PEr FYI

September 1, 2019

LeTAO Pathos Cafe, Otaru, Hokkaido…cheesecake Holy Land

I have to confess, I am not a cheesecake fan. After LeTao had brainwashed thousands of Asians through the power of pure indulgence and wondering what the hype is all about, I decided to take a plunge into the world of cheesecakes. It’s time for the moment I’ve been waiting for: the cheesecake cult initiation process.

The cake itself looks unassuming, but the luscious indulgently rich double fromage was so easy to finish in one sitting although biting into the dense base on its own may get a little overpowering after a while. In taste, the crepe suzette travel that thin line between “oh god, this is good” and “oh god, this is a bit much”. They are sweet and sticky but the rind of the orange pull it back from the nadir.

I am a little fatter now, a little poorer, but much happier. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 24, 2019

Sarabeth’s, New York…do yourself a favour and put it on your list

Sarabeth’s is a brunch factory. And I mean that in the best possible way: After serving what must be tens of thousands of meals since the early ’80s,** the place makes consistently great plates of breakfast and brunch items.

Look, the menu doesn’t promise adventure. It promises heartiness and hominess. If what you want is classic breakfast and brunch food, here you go.

The menu doesn’t promise adventure. It promises heartiness and hominess., The avocado & burrata toast which I gravitate to, comes with sunnyside eggs, petite greens, espelette is the perfect way to start the day in NYC. Lemon & ricotta pancakes with fresh blackberries is the breakfast of your dreams. Each bite is light as air and perfectly flavored with fresh lemon.

Take note, prices are a bit high for what you get which means at the end of the meal, you’ll have just enough for subway fare. That aside, do yourself a favor and put it on your list if you’re ever in the Central Park South area. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 9, 2019

Corgi in the Garden, Bangkok…a whole new level of cuteness

Lovers of corgis, beware: you might not want to leave this place. Behold its stubby little legs and equally stubby tail. You can now cuddle with these adorable cuties in a cheerful and homely ambience.

Everything the humans need to know:

You can feed, touch the little cuties while sitting on the floor sipping coffee or tea. A selection of 12 corgis are on hand to be cuddled and offer highly Instagrammable photo opportunities. You need to love that they will climb on your lap and lick your iPhone. The entry fee covers entrance, a drink and a time slot of 120 minutes with your favourite furry friend. Get there early to avoid long queues.

It’s bound to lift your mood, as dogs do. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 7, 2019

Pie Face, Tokyo…It doesn’t look healthy, but it does taste good

Australian pie and pastry chain Pie Face sells warm savory pies with pleasingly flaky crusts. The dense, flavoursome and well-seasoned fillings include steak, ground meat, chicken and curried vegetables, each decorated with a face whose mouth identifies the flavor (an S for steak, M for meat, X for Mexican and so forth). There are sweet pies and other desserts.

If you come here and don’t order a pie, you’ll only have yourself to blame. Don’t let me down. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 30, 2019

People & Places, Johor Bahru…There are things here I want to come back for

Let me tell you that, if you’d care to witness JB’s most mesmerising delivery of all-day breakfast, then this is absolutely the place to come. Two thoughts occur to me, very quickly. The first is that I like this place: I like the buzz. The other thought is: I like the food, very much.

We arrived without a booking, but squeaked on to a table with a  range of cactuses down the middle. ‘Why does it look like a botanical garden?’ I asked half-seriously upon entering.

The food upped the ante. The Signature hotcake – blueberry buttermilk hotcake, double cream, maple syrup, fresh strawberries, organic pea sprouts, mixed seeds and nuts was so good that I spent a long, long time slurping off my fork. Quesadilla Brekkie – fluffy tomyum scrambled eggs, chicken ham, sliced tomatoes, Alexa’s sriracha aioli, coriander, and Belgium cheddar cheese sandwiched between tortilla sheets. Topped with grated parmesan, pomegranate and a drizzle of pesto oil was far better. The Englishman’s breakfast was a generous pile of scrambled kampong eggs, streaky beef bacon, chicken bratwurst sausage, house-made baked beans, grilled tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, toasted brioche. The roasted peanut butter toasts – Alexa’s signature roasted peanut butter on muesli bread topped with sliced banana, cacao nibs, chia seeds & dessicated coconut is also very passable.

