Archives for posts with tag: London


According to Victoria and Albert museum, Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto “became internationally renowned in the early eighties for challenging traditional notions of fashion by designing garments that seemed oversized, unfinished, played with ideas of gender or fabrics not normally used in fashionable attire such as felt or neoprene. Other works revealed Yamamoto’s unusual pattern cutting, knowledge of fashion history and sense of humour. His work is characterised by a frequent and skilful use of black, a colour which he describes as ‘modest and arrogant at the same time”.

I have never seen the work of Yohji Yamamoto with my own eyes before so I looked forward to learning about this famous Japanese fashion designer.

As we entered the room, we were ‘greeted’ by a sticky sheet of plastic, instead of red carpet, on the floor. I am not sure what it was for, perhaps to get rid of the dirt from our dirty shoes so that it would not ruin the light grey rubber on the floor? It could also be a sharp reminder that we should now pay attention to texture.

Over 60 creations of Yamamoto were displayed on mannequins together in one room with double height headroom (Gallery 38). It was flooded with bright white light- Together with the decorative steel scaffoldings, it felt informal and welcoming. Visitors were allowed to wander around freely. As the garments were not kept in glass boxes, they could check out the details in close distance. They were not supposed to, but a lot of them could not help themselves from touching the garments. Apparently no photography or even sketching was allowed. Many still did so but the security guards were not that bothered to say anything. Read the rest of this entry »

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4 stars
Gilbert Scott is 2 Michelin starred chef Marcus Wareing’s second restaurant. Situated in the newly renovated St Pancras Hotel, which was originally opened by Queen Victoria in 1873, the restaurant is named in honour of the building’s original architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott.

Dining area at Gilbert Scott by Marcus Wareing at St Pancras Hotel
He apparently designed the hotel just before the internal plumbing system was invented. Not long after the hotel was opened, it was deserted by guests as people preferred not to share toilets. It was then left unoccupied and gradually deteriorated for over 70 years.

I am glad to see that there is now modern plumbing at the restaurant. The dining area has been beautifully restored and is filled with great historic features. The huge windows drew a lot of natural light into the double height space. It is grand and charming.

Brown and Forrest salmon at Gilbert Scott by Marcus Wareing at St Pancras Hotel
Like Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Gilbert Scott is set to celebrate British cooking. Though unlike Heston who spent a long time exploring old traditional British recipes, Marcus focuses on British regional culinary history and stays closer to the original recipes. Its website claims that they are ‘subtly modernising traditional dishes to unusual effect’. Did it live up to its claims? Read the rest of this entry »


The Riding House Café is the third project by the team behind Village East and The Garrison. We went on its official first day of opening. (Btw, 50% off food bill till May 2, 2011!)

It was an interesting cross between a bar, a pub and a restaurant.
This concept can be observed from the layout of the space as well as on the menu. On the left of the entrance is the restaurant (photo below), with the bar (2nd photo), wooden seating (like a pub) and a big shared dining area on the right.

Restaurant at the Riding House Cafe
Bar at at The Riding House Cafe
The menu was created to allow flexible ordering. Instead of the usual ‘starters’, we were presented with a selection of 17 small plates, which cost £3, £4 or £5, to choose from. I can imagine this is fantastic for customers at the pub, bar food to munch on with a glass of drink. Continue reading>>

Kimchi at Arang

I lost count how many times people asked me where they should go for Korean food in SOHO, London. I always recommend Arang and remind them not to go to Koba, which gets 10 times as much press, costs more but is not as good.

Yukwhe (seasoned raw beef strips with egg yolk and sliced pear) at Arang
My favourite starter is Yukwhe (seasoned raw beef strips with egg yolk and sliced pear, photo above). The waiter usually mixes all the ingredients in front of you.

