Archive | January 2016

Ryuzu: a 2 star Michelin restaurant

I have a year’s worth of blogging to catch up on. Recently, I’ve managed to rack a few Michelin dining experiences under my belt over the last six months. This is one from last October.

I had an arranged to take a half day off work along with a friend and we went for an impromptu Michelin lunch around the corner from our work (we work in the same building). Without a reservation, we dropped by on a chance there were would be availability. Who knew that this was hidden in the one of the back streets of Roppongi. We went to Ryuzu – a French cuisine restaurant with 2 Michelin stars with reasonably-priced lunch options. The chef has trained under Robuchon establishments and I could see the influence in Ryuzu, even right down to the similar plateware.

There are three lunch course options ranging from 3,600, 5800, or 8.400yen. We decided each on the Menu du Jour for 5,800yen. Ryuzu was very understated and for that reason, I really liked it. I liked everything about it – the food, the service, the ambience. You can basically enjoy the likes of the Robuchon establishments without the massive price tag without compromising on quality.

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

We were surprised we were able to get a table without a reservation.

Interior was warm and comfortable especially given the fact that it was a raining Thursday.

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

We ordered a glass of champagne to start with. (I was in a celebratory mood for reasons to be explained in a later post).

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

First up was a pumpkin soup to amuse the bouche:

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

The obligatory serving of bread typical at most French restaurants:

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

We each ordered different starters with our course so we could try each others.
The foie gras:

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

The shiitake mushrooms:

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

Here are the rest of the dishes:

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

Sharing:

From Ryuzu Michelin

For mains, we got the fish and the pork between us. The food was so light, fresh and flavoursome:

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

Dessert was pretty amazing. I decided on the mango and my friend got the chocolate. I had a little bit of dessert envy.

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

Petit Fours:

From Ryuzu Michelin

A wonderful lunch.

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Palau: clam city

There’s a famous snorkeling spot in the Palau islands called clam city, where you’ll find the some of the biggest clam shells around. Most snorkeling day tours will stop here for about half hour to have a look at the giant clam shells. If they closed, you tap on them and they open up. Also some fish around too. Snorkeling is one of my favourite things to do. Could do it all day long. Basically, I love anything that involves water, really.

And the water in Palau is truly incredible. Seeing and being out on the water every day during my week there was the best thing ever.

Pics from clam city.

From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau

Giant clam shells

From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau

High Tea in Yangon: The Strand Hotel

Will make more of a concerted effort to blog more this year, after a bit of a hiatus last year – not intentional – was just busy with work. A lot of it. Plus actually got around to doing a lot of stuff in Japan and travels as well. So expect a lot of travel photos and food reviews which I haven’t got around to posting up yet.

Over Christmas/New Year I went to Myanmar with a friend. She is based in Singapore for work, and so we decided to meet in Myanmar and spend two weeks there. It was pretty hectic as we covered a lot of ground in to two weeks with a lot of early starts (around 5am).

As is customary when I travel, I like to partake in high tea. This was no exception. And the afternoon was a lovely reprieve from the heat and travel stress.

The venue: The Strand, Yangon.
Date visited: 29 December 2015.

From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea

It was a colonial style hotel with wicker furniture, wood panelling and high ceilings.

From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea

Afternoon tea was at the Strand Cafe located off to the lobby entrance. We turned up without a reservation. Can’t imagine there’d be crowds in Yangon to do afternoon tea.

From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea

It was nice to be seated in air conditioning and just chill.

A choice of two afternoon tea menus – classic (traditional English) or a local Myanmar afternoon tea. Decisions, decisions. We had thought about going one of each to sample them both. But with lemon meringue pie and scones on offer – we both opted for the classic.

From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea

And so cheap compared to Australia or Japan, where nowadays you’ll 50-50 dollars for afternoon tea. We also ordered a glass of wine each (pretty much for the first time during the trip. Wine was very hard to come by anywhere that we had been to at least).

I loved the little baskets which the teapots came in:

From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea

A cup of English breakfast always soothes away any stress or worries. It’s amazing how calming a cup is.

Time to settle in. Lots of foodie goodness.

From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea

Feeling right at home:

From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea

Yummy sandwiches which tasted divine after living on rice and noodles.

From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea

The desserts were worth it purely for the lemon meringue pie:

From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea

The chocolate gateau cake was also really good.

And my only complaint about the scones was that there was only one each (and not two).

From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea

The vanilla cream that accompanied the scones was to die for. I could have just drunk that creamy vanillary goodness.

From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea

Can’t resist chocolate:

From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea

And my personal favourite: lemon meringue pie

From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea

Probably the best lemon meringue I’ve ever had. Perfect balance of tartness, good pastry crust and sweetness on top. They were so good, we asked to buy additional tarts for take-out. They happily obliged. Take-away tarts were sold by the threes, so we got six of them. The French pastry chef made them fresh for us to take out. We looked very classy as we got them put into styrofoam containers.

From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea
From The Strand Yangon afternoon tea

And that’s afternoon tea in Yangon done. A shame I only got to do one tea there, but not so many establishments offer it anyway.
The Strand Hotel offered excellent value and tasty food. Extremely satisfying.

Expect some more high tea reviews in 2016.

Underwater freediving in Palau

Some gratuitous photos of me underwater freediving in Palau. Met a photographer there whom I spent some time hanging out with. He took these cool pics of me. I am pretty sure I was a mermaid in another life.

From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau

Palau: Long beach island

Palau was an amazing country. Unbelievable pristine waters. A water lover’s paradise. I had such a wonderful time there. Was totally in my element and was in the water every single day.

This is long beach island, where at low tide, it’s a long stretch of beach and white sand that reaches an island.

The water clarity is truly incredible.

From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island