Cooking my own Thipsamai branded Pad Thai (Bib Gourmand)

Thipsamai

Thipsamai is a Bangkok institution that serves up pad thai in a huge multi-room sprawling empire in Pratuphee. There is a long queue snaking out the front every single night. The army of chefs work fast though so the line moves relatively quickly. They’ve recently been honored in the Michelin Bib Gourmand listings and I decided to check them out after my visit to Raan Jay Fai.

Thipsamai-Bangkok

I had eaten at Elvis Suki, Raan Jay Fai and Tongue Fun ice cream in the past 3 hours so I was quite full. Fortunately, Thipsamai has a gift shop inside their restaurant that carries complete, ready-to-cook versions of their famous pad thai! Enterprising bastards! I decided to forgo eating there and get some packs to bring home instead. I also bought one of their branded plates and glasses so I could replicate the meal at home. At least, that’s what I told myself but I really wanted souvenirs too.

Pad-Thai

For my first attempt, I armed myself with large prawns (can’t have pad thai without shrimp), roasted peanuts (which I crushed), spring onions, firm tofu, egg and butter. I used the regular green version (the red one has shrimp oil). The packaging said to fry the dry pad thai noodles in oil till soft before mixing the sauce packet with an equal amount of water and pouring it in.

HB-Chopping

I thought it was a bit unusual to fry dehydrated noodles with butter without rehydrating them first but it works!

HB-Cooking

Here’s another photo of me doing domestic things while wearing a stringer that shows off my muscles for your viewing pleasure.

Maha-Nakhon

I paired it with a Maha Nakhon bottled beer I painstakingly brought back from Bangkok. This was the only one that survived. Another Cheers can exploded in mid-air from the air pressure differential and soaked all my packed clothes. The pad thai was decent but I felt like it could be improved.

Pad-Thai-Cooking

Thus, I refined my processes during my second try a week later. I used the red Thipsamai pad thai box with shrimp oil this time. I also bought bean sprouts (which I forgot the first time around) and Thai bird eye chillis. I fried the eggs first in a separate frying pan and made a flat omelet that I sliced into strips before adding it during the final stir. I also cracked in a raw egg to help things bind together.

Pad-Thai-Thipsamai

I threw in half of the bean sprouts, omelet, Thai chilli and spring onions and used the other half as a raw garnish so it remains crunchy. I also had a squeeze of lime and crushed peanuts as a topping. This version is insanely delicious! I love the combination of sweet notes from the peanuts and butter, the salty overtones from the pad thai sauce, the raw elements in the bean sprouts and spring onions, followed by a nice kick from the Thai chillies. I’ll rate it 10/10 if I’m allowed to rate my own cooking.

Thipsamai-Pad-Thai

I respect how Thipsamai pad thai leverages on their success by selling branded food and souvenirs. I’m all about resourceful minds and I enjoy food related souvenirs. That’s the only type of souvenir I buy. I got one of their vintage fridge magnets to put on my fridge and their Thipsamai plate and glass (same as the ones they use in-house) has been one of my favorite crockery for plating. I’ll be sure to revisit when I’m in Bangkok again to see how my own take on their ready-to-cook pad thai compares with the restaurant version.

Gaggan – 2 Michelin star 26-course dinner with wine pairing, a very detailed and long writeup

Gaggan-Experience

I was almost late to my 9:30 pm Gaggan dinner reservation. I had an exclusive seat at The Lab (Chef’s Table) and I hear they’ll only keep your reservation for 5 minutes before releasing it to someone else. Three Grab cars in a row cancelled on me. This was the highlight of my Bangkok trip, a 2 Michelin star progressive Indian feast that will set me back RM 1,600+ per person, and I didn’t want to miss it. Thankfully, the 4th driver came and sped me there with minutes to spare.

Gaggan-Bangkok

Gaggan is in a renovated mansion with two floors. I saw every single table was occupied. Mind you, reservations are made at least a month in advance so that’s impressive. I was greeted by an attractive young lady by name. She must have matched me to my email profile picture. She escorted me upstairs and held my seat for me. This is the type of restaurant that does that whenever you get up to pee but it doesn’t come across as intrusive or excessive, partly due to the friendly and approachable nature of the staff.

Gaggan-House

The Lab is a bar seating arrangement of 12 people curved in a U shape with the kitchen in the middle. All the chefs work inside so you can see them cooking and preparing your dishes. It’s also a super interactive session – the chefs all introduced themselves and explained every dish in detail. They also passed ingredients to us to touch and try. It’s like a Show and Tell session, but better! I was lucky to snag one of these coveted seats with just a month’s advance booking.

The-Lab

I also went for the wine pairing (4,500 baht/RM 580) for the ultimate experience. The sommelier was a nice Japanese guy. He’s knowledgeable and personable but at times I found his accented English difficult to understand. That said though, there’s something to be said about hearing Japanese accented English, it really ties the experience together coz the chefs are so multicultural! There are people from Norway to Africa!

Tablemates

The dinner started with the chefs getting everyone seated at The Lab to introduce themselves. I was first so I told them where I was from and what I was doing in Bangkok. The others came from a varied background – there was a newlywed couple from New York (a celebratory dessert was prepared for the entire table by Gaggan) and a female duo from Hong Kong (one of whom is a chef). I thought this was an excellent way to break the ice and get the guests seated at the Chef’s Table to talk amongst themselves.

Emoji-Menu

The famous emoji menu of Gaggan was presented to us. Each dish was described with one emoji, nothing else. You get the general idea of what the dish is about but you’ll only know the full details when they present you with the transparent overlay with words to go with the emojis at the end of the experience.

Champagne

Champagne was served with the first few courses. I won’t pretend to be knowledgeable about wine so I’ll just show the labels and when it was served so you’ll have an idea of the wines you’ll get with the wine pairing.

Peach

The first dish was 🍑 – peaches from Yamagata. This is a bigger portion that I expected. There are at least 26 courses in total so I expected each to be bite-sized but a lot of them were quite substantial. The chefs explained that these are peaches imported from Yamagata, which are known for their lovely pink skin and soft, white flesh. Perfect.

Explode

💥 – plain yoghurt with masala and black salt was next. This is a Gaggan signature. It was featured in the Netflix series Chef’s Table. There’s a strong boiled egg sulfur flavor. The yoghurt explodes when you bite into it. It literally bursts out with intense sulfur and masala overtones.

Tongue

The third plate was ingenious – 👅. These are sauces and dusts on a plate and they blasted the rock song “Lick it up” when we were eating this course. A few people were apprehensive at first, but we all got over the self-consciousness and started bringing the plate up to our faces and tonguing the sauces off.

Lick

It’s a brilliant way to disinhibit the diners. This picture got a lot of traction on my Facebook too.

