Two Completely Different Restaurants in Brooklyn

Brooklyn is the Dalston of New York, an area having developed after costs in Manhattan push younger people out to more affordable areas. Although they still have some dodgy neighbourhoods, a lot of areas have redeveloped, new, cool bars and restaurants have flourished.

Do or Dine is one such place. Popular on the weekends for its alternative breakfast, the whole place is designed to give you a different experience. Despite being on a relatively main street, it is disguised from view with its restaurant banner actually displaying an alternative name (see pictures below)

Do or Dine Canopy

Do or Dine Door

A small bar sits in the back, alongside a bathroom-tiled small kitchen where they mix up the most interesting drinks and foods. A disco ball spins, sending light to other distracting corners of the room.

Disco ball

They decorate the walls with some strange elements, and find the most unusual things such as a can of “Unicorn meat” (not for consumption).

Unicorn meat

All of this, naturally points to interesting combinations and new designs of some classic dishes. We start our brunch by sharing some appetisers including a foie gras doughnut (good but not really my favourite as the foie gras is too overpowering), some “fawntons” (or wontons filled with venison) and some “e666s” (or some battered devilled eggs)

All of the food was beautifully presented, and pretty good although I think I liked the fawntons the best – the wontons filled with a meat that reminded me of tender pulled pork and matched with a mustard sauce that held some punch. For our mains, we tried “A chicken and woffals” and “Fish and some chips”. The chicken arrived as a “jerk chicken” that was super tender, moist although the coating reminded me more of a sweet thai chilli sauce than any strong jerk coating.

Chick and waffles

The fish dish was probably one of the most impressive, an upright, wholly fried fish “mohawked” my some caviar that had been brightly marinated in fresh yuzu sauce. The chips were crunchy, and it was all accompanied with a vinegar-enriched sauce providing freshness to this fried dish. Super yum.

Fish and some chips

At the other end of the Brooklyn spectrum, we met some of my sister’s friends for a brunch at “Egg“, a stronghold place known as a good place to have brunch. I think it may have hit the Lonely Planet book as we saw this no-reservations place filled with people carrying a “New York” or “Brooklyn” edition. Naturally like most “no reservation” places, you have to queue. Here, at least, they get you to sign up on a board and they have a pretty quick turn around. Best suited for tables of two or four, we had a bit of an awkward seating for six.


Paper tops off the table and crayons in a container provide entertainment as you peruse the menu. Not that you have much time as our waitress checks back (a bit too frequently) about whether or not we were ready to oder. Despite being very nice, we definitely felt the pressure to order, pay the bill, and were “encouraged” to leave. Fair enough, but not really the dining experience I want.

Pancakes with bacon

This restaurant offers much more classical American fare such as oatmeal and pancakes. I opt for the pancakes with bacon which turns out to be a pretty good choice – three fluffy huge pancakes and a side of salty bacon. Yummo.


Others decide to get the “most ordered dish” on the menu, the “Eggs Rothko” which is basically a brioche French Toast topped off with cheese and slight deviation of a slightly undercooked egg that seeps from the middle of the toast. Others still order the hash, which whilst presented very plainly apparently was pretty tasty as well.


They are very straight up about what they do. And do not. They do not have espresso based coffees. They do not do eggs Benedict. Although a pretty decent place, I’d only line up for this if I was in the area rather than make a special trip out for it.

Dublin Food Hot Spots

On my second business trip back to Dublin, we continued our eating well spree. It also happened to be the first time I ordered room service, mainly because I had a quick workout in the hotel gym and had a conference call so I didn’t really want to be eating too late. The “silver dome” service was very nice indeed. But back to the food in Dublin.

I organised for a couple of work dinners and one of my colleagues constantly mentioned, “I am yet to have a bad meal in Dublin yet!” Of course, it helps to be doing a bit of research on what is good, get some local recommendations. I do agree with his sentiment though, and as I mentioned the last time I was here, the food scene has changed. Good value meals are found if you are happy to do early bird, although still be prepared to pay London prices as some of the more popular restaurants.

Cheating a bit, here are the highlights on this trip.

The Chameleon (Indonesia)

This restaurant missed my research radar, but a friend recommended it and I’m glad they did. The specialty of the house is the Rijsttafel (rice table) or an elaborate multi-course meal of many bites. I highly recommend eating on the first floor as it has more ambiance than the downstairs. They do have traditional seating areas where you sit on cushions but I think it tends to be very uncomfortable unless you are used to sitting like that dinner.

