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Archive for the ‘^Travel to Eat^’ Category

An hour away from Singapore lies Montigo Resorts in Batam, a sprawling architectural expanse of white against the deep blue waters of South China Sea. The nearest ferry terminal is Nongsapura Ferry Terminal and it takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (Singapore) to Nongsapura Ferry Terminal (Nongsa), easy! There is even 2-way complimentary land transfers from Nongsapura Ferry Terminal to Montigo Resorts and back.

Moving around the resort is a breeze through the on-site buggy service, simply call and you will be picked up!

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There are four types of villas – hilltop villa (highest viewpoint at the resort’s crest), hillside villa (between hilltop and seafront), seafront villa (unobstructed view of the sea), and spa villa (with private cabana). Most villas have the same structural layout so whichever you pick, it will be a safe choice!

Our hillside villa comes with a private sea facing infinity plunge pool (K totally maximized the use of it lol), master bedroom complete with king-size canopy bed, large modern bathing area with natural skylight, guest bedroom with two single beds, rooftop dining terrace (very Santorini-ish!) and a living room/kitchenette with basic facilities.

I didn’t want to step out at all!

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On second thoughts, it’s such a waste to stay indoors all day and not explore the resort further. We opted for a fishing trip and it was so fun! The staff was really patient and genuinely wanted us to have a good time. Although it was our first fishing experience, I got lucky and caught two snappers, score! #lunchsettled

Other water activities include wake boarding, water skiing or mangrove tour and firefly sighting for a more laid back excursion.

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With the fresh fish in hand, we headed to the kitchen of TIIGO beach club to prepare an Indonesian home-style lunch of gado gado and grilled snapper. On a side note, TIIGO’s a la carte menu features typical bar bites, tapas and sandwiches. The seafood medley of soy infused scallops, tuna carpaccio on watermelon and mahi-mahi ceviche is worth a try but avoid the club sandwich unless you like dry roast beef and smoked chicken breast.

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With our tummies full, it’s time for our favourite activity – spa!!! We are huge fans of spa and massage (imagine going for massage sessions at least twice a day in Bangkok, that’s us!) so we were looking forward to this the most. The Montigo Spa has rustic little Sumatran huts acquired exclusively for the resort, with a steam bath and plunge pools – the latter perfect to lounge, wade or simply cool off in.

Other than massages, the comprehensive spa menu also offers facials, body wraps, scrubs, and even medi/pedicure! It was difficult to choose as I wanted to do everything ha. In the end we picked the “Montigo Signature Revival Journey for Him & Her” consisting of a refreshing facial, moisturizing scrub, firming wrap and traditional massage. That is 3 hours of pure bliss, my friends. Highly recommended!

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Time to feast again ha. For dinner, we had private dining at a section off the main restaurant. Honestly it felt kind of weird and I think in-villa dining may be a better option! The chef put together a special menu for us – seared scallop, tuna nicoise salad, thick and chunky cream of mushroom (omg this was unexpectedly good!!), snapper with prawns, beef tenderloin and sago malacca with palm sugar, creme anglaise and vanilla ice cream. I was more impressed with the service than food – professional, intrusive and so friendly!

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An all day dining spot, TADD’S is the place to go for breakfast the next morning. The buffet spread has lots of local delights from pastries and kuehs to noodles and prata. What caught our eyes from the a la carte menu was the traditional tahu tek – a delicious dish of tofu and egg omelette, carrot, cucumber, spinach salad and black peanut sauce. I was kicking myself for not ordering it the day before! Besides Asian selection, there is also Western comfort cuisine in the form of eggs hemingway (smoked salmon with perfect poached eggs on english muffin) and the signature beef burger!

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Our special thanks to Montigo Resorts for organizing this trip!

Montigo Resorts Nongsa
Jalan Hang Lekir, Nongsa, Batam
Kepulauan Riau 29465, Indonesia
+62 778 7768888

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#kkhongkong2015

The 3rd edition of the #kk travel series is on Hong Kong (my birthday present thanks to K!) and our 5 days trip was approximately 5% Disneyland, 10% sightseeing, 15% shopping, and 70% FOOD of course.

Breakfast

The legendary scrambled eggs from Australia Dairy Company (澳洲牛奶公司) are a must on every Hong Kong trip and while I’m a huge fan, K is an even bigger fan of the silky smooth scrambled eggs from Capital Cafe (華星冰室). We also ordered the crispy buns from the latter but I think Tsui Wah (翠華餐廳) does it better. Egg tarts are another must (yes, I have a lot of “must eat!” in Hong Kong ha)! I always go to Honolulu Coffee Shop (檀島咖啡餅店) in Central for perfect flaky egg tarts (as good as Lord Stow’s Bakery 安德魯餅店!) and then a street away is Tai Cheong Bakery (泰昌餅家) which sells traditional shortcrust egg tarts (albeit a commercialized chain now). To wash them down, a cup of ice cold “pantyhose” milk tea (絲襪奶茶) from Lan Fang Yuen (蘭芳園) is the only answer! We also went to Tim Ho Wan (添好运) for their consistently good dim sum (and I still refused to go to the outlets in Singapore) and for some Instagram-worthy pics, we sought out Chau Kee (周記點心) for the *drum roll* French toast with salted egg and yam lava! Check out the videos!

Our best finds are definitely the peanut butter croissants from Urban Bakery! Filled with generous PB, the croissants made with imported A.O.C. graded ingredients were buttery, crispy and divine even when eaten cold (we know, because we brought them to Disneyland for lunch). The salted egg “liu sha” croissant was fab too but still not as impressive as PB. We love love love the PB one so much that we went back on our last day just to pack some for our flight home.

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Breakfast

To take a break from greasy dim sum and fattening milk tea, we spent a relaxing morning at the Mandarin Grill + Bar, which has retained its Michelin star for the sixth year running. The breakfast menu was typically western with plenty of eggs (Benedict, Florentine, Royal and even a luxurious Caviar version), pancakes and healthy choices such as oat porridge and bircher muesli – exactly what we were looking for. K’s Full English breakfast had a scrumptious selection of scrambled eggs, black pudding, Rhug Estate bacon, sausage and portobello mushroom while my tamago-ish omelette with smoked salmon and avocado was pretty satisfying too. The most unique item on the menu was “Air Yogurt” – think yogurt in espuma form. The foam was so light and pairing it with mango, blueberry and strawberry felt like eating whipped cream with fruits, lovely.

