I'm currently in the midst of preparing for my exams now so I probably won't be updating until the end of next week. I do have a lot of places I need to get through so hopefully I'll be disciplined enough to do up the posts then.
Time flies. I've been away for a couple of months now and it's almost time for me to head back to SG. I was just telling Ivan when he was in Sydney for a short break that I was jaded with the SG food scene for a while. This and including the fact that I had too many commitments made me slow down on blogging. Honestly, there were times even when the thought of closing down this blog crossed my mind.
On the food front, the time that I've spent away has done a lot for me. I found the time and the words. More importantly, I was curious again; traveling to a new suburb to search for that one particular dish, planning a schedule of places to dine at, meeting new and old companions for a catch up over a good meal. I guess many things may have changed over the years since starting my blog but my love for a good meal and good company has been the only constant all this while.
I'm looking forward to a whole lot of eating and catch ups when I return home. When the p.sch girls sent me a msg to say hi, they decided to take pictures of their claypot chicken rice. They probably thought I cared more about what they were eating instead of how they were doing! P sent me a msg telling me that she misses her eating kaki (aka me) yesterday. The parents have been raving about a beef noodles stall that I have to try. D is going to buy me a good meal at André (if I'm lucky). There will be eating trips across the Causeway and hopefully some overseas. Now's definitely time to invest in some elastic waisted pants!
I have a thing for cosy little restaurants that serve good food and Ash St Cellar fits that bill perfectly. Ash St Cellar's food is Mediterranean and dining there reminds me of the little alleys in Melbourne and the cafes along the streets in Europe. Tucked in a little corner behind the Ivy in downtown Sydney, it makes the perfect spot for a catch up with friends or even a casual first date! The food is designed as sharing plates and the menu is short, yet succinct. Ash St Cellar changes their menu from time to time so there are no worries that the food will be exactly the same the next time you return (that is unless if you decide you wanna return the next day).
Anyway, some botched dinner plans brought my sis and I to Ash St. I enjoyed my first dinner there back in July and had wanted to bring my sis for a visit since then.
Kingfish Tartare, Green Apple, Young Celery, Witlof
Quay Overseas Passenger Terminal The Rocks, Sydney Tel: 612 9251 5600 Website: http://www.quay.com.au/ I still have a ton of pictures to edit and loads of writing to get down to with the amount of eating that I've been doing recently but I figured I better post this up first since it's already a couple of months overdue. Also, since I'm going to a special place for dinner tonight in celebration of the sister's birthday (expect another blog post coming up soon), I figured I should at least post about the special lunch which she arranged for me on my birthday when I first got in to Sydney.
I've been familiar with quite a lot of Hakka food since young because of my parents and more so in recent times due to the opening of the family's restaurant. Just a little bit of background. Back in the old days, Hakkas were known as nomads and generally lived in the inner land of China thus, seafood in the Hakka cuisine is a rarity. There was also a need to preserve their produce in order to ensure they lasted longer. Hence, the Hakka cuisine is characteristically known to be salty and boasts strong and heavy flavours.
Chef Chui Lee Luk (or 'Chui' as affectionately known by her regular customers) of Claude's comes from the same heritage and presented a Hakka banquet for the Sydney International Food Festival this year. Having grown up with Hakka food on the table, she wanted to present her own modern take on the cuisine and showcase it to many who were probably unaware of Hakka food in general due to the lack of Hakka restaurants in Sydney.
It's been a while since I've cooked something non-Asian. Maybe it's cos I'm away from home now so I tend to cook the familiar home favourites to make up for the distance and my mum's cooking. At times, I do feel that it's easier to cook Asian since we already have most of the sauces and condiments needed.
I've been wanting to make this pasta since having a delicious one at my uni cafe months back (yes, there is good food at uni). Whilst doing some Googling, I found Jamie Oliver's Carbonara recipe and since there was some cream in the fridge, I got down to work in the kitchen.
I have to admit that I never knew about Adriano Zumbo until this year. Well, let's just say I missed out on watching him and his Croquembouche which was featured in Masterchef Australia. I do feel a tad ashamed for missing out on his fantastic creations for so long but as the saying goes, better late than never.
Mohr Fish 202 Devonshire St Surry Hills, Sydney Tel: 612 9318 1326 I love 'hole in the wall' places. It's hard to describe the feeling of finding a place with exceptional food in the most nondescript corners of a neighbourhood. Mohr Fish came recommended by the sis years ago and I feel bad that I've neglected to pay a visit until now (mainly because Sydney has too much good food to offer!).
