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Western/International/American

Food heaven on the upper floor.

Crawfish tail.

Crawfish tail.

After that currywurst kick-off at Bahnhof Zoo we ventured further for some window shopping, following the crowded streets all the way down to KaDeWe, which stands short for ‘Kauhaus des Westens’ (Department Store of the West). It’s quite a big store indeed with enough goods for a daylong shopping spree. We didn’t know yet what we were looking for here but it was neither perfumes nor fashion.

We took the escalators all the way up to the top with the intention of working our way through every section back down to street level. Once we arrived on the upper floor though we found an endless ‘food court’ (the fancy way) and a deli section, which should grasp our entire attention for the next two hours or so.

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Guo tie.

Being overwhelmed at first – I mean there was a whole section jam packed just with those awesome colorful fleur-du-sel-eggs – we spotted a Chinese food bar kind of place (‘Silverpagoda’) and deemed it an appropriate place to reset our intentions and just continue with our foodie adventure weekend right here, right now.

We had a serving of the xiao long bao and the guo tie, accompanied by a refreshingly chilled beer. The xiao long bao weren’t as crafty, thinly skinned and pretty but from a taste perspective, I was very happy with them, juicy and yum. The same goes for the thinner skinned guo tie that had a lovely crust at their bottom side. I have been away from Asia quite a while now so those, while not being perfect by any means, instantly hit my sweet spot (yes, that’s my tummy) and if they have had some julienne ginger soaking in their Chinese vinegar, this would’ve been even multiplied. Funny how the small things still matter.

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Xiao long bao.

We spend the following hour taking just one single round on this level full of goodness almost buying everything, ending up buying nothing, but one of the best window shopping sessions I have ever had nevertheless.

Eventually passing through a section of seafood restaurants in the higher price ranges made a craving for crustaceans crawl up on me and thankfully in the next section, just outside, were a couple of fish butcher type food stalls selling similar fair at slightly lower prices. I grabbed me a straight langoustine tail, with cocktail sauce and bubbles to close this fine experience. It was good and I felt classy.

I wouldn’t say that this was the best food I’ve ever had or that you’ve got to go out of your way to see this but if I’m in the area again in the future and feel a light hunger for nothing in particular, I might just come back all the way up here to get inspired and fed.

Get Your Grub On!

KaDeWe – Kaufhaus des Westens
Tauentzienstraße 21-24
10789 Berlin
Germany
p: +49 30 21210
https://www.kadewe.de/

 

Gourmet butcher burgers.

Pulled beef burger with salad.
Pulled beef burger with salad.

Just when I thought there’s nothing more to discover on this site of the train tracks my colleagues told me about that butcher a rough 10 minutes down the road, that apparently does some pretty good dry ageing and pork pulling. So without further ado, two colleagues and I went down to check out this magical ‘secret’ shop on Lehener Straße that was hidden from me for such a long time.

We were greeted warmly by the kind ladies behind the counter, who took our order of pulled pork burgers with a smile. Now those burgers weren’t huge but decently sufficient, and at the prices, they’re calling here, more than fair anyway. It was already a burger for lunch so I passed on the fried and starchy side options and went for some green beans from their salad counter, which seemed like a proper enough addition to the set.

The layered toppings on my sandwich were made up of tenderly pulled apart pork neck, crunchy leaves of butterhead, crunchy creamy coleslaw, and just the right amount of bbq sauce all squeezed in between a well holding up bun with mixed sesame seeds. Excellent.

Just about two weeks later I already held my second sitting here with the equally tasty pulled beef version of this, which was way saucier and to my surprise at least as succulent and juicy. Again, excellent stuff.

This is one of the best, if not the best butcher delis in town and I won’t be holding off my third visit for too much long either and return to throw back one of their dry-aged burgers and chat some more with the boss about his mighty fridge of treasures. Loving it.

Get Your Grub On!

Metzgerei-Feinkost Pum (closed Sundays)
Lehener Straße 40
79106 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 281 882
http://www.feinkost-metzgerei-pum.de/

‘Flotter Dreier’ in Elzach.

Duck breast with mash and broccoli.

Duck breast with mash, broccoli and jus.

I had friends raving to me about this place forever now and so when last week two of them asked M. and me to join them for a double date we instantly were game. The day of choice was Thursday, which by chance was also the day of their weekly ‘Flotter Dreier’ promotion. While in German this has a rather suggestive meaning, here it describes a triple course surprise dinner with a choice of meat, fish or a combination of both, paired with a selection of regional wines.