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Desserts

Like Taipei, I enjoyed the desserts in Hong Kong very much! For green tea soft serve, only two places are worth our precious calories: Via Tokyo and Sweets House Cha Cha. The former has been highly raved in the blogosphere and rightly so! My first encounter with Via Tokyo was in 2014 and I was thrilled to be back again, this time for more of the texturally perfect matcha affogato and royal milk tea soft serve. Cha Cha’s texture or flavour may not match up to Via Tokyo but their intense black sesame sauce drizzled on top of the soft serve cemented its place in my heart. Just take my money, you two! Small Potato Ice Creamery‘s deep purple soft serve made an eye-catching pic on Instagram but was a tad underwhelming due to the weak flavour. Lab Made (first liquid nitrogen ice cream parlor in Hong Kong) and Oddies Foodies (tiny shop but wonderful creations) were average-nice, not good enough for a second visit. Smile Yogurt is a different story though – the frozen yogurt soft serve has a texture that can rival ice cream, so creamy and milky! Our DIY parfait had all good stuff – froyo, brownies, nuts, chocolate sauce, delicious! For cakes and tarts, note down Cha-no-wa (茶之環) for the softest matcha (yes, matcha again!) roll everrrrr and 2/3 Dolci if hand-made pistachio tart filled with pistachio sponge, dark chocolate, more pistachio paste and 100% pistachio cream sounds like heaven to you!

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Michelin – Cantonese

We had our first proper lunch at two Michelin-starred T’ang Court after checking in and it was nothing short of “wow”. Lavish furnishings aside, the masterpieces in this chi-chi restaurant are clearly the authentic Cantonese culinary dishes. We tried three items from the “T’ang Court Award Winning Dishes” menu – stir-fried fresh lobster with spring onions, red onions and shallots (三蔥爆龍蝦); pan-fried cod fillet with preserved bean paste sauce with cod fish taro puffs (火焰蜂巢銀鱈魚); and stir-fried diced Wagyu beef with spring onion and wasabi (芥末香蔥爆和牛柳粒). What can I say other than excellent, excellent, and excellent?! Superbly fresh seafood and K single-handedly polished off the plate of expertly stir-fried-till-tender Wagyu beef. The lobster was surprisingly tasty despite the simple execution; no wonder it clinched the “Best of the Best Culinary Award – Gold with Distinction Award” for T’ang Court, bravo! Don’t leave without trying the soups though – they are the hallmarks of a true Cantonese restaurant. Ladies, you will go crazy over the braised imperial bird’s nest with crab meat and crab roe; extremely nourishing and the crab roe added a touch of sinful decadence to the bowl of warm, hearty “soup”. I approve!

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Michelin – French

Within a year since its opening, Upper Modern Bistro had gained its first Michelin Star. The dinner menu comprises familiar French bistro dishes, French tapas and also more elaborate haute cuisine with an Asian twist using fresh ingredients from all over the world. We started with lush Brittany oysters dressed with ponzu marinade; tender octopus and boiled potato salad with mustard vinaigrette; a trio of tuna, crab and salmon bruschetta; mini veal burgers with mushroom purée that’s one of the signatures at Upper Modern Bistro; average mushroom soup with beaufort cheese; my main of crispy sole with crab meat and smoked eel (I was already full by then but couldn’t resist finishing the lightly breaded fillets); K’s main of French pigeon with shiitake and mustard seeds (his first pigeon!); and ended with desserts of “Upper Choc” – love the chocolate sorbet! – and pistachio barre with green apple sorbet and popcorn. Affordable prices, generous portions and attentive service; now I can understand why is the restaurant packed to the brim on a weekend night!

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Michelin – French

We did a day trip to Macau and took the opportunity to lunch at The Tasting Room (御膳房) housed at City of Dreams integrated resort (casino!). There’s a direct shuttle bus from Macau Ferry Terminal so finding our way to the opulent restaurant was easy. Winning the Michelin star three years in a row, The Tasting Room redefines fine dining with utmost attention to details and using seasonal ingredients to deliver dishes presented so beautifully that I have to remind myself that a chef plated our food, not an artist. A refreshing crab salad with tomato water jelly, avocado mousse and Bloody Mary sorbet whetted our appetites for more and we were not disappointed. The smoked egg with ibérico ham and comté cheese sauce was served with a flourish (not unlike Jaan) and my favourite was the contemporary style French onion soup – “deconstructed” with a piquant scoop of onion ice cream! I left almost all the slow cooked turbot untouched as it was tough while K hit the jackpot with his Kobe beef, cheeks and sirloin with quince and saffron, so envious! Luckily dessert was a dream – chocolate banana mille feuille with all sorts of crunchy smooth textures and paired with cocoa sorbet. I must say, this was my most memorable meal of the trip!

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Tapas Bar

No-reservations 22 Ships has become one of Hong Kong hottest tables since opening in October 2012 and being a fan of Chef Jason Atherton, I was anxious to check out the eclectic menu of modern tapas, served in a buzzy yet relaxed setting. It was difficult to choose from the menu because I wanted to try so many of the creative-sounding tapas which Chef Atherton apparently describes as “representing the modern face of dining”. The one dish which struck me as “this is the one” was the mishmash of cauliflower, mushroom, parsley and walnut pesto. Omg, that was soooo good and flavourful, and it is exactly the type of dish a veggie-hater should try and be converted. I swear, not being melodramatic here. K raved about the Berkshire pork and foie gras burgers as much as I gushed over the cauliflower ha. By comparison, the scallop ceviche with yuzu and roast cod with capers, anchovy and lemon were not as exciting on the palate, though they were tasty too. We only had enough stomach space for one dessert (sadly) and picked the correct one – peanut butter, condensed milk, banana, outstanding.

