Sunday, December 29, 2013

Schlossgut Diel : Dorsheimer Pittermannchen Riesling Eiswein 2003 and Nahesteiner Riesling Trocken 2011

Date of Tasting: 22 November 2013
Wine Type: White
Grape Varieties: 100% Riesling
Origin: Nahe, Germany

I was attending a wine dinner event towards the end of November 2013. There were a number of riesling selections to be tasted. Two of them hit me right in the eye, especially the sweet one. Scholossgut Diel Nahesteiner Riesling Trocken 2011 was a fine bottle with reasonable price vs. quality. I would not mind at all to have this excellent bottle to go along a table dry white wine daily. I guess that this bottle may last for a few more years whilst it is excellent to drink now. However, the one I would like to draw attention is Schloss Diel Dorsheimer Pittermannchen Riesling Eiswein 2003. This is an enormous bottle of ice wine. It was so fine, so clean, thick but elegant, and so delicious. The thick juice but low in alcohol paired so well with dessert with berry base. I was so fortunate to have a go with this rare wine: wish I have a chance to stock some in my cellar. Well, if you come across this rare item somehow, do not miss your chance to grab some. Raise many more glass (I wish)!!!!!!

Schlossgut Diel Dorsheimer Pittermannchen Riesling Eiswein 2003
Appellation: Dorsheimer
Alcohol: 7.5%
Expect to Pay: ~ THB10,000 - 15,000
Chubby Score: 98/100
Value for money: 7/10
Professional Rating: n.a.

Appearance: deep golden yellow
Aroma: spectacular sweet white peach and apricot, floral and spices
Palate: luscious yellow liquid, full body but low in alcohol, honey and apricot, citrus oil, fresh and vibrant, excellent acidity to cut the sweetness, well balance, persistent and exciting, go on and on

Schlossgut Diel Nahesteiner Riesling Trocken 2011
Appellation: QbA trocken (Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete)
Alcohol: 13%
Expect to Pay: ~ THB8,000 - 1,500
Chubby Score: 89/100
Value for money: 6/10
Professional Rating: WS - 90/100, JR - 16/20, CT - 88/100

Appearance: lemony yellow
Aroma: fresh mineral, peach, and fragrance
Palate: medium body with crispiness, fresh and fine acidity that balance the structure, harmonious fruits and minerality singing along, light lime and lemon with green apple on the back ground

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Calin : La Boulangerie et Le Cafe @ Eight Thonglor, Bangkok

Cuisine: French / International
Price: THB650 per person without alcohol (what we paid for)
Visited: 30 November 2013
Food: 5/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Value for money: 6/10
Services: 6/10

After a successful year of Calin: La Boulangerie et Le Cafe, we now had a chance to taste the famous French style cafe which is located on the ground floor of Eight Thonglor. Often that we pass by Calin and there will always be a long queue awaiting to be seated. Ok, we are those who do not so much in love with queueing. However, at this occasion it was surprisingly no queue so we did not hesitate to give it a go (perhaps because of the political situation at the time).

The place itself is lovely and chill. It is decorated pretty much to resemble French style cafe: those small marble table, classic wooden chairs, staffs in white shirt and black vest, and etc. There are also outdoor seats. Personally, we prefer the al fresco dining here over indoor seats. Of course, it is cooler inside but the atmosphere can be a little crowded and noisy with tables are close to each other.

Calin @ Eight Thonglor

view in front of Calin

atmosphere and interior

outdoor for al fresco

part of open kitchen

The menu of Calin comprises of mainly classic brunch menu such as egg benedict, viennoiserie, French onion soup, and etc. There are also those popular international dishes available, for examples rocket salad, sandwiches, and pastas.

As for beverage choices, coffee and tea are French brand with Ronnefeldt for tea and Cafes Richard for coffee. There are also some alcoholic beverage available. The cool thing here is the free Calin drinking water. I am certain that there is hardly any restaurant with free drinking water left in Bangkok (of course, profit of drinking is really high): respect the attitude.

