Showing posts with label European. Show all posts
Showing posts with label European. Show all posts

Monday, April 9, 2012

D'Vine Wine bar and Tapas at Crystal Park

There's a trending food scene going around in Bangkok and it's growing faster than germinating dandelions; wine bars.  Just around my area, I can count at least 5 wine bars within 2 km radius. Competition is fierce and each establishment must do their best to captivate patrons in more than one way for them to keep returning.  D'Vine Wine Bar & Tapas is one of the new places opened earlier this year.  I believe some Thai celebrities have also joined in this venture and thus, much of marketing and hype have been put in to this place.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Audrey Bistro and Cafe

Pic of waitress in uniform as per reader's request

Located in the heart of Thonglor, Audrey is currently one of the "it" spot to be for socialites and celebrities alike (we spotted Jiab and Pim).  The waitresses are dressed in cute french maid uniform (and conservative not the sexy halloween-type costume).  The interior is sophisticated and elegant with simple black and white colour scheme, coupled with vintage-inspired furniture.  Of course, it's a hit for the ladies to take cute photos!  The Christmas decoration is also very pretty, however, it is now approaching the end of January... I think it's time for a new decoration?  The tables with sofas along the the walls are usually the ones that get filled up first, and fast too. Not only are they picture worthy, but also extremely comfortable.  Those who get it will most likely sink in for a good dining session for at least 1-2 hours.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Afternoon tea and brunch at Salon de L'Oriental by Mandarin Oriental (CLOSED)

Located at the ground floor at luxury mall, the Emporium, Salon de L'Oriental is a casual dining venue that offers elegant Thai and international fares, high tea, and Parisian desserts and pastries.  It's a nice open space surrounded by water and luscious green surrounding where you can rest at in between a vigorous day of shopping.

If you like everything, or have trouble deciding like I do, try their trio of soup.  It comes 3 cute little tea cups with french onion soup, pumpkin and lemongrass soup, and prawn bisque.  The french onion soup was lighter than I expected.  The pumpkin and lemongrass was unique in its aroma and I don't often come across this mixture.  Lastly, the prawn bisque was comparable to everywhere else.

This picture doesn't do any justice to the crispiness of the vole au vent.  The puff pastry was very flakey while the filling was rich with bisque-like flavour, chunky seafood pieces.  It was served with a side of more fillings, asparagus, and salad greens.

The high tea set is somewhat modest with 4 bite-size sandwiches, 2 scones, 2 jams, and 2 kinds of cakes (coffee and opera).  It's not as elaborate as other places and there is only one set to choose from.  The only difference between the prices is the type of tea you choose. Although I found the tea set to be a bit too mediocre, their cakes are quite tasty.  Perhaps ordering individual pieces would be the way to go.

If you are looking for a mellow atmosphere and a light meal or desserts, Salon would be a good choice.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Centara Grand Hotel buffet: Wagyu beef & free flow wine

Every night Centara Grand opens up not one, but two restaurants for one epic buffet.  Together, Ginger and the World offer a real trip for diners to get the finest fares from around the word.  Located across each other, the restaurants are a fair distance to get to and each being extremely spacious.  Ginger offers mainly Japanese and Chinese cuisines.  At the other side, the World offers Thai, Indian, and intercontinental cuisines, a salad and raw bar, as well as a large selection of fine desserts.  There is a different feature to the buffet almost every night.  Thursday night is wagyu beef night.  Meat lovers, you can't miss this deal.
The first of many to come

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hyde & Seek Gastro Bar

Hyde & Seek has been called "Thailand's first London-meets-NY-meets-Asia gastro bar".

I'm not sure if it's actually the first, but I definitely felt like I was at all 3 of those places while I was there.  The ambience is mellow, yet sophisticated.  The menu screams, "I'm British!" but with a spicy twist, while the presentation and execution of the dishes look like they come from a contemporary restaurant in New York.

