Traveling Solo in BKK | Drink Like a Local

For a city like Bangkok where nightlife thrives as much as that in the day, visiting local bars is on the travel itinerary.

Before I made my way to Bangkok, a bartender friend in Hong Kong recommended me the charming Vesper Cocktail Bar & Restaurant in Silom area, close to Sala Daeng BTS. What’s good about this visit is that it’s new to myself and Book as well as his local friend, kind of a discovery for all of us.

We sat by the bar, ordered from bartenders Oil and Milk (who were just announced to be Diageo World Class Thailand Top 16 finalists, and Milk, later proceeded onto becoming one of Thailand’s Best Bartenders).

Secret Earl Grey (THB360) is a mix of earl grey-infused Tanqueray and lemon juice, topped with a frothy layer of egg white and a few dashes of grapefruit bitters. It’s presented with the dry ice fog effect that has the subtle scent of berry tea.

It’s lovely when we can involve in the making-of of our eating and drinking experience. Hemingway’s Sazerac (THB450), made of rye whisky, Hennessy VS, bitters and absinthe, is served in this medicine bottle that we poured out of onto the lemon zest air to watch it slowly melt into the drink.

 

Book and his friends brought me to several other places at night. Iron Fairies, though along the main road of Thonglor, can be hard to spot. It is a dark and moody jazz bar with iron machine parts, pipes, chains and cages, and tiny jars of “fairy dusts”.

We had two rounds of drinks, two of which The Iron Fairy (Red) (THB380), a heady drink of La Fée Bohemian absinthe, with hazelnut syrup, gin and hibiscus, and also Erin’s Fire & Sea (THB310) that has this amazing roasted, salted flavours of nori seaweed. What I remember most is that it was Monday, open mic night. I stood on the iron staircase, the centerpiece of the bar, and sang Fly Me To The Moon with the live band in front of like 60 people.

The reward? A shot of vodka that made me wanted to sing more.

 

We also went to —

Blues Bar (aka. Adhere The 13th) near Khao San Road, a small bar with an amazing ambiance thanks to the hippie decor and the different bands that play every night. I’d say half of the customers were young locals and the other half expats — all laid-back and chillaxing along with the beats.

 

BREW Beers & Ciders in Thonglor, offering a broad range of cold, fizzy beverages. It’s where I met Book’s coworkers and friends in the music industry, including the famous ukulele artist and singer Singto Numchok (!).

 

Mulligans Irish Bar on Khao San Road, again with a live band and singers, casual place for friends to gather, have some beer… and flaming Sambuca shots.

– Judith

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Guided tasting at HKIWSF 2014

Being at the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair (6 – 8 November) this year was quite a different experience. Rather than as an exhibitor, I was invited to a wine session and tasting tour hosted by sommelier Damon Yuen, together with some others in the blogging community on the last day of the fair that was open to traders and the public. Thanks again to HKTDC and WeShare.

We began with a 20-minute USA wine session that centered on the geographical and weather conditions in the states of Washington and California, and the effects they have on the grapes thus wines produced. It was followed by tastings at various booths with guidance — see, smell, swirl, smell again, sip and savour.

First tasted were some Japanese whiskies, and then German blanc de noir that’s described as “the wine perfect for ladies to drink when looking at the sunset and then the next sunrise”, followed by an elegant rosé and pinot noir that are not only a pleasure to drink, but also of good quality-price ratio.

Stopping by another booth, we tasted single-malt beer and ale that carry a prominent sweet floral scent to the nose, finishing with a hint of fresh ginger and yeast in the mouth — much different from the commercial brands that I often refrain from drinking.

Since the topic of discussion at the session was USA wines, we moved onto the third stop and with two Oregon whites (p.s. Oregon’s the state in between Washington and California, along the west coast), we engaged our senses and learned to tell if wines made of the same grape have been aged in steel tanks or oak barrels.

The tour ended with a taste of three decent Karma Tequilas made of agave that were all distilled to their purest forms, quite powerful to the nose yet velvety-smooth on the palate, followed by a lingering finish. A tiny sip goes a long way. The interesting part comes when they handed us Tequila Karma bracelets found on each bottle, which made me curious of its background. After Googling, it came to my knowledge that it donates a portion of its purchase to Karma Care, a non-profit org that supports the well-being of children around the globe 🙂

Later, I met with a few friends and spent the next couple of hours tasting wines to our liking. It was a shame though for missing on a few good (and popular) French producers whose booths closed early for they have ran out of wines; not to mention the freshly-made gelato at Vinitaly too! 😡

i’m already looking forward to in HKIWSF in 2015! How about you?

