PEr FYI

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…

 

December 14, 2014

Lombardi’s, New York City…put it on your pizza bucket list

This pizza “shrine” is recognized as the first pizzeria in the United States, opened by Italian immigrant Gennaro Lombardi in 1897 and eventually received a license for his restaurant by the city of New York in 1905. Zagat rated it “the best pizza on the planet.

Brick walls, red-and-white checkered tablecloths, the nostalgic atmosphere exudes a feeling of old New York.   Service is efficient, quick, and friendly.

Their menu isn’t very extensive at all.

First, pizza or calzone?

If pizza, White Pizza or Margherita Pizza?

Size, Small or Large?

Any Extra toppings? $3 each for premium ones and $2 for regular ones.

Our masterpiece was a small 14 inch pizzas, sliced into 6 pieces. Half original margherita (the sauce was deeply flavoured, a rich and concentrated tomato sensation) with large chunks of fresh mozzarella, fresh crushed tomato sauce, topped with Romano and fresh basil, and half white pizza (no sauce), fresh mozza, ricotta, romano, fresh garlic, oregano, black pepper and fresh basil. The mozzarella were certainly fresh resulting in an almost greaseless slice. The premium toppings – pepperoni, sweet Italian sausage – were also top quality. We also had a couple of regular toppings – fresh wild mushrooms and sliced tomatoes. Put those cutleries away, this is NYC pizza, duh, you pick this sucker up, fold it and get busy. The crust was perfect from the oven, blackened bottom, slightly crunchy but just chewy enough.

One thing you should know about Lombardi’s is that it’s cash only.

The first pizzeria in America, and from my experience Lombardi’s isn’t technically the best slice on the planet, but good enough to make gluttony the order of the night. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

lombardi ny

April 26, 2014

Extra Virgin Pizza, Singapore…..kind of like a cafeteria pizza

Boy, am I going against the flow here with my review of Extra Virgin Pizza. I really think the broadness of one’s experience with pizza tells the story here. I’ve have traveled a lot and had loads of pizzas in various parts of the globe. The best pizzas I’ve every had were in NYC. Unfortunately most pizza chains just don’t have the flavour of individually owned shops, which are often holes in the wall that have been in a family for years. So I took the chain pizza into account when we went Extra Virgin Pizza.

The bad news is that this was a negative pizza experience even for a chain. The pizza was just edible but not something you’d want to repeat. Nothing about it was outstanding or even middle of the road. The pizzas were lukewarm, not hot, a surprise for me. The sauce left the pizza crust very soggy and chewy, kind of like a cafeteria pizza.

The service was pleasant but average. The wait staff was pleasant and would ask if everything at the table was okay but I won’t be returning anytime soon for any of the soggy, chewy, spongy pizza. This is the true truth as I say it as it is….
extra virgin

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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March 3, 2013

Wolfgang Puck Express, New York…probably the best airport meal I’ve ever had

If you are in transit at Terminal 7, JFK Airport, New York, this is a good place to grab a quick  bite before boarding the plane for your next destination.

Even though the the restaurant itself is a counter service restaurant, their one server is not the most cheerful person in the world.   You won’t get no love from her.

jfk t7

Get the BBQ chicken pizza, and you can thank me later. It is a lovely crispy crust pizza (if only the crust was a tad thinner) topped with amazingly fresh ingredients like the tomatoes and onions.  It’s become the standard that I use to compare pizzas, and theirs is definitely one of the better ones I’ve tried. The meat was tender, the BBQ sauce was flavourful and rich and the amount of cheese was just right. Each bite was a great mix of flavours and completely satisfying!

The Create -Your-Own-Salad is another one to check out. The salad qualities here are at least on par with the entree salads of the better restaurants in the city.

I will say though that the food was great quality which is why I decided to rate the outlet a 3/5.  It would have been more if the service would have been there. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…..

August 10, 2011

Ella’s wood-fired pizza, Washington DC…unimpressive. Just average

I’ll cut to the chase: this is not a great place to go for pizza.  I left unimpressed.

This place is just average. The service was average, and the food was average. The pizza has no flavour. None. So Ella’s gets an average rating from me.

I wouldn’t eat there again since there are a heaps of other pizza places in DC to try. This is the true truth because I still say it as it is…

February 7, 2010

Mad for Garlic, Singapore…I am mad for more

This Korean franchise at Suntec City (Galleria), Singapore  offers a good selection of Italian offerings that are incorporated well with garlic. Being a MFG virgin, entering the restaurant and being greeted with an ambience decorated with garlic bulbs, it seems I have just walked into a house in Transylvania.

The Garlic Bread Tower was absolutely amazing. The mussels dish was generous. The mussels was chewy, the spicy sauce was sauteed with onions and, of course, garlic. The pasta was delicious and the shrimp and garlic sprout were rich in aroma. The garlic snowing pizza was the best. It’s a sweet garlic (duh) pizza topped with shrimp and pineapple dice. I didn’t regret a single bite.

You can be sure of a healthy meal here. Thanks to the special recipes and preparations, the health benefits of the garlic has been retained.

Although most of the dishes are not that strong in garlic, they should serve some mouthwash with your dessert. At least your vampire boss will not bother you after lunch.

Mad for garlic is mad for your money. I didn’t know garlic could be so expensive, but still, I must be mad…cause I want more. Believe me, I tell the true truth, always saying it as it is.

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