Lovely Lunch & Dinner @ Fresco & Cimmino on 30Aug2014

€12 spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini & parmesan)

€12 spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini & parmesan)

we took the 56mins morning train from stresa to milan on 30.8.2014, costing just €16.50 for 2pax, arriving at milano central at 10.35am, then took the metro yellow line 4 stops to duomo & checked in duomo apart hotel. 🙂

i had very good meals at fresco & cimmino last time on 21.4.2014. it was just a short walk away, so we went there for lunch.

€14 frutti di mare seafood salad

€14 frutti di mare seafood salad

€14 frutti di mare seafood salad

€14 frutti di mare seafood salad

the frutti di mare seafood salad was a very generous serving & excellent just like last time.

€12 spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini & parmesan)

€12 spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini & parmesan)

my version of spaghetti alls nerano with squid

my version of spaghetti alla nerano with squid

the spaghetti alla nerano (spaghetti with zucchini & parmesan), a popular serrento dish, was good as before, very flavourful from the parmesan cheese & zucchini with a great sauce.

i tried to reproduce this but was not quite successful – my version looked ok tasted good too but was far from the flavours i was trying to reproduce, so not quite spaghetti alla nerano.

€18 tagliata di manzo

€18 tagliata di manzo

€18 tagliata di manzo

€18 tagliata di manzo

the tagliata di manzo was great as always. 🙂

fresco & cimmino milan

fresco & cimmino milan

fresco & cimmino milan

fresco & cimmino milan

we went back again for dinner – boring people.

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€26 grilled whole lobster

€26 grilled whole lobster

€26 grilled whole lobster

€26 grilled whole lobster

we went back to fresco again for dinner on 30.8.2014.

the grilled lobster here was very good. at €26, price wise it was no different form london’s £20 lobster at burger & lobster. and it was just as good, only w/o the fries. 🙂

my son wanted to try the swordfish tube pasta which did not turn too great. it was kind of expected – the swordfish came in like a ragout sauce which was not my favourite.

c.h.e.f andy

Cheap & Authentic Italian @ la Botte Stresa on 29Aug2014

€9 funghi pasta

€9 funghi pasta

we went to villa taranto & mottarone cable car on the second day, and decided to go to la botte (which was like 50m from hotel elena) for dinner. we got our hotel to book 2pax table for us on 29.8.2014 7pm.

we were there at 6.55pm. there was a queue about 10pax including us. the others did not have reservations. the restaurant was filled up quickly.

€9 mixed cold meats (goose, wild boar, deer, beef)

€9 mixed cold meats (goose, wild boar, deer, beef)

la botte stresa

la botte stresa

la botte stresa

la botte stresa

€9 mixed cold meats (goose, wild boar, deer, beef)

€9 cold meat platter (goose, wild boar, deer, beef)

€9 beef carpaccio with truffle melted cheese

€9 beef carpaccio with truffle melted cheese

we ordered the €9 cold meat platter (goose, wild boar, deer, beef) & the €9 beef carpaccio with truffle melted cheese.

the cold meat platter was a monstrous serving. the meats were good but it’s something i would like just 2 or 3 slices so it was not a good idea for 2pax unless you did not want to try other starters. also it killed the tastebuds for other more subtle dishes like the fungi pasta. it was very generous for €9 & would be great for like 4pax.

the beef carpaccio did not look great but the taste was excellent with the truffle scented melted cheese. it was better than the usual more classy looking ones with rockets & extra virgin olive oil & balsamic. 🙂

€15 tagliata di manzo

€15 tagliata di manzo

€15 tagliata di manzo

€15 tagliata di manzo

the €9 creamy fungi pasta was good, but i felt the cold meat platter aftertaste killed off my appreciation of this more subtle dish.

the tagliata di manzi was kind of ordinary but good for €15, and so much arugula. we had to cancel 1 order of lamb ravioli as we had too much food already & would not really enjoyed it.

my son was also eyeing the guy next to us who was having nice grilled lamb chops. certainly there were several items on the menu we would be happy to come again to try. for me personally it was important to bypass the cold meat next time & enjoy some of the other great dishes here.

the service was indifferent to impatient, not outright rude but they didn’t really need us…it’s no different from any nazi chefs in Singapore where people go just to have the food, in fact probably slightly better. 🙂 the table wine was undrinkable, better to pay for better wine or just pay for bottled water.

the dinner cost about €50 including a 500ml carafe of table wine.

c.h.e.f andy

Great Dinner @ il Vicoletto Stresa on 28Aug2014

seafood tagliatelle

seafood tagliatelle

leaving london for milan, my son booked a 5am cab to london gatwick south terminal. it took 1hr 10mins even w/o traffic, so we had to rush a bit to catch our flight departing at 6.55am. we scanned the boarding pass on our phones which got us through the entry gates smoothly but the security was quite thorough. flight time was 2 hrs and milan was 1 hr ahead so we arrived at malpensa terminal 2 at 10am. we were booked on the alibus departure to stresa at 1130am & arrived 1230pm at chiesa at piazza marconi stresa, which was a very short walk to our hotel elena, very conveniently located at a square with restaurants & shops.

