PEr FYI

July 7, 2019

Pie Face, Tokyo…It doesn’t look healthy, but it does taste good

Australian pie and pastry chain Pie Face sells warm savory pies with pleasingly flaky crusts. The dense, flavoursome and well-seasoned fillings include steak, ground meat, chicken and curried vegetables, each decorated with a face whose mouth identifies the flavor (an S for steak, M for meat, X for Mexican and so forth). There are sweet pies and other desserts.

If you come here and don’t order a pie, you’ll only have yourself to blame. Don’t let me down. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 22, 2018

iSteaks Diner, Singapore…offputting wait for a table

Steak can cost, but it doesn’t have to. You’d be hard up to find NZ striploin for SGD18 elsewhere in Singapore. This no-frills diner is very reasonably priced with chicken and fish dishes start at SGD10.50.

There is an offputting number of people standing around everywhere, tediously waiting until a table frees up. It is not even first come, first served. Reservations aren’t accepted, walk-ins only. On the flip side, when you are in the middle of your meal, you’d eat your dinner keenly aware that 30 peoples’ eyes were boring into your back willing you to finish either because you’re full, or you’ve dropped dead off your stool. No one cared either way.

Time your visit. Don’t  turn up as a four at 7pm at the weekend expecting to get at table straight away. 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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October 7, 2018

Hamburg Steak Keisuke, Singapore…like beef from pampered cows

Fancy a hamburg steak? Of course you do. It’s the food trend fave that’ll never die.

But not all hamburg steaks are born the same, and Keisuke’s is utter meaty marvels: juice-seeping, humming with flavor. There are just a few tables, so don’t expect much in the way of comfort or ambience. But what you will discover is a stripped-back but hugely satisfying formula for the prime beef hamburg set – with or without cheese. Beef from pampered cows come perfectly cooked and properly seasoned for one hell of a meaty mouthful. The 4 sauces: Keisuke original sweet-and-spicy sauce, demi-glace, oroshi ponzu (radish with vinegar), and teriyaki add to the flavor invasion. Maximise on the salad bar and the show-stopping egg station with its sunny sideup, overeasy, boiled, scrambled, half-boiled, omelette, and tamago yaki.

In my (not so) humble opinion, Keisuke has the best hamburg steak in town. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 15, 2018

Mr Rocky, Shenzhen…like having a cheesy version of Nashville in Shenzhen

Inspired by the wild wild west of the USA, this American bar in Shenzhen is your go-to spot only if you are desperately in need of some cheesy cowboy-style atmosphere and dying to tuck into burgers, steaks and pizzas and hit the dance floor for an evening featuring live bands and DJ sets.

Food is profoundly awful. The steak was tough as nails and disappointingly taste like the bovine equivalent of chicken breast, the pizza was chewy as bubble gum and the hot pumpkin soup was anything but.

An out-of-touch and bungled attempt to create a themed restaurant. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

mr rocky shenzhen

April 7, 2018

Davio’s, Boston…well-known for their service as they are for their fare

Comfy armchairs and high-ceilinged dining room. The tables are sheathed in perfectly starched white tablecloths. The menu requires double the normal time to decide because there are so many tempting items calling out to you. This is Davio’s in Boston, Massachusetts.

The 24oz Prime Natural Aged Bone-in Ribeye was appreciably rich, flavorful, dense tasting for lack of a better word, and also noticeably tender. It was basically an explosion of beef on the tongue. Maine Lobster risotto, asparagus, fresh herbs, lobster cream ooze luxury. The rich Maine lobster with its unparalleled sweetness brings elegance to a classic. It’s a pure delight for all the senses.

The experience at most restaurants is as important as the food. If you are lucky to have Christina Chrissie serve your table, service is assured and seamless. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…davios bos5davios bos1

 

 

January 1, 2018

Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Singapore…just very, very good

It’s hard to imagine it now, but if you wanted to eat at a nice steakhouse in Singapore in the 2005, you didn’t have a lot of choice.

Dazzling modernity might not be an epithet that the casual visitor would associate with an Lawry’s today, but in 12.5 years ago, it was the jewels in the crown of Singapore’s restaurant scene. The dining area itself oozes character and charm. We dined in an unrushed, relaxed atmosphere, and the service looked effortless and matched the high quality of the food.

And the steak? There’s either good steak or bad steak, and this is firmly in the former camp. Nothing revolutionary, but exactly the food I love to eat. It’s a serious piece of meat, imbued with the sort of deep ferric tang that only experience can bring.

And so Lawry’s trundles on. You have to take your hat off to them, really. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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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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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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