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Showing posts with label Modern American. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Modern American. Show all posts

Monday, December 28, 2015

London: Literally Burger and Lobster @ Burger & Lobster, Soho

Have you ever wandered into a restaurant only to be confused by a menu that goes on for ages?  So have I.  That is until I started blogging.  But one genius has came up with a restaurant that serves 3 dishes and only 3 dishes with no options for sides whatsoever.  It is so simple that they do not even have a menu.  This is the famous Burger & Lobster and its £20 menu.  If its name does not give it away, the restaurant literally serves burger and lobsters.   Coming in for lunch at 2pm on Saturday, I was thankful to have waited for a short 15 minutes before being seated.  I have heard other people who have waited for over 2 hours!   

Diners at Burger & Lobster have a choice between the beef burger, the poached/grilled lobster and the lobster roll.  Jacques and I decided to share a serve of poached lobster and the beef burger.

The kind chefs in the kitchen help split them in half for us so there was no need for any cutting whatsoever.

The burger half:
We asked the burger to come medium rare to get the best of the juicy patty.  The burger came brilliantly red in the middle so it was no surprise that the first bite was intensely juicy.  Simply seasoned with salt and pepper, it was delicious!  Jacques on the other hand thought it was a little too red.  I can see his concerns as certain parts looked really red haha.

The lobster half:

To get the best of the lobster, we opted for the poached one.  Having it poached means you get a flesh that amplifies the naturally sweet-briny flavours of the crustacean.   Not to mention, the flesh stays extremely juicy if poached for the right amount of time.  Then comes the best part, the meaty claw!  Biting into its meaty flesh was every bit satisfying!  Almost like biting into a giant drumstick!  Dip it in the accompanying parsley butter for an extra kick of flavour!  

Burger & Lobster served me an enjoyable meal that day.  If the queue is not too overbearing,  I would definitely come back for another meal.  Thinking back, if I came back feeling really hungry, I might even consider ordering one lobster and burger for myself!  They were both amazingly tasty dishes.  In saying that, I admit that the lobster alone would might really small.  In fact, the body of the lobster was rather small, but remember so was my £20 pound note!  Thankfully their perfectly fried fries and salad made help complete the meal.

Visit 2:

Burgers & Lobster was an enjoyable meal for me back when I was in London. However, there was a lingering feeling of incompleteness as I have not been able to try their Lobster Roll which is the final item on the menu.  Fortunately I revisited the London and brought a couple of friends to try out Burger & Lobster. 

Lobster Roll 

Filled to the brim with sweet lobster flesh and served between a brioche bun brings heaven a little closer to earth.  It was essentially eating a lobster without the fuss of peeling the shells.  But is it the exact same? Well this is a definite no.  Nothing quite beats the flesh of the plump juicy lobster flesh you get from a freshly prepared lobster.  The Lobster roll was a convenient thing but for the best flavour, I would definitely call the Lobster which I did too :)!

Burger & Lobster Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, August 4, 2014

NYC Trip: The End

If someone asks you how big is New York City? Just say “Too big,”.  It really is.  Over a week, I ate my way through the big Apple and found many places irresistibly yummy! Despite a sore foot, I merely covered an area in Manhattan that spans from the Upper East till Downtown.

Although I could never really finish the city, I think I did pretty well food wise and here is an almost complete list of places where I dined sorted into 2 price categories.

NYC Essentials (<$20)

An iconic burger places with occasional collaborations with top chefs that is neither too commercialised to be a joint nor too unique to be a one-off boutique burger place.  But if you are having one of those “days”, what better than a shack burger paired with fries and a happy ending of peanut butter shake.  Happy days!

Start the meal with a basic Gyoza before calling a main of Hakata Style ramen.  Black garlicky oil on an already amazing porky broth?  Damn it was heaven without the line.  

If Hide Chan was North Pole, then Totto Ramen would be the South Pole.  Different from start to end, the only thing similar between the two is its owner.  At Totto Ramen, enjoy a Chicken Paiten Ramen so amazing it makes one dreams of it at night.  This is a legit pork alternative.  Beware, queues are long.

With popular places like Junior’s in the area, it is easy to overlook this relatively unknown diner.  Yet this might be your best bet for quality breakfast pancakes.  Crispy, fluffy and cooked through with perfection, it was all too hard to ignore.

Being the first does not necessarily makes you the best.  But the best itself could not be anymore subjective.  Old school fit up in this humble little eatery maintains its olden day charm.  Come in solo or with the brood, Nom Wah has got you covered.  When you crawl out of the bed during winter, know that piping hot dim sum is not too far away.