ristaronte il vicoletti stresa

ristaronte il vicoletto stresa

we asked the hotel to recommend some eating places, and decided to take their recommendations to try out il vicoletto on 28.8.2014. we were early at 7pm & was able to get a seat. it was full & turning away customers 1/2hr later.

bread basket

bread basket

we had a bread basket which was quite ok.

very good extra virgin olive oil & balsamic

very good extra virgin olive oil & balsamic

the balsamic & extra vurgin olive oil superb. wine was good too. 🙂

octopus salad

octopus salad

we ordered an octopus salad to share. the overall dish was quite ok except that the octopus cannot c/w the very nice grilled octopus at alle darsene in bellagio at lake como.

seafood tagliatelle

seafood tagliatelle

we ordered a seafood tagliatelle to share. it was excellent, nice creamy pasta with fresh mussels & prawns.

braised lamb shoulder

braised lamb shoulder

very tasty braised lamb shoulder though not as good as the braised lamb shoulder at honey & co.

stewed monkfish

stewed monkfish

pretty looking stewed monkfish – nice sauce, fish was bouncy but texture a bit tough, a bit like the texture of swordfish steak.

overall it was a good & enjoyable dinner. we were seated outside (our own choice as we were early & could have seated inside) & getting quite a bit of mosquito bites that went through the jeans & socks so we had to quit the place soon after finishing our food & wine.

vicoletto is a good standard restaurant & not too expensive (our dinner about €71) & sure looked like one of the better places to have dinner. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Walk Regent’s Canal, Primrose Hill & Regent Park on 24Aug2014

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regent’s canal from bridge along york way

this marks my last entry for the enjoyable time in london with my son 22aug to 27aug. we took easyjet to milan malpensa airport & took alibus to stresa at lake maggiore (a €12 55mins journey) on 28.8.2014. 🙂

we were staying at kings court apartment along copenhagen street, a short walk from york way & regent canal, which is right by king’s cross saint pancras station.

regent’s canal is 13.8km long linking paddington to limehouse basin in east london, running through the north end of regent’s park before the 78m primrose hill.  there is pleasure cruising & a regular waterbus service operating between Maida Vale and Camden, running hourly during the summer months.

with increase in cycle commuting  and increasing environmental awareness, the canal’s towpath has become a busy cycle route for commuters.

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regent’s canal from bridge along york way (evening)

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Arthouse apartment along york way, looking over regent’s canal

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king’s cross station from along regent canal access

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along regent’s canal outside central saint martins

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regent’s canal

we started from the terrace in front of central saint martins, university of arts london.

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regent’s canal

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regent’s canal

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camden lock

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camden lock

camden lock is located by the camden market. it allows the water crafts to traverse the canal across a change of water level.

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camden market refers to a number of adjoining large retail markets, including camden lock market & horse tunnel market (stables market).  it’s a treasure trove of new & old collectibles, arts & crafts, artefacts and daily use items.

gyros - greek kebab

gyros – greek kebab

we had a greek gyros (pronounced yee ro). it was really good for just £3, so much better & satisfying c/w the very poor £15.90+ cod fish & chips at poppies. my son ordered the chicken. i would have preferred lamb. still the chicken was very tasty & tender & the pita bread was good. even the potato chips were much better than poppies’. 🙂

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after an unfulfilled lunch at poppies, we walked along the canal & came to the signage showing the direction of primrose hill.

we came onto gloucester avenue & stopped for a cuppa at melrose & morgan. it was really good. my son though tit was better than monmouth, but he was probably just having coffee withdrawal. anyway coffee was good! 🙂

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primrose hill

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primrose hill

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primrose hill

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primrose hill

primrose hill sits north of regent’s park. it’s only 78m. weather was good today about 22degC & the children, frisbees, dogs were all out & enjoying the sun, breeze, green fields, wide expanse of sceneries or activities. there was a board showing the various buildings on the skyline, from BT Tower to the Shard to Canary Wharf. 🙂

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regent’s park

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regent’s park

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regent’s park

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regent’s park

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regent’s park

after primrose hill, we walked through regent’s park, & took a bus back to our kings quarters apartment, had some nice nespresso, did some internet & then got ready for the pre-theatre dinner at joel robuchon. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Royal Walk (London for Free) on 22Aug2014

view of 10 downing street

view of 10 downing street

last time i came to london was in oct2011. that time my wife & i & our son walked around saint james park.

this time as we had more time, we decided to follow the london for free/royal walk route. we took the victoria line from kings cross to green park & changed to jubilee line to westminster on 22.8.2014.

we started with 10 downing street, but the street was closed with security post and not accessible to tourist. 😦

victoria embankment view of flyer

victoria embankment view of london eye

victoria embankment view of flyer

victoria embankment view of london eye

from there we walked along richmond terrace towards river thames, crossed the road to victoria embankment next to the battle of britain memorial. 🙂

the london eye was opposite. i had not taken the london eye nor indeed the singapore flyer. i did not pay much attention earlier as the initial thought was paying £18 (S$33 for singapore flyer) to spend 30mins (32mins for singapore flyer) with 20+ strangers (25 in 1 capsule for london eye & 28 for singapore flyer). but in a way it is like paying to go up eiffel tower or empire state building to view the city.  i may try them some time….

the appreciative & the critical, from wiki on london eye

Sir Richard Rogers, winner of the 2007 Pritzker Architecture Prize, wrote of the London Eye in a book about the project:

The Eye has done for London what the Eiffel Tower did for Paris, which is to give it a symbol and to let people climb above the city and look back down on it. Not just specialists or rich people, but everybody. That’s the beauty of it: it is public and accessible, and it is in a great position at the heart of London.

