elb's hovel of thoughts

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Jogoya Review

Recalling that Jogoya was apparently 'the' place for a good 'Japanese' buffet, and being located at Starhill Galleries no less, I had pretty high expectations of the placePhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

That's about it for pictures as I decided to take a break from using my camera that day.

Impressions: Food and seating area are well seperated with some good use of interior design. Concrete and wood somehow managed to blend in together, although the music is a tad bit too loud.

Variety: 'Will this ever end?' I happily asked myself as I scanned the surrounding lines of food from the sushi counter.

Getting acquainted: Within a minute, I was not so happy. I always had the impression that Jogoya was catering as a 'Japanese' buffet, and that was what I was expecting. The only thing Japanese was the sushi counter section, and perhaps some of the rest. Probably up to 70% of the food available was of different cuisines, i.e. Indian.

Each table has a certain number of 'pegs' which you put into the empty bowl in front of the dish that you would like (or peg to the plate, depending). The criticism? Each table has a limited number of pegs. Even with the restaurant almost empty, some dishes took quite a while to arrive. More pegs, please.

As most of you already know, each line has a 'VIP dish', of which I had looked on enviously at first. By the middle of the eating session, I was left pondering whether the VIP dishes would be any more palatable than the rest (I don't know as I didn't try, and I don't think I would have

Food: As stated before, an almost endless parade of dishes. I started off with the Japanese counter. I didn't like the salmon sashimi. Don't ask me why, because I usually help myself to a lot of this. Most of the sushi on offer didn't seem to whet my appetite; the only thing that I personally enjoyed was the seasoned baby octopus (available in tiny individual dip bowls of one each).

Next up: Parrotfish, roasted. Took them like what seemed over half an hour before the dish arrived. None of us enjoyed it. It was dry, and appeared... wrong. My own rookie attempt at cooking parrot fish turned out many times better.

We sampled the tempura. It was horrid; the tempura tasted 'heavy' instead of the light batter one would have expected. We took some of the prawns with grape sauce, and weren't impressed. The beef teppanyaki was decent, to the place's credit. At least I think it was. I can't remember what else we ate, and I don't think I want to. It was unmemorably bad.

Our final dish, a beef claypot dish (which you cook over a portable flame), took forever to cook. And when it did, all we did was to take one bite before deciding to walk off, but not before finishing off our coconuts (probably one of the best things there). And in time for a huge group of over thirty orientals (probably Chinese tourists) to arrive and to either enjoy or disappoint themselves (depending how you look at it).

Overall verdict:
Variety: 9.2/10. Sheer variety gives the place the aforementioned score.
Food quality and taste: 2.5/10.

Call me harsh, but that is my unbiased verdict. Avoid unless you are a sucker for huge buffet lines, and head for the Japanese restaurant Gonbei directly opposite. My friend (who happens to be very discerning as well) gave that place a rave (verbal) review.
T3, Relish Floor
Starhill Gallery
Jalan Bukit Bintang
Kuala Lumpur


Friday, June 15, 2007

Close-up +4 Lens Test

I decided to play around and to test out the close up lens (also misleading called close up filters by some parties) I recently acquired, the Hoya +4.

The lens was fitted onto a 80-200 2.8L objective, on the top of a B+W UV filter. Pictures taken at shortest focal length, due to composition requirements. 1.6x crop factor applies.

Shot 1:

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Notes: Extremely shallow depth of field noted, eventhough f2.8 was used. Abberrations are highly noticable outside of the focal point. This is probably due to the fact that a double close-up lens was not used. Also, it could be possible that the extra space and barrier posed by UV filter might have had some influence.

Shot 2:

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Notes: Once again, a very shallow depth of field, with abberations.

Verdict: Must get hands on the Canon 500D. The extension tube also works, but would be a tad harder to add/remove the tube in between the objective and camera body.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

King Sitric Restaurant

Located in a town around half an hour out of Dublin by train, we chanced upon this "Michelin recommended" rated restaurant while looking for a place to eat for dinner.

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The restaurant is located on the second floor of this establishment; coats etc are taken off downstairs.

Most interestingly, they have two different types of salt here: normal sea salt, and volcanic salt.

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The two types of salt, and the black pepper in their grinds.

The obligatory bread and butter.

