PEr FYI

July 24, 2016

Dishoom, London…mouth-enhancing bacon naan roll

Normally I wouldn’t rock up at an Indian restaurant when I am in London where tandoori is now the national dish, but as the cliche goes: there’s always a first time.

Dishoom in Covent Garden lies in close proximity to Palace Theatre where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is currently being staged. It is a casual restaurant with elegant painted brickwork, brightly coloured tiles, artefacts of persia and India on the walls, marble-topped tables, wall mirrors, trendy, discreet lighting and tinny music playing somewhere.

The menu is reassuringly short. The breakfast thrill is the bacon naan roll – a crispy smoked streaky bacon from The Ginger Pig which has been dry-cured for five days is wrapped in a freshly baked naan smothered in chili tomato jam and fresh herbs. For good measure, I added on an egg and then greddily devoured it. Messing with a classic is a bold move but there are few things in the world more genius than this dish. It is a little lighter and fresher than the sometimes heavy traditional British bacon roll and I would take it over the British equivalent of bacon butty anyday. I also particuarly like the bottomless glass of house chai (Indian-style tea). It is a great way to start your day in London.

Fun. Tasty. Go. Enjoy. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 23, 2016

Eurostar, Paris-London…quickly and hassle-free. There’s no better way to make the trip.

Four words: fast, easy, comfortable and convenient.The whole journey was smooth and seamless and that includes clearing immigration and customs and checking in process!

The train itself is clean, orderly and comfortable – each seat is equipped with a charger socket and a tray table.

For those who haven’t made the trip, an obvious question is why you’d want to take Eurostar when you can fly between London and Paris in about an hour and a quarter. The journey took over two and a half hours but it seemed to fly in – you take the train without stopping from Gare Du Nord directly to St Pancras, right in the city centre, which is a helluva station. You will be impressed by its size, quality, shops, and feel. Wait..and I can arrive 30 minutes before and make it on board? Say what!?

I’m struggling to find a fault in the Eurostar. I so wish the upcoming high speed rail between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur is like this  because taking the Eurostar from Paris to London was such a great experience. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 17, 2016

True Blue Cuisine, Singapore…nothing on the plate and everything on the bill

Ever since my personal experience dining in True Blue Cuisine for a business lunch, the words True Blue Cuisine is officially an adjective meaning something absolutely minuscule in my dictionary. To paraphrase that extensive analysis, it is an expensive restaurant which serves tiny portions.

It brings up a question : what is the value proposition for a restaurant like True Blue Cuisine? With some fancied-up versions of what are traditionally inexpensive ethnic Peranakan cuisines, price hikes come with no higher quality ingredients nor nicer service.

The question really is whether it would be worth it. And the answer is: never, for almost all of us.This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 16, 2016

Lollipop Rotitiam, Penang…service can be a little shaky

One cannot fault the ambition. Attempting to be a local coffee-shop with a cafe feel this very unassuming place innovative delicious and comforting Malaysian food. The name is a play with words “roti” (bread) and “kopitiam” (coffee shop).

Well, occasionally inventors come up with something so right it transcends fashion: Land Rovers, iPhones, Angry Birds. Gong Ji Xia Dan is Lollipop Rotitiam’s attempt at this category. A slice of thick slice of bread topped with their homemade duck egg kaya spread and two half-boiled eggs, though delightful, could not be called cutting-edge.

The question is this: should we resent paying more and waiting insanely long for food you could – almost – prepare at home? This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 10, 2016

Taling Pling, Bangkok…one of Bangkok’s very best

Taling Pling is the real deal: there’s plenty of substance to back-up the style. No, really: This is some of the most astonishing, delicious food available anywhere.

Dig into reasonably priced specialties like crispy pork lardons omelette – deep fried omelette that’s filled with crispy golden pork belly bits which gives a good, salty depth of flavour to this robust dish . And it is pretty damn great. The spicy Thai fish cake with cucumber salad is delicious and will ensure a palate-obliterating assault of spice, and the  tom yum river prawns with young coconut, lemongrass and lime is a must-order. If you’re after next-level pad Thai, get the one here. No sickly sweet stuff here – just a plate of excellent fried rice noodle with prawns, beansprout and peanuts. Infinitely better than your average pad Thai slingers everywhere else in Bangkok.

This is no hole-in-the-wall joint—go here for a rare mix of downtown cool and credible, funky Thai cooking. And the predominance of local Thai customers is a reliably good sign. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 6, 2016

The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4, London…a Potter fan’s paradise

Harry Potter’s Platform 9 and three quarters is real and it’s at London’s Kings Cross Station.

The store packs a large variety of different merchandise – wands, clothing, snowglobe, plush white owls, unique art, sweets, and recreations of artifacts from the books – into a very small space. This looks like a cheap disney store (I do love Disney stores). No magic, just a display of merchandising to capitalise on some of the best books and movies out there. It is small and does get quite overcrowded and quite hard to navigate through.

One very good thing is that outside, there’s the cart filled with suitcases and an owl cage halfway through the wall. There’s a snaking queue to pose for a photo opportunity: while you’re holding on to the cart, a member of staff gives you a scarf and swings the scarf up to make you look like you were really flying through the platform, while another takes a picture.

Be ready to get really uber-nerdy here but you’ll be surrounded by the equally nerdy, so no worries. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 3, 2016

Au Petit Sud-Ouest, Paris…The duck confit is fall off the bone excellent

Oh. My. God. I can say so many great things about this restaurant. Food was absolutely amazing. Service was great. The atmosphere and decor very soothing.

The flavor of the fresh duck foie gras sprinkled with a little sea salt is stronger than the goose foie gras which is more delicate. Whatever else you want to say about it, at least acknowledge this: Foie gras is truly, indisputably, delicious. The confit duck leg with wild mushrooms is so good it’ll roll your eyes back. Confit — pronounced con-FEE — is an old-school a cooking method of baking salted and seasoned meat in fat, low and slow. The result is a sinful combination of crackling skin and meltingly tender, moist, and extremely flavorful meat. I’ve fallen in love and have been taken into culinary heaven!!!

The best duck confit I had so far in Paris. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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