Lick-it-up

Very good! *thumbs up*

Wine

A white wine came for the next few courses.

Cheese

This is 🧀. It’s batter of milk, milk fat, and milk solids fried with ghee to make a “cheese”. There’s no flour used and the base is crispy. It’s very interesting and the start of the series which uses oddly shaped white plates. You’ll find out what the plates are about soon.

Eggplant

🍆 is fresh eggplant cooked then put into the blast chiller and freeze dried for 6 days. So intensely flavored. It’s like a drop of eggplant essence. Very wow.

Dehydrated-Eggplant

The chefs also handed over two eggplants for us to touch and smell. The first one is a regular eggplant and the second after it’s been through the six day freeze drying process.

Rice

Idly is 🍚 – a savory rice cake, except this is idly shrunk 200 times and topped with a dehydrated curry leaf! It’s also 200x more expensive. It’s so soft and subtle – love the spongy bottom.

Second-Wine

I believe this is a natural wine. It’s paired with the upcoming courses.

Black

The mysterious ⚫ turned out to be a fried snack. I thought it was dhall inside and said so when the chefs asked if anyone knew what that was. It turned out to be chickpea samosa! It’s very hot.

Egg

🥚 is a vegetarian egg filled with liquid on a crispy and sweet nest. The shell bursts the moment you put this in your mouth. The bright and acidic liquid goes very well with the nest. This ended the white plates series and we’re supposed to fit all the empty plates together.

India

There’s a reason the empty plates weren’t cleared – they combine to make (no surprises here) India! It’s the continent Gaggan is from and all the previous dishes on the white plates have heavy Indian influences.

Forage

Brioche and mushroom was the 🍄 dish. It gives off a smoky scent when you open it.

Mushroom

Only one of the mushrooms is edible and you’re supposed to forage for the right one. I tasted a few wooden ones before I realized the edible mushroom is the hot one. I like this interactive rummaging.

Third-Wine

The wine pairing was very good. Although I’m not a wine geek and thus unable to describe the flavors in detail, I know that it went swimmingly with the food.

Ice-Cream

🍦 – ice cream presented as white asparagus. This is smoked and finished at your table.

White-Asparagus

The chefs told us we must eat this quickly before it melts.

Chilli

Som tam with green mango ice cream was 🌶️, delivered in a wrap and nicely plated on mung beans. Som tam is the Thai salad made with young mango slices. The baby tomatoes are from Japan. I love this – it’s very cold and acidic. My table mates loved it too.

Cold-Brew

The chefs showed us a cold brew device normally used to make coffee. They’re using it to filter French quail through the machine and it slowly drips in the background to be served 3 courses from now, coz that’s how long it takes to condense.

Curry

Curry is represented by 🍲 inside a panipuri casing. The secret curry inside is super creamy and sticks intently to your throat. Excellent.

Sake

Sake from Japan broke up the wine pairing. It’s meant to go with the Japanese food in the upcoming dishes.

Green-Apple

🍏 marks the start of the Japanese series and is the best grade of Japanese uni imported from Hokkaido paired with chutney ice cream and a green apple “seaweed”. It’s very delicious and the uni is remarkable. I liked the unusual pairing of ingredients too. Brilliant!

Sushi

🍣 is not sushi. It’s meringue made out of dashi. The wasabi and otoro is from Nagasaki and it’s finished with yuzu that’s been freeze dried so it can be grated. Wow! I loved this too.

Dehydrated-Yuzu

This is the yuzu fruit that’s been freeze dried.

Wasabi

They also have excellent quality real wasabi plant flown in from Japan. This is what you’re paying for, and also why a seat at The Lab is so fun. There’s the show and tell you wouldn’t get at a normal table.

Corn

The quail from before was the 🌽 course. It’s quail breast and the quail “tea” from the cold drip coffee device. The quail tea is hot and smells like charcoal. You’ll notice that Gaggan doesn’t offer any utensils – you’re supposed to eat everything with your hands and fingers! You drink the soup first, then fish out the quail breast. I love piece of charred micro corn at the bottom, which this dish is named for.

Fourth-Wine

This is the next wine in the wine pairing.

Prawn

Next up is 🍤 – fresh prawn from Thailand smoked in a tandoori with dehydrated curry on the side. It’s very salty for me but I like the thought that goes behind it. The curry is cooked, then painstakingly dehydrated for days so it turns into an intense tasting powder.

Coconut

Shake off your conceptions about curry with 🥥. It’s cold and raw curry (two no-nos) with scallops that you’re supposed to swirl and mix before eating.

Fifth-Wine

I hear this drawing is a portrait of the winemaker! It went with the next couple of dishes.

Dumpling

🥟 of pork vindaloo cooked for 12 hours. It’s a very acidic curry. The momo is made with wine sauce. The “dumpling” is made of black garlic cracker with 2 different chutneys and 2 different pickles. Not my favorite coz it’s super fatty.

Lamb

A huge lamb chop for 🐑. This is the most normal looking dish of the Gaggan experience. It’s marinated in chilli and cooked in a tandoori. Very smoky flavors! Again, you use your fingers to pick this up by the bone and gnaw at it. I also realized it’s coz Gaggan is Indian and Indians eat with their hands.

Sixth-Wine

There’s another wine pairing at this point. I don’t usually drink much and I was quite pleasantly buzzed at this point.

Light-it-up

The lights were completely turned off after that course was cleared so the whole restaurant was dark. Music blared from the speakers with a rock singer shouting “Light it up” while the chefs brought out torches and flamed a whole tray of banana leaf covered items.

Charred

The scorched banana leaves were presented to us and we’re told to open it after a moment has passed to ensure we wouldn’t burn our fingertips.

Fire

The leaf peels back to reveal local Thai seabass. This 🔥 recipe is from Gaggan’s mother.

Star

The theme song for Star Wars came on for the ⭐ course and a small, round blue Death Star was delivered to us. So fun! I love the quirky bits, coz it adds a lot of laughable moments to dinner.

Star-Wars

The Death Star opens to reveal fluffy white rice.

Rice-Curry

There’s another compartment at the bottom which reveals curry. It’s curry and rice, delivered in a miniature Death Star! This is the only course in the 26-course dinner than came with a spoon or any other utensil. Haha.

Dessert-Wine

This is the last of the wine pairing – a wine to go with the dessert courses.

Flower

The most beautiful and delicate dessert I’ve seen for 🌹. It takes 6 hours to make this rose and it’s presented inside a glass dome to preserve the scent.

Rose

The petals are made with beetroot and radish. The cookie base is made with chocolate chip. I like the unusual pairing of beetroot and radish with sweet chocolate. It’s a very mature dessert.

Sunflower

“Do you like pina coladas? And dancing it the rain?” This song came over the speakers for 🌻. It’s deep fried ice cream! This is my favorite dessert of the night. It tastes so good!!! I felt only three exclamation marks would do justice to how delicious this was.

