PEr FYI

August 31, 2016

South Beauty, Beijing…Honestly, not bad!

Aside from the Cantonese style of Chinese food which has long been dominant, Sichuan has become by far the most popular region for Chinese restaurants. South Beauty, as you might have guessed, specialises in Sichuan dishes.

Go for the signature crisp chicken which is beautifully crispy, tender and delicious, or, if you can stomach it, the signature braised streaky pork with chili sauce – beautifully presented in a striking eartherware pot. It’s good – soft, wobbly, erotic and very fatty. Leave your arteries at the door.

Nice decor, not too fancy, not too touristy and divey.  The service was quick and efficient.

This place does a fine job of the Sichuan Province’s dishes and at prices that won’t empty your wallet, too. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

south beauty pek1

south beauty pek2

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August 28, 2016

Hiang Ji Roasted Meat Noodle House, Singapore…a blatant rip-off

So what makes a bad restaurant? Obviously dreadful food is a hurdle, then there’s surly waiting staff, a dingy atmosphere, woeful decor and the crucial litmus–value for money. If there’s something that really niggles, it’s being ripped off.

To be fair, Hiang Ji in Toa Payoh, which I’ve taken a dislike to clearly isn’t the worst in Singapore. Rather, it’s the most disappointing.

I do believe in paying the proper price for food. So I’m not advocating dirt-cheap restaurants. Likewise, as I said, the very best restaurants are worth their huge bills, which is why I and many other people save up to go to them. But when places like Hiang Ji charge full whack for extreme portions, it really annoys me. A small sharing platter can be of different sizes and prices, depending on the kitchen’s whims and fancies. No amount of feedback nor complain will get them to change it for you.

A meal here could cost the price of rent in some cities. While that’s an exaggeration, it’s best to avoid this place and just go with the others if you’re going to spend the money and get the best roast meat possible. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

worst of the worst sin tpy

August 14, 2016

Le Scossa, Paris…makes you go ooh la la

Set on the corner of the busy Victor Hugo Place, Le Scossa is in almost every way an unexpected find. A particularly cosy and beautiful restaurant full of French charm, good food, friendly service, it is also great for people watching.

For starters, I had escargot – they call it Snails XXL on the menu – which was the best I had in Paris on my most recent trip. That and “the real pepper steak, 200gr beef filet” are high points. Both were masterpieces of seething, aggressive flavor. The steak cut was tender, well-marbled and oozed blood-tinted jus. The finesses of the cooking here are shining examples of why the French have for so long led the world when it comes to gastronomy.

A dignified gem, Le Scossa couldn’t feel much more Parisian. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

scossa par1

scossa par5

July 17, 2016

True Blue Cuisine, Singapore…nothing on the plate and everything on the bill

Ever since my personal experience dining in True Blue Cuisine for a business lunch, the words True Blue Cuisine is officially an adjective meaning something absolutely minuscule in my dictionary. To paraphrase that extensive analysis, it is an expensive restaurant which serves tiny portions.

It brings up a question : what is the value proposition for a restaurant like True Blue Cuisine? With some fancied-up versions of what are traditionally inexpensive ethnic Peranakan cuisines, price hikes come with no higher quality ingredients nor nicer service.

The question really is whether it would be worth it. And the answer is: never, for almost all of us.This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

true blue sin1

true blue sin2

July 16, 2016

Lollipop Rotitiam, Penang…service can be a little shaky

One cannot fault the ambition. Attempting to be a local coffee-shop with a cafe feel this very unassuming place innovative delicious and comforting Malaysian food. The name is a play with words “roti” (bread) and “kopitiam” (coffee shop).

Well, occasionally inventors come up with something so right it transcends fashion: Land Rovers, iPhones, Angry Birds. Gong Ji Xia Dan is Lollipop Rotitiam’s attempt at this category. A slice of thick slice of bread topped with their homemade duck egg kaya spread and two half-boiled eggs, though delightful, could not be called cutting-edge.