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British

Opened in May 2014, Aberdeen Street Social is the other brainchild of Chef Atherton (told you I’m a fan girl ha) and located in hipster SoHo within PMQ. Branding itself as a “social” venue, the restaurant has two levels – downstairs is a bar-cum-bistro for casual dining (this is where we got our hands on the huge-ass fresh lobster roll with fries) and upstairs offers a more intimate dining experience of modern British cuisine. Our 3-course lunch felt kind of safe – chewy octopus with basil sauce, caper berries and dehydrated tomato; sea bass with quinoa, curry and sour cream; roasted turbot with Morecambe bay brown shrimps and samphire; JAAL 75% (Pollen in Singapore has a variation of this too!) with chocolate ganache and madras curry banana ice cream… I know it’s not fair to compare, but I can’t help myself – 22 Ships gets my vote!

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Japanese

I like Kishoku. Named 樂 in Chinese, the “joys” of Kishoku came in the form of kaiseki-style Japanese dishes for us. Seated at the sushi bar (best seats in the house!), we were suitably impressed by the chef who fed us so well with his carefully crafted sashimi and sushi. The omakase menu changes frequently depending on what’s the freshest on the day and what you see here may not be what you get – maguro coated with white sesame miso sauce; creamy crab meat mixed with crab roe; snapper sashimi interestingly paired with a sweet plum; aburi mackerel with sesame, ginger and perilla leaf; uni in shell topped with negitoro and ikura (this was the bomb, must eat!!); a thick chunk of chutoro temaki sans rice (chef and I are in agreement that the best hand rolls come with no rice ha); cooked snapper with eggplant; grilled tachiuo hairtail fish that has an amazing texture like soft anago; tomato, fig and corn salad with tangy apply jelly; and an assortment of sushi from live clam and otoro to aburi black cod and tuna tendon. Oishii!! *happy sigh*

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Organic

I imagine Locofama will fit in well in Singapore, since we have so many hipster cafes and restaurants these days. But one difference will be its tagline – “Making Healthy Hip”. Yup, located at the up and coming Sai Ying Pun neighbourhood, Locofama proudly serves organic nutritional bites all day. Designed with the health conscious in mind, their menu has options for every diner, from vegan and dairy-free to nut-free, and pescetarian (me!). It even has the carb-free dishes for those on the latest food fad – paleo diet! We had dinner here after a heavy lunch so were very happy with our healthy meal. The black truffle crab dip served with corn chips was rich and heavenly; quinoa, avocado and kale salad was nothing to write home about; miso-marinated salmon fillet with a side of mashed cauliflower “potato” and cherry tomato confit was not too bad but it was the carb-free cauliflower risotto that floored me. Instead of using rice, this “risotto” is made entirely with finely chopped cauliflower florets, so smart! Topped with an organic runny egg, it was one exceptional dish which I won’t forget anytime soon!

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Breakfast

Australia Dairy Company (澳洲牛奶公司)
G/F, 47-49 Parkes Street, Jordan
佐敦白加士街47-49號地下

Capital Café (華星冰室)
Shop B1, G/F, Kwong Sang Hong Building, 6 Heard Street, Wan Chai
灣仔克街6號廣生行大廈地下B1號舖

Honolulu Coffee Shop (檀島咖啡餅店)
176-178 Hennessy Rd, Central
灣仔軒尼詩道176-178號地下及閣樓

Tai Cheong Bakery (泰昌餅家)
35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
中環擺花街35號地下

Lan Fang Yuen (蘭芳園)
2 Gage Street, Central
中環結志街2號

Tim Ho Wan 添好運點心專門店
Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station (Podium Level 1, IFC Mall), Central
中環香港站12A鋪(IFC地庫一層)

Chau Kee (周記點心)
西環西營盤水街東利大厦地下H1號舖

Urban Bakery
Room 322, 3/F, The Landmark, 12-16 Des Voeux Road Central, Central
中環德輔道中12-16號置地廣場3樓322號舖

Mandarin Grill + Bar
Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 5 Connaught Rd, Central
中環干諾道中5號香港文華東方酒店

Desserts

Via Tokyo
Shop nos. 1A-1B, G/F., Leishun Court, 106-126 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay
銅鑼灣禮頓道106-126號禮信大廈地下1A-1B號舖

Sweets House Cha Cha
city’super, 3/F, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
尖沙咀廣東道17號海港城3樓city’super內

Small Potato Ice Creamery
G/F, 28-30 Haven Street, Causeway Bay
銅鑼灣希雲街28-30號地下

Lab Made
Shop 42, G/F, Miramar Shopping Centre, 132 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
尖沙嘴分店地址:九龍尖沙嘴彌敦道132號美麗華商場地下42號舖

Smile Yogurt & Dessert Bar
K11: Unit G32-33, G/F, K11, 18 Hanoi road, Tsim Sha Tsui,Kowloon
尖沙咀河內道18號K11購物藝術館地下G32-33號舖

Cha-no-wa (茶之環)
B1, City’super, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay
銅鑼灣勿地臣街1號時代廣場B1 City’super

2/3 Dolci
Shop 1, 1/F Manning House, 38-48 Queen’s Road Central, Central
中環皇后大道中38-48號萬年大廈1樓1號舖

Michelin – Cantonese

T’ang Court
The Langham Hong Kong, No.8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
尖沙咀北京道8號香港朗廷酒店1樓

Michelin – French

Upper Modern Bistro
6-14 Upper Station St, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
上環差館上街6-14號地舖

The Tasting Room (御膳房)
Level 3, Crown Towers, City of Dreams, Macau
路氹城連貫公路新濠天地皇冠度假酒店3樓

Tapas Bar

22 Ships
22 Ship Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong
灣仔船街22號地下

British

Aberdeen Street Social
PMQ, Ground Floor, JPC, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central
中環鴨巴甸街35號PMQ元創方JPC地下

Japanese

Kishoku (楽壽司)
5th floor, 38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay
銅鑼灣耀華街38號大腳板中心5樓

Organic

Locofama
G/F, 9-13 Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun, Western District
西環西營盤福壽里9-13號地舖

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#kktaipei2015

After #kkbangkok2015, it’s time for a write-up on #kktaipei2015 which took place a couple of months ago. It wasn’t my first time to Taipei but I still had much fun with K (his maiden trip and we went paragliding wheeeee) and trust me, we ate a lot (he even brought his abs roller there, check out the epic video here!) starting with…

Breakfast/Night Markets

When we wake up, there’s 豆浆油条 waiting and before we sleep, there’s 夜市 to conquer. Eating is a continuous affair in Taipei lol. Loco Food (樂口福) and Chen Gen Zhao Cha (陳根找茶) are two very popular brekkie joints with the locals and queues are synonymous with these two names. As recommended by the hilarious duo on TVBS 食尚玩家 during the 台北必吃十間早餐店 edition, both shops have excellent thin and crispy egg rolls generously stuffed with fillings of tuna, pork floss, corn etc! Other than 蛋餅, other must-tries include the mean 無敵大牛堡 burger from Loco Food and fluffy 法式吐司 French toast from Chen Gen Zhao Cha. Skip Yong He (永和豆漿), very underwhelming. And the best is definitely Fu Hang (阜杭豆漿) – the legendary place where tourists start queuing at 6am for freshly baked 燒餅 flatbread, deep-fried 油條 cruller and 豆浆米浆. We loved it so much that we went back twice!

