Saturday 26 November 2022

Noble Palace

Traditional Chinese cuisine bling style


Eight treasures duck

Noble Palace has slowly rising become one of my go Chinese restaurants beside Park Chinois and China Tang. The place is all about the classic approach to Cantonese cuisine cooking while using fine quality ingredients to ensure the best result. For dinner time, it offers a few tasting menu choices covering most of the iconic Chinese dishes that is known in the UK, but the real germ is in its small a la carte menu where there are some more traditional dishes that are popular back in China but not yet wildly appreciated in the UK. For my 5th visit, I asked the restaurant to prepare a special menu.

Monday 21 November 2022

Piazza Duomo

White truffle pairing menu

The sea... scallop, pumpkin with Alba white truffle

Piazza Duomo is a restaurant like no other. The only Michelin-starred restaurant within the town center of Alba in Italy. A region that is famous for its Alba white truffle, led by chef Enrico Crippa and opened in 2005. At the peak of white truffle season in the winter, Piazza Duomo offers a special 7-course tasting menu that pair with white truffle. Clearly, this restaurant is somewhere special as is one of the handfuls of 3 Michelin-starred venues in Italy, as well as voted 19th in the widely popular World 50 Best awards. The expectation for me was extremely high. As I visited in the winter, it was a no-brainer for me to opt for the truffle-tasting menu.

Osteria del Vicoletto

The master of Traditional Piemonte cuisine

Veal tartare with Alba white truffle

Osteria del Vicoletto is a classy traditional Piemonte restaurant located in the heart of Alba. No creativity and no cutting-edge cooking techniques. It is a small place that houses around 25 guests. it serves classic Piemonte cuisine with a stunning wine list largely dominated by wines from the local region. Osteria del Vicoletto pride itself on using the finest local ingredients, with simplicity in its cooking, nothing fancy. Truffle seasons mean I opted for a lot of truffle dishes which really pushed up the cost, but since I was on holiday, I went all in.

Osteria dell'Arco

Hearty mood, Piemonte style

Goat cheese fondue with Alba white truffle

Located in the heart of the town square of Alba, Italy. Osteria dell'Arco is a highly regarded traditional Piemonte restaurant that is known for its slow-cooked dishes. In the winter, when is at peak Alba white truffle season, the restaurant like to add a touch of luxury on top with white truffles added to selected dishes. White truffle is a serious business in Alba, a typical dish at Osteria dell'Arco would cost around 15 euros, but as soon as some white truffle is added, it will shoot to around the 45 euro mark.

Osteria La Libera

Piemonte cuisine with a modern touch


Egg, porcini mushrooms with Alba white truffle

Just a stone's throw from the busy Alba old town, Osteria La Libera is a modern Piemonte restaurant that has been a crowd-pleaser since it was launched back in 2009. Unlike many of its neighbor restaurants that stick to true tradition, Osteria La Libera likes to add a touch of a playful element to make it's offering contemporary, but not over the top with creativity. The menu format is your typical 4-course affair with starter, pasta, main, and dessert. As it was the peak of truffle season, I opted for a few dishes with truffle supplements.

Sunday 20 November 2022

Agostino Iacobucci

Fine dining like an Italian noble

Raddish, roe, and vermouth

Set inside Villa Zarri, a brandy distillery and mansion just off Bologna, Agostino Iacobucci is a Michelin-starred restaurant like no other. The building itself is a charming 16th-century mansion, with a massive garden. The interior itself is impressive, with well-spread-out space, and stepping inside feels like visiting a noble's home. The head chef here is Agostino Iacobucci, who moved from Bologna's only Michelin-starred restaurant I Portici's his cooking has a hint of Naple element as that is where he came from. It is a tasting-menu only restaurant, guests can pick either 10 or 12 courses.

Ristorante I Portici

From Bologna to around the world

Marinated sea bass with green curry, fermented banana

Located inside a 5 stars hotel with the same name, I Portici is also the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Bologna. The restaurant has impressive decor, as set in a former theater space. The kitchen is headed up by Gianluca Renzi, who came from the much-celebrated 3 stars restaurant La Pergola in Rome. Interestingly enough, he also worked at Apsleys in London which was one of the finest Italian restaurants in London back in the day. At Portici, in the usual fine dining manner, it offers a tasting menu that has a story theme to it. It kicks off with the familiar taste of Bologna, before heading off far and beyond with International elements.


 Hipster Italian joint in Bologna

Sourdough with juniper butter

Located behind the famous Mercato delle Erbe market in Bologna, Ahime is a restaurant like no other. The restaurant is dark in colour with a counter dining space facing the kitchen. It serves small plates and doesn't follow the traditional order with starter, pasta, and main. Your order comes from the kitchen as it is ready, almost like a tapas restaurant. This place won't look out of place in Shoreditch. The food is creative and has unusual ingredient combinations, with a high degree of focus on vegetables. To make life easy for me, I opted for the tasting menu which gives the kitchen the freedom to cook up as they like.

Trattoria da Me

 Classic for a reason

Egg-pasta with bolognese sauce

I have been to Italy a few times, but I am fully aware that Italian cuisine is much more complex and each 20 regions of Italy offer something unique. My recent trip to Bologna, which is supposed to be Italy's food capital, is famous for its pasta, along with Parmigiano Reggiano and prosciutto. For my first stop, of course, I got to sample the traditional cuisine of Bologna. Trattoria da Me is highly rated by the locals and on my evening visit, it is already flooded with people even before it is open. Opened in 1937, it has become one of the most iconic restaurants in the city.

Friday 4 November 2022

The Ledbury

London's fine dining temple

Hand Dived Scallop Tomato, Cucumber and Apple Marigold

Back again to my No1 London joint The Ledbury, not sure what else I can add really, it is simply the best fine dining restaurant in London. I personally have eaten at every single 2 and 3 stars western-style restaurant in London in the past 12 years, some with multi visits, but I just find The Ledbury has an edge. Chef-owner Brett has taken sourcing ingredients to another whole world of meaning and is now breeding his own animals, from Iberico pigs to deer.

Claude Bosi at Bibendum

 Modern French with International flair

Cheltenham beetroot, sherry cream, smoked pike roe

There are plenty of fine dining restaurants in London, but very few warrant me to go back. There are so many restaurants out there charging silly prices but hardly delivering any value. There are only a few handfuls of high-end restaurants that justify a return in my book, and Claude Bosi at Bibendum is one of them. The double Michelin-starred modern French restaurant is a serious contender to be the next 3 stars winner by many chefs in the UK. I have personally eaten there a few times and also back in the days when Claude was at Hibiscus in Mayfair, without a doubt, he is a super-talented chef.