Fish & chips reminds me a lot of my uni days back in Perth. A trip to Fremantle always consisted of a visit to Cicerellos, my favourite place for good ol' fish & chips back then. Some reminiscing brought out a sudden urge for the good old favourite. It was then I decided that it was time to pay a long overdue visit to Mohr Fish.
The fish & chips at Mohr Fish has all the elements that a good fish & chips should have. Fresh fish (flathead was used), a light and crispy batter and chips that are crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. The best part was that the dish was not very greasy.
Mohr Fish has more than just fish & chips to offer and if you're looking for fuss free and good tasting food, this is the place to be. I'll definitely be back to taste some of the other items on the menu.
I've been lucky to visit Tetsuya's twice in the last 2 years in my 3 visits to Sydney. The first time was in the winter of 2008 and the last was in May of this year. I had decided a long time ago not to post about Tets since some time had passed since dining there but as the saying goes, better late than never. Yes, this post is long long overdue but I felt the need to express how upset I was that Tets lost one of its 3 chef hats which it had earned and kept since 1992.
Confit Petuna Ocean Trout with Konbu, Celery & Apple
Today was one of the most beautiful days Sydney has had in a while in my opinion. The skies were a nice shade of blue, the sun was up and the air was cool (although a tad too windy). It was also a perfect day to visit Surry Hills cos the neighbourhood comes alive on the weekends. You'd see hip, young and fashionable people having their cuppa at a cafe or walking their cute little pups. I love the vibe of this neighbourhood and love it even more cos many good restaurants and cafe call Surry Hills home.
Spent 2 hours tonight trying to figure out how to export my blog to Wordpress cos I thought they were more user-friendly and had more functions to play around with. I now found out that Blogspot had a new publishing tool which I didn't know about. So dumb!
This restaurant was not on the list which my sis and I had drawn up to visit for these couple of months but I think it definitely deserves to be there after the spectacular sampling I had at the BBQ Madness event which kick started the Sydney International Food Festival 2010 at the SMH Growers' Market, Pyrmont.
I was extremely happy that I made the event and even more ecstatic that my sis chose Otto Ristorante among the restaurants which were also present at the event. It was pretty exciting and fun cos the way it was organised was kinda dependent on your luck of the draw; we didn't know what each chef was going to serve up beforehand.
Chef Richard Ptacnik served up an excellent dish of Rainbow Trout with Fregola, Tomato, Fennel and Olives. The rainbow trout was wrapped with pancetta, cooked over the barbie and served on a bed of fennel puree. The pancetta did not override the taste of the fish and the dish was excellently flavoured. I can't find the words to describe how much I loved the dish but Otto definitely won me over with this one dish. Plus, how did Chef Ptacnik even know that I absolutely love trout?? Heh.
It's probably time to start thinking about visiting Otto for a proper sit down meal. Soon.
New Shanghai Chinese Restaurant Shop 20, 427-441 Victoria Avenue Lemon Grove Shopping Centre Chatswood, Sydney Tel: 612 9415 3536
Hello Happy 345 Victoria Avenue Chatswood, Sydney Tel: 612 9411 4892
"So what exactly did you do in Chatswood today?"
My mind came to a blank when my sis threw me that question when I got home. Somehow the afternoon just flew by. It was my first time in the neighbourhood and I wanted to find out if there were any interesting eats or places around although most people have told me it's just another suburb, except many Chinese live there. They weren't wrong. It is just another regular suburb and there are many old Chinese people sitting around having a chat over tea but I guess it was just nice for me to get out of town and breathe a different "air".
Lunch was at New Shanghai Chinese Restaurant. The xiao long bao was pretty good except that they cooled down too quickly. They still don't beat the xiao long baos at Din Tai Fung Shanghai and the skin could have been a little thinner but the soup and the meat filling were tasty.
I decided to be greedy and order the XO Sauce Fried Shanghai Rice Cakes as well. Rice cakes are one of my favourite things to eat and I just couldn't resist having it. Although it was pretty good, I just couldn't find the XO sauce that was supposed to be in there. (In case you think I have a huge appetite, I took home most of the rice cakes and had them for dinner.)
After doing a big walkabout, I ended up having dessert and coffee at Hello Happy, a quaint little Korean bakery cafe.