On the service side, staffs are pretty much friendly. Only a thing that let us down which was the efficiency of kitchen staffs. Food was slow. The first dish to arrive took 30 minutes and it was on a non-crowded day. Anyway, we did also try both coffee and tea. For coffee, we had Cafe au Lait with Papua New Guinea origin coffee (3/10). I was not so impressed with it. This was supposed to be full body and rich in flavour. It turned out to be too light and the way it was made was not genuine at all. I expect to see barista skill, not the automatic machine from such cafe. For tea, it was Irish Whiskey-Cream (5/10) which is aromatic black tea with assam base. This one was not bad at all. The cocoa and whiskey aroma were pleasant; somewhat like caramel in fact. Only if it was infused properly, that would have been a much better cup of tea.

something I agree

just the menu

tea and coffee selection

Papua New Guinea origin coffee by Cafes Richard

Irish Whiskey Cream by Ronnefeldt

Cafe au Lait (THB130)

the Irish Whiskey Cream tea (THB100)

Moving on to main dishes. It was our fine Saturday lunch/brunch so we decided to have brioche egg benedict with smoked salmon and zucchini (5/10) and croque madam (6/10). The egg benedict was on average from my perspective. The brioche was nice. Egg was well cooked with the creamy runny yolk. Zucchini paired well with smoked salmon. Only if they were more generous with smoked salmon, it would have lifted the overall balance. Croque madam, on the other side, was a more enjoyable classic French dish for me. I kind of like the runny cheese that went fabulously with egg. Love the classic.

brioche egg benedict with smoked salmon and zucchini (THB260)

croque madam (THB260)

For desserts, strawberry millefeuille (4/10) and croissant pudding (5/10) were selected. On the menu, it was gooseberry millefeuille but it turned out to be strawberry millefeuille without informing us. Well, it was not a big deal. The strawberry was not the very best, still sour. The puff was crisp but too thick. Layers of puff did not well rise. Anyway, it was an enjoyable classic dessert. For croissant pudding, I have to mention that croissant pudding is a dessert that I very much fall in love. For the one at Calin, the overall taste was acceptable. However, I wish the texture could be thicker. I looked like the custard sauce did not soak in well and it was not baked long enough.

Well, if you are thinking of visiting Calin just to discover fabulous food, then you may have to rethink. But if counting in the lovely atmosphere, Calin is a place for a lovely weekend indeed. Nevertheless, we will never be in the long queue to be seated at this restaurant, only popping by when it is not crowded should be fine enough. Bon Appetit!!!!!

strawberry millefeuille (THB180)

croissant pudding (THB140)

closer look of croissant pudding

Calin : La Boulangerie et Le Cafe @ Eight Thonglor, Bangkok
Floor G Eight Thonglor
Sukhumvit 55 Road
Khlong Tan Nuea, Wattana
Bangkok 10110

Open Hours: daily from 08:00am - 11:00pm
Tel: +66 (0) 81 586 7305

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Le Pauillac de Latour 2003 by Chateau Latour

Date of Tasting: 19 November 2013
Wine Type: Red
Grape Varieties: ~ 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot
Alcohol: 13%
Origin: Bordeaux, France
Appellation: Pauillac
Expect to Pay: ~ THB3,000 - 5,000
Chubby Score: 92/100
Value for money: 5/10
Professional Rating: WA - 91/100, WS - 88/100, JR - 16.5/20, CT - 90/100

Appearance: bright ruby
Aroma: tar, cocoa, spices, and berries
Palate: medium-full body with fine and integrated tannins, berries and vanilla, mild oak, round and smooth with structure, medium on the finish

Seriously, this third wine is no joke. It is pretty delicious and seductive. I cannot imagine how good the first wine would have been. Le Pauillac de Latour 2003 is at the peak of its life now and should be fading out during the next few years. If you have some, drink up (I wish I have some in stock). A friend of mine brought this bottle for the night and there were three of us drinking during the course in which none of us denied the love in it. This is simply a charming little big boy.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Silk Road @ Plaza Athenee Bangkok

Cuisine: Chinese
Price: THB2,400 per person without alcohol (what we paid for)
Visited: 17 November 2013
Food: 7/10
Atmosphere: 6/10
Value for money: 7/10
Services: 7/10

For many years, I have been returning to Silk Road @ Plaza Athenee Bangkok from time to time to enjoy fine Chinese cuisine as well as good dim sum lunch. This occasion was another exceptional night. I would simply put that Silk Road serves tremendously delicious Chinese food but not the glamorous one. On the service wise, staffs are pretty much friendly. For knowledge wise, some staffs may not be particularly clear. However, the restaurant manager and assistant manager are excellent and are willing to help.

As for interior, the venue is kept in kind of Chinese contemporary decor with some comfy seats. There are large private rooms available upon request also. If you plan to visit here for dim sum, especially during weekend, a few days in advance booking is highly recommended. Personally, I find that dim sum here is enjoyable but the dinner menu is fabulous. In fact, I did not intend to review Silk Road at this occasion, however dishes were wonderful that I have to review. So pictures in this review were taken purely with mobile phone (^^). At this occasion, I also popped up a bottle of Domaine Pavelot Savigny les Beaune La Dominode 2010 which was a wonderful bottle of Burgundy at value for money price. This bottle can be aged for perhaps 2 more decade and should be much better in a few more years.