A brisk walk through Hyde & Seek with Cute Pig:

The geniuses behind Hyde & Seek definitely know how to please the crowd and they know it how to do it very well.  The restaurants are divided into 2 sections, the indoor and the patio, which is probably more popular for socializing.  At night, Hyde & Seek makes quite the adult playground for the local hipsters and foreigners alike.  The preppy kids and corporate go-getters come here to unwind over their one-of-a-kind bar selections.  The lights are dimly lit with lounge music blasting in the background (oftentimes with live dj's), setting the mood for a fun-filled evening ahead.  Here, you know you are being taken care of.

In terms of price range, it's definitely at the international standard, which may equals to being on the high "Thai" spectrum.  In comparison to other international cities, with the quality in place, it's actually quite reasonable.


Part I : Luncheon
Caesar salad tossed in delicious house-made dressing
popcorn shrimp
Spagetti with spicy vongole, arugula and pesto
Jasmine flan

Part II : Night out and pub fare

From top left, caesar salad, tender day-old duck breast with creamy mashed potato and mushrooms, pan-roasted fish with parsnip puree, and crispy rosemary string fries with garlic aoili.

The day-old duck breast was a-m-a-z-i-n-g! Too bad it only came in 2 bites...
The portion for the mains are quite small.  I had to order quite a few plates to fill my bottomless pit.  Nonetheless, trying out a variety of dishes was a good trade-off.

If you are looking for a trendy spot to lounge in the centre of Bangkok with good eats, Hyde & Seek is one you won't want to miss!


Tel: 02-168-5152

Saturday, December 10, 2011

West restaurant

Last weekend, a few of us gathered together for an early Christmas dinner at the ever busy West restaurant on south Granville.  Miss C actually copped a great gift certificate deal from Top Table; purchase $250 gift certificate and receive another $50 extra.  The certificate can be used at any of the 5 restaurants within the Top Table group.  It was my first visit there and I hoped to get the most out of this experience.  

Decorated with silver ornaments and icicles, the interior of West was transformed into a sophisticated winter wonderland.  Aside from having an extensive wine selection, but they also offer a long list of cocktails and spirits.  After sampling a few, their specialty cocktails are now my favourite part of this restaurant.

When I saw kaffir fling on the drinks menu, it was something unique and I had to try it.  It was the right move as it turned out to be the one of the best cocktails I ever had.  If you love Thai food and the alluring aroma of kaffir lime leaf in Thai dishes such as Tom Yum Kung, then you would fall in love with this drink.  It was a stimulating concoction of citrus and vodka, the kaffir lime was fragrant and exotic with gentle egg white foam floating on top.

P's spiced pear and pomegranate cocktail was colourful and bubbly.  It was consisted of tanqueray gin, soda, lemon juice, and the bottom had sweet pomegranate liqueur.
Miss C fell in love with Gingerly, only available for winter season.  It also came floating with pomegranates.  Had citrus juice, gin, jasmine green tea and a very spicy gingery flavour.

We were served mini bread roll with butter and extra virgin olive oil.  After dipping the bread, I was pleasantly surprised at how pure the olive oil was.  It was fragrant, like fresh olives, very light and refreshing.  It didn't take us too long to decide what we wanted.

Our amuse bouche, parsnip soup with foam, arrived in a shot glass. It had a natural sweetness from the vegetable stock that was reminiscent to our home-cooked vegetable soup.

For starter, I got ambitious and ordered the Thiessen quail stuffed with herb mousse.  It was a rustic dish and rather filling with half a quail egg stuffed inside, which was kinda eerie to think about (they're re-united!... -_-).  The bird was served over creamy celeriac remoulade and tart caper raisin marmalade.  I was already half full by the time I finished it and must complain that there were a few tiny bones which kept jabbing me in the mouth.

P ordered duck rillettes with orange emulsion as her starter.  Similar to pates, the rillettes had a rustic nature with smooth, shreddy texture and salty flavour.  I was quite surprised there were no accompanying toasts with this dish. The orange sweetness livened the dish up a bit, but it was not as enjoyable as it could have been.

Miss C's motto when dining out, 'go-big-or-go-home' landed her the special of the day.  For $40, she enjoyed a poached quail egg over heirloom tomato salad and topped with 2 g. of shaved white truffle (normally going for $18/g!).  No photo available, it came and gone too soon.