– Judith

Motorino + Origin = Fulfilling

For those who have followed my posts, you’d know that I’ve left the publishing group and moved on at a new working place. It’s been brilliant fun so far, which within one month of employment they’ve already sent me onto a business trip to Greece! *GEEZ*

I’m pretty lucked out and I’m absolutely happy about it, but of course that’s also when I started getting real busy too and have seemed to leave my blog behind…

Before I talk about what I’ve eaten at Athens and the beautiful Santorini, I’d like to give way to this one first. Exactly two months ago it was my friend’s birthday. We’ve known each other for some eight or nine years and only in 2014 it came to my mind that I’ve never made her a cake.

So here it is, a not-so-nice-looking-but-super-delicious-matcha-cheesecake — once again, I love you and I wish you the best, Samantha.

Of course, it’s more than just a cake! Another night I brought her to Motorino, an Italian place located along the stairs of Soho.

It’s been quite a long time and it didn’t leave a deep impression. As I can slightly recall, the two antipasti — Prosciutto di Parma + Buffalo Mozzarella (HK$138) and Octopus and Potato Salad w/ Capers & Chili Oil (HK$ 138) — weren’t bad. My strongest opinion though, is if you might order Cherry Stone Clams Pizza ($208) like we did, please DO NOT overspend time on taking photos because it can smell and taste awfully fishy once it starts cooling down. I learned that if I must order this again, I must either boost my photo-snapping skills or only order it when I have more than two people to share.

I introduced her to Origin later of the night. Some of you might be aware of a coverage on Spirito diVino Asia about gin (if not, click to read! http://goo.gl/TkeQvV); thanks to its awesome (and HOT) barmaid Cherry who you’ll find more often at Quinary instead, I’ve developed affection and appreciation towards the world of mixology.
That night we didn’t meet her there, but felt her presence by ordering her award-winning B24 Gimlet (HK$120) chrysanthemum cocktail with a ginseng taste, and also one of the bar’s signature cocktails named KGB (HK$120), likely to be a short form of “Kyoho grapes – Gin – Bubble Bath”. With both its taste and fabulous presentation, you really don’t want to miss out on this.

Motorino
G/F, 14 Shelley Street, Central, Hong Kong
T. +852 2801 6881

Origin
G/F, 48 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong
T. +852 2668 5583

– Judith

Thoughts: last day with Spirito diVino…

Image

Today is officially my last working day with Spirito diVino Asia bi-monthly magazine. Since the beginning, I’ve been hands-on contributing to #1 – 9 issues and it’s been great fun.

People are surprised to hear that I’m leaving and further pursuing my career in an advertising firm. One of the questions I got asked most often was:

Q: It’s such a nice job – eating and drinking every day (“every day” is so not true, however)! What makes you want to leave?

A: Indeed, the best part of this job was to get this huge exposure in the fascinating food and wine scene that opens me up to great food and great wines, chefs, vintners and people in the trade, but the thing is, I thought it’s time to engage in something different, faster and more exciting. I’m a typical Sagittarian and it therefore makes sense. Impulsive much? No, not really.

So, please expect the coming posts that are to let myself recap the nicest things that happened during these 1.5 years. Coming in chronological order, they will be the wine-dine experiences that I particularly want to remember and share with all of you.

P.S. There is this unstated rule at offices that those who resign should give out “farewell cookies”, with a hope to maintain a friendly relationship with ex-colleagues. I had too, but rather let them choose their fav drinks from the TenRen’s TEA menu – which everyone likes. The photo above is 913 King’s Milk Tea that I got for myself.

P.S.S. Thank you all, stay in touch! 🙂

– Judith

Privacy matters!


I recall I was a bit surprised upon my first visit to Table One Wines & Gourmet back in 2012. It is a private kitchen in an old commercial building in Tsim Sha Tsui near Kowloon Park exit, tucked away at the very end of the corridor on 2/F to neighbour with a few Islamic eateries and… a foot massage centre (panic not, it’s a decent one).

Hong Kong is such a packed and busy city, and so you know, dining in a quiet and cosy place with only two other groups of people at most, separately, is simply very pleasant. Helmed by sommelier Teresa and chef Jeff, its menu (for 6 guests or above, priced at HK$398 net per head) changes once a month. Referring to e-mail newsletters, sometimes it offers Italian cuisine, sometimes French, and last week it was Spanish.

