PEr FYI

July 14, 2018

5 Napkin Burger, Boston…I’m not in love

All I’ve been hearing are great things about 5 Napkin. The hype was that the burger is so succulent and loaded with luscious accessories that it requires five napkins to deal with the juicy runoff. It’s an irresistible notion that demands taking up the challenge and discovering what all the fuss is about. How could I not? So when I was in Boston I decided to go to one so I can say I went. The problem is I didn’t know if it’s any good or not, I just think it’s supposed to be great.

Here’s what I know: 5 Napkin makes a good burger, but not a great one. The namesake 5 Napkin Burger – all natural beef, imported gruyere, caramelized onions, rosemary – garlic aioli was OK—not great. If you’re looking for the juiciest, most flavorful hamburger around, this isn’t it. The signature hand cut fries were like the burger. OK

I didn’t dislike it but wouldn’t go out of my way to eat one again. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 8, 2018

Aladdin, London…bland Disney magic

Colourful designs and lively song and dance routines. The songs themselves are a mixed bag: the big romantic number A Whole New World is completely upstaged by the magic carpet that floats through the air with no strings attached. Not visibly, anyway. The Genie’s big show-stopper Friend Like Me – a jazzy riot of infectious trick-mustering showmanship that conjures the spirit of Las Vegas and hits the jack-pot in terms of hummability.

There’s so little of Lion King’s fecundity of imagination here that the ideal target audience would seem to be much younger, and more easily impressed. There’s been a cull of the animals – Abu  and Iago – that featured in the 1992 cartoon. It barely rises above the generic.

My honest advice, save your pound sterling. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 7, 2018

Bain Des Paquis, Geneva…cheese heaven and a great place to people-watch

A truly authentic cheese fondue meal – the much loved Swiss staple – is best relished away from the stress and bustle of city life. Bain Des Paquis is a great place to lay-back and hang out in the sun right next to Lake Geneva. The on-site café, La Buvette des Bains serves affordable yet tasty meals – especially the cheese fondue.

The house specialty, Fondue au Cremant is made with sparkling wine similar to champagne rather than white wine, for a more delicate flavour. This is the real fondue deal.

If rich, creamy cheeses a sound like your kind of scene, grab a few friends and meet for conversation, people watch in laid-back atmosphere and some of the most spectacular sceneries you’ve ever seen. Bain Des Paquis is just for people like you. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 24, 2018

Bread in common, Perth…a food lover’s delight

Bread in Common in the quaint town of Fremantle is a restaurant and bakery that feels alive and it’s infectious. Much of that is to do with its relaxed vibe, from talkative servers who do their job with pride and skill. The eye-catching interior has dozens of vintage-style globes streaming from the warehouse ceiling or looping in red electrical cord over suspended beams. Long, wooden communal tables, all with views of the giant open kitchen.

The food is plain delicious. There are two you simply must not miss. The succulent lamb ribs, lime, mint, black garlic, sherry was a flavourful plate with melt in your mouth meat. I can eat 6 without blinking an eye. I brought home memories of the first unforgettable bites of the beef brisket, toast vinegar onions, chives, yogurt. It was such tender goodness.

I challenge you not to fall in love with this big-hearted restaurant Perth is lucky to have. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 23, 2018

Burger & Lobster, Bangkok…worth the dollars and calories.

Burgers & Lobster and what Kate Middleton is wearing are apparently HUGE IN LONDON. Burgers & Lobster is a UK mini-chain of hip restaurants that just serves three different delicacies: burgers, lobsters and lobster rolls. Duh.

The lobster rolls are big: from four to five ounces of claw and tail meat, with no other ingredients besides the mayonnaise. The whole lobsters are, besides being a good deal, also fairly delicious dipped in melted butter.

Burger & Lobster is essentially luxe fast food. It is worth the dollars and calories. Of which there are many. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 17, 2018

Druckwasserwerk, Frankfurt…hearty German cuisine that hits the spot

To the uninformed first-timers, Druckwasserwerk might be dismissed as a huge 19th-century machine hall. Indeed it once housed the steam engines needed to operate the elevators and cranes in the nearby port. Today, what makes it special is the industrial-scale ambience.