Writing for G2 in an article from August 2007, Steve Rose described the Eye as follows:

The Eye… exists in a category of its own…. It essentially has to fulfil only one function, and what a brilliantly inessential function it is: to lift people up from the ground, take them round a giant loop in the sky, then put them back down where they started. That is all it needs to do, and thankfully, that is all it does.

view from victoria embankment

view from victoria embankment

victoria embankment view of flyer

victoria embankment view of flyer

never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few - winston churchill

never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few – winston churchill

we walked along the embankment towards house of parliament aka palace of westminster.

there was winston churchill’s famous quote – “never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few” by the memorial.

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big ben @ house of parliament aka palace of westminster

big ben was right ahead. we crossed the road to the house of parliament aka palace of westminster.

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statue of winston churchill at the parliament square

there was the statue of winston churchill at the parliament square.

apparently one cannot find any pigeon resting on the head as it is wired & will give the poor creature an electric shock.

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house of parliament aka palace of westminster

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house of parliament aka palace of westminster

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house of parliament aka palace of westminster

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big ben @ house of parliament aka palace of westminster

house of parliament aka palace of westminster

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house of parliament aka palace of westminster

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house of parliament aka palace of westminster

the house of parliament aka palace of westminster was an impressive sight. it would be an awesome sight if we had seen it in any european city. here in london we might have went past it many a times. still such an amazing architecture. 🙂

It is the largest gothic building in the world with over 1,000 rooms and two miles of corridors in it. the current building dated back to 1840 (rebuilding was initiated after the great fire of 1834), took mostly more than 20years to build, with construction completed only in the 1870s.

many great treason trials have taken place here. in 1305, braveheart was sentenced to death here and in 1606 guy fawkes, the man who tried to blow up Parliament, met a similar fate.

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westminster abbey

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dean’s yard

westminster abbey is steeped in 1000 year history. it has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of 17 monarchs. 1000s of people were buried here. the last burial in the abbey was in 1906; since then, only ashes have been accepted.

we past the dean’s yard which housed the remaining grounds of the former monastery of westminster, not occupied by the abbey buildings, including the church house, the headquarters of the church of england.

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saint james park

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duck island cottage @ saint james park

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saint james park

we crossed over victoria street & birdcage walk & walked by the pond in saint james park, passing the duck island cottage, a picturesque lodge that housed the offices of the london historic parks and gardens trust in saint james’s park.

guards division memorial

guards division memorial

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guards division memorial

horse guards parade square in front of white hall

horse guards parade square in front of white hall

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horse guards parade square in front of white hall

we reached the guards division memorial.

looking in the direction of river thames & the london eye, there was horse guards parade, a large square in front of whitehall flanking the ministry of defence on the left. took some nice panoramic photos of whitehall & horse guard parade. 🙂

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ducks sunning in the garden

we cut across saint james park westwards in the direction of buckingham palace towards the mall.

horse guards riding past

horse guards riding past

horse guards riding past

horse guards riding past

we were lucky to catch the horse guards riding past, along the mall from buckingham palace. 🙂

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along the mall pavement towards buckingham palace

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along the mall pavement towards buckingham palace

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victoria memorial

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victoria memorial

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victoria memorial

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buckingham palace

we walked along the mall to Buckingham Palace. 🙂

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green park

we walked through green park.

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my son’s former apartment along shaftesbury avenue

then along piccadilly to piccadilly circus & shaftesbury avenue to my son’s former apartment which he rented for 2 years with 3 other friends. it was very centrally located along shaftesbury avenue between soho & chinatown. 🙂

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monmouth cappuccino

from there, my son took me to monmouth at covent gardens to enjoy a great cuppa!

after that we proceeded to a very interesting lunch at honey & co on warren street. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

Cambridge Day Trip & College Walk on 25Aug2014

our lady & english matyrs church, hills road

our lady & english matyrs church, hills road

set off for a day trip to cambridge monday 25.8.2014.

we enjoyed 3 days of glorious sunshine over the weekend, weather was wet on monday, so we were hoping to escape the rain by going to cambridge. but no luck! at least we were armed with disposal raincoats + an umbrella each. sigh! 😦

it was bank holiday & son booked on internet a very cheap day return fare just £26 for 2pax for the 46mins journey from kings cross. 🙂

i found this easy walking route. the guide says “If you are visiting Cambridge, and want one walk to see things, this is the walk. You will see the Round Church, St Johns and Trinity gatehouses, the Backs, Kings College Chapel (from the outside) and the Mathematical bridge“.

we took the 8.44am train from kings cross & arrived cambridge at 9.30am. there was a slight drizzle.

our lady & english matyrs church, hills road

our lady & english matyrs church, hills road

we checked out the map at the station & followed the station road to hills road. i took some photos of our lady & english matyrs church.

