Showing posts with label Food & Drink. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food & Drink. Show all posts

Hong Kong: How To #DiscoverHongKong in 24 Hours

How & What To See, Eat, and Do in Hong Kong in 24 Hours. #DiscoverHongKong

I wandered aimlessly in and out of the glossy boutiques - paying special attention to local designers like Shanghai Tang - rolling my Tumi cabin bag across the polished marble floors of upscale shopping centre Elements where the Airport Express had deposited me: right in the belly of the beast, so to speak. Despite having to wait the better part of 6 hours for Luxy to arrive I was in an unusually chipper mood - I wasn’t even offended that whenever I spoke Cantonese I was replied to in English, but just how ‘white’ is my accent?! - until I was hit with the realisation we would have only one full day in Hong Kong but we had a to-do list to rival the Labours of Hercules. And yet; despite having time, distance, and a serious shortage of *ahem* honest taxi drivers against us, Luxy and I took on the Fragrant Harbour and WON. Behold our victory, that it may someday pave your hurried but not harried way: this is how you do HONG KONG IN 24 HOURS.


EXTRA SAUCE: 21
May 19, 2017

Hong Kong: How To #DiscoverHongKong in 24 Hours

I wandered aimlessly in and out of the glossy boutiques - paying special attention to local designers like Shanghai Ta...

Melbourne, Australia: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Melbourne, Australia: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal


What goes around comes around. That must be how it looked for a Londoner to travel across the world to Australia, only to find herself in the Melbourne outpost of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Heston Blumenthal is the Willy Wonka of British gastronomy whose name conjures visuals of snail porridge, feeding frenzies at Waitrose for his fancy Christmas puddings, and outrageously fabulous history-themed feasts. So obviously when the second (and only other branch) of the original Dinner by Heston in London opens in Melbourne, the city's collective foodies - especially the ones who missed out on the Fat Duck pop up - got excited. Some even declared it Melbourne's best dining experience. Like hell I was going to let that slip under my nose, or rather past my tongue, especially when the menu featured dishes with an Australian twist created especially for Dinner by Heston Melbourne.
    
DINNER BY HESTON • CROWN TOWERS, 8 WHITEMAN STREET
SAUCE: 12345622

May 10, 2017

Melbourne, Australia: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

What goes around comes around. That must be how it looked for a Londoner to travel across the world to Australia, only to fin...

Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try

Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal


There are some wars you just don't wage - don't even get me started on the Sydney vs. Melbourne debate - including taking on the Melbourne foodie machine. It's a fight not even the most expansive of appetites would win; what with Michelin star restaurants, too-cool-for-school (and bookings too, judging from some of the queues) brunch spots, and all-round excellent eateries that proliferate the city faster than you can say "pop up hole-in-the-wall matcha dessert bar*". Conquering Melbourne's culinary offerings is at best an uphill struggle - I'm not just talking about climbing up Hosier Lane, post-food coma, in heels - and everyone will have different, passionate opinions about where and what to eat in the city. I did the best I could during my stay despite some hiccups like not making reservations** and recovering from surgery. Here are 11 Melbourne Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Tried and Loved.

*no, I'm not thinking of a specific place but I'm sure one has already existed in recent Melbourne history... 
**the ones that got away: Movida Next Door, Naked for Satan, Naked in The Sky, and Vue de Monde. Sob.

May 08, 2017

Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try

There are some wars you just don't wage - don't even get me started on the Sydney vs. Melbourne debate - inclu...

Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved

Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.

Coffee, cafés, cocktails, Chinese... despite a brief time in Sydney I seemed to have managed to sample a lil' bit of everything. This culinary accomplishment has nothing to do with my being intrepid (unless we're talking about how I collected 9 Kangaskhan in three days) nor there being sweet nothing else to do (quite the contrary - despite Sydney's lockdown laws there is a wealth of arvo activites for the eager visitor) but rather the diversity of offerings in the city and its suburbs. From fine dining by the beach to a classic brunch fry up, here are the 5 eateries that stood out the most in my short but sweet stay in Sydney.
April 26, 2017

Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved

Coffee, cafés, cocktails, Chinese...  despite a brief time in Sydney I seemed to have managed to sample a lil' bit of ev...

