Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Krua Jaew @ Pran Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan - ครัวแจ๋ว @ ปราณบุรี ประจวบคีรีขันธ์

Cuisine: Thai
Charged Price: THB360 per person without alcohol
Visited: 28 October 2015
Food: 6/10
Atmosphere: 5/10
Value for money: 6/10
Services: 4/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Krua Jaew is the one that we often visit in Pran Buri. This seafood restaurant is rather large in size and comfy and is located conveniently along the beach front at Pak Nam Pran (though with division of small road). This place offers enjoyable food at decent price. One little thing to be aware about Krua Jaew is its popularity during public holiday. Make sure about reservation before visiting during public holiday. Otherwise, you should be fine.

Krua Jaew @ Pran Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan

rather large venue at a convenient location

The first dish to arrive was Fried Squid with Salty Egg - ปลาหมึกผัดไข่เค็ม (6/10). Squid with salty egg seems to be my all time favourite dish at any seafood joint whether good, bad, or so-so. For the one Krua Jaew, I would say it was enjoyable, nothing much better than meeting standard expectation. The way sliced chili and spring onion combined well with creaminess and saltiness of salty egg was nice. Only if the blending between squid and salty egg had been more simultaneously, this would be a highlight. Moving on to more spicy dish: Fried Babylon with Chili and Basil - หอยหวานผัดฉ่า (6/10). Babylon is another popular seafood ingredient here. When combining with chili and basil, it turned to be a strong punchy dish. Need a lot of rice to go with this one. Make sure of asking for little chili if you cannot take much hot and spicy.

Fried Squid with Salty Egg - ปลาหมึกผัดไข่เค็ม (THB250)

Fried Babylon with Chili and Basil - หอยหวานผัดฉ่า (THB150)

Omelette with Oyster - ไข่เจียวหอยนางรม (5/10) is another classic dish that is always popular among both kids and adults. The one here was ok. I would prefer it to be fluffier and crispier. Having seafood, it is all about fish for me, not crab or prawn like others would do. Today I had Deep-fried Sea Bass with Sweet and Sour Sauce - ปลากะพงสามรส (6/10) and Boiled Sea Bass with Coconut Milk - เนื้อปลากะพงต้มกะทิ (6/10). The more interesting one was sea bass with coconut milk. It tasted similar to Tom Kha Gai but with fresh sea bass fillet instead of chicken. Weird combination but turned to be nice really. For sea bass with sweet and sour sauce, it was delicious enough to keep the meal going. Crisp texture with yummy sweet and sour sauce.

Omelette with Oyster - ไข่เจียวหอยนางรม (THB120)

Deep-fried Sea Bass with Sweet and Sour Sauce - ปลากะพงสามรส (THB400)

Boiled Sea Bass with Coconut Milk - เนื้อปลากะพงต้มกะทิ (THB150)

During the meal, we also had Chateau le Puy Rose-Marie 2014 to accompany. Its crispiness and fruity character seemed to go rather nice with seafood. In fact, any fruity white wine or off-dry white wine or sparkling wine would be tremendous. But never red wine for strong and spicy Thai food in my opinion. Anyway, Krua Jaew at Pak Nam Pran is a decent one. Not cheap but it at least presents rather good value to money for its location and quality. By the way, just ignore the service here. Staffs seemed like robot. No interaction apart from taking order at all. Bland is the word perhaps.

Chateau le Puy Rose-Marie 2014

another seafood meal

Krua Jaew @ Pran Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan - ครัวแจ๋ว @ ปราณบุรี ประจวบคีรีขันธ์
486/9  Moo 2
Pak Nam Pran, Pran Buri
Prachuap Khiri Khan

Open Hours: daily from 08:00am - 10:00pm

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Chateau le Puy Rose-Marie 2014

Date of Tasting: 28 October 2015
Wine Type: Rose
Grape Varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère
Alcohol: 13%
Origin: Cotes de Bordeaux Francs, France
Appellation: Cotes de Bordeaux
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR50
Chubby Appreciation: 92/100
Critics' Opinion: n.a.