downing college lawn

downing college lawn

we continued on regent street, and entered downing college, a college that does not charge entry fee. 🙂

st andrew's street baptist church

st andrew’s street baptist church

i took a photo of st andrew’s street baptist church. it incorporated stone pebbles on its exterior wall design. 🙂

market square

market square

market square

market square

we passed by market square & also walked through the grand arcade.

round church, bridge street

round church, bridge street

we passed the round church.

view from magdalene bridge

view from magdalene bridge

view from magdalene bridge

view from magdalene bridge

& got onto magdalene bridge. it was wet & not many punts were out.

trinity college

trinity college

we followed the walk past st john’s college to trinity college on trinity street. we paid £1 at the porter’s lodge to visit the trinity quad & chapel. 🙂

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trinity college quad

trinity college quad

trinity college quad

quad (or trinity great court) was nice. weather was depressing. 😦

trinity college chapel

trinity college chapel

trinity college chapel

trinity college chapel

trinity college chapel

trinity college chapel

there was a collection of sculptures at the trinity chapel. the one above is sir is sac newton.

view from garett hostel bridge

view from garett hostel bridge

view from garett hostel bridge

view from garett hostel bridge

exiting trinity college, we found garret hostel lane and walked on to garret hostel bridge.  the extensive backs adjoining river cam & many bridges are mostly private college property & not accessible unless you pay the entry fees. garret hostel bridge is 1 of few which is a public bridge.

from here we could see clare college ground & further king’s backs.

king's college (view from the backs)

king’s college (view from the backs)

king's college (view from the backs)

king’s college (view from the backs)

after crossing the bridge we walked on queen’s road, passing king’s college. i took some photos of king’s backs & the famous college buildings. 🙂

we next passed queen’s college, followed the guide & proceeded along silver street. the mathematical bridge was located within queen’s college compound & could be viewed from the silver street crossing over river cam.

a popular myth has it that-

the bridge was designed and built by sir is sac newton without the use of nuts or bolts….students or fellows of the University attempted to take the bridge apart and put it back together, but were unable to work out how to hold the structure together, and were obliged to resort to adding nuts and bolts….

newton cannot have been directly involved since he died in 1727, twenty-two years before the bridge was constructed.

king's college

king’s college

king's college

king’s college

from silver street we turned left into trumpington street & to king’s parade. we enquired about the entry fee. it was £7.50 to see king’s college, chapel & backs.  these days i treat entrance fees as worthwhile donations (which they are) for the upkeep of important museums & historical places etc. on this occasion though we did not need to visit so we did not enter the college.

the short walk was completed & we proceeded to cote brasserie for a very satisfying lunch. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Chewing Gum Man & Street Art – Walk from Borough Market to Millennium Bridge on 23Aug2014

after some street eats on a saturday morning on 23.8.2014 at borough market, my son & i took a short pleasant stroll alongside river thames to millennium bridge. this is a steel suspension pedestrian footbridge across river thames linking st paul cathedral & tate modern, located between southwark bridge & the blackfriars railway bridge.

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what’s new & fun is the emergence of the “chewing gum man”, ben wilson, a year ago, who have created over 400 pieces of chewing gum art. 🙂

not only has he transformed the unsightly disgusting chewing gum spit stuck between the metal gratings into mini art pieces, he also paints on request when pedestrians stopped to chat with him and creates art that means something for people who ask for it, like one which is a tribute to the victims of the japanese tsunami. my son told me he & his friends stopped to chat with him once before. 🙂

several of these mini street art were included in this inspiringcity article on the chewing gum man. enjoy!

c.h.e.f andy

Exquisite Lunch @ HKK London on 26Aug2014

#1 crispy duck salad - pulled duck with crispy skin, melon, dragon fruits & salad

#1 crispy duck salad – pulled duck with crispy skin, melon, dragon fruits & salad

we had a fabulous. sublime lunch @ HKK London at worship street on 26.8.2014. to me it was par with the £36 3-course pre-theatre menu at joel robuchon no less. 🙂

it took us a while to decide. our instinct when it came to chinese food, was to go for the cheap, robust, proven good chinese eats like roast duck at goldmine & four seasons. there was this lack of faith, that fine chinese was just the same cheap chinese food repackaged to cost an arm & a leg. 😦

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we went to hkk all the same. hkk is the latest addition by hakkasan group. we took the northern line from king’s cross to moorgate. had the wonderful 4-course £28.50 lunch. 🙂

2 wet days in a row. the day before was raining in cambridge, and this time rain interfered with our plans to go greenwich, well at least we had a superb lunch to make up for the dreary start.

#1 crispy duck salad - pulled duck with crispy skin, melon, dragon fruits & salad

#1 crispy duck salad – pulled duck with crispy skin, melon, dragon fruits & salad

#1 the crispy duck salad – pulled duck with crispy skin bits in plum sauce, melon & dragon fruits & beautiful salad – was a superb dish. it was substantial too, with quite a good portion of duck meat. to me it was equal to any good appetiser in a top western restaurant.

