PEr FYI

February 16, 2019

Habitat by Honestbee, Singapore…the future of dining – for better or for worse

Singapore’s food and beverage scene has entered a new era of hitech gizmos and geekery that’s about to revolutionise dining out. Habitat is a beautiful sight to behold. Menu-wise it’s a moderately predictable but decently executed list of dependable pan-Asian and western dishes. Technology-wise, it’s remarkably unique.

Your entire journey in the restaurant is fully machine-automated. You place your orders through your mobile phones. You will be notified via the app once your food is ready. Then, just collect your food and enjoy!

You’ll find the char siew noodles at Char checks all the boxes (look at it in all its saucy glory). The Tiger Beer Battered Fish & Chips – Haddock is further reasons to be cheerful – delicate golden batter, succulent fish, breaking the surface was like piercing the lid on a perfect crème brûlée. The Little Neck Clams And Bacon Linguine is a very classic one, too. Bacon and pasta, I mean, do I really need to go into it? Let’s just say this little bowl of delicious can make you happy. Poofy Pancakes – a trio of large, fluffy soft, pillowy gluten-free pancakes is a thumbs up. I leave feeling giddy, as if I have spent the afternoon inhaling candyfloss.

In addition to dining, it is also the convenience store of the future. No lines, no cash registers, and no checking out. You just grab what you want, and you … go. It will not be long before the hypermarkets wake up one day and wonder what it in the hell it was that hit them.

It’s probably the future of retail and dining. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 2, 2019

Bon Ton Restaurant, Langkawi…living on past glory

It’s with a nod toward reality that one realizes Bon Ton Restaurant in Langkawi isn’t as good as it should be.

Everything we ordered ranges from vaguely acceptable to properly naff. Others are forgettable that we eat it without it even registering. The desserts are spectacularly inept. The Local Dessert Plate, unfortunately, are even worse: everything on that plate is simply nasty.

Putting it bluntly, this Bon Ton has none of the charm of the days gone by. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 26, 2019

Yin Ji, Singapore…the rice rolls leave you wanting more

Yin Ji is the kind of Chinese restaurant that feels like it’s been around for ever. In fact it originates from Guangzhou in 1958.

The rice roll (chang fen) are the stars of the show at this unpretentious joint on the corner of Far East Square. The signature fresh prawn egg roll is packed with fresh filling, the casing of my plump, sweet prawn number achieved the perfect balance between elasticity and translucency – a rice roll Holy Grail.

Yin Ji is by no means cheap, but it is worth every dollar and more. So, in the name of sanity, go. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 12, 2019

Restoran Boat Noodle, Melaka…a terrible waste of time

Restoran Boat Noodle isn’t good. It’s a terrible waste of their money and our money and everybody’s time.

Wondering if I’m being very Singaporean by complaining about this place? It starts with the smallest thing. The food is nothing special. It just manages not to be actively offensive. The ‘courses’ are indeed micromini portions. The wait time for the food was incredibly long that I almost died of old age. Only to realise I was serve the wrong dish. Apparently they didn’t have the one I ordered and they took the liberty to prepare something else for me…without checking nor informing.

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but this place sucks. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 5, 2019

Nuer Koo, Bangkok…has beef noodles like no one else in Bangkok

There are other beef noodle shops in Bangkok, but there is nothing quite like Nuer Koo (pronounce ‘Nua Kooh’).

I opted for medium sliced kobe beef quickly dipped in broth. The soul-stirring soup is deceptively mild at first, gaining carnality with each spoonful but never growing too forceful. It manages to be light and clean on the palate, with a straightforward beefiness that doesn’t linger too long. It comes with rough cuts of gorgeously marbled beef, putting up gentle resistance. The noodles have an integrity and chew you might associate with good Italian pasta.

I’m calling the beef noodle soup here a BUY. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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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 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 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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