 

 

I chose meat for all my courses and my entrée turned out to be a brilliant trio of chunky deer tartar, carpaccio of the same and some field salad with candied walnuts and kracherle (badisch for croutons). The tartar wasn’t that gamey but had a distinct texture that wasn’t entirely pleasant but more of the intriguing kind. Paired with the more dominant fried caper fruit (not sure if that’s the actual word) and the crispy bread splinter this was just on spot. The carpaccio seemed more intense but still light and fresh as raw things should be and the playful combination with the sweetish coated nuts was simply lovely. Great kick-off to the evening. [Wine pairing: Grauburgunder (Salwey | Oberrottweil)]

 

 

My main was a beautiful duck breast, perfectly broiled to a deep rose, with crispy skin on the outside and all the important juices locked in. The mash and broccoli where solid supporting acts but the true star was definitely the duck. [Wine pairing: Cuvée (Landerer | Vogtsburg)]

I also got a little taste of the second main option of pan-fried pikeperch, a glossy scallop and the best cream cabbage that I’ve ever had. The latter was warm and cooked but still kept that typical crunch alive and kicking, almost on the edge of raw. I don’t know how they did this but I was genuinely amazed.

 

 

The finishing moves were performed by this extremely capable trio of sweetness. My favourite must have been the lardy caramel mousse, closely followed by the mixed fruit sherbet which showed some strong apricot tendencies. [Wine pairing: Scheurebe (Weishaar | Kaiserstuhl)]

I have been swept off my feet by tonight’s food and service. The ambience is comfortably classy, not detached or posh and also not as rustic as I had initially expected, very easy and convenient to settle in. Big kudos on the wine pairing too. All being great wines, every glass suited the corresponding dish optimally and the only regret I have is forgetting to note down the Riesling pairing of the fish main.

I’d love to come here every Thursday from now on, and if the use of great regional produce, skillfully orchestrated and prepared isn’t enough, it is the absolute steal at Eur33,00 all in that just makes this a major no-brainer. I’m bowing respectfully with many thanks to all involved.

Get Your Grub On!

Gasthaus Rössle
Hauptstraße 19
79215 Elzach
Germany
p: +49 7682 212
http://www.roessleelzach.de/

A new meister is in town.

Cheeseburger with curly fries.

Cheeseburger with curly fries.

There’s a new burger place in town and thankfully it opened up just a short 3min walk away from the office. The place is run by the guys from Mr. Döner at Eschholzstraße and since apparently their small selection of burgers went quite well over there, they decided to open a dedicated shop in the old halls of the former Hanselmann.

Quite a few colleagues and friends went during the opening week and I heard a wide array of feedback about the food and service, from delicious burgers to mixed up orders there was everything. As the feedbacks above suggest, kickoff weeks are not very representative of the standard of a newly opened place but I didn’t intend to wait any longer and so two colleagues and I went to pay the Burgermeister a visit, a little earlier too, to beat the lunch crowds. As time would tell, this turned out to be a rather clever move.

Closeup cheeseburger

Closeup cheeseburger

We had two cheeseburgers with sesame buns, one of the vegetarian options in a spelt roll and curly fries for everybody. The burgers have sort of the perfect size, manageable, neither tiny nor ridiculously huge but the 140gram patties could be just a notch thicker to allow for medium and rare broils as well. Anyhow, they still had a rustic charr, meaty flavours and were full of their natural juices. I truly enjoyed my sandwich and those crispy curly fries. Their signature Meistersauce, some kind of cocktail sauce, worked its magic nicely on the burgers and fries and gave it all a bit of refreshing lightness. The garlic sauce, however, should only be consumed, if you don’t have any meetings lined up in the afternoon or if you actually don’t mind having intense dragon breath.

No complaints really, our orders were all correct and came out quickly, the food was very enjoyable and the customization options – beef, bio beef, chicken and vegetarian | three types of buns | multiple side and sauce options – provide much more room to experiment for coming visits. A big table of colleagues across the room wasn’t as lucky with their ordering but I guess and hope this was because the daily routine hasn’t entirely settled in yet. I’ll definitely come back for some of that bio beef and chicken and wish you guys a great second start in the neighbourhood.

Get Your Grub On!

