Wednesday, June 27, 2007

a short break......

For those who know I had a pretty good reason to have slacked off with my blogging.

Check back in mid-July for the scoop on the English Channel Islands (our first time there).

And hopefully I will get the pictures from my fashion police special guest patrolling officer K by then. I know she's made some good arrests.

Ciao for now.

Moon River Diner

My 2nd visit to Moon River in one day! I was so hungry during my first visit I totally forgot about pictures. My burger with bacon and egg was so dang good.

Less then 4 hours later I was back with my husband. He for some reason decided to have the chicken pot pie(RMB55) as supposed to one of the burgers. It was somewhat of a mistake. The pie was at best mediocre. He ate most of the pastry and some fillings and left the whole thing. He liked his side order of chili cheese fries (RMB25) though.


Since I was not at all hungry I ordered the chicken strips(RMB32) from the kids menu, where it says it's suitable for babies (I believe they meant toddlers). When the dish arrived I immediately thought they looked overcooked. As a result the strips felt so hard and dry I felt like I was going to cut myself when I swallowed. Definitely not for children!

The milkshakes were really good as usual. Next time we should just stick to the burgers (see pictures here).


Moon River Diner (4 locations in town)
66 Yu Yao Rd.(near Hai Fang Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 5169-9156

Friday, June 22, 2007

Tairyo

We enjoyed our RMB150 all-you-can-eat-and-drink teppanyaki so much last time we were all getting really excited before this visit.

Out first course: asparagus wrapped in bacon. The bacon was not too fatty and gave the roll a nice flavour.

Our all-time favourite beef roll with enoki mushroom. By the time our chef cooked our second dish we suspected something was wrong. She was pouring so much of this liquid (we thought it was water) on her cooking. By the time we got our food though it was clear that it was oil she was using. Look how greasy her version of the roll was compared to the one we had last time (see here).

I took a picture of the pile of beef we got given (there were 8 of us).

We normally like this dish a lot but unfortunately the beef once again came out extremely greasy. Check out the oil on my plate. What was her problem??

Our fried rice. It was too moist and the rice was sticky. Might not have been her fault but I am going to blame her anyway. It was disappointing compared with the rice we had last time, which was very peppery, dry and firm.

The egg omelet with bacon inside. Again, very greasy.

By the time we got the beef stir-fry we were overloaded with grease. The beef had a nice white pepper taste but way too oily.

We had 2 vegetable dishes and they were too dripping in oil. I had no idea why she had to soak the cabbage with oil. Perhaps she should try eating her own cooking to see what it's like. What a difference a chef could make! Please give us back the dude we had the first time!

If I had to name one good thing about the meal I guess it was cleansing - it immediately cleared my pipes out. It's like WD40.

Tairyo (many locations in town)
15 Dong Ping Rd. (near Heng Shang Rd.) Shanghai. Tel: 6445-4734

Haiku by Hatsune

My second visit to Hatsune. I was pretty impressed with the rolls last time I kept thinking about going back.

First off we decided to give the vegetarian option a try: I believe this is called the Peter Piper rolls. Why the name? I have no idea but it's got pickled radish, cucumber, and some veggie in the middle (I know, I'm useless in identifying vegetables) with mushroom on top. Interesting combination but it lacked flavours. The only taste came from the pickled radish and it was hardly satisfying. Not even after soaking it in soya and wasabi.

The dragon roll with tempera prawns, lettuce and salmon was much better. The prawns were warm and crunchy when it arrived.
We also got the California roll, the famous moto-roll-ah roll, and some tempura. The waitress stopped me from taking pictures half way through our meal though. Perhaps I did look like a restaurant spy.

The bill for 2 with no drinks came up RMB390.



Haiku by Hatsune
28B Tao Jiang Rd. (near Wulumuqi Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 6445-0021

Ambassy Court Cafe

The Ambassy Court Cafe has always got mediocre food but you can always count on a table and some pretty fast service. Since we have RMB1400 worth of food coupon left we decided to give the place a visit.

I had the Hainan chicken rice (RMB42), and one may specify breast or thigh meat. As usual I went for breast but I was disappointed. The portion was so small! The rice was firm and nicely flavoured with chicken broth. The soup was not authentic at all, it's basically some kind of salty hot water with lettuce floating around. Luckily the dips somewhat redeemed the dish: I loved the red-ish looking chili ginger sauce.

