Saturday, August 27, 2016

Chef Kitchen (Milan, ITALY) ★★☆☆☆

One thing that I really like to see some improvements on was the dining options at MXP (Milan Malpensa airport). I have been here almost every year for my transit flight to different parts of Europe and every time I found the number of decent restaurants in the boarding zone quite applauding. Chef Kitchen is probably one of the better options out there but it's still nowhere up to par (Well the seats are comfortable but the food menu and service...).

My fettuccine with zucchini and prawns was everything you would expect from an airport restaurant. No surprise there.

It's been a wonderful two weeks in Italy and France. Time to head back home while I plan for my next trip!

Food Rating: 3.5/10
Price: €€
Address: Areoporto Malpensa, 21010 Ferno, Italy

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Paul Bakery - Lyon Brest (Lyon, FRANCE) ★★★☆☆

The nasty heat is starting to get to me. Even a stop at The Captain Bar at Intercontinental Marseille didn't seem to cool things down enough for me so I had to make another stop right before the Saint-Nizier Church.

Like all the Paul Bakery shops, this one is also beautifully decorated with its usual antique fixtures and elegant chairs and banquettes.

I was trying to get some rest at this quiet corner but a bunch of birds flying in from the streets had other ideas.

My favorite pistachio macaron. I still remembered my very first experience with it about a decade ago when I was in London. It's been one of my favs ever since.

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: €€
Address: 5 Rue de Brest, 69002 Lyon, France
Tel: +33 (0)4 7837-5208

Glacier Terre adélice (Lyon, FRANCE) ★★★★☆

It was time to check out Lyon's Old Town on our second day in the city. Throughout this trip that saw us drive all the way from Milan down to Southern France, we had nothing but sunny skies which is generally very good news but Lyon was really hot (35-36 degrees) and dry and that's always not a very good combination.

So, we're back to the pace of having 4 to 5 ice-creams again, with Glacier Terre adélice being our second stop for ice-cream already.

Located in the heart of the Saint Jean district in Vieux Lyon, Glacier Terre adélice has been one of the most popular ice-cream shops in Lyon since its opening back in 2010.

And with 150 flavors to choose from, how can anybody resist the temptation, especially under this incredible heat? (Nice work to squeeze all 150 flavors into one single menu).

Like everyone standing next to me, I was having trouble deciding what flavors to get, coz there are so many of them.

At the end, I got myself two scoops of their artisanal ice-cream and sorbet (€4.7) - tomato and basil; and pink praline (since I haven't heard of pink praline before). Not surprisingly, the whole thing almost melted completely after I finished taking all the photos!

Food Rating: 6/10
Price: €€€
Address: 1 place de la Baleine, 69005 Lyon, France
Tel: +33 (0)4 7803-5184 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Glacier Graziella (Marseille, FRANCE) ★★☆☆☆

We had a little chat with the front desk staff from our hotel before we headed out to explore Marseille this morning. They told us that it's going to get pretty hot out there today. 36 to 37 degrees to be exact. Wow, perhaps we should have stayed in Nice to enjoy a couple more days at the beach!

Glacier Graziella, sitated at the corner of Quai des Belges and Cours Jean Ballard, is not the best gelateria in Marseille but it probably has one of the best geographic locations. Sitting in the heart of the old town area, it's a prime location to attract all the tourists in the area, especially under this nasty heat.

I went with their oreo ice-cream shake which was quite milky but it lacked the thick and fudgy texture one expected from a delicious milkshake.

Food Rating: 4/10
Price: €€€
Address: 51 Quai Des Belges, 13001 Marseille, France

The Captain Bar at Intercontinental Marseille (Marseille, FRANCE) ★★★☆☆

Following a very busy morning that saw us making stops at MuCEM, Cathédrale La Major and Musée D'histoire De Marseille, it was time to finally settle down and enjoy a frosty drink.

One very important mission to accomplish this afternoon was for me to swing by Intercontinental Marseille Hotel Dieu and check out a very special drink that's very unique and only available right here at Les Fenêtres, a brasserie on the first floor of the hotel.

I'm talking about their Milkshake de Bouillabaisse!

But that plan didn't work out very well for us. The restaurant was closed until 6:30pm and we've got dinner plans already. Rather than waiting for another couple of hours, we decided to check out The Captain Bar right next to the brasserie and enjoy a drink or two.

I love the nice chill-out environment here (especially nice when I'm still a little jetlagged.).

Here we go, a couple of mocktails........

Price: €€€
Address: 1, Place Daviel, 13002 Marseille, France
Tel: +33 (0)4 1342-4234

Le Môle Passedat La Table at MuCEM (Marseille, FRANCE) ★★★☆☆

We have a very tight 48-hour schedule in Marseille which pretty much rules out a visit to the three Michelin-starred Le Petit Nice by Gérald Passédat but that doesn't necessarily mean we can't experience the wonderful cuisine designed by Marseille's most famous chef.

We were starting our day off at the historic Fort Saint Jean and after going over the bridge that flies across the water, we finally landed at the Museum of the Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean (MuCEM). What an amazing site it was by the waterfront.

The entire architecture is highlighted by patterns that resemble tree-like columns, long-span beams and fishnet façade. Very interesting.

There was another mission we had coming into MuCEM this afternoon - to experience chef Gérald Passédat's imaginative cuisine at Le Môle Passedat La Table. Not to be mistaken with Le Môle Passedat La Cuisine, which is a canteen style café next door, La Table is a smart chic bistrot serving the chef's version of modern bistro food (There's a cover charge of €55 per head.) at this beautifully decorated premise.

