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Archive for March, 2013

Pure Bar and Restaurant, Central

So I finally ditched Fitness First and joined Pure Fitness. Why? Cause it is a ‘better’ gym but a more expensive one! Thankfully though, ‘The Mother’ gets corporate rates and although it is a little bit more expensive, I was more than happy to join. There are four different location, and the one I go to which is in Soho, has a restaurant underneath it call ‘Pure Bar and Restaurant’ and members get 10% off.

The menu is vast, breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were here for lunch and the set lunch which consisted of a starter and main was just too good to refuse. Diners had the option of soup of the day, chicken and red cabbage salad or Greek salad to start and six different types of main ranging from pasta, chicken, beef, and salad.

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Fresh bread to start off with – unfortunately they weren’t warm and heated. It wasn’t too bad but definitely had better bread.

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The daily soup, which I can’t remember for the life of me was a little bland and watery – shame as I wanted some good soup.

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I couldn’t go past the grilled beef filled with sautéed potatoes, French beans and wild mushroom. The beef was cooked to perfection, medium rare, and the sautéed potatoes, French beans and wild mushrooms were a wonderful complement. Really tasty and really enjoyable – definitely fixed my beef cravings.

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My friend wasn’t feeling too great, so she had the roasted pumpkin salad with rocket leaf, snow pea, toasted pumpkin seed and honey mustard dressing. She had the dressing on the side but it did look good – very healthy also.

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I have been here on a weekend for breakfast, and I have to say the breakfast isn’t bad either. They have different types of smoothies – for gym junkies which aren’t bad.

Food is fresh and surprisingly good, and there are always sport channels to company you should you wish to watch sports or dining alone.

Service was a bit of a hit and miss, it was great at lunch but a little slow on the weekend. But regardless, it wasn’t too bad and will definitely be back.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Pure Bar and Restaurant

2/F, Kinwick Centre

32 Hollywood Road

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 8199 8189

Nha Trang, Taikoo Shing, Hong Kong

I have been to the Central branch many times now. You truly can’t miss it. It is on Wellington Street and there is always a long queue by 12.15pm. However, on this day we went to the Taikoo Branch. I didn’t even know they had one until ‘The Mother’ pointed it out. It was relatively empty when we went. From memory it was the Chinese New Year weekend and everyone were either away or still asleep!

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‘The Mother’ really likes this place – he always gets the same thing! Beef pho – he claims that it is the best pho he had in Hong Kong. I beg to differ but then again he is more of a pho expert than I am. I have yet to take him to chom chom so he can’t really make a comparison just yet.

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It was certainly a generous serving of beef pho – lots of noodles, and beef. The soup had lot of flavours which was nice.

He was so hungry that he decided to get the banh mi. I’ve not had good banh mi for a while now. Unfortunately the banh mi was pretty ordinary, especially the bread! The filling wasn’t great either which was disappointing. No one does banh mi like Marrickville Banh Mi! HA!

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I couldn’t go past braised pork belly in coconut juice. The dish took a while to come out. ‘The Mother’ was done eating his pho before this came out. However, it was definitely worth the wait! Tender, melt in your mouth pork belly – it was delicious and the coconut juice wasn’t over powering.

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The limesoda was refreshing and great for a hot day!

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‘The Mother’ absolutely loved the Vietnamese coffee.

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Service was efficient and quick. It wasn’t busy so we sat there for a while. I know when they are busy, they tend to rush you and leave as soon as you have finished eating. I’ve had the pomelo salad and the skewers and I have to admit it is not bad. Lots of options for everone.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Nha Trang

Shop G512-513, Taikoo Shing On Shing Terrace Shun On Mansion,

3 Tai Yue Avenue ,

Taikoo Shing, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2907 8033

Blue Butcher, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Blue Butcher has been around for a while now but it was only recently that I dined there. Blue Butcher can be found in the middle between the Press Room and Classifieds, and I love the dim lighting, and atmosphere. The design of the restaurant reminds me a little of New York restaurants and the food I have to say was fantastic.

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We started with the Spanish ham and egg / asparagus / mushroom / thyme (HKD 125) and oh my, this was outstanding. I couldn’t get enough of the ham and egg combination, the oozy egg, YUM!

