Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Kenzo Estate Asuka 2012 and Rindo 2012

Date of Tasting: 10 November 2015
Wine Type: Red
Origin: California, USA
Appellation: Napa Valley

Strolling around Roppongi Hills while waiting for the time to visit Tempura Yokota, surely girls would enjoy the shopping moment. However, one like me who seems to have only either food or wine in mind. With some googling research, I found that there is a wine bar of Kenzo Estate within Roppongi Hills. Hence, I did not hesitate to pop by for a few glasses before dinner.

Kenzo Estate is a winery in California which has been developed since the very beginning of 90's by inspirational Capcom founder, Kenzo Tsujimoto. The first vintage available was 2005 which consisted of Rindo, Ai, and Murasaki. For the shop in Roppongi Hills, wines definitely are shipped directly from the estate. On the 1st floor, it is more like wine bar with retail corner. Wines by glass are available for tasting from 11am until late night. While dining area on floor 2 is opened from 5pm. For my short visit, I did try 2 types from their range: Asuka 2012 and Rindo 2012.

Both wines are pretty similar in structure: USA cult wines. But they are delicious. Asuka range consists mainly of Cabernet Franc whilst Rindo is Bordeaux blend. They are rather ready for enjoying at this early stage but should age pretty nicely. Personally, I may enjoy Asuka more with its beautiful perfume. Nevertheless, pricing of Asuka is 3 folds of Rindo. QPR wise, Rindo represents much better value. For Rindo, it gives mouth coating structure with bold tannins. Earthy, leathery, and mocha too. Anyway, the charm of aroma of blue fruits from Asuka cannot really be ignored.

Well, I have to say I do like this bar of Kenzo Estate. If I do have time to visit Tokyo next time, I will surely pop by again. They may only present their range of wine but they are indeed a delicious range which is rare and can be experiencing. Cheers!!!

Kenzo Estate Asuka 2012
Grape Varieties: 94.1% Cabernet Franc, 5.9% Merlot
Alcohol: 14.8%
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR300
Chubby Appreciation: 94/100
Critics' Opinion: CT - 93/100

Kenzo Estate Rindo 2012
Grape Varieties: 53.0% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15.8% Cabernet Franc, 17.5% Merlot, 13.7% Petit Verdot
Alcohol: 14.8%
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR100
Chubby Appreciation: 92/100
Critics' Opinion: CT - 93/100

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Kuai Chap Mr. Joe @ Chan Road, Bangkok - ก๋วยจั๊บมิสเตอร์โจ @ ถนนจันทน์ กรุงเทพฯ

Cuisine: Noodle / Street Food
Charged Price: THB85 per person without alcohol
Visited: 7 December 2015
Food: 7/10
Atmosphere: n.m.
Value for money: 7/10
Services: 5/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Kuai Chap is a classic Chinese style noodle soup dish that I have been fallen in love with since I was a young boy. Kuai Chap is simply rice noodle soup with variety of pork organ. In brief, there are 2 types of Kuai Chap in Thailand: one with clear type of broth which yields in fresher result in palate and the other one with thicker type of broth which is packed with flavour. It surely depends on your style and different stores do offer its own style of broth. For Kuai Chap Mr. Joe, it is the former kind of broth.

If you are going to visit Kuai Chap Mr. Joe, forget for those public transports you may be aware of: local bus only otherwise just drive. There is no parking space available at this rather big store of street noodle. So use your luck to find a parking lot along the road. Surely you will find one as this road is not so jam. It is on Thanon Chan and is not far from Thanon Charoen Krung at all. During lunch time, please do expect to see queue but it usually won't take long. Staffs here work pretty much fast and efficient. Bare in mind that this Kuai Chap place only operates to around mid afternoon. So no dinner at this joint.

Kuai Chap Mr. Joe @ Chan Road, Bangkok

very busy lunch

the place was packed with foodie

another corner, this is a rather spacious noodle joint

For us, we did try both Kuai Chap (8/10) with and without soup. The one without soup gave nice flavour of fried garlic. Nice touch of noodle. Ingredients were fresh. For noodle soup, this was definitely more aromatic and refreshing. But personally it won't be so good on a hot hot day. We did also taste crispy pork belly (7/10). Wonderful texture: crisp skin, tender meat, and juicy.

In short, if you are a local, it won't be difficult for you to pay this place a visit. However, for traveller, it can be tedious to reach this Kuai Chap place. Unless you stop by during lunch on your way to Asiatique which is not far from this place. Anyway, it is good and is worth a visit.