As for night markets, K swears by Ah Zong Mian Xian 阿宗麵線 (which I hate) from Shilin (士林夜市) and the famous black pepper buns 胡椒餅 from Raohe (饒河夜市) while I’ll always make a beeline for the taro balls with salted egg yolk from 刘芋仔芋丸 at Ningxia (宁夏夜市)! Gongguan (公館夜市) is home to Chen San Ding Bubble Tea (陳三鼎), apparently the first (and only?) place which serves fresh milk with “bubbles” soaked in brown sugar so there’s actually no tea in the drink at all. I’m not a fan of tapioca pearls or bubble teas but K the expert stamped his approval all over it (he wanted to buy one more!) And FYI, Shi-Da (師大夜市) is the most boring in terms of food options imo.

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Ice Cream

I went gaga over soft serve ice cream in Taipei!! Top on my list is 8%ice冰淇淋專門店; the gorgeous white sesame soft serve was soooooo good that we ordered another one right on the spot. Matcha, French chocolate, banana and royal milk tea were great too but it’s the white sesame flavour which will make me yearn for 8%ice. 瑪可緹 Mocktail Tea has a bubble tea-inspired parfait consisting of Tie Guan Yin soft serve, pearls and tea jelly that’s well worth the calories! 白鬍子 Milk Beard and 小涼院 (Xiao Liang Yuan, but I think they don’t have an official English name) are popular among the local bloggers and bravely offer just one or two flavours daily. Get the creamy honey whiskey from Milk Beard, it’s their signature and rightly so. 小涼院 was overrated to me – the pink guava (while interesting) was a tad icy. And even Family Mart and 7-Eleven have decent soft serves! Of course, I couldn’t bear to leave Taipei without grabbing a Godiva cone at the airport. Last chance what!

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Desserts

I’m really impressed with the desserts scene in Taipei. Other than ice cream, most of the cakes we tried (upon much research!) were of superb quality. Uncle Tetsu is a must ever since I was hooked on their fluffy soft cheesecake a few years ago (sadly, the Singapore branch couldn’t survive). So surprised to see that there’s a green tea version now and happy to report that we finished it at one go! Speaking of green tea, we found the most Instagram-worthy molten lava matcha roll cake (and the best coffee, according to K) at The Lobby of Simple Kaffa!! Another fabulous roll cake was from 香帥蛋糕 – take your pick between purple yam or black sesame! Last but not least, how can I miss out Dazzling Cafe?! I haven’t been to the one in Singapore (and don’t think I’ll go) but the huge famous toast was really quite delicious (we prefer it to Bangkok’s After You). FYI – our limited edition Mont Blanc toast is only available at Dazzling Cafe Pink!

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Snacks

We were on a mission to find the best 車輪餅, literally wheel cake or imagawayaki (今川焼き). Many have raved about the whimsically named 有時候紅豆餅 but I think the red bean and custard were too clean-tasting (read: bland). Old school 同心圓水晶紅豆餅 is the best imo! We impulsively ordered four different flavours – azuki, black sesame mochi (yes mochi!), peanut mochi, custard – and all were excellent! The fragrant batter was a notch better than the other eight (yes eight, I’m determined like that ha) imagawayaki shops tried and tested lol.

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Fusion

Snagging a table at Chef Andre Chiang’s RAW restaurant was a stressful event. The system opens exactly 14 days prior to your date of reservation at 12pm and seats are snapped up within 10 minutes! It’s a game of fastest-finger-wins, no kidding. I camped by my computer on that afternoon and almost wept with joy when my reservation was successful. Drama much, but that’s how foodies serious about food will feel!

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The 50-seat restaurant serves ‘bistronomy’ cuisine, a new wave of cooking style born in Paris, and offers experimental haute cuisine at a reasonable price. Our 3hrs 9-course lunch had some hits and misses, though overall I’d say it was very enjoyable. The menu changes regularly and showcases beautiful Taiwanese seasonal produce. We started with toasted cauliflower with chicken masala and cous cous; rose champagne-scented tomatoes; ‘perfect’ egg with praline and wild veg (this was fun, we were given a wreath of edible herbs to decorate our own dish!); sakura ebi cappellini; corn pudding with clam and kelp jus (this was my favourite!); cod with burnt cabbage; mushroom salad; pork with chinese olive; ended with desserts of mini pineapple tarts and strawberry, pink grava. RAW strives for ‘The New Interpretation of Taiwanese Flavor’, we reckon mission accomplished!

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Japanese

The rest of this post will be focused on Japanese cuisine in Taipei – I think the Taiwanese love Japanese food as much as we Singaporeans do! Our best find this trip was 三多屋爸爸嘴, a no-frills non-air conditioned shop that’s conveniently located near Taiwan Station. The specialty is seafood rice bowls, or more specifically chirashi dons! For less than NT$480 (barely more than S$20), our 豪華蓋飯 (premium chirashi) came with fresh generous portions of uni, hotate, ebi, tamago, salmon, tuna, ikura and other assorted sashmi over vinegared rice!! Even the wakame and slightly sweetened black beans were delicious. As if we were not full enough, the staff even served hot fish soup (with lots of meaty fish in it, so good!) and cold almond pudding (commercialized stuff which we returned, but it was a nice gesture nonetheless). Oh boy, I miss this so much now! Will never find such value-for-money don in Singapore…