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I insisted that we ordered the bone marrow / toast / caper berries / parsley / salt flakes (HKD 125). We ordered two servings of this, as there were a few of us and one was simply not enough. The bone marrow was deliciously rich, and served with coarse salt flakes was equally outstanding, probably better than the Spanish ham. I would be happy eating this day in and day out.

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We thought we would share a couple of dishes, started with the rare breed US kurobuta pig belly and cheek / lentils / granny smith apple slaw (HKD 250). The pig belly was melt in your mouth tender, and the granny smith apple slaw was a wonderful complement. It was truly hard not to eat more than one mouthful!

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The Dutch veal cheeks and sweetbreads / truffled orzo / herd salad (HKD 460) was surprisingly tasty. My least favourite of the evening though, but still better than I had anticipated.

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My favourite was definitely the Australian mann river farm wagyu bone in rib eye 32oz / crisp Yukon gold wedges (HKD 1480) – OMG is all I can say. Seriously tender, seriously delicious and seriously scrumptious! It was cooked to absolute perfection – medium rare and just the way we all liked it!

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The potato gratin was deliciously creamy and sinful.

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Not to mention the crispy thin fries.

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Unfortunately we were all stuffed to the brim and did not order any dessert. I think I ate the most beef! I couldn’t stop – it was seriously good and could be the fact that I was low in iron and craving beef!

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Service was good until one of the waiter’s spilt wax on my friend. I don’t think he was highly impressed, his suit ruined. They didn’t offer to pay for dry cleaning but they did give us drinks on the house which was nice of them.

I really would like to go back for that beef and bone marrow– getting hungry all over again!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Blue Butcher

108 Hollywood Road

Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2613 9286

Paradise Dynasty, Singapore

I first heard about Paradise Dynasty whilst in meetings. My fellow colleagues claim that it was better than Din Tai Fung and what is this colourful xiao long bao they were talking about? I had to go and check it out myself! When I told ‘The Mother’ he couldn’t believe it as he is a Din Tai Fung FAN!

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Paradise Dynasty has been around for a while now, and is one of the newer ventures of the Taste Paradise Group and is located on Ion Orchard on level 4. Unfortunately you can’t make a reservation but thankfully we didn’t have to wait for long. We opted to sit outside and at the time we thought it was a great idea but the humidity got to us all including Dragon!

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The menu is vast, and quite similar to Din Tai Fung. They also have 18 different types of silky handmade La Mian as well as Shanghainese dim sum, hot and cold appetisers and a variety of fried meat, seafood, vegetables and rice dishes.

We couldn’t go past the 8 different colours of Xiao Long Bao. The flavours are original, garlic, ginseng, foie gras, black truffle, cheese, crab roe and Szechuan. We got two servings of this, we just couldn’t resist. I tried the cheese, ginseng and Szechuan and my goodness – they were fantastic!! I loved the cheese and Szechuan dumplings!

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These pan fried pork and vegetables dumplings were seriously tasty.

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I love these hazardous dumplings – juicy and the bun was soft and fluffy.

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I couldn’t go past the cold tofu which was seriously silky and the thousand year old egg was a wonderful complement.

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Not to mention these braised pork belly! Oh my – look how they glistened! Tender and succulent.

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The water spinach vegetables were simple but excellent.

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The fried rice had a really nice aroma and flavour.

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One of the la mians. From memory, these were minced pork with a hint of chili and they were wonderful, full of flavours.

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Service efficient and food delicious!

Verdict? The xiao long bau were DEFINITELY and infinitely better than Din Tai Fung! I can’t wait to go back and try more dishes! If you were wondering how many people were eating at this lunch? Only four! Yes we ordered a lot and they were worth it!

GA’s ratings 8.5 / 10

Paradise Dynasty

ION Orchard,

2 Orchard Turn, #04-12A,

Singapore 238801

Ph: +65 6509 9118

Piccolo Pizzeria Bar, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong

Piccolo Pizzeria and Bar can be found on Kennedy Town on Davis Street. We have walked past this place many times and wondered so thought we would give it ago one day. It was after Dragon’s swimming lesson and our local lunch spot has been Kennedy Town and we always seem to go to Boulangerie which I don’t mind as I adore their quiche but wanted something different.

