PEr FYI

June 30, 2019

People & Places, Johor Bahru…There are things here I want to come back for

Let me tell you that, if you’d care to witness JB’s most mesmerising delivery of all-day breakfast, then this is absolutely the place to come. Two thoughts occur to me, very quickly. The first is that I like this place: I like the buzz. The other thought is: I like the food, very much.

We arrived without a booking, but squeaked on to a table with a  range of cactuses down the middle. ‘Why does it look like a botanical garden?’ I asked half-seriously upon entering.

The food upped the ante. The Signature hotcake – blueberry buttermilk hotcake, double cream, maple syrup, fresh strawberries, organic pea sprouts, mixed seeds and nuts was so good that I spent a long, long time slurping off my fork. Quesadilla Brekkie – fluffy tomyum scrambled eggs, chicken ham, sliced tomatoes, Alexa’s sriracha aioli, coriander, and Belgium cheddar cheese sandwiched between tortilla sheets. Topped with grated parmesan, pomegranate and a drizzle of pesto oil was far better. The Englishman’s breakfast was a generous pile of scrambled kampong eggs, streaky beef bacon, chicken bratwurst sausage, house-made baked beans, grilled tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, toasted brioche. The roasted peanut butter toasts – Alexa’s signature roasted peanut butter on muesli bread topped with sliced banana, cacao nibs, chia seeds & dessicated coconut is also very passable.

Some bucket-list places truly live up to the hype. Most importantly I am left thinking there are things here I want to come back for. This is the true truth and I say it as it is…

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April 13, 2019

Tsui Wah, Shenzhen…failed to impress me

Tsui Wah is the Shenzhen outpost of a revered restaurant of the same name in Hong Kong. Let’s cut to the chase: this is the place if you want to visit a giant, super-sized neon version of Hong Kong’s humble coffee shop cafes (called a cha chaan teng, literally a tea food hall).

The dishes are pure Hong Kong comfort food, an eclectic and inexpensive assortment of Cantonese, Asian, and Western fare prepared for the Chinese palate. Start your meal with a local favorite—milk tea—followed, perhaps Lamb Chop Curry, King Prawns in XO Sauce with Tossed Noodles and wonton with fish roe in fish soup. And you’ll be missing out if you don’t try the famous crispy bun topped with sweet condensed milk.

Although there wasn’t much wrong, it failed to impress me. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 6, 2019

Lemon Tree, Johor Bahru…God damn is it good.

Much like the beef burger, chicken chop in particular is undergoing something of a renaissance in JB at the moment. Johoreans crave simple comfort food made with better ingredients and more thoughtful recipes.

At Lemon Tree, the lip-licking Hawaiian grilled chicken chop is rich, sticky, sweet and intense. It is ravishing enough to render me temporarily speechless. It’s not just good, it’s unmistakably unique. You could close your eyes, taste this dish, and know it didn’t come from anywhere else. The black pepper grilled chicken chop is another fan favourite. Besides its deliciousness, Its affordability is another reason for its popularity – it’s like a money-saving hack for living in JB.

If anything, my love for the place has intensified. The bird is the word. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 16, 2019

Habitat by Honestbee, Singapore…the future of dining – for better or for worse

Singapore’s food and beverage scene has entered a new era of hitech gizmos and geekery that’s about to revolutionise dining out. Habitat is a beautiful sight to behold. Menu-wise it’s a moderately predictable but decently executed list of dependable pan-Asian and western dishes. Technology-wise, it’s remarkably unique.

Your entire journey in the restaurant is fully machine-automated. You place your orders through your mobile phones. You will be notified via the app once your food is ready. Then, just collect your food and enjoy!

