Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Portugal - My Voyage of Discovery (Part 2) - Porto

I was waiting at Porto's Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, pacing around in frustration and sheer bloody fatigue after enduring the worst 24 hours of travel in my life.  

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Portugal - My Voyage of Discovery

This is the first in a series of an as yet undetermined number of instalments, covering my trip to Portugal in early April.  A slight change of pace from the usual restaurant reviews  and scathing pieces of social commentary but I hope you enjoy them all the same.

Portugal's national epic, Os Lusíadas by Luís Vaz de Camões, is an grand poetic tribute to the Portuguese voyages of discovery of the 15th and 16th Centuries.  Those voyages were the foundation of the first of the great European maritime empires, their leaders bearing the names of legend: Henry the Navigator, Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan...

Now I'm not suggesting for a moment that I should be mentioned in the same breath as Camões, just noting that this humble series of instalments takes me the other way.  Me, a native of one of the realms that Camões' contemporaries "discovered" for the glory of Empire, travelling in the reverse direction to discover for myself the land of the sons of Lusus, the descendants of Bacchus: Portugal.

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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Review of Lafite, Kuala Lumpur - There's Life in the Old Lady Yet

Maybe it's because I'm still an insecure young whippersnapper, maybe it's because I was not born with a million-dollar trust fund, never in line to rule the world by birthright.   Whatever the reason, I never cease to be dazzled, if only for a second, when I walk into the grand lobby of the Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur.  And much of that halo effect was derived from the hotel's long-time gastronomic crown jewel, the restaurant aptly named Lafite.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Review of Alma by Henrique Sá Pessoa, Lisbon - A True Star

I just got back on Sunday night from a week in Portuguese wine country.  I can't say too much about the trip for now as I am writing an article for Epicure's July edition.  But I need to share something with you, and that is the genius of the chef Henrique Sá Pessoa, who owns the one Michelin-starred Alma restaurant in the heart of Lisbon.

Owner-Chef Henrique Sá Pessoa at Alma's open kitchen

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Jaan and the Mysterious Case of the Heated Mineral Water

I was at Jaan for lunch the other day, my first visit since Julien Royer's departure and the ascension of his faithful sous Kirk Westaway to the top post.

I was expecting brilliance. After all, most of my previous meals at Jaan has coincided with Royer's periodic absences, and Westaway had proven himself numerous times to my delight.  Royer has since won two stars for Odette (while it is very good, I believe that one star would have been a more realistic assessment based on the standard applied by Michelin in France) and Westaway one at Jaan.  If nothing else, there was a forensic interest in seeing if the difference in ranking was justified.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Review of Alma by Juan Amador, Singapore - Good but Unfairly Burdened by Expectations?

What is in a name?  Are you, presumably a discerning diner, entitled to lofty expectations of a restaurant simply because it has a famous star-spangled name attached to it?  If so, can you then expect that the restaurant serves food which, even if it wasn't created by the famous chef, at least bears the same DNA as his (and it is almost always a "he") cooking?  Such were the questions / first world problems seething in my mind as I walked to lunch at Alma by Juan Amador.