Friday, February 22, 2019

China's Little Lamb (Xiaoweiyang) Hotpot & BBQ in Singapore

Hot Pot

Not to be confused with Little Sheep, this lamb hotpot chain from Inner Mongolia has opened up an outlet at Suntec City Mall's Sky Garden (3 Temasek Boulevard #03-304, 6909-7707), complete with some yurt-like huts available too. The broth, meat, and condiments were good, but nothing to do backflips over. They also serve chuanr, although it's the thick upscale kind (I'll stick to BBQ Box and Alati). Either way, I'm just happy that so many chains from China are setting up shop down here.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Moo Moo Hamburg from SAMA Curry & Café Singapore

Moo Moo Hamburg

I'm pretty sure that I've been back to SAMA a few times since my first visit, but I can't seem to remember anything about what I subsequently ordered. So I went for this level 13 beef with shrimp broth, and I liked the savory base and tender meat. I should go eat at Suage more often too.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The White Mee Sua at Seng Kee in Singapore

White Mee Sua

I still needed a bit more food after consuming a Johor bee hoon at Seng Kee today. So I looked at the menu again and noticed a white mee sua that sounded pretty good, especially since it featured prawns, scallops, and minced pork. It turned out more like a soup; very similar to Zhejiang west lake beef soup in both taste and consistency, in fact. In general, that was a good thing, although the pork was a bit lean and there was an interesting cinnamon-like twist in there, if I tasted it correctly.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Better Burger at Sydney Airport Terminal 1

Classic Cheeseburger

It turned out that this little burger stall at Sydney Airport Terminal 1 is a creation of the chef behind Vue de Monde, a very upscale place in Melbourne. So I figured that this would be a good chance to try his food. I was torn between the cheapest cheeseburger and the higher end Angus burger. But the latter was a whopping A$17 (US$12), and I figured that the cheaper one would probably still be good given this chef's background. I ended up regretting my decision though, as the patty in this thing was as thin as McDonald's, thus making each bite taste more like bread and mayo than beef. The Angus burger would've featured a patty twice the size, along with other touches like egg.

Firedoor Restaurant in Surry Hills, Australia

Murray Cod, Charred Cos, Pil Pil

When I went to Basque Country last year, there was a Michelin-starred place called Asador Etxebarri featuring a very cool array of wood-fueled grills that I wanted go to. But as a last minute solo diner without a ride into the hills nor a reservation, I just couldn't make it happen. Well, it turns out that the chef at our lunch venue down here in Sydney today is an Etxebarri alumnus. And it is an amazing place: the wonderful aroma from the grills hits you once you walk in (23 Mary Street, +61-2-8204-0800). There are multiple fires in the kitchen, with each pit using a different kind of wood, I believe.

I was blown away by the food, starting even with a simple plate of slightly charred cucumber, radish, and fennel crudite with a smoked roe cream. Course by course was just delicious, particularly a grilled octopus with smoked tomatoes, a bavette flank steak with grilled broccolini, or that cod above with grilled romaine and pil-pil sauce. It was awesome sitting at the counter watching chef Lennox work his magic, shifting the food around between parts of the grill like a dance, resulting in a beautiful smokiness in the food.

Yes, yes, and yes, this is easily one of my favorite restaurants in the world right now. In some ways, it reminds me a bit of Burnt Ends, but is arguably even better with its array of local ingredients over multiple grills, more accessible inventory of tables, and slightly lower prices. Now, "lower prices" is relative, as the chef's menu was a whopping A$95 (US$68) excluding wine pairing, but that's still cheaper than Burnt Ends. And I'd easily prioritize this over NOMAD on my next trip to Sydney. Heck, I'd travel to Sydney just to eat at this place again. Yes, it was *that* good.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Salmon and Bear in Zetland, New South Wales

Alphonsino

This place is deceivingly good (6 Defries Avenue, +61-2-9662-8188). It's a casual seafood place that I normally wouldn't have considered, but a local teammate suggested it for dinner tonight, and I was very happy. See, they specialize in local fish, but grilled in a Spanish Josper-like Mibrasa oven. And it produces some wonderful results, like that alphonsino above, whose tasty skin came out nice and crispy, all while the meat was perfumed with the smokiness of the grill. I didn't get to try their namesake New Zealand salmon, but the tender barramundi was good too, as was the fatty kingfish. The variety of sides like summer slaw were light and refreshing too. Seriously, it's the simplest food that's the best, and I'm just disappointed that honest places like this aren't more common around the world.

A Random Chicken Pie For Lunch in Sydney, Australia

Chicken Pie

I only had ten minutes to eat lunch today before we had to scramble to our next meeting. So I went downstairs to the café in the office building and grabbed this chicken pie. No, the crust wasn't anything that flaky, but I was happy with it either way, as the chicken inside was seasoned just right, helping me to wolf this down with ease.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Returning to NOMAD in Surry Hills, Australia

BBQ Spatchcock

The local team arranged for dinner at NOMAD immediately after I landed in Sydney tonight. It wasn't as mindblowing as it was last time, probably because my expectations were much higher. But they still brought out plenty of tasty things including a kingfish head and collar, grilled eggplant, and smoked sardines. My favorite of the night was that spatchcock above, which was deliciously tender and smoky.

Queens Ferry Hotel in Auckland, New Zealand

Fish and Chips

The other day my teammate told me that one of the most local things to eat in Auckland was fish and chips. It wasn't my first choice of things to get, but I decided to get some today given that this pub was nearby (12 Vulcan Lane, +64-9-218-9353). The batter was too dough-y and the fish wasn't anything particularly tasty, but hey, it came out piping hot and the tartar sauce was pretty good.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Giapo in Auckland, New Zealand

Giapo

I'm not exactly one to hunt down an ice cream shop, but I was in the mood for a dessert and I'm glad I made it here (12 Gore Street, 09-550-3677). See, you can't just walk into this shop and place an order: you have to stand for at least 10-15 minutes to let them explain to you all of their various options for ice cream, including not just a taste test of every flavor that they had to offer, but also upgrades that in some cases were a bit over-the-top (like a cone with an edible picture frame so that you can take a selfie with it). I landed on a couple of flavors that I liked, including one featuring hazelnuts and another featuring coconut, shoved into my choice of a Maori fried bread. It was good, but also wayyyy too much for me to finish on my own.

Oyster & Chop Bar & Bistro in Auckland, New Zealand

Wakanui Scotch Fillet

The name and menu of this place sounded great, but I had my hesitations about coming here, as it was right on Auckland's waterfront in Viaduct Harbour's Market Square (i.e., I was worried that it was more about the scenery than the food). The good thing was that I was half-wrong, as that local Wakanui steak above was deliciously tender, fatty, and tasty, going into my belly in minutes. The bad thing was that I was also half-right, in that the oysters that we ordered had all of their briny liquor drained from them before serving. When I asked why they would do such a thing, they said that it's just the way that they serve it. Sigh.

Depot in Auckland, New Zealand

Hapuka sliders with pickled lemon mayo and watercress

This place (86 Federal Street, 09-363-7048) is right next door to Federal Delicatessen, and it frequently came up when I tried to find one of the best places to eat in Auckland. Fortunately, it's just a couple of blocks away from the office too, so we came on over for lunch today. And yes, it was indeed good, including not just those sliders above featuring a mild local hapuka fish, but also some local oysters and clams on the half shell as well as some lamb ribs. It wasn't cheap though.