Keiji Nakazawa, the best sushi chef in the world (to us)

When I took my beautiful wife S to Tokyo to celebrate her birthday in March, because we only had three days in town, we had to very carefully curate our dining choices. While we did visit an old favourite, most of the restaurants we visited were new to us, including two sushi joints that we’d been meaning to try for years. One was a much-ballyhooed three Michelin-starred place in Ginza that is regularly discussed on forums like Chowhound and which many punters like to claim is the best sushi restaurant in Tokyo. The other is a much more modest (and much livelier) place in Yotsuya that has no Michelin stars and is rarely mentioned in Western or English-language media. Amazingly–although some Japanese friends tell me I shouldn’t have been surprised–we left the three Michelin-starred restaurant feeling very ripped off and extremely underwhelmed. But, the meal we had at Sushi Sho (also sometimes spelled Sushishou), the cultish little joint just east of Shinjuku, delivered what I can honestly say was the single greatest sushi meal of both my life and my wife’s. S has since been describing the experience to friends as “life-changing sushi.”   Continue Reading →

Nigel Slater’s chocolate beetroot cake: one of the best chocolate cakes I made

 

Putting vegetables in baked treats is not uncommon as they add moisture to the bake. We have shredded carrots in carrot cake and sliced zucchini in muffin – but beetroot in a chocolate cake? As I was watching Nigel Slater (in Simple Suppers) make a beetroot cake, I was going “what the hell was he thinking?”. Continue Reading →

High-end Kaiseki kappo-style in Singapore at Yoshiyuki

yoshiyuki sesame tofu

Last week, I had the immense pleasure of dining in one of Singapore’s most beautiful new restaurants. Yoshiyuki, named after head chef Yoshiyuki Kashiwabara, is a gorgeous Asylum-designed Kaiseki restaurant. Hidden in a discrete corner of Basement One in The Forum shopping centre, this 20-seat restaurant is set to redefine the high-end Japanese dining experience in Singapore. And given the credentials of the team behind Yoshiyuki, I have no doubt it will be a success. Chef Yoshiyuki was previously the personal chef to the former Japanese Ambassador to Singapore. His partner is none other than Ignatius Chan, whose restaurant Iggy’s is ranked by several internationally respected authorities as Asia’s number one restaurant.   Continue Reading →

Labour of love: Lunch at Kooka Café and a conversation with co-owner Lauren Chambers

Since a colleague introduced me to Kooka Café earlier this year, I’ve made the place my unofficial hideout, going at least once a week to clear my mind, unwind, and have a thoroughly pleasurable lunch. It isn’t a ‘sexy’ cafe by most definitions: the décor is simple, the menu is small, and the dishes are honest, unassuming even. What it does have is the one intangible ingredient that I think matters the most in any food establishment, the one thing that makes you want to return again and again – love. Continue Reading →

Friday Food Porn: Crabmeat pasta from Il Lido, Singapore

crab pasta from il lido restaurant

A quick snapshot of a good friend tucking into a plate of some amazing linguine with fresh crab at Il Lido restaurant in Sentosa (Singapore). Il Lido’s always been a favourite of mine and my wife’s. Continue Reading →

Pantry Basics: The Ultimate Lemon Curd – Pierre Hermé’s Lemon Cream

Meyer lemons

In all honesty, this post was prompted by the fact that I’ve finally found Meyer lemons in Singapore. For years, the Meyer lemon was one of those elusive culinary treasures that I’d read so much about but never tasted. And I never would’ve recognized the lemons as Meyers (given that they were only labeled with their country of origin, Australia) if I hadn’t happened to taste my first one just weeks before at the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival.

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&MADE, a new bistro by Bruno Ménard in Singapore

chilli crab toastoo at &Made

One of the best meals my gorgeous, foodie wife S and I have ever had was at L’Osier, the now closed three Michelin-starred French restaurant in Tokyo, helmed at the time by Chef Bruno Ménard. The food was original and perfectly executed. The room was warm, clubbish, buzzing, and filled with the laughter of happy patrons. Service was impeccable and memorable; at the end of the meal, umbrella-toting staff walked us around the block and helped us find a taxi. While we are sad that L’Osier has closed its doors, I’m thrilled that Chef Ménard now calls Singapore his home. Last week, we dropped by his newly opened sandwich and burger shop, &MADE. Continue Reading →

Enjoy innovative Modern Indonesian food at The Moluccas Room

chicken confit moluccas room

The culinary world can be a confusing place at times. It’s not uncommon for some restaurants, who serve so-so food, to become highly fashionable and hugely popular. While, concurrently, some other restaurants, who serve amazing and often highly original cuisine, remain very much off-the-radar, serving only a small handful of patrons, whose presence hardly accounts for even a quarter of the seating capacity of such establishments. Similarly, there are chefs that, by sheer force of personality and/or personal connections and most definitely not because of their very average food, become (minor) celebrities. While others who, by the nature of the outstanding food they produce, deserve to be celebrated but are consistently overlooked because they aren’t loud, or colourful, or gorgeous enough. Continue Reading →

Oxtail Bo Kho, a Vietnamese beef stew with Coke and Laughing Cow cheese

oxtail bo kho

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that, while attending the Noosa International Food & Wine Festival, S and I had eaten one of the best oxtail stews we’d ever had in our lives. It was prepared by Chef Mark Jensen of the very famous Vietnamese restaurant Red Lantern, which is in Sydney, Australia. Traditionally, Bo Kho is made with cuts like brisket or shank. It’s also one of those traditional dishes that has no really defined and universal recipe. While certain ingredients might appear in most dishes, all mothers (and grandmothers) and chefs who make Bo Kho seem to have slightly different ways of making theirs. And, of course, every Vietnamese friend you have will swear that his mother’s version is simply the best in the world. Continue Reading →

Enjoying extraordinary wines with sushi at Shinji by Kanesaka

Some things in life are a necessary indulgence. Shinji by Kanesaka (of famed two-Michelin starred chef Shinji Kanesaka) which exemplifies the best of Edomae-style sushi, essentially falls into this category. In particular, when one is bestowed the privilege of having Master Chef Koichiro Oshino cut for you. The evening was made even more special as some friends brought along some rare wine gems for us to pair with the sushi.

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