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Japanese

We decided to splurge on one omakase meal at Kitcho (吉兆割烹寿司) since it came highly recommended by a couple of foodie friends. Making reservations was easy and straightforward; finding the nondescript restaurant was likewise when armed with Google maps.

taipei 20156

Our NT$3,500 (approx S$155) lunch took more than two hours to complete. We were fed sashimi, sushi and cooked food. There was nothing we disliked, and yet there was nothing particularly outstanding – except for one epic sushi which ironically was not part of the omakase. I ordered the negitoro-uni-aburi toro sushi as an a la carte item and woah it was an orgasmic combination! That said, K didn’t rank this place highly because he was served an otoro sushi which disintegrated in his hand upon picking it up. Chef didn’t form it properly and failed to replace with another. Minus points!

taipei 20155

Japanese

From a small bistro to an upscale restaurant, TON 28 has been serving quality Japanese cuisine for the past 10 years. If I have to choose a word to describe our meal, it’d be ‘exquisite’. Every dish was creativity crafted and we could tell the chefs paid much attention to the presentation. Plus, I heard that famous celebrities and politicians like to dine here!

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We started with a lovely tray of ‘Kyoto flower garden’ sashimi salad which wouldn’t be out of place in a kaiseki restaurant; signature nigiri sushi of baby white shrimp with perilla; ikuri with uni on rice and lettuce for a pleasant crunchy-creamy texture; broiled foie gras with caviar and gold foil that’s a luxurious savoury treat; my favourite anago sushi; grilled Australian rose beef with seasonal vegetables; lightly steamed fresh sturgeon with truffle; sakura shrimp with angel hair pasta; and ended with sweet seasonal fruits. We left feeling happy that a hidden gem has been uncovered; TON 28, we’ll be back for more!

taipei 20157

Japanese

Because TON 28 was so delightful, we also checked out the sister restaurant TON Sushi (同壽司) which is less upmarket and more casual. Food-wise, it didn’t disappoint too as the quality of seafood is nothing but fresh. I love the anago-meshi (broiled conger eel on top of rice) – four neatly arranged anago that were almost too long for the bowl – and the colourful 三色丼, tri-coloured don of uni, kani and ikura! Heaven. For something more filling, the rainbow roll and soft-shell crab roll will do. The former was surprisingly light despite being stuffed with tempura flakes and crabmeat coated with mayo while the latter had a thin crispy batter without the oily mouthfeel.

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Japanese

Sumie Nouvelle Cuisine Japonaise (澄江創意懷石料理) was our last stop before leaving the country. Located in San Want Hotel, the contemporary restaurant offers affordable set lunches which are popular among businessmen. As a kid, I had my fair share of 旺旺 biscuits from 小馒头 to 鲜贝 (don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about; it’s a childhood memory!) so it was fun to step into the hotel and see a 旺旺 statue! Yup, 旺旺 is not just into the F&B business but properties too! Anyway, back to Sumie. The lunch set menu came with edamame-tofu appetiser, assorted sashimi and sushi, tempura, beef sukiyaki and steamed rice. Little needs to be said when the ingredients are so fresh and elegantly assembled right?

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Breakfast

Loco Food (樂口福)
台北市南京東路三段89巷5-4號
No. 5-4, Lane 89, Section 3, Nanjing E Rd, Zhongshan District

Chen Gen Zhao Cha (陳根找茶)
台北市信義區莊敬路391巷7號
No. 391巷7, Zhuangjing Rd, Xinyi District

Yonghe Doujiang (永和豆漿)
No. 30 Hankou Street, Zhongzheng District

Fu Hang Dou Jiang 阜杭豆漿
台北市中正區忠孝東路一段108號華山市場2樓之28
HuaShan Market Building, 2F, Zhongxiao E. Rd. Sec. 1, No. 108

Ice Cream

8%ice冰淇淋專門店
台北市大安區永康路13巷6號
1F, No. 6, Lane 13, Yongkang Street, Da’an District

Mocktail Tea (瑪可緹)
台北市松壽路12號4樓 (ATT 4 FUN)

Milk Beard (白鬍子)
大安區忠孝東路四段205巷29弄8號

小涼院霜淇淋專門店
大安區復興南路二段148巷34號

Godiva
Terminal 2-4F, Departure Area, Taoyuan International Airport

Desserts / Snacks

Uncle Tetsu’s Cheese Cake (鐵叔叔起司蛋糕)
台北市中正區北平西路3號
Taipei Main Station Underground Mall

The Lobby Of Simple Kaffa | Hotel V
敦化南路一段177巷48號B1
B1, No. 48, Lane 177, Section 1, Dunhua S Rd, Da’an District

香帥蛋糕
Taipei Main Station

Dazzling Cafe Pink
台北市大安區忠孝東路四段205巷7弄11號1樓

有時候紅豆餅
民生東路五段36巷4弄9號1樓

同心圓水晶紅豆餅
106中華民國台北市大安區復興南路一段133號

Restaurants

RAW
台北市中山區樂群三路301號1樓
No.301, Le Qun 3rd Road, Taipei City

三多屋爸爸嘴
台北市大同區太原路19號
No. 19, Taiyuan Road, Datong District

Kitcho 吉兆割烹寿司
No. 48, Lane 181, Section 4, Zhongxiao E Road, Da’an District

Ton 28 Japanese Cuisine
松仁路28號 (Bellavita 6F)

TON Sushi (同壽司)
信義區松壽路9號 信義新天地- A9 6F

Sumie Nouvelle Cuisine Japonaise (澄江創意懷石料理)
4F, San Want Hotel
No.172, Sec. 4, ZhongXiao East Road

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This post is a chronicle of the food tried and tested over our recent Bangkok getaways. K and I are so in love the land of smiles – we went twice last year (see Instagram album #kkbangkok2014) and yet again two months ago (#kkbangkok2015). Being “regulars”, we have a few places that’s a MUST on every Bangkok trip (that means Raan Jay Fai!!) but I also like to strike off new cafes and restaurants on my ever-expanding list. Not all the places we conquered are featured here; see the Instagram albums for more foooooooood!

