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

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 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…

March 1, 2011

Sevilla, Claridges, New Delhi…I was spellbound by the uniqueness of the ambience.

The overall setting and ambiance of Sevilla is definitely is a great date place. If you are one of those people who loves the open air, this is going to be your heaven. A fancy fire and open flames and in winter deep troughs provided the warmth. The private canopied seating near the waterfall is the best table in the house however I was expecting more authentic Spanish fare.

Ambience aside, there are few “Ole”moments with the food and beverage. The traditional spanish Sangria de Cava is Dead seamissing from the menu. We were told they have a wide selection of vodkas, so we tried the next best thing: order a bottle of Pinky (which was being offered in the menu). We were sadly told they ran out of stock as a private party drank the bar dry the night before. We eventually settled for a pitcher of Sangria and a bottle of sparkling wine …to make our own Sangria de Cava.

All three tapas we ordered seems to be prepared in the Dead Sea. They were overwhelmingly salty. It was inedible and we sent them back to the hell from which they came from.

My local Indian friend had to call 6 times to try to make a booking for a table. it’s a pity the rest of the experience doesn’t match the hypnotic magic they’d created with the setting because it’s a delightful spot in Delhi. One must note that it is open only for dinner from 7.30 p.m. to a bit beyond midnight. This is the true truth because I am still saying it as it is…

December 19, 2010

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, Barcelona…a must!

The place is so gorgeous and coloured and lively I could see it again and again and enjoy it every time as the first time. Do keep in mind that this is not only a market to come and buy, but also to enjoy the pleasure of wandering around. Everything is just so colorful and delicious looking.

I always buy freshly squeezed and concocted fruit juices which are amazing and so cheap! Breakfast every morning here (the bread feels like it’s out of the oven straight into our mouths) is a must.  La Boqueria’s best feature may be its huge fresh Seafood Section. However, other food items are also available. For example: many kiosks sell typical Catalan and Spanish foods, including famous Iberian hams.

This is one of my favourite places in Barcelona. If you go to Barcelona and want to feel and taste the local culture, you have to go here. This is the true truth because I say it as it is…

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