Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Papa's Kitchen @ Soi Phattanakarn 30, Bangkok - ปาป้า คิทเช่น @ ซอยพัฒนาการ 30 กรุงเทพฯ

Cuisine: burger / family style food
Price: THB400 per person without alcohol (what we paid for)
Visited: 30 November 2014
Food: 7/10
Atmosphere: 5/10
Value for money: 6/10
Services: 5/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

If you like those delicious fatty easy food like burger, Papa's Kitchen may be an answer for you if you live nearby Phattanakarn Road. Papa's Kitchen is just a small venue, only a block of commercial building, in Soi Phattanakarn 30 with perhaps around 15 tables: hardly any parking lots and not even near BTS / MRT.  But the good thing is burgers here are really yummy. Other selection in the menu are as well pleasant. It is a kind of place where you can grab a good chillax meal with family and friends: i.e. a kind of place for the local. If you do not live in Phattanakarn area, Papa's Kitchen might be a little too far. There are many other places with good burgers out there in town. However, it is sure a good little place for the local.

For us, we were there during an unexpected Sunday lunch and the place was surprisingly packed. This was a good sign for us definitely and it did not disappoint us at all. We were all happy with dishes here. At least, we know for sure that we will be coming back here from time to time.

Papa's Kitchen @ Soi Phattanakarn 30, Bangkok

small place but big taste venue

Burgers are just burgers and no need for me to go into detail of each one, right? It's all about filling you like. What we had for meal were: B.C.M. Burger (8/10), Mushroom Swiss Burger (8/10), and Papa's Club Sandwich (7/10). B.C.M. is simply bacon, cheese, and mushroom. I promise this one is delicious. Mushroom Swiss is too another one to go for if you are a fan of mushroom. Papa's Club Sandwich may be an odd one. It looks like burger (using burger bun instead of toast) but filled with grilled chicken, bacon, ham, fried egg, cheese, and vegetable. This one is nice too but just personally prefer beef when it comes to this kind of thing. Each one also came with a side dish of your choice, such as fries, coleslaw, and salad.

In term of pricing, burgers here are not cheap, pricing similar to those restaurants in Thonglor or some hotels, but it guarantees with satisfaction. All beef burgers are made of Australian beef (150 grams at it states). One thing I like about this Papa's Kitchen is the price is VAT inclusive and no add-on service charge. Hence, you clearly know your expense and extra tip for service can be given on judgement instead of compulsory even service is intolerable. Not many restaurants in Bangkok nowadays does this kind of thing like in the past.

B.C.M. Burger (THB325)

Mushroom Swiss Burger (THB270)

Papa's Club Sandwich (THB250)

Moving on to non-burger dishes. Onion Ring Tower (6/10) would surely be everyone favourite dish. Quite pretty nicely done here with crispiness. Mama's Wild Mushroom (6/10) is a no wow factor choice but so much joy when having it. Simple mushroom and cream based pasta coming in a large plate; all kids will love this one (I guess). Next was Fish and Chips (5/10). A British dish amongst American menu but it was not bad at all though it was not cod nor haddock, if I was not mistaken (fingers crossed).

Onion Ring Tower (THB150)

Mama's Wild Mushroom (THB220)

Fish and Chips (THB260)

Having burgers without milkshake, something is surely not completed. Hence, milkshakes were also our order. We had Banoffee Shake and Vanilla Shake (6/10) and Root Beer Float (A&W root beer). They both were nice but I would prefer a creamier type. Drink beverage at Papa's Kitchen mostly comes at the price around THB100+. Not really cheap though but enjoyable.

Simply said, I personally like this place and would be back. Really enjoy the yummy tender juicy burger here.

