March 18, 2018

Made’s Warung, Bali…the meal falls flat

warung (roadside stall) in Kuta in 1969, to one of Asia’s top 500 finest restaurants by the Miele Guide in 2013, Made’s Warung is the go-to place for decent, reasonably priced local Indonesian food.

Expect an extensive menu filled with traditional dishes from across Indonesia. A comprehensive Indonesian adventure from Made’s burger – burger bun, beef patty, lettuce, onion, tomato mustard, mayonnaise, cheese, beef bacon and chilli dog sauce served with French fries and tomato sauce to Mie goring – fried noodles with shrimp, beef, chicken and vegetables. But is it good? Well, no, not really, as you will discover when you sit down and eat.

It’s been in business for 49 years – so they must be doing something right! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 17, 2018

Lucky Famous, Melaka…affordable and forgettable

Most of the food at Lucky Famous is affordable and forgettable

The menu talks a good game and then, inevitably I suppose, the food arrives and blows it. They all tasted OK, but was too one-note, totally lacking special-something. The dishes were sometimes good and sometimes not, like playing mouthful roulette.

I won’t be compelled to revisit again and again. Only will drop in if I am around the area with nothing else more inspiring to eat. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 10, 2018

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London…100% worth a visit

If you are already planning your year end holidays, here’s how you can make your Christmas extra special and magical.

If you fancy some festive atmosphere, Winter Wonderland is an annual event in London’s Hyde park with fairground rides, Christmas stalls, markets and entertainment for all ages. Entry is free. This is truly a wonderful wonderland thanks to the sheer volume of what’s on offer. There are pre-bookable attractions that you can book online.

Wrap up warm for The Magical Ice Kingdom as it’s -8C in there! Last year the Magical Ice Kingdom presents an ‘Deep Sea Adventure’ – an immersive walk through experience filled with ice, snow sculptures and a bubble wall. Bar Ice is next to the Magical Ice Kingdom and this time it’s about -10C. Here, you’ll be given a winter cloak and gloves. That’s because the seats, tables, walls and even your glass are made of ice.

As it gets really dark the whole place seems to shimmer with light and it does indeed feel very festive. The food on offer looked tempting – including the usual bratwurst and German beer, to fish and chips, hog roast, minced pies and mulled wine.

They’ve got every kind of ride imaginable… Christmas coasters, carousels, waltzers and dodgems. They’ve got a Fun House which is four storeys tall! The Haunted Mansion is actually a mansion. Of all the thrill rides, highlight for me was Air Maxx. G’s all the way. My inner adrenalin junkie was truly satiated.

The Grinch would have a real challenge stealing all the Christmas from Hyde Park. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 3, 2018

Sari Ratu, Jakarta…simply too many dishes to choose from!

Immediately after I enter the place, sit down, a lot of dishes were served on my table a minute later.

Classic Padang style, meant putting a bunch of plates or bowls bearing different types of dishes on the table, allowing you to choose what you want. You can choose from beef, lamb, chicken, or sambal-swathed hard-boiled eggs to top your rice; Indonesia’s greatest hits: beef rendang, a spicy (an easy-to-abuse adjective around an Indonesian table), ayam gulag (special chicken in Indonesia curry) and Udang super (lobster) were my favorites. Portions are smallish (not that you can complain about much at this price) because the meat or vegetables are there as an accent, to flavor the rice. If you need something to quench the fire, order one of the Indonesian milk drinks, made with unlikely combinations like milk, grenadine-like syrup and avocado. Or grab a box of Teh Botol, a sweetened dark tea drink.

You don’t have to eat everything they put on the table. You won’t be charged for what you don’t eat. Untouched platters are taken away and served to other guests. Not everybody will think this is a sanitary way to serve food. Your dish may have visited a number of other tables before it lands on yours.

Cholesterol levels be damned. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 19, 2018

Oink, Edinburgh…Insanely cheap and lip-smackingly delicious

If pork is not your meal of choice, then Oink is not for you. If you are a “gourmet”, go for these hog roasts. And if you simply like good food, run to Oink and buy a couple of pulled pork roast rolls! Oink, as its name suggests serves only one thing and that’s pork.

