Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tom Yum Fish Noodle Soup

It was time for lunch; so my team decided to have 'fish noodle soup' for lunch. This is no ordinary fish noodle soup place. It is famous for their tom yum fish noodle soup. It is so good that this place is crawling with people the whole day long. We decided to leave a little earlier than normal so that we would be able to get a table right away.


Our plan worked; we got a table right away. As most restaurants that are basic & simple, they have the most delicious food; decor is not priority because the food is the star. This place had typical basic aluminum tables and plastic blue chairs was also the norm. There were menus hanging on the walls and the wall hanging fans to cool down the hungry customers.


The open kitchen was at the main entrance so we could tell the staff what you want to eat right away.


The first dish was rice noodle (sen lek) with fish dry.


The next dish was the house specialty, tom yum noodle (sen mee) fish.


The next dish was a plate of seasoned fish.


The next dish was egg noodle (ba mee) with fish.


The next dish was rice soup (kow tom) with fish.


The fresh seafood that goes into all the great dishes.


People waiting in the queue to eat very delicious fish noodle soup.

Overall; a really great place for soups with fish but especially the tom yum noodles soup. All the ingredients were so so fresh and tasty. The tom yum soup was a perfect blend of sour, tangy, sweet & spicy (a very good thing). This was a very unique place and we don't find this kind of place very often. A must try!

(I am sorry, I forgot the address and get it right away)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tapas in Grand Millenium Hotel

We were invited to The the Grand Millenium Hotel's grand opening a few years ago and we noticed they had a restaurant called Tapas that specialised in...well, tapas. We thought it was a nice idea. We were interested to know what the food was like. But; unfortunately, we totally forgot about the restaurant.


I was invited by my clients for a workshop at the Grand Millenium Hotel. They also invited me to have dinner with them after the workshop and the dinner was held at Tapas. So, after a couple of years, I finally tried Tapas.

The main theme of the restaurant highlights on the colour red. But, the design & decor of the restaurant did not catch much of my attention. It seems to me that they did not know what to do with the space and at the last minute they decided to turn it into a restaurant.

I was disappointed to notice that the menu turned out to be a very confused. We all assumed that Tapas was a Spanish restaurant. Instead, there were so many choices from Mediterranean, Japanese, Thai & Italian foods. On top of that there was a tapas menu.


The first dish was grilled selection of shrimp, beef & chicken. The food was not warm. The beef was overcooked, the chicken was mediocre and the shrimp were grilled to death. A bad experience.


The next dish was a plate of pata negra ham. The preparation of the dish was very nice. The chef carefully carved the pata negra ham from the leg at the open kitchen. But, to my surprise the ham was dried out and barely had any flavour.


The next dish was grilled vegetables with a red pepper sauce. The grilled vegetables were very sad. The vegetables were cold, soft & mushy and had no taste. I had to smother the red pepper sauce over the vegetable trying to save them but that did not work. Just a sad dish.


The next dish was crab, shrimp & scallop salad. All three seafood were fresh, had good texture and tasted good. Finally, a good dish.


The next dish was deep fried chorizos. The chorizos was wrapped in a wonton style wrapper and deep fried to a deep brown. The chorizos were very crunchy (though a bit on the oily side). The chorizos themselves were tender but honestly had no taste. Something strange happened there.


The next dish was grilled salmon with soba noodles. The salmon was overcooked and the soba noodles were drenched in sauce making them too slimy. I was truly hoping this dish would turn out well but again was disappointed.


The next dish was grilled prawns with vegetable salsa. The prawns were very fresh, had a firm texture and actually tasted very good. The vegetable salsa was not bad. It added some freshness to the dish as well as colour.


The open kitchen where the chefs were preparing all the dishes.

Overall; the experience at Tapas was not good. Since, I was invited by my clients and I did not have the heart to tell them how confused the food was. Tapas wanted to be everything to everybody and it turned out that they were not focused. The menu choices were too many and everything turned out to be fusion food.

