fuck off brioche Tag

Where:
Bistro November
50 Keong Saik Road
Singapore 089154

Phone:
+65 6347 1928

Price:
SGD78 (+17% tax) for the dinner tasting menu.

The deal:
Bistro November is a pop-up dining concept by Chef John-Paul (JP) Fiechtner which is, as the name suggests, only sticking around until November 2017 when the lease runs out.  I’m not sure what Chef JP’s plan is post this date and whether he’s going to keep living that fuck yeah Singapore good life with Bistro November resurfacing in another format / location.  Regardless of the short time frame this place is going to be open, it doesn’t feel too slapped together, with the Bistro November team keeping shit simple – using existing furniture and various pieces from thrift shops to give it that modern hipster feel.  It definitely has a Melbourne feel to it, except there isn’t some Melbourne asshole next to me telling me about how goddamn liveable Melbourne is, babbling about trams and small bars and for thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever – Melbourne coffee.  Every other review will probably describe its interior as “quirky” but that word makes me want to punch myself in the face, so I’ll just go with carefully put together.  The website trots out the usual tat about using “local and seasonal ingredients sourced daily from the nearby Chinatown Wet Market” and it’s this ethos which supports a handwritten menu which changes daily.

Starting with the bread which is stated as being from “friends”, there’s a few different types and it’s served with a house-made miso butter.  The bread is largely A1 good times with some fuck yeah sourdoughs, except for the inclusion of my nemesis, fucking brioche which is predictably a bit dry and a bit crap. Maybe the 1,256th time I try brioche I’ll actually think “Wow, I much prefer this dried out piece of shit over bread” but I haven’t reached that point yet.  There’s some fuss by the waiter about their house-made miso butter which sounds like it should be exciting, with the fermented miso getting along with the creamy butter but in its execution it’s a hard lump which doesn’t spread, just disintegrating into weird, hard, fatty pieces (despite it being at room temperature).   Not sure what’s going on in the House of Home Made Miso Butter, but it appears you’re the rightful King of What’s the Fucking Point and Lord of the Crumbles. Bistro November move past their butter related failures and kick a goal though, with its Fromage de Tete (head cheese) cause there’s nothing like some jellied pig head meat terrine to eat with some fuck yeah bread to get a meal really started.

One of my fave fuck yeah dishes of the night is the barley porridge.  Fuck, I know right – who serves a porridge course unless you’re at breakfast at a health retreat, in prison or at the three bears’ house? Bistro November has fermented the barley and then mixed it with the prawn head butter (ie. the flavourful gunk inside the prawn head that all fuck yeah Asians in the know suck out of the prawn head).  It’s rich, deep in flavour and fucking delicious.  Yeah, I get into the spirit of being Goldilocks flaunting her white privilege while criminally supping on baby bear’s breakfast, because Bistro November’s porridge is, as the fairy tales go, SO FUCKING RIGHT.

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FYN side note:  Does this GIF now get FYN banned in China?

Our mega main is up next, with a golden pomfret served with beurre noisette.  There’s three of us and the waitress lets us know that it’s normally one fish between two people but with three people, it’s too awkward to split so they’ve given us two whole fish. GO FISH MY GENEROUS NOVEMBER MOTHERFUCKERS, I’m into it.  The pomfret is served whole and on the bone, so if you haven’t got homies who are a) not into fish b) can’t serve / debone a fish (ie. white homies), you are shit out of luck.  Lucky for us, we had enough fuck yeah talent at our table to get shit done and it is fucking sensational.  Fresh as fuck steamed pomfret, topped with onions, edamame and mussels, served with the browned butter in the sauce taking on an almost nutty flavour.  Our table tore through both fish in its entirety.

Less successful was the side dish of homemade soy curd and sour cucumber that was served with it.  It was one of those dishes which makes sense in theory but its execution let it down.  Like, I get that the acidity of the cucumber pickle should have played out against the fat of the beurre noisette, with the tofu bringing a textural and a slightly cooling contrast to the crisp pickle and complementing the the soft flesh of the pomfret.  However, in real life, I was more like “Why am I eating slightly grainy tofu with a piece of flaccid cucumber which isn’t sour or crunchy enough to cut through shit?”.  Cool idea Bistro homies and I know you fucking tried with that home made shiz but fuckkk, shit didn’t quite get to the end goal.  More importantly, why would you want to serve anything to detract from that magnificent fuck yeah pomfret??

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Dessert is chocolate heavy – a raw cacao based cake topped with ice-cream and dried chocolate.  I don’t necessarily get that hot and heavy for chocolate but this one was a fuck yeah because it wasn’t just a slog through a sweet, chocolatey one note mess. Well balanced with a good use of textures, the addition of shiso gave it a slightly spicy, herbal note and with a touch of salt, just brought a solid fuck yeah balance to it and a solid close to the menu.