Although I won't say that the strawberry cake I had was the best I've ever tasted, being in the shop sorta gave me a happy feeling cos of the decor (must have also been because of the name). I need to specially mention that I loved their chai latte. I've been on the lookout for good chai lattes around Sydney and they served me one of the best that I've drank in a while.
It was a good day. I didn't do much but at least, the box beside 'visit Chatswood' now has a tick on it.
I've been quite hooked on chai lattes recently after having a really good one at some food court near the Rocks. Never used to like it before honestly. I've tried quite a number from different cafes and takeaway stands so I've had a fair share of ok ones and some really bad ones.
Starbucks, George St - FAIL d'ough ESPRESSO, World Square - OK Workshop Espresso, George St - YUM Tom N Toms, Bathurst St - FAIL Some food court near the rocks - YUM Taste Baguette, Sydney Uni - OK Parma Cucina & Bar, Sydney Uni - OK Danks St Depot, Sydney Intl Airport - OK
and the list continues...
If you're a chai latte fan like me, drop me a note to let me know where I can get a chai latte that will knock my socks off, be it in Sydney or Singapore!
I have recently revived an old ideal which is to gain new experiences whenever possible. On most occasions when I have to choose, I would normally pick the familiar choice because I am afraid of risking my time and money on unproven quality. However I soon realised that this rational behaviour doesn’t pay off all the time. And thus I have decided that sometimes, I should just heck it and try something new. This attitude stuck with me on my recent trip to Sydney and one of the things it did was to lead me to Pilu at Freshwater.
Pilu at Freshwater is a Sardinian restaurant operating out of a conserved beach house tucked away in a residential area on the northern shores of Sydney. The food is relatively simple, and the focus is on the ingredients and the authenticity of Sardinian flavours.
The Roasted Scampi with Sea Urchin Butter was interesting because it was my first time having sea urchin butter. The exotic butter provided the prawns a more savoury and salty flavour and thus helped to whet my appetite.
The Ravioli of Potato, Mint and Pecorino served with Butter, Sage and Black Truffles that followed was also very decent. It was the little items like the butter and truffles that added flavour to the main ingredients and gave another dimension to the dish.
The Fregola with Tomato and Cured Meat Ragu managed to satisfy and yet remain moderately light. The flavours were rich, wholesome but not overpowering.
The second half opened with the Snapper Fillet with Vernaccia and Green Olives. The fish was well cooked but it was again the little guys that made my day; the acidity of the green olives balanced well against the oiliness and the olives also added a salty punch to the dish.
Pilu's signature Oven Roasted Suckling Pig was the last; its skin was as crispy as keropok and the meat underneath it was quite tender and juicy. However I found that the absence of fat robbed quite a bit of flavour from the dish.
What I liked about this restaurant besides its charm, was the fact that the dishes complemented one another very well. It wasn’t so much about how wonderful the individual dishes were but rather it was the whole experience; how one course led to the next, the contrasting flavours, the simple and honest presentations. It was definitely a rewarding experience and it would certainly present a problem the next time I visit Sydney because it would mean breaking my old ideal.
Mamak 15 Goulburn St Haymarket, Sydney Tel: 612 9211 1668 (no reservations) Opening Hours: 11.30am - 2.30pm, 5.30pm - 9.30pm daily; open til 2am Fri & Sat Website: http://www.mamak.com.au/
I made it. I finally made it to.... MAMAK!
It's hard getting a table at Mamak during dinner. Everytime I walk past the shop, I'd see a long queue snaking around the block. In fact, it's been this way since over a year ago when I visited for a holiday. Curious at how good the food actually was, I knew I had to pay a visit someday. For once, there was no queue in sight today. HOW LUCKY!
Roti is the signature at Mamak and the tossing of the rotis in the display window is definitely the draw for many customers. The Roti Planta which Sis and I ordered was pretty good; the dough had a good texture but could have been better if it was slightly thinner and crispier. The curry could be improved but it could be because I'm used to the chicken curry that I usually have back in Singapore.
I was however, really impressed with their Nasi Lemak and Kangkung Belacan. Although the rice could have been more fragrant, it was really soft and fluffy. The additional order of fried chicken and curry lamb which we ordered to go with the Nasi Lemak were both tasty and moist. I liked the sambal chilli which they gave for the Nasi Lemak as well.
The Kangkung Belacan was really tasty with quite a bit of heat. Sis mentioned that they did put quite a bit of dried shrimp in and that really helped make the dish tastier and better.