We had a clear view of Cathédrale La Major right from the window. That was very nice.

Our amuse bouche was a simple dish made with cuttlefish and green onion.

That was immediately followed by my first course which was the chef's take on the classic spinach and ricotta cheese cannelloni. The rolled pasta was nicely stuffed full with spinach and ricotta and then simmered in a warm spinach soup. That was quite fulfilling.

Another starter was skate wing served with pickles, purple onion and a red pepper sauce.

Octopus with radish, peas and fresh pasta was easily the least successful dish on the afternoon. The flavorful meat jus added something different to an otherwise uneventful dish with a boring combination of textures and flavors.

Fare a lot better was the other main dish, roasted baby lamb with a casserole of white beans, oyster mushrooms, artichoke and tomatoes.

This was perfect to offset the richness of the baby lamb which was absolutely tender and juicy.

Dessert was back on the right track first with a very thoughtful dish of rhubarb confit. Strips of confit rhubarb were curled to form the base of this mushroom-shaped dessert which was then topped with brousse du rove goat cheese and tuile made with black rice. That was pretty good.

The other dessert was a chocolate cake made in the shape of MuCEM. It was served with a scoop of ice-cream, which I thought was oatmeal flavored. Not the best chocolate cake I have ever had but full marks for the creativity and imagination.

Now that our mission has completed, it's time to start our afternoon activities which would begin with a visit to Cathédrale La Major.

Food Rating: 5.5/10
Price: €€€
Address: 1 Esplanade du J4, 13002 Marseille, France
Tel: +33 (0)4 9119-1780

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Restaurant La Nautique (Marseille, FRANCE) ★★★★☆

Restaurant La Nautique is a casual dining eatery on the first floor of the "Floating Pavilion", a floating wooden clubhouse owned by Société Nautique de Marseille which could be traced all the way back to 1898.

The fact that the "Floating Pavilion" is parked right in the heart of Marseille's beautiful Old Port has made Restaurant La Nautique a popular dining spot for anyone who wants an up-close-and-personal view of the harbour.

While I wasn't expecting something as gigantic as Titanic, I certainly didn't see this coming. Such a spacious interior with very cozy decor. I have a feeling that I will enjoy tonight's dinner very much here. 

We picked a quiet corner by the window so we won't miss the beautiful sunset.

The view of the Old Port certainly didn't disappoint and we even got the front row seats to watch the sun slowly disappear from the horizon.

Food wise, it was a pleasant surprise despite a very small selection of snacks, appetizers, main courses and desserts (about 4 to 5 choices per section).

First up was a spoonful of bouillabaisse jelly with croutons as amuse bouche.

The soup just tasted a little sweeter with this incredible view in the backdrop. 

Our first starter, Duck foie gras, done three ways - pan-seared, terrine and creme brulee.

All three were nicely done. I particularly enjoyed the creme brulee with the caramel glaze.

Our second starter was a popular dish from French Riviera, stuffed baby squid. It was done primarily with rice while some squid ink sauce was sitting on the side more for decorative purpose. Decent but slightly less successful than the previous dish.

My main dish was creamy risotto with grilled scampi. Another pleasant surprise.

It was my very first time using thefork for my dinner reservation but I have to admit, it was pretty slick. I didn't have to contact the restaurant directly and more importantly, I got 30% off any items from the a la carte menu!!!!

Marseille is an amazing city. Too bad we only have 1 more day here before moving onto Lyon. But for now, let's enjoy the moment.

Restaurant La Nautique turned out to be more than just a tourist spot. Personally, I would highly recommend it to anyone who's visiting Marseille for the first time.

Food Rating: 5.5/10
Price: €€€
Address: 20 Quai de Rive Neuve, 13007 Marseille, France
Tel: +33 (0)4 9133-0178

Restaurant Mantel (Cannes, FRANCE) ★★★☆☆

Like our stay in Nice, we are on a fairly tight schedule in Cannes and after stopping by a few attractions before noon, it was almost time to leave. With Le Suquet (The Old Town) remaining as the only spot left on our agenda, looks like a quick lunch near Cannes' Old Town would be the perfect plan for us.

Located at the foot of the picturesque Old Town, Restaurant Mantel offers a Mediterranean inspired cuisine based on the freshest ingredients from the market.

We decided to sit on the small terrace for some fresh air following a long walk under the heat.

Amuse bouche was onion bread topped with a piece of date. Some Mediterranean colors to start the meal.

Our first course was cured Scottish salmon with dill, lemon cream and served with crispy zucchini. This was a pretty refreshing start.

And I like the way they deep fried the thinly sliced zucchini like a tempura.

For main course, I went with their pan seared cod fish with bouillabaisse foam and vegetables. This was surprisingly good. A much much better result in comparison with the cod fish I had the night before.

Another main dish was Italian risotto with veal juice and artichokes. The veal juice provided just enough richness and flavors for the creamy risotto. Pretty nice.

Dessert was a simple vanilla creme brulee with a classic caramel glaze.

The portion was real generous and as delicious as it was, I almost had trouble finishing it off (which rare happens for me when it comes to dessert.).

Restaurant Mantel is not the easiest of all places to find at the foot of Le Suquet. If you're coming from the direction of Marché Forville like us, look for these stairs up and simply turn left when you finish your way up the stairs.

Food Rating: 5.5/10
Price: €€€
Address: 22 Rue Saint-Antoine-Le-Suquet, 06400 Cannes, France
Tel: +33 (0)4 9339-1310