Rainbow

This trippy looking dessert was paired with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon for 🌈. The space ship is made with coffee and dark chocolate and you’re supposed to drag it through the citrus splashes before eating it. Unusual and progressive.

Yin-Yang

☯️ is saffron and black pepper ice cream with pistachio crumble. Wow. Just wow. The flavors remind me of a cheese cake but with two ingredients you don’t normally put into dessert (saffron and pepper). I have this tied for best dessert of the dinner experience. Exquisite. Such a beautiful medley in my mouth. I cannot say enough good things to do this breathtaking dish justice.

Newlyweds

Remember I said there was a newlywed couple from New York at our table? The chefs presented a special celebratory “cake” for them and they provided one for each of us too.

Cake

It’s a sphere that’s totally not cake but tastes like cake. So interesting!

Wines

These are all the wines we had over dinner!

Gaggan

The bill for dinner came up to 12,653 baht (RM 1,615) inclusive of a bottle of water and the Gaggan wine pairing experience. That’s a lot of money for a single meal for 1 pax but I wholeheartedly recommend it. It is without a doubt the best dinner I’ve ever experienced. It’s not just about the food, but the theatre, the story, and the fellow diners you embark on the journey with. Everything was managed so well the 3+ hours will be something I remember forever. You’ll love Gaggan if you’re a food geek and I consider it money well spent. Gaggan will be closing for good in 2020 so you only have 2 years left to check out this beautifully crafted dinner experience. Go. Now.

Saneh Jaan – 1 Michelin star Thai food

Saneh-Jaan-HB

The brilliant waiter at Saneh Jaan (who’s obviously read an article or two about photography basics) took this photo for me. It gained so much traction on Facebook that I’ve made it my Instagram profile picture. I love the moody vibe! Saneh Jaan is a 1 Michelin star Thai food restaurant in Bangkok. It was extremely popular with tourists and expatriates – every single table for dinner service was taken, and as far as I could tell, none of the diners were locals.

Saneh-Jaan

Caucasians were heavily represented and there was a loud table of Singaporeans celebrating some occasion. The acoustics at Saneh Jaan does not make for quiet and reserved dining. The hard surfaces bounce conversations and laughter and amplifies every sound so it’s what polite company would call “lively”. Saneh Jaan is part of an upscale F&B complex at Glasshouse @ Sindorn. They sunk a lot of money into renovating the dining area – chandelier, leather seating, lighting – it’s beautiful!

Chalawan-Pale-Ale

The waitress asked if I was hungry and I told her I had just indulged in Monthong and Ganyao durians at Or Tor Kor market a couple of hours ago. I wanted to try the long menu since it was my final full day in Bangkok but she discouraged me. “It’s a lot of food”, she declared. “You should go for the short menu unless you’re very hungry coz most people can’t finish the food”. I thought it was refreshing that the wait staff didn’t try to upsell you on a longer (and more expensive) menu and gave you sound advice instead. I selected the middle 2,000 baht dinner set menu as a compromise. There’s a shorter 1,600 baht set menu and a longer one for 2,500 baht. I also had Full Moon’s Chalawan Pale Ale to go with the food.

Pineapple-Entree

The first bite was a piece of pineapple with salt. It’s just a piece of fruit with topping so I have nothing much to say. It tastes exactly like what you imagine it’ll taste like.

Saneh-Jaan-Appetizers

A trio of appetizers came, all of which were excellent.

Tuna-salad-with-mint-leaves

Tuna salad with mint leaves was bright and semi-raw (seared on the outside) with lots of delicious raw shallots and onions. Very appetizing.

Traditional-crispy-rice-vermicelli

Traditional sweet and sour crispy rice vermicelli with river prawn had a single prawn on top of crispy rice vermicelli. The rice vermicelli tastes burnt and caramelized, in a good way. The flavors are a bit strange but I like it.

Spicy-shredded-pork-shrimp-betel

Spicy shredded pork and shrimp with wild betel leaf is Saneh Jaan’s version of miang kham – a savory betel leaf wrap. I like the strong and intense flavors of this. I enjoyed the bite tremendously.

Saneh-Jaan-Mains

The main dishes all came together next with rice.

Chicken-soup-with-coconut-galangal

Chicken soup with coconut milk and galangal is one of my favorites. There’s something about the way Thai people cook their chicken soup which makes it so delicious. It’s creamy but not too creamy. I love the spicy and bright notes.

Australian-Tenderloin-panang-curry

Australian Tenderloin panang curry gets a no from me. The beef was not very tender – it’s a chewy affair made worse by the lack of moisture in the curry. The flavors of the panang curry wasn’t very interesting too. The subdued flavors and jaw workout made me almost not want to finish this. The only reason I did is from a personal conviction that food shouldn’t be wasted.

Stir-fried-lotus-stem-shrimp

Stir-fried lotus stem with shrimp paste made me go “Hmm”. The lotus stems weren’t very good on their own and the shrimp paste just made it soggy. I think lotus roots would have been a better option as the vegetable in this dish. It’s a miss.

Stir-fried-seabass-with-leek

Stir-fried seabass with leek was decent. It’s a classic combination of flavors and I enjoyed it. You can’t really go wrong with fish and leeks.

Grilled-pork-with-ginger-chilli

Grilled pork with ginger chilli paste was bland and way too dry. I think the chefs should revisit this menu – 3 of the items (tenderloin, fried seabass, and grilled pork) are dry in nature. You need a mixture of gravy heavy items to balance things out. I felt like the seasoning here was very weak too, it’s not the full flavored extravaganza of places like Nahm or Bolan.

Saneh-Jaan-Desserts

The duo of desserts saved the meal somewhat. I enjoyed the Sweet coconut dumpling in coconut milk but it’s the Sweet mung bean in fruit shapes (Saneh Jaan) that blew me away. The mung bean desserts all have different fillings. One is infused with strong smelling jasmine water. Another had brown sugar. The last one was also scented with jasmine but chewy like mochi. Delicious! The pacing needs a bit work though – I waited 20 minutes between the first bite and the appetizer and 15 minutes between the mains and the dessert. Dinner cost 2,708 baht (RM 345) including water and beer.

Saneh-Jaan-Michelin

I couldn’t help thinking uncharitably that the reason Saneh Jaan is so popular with Caucasians is due to their limp-wristed seasoning. Every single dish in the main course was so bland that nothing about it says “Thai food”. There were bright spots in the appetizers but I feel that only the most unadventurous palates would find the food here exciting. It tastes duller than my meal prep! The service is excellent and the ambiance is wonderful, thus a great place to bring a date or have a business dinner. It may struggle to hold on to its Michelin star due to the monotonous food though.

