Sunday, November 29, 2015

Marchesi de Frescobaldi Tenuta di Castelgiocondo Lamaione 2008

Date of Tasting: 26 July 2015
Wine Type: Red
Grape Varieties: 100% Merlot
Alcohol: 15%
Origin: Tuscany, Italy
Appellation: Toscana IGT
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR60
Chubby Appreciation: 92/100
Critics' Opinion: WA - 92/100, JS - 93/100, CT - 90/100

Appearance: Dark purplish red.
Aroma: Sweet dark fruits and licorice with touches of herbs and smokiness. Breeze of cool mint.
Palate: Big and dense but velvety. Sweet and smooth tannins. Persistent flavour of fruit notes. Lingering but not complex.

Exciting? Might be not. Enjoyable? Oh, yes. To me, it is not a wow wine. It seems to lack characters but nice aroma and not overwhelmed with oak. Nevertheless, its silkiness and feminine side of this Merlot based red wine from Tuscany should make it a wonderful pair with rich dishes. Lamaione 2008 is now accessible. I did pop it up an hour before consumption and it was at satisfaction. Not much of acidity to support, hence, not over a decade to go perhaps for this one.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Peko @ Soi Sukhumvit 49, Bangkok - เปโค @ ซอยสุขุมวิท 49 กรุงเทพฯ

Cuisine: Steak / Japanese
Charged Price: THB420 per person without alcohol
Visited: 11 October 2015
Food: 6/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Value for money: 6/10
Services: 6/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

It was one cloudy Sunday when we were heading our way to have lunch at a noodle street food stall in Soi Sukhumvit 49 and we found out that there was no parking space at all along the street. An immediate notice of Peko, which is just a small house, with its lunch set advert board was spotted. Without hesitation due to hungriness, our car turned right in and here we were.

First thing we spotted is that the place is lovely decorated in country style. As we settled down, I noticed the surrounding carefully and OMG, there was no local at all but Japanese only. Ok, this must be a rather good one with local taste. Without fail, the meal was good enough indeed. However, often local people here might prefer strong taste while many Japanese dishes are somewhat lighter. This place too it might be soft in term of taste but I do like the overall balance though.

Peko @ Soi Sukhumvit 49, Bangkok


country atmosphere

Peko = Cow in local language

lunch set advert board

Most of dishes here are steak or beef based dishes. The owner of Peko is from Hokkaido and owns a cattle farm called "Ohira Ranch". Cattles at Ohira Ranch are crossbreed between Wagyu and Holstein. An excellent hybrid surely. Often Wagyu is too fatty and is not suitable for steak but undeniably wonderful for shabu shabu and sukiyaki, while Holstein is lean but packed with flavour of red meat. This crossbreed then gives both excellent flavour and tenderness.

During lunch time, they only serve lunch sets which were rather nice in fact. We had Burgersteak Set (6/10) and Beef Stew Set (6/10). Both sets came with a choice of bread or rice, salad of sesame or caesar dressing, and soft drink. Both burgersteak and stew were enjoyable. The stew was prepared with demi glace sauce base, so as the burgersteak (I believe). The demi glace was rich and flavourful which went along well with Ohira beef.

Definitely, we did enjoy the lunch set here. Next time we shall return for dinner and surely we must taste steak with Ohira beef to see how it goes. At this juncture, I personally suppose it should be awesome but let keep fingers crossed for the time being.

Sesame Salad and Caesar Salad

Burgersteak Set (THB390)

Beef Stew Set (THB390)

Grapefruit Juice and Oolong Tea

Peko @ Soi Sukhumvit 49, Bangkok - เปโค @ ซอยสุขุมวิท 49  กรุงเทพฯ
5/15 Soi Sukhumvit 49
Sukhumvit Road
Khlong Toei Nuea, Wattana
Bangkok 10110

Open Hours: Tue-Sun from 11:30am - 02:00pm for lunch and 05:30pm - 10:00pm for dinner
Tel: +66 (0) 83 542 3199

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Joh Jos Prum Riesling Auslese Wehlener Sonnenuhr 2005

Date of Tasting: 13 July 2015
Wine Type: White
Grape Varieties: 100% Riesling
Alcohol: 7.0%
Origin: Mosel, Germany
Appellation: Auslese
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR70
Chubby Appreciation: 95/100
Critics' Opinion: WS - 97/100, WE - 95/100, ST - 94/100, JR - 17.5/20, CT - 93/100

Appearance: Gold.
Aroma: Bouquet of peach, apple, citrus, and acacia.
Palate: Adequate richness on the structure. Sweet and fine tropical fruits and undertone apple and lemon. Overshadowed fresh acidity. Elegant minerality. Spicy notes too. Long and lingering.

