PEr FYI

March 28, 2020

Fresh Factory, Otaru…eat a rainbow assortment

We are all looking for ways to up our intake of fruit and veg.

Fresh factory is a damn fine place for a bountiful fresh produce. It is a great chance to get stuff when it’s most flavoursome and you can taste it – everything is delicious. Hello fresh. If all this makes your mouth water, which it probably will, grab a rock melon and chow down on the Hokkaido boiled corn. Super fresh and seasonal makes everything look, smell, taste better.

You heard it here first. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 22, 2020

Restaurant and Bistro The Kitchen, Koh Samui…‘I would rather choke on my food and die than go here again.’

The moment I entered Restaurant and Bistro The Kitchen, I suspected, from looking at the expressions of the other diners, that I was in for a slightly stiff ride. One can tell a great deal about the meal ahead simply by gauging the atmosphere at other tables, well, alarm bells ring.

From the characterless tom yam khung, to the actively repellent wanton shrimp soup, I like to think the staff made these up as a prank, and were watching to see if I would be an obedient foodie and play ball. Let us never speak again of the khao ob sapparot – fried rice with pineapple and vegetables. Service, it must be said, is chaotic, so if one wants terrible food delivered quickly, accompanied by several other unappetising dishes you hadn’t ordered but other diners are currently waiting for, The Kitchen is for you. I walked out in revolt and was still in dire need of some lunch.

I’m a great believer in the best reviews being the shortest ones, so the succinct version is: ‘I would rather choke on my food and die than go here again.’ This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 7, 2020

Sunday folks, Singapore…arrive hungry…

Singapore’s dessert scene is anything but boring. I remember when going out for a mid-afternoon sweet treat was about choosing between a red velvet or a chocolate cupcake. These days it’s a whole other story. Desserts have been supersized, with enough calories to fuel a family for a month.

Sunday Folks is piled high with soft serve ice cream, to cakes to waffles. While I wouldn’t advise regular consumption, an occasional waffle sea salt gula melaka topped with gula melaka and hand-harvested sea salt (don’t worry, no eggs in this mixture) with toppings gula melaka mochi, chocolate Mikado sticks and gula melaka sauce can’t do too much harm, right?!

If you’re feeling extra naughty, order one of their indulgent Affogatos to go with it. 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 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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December 30, 2019

Vino e Cucina, Milan…the Costoletta was fun and satisfying to cut into

What meal most typifies Milan? That has long been a subject of intense debate in Italy’s business and fashion capital. The simple cotoletta alla Milanese, or veal cutlet fried in butter is a dish you can find everywhere in the city

Here in the Vino e Cucina, the atmosphere is sterile but the thick, dense Costoletta alla Milanese – Milanese cutlet is crumbed and browned in a strangely uniform manner, and served with a simple and sympathetic shaved salad. Think of wiener schnitzel, but thicker, bone-in, and with a juicier interior. Have it with a side of Patate al Rosmarino – Potatoes with Rosemary.

Vino e Cucina is never going to be the hottest place in town. That’s fine as long as they keep serving costoletta like this. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 13, 2019

Kinotoya Café, Sapporo…great place to have up your sleeve

When it comes to bakeries, Japan is a goldmine. The Japanese have embraced the art of French patisserie and become seriously good at it.

Kinotoya Café is neighbourhoody, mildly hip and completely welcoming, but still ever so slightly pretentious in places. I love the omelette parfait. It sounds sound so wrong, but it is so right. You can also indulge in the pretzel croissant and soft-boiled eggs.

For me, at least, Kinotoya Cafe is a great place to have up your sleeve. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 6, 2019

Raymond’s, New Jersey…it doesn’t get more old school that this

You may not be able to tell from the outside, but stepping into this nondescript diner is like  going back in time, gotta love that 1930s style décor.

On the food front, not to miss is Raymond’s French Toast – with fresh fruit and pure Berkshires maple syrup which is heavenly – amped up with a side of smoked bacon – some of the best smoked bacons I have ever had. The food is prepared and served significantly better than most diners in tourist areas or business districts, but it’s still affordable. For a weekday breakfast, you will feel right at home.

Raymond’s reminds us that some things should never change. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 29, 2019

Lady M, Singapore…wildly delicious

Food is like fashion. People may copy Lady M’s Mille Crêpes, but when they want a perfect specimen, they will go to the store.

Sweet-toothed Singaporeans, you’re in luck. Choose from signature, green tea, marron, salted caramel and pair it with the array of the delicate artisanal tea selection. Personally, the signature and salted caramel are the perfect excuse to shovel spoonfuls of warm carbs into your face.

Lady M is truly the queen of cakes and confectionary delights. On your marks, get set… eat! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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