When the restaurant is called 'Tapas'; I already imagined a place that specialised in inventive tapas (of course), but also regional Spanish cooking using the freshest seafoods and meats. Maybe I was expecting too much from a restaurant called Tapas, maybe I should have been more open minded. But even when the tapas menu looked uninspired, had no love to it and no thinking behind it. I think I am right to be disappointed.

On top of all that; the waitresses were pushy. Always trying to suggest the most expensive items on the menu. Or suggesting Evian or the expensive sparkling water (I am sure they get commission if they sell more of those imported waters). The experience was more like dealing with car saleswomen. It would have been nice if the waitresses actually cared for and wanted their customers to be happy; rather than feeling they were there only to suck a quick baht out of us.

133/2 Sukhumvit 1
Bangkok, 10110
Tel.: 02-2044000

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Honmono Sushi

I think we found the Utopia of sushi & sashimi. We have been eating sushi & sashimi in Bangkok for years and thought we had good stuff. Boy were we fooling ourselves. We are hitting ourselves for not finding this Utopia sooner. We recently learned about Honmono Sushi from a foodie friend of ours. We decided we needed to experience Honmono Sushi right away. .


We heard that Honmono Sushi is so popular; that it is mandatory to make reservations. We called and all they had left was counter seating; which we did not mind at all. It was fantastic to watch the sushi chefs in action and to see the freshest fish sitting in front of us.


What is so amazing about Honmono Sushi was the clientelle. It is mostly hi-so people who eat at Honmono Sushi. One of the reasons is that some of the fish at Honmono can be very very expensive. For example; one Uni sushi cost 800 baht for two pieces (oh my!). A Sweet Shrimp costs 450 baht a piece (ouch!). But people kept ordering and ordering. I guess price was no issue for these people when the seafood was that good.


The amuse bouche was mixture of deep fried shrimp, Japanese pea pods (I actually do not know what the name is for these things) and crispy fish.


This is the first time we were served a side dish with 3 types of seaweed, preserved ginger and grated radish. The combination on the dish had different textures, colours & tastes. They were all very nice. But the most amazing thing on the dish was the fresh wasabi. It is not the powder wasabi that we are used to being served in Japanese restaurants. The the taste & texture of the fresh wasabi was out of this world. When we placed some of it in the soy sauce; it dissolved so smoothly that it seemed to evaporate into the soy sauce.


The first dish was Ume Sashimi (with 5 types of fish). The freshest fish you can imagine was placed before us. Each fish had its own character but they all had one thing in common...they all tasted wonderful. They had the right texture; brilliant & bright colour and the most intense flavour. Nothing beats this.


The next dish was Unagi Ura Maki (eel, tuna & avocado roll). The roll was a beauty and it tasted as good as it looked; sophisticated & complex. The textures, colours & flavours were so prominent in this dish. It was so so good.


The next dish was Tekka Maki (tuna roll). Every Japanese restaurant we go to we order tekka maki. It is a good way to bench mark with such a simple roll. This tekka maki has got to be the best ever. The tuna truly melted in the mouth, I am not joking. It just melted in the mouth. Stunning!


The next dish was Ebi Tempura Roll. The ebi was deep fried perfectly; it was crunchy on the outside & very tender on the inside. The roll itself was absolutely delicious.


The next dish was Hokki-gai & Hon Maguro Akami (surf clam & blue fin tuna). The surf clam was firm, chewy and delicious. The blue fin tuna melted in the mouth. Both of them were just to die for.


The next dish was octopus suction cups. Normally; we eat the tentacles but not just the suction cups. They were salty, crunchy and tasty. Just lovely.


The restaurant's decor is nothing special. But no one really pays attention simply because the fresh fish is what everyone comes to Honmono for. The service is very attentive and friendly. Our sushi chef was just perfect; he was very friendly, explained & helped us with the menu, and offered so many things for us to try.

Overall; the sushi/ sashimi is simply the best in town so far. Honmono has a huge following; you can go any night and the place is packed. If you stay away from the very expensive fishes; your bill will not be so bad. But believe me that this is a good place.