Burgermeister Beef & Vegan (former Hanselmann)
Klarastraße 46
79106 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 7667 0430
Facebook

 

 

Schnitzels after Feldberg hiking.

DSC01382-01Following a family friend’s recommendation, we started our Feldberg hiking day from the very end of St. Wilhelmer Tal and spend most of our day hiking up and down that beautiful mountain. We were past knackered and glad the parking lot, we had left the car kinda belonged to an old restaurant, which was also the last house of the valley.

We snatched one of the last benches outside and ordered some hearty pork schnitzel with brägele, the locally acclaimed version of roasted potatoes. Like in the old days the schnitzels here were thumb-thick, juicy and fried til crisp. I really like ’em thin but after a long hike like today, this hit the spot right in the face. The potatoes had a good balance between crunch and chewiness and together those two made for a fulfilling finish to a great day.

Service was kind and slightly slowish and the place came with a familiar breeze of blackforest charm. Other than that it’s just at the perfect location for an energy refuel after a day on the mountain.

Get Your Grub On!

Gaststätte Zur Linde-Napf
Feldbergstraße 14
79254 Oberried | St. Wilhelm
Germany
p: +49 7602 944 690
http://linde-napf.de/

It’s the insides that count.

dsc07243-01-01.jpegIt was my first time ever to London town visiting some old and very good friends, who I had not seen for a couple of years. Besides this long overdue reunion, I was also super excited to explore the city and its culinary secrets and one of our first ventures followed another friend’s recommendation to St. JOHN Restaurant close to Smithfield market.

Coming through the bar with enclosed bakery, the interior of the dining room reminded me of that of a slaughterhouse with white tiles covering the walls of the room all put into dim light and set with long tables covered with white paper cloths. Our host for the night was extremely accommodating, funny and knowledgeable on today’s dishes and made sure we were having a great night.

So off we started with a nice bottle of red and too many starters for the three of us. My friend who recommended St. JOHN made sure I understand the importance of having the Welsh Rarebit, a delightful version of a grilled cheese sandwich created with their own signature spread mixture  – which they also sell in jars nowadays – drizzled sweetish with some Worcestershire sauce. Simple and absolutely brilliant. This was followed by the equally mind-blowing roast bone marrow with parsley salad and roasted bread, savory fatty sardines, and the browned crab open sandwich to lift our cholesterol levels to heaven.

Okay, my evening was already a win because of the starters but my excitement didn’t seem to quiet down one bit. For those of you, who don’t know, St. JOHN specializes into ‘nose to tail’ dining so, besides the fish, there were no meats on the menu tonight, it was all ovals and innards. M., therefore, chose the flatfish, which was kept light and natural in flavor but was clearly fresh and skillfully prepared. E. and I, on the other hand, went all in for fantastic tender ox heart with beets and creamy horseradish and my first go at lamb sweetbreads with beans and bacon. The latter had a distinct and particular taste and texture, which I had never experienced before, quite lamby but in a good way and in combination with the beans and bacon just outstanding. My favorite must have been the ox heart though as its pure muscle texture and deep flavors were just hard to beat.

Over the recent years, I have developed a strong preference for ‘nose to tail’ dining due to the endless possibilities, the broad palette of available flavors and the high skill level and creativity that is required to turn ovals into something new and delicious. Also because of that ST. JOHN has catapulted itself into my special book of favorite places and will be a must go to for every of my potential future visits to London. Thanks for a fabulous night, an outrageously good dining experience and the smile I left with that very night. Be sure I’ll be coming back. Cheers.

Get Your Grub On!

St. JOHN Restaurant
26 St. John Street
London
EC1M 4AY
United Kingdom
p: +44 20 7251 0848
https://www.stjohngroup.uk.com/

Back in (baja)style!!!

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I hadn’t been to the shack for a while but the sun was out, I had Mexican-Food-Loving-Friends in town and these guys just had announced the return of the baja fish tacos to their menu. So when we arrived back in Freiburg after a day of exploring the black forest and beyond we headed straight for Stühlinger and one of their outside tables ordering a set of fish tacos each.