#2 truffle chicken soup

#2 truffle chicken soup

#2 the truffle chicken soup was simply sublime. it was a wonderful tasting 当归鸡汤 with julienne cordyceps strips, a blended texture yet chinese tasting soup with great truffle flavour. 🙂

#3 wagyu, japanese yam, cripsy sweet potato & egg fried rice

#3 wagyu, japanese yam, cripsy sweet potato & egg fried rice

#3 the 3rd course was a wagyu, japanese yam, cripsy sweet potato & egg fried rice. the braised wagyu was top draw, soft tender braised texture not too sinewy & still bouncy, definitely better than the ox cheek at Joel Robuchon, and different but equal to the braised lamb shoulder at honey & co.

#4 salted cashew nuts, milk & peanut parfait, chocolate, & lime sorbe

#4 salted cashew nuts, milk & peanut parfait, chocolate, & lime sorbe

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#4 salted cashew nuts, milk & peanut parfait, chocolate, & lime sorbe

#4 salted cashew nuts, milk & peanut parfait, chocolate, & lime sorbe

#4 the salted cashew nuts, milk & peanut parfait, chocolate, & lime sorbet was also a very good dessert. the parfait under the peanut crust was much like a good ice cream.

in terms of presentation, taste & quality of cooking departments, each dish & the overall experience of this 4-course hkk set lunch was equal to any set lunch or pre-theatre menu in a good fine dining restaurant. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Super £20 Whole Lobster @ Burger & Lobster on 26Aug2014

GBP20 lobster (about 1.5lb or 650g)

GBP20 lobster (about 1.5lb or 650g)

burger & lobster seems to be the the “go to” place in london. wife, son & daughter had all been there several times. and many friends too. it’s like all singaporeans visiting london go to the place. 🙂

business concept was simple – just 3 items on the menu, whole lobster steamed or grilled, lobster roll using shelled steamed lobster meat on a brioche, and a large beef burger, all at the same price £20. so import maine lobster yourself, no need celebrity chef, keep cost low& sell lots of lobsters.

i took the piccadilly line from king’s cross to leicester square & walked to burger & lobster outlet at dean street in soho.  it was still raining. son was out with friends & met me at the restaurant at 6pm on 26.8.2014. we got a 2pax table w/o waiting.

GBP20 lobster roll

£20 lobster roll

GBP20 lobster roll

£20 lobster roll

there was a choice of steamed or grilled lobster. the waitress also explained that both were first steamed, & the grilled lobster finished off with grilling.

before i ordered my whole grilled lobster, i confirmed with the waitress that the lobster roll was only served with steamed lobster meat. that made sense as the meat for the roll came from a common pool of shelled lobster meat, not that they could not still be grilled before serving but it’s just not done.

son cut me a bit of the lobster roll to try. the bread was very good. the lobster meat was fresh, bouncy & sweet. 🙂

GBP20 lobster (about 1.5lb or 650g)

£20 lobster (about 1.5lb or 650g)

GBP20 lobster (about 1.5lb or 650g)

£20 lobster (about 1.5lb or 650g) 

i love my lobster grilled, with that bbq flavour. it was very good! 🙂 there was the sides of shoestring fries & mesclun salad & a garlic butter dipping sauce. i had the same grilled lobster w/o the fries for €26 at fresco & cimmino in milan on 30.8.2014. equally good. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Very Satisfying Comfort Food @ Four Seasons Chinatown London on 25Aug2014

roast duck (烧鸭)

roast duck (烧鸭)

coming back from cambridge, we decided to go to the regent street nespresso outlet to get some capsules for my friend in singapore. we took the piccadilly line from king’s cross to piccadilly. i bought 50each of the black ristretto (intensity 10 arabica) & the purple arpeggio (intensity 9 arabica) capsules. 🙂

as we were near to four seasons in chinatown, we decided to have another go at roast duck just for the 2 of us. 🙂

son felt that the roast duck at four seasons was better & the sauce was sweeter c/w the roast duck gold mine. i could not tell the difference & i really love the roast duck at both restaurants. really shook! 🙂 price wise there wasn’t much to compare either – £12 at gold mine and £12.50 at four seasons.

roast pork (烧肉)  & char siew on rice

roast pork (烧肉) & char siew on rice

as there were only 2 of us & we already had 1/2duck, we decided to have a roast pork (烧肉) & char siew on rice for £7.80. i guessed it would be a smaller portion but this worked out well for us & was cheaper than getting a meat plate for £8.50 + £2.50 for rice.

the roast pork (烧肉)  at gold mine was distinctly superior to this.

my last experience with four seasons was in 2011 & as expected the service was brisk & business like bordering on unfriendly or even rudeness i had come to expect in chinese restaurants (or for that matter in any restaurants like this of so many nasi chefs in singapore, & at la botte in stresa where business was so good & they were always full & so busy).

i spoke cantonese with the 40-ish lady server i mistook as from hong kong. she was fast in words & thoughts & forceful. later when she talked about high teacher’s pay in singapore (which i guessed was misinformation) i realised she not likely to be from hong kong  & she told me she came to UK from malaysia 22 years ago. anyway she was very nice to us & gave 10% student discount when my son asked. we were not expecting that as my son was dining with me & not his student friends. 🙂

well, for me, gold mine & four seasons are the places i will go back every time i am in london.

c.h.e.f andy

Good Set Lunch @ Cote Brasserie Cambridge on 25Aug2014

mussels in white wine

mussels in white wine

set off for a 1 day trip to cambridge monday 25.8.2014.

