PEr FYI

June 18, 2017

Picnic, Singapore…Don’t waste your money!

Overpriced, food average, service was poor, lack of atmosphere. The rosti is bland, the pizza is like school lunch fare, and it’s best to pretend that the signature pork belly prata never existed at all.

A critic’s job is to be unbiased. I get that. I try to ignore all the peripheral aspects of a restaurant—just focus on the food. But then, I have as moral obligation to cross that line for the greater good.

If I think you can have a better dining experience at the same price eating somewhere else, it’s my duty to say so.

picnic sin

Picnic isn’t a bad restaurant. Some people might even love it. I just doubt I’ll ever be one of them. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

February 21, 2016

Pizza Express, Hong Kong…I’ve never had anything quite like this Peking duck pizza

I love pizza. It can do no wrong. So imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon this Chinese-owned former British restaurant chain in the Hong Kong airport. Pizza Express is the sort of smart-casual pizzeria without breaking the bank. I told them I need to have a quick lunch as I have a flight to catch and I did not have to wait long for my pizza. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Most pizzas are big enough to share; you’d need a huge appetite to get all that food down solo. I had the innovative and exotic Peking duck pizza – Spiced duck, hoisin sauce, chilli, spring onions, cucumber (no tomato) – did taste like a duck pancake, flavoursome – sweet and spicy – which enhances the taste of the soft roasted duck meat. Gourmet pizza it is not but it’s not supposed to be.

This is truly an outstanding Asian twist to pizza.I’ve had a few pizzas in my time, and I’ve never had anything quite like this. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

PizzaExpress_PekingDuck[1]

 

 

March 7, 2015

Don Antonio, New York City…fried pizza is different

Filed under: American, Food & Beverage, Pizza, restaurant, USA — PEr @ 5:18 pm

Pizza is high on my  list of comfort foods. Neapolitan style pizza restaurants serve individual pizzas as opposed to pizza. The pizzas must all be cooked in a wood oven stove. These wood (oak) fired pizzas add a unique taste that is not found with gas  or coal cooked pizza. They have a noticeable soupy center in the pie which means be prepared to eat them with a knife and fork.

Don Antonio boasts to be Hell’s Kitchen’s best pizzeria. The restaurant is hidden, tucked away in the back corner of a nondescript shopping center.

The Montanara Starita is the house’s pièce de résistance – the crust is first deep-fried, then baked in a wood-fired, topped with signature strait tomato sauce, imported smoked buffalo mozzarella and basil. The crust is superbly crispy but the rest of the pizza – the effect of smoky, milky cheese, fried dough and sweetly acidic tomatoes had too strong of a flavor that just didn’t sit well with me. The Vesuvio is not your averaged stuffed pizza. They stuff it with fresh ricotta, homemade mozzarella, salami. Then the toppings of tomato sauce, Italian ham, homemade mozzarella, mushrooms, basil and artichokes on  top of the pizza weigh down the pie, so it’s not going to be as puffy as a calzone.  The homemade burrata and salad, though, were okay, though the salad was a bit overdressed.

This is not Domino’s, so bring money but Don Antonio is definitely a great option if you want to jump on the montanara bandwagon. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

don anotnio ny

December 14, 2014

Lombardi’s, New York City…put it on your pizza bucket list

This pizza “shrine” is recognized as the first pizzeria in the United States, opened by Italian immigrant Gennaro Lombardi in 1897 and eventually received a license for his restaurant by the city of New York in 1905. Zagat rated it “the best pizza on the planet.

Brick walls, red-and-white checkered tablecloths, the nostalgic atmosphere exudes a feeling of old New York.   Service is efficient, quick, and friendly.

Their menu isn’t very extensive at all.

First, pizza or calzone?

If pizza, White Pizza or Margherita Pizza?

Size, Small or Large?

Any Extra toppings? $3 each for premium ones and $2 for regular ones.

Our masterpiece was a small 14 inch pizzas, sliced into 6 pieces. Half original margherita (the sauce was deeply flavoured, a rich and concentrated tomato sensation) with large chunks of fresh mozzarella, fresh crushed tomato sauce, topped with Romano and fresh basil, and half white pizza (no sauce), fresh mozza, ricotta, romano, fresh garlic, oregano, black pepper and fresh basil. The mozzarella were certainly fresh resulting in an almost greaseless slice. The premium toppings – pepperoni, sweet Italian sausage – were also top quality. We also had a couple of regular toppings – fresh wild mushrooms and sliced tomatoes. Put those cutleries away, this is NYC pizza, duh, you pick this sucker up, fold it and get busy. The crust was perfect from the oven, blackened bottom, slightly crunchy but just chewy enough.

One thing you should know about Lombardi’s is that it’s cash only.

The first pizzeria in America, and from my experience Lombardi’s isn’t technically the best slice on the planet, but good enough to make gluttony the order of the night. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

lombardi ny

April 26, 2014

Extra Virgin Pizza, Singapore…..kind of like a cafeteria pizza

Boy, am I going against the flow here with my review of Extra Virgin Pizza. I really think the broadness of one’s experience with pizza tells the story here. I’ve have traveled a lot and had loads of pizzas in various parts of the globe. The best pizzas I’ve every had were in NYC. Unfortunately most pizza chains just don’t have the flavour of individually owned shops, which are often holes in the wall that have been in a family for years. So I took the chain pizza into account when we went Extra Virgin Pizza.

The bad news is that this was a negative pizza experience even for a chain. The pizza was just edible but not something you’d want to repeat. Nothing about it was outstanding or even middle of the road. The pizzas were lukewarm, not hot, a surprise for me. The sauce left the pizza crust very soggy and chewy, kind of like a cafeteria pizza.

The service was pleasant but average. The wait staff was pleasant and would ask if everything at the table was okay but I won’t be returning anytime soon for any of the soggy, chewy, spongy pizza. This is the true truth as I say it as it is….
extra virgin

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