I’m not sure if my picture does it actual justice but these babies were intimidatingly ginormous. M. and our friend C. intuitively reached for fork and knife but I was willing to get my hands dirty. After all, these were tacos, right? Flipping up the sides of the appropriately large flour tortillas I wasn’t even able to close them properly above the crisp battered perch but I was ready for my first bite and didn’t plan on letting go of it. This was amazing. I still remembered them vaguely from the BZ food truck festival last year but it was like a brand new experience altogether. The batter cracked under my teeth making way for the wonderfully flaky fish meat that was breezy fresh and cooked ’til perfectly glassy. Just moments after the fish literally melted, and the juices had drenched my hands in tasty goodmess, all the other flavours started kicking in; the creamy chipotle mayonnaise, the crunchy greens and veggies, some sourness coming from that tropical salsa and especially awesome vibes blazing from the fresh Mexican herbs. It was like being teleported to a Californian beach (without ever being to one) for a couple of minutes, sipping on a cocktail enjoying the sun. Oh yes, I am glad these fish are back in town.

On top of an excellent meal the service today was super refreshing, attentive and friendly and on my way out I also finally got to say hi to some of the great people, who are responsible for all this. Thanks so much guys and see you soon.

Get Your Grub On!

The Holy Taco Shack (closed on Sundays)
Barbarastraße 18
79106 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 176 32970414
http://www.theholytacoshack.com/

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What an amazingly beautiful day it has been yesterday and the city was full of locals, students, tourists, and shopaholics alike soaking up the sun and roaming the streets of Freiburg, filling them like ants. We were right in the middle of it and completely lost track of time until our stomachs started growling to let us know a lunch was way overdue. It was lunch madness and almost every place around the Bermuda Dreieck (= Bermuda Triangle; a corner area in Freiburg) was packed with customers and some fast food joints even had queues oozing out their doors. Thankfully I had done my homework so we didn’t have to go on another hangry food quest and just around the corner, nestled between a garage something and another restaurant, Burger Chalet awaited us. As the name tells it’s a popular little burger joint and luckily the queue was sort of short and two lovely ladies allowed us to join them at their table for one of the rare options to sit outside enjoying the sun today.

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Burger of the Month: Himmel & Ääd Burger (Heaven & Earth)

Beforehand I had made plans to get my grub on with that ‘Alpenfeuer’ (Fire of the Alps) burger that comes with a chili-cheese-sauce, firy jalapeños and a homemade chili powder. Well, plans are great, but then life happens and as so often I did let another menu special item distract me and lead me off my  destined path. Without even thinking I heard myself ordering a medium grilled burger of the month, the ‘Himmel & Ääd’ (Heaven & Earth). Himmel & Ääd or Himmel & Erde is a popular and regional german dish, which is mostly common in the Rhineland, Westphalia, and Lower Saxony. In it’s purest version it consists of blood pudding, mashed potatoes, fried onions and apple sauce and actually so did this burger. Together with that juicy beef patty and wedged between two appropriately sized and perfectly toasted buns this just worked. All these very different textures and flavors merged together wonderfully and created something new and delicious. My favorite, besides the remarkable standard items of the burger, was the thin slice of tangy blood pudding, that added a spicy, almost creamy component on top of the patty. The tart and sweet apple chutney gave some fruity notes and the onions, being sweetish as well convinced with a light smokiness. The only thing that didn’t do too much for the whole concept and the flavor palette was the mashed potatoes, and frankly, it made it all just a bit more difficult to eat. I do get it though, it completes the transition of the traditional plated dish to a hands-on inventive burger. Fries were good.

Additionally to the fact that they know how to cook their stuff it’s worthy to mention that they are sourcing most of their ingredients locally, aren’t using any additives, the meat is freshly ground every day and they are making all their sauces themselves and from scratch as well. A lot of craft and thought goes into every burger here and the entire menu is also available with an in-house made vegetable patty for the vegetarians out there. The shop is small and cozily set up for a quick meal in a relaxing atmosphere, however, the glass barrier in front of the grill can’t save you entirely from all the food smell, so don’t mind taking a bit of burger scent home with you. The staff seems to enjoy themselves, is friendly and the guy  behind the counter was particularly fun to chat to. I was super full and happily content when we left and already have the next visit scheduled in my head. This time hopefully trying my original choice of burger and those fabulous looking rosemary potatoes. Thanks for the great grub.

Get Your Grub On!

Burger Chalet (closed on Sundays and public holidays)
Niemenstraße 9
79098 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 278 382
http://www.burger-chalet.de/

FreiBurgern.

