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Everything posted by tonkichi

  1. I would advise against the Toyota Kaiseki place- the menu is very short, what we ate was sushi which was dabbed generously with olive oil which carries fusion too far. The cafe at Renault showroom is better- it doesn't serve sushi of course but the usual cafe items like omelets etc. I like Noura too (esp their chicken livers with sumac) and their 3 outlets along Avenue Marceau are open till late every day. Better than Divan across the road from your hotel. L'Avenue is very popular, reservations needed, the food is not cheap for what you're getting but well, people don't exactly go there to eat. There's an outpost of Bellota-Bellota (Jabugo Iberico) along 11 rue Clement if you don''t fancy going to their bigger place in 18 rue Jean-Nicot. Best ham sandwich in town if you ask me but it sells out quickly and at peak dining hours it may not be possible to eat 'sur place', otherwise you can make a relatively light meal of their hams of the day, salad (actually just a bunch of arugula) and their bread and tomato sauce. Their canned fish are also very good, actually everything on the menu is very good. Seating is bar-stool style, not designed for lingering. I also like Publicis at the corner of Ave Marceau and Avenue Champs-Elysee, you can eat along the terrace but I like to have a drink at the bar where they can make decent cocktails and then eat indoors, they have blinis with good smoked salmon, simple sandwiches and salads and the rice pudding is usually tasty. Across the Pont de l'Alma the cafe at Musee Branly is not bad either.
  2. tonkichi


    A good indicator is if I want to go back to the same restaurant. Between L'Atelier and La Table, I would return to L'Atelier. At l'Atelier, we didn't feel rushed. Actually I was able to book two places for lunch on Monday and I was late by a good 20 minutes and had a long leisurely lunch. The sommelier was very helpful and the food had more hits than misses. I regretted not ordering the baby pig so may go back. Also we were two seats away from Ferran Adria only we didn't know it at that time because he looked a bit chubbier than in his photo, not until he left and all the staff shook his hand. It was last autumn, at the beginning of the El Bulli 2008 reservation window, and my lunch companion ran out to be photographed with the great man and secured us a much coveted reservation. So yeah, this place gives me a lot of warm feelings. La Table on the other hand was quite depressing. The interior I felt was awashed in too much greys and dark silks, it felt like a coffeehouse and was missing a certain buzz. The food was fine but desserts were so-so. We were a party of 8 and 7 of us ordered the lunch menu which included a demi-bottle of wine each. They placed the wine just out of our reach and did not top up our glasses until I reminded them so black marks for service right away. Pricewise I prefer to spend it at Restaurant Thierry Burlot, seems to me also there are many places in that category especially for lunch menus. Pureed potatoes at both places did not impress me much, as much as the one at Atelier de Maitre Albert, because I couldn't really taste the potatoes over all the creamy dairy.
  3. Bigarrade appears to be difficult to get to. I tried in end February and they were closed for the vacances scolaire. Today I called and they're on Easter break until March 31. Will I get lucky the third time?
  4. I always have a soft spot for places that serves bread with butter, it is so easy to do but many places even the very high end ones (here Ledoyen sticks out like a red sore thumb- I had to ask yet they forgot to bring it over) cannot be bothered or are too mean to provide butter. Or maybe they can sense my bread-destroying abilities. At Josephine, Chez Dumonet my sister and I demolished three baskets of bread! And still ate a three course meal. Passiflore is now on my to-do list.
  5. John Talbott wrote on the noticeboard: Two days ago we went to Rech to try out this promotion. Their 28 euro menu is for two courses (entree+plat or plat + dessert). No choices in menu items. Entree: tartare of white fish with virgin olive oil Plat: Salmon in cream sauce garnished with salmon and black (sorry didn't note the type, not terribly big eggs) caviar. Choice of vegetables being potatoes, spinach or melange of spring vegetables. The server did not ask for our garniture choice, the husbands got spinach while me and my friend got spring vegetables. Dessert: Ice cream encrusted with nuts drenched in chocolate sauce. The food was straight off the textbook, straightforward, inoffensive, verging on dull. The ice cream in particular was a hard block of white stuff but redeemed by the chocolate sauce which was made with good quality chocolate. Overall, not really a good value meal, with a half bottle of wine, three coffees and four menus the bill came to 143.50 euros. May as well save and splurge for their usual seafood dishes. This reminds me of a meal with a bunch of French/ international women at Aux Lyonnais (of Ducasse group). Our special menu: choices included the rillette (very good), coq au vin (served with the chicken all torn up instead of in whole pieces, somewhat tacky I find) and a forgettable fruit-something dessert. With three bottles of Beaujolais shared among nearly 13 ladies and ~9 coffees we still ended up paying 52 euros each. Benoit for regular brunch is very good though, my friend says. Still, if they run these kind of events to introduce themselves to customers who may not have thought of going, this is not the best way to achieve it.
