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

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…

confit par1

confit par6

conit par2

June 25, 2016

Gyoza-Ya, Singapore…Gyozas softer than your lover’s thighs

Gyozas are the best quintessential comfort food; they are packages of joy in each bite, and generally inexpensive. They are usually a sideshow at most Japanese eateries. But over at Gyoza -Ya, these doughy half-moons have been turned into the main event.

As you would expect from the restaurant’s name, there’s a decent list of gyoza – pork, vegetable, crab, prawn. The pan-fried beauties here are delightfully plump, succulent, and juicy. Their edges seared to crisp filigrees, their seasoned interiors dense and my fav, the pork ones are pork-heavy. Service is swift and super friendly and the menu un-intimidating. Bottom line? Gyoza-Ya doesn’t serve up haute cuisine, but it does make for a pleasant spot in which to indulge in a not so- light lunch or dinner, at wallet pleasing prices.

They are (to borrow a description) “softer than your lover’s thighs” and yet I won’t want to share them with my lover. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

gyoza sin

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 14, 2016

Lido di Manhattan Ristorante & Bar, Los Angeles…vodka pasta at a Kitchen Nightmares restaurant

Whether you’re craving a simple plate of spaghetti and meatballs, or an osso buco that melts in your mouth, there’s an abundance of Italian restaurants in Los Angeles. Wanting to go beyond specialty pizzerias and ho-hum red sauce joints, I landed in Lido di Manhattan Ristorante & Bar at Manhattan Beach.

The restaurant itself is beautiful, with a modern, spacious layout. The menu itself is pretty extensive and looks very enticing. Stepping out of my comfort zone, I ordered Lido’s famous vodka pasta – prosciutt0, basil, shallots, garlic, Lido’s famous spicy vodka sauce, tossed with penne. It was good but there was nothing out of the ordinary. Overall I would rate it as so-so. The food was okay. The service was fair

After dining here, I’d found out that this restaurant was featured on Kitchen Nightmares Season 3 Episode 5. Who would have thought?! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

lido's la2

January 30, 2016

Jean-Georges, Shanghai…all the dishes fell just short of wowing me

Most foodies know about the lunch at Jean-Georges, which is often cited as the best value in fine dining.

One of the great things about 3-Michelin starred Jean Georges at the Trump Tower in New York is that the hospitality begins as you get out of the car, even before you enter the restaurant. Here in Shanghai, the service is professional and confident throughout.

This glorious restaurant at Three on the Bund has high ceilings and tall windows which were lovely, while the sweeping view of the Bund outside through the windows provided a nice contrast to the color scheme.

From the simplest dish of sea scallops with caramel used cauliflower, caper-raisin emulsion to the roasted beef tenderloin potato blintz apple-jalapeno puree, all the dishes fell just short of wowing me. Don’t get me wrong, it was still good, but was it OMFG-I-will-sell-my-children-and-my-soul-to-eat-here-every-day good? Can’t say it. My lips don’t lie.

I’d take Jia Jia Tang Bao over Jean-Georges any day, star or no star. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

JG Shanghai

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