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BBQ Bacon Burger

Okay, so I am actually gonna take up writing again. The great thing is I have a lot of material to practice on as I still took loads of pictures during my year off, made notes about almost every mentionable meal and also have collected a big library of audio reviews, that I’ll try to transfer piece by piece onto digital paper. So don’t be surprised if there are some backdated reviews popping up in between. This one’s a rather recent one and a place I wanted to try for a while now. derfreiBurger was one of the places leading the rise of burger joints (the newer ones are mainly food trucks) in Freiburg and is located conveniently in a side street along Schwarzwald City. It’s a pretty tiny place with only few seating options; some bar kinda seating, a big shared table or if you’re lucky enough a little booth area for 4-5 people. It’s like a little fast food restaurant, where someone put some extra effort in, giving it a bit of a more homely feel.

Against my instincts, I went for the BBQ-Bacon-Burger (EUR5.80), that comes with a fried onion ring and loads of bbq sauce. When it flew out the open kitchen my first impression was, that there’s something off with that patty to bun ratio. Don’t get me wrong the meat is definitely big enough for that price, it just gets a little lost in that huge roll, which doesn’t do it actual justice. They get the freshly baked buns from a local bakery and use only fresh, well-seasoned beef for their burgers and you can actually taste that extra bit of craftsmanship. I also enjoyed that sweet and crispy onion ring very much and absolutely loved their homemade smokey bbq sauce. That last one was important because there was loads of it, like close to sloppy joe’s kinda loads (so you better like it saucy). For me, the bacon strips could’ve used a couple more seconds on the flat pan to crisp up but were nice and salty anyway. Pretty good.

So the place is tiny but also not meant for you to spend hours in it, the people working behind the counter are genuinely nice and the food is mostly homemade, pretty tasty and for that very very reasonably priced. So to sum things up, I maybe would have wished for a thicker and juicier patty in general but in that price range this is a great burger overall and I’ll probably come back and check out some other menu items, like that Chilli-Cheese-Dog that caught my eye. Thanks for the delicious burger and all the best.

Get Your Grub On!

derfreiBurger (closed on Sundays and public holidays)
Schiffstraße 16
79098 Freiburg
Germany
http://www.derfreiburger.de/

A night out in BrisketTown.

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Meatfest: Ribs, Brisket and Pulled Pork

Our day in Williamsburg was coming to an end, but we really wanted to have some good old American BBQ before heading home and calling it a night. Our first try was at Fette Sau, but the last guy in the queue reckoned it was going to be at least a one and a half hour wait so I quickly checked the internet for alternatives, found a place called BrisketTown, sealed the deal. The place was kinda cold and super dark (so I have an excuse for the bad pictures) but the bar ladies were really nice and welcoming and got us a booth ready within five minutes.

We ordered a Meatfest mixed plate with all the meats but turkey and a medley of sides including collard greens, mac & cheese and coleslaw. I really did like their brisket, tenderly smoked and nicely spiced with a salt and pepper dry rub. The pulled pork was good but didn’t really blow me away, but the ribs again were outstanding. They had a dark and delicious spice crust and were bright pink with a smokey taste, just falling off that bone with ease. Fantastic stuff. Of the sides, I liked the mac and cheese and the collard greens the most. The vegetables had a slightly bitter touch and the strong fiber gave a nice bite in contrast to all the soft meats. Solid, no thrills address for some good old smokey barbecue with nice staff in a good location.

Get Your Grub On!

BrisketTown – Delaney Barbecue (open daily)
359 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn
NY 11211
United States of America
p: +1 718 701 8909
http://www.delaneybbq.com/

The Hot Dog Lottery.

editDSC00360After Smorgasburg, we started exploring Williamsburg. We walked around for a while, had a cold one here and there and then came across one of Crif Dog’s shops. Not being overly hungry we still decided to go in and try them out. The place had an arcade / comic store kind of interior with some action figures sitting in glass displays on the wall and tables made from old pac-man machines and such. While my buddy went for their lottery meal including two dogs (the cook decides which dogs you will get) I just went with a classic crif dog with relish, onions, sauerkraut and mustard.

The smoked beef and pork wiener tasted quite nice with just a little snap to it. The sauerkraut was rather light in taste but nicely crunchy and the onions and relish unfortunately, didn’t add too much to it. I would say it’s a decent quick snack in between or a late night supper pitstop, but nothing I would really go out of my way for. There are many other dogs on their menu to try though and the chili dog, that my friend got actually looked pretty delicious so if I should ever pass a Crif Dogs again, I will most likely give it another shot. The guy behind the counter was pretty funny, though.