Limited release festival beer Tiger Amber Lager @ The Great Brew Fest 2018

Tiger-Amber-Lager

I was chuffed to get an invite to the launch of The Great Brew Fest. I have not been active in the blogging scene for years and I half thought the summon was sent out in error. I’ve heard whisperings of a limited-release exclusive festival beer this year, and I was keen to try it. The Great Brew Fest is Heineken Malaysia’s ode to Oktoberfest and it’ll be a month-long celebration of the amber fluid.

HB

The event to kick things off was held at Souled Out. Heineken Malaysia’s portfolio of brews were on free flow and I indulged in a few I don’t usually drink like Strongbow Original Dry, which is a wonderfully dry cider. The ultra sweet ciders in the Malaysian market are not my favorite so this really hit the spot. I’m usually more of a Guinness type of person but I enjoy partaking in different brews.

Informative-Wall

There were a lot of fun activations like this informative interactive wall display which explains how beer is brewed.

Quiz

Promoter girls went around for an impromptu quiz session where you can win coupons for a complimentary pint or bottle.

Ee-Laine

The limited-release festival beer is Tiger Amber Lager. This is the first ever locally brewed amber lager and Heineken Malaysia came out with this for The Great Brew Fest. It’s 5% alcohol and it tastes very flavorful.

Heineken-Malaysia

I enjoyed the fruity notes, malty sweetness and deep flavors. Some people didn’t like it but I loved it. It’s not as refreshing as lager, but it’s way tastier. It’s a cross between Paulaner/Kilkenny and Tiger White.

Wings

It’s perfect with food! People like to pair Tiger beer with Asian food and while there’s nothing wrong with that, I feel it washes out the flavors of food instead of complementing it. I’m a bit of a food geek and it is my nerdy opinion that Tiger Amber Lager would go better with certain food. The fruity malt notes would be a smashing companion to most ingredients.

Tiger-Amber

Heineken Malaysia even set up a bus for people to pop in and get a free sampler of Tiger Amber Lager.

Selfie

This is a semi-related selfie that I took because I found this promoter girl arrestingly beautiful.

Brewfest-Mugs

Moving on, another highlight of the night was the introduction of The Great Brew Fest 2018 limited edition designer mugs. There are five (5) in total – one each for Apple Fox, Tiger, Guinness, Paulaner and Kirin Ichiban. Each mug is done by one designer, from CLOAKWORK (who is a graffiti artist) to Lynda of Pink Tattoos. I’ve heard a lot about her and one of my colleagues even has a tattoo by her.

Apple-Fox

I got the red Apple Fox x CLOAKWORK one. Pretty cool! You can get one by visiting one of the participating outlets. There’s also a MugShot Contest where you can win a bucket of beer! More details and list of outlets at The Great Brew Fest Facebook page.

Exclusive-Brewfest-Mugs

Tiger Amber Lager is only going to be available for a limited time so check it out at participating outlets during The Great Brew Fest. I personally enjoyed it a lot and will be redeeming the two complimentary coupons I won for Tiger Amber Lager. Part of my enthusiasm is undoubtedly due to my affinity for limited runs but it really tastes good too!

Bo.lan – 1 Michelin star Thai food in Bangkok

Bolan

I received more than a few Hahas when I posted on Facebook that I was having lunch at Bo.lan. The name means “no testicle” in Hokkien but its origin is from the two chef-owners Duangporn Songvisava (nicknamed Bo) and Dylan Jones (contributing Lan). I’m sure they’ll be aghast at the alternate meaning for Malaysians and Singaporeans.

Hen

This restaurant is a converted vintage wooden house, complete with pool. There’s even a chicken nesting in the large grounds. Unfortunately, she clucked indignantly and ran away when I approached her for a photo. Bo.lan aims to be a zero-carbon restaurant and they work with local farmers and producers to source their food.

Agogo-IPA

I went for A Go Go IPA by Beat Brewing in Cambodia as a cooling beverage. It’s a clean but flavorful IPA. Bo.lan has a prix fixe lunch set menu for 1,200 baht. It features two options each from the salad, soup, stir-fry, and curry menus. I let my waitress recommend the dishes and opted for “Thai spicy” which is code in Thailand for “I can take the same amount of heat as a local”.

Bolan-Amuse-Bouche

The amuse bouche was a delicate dish of the world’s tiniest lotus roots with shrimp, coriander, shallots and a creamy coconut sauce. It’s very delicious. The flavors are classically Thai, very bright and appetizing. The perfect starter to kick things off and get the saliva glands working.

Bolan-Lunch-Set

The next few dishes are served together in a tray with two types of rice.

Spicy-Salad-of-Fish

For the salad option, I chose spicy salad of fish with toasted rice and aromatic herbs (480 baht). This is a piece of lightly breaded white fish tossed with coriander and chilli, as well as a dust I can’t identify. It’s ultra appetizing and the fish is still moist inside. Very well cooked.

Galangal-Infused-Coconut-Soup

Galangal infused coconut soup of chicken (320 baht) was my soup option. I was a bit dubious since my personal preference would be the “Boat noodle” style soup of pork with beans sprouts, but the waitress suggested this. It turned out to be my favorite dish of the meal. It’s so creamy (but not overwhelming) and tasty! There’s bright notes, spicy undertones, and salty overtures in an orchestra of tender chicken soup.

Prawn-with-Thai-Samphire

Stir fried prawn with Thai samphire (480 baht) was my stir-fry option. Samphire is a type of sea succulent that has a very lovely texture in your mouth. I enjoyed the slightly crunchy and slippery feel. Very nice.

Curry-of-Pork-Rib

I went with “Tair Po” curry of pork rib (790 baht) for curry. These are beautiful pieces of deboned pork ribs in a dangerously spicy curry. I love spicy food and I can snack on Thai bird eye chillis like they’re fruit (which they are), but I found this exceedingly spicy. It’s very pleasurable for me but I feel like this would be beyond most people.

Bolan-Dessert

Dessert was a simple preparation of coconut milk with shaved ice and jelly pieces. It’s refreshing but nothing special. It felt anticlimactic after the delicious savory dishes I had earlier. The Thai has some awesome desserts, like the jasmine scented pandan dumplings in coconut milk at Nahm, which was the best Thai dessert I’ve ever eaten.

Bolan-Bangkok

I enjoyed Bolan’s style of cooking immensely. Everything tasted delectable except for dessert. The bill came up to 1,878 baht (RM 240) including water and a beer. However, service here can be subpar. It wasn’t bad per se, but it wasn’t friendly and warm like other similar establishments. It would be what I’ll call “forced”, a standard of service much more suited for a busy roadside street food stall than a Michelin star restaurant.