Cod Foie Gras with Cucumber Cup; Table One

We paired Marques de Requena Cava Brut / Marques de Requena Chardonnay Macabeo with a number of welcome tapas, starting off with the tasty Cod Foie Gras with Cucumber Cup. Interesting is both the presentation and the cod foie gras that resembles quite closely with foie gras from poultry, but healthier and less brutal, I hope.

Foie Gras with Toast; Table One

Foie Gras with Toast is alright but yet to be impressive. Creamy texture of foie gras plays well against crunchiness of the toast. A very simple before-dinner bite.

Iberico Meatballs; Table One

Iberico Meatballs smell delicious with the thick, drool-worthy tomato sauce. The meatballs carry this unique flavour that is only present in Black Iberian Pigs but its texture has not done the dish justice. A more crispy, deep-fried outer shell would make it a lot nicer.

Baked Tetilla Cheese & Iberico Chorizo; Table One

Baked Tetilla Cheese & Iberico Chorizo has this addicting combination of ingredients served again in bite-sized pieces. The cheese isn’t too strong to taste, yet enough to underscore the rich flavours of the ham.

Cheese & Nuts Platter; Table One

Cheese & Nuts Platter comes in a selection of Cheddar, Camembert maybe, and one more cheese that I don’t remember. This platter of soft to semi-soft cheeses is nice and easy to eat but I’m still more fond of hard ones, particularly Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Beef Carpaccio; Table One

Before we started with the Chef’s Special (aka. the main), we ordered an extra dish that we always love — Beef Carpaccio (HK$320). Heavenly is the suppleness of the thin slices of raw meat, which are drizzled over with delicious garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil and topped with grated cheese. A must-have. We paired it with the third wine, Marques de Requena Crianza Red that also goes with the main below.

Grilled Iberico Pork Chop; Table One

Our noses told us that Grilled Iberico Pork Chop served with Baked Zuchinni, Cheese and Sauteed Mushrooms was before being served before us. Its remarkable scent protrudes even better in this, with nutty flavours released from each bite of the succulent meat. Cranberry sauce tones down the fattiness of the dish.

Baked Egg and Salami; Table One

It was when we were chatting among ourselves with sips of wine, looking forward to the tempting sweet treat, Jeff came out of the kitchen with this extra dish — Baked Eggs with Salumi (price unknown) — in case we have drunk too much. Eggs are perfectly smooth and there are salumi layered underneath. Classic and very comforting.


The meal came to an end with a cup of soothing chamomile tea and also a slice of Mango Mille Crepe Cake, which the layers are too packed, such that it does not feel soft and great against the palate.

Photo on the right is King’s Ginger by Berry Bros & Rudd from the UK, a rich ginger liqueur that is sweet, zesty and wonderful for cold weather (heats up your body in a tick!). It was first made in 1903 for King Edward VII, and my brother says it’s especially favored by elderly people, where they might not know it by its name, but would walk into the store and ask, “may I have the wine that can keep me warm throughout the winter?”

Table One Wines & Gourmet (sells wines and food products too)
208, Haiphong Mansion, 53-55 Haiphong Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
tel. +852 2525 4882

– Judith

Cravings in Bangkok! (2)

Continuing with the previous post, below are more cravings Samantha and I had in Bangkok, back in mid-December 2013!

12 DECEMBER, 2013

Basically we gave ourselves a spa break for each of the day in Bangkok, but on the fourth day we’d decided to put it on the very top of our itinerary to kick start the beautiful day 🙂

Don’t panic yet, it’s still a food blog! The reason why I’m mentioning the Center Point Massage in Silom is the cup of Matoom Tea served before and after its heavenly, exceptional spa treatment; and of course, it also happens to be one of the must-goes on my list.

Matoom is essentially bael fruit, and this herbal tea is known for cleansing and keeping your digestive system healthy. What the staff do is as simple as bringing the dried pieces up to a boil and adding sugar to taste. But since I only found powdered ones in Big C Supermarket, that’s what I got for myself 🙂 and I’m excited that it tastes equally good!

Afterwards we had lunch at Samai Seik Chicken Rice. It is not heavily promoted, but a low-profile place along the street with an old facade that has it’s name written in Thai that made it difficult for non-locals like us to find.

I think it deserves to be known by more people as its Chicken Rice is actually also very yummy. Boneless, silky smooth chicken meat and yellow-tinged rice to be eaten with red chili sauce different from that in Kaiton Pathumwan (check my last post for more info). It’s hard to tell which one is more superior for they have given the same dish different personalities. But one thing that I’m sure to tell is, the soup here is a whole lot better.