Get Your Grub On!

Crif Dogs (open daily)
555 Driggs Avenue
Brooklyn
NY 11211
United States of America
p: +1 718 302 3200
http://www.crifdogs.com/

Smorgasburger – Go Ramen! Go Life!

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Ramen Burger

One of our first activities in New York was walking all the way from West Village to Williamsburg to check out that famed ramen burger from Keizo Shimamoto at the Smorgasburg food market. It was a super hot day and we underestimated how long that “little walk” would take us, speaking alone that it took forever just getting over Williamsburg bridge. So when we eventually arrived we were pretty much done for the day but also saw a lot of beautiful city views on the way. Williamsburg is actually a pretty nice and grungy neighbourhood, full of cafés, bars and restaurants and Smorgasburg must have one of the best views on Manhattan, that a foodmarket could have. It was pretty busy out here, but we still managed to locate one of our hosts and the ramen burger stall quite easily. The queue was long but moved down fast as these guys really knew what they were doing. Everything was impressively set up in an assembly line kind of way, so patties were sizzling, ramen buns getting crisp and burgers were assembled by the dozens. Thank goodness as we were starving and dying to try this.

That thing was nothing but genius. The meat was not overly seasoned, maybe a bit too little, however beefy, juicy and had the right size in comparison to the noodle buns. Cheese and lettuce weren’t either outstandingly good nor bad but that sauce, a shoyu reduction glaze that tasted something like a sweetish Asia style bbq sauce, had some absolute delicious flavours going on. Last but not least the most curious of elements, the buns. I had a ramen type burger before in Singapore but the noodles were fairly crisp and crunchy and some parts broke off while taking a bite. Here, I have no clue how they actually did it, as it really tasted like qq cooked ramen noodles and still stuck together in it’s patty bun shape until the last two bites maybe. So it really was like the perfect fusion of two fantastic dishes into one; innovative, genius and best of it all delicious.

Get Your Grub On!

Ramen Burger (open Sundays in season)
Smorgasburg (at Williamsburg Flea)
50 Kent Avenue
New York
NY 11249
United States of America
http://ramenburger.com/

Momofuku Tour – Part 1.

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Special Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich (w/ Daikon)

We came to New York for a couple of days on our way through to Montreal to visit some great old friends from Singapore, who moved here about a year ago. Thankfully both of them are crazy foodies and so there were no arguments on how to spend our quality time together. Today we walked around the Lower East Side of Manhattan and passed Momofuku Ko, which gave our hosts the idea to start a little bit of a Momofuku sightseeing tour. It was getting pretty late for lunch so our first stop waited just around the corner in the form of Fuku, the popular fried chicken sandwich shop out of David Chang’s culinary empire. This place is tiny and if I remember it right, only has standing options for their customers.

We had to pay while going in and following the recommendation of my mate I purchased the special sandwich and one of their alcoholic beverages. I was kind of surprised that a fried chicken sandwich shop actually serves something, that reminded me of a pretty mean frozen margarita. Wow, that thing was strong. Anyway, I was half through my aperitif when the sandwiches showed up. The whole thing was huge, and the little soft bun was just big enough to keep everything together and your fingers sort of clean. The meat was breaded with a nicely spicy and crunchy coating and super juicy on the inside. I must admit I really liked this one, even though I would normally disagree with Mr. Chang’s view on the white parts of the meat being inferior. I actually love me some good chicken breast from time to time. White meat, dark meat, in the end it all comes down to texture for me, but this chicken thigh with its’ crispy coat did a very fine job. But what makes the special sandwich so special? A big slap of crunchy daikon shavings, which also made the otherwise fairly heaty dish a bit lighter for me. I did also get the chance to sample the famous Säam sauce, their take on a Korean chili paste with an angle. It was intriguingly addictive and I enjoyed it enough to use it on every other bite from that sandwich, I’m just not entirely sure if I actually loved it.

Anyway the concept works, fast food with great quality ingredients, nice taste with a different set of flavors and some booze to go with it. Why the hell not?

Fuku (open all week)
163 First Avenue
New York
NY 10003
United States of America
http://momofuku.com/new-york/fuku/

Too much “Winterspeck”.

imageWe had a birthday dinner for a good friend and his little family and met all at Culina on Dempsey Hill, a nice bistro restaurant with a more kid friendly like setting.