There is only two choices on the menu – a roll stuffed with slow roast pork with / without crackling ! These tasty treats come in three sizes : Piglet (80 gms of meat), Oink (160 gms of meat) and Grunter (250 gms of meat). Oink size was just right for me. The pig is salted and tray-roasted, to retain its juices, and then shredded and served on bread rolls and customers can add a selection of toppings including sage and onion stuffing, apple sauce and chilli relish. The bread rolls are cheap, flimsy things, but you get a generous mound of quite majestic meat.

Simplicity itself, this. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 18, 2018

La Petite, Singapore…a laid-back neighborhood gem

La Petite is Singapore’s affordable, approachable, laid-back French restaurant.

The sauce in the escargots (6 pcs) with croissant and salad is almost as delicious as the escargots themselves.

In this age of Intagram, it might come as a surprise, then, that the most brilliant dish at La Petite is also the downright ugliest. To roll out a cliché: Looks aren’t everything. I had the Confit de canard w/gratin potato. Damn, it’s a good dish, both thrillingly new and comfortingly traditional.

La Petite doesn’t blow you away in in the same way that other spots like Les Amis do, nor does it intend to. It’s an assured, steady-handed restaurant. Tres bon, La Petite, tres, tres bon. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 17, 2018

Agua, Barcelona…seafood lover’s dream

Thanks to the city’s proximity to open waters, seafood has always been an important part of the Catalonian diet.

Situated directly along the boardwalk, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, not too far and a beautiful stroll along the sea with the W Hotel. The menu covers the Mediterranean basics with fresh, eclectic seafood being the specialty.

Let’s start with the one bad dish. The paella was very salty. Everything else was great. It’s as if the best of the Catalan market has been brought to your plate. Even my friend in the group, a notorious seafoodie, was overwhelmed. The sangria de cava was the star. Drinking it was smooth, light, refreshing and exhilarating. Back off, mojito!

Agua is a fantastic choice for Mediterranean seafood. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 10, 2018

Whiski Bar & Restaurant, Edinburgh…as Scottish as ye can get

Situated close to Edinburgh Castle, on Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile, Whiski Bar has a warm, relaxed atmosphere, with shabby chic décor and mood lighting creating the perfect environment to sample a ‘wee dram’.

The excellent food offering concentrates on the Scottish classics. Arguably, Scotland’s national food is haggis, neeps and tatties, which consists of sheep’s or calf’s offal with suet, oatmeal, and seasoning. Whiski Bar’s haggis stack with delicious whiski sauce is the best to try it for the first time. The Scottish Atlantic salmon, mash potato & lemon cream sauce is amazing and if you liked salmon you will love this.

A whisky bar for the true devotee. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 4, 2018

Restoran Siam House, Johor Bahru…Seriously delicious Thai food in a classy setting

‘Authentic’ is overused on Malaysia’s restaurant scene but Siam House in Johor Bahru has managed to do the word justice. The space is stylish and cosy with comfortable tables not too close to one another.

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a while now since I last had a good Thai meal in JB. But all that has changed as I’ve discovered Siam House. The only one real struggle with Thai cuisine is that you always want to eat just about everything. Everything was so well-cooked and everything was packed with flavour. True to tradition the food is served spicy by default, so give the waiter a heads up if you want to tone down the chilli. It’s reasonably priced and the staff made it a welcoming place too, which always helps when choosing a new favourite restaurant!

It was great to finally find a quality Thai restaurant in JB that offers a little finesse and fine dining atmosphere for any occasion. Good food and excellent value for money – there’s more than one reason why I and you should be visiting Siam House very soon in the future. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 3, 2018

Wagamama, London…Just not worth it.

While Wagamama is a semi-intriguing name, the interest can stop there. This is clearly Japanese food tailored to a Western palate. Everyone love Japanese food, but the Japanese food here is really mediocre as far as I’m concerned.

And the Shirodashi ramen?  (slow cooked, seasoned pork belly on top of noodles on a rich chicken broth with dashi and miso. Topped with pea shoots, menma, spring onions, wakame and half a tea-stained egg) Well, that left much to be desired.

What to avoid: The poorly made Wagamama ramen (grilled chicken, seasoned pork, chikuwa, shell-on prawns and mussels on top of noodles in a rich chicken broth with dashi and miso. Topped with half a tea-stained egg, menma, spring onions, wakame and pea shoots) was objectively terrible. It was barely Japanese at all. And for a Japanese restaurant, what an achievement!

Why settle for middle of the road when there are other options? Just sayin’. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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