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The place was relatively empty when we rocked up at about 2pm, there were 3 tables and all were eating pizza. Unfortunately ‘The Mother’ was suffering from a slight stomach bug so didn’t want to eat anything too heavy and that meant no pizza!

He ordered soup – minestrone soup – it didn’t look very appetizing to me. He said it was ‘ok’ but then again, with a stomach bug, everything tastes ok.

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I couldn’t go past the porcini mushroom served with chicken and bacon.. oh my.. the porcini mushroom was deep fried and HUGE!! Unfortunately the batter was a little thick and I ended up scraping it off. The chicken and bacon was a wonderful complement though.

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The pizza did look good though – will definitely have to try it next time. Service was a little slow at times, my meal took a good 40 minutes to come!

GA’s ratings: 6 / 10

Piccolo Pizzeria and Bar

Shop 1E, Davis Street

Western District, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2824 3000

No Signboard Seafood Restaurant, Singapore

This restaurant requires no introduction. No Signboard first opened back in 1970s, where they started their stall at the Mattar Road Hawker Centre, and now they have four branches in Singapore, one in Hong Kong, Indonesia and Macau.

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They are famous for the crabs – the white pepper sauce or the chili sauce. We were here for one thing, and one thing only – CRAB! Unfortunately I can’t have any of it and I told ‘The Mother’ this prior to making the reservation but he still insisted that we go!

‘The Mother’ has been craving crabs and there was nothing stopping him that evening. He ordered the smallest possible crab, which was 1.8kg with chili sauce. It was still quite a large serving and yes.. he ate it all. We noticed other diners and people watching us, well watching ‘The Mother’ eating his crab! He was definitely enjoying it!

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You can’t order crab and not have fried bread – mantou. These baby fried bread were delicious, even when eaten in its own!

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I ordered the sweet and sour pork. It was good but probably should have ordered the pork ribs instead!

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The spinach in clear broth was a winner for both of us. Lots of flavour and excellent.

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The food here is so much better than the one in Hong Kong. It had a lot more variety also which I enjoyed! As for the crab, I wouldn’t be able to tell you but ‘the Mother’ said it was ‘frigging delicious’

Service was efficient and food came out relatively quickly.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

No Signboard Seafood Restaurant

1 Harbour Front Walk

#03-02, Vivo City

Tlp: +65 6376 9959

Tambuah Mas, Singapore

‘The Mother’, Dragon and I went to Singapore for a quick weekend trip. I wanted to catch up with my brother who was there for a wedding and of course for me to eat also! I didn’t get to eat as much as I’d like too or could have but did manage to eat a few snacks and went to a few restaurants.

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We landed in Singapore about 1pm and by the time we got to the hotel it was almost 2.30pm so thought we’d check out Paragon mall and see if they have any good restaurant. I have been craving Indonesian food – think a trip back is definitely required! I suggested Tambuah Mas which is located in the basement.

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I couldn’t go past the chicken satay, thankfully the peanut sauce was served separately. The chicken weren’t as tender as I had hoped but I do like the charcoal taste and the sauce – kecap manis wasn’t overly powering.

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I also ordered oxtail soup – my favourite! It was about 6SGD which is reasonably cheap but quite exy for Indonesian standard. The soup was delicious with lots of flavours and the oxtail was incredible tender! It was pretty damn tasty I have to say and definitely could have had more!

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‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the daily special which was mie rebus in clear both. It didn’t look very Indonesian but he seemed to have enjoyed it.

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The es teler – coconut milk, young coconut, jack fruit and avocado was a must order.

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‘The Mother’ had the es cendol which he thoroughly enjoyed – it was a little too sweet for my liking but he definitely enjoyed it!

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Service was efficient and food was quite tasty and authentic. Did see other diners ordering different dishes and it looked fantastic! Will definitely be back next time.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Tambuah Mas

Paragon, 290 Orchard Road, #B1-44

Orchard, 238859

Ph: +65 6733 2220