Silk Road @ Plaza Athenee Bangkok

Pavelot, La Dominode 2010

For the meal, we went for a set menu which costed THB17,250. Expensive??? Yes indeed, it was an expensive set that came with 8 dishes which should be perfect for 10 to 12 people party. Nevertheless, we felt that the meal was kind of worth the price tag. For hot tea, it would cost around THB120 to THB150 per head depending on type of tea.

The course started with 4 kinds of hors d'oeuvre - ออเดิร์ฟ 4 อย่าง (7/10) which comprised of stir-fried fish maw with egg and crab meat, deep-fried silver fish, deep-fried prawn, and jelly fish in sesame oil. I love these classic starters. They were savoury, especially the jelly fish which expressed rather strong flavour with the elastic but yet soft kind of texture. Next was superior bird nest soup with crab meat and egg white - ซุปรังนกเนื้อปูไข่ขาว (9/10). I promise that many of soup choices at Silk Road are extremely delicious. This bird nest soup is as well unexceptional. The texture was so fine and smooth. A touch of sweetness on the palate. The additional scent of sea breeze from crab meat fulfilled the whole picture. I like this dish a lot. Anyway, I know I should try avoiding these cruel dishes such like shark fin and bird nest!!!!! Will try to stay away from it. (T.T)"

4 kinds of hors d'oeuvre

superior bird nest soup with crab meat and egg white

Here comes my all time favourite dish: peking duck - เป็ดปักกิ่ง (8/10). This is sure one of the best peking duck in town. Each piece was cracking crispy with no fat attached and full of flavour. The sauce was typically sweet but not overly. When taking with cucumber, it was simply delicious.

As for the duck meat, we were offered 2 type of dishes to be cooked: fried duck with black pepper and garlic - เนื้อเป็ดผัดกระเทียมกับพริกไทยดำ (5/10) and stir-fried duck with herbs wrapped in lettuce - เมี่ยงเป็ด (7/10). The fried duck with black pepper was, however, not so on par with other dishes; average to be more precise. The texture was tender of course. Nevertheless, too much of pepper taste covered all other tastes. For stir-fried duck with herbs, this one was really enjoyable with somewhat complex flavour with spices. To enjoy the most of it, it should be consumed with lettuce. Love it.

peking duck

wrapping up peking duck

fried duck with black pepper and garlic

stir-fried duck with herbs wrapped in lettuce

Moving on to seafood dishes. Braised sea cucumber and dry baby shrimps in superior soup - ปลิงทะเลแผ่นกุ้งแห้งบดอบยอดซุป (8/10) was flavourful. We love the sea cucumber that was soft in the texture like half-gelatine but still firm. This must be braised for long surely. The flavour of dry shrimps with superior soup combined well to bring up the whole picture. Though being flavour, this dish actually tasted rather light, lighter than many other restaurants would have cooked it. For stir-fried scallops and prawns with broccoli - หอยเชลล์และกุ้งผัดบร็อคเคอรี่ (5/10), it was good but not a wow one. Particular attention was given to the quality of scallop and prawn: fresh and sweet. But the overall picture was plain, too plain to be a great one. Just enjoy it.

braised sea cucumber and dry baby shrimps in superior soup

stir-fried scallops and prawns with broccoli

Next was steamed grouper with soy sauce - ปลาเก๋านึ่งซีอิ๊ว (5/10). Ok, the ingredient was good, the overall flavour was as expected but I suspect that it was overcooked. The texture was somewhat a little touch with some dry part of the fillet. Before ending the course, it is almost like a tradition to have a dish with high carbohydrate like rice or noodle dishes. For this set, it came with fried rice with abalone - ข้าวผัดเป๋าฮื้อ (7/10). Pretty good as the whole. Rice was not overcooked and not soaky. Only if the taste was a bit more intense that would be almost a perfect fried rice dish. By the way, the chewy abalone was really good with fried rice. The course ended in style with traditional dessert like red beans and lotus seeds in hot syrup - ถั่วแดงกับเม็ดบัวหวานร้อน (7/10). It may look like something uninteresting. But it was actually a good one for ending the course with "finale". I guess the red bean must have been cooked for long such that red bean and water almost combined into one leaving just small pieces of red beans and whole lotus seeds to give a touch for chewing.

steamed grouper with soy sauce

fried rice with abalone

red beans and lotus seeds in hot syrup

Silk Road @ Plaza Athenee Bangkok
3rd Floor Hotel Plaza Athenee
61 Wireless Road
Lumpini, Pathumwan
Bangkok, 10330

Open Hours: daily from 11:30am - 02:30pm for lunch and from 06:00pm - 10:30pm for dinner

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bottega il Vino dell Amore Petalo Moscato Spumante Dolce N.V.