Indonesia food is very similar to Thai or Malay foods with curries, satay and pan-fried vegetables common dishes. The Chameleon does a wonderful presentation of the food and I highly recommend a menu that contains the confit pork belly. It’s a small tiny square that melts in the mouth and jam packed full of flavour. I liked the sautéed cabbage and the fresh salad that made the meal a bit lighter.

Great value for money and plenty of food!

1 Lower Fownes Street, Temple Bar, Temple bar Dublin 2, Ireland
+353 1 671 0362

The Winding Stair (Modern Irish)

Generous portions and friendly service match up to the Bib Gourmand recommendation given by the Michelin Guide. It also means that you have to book in advance as all the tables fill up rather quickly. The food here is traditional Irish, using locally sourced ingredients, beautifully presented and, most importantly tasting amazing.

I started with the traditional Irish chowder soup that was thick, creamy and extremely hearty. The dark bread (Guinness I think) was a perfect accompaniment, or even just good by itself. Although tempted by so many other options on the menu I continued a seafood theme with mussels and frites. The frites were just how I liked them, remaining super crunchy on the outside, super fluffy on the inside and perfect for dipping into the sauce that came with the mussels. Unnecessarily so, the mussels came with brown shrimp and mayonnaise on toast for that extra decadence. I wasn’t the only person to be impressed by the execution with one person claiming the steak was the best one they had eaten for a long time and a thumbs up on the pork belly.

I couldn’t resist trying the ginger cake – a lighter alternative to the brownie that others ordered and we all went home very full and very happy.

40 Lower Ormond Quay Dublin 1, Ireland
+353 1 872 7320

Kinara Kitchen

Kinara Kitchen is part of a wider group around Dublin and I was hoping for some very tasty Indian/Pakistani food. I had previously tried Konkan (listed as the best Indian in Dublin) but was a bit disappointed. Kinari is noticeably more up market, complete with your asian-inspired cocktails to take you home.

Sticking to my vegetarian dishes, I was tempted to give in to try the Tandoori dishes (the monkfish was apparently amazing!) I stuck with two classic dishes, a Tarka Daal, and a Channa Masala.

Although both dishes are based on chick-peas, they taste totally different. The tarka daal was definitely decadent, like you could almost taste the ghee running through the dish. Strong chilli flavours had my taste buds going and I thought a good level of heat considering the local taste for blander stuff. Thumbs up to this dish. The Channa Masala was also wonderful.

Great stuff to the naan bread as well and though not really needed, I did try a dessert in the form of sugar-soaked doughballs and ice cream – a classic Gulab Juman.

Kinari Kitchen is located in the very posh district of Ranleigh.

17 Ranelagh Rd Dublin 6, Ireland
+353 1 406 0066‎

Rasa Sayang

One of my favourite places for a decent chicken satay and a consistenly good Malaysian food expeirence is Rasa Sayang found in London’s chinatown. Constantly busy and often with queues lining outside, they offer affordable and good quality Malaysian-Chinese foods that are difficult to find around town.

Other than the chicken satay which is top notch with a good quality peanut sauce, one of my favourite dishes is the Char Kway Teow.

This noodle dish is best when it has that “wok char” or a slightly smoky flavour that comes from the intense heat the dish should be prepared with. Combine it with a selection of meat and seafood and the salty, dark coloured rice noodles turn into a comforting dish that is sure to fill you up. Consistenly done well here.

I’m surprised to learn I haven’t written up about this place before. It has been open a long time and I have eaten here a number of times before. Other dishes worth having are the Singapore Chilli Crab if they it on the menu, the Mee Goreng (a spicier, more tomato based version of the Char Kway Teow) and the Hainun Chicken dish.

Name: Rasa Sayang
Found at: 5 Macclesfield St, London, Greater London W1D 6AY

Restaurant Momotaro, Sao Paulo

Out of the handful of times I had a chance to eat at a restaurant in Sao Paulo, one of the most memorable was a great value lunch time was at Restaurant Momotaro. It’s a newer restaurant and they do a tasting menu at lunch which was significantly more food than I was prepared for. Very well executed, tasty and filling.

The restaurant is located in quite a nice neighbourhood. I have a feeling it is one of the more affluent neighbourhoods based on the cars and the types of people. Given there was very little public transportation options, I took a taxi both here and back from the hotel I was staying at.

The interior is done up very nicely. Warm, modern yet touches of Japanese elements still dotted around.