Breakfast

Singapore has Chin Mee Chin, Bangkok has On Lok Yun. Breakfast here is as old school as it gets – bare and basic “decor” (for want of a better word), A4 laminated menu, cha chaan teng-style booths, and of course the simple traditional servings of toast, eggs, bacon, ham, sausage and drinks. Between the two of us gluttons, we ordered 2x kaya (a.k.a. egg custard on the menu), 2x soft steamed bread, 2x soft boiled eggs, 1x French toast, 1x chayen (Thai milk tea), 1x black coffee and 1x milk coffee *victory sign* Whether the kaya is the best around is debatable but I’ve got no qualms with giving my stamp of approval for the French toast (and I don’t even like French toast in general)! Cushiony soaked bread underneath a blanket of crispy egg, it was utterly stunning and definitely one I’d return for.

On Lok Yun
72 Charoen Krung Road, Bangkok
02-223-9621

bf onlok

Have food, will travel. Yes I do live by that motto. We actually cabbed from our hotel to another hotel just for breakfast, and we did it for two consecutive days! Hotel Metropolitan by COMO houses Glow, a wellness-focused restaurant that serves a very healthy make-us-feel-good-before-pigging-out-later breakfast menu. K always have the scrambled eggs with corn cake and pork sausage while I’ve discovered one of the best things in life – raw young coconut and almond ‘porridge’! The pure blended coconut and nutty almond was insanely smooth, creamy and so nourishing! But good things don’t last forever and I was devastated to find it gone from the menu on my last visit, sob! Good people of Glow, bring it back, please please please?

Glow
Metropolitan by COMO, 27 South Sathorn Road, Tungmahamek Sathorn, Bangkok
+66 2 625 3333

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Brunch

We discovered Karmakamet Diner on our 2nd Bangkok trip back in 2013 and have not looked back since. It is easily the prettiest cafe we’ve ever been to and although it’s more well-known for a wide range of aromatics rather than food, it’s the latter that brings us back whenever we are in BKK. While the menu is very comprehensive – egg dishes, sandwiches, pasta, mains and desserts – we have never ventured beyond the full breakfast (for K) and gravlax salad (for me!) because we are predictable eaters like that ha. The full breakfast is of incredible value – barely S$20 for scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes, potato skins, toast with butter and jam, granola with fruits, fresh juice and coffee/tea, phew. Where to find in Singapore?!

Karmakamet Diner
30/1 Sukhumvit Soi 24, Bangkok
02-262-0700-1

brunch karma

Highly successful and popular in Bangkok, Rocket Coffeebar now has three outlets in Bangkok. We’ve been to the original hole-in-the-wall branch on Sathorn Soi 12, and also the newest/biggest so far at Sukhumvit Soi 49.

Rocket Coffeebar S.12
149, Sathorn Soi 12, Bangkok
+66 (0) 2 6350 404

Rocket Coffeebar S.49
46/12 Sukhumvit Soi 49 (at Piman 49), Bangkok
+66 (0) 2 6626 638

brunch rocket1

I like to go for breakfast because they open really early at 7am every morning (you won’t believe how late the other cafes open zzz) and also serve some special dishes other than the usual smoked salmon scrambled eggs and artisanal coffee etc etc – warm coconut porridge made with oats and barley cooked in slightly sweetened coconut water and topped with fresh mango and pomegranate; almond bircher consisting of nuts, oats, sunflower and chia seeds in banana puree and house made almond milk; thick and velvety coconut shake blended with 100% young coconut flesh and water!

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And then more recently, we took the opportunity to try out the lunch and dinner menus too! K liked the toast skagen (prawns with horseradish-dill mayo and tobiko on sourdough bread) while I prefered the crab & pineapple (with iceberg lettuce, pea tendrils, red lentils, lemon mayo and chilli dressing); for mains, the crispy duck leg confit with potato terrine was a winner for him and the pan seared snapper with hot quinoa, seasoned yogurt and beetroot chips was the same for me; both desserts of Sapparot (i.e. pineapple and lime mousses, coconut ice cream, coconut water tapioca, ginger gel with sesame cookie) and Ichigo (strawberry and raspberry in sorbet, mousses, gels, meringue, tuile, sous-vide rhubarb, vanilla bean pudding, lemon curd and star anise crumbles) won’t be out of place on a restaurant menu and tasted as good as they looked!

brunch rocket3

I came across The Girl and The Pig accidentally while googling for “best crab cake in Bangkok”, so random right haha. Offering new American bistro style cuisine in a instagram/OOTD-worthy farmhouse inspired setting, The Girl and The Pig prepares all their food from local produces, natural and seasonal ingredients available and more importantly, no MSG!

The Girl and The Pig
Central Embassy Level-5, Ploenchit Road, Bangkok
+66 91 771 1143

brunch girl pig 1

We had a late lunch here after flying in from Singapore and were absolutely starving – a blessing in disguise since that made me trigger-happy when ordering. Scallop caponata (caramelized jumbo scallops with stir-fried eggphant and truffle sauce), Nordic shrimp bite (not the best grilled corn bread but the marinated shrimps with beetroot are gorgeous), egg benedict with crab cakes on homemade English muffins (love this!!!), grilled sirloin steak with fried egg on buttermilk biscuit (slightly pricey so KIV), bouillabaisse (rich broth, five different types of seafood, yums) and out of all the desserts hand-made from scratch, our favourite is the classic baked French clafoutis, so perfectly moist, light and fluffy!

brunch girl pig2

Thai

Because we have been to Bangkok so many times, Thai food is no longer a priority though K still wants at least one Thai meal per trip. We’ve been to Supanniga Eating Room, Som Tam Nua, Krua Apsorn and here’s one more for our collection: Siam Proud. After learning that the Executive Chef has apparently more than 40 years of experience, we knew we were in for a treat! The menu is all in Thai – a big plus as that’s a sign that tourists are not the target group yay!