19 soi Thonglor 23
Bangkok 10110
Tel: 02-185-1447

www.honmonosushi.com

Open daily 17:30 - 24:30 Sat-Sun (lunch) 11:30 - 14:30

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

D-Sens in the Dusit Thani Hotel

The D-Sens restaurant in the Dusit Thani Hotel was having a special French culinary week with an exclusive one star Michelin chef. Chef Bohrer from "Au Crocodile" restaurant in Strasbourge was the guest chef; so we wanted to try.

We rarely go to D-Sens just because; simply, we lost interest. There are more & more French restaurants opening in town (not all of them are good by the way), but they are also more affordable. D-Sens has become a place that is for the 'special-visiting-chef' restaurant for us.

The Menu D├ęgustation consisted of 6 course menu at 2,900 baht net. That seemed very reasonable, especially since it was chef Bohrer who was cooking.


D-Sens has had a many face lifts over the years since it has been opened because the interiour design; the place was designed just for design sake without thinking of the practicality of the design. When D-Sens first opened; the restaurant was flooded with red lighting. The red light made it so difficult to read the menu & see the food. It truly was horrible. All the red lighting have been taken away and now the new lighting gives the restaurant a warm glow (oh, we were able to read the menu and see our food).

The volume & space of the restaurant is very interesting and the restaurant has potential if they had the right designe for it. I do like the large windows allowing you different views of the city skyline.


The amuse bouche. The marinated salmon had a firm & fatty consistency with an intense salmon taste. A nice way to wake up our palettes.


The next dish was pan seared duck liver, sauerkraut fantasy & beetroot reduction. The duck liver was cooked perfectly; slightly crispy on the outside and very moist, tender & juicy on the inside. The flavour was lovely. The only strange thing about this dish was the sauerkraut fantasy; it actually was suppose to be sauerkraut in a jelly form. It turned out to be a waste of space. It had no taste; so it turned out to be a piece of jelly sitting on the plate (not a good thing).


The next dish was watercress custard with frog legs. The frog legs were amazing; they were cooked very nicely but what stood out was the simplicity of the dish. The frog legs were not swimming in a kilo of butter, oil and garlic (not a good thing). The frog legs stood on their own (bad joke); they were very tender and juicy. The watercress custard was equally delicious. The watercress taste was intense and texture of the custard was airy & soft. A very nice combination.


The next dish was angler fish wafer with girolles, asparagus bouillon, rhubarb with salted butter.
The angler fish had a very crispy skin and the meat was firm. The combination of the fish, girolles & bouillon was spectacular. Rich in flavour and textures.


The next dish was green loveche herbs cappuccino, stuffed morels skewer. The cappuccino had a dense and creamy consistency. The herbs added lovely flavours and colour. The only negative aspect of this dish was that the stuffed morels were deep frozen and not fresh (not good). It was easy to realise because of the consistency of the morels.


The next dish was roasted breast pigeon, arabica reduction sauce with light verbena oil. The roasted pigeon was cooked perfectly (still very red), tender & juicy. A beautiful way to end a lovely dinner.


The pre-dessert was a chocolate doughnut. This pre-dessert truly fits the quote; 'Don't judge a book by its cover'. It was a very ugly sight to see when the waiter placed them on the table. 'What on earth is that?' was my reaction. It turned out to be very tasty. It kind of looked like a black squid; we had to break the head and hot creamy chocolate oozed out. An interesting dessert.


The dessert was d├ęclinaison around strawberry and basil. The strawberry sorbet had a lovely strawberry flavour and the fresh strawberries were tasty as well. I forgot to ask if they were from the King's project.


The sweets to go with the tea. As usual; the mini sweets were way too sweet for me. But; they were very pretty.

Overall; the food was really delicious. The cooking of the food; the combinations of flavours, textures & colours and the creativity shined through.

The only negative thing we experienced was the service. It was not up to pare as it should have been. We had to ask for bread the whole night, we had to ask for water to poured every time, we finally poured our own wine, etc. This was not like this before. Even when we poured our own wine; the waiter saw us doing it but he did not react.