Service at Bistro November was also tight as fuck, with our two waitresses bringing big smiles all night and attentive service.  In a Singapore blessing, they were actually walking the floor AND noticing when you needed help.

Overall, Bistro November is bringing something interesting to the table by riffing on locally sourced ingredients and mixing it with different techniques, flavours and ingredients that you might not have had before.  Which is interesting and for the most part, they land it.  Of course, with such an ambitious task to change their menu as frequently as they do, you also get the feeling that this is a space for the chefs to try some ideas they’ve had kicking around in their head and to see what lands before Bistro November reaches the end of its lease and the chefs re-emerge at their next venture.  I’d recommend Bistro November for adventurous homies who want to perhaps try something new which will hit some fuck yeahs, they’ll be a few mediocre points where the experiment hasn’t paid off but at least the service will be on point and you’ll have a fuck yeah time and the experience will show you something new about food as well.

Verdict:
Fuck yeah! But get into it ASAP homies cause in the words of Axl Rose, nothin’ lasts forever, even cold hot SG November rain bistros.

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Where:
Second Draft (FB Page)
G/F, 98 Tung Lo Wan Road
Tai Hang, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2656 0232.  YASSSS they take bookings – I’d also recommend making a booking because both times I’ve been they’ve seemed fairly busy.

Price:
Around HKD300 – 350 a person, including a couple of drinks.  Estimate around HKD200 per person for food (including 10% service charge).

The deal:
Second Draft is a collaboration between May Chow, the chef and founder behind Little Bao, and James Ling from The Tap Ale Project, who have their craft beer and simple eats in their Mong Kok restaurant/bar.  I’ll level with you, I didn’t have high hopes for Second Draft when I heard it was doing fusion modern food with craft beer, expecting that I’d be desperately trying to beg some beardy hipster waiter with tats to bring me some over-complicated food for ants which is trying too hard to be clever before I had to take out all the cash ever out of my wallet and then cruise for a second bang bang snack on the way home.   I never got into Little Bao because while I really enjoy the food at Little Bao, it’s exactly as the name promises – LITTLE.  Combine that with no bookings and its tiny (though delicious) baos the size of of a small child’s fist, it resulted in me cycling through this intense rollercoaster of fuck yeah and fuck no emotions whenever I ate there.  Such as “WOW this is fucking tasty” to “UH OH, how many of these little fuckers am I gonna have to eat to even touch my sides?” and then after some basic arithmetic I realise that the answer is “fuck tonnes x HKD78 each before tip = MY BANKRUPTCY, PLS TO HAVE IT”.

*cut to Sgt Noms’ matcha ice-cream bao sandwich melting under the hot, shower of impending bankruptcy tears*

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Second Draft is in the hip enclave Tai Hang, which I have a soft spot for even if it’s never really developed a knock out dining or bar scene.  But I guess that’s the hard to please game that hipster Tai Hang likes to play.  Second Draft is directly opposite where Stones (RIP) used to be and it’s a bright, simple space with sea-green walls, stencilled English/Chinese signs which say cute as fuck things like “NO SMOKING” and “BEWARE PICKPOCKETS”.  The back wall lists all the craft beers and hand pump beers that are available, our cheery waitress and knowledgeable bar dude telling us that that’s the best place for us to choose our beer from as they can’t keep the menus updated enough to keep up with their changing roster of beers.  I’m not the most knowledgeable fucker when it comes to beer but my more learned beer lovin’ homies are impressed with what’s on offer.  I stick to my Subject Matter Expertise and take down a Chen Pei Negroni (HKD120 +10% service charge), a lighter take on your traditional Negroni with Ford’s Gin, Aperol, Mancino Rosso and Aged Chen Pei (mandarin peel) and watch our bartender homie lovingly make this delicious as fuck cocktail with a beaker and a fucktonne of care.

The menu at Second Draft is split into Bar Snacks, Small Plates, Greens & Grains, Sandwiches, Fish & Meat and Chiella with the claim that they have taken traditional gastro-pub food and made it their own by riffing on traditional pub food by adding Asian touches.  Yes, I’m a sceptical fuck so I’ve already got my Why Are You Doing This? Pants at the ready to slip straight into when I get some bullshit Euro-Asian mishmash dish.  But I’m trying to be open minded so I keep them neatly folded to the side while I take a moment to appreciate that Second Draft have gone to the effort of having both English and Chinese on their menu which I give a massive fuck yeahhhhhh.