Some bucket-list places truly live up to the hype. Most importantly I am left thinking there are things here I want to come back for. This is the true truth and I say it as it is…

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May 19, 2019

Teshikaga, Sapporo…cure your ramen cravings.

In the heart of Sapporo’s red light district, Ganso Ramen Yokocho, the “original alley”  – a long narrow alley which features 17 popular shops offering different flavours of miso ramen. There are mutterings about noodle strengths, and the mammarian wobble of one soft-boiled egg over another. The problem is that, as with so much in Japanese culture, once you get past a certain quality threshold it’s very hard to distinguish one thing from another.

The one I ordered – the all the shoes  miso ramen – snow crab, barbecued pork topped ramen with miso (bean paste based soup) is a vivid flash of colour. The broth is a lovely shade of rust with a kick. The barbecued pork meat is soft, the fat beginning to melt away into the broth and respectable noodles come with a lovely bite.

With the kitchen directly in front of you, you can watch your bowl get assembled from start to finish. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 18, 2019

Tsui Wah, Singapore…covers all the bases

This iconic cha chaan teng (tea café) from Hong Kong that had humble beginnings as a bing sutt (ice cafe) at Mongkok in 1967 has landed in Singapore.

The taste combination of the signature sweet condensed milk and the fragrant crispy bun was fantastic, but the weak crispiness was a bit of a let down. King prawns with XO sauce in tossed noodles is the one to go for here. The noodles were springy and the prawns were super-fresh. Wantons with shrimp roe in fish soup is also a favourite. Within the simple delicious broth, the wantons – fat, plump, and bursting with shrimp – are a winner.

What to avoid: Seafood curry with steamed rice & stir-fried instant noodles with pork chop and assorted vegetables on sizzling plate. Unless you really need to satisfy the sudden urge for curry, there are much better places to go that won’t leave you full of regret. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 1, 2019

Restoran Kapal Layar, Langkawi…Not satisfying. Only satisfactory.

Restoran Kapal Layar does not set any new paradigms. It is satisfactory instead of satisfying.

The presentation of almost all the dishes was underwhelming and unremarkable. While it is not the epitome of any particular trend, most of the food coming out of its kitchen is quite ok. If I were to recommend one meal that captures some of the energy in the Langkawi dining scene right now, I might come up with reasons not to mention Restoran Kapal Layar. It is an outlier.

This is essentially an IKEA cafetaria. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 28, 2019

Tai Hing, Hong Kong…the most unpleasant thing I could have ever put in my mouth

Let me be clear: what is supposed to be highly rated Cantonese roast meat in Hong Kong, turned out to the most unpleasant thing I could have ever put in my mouth.

To comprehend the complex awfulness of this Tai Hing meal, think of the actor Rowan Atkinson, in his famous “Steak tartare” skit, contorts his face a thousand different ways while choking down a grayish patty of raw meat. The initial flavor was bland. It was dry and hard. I felt my eyes water up as I chewed. I tried to swallow. I felt my entire GI tract prepare to purge. And then I regained my composure and pulled an Atkinson, which is to say: I spat the nasty bits into a tissue paper and almost stuffed it into my laptop backpack.

Decidedly way below average. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 14, 2019

Café Yoshimi, Sapporo…refreshingly, as simple as that

If I know one thing it’s this: Japan has its fair share of absolutely gorgeous Instagram-worthy cafes and restaurants. Tucked away in the first basement floor of the newly opened Akarenga Terrace, Cafe Yoshimi is perhaps the platonic ideal of a café. Relaxed, quietly confident service matches the food and beverage offering.

If you’re after something for straight-up deliciousness, the chocolate and banana pancake is on a par with anywhere in the country. The banana and chocolate are a classic combination and coupled with eh soft and fluffy pancakes, this is irrefutable proof that God exists and wants us to be happy. The thick-cut French Toast and ketchup sauce Omurice add to the all-round appeal of this popular spot.

Unhurried atmosphere, lovely service and great food, Café Yoshimi has it all. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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