Hong Kong: Mott 32

I had high expectations for this one – it had been on my to eat list for about a year already and I had read loads of reviews about its famous iberico char siew!

Mott 32 is located at the basement of the Standard Chartered Building, a quick ten minute walk through air conditioned buildings at the cluster of offices at Alexandra House. Mott 32 evokes a Great Gatsby / Roaring 20s feel. It is very cool.

When we got there, the front of house unhelpfully told us she couldn’t find Sarah’s reservation. After 10 minutes of going back and forth, we found that Mott had mistakenly reserved it for 27 April instead of May. Still, they didn’t offer us a seat until we asked to be given a free table. Not a good start…

..but nothing a bit of iberico char siew cannot make better. This slab of char siew was seriously glistening (I kid you not) and because I was in the company of Sarah’s colleagues I couldn’t snatch it all up for myself. I really wanted to. Because it’s iberico, it also happens to be super duper pricey at hkd 350.

I think my favourite was the snapper  spring roll with dill – it’s fried but not too oily, and surprisingly, it works. I’ve never had a fish based spring roll, the taste was v clean on the palate and I felt like I could scarf down 3 more.

The quail egg iberico siew mai was quite a fun surprise with a runny quail egg in the middle. I’ve been told that this is actually a vey traditional dim sum fish, but again, I’ve never tried it! Love quail eggs, love iberico, so I loved this.
Obviously as Mott 32 tries to distinguish itself from other ~modern~ counterparts, the cheung fan (rice roll) has to be unlike the rest. We shared a cod fish cheung fan and honestly I don’t see why dim sum places don’t use fish in their rice rolls. I suppose it also in part is due to cost.

IBecause we dined in a group of 4, and most of the dimsum were in 3s we had to specially request that they serve us in a portion of 4. Mott wasn’t super accommodating on that, and the attitude was pretty brusque. One Michelin or not, this is really quite off putting & in Hong Kong’s competitive dining scene, I might actually choose to spend my money elsewhere, even with that super sick iberico char siew.

Address: Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Rd Central, Central, Hong Kong

Bistrot Paul Bert

Bonsoir mes amis! I love Paris – the food is always amazing. Was in a mega grumpy state when I arrived at Gare du Nord because my train from Manchester to London was delayed because of an added stop at Rugby after 3 trains before mine got cancelled due to a maintenance fault. Was rushing to find a toilet at St Pancras as well – WHERE ARE ALL OF THEM!??? – and panicking that I wouldn’t be able to check in in time, but okay whatever, arrived at Gare du Nord safe & sound!!!

One thing to note, please don’t be late for your dinner reservation in Paris. We were 20 minutes late for ours and were greeted with disapproving looks. OOOOPS. Can’t really fault them because.. it technically was our fault. Well, Eurostar if you really wanted to pinpoint the blame.

Paul Bert does a menu prixe fixe thing where you mix and match the courses that you want to have. There are 5 choices in each category to choose from and I think the range is quite diverse and will provide for most people. The only problem was deciphering the French. Google Translate is a crappy translator because… I wanted to confirm if mulet was fish & all it gave us was ‘mule’… but after seeing diners on the other table get some white fish tartare I was SO GUTTED.

Yuwen started with the scallops in butter while I had the leek with foie gras. The scallops were fresh and chewy; the way fresh seafood should be and the butter really brought out the flavour well. The leeks were unlike anything I’ve ever tried – it is difficult to really describe them except they were marinated well and provided crucial balance to foie gras which can get really intense and gamey (in other words, gelat) after a while. Who would have thought foie gras and leek were such a good match?

For the mains, both of us naturally went straight for the l’entrecote having read SO MUCH about it online, and watching tables before us get served with the entrecote. Seems like it was a popular choice! The one that really sealed the deal was actually the frites. The wafts of freshly fried frites on other people’s tables were driving both of us nuts – one can only imagine our happiness when our steak frites arrived. FIRST THING: OMG THE SLAB OF MEAT. It was huge. SECOND THING: THE FRIES!!!!! Cutting into the beef was amazing, the cross-section looked suitably pink (medium was truly medium!!) and the beef was well seasoned and marinated, I didn’t even use the accompanying bearnaise sauce. Had it with mustard; I would say I’m a purist but then again, I guess if I’m truly a purist I wouldn’t even need mustard.. Yu Wen commented that the steak was way better than the one she had at CUT (by Wolfgang Puck, in Singapore) which was simply overpriced. The frites were on a whole new level. Lightly sprinked with salt, the frites were cooked perfectly with the taste of the potatoes coming through. I don’t know how they do their frites but everyone should take lessons from this Bistro because we couldn’t stop eating them. They were REALLY something. (Edit: Actually, France just does frites really well.)

Dessert portions were also MASSIVE. We shared the Paris Brest and the Tarte Tartin. Both were excellent. Paris Brest is a hazelnut pastry filled with hazelnut cream, in a shape of a wheel. The hazelnut cream was so light, and not overly sweet – it was addictive. The tarte tartin was also well cooked, with a slight smokiness to the apple. It was more like a stewed apple dessert rather than a tart… but not really complaining. So gooooood.

