Monthly Archives: July 2011

Coffee with a conscience


Forty Hands (photograph courtesy of Forty Hands)

Training in the family property business and touching on sustainable coffee practices during postgraduate study were the combining forces that prompted Perth-based Harry Grover to open a coffee shop in Singapore. Grover had been visiting Singapore on and off for about five years before he decided to take the plunge. He moved to Singapore in 2010. Forty Hands – named after the average number of hands required in the production of coffee – opened its doors in October 2010 in the out-of-the-way district of Tiong Bahru. Continue reading


Filed under Produce

Viajante: A Traveller’s Tale


Viajante, Town Hall Hotel, London (photograph courtesy of Viajante)

Nuno Mendes owes me a night out with my brother. One where we sit down, share good food and wine and talk about our lives, our loves, our let-downs – the sorts of things siblings share when they haven’t seen each other for two years. As it happened, when we reunited at Mendes’ off-beat fine-dining venue Viajante – in the restored Town Hall Hotel in London’s east end district of Bethnal Green – all we talked about was his food. I’m not exaggerating. It was the sole topic of conversation. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Never before have I been out for a meal where the chef’s concoctions demanded my complete attention – and almost three hours’ worth of conversation. Mendes might as well have pulled up a chair. Continue reading


Filed under Restaurant Reviews, Uncategorized

A bite at The Fat Loaf


Roast rump of lamb

The name The Fat Loaf speaks a thousand words: home-cooked, honest, fresh, and wholesome are just some them. The kitchen crew cooks to that exact brief. Nestled in the Ashton Village in Cheshire, England The Fat Loaf is a well-kept secret amongst the locals and one suspects they’d like to keep it that way. Chef-owners Paul Watson and Tim Wood think differently. The warm, cosy, well-lit eatery was one of a trio of Fat Loaf restaurants that has shrunk to a duo as a result of the global financial crisis. But the boys haven’t looked back. They’ve been too busy. One mans the pans at Ashton, the other at the venue in Didsbury, Manchester. It’s crunch time for the fat loaves. Continue reading


Filed under Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant coupons: good deals or duds?

Restaurant discount coupons are all the rage. But are they good value? If you’re a subscriber to deal websites such as LivingSocial, Scoopon, or Jump On It, emails land in your inbox daily offering huge discounts on various goods and services and there is only a 24-hour window to snap them up. Facials, hair cuts and holidays all put in an appearance, but when you’re a foodie it’s the restaurant deals that catch your eye.

Continue reading


Filed under Reflections

Little fish


Sydney Fish Market sardines

I’m teaching myself to cook little, less popular fish. Sardines, leatherjacket, mackerel and barbounia have all debuted on my kitchen bench in recent months. In fact, let’s take a step back. I’m teaching myself to cook fish. It’s never been a strength of mine. I’ve barbecued snapper wrapped in banana leaf and baked a whole salmon, but they were one-offs and their success – I suspect – was a fluke. I’m a dab hand at fish cakes. And I’ve got beer battering and deep-frying down pat, but hand me a fish slice and a fillet of barramundi, john dory, or salmon and I’m  a little bit lost. I’ll probably cook it until that oily white stuff oozes out – a sign of over-cooking, so i’m told. I’ll pan fry it carefully then blast it in the microwave just to be safe.

So I’m teaching myself to cook fish – little ones in particular. Continue reading


Filed under Sustainable Seafood Challenge