There is quite a gap between this post and when I ate here, so the commentary will be pretty light. Here’s a nice salad with a ginger dressing complete with a light miso soup.

This cocktail was supposed to be a yuzu (e.g citrus) drink but ended up like a Japanese style Bloody Mary, spicy but tasty. They didn’t charge me for this drink strangely enough and when I pointed it out, the waiter sort of shrugged it off. Maybe it was because I was taking a lot of pictures.

Delicious tempura. I remember this was light, crispy and plenty of it. Accompanied by the classic tempura dipping sauce.

Crumbed vegetable cutlet.

The order of food came out rather rapidly and randomly. Maybe because it was so many courses for a lunch menu, the next came out even before I had finished the one before it. Here’s the sushi platter and in the foreground you can still see I had plenty of tempura and the vegetable cutlet yet to finish. Fortunately the sushi was not really going to go cold. The sampling of fish was superb though – a wide variety and even that dish alone would have been sufficient for a light lunch.

I think this yakitori chicken was probably the weakest dish. There was certainly plenty of it in this tiny bowl, but I found the brown sauce was a little dull and there was just simply too much that it almost felt like it was swimming in it.

I thought I was done with the mains but after that came yet another dish complete with some grilled fish, another cutlet dish and a teriyaki chicken was that superb – moisty, salty and just right.

Dessert came with in the form of ice cream and a syrup of some sort. Perfect as a way to finish off the meal although probably not very Japanese.

An amazingly affordable lunch time menu that came to the equivalent of about £20 (which is even more amazing for Brazil which isn’t as cheap as you expect).

Name: Restaurant Momotaro
Address: Av. Lins de Vasconcelos, 2747 São Paulo, 04112-011, Brazil

Sushi Leblon, Rio de Janeiro

Leblon is located at the far end of Ipanema, closer towards Barra and is easily walking distance if you have thirty of forty minutes to spare. It’s also home to one of the most trendy eating streets in the area, and also home to Sushi Leblon, a restaurant locally well known for using unusual combination of ingredients for Japanese style cuisine.

I decided to head out that way on one of the rainy days for lunch, where they open, maybe a little bit after since this is Brazil, at noon for their lunch service. I wasn’t the only one who turned up early, with another couple there obviously waiting for them to open. By the time that I left, maybe at one, it was busy, but not particularly booking-required style (although I did go in Rio’s off-peak season)

The menu is pretty extensive, and when I wanted to order a few of the interesting combinations as well as a sushi platter, my waitress looked rather alarmed and indicated it was going to be too much. We did a lot of gesturing as their English wasn’t great, and my touristic Portugese rather limited. I settled for three sample dishes, as well as a lychee-based caipirinha seeing as I was in an Asian restaurant.

I, and the others in the restaurant, ordered one of the sushi dishes that required little fried quails eggs. I got full vantage point of the preparation area since I was sitting at the sushi counter looking at how they organised it.

Beautifully paired and definitely excessively decadent, the quail egg nigiri came topped with a bit of salt and truffle oil, and then came with a piece of butterfish nigiri. The fish match was perfect since it was rich, and creamy in the mouth, much like the perfectly cooked egg whose yolk still burst when eating it. Umami, creamy, a great combination that I must remember.

I had also ordered the ceviche which had a good selection of different seafood, flavours and was delightful.

My final sushi was based on my love for grilled eel (unagi) and was well prepared, tasty and was definitely plenty for lunch.

Sushi Leblon is definitely one of those finer sushi restaurants you’ll find in this area. You get very high quality, although you pay the equivalent of London fine sushi restaurant prices for it.

Name: Sushi Leblon
Found at: R. Dias Ferreira, 256 – Leblon Rio de Janeiro, 22431-050, Brazil

Eating Well in Dublin

Dublin suffered a lot of things with the post dot-com crash of the early 2000s. With lots of investment from the EU, inflation rose rapidly, and just like the San Francisco area, Dublin became a mecca for all sorts of places where people could spend it – all the way from bars, clubs and restaurants. Fortunately prices seem to have stabilised a bit, and with more competition for the same Euros, Dublin offers many good quality places to dine for pretty good value.

I’ve been lucky enough to sample quite a few of Dublin’s offerings and, I have to admit, haven’t really had a very bad meal at all. There are plenty of options to choose from including your ubiquitous burrito joints, to sushi, malaysian and everything in between. Rather than list all the details for each restaurant (which would take much longer than time I have available), I will list some of the highlights over the past couple of weeks.