We began our meal with a couple of starters like the Charcuterie Tasting Plate, which was pretty great. Especially the air dried meat and the rillete were perfect and even the weird looking cured duck breast tasted brilliant. We also had the Crab Cakes, that even though small were almost entirely made of crab meat without any starchy fillers and came with a delicious mustard tartar aside to be dipped in. Yum. Unfortunately the rest of the meal didn’t continue as convincing as the Burrata was miniature sized and the Fried Squid just had way too much oily batter on it and overall wasn’t really pleasant to eat.

imageAs main I had the $42 Rhug Estate Organic Pork, which I was looking forward to a lot. Taste wise the meat itself was actually quite good, soft and hearty but with that fancy name and for that price it was just not up there and way too tiny. Since it was advertised as loin I had hoped for a nicely lean piece of meat but on top of the smallish cut of pork was a rather huge layer of pure uneatable fat. Pretty disappointing that one was and the gooey cream sauce additionally made me feel uncomfortably stuffy.

So this was a rather unfortunate ending to a promising start. Don’t get me wrong, Culina in general is a nice place with in- and outside seating and you can also fill up your shopping cart with some goodies from their deli on your way out but if you should decide to go for a meal at their bistro, maybe it’s not such a bad idea to follow our birthday boy’s choice and go for the steak cuts. They had in fact quite a hefty price tag but therefore looked pretty awesome and apparently also tasted accordingly.

Culina Dempsey
Block 8 Dempsey Road
#01-13 Dempsey Hill
Singapore 247696
Tel: +65 6474 7338
http://www.culina.com.sg/

Burgers of the Rising Sun.

imageNow this was on my long time to do list for two reasons, first because I never really had some deluxe Japanese Hamburgers before and secondly because this place is somehow linked to the guys from Yazawa Yakiniku, which I haven’t been to yet myself but heard only great things about. So today was the day and the lord and I came down here to finally check it out. For how much their steaks cost, the place was surprisingly simple setup, with dimmed light and booth seating options just like at any other casual Japanese restaurant.

However, we both had the Masa Hamburg which is pretty much a high end 200gr hamburger patty (also available in 300gr)  which in our case was topped with a perfectly beautiful sunny side up and served on a hot sizzling plate. Making the first cut right through the middle was amazing as the egg yolk ran down in between the patty and started bubbling from the heat of the plate together with all the meaty juices. Okay so the looks were pretty awesome but more interesting was if the flavors could keep up with that. Unfortunately they couldn’t, don’t get me wrong this was a nice patty, soft with a light beefy taste but nothing that rocked my world and the fried egg, even though good looking, was just ordinary egg and it all was surprisingly under seasoned as well. Now there was salt and pepper on the side and also the onion jam had a nice flavourful touch but for $30 ish I had expected just a little bit more. At least I have tried it now, no regrets.

Masa Steak & Hamburg Tokyo
11 Unity Street
#01-03 Robertson Walk
Singapore 237995
Tel: +65 6836 2529
http://masahamburg.com/

Se Mighty Schnitzel Lunch.

imageOnce in a while it is time for a big ass lunch with my colleagues and having a humongous Wiener Schnitzel at the new Brotzeit at Westgate just seemed the right thing to do.

It was a truly gigantic slap of veal and even though pounded ’til super flat the meat was still juicy and with the crispy paper thin crumbs around, this thing just ruled and tasted like a bit of home. The potato salad on the side was not your commonly found weird mayonnaisy version but more the one I miss from back home, made with stock, chives and all. It was great, I wish every lunch could be like this but unfortunately that would make my waistline much fuller and my wallet way emptier so I’ll probably need to wait until it’s my next birthday or something. Schnitzel for life.

Brotzeit – German Bier Bar & Restaurant
3 Gateway Drive
#01-04 Westgate
Singapore 608532
Tel: +65 6465 9874
http://www.brotzeit.co/

Restaurant Week 2014: Table at 7

imageBecause of work and travels my post backlog grew a little and so this year’s restaurant week checkout had to wait a little longer for publishing than usual. But here we were on a Sunday evening down Mohamed Sultan Road at Table at 7, a nice Central-European / SEA fusion restaurant.