Even the table bread was wonderful – there is just something about French bread, isn’t it!? Paul Bert is a place that I would make a point to visit if I ever return to Paris. It was €36 for 3 courses, and I daresay we really did get more than our money’s worth, considering the portion sizes. Nowhere in UK/Singapore have I gotten anything this special and at such a steal. My only gripe was that coke cost me €5 😦 That was purely my fault though. Paul Bert is really special, and I like that it’s a bistro, which means it’s more intimate and personal, literally, as everyone is squished together – not much of fancypants dining, but just French classics done simply, and done well.

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Bistrot Paul Bert
18 Rue Paul Bert
75011 Paris, France‎

June 2012: SQ 327, MUC-SIN

Back in hot, humid and stuffy Singapore, but I’m loving the weather very much. Think I’ve become pretty English since all I can do nowadays is appreciate the heat and the sun.. being weather-obsessed is so English. Anyway, as always on the flight home I completely stuffed myself with food – okay I didn’t exactly, I just ordered everything so I could try a bit of everything!!! (I know I am a greedy bum). No pictures of food from MAN-MUC (that’s Manchester to Munich) because I um, was sleeping and I didn’t get good food, got a prepackaged egg/ham/chz sandwich in Economy!


poached lobster with confit of eggplant and capsicum, balsamic vinaigrette

THANK YOU SQ FOR ALWAYS HAVING LOBSTER AS A STARTER. I know I can always count on you. This as always, is a brilliant start to the meal. Oh wait, that’s if you don’t count the satay which I had before the lobster. Crap, I really ate a lot!!! But the satay was good (no pictures sorry cos everyone was already judging me for taking pictures of food – my excuse is that I am Singaporean) as usual. Anyway this!!!! The lobster was fresh, and it was juicy but there was just some oomph lacking, definitely didn’t beat the lobster served here and here. The grilled vegetables were chockful of flavour and saved this dish.


Fennel cream soup with mint, seared scallop & pasta
I liked the tinge of mint in this soup! And I know it looks very unappetising but this wasn’t as bad as it looked. The scallops didn’t really add any sort of flavour to the fennel soup, but was there for chewiness I suppose. The pasta shape was different & this soup is pretty unique. I wanted the tom yam soup but they ran out 😦


salad with balsamic vinaigrette
Cos everyone needs to eat their greens!


Seared tournedos of beef in green peppercorn jus, sauteed morels, baby carrot and gratin potatoes
I thought the beef would be extremely tough, but it was actually done quite well and was chewy with the right amount of bite! I think they microwave the entire dish at one go, which is probably why it resulted in the potatoes not being cooked through completely and was a bit crunchy? But how can I complain really, eating such good food on the plane! I have no idea what morels are, except they taste like crunchy mushrooms and biting into them feels like eating black fungus. It is salty and oh so yummy. The baby carrots were not too soft, the way I like them! I only wished the peppercorn jus was a bit more peppery but this is as good as main courses get!

Red wine jelly with berries
They ran out of the chocolate cake that I wanted so I settled for this. This was a light end to the meal. The jelly came in some mango soup which I suppose, didn’t make the entire dessert so tart. I really liked it. Other than the fact that I was a glutton and ate every single course before this, I would have polished this off!

Can’t wait for the next meal! Till next time super travellers!

San Carlo (I)

There is a reason why San Carlo is known as the best restaurant in Manchester. It’s simple really, the food is good. I went there on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of exams (yes obviously, priorities..) with my foodie buddies C & T. San Carlo is an italian restaurant owned by well, Italians who really take their food seriously. The service was good, the menu, extensive and the cooking does live up to its reputation.

What I like most about San Carlo is the crazy long list of dishes offered. And the thing is, everything we ordered was good! I can’t say the same for most restaurants I’ve been in though. BTW: I did bring my camera to the restaurant, except it DIED on me before I could take my first photo…

Calvin’s scallops which were a bit spicy…

T’s mussels which were never ending (you could eat this as a main) with such rich sauce which we mopped up with bread that the waiters served us. Well done there, San Carlo. For £7.35, I think this is actually very value for money in such a chi-chi restaurant like this.

Scampi risotto – recommended dish because the risotto must have been cooked in some sort of stock, and in turn this brings out the flavour of the scampi! Very yummy. The prawns, if I recall correctly were a bit softer (but that’s the way it has been cooked).

Spaghetti with prawns

Lobster Tagliolini – a San Carlo ‘classic’. Few things – I didn’t expect them to use fresh egg pasta. I didn’t expect it to be tomato based either.. but I suppose it’s because most places in the UK don’t actually serve up aglio olio style pastas? WHY, I QUESTION ONCE AGAIN, WHY. Nonetheless, other than the peas which I meticulously picked out, this dish was EXCELLENT and worth every accolade that has been dished upon it. A flash of brandy, chockful with lobster chunks and sun blushed tomato, this is a winner. (£17.80)

A selection of desserts, £5.35 pp (min 2 orders)
I can’t seem to find a picture of Tess’ tiramisu, but anyway, this selection of desserts is forgettable. The only one that really stands out is the tiramisu. It is impossibly light and fluffy, and is moist enough. Perfect!!!! Forget everything else, just order the tiramisu.