Restaurant at Donnybrook Fair (European restaurant)
You’ll often see a lot of locals carrying the white, D|F-labelled bags that belong to this up-scale market place. They also happen to have a restaurant upstairs to one of their (flagship?) stores. I read about their BBQ nights where they offer a decent value platter to share between two. Four of us popped in after work and it wasn’t hard to get a table at about 7pm although it filled up quickly after that. The dining room is bright, airy and the meal deal very great value. Appetiser samplers were a great appetite kickstarter with my favourite being the wholesome grilled mushroom and the prosciutto-wrapped fig. The BBQ meat platter soon arrived with grilled chicken, salmon, quail and a steak. I’ll admit the chicken probably had a bit too much time on the grill, but all the other bits were divine. A clever, light strawberry and coconut-lime mousse was served as dessert.

BBQ meal cost €25 for the 3 courses.

+353 1 668 3556, 89 Morehampton Road, Donnybrook, Dublin 4,

Bloom Brasserie (European Restaurant)
Located in the basement, my colleague recommended this nice brasserie serving fresh continental foods that was also pretty decent value. Not many vegetarian options on the set menu. Creamy, beautify mushroom soup to start followed by a perfectly cooked sea bream, carrot and butternut squash puree and lightly wilted baby spinach. A light chocolate mousse, raspberry coulis, topped with chopped hazelnuts for me to follow.

3 course set menu for €25

11 Baggot Street Upper Dublin 4, Co. Dublin, Ireland,

Cornucopia (Vegetarian Cafe/Restaurant)
A popular restaurant located on busy Wicklow Street, this place is slightly more cafe than restaurant (you order at the counter, collect your food and then hunt for a table because it’s so popular). A fresh water dispenser is located by the door and you have options that all looked pretty tempting. I was tempted by the Cashew baked aubergine with smoked paprika mash and pea sauce but then succumbed to the sounds of a daily special of smoked tofu parcels with two side salads that was really great value at €12.95.

19-20 Wicklow St Dublin 2, Ireland,

The Exchequer (Gastropub)
Voted one of Ireland’s best gastropubs I have to agree that the food here was so good, I came back on one of the weekends to sample a few of the other dishes. They do an amazing selection of cocktails as well (all recorded in the “Ledger of Liquor”) and I can highly recommend the Smoky Old Fashioned. Beautifully prepared, balanced and accompanied by an ice-cube ball that is guaranteed to outlast your drink. All of the food is fabulously presented, tasty and the only down-side I have to admit is the side of potato skins/fries that failed to be as crisp as they could be. Desserts (at least the gingerbread tea cake) is totally worth trying and massive enough to share between two. Definitely come here if you want some good food and drink. I’ll be back again if I can make it.

2 courses for €19.95 or 3 for €23.95 (choose any starter, main or dessert) only Sunday-Wednesday

3-5 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2,

The Green Hen (French)

A popular French brasserie that fills up quickly, I was able to nab a seat at the bar as I was early enough and dining alone. Had I arrived only half an hour later, it would have been impossible and I saw them turn away quite a few people. Cocktails are expertly made, with lots of care and perfected and they have an early bird menu at 3 courses for €22 from 5:30-7pm Sunday to Thursday.

33 Exchequer St Dublin 2, Co. Dublin, Ireland,

Michie Sushi (Japanese)
Located a bit in the ‘burbs, this tiny little sushi place is apparently more popular with take-away. Partly because there are only something like six or seven tables for two or four and located in a tiny little alleyway, hardly any parking. Unagi nigiri (my favourite type) was a generous portion of fish, lightly slathered in the traditional BBQ sauce and perfectly delicious. A couple of good rolls and you could roll me out of there. Good decent sushi that I haven’t had for a long time although not sure if I would make a trip out of the city specifically for that (if I was visiting Dublin). I think they do delivery and I’d probably opt for that if I lived in Dublin.

11 Chelmsford Lane, Ranelagh, Dublin 6,

Quan Do Vietnamese, Hamburg

I stumbled across this Vietnamese place, located just near the main Hamburg train station. I love pho, and after missing the best pho from Monsieur Vuong, thought I’d give this place a try. I went there on after work one evening, but the queuing made me feel like I would go pretty hungry.

Quan Do

I went at an off peak time, figuring I might get a table easier between lunch and dinner, with a late lunch at 3pm. I was seated immediately, but there was plenty of other people eating. Even half an hour later, there were no more tables, and I was even asked to share.

