Monday, November 30, 2015

Savoey Bangkok

Savoey should be a name that's familiar if you are Thai. They have a chain of restaurants in Bangkok, and have been expanding through the years, with their latest extension at Tha Maharaj, by the river where you get an obstructed view of the sunset, and the perfect breeze while dining at night. Whether it's a date, a gathering of friends, or even a family dinner with kids - the venue is perfect.

The menu offers modern Thai dishes, so don't expect curry served in traditional terracotta pots. With a slight twist to their dishes, we enjoyed how they have a wide variety of dishes ranging from appetisers to mains and even dessert, with choices from spicy dishes to those that are not-spicy, ensuring that there's a dish to fit everyone's tastebuds.

For a start, you have to try the Samui's Fresh Oysters served with Thai Condiments. The oysters arrive daily and are freshly shucked only upon your order. Top it off with the condiments offered on the side (shallots, garlic, a special chilli paste and a zest of lime) and you get an explosion of flavours in your mouth that doesn't overpower the freshness of the oyster. The recommend serving is 1 per person but we'll gladly tackle double or triple the portion, anytime.

Another seafood dish that's a must-try is the Fresh Raw Shrimp that marinated in fish sauce and a Thai-style spicy dressing. We were a bit skeptical to have raw prawns but were told that the acidity from the lime actually "cooks" the shrimps a little. The verdict was fresh shrimps that were very tasty and sweet at the same time, and completely safe to consume!

For mains to share, we highly recommend the Special Baked Pineapple Fried Rice that comes served in a pineapple, topped with a generous amount of seafood like fresh crab meat, prawns and pork floss. The rice was extremely robust with flavours and was very addictive after the first mouthful, with bits of fresh pineapple that added a little bit of acidity (in a good way) with every bite.

Other dishes we enjoyed were the Stir-fried Curry Crab and the Sour Tamarind Ragout with Deep Fried Serpent Head - a tangy tomato tasting soup filled with flavours and spice, something very different from the common Tom Yum that we get in Bangkok.

The drinks were also very interesting, with takes like the Sparkling Butterfly Pea Lemongrass Drink, Kale Frappe (yes, the vegetable, kale), Rose Lemon Iced Tea. For desserts, we enjoyed the Coconut Granita that was served with water chestnuts and grass jelly - a refreshing way to end off a hearty seafood meal.

The prices at Savoey are slightly above the average, but the consistency of seafood and the guaranteed freshness makes up for it and explains, making it justifiable. Oh yes, and not forgetting the view of that sunset in the evening. I'd like the food and ambience on repeat, please.

Savoey Restaurant Bangkok
Tha Maharaj
2nd Floor, Building G, Tha Maharaj
Trok Mahathat, Maharaj Rd. In Rattanakosin Island
+66 02-024-1317

This was an invited media tasting.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Steve Cafe & Cuisine Bangkok

Steve Cafe & Cuisine is a Thai restaurant that serves home-made style authentic Thai dishes. Using and promising only the freshest produce used to create every dish, the restaurant that is by the iconic Chaopraya River offers a lovely atmosphere that soaks up the sun-rays in the evening while watching a beautiful unobstructed view of the sunset, to the sound of the water tides as night falls.

Decorated in a retro Chino-Thai style, the option to sit al fresco and breathe in the fresh air from the river is what we highly recommend. Getting to Steve Cafe & Cuisine isn't going to be easy, given that their restaurant by the river isn't exactly very centralised. If you are going by taxi, tell them you are going to the Golden Teak Museum, which is just right behind the restaurant.

For a start, the Mieng Ka Na is one starter that's highly addictive. While it may just look like any simple starter, it actually is an explosion of flavours in your mouth. Wrap the coconut shreds, peanuts, dried shrimps, ginger cubes and lime slices with a sour-spicy peanut sauce and bam, it' so addictive with a burst of flavours that marry each other - a party in your mouth.

A signature dish at Steve Cafe & Cuisine is the Grilled pork with Lemongrass and Chilli. Using fresh lemongrass, the finely chopped minced pork is slapped onto it to resemble a lolly, and grilled with a nice crust of charred golden brown, while still retaining it's moisture on the inside. With a bit of coriander on the side to munch on, the flavour can get a little intense, hence we think one is more than enough for each person.

The other dishes that go fantastic with steamed white rice is the Steamed Mixed Seafood with Curry. Don't expect gravy or sauce, but a dry curry that's infused with egg and the freshest catch of seafood that gives the dish plenty of natural sweetness and crunch with the prawns and squid in it. The other star is the Kaeng Hung Ley Moo, a pork curry that's slightly sweet with a hint of tomato-like flavour that lingers within the layers of pork belly that's melt-in-your-mouth soft.

Don't be too surprised to see gelato and other Italian desserts on the menu as well. Made by the owner's friend, the freshly made Italian desserts are supplied on a weekly basis, just like this Yoghurt Blueberry and Tiramisu that even the owner (Steve) himself, declares his favourite.

Unlike commercialised restaurants, the dishes at Steve Cafe & Cuisine are different in the sense that they stand out and have a traditional touch. If you are looking to savour tasty dishes that originated from the real actual flavours of the country, this place is the place you should go to. We hear that they can get quite pack during dinner, so reservations are highly recommended.

Steve Cafe & Cuisine
68 Sri Ayuthaya Road
Dusit, Vaachiraphayabaan
Soi Sri Ayuthaya 21, Bangkok 10300

This was an invited media tasting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Chao Hostel Bangkok

By now, everyone should know i love Bangkok. It's a city that's beautiful in its own way and it never fails to amaze me each time i visit. Accommodation is essentially important in Bangkok because it will also mean less traveling time and convenience.