The Singapore noodles (RMB28) looked too pale to begin with and not surprisingly plain tasting. 5 out of 10.
Ambassy Club Cafe
1500 Huai Hai Road Middle (near Wulumuqi Rd.) Shanghai.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Element Fresh

Whenever we want rabbit food we go to Element Fresh. To be fair the menu there has got a lot more than salads. Besides their salads are so scrumptious they are hardly classified as rabbit food.

We started off with the reliable very berry smoothie (RMB50). Nice and refreshing, it felt so healthy too.

We had the hummus set (RMB54) to share. The picture was taken when it was almost half eaten. The pita bread was so warm and soft I totally forgot about the pictures.

My husband's BBQ chicken burger (RMB58). His comment was that it's "alright". When asked to elaborate he said the chicken was a little dry and uninspiring. The orange-color marinate didn't add much taste to the the burger at all. The twist - the mango salsa on the side was also a little lame. Hey it had to be better than salads, right?

I also cheated and ordered the pad Thai (RMB52) instead of a healthy salad. It had all the flavours: sweet, sour and even a little spicy. I was expecting it to be bland. The consistency was not right however. It was...gooey and a little wet - I think it was the egg. Nonetheless I ate most of it and I was happy.

The side dishes which came with my pad Thai. The soup was like a broth with a curry undertone. It tasted too salty and probably had MSG? I ate the small piece of potato in it (there were also 2 small pieces of tomatoes). The chopped tofu and celery was dressed with a sesame dressing. Refreshing. I skipped the apple slices at the end cos by the time I finished they were almost brown.

Lunch came to RMB264 for the 2 of us. Will be back for more in the hot summer.

Element Fresh (many locations in SH)
4/F, Ka Wah Building, 1010 Huai Hai Rd. Middle (near Dong Hu Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 5403-8865

Amici

Friday night and we wanted some casual Italian. Instead of going to Da Marco and wait for a table we decided to give Amici a try.

Set on the 2/F of the Regent Hotel (swanky but hardly the "it" hotel in town) we didn't expect the place to be busy. We were still taken by surprise when we got there. The big restaurant was almost deserted except the 3 lone diners (probably hotel guests). My husband immediately started to make some smart-ass comments but we figured we would give it a try anyway since there's not much near by other than the Little Sheep hotpot, which he didn't want.

The menu has got all the usual dishes you would expect in a casual hotel Italian restaurant. We decided to go for the pizzas because the huge pizza table and the wood oven were right in front of us. (The open kitchen is at the back of the restaurant.) As soon as we placed our order the dude behind the table started rolling out the dough. It was looking good!

Here's the Amici pizza with parma ham (RMB70). It was delicious - especially the crunchy base.

My calzone (RMB80) was a plate-full (the finger was placed there for scaling but it didn't work obviously). It was stuff with ham, mushroom, aubergine and cheese.

The fillings sat on the bottom, which made it a little soggy as time went on. The top is very thin and crispy. Mind you I think I prefer the bread-y Cornish pasty.

The dessert menu looked weak so we didn't bother. There were ice cream, banana boat (more ice cream!), tiramisu, fruits, and something which consists of a stack of ice cream once again. Yarn.

Dinner with a glass of wine came to RMB259. I am beginning to think that there was a mistake (we didn't check the bill at the time). How could it be RMB259? Was the glass of wine RMB100?

Anyhow service was very good and we will be back when we want simple pizzas again. Don't they want the same money in Pizza Hut?

Amici

2/F Regent Hotel, 1116 Yan An West Rd. (near Panyu Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 6115-9988

T Sens

T Sens is in a good location and you can tell a lot of money was spent on the set up and decoration. Maybe that's why they ran out of money to hire a good cook?

The bread was pretty much the only good thing for our meal. They came nice and warm.

Let's start with my 3-course lunch set (RMB138). There were 2 choices for each course and the choices all came from the pricey a la carte menu. Not bad in value I guess. I started with the tomato and mozzarella salad. Looked fancy and it didn't taste bad. A small piece of mozzarella was hidden in the stack of tomato, seasoned with salt and pesto.