I'd have to say that prices are a bit steep considering what we'd get back home in Singapore but hey, one can't complain when it's as close to home, away from home. I'd still hesitate to say I'd definitely stand in line next time. Not because Mamak doesn't get the thumbs up. When you actually see the long lines daily (most days anyway) and have to deal with a rumbling tummy at the same time, you'd understand where I'm coming from.
Having lunches at some of the top Japanese restaurants is always a treat. You'd get a whole lot of quality for a fraction of what you'd pay for dinner. At the same time, I reckon it's also a good way to form a first impression of the place without burning too big a hole in your pocket.
D had the Nigiri Sushi set. The fish was fresh and I guess he liked it but he wasn't really blown away, unlike the first time we had lunch at Yoshida. Maybe it's expectations that brought him down because he had heard raving reviews before visiting.
I, on the other hand, ordered the Mazechirashi. Marinated pieces of fresh sashimi, uni, ikura and tamago castello (this was delicious!) on a bed of rice with freshly grated wasabi. Honestly couldn't ask for more. This is a dish I'd definitely go back for again and again.
The lunch set menus are priced very reasonably. The mains come with a little appetiser, mixed salad and a trio of desserts to round off the meal.
With a place like Aoki that serves a good lunch, I reckon dinner would be great. If I'm in the mood for a big splurge of course.
This was one of the places I wanted to go to during my last visit to Sydney in May. What caught my eye was the fact that this place is opened by an ex-DJ of Ministry of Sound from the UK! An award winning one to boot. After reading a couple of reviews which seemed quite favourable, I finally made my way there with D when he came to visit.
We missed out on having breakfast (we were late, my fault) which was really what I had wanted to try but settled for lunch instead. So D order the Bangers & Mash which I thought were pretty good. The mash was especially smooth and the savoury gravy with the onions were a perfect complement. I had to stop myself from constantly reaching over to D's plate for the mash. That's how much I liked it.
I had the so-called "healthier" option which was called a Fish Sarnie (effectively what was a Fish Finger Sandwich). It was simple with 3 freshly fried fish fingers with homemade tartar sauce sandwiched between 2 slices of sourdough bread. I did enjoy it but I thought the fish fingers were slightly over fried on that occasion. Nonetheless, was still a good choice. Next time though, I'm heading straight for the mash.
The other thing I love about the cafe is that drawing on the wall. It was basically drawn over the whole wall and even on the ceiling as well. I guess I liked the idea of how the owner was really making the place 'HIM' by having the headphones drawn and how it stood for what he was doing before moving to Australia and making a switch in careers. Basically I was drawn in by how the whole place was set up with the light bulbs, communal tables and all.
Am definitely going to return to try the Breakfast Stack (see here). And maybe the Wagyu Burger too which supposedly is a popular item. Hopefully soon.
I went to bed on Saturday night with a grand plan to take a walk to Bourke St Bakery for a nice sausage roll and their famous Strawberry Brûlée Tart the next morning. When morning came, the skies were dark and no prizes for guessing that my so-called "grand" plan didn't come through so I went back for a snooze. Funny thing was, I had a craving for sashimi when I finally got up. Seeing that the sun was shining brightly (the weather's weird here), I decided that a trip to the Sydney Fish Market was going to satisfy the tummy.
To cut the long story short, let's just say I was a bit over zealous in thinking I could have THAT much sashimi on my own so I ate half of what I bought and turned the other half into a little sashimi appetiser which Mom and I picked up from a recipe book years ago. I can't eat endless amounts of raw fish because the oil gets to me after a while so dressing it with garlic and ginger does the trick for me in cutting out that oil from the fish.
I used to do this with salmon only but you could use any fish as long as it's sashimi grade. I used salmon, kingfish and tuna this time. The proportion of the ingredients is totally up to you. I tend to put more garlic than ginger just cos too much will make it too spicy. I left the spring onions out this time cos I didn't want to buy and only use part of it but I guarantee it would make the dish so much better if you had it.
Easy peasy and delicious!
Assorted Sashimi, cut into medium sized pieces Ginger, finely chopped Garlic, finely chopped Spring Onion, finely chopped Soy Sauce Sesame Oil
Place the sashimi and chopped ingredients in one bowl
Season with soy sauce until all the fish coated. The mixture shouldn't be too wet. Taste as you go along so that you don't end up with a salty bowl of raw fish. Put a tiny amount of sesame oil for that extra fragrance and adjust to your liking.