Certifiably ill Mama noodles @ Jeh O Chula (Bib Gourmand)

Jeh-O-Chula

Bib Gourmand instant noodles? You betcha! This is the immensely famous Jeh O Chula (written in Michelin Guide as Jay Oh) with queues almost as legendary as Raan Jay Fai. I had the misfortune of dropping by without a reservation and the girl there told me it’ll be a 2 hour wait minimum. I had come from the dubious entertainment district Nana Plaza (claiming to be The World’s Largest Adult Playground) where I indulged in 7 beers and the company of questionable women. I also had dinner at Upstairs at Mikkeler prior to that, so I was still quite full.

Jay-Oh

Jeh O Chula is a surprisingly spacious restaurant with a huge kitchen churning out bowls and bowls of Mama noodles. I imagine such a fast-paced kitchen would have harried staff but they’re all really friendly. The ones closest to me posed when they saw me snapping a photo so I took a selfie with them. It’s like an assembly line of instant noodles to feed the appetite of the masses seated outside.

Dirty-Forty-Beer

It seemed inadvisable to order another beer after a huge dinner followed by a drinking session with unfamiliar women at a go go bar. My stomach was almost at capacity and I wondered if I would be able to finish all the food. I decided to try. This is Dirty Forty Amber Ale (160 baht) – a beer brewed in Perth, Australia but conceived in Bangkok. I drank it with delicious, refreshing ice. Don’t judge me bro, it was hot outside and I have been waiting for a long time.

Jeh-O-Mama

This is their famous Mama tom yam instant noodles with seafood. It’s a huge portion with 3-4 packets of Mama noodles inside. Jeh O Chula’s signature dish is tom yam soup and they use their homemade tom yam soup instead of the flavor packets in Mama, which is what makes this so good. There’s tons of prawn and squid and the noodles are crowned with 2 raw eggs, which adds a wonderfully creamy flavor and cools down the noodles.

Mama-Noodles-Bib-Gourmand

I immediately copied this idea for my cheat meals and I’ve been eating instant noodles with raw eggs since. Jeh O Chula has a beautiful tom yam soup base – it’s spicy and sour and hits all the right notes in whetting my appetite. I told the server I can handle very spicy food, Thai spicy, and this one delivered that in spades. It was almost too spicy but I loved it. I loved it so much I scarfed everything down, even though I was dangerously close to puking from the sheer amount of food.

Thai-Sashimi-Salad

I also ordered a side of their wonderful Thai style salmon sashimi. This is like a ceviche or umai – there is an acidic liquid made with lime that cures the salmon. It’s not entirely cured though, most of it is still raw. It sounds simple but the alchemy that goes into the ingredients produces such a delicious bowl of fresh seafood. This dish is out of control! The addition of mint and raw garlic kicks up the flavor by a few notches! I love it! Not to be missed.

Jay-Oh-Bangkok

I was so enamored by everything that I contemplated declaring Jeh O Chula as my top destination this trip. That would be exceedingly unfair to Gaggan and probably the beer talking so I’ll just say it’s the best comfort food I’ve ever had. I highly recommend their awesome Mama tom yam noodles and their insanely good Thai style salmon sashimi. Do note that Jeh O Chula only starts serving their famous Mama noodles after 11 pm. They have standard khao tom (congee) with cooked dishes before that. Visiting Jeh O Chula late at night for supper is something you must do when you’re in Bangkok. I can’t recommend it enough.

10-course dinner with beer pairing @ Upstairs at Mikkeler (1 Michelin star)

Upstairs-at-Mikkeler

Upstairs at Mikkeler by Chef Dan Bark is a tiny restaurant with only 5 tables that somehow managed to win a Michelin star. This was not entirely surprising as I have heard superlative reviews on the interwebs and from friends who have visited way before the Michelin Guide came to Bangkok. The Mikkeler brand is a craft beer brewer and Upstairs is literally the restaurant above the Mikkeler pub downstairs.

Upstairs

There were way more chefs and waiters than actual diners in the restaurant. The food prep is laborious and Upstairs at Mikkeler is also famous for their beer pairing, a very modern take on the wine pairing at other upscale restaurants. They’re a brewer after all. There’s no menu available – Upstairs only offers a 10-course tasting menu for 3,800++ baht with an optional beer pairing menu for 1,300++ baht. I went for both since there’s no way I’m passing on such an unusual beverage pairing.

Mikkeler-Passionfruit

Dinner started with an amuse bouche that was not listed in the menu. There are more than 10 dishes because of this. My friendly waiter described this as Vanilla whipped cream with lots of passionfruit and a bit of oats. It’s supposed to be an acidic start to whet your appetite since sour is a known appetite stimulant. It works!

Mikkeler-Say-Hey-Sally

The first few courses were accompanied by Mikkeler Say Hey Sally, a 4.6% alcohol pilsner. There are 6 beers in total and they’re mostly from kegs or draft, but the beer pairing guy will bring you the can/bottle so you can see for yourself and take photos if you want. Mikkeler even provides a smartphone tray beside your eating utensils so you have a proper place to place your phone. I thought that was a funny and excellent touch.

Upstairs-Amuse-Bouche

Bacon marmalade. Whole grain mustard. Maple syrup. Quinoa chip. It’s the perfect small bite before the meal proper. The chip was still warm due to the just-in-time preparation in the kitchen. Each course is only plated when they see you’ve finished the previous. The open kitchen and restaurant is small enough that the chefs can see your plates and tables. One caught me staring at her and smiled – that’s how small the restaurant was!

IKURA

IKURA – blueberry, hibiscus, thyme was the real first course. The bottom is thyme infused milk (excellent) with tapioca pearls and chips, hibiscus soaked water, and ikura (salmon roe) on top. It has a very unusual, bright flavor. To be honest, it doesn’t immediately register as good coz it’s so progressive but it’s certainly an intriguing dish.

Mikkeler-American-Dream

The upcoming carrot course signaled a change to the next beer – Mikkeler American Dream, a 4.6% hoppy pale lager. It was indeed very hoppy and bitter. The beer pairing guy explained that the next few dishes were sweet, so a bitter beer helps balances the flavors. I really like him. He’s a Thai guy who was born in Malaysia and he’s such a beer geek. It’s fun to learn from him.

CARROT

CARROT – goats milk, grapefruit, fennel is next. It’s carrot 6 ways (!!!) e.g. six different preparations of carrot from dehydrated carrot to puree. It’s paired with goat’s milk curd, fennel marmalade, lemon pudding. I really loved this dish! It’s delicious, sweet and goes well with the hoppy beer.

Brioche

There was also an extra course of homemade brioche with black lava salt and olive oil jam. This looks very simple but it ended up being one of my favorite dishes. Nothing beats good bread fresh out of the oven and the black lava salt really highlights the sweetness of the butter. The olive oil jam was delicious too. Very yums, but I know I can be biased coz I love bread.

