PEr FYI

May 20, 2017

Tsuta, Singapore…I’ll be honest: this is not worth the wait

Ramen is all the rage at the moment, and it’s easy to see why: there’s nothing finer for a light dinner than a bowl of noodles and delicious homemade broth.

The “world’s first and only Michelin-starred ramen joint” doesn’t sell ramen. It sells only soba…made primarily (but not exclusively) of buckwheat (soba), which gives it a different, stronger flavor.

A queue of ramen-lovers is normally snaking down the street waiting patiently for their noodle fix. The setting of Tsuta is low key. Ordering and payment is made at a touch-screen machine. The broth is enhanced by the richness of an infusion of truffle oil. The slice of roasted pork char sui on the surface is, although tender, not deeply tender enough. The noodles are firm and slurpable.

Time is precious. I’m getting old. I might be dead soon. The food is good but is not worth the wait. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

tsuta sin1

tsuta sin2

April 14, 2017

Yongsusan, Seoul…wholeheartedly traditional

CNN Travel’s 10 best Korean restaurants in Seoul, rated “Good standard” on MICHELIN Guide 2017.  Yongsusan is a restaurant which even Korean food traditionalists would struggle to call anything but authentic.

The wholeheartedly traditional sole set menu include dishes such as napa wraps with stir-fried pork, tofu cake, assorted pan-fried delicacies, casserole in a hot pot, meat and vegetable brochette and so on. The bulgogi too is reliably on the point and compelling.

This is the place to come for home-style Korean cooking. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

yongsusan sel3

yongsusan sel4

yongsusan sel5

yongsusan sel1

 

March 18, 2017

Candlenut, Singapore…a study in average

Last year, Candlenut was awarded one-Michelin-star status, an accolade that means its cuisine is “a very good restaurant in its category.”

So I went.

It being the world’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant, I was really looking forward to my dinner – expectations were high but realistic. My meal at Candlenut was a study in average, unevenly cooked fare, a tough sell in a city like Singapore. The kitchen seemed to try too hard to be “different” but the food was often too bland. None of the plates served barring the homemade kueh pie tie shell, crab meat, yeye curry, pickled shallot, laksa leaf – were, in any way, remarkable. When you are paying good money for a meal you expect at least a few dishes to be memorable.

Overpriced. A one-star disappointment. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

candlenut-sin3

candlenut-sin1

December 11, 2016

Yung Kee, Hong Kong…eye-wateringly expensive.

For every awesome restaurant in Hong Kong, there are also a good number of food establishments that make me want to roll my eyes. This temple to charcoal roasted goose is unashamedly, perhaps reassuringly, eye-wateringly expensive.

The quintessentially Cantonese goose comes full of flavor with glossy, lacquered crispy wafer-thin skin, a light chew, and a slightly citrussy mandarin-peel high note throughout the juicy, gamey meat. The char siew (roast pork) meat was so soft could almost feel it melting on my tongue but the sauce lacked flavor.

Honestly, there are many underrated, inexpensive places to grab a bite to eat in HK– just take my word for it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

yung-kee-hk1

November 19, 2016

Bombay Dreams, Hong Kong…I devour everything, and all but lick the plate clean

Reviewing Indian food is particularly tricky: not only are there countless regional variations, but their styles also range widely from dishevelled curry houses to high-end Michelin-starred spots.

Housed on the 4th floor in a building on Wyndham Street, Hong Kong Michelin Gourmand 2017 Bombay Dreams makes an immediate impression. The food has no problem living up to it either; high quality ingredients and intricate spicing lead to elegantly presented dishes that boast pleasantly contrasting flavours and textures.

Among the best choices: sweet potato cheese roll, samosa, chicken with yogurt and cream. The tender melt-in-your-mouth galouti lamb is the greatest hit, so that I devour everything, and all but lick the plate clean.

Be prepared for large prices and less large portions, though. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

bom-dream-hk1

bom-dreams-hk2

January 30, 2016

Jean-Georges, Shanghai…all the dishes fell just short of wowing me

Most foodies know about the lunch at Jean-Georges, which is often cited as the best value in fine dining.

One of the great things about 3-Michelin starred Jean Georges at the Trump Tower in New York is that the hospitality begins as you get out of the car, even before you enter the restaurant. Here in Shanghai, the service is professional and confident throughout.

This glorious restaurant at Three on the Bund has high ceilings and tall windows which were lovely, while the sweeping view of the Bund outside through the windows provided a nice contrast to the color scheme.

From the simplest dish of sea scallops with caramel used cauliflower, caper-raisin emulsion to the roasted beef tenderloin potato blintz apple-jalapeno puree, all the dishes fell just short of wowing me. Don’t get me wrong, it was still good, but was it OMFG-I-will-sell-my-children-and-my-soul-to-eat-here-every-day good? Can’t say it. My lips don’t lie.

I’d take Jia Jia Tang Bao over Jean-Georges any day, star or no star. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

JG Shanghai

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…

 

pollen

 

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…

gordon ramsey sin1

gordon ramsey sin2

September 12, 2015

Sister Wah, Hong Kong…a Hong Kong heavyweight

If you have not eaten beef brisket noodles when in Hong Kong, you have never been to Hong Kong. It’s essentially beef brisket stewed for a helluva long time using Chinese seasonings and spices.

That unctuous broth, those incomparably bouncy, slurp-worthy fresh egg noodles and the rich, oh-so-tender, fall-apart-in-the-mouth beef briskets at Sister Wah is amazing. This bowl of noodle soup was the most easily, inarguably tasty thing I’d had in Hong Kong this recent visit. The Seaweed with three items in soup (squid ball and beef balls) was delightfully interesting too.

Sure, the dive isn’t much to look at but, complete with small round tables and stools for you to share with fellow diners, it’s the kind of joint that locals rave about and cabbies swear by. It’s just a heartbeat away from the Tin Hau MTR station Exit A.

We’re talking about the delicious, tender, slow-cooked-to-lip-smacking-perfection kind of beef brisket here. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

sister wah hk

 

April 26, 2015

Antonió’s, Macau… If you can only try one Portuguese restaurant in Macau, make it this one

Macau is Hong Kong’s diminutive little brother. Over four hundred of Portuguese influence has added an extra flavour to everything from the architecture to the indigenous Macanese cuisine.

Portuguese Chef Antonio Coelho, owner and founder, is a Star Chef of Macau and his restaurant has been awarded by Michelin, The Louis Vuiton Guide, Chaine des Rotisseurs, among others. There are no gimmicks here, simply excellent, solid Macanese and Portuguese food. Antonio’s menu overflows with enticing-sounding items. One that shines is the roasted homemade Portuguese sausage which is especially good. The African chicken (imported chicken from Portugal) combines wonderfully with garlic, onions, ginger and desiccated coconut sauce, served with gratinated potatoes and mixed salad into a deliciously flavourful dish that surely impressed.

The restaurant has splendid Portuguese ambience with traditional vibes and the stroller and his guitar singing English and Portuguese songs makes this place perfect for special occasions.

If you can only try one Portuguese restaurant in Macau, make it this one. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

antonio's macau

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.