Friday 24 March 2023


The hot new Chinese opening 

Prawn tartar and octopus in rice wine

Goqui, a newly launched Chinese fine dining concept is located in Charing Cross just off the National Gallery. In the world of the Chinese restaurant trade, Gouqi is a big deal as it is by chef Tong Chee Hwee, the former group executive chef of the Hakhassan group, his contribution has launched the group's restaurants to become some of the most popular and fashionable venues and it landed a few Michelin stars along the way. His influence and status in Chinese cuisine in the UK are unquestionable. For my visit, I went for the advance-ordered tasting menu.

Noble Palace

Chinese classics with a twist

Chilian seabass in a sweet soy glaze

Despite only launching in the summer of 2022, I can't believe I have already been to Noble Palace 10 times. What can I say, I really enjoy the low-key and relaxing yet classy setting of the venue, and its Cantonese food offering is endless, which enables me to make any special requests. For those who like to stick to traditional items, Noble Palace also does it really well, and it's hard to go wrong, but not easy to make it exceptional at the same time. Therefore, for my 10th and 11th visits, I went for the house's classics, with a few new specials.

Sunday 12 March 2023

Contraste Milan

 Enjoyable mind game in Milan

Strawberry and tuna sauce Creme brulée with figs and foie gras Sardines "in saor"

The like of Fat Duck by Heston and El Bulli by Ferran Adrià has put molecular gastronomy cuisine on the map more than 15 years ago. Back then it was grand breaking and turned the dining experience into a fantasy journey and not just a dinner. Fast forward to 2023, such cuisine become common in many parts of the fine dining world but has also lost the hype it used to command. At the end of the day, is it just gimmicks? Contraste in Milan doesn't offer many clues when you check its website, and it does feel like you put your trust in the kitchen team to deliver a tasting menu that is full of surprises.

Andrea Aprea Milan

Contemporary food art in Milan

Tomato, basil and burrata

Chef Andrea Aprea held 2 Michelin stars back in the days when he was the executive chef for VUN hotel in Milan. In late 2022, he fulfilled his dream of having his very own restaurant, launched within an art museum on the top floor of the Luigi Rovati Foundation. Within the space of half a year since opening, the restaurant got a Michelin star to its name, something truly amazing. The restaurant space itself is also impressive, with an open kitchen on display in front of very few tables (about 16 covers), yet it has close to 25 staff for one service. There is 3 menu to pick from, a 4, 6 and 8 menu, but all have their very own dishes without overlapping.

Wednesday 8 March 2023

Osteria Conchetta Milan

Traditional Milano cuisine with a twist

Handcut Mangaliza ham aged 24 months

Whenever I visit Italy, eating at a local traditional restaurant is a must as those venues can be just as amazing as fine ding venues. I picked Osteria Conchetta mostly based on the restaurant is not too far from my hotel, but just from looking online, the offering is really exciting with plenty of great reviews. Good ham, rice, and meat dishes, all sound wonderful to me. What caught my eye is the restaurant's take on risotto, besides all the classic Northern Italian ways of cooking rice, Osteria Conchetta's signature is creamy rice cooked in a giant Grana Padano cheese wheel with vodka. 

Monday 6 March 2023

Saddle Madrid

Classic yet classy

Mediterranean red prawn, tartare with its own coral and garlic

Saddle in Madrid position itself as a classic contemporary fine-dining restaurant, with a high degree of respect for traditional cooking concepts, with a touch of modern elements in the mix. Classic is a classic for a reason, the reason it lasts so long is down to the sheer popularity and taste. Looking at Saddle's menu, it does has a feel of a traditional vibe with its food offering, with dishes such as buttered dove sole and steak tartare served tableside. I like what I see as when classic dishes are done well, it is hard to beat.

Restaurante Gaytán Madrid

Kitchen theater in Madrid 


Gaytan in Madrid has the kind of hipster feel written all about it. Located in the northern part of Madrid in a residential zone. Hidden within a crowd of old flats with hardly any branding at the front. However, once you step inside, you look at one of the edgiest restaurants with a well-designed space. All the tables are surrounding the open kitchen, where the chefs become the central point of the restaurant, this goes beyond the trendy kitchen counter concept and takes it to another level. Gaytan offers ALC lunch time and a tasting menu in the evening.

A'Barra Madrid

Traditional essence with a modern edge

Green beans, cockles, sherry vinegar

Many new high-end openings from around the world have been focusing on cutting-edge, creative modern cuisine. Every once in a while is nice to revisit traditional cooking. A'Barra in Madrid was an interesting one for me, as the setting has a very contemporary feel to it, but on the other hand, the menu has a classic theme with many dishes served tableside and based on a type of protein next to some garnishes. For those who enjoy something a little bit edgier, the place also has a bar dining where you can go for a more creative tasting menu format.

Sunday 5 March 2023

Garelos Madrid

Galician seafood joint

Grilled razor clam

Normally I would avoid going to chains, especially when I go on holiday. But Garelos seems to be a chain I cant avoid as their food offering is just the kind of food I seek and the price seems to be very reasonable. Located in Madrid with 3 sites, Garelos is all about Galician-style cuisine, with a heavy focus on seafood. Galician is renowned for its top-level seafood, when done well, it can be something very simple yet taste exceptional. The menu contains all the classic Galician items, from grilled seafood to empanadas.

BiBo Dani García Madrid

International flavours in Madrid 

Cesar salad

Dani Garcia is now such a well-known chef in Spain, with more than 20 restaurants in Spain, and he launched a limited edition burger with Mcdonald's, he appears to be the Gordan Ramsay of Spain. Bibo is his 'international' concept, where he combined world flavours and injected them with local Spanish ingredients. Dani actually launched Bibo back in London and I have dined there before, but judging from the menu, it is hardly the same as there isn't hardly any overlap on the menu. The Madrid site has much wider choices, as well as a much more impressive dining room.

Restaurante El Senador Madrid

 Classic asador house

Peas and ham

When in Madrid, one of the must-try foodie experiences without a doubt is the suckling pig. There are many traditional grill houses across Madrid that offer such dishes, but Restaurante El Senadors stood out as the go-to place for the legendary dish from Segovia. It is a very traditional restaurant serving all kinds of classic dishes that are well-known from around the region. From bean stew, and garlic prawns to another infamous dish, the milk-fed baby suckling lamb, cooked in an open fire wood-oven.