Sunday, 4 October 2015

Krua Apsorn, Bangkok, Thailand (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

In researching places to eat in Bangkok, Krua Apsorn was a restaurant repeatedly recommended, including multiple shout outs by David Thompson himself. Something of a Bangkok institution frequented by foodies in the know, Krua Apsorn have a few branches in the city, however the original branch on Samsen Road near Samsen Soi 9 is considered the branch to visit. Although the restaurant does apparently take reservations, their website is in Thai and I wasn't sure if sending them an email in English would be understood, so we decided to chance it and get to the restaurant for their opening. Just as well we did - almost every table was already booked, and waiting outside in the hot weather would not have been very fun at all.

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Saturday, 3 October 2015

Mango Tango @ Siam Square Soi 3, Bangkok, Thailand (Alissa and Don Eat Asia)

After our meal at Thip Samai, Alissa and I wandered down the street in search of one of her all-time favourite desserts - Mango Sticky Rice. Eating this classic Thai dessert at a street food stall was a fun experience, and it was a well made example of the dish. While doing research on Bangkok's best Mango Sticky Rice stalls and stops, I stumbled upon a post by friend of the blog WenY, recommending a very deluxe take featuring Mango Ice Cream and Mango Pudding from a small chain called Mango Tango. Given the heat and humidity of Bangkok's climate the ice cream sounded like a winning addition, and with a Mango Tango outlet just across the road from Siam Centre, it was very conveniently located for a cooling afternoon snack.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Som Tum Nua @ Siam Centre, Bangkok, Thailand (Alissa and Don Eat Asia)

In Australia, we tend to think of food courts as being greatly inferior to 'real' restaurants. This is not an unfair point of view given that every shopping centre food court seems to featuring the same selection of generic brands selling the same unexciting chain store products, there is a certain low quality homogeneity to Australian shopping centre food. This presumption does not follow in many Asian countries, with the food courts in Bangkok's shopping malls featuring a plethora of genuinely excellent places to eat. Having decided to ease our way into Bangkok with a stroll through the main shopping malls of Siam Square and Siam Centre, Alissa and I popped into Som Tum Nua for lunch after hearing good things about the quality of their namesake dish - Som Tum, better known in the English speaking world as Papaya Salad.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Thip Samai, Bangkok, Thailand (Alissa and Don Eat Asia)

After a wonderful five week honeymoon eating our way through Asia in 2013, Alissa and I were excited to head off for the continuing adventures of Alissa and Don Eat Asia in 2015. What started as a Japan trip with stopovers in Bangkok and Hong Kong ended up focusing on our stopovers to the point that we decided to drop Japan altogether - especially with the considerable rise of Bangkok restaurants like Nahm and Gaggan making a convincing case for Thailand as a truly great candidate for destination dining. With the risk of flight delays and missing our reservations meaning Gaggan and Nahm would have to wait until later in the week, Alissa and I headed out for our first meal in Bangkok at Thip Samai - a restaurant said by many to serve the best Pad Thai in Bangkok.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Sarawak Hawker Cuisine, Willetton, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

As much as we love trying new restaurants and visiting unexplored areas in unassuming suburbs, Alissa and I also keep a selection of local restaurants on rotation as regulars for the nights we can't be bothered to cook or drive any great distance away from home. Kai has always been our most visited go-to, however our restaurant of choice for the Singapore/Malaysian Hawker niche has been in a state of flux over the two years. Initially, we used to go to Bull Creek Hawker until we discovered Kitchen Inn, however we felt that the standard of food and service dropped significantly after Kitchen Inn moved to a bigger premises. Thankfully, a tip off lead us to Ah Mei Cafe, which became a fortnightly favourite for their handmade Bakmie Special noodles. Unfortunately, we found that Ah Mei was recently sold and the new owners no longer offer the handmade noodles we used to know and love. Having recently picked up the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide, I read about a recently opened Hawker restaurant in Willetton that specialised in Kolo Mee and Chicken Rice. Both amongst our personal favourite dishes, Alissa and I decided we had to given this new restaurant a try. What started as a single visit has ended up being more than a few occasions, even bringing my parents along to get their opinion last weekend.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Chimek, Fremantle, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

Some dishes seemed destined to be stars of Instragram Food Pornography. From strikingly beautiful desserts like Sepia's Chocolate Forest or something idiosycratic like a Cronut or Tim Ho Wan's crispy take on the Char Siu Bao, these dishes can be found at restaurants at every level from street food to fine dining, but all share one common characteristic - they can be eaten with your eyes. As the prevalence of Food Porn has increased, restaurants seem increasingly driven to make their food interesting looking. The benefit of this is that presentation is given a lot more attention than it used to be, however the down side is that sometimes the visuals are more impressive than the actual taste of the dish itself - and at worst are really just an exercise in viral marketing.