Banoffee Shake and Vanilla Shake

Root Beer Float

Papa's Kitchen @ Soi Phattanakarn 30, Bangkok - ปาป้า คิทเช่น @ ซอยพัฒนาการ 30 กรุงเทพฯ
1144/34 Soi Phattanakarn 30
Phattanakarn Road
Suan Luang
Bangkok 10250

Open Hours: daily from 11:00am - 09:30pm
Tel: +66 (0) 2318 6831

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Kistler Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2012

Date of Tasting: 4 December 2014
Wine Type: Red
Grape Varieties: 100% Pinot Noir
Alcohol: 14.1%
Origin: California, USA
Appellation: Russian River Valley
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR70
Chubby Appreciation: 92/100
Professional Rating: WS - 90/100, CT - 92/100

Appearance: bright ruby
Aroma: perfume of rose, menthol, red fruits, and spices
Palate: Subtle and silkily smooth with medium body. Savoury raspberry notes with spices and lively acidity. Fresh, dry, rich and elegant. 

Cool climate style of pinot noir with vibrant and elegant style rather that the usual sweet and dense US pinot noir. The soft and smooth touch are the plus points on the palate whilst the highly perfumed nose is as well wonderful. It is made to be accessible young so consume during the next 5 years. I shall indeed enjoy more of this. Cheers!!!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Niche @ Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok - นิช @ โรงแรมสยามเคมปินสกี กรุงเทพฯ

Cuisine: International
Price: THB1,900 per person (what we paid for)
Visited: 5 November 2014
Food: 5/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Value for money: 4/10
Services: 6/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

I had a brief chance to taste some dishes at Niche @ Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok a little while back during an event of wine dinner. Niche is a kind of place that serves a more casual style of menu and operates almost for the whole day. The interior is chic and chill whilst there are as well garden seats where it is more relax. This is not at all bad for another hanging out venue. In brief, I sort of like the atmosphere of this place which is spacious and cosy. The service is good too. Staffs were friendly but may need to improve a bit more on standard and etiquette.

Niche @ Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok

bar scene

spacious venue

I have to say that food here is not that excellent but not bad. For the night, there were 4 courses in total for food and wine, and it was priced at THB1,900 which is quite reasonable. The starter was Salmon Carpaccio (5/10). Simply standard smoked salmon with herbs cream and foam of lemon, nothing in particular: an enjoyable dish for kicking off. It should be nice with a glass of clean and crisp Chablis or dry Riesling. The second to follow was Smoked Duck Breast (3/10). A small portion of smoked duck salad in beautiful decoration. It was served alongside chutney of red berries, walnut and blue cheese. I found this dish kind of unbalance. Blue cheese seemed to overwhelm other senses. Smoked duck was too dry.

Salmon Carpaccio

Smoked Duck Breast

For the main, it was Grilled Beef Skirt (5/10). Classic steak in peppery red wine sauce. I would say it was grilled nicely to medium rare. The sauce was classic and decent. Just the quality of beef perhaps that let the whole picture down: a bit chewy. Lastly, the dessert of Siam Passion (7/10) was served. It was the highlight of the meal. It came last but stand out and finished the course in style. It was the blend of mango and passion fruit, I believe, and moulded into mousse. A touch of coconut milk and roasted coconut to give the final dimension. A good dish in East-Meets-West style, it was. If I could have a nice glass of Tokaji or Sauternes that would be perfect ending.

Grilled Beef Skirt

Siam Passion

Niche @ Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok - นิช @ โรงแรมสยามเคมปินสกี กรุงเทพฯ
991/9 Rama 1 Road
Bangkok 10330

Open Hours: daily from noon till late night

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Marchesi Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT 2006

Date of Tasting: 7 November 2014
Wine Type: Red
Grape Varieties: 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc
Alcohol: 13.5%
Origin: Tuscany, Italy
Appellation: Toscana IGT
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR70
Chubby Appreciation: 93/100
Professional Rating: WA - 92/100, AG - 92/100, WS - 93/100, WE - 94/100, FS - 92/100, CT - 92/100

Appearance: ruby red
Aroma: red fruits, rosemary and spices with mild floral aromas
Palate: Somewhat rich and dense on the texture. Sweet ripe red fruits and mild citrus notes of sangiovese. Crisp with racy acidity. Earthy and oaky incorporated. Fine tannins.