Then I had the grilled duck with rösti. It was ordinary and a little uninspiring. The base of my rösti was soggy - it was wet and it wasn't steam. There seemed to be some kind of broth. Strange.

For dessert I had to have the pineapple tiramisu because the other choice (some kind of strawberry thing) was out. Pineapple lovers would be disappointed because there was no pineapple in sight. I hate pineapple to begin with so it didn't really bother me. Anyway the dessert was lame: it's basically 3 slices of thin sponge, stacked up with whipped cream and small pieces of grapes. How does that relate to pineapple and tiramisu? I was beginning to think maybe the tiramisu was out also and this was something else. Anyhow the cherries were nice and I picked out all the micro grape slices (who can have whipped cream with fruits?).

Now back to U's selection. She decided to order from the menu and went for the rib eye steak (RMB198). When it arrived we couldn't believe how pathetic it looked. At least give us a crappy green salad or something. The steak was not particularly nice and the polenta was blah. For RMB198 it was very poor. I shall quote nan from the Catherine Tate Show: "what a fucking liberty!!!!!!!!" (Click here for a funny Catherine Tate Show clip.)

Her brownie (RMB58) sucked big time as well. It was raw - doughy and hard. Note to chef: spend more time cooking and less time squiggling.

Lunch for two with 2 drinks and a coffee came to RMB550. Service was OK but a little clueless. U's steak was served with my starter. What the?? In any case we will never be back again.

2/F, 500 Zhong Shan Dong Yi Rd. (inside Huang Pu Park next to monument), Shanghai. Tel: 5308-2929

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wagas

Wagas might be my new favourite place. Simple but tasty food, efficient service, and a roomy dining room. What more can one ask for?

The very berry smoothie (RMB38) with mixed berries, banana, apple juice and yogurt. I couldn't really taste the yogurt but I didn't mind. The smoothie was very refreshing and fruity - excellent for the summer.

J's golden soup (RMB14 small). It's some kind of vegetable soup with a pumpkin base. She said it's always excellent.

The tuna, chopped egg and tomato panini (RMB42). It came hot and toasty. Yummy! She liked the pickled vegetables on the side too.

C's penne with chicken in spicy tomato sauce (RMB42), which came with bread and a small green salad. She said it was delicious and the sauce had a nice kick to it.

My beef piccata sandwich (RMB42) with chutney, tomato and some kind of greens (lettuce maybe?). It was so good I didn't have time to see what the greens were. The beef was tender and lean; the batter thin. The sweet chutney went so well with everything. If they make sandwiches this good I could have them everyday!
The prices are a little steep but the food we had were all tasty and the portions were quite big. I'd say it's better value than somewhere like Ginger for example.

Wagas
G/F shop 107, Hong Kong World Plaza, 300 Huai Hai Middle Rd. (near Madang Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 6335-3739

Burger King

There is only one Burger King in Shanghai and I soon got to find out why it isn't more popular.

The combos are priced similarly to McDonald's, and sadly the quality of the food is also similar. Here's my Whopper combo for RMB29.

The beef patty was so thin I almost missed it. It looked more like a McLame cheese burger than a Whopper. The meat was also pretty dry and tasteless, just like in McDonald's!

The fries were soggy and way too salty. I think I will just go to McDonald's next time when I need to fix my junk food craving. At least the fries are crispy!

Burger King
130 Yu Yuan Rd. (behind Jin An Temple), Shanghai. Tel: 6255-2144

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Baci

The Baci in Hong Kong was famous for its thin-crust pizzas when it first opened in the late 90s. Like many hip restaurants in Hong Kong it faded into the background over the years and I'm not sure if it's still there (not that I care).

The Baci in Shanghai is set in the middle of a park and we thought it'd be nice to sit out in this breezy late-spring afternoon.

To start we decided to share the antipasto platter (RMB110). It had all the usual cold cuts plus piping-hot fried cheese. Pretty delicious.

We both had the salmon with hollandaise and dill sauce (around RMB150). It was not anything spectacular but nonetheless made us feel healthy. The portion is a little stingy though I must say.

Lunch with 2 drinks came to RMB530. Happy birthday U!