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: The Good Co, Bangsar

The Good Co. in Bangsar is a healthy, meat-free, clean-eating cafe in Kuala Lumpur popular for their cold-pressed juices, artisan sandwiches, smoothie bowls, and salad pots.









THE GOOD CO, BANGSAR: HELPING BUSY MALAYSIANS EAT HEALTHIER,
 ONE NASI LEMAK IN AN INSTAWORTHY MASON JAR AT A TIME
March 15, 2017

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: The Good Co, Bangsar

THE GOOD CO, BANGSAR : HELPING BUSY MALAYSIANS  EAT HEALTHIER,   ONE NASI LEMAK IN AN INSTAWORTHY MASON JAR A...

Afternoon Tea at The Wellesley

Afternoon Tea at The Wellesley London

LIFE, LATELY: SWIM - A PRELUDE 
Read the first chapter Life, lately: That sinking feeling
February 13, 2017

Afternoon Tea at The Wellesley

LIFE, LATELY: SWIM - A PRELUDE   Read the first chapter Life, lately: That sinking feeling

Christmas Menu at Pan Chai, Harrods




My family are hard work. Don't get me wrong, I love muh crazy Asian fam and wouldn't swap them for any other brood in the Chinese diaspora world, but let's make no bones about it - they keep me on my toes, in the most literal sense. You may have gandered from Instagram Stories (and if you didn't, you really should keep up) that the pack were in town over the weekend. Disappointed by their lack of aurora borealis sightings in Reykjavik, the fam extended their stopover in London - turning their frowns upside down with a four-day orgy of conspicuous consumerism (because there's no therapy like retail therapy) and seeking a Pan-Asian antidote to their Icelandic smorgasbord of reindeer meatballs. Clearly, 'tis the season to be hunting and gathering because Harrods was full of like-minded shoppers on a mission; nostrils flared and credit cards pointed like a smoking gun, pausing only for nourishment. And what nourishment there was to be had at Pan Chai. On previous occasion I've described their offerings as luxurious Pan-Asian fare for the fast and furious, and it still is, going by their dizzying turnover. But this festive season Pan Chai are bringing to the table a reason to linger - their gorgeous and decadent CHRISTMAS PLATTER.

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I whetted my appetite, as one does, with an old favourite the BANZAI platter (lobster tempura, avocado, asparagus, spicy mayonnaise topped with orange and black caviar, unagi sauce) and the SNOW CRAB SALAD (shredded snow crab with avocado, caviar and seaweed salad). 

CHRISTMAS PLATTER
£188, SERVES 2 PEOPLE

Edamame 

Selection of 6 pieces sashimi (salmon, fatty tuna, yellow tail) 

Selection of 6 pieces nigiri (tuna, salmon, yellow tail) 

Whole grilled live Canadian lobster with Korean spicy sauce or
 Japanese teriyaki sauce topped with gold leaf 

Alaskan King Crab leg with spicy chilli sauce 

 Skewered yaki scallops with sweetened soy sauce 


A bowl of edamame, delicately steamed and salted, served as a palate cleanser for the CHRISTMAS PLATTER; a cornucopia of delights whose stand-out attractions were the whole GRILLED CANADIAN LOBSTER with Japanese teriyaki sauce topped with gold leaf and the ALASKAN KING CRAB LEG with spicy chilli sauce. As decadent as the crustacean dishes were - as excessive as lobster brushed with gold may seem, in our gilded surroundings of Harrods Food Hall it made perfect sense - the rest of the Christmas Platter was no less rewarding. The SASHIMI selection of SALMON, FATTY TUNA, and YELLOW TAIL was predictably fresh, and YAKI SCALLOPS SKEWERED WITH ASPARAGUS, while deceptively informal-looking, enjoyed the same precision of its more elaborate companions. 


The CHRISTMAS PLATTER is brilliant in its seemingly simple presentation; one begins from the bottom left and eats anti-clockwise - beginning with delicate sashimi then progressing to more complex, intense flavours before ending with rich lobster. Although it was the penultimate dish that made the greatest impression on me; the spicy chilli sauce, so perfectly imbued into the Alaskan King Crab legs reminded me of the similar flavour palate of my maternal grandmother's top secret chilli crab sauce.

All in all; the Christmas Platter is a stunning seasonal addition to Pan Chai's already excellent menu, sure to impress even the most time-starved of shoppers-diners into slowing down. Catch it while you can at Harrods.

