Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Preecha Seafood (ปรีชาซีฟู้ด) @ Pattaya / Jomthien / Sattahip, Chonburi, Thailand

Cuisine: Thai food / seafood
Price: THB450 per person without alcohol (what I paid for)
Visited: 16 June 2013
Food: 5/10
Atmosphere: 3/10
Value for money: 3/10
Services: 2/10

For us, Pattaya does not seem to be a destination that we often give a visit. On an occasion, we happened to give a friend at Chonburi a visit. We, thus, wished to find a seafood restaurant for our lunch. After several recommendations, we decided to give Preecha Seafood a go. This place seems to be a popular destination also. The place was full with customers even with non-long holiday, and without booking it could be a disaster.

This place is pretty large (suitable for big group definitely) and situated right next to a beach. So pretty much chill with sea wind. It is located not so far from the centre of Pattaya, approx. 10 km. The menu here comprises of typical seafood dishes as in many other restaurants around: from prawn to crab to squid to shell and sea fish.

We did order 3 dishes in total for the meal: stir-fried squid with salted egg (THB150, 4/10), stir-fried hard clam with sweet basil (THB250, 3/10), and fried mantis shrimp (THB900 for 0.5 kg., 2/10). 

Perhaps, I had expected with the quality and taste of food here too much, the meal turned out to be a bad experience for us. Squid with salted egg was just cold and squid had no texture. Clam with sweet basil was tasteless. The worst was fried mantis shrimp which was supposed to be the star and highly recommended dish of Preecha Seafood. Yet, it was just chewy and so difficult to eat. The size of mantis shrimp was not big at all too. Additionally, it tasted too salty. Well, I could find better seafood place than this in Bangkok. Price of mantis shrimp is also expensive: THB1,800 per kg.

Well, this is sure not so memorable for us. We would not recommend this place to anyone really or perhaps we just visited Preecha Seafood on a bad day. I rather go fishing and cook myself, rather than going all the way back to this restaurant. Anyway, give it a try yourself as we could be wrong.

ปลาหมึกผัดไข่เค็ม - stir-fried squid with salted egg

หอยตลับผัดโหระพา - stir-fried hard clam with sweet basil

กั้งแก้วผัดพริกเกลือ - fried mantis shrimp

Preecha Seafood (ปรีชาซีฟู้ด) @ Pattaya / Jomthien / Sattahip, Chonburi, Thailand
200/9 Moo 4
Soi Na Jomthien 28
Na Jomthien Road
Na Jomthien, Sattahip
Chonburi 20250

Open Hours: 10:00am - 10:00pm daily
Tel: +66 (0) 38 709 439-40

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova 2006

Date of Tasting: 12 June 2013
Wine Type: Red
Grape Varieties: 100% Sangiovese
Alcohol: 14.5%
Origin: Tuscany, Italy
Appellation: Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG)
Expect to Pay: THB3,000 - 4,500 (retail price in Thailand)
Chubby Score: 95/100
Value for money: 9/10
Professional Rating: WA - 95/100, WS - 95/100, JS - 100/100, WE - 97/100

Appearance: dark ruby/garnet
Aroma: explosive notes of spiciness, cherry, and cinnamon
Palate: depth and length are so long, smooth and silky touches, dry tannins with so much strength, mild acidity, medium-full bodied style, loads of massive ripen cherry and plum flavours, complex and elegant after-taste, tobacco and herbs and licorice.

Such a powerful bottle of Brunello di Montalcino. They are all there in one bottle: elegant, complexity, sensational and yet stunningly powerful. A wonderful bottle that ones should not miss. Lucky that I have more in stock. The very best of Sangiovese grapes can be found in this bottle of Casanova di Neri. If you see it, don't miss the opportunity to grab some. It is now soon to shaking off its shyness and revealing its true potential. So can be enjoy now and the next decade or so. Many many glasses should be raised!!!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bar Storia del Caffe @ Eight Thonglor, Bangkok

Cuisine: cafe food
Price: THB410 per person without alcohol (what I paid for)
Visited: 7 July 2013
Food: 6/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Value for money: 8/10
Services: 7/10

As a coffee lover, searching for a cafe that both serves good coffee and has splendid atmosphere in Bangkok is extremely difficult.  Here is one good cafe that is worth a try: Bar Storia del Caffe @ Eight Thonglor.  On the day, we were thinking of going to a famous restaurant at Eight Thonglor, Calin.  However, it was full and packed.  By chance, we spotted a small cafe just around the corner and we didn't hesitate to give it a try.