Kuai Chap - ก๋วยจั๊บ (THB50)

decent size of ingredients

Pork Belly with Rice Noodle - ก๋วยจั๊บแห้งหมูกรอบ (THB50)

Crispy Pork Belly - หมูกรอบ (THB55)

Kuai Chap Mr. Joe @ Chan Road, Bangkok - ก๋วยจั๊บมิสเตอร์โจ @ ถนนจันทน์  กรุงเทพฯ
313/7 Chan Road (near Soi Chan 44)
Wat Phraya Krai, Bang Kho Laem
Bangkok 10120

Open Hours: daily from 08:00am - 04:30pm
Tel: +66 (0) 2213 3007

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Champagne Jacquesson Dizy Terres Rouges Extra Brut 2008

Date of Tasting: 16 September 2015
Wine Type: Sparkling Rose
Grape Varieties: 71% Pinot Meunier, 29% Pinot Noir
Alcohol: 12%
Origin: Dizy, France
Appellation: Champagne
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR90
Chubby Appreciation: 91/100
Critics' Opinion: AG - 93/100, WE - 90/100, CT - 90/100

Appearance: Dark rose pink.
Aroma: Exotic dried rose. Red currant. Spices.
Palate: Certainly dry. Concentrate with rich ripe red fruits. Bright acidity. Fine effervescence. 

Very unusual rose Champagne. Very dry, yes, it is Extra Brut. I would say it was big on the structure rather than aromatic lingering rose. Would I say it was nice? Yes, it was enjoyable. But I did not find this one so appealing nor sexy. At least it was a good experience. Enjoy it now. Perhaps you may need food to go with this Champagne.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Fu Unji Ramen (風雲児らーめん) @ Shinjuku, Tokyo

Cuisine: Ramen
Map: Fu Unji Ramen (風雲児らーめん) @ Shinjuku, Tokyo
Charged Price: JPY1,000 per person without alcohol
Visited: 12 November 2015
Food: 8/10
Atmosphere: 5/10
Value for money: 7/10
Services: 5/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Ramen can be found anywhere in Japan. They all look alike from outside. But surely you will need some info to discover a great one. Here is one for you in my humble opinion. Fu Unji Ramen is located in the well-known commercial district, Shinjuku and tucked on ground floor of a building called Hokuto Daiichi (北斗第一ビル). It is within walking distant from Shinjuku Station. This ramen store is typically small as for usual place in Japan. Perhaps around 15 seats for capacity.

Being one of those who do not fancy queueing much. So we decided to have early dinner by arriving before opening time of Fu Unji. As expected, the queue was already there but we were lucky enough to be placed in the first batch.

15 seats store of Fu Unji Ramen

Fu Unji Ramen (風雲児らーめん) @ Shinjuku, Tokyo

chef owner in action

At Fu Unji, there are only 2 choices of ramen: standard ramen or tsukemen. Tsukemen has the same type of noodle of ramen but it comes separately between noodle and soup. The other choices for you would be those minor touches e.g. ordinary or special size, added egg, extra char siu, and etc. You will also be paying at the machine first.

pre-payment machine - main menu

pre-payment machine - side dishes

We believe the ramen soup at Fu Unji is kind of different from others. Usually you would see pork broth being used but it is fish and seafood here. The aroma of both ramen and tsukemen is unique. I personally like it here but some may say the soup is perhaps too salty.

At the time of placing order, you can choose how much the amount of noodle you would like. A big boy may say large. But going for small if you would just like to taste. The noodle was excellent, I think. They were chewy but still soft on the touch. For Special Ramen (8/10), I like the fact that chopped spring onion played the balancing role well. It added freshness to the rich ramen. Egg was definitely boiled to perfection: not hard nor runny. Special Dipping Noodle - つけめん (Tsukemen) (8/10) also yielded similar kind of taste. However, the texture was more concentrated and showed more distinct flavour of dried-squid. The other point would be the form of char siu. Ramen came with big piece of char siu while tsukemen came in diced char siu. I personally prefer ramen due to spring onion and softer taste. Anyway, both were excellent.

If you do not mind queueing which can be longer than eating time. Fu Unji Ramen is sure a place worth exploring. The chef owner and staffs were polite and friendly too.

Special Ramen (JPY950)

Special Dipping Noodle (JPY1,000)

dipping noodle

Fu Unji Ramen (風雲児らーめん) @ Shinjuku, Tokyo
Floor 1, Hokuto Daiichi Building (北斗第一ビル)
2-14-3 Yoyogi
Tokyo 〒151-0053

Open Hours: Mon-Sat from 11:00am - 03:00pm for lunch and 05:00pm - 09:00pm for dinner
Tel: +81 (0) 3 6413 8480
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