filtered water

filtered water

it was a wet day of light drizzle. we had finished a short walking route passing a few colleges & around the backs. we decided to drop in to cote brasserie for some lunch & rest. 🙂

we got tap water (no charge) like we did in london. there was a £9.95 2-course set lunch. we both picked the mussels with white wine. it was tender just like at big easy in london. the taste of the broth was better than the hot spicy one i had at big easy.

roasted seabass

roasted seabass

minute steak with fries

minute steak with fries

i had the roasted sea bas. it was good, nicely done fish with flavours of tomatoes & olive oil.

son had the minute steak which came with £2 supplement.

overal it was a very good lunch at £22 for 2pax.

c.h.e.f andy

Great Dinner @ Joel Robuchon London on 24Aug2014

lobster pasta

#3 scottish lobster sea shell pasta

i had a very good lunch at gordon ramsey at the claridge’s brook street (now closed), & not so great dinner at marco pierre white in london in 2011. had yet to try joel robuchon. i had joel robuchon in hong kong both the set lunches menu decouvert at l’ artelier & dinner degustation at la cuisine. the set lunches were pretty good & reasonably priced. the degustation was good of course but too expensive for me.

wife & son had been talking about joel robuchon in london & paris, so we decided to go for a pre-theatre at joel robuchon london on 24.8.2014.

it was really good. 🙂

bread basket=baguette, olive bread, sour dough

bread basket=baguette, olive bread, sour dough

bread basket of baguette, olive bread, sour dough was ok for good restaurant standard.

parma ham, goat cheese, melon tart

#1 parma ham, goat cheese, melon tart

parma ham, goat cheese, melon tart

#1 parma ham, goat cheese, melon tart

#1 parma ham, goat cheese, melon tart was lovely. my son & i were talking about that this being an assembled dish, but still the presentation was great & all the ingredients came together beautifully. 🙂

crispy sous vide poached egg

#2 crispy sous vide egg with chorizo & cheese shavings

#2 crispy sous vide egg with chorizo & cheese shavings was very good too. it’s a bit similar to the excellent 64degC 55mins sous vide egg with iberico chorizo at jaan with the combination of taste & texture – the silky yoke & the salty bits of chorizo PLUS the crispy filo. this was good. jaan’s was much better.

open ravioli with clams & razor clams

#2 open ravioli with clams & razor clams with a crispy top & foam

open ravioli with clams & razor clams

#2 open ravioli with clams & razor clams with a crispy top & foam

#2 the open ravioli with littleneck clams & razor clams with a crispy top & foam was again excellent. the shellfish, crispy top & foam was a wonderful combination. 🙂

6hrs braised ox cheeks

#3 6hrs braised ox cheeks

6hrs braised ox cheeks

#3 6hrs braised ox cheeks

#3 the 6hr braised ox cheeks was very good in terms of taste & preparation, however just for comparison of braised items i think the braised lamb shoulder at honey & co was much tastier than this, so was the braised wagyu at hkk london & for my own taste preference = my own spanish beef ribs is also better (of course the meat cuts were different & we are not comparing apples with apples). 🙂

lobster pasta

#3 scottish lobster sea shell pasta

#3 the scottish lobster sea shell pasta, a substantial portion (i think 1/2 a 600g lobster), was tops! the foam & broth like a very good lobster bisque, and the lobster was very sweet & tasty. the pasta too. an excellent pasta dish! 🙂

the price for 3-course was £36 + 13% = S$73++ & there was a £7 supplement for the lobster. at S$73++ for a set lunch/pre theatre menu it was very much more expensive than the fabulous les amis S$45++ 4-course set lunch. both were excellent & JR was more inventive but quality+value wise, les amis would beat this hands down. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Street Eats @ Borough Market on 23Aug2014

duck confit sandwich

duck confit sandwich

son & i went to london’s most famous market, borough market, on morning of 23.8.2014. took northern line from king’s cross to london bridge.

we were planning to try out the several famous street eats here. 🙂

borough market started in the current location from 1755, though records from 1014 listed it as a market  for fish, grain, livestocks, fruits & vegetables.

the wholesale market opens weekdays 2am-8am. the retail market opens wednesday to thursday 10am to 5pm, fridays from 10am to 6pm, and saturdays from 8 am to 5 pm

duck confit sandwich

duck confit sandwich

duck confit sandwich

duck confit sandwich

1 of the famous eats is the £5 duck confit sandwich, and that was also the first we tried. it was pretty good. the confit duck rillette was tasty & tender & did not disappoint. the ciabatta bread though was not very exciting, kind of tougher to the bite.

