ALMOST FAMOUS

Hello again. It has been a really, really long time! I don’t know if I am back for good, but I like having this space here to write about the food that I have eaten & when I graduate, at least I’d have something to look back on and remember my wonderful 3 years in the UK – obviously, mostly food related of course.

On Saturday, zx came up from London to visit me and being the burger fiends we both are.. (and Raerae too of course, but that one was too busy playing basketball) we had to HAVE a burger. I’ve been dying to try Almost Famous since… Almost Famous became famous. So yeah, like the rest of the London establishments (ahem, Lucky Chip, Meat Liquor, Patty & Bun) AF started out as a popup and became permanent since.. a really long time ago. Frankly one of the reasons why I was put off by it was their website – it is incredibly rude and gives me a headache. In other words, it’s is super act 一个 and I’m honestly… not a fan of its over the top pretentiousness at trying to be bada$$. It’s like they’re trying to be the rebellious, younger version of meatliquor, which is incredibly unoriginal.

That said, I still feel like kicking myself FOR ONLY TRYING IT LAST WEEKEND. I mean, I have been missing out on the most amazing burger in Manchester for years – yeah at this juncture I am gna call myself a loser. And……… for all that marketing hype that was a massive turn off, AF is INCREDIBLY CHILL. zx and I went on a Sunday afternoon at 1255h (it opens at 1) and there was already a queue snaking around the street that Luck, Lust, Liquor & Burn was at. And. It was snowing. Frankly, it’s so smart, not opening the shutters until 1305h, keeping the hungry people even hungrier and hence more excited…. and you know, even cynics like me were anticipating something really awesome.

AF is situated at the top floor of a building in the Northern Quarter, and it really looks kinda dodgy if you’re there at an odd hour/there’s no one around and the entrance to AF is a wooden door… no kidding. Anything indie they could do to make it indie-er, they have already done it. I was half expecting wait staff with nose piercings and tattoos… but no, they are incredibly nice and POLITE. (unlike the website. and twitter.) The guy who took my order at the counter was also good at math – he tallied my order in his head as I ordered, WITHOUT A CALCULATOR. I never thought I’d be treated to a display of mental arithmetic at AF, ever. So far, so good.

AF in the afternoon has loads of families actually – and I love, love, love the open space concept it has. Couches for big groups, with tall ceilings & huge windows that let the midday light in. LOVE IT. Yeah ok rambling too much, on to the food.


Zx had the original famous burger, and I had the DD burger – I mean, there’s SLUT SAUCE in it. We had a beef chili fries to share.

Personally, I think they forgot about my onions which is why they were at the side. Otherwise, this is a FLAWLESS BURGER!!!!!! Except I would like to have seen some greens in it – I knew I exercised 4x that week for a reason – but IT’S A BURGER PLACE SO. Anyway the PATTIES WERE THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE BURGERS!!!! I love it I love it so so so much. Usually it’s really difficult to achieve pinkness with thin patties, but AF does it well and the patty is flavourful and holds its own against the condiments. It is an incredible patty. I also have never seen so much mustard in a burger before, but I love mustard so it wasn’t a problem for me. I love eating messy burgers! And AF gave me that experience of dirtying my fingers. Really a happy child after that burger experience. The fries were a bit of a disappointment because they weren’t hot enough for my liking – Meatliquor has better beef chili fries but I loved how AF mixes sweet potato fries with normal fries!! And again, there’s loads of mustard. Um would have preferred it if the cheese was melted rather than the kind you get in theatres with nachos.. but it was not that big a deal. I DIDN’T TRY THE WINGS which means I have to go back again!!!

I know I keep comparing AF with other burger establishments that I have dined at, but frankly I’ve come to realise that burgers are something that are intensely personal.. nonetheless objectively speaking, I think AF is a wonderful place for burgers/afternoon hangout – I can see why people flock to it time and time again. Next on my burger to-do list: Honest burgers for their FAMOUS CHIPS. And maybe Lucky Chip Round II when the Bill Murray gets back on the menu again.

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Almost Famous
100 High Street
Northern Quarter, Manchester

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Yummy Yuzu!

Finding reasonably priced Japanese food is a challenge in itself. Needless to say, finding decent, reasonably priced Japanese food is a personal achievement of some sort. Here in Manchester, far, far away from Japan, good sashimi/japanese food is hard to find. We’re not the capital like London where most big names would flock to to set up shop first.. so offerings in terms of Japanese food are limited. We certainly don’t have what I’m used to in Singapore, the option of Sushi Tei/various eat-all-you-can buffets/high end omakase. Discovering Yuzu was a godsend.