Stunning I was. So much joy from this bottle of sweet wine. There are purity but yet at the same time punchiness. I had this bottle along with Thai food and I found accomplishment. The balance between spiciness of Thai food and sweetness of this auslese was the key. Nevertheless, it can even be sipped as aperitif. I guess fruity dessert should also be a good companion. At this price, I wouldn't mind stocking up more at all. It is beautiful now and shall maintain its charm for many more years. Great job.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Define Cafe @ Rama 3 Road, Bangkok - ดีไฟน์ คาเฟ่ @ ถนนพระราม 3 กรุงเทพฯ

Cuisine: Cafe
Charged Price: THB140 per person without alcohol
Visited: 10 October 2015
Food: 3/10
Atmosphere: 5/10
Value for money: 3/10
Services: 5/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Unarguably, hipster cafes have been spreading out everywhere in major cities. Bangkok is not exception. Especially within city centre, you may probably find cafe literally every corner of streets. Here on Rama 3 Road, within Soi 73 and on floor G of Siamese Nang Linchi, there is another hipster cafe that has not long been opened. It's "Define Cafe". Like many of its peers, the place is kept simply plain and white. Yes, it looks tidy and clean at this juncture. But to me, it is kind of boring really. If you are thinking of visiting this little place, driving is perhaps the only convenient way. You may park at Siamese Nang Linchee and have the parking ticket stamped for 2 hours free parking.

Define Cafe @ Rama 3 Road, Bangkok

located on floor G of Siamese Nang Linchi

bright and white atmosphere

stool corner

The menu is just like other places which comprises of typical coffee based beverage, a bit of frappe, and some alternative choices for non-coffee people. On the pricing wise, it is not expensive but not cheap. There are some hot food being served too. It was almost lunch time when we visited. So, why not at all to try something. The Breakfast Set (4/10) was then ordered. It comprised of toasts, scrambled eggs, ham, sausage, and cheese. Honestly, it is just edible in my light of view. Very plain and basic quality stuff. Everyone can just make this themselves at home within 5 - 10 minutes. Why would I bother having this kind of food if I do not live in Siamese Nang Linchi and do not have time to cook breakfast.

menu board

just things on counter

Breakfast Set (THB120)

For beverage, we had Cafe Latte (3/10) and Hojicha Latte (3/10). I noticed that coffee beans are from Pacamara which guarantees decent quality. However, their brewing skill is unacceptable honestly. My expectation had been high but there was only disappointment. The espresso seemed to be under-extracted. The milk foam was rough. Oh yes, latte art was attempted but it was like broken art really.

For this another hipster cafe, there is no way I will return to this place unless they decide to hire a proper barista. An urgent improvement is highly needed here.


Cafe Latte (THB70)

Hojicha Latte (THB90)

Define Cafe @ Rama 3 Road, Bangkok - ดีไฟน์ คาเฟ่ @ ถนนพระราม 3  กรุงเทพฯ
Floor G, Siamese Nang Linchi
Soi 73 of Rama 3 Road
Yan Nawa
Bangkok 10120

Open Hours: daily from 08:00am - 09:00pm for Mon - Fri, 09:00am - 09:00pm for Sat, and 09:00am - 06:00pm for Sun
Tel: +66 (0) 80 083 8833

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin Chablis Premier Cru Montee de Tonnerre 2013

Date of Tasting: 10 May 2015
Wine Type: White
Grape Varieties: 100% Chardonnay
Alcohol: 13.5%
Origin: Burgundy, France
Appellation: Chablis 1er Cru AOC
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR30
Chubby Appreciation: 92/100
Critics' Opinion: WA - 94/100, AG - 94/100, ST - 93/100, BH - 93/100, DC - 93/100, CT - 91/100

Appearance: Yellow straw.
Aroma: Classic lemony apple nose. Some white fruits and a bit of floral aroma.
Palate: Medium bodied on the texture. Full of minerality. Crisp and juicy. Abundant of citrus notes and smokiness. 

