PEr FYI

October 14, 2017

Gu Yi Wan, Shanghai…comforting, delicious and cheap

Shanghai’s Chinese food scene is a diverse beast. This tiny Gu Yi Wan does a lot of things well but I’m all over it just for its modest braise in soy sauce beef noodle. It is rich and restorative in texture and taste, a kind of mental health food. Apart of that, other worthy mentions are their wantons, shaomai and shaobing

The restaurant is both the simplest and most marvelous of discoveries in a city that is filled with gastronomic delights. Trust me: you need to try it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 8, 2017

Gordhan Thal, Ahmedabad…. U.N.L.I.M.I.T.E.D. .T.H.A.L.I

Gujarati thali, a vegetarian assortment native to the western state of Gujarat, is a round tray covered with dishes. The dishes’ names thrillingly alien to me and half the time I’ve no idea what they are. Jainism in Gujarat means that the state is mostly vegetarian. If you are a meat lover don’t let the evil veg word scare you as the dishes are incredibly flavourful.

The flavours were compelling and unfamiliar. Some of them, on first bite, seemed a bit blah: and your taste buds need to acclimatize.

I got the very real sense that I am enjoying the hospitality of talented Gujarati home cooks, without needing to be invited into actual Gujarati homes. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 30, 2017

The Coconut Club, Singapore…terrible waste of time and money

As you may make out of the title of this post, The Coconut Club isn´t good – or rather a terrible waste of money and everybody´s time. They’ve put effort into the décor. Obviously you know it’s going to be nose-bleedingly expensive. That doesn’t mean it can’t also be good.

A plate of nasi lemak with coconut rice, chicken leg, ikan bilis, peanuts, cucumber, fried egg and sambal set me back SGD12.80. And this was before adding on the otak-otak which was another SGD10.50. Sorely lacking were the things that make nasi lemak great: the flavour and fragrance. This is a restaurant predicated on one idea: that a single really expensive ingredient – specially brought in from Malaysia – will make your life better.

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but it won’t. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 23, 2017

EN Washoku-sake, Tokyo…pork is the thing

Tonkatsu is one of the most popular meat dishes in Japan although a dish like deep-fried pork may not seem to fit the Japanese reputation for clean, healthful foods.

Mugifuji-pork cutlet dish which comes with three kinds of small dishes, salad, rice, pickles and miso soup. The cutlet is crispy, incredibly light, not oily and absolutely appetising

There might be better examples of classic pork katsu around town.  But if you want to experience the bustling intimacy of a populist Tokyo meal, then this is the place for you. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 10, 2017

All Day Fresh Kitchen, Seoul… exceptional panoramas but food fairly forgettable

The view from All Day Fresh Kitchen is mesmerising. That’s if you get a window table, of course; diners within the restaurant’s interior will see little but open sky.

As for the menu, it’s  competent rather than exciting. I had the Han-U Sirloin Steak – sirloin steak, eggplant, baby carrot, garlic, sunchoke, shitake mushroom. I thought the food fairly forgettable; more safe than interesting

However, one caveat is that with terrific view, this place doesn’t offer tremendous value for money. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 9, 2017

Atlantic Fish Co, Boston…(not) the best in Boston

When it comes to lobsters, Boston leads the way. Now for the hard part.  Who has the best lobster in Boston?

A Boston staple, Atlantic Fish Company is an upscale seafood centric restaurant that focuses on traditional preparations.

No prizes for guessing the main attraction – it’s all about the lobster. I enjoyed the lobster, corn on the cob, potatoes 1/4 lbs and have never felt happier. A well-matched accompaniment is the award winning new England clam chowder cup. Overall, this was a good find. It’s still better than most seafood restaurants I’ve tried in the USA but I don’t think it’s the best in Boston.

The way I see it as a layman, a steamed or boiled lobster is not some fine art of cooking.  Even my seven-year-old niece can cook you up a great steamed lobster.  All you are doing is dropping the poor bastard(s) in a pot of water for about ten minutes and that is it.

Unless it is some crazy lobster pie dish, then it doesn’t really matter where you get it if you just want it steamed or boiled. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 2, 2017

Machida Shoten, Singapore…this ramen is a joke

No one ever makes good decisions on an empty stomach, which explains why a lot about my dinner here. If Machida Shoten has something actually worth eating, I’d honestly like to know what it is. I’m sorry to report that the ramen here was absolutely dreadful.

The soup was exceptionally bland, it might as well have been boiled water. The soft, limp noodles, forgettable egg and a light scattering of spring onions did little to cheer me up. You’d have to be a very drunk clubber to even consider eating this bowl of meh. I didn’t want to waste my money by refusing to eat it. In retrospect, I wish I had.

Nevertheless, I hope this restaurant stays open long enough to be featured on the next series of Gordon’s Kitchen Nightmares. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 1, 2017

Bund’s secret, Shanghai…DO NOT GO IN THERE

Some restaurants get it wrong, others are for outrageous pricing, some have disastrous experiences and then there’s the ones that, well, just don’t serve very good food. This one is all of the above.

We ordered braised pork with sweet soy sauce, sautéed Australian scallop with wild mushroom and braised tofu with hairy crab meat. All impressive sounding names on the menu. I can’t report any of the flavours at all: there was nothing for me to swallow during this worst restaurant meal.

DO NOT GO IN THERE. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 26, 2017

Muthu’s Curry, Singapore…tikka chance on this restaurant

Some like it hot, some are born to be mild, but everyone loves a decent curry.

I wouldn’t say that their menu is any better than any other top end Indian restaurant. And the likelihood is that there are fancier, more haute cuisine Indian restaurants in town. If you like the traditional dishes you can find them all here.

The biryani rice – fragrant basmati rice cooked with cashew nuts – was tasty and the squid sambal – prepared in a based of chilli and tomatoes, delicious. Just thinking of the wildly luxurious butter chicken – bbq chicken pieces in rich gravy topped with a dash of cream and home churned butter gets me salivating. The serious good dish is the simple but glorious calamari rings. You end up with a well-spiced, rich-tasting plateful of breaded calamari rings fried and served with a dash of paprika. Do not miss it.

I am addicted to the butter chicken, even though I suspect it is clogging my arteries as we speak. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 20, 2017

Kruvit Raft, Phuket…plentiful fresh and cheap seafood on a floating restaurant

This place is spectacular! Not once did I feel like a tourist, just a Singaporean walking on water.

Kruvit Raft is modest, unassuming, endearingly awkward; its ugliness and limitations only make it the more likeable. Built on wooden pontoons and having floating wood and net fish enclosures, it is only accessible by longtail boats off the coast of Phuket. Part of the fun is walking around and peering into the different nets to see what’s on offer.   You get to pick the exact fish, crab or lobster that you want for the meal. The plates are affordable here, so the only guilt you’ll feel after scarfing down all those prawns, crabs, fish and lobsters is over your waistline.

If you can’t get Venice organised… have your date night here. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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