Later of the day, we walked into the neighborhood of Thonglor to hit up the widely-discussed Water Library (Thonglor) on Sukhumvit 55, one of the streets in Bangkok that is highly concentrated with quality, decent bars and restaurants.

It is urban and stylish; walking into the bar area we’re greeted by Mirko Gardelliano the corporate mixologist, who showed us the outdoor terrace, private dining room and wine cellar.

At the main bar area is a shelf of homemade infusion of which its bartenders use to make the drinks. Mirko brought us two cocktail drinks: Gummy Bear and WOW… Guava!

There are a number of drinks under the Gummy Bear category and for this particular one, drink only the upper part, the gin infusion, because the bottom part in blue was liquid nitrogen that released fog for an exciting visual impact (sadly though, didn’t last long). Remember to squeeze the Gummy Bear pipettes onto the palate first to later give the whole drink a wake-up, while chewing gummy bears in between the sips add a whimsical touch to the taste. It’s in general refreshing, with hints of mango, passion fruit and citrus.

WOW… Guava! is a bittersweet infused gin, where a few good drops of homemade Aphrodisiac Bitter helped enhance the already rich fruity flavor to bring a remarkable after taste.

Mirko says a lot of people visit and return to Water Library for it is a place created for real, decent cocktail appreciation. This is my ideal kind of bars too.

Soon after we left, we headed down to the middle of the street for diVino Food & Bar, where its much cosy and down-to-earth setting welcomes everyone like old friends at Roberto Ferin, the Italian restaurateur’s home.

It is comprised of an outdoor terrace, a dining room made to resemble a stone wine cellar with vaulted ceiling (where we were seated) and an adjacent two-storey building named as diVino Deli Shop for casual dinners and takeaways. Roberto kindly served us with aperitivo, a glass of red and white each, a Mini Artichoke, Ham and Cheese Pizza and also its signature Fresh Tuna Salad.

Offering a wide selection of Italian wines (plus some choices from the New World), Indulging food, great ambience and fantastic hospitality, it well deserves the Reader’s Choice Award under the Best Wine Bars category in Bangkok’s Best Dining 2013.
*Read more about diVino Food & Wine in Spirito diVino Asia #8 February/March 2014 issue*

13 DECEMBER, 2013

If you already know me, you’d agree with me that the last day was just lovely and purrrrrrfect to me. We didn’t have a lot of time so Purr Cat Café Club in the serene neighbourhood of Thonglor was the only place we went before heading to the airport.

There were several steps to follow: took off our shoes outside at the garden, put on slippers, wash our hands, get them sanitized with rubbing alcohol and at last, read the “PURR-RULES” that include “play with them nicely” and “please do not hold cats” (*they fine 1,000 Baht for breaking the rules*). All these are to ensure a nice environment for the beautiful felines to thrive. We don’t just come and go, but be responsible 🙂

The café is divided into three main parts: the reception, the cat-free outer lounge and the inner one that I’d call the “cat paradise” for housing more than 20 cats, with walls painted in pristine white to feel clean and spacious.

My thoughtful friend ordered food from the cake counter while I was busying taking photos and having fun with the 20 something cats. And she’s indeed more than thoughtful as the waitress brought the food over to our table, there’s a slice of cake with HBD to… Judith 2013 written on the plate with melted chocolate!

I must apologize that for shifting focus to the cats (who wouldn’t?) and therefore cannot write much about the food. But from what I recall ever so slightly, Lasagne was not exactly a good choice, Hot Latte was nice and foamy while Strawberry Cake was just ok with too generous amounts of cream.

But anyway, I’m very sure to revisit in my every coming trip to Bangkok 🙂 It’s such a delight spending time with these fluffy animals — the lazy Persians, playful American Shorthairs, gentle (and gigantic) Maine Coon and more — CUTENESS OVERLOAD!!!

/ / / / /
Samai Seik Chicken Rice
209 Silom Road, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Sala Daeng / MRT-Si Lom)

Water Library Thonglor
The Grass, Thonglor Soi 12, Sukhumvit 55, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Thong Lor)
+66 2 714 9292

diVino Food & Wine
Penny’s Balcony, Thonglor Soi 16, Sukhumvit 55, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Thong Lor)
+66 2 714 8723

Purr Cat Café Club
Thonglor Soi 53, Sukhumvit, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Thong Lor)
+66 2 108 3604

– Judith

Cravings in Bangkok! (1)

It was in mid-December 2013 I went on a 5-day Bangkok trip with my lovely friend Samantha. We have been talking about this for years (since we met in high school at the age of 16?) and finally we did it! ❤ It was such fabulous moments, and below are the first half of the recaps! 😀

9 DECEMBER, 2013

Grapefruit juice as welcome drink; Citrus Sukhumvit 22 Hotel, Bangkok

We arrived at Citrus Sukhumvit 22 Hotel, and at the check-in counter we were each greeted with a glass of welcome drink: icy cold grapefruit juice.