Siam Proud Thai Restaurant
64 Rama IX Road, Suan Luang, Bangkok
+66 2 118 6227

thai siam 1

The yam pla foo is beautiful – crispy catfish deep-fried to a golden hue and amazingly not oily at all. It was a first for us and I fell in love with it. We also ordered a thick coconut-milk dip with raw veggies on the side and although it was so spicy that I couldn’t bear more than a couple of small bites, I was happy because it’s a testament to how authentic the dishes are. Two must-orders for us are the yellow curry with crabmeat and wild betel leaf, and the stir-fried scrambled eggs which seemed deceptively simple yet turned out to be so fragrant. K paired them with purple rice steamed inside a young coconut (I don’t eat rice heh) and we wiped out all the dishes easily. After all the bold flavours, the cold and mild milk-free coconut ice cream was a godsend!

thai siam 2

Asia Top 50

It’s our SOP to tick off a couple of restaurants on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list whenever we are in Bangkok. Nahm will always have a special place in our hearts because that was the first Asia Top 50 restaurants we experienced together; Gaggan was outstanding – I don’t think we will tire of it anytime soon; and Issaya Siamese Club (currently ranked #39) is another impressive restaurant which we really enjoyed despite the naysayers.

Issaya Siamese Club
4 Soi Sri Aksorn, Chua Ploeng Road, Sathorn, Bangkok
+66 (0)2 672 9040-1

top50 siamese1

Dining here can be quite a show – the homemade green curry paste soup with basil, kaffir lime leaves, heart of palm and prawns is cooked right in front of us; slow-cooked smoked salmon with Jerusalem artichokes in red curry sauce is theatrically presented with much smoke and fanfare; and the most exciting spectacle is the Kanom Tung Taek – I don’t want to spoil the surprise (though you probably can guess from the next photo), you have to order this cold coconut crepe souffle!

top50 siamese2

Other memorable eats for us include the famous banana blossom and heart of palm salad (great texture and the chilli jam dressing is addictive!), chicken rubbed with “Issaya spice” and charcoal grilled, and soft shell crabs slathered with spicy egg sauce. Delish! We’ll most likely be more adventurous and go for the tasting menu next!

top50 siamese3

Sra Bua used to be ranked #21 on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2014 but sadly has completely dropped off the list this year (for the record, it was still one of Asia’s best when we were there in February). Serving Thai-inspired cuisine with a modern twist, Sra Bua is conceptualised by renowned Henrik Yde Andersen, whose Kiin Kiin restaurant in Copenhagen is currently the only Thai restaurant in the world holding a Michelin star. It is also conveniently located at the Siam Kempinski Hotel which is right behind Siam Paragon! Ideal for lunch before the shopping spree starts ha.

Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin
Siam Kempinski Hotel, Rama 1 Road 991/9, Bangkok
+66 (0) 2 162 9000

top sra 1

We began with a lovely trio of “nibblings” – crispy kaffir lime scented lotus root, roasted cashew nut soya meringue and homemade squid ink chip with oyster aioli – followed by spicy wagyu beef salad for K and Hokkaido scallops with tamarind and lemongrass for me. Even though the 3-course menu is substantial enough, I also psycho-ed K to order the signature starter – Maine lobster salad with frozen red curry. You can’t say you’ve been to Sra Bua unless you’ve tasted it. Notable familiar piquant flavours, yet so much more refined (though the dry ice effect was a bit gimmicky)!

top50 sra 2

After satisfying mains of butter fish in aromatic coconut milk and a generous slab of five spiced braised pork belly with pumpkin and crackling (!!), our meal ended with my favourite course – desserts! It was a close fight between the lightly sweetened pandan ice cream with pistachio and jelly and the moist banana cake with caramelized milk and smooth salted ice cream; let’s just say we wiped the plates clean and even the crumbs were not spared!

top50 sra3

Japanese

Similar to Singapore, the Japanese food scene in Bangkok is alive and buzzing as the locals seem to adore sushi and sashimi as much as we do. We tested a few Japanese restaurants and Fillets came out top in our opinion. K kept raving about the omakase – best he ever had! I may have to agree too.

Fillets
The Portico, 3thFloors, 31 Soi Langsuan, Bangkok
092-879-6882

jap fillet 1

Obviously skilled and knowledgeable about what he’s serving and handling, watching Executive Chef Randy prepare course after course of sublime morsels is an art, a graceful performance. You’ve got to see how he aburi his fish – nothing as passe as a blowtorch but a rank over burning charcoal instead. Such a simple yet brilliant idea! And of course, all the fish and seafood were expectedly very fresh, from the fatty otoro (with shaved black truffles and caviar omg) and delicate tongues of uni to the plump hotate and creamy shirako. He did feed us some exotic sushi and sashimi but I’m sorry that I’ve forgotten their names, my bad!

jap fillet 2

The reason why I bookmarked Fillets while researching for my food itinerary in Bangkok was because their bara chirashi reminded me of Aoki’s! It’s available during lunch and Chef was so accommodating to include it as part of the omakase (K had a wagyu don), score~ The cubed marinated fish scattered with freshly baked spongy castella tamago on a bed of sushi rice was exactly the kind of “carb” dish I won’t mind having!

jap fillet(3)

After Fillets, Shintaro is the next most memorable Japanese restaurant we tried in Bangkok. When we visited, it was managed by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts but I realized after March 1, the hotel’s owner is operating the hotel as Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel so take note!

Shintaro
Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel, 155 Rajadamri Road, Bangkok
+66 2 126 8866

jap shintaro 1

Two items made an impact – the hamachi sashimi and braised tuna toro cheek. Sashimi we’ve had plenty but I can still remember the melt-in-the-mouth sensation vividly when the semi-thick slice of hamachi eagerly disappeared into my mouth. Too fresh, too good! As for the braised tuna cheek, it was my first and I certainly hope won’t be the last. Fatty and tender, the flesh tasted almost like… Meat? Quite unbelievable and I want to go back again just to see whether it’s as delectable as I recall it to be!

jap shintaro2

Each dish at Utage is beautifully executed and we truly enjoyed our lunch there. Our favourite was the aburi platter with 7 kinds of assorted sushi – salmon, hamachi, matsuzaka beef, foie gras, scallop, uni and toro. Hokkaido scallop gunkan maki and signature matzuzaka beef, unagi and foie gras roll with garlic jelly came in at a close second. Lunch sets start from THB444 (that’s under S$20!), a worthwhile choice if you happen to be shopping in that area!

Utage
Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Méridien Hotel, 61 Wireless Road (Witthayu), Bangkok
+66 2650 8800

jap utage

European/French

Water Library Chamchuri was actually my first choice (because their food looked like Ember’s!) under the Water Library group of restaurants but it was undergoing renovations when we were in town. The Capital came highly recommended to us as it is the first grill-and-bar, steakhouse-cum-seafood restaurant in the Water Library portfolio. Promising quality meat selection from around the world and daily delivered seafood, our expectations were high – and fortunately met.

