PEr FYI

June 15, 2019

Paste, Bangkok…tastebud-smashing Thai food

Talk about fusion: Michelin-starred Paste must be the only restaurant in Bangkok that mixes traditional tongue-blasting Thai recipes written centuries ago with an innovative and creative twist. It matters not. Paste has wowed me with ingenuity and authenticity.

The triumphant water melon, ground salmon with fresh shallots and roasted galangal powder (served at the inauguration of the temple of the Emerald Buddha in the year 1809 King Rama I) was light, delicate, intriguingly moreish and a mishmash of surprising flavours . What’s not to love about that? It was one of those dishes you eat in smaller and smaller mouthfuls to ward off that moment when there’s none left. The smoky southern yellow curry with premium Australian spanner crab, hummingbird flowers, Thai samphire and turmeric had levels of deep flavors that just kept revealing themselves spoonful by spoonful. Get the chiang rai jasmine rice perfumed with organic jasmine flower to go with the curry.

Paste’s dishes are a jumble of flavours, but nothing about this place is a mess. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 5, 2019

Mammy Pancakes, Hong Kong…good but not great

Egg waffle also known as eggettes or egg puffs or egg cakes or bubble waffle is a popular snack in Hong Kong. It’s like what macarons are to Paris or what biscotti is to Italy. Nobody loves egg waffles like Hongkongers do, so much so that there’s an egg waffle festival held in Causeway Bay.

Mammy creates ton loads of flavours like chocolate chip, pork floss, seaweed, white sesame, matcha, cheese and everyone’s most / least favourite salted egg yolk. They are airy and light, super crispy on the outside, and warm and fluffy inside. It is a Michelin recommended snack shop.

Decently nice but I wouldn’t waste 30 minutes of my life queueing for it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 7, 2018

Maze, London…Gordon Ramsay needs to get back in the kitchen

In the heart of Mayfair, this was one of Gordon Ramsay’s most acclaimed London restaurants. It lost its Michelin star in 2015. He’s one of those celebrity TV personalities you’ll either love, or hate – I still haven’t made my mind up yet.

The gorgeous chili and garlic juicy prawns grilled sourdough was perfectly cooked. The first thing to say about the steak (dry aged 21 days) is that it is cut proper thick. It was a lovely piece of meat. It is elsewhere that Maze falters. The grilled loch Duart salmon had to be sent back  as it was overcooked to the point of charred.

Gordon Ramsay needs to get back in the kitchen of Maze and sort it out. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 25, 2017

The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck, Singapore…A solid “C”

It continues to amaze me how upscale Changi Airport has become. The Austrian-born Wolfgang Puck is probably one of the most famous chef in world.  Wolfgang’s name carries a lot of weight so I went into The Kitchen in Terminal 3 with high expectations.

Nothing was really terrible about the food, but nothing too great. I would recommend the pizza!  But that’s about it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 21, 2017

Les Amis, Singapore…Michelin-starred magic

The Michelin Guide is always highly regarded in the food nerd world.

Les Amis, the two Michelin-starred restaurant is one of the hotspots of Singapore. For memorable tastes matched with superb service, Les Amis offers French cuisine served in a hushed but enjoyable atmosphere. The flamboyance lies in the dishes

Book well in advance to have a chance at getting in. What more to say? This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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