PEr FYI

December 24, 2016

Leisure Games, London…Great for kids from 12 to 50

Tabletop games are back. I’ve been into tabletop games my whole life, and it’s so exciting to see that there’s a return. Many are turning to these retro pleasures as a respite from the computers, gaming consoles and mobile devices thought to have rendered board games obsolete.

This London store is stuffed with board games, collectable card games, roleplaying games, historical wargames, as well as miniatures, traditional games and dice  . It’s one of a handful of classic hobby stores still around. Specializing in tabletop games, Leisure Games is also a prime spot for enthusiasts to try out at one of their free gaming tables.

Great for kids from 12 to 50—usually of the male persuasion and bored by video games. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 3, 2016

Mandarin Kitchen, London…the absolute best lobster noodles

There are hundreds of Chinese restaurants in London and for those of us who love digging into real Chinese food, the question remains: Where should I eat?

Looks aren’t everything. Indeed, they may not be anything. Mandarin Kitchen is your departure from the fancy decor and dining in aestethically appealing ambience.

The big draw here is lobster noodle, the finest you’ll get in London. Egg noodles get studded with a whole, cooked lobster with ginger and spring onions for the ultimate comfort dish. Almost every table had a plate of them lobster noodles, imagine all the rising warm aromas from each and every table filling the air within the restaurant… ahh, I don’t know about you, but a good Chinese restaurant is always about the smell and the noise, the more the merrier. Though they cost more than dim sum and roast duck, the lobster noodles here are so flavorful they’re worth their inflated price tags.

Regardless, it is a fantastic thing on the menu, and on your plate. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 15, 2016

Orcs Nest, London…This is the best place to go to get board games in London

An incredibly tiny store with an undeniably superb and rich range of board game stock and role playing books. Although deceptively small, it’s compact, with each shelf inside jammed with a vast variety of board games. This place has a ton of stuff.  The walls are bursting with games. It’s unmatched in this regard in London.

In terms of atmosphere, it has none of the buzz of other London game stores like Forbidden Planet. It’s pretty close to a tube station so just a few minutes walk.

The guy who worked there was very helpful, knowledgeable and friendly.He was very approachable when I asked for some recommendations.Believe me, it was difficult to decide what to buy, there was so much on offer here. He asked what games I already played and liked, then made some great suggestions. If I had the luggage space, trust me, I would have bought more than the just one.

Bottomline is: fantastic store, excellent selection, but will burn through your wallet! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 24, 2016

Patty & Bun, London…it’s hard not to be seduced

A good burger is a thing of beauty, a satisfying, messy manifestation of all things umami.

The main event is the Ari Gold. From the first, slightly salty bite I was won over. Sloppy, sauce-dribbling-down-your-fingers-tasty, it’s the best burger I’ve ever had in London. The perfectly pink, almost blushing beef patty is unbelievably juicy, without being sloppy. The bun is soft enough not to put up a fight, but strong enough to the job of keeping it all together.The toppings of cheese, jammy caramelised onions, ketchup, just-crisp-enough smoky bacon and “P&B mayo” meld together happily.

The atmosphere couldn’t be more laid-back: tables are bare. And boy, those calories are worth it. This is the true truth as Isay 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 24, 2016

Dishoom, London…mouth-enhancing bacon naan roll

Normally I wouldn’t rock up at an Indian restaurant when I am in London where tandoori is now the national dish, but as the cliche goes: there’s always a first time.

Dishoom in Covent Garden lies in close proximity to Palace Theatre where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is currently being staged. It is a casual restaurant with elegant painted brickwork, brightly coloured tiles, artefacts of persia and India on the walls, marble-topped tables, wall mirrors, trendy, discreet lighting and tinny music playing somewhere.

The menu is reassuringly short. The breakfast thrill is the bacon naan roll – a crispy smoked streaky bacon from The Ginger Pig which has been dry-cured for five days is wrapped in a freshly baked naan smothered in chili tomato jam and fresh herbs. For good measure, I added on an egg and then greddily devoured it. Messing with a classic is a bold move but there are few things in the world more genius than this dish. It is a little lighter and fresher than the sometimes heavy traditional British bacon roll and I would take it over the British equivalent of bacon butty anyday. I also particuarly like the bottomless glass of house chai (Indian-style tea). It is a great way to start your day in London.

Fun. Tasty. Go. Enjoy. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 23, 2016

Eurostar, Paris-London…quickly and hassle-free. There’s no better way to make the trip.

Four words: fast, easy, comfortable and convenient.The whole journey was smooth and seamless and that includes clearing immigration and customs and checking in process!

The train itself is clean, orderly and comfortable – each seat is equipped with a charger socket and a tray table.

For those who haven’t made the trip, an obvious question is why you’d want to take Eurostar when you can fly between London and Paris in about an hour and a quarter. The journey took over two and a half hours but it seemed to fly in – you take the train without stopping from Gare Du Nord directly to St Pancras, right in the city centre, which is a helluva station. You will be impressed by its size, quality, shops, and feel. Wait..and I can arrive 30 minutes before and make it on board? Say what!?

I’m struggling to find a fault in the Eurostar. I so wish the upcoming high speed rail between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur is like this  because taking the Eurostar from Paris to London was such a great experience. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 6, 2016

The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4, London…a Potter fan’s paradise

Harry Potter’s Platform 9 and three quarters is real and it’s at London’s Kings Cross Station.

The store packs a large variety of different merchandise – wands, clothing, snowglobe, plush white owls, unique art, sweets, and recreations of artifacts from the books – into a very small space. This looks like a cheap disney store (I do love Disney stores). No magic, just a display of merchandising to capitalise on some of the best books and movies out there. It is small and does get quite overcrowded and quite hard to navigate through.

One very good thing is that outside, there’s the cart filled with suitcases and an owl cage halfway through the wall. There’s a snaking queue to pose for a photo opportunity: while you’re holding on to the cart, a member of staff gives you a scarf and swings the scarf up to make you look like you were really flying through the platform, while another takes a picture.

Be ready to get really uber-nerdy here but you’ll be surrounded by the equally nerdy, so no worries. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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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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January 23, 2016

Pollen, Singapore…Ridiculously photogenic food

Pollen is the younger brother of Pollen Street Social in London, the Michelin-starred brainchild of culinary alchemist Jason Atherton. This is as impeccably elegant and sophisticated a restaurant as you will find. I was equally impressed with the feel of the place and the front-desk welcome.

The main action, however, is in the open-plan dining room, one whose design is confident, with natural light, huge mirrors on the wall of one side and greenery outside. It’s not every day you can give a restaurant five stars for design and atmosphere, but Pollen’s intimately romantic room is irresistible.

The dishes were sublime. There were no low points – only a competing series of highlights. The masterly BBQ Iberico pork presa, baby leek, chicory, apple, sage polenta was a beautiful sight. The delicious subtlety and artistry butternut and saffron risotto, sunflower seeds, honey croutons, aged parmesan and the Angus beef short rib, celeriac, truffle potato, caramelized onions, too, looked just as gorgeous.

Pollen is simply brilliant. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

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