It's that time of the year where food bloggers from the little red dot meet!
I remember the 2 times that I went for the dinner and how much fun I had meeting like minded people who had a whole lot of passion for food. It was kinda bizarre to some of my friends when I first told them about dining with a bunch of people whom I had knew only by their blog names. It was amusing when we had to identify one another that way but it was a night that I still remember clearly 'til today although it happened years ago.
Ivan of Recent Runes will be organising this year's dinner and I encourage you food bloggers out there to attend the dinner if you have not done so before. You will have more fun than you'd ever imagine. You can find out more about the dinner here and sign up here if you'd like to be there.
Have fun and oh, no one at the dinner would blame you for taking forever to take pictures!
Since arriving in Sydney almost 2 weeks ago, I've been glued to Masterchef Australia. Now that that's over, I don't know what I should watch at 7.30pm everyday! Masterchef has been a great platform for those with foodie dreams. Meeting those people who are well respected in the food industry, learning from a few of the best and having the space to display one's culinary flair is what makes the show the phenomenon that it is.
I'm extremely proud that Adam who has Malaysian/Singaporean roots won this year's Masterchef! I guess his roots and life experiences are what gave him the extra perspectives needed for his creativity in the kitchen. And he's ANOTHER lawyer who cooks! Back in Singapore, there are people like Willin Low, Michael Han who were trained as lawyers but ended up pursuing their careers in the kitchen. Just makes me wonder whether there's any correlation between law and food?
I've also been watching Jamie's Revolution where he takes on a huge project by changing the school meal programs in West Virginia, the unhealthiest city in the US. I really take my hat off this guy because he's doing so much for something that he just believes in. It's also shocking to see the junk that's in the processed foods that people eat, how schools in US serve pizza for breakfast to young kids and how pizza meets the bread requirement in the US school meal guidelines. Something obviously needs to be changed.
Boucla 349 Rokeby Road Subiaco 6008 Perth, Western Australia Tel: 618 9381 2841
Chez Jean-Claude Patisserie 333 Rokeby Road Subiaco 6008 Perth, Western Australia Tel: 618 9381 7968
There are some things about cafes that I love; the laid-back vibes, the smell of coffee in the air, the smiles on people's faces as they catch up over a simple meal. I could spend hours sitting in a little corner of a cafe chatting with a loved one, reading a book or just watch the world go by. To me, what differentiates a good cafe from a great one is when the 2 'F's; Food and Feel, hit the right spot.
I remember how ZY's eyes lit up when he first mentioned Boucla and how much he loved the food there. This little Mediterranean cafe was actually voted 'Best Cafe' in Western Australia in 2009. The eclectic decor captures your attention immediately as you walk through its doors. I usually like to sit al fresco when the weather's cool outside but the cosy ambience of its tiny interior was too inviting to ignore. I absolutely loved that the pastries were displayed out in the open and I was seated right in front of it!
Boucla has a reputation of serving simple, honest food and one of the best coffees in Perth. The food definitely did not disappoint. The Vegetable Tart was light, refreshing and super tasty. The pastries all looked very tempting but we finally decided on the Cinnamon Pear Cake which was freshly baked, not too sweet and an excellent complement to the smooth and aromatic coffees we had.
I enjoyed every moment spent there that morning. My only gripe was that I didn't get to try that Beetroot & Orange Salad which ZY raved about since that obviously wasn't on the breakkie menu. Boucla is definitely going on my "to do" list the next time I visit Perth again.
By the way, don't say I didn't mention this. Do save a little space for the excellent jam-filled doughnuts from the nearby Chez Jean-Claude Patisserie. More if you think one isn't enough!
I've been in somewhat of an 'Aussie' mood recently. It doesn't make much sense but I guess with my recent visit back to Perth, an impending visit to Sydney and memories of the years past, I've been feeling rather attached to the land of the koalas and kangaroos.
I was flipping through my Good Taste magazine which I brought back from Perth last Sunday (which was Anzac Day by the way) and found this recipe for Anzac Biscuits. Anzac Biscuits are associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established during the World War I. It's said that the wives of the soldiers sent these biscuits abroad to their husbands because they kept well during the transportation and do not spoil easily. You can find out more about them here.
The recipe is really easy and the results are great. Baking is rather therapeutic I must say so have a go at it!
