Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Brunch O'Clock at 22 Kitchen & Bar @ Dusit Thani Bangkok - บรันช์ โอ คล็อก ณ ห้อง 22 คิทเช่น แอนด์ บาร์ @ โรงแรมดุสิตธานี กรุงเทพฯ

Cuisine: International
Charged Price: THB700 per person
Visited: 16 August 2015
Food: 7/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Value for money: 5/10
Services: 6/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

The old French fine dining of Dusit Thani Bangkok has now bee converted to 22 Kitchen & Bar, which is in a more laid back style. Over more it also offers brunch kind of food every Sunday now which starts as early as 10:30am and runs until 03:00pm. If you are not familiar with Silom area in Bangkok, I can say that Dusit Thani Bangkok is by itself a noticeable landmark. It is located right at the corner where Silom Road and Rama IV Road intersect. BTS Saladaeng and MRT Silom are right there. Pretty much convenient to drop by. Driving is also ok for this place.

What I (and perhaps many others) like about this place for a long time is probably the nice view of Bangkok it offers. 22 Kitchen and Bar is, of course, on the 22nd floor of Dusit Thani Bangkok. The whole floor itself is the restaurant and there are many window seats. The view, in my opinion, is decent enough. It might not be as wonderful as those on higher floors. But it at least would offer those who seek romantic moment at night.

22 Kitchen & Bar @ Dusit Thani Bangkok

the bar of the restaurant

comfortable seats of 22 Kitchen & Bar

view from 22 Kitchen & Bar

For us, we popped by during brunch on a fine Sunday in August 2015. Instead of the usual bread and butter, 22 Kitchen & Bar chose to use muffins to welcome us. They were Blueberry Muffins and Chocolate Muffins (6/10). Nice and soft. Decent ones.

As it was a rather hot day, iced beverage was a compulsory in this case. We had Wellness Builder and The Activator to cool down. Wellness Builder is a smoothie with a blend of soy milk, blueberries, corn flakes, and banana whilst The Activator comprises of peach puree, orange juice, lime juice, and yoghurt. The Activator offered a more refreshing sense in this case. In addition, a pitcher of Singha Michalada was also served as a complimentary. I gotta say that staffs were pretty friendly and nice. Thanks for Singha Michalada. However, it was not really my kind of cocktail. Spice and heat from tobasco and chilli flakes were overwhelming. It was just too much for my liking.

Blueberry Muffins and Chocolate Muffins

Wellness Builder and The Activator (THB180 each)

Singha Michalada (THB850)

For the meal, we could not really resist not to order burgers though we should really have ordered other things that look more like brunch too. We had Double-Double Cheese Burger (7/10) and BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich (7/10). Double-Double Cheese Burger is simply double cheese burger with double patties of wagyu beef. I was told by a staff that each patty weighs around 120 grams. It was nice and juicy burger. Nice flavour too. The jalapeno sauce did its job in bringing another dimension well. It can be noticed that pickles were served on the side instead of putting in the burger. I think do care about customers who do not like pickles. So they let each one of us decides whether pickles should be put in the burger.

As for BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, this was a nice one. Rich in flavour. The tender pulled pork showed well contrast with the slaw inside. I like it. I used to have a rather disappointed experience with pulled pork burger at The Girl and The Pig but this one did change my attitude towards this kind of burger positively.

Overall, I do like this place personally. Though I have not yet tried other kind of food here, at least I can say that their burgers are decent. Nice bun and fillings too. Pricing is unavoidably high as it is a restaurant in a 5-stars hotel. Good food, nice view, and friendly service are what you pay for here. But lastly my favourite burger joint in Bangkok is still Papa's Kitchen on Phattanakarn Road though.

Double-Double Cheese Burger (THB450)

juicy yummy double patties of 120 gram wagyu

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich (THB340)

Brunch O'Clock at 22 Kitchen & Bar @ Dusit Thani Bangkok - บรันช์ โอ คล็อก ณ ห้อง 22 คิทเช่น แอนด์ บาร์ โรงแรมดุสิตธานี กรุงเทพฯ
Floor 22 Dusit Thani Bangkok
946 Rama IV Road
Bangkok 10500

Open Hours: daily from 06:00pm - 10:00pm for dinner and 10:30am - 03:00pm for Sunday brunch

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Andrea Oberto Barolo Vigneto Albarella 2007

Date of Tasting: 1 July 2015
Wine Type: Red
Grape Varieties: 100% Nebbiolo
Alcohol: 15%
Origin: Piedmont, Italy
Appellation: Barolo DOCG
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR60
Chubby Appreciation: 93/100
Critics' Opinion: WA - 93/100, AG - 92/100, JS - 94/100, ST - 91/100, JR - 17/20

Appearance: Orangery garnet.
Aroma: Floral floor, cherries, mocha and oak.
Palate: Deep and powerful in style. Solid structure with layers of fruits. Mouth-coating tannins. Long and lingering.