We also ordered two glasses of Reisling; they instead opened a bottle; put it on the side and when the food came out started pouring the red wine. When we got the bill; they charged us for the bottle. We asked where is the bottle and so we decided to drink the bottle of Reisling since we payed for it. But; what is that for service? I am still scratching my head!

But, let me try to make some excuses for them; the service was unattentive because: the restaurant was very busy or the staff was new & not yet properly trained. Either excuse you take; it should have not happened in such an establishment. If I understand somewhat of how a restaurant is suppose to be staffed; there should be dedicated waiters in each section who take care of whatever number of tables. Their job is to make sure that each table is properly taken care of; i.e., check on simple things such as bread, water, wine even cutlery is replenished. Hopefully; the manager of the restaurant takes a hard look at this issue and tries to improve on it.

Oh; did I mention earlier that 'we simply lost interest' in D-Sens?

946 Rama IV Road
Bangkok 10500
Tel.: +66 (0) 2200 9000

www.dusit.com

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Khun Churn; Thai Vegetarian Cuisine

We decided to go to 'THE' vegetarian restaurant in Bangkok at the moment. When we first heard that there was a vegetarian restaurant in the basement of the Mediplex building on Sukhumvit soi 42. We thought; what an awful idea to open a restaurant in the basement of the building. No one will go!

Thankfully; we were proven wrong. It has turned out that Khun Churn is one of the 'BEST' vegetarian restaurants in town. The restaurant is very popular as well. The buzz for Khun Churn has come from word of mouth as well as facebook. Everyone who has eaten at Khun Churn has posted what they have eaten on facebook. In the beginning; the food looked & sounded so interesting that more & more people wanted to try out the food.

Khun Churn started in Chiang Mai and already has two very popular vegetarian restaurants there. Thank goodness for us that she expanded her empire to Bangkok.

Khun Churn is probably the only macrobiotic restaurant in Bangkok. With that distinction this restaurant already makes Khun Churn stand out in the very crowded food scene of Bangkok.


The restaurant design was minimalist. The colour scheme consisted of neutral & bright colours such as browns, golds & yellows. A good idea since there are no windows in the restaurant.


The amuse bouche was organic tomato & cucumber in a light soy sauce. For such a small dish; tons of flavour popped in our mouths.


The drinks selection was huge. There were lots of healthy juices to choose from. Instead of using liquid sugar they instead used honey to sweeten the juices (a very good & healthy idea). We ordered one lemon and one jasmine juice. Both were very refreshing and tasty.


The first dish was steamed spring rolls. The stuffing of tofu, beans sprouts and mushrooms gave this dish loads of texture & flavour. A nice start for any meal time.


The next dish was tofu in red curry. The tofu was soft and melted in the mouth. The red curry was spicy, sweet, tangy & sour. A really yummy dish.


The next dish was tofu encrusted with sesame seeds. The first time; we had this dish, it was accompanied with a wasabi mayonnaise. Now it is accompanied with two different sauces which were just as good. The tofu had a nice firm texture. The sesame seeds added colour, texture & flavour. A simple but very nice dish.


The next dish was minced mushroom with eggs & safron. This has got to be one of the most amazing dishes on the menu. It sounds so simple but we have never had anything like this...anywhere. Khun Churn minces organic mushrooms and melds it together with egg & safron. We do not know how they do it but the dish is dry. We thought it would be oily or soaking in a sauce. The vibrant burnt orange colour comes from the egg yolk & safron. Stunning dish!

Overall; a really fantastic place for vegetarian food. If vegetarian food tasted this good everywhere; we would not mind becoming vegetarians. The service is friendly and efficient. The ambiance is comfortable & cozy. The prices are very reasonable. The food selection in the menu is extensive; I think we have only tried 20% of the what is in the menu (we seem to keep ordering the same food over and over again). But; the food is out of this world.

The only bizarre thing is that the restaurant is in the basement. Every time we go to Khun Churn there is absolutely nobody in the building. All the shops in the basement are empty. The shop attendants in the Whole Earth supermarket were sleeping. It really is a sad sight to behold. We are always amazed that these businesses survive.

