PEr FYI

January 22, 2017

Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack, London…unfussy place serving decent seafood

“Seafood shack”. Not “seafood restaurant” nor “seafood café”. And true to their name, it was a simple setting with a village seaside atmosphere right smack in the back streets of the West End.

The food was decent -good ingredients, well cooked – the service warm, if a little slow. The Inverawe oak smoked salmon, crispy capers, horseradish cream, croutons was passable. The whole looe lemon sole almondine, wile Hayle mussels, samphire, capers, almonds was so-so and I find hard to get excited about.

It’s not bad. I had a moderate time. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 3, 2016

Sea Shell of Lisson Grove, London…from legend to myth

London just wouldn’t be London without a helping of fish and chips.

Sadly, I never expect to have an order of cod and chips as sad as the one served to me at Sea Shell of Lisson Grove. Certainly not at this London restaurant dedicated to fish and chips. Many years ago, on my first visit here, the hunk of cod had an unbelievably crispy exterior. The flaky insides are just as moist as you could ever want and the fries were among the best you’ll find. On my recent visit, though, it’s now the overly greasy, chewy gut bombs you’ll find at a lot of beachside eateries. The fries are unspectacular, limp and without life.

Sea Shell of Lisson Grove has just gone from London legend to London myth. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 8, 2016

Seribu Rasa Seafood & Grill, Jakarta…there will be many next times

Indonesian food is fundamentally earthy and each dish is designed to stuff you full.

Although Seribu Rasa can be categorized as refined restaurant cooking, they do serve hearty regional dishes that taste like great, home-cooked meals. The massive menu here is as diverse as the 18,000 islands on the archipelago of Indonesia, you just need to know what to order.

Start off with the Yangoon crispy duck and the grilled lemongrass chicken is so wonderfully succulent. This restaurant also has a remarkably delicious jimbaran fried fish. As I write this, I am really, incredibly sad right now. Sad like, ruined a favourite tie sad. It’s because I clearly recall the squid omelette pulau seribu and I really, really wish I can have some of it right now. Tumis sayur sambal ebi is also mention-worthy.

There will be a next time. Oh yes, many next times…This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 23, 2016

Bangkok Village Thai Restaurant, Johor Bahru…love the vibe and look

There are many things I am not good at; secrets is one of them. I do what I do out of a compulsion to find out stuff and then bellow annoyingly about it. So if I do find one I’m hardly likely to keep quiet about it.

Bangkok Village Thai Restaurant is a startlingly good Thai eatery in JB. The menu is extensive, reasonably priced and packed with flavour. The Thai Lemon Steamed Siakap arrives in a savoury sauce that makes you open your eyes wider. Although not every dish live up to my wildest expectations – let’s be honest – I’m paying for the atmosphere.

The place has a glorious garden setting, so spacious and beautiful. Absolutely love the vibe and look of this restaurant.

Bangkok Village Thai Restaurant is hidden 30 minutes away from the JB CIQ, but it well repays the effort and taxi fare to get there.This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 31, 2016

Laem Cha-Roen Seafood, Bangkok…tasty and satisfying but not as good as Somboon Seafood

Every seafood classic is here. In the broadest terms, the food is very good rather than excellent, slightly too pricey, not as good value as Somboon Seafood – still the best seafood restaurant in the country. But should you be in CentralWorld, you really should pay a visit.

The food for the most part hard to fault, and the venue’s charming vibe makes it worthy of your time. But there are a few shortcomings – and at these prices, you have to be famous to get away with them.

The steamed sea bass with chili, garlic and lime sauce has fragrant and light flavours while the deep fried dry squid isn’t quite the real deal. However, the prawn salad with sweet lemon dressing in taro basket has an extra burst of flavours and the fried shrimp cake are delicious. The ever so famous tom yum goong here has all the tanginess and spiciness that defines Thai flavour.

It was tasty and satisfying but not as good as Somboon Seafood down the road. This is the true truth as  say it as it is…

Laem-charoen-seafood bkk

January 16, 2016

Bread street Kitchen, Singapore…Definitely not worth another visit

We were fans of Gordan Ramsay’s television shows (Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares etc) and were bent on dining at his restaurant in Singapore.

Our tastebuds were buzzing when we bit on the bread. Following that, the seared scallop starter had a textbook luxuriousness.

And then, as I thought about the main meal there – the blah baby chicken thing with the blah chimichurri sauce and the blah burnt lemon, the fish and chips with the, yawn, crushed peas – I would doze off only to awake a few days later, my face stuck to the desk.

The baby chicken looked like a science experiment gone wrong. One slice of the knife reveals the grossly undercooked bird. It looks malignant and was so disturbing. How was the fish? Who knows? All I could taste was glop.

Too many other things weren’t good enough. And the mark-up! The cheapest main on the menu is fish and chips for $26. The issue is less the exact numbers, but whether you end up looking at a dish and questioning the value. Here you do.

The compelling sense is that Ramsay, probably England’s most famous chef, draped in Michelin stars, has no feel for this end of the market; and that his name, tarnished or not, is not enough to rescue this sterile venture from sublime irrelevance. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 19, 2015

Harry Ramsden, London…..the most disappointing legendary

Fish & chips. Britain’s comfort food. These are not two separate food items that happen to share a plate — they are intrinsically linked in a dance of lusty oil and crunchy desires, while a bottle of malt vinegar flirts around the edges.

It states choice of Cod or Haddock. I asked for Cod. It looked as though it had melanoma. It did not taste of Cod it tasted like they need to change the oil! The real star of the fish and chips show is the batter. One’s heart sinks a little. I wasn’t a huge fan of the batter and the chips were limp and pallid.

Harry Ramsden was the uncrowned king, his Fish & Chips were unbeatable, and since then the name has gone on to become a worldwide franchise. Oh! How the mighty has fallen. I think I’m still on the lookout for that perfectly amazing Fish & Chips in the UK. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 21, 2015

Cha Ca La Vong, Hanoi… so exceptional that there is a street in Hanoi dedicated to these grilled catfish

Cha Ca is an iconic, delicious dish which also happens to be the name of the restaurant in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. With an unassuming external appearance the shop would be easy to miss. There’s very little to appreciate in the dining area: it’s just a room with wooden tables and chairs, a large shrine on the wall and a cabinet full of dusty looking bottles of alcohol.

So what exactly is cha ca? It is a mixture of chunks of grilled, smoky catfish, turmeric, dill, shrimp paste, fish sauce, chillies, noodles and other herbs. Once the various components are assembled, the cooking is fast, and the payoff is worth the effort. I don’t think there are any set rules in terms of how you eat it. We dished a few noodles into our bowl, put a few pieces of fish and vegetables on top, poured on some fish sauce and scooped it up with chopsticks, interspersing a mouthful of herbs every now and again. Probably not the Vietnamese way, but it worked

So is it any good? It is so delicious and aromatic and the complexity of the resulting well-balanced flavors will surely leave you craving for more.

Hanoians consider cha ca to be so exceptional that there is a street in the capital dedicated to these fried morsels of fish. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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