*I was invited to review Pan Chai and the meal was complimentary.
December 21, 2016

Christmas Menu at Pan Chai, Harrods

Harrods, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL WWW.PANCHAI.COM My family are hard work. Don't get me wrong, I...

Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods

Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods


FEELING FESTIVE WITH THE CHAI WU CHRISTMAS MENU


All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth...and my passport back in time for me to join my annual family trip, this year in Reykjavik. Unfortunately, both the Home Office and Santa's workshop take the same amount of time to make a little girl's wishes come true ie. a whole friggin' year because the odds of me traipsing about Iceland with Rudolph & Co in just over a week's time are as slim as the chance of a white winter in London. I bear no grudge toward the big red guy (although I'm a tad exasperated by bureaucratic red tape), after all as a sometimes-Atheist-mostly-Agnostic-Asian my claim to Christmas celebrations goes as far as opening every window of my beauty advent calendar on the 1st and Bucks Fizz benders on the 25th.

I'm surprisingly sanguine about the prospect of spending Christmas on my ownsome. Christmas is about food, family, and fighting. The latter two, I'll get my fix of the week before Christmas when my family make their way to me in London (which I'll no doubt milk by nudging them towards the Prada concession in Harrods *cough* consolation present *cough*) and the former, I can get my fix of with Chai Wu's Christmas Menu - seasonal dishes with a delightful Chinese twist. So Santa, put me on your naughty list for all I care - I see your minced pies and raise you the Chai Wu scallops and foie gras in red wine sauce.

 CHAI WUHARRODS FIFTH FLOOR, KNIGHTSBRIDGE
87-135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL
Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods
Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods
Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods

You know from my previous review of Chai Wu that this glossy Pan-Asian restaurant serves up luxurious Chinese and Japanese favourites with a literal Midas touch (gold leaf-flaked dim sum, anyone?) so I was as curious as anyone to see their tribute to the festive season. It seems that as far as flavours go, the references are subtle - such as the deliciously dense black pepper turkey roll, while the focus is rather on that hearty, homey feeling of Christmas dinner. Hence a creamy starter of avocado lobster soup topped with fish roe in a delicate glass bowl, hinting at the refinement to follow. The scallops and foie gras in red wine sauce brought glamour and decadence. The star dish was the Chilean sea bass, the skin perfectly pan-fried with the most moreish yellow bean sauce begging to be mopped up with the accompanying rice. Even humbler dishes, like the baby pak choi and egg fried rice were elevated with rich ingredients; the former with silky shiitake mushrooms in oyster sauce and the latter with bits of scallop.


CHRISTMAS MENU
£88 per person, minimum for 2

Avocado Lobster Soup 
Black Pepper Turkey Roll 
Scallops and Foie Gras in a Red Wine Sauce 
Pan-Fried Chilean Sea Bass with Spicy Yellow Bean Sauce
Shiitake Mushrooms and Baby Pak Choi in Oyster Sauce
Egg White Fried Rice with Dry Scallops and Mixed Seafood
Dark Chocolate Orange Fondant


Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods

Desserts at Chai Wu are always a gorgeous and elaborate affair. The Christmas special is no different - the dark chocolate orange fondant mercifully had none of that cloying chocolate orange sickliness (its popularity amongst the Brits will forever remain, to me, a great mystery) but rather a thick, rich, warm sauce that oozed with all the sensuality of a good pudding. 

I made two curious observations; one: that the meal began on a distinctively Western note, and two: that despite the rather traditional Chinese home-cooking style of the other dishes, the Christmas menu evoked just the right amount of homeliness with none of the 'dated' feeling. For yours truly, that rare Overseas Chinese expatriate who eschews simple Chinese home-cooking for more time consuming-to prepare dishes such as duck pancakes, it's a compliment to Chai Wu for finding the right balance between comfort food and contemporary cuisine.

I invited Honey to join me at Chai Wu for a long overdue catchup. A seven-dish Christmas menu turned into a nearly-four hour long meal; partly because the dishes were so delicious that they begged our full attention, partly because we had so much to say in between courses, and partly thanks to the libations. As per my suggestions Honey had the signature champagne cocktail - Chai Wu Fizz - while I whet my palate with a sake cocktail I believe to be called the Gold Miyagi. And then there was the tea. So much tea - and I'm not only talking about the herbal variety but also about the jaw-dropping, scandalous variety. After what seemed like an endless and delicious wave of 'Oh my God!'s and 'They did NOT!'s the drama was punctuated with perfect comedic timing when the ever-attentive staff asked, 'Ladies, would you like some tea?' WOULD WE! The Jasmine Blossoming (how appropriate) flowering tea was a wonderful refreshing note to the end of a decadent meal and equally juicy conversation.