I had one shot to get a taste of New York Pizza into my busy schedule.  Thankfully, a slice at ABP did not disappoint.  With the Artichoke slice spanning across two plates topped with their famous cream base sauce, stringy cheese and caramelised artichokes,  this might be NYC’s best value bite yet at just $4.50 a slice. 

An aluminium wrapped takeaway box with a Middle-Eastern scent is the biggest giveaway that someone is holding a box of faithful mixed platter and rice from the infamous Halal Guys.  From street culture to fast-food joint, the Halal Guys are set to dominate.  Cult descriptions of nuclear red rice topped with pieces of meat and lashing of white sauce is just the beginning of a happy end to the night.  Operating till 4am, now Twilight has no reason to exist. 

Chelsea Market (Chelsea)
So much to eat, so little space to put it in.  Here you can enjoy soup, fresh seafood, independent farmers’ produce, Mexican, Korean, pastries or simply just have a stroll.  From clothing shopping to a filling in a hungry stomach, I love this place.  Located indoors for your convenience too.  After the market, head to the Highline Park just outside Chelsea Market for a mile of enjoyable walk to aid digestion.  It is heaven on rails.


If fine dining has always been a part of your priority undertakings to understand the culture a city was built upon, these finer establishments might be the thing you are looking for.  NYC is a city of swag, so common delights can become fancy and clearly so when acknowledged by the headmasters at the Michelin corp.

Fine Dining at NYC
Classy,  sleek and inspiring.  This Jean Georges spinoff has more finesse in its fried chicken than a French bistro does with its Foie Gras. Its seasonal menu takes simple life pleasures and make it into something special.  The courteous service makes dining here a bliss.

Why is this fine dining?  This is because a $30 burger including tip ands tax is pretty damn fine!  But after 26 years of my life, this 1 Michelin star eatery has delivered what I call the “IT” burger.  With a claim like that, many people will have high expectations I know.  But as mentioned, the thick spread of Roquefort cheese on the brioche bun with a juicy patty shows that the Spotted Pig means business.  But that is IF you enjoy the Spotted Pig's take on the classic cheese burger.

The full tasting menu brought my bill beyond the $50 mark.  But a bread course, 4 seafood courses, a seasonal dessert and petit fours make this a bargain.  Sit down and let the jumbo scallops, sensational pastas, lobsters, crabs and briny sea urchins make their appearance as part of a seafood orchestra by Marea.  Top level service makes progressive dining here a seamless experience.
Another Michelin rated restaurant.  If a sushi master pressing sushi is artsy, prepared to be wow-ed by these handy skewer chefs.  Head to tail movement at its finest, see Chef Atsushi Kono coordinate the delicious transformation of the pedestrian chicken protein into something amazing.

One surprise after the other, the Gramercy Tavern is like a roller coaster ride in your mouth.  High and lows in this Modern American X Asian fusion delivers the best bang for your buck of the lot.  Ranked 1 star by the Michelin guide, the inventive savoury menu will keep your buds craving for more.  But when it comes to a sweet ending, good or bad really comes at the toss of a coin.  However, at $60 plus service charges, the tavern is a lunch time gem.

The Japanese culture is big in the States and Sushi Azabu the front runner for no-nonsense sushi exclusivity without the overwhelming price tag of the more mainstream establishments.  Do not expect California rolls or heavy lashings of pretentious Kewpie to make their mark.  Instead, Shim prepares sashimi prawns, tuna, sea urchins and other fresh offerings served on divine sushi rice.


Food business in NYC is big business.  NYC residents are fussy and no trend is always there to stay when you are at the top of the class.  Evolution counts for survival.  Thankfully, with a superbly variable price tag, there is something for everyone.  Whether it is Asian or Western, Chinese or Japanese, Italian or American, be prepared to eat.  But prices in the big Apple can quickly add up especially if you do not watch the cheque due to taxes and tips which usually bumps the bill up by a minimum of 25%.  So, do tell me what you think if you hit the big Apple and try out the food I had.  Note that all opinions here are a from a hungry traveller's perspective which is one that is open and receptive.  If you come here acting all big headed with a mindset from home, it is likely that you will have different views.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

NYC: Modern American @ The Gramercy Tavern, Flatiron District

8 days, a whole lot of food, sightseeing and talking with strangers.  The last stop of my trip after a grabbing a quick slice at Artichoke Bassile’s was at the 1 Michelin Star gastropub, The Gramercy Tavern.  Unlike my previous dinner place at Marea, the dining scene at the Gramercy Tavern is more casual and relaxed as opposed to formal.  Most people will tell you that but do not be too complacent as the $58 dollar Seasonal Lunch Tasting Menu is a favourite among the business community.  Additionally, do no expect any productive conversations as the interior of wood and concrete walls provides little to dampen the noise from a crowded floor.

