PEr FYI

May 11, 2019

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Shanghai…a coffee-lover’s Disneyland

Once upon a time, Starbucks prompted millions of consumers to do away with cheaper instant coffee for a more expensive specialty product. With this Reserve Roastery, it is third-wave coffee.

Upscale, and they feature cocktail bars, bakeries, snake-like tubes that transport beans across the store and unique elements, this roastery is completely unlike a typical Starbucks. There are tons of food and coffee options, plus plenty of places to sit and stay for a while with staffers navigating selections the way a sommelier might do with a wine list.

Indeed the food and drinks are, well, a few stars better than your standard Starbucks offerings. My personal favorite is the dark chocolate mocha, which is just sweet enough with a good bitter bite from the espresso. Milanese bakery Princi provides the food, notable ones are cheesecake lampone, carrot loaf cake and torta princi.

Looking around, I see coffee fiends pilgrimage here from all over. You’ll hear different languages, see a spectrum of generations, and many different styles of clothing. If you’re a coffee lover, you won’t want to miss this stop.

This massive, gleaming roastery is the Starbucks Mecca. Translation: Be prepared to be awed and overwhelmed. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 31, 2019

Creamery, Singapore…paradise for those with a sweet tooth.

If you love chocolate as much as me, and you’re hungry, then look away now.

These days desserts have been supersized, with enough calories to fuel a family for a month. The Choc a lot is the top seller for a reason – cookie chocolate lava include a scoop of ice cream. Choose your flavour of ice cream – I picked Banoffee (banana, toffee and choco mud pie) – and indulge. Each bite was a perfect ratio of crumbly cake and warm sauce. If you’re feeling extra naughty, order one of their indulgent brownie topped with milo dinosaur ice cream to go with it.

Arrive hungry. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 24, 2019

Café Mary Grace, Manila…it isn’t all that earth-quaking

What started out as delighting her children with personally decorated birthday cakes, Mary Grace is now a chain of cafes and kiosks all over Manila.

I had the fairly remarkable looking Mango bene – frozen layers of meringue with custard cream, and fresh mangoes in between. It was sweet-but-not-too-sweet in that dangerous way. There are moments when richness overwhelms but I was disappointed not to find what I came for.

For the record, everything they serve is gorgeous! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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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 6, 2019

Brotzeit, Singapore…excels at the classics

German food is heavy, starchy and often bland — yet people love it. Brotzeit is a haven for German food lovers year-round.

The most impressive entree was the crispy oven-roasted pork knuckle – oven-roasted hind shank of grain-fed pork, marinated for 24 hours with premium draught beer, massaged with proprietary spice mix to achieve a juicy meat and crispy crackling skin. Served with sauerkraut and potato salad. Another hit was the grilled pork sausages – a firm German favourite, and one of Brotzeit’s signature dishes, the sausages are hearty and packed with flavour. It came with mashed potato and sauerkraut. The standout dessert was the dessert medley – the perfect sweet ending to share, the dessert platter includes an Apple Strudel, Warm Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Crème Brule, and Lemon Crème. Comes with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and red seedless grapes.

Brotzeit is doing more for Germany’s public image in Singapore than even its footballers. 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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January 28, 2018

Modern Pastry Shop, Boston…the local favourite

Want to get off the tourist trail and enjoy Boston like a local? Then do Boston like a real Bostonian.

What Modern Pastry Shop does, it does expertly. This fabulous, family-owned Italian bakery is filled with delicious sweets and treats. I was a bit overwhelmed with the choices. They have everything for everyone but the Italian pastries are the best. There was a sizable line was out the door but it does move relatively quickly so you can be in and out within 15 minutes if you head in knowing what you want. Service could be better, though.

Please note the word “Favourite”. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 3, 2017

Coffee Beans by Dao, Bangkok…you’re in the right place

Okay people. You know how you’re always asking about trendy places to eat? You know who you are. Well, Coffee Beans by Dao is for you.

The scene in the restaurant could have been choreographed by Vogue. They do a delicious fried noodle shrimp + crab meat in yellow curry egg sauce. Don’t make the mistake I did…leaving without trying their dessert. This place built its reputation on its extensive desserts…..from their supposedly delicious cheesecakes to doughnuts.

Pull up a chair and people watch – an afternoon well-spent. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 5, 2017

Humble beginnings, Johor Bahru…mille crepe with a smellfie. Awful!

I was at Humble Beginnings in City Square Mall, JB and absolutely loved their mille crepe. However, my experience was ruined by the a horrible stench. The place literally smelled like raw sewage. Disgusting! Utterly overwhelming!

I just never understood how restaurant managers are so oblivious to such an important detail. Whatever it was, it left me gasping with nausea, enough that I talked to other people about the stink.

Totally unappetizing. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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