The Chai Wu Christmas Menu is Chinese comfort-food with the restaurant's signature luxury - 
a mix of traditional and Western dishes with seasonal references.
Just the thing then, for homesick me in London, pining for the feel-good factor of Christmas.
The Chai Wu Christmas Menu is available till the end of December, and is £88 per person.

Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods
Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods
Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods

*Our meal at Chai Wu was complimentary in exchange for this review.

November 28, 2016

Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods

FEELING FESTIVE WITH THE CHAI WU CHRISTMAS MENU All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth... and my passpor...

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 3 Hidden Gems in Petaling Street

CHOCHA FOOD STORE, MERCHANT'S LANE, and PS150 - the three new watering holes bringing an old-school but young-blood revival to Jalan Petaling in Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown.





SPEAKEASY, BUT CARRY NO SELFIE STICK - THE REVIVAL OF KUALA LUMPUR'S 
CHINATOWN THANKS TO 3 NEW HIDDEN WATERING HOLES
October 06, 2016

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 3 Hidden Gems in Petaling Street

SPEAKEASY, BUT CARRY NO SELFIE STICK - THE REVIVAL  OF KUALA LUMPUR'S  CHINATOWN  THANKS TO 3 NEW HIDDEN WATERING HOLES...

Kuala Lumpur: Botanica + Co, Bangsar South

 Botanica + Co, Bangsar South


CONSERVATORY CHIC AT BOTANICA + CO, BANGSAR SOUTH

Of all the erroneous assumptions my Western friends make about me, the one that most defies logic is that I should adore heat and humidity or at the very least be accustomed to it. Let me break it down for you - One: Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun, Two: By that reasoning, why do you gwai los complain about the cold in winter? Three: Malaysians drive their air-conditioned cars to air-conditioned offices then to air-conditioned watering holes and finally back to their air-conditioned homes. So no, my experience of the searing tropics is limited to the three and a half minutes the valet makes me wait for my car, and my love for all things tropical is best appreciate in the chilly confines of an air-conditioned space. It's the only way to admire palms and fronds without being eaten by Aedes mosquitos, really...

So when I got wind (like an air-con breeze, haha) of a fresh botanics-inspired restaurant arrival housed in an air-conditioned greenhouse, I made my way to the new-ish township of Bangsar South in search of Botanica + Co.

September 25, 2016

Kuala Lumpur: Botanica + Co, Bangsar South

CONSERVATORY CHIC AT BOTANICA + CO, BANGSAR SOUTH Of all the erroneous assumptions my Western friends make about me, the...

Kuala Lumpur: Breakfast Thieves, Bangsar

Breakfast Thieves, Kuala Lumpur's hot new brunch spot, makes its way to Malaysia from Melbourne
Breakfast Thieves, Kuala Lumpur's hot new brunch spot, makes its way to Malaysia from Melbourne
STEALING GLANCES AND TAKING BITES AT 
BREAKFAST THIEVES, BANGSAR

There's a name for the international design language of post-social media cool - reclaimed Industrial chic juxtaposed against Calacatta marble, mason jars, and fiddle leaf figs - the hipster aesthetic of which is designed (that is, according to Kyle Chayka's piece for The Guardian) as a soothing balm for the "wealthy, mobile elite" who want their 'authentic and off the beaten track' with a side of wifi. Chayka calls it AirSpace, and bemoans this globalised style as homogenous. Personally? Hey, if it keeps my Instagram feed neat... In all seriousness though, I'm all for the world being a smaller place especially when said globalisation manifests itself in the form of delicious, delicious brunch.

And apart from the New Yorkers nobody does brunch like the 'Strayans. Cafe culture has spread like bushfire in Malaysia thanks to the country's relative proximity to the Antipodes. My second favourite* entity to arrive from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur is the second branch of the new Bangsar café that's got all the Instagrammers and brunch hunters excited - Breakfast Thieves.