roast selling beef, crispy pork belly & bacon sandwich

roast selling beef, crispy pork belly & bacon sandwich

beef, crispy pork belly & bacon

beef, crispy pork belly & bacon

crispy pork belly sandwich

crispy pork belly sandwich

the next we tried was the £6.50 belly pork sandwich at roast. a queue built up rather quickly! it came with ok pork belly & a sheet of crispy skin. sad to say, for me the “crackling skin” was about the standard of my failed belly pork attempts & quite unedible. 😦 the bread was softer & better than the ciabatta of the duck confit sandwich. we didn’t try the beef sandwich, perhaps that would be better, 🙂

brindisa chorizo buns

brindisa chorizo buns

brindisa chorizo buns

brindisa chorizo buns

we had the single chorisa bun at brindisia. though a blogger mentioned it was more worthwhile to have the double chorizo for £4.95 instead of the single £3.95, my son disagreed, he thought it would be too salty with 2 chorizos, and i had to agree with him after trying it. 🙂

of the 3 my preference would be (1) duck confit sandwich (2) chorizo bun (3) belly pork sandwich. 🙂

salt beef (corn beef) sandwich

salt beef (corn beef) sandwich

we found the salt beef (corn beef) sandwich shortly. it looked really good. my son thought it looked better than it tasted. in any case we did not have space for it. nor the other food.

paella

paella

seller was offering free tasting with a small plastic spoon. the taste was ok but this was like a mass cooking & well below my own seafood risotto, so held no attraction for us.

seafood, calamari, cajun chicken etc.

seafood, calamari, cajun chicken etc.

they also served other dishes like calamari, cajun chicken etc.

prawns, jellied eels, whelks, crayfish salad

prawns, jellied eels, whelks, crayfish salad

dorset crab

dorset crab

1 stall was selling fresh cooked seafood, from prawns, jellied eels, whelks, crayfish salad to dorset crab.

excellent mushroom pate=GBP4 tub

excellent mushroom pate=GBP4 tub

the homemade mushroom pate was very flavourful. my son bought 1 tub for £4.

borough market

borough market

exotic stuff - kangaroo, crocodile, zebra, elk, ostrich

exotic stuff – kangaroo, crocodile, zebra, elk, ostrich

there were exotic burgers including  kangaroo, crocodile, zebra, elk, ostrich.

famous olive & cheese sticks at bread ahead

famous olive & cheese sticks at bread ahead

famous olive & cheese sticks at bread ahead

famous olive & cheese sticks at bread ahead

and the olive & cheese sticks at bread ahead was another famous stall at borough market.

borough market

borough market

quite crowded close to noon on a saturday.

whole roast pig

whole roast pig

they had whole roast pig too!

free wifi at borough market

free wifi at borough market

& there was free wifi at the market.

overall, the few famous dishes were pretty ok though nothing really caught my fancy (too much bread/carb for me anyway). it was still better by miles than the very poor poppies fish & chip at camden which we had on 24.8.2014.

c.h.e.f andy

Interesting Mid-Eastern Lunch @ Honey & Co on 22Aug2014

messe for 2pax

messe for 2pax

had a very interesting mid-eastern lunch at honey & co on 22.8.2014. 🙂

place was recommended by son. i knew little about mid-eastern food and didn’t think its the kind of food i would like much. but i googled about honey & co, and the reviews were all very good.

honey & co wareen street

honey & co wareen street

it’s a small restaurant by a husband & wife team, aarit packer and itamar srulovich. we were greeted by very friendly & cheerful staff. 🙂

messe for 2pax

messe for 2pax

messe for 2pax

messe for 2pax

we enjoyed a very nice GBP15.5 2-course lunch, which came with a messe appetiser dish & a choice of main course. as the main courses on the menu were like GBP14.50, it made sense to do the set. 🙂

the messe for 2pax included warm feta bread, chickpea hummus, beetroot with mint, kalamata olives & another dip with pomegranate & grilled corn on the cob. every item was very nice. i especially liked the beetroot with mint, and the pomegranate dip. the regular chickpea humus was good too. 🙂

roasted sardines

roasted sardines

braised lamb shoulder

braised lamb shoulder

braised lamb shoulder

braised lamb shoulder

we had 2 mains recommended by the server. the roast sardines was excellent, very fresh & flavourful & not liked the fishy stuff i usually associated with sardines, something i would take again. the braised lamb shoulder with cous cous was truly superb, a braised dish that was tender & very tasty & not so sinewy. just purely for comparison of a braised item, i would put this as better than the ox cheek at joel robuchon and about par with the wagyu at hkklondon.

cheese cake

cheese cake

cheese cake

cheese cake

& the GBP6.50 cheesecake with blueberries, almonds & a crispy fill like base was almost out-of-this-world. liked it a lot, so much that i had another order to take away. 🙂

love the food & the service. there was no service charge so we gave a like 15% tip. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Excellent Roast Duck (烧鸭) & Roast Pork (烧肉) in London @ Goldmine on 23Aug2014

1 whole boneless roast duck

1 whole boneless roast duck

goldmine is 1 of the favourite places my son & his friends go to for roast duck in london.

i came here once with my son 2 years back & wanted to try the place again. 🙂

the reviews were mostly good. we took the hammersmith line from king’s cross to edgeware road & changed to circle line to bayswater. goldmine was just 100m from the station & the street was lined with chinese restaurants including four seasons. i will probably try four seasons if i come again this trip, though not likely.

stepping into goldmine & seeing the 师傅 deboning the roast duck, one can see straight away that it was good. the roast pork looked amazing too. char siew looked ok. 🙂

son booked table of 5. only 2 of us were there. a son’s friend came shortly. the rule though was that only when all 5pax arrived then they would seat us. i spoke cantonese with the server & managed to get seated but they said we had to vacate by 750pm (we booked 630pm). i supposed it was fair enough under the circumstances. anyway we didn’t need to when the time arrived though restaurant continued to be quite full, but not overflowing.