A&W's seared foie gras was a part of his elements course, which, to my understanding, consisted of numerous small plates from different category.  The foie gras was beautifully presented and had extremely soft, rich and buttery texture. It was served over beets and contrasted by the tartness of the accompanying fruits.

The second type of foie gras had a smokey flavour and firmer texture, which reminded me of chinese barbeque duck.  The slices of foie gras was served with tart pickled strawberries.

Mmmm....crispy pork belly balanced with quince compote. The pork belly was crispy on the edges, savoury, smoky with tender fatty layers.

More from the elements menu; foraged mushrooms and agnolotti. The mushrooms, thyme, and garlic arrived wrapped and baked in wax paper.  The mushrooms were cooked perfectly, maintaining moisture with a lot of earthy flavours.  Agnolotti, squared shape stuffed pasta, was tossed in rich double cream sauce, a hint of black truffle, and shaved parmigiano reggiano .  It was the ultimate comfort dish; creamy and very aromatic.

P's main, herb crusted lamb loin had juicy and tender centre sided with lentil, daikon, and roasted garlic.

My main entree, buttermilk roasted chicken, was an interesting take on traditional roasted chicken.  It was tender, moist, and crusted with herbs, crispy bits similar to crushed up chips, and small chunks of  caramelized fruit.   It served with dollops of thick, creamy puree-like sauce.  I'm not quite sure what it was made of, but from the vibrant colour, I would guess butternut squash.  The rest of the components to the dish include wilted baby romaine and chopped pancetta, and purple fingerling potatoes.

I found a lot of their dishes were more rustic, yet refined.  The portion sizes were quite fair and I was very full after the entree.  Nonetheless, I still had to try out their desserts.  The experience was memorable.

My dessert was pineapple brioche tartine with coconut shavings, coconut macaroon ice cream, and passionfruit sauce.  It was a high-end, fancier version of those pineapples bun from your local chinese bakery. The whole combination of texture and flavours was absolutely delicious.

P's apple cake was a delectable and I almost would rather stare at it all night.  The apple cake had a layer of cranberry curd, topped with cream cheese ice cream and had filo pastry.  Resting beside it were sliced apples, and drizzled with butterscotch sauce.

Miss C's chocolate tasting came in 3 cute samplings.  The first on the far left was a warm and fluffy chocolate cake filled profiterole.  The dark chocolate gave a slightly bitter flavour that big kids like us love, and it was not too sweet.  In the middle, the raspberry chocolate almond cake layered with milk chocolate semi-freddo with crunchy top layer was our favourite.  Last but not least, chocolate ganache with raspberry compote and ice cream were both rich and refreshing.

After the bill, which came to around $460 altogether $_$.  More treats arrived to end things on a sweet note, caramel popcorn truffles.  They were delightful. Caramel popcorn bits coating the dark chocolate with gooey centre, yum!  The pastry chef, Rhonda Viani had done an excellent job here.

Actually, West restaurant has a great team of experts and professionals who bring exceptional dining experience for their patrons.  The servers were professional and informative, while the manager paid close attention to the patrons despite the restaurant being insanely packed.  I would definitely return, especially for the amazing cocktails and I must give props to the bar manager and great mixologist, David Wolowidnyk, for coming up with such exhilarating and tasty concoctions.  That kaffir fling is definitely one drink which I'll always remember.

West Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Simple and comforting cream of corn soup recipe

Cream of corn is probably my favourite soup ever since I was young.  French onion soup comes a close second, but I have yet to try making that.  What's not to love about cream + corn? A cup of steaming corn soup is always soothing and enjoyable at anytime, any place.  With winter creeping in and I'm always getting sick, I find myself craving cream of corn soup more and more.

I've always relied on making cream of corn soup just by opening a can of Green Giant creamed corn and add milk, which is pretty simple.  But I recently refined the process just a little bit more and here it goes...  

2.5 tbsp. butter
2.5 tbsp. flour
500 ml milk
1 can sweet corn*
1 pinch sea salt
1 pinch rosemary

*note: I highly recommend using Delmonte peaches & cream corn since it gives a really nice sweet flavour in the soup.  I also ended up using half because one can had too much corn >_<. 