There are joys within this bottle of Chablis. I believe with or without food is perfectly fine. Not exactly easy drinking kind. I would say extrovert. Wonderful now actually but with its intense structure and acidity it should live its life for many years. Let's see how it develops in a few years.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Gokfayuen @ Soi Thonglor 9, Bangkok - ก๊กฟ๊าหยุน @ ซอยทองหล่อ 9 กรุงเทพฯ

Cuisine: Chinese
Charged Price: THB230 per person without alcohol
Visited: 6 September 2015
Food: 6/10
Atmosphere: 5/10
Value for money: 6/10
Services: 5/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Looking for Hong Kong style wuntunmeen or simply noodle with dumplings in Bangkok, here is one in Thonglor 9, "Gokfayuen". It is just a small shop of a commercial building. The place can accommodate probably around 20 visitors at a time only. Gokfayuen can be really busy during lunch time at weekends. However, it is at least convenient that it opens all day from 11am to midnight. Some tips for visiting here: 1) do not come in a large group and 2) if you do drive, just park anywhere along Thonglor near the restaurant as there are only 1 or 2 lots in front of Gokfayuen.

Gokfayuen: The Original Hong Kong Wuntunmeen

no fuss atmosphere!!!!

Unfortunately, I did go for noodle at all so I cannot really comment on that. For soup base dishes, we had Jin Wuntun (shrimp dumplings) - เกี๊ยวกุ้งน้ำ (6/10) and Jin Ngou Lam (braised beef) - เนื้อตุ๋น (6/10). Both were decent. Jin Wuntun gave more freshness whilst Jin Ngou Lam was rich in flavour. The braised beef was rather tender. When coming to shrimp dumplings, I personally usually look for complexity of the soup. The one here is nice enough but I expect more than just that. Both dishes should be great with noodle. Next time I will surely order with noodle.

Jin Wuntun - เกี๊ยวกุ้งน้ำ (THB119 for 8 pieces)

decent in size and delicious in mouth

Jin Ngou Lam (braised beef) - เนื้อตุ๋น (THB139)

tender braised beef with turnip

Along with the above two soup dishes, we also ordered Jin Cha Siu (bbq pork) - หมูแดง (5/10) which is perhaps one of the most famous Hong Kong dish. So I did not hesitate to go for it. I was good. Again, just good. Tender but not quite there yet. Some part was still tough. Flavour did not explode throughout. Quite expensive for bbq pork. With the pricing of THB139 for approx. 10 pieces or less. Lastly, we had Hong Kong Style Boiled Chicken Rice - ข้าวไก่นุ่ม (6/10). This one was delicious too. Tender and flavourful pieces of chicken paired nicely with the ginger/spring onion sauce. In my opinion, the proportion between rice and chicken was somewhat mismatching. I wouldn't mind paying more with larger portion of chicken. For HK Chilled Milk Tea - ชานมเย็น (5/10), it was just an ordinary milk tea but enjoyable. Plus point is it is not overly sweetened. 

Jin Cha Siu (bbq pork) - หมูแดง (THB139)

Hong Kong Style Boiled Chicken Rice - ข้าวไก่นุ่ม (THB79)

HK Chilled Milk Tea - ชานมเย็น (THB39)

Gokfayuen might not be the very top Hong Kong style joint just yet but it is decent enough for Bangkok. As I was strolling out of the restaurant, I saw a post of congee and it looked great. That would be my order during the next visit. By the way, Gokfayuen also do the loyalty card programme thing. Each dish you order, you get 1 stamp. With 9 stamps, you get 1 dish for free during the next visit. Not a bad deal huhhh???

loyalty card

wanna try congee

Gokfayuen @ Soi Thonglor 9, Bangkok - ก๊กฟ๊าหยุน @ ซอยทองหล่อ 9 กรุงเทพฯ
161/7 Soi Thonglor 9
Sukhumvit Road
Khlong Tan Nuea, Wattana
Bangkok 10110

Open Hours: daily from 11:00am - 00:00am
Tel: +66 (0) 2712 5779

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Domaine Ostertag Pinot Gris Grand Cru Muenchberg A360P 2013

Date of Tasting: 15 July 2015
Wine Type: White
Grape Varieties: 100% Pinot Gris
Alcohol: 13.5%
Origin: Alsace, France
Appellation: Alsace Grand Cru
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR50
Chubby Appreciation: 94/100
Critics' Opinion: CT - 92/100

Appearance: Golden yellow.
Aroma: Floral, limestone, mild citrus and pineapple.
Palate: Somewhat big boy for white wine on the palate but elegant. Light touch of oakiness. Lemon zest and apple. Spicy notes of ginger. Fresh. Deep and long.