No self-respecting pub can claim to have their shit together if they can’t make good fries and Second Draft’s Tai Hang Fries (HKD68 + 10% service charge) are dusted with cumin, dried chilli and Szechuan peppers to give it a little bit of ‘ma la’ numbing spice, with a serve of aioli on the side.  There’s also chopped takana (pickled mustard leaf) fried into the mix which reminds me of the chai po (salted, preserved turnip) used by the Hokkien folk and is generally fried and used in omelettes or congee.  You wouldn’t think fries are something that are hard to execute but this week alone I’ve had two fuck no sad fries incidents in HK restaurants so GOLD STARS TO SECOND DRAFT, you know how to fry the fuck out of those potatoes and I showed my eternal appreciation by getting a spoon so I could eat the remaining spice and takana mixture left over when I’d decimated all the fries.

The Buffalo Wontons (HKD82 + 10% service charge for five wontons) are not stuffed with buffalo but are filled with Three Yellow Chicken and Chinese celery.  The name comes from the buffalo sauce which is where shit gets real, referencing the sauce normally found on a buffalo wing (but without the blue cheese), it’s just sour enough and a touch spicy.  To be honest, I can’t remember that much about the wontons but I do know that I wanted to bathe myself in dat fuck yeah sauce.

The Mapo Burrata (HKD138 + 10% service charge) references mapo tofu, and it’s optically creative by subbing out the white tofu with a white ball of burrata.  The ball of burrata is served on the pork “mapo” ragout, with some baby spinach leaves chilling on the side.  Finished off with a red, spicy Szechuan influenced sauce there’s that ‘mala’ spicy numb thing going on which plays against the coolness of the creamy burrata and the fresh spinach leaves.  Fuck yeahhhh, riffing on traditional Chinese dishes and actually producing something clever and delicious as fuck.  Definitely add this dish to your Must Order dishes if you find yourself at Second Draft.

It’s at this point that I realise that I’ve slipped into some sort of alternate HK reality slider because I realised we’ve been blessed with fuck yeah, top notch service all night.  What is this?!  Is our waitress attentive, friendly and totally on her shit?  Is she sniffing empty beer glasses and identifying what beer we’ve been drinking so she can get us another one before we even get a chance to desperately throw down thirsty face shade to try and get more drinks?  Is she equally fluent in English and Cantonese and busting out the charm and affable service bilingually across all the tables?! Is this really a waitress or a fallen angel from the Efficient Service Heavens as she changes all of our plates AND cutlery so we can enjoy our next round of food without it being tainted with all the dishes that have gone before??  I’m not used to this level of kindness in the wilds of HK Hospitality and I’m afraid that this vision of beautiful, efficient service is too good for this harsh and cruel HK world.  Don’t leave us our celestial hospitality angel, we want you, we need you, we love you.  PLEASE STAY.

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Someone had given me the red hot tip to smash up the Sandwich section at Second Draft and we went all in, ordering three of them – The Shanghai Dip, The Reuben and Fried Chicken sandwich (HKD98, HKD128 and HKD98 + 10% service charge, respectively).  Also, Bread Elements by Gregoire Michaud are doing their bread so at least you can be guaranteed that you’ll be avoiding the sad times and carb crimes that normally accompany most HK sandwiches.  The Shanghai Dip’s been getting some major promo at the moment as it was part of some Ultimate Sandwich Contest that’s been doing the rounds.  24 Hour braised pork leg and pickled cucumber is piled onto a ciabatta and served with a side of Stonecutter Scotch ale pork jus on the side, for you to get your dip on. It’s solid enough but I really thought I was going to enjoy this one more than I did, the dipping sauce and braised pork just being a bit too sweet for me to really get my full Fuck Yeah Sandwich on.

However, the Second Draft Reuben storms it home, using a dark beer bread and sliced pastrami, melted swiss cheese, pickled red cabbage and a young ginger dressing which in combination DING DING DING rings my FUCK YEAH SANDWICH bell so fucking hard.  In a major win, everything’s the right temperature which means that the sliced pastrami and its fatty streaks are still melting, the Swiss cheese is not a congealed slice of sadness and the toasted beer bread is actually still warm when it’s served.  Sure it’s not a traditional Reuben sandwich but I’ll take this one over some of the super sad ones I’ve had in HK.