The first course of the selection menu was an amazing 5-Spice Quail. Perfectly broiled with a delicate, slight gamey taste and glazed with a sweetish spice mix. This was a great start and before continuing with the serious staff we received a smallish cup filled with a Black Mussel and Saffron Soup which was creamily delicious except the one whole actual mussel in it which I generously passed to one of my friends.

imageAs main I chose the Beer Roasted Suckling Pig. The skin was as thin and crisp as it gets with the meat underneath staying soft and juicy. The sauerkraut it was bedded on tasted great together with the pinch of star anis and made for some well-matching European-Asian flavors. Rounded up with a richly decadent and warm little chocolate tart paired with some cooling bailey’s ice cream our 4-course-dinner came to a delicious close.

I really really liked it here, the place looks nice and elegant, the service is friendly – even the chef came around and checked how we liked our food – and all above the dishes were not only appealingly presented but more importantly pretty darn tasty. I’ll come back.

Table at 7
7 Mohamed Sultan Road
Singapore 238957
Tel: +65 6836 6362
http://www.tableat7.com/

Groundhog Steak.

imageYaya I know, Market Grill AGAIN!? But I couldn’t help it; I had told my friend so much about my last two visits here that she really wanted to try it and I just couldn’t come up with any good reason why not to. And I can’t even remember what exactly my dish was called, just that it was on the special’s board that night. The beef was fantastic though, a l’entrećote cut, broiled to a perfect medium rare with a nice char, bloody and juicy and topped with a thick truffle infused lentil gravy. I absolutely enjoyed the meat and the gravy was pretty interesting but somehow the strong fancy truffle flavors didn’t really work for me with the rather rustic lentils. Nevertheless a good dish overall.

The Market Grill
208 Teok Ayer Street
Singapore 068642
Tel: +65 6221 3323
http://themarketgrill.com.sg/

Lobster rolls baby.

imageAfter skating around the city a little bit we – not completely unintentionally – found ourselves hungry in the China Square area. I had read about that branch of Platypus here which is a lunch deli during the day and transforms into a lobster roll joint at night. Apparently double concept restaurants seem to be the thing these days.

There was quite a selection of different kinds of lobster rolls on their menu but as this was my first visit here, I stuck to The Traditional, not to let other and stronger ingredients overpower the seafood. The friendly dude, who waited on us brought out some delicious looking plates just a few minutes after we had ordered and the lobster roll was simply brilliant to say the least. The brioche bun was perfectly toasted so it got a little crisp on the edges and turned out to be the ideal vessel for all that deliciousness inside. It was loaded with a generous portion of big chunks from sweet and fresh lobster meat covered with a light and slightly fruity dressing with just a hint of garlic. If to change anything, I would maybe be taking it a bit easier on the butter for the bun to keep things nice and light but that’s just my preference. To add more substance, it all came accompanied by some fresh organic greens and some crisps, sprinkled with that oddly popular truffle oil. Latter was a dash too strong for me half way through so I didn’t entirely finish it.

This roll was rad, delicious and considering the quality of the food and the location of the place also totally reasonable priced at 25 bucks altogether with the sides and even a cold bottle of Sol to go with it; now that’s a “Happy Meal” right there. Next up, The Hickory Smoked.

Platypus Lobster Shack (after 6 p.m.)
3 Pickering Street
#01-31 Nankin Row (China Square)
Singapore 048660
Tel: +65 6438 7961
http://www.platypuskitchen.com/platypus-lobster-shack.html

I ❤ Kassler Tuesdays.

imageMy buddy from work ventured the internet for lunch options and found out it was “Kassler Day” at Marché today and so we didn’t have to look any further no more. I hadn’t been here for a long time as my last salad experience was both disappointing and expensive but the Kassler, being a lunch item, sounded like a good deal.

It was actually pretty great, a big fat slice of pork, with a nice smokey crust around the thick and juicy meat that was ultimately salty. Simple flavours like from home, kicked in the butt by some sharp dijon mustard that went all up in my nose. The mashed potatoes were creamy and fluffy delicious and the salad wasn’t too bad at all either but we just missed the Sauerkraut they usually offer aside of this.

Marché is nicely setup, while nothing extraordinary, it’s a bright and casual lunch bistro and other than last time the food was actually freaking delightful today. I really hope it’ll be “Kassler Day” again soon.

Marché Mövenpick Jem
50 Jurong Gateway Road
#01-03 Jem® (Jurong East Mall)
Singapore 608549
Tel: +65 6694 0884
www.marche-moevenpick.com/jem