  6. tonkichi


    We lunched there a month ago. I remain ambivalent about the experience, perhaps I am too demanding. http://umami.typepad.com/umami/2008/02/astrance-paris.html
  7. Thanks Ptipois, your knowledge is astounding and I'm learning so much from you. Turkish soup bar eh? We've just came back from a delicious trip to Istanbul but I did not eat any tripe soup. Have to go try it out!
  8. Host’s Note: I’ve moved some restaurant content from the topic on Shopping on Sundays here to separate the two subjects. John Tonkichi 3/25 said: Ptipois replied: There are 2 Malaysian restaurants that I know of. One is Chez Fung in the 15th, I didn't try it because in the TimeOut guide it describes their rojak as a salad with soy and honey dressing. Rojak sauce is made with fermented shrimp paste, sugar, lime juice, chilli paste and shredded gingerbud if available. Soy and honey do not figure. Plus the place is not open on Sundays. The other is Malaysian restaurant on rue Cail. It was originally an Indian restaurant but an ex-Malaysian Indian bought it and added Malaysian dishes. The new menu did not take off, the dishes we tried were lamentable and the place is reverting to Indian again. The workers from the nearby Cash and Carry recommends it for Indian meat dishes though.... We try to cook Malaysian food at home. Once or twice a year the Malaysian embassy organises food-centred events that the public can join in, e.g. last year's Hari Raya celebrations at the end of Ramadhan and also tourism promotion activities. The Indonesian embassy also organised a very successful event last year. If I have any news of such activities I will disseminate it from my blog or by email e.g. http://umami.typepad.com/umami/2007/10/selamat-hari-ra.html http://umami.typepad.com/umami/2007/05/the_price_of_sa.html
  9. There is actually more than one Chinatown in Paris. The biggest and most organised is in the area along Avenue d'Ivry and Avenue Choissy. Most of the shops are run by former Cambodians/Kampucheans and Vietnamese. Tang Freres and Paris Stores and the smaller shops are excellent for Asian foods, one can even get fermented shrimps (cincaluk) and new harvest rice in addition to the usuals like lemongrass, sauces, fresh coconuts etc. I do a big shop at Tang Freres every three Saturday mornings, before 9.30 am if possible, any later and the whole place goes crazy. The next best known is in the part of Belleville closest to the metro station of the same name, here the shops import almost everything from mainland China. The owners hail from the Wenzhou area not exactly well known for their cuisine but we get stuff like dried rice cakes, Lau Gan Ma sauces and Chinese books and DVDs for my daughter. There are a few tofu shops along rue Rampal, my favourite is Les Delices; here the tofu is sweet and fresh. The third Chinatown is in the sebastopol-st denis area but I have never actually shopped there. On Sundays the shops and restaurants are closed. Les Pates Vivantes is a fairly new pulled-noodle joint in rue de Fauborg Montmarte, it is open Sunday evenings. I am a Malaysian Chinese and even in Paris, I need to get my fix of Asian food so we have tried many ethnic places in the 15 months that we've been living here. Sadly the only places that are good falls mostly into Korean and a handful of tiny sushi or noodle joints. For mainland Chinese food I go to Le Jardin Mandchourie in rue Vivaldi like every six months. As for other Chinese food I wait until I get to London, all the rest like Likafo, Sinorama, Mirama do not do it for us. though in a pinch I might settle for any cafe along Belleville. Thai: my favourite is Krua Thai in rue Montparnasse. There is also a small traiteur near Porte Maillot called Chez Chung which every Singaporean knows about because Singapore Airlines staff staying at the nearby Meridien hotel have been eating there for nearly 20 years and teaching them how to cook Singapore style fishball noodles, chicken with prawn paste and even sauteed kangkong. As for Indian I've tried a few places (vege and non-vege) from the budget ones along rue Cail and its environs as well as upmarket places like Ratn and honestly do not like any of them, the exception is Archana on rue Telegraph but it is rather far from where I live. The best thing about all these places are that they are open during the weekends.
  10. Why don't the Pakistani shops along rue Cail have a place in a food forum? I get my supplies of spices, murukku snacks, Milo, Ovaltine, coconut milk and 'English' biscuits like Digestives and Fig Rolls at the Cash & Carry. Prices are much cheaper than Bon Marché's. Rue St Anne in the 2e is good for Korean and Japanese groceries. ACE Mart is the best known, and at weekends there is a 10% discount on most items. Open till 10 pm. My other favourite Korean grocer is HANA foods at rue Letellier in the 15th. The drugstore along Champs Elysee is called Publicis. Good for books, wines and snack-type foods, as well as whimsy clothes and accessories.
  11. There are many sushi joints in the neighbourhood but the only one I like is Toritcho on 47 rue du Montparnasse (T: 0143 21 29 97). It has a Japanese sushi chef plus a Japanese sumiyaki grill chef to keep the quality above their flashier, bigger pseudo-nippon competitors. Crowded in the evenings but lunches are quieter.