The last time i was in Bangkok, i stayed at Siam@Siam. This time, i was glad to be able to try out the rooms at Chao Hostel, which is in the same building as Siam@Siam, but offers rooms at more affordable rates, with a more social friendly concept, just like a dorm.

Chao Hostel offers rooms that are twin bedded (trust me, you'll love the double deck if you are holidaying with a friend), to double bedded ones for couples. If you are on a budget, or have 5 other friends of the same gender who are joining you, the dorm styled rooms will definitely fit what you are looking for.

The concept for the hotel features quality and comfort, with a minimalistic wooden design that runs throughout the hotel - from the friendly reception to the dining area, as well as the rooms. The dining area also features a load of snacks and drinks which are free for all guests to consume throughout the day.

Besides those, Chao Hostel has a laundry room to cater to your laundry needs. The common room, which is an area to relax, features a huge television with cosy beanbags, as well as computers equipped with internet for your working and communication needs. The balcony, also known as a smoking area, is in my opinion, a perfect place with natural sunlight for a fashionable Instagram-worthy shot.

The rooms are Chao Hostel are kept simple and the rates are kept low, yet security is not compromised. Each night, the doors are locked once the receptionists at the front desk go off duty, hence each room key comes with an access pass for you to use during those hours.

Chao Hostel's rates won't burn a hole in your pocket if you are on a trip with a tight budget. In fact, we think that for the location and the quality you get from the rooms and service, the pricing is extremely value for money. This also means i should start planning for my next trip at the end of the year!

Chao Hostel Bangkok
Siam@Siam Building, 8th Floor
865 Rama 1 Road
Wang Mai, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330
+ 66 02 217 3083

This was an invited media session.

Friday, November 6, 2015

District 10 Bar & Grill

Consider this one of the most anticipated posts for 2015 ever since i uploaded a photo on Instagram. Yeap, that's right, it's District 10 Bar & Grill. A lot of friends and followers have been asking about it since weeks ago, and i think it's only right that i don't hold back the beefy-goodness from everyone.

The latest addition by the Bonta Group, District 10 Bar & Grill is located centrally on the ground floor lobby of Suntec City Tower Two. Not to be confused with their other outlet at UE Sqaure (known as District 10 Bar & Restaurant), the grill is different, boasting a meat showcase for its dry-aged meat and fully functional show kitchen where they charcoal-grill their meat to perfection.

If you love love love (yes, i had to repeat it 3 times to get the point across), this is the right place for you. The 45 Days Home Dry Aged Corn Fed US Prime Traditional Fiorentina Steak was served with a dash of olive oil splattered across the wooden board of perfectly grilled steak pieces. To put it more directly, it was nothing short of mouth-watering.

For something more meaty and less fatty, the 45 Days Dry Aged Corn Fed US Prime OP Rib is a good choice. Unlike the latter which i believe has more marbling, this one came of meatier, even though we much preferred the Traditional Fiorentina Steak which we felt came across more flavourful.

On the sides, the Puglia Burrata with Oragnic Cherry Tomato is a great choice for sharing. Also, for desserts, the Bitter Chocolate - Marshmellow Fluff with Caramelized Banana boasts layers and layers of ultimate indulgence, and calories.

Needless to say, this place ranks one of the top if you ask me where can you get a good steak in Singapore. The portions are generally big, so it's best that you go as a group, so that you can enjoy and savour more variety and pick which you prefer. Reservations are also highly recommended as the seating capacity indoor is limited.

District 10 Bar & Grill
3 Temasek Boulevard
Suntec City Mall, #01-514/515
Singapore 038983
+65 6822 2886

This was an invited media tasting.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Roof Gastro Bangkok

Overlooking Bangkok's skyline is The Roof Gastro. Located on the 25th floor, and also the top floor of Siam@Siam Bangkok, the place serves up French cuisine fresh off the grill. The multi-level design restaurant provides every seat on the roof top experience with remarkable angles of Bangkok by night. If you get lucky, you might even get to watch a game or two while having dinner, as some seatings give you a clear view of the National Stadium, which is smacked right opposite the hotel.

From the appetisers, the Pan-seared Tiger Prawns had a nice smoky aroma but we felt that it was slightly overcooked and came off a little too rubbery in texture. If you enjoy your cheese, be sure to try the Roasted Camembert which pairs nicely with a glass of wine, or two.

If you like your red meat, a selection of steaks awaits you, varying from Argentinean Tenderloin to Australian Rib-eye and even Wagyu. We tried the Wagyu and it was served with beautiful medium center, with minimal seasoning so that the natural flavour of the beef wasn't over-powered.

From the selection of seafood dishes, be sure to try the Seabass Fillet which is served with a creamy white sauce and mushrooms, or the Alaskan Scallops which comes served in a portion of 4 generous pieces, also sitting on a bed of white sauce. The seafood in both dishes were extremely fresh, and the sauce (which actually tasted somewhat similar), complimented the seafood in many aspects.

The ambience at The Roof Gastro is something that is worth the experience. With a beautiful view and good food, this place is one that will definitely impress your date, or even if you just intend to hang out with friends over drinks. We also hear that they serve brunch on weekends, as well as cocktails that go on half-price at certain hours. I could only imagine spending my evenings watching the sunset at The Roof over and over again.

The Roof Gastro
Siam@Siam Design Hotel Bangkok
865 Rama 1 Road
Wang Mai, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330
+ 66 (0) 2217 3000

This was an invited media tasting.