The beautifully fried wiener schnitzel – wiener veal schnitzel, potato, cucumber, wild cranberries – stands out. The Schnitzel is perfectly crisp on the outside and inside, filled with cut-with-a fork meat. It’s a monumental plateful, as in you could use it as a headstone when the time comes. There are always specials, and they are always worth considering. The kleine pastasackchen –  truffle filling, Roquefort cream was comfort-food heaven. The small cake of conched Swiss chocolate with liquid core, blueberry cream and chocolate fondant dessert was very good too.

Nothing sophisticated. Just good bourgeois food. And sometimes that is exactly what is needed. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 15, 2018

Mr Rocky, Shenzhen…like having a cheesy version of Nashville in Shenzhen

Inspired by the wild wild west of the USA, this American bar in Shenzhen is your go-to spot only if you are desperately in need of some cheesy cowboy-style atmosphere and dying to tuck into burgers, steaks and pizzas and hit the dance floor for an evening featuring live bands and DJ sets.

Food is profoundly awful. The steak was tough as nails and disappointingly taste like the bovine equivalent of chicken breast, the pizza was chewy as bubble gum and the hot pumpkin soup was anything but.

An out-of-touch and bungled attempt to create a themed restaurant. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 10, 2018

Eataly Caffe, New York City…I died and went to Italian Heaven

Disneyland for Italian-food lovers, Eataly is an Italian-food marketplace which sells all things Italian. There’s a fishmonger and butcher (and vegetable butcher) and an espresso bar, a wine store, a cheese store, a cooking school, a kitchenware department and a great deal more. There is a restaurant at Eataly that serves fish. There is a restaurant called Le Verdure which serves only vegetables. It is bruschetta city there. There is a pasta area. And there is a first-come-first-served bar area, La Piazza, where you can stand at a marble-top table and drink wine or eat salamis and cheese as if in Venice.  From the bakery behind the pizza ovens: good breads. From the chocolate station up front: dessert.

Eataly serves up delicious dishes while offering a bite of Italian authenticity. The Prosciutto croissant with tops which are golden and flaky is packed with plenty of pleasantries. The Italian prosciutto was delicate, sweet and adds flavor to every bite. The wonderfully airy apricot croissant was irresistible pleasure! This one is truly a breakfast in bed item.

A word of advice – if you’re waiting for a table to open up at the restaurant, browse around the store but don’t buy anything. Your stomach may protest, but your wallet will thank you

Eataly is an answered prayer. It represents a step forward for Italian food in New York. It is now my new “happiest place on Earth.” This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 9, 2018

Super super, Hong Kong…They won’t win any awards

There’s a reason wonton soup became one of the backbones of the Hong Kong menu. Beyond being simply delicious, it is a taste that crosses borders.

This trip to Super Super relegated my perspective of beef noodle soup to hard beef balls, tough-as-nails beef tripe and supposedly premium beef brisket dropped into a bowl of soup. However, I got to say that the soup is light and doesn’t just taste like something that came from a can, and the shrimp wontons are slippery and thin and filled with small chunks of shrimp folded into the filling.

The space is nothing too notable, but it’s a calm, not overly cramped room as you would expect in Hong Kong.

It’s not the best deal around. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 27, 2018

Samgeori Pocha, Seoul…something a little different

If you like great value delicious food, plenty of soju shots, and hanging around young people, particularly students, this place might just be your spiritual home. Bursting full of character and loaded with 70s chic, Samgeori Pocha is a classic Korean-style (pocha) bar.

The unabashedly spicy tteokbokki was impossible to put down. For those who are not familiar with Korean cuisine, tteokbokki refers to of chewy rice cakes and fiery, funky gochujang chili paste together with other ingredients such as seafood, scallions and egg.

Expect fantastic retro ambience, irresistible drinks and a night you won’t forget anytime soon.  This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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