Beauty of aroma for this modern style of Barolo. Opulent character. Oak and tannins can be overwhelming at this stage. Decanting is needed, I would say. Otherwise, let it sleep for a while. Though it is modern with ageing of 24 months in all new barriques, it did express attractive aroma. Salute!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

From Bradford-on-Avon to Stow-on-the-Wold

Last time, I shared 2 afternoon tea destination that we felt somewhat disappointed. However, there are those wonderful tea rooms too around Bath and Cotswold areas that I would love to share. Here are ones in Bradford-on-Avon and Stow-on-the-Wold. One is rustic and the other is simplistic. Both were lovely and worth a visit (or visits).

The Bridge Tea Rooms @ Bradford-on-Avon

Charged Price: GBP6.00 per person
Visited: 27 June 2015
Food: 7/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Value for money: 8/10
Services: 6/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

If you happen to be in the small town of Bradford-on-Avon in the west Wiltshire, The Bridge Tea Rooms is one not to be missed. The building of this historic tea room is somewhat over 500 years old. The place is not large and I would say that reservation can be helpful during weekend. It is a small cosy tea room with gorgeous Victorian surrounding. Staffs also dress in old fashion way. For location wise, it is pretty easy to access here too. There are paid parking spaces right opposite the tea room.

Historic building of The Bridge Tea Rooms

cake selection

What we had at The Bridge Tea Rooms were Bridge Cream Tea and Ginger Cake with Lemon Icing. The ginger cake was lovely and dense. Aroma of ginger was noticeable. Lemon icing cut through ginger spice pretty well. The best part here was scones. Scones at this tea room is delicious. I really mean delicious. Smooth and soft but yet fairly dense. Alongside clotted cream was nice, flavourful, and dense. When paring with jam, heaven is within a grasp. It just oozed my day.

For selection of tea, there are some 20+ choices: black tea, blended, white tea, green tea, scented tea, and smoky tea. Good quality too. Needless to say, The Bridge Tea Rooms is a destination of must-visit. Thank God I have found you.

Bridge Cream Tea (GBP7.25) and Ginger Cake with Lemon Icing (GBP3.65)

gorgeous scones with yummy clotted cream and jams

The Bridge Tea Rooms @ Bradford-on-Avon
24a Bridge Street
BA15 1BY
United Kingdom

Open Hours: Mon - Fri: 09:30am - 05:00pm
Sat: 09:30am - 05:30pm
Sun: 10:00am - 05:00pm
Tel: +44 (0) 1225 865 537


Lucy's Tearoom @ Stow-on-the-Wold

Charged Price: GBP5.00 per person
Visited: 29 June 2015
Food: 8/10
Atmosphere: 6/10
Value for money: 8/10
Services: 6/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Here is an excellent one in Stow-on-the-Wold. The place looks so simple, so relax, and so yummy. The place is kept in minimal. There are seats available in the small backyard too. Staffs are lovely. But most of all, it is yummilicious here. Stow-on-the-Wold may be just a small town in Gloucestershire but Lucy's Tearoom is more than just a tea room. It is filled with warmth and delicacy.

fantastic tea room: Lucy's Tearoom

cosy tea room in minimalist style

selection of cakes on the shelf

perfect backyard seats for Summer days

Again, we had a piece of cake and cream tea for our tea break. Apple and Almond Cake (wheat free) was nice enough to sparkle my day. However, Hot Chocolate (GBP2.40 for large) is the one that I might not recommend to anyone. The best of all is definitely scones with clotted cream and jam. Hey....this is just a small tea room in a small town. But the scone is impeccable. It might not look that appealing. When the first bite was tasted, it was another love-at-first-sight for me. So smooth, so soft but a touch of chewiness. Oh well, scones, clotted cream, and jam, you all truly belong to each other.

A must must must visit little tea room. Cheers million times.