POTATO

POTATO – bacon, cheddar, leek is the soup course. It’s very fragrant. As is the trend in fine dining, the waiter finishes the dish table side. I could smell it as soon as the waiter started bringing it over. It also has bits of shaved potato (including the skin) at the bottom which provides a nice textural element. It sounds simple but from the waiter’s description, the work that goes into a dish like this is not insignificant. They even make the bacon themselves.

Zeffer-Hopped-Cider

Zeffer Hopped Cider is next, a 5.4% alcohol cider. This ended up being one of my favorite drinks of the night. You know how commercial cider like Somerset is extremely sweet to the point of being off-putting? Other ciders go the opposite route and they’re so acidic it puckers not just your lips, but your entire body. Zeffer Hopper Cider is the perfect balance – it’s not sweet, but not too sour too. It’s also bitter so it’s nicely balanced. Bittersweet, but more bitter than sweet.

CAULIFLOWER

CAULIFLOWER – curry, grape, hoja santa. There’s grapes inside, which was pleasant. It adds a sweet touch to the salty curry. They also have sacred leaf, the Mexican leaf they use for cooking tamales. Upstairs only lists the first 3 ingredients of each dish so it’s up to you to discover some of the others and the waiter will give you a run-down afterwards. It’s a very textural dish.

HOKKAIDO-SCALLOP

HOKKAIDO SCALLOP – finger lime, dashi, cinnamon. This is a very Instagrammable dish.

Scallops

The waiter brought a bowl of cinnamon and stone with a teapot to my table. Upon serving the scallops, he poured cinnamon water over the cinnamon bowl to diffuse the essence of cinnamon over the table. He explained that the scallops were too delicate for cinnamon to be added directly so the chef thought of using smell to add the essence of cinnamon instead.

Smoke

This is also one of the first batches of finger lime they grow in Thailand. I’m familiar with the efforts to grow finger lime in Australia and they’ve started doing the same in Bangkok too. It adds a nice zest to the very fresh scallops in dashi.

Mikkeler-Windy-Hill

Mikkeler Windy Hill, a 7% New England IPA came next and it’s supposed to go with the upcoming 2 dishes. It has a heftier alcohol content to shift the dinner into the second phase. It’s a lighter tasting beer to wash away the fattiness of the next few courses.

WAGYU-BEEF

WAGYU BEEF – sherry, truffle, chive. This is Sanuki wagyu raised with beer. It’s proper Japanese wagyu raised in Japan and flown in, not the much inferior Australian cattle breed. There’s a shockingly delicious truffle paste to go with the beef, as well as chive powder and purple potato chip. I ate one of the slices by itself, one with the chive powder and one with the delectable truffle paste. They’re all yummy! The beef has lovely flavor and it’s not too fatty unlike some highly marbled wagyu. It’s also cooked perfectly – blue, which is raw inside. I love this dish to bits. The truffle sauce is intensely overpowering and pairs well with the beef. I could eat this all day. It’s my favorite dish of this trip.

HONEY-DEW

HONEY DEW – prosciutto, balsamic, white truffle. This is 16 month old prosciutto sprayed with white truffle oil. The waiter comes with a small bottle and sprays the white truffle oil right before you eat this. I was most impressed with the dense flavors within the 16-month-old prosciutto. That’s a long time to age meat! Why honey dew? That’s what it tastes like even though there’s no honey dew in here.

Boon-Lambiek

Boon Lambiek, 7.2% lambic. A lambic is a type of beer from Brussels in Belgium. It’s for the last savory course and the pre-dessert.

DUCK

DUCK – beet, black garlic, pumpkin. This is duck in 4 forms – sous vide, confit, grilled and fried. Upstairs also ferments the garlic sauce for 19 days! There’s pickled kelp noodle to go with the confit duck. The skin is fried. I like the main sous vide duck roll but the confit duck is off-putting to me. It’s so oily and cloying I found it impossible to enjoy it. This is not the fault of the chefs per se but a personal preference. I’m not a huge fan of confit duck and other such overtly rich preparations.

APPLE

APPLE is the trendy dessert called a pre-dessert nowadays to kick start the dessert courses. It’s served on a nice porcelain ring and it’s more like a palate cleanser since the shell of the apple is filled with liquid and it bursts in your mouth the moment you put it in. The waiter also warns you to eat this in one bite since there’s liquid inside.

Mikkeler-Beer-Geek-Thailand

Mikkeler Beer Geek Thailand is the last beer pairing, a 10.9% alcohol imperial stout to go with dessert. It’s the perfect end since the bitterness balances out the dessert dishes well. This beer is inspired by mango sticky rice and it’s brewed with jasmine rice, mango, coconut and lactose. It’s like a bittersweet dessert beer. My second favorite beer after the hopped cider.

PISTACHIO

PISTACHIO – cherry, rhubarb, rose. This is my favorite dessert. It’s a mixture of different textures and flavors with bright notes like rhubarb, rose petals and herbs as well and deeper notes like biscuit crumbs, pistachio and cherry. A most excellent and balanced dessert plate. Wonderful stuff.

CHOCOLATE

CHOCOLATE – banana, cranberry, yoghurt is a very sophisticated dessert. There are so many different chocolate preparations here – wafers, molds, ribbons etc. My favorite is the log filled with white chocolate and banana that oozes out when you cut into it.

Oozing-Center

It’s beautiful.

Upstairs-Petit-Fours

You’re served with coffee and a selection of petit fours to signal the end of the meal. I like the apple ribbon the most, followed by the chocolate chip cookie.

Upstairs-Mikkeler

I enjoyed my dinner at Upstairs at Mikkeler. The bill came up to a hefty 6,333 baht (RM 804) for 1 pax inclusive of full beer pairing, coffee and water. It’s half the price of Gaggan. The waiters are all very knowledgeable, friendly and they’re happy to share the preparation and stories that goes behind each dish. I liked the beer pairing guy too, an approachable true beer nerd from Thailand (born in Malaysia!). The food is good and the ambiance is great. You can see the chefs working from your table – that’s how intimate the space is. Definitely recommended if you like beer and food.

J’aime by Jean-Michel Lorain (1 Michelin star)

Jaime-Piano

I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback for this Michelin starred French restaurant in U Sathorn Bangkok. U Sathorn is a beautiful, sprawling colonial style hotel/resort with much of the associated accoutrements. The lobby is an open al-fresco space, which might not be the best option in the sweltering Thai heat, but thankfully J’aime restaurant itself has a more practical approach to air-conditioning. The main feature in J’aime is an upside-down piano as a centerpiece in the restaurant. The entire kitchen is also visible from the dining area so you can see all the chefs inside preparing your food. I thought that was a nice touch.

Jaime-Restaurant

There is a dedicated booth outside the restaurant for reservations. This fixture is usually just for show in similar restaurants and I’ve never actually seen it manned. However, J’aime dedicates a staff member here, which is a refreshing change. Very proper, very French.