Date of Tasting: 15 November 2013
Wine Type: Sparkling Rose
Grape Varieties: 100% Moscato (Muscat)
Alcohol: 6.5%
Origin: Veneto, Italy
Appellation: Colli Euganei
Expect to Pay: ~ THB1,000 - 1,500 (retail price in Thailand)
Chubby Score: 87/100
Value for money: 3/10
Professional Rating: CT - 86/100

Appearance: light straw yellow
Aroma: pear and tropical fruits with floral floor
Palate: lightly fruity with tropical charms, candy sweetness but not overly done, hint of white flower fragrance, frothy with fine bubble texture, low in acid and perhaps insufficient to balance, short finish, lack of complexity

An enjoyable sparkling that you would surely please majority of women. The light taste with low alcohol make it easily drunk. Being moscato spumante with of course sweetness does not it putting off gentlemen, its freshness makes this Bottega Moscato accessible to gentlemen too. Though it is not my kind of sparkling, I would say I can enjoy it as aperitif but not with food. As for value for money, it can be a little overpriced from my view. By the way, do serve it cold to enjoy it. Anyway, this can be a choice for party.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Final Chapter of New Light Coffee House @ Siam Square, Bangkok

Cuisine: Thai / Chinese / International
Price: THB350 per person without alcohol (what we paid for)
Visited: 8 December 2013
Food: 5/10
Atmosphere: 4/10
Value for money: 5/10
Services: 4/10

Immediately after hearing the news that New Light Coffee House @ Siam Square will no longer exist from 16 December 2013, we did not hesitate to give it a visit for the last time. From my understanding, New Light will open up at a new place in Bang Lamphu area at the beginning of 2014.

Over 40 years and over generations, New Light has been a well-known restaurant at Siam Square that serves variety of food ranging from Thai to Chinese to international dishes. I would assume that many people would think in the same way as me that do not expect much about New Light. Food is not exceptionally good and atmosphere is not so charming. But why do people give it a visit from time to time? I would think that the kind of food New Light serves is somewhat easy, simple, and nice on its own. Nothing to be paid a particular attention but just enjoyable just like home-cook. It can be a decent quick meal in Siam Square area too. The pricing is also not overly expensive.

New Light Coffee House @ Siam Square, Bangkok

last operation is on 15 December 2013

the classic cashier

the original open kitchen

oldie dining room

My intention for this blog post is not to review food at New Light but to present the kind of food that New Light serves for the last time. Of course, most of the dishes (as well as atmosphere) has not even been altered over the four decades. Well, I may not be in the generation to witness its starting point but I did see its rising, the falling, its reborn, and now the final chapter of New Light @ Siam Square. Below are the whole menu of New Light.

Here comes the dishes we had. I would personally miss the rolls with butter and marmalade. Please don't get me wrong, it is not the best in town but the soft roll with simple, no fancy high end, butter and marmalade are just delicious by itself. Another dish to be paid attention to is American fried rice. If you are non-Thai, you would probably not have heard about this dish. The reason that it is called American fried rice is perhaps the use of ketchup in frying rice and American side dishes or at least Western origin. Strangely, kids tend to like this dish a lot and I was no exception too. Even now I still order this dish when I see in a restaurant.

Anyway, New Light Coffee House will sure be missed by many people, especially by those who were born around 60's / 70's. Not even sure what would replace the space of New Light. If it will be a new restaurant, let's wish it would be good.

rolls with butter and marmalade - ขนมปังกลมกับเนยและแยม (THB45)

my favourite dish at New Light

cream of tomato - ซุปข้นมะเขือเทศ (THB120)

cream of mushroom - ซุปข้นเห็ด (THB120)

French onion soup - ซุปใสหัวหอมฝรั่งเศส (THB140)

cream of French onion soup - ซุปข้นหัวหอมฝรั่งเศส (THB120)

American club sandwich - อเมริกันคลับแซนด์วิช (THB160)

American fried rice - ข้าวผัดอเมริกัน (THB160)

fried egg noodle with prawn and bamboo shoot - ซีหมี่กุ้ง (THB140)

Milano pork cutlet - หมูทอดมิลาโน (THB160)

Stewed ox tongue - สะตูลิ้นวัว (THB220)

deep fried fish patties - ทอดมันปลากราย (THB140)

New Light Coffee House @ Siam Square, Bangkok
Siam Square (next to Hard Rock Cafe)
Bangkok, 10330

Open Hours: daily from 08:00am - 12:00am
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