We’d been seeing some fuck yeah looking fried chicken sandwiches being delivered to the other tables so we piled in for this one.  When it actually arrived at our table I realised that it wasn’t on any sort of appropriate bread but it was in fact constructed from, MY NEMESIS BRIOCHE.  In case you’ve forgotten about my feelings regarding brioche, please refer to my greatest contribution to the internet to date:

fuckbrioche

Sir Crunch-a-lot tries to calm me down as my face screws up into what resembles a cat’s anus, “Maybe the brioche won’t be that bad? I mean, it still looks really good”.  He’s not lying, there’s a fuck yeahhhh looking fried piece of Three Yellow Chicken with Nam Yu (fermented tofu) Mayo, Pickled Ginger Coleslaw on BULLSHIT BRIOCHE.  As predicted, I can’t get turned on for brioche and as I eat my fried chicken sandwich, the brioche goes from being slightly offensive to being downright BULLSHIT when it disintegrates into a thin piece of soggy, slightly sweet bread.  ASIDE from the BULLSHIT BRIOCHE though, the fried chicken sandwich contents are FUCKING AMAZING.  The fried chicken is fried perfectly and the pickled ginger coleslaw brings a fresh, zingy bite to it and cuts through the grease of the fried chicken.  Don’t freak out about the fermented tofu in the mayo because it’s more just a of a low bass note that rumbles through the whole fuck yeah sandwich affair.  BUT WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY do people still insist on using toasted brioche for savory foods???? *falls to the floor with flailing arms, hands in rictus gripped into flipping the bird and gnashes teeth, amongst broken dreams and inferior bread choices*

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Don’t get me wrong, the Fried Chicken Sandwich was still FUCKING DELICIOUS.  So delicious that I added another order of the Fried Chicken (HKD108 + 10% service charge) so I could continue to get my fuck yeah chicken on without the distress of facing MY NEMESIS BRIOCHE.

I wasn’t exactly sure what the Octopus and Pork Belly (HKD148 + 10% service charge) would be, billed as “Nam Yu Braised Octopus and Pork Belly, Chimichurri and Pickled Garlic”.  This was my least favourite dish of the night because I didn’t really get what it was trying to be.  There were pieces of octopus and some pork belly sitting in a tomato gravy and some baby peas just floating about.  There was something nostalgic about this dish for all of us, touching on something from our childhood of peas and gravy but ultimately I just didn’t know what the sum of these parts was meant to be and I was neither better nor worse off for knowing this dish.

HOWEVER, the Flower Crab Pasta (HKD198 + 10% service charge) doesn’t suffer from this fate at all and when it arrives, it’s a pile of thick Shanghainese noodles, stirred through with a butter sauce, hand dressed pieces of Flower Crab and shredded cucumber.  There’s a whole egg yolk on top, hidden under the empty carapace of the Flower Crab which is meant to be broken and mixed through the noodles before eating.  It’s fucking gorgeous and this dish also brings the FUCK YEAHHHH feelings.  There’s the dense chew of the Shanghai noodles and the sweet pieces of crab which is matched with black vinegar to bring that Shanghainese crab feeling.  The noodles are coated with creamy, fat fuck feelings from the egg yolk and butter sauce but it’s also balanced with the acidity of the black vinegar and the fresh cucumber slices which pierce through the richness, so it’s all the dark and the light, the ying and the yang and the fuck yeahhhhs and the MEGA MAJOR MIGHT JUST HUMP THE TABLE LEG FUCK YEAHSSSSSS.  Just like a 90s power love ballad, YEAH YOU CRAB JUST TO KNOW YOU’RE ALIVE:

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This crab noodle dish was so fucking amazing that I trotted my fat little legs straight back to Tai Hang no less than FIVE DAYS later so I could get Mr Pinchy and his Carb related friends back into my life again.  Except I fell into a trap for young players and as I expectantly sat at my table, dreaming of the crab related love and happiness that was soon going to be in my face, my smiley waitress broke the sad news to me that Second Draft don’t do the Flower Crab Pasta before 6pm.  My heart breaks into a million pieces, my eyes shine with disappointed tears and FML, this is what it sounds like when foodie blogging assholes cry:

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So all of my reservations about Second Draft turned out to be incorrect, because I fucking loved it so much more than I ever thought I would.  Casual eats with top notch service, reasonably priced food which is riffing on the East / West thing but isn’t a total shit show, good beer/drinks and I can even book that shit so I’m guaranteed a table?  Sign me up for that good shit, preferably after 6pm so I can get that sweet fuck yeah Flower Crab Pasta in my life ASAP.

Verdict:
Fuck yeahhhhhh!!  I might even be able to move past the offensive use of brioche because dat Reuben Sandwich, Flower Crab Pasta and Mapo Burrata giving me serious LIFE.

Where:
Why50
Shop E, G/F, Fu Fai Commercial Centre
27 Hillier St, Sheung Wan
Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 5239 8013 (but when I tried to call this number to pre-order shit, no one picked up)

Price:
HKD86 for a Cubano sandwich.  About HKD40 for coffee?  DON’T QUOTE ME ON COFFEE PRICES.

The deal:
Ms Two Serves got a sweet taste for Why50’s Cubano sandwich a few weeks ago and I was on the receiving end of a flurry of excited text messages.  But just like a raver desperately trying to catch that sweet high of her first pinger, her subsequent visits to Why50 were still all good Cubano times but plagued by execution issues.  Like when she called 20 minutes ahead to put her order in because Why50 apparently take fucking forever to make a sandwich and when she arrived she was still told that it’d be another 30 minutes while a girl behind the counter lovingly and delicately cut up a banana for 15 minutes which was eventually going to be pulverised through a blender.