Anzac Biscuits (makes 26)
Ingredients 150g plain flour 90g whole rolled oats 85g desiccated coconut 100g brown sugar 55g caster sugar 125 butter 2 tbs maple syrup or golden syrup 2 tbs water 1/2 tsp baking soda
Preheat over to 160℃. Line baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
Combine flour, oats, coconut and combined sugar in a large bowl
Stir the butter, maple syrup and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the baking soda. Add to the oat mixture and stir until well combined.
Roll level tablespoonfuls of the oat mixture into balls and place, about 5cm apart, on the prepared trays. Flatten until about 1cm thick. Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden.
Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Tip: Do not use instant oats as the mixture will spread too much and make the biscuits flat.
Having been away from Perth since graduation years ago, I finally returned over the Good Friday weekend. When I first booked the flight, many people raised their eyebrows and told me that I would be absolutely bored to death since shops were going to be closed. I guess they just didn't know that Perth meant a lot more to me than they thought.
Returning to Perth reminded me of what I loved about it and made me fall in love with the place all over again; the clear blue skies, the vastness of space, the people, the lifestyle, the townhouse in South Beach which I will probably never live in and of course, the food. To be honest, I'm not sure if the food scene has changed or whether I just have more options now since I'm no longer a poor student. I had loads of great food experiences thanks to ZY who brought me to places he loved. Food is afterall what made us fast friends during uni days in the first place.
I have so much to say but yet not know where to start from. Let me gather my thoughts before I pen them down. I hope I get to. In the meantime, get hungry.
I love having tea and I always love finding the little places to enjoy a cuppa with a loved one.
K ki shares a shop space with The Little Dröm Store and serves up Japanese-inspired pastries. True to its minimalist concept, their cakes are simple, pretty & elegant. I'm not a baker and I don't know how to tell if a mousse has been overbeaten, split or whatever other baking jargon you can think of but I know that the goodness is in its taste.
Both the Kinabaru; a coconut mousse cake with a passionfruit creme centre and the Mona; a chocolate banana mousse cake I tried were good. I did however, prefer the Kinabaru for its contrast in flavours between the rich coconut & the slightly sourish passionfruit. The cake was not overly sweet and the mousse was very light; so light that I almost didn't feel the calories. Prices are a bit on the steeper side if you compare to some other patisseries but it's definitely worth the indulgence.
After speaking with Delphine, co-owner & wife of the baker on the way out, I got to know that her hubby (the baker) is not Japanese and he is totally self-trained! I was utterly impressed because his cakes are so refined and beautifully crafted that it didn't seem like the work of a chef who had never received any culinary training. Apparently he just simply had a passion and liking for Japanese styled pastries. Guess it just goes to show that one must have passion in order to do their job well and if you love your job, you'll feel like you've never worked a day!
I think I just found my new little piece of heaven.
I'm not usually good at keeping New Year resolutions which is why I never make them. The only thing I want and have always wanted is to lose some weight since I eat (too much) but as Pei told me recently, losing weight is not a New Year resolution; it's a lifelong pursuit. I know that this comes a little late as most people do this during the 1st day of the year but hey, this IS the first day of the Lunar calendar!
Since I haven't done much writing this year, I decided do a wrap up all the memorable foodie moments I've had in 2009. There aren't many as I didn't travel as much as I would have liked to and I've been occupied with the restaurant in the last quarter of 2009. Just for the record.
Third Floor Restaurant Level 3rd Floor JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur Jalan Bukit Bintang 53200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel: 603 2141 3363 Website: http://www.thirdfloor.com.my/
I've never had fine dining in Malaysia since the country is more well known for its delicious street food and I was pleasantly surprised.
I got to know about this place from Tetsuya himself when I was dining at his restaurant in Sydney last year. The food was good and in a way reminiscent of Tetsuya's since the Executive Chef Ken Hoh used to work for him. It was still different in the way that it wasn't all Japanese but showed a bit of the chef's Chinese roots instead. I'll write more on this later anyway (hopefully!).
Restoran Kin Kin 40 Jln Dewan Sultan Sulaiman 1 Off Jln Tuanku Abdul Rahman Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur
Dry ban mian tops my list for being the fuss free yet most satisfying thing I've eaten all year. It was so good I made sure I visited the place when I was in KL again recently. The ingredients are simple; handmade noodles with a nice bite, minced meat, ikan bilis and shallots. The secret is in the the nicely poached egg which coats the hot noodles when the yolk is broken into and the fiery fried pounded dried chillies. When all ingredients come together, HEAVEN!!