We went for lunch with the chemical engineers who had just finished their last paper.

Maguro (£9.95)
This was Weiming’s. I didn’t ask him how fresh the maguro was but look at the fish! How rare is it that you get good maguro? Not just in Singapore (sometimes even good maguro is hard to find in Singaore) much less Manchester! It’s pretty amazing that they offer it in the first place. Note that this is not part of the set lunch menu.

Set lunch: Organic salmon don (£7.95)
What I like most about Yuzu is the set lunch menu. They offer a choice of 6 dishes for £5.95 or £7.95 each. This organic salmon don is £7.95 and comes with rice and miso soup. I had that the last time I went to Yuzu – while the sushi was fresh and melt-in-your-mouth, I felt that there could have been more sashimi given. Then again, at £7.95 it is a steal, all things considered.

Set lunch: Ton katsu (£5.95)
This was what I had this time! The breadcrumbs were so, so, so good. It was so satisfying to bite into the pork filet. My only gripe was that the pork was a bit too tough for my liking.. nonetheless, I enjoyed every single bite of this. The tonkatsu came with a small jug of sweet sauce as accompaniment; it complemented the pork cutlet well. Also, can I just say that I love Japanese rice – I don’t know how the Japanese do it, but they seem to be able to cook it so well. Sticky, chewy, and with the right amount of bite.

Side: agedashi tofu (£3)
Rach and I decided to order some sides! I felt like having tofu. This batter was so light and the broth it came in, I think I could drink it all. It was light and not heavy on the stomach, and I think, a perfect starter.

Side: Chicken katsu (£3)
This is completely different from my ton katsu. The chicken coated in the same crunchy breadcrumbs, but when you bit into it, it was so tender! A good alternative to the pork cutlet if you don’t really like pork, but I generally think pork is tastier than chicken.

If you’re in town and are craving a good Japanese lunch that isn’t too heavy on the pocket, try Yuzu. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I particularly like how everything is served to you in a tray, and it adds to the authenticity of it all. Finally, on each table there’s a mini blackboard of daily liquor specials – Yuzu offers a range of Japanese sake as well. The mini blackboard is written in both Japanese and English, and I think this is one of the more authentic, or even, most authentic Japanese places in town. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s time you do it!

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Yuzu
39 Faulkner Street
Manchester
M1 4EE

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.

Ocean Tr235ure

I really have to get a move on all the backlogs that I’ve chalked up before I went to Italy before I even start on all the Italian food which is -omg-. Yeah, no single adjective can describe how awesome the food in Italy is.. safe to say I had some pretty memorable meals in Italy. Anyway before I left for Italy I rounded up a couple of people to go to Ocean Tr235ure with, having heard so much good things about it, notably Mabel and Genia’s ravings about the duck. Anyway thanks to Max & Calvin who came down to try Ocean Treasure (not going to type ‘Tr235ure’ because it’s too much work) during their exam period!!!


Samsui Chicken: Cannot beat the one at Soup Restaurant back in Singapore. The garlic accompaniment was good, but the dish is forgettable. We had to order a chicken dish that wasn’t spicy so we ordered this. Well, the cooking is not bad but overall this dish just isn’t that amazing.


Beef with Yam: If you don’t like yam, you shouldn’t order this for sure. Surprisingly, the yam gives the beef another dimension of flavour. Like, I never thought yam could work with beef, but this dish really grew on me. At the end of the meal I thought it was worth ordering again, it was not bad!


Roasted duck, Peking style: I LOVE DUCK PANCAKES! Okay the duck here is pretty good I guess, but I’m not any duck connoisseur so I can’t really tell. The duck silvers were tender and well done. I think someone commented that we should have tried the crispy duck instead of this original style 😦 Nevertheless, the duck was good. I guess I kind of expected more from all the ravings I’ve been hearing. Still, this is good stuff.


Salt and Pepper Pork: This was a surprise! I was amazed the pork wasn’t chewy, was kind of expecting it to be. Instead of slabs of pork, they cut it into thin slices so that it isn’t too tough. The mixed vegetable medley that was stir-fried with the pork really gave this dish a visual impact, and was also what made this dish perfectly balanced. Love this!