Marine-Lorain

The restaurant manager is Marine Lorain. If her name sounds familiar, it’s coz she’s the daughter of Jean-Michel Lorain, the namesake and owner of the original two Michelin star La Cote Saint Jacques in Bourgogne, France. She’s unfailingly friendly and very knowledgeable about the local food scene. She found out I’m here to pay homage to the recently published Michelin Guide Bangkok. I had a nice conversation with her about which Michelin star restaurants are worth a visit in Bangkok.

Jaime-Cocktail

I was here for lunch and ordered their set lunch menu, an excellent value at 1,200 THB. They also have a shorter express 3-course business lunch menu for just 990 baht, but I went with the longer one. I was still mildly hungover from the wine pairing at Gaggan last night so I indulged in J’aime (350 baht) – their signature cocktail made with Ron Zapaca, Captain Morgan rum, Melon liqueur, lime juice and passionfruit.

Jaime-Bread

The bread selection is pretty good too. I enjoyed nibbling on these with butter, which was replenished after I finished the pat.

Orange-Scented-Eggplant-Soup

Orange-scented eggplant soup, ratatouille, and fennel salad. The soup is poured on the dry ingredients table side. It’s creamy and there’s a lot of texture underneath. Pleasant.

Cacao-Nibs-Quinoa

Romaine lettuce garnished with avocado, cacao nibs, and olives, served with quinoa and a lime & cucumber juice. Corn, tomato, and a fresh herb garden. This salad came in two separate plates and you’re supposed to mix them together. I never would have thought salad would taste so good!

Fresh-Herb-Garden

It’s the most delicious salad I’ve ever eaten and that’s saying a lot. There’s a lot going on here – oils, foams, greens, grains. It’s fresh and every element adds something to the plate. I particularly enjoyed the green avocado foam.

Monkfish-Wakame-Plankton

There are two mains you can choose from, either Monkfish, eryngii mushroom, and wakame seaweed, with a rice & plankton emulsion or Duo of Phetchabun cherry duck breast and leg, served with mulberries and morning glory. I went with the monkfish as per Marine’s recommendation. It’s cooked well and flakes off beautifully. I also like the seaweed and plankton on the side – what better to accompany a piece of fish than marine foliage?

Candied-Fruit-Fig-Sorbet

Lightly spiced candied fruit with a fig sorbet, and a walnut & almond cracker ended the meal. I love this dessert! I’ve been moving away from chocolate based desserts recently and find that I appreciate the less sweet and more complex fruit based desserts more. This was perfect! It’s just the right note of sweetness (which is barely) and has nice acidic undertones from the fig and textural elements in the walnut and almond cracker. Excellent.

Amerigo-Tito-Sesti

J’aime does classical French cooking very well and their lunch set is exceedingly good value. I spent 1,590 baht (RM 202) inclusive of a cocktail and water. The service is attentive and the food is delicious. You’ll enjoy this if you like the French approach to cooking. I managed to take a photo with Head Chef Amerigo Tito Sesti too! Please excuse my prosperous stomach.

Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin (1 Michelin star progressive Thai)

Sra-Bua-by-Kiin-Kiin

I scheduled Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin as my last meal in Bangkok. I was flying back in the late afternoon so I made a lunch reservation. Sra Bua is in the beautiful Siam Kempinski Bangkok hotel. I’ve stayed at Kempinski Taschenbergpalais in Dresden and Kempinski Gravenbruch in Frankfurt and I’ve always been impressed by the excellent service there. I left my bags at their concierge for the whole day while I had lunch and walked around Siam Paragon. If the name Kiin Kiin sounds familiar to you, it’s the Michelin starred Thai restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark. They’ve opened an outpost right in Bangkok and I’ve heard so many good things about the progressive Thai food they serve.

Sra-Bua

I was surprised to see every single table occupied when I arrived for lunch. This is very unusual, especially for a lunch service. I doubt all but the most popular restaurants can boast such a capacity. Sra Bua has a large odd-shaped dining room with chandeliers, water features, starched linens and servers in uniform. The waitresses are all trained well, able to explain the dishes and perform on demand (as is necessary to introduce some of the dishes).

Summer-Menu

I went for the seasonal Mini Summer Journey menu (2,100 baht) which was also promoted by a huge billboard outside the hotel. This is a special menu for summer and they don’t serve their regular (shorter) set lunch menu while this promotion is going on. They hand you a complimentary cup of lemongrass tea while you peruse the menu. I thought that was a nice gesture. Each table also has a huge bound book filled with Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin’s recipes you can read if you’re bored.

Tuk-Tuk

The meal started with the Street Food and Snacks appetizers and a bit of theater – my waitress came with a covered cloche and opened it with a flourish at my table. The smell of burning smoke filled my table. “Welcome to Bangkok”, she said with a smile. “Here’s some tuk tuk smell”. I thought that was quite clever.

Street-Food-and-Snacks

This came as a trio of appetizers – there’s a nacho dusted with their Sra Bua curry dust (which is made from actual curry and dehydrated for a few days before being turned into powder), the tuk tuk skewer bite and some dehydrated lotus root served on real lotus pods.

Lotus

The plating and presentation of everything was spot on.

Magic

My waitress then came with a bowl filled with black grain, which she presented to me. “There’s nothing inside”, she declared. She then shook the container vigorously, applying centrifugal force, before opening the lid with a flourish. “Magic” she said with a smile when a brown nugget appeared.

Wasabi-Biscuit

It’s a piece of bread that you’re supposed to eat with the wasabi sauce they had previously put on your table after telling you the other part is coming. I love this interactivity and storytelling. 10/10.

Smoke-Foie

Roasted Foie Gras, Mushroom Ravioli, Five Spices Pork Ravioli and Mushroom Bouillon came next with a cloche covering a cracker. This was opened so the smoke wafts out and you can smell it while eating. Beautiful. The generous chunks of foie gras was smoky and creamy. I love the mouthfeel. It goes very well with the Thai inspired pork ravioli.

Bouillon

There’s also very clear consommé poured by the waitress before you dig in that tastes intense and delicious. The yellow dabs of sauce have a mustard base to cut through the richness of the foie gras/pork ravioli.

Roasted-Foie-Gras-Mushroom-Ravioli

It’s a perfect dish. The cracker is infused with dust which wafts delightfully when you take a bite.

Nitrogen

Maine Lobster Salad, Frozen Red Curry is the signature dish of Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin. It comes with billowing clouds of smoke from liquid nitrogen. It’s a whole lobster that’s been deshelled and served with herbs and edible flowers. There’s a scoop of their curry ice cream (curry sauce made into ice cream) and foam which tastes like the sea. The liquid nitrogen is not just for show – it’s there to prevent the curry ice cream from melting.

