PEr FYI

January 28, 2020

Tesate, Jakarta…satay with a difference

I had always thought of satay as basically covered in sweet peanut sauce.

Because I am a man, with a taste for blood, I ordered both of the meat satay. Sate sapi klopo – spiced tender beef coated in toasted grated coconut and Sate sapi Makasar – combination of aromatic beef tenderloin with tangy star fruit sauce. Both the beef had the densest, most satisfying texture. Both had a rich, mouth-coating savouriness, helped by their highly textured and sprightly star fruit sauce and the toasted grated coconut.

It was a satisfying one, and at an unemasculating price – and that’s what matters. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 27, 2020

Karma Sutra Bar & Kitchen, Koh Samui…isn’t a place worth traveling out of the way for

When dining out in Koh Samui, the spectre of crippling indecision lurks around every corner.

When evaluating local Thai spots, I like to run restaurants through my Thai Restaurant Test, which features just one question – “Would you eat anything other than pad thai here?” Karma Sutra gets a C+ on that test. King prawn Thai style and Deep fried garlic and pepper squid are worth ordering.

Having said that, Karma Sutra isn’t a place worth traveling out of the way for. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 26, 2020

Osteria dell’Acquabella, Milan…the ossobuco definitely floats my boat

Ossobuco – or rather slow-braised veal which would sound more appetising – is a dish that should be left to the Milanese. So said the great 19th-century writer, Artus. So, when you’re in Milan, forget about pizza and pasta although both  can be downright heavenly.

There is no debate here: Ossobuco Milanese (served with saffron risotto) at Osteria dell’Acquabella is absolutely delicious and soul-satisfying it’ll knock more than just your socks off. It is creamy, rich, silky smooth and vivid in both color and flavour with veal which is fall-off-the-bone tender.

A good sign is that Osteria dell’Acquabella is full of locals (including families) who know their stuff when it comes to food. This intimate and comfortable place is one of my most exciting discoveries. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 19, 2020

Pez Vela, Barcelona… irrefutable proof that God exists and wants us to be happy

Paella, Spain’s most famous dish — mountains of yellow rice cooked with seafood, chorizo, and/or chicken in big lidded pots called calderos, enough to feed two or three hungry diners. Where can you get the best paella in Barcelona? This is a really common question for visitors coming over to visit this beautiful city.

Luckily for you, I’ve already covered that question!

Upon entering the warm, welcoming Pez Vela, the surroundings are immediately evocative of the Mediterranean. When the mouth-watering and hearty brothy rice with lobster landed on the table, it was belt-bustingly big so that the red crustacean seems to be crawling out of the caldero. Unlike paella, the rice here remains immersed in boldly flavoured broth and actually portioned to share.

Perfect paella. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 18, 2020

AirBnB: Molek Regency Midori Concept Home, Johor Bahru…not up to sniff

Filed under: accommodation, Airbnb, Malaysia — Tags: , , — PEr @ 5:58 pm

The design, facilities and location of Molek regency will make you feel right at home in this neighbourhood.

The bathroom/toilet attached to the master bedroom was notoriously smelly. This made a perfectly great stay hideous and the heart sick. The stench can be smelled far beyond the master bedroom, as soon as you enter the apartment. Even the freshener provided by an otherwise wonderful host, hadn’t helped.

I totally would stay here again, if not for the only offensive, nose-related complaint. The best smell would be no smell at all. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 12, 2020

Blackbird, Manila…Hear me now: do not make the mistake of dying before you have eaten here

There are places, that, have great food, but more importantly will also guarantee you a good time. That mean dishes that go beyond excellent but make you smile, too. And all at the right price. Which doesn’t necessarily mean cheap but definitely means value for money.

To start, dive into the exceptionally decadent mushroom, fortina and truffle arancini. The salt and pepper squid and shrimps with sweet soy and ginger was as unusual as it was delicious. Then there’s tempura eggplant and prawn fritters with nuoc cham. These are all more tiny mouthfuls than actual dishes.

The main event comes in the form of impossibly thin slices of grilled short rib, green onion and ginger, kimchi, hot bean paste, lettuce and rice. It is utterly delicious and truly one of the undisputed stars of the show.

Then have a little rest – because you really should try a sundae. The dessert is worth saving space for. The burnt butter and vanilla seed ice creams, chocolate brownie, candied pop corn, salted caramel is an ice cream lover’s dream come true. I believe I have found the single best dessert available right now in the Philippines, or, for that matter, anywhere else.

This is an impressive date spot if you want to bring out the big guns. You’ll keep talking about this truly delicious meal long after leaving. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 11, 2020

Aburi-EN, Singapore…how evocative the flavours are

Aburi, literally translates as “flaming” is a style of cooking to create a smokey fragrance.

We started with the Hokkaido ika surume – grilled Hokkaido squid. For any lover of squid, the result is exquisite. You can really taste the charring. Equally impressive was the premium buta bara don – grilled chestnut pork belly on rice. Best of all was the Wagyu Karubi Don – a lip-smaking grilled miyazaki wagyu on rice.

So go in ones or twos or many. But go. Do. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 5, 2020

Calbee Plus, Sapporo…honestly you just need to try it.

Although it doubles as shop for snacks and confectionaries and suchlike, Calbee Plus really scores with its line-up of Poterico and soft ice cream.

With the Poterico Salad, there’s no reinvented wheel here, but everything’s exactly as it should be: the chips have an exceptional, almost Kettle-like crunch, which gives way to a fluffy dream of an interior. They are to me, what porridge was to Baby Bear: not too thick, not too thin, snappably crisp and rustling invitingly.

Hokkaido Soft Ice Cream is seriously good ice cream. Looks-wise, it has nothing on the new generation of gourmet ice cream but it’s smooth, creamy and flavourful – it’s totally worth it.

Life’s too short to eat bad ice cream. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 4, 2020

Los Caracoles, Barcelona…lots to like here, and lots more that could be better

I bloody love a snail. Dig in with the tiny fork. Probe the crevices of the now empty shell with your tongue. Then get to work with torn-off pieces of bread, dredging and dredging again at the garlic butter. Being such a fan of escargots, I made a beeline to Los Caracoles for the Spanish version of special snails.

The Special snails – Caracoles especiales are served on small plates from a big dish where they are kept hot in their sauce. The spicy touch they have makes them different from other snail recipes. I wouldn’t call this dish a triumph. Less satisfactory was the garlic shrimps – gambas al ajillo but the Catalan roasted 1/2 chicken – 1/2 pollo a l’ast was a return to form. The Paella “Los Caracoles” was pretty average

There’s lots to like here, and lots more that could be a little better. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 1, 2020

The Cher Show, New York City…a mixed bag

If you grew up on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour in the mid-’70s, like I did, there is probably nothing I could write here that would keep you away from The Cher Show.

There were too many character arcs and agendas to serve — three Chers, several careers, 35 songs. All the songs were there – “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves”, “If I could turn back time,” “Believe” – it’s impossible not to karaoke along. Stephanie J. Block’s spectacularly commanding performance – her take on Cher – goes beyond impersonation into respectful homage, and while the vocal likeness is uncanny. We get to witness all of Cher’s struggles and triumphs, but are not especially moved by them. Unlike Mamma Mia, the songs rarely tell the story. The costumes are simply sensational, ranging from the nostalgia trippiness of the 1960s to the famous feathered get-up of the 1986 Oscars. This, to me is just a fancy but empty jukebox musical.

I’m still left wondering what The Cher Show is exactly. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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