PEr FYI

August 13, 2017

Gooseul Hambak, Seoul….big on flavours.

Hambak steak is the Korean-style hamburger steak made from ground meat and served with rice or mashed potato rather than buns.

Gooseul Hambak’s original hambak is a tender and juicy steak patty bathed in rich flavoured sauce. Enhanced by a velvety yellow egg yolk and some side dishes, it makes a simple yet great meal. The price is reasonable and the service extremely quick.

Whether you are just in the area, and like me, need a bite to eat this place definitely should be on your go to list.  I dig it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 9, 2017

Les Bouchons Rive Gauche, Singapore…deliciously affordable steak

Eating steaks can be an expensive business, but you needn’t spend big money to eat good ones.

Although not cheap-as-chips, Les Bouchons Rive Gauche is a quaint little French restaurant at Robertson Quay. Although I had a placed a reservation, the table I was allocated was in a twilight zone spot of the restaurant….partially inside and partially outside the restaurant. I ended up being moved to three different tables that one evening. That would have, on a normal night, spoiled my mood and appetite but the restaurant manager – Valentine, was absolutely gracious throughout and did his best to ensure we have a good experience.

Now about the food…you can demolish either the grilled rib eye steak with “vigneron” butter or grilled sirloin steak with herbs, both served with Mixed Salad & Free Flow of Home Made French Fries. Either one and you will end the evening feeling pretty damn satisfied.

I need to tell you about the fries. They are cooked in duck fat. Duck, fat and fries are three words that please most people. Combining them is a very beautiful thing. There’s no looking back once you have tried these brown and crispy fries.

While not quite as revelatory as the hype might suggest, Les Bouchons Rive Gauche certainly dishes out good steaks. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 5, 2017

Humble beginnings, Johor Bahru…mille crepe with a smellfie. Awful!

I was at Humble Beginnings in City Square Mall, JB and absolutely loved their mille crepe. However, my experience was ruined by the a horrible stench. The place literally smelled like raw sewage. Disgusting! Utterly overwhelming!

I just never understood how restaurant managers are so oblivious to such an important detail. Whatever it was, it left me gasping with nausea, enough that I talked to other people about the stink.

Totally unappetizing. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

humble beginnings jb

 

July 29, 2017

Minetta Tavern Restaurant and Bar, New York City…The black label burger renders other burgers meaningless

This place opened in the 30’s so it’s wonderful to see the vintage décor of the old saloon-era interior intact. Being a full house, I sat at the refinished oak bar in the front of the room, elbow to elbow with other diners. The vibe is buzzy, exclusive, and properly chaotic.

The food rocks as much as the scene. The US$33 Black Label Burger – selection of prime dry-aged beef cuts with caramelized onions and pomme frites is without question a mind-blowing rivetingly intense experience. Named the best burger in America by CNBC, a continent full of burger connoisseurs, The Daily Meal,  calls it “the stuff of legend.”  The beef is a blend of four different cuts—short rib, skirt, brisket and rib-eye. It’s like eating a dry-aged steak in burger format. The bun was airy but not spongy. There is a chewiness and lushness in the same bite. Each bite of this burger was lingered over and savored. Even the fries were perfectly seasoned, and nicely crisped. It held to the quality of the burger.

This is now my must-go place in NYC, but frequent Minetta too often and I’ll be broke and really fat. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 8, 2017

Madam Zhu’s Kitchen, Shanghai…an absolute gem

Across its many regions China encompasses so many different cuisines that lumping them all together under one banner is akin to talking about ‘European food’. Madam Zhu’s Kitchen specializes in Sichuan and Shanghainese cuisines.

Make sure you sample Specialty: No1. Madam Zhu’s Peking Duck. Immaculately carved at the table by gloved cooks, it is worth it. Both the meat and the skin were excellent. The pancakes were wonders—light, delicate, strong. If you’re looking for Sichuan Province’s famous ‘hot and numbing’ dishes, this is the place to come. The gritty fried shrimp balls with chilli and pepper really is lip-tinglingly good. True to Sichuanese form, red is present in this dish –  in lashings of sliced or whole chillies. It made my scalp sweat. Boom.

The food comes quickly, the food is excellent, and the food is not very expensive. It is a busy restaurant, yet it feels intimate. Right now Madam Zhu’s Kitchen is an absolute gem, a true collector’s piece. I just hope it stays that way. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 2, 2017

Skinny Pizza, Singapore…squid ink pizza and black pepper prawn linguine are pure magic

Pizza is officially rated the world’s most popular food, and rightly so too. Asia has seen a boom in gourmet pizza restaurants of late.

Skinny Pizza’s squid ink pizza  does not only look like something that would feed Darth Vader, but has fullness, richness and jam packed with flavor. With an impossibly thin and crunchy crust, it’s a dish with something to say. The black pepper prawn linguine was perfect, simple pleasure. Linguine tossed in a fragrant black pepper sauce and prawn Bolognese. Topped with succulent char-grilled prawns. Skinny Pizza had it bang on.

As a fan of butter chicken, I took the bait and ordered the ginger butter chicken pizza. What a mistake. Butter chicken is great. Pizza is great. That doesn’t mean the two can be successfully merged — in fact, just the opposite: slice after slice, it got more repulsive when you bite into it.

skinny pizza sin

Whatever you do, just don’t take someone who’s going to order just a salad. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

June 25, 2017

Meat the porkers, Kuala Lumpur…Curry-philes can’t stay away

Sometimes you just get a craving for pig, and a measly couple of pork chops won’t cut it. For those hoping for a more unusual take on pork, Meat the Porkers is a tasting of several different kinds of pork, Indian style.

The luscious butter pork will rock your world. With the sauce, a wildly luxurious, deep, caramelized flavor, the dish is opulent. The pork tenderloin biryani was disappointingly dry and ordinary, although I have been told, after-that dinner, that the siew yoke biryani is the absolute must-try. Looks like I gotta make another trip there again.

This is the pork of the town! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 24, 2017

Korean Country Food, Seoul…Comfortable no frills atmosphere and large portions

This restaurant in Myeongdong is a good option when you want to eat authentic Korean food. The interior is simple but comfortable – the no-frills Korean atmosphere seems to exude authenticity. The service is curt and fast.

Boneless Jjimdak (boneless deep stir chicken with special medium sweet soy sauce). It was basically a stew of slowly cooked chicken thighs, potatoes, carrots, green onions, cabbage, all swimming in a delicately balanced rich soy and oyster sauce that was sweetened with rice syrup and brown sugar. Sweet.  Spicy.  Rich.  And HUGE! The three of us could not even finish a plate.

Prepare to leave stuffed. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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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…

 

June 17, 2017

No Idea Café Gastropub, Bangkok…. pub with something special on the menu

Pubs only used to care about serving up the perfect pint, but now a good number of them are creating gourmet menus that go above and beyond your basic pub grub.

No Idea Café presents modern and inventive takes on traditional European fare. There’s the tasting board – salami, parma ham, cheese, chorizo, caper berries, olives, baguette, roasted garlic aioli which is comforting and satisfying. The twice cooked pork belly – fennel apple slaw, braised red cabbage- worked surprisingly well. Although parts of the meat was a little tough and the dish would have benefited from a little balanced cooking. The atmosphere is casual and the beer flows fast. Naturally, as a gastropub, most of No Idea’s interesting drinks are alcoholic.

This is not a trendy spot. Rather, it’s inviting and unpretentious. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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