  12. You are probably thinking of Lei Garden. The most fancy outlet is at Chijmes near Raffles City. Definitely high end and with good food but not my personal favourite.
  13. My current favourites: Japanese: Akane at Japanese association, Kaisan at Raffles Hotel Chinese: Royal China at Raffles Hotel. Crystal Jade Golden Palace at Paragon. Crystal Jade Palace at Ngee Ann City. Western: have not been impressed by any so far. Not the most high end, but I like to eat at the lesser known chef-run restaurants like Ember at Keong Saik Street, and Salt at Telok Ayer Street. Older stalwarts like Moomba (high end Australian?)at Boat Quay has become my new favourite, the prices are very reasonable and the food quality consistently high. Heard good things about Iggy's and La Petit Village but am waiting for the dust to settle before trying. I was at Mezzanine a few weeks ago and did not like it at all; the food was of average standard but the prices were high.
  14. No no no. Newton Circus is not a must go, there are other hawker centres that offer more variety without robbing the tourists. Such as the Chinatown Complex food centre, the Old Airport Road Food Centre and the Tiong Bahru Food Centre. All easily accessible by bus or taxi. Alkaff Mansion is no longer in operation.
  15. The bitter gourds pictured here are 100% bitter. I would make a soup out of it, with some pork bones, carrots and onions. My mum tells me it is very "cooling". The bigger ones that are about 8 inches long and has shallower grooves, and are about 70% bitter and 30% sweet. The deeper the grooves the more bitter the taste. These are wonderful braised with a fatty meat like pork ribs. I also like to slice them thinly, sprinkle with a little salt and then make an omelet with sliced onions. Or cut into rings and stuff with fish paste to form yong-tau-foo. The seeds of both types are not edible.
  16. Leatherwood for me. I am also working my way through a large jar of Really Raw Honey. Delicious.
  17. I had zongzi today. I like the Cantonese version, with plenty of mung beans. I also like to dip it in the sweet soya sauce that the restaurant provides. My mum used to make zongzi, but my dad complained she didn't put enough mung beans, so she stopped making them. The version she made was what we called zham tao zong (pillow zong) because it is big and pillow-shaped and stuffed with all sorts of goodies like pork, egg yolk, chestnut, shitake, dried scallop and of course, not enough mung beans.
  18. Oh Yes, the other day I received an email from my friend who runs a beautiful tea shop here in Singapore. They've only got 20 bags in stock. I assume the price would be too high, even though I love LongJing Cha. So we passed on this.
  19. ecr, I've only eaten once at Nogawa Meridien. The prices are about the same as Akane. The fish was just as fresh, but seems to me the sushi chef at Akane are better at their craft, don't know whether it is in the slicing or the dips, the fish at Akane are just that bit more sweet, more delicious.
  20. I was told about Akane by one of their staff. She knew me as a regular at Nogawa at Ngee Ann City (now closed) and when she met me again at Nogawa Meridien she introduced me to Akane. Apparently Akane used to not allow non-members in, but the Japanese & Singapore economy made it hard to keep the exclusivity, which was why they let non-members in. My husband tells me that a local big-shot businessman even became a member of the association just so he could eat there. Note that non-members are charged about 15% more than what is stated on the menu. I went there again a few months ago. On a Thursday night. The place was heaving. They had to turn people away. The staff were very harried. We could not get a seat at the counter, and had to wait a long time for the food. Seems like the expense-accounts types are back. Seems to me,. if their members cannot get in, the next logical step would be to limit non-members. Enjoy it while it lasts.
  21. Anypart near the bone. The bone part of a pork/lamb chop, the ribs of the roast duck, chicken and duck necks. It's where all the seasonings are concentrated and the meats muscular yet juicy. Pork trotters, especially from a whole roasted pig. We save that for making congee. The ears from the roast pig. The juices that pool at the bottom of the dish after steaming a whole organic chicken, what my mum calls "chicken essence".
  22. Duck kidneys are good for making soup.
  23. Pork bone and lotus root soup is a popular homestyle soup, but recently I've been making mine a vegetarian version. Just boil the crudely smashed lotus root in water for about 1 hour, then add dried red dates and simmer the soup for a further 1 hour. Sweet, smokey yet clear flavours, it is now our new favourite.
  24. My mum bought one of those small cleavers recently. Cheap cheap cheap. No brand name. It is now the favourite knife in her house, and she has at least 20 knives including 3 other cleavers. She loves it because it is so light and sharp, now it is used to cut everything.
  25. Bread My first winter in London, almost 18 years ago, I remember a bakery on the high street in Barnet, North London. It had the most fantastic Malt Bread. Don't know whether the bakery or the same bread still exists, but the image in my memory bank is of a very dark loaf with a crunchy-yet-sticky crust and rich, fruity bread within. The sweetness was tempered with the bitterness of burnt raisins. Best eaten with cold butter. My mother visiting us (from Malaysia) during the holidays. She loves English bread so much we would usually have 3-4 types in the flat at any time of the day.
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