Cotswold Cream Tea (GBP7.50)

One of the very best scone so far

Lucy's Tearoom @ Stow-on-the-Wold
The Square
GL54 1AB
United Kingdom

Open Hours: daily from 10:00am - 04:30pm
Tel: +44 (0) 1451 830 000

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Chateau Musar Gaston Hochar 2005

Date of Tasting: 5 July 2015
Wine Type: Red
Grape Varieties: blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, and Carignan
Alcohol: 14%
Origin: Ghazir, Lebanon
Appellation: Bekaa Valley
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR40
Chubby Appreciation: 90/100
Critics' Opinion: CT - 91/100

Appearance: Rusty red.
Aroma: Cedar, spices, tobacco, and black fruits.
Palate: Exhibit baked red and black fruits in medium-full bodied juice. Dark chocolate and tea on the secondary notes. Lively acidity. Velvety tannins.

Not exactly sophisticated but impressive enough. Seemed tightly wound at the beginning and started showing more characters with time. Distinctive personality: elegant but well structured with energy. It is more like Pauillac to me. Long life ahead. Decant for drinking now, I would say.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sushi Omakase by Chef Misaki at Nippon Tei @ Ratchadamri Road, Bangkok - ซูชิ โอมากาเสะ โดย เชฟมิซากิ ร้านนิปปอนเต @ ถนนราชดำริ กรุงเทพฯ

Cuisine: Japanese
Charged Price: THB3,500 per person without alcohol
Visited: 7 August 2015
Food: 8/10
Atmosphere: 6/10
Value for money: 8/10
Services: 9/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

For years I have been a regular customer of Nippon Tei at Ratchadamri branch. Nippon Tei does offer variety of Japanese dishes which are traditional style: from ramen to donburi to sushi. Just over a year ago, they managed to bring in Chef Misaki to run over the sushi counter. Indeed Misaki San does perform his role pretty well. I do personally like his sushi style. It is comparable to those in Japan. For those who have never been to Nippon Tei, it is pretty easy to access here. If you come via BTS, just drop off Ratchdamri station and Nantawan Building is right there. For those who drive, there are plenty of spaces to park in the building.

Sushi Omakase by Chef Misaki at Nippon Tei

Chef Masahiro Misaki

For the night, sushi omakase course was priced at THB3,000++ and it came with 2 appetisers, 12 pieces of nigiri, 1 hand-roll, omelette, and soup. Apperisers started with uni with seaweed (7/10). It was light and cold. Fresh with tanginess and balanced out with sweetness of uni. The second starter was grilled tuna (8/10). The fillet was from the head part which offered fattiness and tenderness. The lightly burnt aroma was fabulous. It came along with grated turnip.

appetiser 1: uni with seaweed

appetiser 2: grilled tuna (head meat)

From starters, Misaki San then introduced us to lighter style of fish first: i.e. white fish. Just fyi, it is the traditional practice that wasabi would be grated just when needed, which is the practice here too. For rice, there were 2 different kinds in which I believe one of them had been made with red vinegar. If I have to choose a word to describe texture of rice here, it would probably be "al dente".

The first of nigiri was mako garei (marbled flounder) - 真子鰈 (8/10). This marbled flounder is usually best during Summer and it is now towards the end of the season. It was fresh with natural sweetness. The charming point was chewiness but tender texture. Then it was kisu (Japanese whiting or sand borer) - 鱚 (9/10) to follow. Usually, this can be found all year round in Japanese restaurants. However, Summer tends to be the tastiest season for kisu. The texture of kisu was indeed soft and not fatty. It was bittiness too. You may be familiar with kisu from tempura dish. Then barracuda - 梭子魚 (6/10) was followed. This one was lightly torch-burnt before being served. The aroma was a bit like saba. It was so-so for me but surely some may like this kind of sushi. Before moving on to red fillet, Chef Misaki put 2 pieces of pickled turnip for each of us. It was wonderful. A bit of sweetness and sour. Crisp on the bite. It washed out flavour left behind away.

mako garei (marbled flounder) - 真子鰈

kisu (Japanese whiting or sand borer) - 鱚

barracuda - 梭子魚

pickled turnip

Moving on to red fillet which is a fattier range of fish. The 4th nigiri now was akami zuke (marinated red tuna) - 赤身漬け (10/10). It was the highlight of the meal for me. Perfectly well marinated with balance in flavour: sour and saltiness from shoyu with sweetness and complexity from mirin perhaps. It was supremely tender. It would be difficult not to fall in love. In a short time, chutoro (medium fatty tuna) - 中とろ (9/10) was then followed. Excellent character of melt-in-the-mouth. The effect of sour taste cutting through fattiness was fabulous. The last of this fatty range was nodo-guro (rosy sea bass) - 喉黒 (9/10). It was so  similar to toro in term of texture. Natural sweetness was the key. Combining a bit of burnt bouquet, it was one not to be looked over.