The other strange thing is that Khun Churn closes at 20:00. It is way too early to close a restaurant but I am assuming it has something to do with the building the restaurant is in. We would love to eat at Khun Churn for dinner; but, eating dinner that early is out of the question.

Bangkok Mediplex Bldg., Ground Floor
Sukhumvit soi 42
Tel. 02-713-6599
Opening Hours: 10am – 8pm

www.vegetariankhunchurn.blogspot.com

Friday, July 09, 2010

Bouchot

We met a guy a couple months ago at a wine bar on Ekamai. He told us that he was opening a restaurant that specialised in moules frite (mussels & french fries) like they do in Europe. We thought that was a brilliant idea and we could not wait to try it out.


The restaurant is situated in the basement of the Oakwood Residences on Sukhumvit soi 24. When we approached the stairs that led to the basement's outdoor courtyard; we were pleasantly surprised and pleased to see a mock up French style village courtyard. Kitschy, almost authentic and charming.


Once we arrived in the courtyard; we were surrounded with views of the kitchen, the bar or the French village.

We underestimated how popular Bouchot would be on a Friday evening. We did not reserve a table because we assumed that Thais would not be interested in moules frite for dinner. How WRONG we were! We arrived and the place was packed. On top of that, there was a private party in the back room. So; we sat at the bar for 20 minutes waiting for the next available table.


The decor is very modern, eclectic and highlighting the elements of stone, wood & metal. The strategic lighting gives the room a moody ambiance. There were a mix of tables and chairs styles which was comfortable but we thought the lay out of the furniture was a bit chaotic and difficult to maneuver for the staff & guest (or it just could have been like that because the place was packed).


Luckily we ordered our food at the bar before getting our table. Because; once we were seated, our food did not arrive for more than half an hour. We were STARVING! They finally brought some bread after half an hour. To our disappointment, the bread was of low quality, awful texture and had no taste. But, who cares when were starving.


The appetizer to share was the seared tuna wrapped in gold & black sesame accompanied with a Japanese sauce. The tuna was fresh, had a nice texture and nicely prepared. The Japanese sauce added a lovely flavour to the dish.

Bold
The next dish was a kilo of Blue moules et frite (we ordered the white wine sauce; there are several sauces to choose from, but we wanted the basic & original). We were not sure if we really got a kilo of moules but they swore to us that it was kilo. Anyway, the Blue moules were fresh, plump & juicy. The white wine sauce was incredibly tasty. We could not stop drinking the sauce. The white wine sauce was of course on the salty side (not too much) but that for sure was expected due to the salt sweating from the moules.

At first to our horror, french fries were cold (cold french fries are disgusting). We kept the moules and asked the waitress to replace the french fries. The waitress was very nice about it and to our surprise a new batch of very hot french fries arrived in less than five minutes. The french fries were deep fried to a golden brown. They were very crispy on the outside and very tender & moist in the inside. Very well done!


The next dish was pasta with prawns. The pasta was cooked perfectly, the prawns were fresh, plump & firm. The pasta was topped with bright orange flying fish row. The light & creamy broth had a nice flavour to it but it was on the sweet side. We were not sure what they added to make the sauce sweet (it would have been perfect if it was not sweet). The combination of colours, textures & flavours made this dish very nice.

Overall; a really cool, chic & trendy place. The majority of the customers were young & well off (I noticed from the food & drinks they were consuming). The food is quite good but there are other restaurants in town who do better seafood.

However; Bouchot is one of the first to try to focus on moules frite. I hope they keep the consistency & freshness of this concept because it is a good one. We would like to return to try the other sauces for the moules.

The staff were too over whelmed with the amount of people in the restaurant. The staff were nice, capable but not very attentive. For example; after our moules frite, our table was very dirty from the white wine sauce. Our plates & cutlery needed changing before our next dish arrived. Nothing happened. But of course our pasta arrived with the table dirty and and our plates were not replaced. I had to ask for the waitress to change our plates, which she did but she did not clean the table. Oh well, nothing can be perfect.

B1 Floor Oakwood Residence
15 Sukhumvit Soi 24
10110, Bangkok

Phone: 02-258-5510