Before deciding on what to eat I ordered a lemonade.  Kids drink but a winner in Vitamin C.  The lemonade came proper with a small bottle of syrup which allows you to adjust the sweetness to your liking.  I liked how the lemonade was all about you rather than the kitchen because I preferred mine more sour than sweet and that is exactly how I had it :)!

It did not take long after the bread course for my Amuse Bouche to reach.  No mention of the bread at Marea or the Gramercy Tavern because the best bread still hails from either Le Atelier de Joel Robuchon, HK or Tetsuya’s, Sydney. The Amuse Bouche was a complimentary salad filled with the little pleasures of life.  Little chunks of lobsters, sweet grapes halves, crispy croutons, and fresh bean.  All of which were tossed in a vinaigrette.
Amuse Bouche; Lobster, Grapes, Croutons, Pole Bean

The first course was another salad which tasted more like a continuation of the Amuse Bouche rather than a course itself.  In the salad were the vegetables of summer.  Crisp, refreshing and tasty.  This is what makes vegan stay vegans and carnivores refuse to eat vegetables.  Contradictory?  No.   The salad was good but not life changing enough to make people become a convert.
Cucumber Salad; Carrots, Leeks and Meyer Lemon

Another serve of “salad" graced the menu again.  This time, in the form of luxury.  Lobster and eggs with pieces of little pickled ramps.  Sweet lobsters paired with a balanced egg salad.  Not to sweet, or overladen with mayonnaise and neither was it boringly bland.  Lobsters from my experience over the week seem to be a trademark seafood during summer.  Clearly enough, the freshness of the crustacean was intact at the tavern and maximised by its minimalistic preparation.  Poached.
Lobster Salad;  Pole Bean, Pickled Ramps, Egg Salad

Next came my favourite course of the day, a course of fish.  I dislike fish that are stinky and tend to avoid fish wherever I go, but never when it is in the hands of a capable chef.  I have read on other blogs before that the Chef at the Gramercy Tavern cooked at a bistro in Japan prior to coming here.    This dish made it obvious.  Perfectly cooked fish, in a clear mushroom consomm√© with a sprinkling of green garlic infused oil.  The focus on the fish in this dish showed clarity in the chef’s approach.  Everything was about serenading the fish and it was done well.
Halibut; Kale, Green Garlic, Mushroom Broth

A serve of duck changed the course from white to red meat.  How well was the duck cooked?  The picture says it all.  How good did it taste?  The picture says nothing.  I think for a gamey bird like duck, you need a little more flavour to eat.  That does not mean serving it laden with an overbearing sauces but definitely a little bit more than what Gramercy Tavern put on the plate that day.  Coming in here,  I was expected the red meat to be served a little like the beef Rossini at Sage, KL.  This was OK but not something I would applaud for unconditionally.
Roasted Duck; Radish, Almonds, Wheat Berries

After a refreshing palate cleanser of berry foam and orange custard, came the dessert.  I like my dessert to be sweet but mildly sweet.  A fruity-sweet dessert is more welcomed any day than a sugary sweet one. Not a big fan of meringue.  But when something comes out with lots of fragrance but almost 0 sweetness, mannnn it was hard to down.  Sorry the Gramercy Tavern, this has had to be the most try-hard dessert I have ever eaten.  The beauty of it though were all the layers of texture from the smooth Panna Cotta, to the crumbly apricot pieces to the tapioca pudding.  But perhaps 1 or 2 ingredients less.  All I needed was a Apricot Panna Cotta with more sweetness in it and just 1 other element to finish.  
Apricot Panna Cotta; Tapioca Pudding, Coconut, Thyme

Thankfully the creations of the little oven were pretty decadent.  Macarons were good, nougat were OK and the chocolate was spot on.

A sub-$60 dollar meal which consisted of +/- 8 courses depending on what you call a “course” means WenY should just shut up.  But no way.  The food here was superb in some sense but where it was close to excelling, it did not.  Have you heard Lily Allen’s “Not Fair”?   Close enough.  But where the Gramercy Tavern did well, it really worked.  Lobster & Egg salad?  Win.  Halibut in Mushroom Consomm√©?  Win.  Then the average Joe’s which were the two starting salads and the duck.  The Hitler of them all?  The Panna Cotta.  So close to conquering the world yet so far.   Progressive dining places like Marea, Tori Shin, Robuchon, and Sepia got better as the course progressed.  But my journey here was like a trekking adventure.  Ups and downs of different peaks but a thrilling one nonetheless.

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