A restaurant that has recently been featured on many a Perth foodie's Instagram feed is Chimek, a stall located in the Fremantle Markets known for their 'famous' black coloured burger buns and Matcha Cheesecake. The Food Porn move definitely worked; Alissa and I were definitely intrigued, and had to find out for ourselves whether Chimek's food was as good as the visuals suggested.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Short Order Burger Co, Fremantle, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia

Friends who know my deep love and almost religious fervour for Ramen Noodles are often surprised by my lack of regard for the western fast food equivalent - the Burger. It's not that I don't like Burgers of course, its just that I'm so often let down by how ordinary even supposedly gourmet burgers are; the amount of times I've asked myself 'is this that much better than McDonald's?' and answered in the negative vastly outweighs the times I've said 'yes'. My image of the Platonic Form of a Perfect Burger is not particularly unreasonable or unusual either - soft brioche style bun, a flavoursome and tender patty cooked rare to medium rare, cheese and pickles, not overly sauced or sloppy and not so big that its hard to take a bite of. And yet, that perfect combo is a real rarity, with the Merrywell Burger the only burger I've written about on the blog that fits the bill. That is, until now.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Sepia, Sydney, New South Wales (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

2015 really seems to be Martin Benn's year. After years making his mark as the Head Chef of Tetsuya's, Sepia - the 3-Hatted restaurant owned by Benn and his wife Vicki Wild - has been named Sydney's best restaurant 3 times in the Good Food Guide in its 6 years of existence, and was voted by a panel of critics, fellow chefs and restaurateurs as the best in the country. Winning the One To Watch Award from San Pellegrino's World's 50 Best Restaurants will undoubtedly mean Sepia's stature is likely to grow internationally, so our eating excursion to Sydney seemed eminently well timed to dine at what is undoubtedly Australia's restaurant of the moment.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Nomad, Surry Hills, New South Wales (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

Nomad at Surry Hills was one of those unexpected finds that pop up when your search for one thing on the internet leads you to something seemingly unrelated. While planning for our upcoming Bangkok trip, I was looking for a travel write up published a few years back where a journalist was taken on a food tour of Bangkok by David Thompson (some people have all the luck!). I found the article in question, but also found a short interview with Thompson where he nominated Nomad as his current favourite place to eat in Sydney. As we just so happened to have a Sydney trip planned before our adventures in Bangkok, this was a very serendipitous tip, and after reading about Nomad's wood fire-focused cooking and the restaurant's hyper artisanal approach to everything from polenta to charcuterie, it was settled - we had to booked a table for two at Nomad.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Cafe Paci, Darlinghurst, New South Wales (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

Alissa and I almost had an opportunity to try the food of Pasi Patanen back when we first started the Ministry of Gluttony. Fresh from our honeymoon eating our way around Asia, we took a brief break from the gluttony upon our return to Perth, before deciding to try the Tuesday night experimental dinner at Co-Op Dining in East Perth as an early Valentine's Day meal. At the end of the meal, we were alerted to the fact that the Tuesday after was going to feature a Riesling Rocks event dinner, with Pasi Patanen flying over to collaborate with Co-Op's chef Kiran Mainwaring for a special one-off menu paired with Riesling - our favourite white varietal. Having spent most of our money overseas and having just dined at Co-Op, it was a bit too soon for a return visit, however reading up about Patanen and his semi-permanent pop-up restaurant left me very intrigued. Located in a building that was former Mexican restaurant Cafe Pacifico, Pasi simply dropped the 'fico' and rechristened it Cafe Paci - a wildly experimental and relatively affordable degustation restaurant. It was only meant to last a year, however when we discovered Cafe Paci was still going strong it became one of the first restaurants that we booked for our Sydney trip.