Tofu in Salted Egg Yolk: This was the star of the day. Don’t judge a dish by its looks man. This dish is just mindblowing. And it’s so simple! Just salted egg yolk and tofu. We drenched our rice in the salted egg yolk and it was so, so, so good. It’s not even that salty, that’s the best part. It was very light!! I could actually just eat plain rice with this dish. Omg okay getting really hungry thinking about it right now:(

For the 7 of us, it was a really good meal I think. I was pretty satisfied after that, but big eaters like Calvin Chia wasn’t 😦 Ocean Treasure is definitely pricier than most of the other Chinese restaurants here in Manchester and it’s easy to see why – the decor is way more posh than any other Chinese restaurant. It was a tad difficult to find, not being inside the AMC building itself but rather at the side entrance where the casino was. I was dress in a tank and havaianas and I felt a bit underdressed.. but it was 26 degrees that day! For 7 of us it cost way less than £15 per person, I can’t remember how much exactly. Service was prompt and efficient, with the wait staff being fluent in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. Before I left the manager d00d gave me a name card and suggested reservations in the future. I think I’d definitely be back here. I like the ambience and the food is really, not bad 🙂

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Ocean Tr235ure
Great Northern
2 Watson Street
Manchester, M3 4LP

Summertime in Manchester!

THE END OF EXAMS!!!!!! I know this space has been dead for a long while, but not to worry, Tummytay has gone out after exams to eat at a few places just for my few readers. You guys can live vicariously through me. Anyway as a treat of sorts (and because I took some more photos from dinner that day that were beautiful, though not as great as Renjie’s, but still quite pretty) I’m posting up some pictures of Manchester bathing in the sunlight. The past few days have been amazing. Hot, sunny weather that went up to 25 degrees!

But honestly this is the good stuff you’ve been waiting for:


Spring Onion & Seafood Pancake
It was not so much of seafood than octopus/squid in the pancake. I like korean pancakes very much! Fried till crisp, and it goes well with the soy sauce accompanyment. It possibly beats Seoul Kimchi’s pancake because I had soggy pancakes at Seoul Kimchi before. Hmm I would prefer it if there were more spring onions however. Generally it was a good dish to start the meal! 3.5/5 😀


Teriyaki Chicken
Huiming had this for her main course and I got to try a bit of it. Underneath the chicken there was some chinese cabbage that was fried in the teriyaki sauce that the chicken was done in, and on first bite it was a dish that took me by surprise. For a plain simple dish it was really quite tasty and welldone. I really, really liked it. Subsequently though, it got really salty and you get pretty sick of the taste. The accompanying side salad is a simple lettuce salad with a sesame dressing that you’d normally associate with Japanese/Korean cuisine, and was pretty good as side salads went. Funny though my impression of teriyaki is a sticky sweet sauce. Hmmmmmm.. but whatever it is, this was not bad! 3/5! (£8.50)


Hot-plate Pork Ribs
I didn’t try this but Melvin was having a very hard time eating the pork off the ribs. His exact words, “I’m never ordering this again!”. I think we got this because Baekdu mixed our orders up. He wanted grilled beef slices I think. Ohwell.. no comment on this.


Kimchi Pork on Rice
This was my dish! I was craving some kimchi when I ordered this and I think if I enjoyed chilli more I would have loved it more. Also it was possibly bad timing because it was extremely hot that day and I happened to order well… a spicy dish. I would say the kimchi was well done, and the pork slices were tender. The dish was served extremely hot in a stone bowl which I appreciate! Can’t stand places which serve you lukewarm food. After eating a bit I found it relatively spicy, so it’s really not for those who don’t eat chilli or light chilli eaters! This dish was not bad, I wouldn’t mind ordering it again. But I think there’s a reason why kimchi is served cold… Heh. 3/5! (£7.50)

Overall I find Baekdu a bit expensive for the food that they serve, but the portions are BIG. I suppose we didn’t order the correct dishes though because Davidson raved about the hot pot that Baekdu had. Not to worry, tummytay and friends will be back next academic year (actually, just when it gets colder) to eat the hot pot! The service was prompt, but they get quite busy around dinner time! It’s not as big inside as it looks. It can sit about 20 – 30 people comfortably. Guess we’ll be back sometime in Fall!

After dinner we went for a walk…. to the movie theatre. On the way I took some pretty pictures (again!!!). And then we celebrated the end of exams by watching X-Men: First Class, which I liked quite a bit. MORE FOOD REVIEWS TO COME SOON~~~~


Clubbing paradise plz


The Manchester Triangle & The Manchester Eye
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Baekdu
77 Shudehill
Manchester
M4 4