So despite the warning shots of impending ineptitude flying past my head, I teed up Ms Two Serves to meet me at Why50 so I could try this Mr Cubano sandwich because fuck, I just want to believe that my big fuck yeah sandwich dreams can come true in HK:

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Based on the shitshow we were anticipating, I tried to call ahead to pre-order two Cubanos but one number I found online didn’t work and the other rang out.  I messaged Ms Two Serves and said that I couldn’t pre-order and she immediately exclaims “HELLZ NAWWW, ain’t nobody got time to wait for them to make sandwiches” and stomps down there ahead of time, putting in our order as the ONLY customer in the shop.  When I arrive at Why50, I realise that we’ve got another homie on the way so I try to order another Cubano.  That’s when I’m met by a blank stare by a waitress that we like to call Silverlox and she says “No Cubanos….We are sold out”.  I take a moment to pause and with an incredulous look at the empty cafe which hasn’t even really hit lunch time yet, I ask Silverlox “Really?  How??”  and she says they’ve run out of bread.  Why50, this ain’t good news for your lunch trade if our order for TWO Cubanos at 12:15pm has completely cleaned out Why50 ‘s lunch supply of bread.

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I look at Silverlox, wild eyed and desperate, while gesturing at their menu and asking “What else can I order instead?”, seeing that of the eight menu items, no less than THREE contain my darkest nemesis, brioche.  Sensing my weakness she looks at me glassily, saying that they have plenty of brioche left.  Ms Two Serves had already ordered the Brioche French Toast before I got there.  But ugh, I give this scenario a fuck noooooooo, seeing as I’m not a 4 year old French child who wants something to dunk into my cocoa and especially because my greatest contribution to the internet to date has really been the below:

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Denied our third Cubano, Ms Two Serves and I watch the Why50 Cubano machine slowly sputter into life, with its three-man kitchen staff indolently making our sandwiches.  25 minutes after our order, they appear and despite what I consider to be a fucking outrageous time to wait for a sandwich when there is NO ONE ahead of you in the queue, it looks fucking glorious.  Slices of ham, roasted pork, melted Swiss cheese pickles and mustard on two fuck yeah pieces of toasted Bread Elements bread which was all working together for fuck yeah sandwich times. There’s also a side of tomato and mango salsa on the side which is a nice touch and the sweet and sour thing it’s got going on, pairs well with the ham, cheese and mustard. It’s hefty and a big feed for one person and perhaps there is still reason to dream that good sandwiches are possible in HK.  Even if in typical HK service terms, it’s such a fucking drama to actually obtain one.

At this point, Ms Two Serves’ French Brioche Toast is 40+ minutes post order and still not in existence.  She chases it up with the kitchen to see if they’ve forgotten and Silverlox confidently reassures us that no, they haven’t forgotten about her order, it’s still in process.  LIKE WHY50, WHY ALMOST 50 MINUTES FOR BASIC TOAST BASED FOOD?  JUST LET ME CHECK MY WATCH TO SEE HOW LONG THIS IS TAKING:

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When the Brioche French Toast finally arrives it’s so fucking sad, even once I account for my burning hatred for fucking brioche.  It’s barely been battered by egg, so it’s effectively just toasted dried out brioche, with creme fraiche dumped on top with a few strawberries scattered around.  For HKD80 and almost 50 minutes of our precious time.  Ms Two Serves pushes it around her plate, lamenting her sorry excuse for French toast, swearing that she’s gonna make her own tomorrow for breakfast.  Which she did and texted me about, proudly declaring that it took her less than 15 minutes to make French toast that was properly battered.

I always think about HK restaurants who complain about their blood thirsty landlords who make profits a near impossible, due to their rent.  But then I think about HK restaurants who are leaving so much money on the goddamn table because they do stupid shit like not keeping me awash in liquor or turning shit around at a pace faster than a snail’s crawl.  Why50, I know you’re meant to be named after the fact that there’s 50 beans in every cup of coffee but fuuuuuck, that Sheung Wan rent can’t be cheap so Y U no have enough bread to make more than two Cubanos at lunch and more importantly, WHY ALMOST 50 MINUTES FOR BASIC BREAD BASED FOODS??

Verdict:
Fuck no because I just cannot with waiting 30+ minutes for a sandwich when you have less than five people ordering food.  Despite the fact that their Cubano sandwiches are a big fuck yeah which I would most definitely like to eat again.

Before we get started you can check out FYN’s “Fuck Yeah, 2014! – Part #1 Hong Kong” here.

