksa has been rated at #7 in the  “Top 10 world’s most delicious foods” by CNN.

A bowl of assam laksa from Penang has a complex balance of distinct tangy, sour, sweet and spicy piquant flavours. Don’t even try to understand it. The one served at Taman Emas is sweeter than most others, which works well for those with low tolerance for heat like yours truly. Combined with the thick springy, slippery noodle, the fragrant translucent broth garnished with mint, strips of pineapple and cucumber is simply mouth-watering and nose-tingling.

I’m a huge fan after one visit. If this is not a stamp of approval, I don’t know what is. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

asam laksa pg3

asam laksa pg1

asam laksa pg2

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