You’ll find the char siew noodles at Char checks all the boxes (look at it in all its saucy glory). The Tiger Beer Battered Fish & Chips – Haddock is further reasons to be cheerful – delicate golden batter, succulent fish, breaking the surface was like piercing the lid on a perfect crème brûlée. The Little Neck Clams And Bacon Linguine is a very classic one, too. Bacon and pasta, I mean, do I really need to go into it? Let’s just say this little bowl of delicious can make you happy. Poofy Pancakes – a trio of large, fluffy soft, pillowy gluten-free pancakes is a thumbs up. I leave feeling giddy, as if I have spent the afternoon inhaling candyfloss.

In addition to dining, it is also the convenience store of the future. No lines, no cash registers, and no checking out. You just grab what you want, and you … go. It will not be long before the hypermarkets wake up one day and wonder what it in the hell it was that hit them.

It’s probably the future of retail and dining. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 6, 2019

Brotzeit, Singapore…excels at the classics

German food is heavy, starchy and often bland — yet people love it. Brotzeit is a haven for German food lovers year-round.

The most impressive entree was the crispy oven-roasted pork knuckle – oven-roasted hind shank of grain-fed pork, marinated for 24 hours with premium draught beer, massaged with proprietary spice mix to achieve a juicy meat and crispy crackling skin. Served with sauerkraut and potato salad. Another hit was the grilled pork sausages – a firm German favourite, and one of Brotzeit’s signature dishes, the sausages are hearty and packed with flavour. It came with mashed potato and sauerkraut. The standout dessert was the dessert medley – the perfect sweet ending to share, the dessert platter includes an Apple Strudel, Warm Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Crème Brule, and Lemon Crème. Comes with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and red seedless grapes.

Brotzeit is doing more for Germany’s public image in Singapore than even its footballers. 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 2, 2018

Katz Delicatessen, New York…nothing else like this in the world.

I have popped my Katz’s cherry. This is the home of the Meg Ryan “When Harry Met Sally” fake orgasm scene. Yes, ladies, feel free to give it your best shot.

It’s been around since 1888. It’s tacky, noisy, and rushed. The service gruff-but-kind, and the sandwiches way too big. The richly flavoured, freshly carved, emphatically smoky and tender pastrami sandwiches are worth the hype.

This is the king of New York delis. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 24, 2018

Barnabier, Barcelona…A Simple, Most Delicious Sandwich

Barnabier is situated on the Olympic port walk overlooking the luxurious marina at a walking distance from the Barcelona casino, so it’s quite literally tourist central.

To me the world’s greatest simple ham sandwich is a combination of two things that I loved to eat in Spain! Iberico ham and a garlic, tomato rubbed bread. With that rich flavor profile, it is without a doubt one of the best gastronomic pleasures there is.

There’s lots to love here, and lots that could be a little better. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 30, 2018

MOS Café and Dining, Jakarta…burger is just… well, gross

This restaurant is a leading contender for the competition in the horribleness stakes. I hope this restaurant stays open long enough to be featured on the next series of Gordon’s Kitchen Nightmares.

My heart sank, then my blood pressure spiked when I took a bite of that charcoal rich MOS cheese burger. The pate was cold.  Like repulsive just-out-of-a-refrigerator cold.

Consider the service where servers give you the feeling that you should feel lucky to receive whatever you get. When informed of the cold pate, her explanation is that it is meant to be cold because I had wanted it cooked medium rare.

Whatever you think of my food expertise, allow me this: I have been to a lot of places. And I have never in my life take quite so much pleasure in saying no. Don’t bother with MOS Café and Dining. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 21, 2018

Restaurant Rosengarten, Bern…Great food and jaw-dropping views

If you fancy stunning panoramic Altstadt views with your food, you’ve come to the right place. Just a short walk from the Bear Park, Restaurant Rosengarten offers a feast for the eyes — and for the taste buds, as well.

The pan seared honey and white balsamic scallops, artichokes-asparagus salad and pomegranate were delicately sweet and melt-in-your-mouth tender. The delicious angus beef rump-steak with green pepper sauce, French fries and market salad was cooked to perfection.

With incredible panoramas, it is hard to compete with Restaurant Rosengarten’s setting. This is just the spot for a special occasion. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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