FYN’S 2014 STAND OUT NON-HK EATS

I had some serious fuck yeah eating adventures in 2014 but I only managed to get my lazy holiday ass into typing about my UK and NYC eats and my draft folder is littered with half finished NYC reviews. It seems like the new fuck no obnoxious foodie asshole way to describe yourself if you have the ability to fly to another country (ie. Have money) and eat food there (ie. Have a mouth) is a FOOD NOMAD. How fucking unbelievably wanky is that?? The thing is, I could totally write a pretentious as fuck FOOD NOMAD paragraph here, talk about my goddamn WANDERLUST as I lost myself in the bazaars of Istanbul, the splendiferous spice markets of India and the good shit I ate in 2014 before I uploaded my profile picture (beach wavey hair – CHECK, armful of beads and bracelets – CHECK, oversized sunglasses – CHECK, straw fedora tipped strategically over one side of my face – CHECK, bikini – FUCK YEAH BOOBS) but fuuuck that.  I’m not sure that managing to buy some cheap as fuck dumplings from an old dude from the Xilin Night Markets in Taiwan is food frontiering for the ages. I’ll be real with you homies, I didn’t always manage to get FYN entries up about my overseas shiz because I tend to just roll around clutching my rotund self on holidays and to be honest, I wasn’t sure how much value you guys were gonna put on how to get to a random houseboat in Kerala but TOUGH SHIT now cause I’ve got my food nomad wank-a-lot pants on so indulge me a little, ok?

STAND OUT NON-HK EATS #1: Oberoi Houseboat times – Kerala, India
Fuck me, the three days I spent on a houseboat in Kerala run by the Oberoi resulted in me eating some of the most fucking unbelievable fuck yeah Indian noms of my life. I often reflect upon Head Chef Diwaker and his fuck yeahhh cooking. We watched the rest of the houseboat guests order boring as fuck healthy breakfasts every morning like bircher muesli with fruit. I piled straight in and cruised straight past the oats in yoghurt section and straight to ordering a masala dosa, hoppers with vegetable sambar and a serve of duck akuri (scrambled duck eggs with Indian spices) and it became apparent as they arrived that that each dish was actually meant to be one person’s entire breakfast and it’s a pretty fucking punchy start to the day to order three individual breakfasts for one person. Chef Diwaker was punching out Indian cuisine from all over India, North to South and when the staff realised that Mr Noms and I were the houseboat guests who were the most into Indian eats, all bets were off and they started doubling our portions before we even asked. Probably the most chilled out I’ve been all year – reading books, mugs of sweet masala chai, stuffing myself with fuck yeah Indian food at regular intervals, watching Keralan fishermen pull out fish which I’d eat later and quite possibly the only three days in my life where not having wifi didn’t send me into total despair.

STAND OUT NON-HK EATS #2: Zucca London – London, UK
I get really fucking nostalgic for the Zucca times – this was one of the best fucking meals I had all year and fuck yeah to the UK Supercoach who gave us a detailed playbook on how to order.  I have taken stewardship of this playbook which means that when I recommend this place to my travelling homies they receive messages repeatedly punctuated with “DON’T FORGET THE PANNA COTTA“.

The meal I had at Zucca was a flawless, fuck yeah perfect experience.  There are so many food highlights that writing a summary of the FYN review seems pointless – from the house made bread with Zucca’s own grassy complex olive oil, the vitello tonnato (pork and tuna) dish,  the rich as fuck tomato and pork cheek sauce on the bucatini all’amatriciana which gave me life with every tubular strand and of course, dat unforgettable panna cotta which is without doubt, the best fucking panna cotta I’ve had of my life.  Service was a top notch fuck yeah with perfectly pitched friendly and knowledgeable service and all the fuck yeahs ever in this entire world for their menu which states boldly at the bottom “Using your mobile phone is unnecessary and anti-social”.  This meal will always get me in the nostalgia stakes as the birth place of turning to Swedish pop when you’re in a restaurant and unsure of what you should order cause always consider – “What Would Roxette Say” (#WWRS):

I dreamed about this magnificent, flaw-free, boss bitch for days after eating there.  I dream about Zucca months later.  Dear Zucca, I plaintively yearn for you – I play this song and think of the day that we will meet again because I fucking miss you, like the deserts miss the rain.

Fucking perfection.

STAND OUT NON-HK EATS #3: Baguettes in Paris
I ate a lot of good food in Paris but my fondest fuck yeah memories are sitting in the apartment we rented with a baguette de tradition, pork terrine, fuck off French cheese (yissssssssss), glorious creamy avocados and washing it all back with strong black coffee or champagne (morning vs night choices). I’m not even sure it qualifies as bread rather magical glutinous sticks of wonder.

