Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Arabica Bar & Kitchen, London, England

London is a city with plenty of fantastic choices when it comes to international cuisine. Irony is, with so much options deciding where to eat can be a bit of a struggle. After we visited Borough Market (separate post here), which was an absolute must in the itinerary, we chanced upon this gem of a restaurant right on the edge of the market nestled beneath the railway arch. What I especially like about the place is the wonderful exposed brick arch/ceiling, very chic yet retaining its old charm. You can also hear the rumbling of the trains overhead which added more character and drama to the place. I really loved the food, every single one of which was bursting with flavours. Whilst the dishes were tasty and delicious, the portions were small therefore you might need to order a few more or you can opt for the rest of the market if you're still feeling hungry. Do check out their stall just outside the restaurant on market days. They have a range of mezze, sweets and pastries for take-away.

Kibeh- Levantine-style bulgur wheat croquette with spiced lamb, onion, pine nuts and sumac

Spinach Kibeh

Lamb meshwi with walnut harissa, parsley, onion, sumac salad

Pan-fried sea bass and king scallops, monk's beard, saffron and cardamon lebneh

Imam Bayaldi fried aubergine

Spiced lamb ragu, toasted pine nuts.

Batata Harra, tripled cooked potatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and chilli.

On market days, you can find this Arabica stall selling an assortment of Middle Eastern pastries and desserts as well as falafels and wraps outside the restaurant. 

Arabica Bar and Kitchen
3 Rochester Walk, Borough Market, London

Arabica Bar & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Monopole, Potts Point, NSW

We took our son to celebrate his birthday at Monopole, a two-hatted restaurant located in one of Sydney's oldest but certainly one of the coolest suburbs, Potts Point. We loved Monopole's intimate setting and their delicious tasting menu, in particular the steak tartare and charcuterie dishes. The food came in sharing platters and a few were a bit heavy so it was a good idea to share. Dishes may look simple but were packed with rich and bold flavours and tasted quite impressive. Or so the saying goes, 'good food doesn't have to look complicated to be delicious'.
Can't wait for another excuse to go back.

Tassie Cider

Kurobuta Pork Belly
Pork and Fennel Saucisson
Rangers Valley Brisket

Raw Trevally, Buttermilk and Green Almond

Beef Tartare, Spelt and Radish

Spanish Mackerel, Broad Beans and Gem Lettuce

Smoked Brisket and Mushroom

Beetroot, Pepita Puree and Currants

White Chocolate, Sesame Parfait and Dark Berries

71 MacLeay St, Potts Point, NSW
(02) 9630.4410

Monopole Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 12 April 2019

Kreta Ayer, Eastwood, NSW, Australia

Dining at Kreta Ayer reminded me so much of Singapore and of the many family lunch gatherings I had with my siblings, just like the good old times. I miss having hawker food as well as the other Singaporean dishes that I pretty much had daily in the years that I was living there. The very thought of that aroma of charred char kway teow is enough to make my mouth water. 
In Malay, 'kreta ayer' means water cart and in Chinese it's called 'niu che shui'. In the early 19th and 20th centuries these ox carts were used to transport water to Chinatown. I have been to Kreta Ayer numerous times for my hawker-style food fix and the food has always been consistently fresh and good however, service can be a bit lacking. Moreover, since this is a small restaurant, seating arrangement is rather tight so you have to squeeze into your seat. The place also gets really busy during peak hours and on weekends so be prepared to queue. 

Kreta Ayer Kopi with Grass Jelly
Pineapple, Mango, Sago and Coconut Milk

Ngo Hiang Roll

Oyster Omelette

Crispy Noodles with Seafood

Hot and Spicy Lala

Salted Egg Prawn

Penang Char Kway Teow

Kreta Ayer Eastwood
172-176 Rowe Street, Eastwood

Kreta Ayer Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Disfrutar, Barcelona, Spain

Spain is a country that is blessed with many excellent restaurants and Disfrutar is one of them. This restaurant has now become my favourite place to dine in this incredibly beautiful city of Barcelona. 

