Monthly Archives: July 2012

Amo la Pizza

How do you like your pizza?

Personally, I like thin-crusted pizzas with some fruits or vegetable toppings like bell peppers, pineapples or artichokes. And the pizza better be oozing with molten cheese. Thin-crusted, because thick crusts are too heavy for my liking and I occasionally feel that the thick layer of carbs dulls down the taste of the toppings. For this reason, I favour pizzas at Italian restaurants over the thick-crusted ones in say Pizza Hut although there are definitely days when I would have some Papa John’s and the likes of it.

Over the past month, I have probably eaten Italian food at at least five different occasions and I can now say without an ounce of doubt that Fratini’s Restaurant is my favourite pizzeria in Brunei. Thin crust, cheesy and flavourful – their pizzas simply fit the bill. Furthermore, they have the 50% off any pizza and pasta for the month of Ramadan!  I do not have a picture of it here but my favourite pizza from Fratini’s is the Hawaiian. Gotta love the pineapples.

Fratini’s Restaurant @ Kuala Belait, Brunei

The Quattro Stagioni is a decent vegetarian option but I was quite disappointed with their artichoke toppings. I have had artichokes as pizza toppings and they tasted wonderful but the ones on the Quattro were quite sour. Perhaps they were pickled artichokes as opposed to regular artichokes.

Although I may have made Fratini’s seem more superior to Pizza Hut, I have to admit that I love their Honey Garlic Chicken flavour which is kind of hard to find outside of Brunei. I was hoping to have my Honey Garlic Chicken on thin crust but to my dismay, two of the Pizza Hut branches I went to at the Airport Mall and at Gadong did not have the Thin Crust option any more so we resorted to ordering The Edge.

 I still miss Pizza Hut’s Thin Crust. This was like honey garlic chicken on a giant cracker.

Not quite sure how to end this post following the expression of my delight at finally having Honey Garlic Chicken pizza but my chagrin when I found out that two Pizza Hut branches did not have Thin Crust, so I’ll throw in some interesting fact about Pizza Margherita that I learnt from Italian Magazine:

Pizza Margherita was named after Queen Margherita of Savoy who was presented with a pizza that resembled the colours of the Italian flag, red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green(basil).According to popular tradition, in 1889, 28 years after the unification of Italy, during a visit to Naples of Queen Margherita of Savoy, wife of King Umberto I, chef Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi and his wife created  a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flag, red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil). They named it after the Queen – Pizza Margherita.

Now I will forever see the Italian flag on my pizza every time I have my Margherita.

Advertisements

Kaizen

Excapade, move over. I have found my new favourite Japanese restaurant in Brunei.

Kaizen Waterfront @ BSB, Brunei

My mom and I really liked the Philippine Roll which is quite similar to the generic California Roll. The best part? The sweet and succulent mango. I love Asian mangos!

The chicken katsu curry was decent; I am honestly not too big of a fan of Japanese curry or mild stews but this dish is pretty good for what it is. I would not mind ordering this again if I do ever have my rare cravings for Japanese curries.

I wrapped up my dinner with a sweet treat: Macha ice cream with red bean. I could tell from its texture that the ice cream was home made and I love how it is not overly sweet like Haagen-Dazs green tea ice cream.

The sushi and entrees in Kaizen are definitely made more meticulously and with fresher ingredients than in Excapade Sushi. The discrepancies in the quality of the dishes are also reflected by the differences in price though. Even though Kaizen has usurped Excapade from its throne as the best sushi bar in Brunei, I will probably still go to Excapade if I was in the mood for quantity over quality or if I wanted a casual meal with my friends. Kaizen, on the other hand, will be reserved for more special occasions or on days when I want to splurge a little more.

An Education on Coffee

I have a confession and it’s this: more than half the time when I am ordering coffee at Starbucks or Peet’s, I have no idea what I am going to get. I keep my fingers crossed in the hopes that I did not just order something that my tastebuds can’t handle. Today, I decided to educate myself about the different types of coffee so that I can make a more informed decision in the future.