FYN’s reaction to eating French bread:

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STAND OUT NON-HK EATS #4: Three Michelin Star Times in NYC (Per Se and Le Bernadin)
I was jet lagged as fuck in the States which saw me waking up at 4am for about 10 days straight.  While I initially thought it was just jet lag, by day 10, I decided that it was pure unadulterated excitement to be in FUCK YEAH, MURICA.  When I got back to the Kong, I reported to my American homies that I finally understand why they love America so much because America is fucking tits to the max.  I love the small town diners that serve fuck yeah blueberry pancakes the size of a manhole cover with come with a big fuck off jar of maple syrup (vs the cruel thimbleful of syrup you get at Oola in the Kong), lobster rolls, NYC pizza, bagels with lox and cream cheese – SO MUCH FUCK YEAH MURICA TIMES.  In NYC, I splurged on two bank breaking, balls to the wall meals at Per Se and Le Bernadin.  Both were fucking incredible.

At Le Bernadin, I got to see Eric Ripert in the dining room before service (achievements for 2014 – I managed not to launch myself at Eric, sobbing as I lost my shit) which was nice to see that some big name chefs still feel it necessary to oversee their restaurants.  Eight courses of a largely seafood based menu all under the dramatic 24-foot triptych of the Pacific Ocean, which didn’t rely on any gimmicks or conch shells with hidden iPods to play ocean noises and just let its seafood tell its own story.

After navigating the booking system 30 days in advance (actually leaving social engagements on a Friday night to get home by 10pm to start calling the booking hotline), we arrived at Per Se and worked our way through a laser focussed, entirely thought out dining experience.  Thomas Keller signature of ‘Oysters & Pearls’ was one of the most fucking spectacular things I’ve eaten in my life.  Individual elements of some dishes were the examples of the most flavourful version of that ingredient that I’ve ever eaten – how often do you remember a singular tomato slice or olive as being that fucking good?  There were precisely sourced ingredients such as 30 million year old Jurassic salt from Montana or unsalted cultured butter from a US producer who has a herd of no more than ten Jersey cows.  We powered through a fuck tonne of food and almost died when it came to the dessert marathon when my metaphorical hard cunt pants exploded meaning I didn’t power through as much of the mignardises as I should have.  I reminisce on all I could not finish in the dessert courses and I am overwhelmed by sadness of unbearable depths.

Fuck yeah to the World’s Top 50 Restaurants which don’t fucking disappoint (yeah Dinner by Heston, imma looking at you).

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STAND OUT NON-HK EATS #5: Caracas Arepas Bar
Our US Supercoach oversaw our US itinerary with an iron fist, making us submit multiple drafts before he signed off.  One of his tips was Caracas Arepas in the East Village and given how many eating options are available in New York it’s a true testament to the deep love I have for these chewy grilled and baked corn buns stuffed with fuck yeah ingredients like chorizo, avocado, chimi-churri, chicken, pork, cheese and black beans.  Our return visit to Caracas Arepas Bar was after a marathon drinking session at The Top of the Standard where we fell victim to the Land of the Free Pour.  I deployed Mr Noms to get arepas to try and mitigate some of the free pour damage while I leaned against a tree outside in a three point drunk guy taking a piss formation (wide legs, arm straight out on the wall, head down – yeah my homme homies know what’s up) while arepas later ‘made it better’.  My fuck no arepa-less existence in the Kong is just too fucking sad – I miss you dearly Mr Areppaaaasssss, but my heart will go on:

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FYN’s 2014 ‘JUST CANNOT’ LIST

Anyone who’s lived in HK for any amount of time knows that when shit works in HK, shit is golden (refer to: MTR, the airport, getting your HK ID card) however as soon as you try and deviate from the system, you end up with some sour faced person, shaking their head, saying ‘CANNOT’ and your shit is done, do not go directly past GO, you’ve hit CANNOT TOWN. This is my fucking list of CANNOT anymore when it comes to food in the Kong:

  1. Getting some asshole celebrity chef in to ‘design’ your menu.  Sure they might fly into HK for a bit during the first few weeks to do some publicity and the open or maybe they won’t come at all (isn’t that right Jamie?).  2014 saw Will, Gordon, Jamie and Tom try this shit on with mixed results.  Is the HK public really fucking impressed by this? JUST CANNOT.
    shaniaTDIMMwhatevershaniaTDIMM
  2. HKD138++ cocktails (+10% service charge). Since when did paying USD20+ for a cocktail becoming fucking normal?? JUST CANNOT.  Ok, I lie – I can, because I fucking love a cocktail before dinner.  On principle though, JUST CANNOT.
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  3. Stark industrial spaces with nothing soft at all which means you end up eating in a fucking echo chamber. Get some soft chairs, table cloths, curtains, foam cones, small yaks – I don’t fucking know, just get something which absorbs some of dat reverb ok??
  4. Michelin stars in HK. I can’t even be bothered writing some shit about this but really, these fucking places have a star? Bo Innovation has three while Amber has two? Every single Lei Garden has a Michelin star? Dudell’s has two? CIAK IN THE KITCHEN, A PIZZA/PASTA LUNCH PLACE IN LANDMARK HAS ONE?! HO HUNG KEE IN HYSAN PLACE HAS ONE STAR!? Fuck this bullshit to hell you Michelin inspector assholes.
  5. Shitty Brioche. Sure it sounds fancy but it’s more often than not just really fucking shit house, dry and overall bullshit. Especially if it’s on a burger because brioche ain’t structurally sound enough to hold up with a properly sauced burger and any sort of beef patty which will release any sort of juice.  Perhaps I’d be more down with brioche if I was a small French child and it was 4pm, I was drinking cocoa and I needed something to put my Nutella on.

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  6. Mason jars and stripey paper straws. Just stahp guys, it’s not fucking cute anymore. This shit’s infinitely worse if it’s with a bullshit paper straw which fails at its one sole purpose because those fuckers get soggy and fail to actually transport cocktails from the glass to your mouth. Yo paper straws,  YOU HAD ONE JOB:
    lolpaperstraws
  7. Korean restaurants which charge for banchan. Banchan are the small dishes of appetisers that you get at Korean restaurants.  When I ask for suggestions on Korean, some people tell me that Sanche is the bomb but fuck no, cause on a matter of principle I’m never trying a Korean restaurant which charges for banchan cause that shit should be free and it should be replenished on request. Fuck no to charging for banchan!!
  8. Juice cleanses.  It’s fucking genius – convince people that they’re doing their bodies good by having liquids for three days only while you fleece them of HKD2400++ for some fruit + vegetable juice in a cooler bag.  Yeah of course juicing asswipes you lost weight – I guarantee if you drank any sort of juice for three days (Minute Maid OJ or otherwise) and didn’t eat you’d lose some fucking weight.  Which you’re gonna put straight back on once you start eating real food again.  But yeah sure, you can cram Christmas noms and litres of alcohol into your body in December and fix it with 3 days of green shit, no really – go well my juicing homies.
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  9. Lame ass HK avocados.  After years of broken dreams of trying to buy avocados in HK, I’ve suffered the crushing disappointment of buying avocados which seem to arbitrarily and instantly switch from being rock hard bastards to inedible, rotting black motherfuckers (yo, check my The Branded interview).  I just cannot anymore with taking my chances, I save my avo times when I’m not in the Kong.hopesdeleted
    If you catch me overseas, double fisting avocados into my face (fuck yeahhhhhhh – add lemon/lime juice, olive oil, sea salt + cracked black pepper) don’t be fucking surprised.
  10. Soft openings.  HK likes to open restaurants all the fucking time as old restaurants fall foul of greedy fuckin’ landlords, fickle HK dining opinions (why yes, I think a Mexican Korean fusion restaurant in Kennedy Town will be a concept for the ages).  As I outlined in my review of Mrs Pound, new restaurants can open and slap ‘soft open’ which means “Please cut us some goddamn slack when we fuck up and have sold out of almost all our dishes”. Look, I fucking get that restaurants have to test their shit out but I think it’s a bit rich to charge full price if your shit ain’t right.  Or at least have the decency to not get your liquor licence so I can BYOB and save me dollar$.

 

FUCK YEAH, FYN HOMIES – NOT SO RONERY #SOBLESSED MOMENT

I started writing FYN after my homies were making suggestions on where we should eat dinner and I’d get an email to some fucking piece of shit HK website or some obviously gay-for-pay magazine paid advertorial and I’d get all twisted up and be all:

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Then I’d check my stats and see there were all five of you reading my shit and two of those readers may or may not have been attributable to me repeatedly checking my own fucking site out on my iPad and iPhone…

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But fuck, 2014 was my moment – now I’m kind of a big deal with my ‘food writers card’ and I go to restaurants and I’m cutting queues, getting free malbec and general managers offer to gently polish my massive balls with a warm towel to guarantee an illustrious fuck yeah review which guarantees restaurants fame and fortune beyond their wildest imagination.

Actually, that’s a fucking lie – in reality, I’m staying home on Friday nights, blasting the Top Gun soundtrack and looking up animated gifs while basking in the glorious glow of having at least double the number of homies checking my shit out. But seriously, thanks for reading my new and old FYN homies, shit’s been real in 2014. Catch you on the 2015 flip side – keep strong and nommin’ the FUCK ON.

x o fucking x o

Sgt Noms
ps. FYN’s “Fuck Yeah, 2014! – Part #1 Hong Kong” is here.

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