PEr FYI

December 30, 2018

Somtum Der, Bangkok…the food was terrible, offensively terrible

The whole meal was a complete fiasco. We left in a fury of indignation, and all I could think of, as I walked down Soi 55 toward Sukhumvit, was what fantastic material I’d been provided with to write.

With all that positive reviews on Somtum Der in Silom, I was looking forward to this meal at their Sukhumvit addition with great anticipation.

The food turned out to be rather unappetizing. The sa poak gai tod der Der styled deep fried chicken thigh was revolting. The moo ping kati sod – grilled coconut milk marinated pork skewers was nothing to write home about. The Nua rong hai der – house special grilled marinated beef is bad, really bad and lacking any flavor, just dry and boring. The most meaningless plate I’ve ever seen for dinner. We are almost as mad at this place as our stomachs are at us.

It’s a shame and a pity to leave food on the plate uneaten and have no one ask the reason why! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 29, 2018

Roemah Rempah, Jakarta…there are treasures here

Expect an extensive menu filled with traditional dishes from across Indonesia. Few dishes are truly memorable, but this dessert is an exception.

The sweet richness of pisang goreng gulung saus gula jawa (fried banana roll with plain sugar sauce) is a powerhouse of a dessert. When you’ve got a sweet tooth, this’ll have got you covered.

I’m going back for the pisang goreng. Hell, the other stuff on the menu may not anything to write home about, but try and stop me. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 26, 2018

Nasi Kandar Pelita, Kuala Lumpur…KL’s worst dining experience

I want to do you the nigh-priceless service of telling you somewhere it’s imperative you don’t visit.

Some meals can feel like a punishment, and if that’s your bag, I can’t recommend Nasi Kandar Pelita enough. The nasi goreng and fried chicken were nothing to trouble Instagram with. The Maggi goreng was challengingly bland. It is profoundly awful. This is truly Malaysia’s capital’s worst dining experience, just short of eating broiled peanuts from a stall at Chow Kit Road run by a man with weeping dermatitis.

There are several words I can drum up to describe the treatment we received from the wait staff, but let me limit it one: shoddy. No, wait, remembering the wrong food they’d served despite reminders, I would add: uniformly bad.

We left hungry, of course we did, and RM60 poorer. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 23, 2018

Old Trafford Museum and Stadium Tour, Manchester….a day to remember

As a Manchester United fan since 1976, this 80-minute tour around the historic ground is like a pilgrimage to football mecca for me.

There is no match on today, so we’re able to access areas that are rarely seen by the average punter. We make our way to snoop in the players’ dressing rooms, through into their bathing room, walk through the tunnel on to the pitch, stand in the manager’s spot in the dug out, sit in the heights of the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand for a bird’s eye view of the pitch and marvel at the splendour of this impressive stadium.

After the tour, make sure you stop for a bite at the Red Café Restaurant. The gammon, egg and chips – 8oz gammon steak, served with double egg, pineapple, grilled cherry tomatoes & chunky chips is a plate full of goodness that will leave you feeling full but not bloated in the slightest. English staple at its best.

A day to remember. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 22, 2018

iSteaks Diner, Singapore…offputting wait for a table

Steak can cost, but it doesn’t have to. You’d be hard up to find NZ striploin for SGD18 elsewhere in Singapore. This no-frills diner is very reasonably priced with chicken and fish dishes start at SGD10.50.

There is an offputting number of people standing around everywhere, tediously waiting until a table frees up. It is not even first come, first served. Reservations aren’t accepted, walk-ins only. On the flip side, when you are in the middle of your meal, you’d eat your dinner keenly aware that 30 peoples’ eyes were boring into your back willing you to finish either because you’re full, or you’ve dropped dead off your stool. No one cared either way.

Time your visit. Don’t  turn up as a four at 7pm at the weekend expecting to get at table straight away. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 16, 2018

Restoran W.A.W, Kuala Lumpur…This one’s for the monied tourist

It’s unusual to eat at a tourist hotspot in your home town. On holiday we endure it all.

Chicken wings have been popping up all across Malaysia for the last many decades and are very much on-trend in the capital – but if ever there was a subject to split opinion it is the place serving the very best in town. Only one wing can rule them all and Restoran W.A.W (Wong Ah Wah) is the chicken wing specialist.

Sure enough, Wong Ah Wah signature roast chicken wings are absolutely awesome. And precisely because of this, it is almost certainly on a tourist’s radar. Experience and instinct suggest that this restaurant has gone over to the dark side. The supporting dishes such as creamy salted egg prawns, dried chilli fried with frog, salted fish fried kai lan, fried chili cockles are not too bad either. However, the Signature hokkien mee is a poor imitation of the fame KL dish.

I came, I ate, I paid – so that you don’t have to. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 15, 2018

Two Men Bagel, Singapore…are there really any other contenders in Singapore?

A true bagel is a beautiful thing: a glossy, crackly outer crust and squishy insides.

Two men Bagel is completely no-frills and their bagels combine a perfectly chewy, compact crust with a fluffy, moist interior which can be topped with the sandwich fixings of your choice. Whether you go for a bacon, scrambled egg & cheese, cream cheese, cold cuts, or some combination of all those things, it’s guaranteed to be piled so high that you’ll barely be able to fit the sandwich in your mouth. For me the Whammer: bacon, scrambled, cheese, smoked aioli is the bagel of dreams.

The spot often draws a long line, but it’s worth the wait for one of those soft-on-the-inside, lacquered-on-the-outside rounds. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 9, 2018

Tamani, Jakarta…Wagyu fried rice is a showstopper

Two thoughts occur to me, very quickly. The first is that I like this place: I like the buzz. I like the food, very much. The other thought is that I adore the menu, by which I mean the object. It’s a menu with food photographs and very lovely they are, too.

I go for the Wagyu high marbling fried rice. It’s both powerful and soothing. The wagyu taste will linger in your mouth wanting more. I also had the gado gado add on lontong which needs no explanation. Most importantly I am left thinking there are things here I want to come back for, like the sup buntut bakar and nasi goreng special.

Any place with that sort of thing like the wagyu high marbling fried rice on the menu surely deserves my deep respect. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 8, 2018

International Red Cross Museum, Geneva…a moving and humbling experience

Geneva is also the hub for a number of NGOs and International organisations, such as United Nations and Red Cross. This museum highlights how the Red Cross helps families separated by war or genocide; and the third details its work during and after natural disasters.

The sculpture right outside the museum –  of people with their heads covered (because International Committee of the Red Cross- ICRC supports all the war victims equally, irrespective of their religion and faith),  tied and hands are held at the back (showcasing their helplessness). There’s the museum’s extraordinary collection of six million record cards containing the fate of prisoners of war during World War I. There’s the platform game- Hurricane where it delivers a strong message of reserving the resources for an unpredictable natural disaster

A moving and humbling experience. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 7, 2018

Maze, London…Gordon Ramsay needs to get back in the kitchen

In the heart of Mayfair, this was one of Gordon Ramsay’s most acclaimed London restaurants. It lost its Michelin star in 2015. He’s one of those celebrity TV personalities you’ll either love, or hate – I still haven’t made my mind up yet.

The gorgeous chili and garlic juicy prawns grilled sourdough was perfectly cooked. The first thing to say about the steak (dry aged 21 days) is that it is cut proper thick. It was a lovely piece of meat. It is elsewhere that Maze falters. The grilled loch Duart salmon had to be sent back  as it was overcooked to the point of charred.

Gordon Ramsay needs to get back in the kitchen of Maze and sort it out. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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