Baci
Park 97, inside Fuxing Park (entrance on Gao Lan Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 5383-2328

Whisk

The desserts at Whisk keep us crawling back over and over again. The pizzas there are made to order and generally pretty good too. Love the piping hot soft bread crust!

This is the margherita. Simple and tasty.

The butcher's pizza with pepperoni, chicken, ham, peppers, onions - basically the works. Very rich indeed.

We managed to eat half of our pizzas and decided to take the rest home. Got to save room for desserts. This is the chocolate therapy, a very rich chocolate cake. So rich that U had to leave 1/3 of it at the end.

C had the brownie. It was to die for: it had all the right flavours and texture.

My lemon tart. Loved the caramelised top. The tart was creamy yet zesty - a refreshing choice for the summer. The ice cream came from C's brownie.
The bill with 3 drinks, 3 pizzas, 3 desserts and a coffee came to RMB450.

1250 Huai Hai Rd. (near Changsu Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 5404-7770

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

face mask marathon

I've been trying a lot of new masks and here's the summary.

Swiss Line Force Vitale Reviving Oxygen Mask (HK$518/50ml)I absolutely love this moisture mask. Once on it gives this tingling sensation for a few minutes. It feels very penetrating indeed. Leave on for 15 mins and after the skin is refreshed, awaken and hydrated. The complexion is instantly brighter! Will buy it again.

***

Valmont Renewing Pack, Cellular Anti-stress Face Treatment (HK$430/30ml)I bought a trial size because I didn't want to shell out 900 big ones for something I'm not familiar with. I was warned that the mask is tingly (and in some cases it might even sting) but the sensation should go away in a few minutes. Well when I tried it for the first time it was almost painful, like a heated pain but then surely it went away in a few minutes. Although my skin feels softer after the result is not as noticeable as the Swiss Line mask. The sales girl said I should use it every other day but I am too stingy to be using it quite so often.

***

Apivita Deep Cleasing Face Mask with Green Argile (HK$280/12 packets) To this day I have not yet found a mask which cleanses properly. This green argile is not outstanding at all but at least it doesn't dry my skin up. The Apivita individual packaging is good for travelling too. Before I find another good cleansing mask I will buy this again for sure (this is my 2nd box).

***

Apivita Firming face Mask with Grape Seed (HK$280/12 packets)One of my favourite masks - my 4th box. When you put the mask on you must gently press on the seeds until they burst in order for the mask to work. The result is not so much of firming to be honest, but the skin is very soft and moisturised. It glows. What more can you ask for?

***

Apivita Instant Lifting Mask with Red Wine (HK$280/12 packets) You can tell I kept trying this Apivita stuff. I really like the individual packing because it feels fresh and I can't say it enough times that it's excellent for travelling!

I will be blunt here: I don't like the red wine mask at all because it smells so boozy. I felt nauseous the whole time I had it on. My face didn't feel lifted either. Basically it didn't seem to do anything. Not recommended.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Franck

It was our first visit to Franck and we love the way the place is set up. We sat in the courtyard to begin with but then it rained and we had to move indoor, which was also very pleasant and roomy.

The baguette was the best baguette in town! So soft and fresh.
The tomato and mozzarella (RMB88). It looked so neat and we were impressed.
The real surprise came when we cut open the tomato. The tomato was stuffed with arugula salad, how cool!
U went for the croque monsieur (around RMB80) but got served a croque campagne instead. She was not all too happy with the sandwich anyway because on top of cheese somehow there was bechamel on it. The floury taste of bechamel didn't add anything to the sandwich but made it soggy instead. Not impressed.
The salad which came with the croque campagne.
C had the quiche lorraine (around RMB80). She said it was nice.
My club sandwich (around RMB80) with chips. It took a long time to arrive but it wasn't bad. A little too salty from the bacon and with the salty chips I felt like I ate my recommended dose of daily sodium intake all in one go.
C's cappuccino. She liked it.
U decided to give the creme caramel a try and again it took a long while to arrive. It was worth the wait though cos she said it was really nice.
The bill with 3 drinks came to around RMB480. The verdict: nice environment, mediocre food and expensive for what you get, good dessert, excellent baguette. Hint: you can buy the baguette to go for RMB12.

Franck

Ferguson Lane, 376 Wu Kang Rd. (near Hu Nan Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 6437-6465