Yukwhe (seasoned raw beef strips with egg yolk and sliced pear) at Arang
At Arang, the beef strips were served a little (just a little) frozen. This was intentional, not a mistake (as I have tried this dish many times here). They were of a similar size to the pear strips, which in my opinion contributed to its success. The sweetness of the pear complimented amazingly well with the beef. The raw egg yolk connected the 2 of them together and created a smooth sensation. Continue reading about other Korean dishes like the classic Korean barbecue >

Matcha Azuki (Matcha ice-cream with agar jelly, rice dumplings, red beans and matcha shaved ice) at Candy Cafe, London

I first visited Candy Cafe nearly 1.5 years ago. But it is only until recently that I decided to write about it. Why? Because there is a new place called Bubbleology soon to open near it. As its name suggests, its selling point is bubble tea , which is also served at Candy Cafe (in fact, 33 different types of them!) What the latter does not have is the former’s big budget in marketing and branding. I feel that I should say something about this humble 1st floor cafe, located at Macclesfield Street in Chinatown.

What is bubble tea? Bubble tea or pearl tea (as called in Hong Kong), is a sweetly flavored tea drink originally from Taiwan. Most bubble teas contain a tea base mixed with fruit (or fruit syrup) and/or milk. Ice blended versions of the drink are also available, usually in fruit flavors. Bubble teas usually contain small pearls of tapioca or sago called “boba”. These teas are shaken to mix the ingredients, creating a foam on the top of some varieties, hence the name.

Menu at Candy Cafe, London
Candy Cafe serves a diversed range of desserts that are popular in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Bubble tea is just one of them. Continue reading >>

After a great 3- course meal at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, I did not expect that I could eat another dessert an hour later, until I walked past Kula.

handmade Swedish waffle cones at Kula
Kula were clever- they left a basket full of waffle cones outside for people to try. They looked yummy! I felt peckish instantly. As soon as I looked up, I saw a curious rotary waffle making machine inside. That was it- I was hooked. I picked up a waffle piece and went in to watch. (What a better way to eat and watch people making waffles at the same time?)

rotating waffle device in action at Kula
It was therapeutic to watch the lady making the waffle cones. She was skillful and the rhythm of her hand movements was like a mini-performance. She could finish 6 waffle cones in 4 minutes! I had no idea what Swedish waffles are but for the first time, the waffle cones made me want to try the ice-cream! (normally it is the other way round!). Continue reading about the waffles and ice-cream, with special video >>

Queen Victoria's toilet at Victoria and Albert Museum
This toilet was built for Queen Victoria to use when she visited the Victoria and Albert Museum. The museum gained its current name in 1899, when she laid the foundation stone of a new building designed to give the Museum a grand façade and main entrance, in memory of the enthusiastic support Prince Albert had given to its foundation.

Unlike most museum pieces that can only be seen, you can actually walk in and use the (mixed) toilet! All this is hidden behind a modern door (see photo below). Ever since I worked my first toilet design package, I have a passion about toilets. I get excited about modern mirrored ones at Nopi and I feel lucky that I discovered an old one like this. I can share the ‘toilet experience’ with the Queen. Continue reading >>

4 stars
When going through my list of restaurants, I (Winkypedia’s Cheap Eat Expert, Gerald) realised that I’ve eaten in 3 starred and 1 starred Michelin restaurants, but never in a 2 star. This had to be rectified. So this trip was less to do with food, but more with an obsessive compulsive desire to experience the spectrum of reviews. After a little research on the net, I decided to go to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon.

Our view at L'atelier de Joel Robuchon- chef preparing lobster salad
Why that particular restaurant? Well it was the cheapest 2 starred Michelin restaurant I could find in London. Simple as that. I’d heard good and bad things about Robuchon’s restaurants. I have a relative who is boycotting them, due to them raising the prices in his Tokyo restaurant to reflect the weakness of the Japanese yen, but then failing to lower the price again once the yen appreciated.

They currently have a menu du jour offering, where you can have a 2 course meal for £22, or a 3 course meal for £27, or you could order from their regular menu. Given the current economic climate, naturally I plumped for the menu du jour.

I keep a running score in my head of how much my michelin starred meals cost. e.g. my meal at the Fat Duck, worked out at £180 for the meal, so about £60 per star, per person; Galvin @ Windows came in around £100 per star, and One Dim Sum (in Hong Kong) came in at a legendary £4 per star. So potentially I could have a meal, that would come in at just over £11 per star. This would have to be the best value meal in the UK!