In a large saucepan, melt butter and slowly mix in flour to make a roux.  After a few minutes, cnce a smooth paste is formed, slowly add milk.  Bring to boil and stir until the paste is dissolved and the liquid thickens.  If you want a thicker consistency, you can add 1/2 cup of cream or more flour.  Add sweet corn, season with salt and rosemary and reduce to simmer for about 5 minutes.  Keep stirring to prevent the film from forming. 

Season with black pepper and serve!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bday Dinner no. 3 at Chambar

I had been a bit too ambitious during the last long weekend/birthday weekend in my food escapades.  While it didn't stop at Araxi, I had no idea it would keep on going for the entire week to come.  For my third birthday dinner with BBJL (who had been such a sweetheart in going along with whatever and wherever I wanted), I picked Chambar in Vancouver.  I have heard much raved reviews about the restaurant, but never had the opportunity to visit.  Thus, my mind was set on it.  Upon arrival, we were seated just across the bar.  The ambience was more casual than I thought but still carried a chic, trendy vibe.  I decided to opt out from their prix fixe menu and chose something a little 'lighter' instead.  You see, the weekend binging was finally starting to catch up and take its toll on us.

The first appetizer ordered was soupe de crab aux concombres, which with my poorly mixed French knowledge, I roughly saw it as "crab soup with some cucumbers".  If I had read the description properly on the menu, I would've seen that it said Dungeness crab salad and cucumber gazpacho.  The gazpacho was creamy, with a pronounced curry spice flavour with a tad too much salt.  Although I find cold soups fascinating, it wasn't too much of a hit with me.  While it was a refreshing summer dish, I wish there was more to the crab salad than being presented as salad rolls. 

Next up was the foie gras.  After a mindblowing experience with foie gras at Araxi, I couldn't help but wanting to compare.  The terrine was accompanied by truffled brioche french toast and kriek granita.  I loved the texture of the brioche french toast, very crispy, light and fluffy.  However, I could hardly detect the fragrant of truffle.  It was there but very faint.  The terrine was smooth and creamy and went great with cherry granita.  It was great, however!, it did not melt in my mouth the way that simple, yet beautiful foie gras terrine from Araxi did.  Unfortunately, that experience divided the exceptional from the great.  

While the duck experience wasn't such a hit at Araxi, my sister confirmed that the duck breast at Chambar was the best she's ever had got us thinking about ordering duck breast for the 3rd night in a row.  3rd night in a row....."Should we??" The thought of that was just too heavy to bear.  Instead, BBJL made the final call and opted for the braised lamb shank, Moroccan style.  The portion was fairly large and filling, fit for hungry BBJL.  The sides of cous cous and zalouk (roasted eggplants salad) arrived separately.  The braised lamb shank was very tender and easily pulled apart.  It had a wonderful sweet taste from honey, figs and cinnamon.

Since the mussels are very popular at Chambar, I knew I had to try it.  With such tasty selections, I asked our server to recommend one for me.  He chose the most popular which was the congolaise, a tomato-coconut cream base with smoked chili and lime, and tons of cilantro.  If you're not a fan of cilantro, you may want to tell the kitchen to hold of on it, but for me, they greatly helped enhance the flavour of the dish.  I really enjoyed it.  The mussels were big and the pot was seemingly bottomless! The broth was flavourful and slightly acidic, so I never grew tired of eating the mussels.  It was delicious on its own and even better when dipped with bread.  The frites served along side were extremely crispy. Even though I'm normally a fan of crispy fries, I literally had too much on my plate and barely touched them at all!  At one point I also got too excited with sharing my mussels with BBJL that some of the broth ended up all over his nice Hugo Boss shirt.  SORRY!! > <''

By the end of the meal, we were once again full to the brim, our palettes were exhausted from overdrive.  Since or next stop after Chambar would lead us to Guu Gastown for some more drinks and tapas... -___- I didn't leave any room for desserts. I would later regret to hear how good they are.  After 3 days straight of fine dining, everything started to become a blur.  Obviously, it is much better to space them out to once a week or every 2 weeks rather than cramming everything in.  Should the occasion arrive such as this, nonetheless, I would not pass it on. 

Chambar on Urbanspoon