A nice bottle of well-known producer that is currently drinking nicely and should live a decade more. Pairing this with lamb or even tomato based pasta would compliment each other well. Not so much of elegant but vibrant and powerful. A blend with cabernet sauvignon and a touch of cabernet franc seem to play its role remarkably. Kind of like the volume and complexity of aroma there. However, the price tag is a questionable one. Anyway, it is still a good experience. Salute!!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Da Vittorio Ristorante @ Brusaporto, Bergamo, Italy

Cuisine: Italian
Price: EUR125 per person (what we paid for)
Visited: 16 October 2014
Food: 10/10
Atmosphere: 10/10
Value for money: 9/10
Services: 10/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Out of the restaurants that we visited in Italy back in October 2014, Da Vittorio Ristorante at Brusaporto, Bergamo is without doubt the most impressive. It is probably at the top of my personal favourite choice overall. Da Vittorio is in fact a lovely and beautiful hotel in Brusaporto and the restaurant is a part of the property. Driving from Bergamo you would reach the hotel within half an hour and it would take you around 1 hour driving from Milan. The place is run by Cerea family in which the two brothers, Enrico and Roberto, take charge as the head chefs.

Da Vittorio Ristorante @ Brusaporto, Bergamo, Italy

charming restaurant house

a small lovely pond within the premises

Apart from the beautiful property, the restaurant itself is as well equally strikingly wonderful. The restaurant is elegant and charming with facade facing down the hill. There is also an outdoor area where you may relax and enjoy a couple of drinks. As we strolled through the menu, there were three choices of tasting menu for lunch: lunch menu, truffle menu, and fish & crustaceans menu (the tradition of Vittorio). As it was during white truffle season, truffle may also be added to certain courses at some extra charge. Wine list is something that is incredible here too. The cellar comprises around 15,000 bottles. Surely you can find all sort of wine there. The list is interesting and they do come at modest marked up only. Thus, this is sure a place for wine lovers.

beautiful, elegant, and cosy dining room

windows looking into the kitchen

al fresco area

At the time of our visit, the lunch course was EUR70. As Deadly Bunny would like to have white truffle (having seen the treasure box of white truffle and it was irresistible) in some of her courses too, the restaurant did not hesitate at all to adjust the menu to match her demand; a really kind service from the team indeed. The meal began with a small bite of Hammer Jack, mozzarella (if I was not wrong), and tomato which was fresh and excellent. The in-house modest bread range was as well delicious which came in bread sticks, brioche, white bread, olive and based bread. They were nice on their own but dipping in olive oil was equally great. For this meal, the suggested wine by the sommelier (Giorgio if I was not mistaken) was Cervaro della Sala 2012 in which I have posted earlier this week. It was sure a great recommendation and I was not disappointed at all.

amuse bouche of Hammer Jack

tray of fun: bread sticks

treasure box of Italian diamond (Alexandro)

Cervaro della Sala 2012 (EUR45)

The first of the four lunch course for Deadly Bunny was Sottosopra (upside-down) (10/10), which was the combination of grapes, cream of potato, potato crisp, and truffle (from bottom to top). This was a stunningly impressive dish. Light but creamy potato was smooth, delicate, and delicious. The aroma of truffle balanced well with sweet grapes. During our starters, Da Vittorio also showed us with Seared Scallop with Ribes, Toasted Almond, and Porcini (10/10). I gotta say that this was prepared to perfection. Creamy but light sauce balanced so well with sour touch of ribes. Love it.

For me, I chose to have selection of fish starters which came in 3 parts and comprised of Tuna Tartare with Fig Carpaccio and Pistachio (9/10), Langoustine with Crunchy Truffle and Pumpkin-Ginger Ice-cream (10/10), and Polenta, Meringue, and Grated Fish (9/10). The tuna tartare started off with light and fresh touch. Fig carpaccio was round and sweet and played along nicely with horseradish. Crunchy pistachio added another dimension to texture. For langoustine, it was fresh and high in quality. Da Vittorio seemed to play along with sweet and hot combination, i.e. sweetness from pumpkin and hot notes from ginger. This dish was as well beautifully presented. Lastly, the polenta with grated fish was a wonderful creation with aroma of spices and garlic whilst meringue was the sweet part. The fish itself was fresh and kind of creamy together with polenta.