Mango Sticky Rice; Mae Varee, Bangkok
Afterwards, the first thing that we’d decided to do was to eat mango rice! Needless to go through again our handy travel books, we already knew Mae Varee, closest to Thonglor station, was the place to go.

We shared a pack of this Mango Sticky (Glutinous) Rice, where the rice fancily came in three shades. Topped with thick, creamy coconut milk and crispy mung beans, it looked attractive and delicious but I’m sorry to say that it was quite disappointing to taste. Though the shop’s highlight is on the tropical fruit, it cannot just ignore the quality of the rice: why name it sticky rice if it’s not at all sticky?

After a full body massage at Healthland Spa & Massage (which was less satisfying than my first experience) we went to Kaiton Pathumwan that is super famous among tourists for its Chicken Rice. In case you’re not sure if you have found the right place, the bright pink staff uniform would be the key to look for!

Smooth boneless chicken meat, rich-flavoured oily rice, together with that salty-spicy sauce of garlic, chilli and pounded ginger, it was simply superb and a place that I swear I would go to at least once in my every Bangkok trip.

10 DECEMBER, 2013

The next afternoon (yes, we had breakfast at the hotel), after some shopping here and there, we slowed down at MBK Food Island for late lunch. Different from food courts in Hong Kong is that you don’t pay at the respective food booths and wait for the food there, but pay at a counter, get a MBK card (with info of the food you wanted), then present it at the food booths.

I had a simple bowl of Fishball Rice Noodles while Samantha ordered Tom Yum Seafood Soup that is super hot, and because of that she gave excuse to herself buying another pack of Mango Sticky Rice.
Of course, we shared it!

Later of the day we took the train to Saphan Taksin station and down the footbridge to the free ferry to Asiatique the Riverfront, where after a few extra rounds of shopping we’d decided to dine at , among the many choices that the place has to offer.

Right underneath the breathtaking 60-meter high Sky Asiatique, we indulged in the live music and candle light, and started our dinner with Raw Shrimps in Fish Sauce that was sense-stimulating. Sliced red chili and garlic are always the best to complement fish sauce, which highlights the freshness in the seafood. What is so good about having this dish in Thailand is, it is always less costly than in Hong Kong while being higher in quality (most often, if not always).

Afterwards it was Thai Fried Rice with Mixed Seafood. We ordered just half of the amount since we wanted to order also Smoked Ham Pork Spare Ribs (which arrived very late…). It was a wise move since the rice was yummy but not at all impressive, while the ribs did not taste bad except having dried out a bit after cooking.

In all, the food wasn’t outstanding, but the ambiance and environment certainly did. A dining spot for romantic occasions.

11 DECEMBER, 2013

Day three of our trip was when we spent basically the entire day wandering around in Siam, eating. After a simple breakfast at the hotel, we went to Siam Square to check out two super well-known eateries: Som Tam Nua and Mango Tango, of which their names already suggested what kind of food you can find there.

“Som Tam” is Green Papaya while “Nua” means North, suggesting the dish was invented by Northern Thai. There, we devoured two Green Papaya Salads, one topped with deep-fried pork rind and the other with cherry tomatoes. Both were tossed and mixed with exciting, hot spices that tingled our tongues. Quite delicious, but the hygiene condition freaked us out for there were so many flies around… and in fact way too many!

P.S. a stall at Jomtien Thepprasit Night Market, Pattaya makes WAY better salads

After that, just a one-minute walk we crossed the road and arrived at Mango Tango! There we ordered for the third time Mango Sticky Rice (just couldn’t have enough of it!) and it was so far the most delicious. From that lively yellow colour you can already tell that the mangoes were so ripe and decadent; and we really appreciate the effort it places onto making the glutinous rice even though mangoes are the main focus.

The Mango Pudding was too to be crazy about — can’t miss.