watercress lie tong (例汤)

watercress lie tong (例汤)

roast pork (烧肉)

roast pork (烧肉)

char siew (叉烧)

char siew (叉烧)

hotplate braised tofu (铁棒豆腐)

hotplate braised tofu (铁棒豆腐)

fried kai lan

fried kai lan

i ordered 1 roast duck deboned, 1 order each of roast pork (烧肉) & char siew (叉烧), and the watercress lie tong (例汤) which son wanted. son ordered the hotplate braised tofu (铁棒豆腐) & fried kai lan. 🙂

we were not disappointed. roast duck was very good. to me it was like hong kong standard. & 1 roast duck for GBP22 is cheaper than most restaurant prices in singapore. i thought the roast pork (烧肉) was really excellent, looked amazing & tasted incredible, so tender & the skin crisp. i can do this again. the char siew (叉烧) was quite average, not poor but no comparison with (say) imperial treasure teochew’s charcoal broiled pork collar or char siew.

son & friends loved the hotplate braised tofu (铁棒豆腐). it was very average though, the coffeeshop zi char standard & no comparison with (say) braised tofu at a good zi char like kok seng.

overall cost for 5pax came to GBP80. for me it was an enjoyable meal & i would be happy to come back again. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Cheap & Good 2-course Dinner + Drink @ Big Easy Covent Gardens on 22Aug2014

plate of mussels

wood roasted mussels (hot & spicy)

son knew his place around london. 🙂

he booked this big easy place in king’s road covent gardens & we went there for late dinner at 10.30pm after watching a play “the curious incident of the dog in night time” at gielgud theatre on 22.8.2014. 🙂

restaurant had 2 levels & was crowded almost full, looked quite happening. we sat in the basement level, nice & roomy place. & they serve this cheap & good GBP9.95 lunch (till 6pm) & late night menu. 🙂

plate of mussels

wood roasted mussels (garlic sauce)

we ordered the 2-course with free brew, slushy or wine menu.

we had the wood roasted mussels. son had garlic sauce & i had hot & spicy. mussels were good, sweet, succulent & tasty. garlic sauce was the better sauce. there were around 15+ to 20 mussels.

margarita

margarita

i tried the margarita. it was good though not my thing.  will take a red if i come again.

bbq 1/2 chicken

bbq 1/2 chicken

bbq 1/2 chicken

bbq 1/2 chicken

prawn fritters & chips (fries)

prawn fritters & chips (fries)

i had the 1/2 bbq chicken. it was done beautifully. chicken was very tender, moist & flavourful, though i am not a fan of the american styled bbq sauce flavour. i took about 1/2 the chicken, and had nothing to complain about.

son took the prawn fritters with the fries. they were large & plump, batter was light enough & all said, again very well done really.

best thing of course was the price. really i mean a walk around borough market would cost more than this & not 1/2 as good. 🙂

it was a bit of the hearty & robust type of food for me, so not something i would really do again in a short while during the same trip (also for equally robust food, my preference would be to go for roast duck & roast pork at goldmine OR at four seasons chinatown etc), but i would certainly do this my next visit to london. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Watch A Play in London=Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (on 22Aug2014)

went to watch the play “the curious incident of the dog in the night time” at geilgud theatre on shaftesbury avenue with son yesterday on 22.8.2014.

timing wise was great as we had morning walk along victoria embankment, house of parliament (big ben), westminster abbey to buckingham palace etc then late lunch 1.30pm at honey & co.

so we had some rest in the afternoon before theatre at 730pm & went for cheap GBP9.95 2-course dinner at big easy at king’s road covent garden at 10.30pm, & returned to apartment as zombies.

gielgud was home to yes prime minister & avenue q, now “the curious incident of the dog in the night time” after national theatre & apollo (where the ceiling collapse-not intended- at the ending some months back)

book by mark haddon was award winning so was the play & current christopher is played by mike noble.

usually we watch musicals (not so intellectually challenging.. haha).  the play (& book) was about a 15 yr old boy christopher with what was described as high functioning autism or savant syndrome, a mathematician with behavioural difficulties, finding the neighbour’s dog dead with a garden fork. police was called & he reacted violently when touched, was arrested then released & later found out his father’s been lying to him about his mother’s death 2 years ago after he found his mother’s unopened letters to him dated few months back in his father’s room…etc…

the synopsis did not quite excite me but i guess the acclaimed play (& book) must be quite good.

anyway the performance by christopher was quite captivating. remarkable how stage actors can memorise all these lines, there is no “NG” & reshoot on stage. he was able to portray a brilliant mind who receive constant overdose of factual & emotional stimuli & emotionally unable to relate to people etc..

production was great & innovative (with technology as well) with 3rd person narrative by christopher’s teacher as he wrote the incident & his investigations in a book & the past & present scenes were acted out as the teacher narrated the “book”…

christopher was assembling a toy train railway track on stage in real time in the midst of frantic dialogue & later the train actually moved representing his journey to london to look for his mother…

still we fell asleep during parts of the second half after a 20mins interval.

overall i quite enjoyed the play, but probably would not go out to get the book to read. not sure maybe my son have the book with him.

c.h.e.f andy