akami zuke (marinated red tuna) - 赤身漬け

chutoro (medium fatty tuna) - 中とろ

nodo-guro (rosy sea bass) - 喉黒

fresh rosy sea bass

The 7th nigiri belonged to snow crab - 楚蟹 (7/10). Crab, for me, was the favourite. This one was nice with sharp character of crab. It was just not my kind but still good. Shinko (baby gizzard shad) - 新子 (8/10) was then followed. Shinko is a baby kohada (gizzard shad). Many might not like this kind of marinated sushi but I do. There were 5 little of them in a bite. I like the fact that citrus aroma from lime zest was distinct such that fishiness had been eliminated. By the way, this is the season of shinko. Out of this season, you may only find kohada. Moving on to shell range. It was tairagai (pen shell clam) - 玉珧 (7/10) for the night. The main character was crunchiness. Not much of flavour though it was rather unique. Next was shima aji (white trevally) - しま鯵 (9/10). Who does not like shima aji? I guess it is difficult to hate it. Not an expensive kind of fish but full of flavour and tender texture.

snow crab - 楚蟹

shinko (baby gizzard shad) - 新子

tairagai (pen shell clam) - 玉珧

shima aji (white trevally) - しま鯵

Ten has passed and the 11th belongs to public favourite: ikura (salmon roe) + uni (sea urchin) - いくら + 海胆 (9/10). Creaminess and sweetness to go with crunchy, salty but sweetie salmon roe, it was just like heaven spooning out each bite. Last of nigiri was then anago (sea eel) - 穴子 (7/10). It came with classic nitsume sauce. It was nice but not yet excellent. The only down point bit was texture. I felt that it was a little overcooked.

After a short while, tuna hand-roll (8/10) was handed over to me. The roll was filled with plenty of fatty tuna from neck part. Only if the nori was crisp, this could be a near perfect roll. As usual, the course came to the end with tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette) - 卵焼き (8/10). Almost like the texture of those famous in Japan. Creamy and smooth. Sweet but not overwhelming. Custard like texture in fact. Miso soup was then followed as usual.

This was an excellent performance by Misaki San and team in my opinion. Service here has as well been at the top notch, including friendliness of Misaki San himself. It was expensive but worth an experience. Personally, I shall return there from time to time.

ikura (salmon roe) + uni (sea urchin) - いくら + 海胆

 anago (sea eel) - 穴子

tuna hand-roll (neck part)

tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette) - 卵焼き

miso soup

Sushi Omakase by Chef Misaki at Nippon Tei @ Ratchadamri Road, Bangkok - ซูชิ โอมากาเสะ โดย เชฟมิซากิ ร้านนิปปอนเต @ ถนนราชดำริ กรุงเทพฯ
Floor B, Nantawan Building
161 Ratchadamri Road
Lumpini, Pathumwan
Bangkok 10330

Open Hours: daily from 11:00am - 02:00pm for lunch and 05:00pm - 10:00pm for dinner

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Chateau Batailley 2007

Date of Tasting: 29 June 2015
Wine Type: Red
Grape Varieties: 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot
Alcohol: 13%
Origin: Bordeaux, France
Appellation: Pauillac AOC, Cinquieme Grand Cru Classe 1855
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR40
Chubby Appreciation: 88/100
Critics' Opinion: AG - 86/100, WS - 83/100, WE - 90/100, FS - 88/100, JR - 16/20, DC - 16/20, CT - 87/100

Appearance: Garnet.
Aroma: Touches of earth, cedar, and herbs with blackcurrant.
Palate: Medium-bodied on the structure with just sufficient fine tannins. Tend towards silky and soft. Extraction of sweet fruits. Lack of concentration and complexity perhaps.

Drank it from a half-bottle and it seemed to be on it declining phase already. Not the kind of classic full and rich as expected but more of purity. Good for experience. Drink now until the end of decade probably.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Tea Time at Lords of the Manor @ Upper Slaughter and Sally Lunn's @ Bath

It was 2 very fine days in the area of West England and in fact it was very hot and unusual for UK. What else could be better than chillaxing with nice cups of tea in the afternoon. One of the day we headed for an al fresco low tea at Lords of the Manor and the other day when we were in Bath we chose to revisited Sally Lunn's after almost a full decade.