Later, on the street, I randomly came across this hawker stall and decided to treat myself with something comforting and sweet: Banana Pandan Crepe with Chocolate Syrup! The banana reminded me of the Banana Pancake with Condensed Milk, that heavenly, ultimate indulgence that… I had sadly no chance to eat during this trip.

(watch this, the same stall I bought from at Pattaya: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOVQWtvL2eQ)

Nara Thai Cuisine was where we had our lunch afterwards, a place that made Thai food with promising quality and is no wonder awarded as one of Thailand’s Best Restaurants in 2013.

With a high ceiling and walls made of dark wood planks, it provides a spacious, comfy, slightly exotic setting for local dishes. First it was the Prawns Carpaccio in Fish Sauce Marinate (the same thing but named differently on menus) which were bigger in size, firmer in texture, sweeter and fresher in taste when compared to the ones at Top View, nothing but superb as an appetizer.

Then we had the Chicken Pandan, wrapped in pandan leaves to infuse their very unique flavour into the meat during the frying process. I’ve had the same dish in various Thai restaurants back in Hong Kong but it was never as moist and supple.

Moving on, we’d picked the Fried Rice with Thai Herbs as the photo on the menu looked really attractive with the purplish-blue rice. Expect a subtle, almost elegant herbal taste to the dish though the colour pops.

The phrase “time flies when you’re having fun” is just so true. Only a few rounds of shopping it already got quite late. Our original plan was to visit Manna on the ground floor of Siam Paragon, but we arrived too late and had to leave it for next time.
(Our travel book says it offers traditional Thai cuisine that locals used to cook and eat in the old times, nothing like Tom Yum or Raw Shrimps)

Therefore, we dragged our tired feet to the Food Loft on the same floor and chose a stall for some quick and easy dinner before heading to Red Sky Bar, where we had a bowl of Pork Noodles each, and Samantha had an extra Tom Yum Soup to kill hunger.

Red Sky Bar is, needless to doubt, one of the hottest rooftop bars in the city. Taking the lift to the 55th floor, a part of Centara Grand Hotel (which is also a part of the enormous CentralWorld mall), we got through the door to the open area, walked up the stairs to face the iconic multi-hued neon arch.

Under the urban and chic atmosphere complemented with mood-arousing / sensational live music, as well as the 360-degree panoramic night view of Bangkok, Samantha got herself a glass of White Sangria while I, after scanning through the cocktail descriptions, decided to go for the fancy Star Light, Amarula Fruit cream blended with Crème de cacao white, Butter scotch and light cream.

It’s indeed a great place to hang out at because you’re allowed in as long as dressed in smart casual attire. Who cares if you have your arms fully loaded with shopping bags? (Not TOO many of course, not to the point where you might cause disturbance, knock drinks off the table or fall off the stairs…)

/ / / / /
Mae Varee

1 Soi Thonglor, Sukhumvit 55 Road, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Thong Lo)
+66 2 392 4804

Kaiton Pathumwan
Petchaburi Soi 30 Road, Pathumwan, Makkasan, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Chidlom)
+66 2 252 6325

MBK Food Island
6/F, MBK Center (BTS-National Stadium)
+66 2 620 9000

Top View Seafood & Beer Garden
Asiatique the Riverfront, Bangkok, Thailand (Underneath Sky Asiatique the Ferris Wheel)

Som Tam Nua
Soi 5, Siam Square, Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Siam)
+66 2 251 4880

Mango Tango
Soi 5, Siam Square, Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Siam)
+66 2 250 0182

Nara Thai Cuisine
B702-703, Beacon Zone, CentralWorld, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Siam)
+66 2 613 1657

Food Loft
UG/F, Siam Paragon, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Siam)

Red Sky Bar
55/F Centara Grand @CentralWorld, 999/99 Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Siam)
(Walk through CentralWorld, look for the lift in the cinema that leads to the hotel)
+66 2 100 1234

Cheers,
Judith

Very COMFORT-ing, indeed!

Interior; Harlan G's COMFORT

There is nothing more exciting than being the first few batches of customers, along with some other well-known food bloggers in town to be invited over to a new restaurant. This time, it is celebrity chef Harlan Goldstein’s COMFORT that opened its doors (note: 6 December, 2013), replacing the original Strip House at Lan Kwai Fong. 

Having once dined at GOLD by Harlan Goldstein which to me was superb (still reminiscing the Hokkaido King Crab starter, Giant Spanish red prawn linguine and White Chocolate dessert… *ohhhhhh yes*), I held high hopes for his latest venture and certainly, my hopes were fulfilled.