Maine-Lobster-Salad

All these components go so well together. The perfectly poached lobster is delicious when paired with their awesome curry ice cream and marine foam. I could have happily eaten this every single meal for the rest of my life. Excellent!

Slow-Cooked-Beef-Rib

Slow Cooked Beef Rib with Homemade Oyster Sauce was served next and it’s the only dish my camera AI recognized as “Food”. All the other dishes didn’t trigger the food AI. It’s so progressive it doesn’t look like food. The beef rib was wonderfully smoky and tender. They also serve a small bowl of rice with it so you’ll have something to pair it with. A thoughtful idea since the oyster sauce is quite salty and this is after all, a Thai way of eating. I love the crispy dehydrated vegetable too.

Mango-with-Sticky-Rice

The meal ended with an interpretation of Mango with Sticky Rice as dessert. It has vanilla ice cream and sticky rice at the bottom and comes served with a cotton candy cover which is dissolved by the application of hot mango sauce. It tasted alright but I’ve seen too many such executions in trendy cafes to be impressed. This is not Sra Bua’s fault though.

Sra-Bua-Petit-Fours

There was also complimentary coffee, which is a refreshing change. Usually coffee is charged at these restaurants for RM 20-30. The petit fours were dainty and unique – I particularly loved the cinnamon looking one, which is actually some kind of raw (as in nama) chocolate. Very unique textures and flavors.

Sra-Bua-HB

I really enjoyed Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin. I truly think they deserve a second Michelin star. My experience here was almost on par with the 2 Michelin star Gaggan. My only regret was not choosing this for dinner so I can have a longer menu and dining experience. Lunch cost me 2,472 baht (RM 313) with water. I can’t recommend them highly enough – in fact the only two Bangkok Michelin restaurants I would recommend without reservation is Gaggan and Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin. I will definitely be back for dinner next time I’m in Bangkok.

MIGF Macanese Cuisine Menu @ Samplings on the Fourteen

Samplings-on-the-Fourteeth

My famous Instagram personality/healthy living influencer/TV host friend Soo Yin extended an invite to a food tasting at Samplings on the Fourteen. This restaurant is a mere 4 monorail stops away from my office so I dropped by after work to check out their MIGF menu. MIGF is the Malaysia International Gastronomy Festival. The festival was a huge deal in 2003 when I was a fresh grad working in KL. I would check out the participating restaurants with my meager salary at the time and most of the offerings were good. However, the inclusion criteria seem to have changed – there’s a few additions I wouldn’t think of as fine dining and the same few faces from Genting has an oversized presence.

HB-SooYin

That doesn’t mean they’re all duds though. The well regarded nadodi is one of the restaurants in MIGF 2018. I’ve also been hearing tons of positive things about the progressive gen in Penang. I haven’t dined at either, my experience tend to lean towards the Michelin Guide. I admit, I’m a Michelin star chaser and I’ve dined at world class Michelin starred restaurants in Paris, Hokkaido and more recently, Bangkok. I really enjoyed the dinner I had in The Lab at Gaggan two weeks ago. That said, there are very few places in Malaysia which I would consider world class restaurants.

This is the Light Macanese Cuisine Menu (RM 178 nett) offered by Samplings on the Fourteen. The Full Macanese Cuisine Menu is the same thing but with two glasses of wine pairing at RM 208 nett.

Portuguese-Squid-Salad

The appetizer was Portuguese Squid Salad, which was a cold dish of squid with a few brushed sauces. I detected a rather fishy smell emanating from the cephalopod and the sauces were not very intense. I didn’t think they added much to the dish. It’s not my favorite thing.

Potato-Kale-Soup

The soup course which featured Potato Kale Soup was better. It’s rich and has bits of crunchy elements and something which tastes like pork (though I’m told this is a pork free restaurant so it’s probably turkey ham). Decent.

Macau-Garlic-Prawn

The entrée of Macau Garlic Prawn was my favorite dish of the night. The prawns were cooked well and the garlic chips were excellent. I also liked the mash/puree served on the side – the flavors go swimmingly with the garlicky prawns. Good stuff.

Grilled-Fillet-of-Marble-7-Wagyu-Tenderloin

We were given a choice of two mains and I got to sample both of them since myself and Soo Yin ordered a different one each. I went for the Grilled Fillet of Marble 7 Wagyu Tenderloin. Unfortunately, the waiter who took my order did not ask me my preferred doneness so it came out medium. I usually go for blue or rare. I honestly wouldn’t have rated this as an M7 wagyu. To be fair, this is probably Australian wagyu, not the excellent marbled breeds from Japan (a steak of this size would cost much more than the price of dinner alone). However, this dish came across as one dimensional and flat due to the minimalist seasoning. This can only be pulled off if the meat is of exceptional quality and it’s not. I was hoping the pink lotus root would have been pickled more – adding an acidic touch to this dish would have saved it. I have had two excellent steaks in the past fortnight, once at Gaggan and another time at Upstairs at Mikkeler. But lest you think I’m a food snob (that’s totally not me if you have me on Facebook), I honestly think a dedicated local steakhouse like TTDI Meat Point would be a better bet if you like steak. Their chimichurri sauce is excellent.

Confit-of-Soon-Hock

The other main was Confit of Soon Hock. I like this one better. The fish was cooked decently and flakes off well. I thought the portion was a little too small to be a main but maybe that’s an internal food cost calculation thing. I would go for this over the beef. The addition of potato balls (?) was a bit curious though. I did not think it added to the dish and the texture doesn’t go very well since both are soft.

Serradura

Dessert was Serradura/Macarons. This was spelled as macaroons in the menu and all MIGF literature. That annoys me more than it should. They’re two different things. Macarons (the French meringue confectionary) should be spelled with a single o. I know some inclusive, vegan, body positive liberals have started saying both spellings are correct if you prefix it with “French” e.g. French macaroon but since there’s already a coconut biscuit called macaroon and the French spell it macaron, why would you invite confusion?

Mini rant aside though, the serradura was excellent. I had to convince Soo Yin to eat it coz it was so good. I love the malty biscuit dust – it reminds me of all the Marie biscuits I ate as a kid and goes very well with the whipped cream. Asians love textural play in their food and this checks all the boxes. Bonus points for also not being too sweet. However, the macarons that came with this dish was overly sweet.

Fourteenth-View

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been to a food review. I did enjoy talking to my fellow bloggers during the night. I had fun. The food wasn’t the best, if I were to be honest, but there were some highlights in the menu – the excellent shrimp entrée and the serradura were my favorites.

Cons:
Macarons is spelled with one ‘o’. Macaroons (with two o’s) is a different type of biscuit made with coconut
Food wasn’t very impressive

Pros:
The cute waitress added me on Facebook

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