I’m coming back here again next week for another friend’s birthday & will try more things on the menu then. Nonetheless, I was really full after the meal, even after giving Calvin a quarter of my pasta. I still think about that lobster pasta sometimes…
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San Carlo
42 Kings St West,
Manchester
M3 2WY

Reservations highly recommended. Also, it attracts celebrities if you’re into that kind of thing.

Adventures with Double Chin Chay: Brighton, Dorset & London

Because my old macbook died completely on me. Because I’m using a new Macbook Air. Because I was busy backing up every single file I have/had. Because SCHOOL STARTED and Equity and Trusts is incredibly difficult.. the list could go on and on, but anyway, the most important thing is: UPDATE FROM TUMMYTAY! Tummy Tay and Double Chin Chay went on an epic ~sista~ trip down south before school started, visiting Brighton & Dorset – places that we wouldn’t really go during school term just because it’s too far away (and we would rather go overseas too.) This is dedicated to Tessa who is 1x loyal fan of Tummy Tay cos she kept bugging me for updates!

The best part about both? That they were both coastside towns! So we got to see the sea, something that doesn’t happen at all here in cold and rainy Manchester.


yummy seafood on the pier! £3


cod & chips, £5.50 – this was where i first tried malt vinegar, and it is AMAZING, especially with loads of salt.


PEBBLE BEACH


Local ice cream store! I love locally made products, feel like they’re representative of a city/town’s culture. This ice cream store had really interesting flavours, particularly outstanding was Tessa’s banana icecream, and I had the cinnamon. £2.50


Rock oysters, smoked salmon, crème fraîche, caper breadcrumb salsa, £6.95 for 3


Creme Brulee with Espresso Icecream and Pistacho Shortbread


WEYMOUTH


cod and chips opposite the beach, £5 – incredibly yummy beer batter when hot, but when cold it becomes disgustingly hard 😦


ice cream along the beach, £1.5/2 each


lyme regis beach – home of the jurassic fossils


FLOODS: Monkfish wrapped in bacon, seared scallops – £17


Trio of fish, £17


Bread and Butter Pudding: £4.95

Floods has got to be one of the BEST restaurants I’ve ever dined at (even better than Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen trattoria). It’s homey and warm, well literally. Tess and I were completely drained from the 1.5hr bus ride from Lyme Regis back to Weymouth and chancing upon Floods was.. a GODSEND. We ambled in at 9.45pm and they told us their kitchen was already closed, but would make a special order for us. AND THEY WERE AMAZING. It’s actually really difficult to get fresh seafood in the UK – and biting into the scallops I was incredibly happy! The monkfish was great, who would have thought fish and bacon would go? But the combination worked. The seared scallop with balsic glaze was YUMMY. I also enjoyed the enormous platter of vegetables on the side that came with our dishes. Tessa’s trio of fish was MASSIVE. We nearly died finishing it, and yet still HAD to order a dessert because we saw someone ordering the pudding… and we just had to have it. No regrets there, except the pudding was a bit on the dry side. Nonetheless, excellent meal and.. we were full till the next morning.

One last picture of Weymouth:

Sailing site of the 2012 Olympics!

LONDON

Fifteen Trattoria, by Jamie Oliver.


Seafood Risotto, £9


Mafalde with beef and pork ragu, £10

Um honestly? It was a bit overrated. Nonetheless I will come back just for the atmosphere itself. When we went we were both too full from what we had ate that afternoon at the Malaysian fair at Trafalgar Square. The seafood risotto was well done and filled me up promptly, but I was expecting more? Perhaps it is all hype behind fifteen. However the cause for which it stands for is incredibly noble and I would still encourage people to go just to have a look at what fifteen is trying to achieve.

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, £25 for 2 courses, £29 for 3 courses.
Joel Robuchon was EXTREMELY posh, and the service is very, very good. The waiters weren’t snotty whatsoever, and took the effort to explain each dish to us. (even though they just repeated what we read on the menu HAHAHA). Every table had a tuna pate (was it tuna?) with a biscuit-like toast to begin, and this was amazeballs!!!!!! Zhuoxuan, Fengshuo & Tessa all started with salmon while I chose the eggs cocotte. The eggs cocotte were good, but I felt like I was drinking a bit of foam cos of the texture. I still miss the one I had in France though! The fish with lemongrass pasta stole the show. I don’t know how to describe it except the fish was very well done and the lemongrass went well with the fish? IT’S LIKE HAVING A COMPLETELY GASTRONOMICAL EXPERIENCE MAN. IT WAS WORTH THE ££. Every cent of it! I won’t be going back anytime soon because I’ve got more restaurants to conquer BUT this set menu is a good place to start.

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English’s of Brighton
29-31 East Street
Brighton BN1 1HL

Floods
19 Custom House Quay
Weymouth
DT4 8BG

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
13-15 West Street
London WC2H 9NE, United Kingdom