Lords of the Manor @ Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire

Charged Price: GBP25.00 per person + 10% service charge for afternoon tea set
Visited: 29 June 2015
Food: 7/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Value for money: 2/10
Services: 7/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Lords of the Manor is a rather prestigious hotel in the area of Upper Slaughter in Gloucestershire. A beautiful hotel indeed. The restaurant of Lords of the Manor also comes with 1 Michelin Star price tag.

As mentioned, it was a beautiful day and why would ones choose to have their tea in the living as usual. Al fresco was without doubt our choice. The front lawn was gorgeous and spacious looking towards the old building of Lords of the Manor.

beautiful Lords of the Manor at Upper Slaughter

al fresco afternoon tea

hotel entrance in monochrome

Afternoon Tea Set (7/10) at Lords of the Manor comes in rather unusual format than other places. I have seen many places that offer free flow format but it is not the case here. The set comprised of finger sandwiches, 2 scones (plain and fruit), and small bites pastries. You may well go for a fancier set with an addition of GBP10 for a glass of Champagne Laurent Perrier Brut.

Sandwiches came in 4 styles: egg mayonnaise and cress, Gloucester cheddar, cucumber, and smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill. Nice but not great in my opinion. Scones were as well in the similar line. Delicious enough but not to die for. It was not as smooth as expected and the clotted cream was lighter than my liking. I am one of those who love thick kind of cream.

For selection of tea, there are about ten kinds to be chosen from. Ranging from classic black tea for consumption with milk to aromatic kind of range to Chinese tea. Delicious selection. To me, this is a beautiful place and it is good for a relaxing afternoon chitchatting with friends or even business talk. But on a nice Summer day only. Otherwise, it would not worth a detour. The afternoon tea set was good but the price tag was ways too high for what you get if without beautiful day and view.

Afternoon Tea Set (GBP25.00)

finger sandwiches

scones with clotted cream and jam

clotted cream and jam on scones is almost the best afternoon treat

small dessert bites

Lords of the Manor @ Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire
Upper Slaughter
GL54 2JD
United Kingdom

Open Hours: Mon - Sat from 12:00pm - 05:30pm and Sun from 03:30pm - 05:30pm
Tel: +44 (0) 1451 820 696


Sally Lunn's @ Bath

Charged Price: GBP9.00 per person without alcohol
Visited: 27 June 2015
Food: 6/10
Atmosphere: 4/10
Value for money: 4/10
Services: 5/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Let me skip the history and legacy of Sally Lunn's and go straight to the point here. For those who have not heard about Sally Lunn's, this is a very very famous tea house that serves its own special bun with tea instead of scone. It is located right in the centre of Bath. You won't miss it. Ask anyone there and they should be able to guide to the direction.

Recalling our previous visit to Sally Lunn's almost a decade ago, I sort of remember that it was one fine Saturday and the place was busy with visitors. Yes, I mean busy and only busy. In contrast, Sally Lunn's now gets super famous amongst tourists and I have to say that it is crowded and packed. The queue was long when we arrived around early afternoon. No, I cannot waste my time with the queue. I decided to do some other things before returning towards late afternoon. By the time, we were seating within 10 minutes but the place was still packed.

The famouse Sally Lunn's at Bath

crowded dining hall

The bun was still as tasty as before. Its half-blood kind of texture was unique. In one sense it feels like brioche and on the other hand, it also contains some touch like scones. If you have not tried, perhaps you wanna give it a go when you are in Bath. I would say that forget about tea here. It was ok, standard quality in small pot. What I would recommend is that trying both savoury and sweet is a good experience. As in our case, we had Sally Lunn Cream Tea, which of course came with clotted cream and jam, and Sally Lunn's Bun with Salt Beef. They both were lovely. The portion can be small and you may expect one to have both savoury and sweet in a meal.

The service here was not so touchy as thought. When a place gets really busy, staffs usually cannot perform at their best capability. In overall, I believe Sally Lunn's has kept its delicacy rather well but it was just the place that was ways too crowded. If I have a chance to revisit Bath, I would not perhaps waste my time visiting Sally Lunn's but go searching some other experience. But this is an opinion of one who had visited the place though.

Sally Lunn Cream Tea (GBP6.98)

Sally Lunn's Bun with Salt Beef (GBP7.68)

Sally Lunn's @ Bath
4 North Parade Passage
United Kingdom

Open Hours: daily from 10:00am - 09:30pm (09:00pm for Sunday and 10:00pm for Friday and Saturday)
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