Bar Storia del Caffe @ Eight Thonglor

food menu

beverage menu

Bar Storia del Caffe looks pretty much cool and relax.  There are just simply 2 sheets of menu available: one for food and the other for beverage.  The food menu comprises mainly of snack and dessert, whilst drinking menu of course offers mostly coffee base drink.  This small cafe can perhaps accommodate around 20 people at a time max.

What really surprise us and catched our eyes was the fact that all prices in the menus are "inclusive of VAT and no service charge" or so-called the plus-plus charge which seems to be common in Thailand these days.  You would hardly find a place in Thailand now that does not take advantage out of customer with the plus-plus charge nowadays, hence, expect to pay somewhat 20% more from the price you see in the menu. It does not matter how poor or how well the service of the restaurant is, you have to pay extra 10% compulsorily. So at the end of the meal, we didn't hesitate to voluntarily give extra 10% for the friendly service they gave us.

cool and relax cafe atmosphere

Glancing through the menu during the lunch time, I realised that this is sure not a fulfil lunch meal but an enjoyable moment with a cup of good coffee and perhaps pastry.  We just ordered two menu just to try: Spinach Puff (6/10) and toasted Welsh rarebit with pickled peppers, peach, thyme and fresh rocket (4/10). Welsh rarebit was not so great but spinach puff was enjoyable.

While deadly bunny decided to have a cool glass of Iced Chocolate to accompany during a hot Sunday, I noticed Drip Brew Coffee in the menu and did not hesitate to order at all.  It can be really hard to find a place in Thailand that offers drip brew coffee.  Range of coffee at Bar Storia del Caffe is of splendid quality indeed.

spinach puff (THB80)

inside of spinach puff

toasted Welsh rarebit with pickled peppers, peach, thyme and fresh rocket (THB220)

iced chocolate (THB120)

barista drip-brewing coffee

drip brew splendid coffee

Afterwards, we did try Almond Cake (7/10) and Bread and Butter Pudding (6/10) too.  Almond Cake was gorgeous in term of both taste and texture.  But it was let down by the accompanied whipped cream that did not taste so great. Bread and Butter Pudding was as well delicious. If ones would like to order Bread and Butter Pudding, I would recommend to have a cup of aromatic tea or black coffee to go along in order to balance the taste.

Anyway, Bar Storia del Caffe is now one of my favourite cafe in Bangkok and I will do sure give it many returns.  Give it a try if you have not yet been there. Enjoy.

almond cake (THB100)

bread and butter pudding (THB180)

another view of bread and butter pudding

Bar Storia del Caffe @ Eight Thonglor, Bangkok
Floor G Eight Thonglor
Soi Thonglor 8
Sukhumvit 55 Road
Khlong Ton Nuea, Wattana
Bangkok 10110

Open Hours: 08:30am - 08:30pm daily
Tel: +66 (0) 2714 9301

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ridge Vineyards Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Date of Tasting: 19 April 2013
Wine Type: Red
Grape Varieties: 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot
Alcohol: 13.7%
Origin: California, USA
Appellation: Santa Cruz Mountains
Expect to Pay: THB1,500 - 2,500 (retail price in Thailand)
Chubby Score: 90/100
Value for money: 7/10
Professional Rating: RP - 91/100, WE - 87/100, JR - 17.5/20, DC - 17.3/20

Appearance: thick purplish red in colour
Aroma: expressive and rich aroma red fruits and spices
Palate: spectacular note of vanilla and currants followed by oaky touch, smooth and fine tannins and yet sweet notes, senses of coffee and licorice, mineral and fresh acids to balance, classic, medium-full bodied style

Twice in a row that I had visited Scarlett at Pullman G Bangkok and could not resist to order this bottle from the list. It was so fine and yet elegant. Perfect with decent food. Everyone on the table enjoyed the bottle nicely. Mild sweetness with acidity make this wine really splendid with food. Enjoy it over the next 5 years or a decade perhaps. Will raise more glasses for this wine personally.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Domaine des Hauts de Loire @ Onzain, Loire Valley, France

Cuisine: French
Price: EUR110 per person (what I paid for)
Visited: 2 May 2013
Food: 8/10
Atmosphere: 10/10
Value for money: 9/10
Services: 9/10

If you happen to be visiting Loire Valley and are thinking of a fine cuisine with excellent surrounding, Domaine des Hauts de Loire at Onzain may be an answer. The place is kind of isolated in the rural area of Loire region: driving at night to search for this place can be difficult as there are hardly street light along the way (T.T)"  Upon arrival, I was already impressed with the beautiful building of the domaine which is like a mansion in small forest.

