PEr FYI

June 21, 2020

Le Petit Chef, Singapore…Eating out just got a futuristic makeover

Eating out just got a futuristic makeover.

Diners take their place with a blank book is placed in front of them. Though nothing is written there, we follow the adventures of a tiny chef – an augmented reality thumbsize Frenchman character – as he embarks on a journey from Marseilles to Arabia, India, the Himalayas and China. Of all the dishes, only dessert sees the Frenchman ‘preparing the meal’. He pulls up all the spices and ingredients to whip up one final sweet treat. He does expense all effort, laboriously hauling the weight of stirring-spoons and the ingredients.

Is the experience worth it? It’s not cheap and with the food was a mix of hits and misses, so it would have been worth it only if you’re deep-pocketed enough and the entire meal was as fun to watch as the dessert. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 6, 2020

Tropique, Johor Bahru…Don’t thank me, just don’t go there

I’m often a little nervous when visiting fashionable restaurants, but Tropique didn’t disappoint. The whole lunch was a complete fiasco. Which is why it’s my job, no, it’s my duty, to tell you this is where you shouldn’t be wasting your money or special occasion on.

You’d better have something in the fridge at home, because the likelihood of your food not being served at all is very high. Of our three orders, only two were served. To compound our annoyance, none of the staff were apologetic about it. The less said about the food, the better. Without labouring about price, it was extortionate.

Don’t thank me, just don’t go there. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 1, 2020

Fung Seng Seafood Supplier, Kota Kinabalu…not rushing to return

Good seafood is hard to come by – but when it’s done well, it’s probably the most delicious thing you can put in your mouth.

If you want to enjoy some of those wonderful Sabahan seafood back home, there’s Fung Seng Seafood Supplier on the way to the airport. Most of their business is wholesaling – they supply to hotels and resorts – but they also do retail. The seafood are deep frozen and can last up to 10 hours without refrigeration and the stores are experienced in packaging them for check-in or hand carry for your flight back home. However, it’s pretty pricey and there wasn’t much selection to choose from. I didn’t think the quality/freshness was that great either.

Needless to say, I’m not in a rush to go back there. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 19, 2020

Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, New York City…relentlessly noisy

Wolfgang’s is far from a pleasant, relaxing place to spend a lot of money. It attracts a boisterous clientele, bursting with crowds which prefer bellowing at the top of their lungs to conversations and therefore is relentlessly noisy.

I loved the texture of the dry-aged beef – a little crunchy on the outside and tender in the middle – but was underwhelmed by the taste – the surface would have fared better with a more chargrilled twang.

Given the food and the noise levels, your meal won’t measure up, and at these prices, these days, you should get more for your money. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 3, 2020

Aurum Theatre, Johor Bahru…Public Rip-Off No. 1.

Let’s cut to the chase. Aurum’s an experience you’ll never remember, but  one which your bank balance won’t forget. It is not just eye-poppingly expensive, it’s overpriced.

As ever, the money could be justified if it was all “praise be” and “hallelujah”, but at an asphyxiating MYR150 per ticket (yes, you read that right), this feels like a consolation prize and like daylight robbery. The food was uninspiring, the taste was average and certainly not exquisite or wow. Don’t get me wrong, the cinema quality, comfort and product were good, but nothing near what I would expect from one what reviewer described, “Is this a cinema or a hotel?” Sadly, it just wasn’t that impressive and we went away thinking we had spent far too much money for the experience

There is the unshakable sense that I’ve been scammed. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 22, 2020

Hakkasan, New York City…you’ll die poor but happy

New York’s Chinese food scene is a diverse beast. There’s pork ribs to sweet, stir-fried-whatever-you-can-think-of, Hong Kong Dim Sum, the classic Peking duck and of course the comforting staples including noodles and fried rice (and way, way more) at eateries both high end and super casual.

With its innovative Cantonese cooking, Hakkasan is still the benchmark against which all high-end Chinese restaurants should be judged. Their stylish interior and moody lighting attracts all kinds of beautiful people.

We started with hakka steamed dim sum platter – scallop shumai, har gau, prawn and Chinese chive dumpling, black pepper duck dumpling. The pastry was perfect in give and texture, just elastic enough to encase generous bites of flavour-packed meat and seafood. The stir-fry black pepper beef ribeye with Merlot was equally good, the melting tenderness of top-quality meat turning the clichéd staple into a luxury – Chinese takeaways should weep with shame. We also enjoyed the hot and sour soup with chicken, shiitake and pomelo, spring onion and fried egg rice and the tofu, aubergine and Japanese mushroom claypot with chili and black bean sauce

You’ll die poor but happy. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 17, 2019

Owen Seafood Restaurant, Singapore…prices that knock the wind out of you

While there are plenty of budget-friendly food options in Singapore, dining in some restaurants can come with a staggeringly steep price tag. With restaurants opening at a fast rate, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re getting the most for your SGD when dining out.

A seafood meal at this Chinese restaurant doesn’t come cheap. And the disappointing things is that it’s not a restaurant which is particularly distinguished. Unquestionably, I think food is too pretentious….which is a really bad thing. And it’s just too bloody expensive. It is really really horrendously expensive …

You will only remember it as the restaurant that is so expensive that you were outraged. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 8, 2019

Long Beach King, Singapore…the masters of food shelled and finned

Lobster has hogged the limelight on the edible crustacean stage for so long, that we have a tendency to forget the sweet, meaty merits of the humble crab.

There are no prizes for guessing what dish Long Beach King specialise in. The seafood-centric menu currently offers inventive dishes including deep fried flat rice noodles with “la la king”.  The star of the show were the crab dishes, de-shelled, bursting with flavor. The House specialty live prawns impeccably cooked and presented. When the seafood are this good, it seems pointless to stray, but the homemade beancurd with chef sauce was also splendid.

Long Beach King offers a bold and innovative ‘sea-to-plate’ dining experience. But be warned, a meal here comes at an eye-watering price. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 24, 2019

Sarabeth’s, New York…do yourself a favour and put it on your list

Sarabeth’s is a brunch factory. And I mean that in the best possible way: After serving what must be tens of thousands of meals since the early ’80s,** the place makes consistently great plates of breakfast and brunch items.

Look, the menu doesn’t promise adventure. It promises heartiness and hominess. If what you want is classic breakfast and brunch food, here you go.

The menu doesn’t promise adventure. It promises heartiness and hominess., The avocado & burrata toast which I gravitate to, comes with sunnyside eggs, petite greens, espelette is the perfect way to start the day in NYC. Lemon & ricotta pancakes with fresh blackberries is the breakfast of your dreams. Each bite is light as air and perfectly flavored with fresh lemon.

Take note, prices are a bit high for what you get which means at the end of the meal, you’ll have just enough for subway fare. That aside, do yourself a favor and put it on your list if you’re ever in the Central Park South area. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 21, 2019

Hakkasan, Shanghai…bill you’re likely to choke on

It’s going to be love or hate for would-be patrons, even those who can get past its many moments of joylessly expensive dining without rolling their eyes.

We eat some good things. This is remarkably pretty food. They were easy on the eyes to look at and quite nice to eat. The quality of the cooking itself is, at the moment, mixed. Regardless of how otherworldly this meal is, here is a bill you’re likely to choke on. I’m sure no one comes here looking for a bargain, but man, this place is expensive even by tourist-trap standards

And the most depressing thing? It’s full. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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