The question is this: should we resent paying more and waiting insanely long for food you could – almost – prepare at home? This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

rotitiam pg1

July 3, 2016

Au Petit Sud-Ouest, Paris…The duck confit is fall off the bone excellent

Oh. My. God. I can say so many great things about this restaurant. Food was absolutely amazing. Service was great. The atmosphere and decor very soothing.

The flavor of the fresh duck foie gras sprinkled with a little sea salt is stronger than the goose foie gras which is more delicate. Whatever else you want to say about it, at least acknowledge this: Foie gras is truly, indisputably, delicious. The confit duck leg with wild mushrooms is so good it’ll roll your eyes back. Confit — pronounced con-FEE — is an old-school a cooking method of baking salted and seasoned meat in fat, low and slow. The result is a sinful combination of crackling skin and meltingly tender, moist, and extremely flavorful meat. I’ve fallen in love and have been taken into culinary heaven!!!

The best duck confit I had so far in Paris. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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confit par6

conit par2

June 11, 2016

Tatsu Teppanyaki, Singapore…It won’t be cheap, but it will be great.

Flames fly in Tatsu. Obviously this type of high-octane dining isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste and it probably won’t win any Michelin stars, but it certainly has its loyal fans.

The chefs and the servers will go to great lengths to make sure you are happy. Cooked at a high heat and with only a drizzle of oil, the lightly seasoned cod fish with sauce in foil was delicious. The portions are smallish, but adequate. The amazing Aburi Sushi which consists of 5 pieces seared sushi and 7 rolls is a popular item on the menu. Layers of flavour and texture woven together in a symphonic result. Jiro might dream of sushi, but I have spent every waking moments obsessing about the seared sushi I had here.

What made me pleased to be here? Pretty well everything. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

tatsu sin1

tatsu sin2

May 22, 2016

Saveur, Singapore…this is not a real restaurant

Here’s perhaps the main thing: Saveur, sadly, isn’t bringing much to the Singapore culinary conversation.

The food was not only inedible but fraudulent. That duck confit is almost totally free of taste or character, taken from a deli in Anywhereville. They’re not meant for eating.  With the dessert, you expected salted caramel lava cake and what you get instead is the dull texture and bland flavour of a wartime MRE. It tastes like some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde.

Savuer might have the worst service of any Singapore restaurant. A “poor” rating with a “chaotic” atmosphere.

It’s like we’re punishing ourselves for something. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

saveur sin

May 21, 2016

Restoran Eastern Dragon, Johor Bahru…tragic fall from grace

Here are some words to describe the food: “rubbery,” “flavorless,” “mushy,” “gluey,” “swampy,” “limp,” and “dispiriting.” I hate everything. Everything, including the service, got two thumbs down and luckily for the restaruarant, I ran out of thumbs at that point.

This is not any old restaurant. This is Eastern Dragon, where, since the 1990s, has been hailed by several publications as one of the finest restaurants in Johor Bahru. Their famous roast duck and char siew were the talk of the town.

Has there ever been a more drastic fall from grace than that? The answer is no. There has not. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

eastern dragon jb

February 27, 2016

Loke Thye Kee Restaurant, Penang…disappointingly bad

Believe it or not, but apparently, Loke Thye Kee, or love boat as it was affectionately known, was once the choice venue of family gathering. To eat here, I was told is that you are in the presence of greatness, while the evidence of my senses tells me that I am in the presence of, at best, okayness. Let’s face it: times have changed drastically. Today, it’s so sub “standard”. Soooo over rated it’s unbelievable.

The people who work in Loke Thye Kee were warm and gracious but the food was another story. The hainanese set – kaya & butter toast, soft boiled eggs and kopi was very ordinary. The spread were woefully lacking richness and savouriness. The nasi lemak and chicken curry was as exciting as hotel buffet fare. For all its past glories, the restaurant is terribly, terribly sad.

Is Loke Thye Kee worth the time and money? In and of itself, no. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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loke thye kee pg2

 

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