Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants

Yeah! The list is out again – Asia’s 50 best restaurants is an annual snapshot of the opinions and experiences of almost 1,000 international restaurant industry experts. This is our bible when we plan which restaurants to visit on our trips to Asia. It has seldom let us down, except once in Singapore (Jaan), and it covers restaurants in cities that are not included in Guide Michelin. Next stop for us will be Hong Kong, so let the browsing begin. But fist, a quick look o who is the the top 10 this time. Continue reading “Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants”

Wineweek 118: The Countdown to Spring

The countdown to spring is on. February has started with mild weather. I know it is a bit grey, but I prefer that to minus degrees. Every morning, the sun rises a bit earlier, and I can already leave the office with some daylight left. The darkest time of the year is behind us, and it can only get better from here.  Continue reading “Wineweek 118: The Countdown to Spring”

Coffee Bar Review: Old Hen Coffee Bar, Singapore

The whole area around Rangoon Road feels as if it is very up and coming and Old Hen Coffee Bar is one of the places really worth a visit. In the same building there are several cafes that all look fairly good but this is the place to go to. The place itself is not huge but there are seats for around 20 people inside and a few people outside. The seats may not be the most comfortable but the place looks very nice so perhaps makes up for it. As there is also no free wifi available it may not be the place to lounge for hours but it was still a nice place to hang out and chat at.

The place is run by three siblings (twins Ivan and Terry and younger brother Mason) and they keep the service both friendly and fast. They are knowledgeable when it comes to coffee and no problem to chat a bit about it either. They offer espresso based beverages, filter coffee (hand-brewed) as well as cold brew (bottled, both black and white). The selection of filter coffee varies depending on what they have in at the moment. I sampled a few different things when I was there: had a nice Rwandan coffee (believe it was from Papa Palheta but not 100% sure) and also sampled an excellent Colombian Geisha from the Cupping Room HK as well as some Ethiopian from Bangkok’s Roast. They have also recently had other nice roasters like London’s Square Mile Coffee, Melbourne’s Small Batch Roasting Co, Coffee Libre from Seoul and several other Bangkok roasters (Brave and Phil’s). I personally would be ecstatic to have such a nice place in my neighborhood. They do also know how to make the coffee so really good at that as well.

The cold-brew was also sampled and it was excellent as well. Nice balance to it and I would easily select the black one as there is no bitterness at all in it so no need for milk. The espresso based beverages also pulled nicely so the guys know their things.They also offer nice teas and some other beverages for the non-coffee drinkers.

The food menu is fairly short but a lot of things sound very nice.The grilled sandwich was very nice, fresh ingredients and nice flavor to it. The pastries were also well worth to stuff down. One of my real favorites in Singapore.

So how does it rate:
Coffee quality: 4.5
Ambiance and Service: 4
Food: 4
Vs Local Average Competition: 5

Coffee bar review: Ink & Lion (Bangkok)

This superbly cute and well designed cafe (also a mini art gallery) is on a small side street (off Sukhumvit 63) next to a Danish design store and variety of different restaurants. It does stand out in its splendid design and they have somehow created a very nice spot mixing a distinct Asian feel with a clean Scandinavian like design. The same care that has gone in to the design also comes through in everything here. They sell a variety of cute post cards, mini prints, paintings, nice coffee gear (some of it at least a bit different), some bags and of course coffee beans.

The service was very friendly, the staff were happy to explain more about the coffee and the concept. They try to vary the beans every week and when I was in first time it was a focus on Hong Kong so some interesting stuff from there. After chatting for a while with them opted for the Colombian Geisha from the Cupping Room and the Colombian Finca Vera Cruz from 18 grams both from HK. The staff also made sure I knew the price of the geisha coffee and I sort of like that even when it is clearly displayed on the menu (as it is a bit pricey it does not hurt to make sure one understands what it is). The coffee was really well prepared, I could follow the procedure and they came out and let me sniff the grinds as well. They also made sure to heat the cup before brewing into it. The geisha was excellent, and the other Colombian coffee was good but could not compare to the geisha but they really proved they can make great coffee here.

Food wise it is not a great selection, only some mini pastries from Size S (at 55 THB a piece) and some mini scones but they are really adorable and very tasty. It is not the place to come for a full meal but the coffee is really in focus here.

So how does it rate:
Coffee quality: 4.5
Ambiance and Service: 5
Food: 3
Vs Local Average Competition: 5