Sun Kee 16 - 20 Kimberley Road G/F Stall 13 - 14 Champagne Court Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
To use the phrase 'Never judge a book by its cover' would be most appropriate after looking at this dish. When it first arrived on the table, I saw a gunky and white mess which did not look most appetising. They didn't even bother with garnishing! Then I looked around me and saw all these famous photos of Hong Kong celebrities who had dined there, the numerous newpapers cuttings on the wall and the people who were engrossed in cleaning up their bowls. I decided to take the plunge then and I was bowled over. The cheese sauce was thick but smooth and was delicious with the instant noodles and the tasty chargrilled pork neck. This was something I knew I couldn't find anywhere else. I'm definitely having one bowl to myself the next time I visit.
Discovering Riders was one of the highlights in 2009. The food is decent and I like having breakfast or brunch there. Always makes me feel like I'm in a different place; a different country when I'm there. Far from the maddening crowd and I like that. See here for my previous review on Riders.
Fish Face 132 Darlinghurst Road Darlinghurst, Sydney Tel: 612 9332 4803
This was probably the most understated restaurant I visited in 2009. Sydney is also filled with foodie adventures as I always suss out the great dining places when I visit. I tried North Bondi Italian which was good, Mad Cow which served excellent steaks but none of them left me as lasting an impression as Fish Face.
Stephen Hodges left the well-known Pier to set up his own little outfit because he only believed in serving honest good food and for that, I look up to him as there aren't many who just want to do their job well without all that fanfare. Fish is probably one of the hardest things to cook as it always has to be cooked just right or the dish would be ruined instantly. Coupled with great Australian produce and excellent culinary skills, the team at Fish Face definitely did not disappoint when I visited. I loved that the meal was substantial yet not heavy and it gave me a new found respect for fish which I always felt was a boring choice when dining in Singapore.
Cooking at Home
I've probably done more cooking in 2009 than in any other year. I started 2009 by finishing my 8 week Basic Cooking Skills at Palate Sensations which was a lot of fun. I learnt quite a fair bit during the lessons although I haven't put a lot of it to use yet. I've done different variations of risottos (my most favourite thing to cook), made breakfast pancakes, ice cream, baked (something I seldom do) and even made pizza from scratch! It was also great fun organising my birthday bbq as I got to experiment with the Mexican & Cajun flavours. Cooking for my friends and family is really the most fun part about all this. I haven't had much time to be in the kitchen recently due to the restaurant but I'm hoping I get to it this year.
As much as I always say that I want to steer clear of the whole Christmas presents thing in the office, it's often hard because everyone goes into crazy shopping mood weeks before. I love to shop but the crowds keep me away from the madness. When I first learnt to make jam in 2008, I thought it would have made the perfect Christmas gift but obviously, the 12 days of Christmas in 2008 came and gone and no one received jam from me. I set my heart to making jam again when the newpapers run an article on jam one Sunday. Even though I had to stand for hours to make batches of it and my sis had to lose sleep with me to decorate the bottles, the efforts paid off and I'm glad that my friends & colleagues enjoyed eating it as much as I enjoyed making it!
Linda's Home Kitchen 206 Telok Ayer Street Tel: 65 6284 7272
Having the restaurant changed many things in my life. It's taken up a whole lot of my free time and to a certain extent, I don't have much of it these days. However, I'm really proud of the work that my mum is doing and I'm glad that so many people love the food which I've grown up with since young. Indirectly, it's also a way of honouring my late grandmother who passed down so many great recipes which are hard to find these days. Many people have marveled at the energy that I have; having a full time job and having to spend the rest of my time at the restaurant. I'm surprised at myself too but I guess the hard work's worth it especially since this is a family project which has made us spend more time with one another. The only thing I miss these days though, is sitting at our dining table at home to have dinner.
For those who have supported us during the past months, thank you so much for the love and encouragement. If you have not paid a visit, I look forward to meeting with you in time to come. If you'd like to have a bit more info on the restaurant, please see here.
I hope all of you have wonderful foodie moments to look back on at the end of 2010. Hopefully I'd still be around to share mine with you again in a year's time.
Happy Chinese New Year & May the year of the Tiger bring many pleasant surprises, happiness, good health and most importantly, plenty of good food! Gong Xi Gong Xi! Oh.. and Happy Valentine's Day!!