Disfrutar is run by three former El Bulli chefs de cuisine (Chefs Oriol Castro, Mateu Casanas and Eduard Xatruch). The restaurant is ranked 18th by 'The World's 50 Best Restaurants' when it first entered the list last year making it 'The Highest New Entry'. As well as receiving 2 Michelin stars in Michelin Guide 2019.

From the moment I set foot inside Disfrutar, I knew that this was going to be the pinnacle of my culinary experience in Barcelona. On the way to the main dining room, we passed by the busy kitchen.  My expectations were running high and Disfrutar did not disappoint. That evening was like no other. The entire experience was fun and exciting, full of surprises and no shortage of food theatrics which left all of us wanting more and wished it didn't have to end. It was truly a remarkable multi-sensory dining experience and meeting Chef Oriol Castro made it even more special. Indeed one of the best meals I've ever had anywhere in the world and certainly one that I will never forget. 

Frozen Passionfruit ladyfinger with Rum

Lychee that was transformed into a frozen raspberry with Rose petals and dewdrops of Gin.
The rose petals were not meant to be eaten, oops!

'The beet that comes out of the land'
This took us by surprise. It's one of many "blink and you will miss it" moments.

Our server came with a bowl of black sesame seeds. She gave it a swirl and as just like magic, three beetroot meringue suddenly appeared!

Beetroot Meringue

Smoked Instant Apple Cider
This was going to be fun! The waitress setting up a show-stopping tableside presentation.

Smoked Apple Cider left to boil and steep.

A little carved box filled with sweet surprises!
Savoury walnut candy with mango, tonka beans and whisky

'Disfrutar olives' (above) with Mandarin flower essence (photo below)
These were faux olives but so fun and delightful to eat and just melts in your mouth!

'Mandarin flower essence' that was eaten after the olives. At this point, my taste buds were starting to acclimate.

Smoking wood chips to give a slight smoky flavour to the apple cider.

The apple cider is now poured over the smoked glass.

Mille-feuille of 'Idiazabal' paired with the Smoked Apple Cider. 
The crispy wafer was made by frying cheese and sandwiched in between is a light foamed cream.

Gazpachio Sandwich paired with sherry Vinegar that was sprayed in the wine glass.
You smell the vinegar in the glass in between bites. The intention is to get that 'taste' of vinegar through smelling.  

Crispy Egg Yolk with Mushroom Gelatine
The combination of flavours was unbelievable.

Multi spherical tatin of foie gras and corn
These are no ordinary corn kernels, each sphere is filled with corn flavoured liquid that sits on top of a rectangular piece of foie gras on a wafer.

Ceviche deconstruction

'Razor Clams with Seaweed brined in Salt' is drizzled with oil and sprayed with sherry vinegar. Another amazing dish. These delicate clams cooked with seaweed is a winner!

Magic pasta?
'Our Macaroni Pasta' with pasta made of clear gelatin mixed with ham, truffle foam and grated Parmesan.

Adding whipped cream from an iSi canister and using Microplane to grate Parmesan.

This 'Liquid Salad' of celery, olives and lettuce in a champagne flute was quite lovely and refreshing. It was served with 'Tomato Polvoron and Arbequina Oil Caviar' which was full of flavour.

Langoustine in 'suquet' and Cappucino 'suquet' (stew)

'Hare Consomme with Tarragon'
Chilled hare consomme served over an ice cube, topped with fresh orange peel and tarragon and sprayed with Armagnac. Rare with quite a strong "gamey" taste but unsurprisingly good.

Hare and Foie Gras Bonbon
Another unique and interesting dish.

Foamy and spicy Laksa

Pibil Squab (a young domestic pigeon)

Pandan coconut cream with mango sorbet and round mango jellies. It was light and refreshing and loaded with creamy coconut flavour. I loved this! 

Cheesecake Cornet
Wow, look at that light and crisp red cone!

Chilli Peppers, Oil and Salt

Tarta Al Whisky
This time, we were invited to rub our hands with whisky! Yes, whisky. 
Inhaling the aroma as we eat the deconstructed whisky tart. 

Cotton of Cocoa and Mint


C/Villarroel, 163
Barcelona, Spain