Russian Spring Punch; Harlan G's COMFORT

In a laid-back European-loft design it introduces satisfying “food for friends” that are meant for sharing. I took a seat and was introduced to a refreshing glass of Russian Spring Punch (HK$98). A number of us ordered the same drink, and were happy to drink it in that warm winter afternoon.

Wagyu Beef Bresaola, Gorgonzola, Walnut + Honey; Harlan G's COMFORT

We shared a number of dishes that afternoon, starting with Wagyu Beef Bresaola, Gorgonzola, Walnut + Honey (HK$178) that is very droolworthy! The rich saltiness of the cured meat and cheese makes a great pair, while the crispy, sugared walnuts add a nice twist to both the taste, aroma and texture. Perhaps the most quickly-gone dish during the meal!

Spanish Pork and 5J Ham Meatballs in a Coriander Tomato Sauce; Harlan G's COMFORT

Spanish Pork and 5J Ham Meatballs in a Coriander Tomato Sauce (HK$88): Nothing can go wrong with the classic combination of tomato sauce and meatballs. In this dish though, they are no ordinary meatballs since they are 100% pure Iberian.

Finger-Licking Chicken Wings, Sweet Soya, Chilli, Ginger and Spring Onions; Harlan G's COMFORT

Finger-Licking Chicken Wings, Sweet Soya, Chilli, Ginger and Spring Onions (HK$88): When the glazed coating and the mix of colours make it a dish very visually-appealing, its taste is just as finger-lickingly good as the name suggests.

Lemon Herbed-Halloumi Cheese on Indian Spiced Spinach (vegetarian); Harlan G's COMFORT

Lemon Herbed-Halloumi Cheese on Indian-Spiced Spinach (HK$88): Have never thought of having cheese prepared this way. The semi-hard cheese itself has a light flavour, and paired with spinach gives a distinctive taste. I always prefer cheese that becomes stretchy when heated, so this vegetarian dish does not appeal to me too much. But it’s just personal, I still think this is good.

Grilled Octopus, Greek Saffron Potato Skordalia Sauce; Harlan G's COMFORT

Moving on to the mains we had this Grilled Octopus, Greek Saffron Potato Skordalia Sauce (HK$188): Pleasantly grilled, yet the sauce can be made slightly stronger to taste for I can only feel it with its puréed texture.

Crab Meat Crusted Salmon Steak, Asparagus, Lobster Cajun Sauce; Harlan G's COMFORT

Crab Meat Crusted Salmon Steak, Asparagus, Lobster Cajun Sauce (HK$188): Fish meat is not necessarily less appetizing than red meats. Such as this dish, the natural sweetness of the fresh seafood ingredients simply deserves a thumbs up (love the sauce a lot)! By the way, who can ignore the superb roasted garlic by the side?

Free Range Roasted Australian Yellow Chicken; Harlan G's COMFORT

Free Range Roasted Australian Yellow Chicken (HK$358/1kg): Again with roasted garlic to complement, the meat retains lots of flavours and is lusciously moist and tender. Not being a big fan of meat, I can have one bite of it after another.

Slow-cooked Duroc Pork Ribs; Harlan G's COMFORT

The same for this impressive Slow-cooked Duroc Pork Ribs (HK$315)! Chef Harlan Goldstein is famous for its 24 Hours Slow-cooked Beef Cheek at GOLD, and while he exercises his slow-cooking techniques here, expectations are met! The meat is succulent and tender to the point that it comes off from the bones effortlessly. Calling itself “the best ribs in L.K.F”? I think it’s quite legit.

"My Tai Tai's Beef Brisket Curry, Rice & Picked Vegetables; Harlan G's COMFORT

“My Tai Tai’s Beef Brisket Curry, Rice & Picked Vegetables (HK$158): The last comforting main dish to taste that afternoon. “Tai Tai” means “wife” in Cantonese, and so this is a homemade curry dish inspired by the chef’s better half, open for the food-craving public to taste! Hot and delicious, you just wouldn’t wish to skip it.

Dark Chocolate Mousse with Amaretto Cherries, Honeycomb and Crispy Popcorn; Harlan G's COMFORT

Desserts are a must to end a meal, and at COMFORT we first tasted the Dark Chocolate Mousse with Amaretto Cherries, Honeycomb and Crispy Popcorn (HK$68). All of us literally gasped and wowed while the cap was unscrewed to reveal the top of this fabulous-looking treat! Chef Harlan reminded us to scoop to the bottom to get everything in a spoonful, and onto the palate was smooth, fluffy mousse with very intense dark chocolate flavour, crunchy honeycomb and popcorn and sweet-sour cherries. A few more scoops? Definitely!