*my most favourite is arriving today. Boomchickawahwaahhh

September 23, 2016

Kuala Lumpur: Breakfast Thieves, Bangsar

Breakfast Thieves, Kuala Lumpur's hot new brunch spot, makes its way to Malaysia from Melbourne STEALING GLANCES AND ...

Min Jiang, South Kensington

Min Jiang: authentic Chinese food in South Kensington, London

"Welcome, esteemed guests from five lands and four seas, to gather as friends for various delicacies"

MIN JIANG
Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, London

________

Mandarin is a language so fluid and multi-faceted that if you ask several different speakers with even the slightest variation of fluency among themselves to translate, each one will give you a different interpretation. Above is my understanding of the couplet that greets guests in Chong Qing - the striking, glossy-red private dining room of Min Jiang - but then again, native Mandarin speakers have diplomatically described my comprehension ability as 'adorably foreign'. Oh dear.

However, a concept that is not alien to this Overseas Chinese Malaysian-now British expat is the comfort of authentic Chinese cooking in a foreign land. A surefire indication of such a establishment is, as is the case with Min Jiang on Kensington High Street, is a chorus of various Chinese accents: I heard the baritones of husky Mainland accents, the clear altos of the Taiwanese; the curious, sometimes soprano-like drawls of the Malaysian Chinese, with Cantonese cadenzas peppering the symphony.

That overture raised the brocade curtain on a gorgeous meal for four at 'London's most authentic Chinese restaurant'.

September 20, 2016

Min Jiang, South Kensington

"Welcome, esteemed guests from five lands and four seas, to gather as friends for various delicacies" ...

New York: STK Rooftop, Meatpacking District

New York: STK Rooftop, Meatpacking District


HIGH STEAKS AT STK ROOFTOP IN NEW YORK'S MEATPACKING DISTRICT
September 02, 2016

New York: STK Rooftop, Meatpacking District

HIGH STEAKS AT  STK ROOFTOP  IN NEW YORK'S MEATPACKING DISTRICT

Birthday brunch at The Standard Grill, New York

Celebrating my 30th birthday with brunch at The Standard Grill, New York
THE FIRST BRUNCH OF MY 30'S AT 
THE STANDARD GRILL, NEW YORK
August 27, 2016

Birthday brunch at The Standard Grill, New York

THE FIRST BRUNCH OF MY 30'S  AT  THE STANDARD GRILL , NEW YORK

Pan Chai, Harrods

Pan Chai, Harrods
August 09, 2016

Pan Chai, Harrods

Mr Fogg's Gin Parlour, Covent Garden

Mr Fogg's Gin Parlour, Covent Garden
August 05, 2016

Mr Fogg's Gin Parlour, Covent Garden

5 Authentic Restaurants To Try in Split, Croatia

Where to eat in Split, Croatia: 5 authentic restaurants to try


CRUISIN' FOR CUISINE: 5 MUST-TRY RESTAURANTS IN SPLIT


I know all about the perils of being a people pleaser. With Malaysian friends I speak the ubiquitous American accent peppered with 'lahs' and 'mahs' but in Britain I oscillate between sounding slightly Transatlantic to being mistaken for an extra on Downton Abbey (upstairs, naturally). It can be exhausting trying to keep up with one's audiences' preferences - you could say I've developed split personalities. I don't know how Croatian cuisine does it: between their Italian influences (the Croats love a good seafood pasta and risotto), meat platters to rival those of Spain, and octopus so fresh you could've picked it off a boat in Greece; never mind the locals, visitors to Croatia are contemplating mid-bite "Where exactly in the Mediterranean am I?" Culinary confusion aside, this hodge-podge of personalities on a plate makes for a dining experience that is diverse and never dull, as my 'souvenir' of a 3kg weight gain (!) from 5 days in Split will attest to. Lo, here are the five restaurants you must try in Split, Croatia...

🌊🌞🇭🇷

10 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT SPLIT, CROATIA: PART 1 AND PART 2
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASIMINNE YIP USING CANON 6D (50MM 1.4 & 24MM 2.8)
August 02, 2016

5 Authentic Restaurants To Try in Split, Croatia

CRUISIN' FOR CUISINE: 5 MUST-TRY RESTAURANTS IN SPLIT I know all about the perils of being a people pleaser. Wit...