Appearance: Dark pink but bright, almost ruby like red wine.
Aroma: Fresh garden/forest floor and earth with red berries aroma.
Palate: Smooth texture with medium-bodied compound. Bright and juicy. Clean cut acidity. Red berries note. Complex too.

Beautiful but unique. It has so much of distinct personality. Perhaps it is because of biodynamic and terrior thingy. Those forest floor and garden breeze seemed to hit the nose determinedly. Forget those others clairet you may have experienced. Oh....almost forgot, the word I had been looking for is cough medicine syrup. Surely you must have experienced this thing when you were young. Yes, it did have aroma and did taste a bit like cough medicine syrup but just barely though. Anyway, I had this along with seafood and it was enjoyable. Well, enjoy it within a few years upon released, I guess. Interesting rose wine as an experience and the blend too. Cheers!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Sushi Takumi Shingo (寿司匠進吾) @ Aoyama Ichome, Tokyo

Cuisine: Sushi
Charged Price: JPY30,000 per person without alcohol
Visited: 9 November 2015
Food: 9/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Value for money: 8/10
Services: 9/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Sushi Takumi Shingo is another excellent sushi joint among many sushi restaurants in Tokyo. No star, no Michelin thingy but worth a detour. As in usual sushi place, it is very small with sushi counter of max 10 seats only. This place is in a few minutes walk from Aoyamaichome Station. Pretty much convenient but it can be difficult to find. The front door of the restaurant is rather small. We even got lost at first. Luckily, we happened to ask for direction with a lady who happened to be a staff of Sushi Takumi Shingo. Spot on (lol).

Sushi Takumi Shingo (寿司匠進吾) @ Aoyama Ichome, Tokyo

The entrance is a little difficult to spot

At Sushi Takumi Shingo, things were really nice with high quality ingredients. Rather relax ambient. Chef Shingo is friendly too. I am not so sure whether there are choices for sushi course here. But what we had was some 30 kinds of sushi / sashimi / appetiser altogether and the bill came to be around JPY30,000 per head. The meal just went on and on, from 8pm to almost 11pm. Chef Shingo managed the flow fabulously with help from 1 assistant. The flow just did not stop until one point when Chef Shingo asked whether we were full. However, we felt a bit greedy and we ended up having a rather big meal. I will not go through all pieces here. There were too many really. What I can say is that I like this sushi place and will return without camera to fully enjoy it.

Hamaguri (蛤) or Clam

Umi Budou (海ぶどう) - Sea Grapes

Sashimi: Engawa (縁側), Hirame (鮃), Kue (九絵)

Ika (烏賊) - Squid

Aji (鯵) - Horse Mackerel

Akami Zuke (赤身漬け) - Marinated Red Tuna (9/10) was one of the highlight for me. Classic red fillet but packed with flavour. Good contrast between sweet and sour. So tender and smooth. I personally prefer this over chu-toro and o-toro.

Tako (蛸) - Octopus (10/10) was one of the very best you may find. Wonderfully tender to the bite. Not chewy at all. A bit of wasabi and salt paired amazingly well.

Kinmedai (金目鯛) - Splendid Alfonsino (10/10): I like the bit that natural flavour of kinmedai played a big role here. Sweetness of kinmedai with a small touch of shoyu and lightly vinegared rice seemed to come at the balance portion.

Kohada (小鰭) - Gizzard Shad

Akami Zuke (赤身漬け) - Marinated Red Tuna

Tako (蛸) - Octopus

Kaki (牡蠣) - Oyster

Kinmedai (金目鯛) - Splendid Alfonsino

Kuruma Ebi (車海老) - Prawn

Hokki Gai (北寄貝) - Surf Clam (9/10) was a big piece of bouncily tender surf clam. It came along with chili powder. If it was blind tasting, I might even think it was great quality of grilled squid. Anyway, you may forget those typical hokki gai elsewhere. This is another world of hokki gai.

Sawara (鰆) - Spanish Mackerel (10/10) was another unexpected goody. It gave impression similarly to kinmedai but just less fattiness. By the way, the pickled turnip was so delicious too.