Sottosopra (upside-down)

Tuna Tartare with Fig Carpaccio and Pistachio

Langoustine with Crunchy Truffle and Pumpkin-Ginger Ice-cream

Seared Scallop with Ribes, Toasted Almond, and Porcini

Polenta, Meringue, and Grated Fish

For pasta course, the truffle one was divided into Classic Egg Pasta with White Truffle (10/10) and Gnoccho, Truffle, and Parmesan (10/10). Good God!!!! These two dishes were so classic, elegant, and yummy. The quality of white truffle was really tremendous. The soft egg pasta with white truffle needs no mentioning surely. So popular and so classic but so well-made. I don't mind having this dish only in a large portion for the whole meal. Gnoccho was equally great. It was stuffed with parmesan. Truffle perfume revealed agressively. Love the kind of soft / chewy texture of gnoccho and stuffed cheese.

As for me, the dish was Paccheri alla Vittorio Creamed with Grana Padano Cheese (10/10). I promise it would be rare and really difficult to find any pomodoro pasta at the equal level to this one at Da Vittorio. The texture of paccheri was surely cooked perfectly. The sauce was rich and highly perfumed. A touch of chilli also added hot feeling to overall picture. The dish was prepared at table side by Rosella Cerea (the youngest of Cerea family) herself. To me, this is the dish to remember for this place.

Classic Egg Pasta with White Truffle

Gnoccho, Truffle, and Parmesan

Paccheri alla Vittorio Creamed with Grana Padano Cheese

table side preparation

For main course, Cod with Cream of Yellow Tomato (10/10) was the first one. This represented freshness of the sea with refreshing of the land. The cream was smooth, fresh, tangy, and yes tomato. Flavours seemed to follow in layers, one after another. There were also ice herbs hidden in sauce. Cod was doubtlessly well cooked. Then it was Grilled Turbot, Caviar, and Orange Sauce (9/10) for the second one. This was totally opposite of cod. It was more on the power side if I have to put in word. Texture was low in fattiness as in usual turbot but still soft enough. Orange sauce paired with turbot well alongside sweet carrot and grilled onion. Nice dish it was but still prefer cod.

Cod with Cream of Yellow Tomato

Grilled Turbot, Caviar, and Orange Sauce

To end the course, Da Vittorio brought us through some sweet adventure. It started with soft and fluffy Panettone (10/10). Then it was followed by Cream of Avocado, Yoghurt Ice-cream, Macadamia, and Horseradish (10/10).  The outstanding point of this dessert was freshness. The texture was absolutely smooth for both cream of avocado and yoghurt ice-cream. Macadamia coated with caramel was the crunchy dimension. Apart from being delicious, this small dessert did its job so well in sweeping away remaining taste from previous savoury dishes. It did not end at this point. Some petit fours were then brought along with a trolley of kids' wonderland which fully of various types of candy. Pick your favourite to enjoy.

Panettone (gorgeously yummy)

Cream of Avocado, Yoghurt Ice-cream, Macadamia, and Horseradish

trolley of sweety candies

I have to really say that the service at Da Vittorio could be an unrivalled one. Staffs are so so so friendly and helpful. After the meal, they did not even mind showing us the kitchen where the wonderful meal had been prepared. Then showing us their wine cellar: loads of wine there I promise. Well, this restaurant, Da Vittorio, has already won our heart by now and is sure one of the best restaurant in Italy (at least for us). Really look forward to returning there. Highly recommended.

the modest kitchen

excellent wine cellar

more wines

Da Vittorio Ristorante @ Brusaporto, Bergamo, Italy
17 Via Cantalupa
Brusaporto 24060

Open Hours: daily except Wednesday noon from 12:30pm for lunch and 07:00pm for dinner
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