Here is also a link on how to order a drink in Starbucks, which will make me look less like a coffee noob the next time I order a hot beverage at a cafe.

Roti Roti Roti

This time masquerading as noodles, served Mee Mamak style.

Roti Norbi @ C.A Ahmed, Brunei

This was my first time trying it and I found it a very interesting dish. Basically, it is a cross between roti and mee mamak. The roti is shredded to smaller pieces and they almost taste like rice noodles but with a more layered texture, and it is later stir fried like you would your mee mamak. Pour some curry sauce over this hybrid dish and there you have sitting in front of you a sinfully delicious meal.

Zest

Fancy schmoozing with your friends over some cakes and pastries at a place with elegant decor? Zest Cafe at The Empire Hotel & Country Club might just be the place for you if you’re looking for a place with great atmosphere and decent pastries.

My first experience with the pastries from Zest Cafe came in the form of scones served at a reception in the hotel. The scones were perfectly soft and creamy, way better than the ones I had in boarding school in Britain. Unfortunately, the cafe was out of scones after the reception was over so I had their pain au chocolat instead. I really liked the chocolate croissant and it made me pretty eager to go back to this cafe to sample the other items in their menu. I also thought that the pastries are reasonably priced for hotel food; the croissant is about BND 2 and many of their delectable slices of cakes are between BND 4 – 5.

On my second trip to Zest Cafe, I was tempted by the wide selection of drinks offered in the cafe. They ranged from mocktails to smoothies to lattes. However, the prices for the beverages are not as attractive as the menu, which did not surprise me too much considering that the cafe is in a very fancy hotel. After much deliberation, I went ahead with the virgin strawberry mojito (which was mintless by the way, because they ran out of mint leafs).

Can’t say that I was too impressed by this saccharine drink that was pretty much artificial strawberry flavouring, soda and ice. Man, I expected more from a drink worth BND 6. My sister definitely got a much better deal with her Cinnamon Latte. I did not have a sip of hers because I have a slight aversion to cinnamon but I could tell from the aroma wafting across the coffee table that it was one decent latte.

My pastry of choice was the apple chausson, also known as an apple turnover by fellow Americans. I just learn ten minutes ago that chausson means “slipper” in some language that I can assume to be French. I am learning something new every day!

This tasted a lot like apple pie and I really liked it. While I regretted the choice I made for my beverage, I am officially a fan of the pastries at Zest Cafe and am looking forward to trying their other pastries such as their jaffa ganache cupcake and different flavoured macarons. And although this is unrelated, I would like to add that the sunset at the beach by the hotel is magnificent and added to my high tea experience. I have definitely taken for granted the many different types of clouds, from the fluffy to the wispy, that adorn the Bruneian skies that are devoid in California.

ABC

Syrup flavoured shaved ice with sweet corn, red beans and grass jelly — a great way to cool down in the tropical heat.  Still missing  the fluorescent green cendols and the red and round thingamajigs though. The hunt for the perfect ABC begins!

Roti Returns

Roti Set @ Nadj Restaurant, Brunei

Once again, tea time consisted of roti, this time accompanied by chickpeas, chicken curry, potatoes and sardines. Roti is starting to become a staple in my diet — I could not help but cave in to my cravings for roti telur multiple times this week at UBD Residential Core.

Roti Telur @ UBD Core Food Court, Brunei

I think I am eating too much roti in one week.

Sushi and Sashimi

Oh Excapade Sushi, we have parted for way too long!

Excapade Sushi @ Kiulap, Brunei

In the States, I usually exercise a lot more control over what I order in Japanese restaurants because I can very easily spend over USD 25 if I were to allow my appetite for sushi and sashimi to dictate. I have walked out of sushi bars unsatisfied so many times because my cravings for lots of salmon were unfulfilled while the memories of whole buckets of sashimi from what felt like the distant past taunted me. First world problems.

Now that I am back in Brunei I can finally gorge myself on cheap yet decent Japanese food. I am one happy kitty.