Saba (鯖) - Mackerel

Hokki Gai (北寄貝) - Surf Clam

Sawara (鰆) - Spanish Mackerel

Pickled Turnip

Nishin (鰊) - Herring

Awabi (鮑) - Abalone (10/10) was without doubt the Kaiser of shell in my humble opinion. So soft on the touch. Flavour exploded at the first bite and it went on and on. So long aftertaste. Chef Shingo does surely prepare the very top class abalone here. In my experience, the one that may outclass Sushi Takumi Shingo in term of awabi is Sushi Mizutani.

Shirako (白子) - Fish Milt (10/10) was another undeniable choice here. Creaminess was the key. Lightly sour and a small touch of wasabi went perfectly with its natural sweet taste. I would just love to have more.

Awabi (鮑) - Abalone

Shishamo (柳葉魚) - Willow Leaf Fish

Katsuo (鰹) - Bonito

Shirako (白子) - Fish Milt

Nodo Guro (喉黒) - Black Throat Sea Perch

For those fatty fillet range, buri, chu-toro, and o-toro were delicious but they were all outclassed by Kinmedai Kawa (金目鯛皮) - Skin Part of Alfonsino (10/10). It was the skin part of kinmedai that was lightly torched. With a bit of grated daikon and ponzu, it was heaven on earth.

Buri (鰤) - Amberjack

Chu-Toro (中トロ) - Medium Fatty Tuna

O-Toro (大トロ) - Fatty Tuna

Kinmedai Kawa (金目鯛皮) - Skin Part of Alfonsino

Pickled Radish

Ankimo (鮟肝) - Angler Fish Liver (10/10) and Uni (海胆) - Sea Urchin (10/10) were just incredible. I went speechless with these two. Heart-melting bites. For ankimo, there seemed to be a thin slice of daikon inserted inside to give another dimension too (if I was not wrong). 

Ankimo (鮟肝) - Angler Fish Liver

Ikura (いくら) - Salmon Roe

Sulmi Ika (鯣烏賊) - Flying Squid

Uni (海胆) - Sea Urchin

Amadai (甘鯛) - Tile-fish

Aoyagi (青柳) - Trough Shell

The meal ended with 2 kinds of tamagoyaki: one with ebi (shrimp) and one with fish dashi. Both were good but still not great. Choices of dessert were sorbet. I opted for pear sorbet and it was at satisfaction.

In short, thank God I found you.

Hand-rolled Toro

Tamagoyaki (卵焼) - Sweet Omelette

Pear Sorbet

Sushi Takumi Shingo (寿司匠進吾) @ Aoyama Ichome, Tokyo
Floor 1 Win Aoyama (ウィン青山)
2-2-15 Minamiaoyama
Tokyo 〒107-0062

Open Hours: daily 06:00pm - 11:00pm for dinner
Tel: +81 (0) 3 6434 0074

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Champagne Bollinger La Grand Annee 2004

Date of Tasting: 24 July 2015
Wine Type: Sparkling White
Grape Varieties: Pinot Noir 70%, Chardonnay 30%
Alcohol: 12%
Origin: Ay, France
Appellation: Champagne
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR70
Chubby Appreciation: 93/100
Critics' Opinion: WA - 93/100, AG - 95/100, WS - 94/100, WE - 96/100, ST - 94/100, JR - 18.5/20, CT - 93/100

Appearance: Yellow straw.
Aroma: Toasty nose. Yeasty too. Fruity as well.
Palate: Nice cut of acidity and honey citrus. Orange peel. Hazelnut. Fine mousse. Powerful but yet it was refreshing. Minerally and elegant.