entrance sign to Domaine des Hauts de Loire

the beautiful building of Domaine des Hauts de Loire

a member of Relais & Chateaux

The dining room is cosy and elegant and decorated in yellow tone. It is spacious with perhaps 25 tables or more in total. Staffs are up to its standard: friendly and helpful as well as having good knowledge. The good impression with this restaurant was that it is somewhat grand but it did not give us the harsh and heavy feeling like many other fine restaurants.

elegant and beautiful dining room

yellow theme ^^

cutlery setting

For the night, there were 4 of us and we decided to go for the 5-courses menu which costed EUR96 each. To accompany the night, we asked the sommelier for an advice on a bottle of local wine selection. The recommendation was Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray demi sec Foreau 2002 (92 pts). Though the price of EUR45 was around double of high-street price, it was surely a deadly gorgeous bottle of off-dry chenin blanc based white wine. The appearance was yellowish green. On the nose, it presented sweet aroma of apricot and peach. It was slightly sweet on the palate but balanced well with crisp acidity. Cool and remarkable. It offered complex lime and apple flavour. Good quality bottle at its matured peak indeed.

menu of the night

bread choices....lovely indeed

Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Demi Sec Foreau 2002

As usual, before starting of our courses, a few of small dishes were served to get our stomachs a start. The first one was crab tartare with strawberry and avocado (6/10). My first impression was not so well with the standard of 2 Michelin Stars restaurant. Though it was fresh and light which is great for 1st course but the sweetness of strawberry did not seem to pair splendidly with crab.

The next one was foie gras with apricot and wrapped duck (8/10). This one was better in term of my expectation. A really awesome smooth and creamy foie gras with tender duck wrapped as outside layer.

crab tartare with strawberry and avocado

foie gras with apricot

foie gras with apricot and wrapped duck

foie gras zoomed up

The last of pre-courses was salmon with sesame and beetroot terrine (9/10). This was a near perfect dish. The smoke salmon was little salty but so balance when having together with beetroot terrine. The sesame offered a step more complex dimension. I just love this plate.

beetroot terrine

salmon with sesame and beetroot terrine

zoomed up to salmon

Now let's see the ordered courses. The starter was eel as salad with fried bread and celery seeds, shallots dressing (8/10). Apart from Japanese food, eel can be a rare ingredient in typical restaurant. Eel was fried to delicious crispness. To me it tasted more like white fish rather than eel for the texture. It was just a simple salad dish but fine ingredients offered so much pleasure. The accompanied fried shallots gave fabulous aroma to overall.

eel as salad with fried bread and celery seeds, shallots dressing

top view of eel salad

For seafood course, it was scallops with crispy, crushed shells and truffle, tuberous chervil (7/10). So fine scallops were covered with crispy wraps and served with turnip purée and light touch of cream sauce. This was a delicate dish for the whole picture but the vege taste was not really my kind.

scallops with crispy, crushed shells and truffle, tuberous chervil

cutting of scallop

The highlight of the meal was young pigeon, roast crispy potatoes and colonata lard cacao flavour served with turnip "boule d'or" (9/10). A delicacy of pigeon dish it was. So fine, so tender and so special. This classic dish came with classic gravy jus, fried onion, and mash. Ones would not decline its savoury, I swear. It would be perfect with fine full-bodied red wine.

young pigeon, roast crispy potatoes and colonata lard cacao flavour served with turnip "boule d'or"

another view of delicious pigeon

Pre-dessert dish was of course selection of fine cheese, else season's salad was the second choice. Season's salad (5/10) was just fresh greens with balsamic sauce. It was nice but it was just green salad so it could not be so amazing whatsoever. For cheese selection (8/10), they were selections from local farms and served with fruit bread. So fine and so delicious.

season's salad

cheese trolley

creamy cheese on fruit bread

For desserts, the first choice was polenta vanilla flavour in crispy biscuit, steaming fruits, lychee sorbet (9/10). So fresh and so refreshing, it just washed away after-taste of main courses. Tropical indeed. I particularly like the lychee sorbet: not too sweet and aromatic. The other choice of desserts was chocolate with anis flavour, coffee and caramel "irish", vanilla ice-cream. If chocolate is what you love, then this is the choice for you. Unfortunately, I enjoyed the dishes so much such that I totally forgot to take note of this dessert (T_T)"

All in all, I just wish that I would get another chance to visit this place. So beautiful and so delicate.  A must visit venue.

pre-dessert of chocolate mousse and raspberry

chocolate with anis flavour, coffee and caramel "irish", vanilla ice-cream

polenta vanilla flavour in crispy biscuit, steaming fruits, lychee sorbet

selection of petit fours

chocolate selection

Les Gueules Noires (à la cave Martin) @ Vouvray, France
66 Rue de la Vallee Coquette
Vouvray 37210
Pays de la Loire

Open Hours: n.a.
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