Show kitchen at L'atelier de Joel Robuchon
We booked dinner for 12.30 on Sunday. On arrival we were warmly greeted, and taken to our seats at the bar. It is a curious concept, French dining but with Japanese style lay out and service. In the same way a sushi chef would pass things over to you as you sit at the counter, here the staff pass the dishes over to you as they are prepared infront of your eyes only a few feet away. Continue reading about the great value set meu at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon >>


With an influx of people from mainland China, Chinatown has become more interesting recently. The variety of food has expanded from just mainly Cantonese to cooking styles from other parts of China. You can imagine my excitement when I heard that there was a new restaurant called Beijing Dumpling.

Like Dumplings Legend, Beijing Dumpling has a show kitchen. They were so determined to sell the idea of freshly made dumplings (Xiao Long Bao 小籠包) that they even used it as its shopfront. With that in mind, I ordered the classic dumpling with crab meat (蟹粉小籠包). How was it?

It was one of the ugliest dumplings I have ever seen served in a restaurant. The skin was not smooth but rough. Unlike the amazing dumplings at Din Tai Fung, I could not taste any crab meat inside. There was not much soup inside each dumpling neither. For a restaurant which put so much emphasis on dumplings in its naming and marketing, I expected higher quality dumplings than these. They did not even give us any vinegar with ginger as dipping sauce, which is the standard condiment for dumplings! (We had to ask for it ourselves)

How was the other food? Sadly, the menu mainly consisted of Cantonese dishes, a handful of Asian ones and even fewer choices from Beijing. With nothing new to try, we opted for the ‘All you can eat hot pot’, which was one of its speciality. For £20 a head, you are supposed to be able to eat as much as you want. You can order any of ingredients from the menu which is a selection of meat and vegetables- Well, that is the theory anyway!

For those unfamiliar with hot pot, it’s Chinese dish normally served in winter. Each table gets a large pot of simmering broth, and a selection of meat, fish and vegetables to cook in the broth. It’s a bit like fondue.

We made it clear to the waiter that right at the time of order that out of the 22 ingredients we could choose from, there were some ingredients we did not want and there were some we would like in a larger portion. We were told that we did not have a choice in the first round as EVERYTHING would come on one plate in default portion.

Little did we know that they meant all the raw ingredients would be ‘dumped’ onto the plate in one go. This was how it looked:

Hot pot for Beijing Dumpling
There was virtually no presentation! It looked like they just scooped everything out from a skip, with prawns flying around, raw lamb and raw beef all mixed up in a mountain of pink. I have had Chinese hot-pot many times in my life, and this is NOT how it usually looks like! And, just in case you think there is a lot of meat, think again! They used the classic trick of putting lots of vegetables underneath to create the illusion of volume! Continue reading >>

**Last updated on 5 November, 2011**
Amoul
How well do you know you deli? You might know the food and drinks they serve. You might even have a favourite seat. But do you know the story behind it? As the first of the Behind the Scenes series, I talked to Amoul, chef and owner of a popular deli Amoul’s. Here is her story in her own words:

Amoul’s is….

Amoul’s is a different space to different people that frequent the place, some treat it as a coffee shop, some as a takeaway, others treat it as their home. There are some that think of it as their sanctuary and are very protective over it. For me I would like to think of the place as an extension of my home, in the sense that I cook exactly the same as I cook at home for my family and friends using only the best ingredients. Paying attention to every detail that goes on at the place from the hygiene to the quality and consistency of the food.

Amoul's
What made you decide to start a deli?

I started Amoul’s deli and catering in 2003, because I love good food and I enjoy cooking. I was disillusioned by most delis selling food with the label of home cooked, while it was prepared at industrial kitchens somewhere far away, and distributed by vans all over. Inspired by the slow food movement which is about preserving traditional ways of cooking I set out on my Journey. I wanted to offer a service where the customer would know the exact source of their food, everything locally sourced and seasonal. Continue reading about Amoul’s >>