Harlan G’s Nitrogen, Creation of the Day (HK$98): The absolutely fun and guilt-free dessert, and in fact the only dish that is incorporated with molecular gastronomic elements. It’s crunchy, yet delicately melts away to let vanilla scents linger.

Warm Waffles with Nutella Ice-cream, Orange Jam; Harlan G's COMFORT

Lastly we shared this Warm Waffles with Nutella Ice-Cream, Orange Jam (HK$68). Nice but not outstanding, I would recommend the above two desserts instead.

COMFORT by Harlan Goldstein
5/F Grand Progress Building, 15-16 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong
tel. +852 2521 8638

Cheers,
Judith

When Madam takes us onto her journey…

I was at a very casual lunch with Mary (thanks once again for inviting!), Joey and Grace at Madam Sixty Ate in Wanchai. Had an delightful time tasting dishes and cocktail, watching the chef prepare food, chatting and laughing.

It was actually my first visit here despite having written a short article about a collaboration of it and Riedel, and it has definitely left me a good impression! Thanks to the innovative minds and skillful hands of Head Chef Shaun Anthony and Mixologist Tom Wood, and of course the attentiveness of General Manager Jean-Noel.

Floradora; Madam Sixty Ate

We looked at the latest menu, but left ourselves to the hands of Madam Sixty Ate to decide what each of us would especially have for lunch. So other than the refreshing and festive cocktail named Floradora, each dish was different. And given that they were quite big in portion (from ladies’ perspective), it actually allowed us to share and try a broader variety from the menu.

Sour Dough Bread; Madam Sixty Ate

Sour dough bread was supple and moist, and with smoked butter it tasted very nice. Usually I have to leave the bread aside to save space for other food but this was a total exception.

Foie gras parfait, orange, gingerbread and butternut squash soup; Madam Sixty Ate

I still recall how surprised I was while Foie gras parfait, orange, gingerbread and butternut squash soup was brought in front of me. A coincidence or not, I must say I adored the foie gras not only by its taste, but also by how it perfectly resembled a wine cork. How thoughtful for bringing me this dish!

Beef "hanger steak", roasted sunchokes, soy gel, mushrooms; Madam Sixty Ate

Beef “hanger steak”, roasted sunchokes, soy gel, mushrooms was Mary’s, where the beef was super tender and the flavour was in general very robust and savory.

Modern fish and chips; fish and chickpea chips, mushy peas and squid cracker; Madam Sixty Ate

Modern fish and chips; fish and chickpea chips, mushy peas and squid cracker was Grace’s. Most catchy to the eyes is the two pieces of jet-black cracker that sits on top of the fish. Fun to look at and to eat.

Sea bass, heirloom carrots, dashi and "instant noodles"; Madam Sixty Ate

Sea bass, heirloom carrots, dashi and “instant noodles” was mine. This was a very light and healthy dish, perfect for ladies who wish to maintain some toned, sexy curves! Just to add, they seemed to keep serving me with more whimsical dishes 🙂

Here are the photos of other dishes. Some of which I didn’t taste, some of which I have their names forgotten… but from the photos you’re able to tell what they were, and to tell that they were as delicious as you can imagine!

Then we’d of course moved on to the part that we ladies looked most forward to — DESSERT! And I was super happy to be invited into the kitchen, to watch Chef Anthony prepare the savory treats up-close (and to taste the ingredients)!

Below it shows all four amazing sweet treats that we shared, and happenings inside the kitchen: Bittersweet chocolate aero, star anise, blood orange sorbet, chocolate glass (the festive treat), White chocolate; passion fruit mousse, soda, pineapple gingerbeer sherbetPeanut butter dacquoise; chocolate ganache, burnt bananas, banana ice-cream coffee and Compressed strawberries, coconut meringue, basil sorbet.

To complement the quirky dishes is of a quirky dining environment; not only that there’s this wall full of colourful birds, but also huge paintings around the place that add charm, all by local artist Lynette Chiu.

My favourite one is Sophie, next to the bar table where Tom prepares cocktails — a pair of delicate hands that hold three tiny rabbits resting in the curves of a broad bean pod. But I’d forgotten to photograph it…

P.S. Have to visit Madam S’Ate soon

Madam Sixty Ate
Shop 8, 1/F The Podium, J Senses, 60 Johnston Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong (entrance on Ship Street)
tel. +852 2527 2558

Cheers,
Judith