Archive for July, 2010

I wish this next place is in Hong Kong, but alas, it was one of my London stops from my trip earlier in May. C/G and I were on the hunt for a cheap-yet-tasty eatery in London which – as anyone who’s been there knows – is about as easy as pilfering the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. Fortunately for me, C/G lived in London for a while before we worked together, and recommended Nando’s for our budget dinner.


It was a little crowded when we walked in around 7:30 but we were able to get a seat right away. Ordering here is half table service, half self service. After we were seated with the menu, we had to place our orders at the counter. The peri peri chicken, or chicken soaked in a Portugese marinade (with roots in Mozambique; the Nando’s chain itself started in South Africa) was the main attraction. Peri peri is the name in Swahili (pili pili) of a small chili, one of the main ingredients in a marinade with lemon, vinegar, etc.

Chicken choices galore

C/G ordered a half chicken with two sides and I, less ambitious, got a quarter chicken with two sides. When the plates came, portions were huge! My quarter chicken was sizeable, but as it tasted so juicy and tangy, it wasn’t a chore to polish it off. I expected the peri-peri to be a bit more spicy, but I actually had to liberally douse my meat with some of the additional bottles of sauce lying around. When you order you can choose your peri-peri spiciness, from mild, hot, extra hot, or lemon and herb; I guess I overestimated the “hot”. Next time I’ll get the extra hot…and put more sauce on! Anyways, the mashed potatoes I had for one of my sides was smooth and buttery. Definitely something I would hoard by the bowl.

Quarter chicken with my two (yes, two) potato sides

C/G's half chicken with savory Spanish rice

We left the place stuffed and happy. Always a good combination. I wish they had these places in HK; they’re as close as Singapore and KL but no dice here in the SAR. Guess that means I’ll be searching for cheap fares to Singapore, Inc…

10 Frith Street
(44) 02 7494 0932
Cost: ~ 6.50 – 10 GBP for chicken with two sides


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Well, Mr. Robuchon, you’re a genius.

P and I came to this conclusion last Tuesday. In honor of P’s birthday, we booked a table for lunch at Robuchon a Galera in the Hotel Lisboa of Macau. With its three Michelin stars and sterling reputation, it definitely seemed splurge-worthy. I downloaded the set lunch menu in advance, studied it well, and prepared to be dazzled.

Once P and I stepped into the restaurant, the decor transported us to a posh old-school French dining room. Navy and gold were the predominant colors, and everything was tastefully upholstered, draped, or covered in rich fabrics. After looking at the menu, P ordered a six-course lunch for $638 MOP with two glasses of wine for $220 MOP. I opted for a five-course lunch, which came to $498 MOP.

Our first “course” was not actually listed on the menu – it was the bread basket. These were gourmet breads; one of mine had cheese baked in (gruyere?), another had what seemed like prosciutto, and one was slightly sweet, with a peach jam inside. They came to our table hot, perfect for soaking up our hand-carved butter.

Our basket flow-eth over

My first course was fresh crabmeat on spiced avocado with pomelo jelly and green apples. The crab was almost souffle-like it was so tender, and the avocado was just a bit chunky, the perfect texture to pair. The tiny bits of diced green apples also added a nice crunch. P had the smoke foie gras on top of marinated mushrooms. It was the smoothest foie gras I’ve ever had.

The foie gras

The crabmeat with spiced avocado and pomelo

Our second course was soup, with P getting the sorrel bouillon under a sea-scented froth, topped with caviar. I ordered a shiitake mushroom broth with herbs and foie gras royale. For me the broth stole the show; I couldn’t believe such a small amount had so much mushroom-y taste, and when mixed with the herbs – shredded bits of basil, mint, and sage – it exploded with flavor.

Shiitake broth with herbs and foie gras royale

P’s fish course came next, a back of sea bass with crispy potato chips on top. The contrast between the soft fish and the crunchy potatoes was a clever touch.

I guess you could call them potato "scales"

For our meat course, P and I both chose the hanger steak, and what a great choice that was! It came out the perfect medium-rare, with a pink juicy center. The fried onion slice on the side was a fun garnish, but honestly, the meat was king. It was juicy, chewy yet manageable – just fantastic. It was served with a side of new potatoes covered in a sage butter sauce. As I told P, “Just give me a pot of these and I’ll be happy for life.”

Hanger steak with sauteed shallots

I've never met a potato I didn't like, and these were no exception

Dessert came by on a trolley with nine or ten choices. From assorted tarts to Napoleons to a floating island covered in a sugar-spun dome, everything was tantalizing. We got to pick three, so my choices were a mascarpone cream cheesecake, a slice of the rum baba, and the mille-feuille. Out of the three, the cheesecake was my favorite because it was smooth and creamy-beyond-creamy. The rum baba was a little too soaked in rum for my taste, but the raspberries that came with it were divine. And hey, if you can get drunk off dessert, that’s a pretty nice deal, right? The mille-feuille was flaky and the custard had true vanilla flavor with bits of crushed vanilla bean mixed in. P especially loved his lemon tart with cookie crust.

At this point we were stuffed, but who can turn down dessert?

At the end, when we were too full to think, we were served coffee and tea with candies. The latter was again offered on a beautiful trolley that looked like a cross section of Willie Wonka’s factory with chocolate sticks, lollipops, four kinds of chocolates, caramels… Suffice it to say, P and I just took a few, with the lemon macaroon being our favorite hands-down.

Combined with the excellent service (not to mention P’s great wine pairings),  it was a meal I won’t forget anytime soon.

Robuchon a Galera
3/F, Hotel Lisboa
(853) 8803 7878
Cost: Set lunches from $398 MOP to $638 MOP

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