Such a rare beauty. More than 20 years old vine with limited quantity which is only 0.40 Ha planted with Pinot Gris. And indeed biodynamic. Dry in style. To me, this is a wonderful expression with complexity and depth. The integration of floral, minerality, and oakiness is gorgeous. There are things going on and on. At the first thought, it seemed elegant. However, after a long flight it could be noticed that this is more of dramatic. Long evolution. It is beautiful at its youth but it should live its life well through. The hard bit is how to keep my hands off and let it evolve.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Hot Day in Brighton with Fabulous Tea and Gelato

Here are two little places in Brighton in which they were never there when I was living in Brighton. It was a hot day when I paid a visit to this little beach town. As I was strolling from Brighton Pier through Pool Valley, I popped by a gelato shop called Boho Gelato in Pool Valley before stopped by Blackbird Tea Rooms for afternoon tea chitchat with my cousin. But hey, these two places were awesome, especially, Boho Gelato. What a delicious ice-cream.

Blackbird Tea Rooms @ Brighton

Charged Price: GBP7.00 per person
Visited: 1 July 2015
Food: 8/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Value for money: 8/10
Services: 7/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Blackbird Tea Rooms is located in the famous shopping area of Brighton, The Lanes. It is rather small. The atmosphere is lovely which would bring you back to the rustic old time of England. It was a fine summer day when we paid a visit to Blackbird and we were fortunate to be able to grab a table in the backyard. There were on a few tables there in the backyard. Believe me it could be great sipping tea in the old fashion atmosphere here but it was fantastic, in my view, in the backyard on a fine day.

Blackbird Tea Rooms store front

getting more rustic inside

old fashion counter

a perfect day for courtyard afternoon tea

Typical and classic afternoon tea here. We had Cream Tea and Banana, Pecan & Date Cake and we did not disappoint. Scone came in a big chunk. It was not just about the size of scone here. It was delicious too. Soft on the touch and delicate. Wonderful scone indeed. The cake was as well in par with scone. Large slice and yummy. Perfect with its frosting. As for tea, there were around 10+ choices ranging from something classic to more exotic choices: English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Rose Congou, Rooibos, and etc.

In short, this is an excellent place to stop by for tea, snack, and dessert. A must return for me (if I have a chance).

our afternoon break treat

Cream Tea (GBP6.00)

delicious scone with jam and clotted cream

Banana, Pecan & Date Cake (GBP3.90)

Blackbird Tea Rooms @ Brighton
30 Ship Street
United Kingdom

Open Hours: daily from 08:30am - 05:30pm
Tel: +44 (0) 1273 249 454


Boho Gelato @ Brighton

Charged Price: GBP2.40 per person
Visited: 1 July 2015
Food: 9/10
Atmosphere: n.m.
Value for money: 8/10
Services: n.m.
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Needless to say much about Boho Gelato. It is just a tiny shop with all about ice-cream. There are somewhat 24 flavours daily here. Again flavour ranges from something classic to exotic ice-cream. So so delicious ice-cream here. It was smooth, it was creamy, it was delicate, and yet flavourful. I had Cucumber and Rose on a cone on such a hot day and it was wowwww. Cucumber and Rose, what a combination. It somehow support each other pretty well. Freshness of cucumber seems to go unexpectedly well with aroma of rose. I miss it already as I am typing now. In two words, "MUST VISIT".

Cucumber and Rose on Cone (GBP2.40)

mini store of Boho

the menu board

Boho Gelato @ Brighton
6 Pool Valley
United Kingdom

Open Hours: daily from 11:00am - 06:00pm

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Domaine Jean Tardy et Fils Vosne-Romanee Vigneux 2012

Date of Tasting: 9 June 2015
Wine Type: Red
Grape Varieties: 100% Pinot Noir
Alcohol: 13%
Origin: Burgundy, France
Appellation: Vosne-Romanee AOC
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR60
Chubby Appreciation: 89/100
Critics' Opinion: WA - 93/100, JR - 16/20, BH - 91/100, CT - 89/100

Appearance: Bright ruby.
Aroma: Mild floral aroma. A bit of cherry and spices.
Palate: Medium-bodied structure. Fine and smooth on the touch. Ripe pinot fruits. A bit of oak. 

Good village Vosne-Romanee but rather pricey. Both bouquet and palate taste do not seem to reveal its potential much at the moment. Perhaps a couple of years more of sleeping shall awake its form up. Expect to see more of complexity, minerality, and aroma from this one. 

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