PEr FYI

July 5, 2015

Bar Celona Tapas & Rice, Macau…the Iberian ham 36 and 45 are almost indescribably mouth-filling and deeply satisfying

For such an acclaimed restaurant it is surprisingly unassuming. Set upstairs in a de-script building on a quiet street in Macau it’s even almost difficult to locate. Inside, there’s a casual and relaxed atmosphere rather than stuffy with decor in dark and earthy colours.

The Iberian ham 36 and 45 (well-aged for 36 and 45 months) were thinly sliced (nearly, but not quite, paper thin) rashers of ham, each slice visibly interlayered with fat and lean. That was certainly a  flavour that is almost indescribably mouth-filling and deeply satisfying. The savoury olive muffins were also a crowd-pleaser. The unique flavor of these little breads is a slight departure from a traditional sweet muffin. The octopus leg gelatin style with potato and olive oil and the baby cuttlefish with artichoke were also pretty good. The former, though not my favourite dish, was an interesting combination that worked. The baby octopus, had stronger, if not more common flavours and was also quite nice. Again, however, both were qualified rather than resounding successes. A taste of the suckling pig is definitely necessary before you walk out those doors. Very different from your traditional Chinese Suckling Pig. My only fuss was that while the meat was amazing, the skin was tough and not exactly crackling with its crisp. The paella topped with generous amount of seafood shone less brightly amongst the rest of the stellar dishes served that night. The crispy egg with bone marrow and truffle is far from a simple egg dish but the crystal bread with olive oil and tomato was somewhat unremarkable.

Is Bar Celona Tapas & Rice a fine dining experience with top notch service? Nope and nope. Is it an satisfying and solid choice in Macau? Sure is. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

barcelona macau

barcelona macau2

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April 5, 2015

Catalunya, Singapore…food misses the spot

Have you ever eaten somewhere that everyone told you was the absolute best, only to find yourself wondering: Is that all there is?

It happens. Sometimes, the restaurant in question is operating on a dated reputation it no longer deserves. Other times, you’ve fallen victim to hype, gleefully perpetrated by those whose job it is to report objectively. The end result? You’ve now wasted precious time and money.

This place is a honeypot for the rich and famous – and it knows it. For one, the eyes have it here at Catalunya. Situated on the unobtrusive ground floor of the Fullerton Pavilion, the splendid view of the iconic MBS is always spectacular, by day or night, and adds wow factor to any meal.

The suckling pig is cute to look at  but is nothing compared to the crispy smooth skin, succulent meat, depth of flavours of the Chinese style suckling pig. The selection in the tapas menu mean there is something for everyone, from the tapas virgin to the more adventurous gourmand.

Commenters tended to define “overrated” with an algorithm that included ample amounts of hype, high prices and overly long wait times. Catalunya’s food though acceptable, fails to live up to the first two of these three factors. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

catalunya

August 31, 2013

Iberico & Co Kitchen & Bar, Hong Kong…Foodgasm

Filed under: China, Food & Beverage, Hong Kong, restaurant, Tapas — PEr @ 7:59 pm

Wow. This place really blew me away. Having been to Spain and fallen in love with both the culture and food I was definitely looking for a place to take me back. This is absolutely my new favorite restaurant in Hong Kong.

Dimly lit, the black metal arches and black-and-white mosaic floor gave it a great ambience. The restaurant has a high ceiling which is awesome.

The food was spectacular. The menu can be slightly intimidating due to the number of options available. I can’t even narrow down my favorite dishes because I loved everything. The tasting platter of cured cuts were slices of heaven.  I have never tasted anything more heavenly, it makes me smile just thinking about it. I took a bite of a small piece of cracked black pepper hanger steak with madeira  and it  began to dissolve into savoury bliss. Few food experiences have or ever will match it. The crispy cider roasted pork belly with apples was succulent, exploding with flavour and on point. You can’t leave this Spanish joint without tasting the fries with black truffle salt and white truffle oil – it’s good! Be sure you accompany your food with the beer mustard they serve here. Loved the flavours that were going on here…sweet, spicy, tangy and just delicious…a new favourite.

If there is a downside, the sparkling sangria blanca was OK at best.

Anyone that has been to Southern Europe will appreciate this place. Buen provecho! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

iberico cured cuts

March 4, 2013

Graffiato, Washington DC…Italian food in tapas style and portion.

Italian food in tapas style and portion. The ambience is stylish yet simple which is reflective of the food.

One of the best dishes I had at Graffiato was the crispy brussel sprouts with maple, pancetta and egg (and that’s a HUGE surprise as brussels sprouts has never been my thing). The brussel sprouts were soft on the inside, but had nicely carmelized , sweet and smoky outer edges which tasted charred and slightly burnt. The pizza we ordered (what else) the Jersey Shore was visually AND tastefully appealing. Perfectly fried and crisped calamari with a wonderful cherry pepper aoli. This was a mean pizza, and I’d order it again in a heartbeat and oh, by the way, the pizza was the only regular sized dish. The roasted potato gnocchi is a solid gnocchi dish. Not the greatest, but check out the truffles. Not all were hits, though, there were some misses too. The glazed pork belly wasnt bad, but it  didn’t quite live up to expectations and the risotto was average at best.

The wait staff was very friendly, knowledgeable and completely competent.

While I don’t think Graffiato is the best of the best, I think it’s still pretty darn good and I am compelled to return. This is still the true truth as I still say it as it is…

Jersey Shore pizza

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August 11, 2012

La Viva Spanish Bar & Tapas, Singapore…It’s an assault on your senses

You hear tapas in Singapore, you expect some earth shattering food.  At least that is what I expect.  I need to tell the real story for the rest of us who have stomachs.  

La Viva is super trendy… tries to attract that crowd as well with the decor. The food however… was horrible. Portions were small considering the price. We paid a small fortune for small amounts. By the end of the dinner, I was positive my $540 could have been better spent elsewhere. Oh yes, we ate some carrot cake and oyster omellette later to fill up.

We ordered both the sangria with sparkling wine which, as one friend put it, like sugar water plus cough mixture. The serrano ham and pear tasted as though they had been defrosted a few minutes earlier and heated in a microwave,  the bread tasted a bit like supermarket bread with a bit of a crust. The iberico ham was out of a can. The essalada de viva salad is not infused with anything resembling flavour. But probably the most disappointing dish of the night was the paella. We ordered 3 different ones. They were greasy and bland.

It’s actually a very tragic thing to order one of your favorite foods, only to find it is terrible and tasteless, and maybe even a bit gross.

This outlet disappoints with significant zeal. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

July 16, 2011

Txapela, Barcelona…indulge and try various types of tapas

Near the Plaza de Catalunya (Barcelona’s main square), there is a decent place for tapas where we have the option to get seated by the tapas bar or the tables. Try the first floor, where it is a bit quieter.

The menu consists of about 50 different pictures, usually bread or toast but not always topped with different things: vegetables, meats, cheeses, tortillas, seafood, you name it. The prices of pintxos (or small tapas) is about €2 – €4.  However, the serving is small and often bite sizes only, which is in fact quite good because we get to indulge and try more types of tapas.

This is Tapas 101 for the clueless diner who wants to learn tapas. This is the true truth and I say it as it is…

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