PEr FYI

December 9, 2017

Bebek Tepi Sawah, Bali…Anything to avoid? walking in to start with.

I probably won’t make any friends saying so but I’m struggling to think of a reason why anyone would want to eat here.

Bebek Tepi Sawah is decent enough if you’re high or 12 years old. The whole menu here is almost entirely centred around the humble duck. The duck which was supposed to be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside was anything but. The soup was as plain as plain water can be. Just not worth it.

Psst…tourists: You can get better dish in Bali elsewhere. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 6, 2017

Lee Noodle, Bangkok…cheap (and astonishing) duck noodle

Between cafés, street food stalls and lesser-known restaurant deals, Bangkok has a host of bargain bites that don’t cut back on flavour or finesse.

Lee Noodle, on Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thong Lor BTS station) is a budget-friendly hole in the wall guaranteed to whet your appetite without leaving a gaping hole in your wallet. Small and simple, this coffee-shop may be tiny but its purse-friendly homemade noodles which can be accompanied by moist succulent duck or crispy roasted pork belly or crab or charsiew or wanton (or all of it for 80 baht) is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Dangerously good, and it won’t cost you much more than 100 baht for the biggest, most delicious bowl of noodle you’ve ever tasted. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 8, 2017

Madam Zhu’s Kitchen, Shanghai…an absolute gem

Across its many regions China encompasses so many different cuisines that lumping them all together under one banner is akin to talking about ‘European food’. Madam Zhu’s Kitchen specializes in Sichuan and Shanghainese cuisines.

Make sure you sample Specialty: No1. Madam Zhu’s Peking Duck. Immaculately carved at the table by gloved cooks, it is worth it. Both the meat and the skin were excellent. The pancakes were wonders—light, delicate, strong. If you’re looking for Sichuan Province’s famous ‘hot and numbing’ dishes, this is the place to come. The gritty fried shrimp balls with chilli and pepper really is lip-tinglingly good. True to Sichuanese form, red is present in this dish –  in lashings of sliced or whole chillies. It made my scalp sweat. Boom.

The food comes quickly, the food is excellent, and the food is not very expensive. It is a busy restaurant, yet it feels intimate. Right now Madam Zhu’s Kitchen is an absolute gem, a true collector’s piece. I just hope it stays that way. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 7, 2016

Duck & Waffle,London…lip-smackingly eye-rollingly, hand-claspingly yummy

First thing you notice up on the 40th floor is the charming bejewelled views over London like a shameless plunge of shiny moisturised cleavage. To my mind, duck doesn’t go with waffles in the same way that hot dogs don’t complement champagne but this is London and I am an open-minded bloke.

The menu is refreshingly affordable. The title dish is a hunk of crisp-skinned duck confit on a fluffy waffle topped with a fried duck egg and a pot of mustard maple syrup. Texturally – the runny egg yolk against the chewy meat against the squidge of the waffle – was an ace combo. The seared octopus was also very big on flavour.

Duck & Waffle opens 24 hours a day, though who eats there at 4am I don’t know. One thing I do know: I’ve made it a new addition to my little black book – I’m going back there again the next time I’m in London.  This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 3, 2016

Au Petit Sud-Ouest, Paris…The duck confit is fall off the bone excellent

Oh. My. God. I can say so many great things about this restaurant. Food was absolutely amazing. Service was great. The atmosphere and decor very soothing.

The flavor of the fresh duck foie gras sprinkled with a little sea salt is stronger than the goose foie gras which is more delicate. Whatever else you want to say about it, at least acknowledge this: Foie gras is truly, indisputably, delicious. The confit duck leg with wild mushrooms is so good it’ll roll your eyes back. Confit — pronounced con-FEE — is an old-school a cooking method of baking salted and seasoned meat in fat, low and slow. The result is a sinful combination of crackling skin and meltingly tender, moist, and extremely flavorful meat. I’ve fallen in love and have been taken into culinary heaven!!!

The best duck confit I had so far in Paris. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 22, 2016

Saveur, Singapore…this is not a real restaurant

Here’s perhaps the main thing: Saveur, sadly, isn’t bringing much to the Singapore culinary conversation.

The food was not only inedible but fraudulent. That duck confit is almost totally free of taste or character, taken from a deli in Anywhereville. They’re not meant for eating.  With the dessert, you expected salted caramel lava cake and what you get instead is the dull texture and bland flavour of a wartime MRE. It tastes like some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde.

Savuer might have the worst service of any Singapore restaurant. A “poor” rating with a “chaotic” atmosphere.

It’s like we’re punishing ourselves for something. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 21, 2016

Restoran Eastern Dragon, Johor Bahru…tragic fall from grace

Here are some words to describe the food: “rubbery,” “flavorless,” “mushy,” “gluey,” “swampy,” “limp,” and “dispiriting.” I hate everything. Everything, including the service, got two thumbs down and luckily for the restaruarant, I ran out of thumbs at that point.

This is not any old restaurant. This is Eastern Dragon, where, since the 1990s, has been hailed by several publications as one of the finest restaurants in Johor Bahru. Their famous roast duck and char siew were the talk of the town.

Has there ever been a more drastic fall from grace than that? The answer is no. There has not. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

eastern dragon jb

February 21, 2016

Pizza Express, Hong Kong…I’ve never had anything quite like this Peking duck pizza

I love pizza. It can do no wrong. So imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon this Chinese-owned former British restaurant chain in the Hong Kong airport. Pizza Express is the sort of smart-casual pizzeria without breaking the bank. I told them I need to have a quick lunch as I have a flight to catch and I did not have to wait long for my pizza. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Most pizzas are big enough to share; you’d need a huge appetite to get all that food down solo. I had the innovative and exotic Peking duck pizza – Spiced duck, hoisin sauce, chilli, spring onions, cucumber (no tomato) – did taste like a duck pancake, flavoursome – sweet and spicy – which enhances the taste of the soft roasted duck meat. Gourmet pizza it is not but it’s not supposed to be.

This is truly an outstanding Asian twist to pizza.I’ve had a few pizzas in my time, and I’ve never had anything quite like this. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 30, 2015

Four Seasons Roast Duck, Singapore…if you don’t like it, there’s something wrong with your mouth

Although it shares the name, the restaurant has no connection with the Four Seasons hotel chain, which could be confusing; while the food is excellent, the decor is functional.

Here they serve brilliant Cantonese duck (and other roasted meats) lovely enough to pose for a poultry portrait and what many believe to be the best roast duck in the world . Both the meat and the skin were excellent. The meat was slightly too salty but have a certain amount of fat on them, and the skin was fine and crisp, well above average.

Yes, you pay rather a lot, but if you can afford it, that expense is rewarded. For lovers of roast duck, this is a duck worth trying. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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