The Capital by Water Library
3rd Floor, Empire Tower, South Sathorn Road, Bangkok
+66 2 286 9548

european capital  (2)

Chef De Cuisine Chef Sebastian had previously trained under three-Michelin-starred restaurants’ head chefs Gordon Ramsay, Heinz Beck, and Juan Amador so we knew we were in safe hands. We tried a variety of dishes and none disappointed. Highlights include Kimchiku steak, made with black cattle meat from a leading stock-raising region in Japan and can only be found at The Capital (yes, can’t be found anywhere else in Bangkok!); lobster gumbo, with an oriental twist by adding Thai larb spices for a unique ‘lobster bisque and chili’; steak tartare; lobster thermidor; and the signature apple pie!

european capital 1

La Table de Tee is Bangkok’s first ‘Chef’s Table’, where a daily changing tasting menu is served, depending on the ingredients bought from the market the very same morning. And more attractively, the 6-course meal only costs about S$50 (THB 1150+); that is a steal no matter in Bangkok or Singapore! To give you an idea of a typical tasting menu, here’s what we had: #1 chestnut & age parmesan cheese, #2 tiger prawn & ginger, #3 salmon & galangal or snapper & lime, #4 beef & black pepper or duck & five spices, #5 mango passion fruit parfait or dark chocolate fondant, #6 peanut macarons & fruit jelly. Sounds pretty good right? Trust me, it’s an unpretentious gem!

La Table De Tee
69/5 Soi Saladeang Road, Bang Rak, Bangkok
+66 2 636 3220

european la table

J’AIME by Jean-Michel Lorain is conceived by highly respected three-Michelin-starred chef Jean-Michel Lorain and interestingly merges classic French cuisine with shared Asian tables, giving diners the chance to sample a number of innovative dishes on offer. What do I mean? Well, think of it as French food in dim sum style! Other than the lobster and sweet corn bisque with pickled baby corn and tarragon, all the appetizers, mains and desserts were served in tapas form – small plates on a communal Lazy Susan, so Chinese and uncommon in a French restaurant! We were smitten with most of the dishes, from ocean oyster terrine with Irancy wine gelée and pan-seared scallops with morel mushrooms to lightly-smoked sea bass with caviar sauce and the dessert mille-feuille “napoleon”!

J’AIME by Jean-Michel Lorain
U Sathorn Bangkok, 105, 105/1 Soi Ngam Duphli Thung Maha Mek Sub-district Sathorn District, Bangkok
+66 (0)2 119 4899

french jaime

Dining with a View

The sky is not the limit at Centara Grand’s Blue Sky. Cliche as it may be, this restaurant and bar has been named as one of the 15 most exciting rooftop bars in the world! Located on level 24 of Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao (near Chatuchak Weekend Market!), the bistro/al fresco lounge is literally cast in blue at night (as you can see from my photos!) and gives a fantastic view of the city skyline.

Blue Sky
Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao, 1695 Phaholyothin Road, Chatuchak, Bangkok
+66 (0) 2541 1234

high blue sky 1

The cuisine is a mix of Western and Asian which may seem sound dubious but the food is legit alright! Healthy steamed snow fish balanced the sinfulness of fried squid ink balls; smoked and fresh salmon rillette was the light counterpart to the heavier seared Japanese miyazaki striploin A4; and the weakest link was the desserts. Ain’t no flow for the chocolate lava cake, sigh.

high blue sky2

Siam@Siam Design is a cool boutique-ish hotel and houses La Vue on level 25. The key is to reserve a table by the window for a breathtaking view and romantic dinner!

La Vue
Siam@Siam Design Hotel, 865 Rama 1 Road, Wang Mai, Patumwan, Bangkok
0 2217 3000

sky lebua1

Be warned, portions are huge here, honestly more in line with bistros than fine-dining restaurants. We wish we had space to stomach all the delicious seafood bisque, scallops, beef bourguignon and escargots but (I can’t believe I’m saying this) there was just too. much. food. Service was not lacking; our staff was attentive and offered good recommendations. I also gave points when he rolled out a trolley by our table and prepared to make the salmon tartare right in front of us! And then “performed” again by flambee-ing the crumbly apple pie generously laced with booze, four thumbs up (mine and K’s)!

sky lebua2

Zense @ Heaven is ambitious – five restaurants, hip cocktail bars and a gourmet wine bar, plus downtown’s most expansive panoramic view (right smack in CentralWorld)! We went a day before V-day and all the window seats at the vast outdoor deck were taken, argh. Luckily the food salvaged the partly blocked view. We opted for Thai by Phojana (the other four are Japanese by NipponZense, Italian by Gianni Ristorante, Indian by Red and Modern European by To Die For) and were happy with our choices of green curry (tough chicken meat but K liked the gravy), yellow crab curry, flaked salmon salad and soft shell crabs! It will probably take at least ten other visits to finish exploring the extensive menu here!

Zense Rooftop Bar and Restaurant
ZEN World, Level 17, 4, 4/5 Rajadamri Road, ZEN World @CentralWorld, Pathumwan, Bangkok
+66 (0) 2100 9000

sky zen

If you’ve made it through this ultra long post, thank you for reading and hope it’s helpful! 🙂

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Sayonara~~

Off to Tokyo!

Check out my Instagram (@myfoodsirens) for more on-the-move food pics 🙂

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Pistachio and raspberry croissant on the menu, who wouldn’t want to try that?!

I did, and paid with wasted calories, sigh. Tough and chewy, heating it up did help slightly but barely. I figured any egg tarts off the streets in Hong Kong will have a flakier crust than this one did.

For the record, my favouritest croissant is Pierre Hermé’s ispahan croissant! Nothing else comes close still.

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LE SALON DE THÉ de Joël Robuchon
Shop 2045A, Podium Level 2
ifc mall, Hong Kong
(852) 2234 7422

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Hong Kong: Via Tokyo

20 mins queue for a waffle cup of milk, green tea and hojicha soft serve from Via Tokyo… Worth my time?

You betcha.

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Via Tokyo
Shop nos. 1A-1B, G/F Leishun Court
106-126 Leighton Road
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

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