Fine bottle of Champagne to be savoured now. However, there are all means to support development over the decade. It is the matter of strong gut in keeping your hands off to see how it matures in the near future. Had it along with Chinese food and they played along with each other nicely though, especially those not so strong dishes like fish maw soup. If having as aperitif, remind yourself to keep hands off before you don't get a chance to drink other wine.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Laem Thong Seafood @ Kui Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan - แหลมทองซีฟู๊ด ประจวบคีรีขันธ์

Cuisine: Thai
Charged Price: THB150 per person without alcohol
Visited: 28 October 2015
Food: 7/10
Atmosphere: 6/10
Value for money: 10/10
Services: 5/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Usually once a year, we would find our journey to Pran Buri for a short break from Bangkok city and Laem Thong Seafood at Kui Buri is the one destination that we must pay a visit each time. If you are unfamiliar with geography of Thailand, Pran Buri is somewhat two hours and a half South West from Bangkok and Kui Buri is a little further with approx. additional half an hour driving. Laem Thong Seafood is located within Khao Daeng area of Khao Sam Roi Yod National Park. Hence, things there are still fresh and very local.

To arrive at Laem Thong Seafood I would say it is difficult and even more complicated for foreigners. Driving is the only way I would say. Map is provided above and you better follow GPS. However, if you know Pak Nam Pran rather well, driving straight from Pak Nam Pran main road and you will find it on the left hand side which is opposite of Wat Khao Daeng.

Laem Thong Seafood @ Kui Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan

pretty much local and rural atmosphere

fresh air surely

sneaky pussy!!!

Food here is typical local and geared towards Southern style. In case hot and spicy dishes are not friendly to you, just say it out. Otherwise you won't enjoy the meal. The beauty about this place is freshness of ingredients and value for money. One would usually be full within the budget of THB200 a head. Come on, THB200 a head for nice seafood, where else could you find it? I believe each morning the owner will go searching for ingredients with neighbourhood proximity. One of our favourite ingredients that is difficult to find elsewhere is Dumort. For instant, we had Fry Egg with Dumort - ไข่ชุบชะคราม as one of light dishes (7/10). Indeed it is just an ordinary omelette. But the unique flavour of dumort did bring out another dimension.

The other two dishes to begin our meal were Deep-fried Fish Cake - ทอดมันปลา (5/10) and Deep-fried Silver Whiting - ปลาทรายทอดกระเทียม (5/10). Both were not exciting ones but typical enjoyable dishes. The fish cake was not very spicy. The texture was soft but still with chewiness. Silver whiting was fried a little under to my liking. I like the one that the fish is very crisp such that the whole thing can be eaten without worrying much about those tiny bones.

Fry Egg with Dumort - ไข่ชุบชะคราม (THB60)

Deep-fried Fish Cake - ทอดมันปลา (THB70)

Deep-fried Silver Whiting - ปลาทรายทอดกระเทียม (THB100)

Moving on to heavier dishes. Our all time never-miss-to-order dish is Curry of Blue Crab and Dumort - แกงปูชะคราม (8/10). Very aromatic and rich in flavour. Strong abundant but mild to the touch of curry taste. The natural flavour of blue crab and dumort lifted up its sexiness. Godddddd, I barely touched other dishes when this holy thing had arrived. The last two dishes were something most of people will order when having seafood: Tom Yum Silver Perch - ต้มยำปลากะพง (6/10) and Fried Rice with Crab and Prawn - ข้าวผัดปูและกุ้ง (6/10). Nice and decent ones. Thanks to the fresh ingredients.

Well, I personally would say that this little place is an amazing one. I wish it would stay very local atmosphere for years to come. It is so difficult to find good stuff these days. Look at Hua Hin for example. You will find nothing but touristy joints nowadays unless there are secret little places of your own.

Curry of Blue Crab and Dumort - แกงปูชะคราม (THB120)

zooming onto blue crab

Tom Yum Silver Perch - ต้มยำปลากะพง (THB120)

Fried Rice with Crab and Prawn - ข้าวผัดปูและกุ้ง (THB100)

Laem Thong Seafood @ Kui Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan - แหลมทองซีฟู๊ด ประจวบคีรีขันธ์
Rural Road PorKor. 4020
Khao Daeng, Kui Buri
Prachuap Khiri Khan

Open Hours: daily from 09:00am - 08:00pm
Tel: +66 (0) 89 549 4992
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