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The complimentary taster dish that comes with most fine dining restaurants. 5/10

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Soon enough, the starter of grilled scallops in light broth with spinach(?) puree and minced bell peppers. This dish was interesting but lacked seasoning; the addition of the aforementioned crushed volcanic salt helped to lift this dish above from its mediocrity. 6/10.

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Crab bisque. Just as the scallops, this needed some seasoning. 6/10
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Oyster (grilled? au natural?) with bacon. Rated as excellent by the companion.
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Monkfish features in the main dish, in the form of strips of the fish together with julienned vegetables, on a thin pastry base and topped with cheese. I found this dish to be average. 6.5/10.
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Side accompaniments to the main dish: parsnips with honey mustard sauce, boiled potato, and spinach. Standard fare.
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On to the desserts, which I dare say are the highlight of the evening. First up is a caramel fudge pudding, with strawberries and ice cream. 7.5/10.
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Meringue with chocolate sauce and almonds. Looked positively massive in comparison with the pudding.
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The meringue had a hard shell, but easily gave way to my spoon, to reveal a deliciously soft interior, with a hidden surprise of some ice cream.
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The home made(?) ice cream was fantastic and somehow tasted better than Haagen Dazs. Either way, the combination of warm chocolate, the crunchy almonds, the hard and slightly chewy soft of meringue, and the cold delicious ice cream felt utterly divine in my mouth.

And dare I say it, it is probably the best dessert I have had so far. It has pushed the bar higher (high enough as it already is) for my expectancy of good desserts. I rate this dessert a 9.5/10.

Time for coffee/ tea and petits fours. The tea was most disappointly just a Twinings tea bag, and had a weird smell to it.
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Nothing really spectacular.

Verdict: Come here for the fantastic desserts. Otherwise, a decent place to eat.

King Sitric
Fish Restaurant & Accommodation
East Pier


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Porterhouse (Gastro)Pub

Looking for a place to eat, we chanced upon this 4- storied place not too far from Trinity College, on the edge of Temple Bar. It appeared cosy and casual, with separate sections (i.e. by the bar, sports section to view projected rugby matches, etc.). We sat down, took a quick glance at their extensive world beer list, and ordered. Much to our surprise, they didn't carry Guinness, but only their housebrew stout (and a few others).

So upon closer examination of their housebrew, and alas unfortunately after we had ordered our beers, we noticed a most interesting brew: Oyster Stout. Porterhouse describes it as "Brewed with fresh oysters. A smooth drinking aromatic stout with a discernable but unidentifiable aromatic aspect. Not suitable for vegetarians." We didn't order it, but I am sure many of you would like to give it a shot if you are in Dublin/ London (there is a Porterhouse Bar in Covent Garden).

A sample tray of all their brews (Oyster Stout, Brain Blasta, Chiller, Plain Porter, Temple Brau, TSB, Wrasslers XXX, Hersbucker, Porterhouse Red, Weiss, and seasonal specials) is also available for €5.

As mentioned earlier, Porterhouse also stocks a wide range of proper beers from all around the world. Commercial beers such as Foster's, Heineken BUL, Guinness, Budweiser (American version), etc are off course absent. Interestingly, Tiger beer makes an appearance under the guise of 'Singaporean beer'.

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L-R: Czech Staropramen, cutely labelled Belgian Delerium Tremens, Belgian Framboise Boon.

On to the food. I called for: Irish Stout Stew (if I remember, they used their own Wrasslers 4X Stout). This dish was fantastic: absolutely flavourful, the beef was tender, and all the other ticks in right places. Gorgeous. If there was nobody around, I would be tempted to use my fingers to pick the bowl clean. 8.5/10. €13(?)
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EF called for a traditional Irish lamb stew with pearl barley. No rating as I cannot remember how this dish tasted like, but I think it would be somewhere in the region of a 6/10. €13(?)
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C called for a burger. No rating from me. €11(?)
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Porterhouse (The)
16-18 Parliament Street
Temple Bar,


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Dublin street sights

We bypassed this person recreating an artwork of Michaelangelo's on the sidewalk. I was hoping that it was one of those 3D chalk artwork, but alas. Still pretty though.

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We passed by about an hour(?) later, and the crowd had grown by quite a bit then, with some progress made.

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A street bard playing her harp:
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This guy had a rather unconventional 'street statue' tactic:
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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Dublin bar crawl

Just some of the beer we had whilst in Dublin. Notice the large lack of crap (read: commercially advertised beer, or brewed under license beer, or 'ice' beer, or so on)

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