Quan Do

Fortunatly I see why this place is popular. The pho was pretty tasty. Not quite like Monsieur Vuong special, but definitely tasty. It’s a place I’ll definitely come back to at some point.

Quan Do

Name: Quan Do: Vietnamese Street Kitchen
Found at: Georgsplatz 16 (Corner of Rosenstraße 3), 20099 Hamburg

A Sketch Gallery Experience

Although I have drunk a number of times at the very ritzy, interesting Sketch bar, I’m yet to eat there. The gallery restaurant sits in between the main foyer and the egg-shaped cocktail room (you need to visit the toilets for an interesting alien-like experience) and this is where we ate. There’s is a good reason I haven’t eaten at Sketch as well – because all of the art-themed decore and beautiful surroundings, the unique and its in-the-heart-of-Mayfair location definitely reflects in the prices you pay for the food and drink.

I believe the Sketch Gallery restaurant is the more casual of the two dining locations. The other being a more upmarket restaurant that holds a Michelin star although I don’t really know if it is more formal or fancy. I’m just guessing.

What’s fascinating about the Gallery restaurant is how everything is totally unique – and it’s the interesting attention to detail to ensure that nothing is repeated. The theme goes right all the way through, and I can appreciate the effort. Cutlery, drinking vessels, tables, chairs, all of them completely different. Even the salt and pepper shakers at each table are different.

You could argue this makes replacing broken or missing items much easier, but each item is still pretty high quality. Anyway, on to the food. Bread and butter doesn’t come for free, but at least it was pretty good quality. It really should at £4.

We started with two different dishes. I tried the Chantilly Lace: black rice, basmati rice, lobster bisque, red pepper, horseradish cream (£13). The allure of a good lobster bisque is something I can’t really resist and it was very well executed as well. I did find the double rice combination a bit strange, and would have preferred more bisque and less rice. Still very good.

The other starter was the Foie gras terrine, girolles in vinegar, cranberry chutney, quince paste and pistachio (£24).

The Poached, roasted and lacquered pork belly, crunchy red cabbage, salad was actually reasonable at £20, although I only had a small taste. The pork belly was tender, not too fatty and still full of flavour.

I had ordered the Roast wild venison saddle, and lemon purée, quince paste, shoulder of venison stew, Jerusalem artichokes (£30) and boy was it good. The venison stew was probably the best part of the entire dish although the venison saddle was cooked extremely well (rare!) and still very tender. I just love anything that is so soft, full of flavour and the stew was the perfect vehicle to carry all the other flavours.

We opted to try a couple of sides as well. The strangely sounding (and just as strangely tasting) gnocchi with green curry sauce (£5) and a stack of onion rings (£4) very well executed. Each ring perfectly crisp and a decent sized onion strip inside.

Although none of the desserts really jumped out at me, I figured I wouldn’t be back for a very long time, so it was worth trying something. Just like the main menu, it took me a while deliberating over the crazy choices. They all sounded so complicated and the result sounded quite confusing. In the end we asked for a couple of recommendations and ordered them. The one that I didn’t order, the Sketch Chocolat – Salted butter caramel, sacher sponge cake, guanaja chocolate mousse, orange ice cream. (£10) was probably the best. The orange ice cream by itself was one of the best parts.

I didn’t really want to order the same although that one appealed the most. Instead, I had the Cheese cake – Elderflower sponge cake, cheesecake cream, ‘bono’ shortbread, candied lemon, pear sorbet (£8.5), a lighter and more delicate dessert that was completely the opposite of what you think of when you are ordering a real cheesecake. It was still a very pleasing dessert, though not the best I’ve ever had.

Sketch Gallery is definitely best reserved for one of those special occasions. The price definitely adds up for the meal and that’s not even including the drinks that would add significantly more if you want to try all their amazing cocktails. Still, it was a great experience and I think that’s what they are all about.

Name: Sketch Gallery Restaurant
Found at: 9 conduit street, London W1S 2XG

Protected post on Ultraviolet

I got a comment on my last post from the Communications Director of Ultraviolet thanking me for writing up my experience, but also asking me to consider rewriting something shorter to allow others to remain surprised. I’ve eaten at lots of great places, and before going, even read a lot on the places that I’ve been going. My personal experience is that reading something is never quite the same as experiencing something, but I do want to respect their wishes.

I’m not going to rewrite the previous post because it took so much time, effort and I personally want to refer to all the details. The other point is that given the very limited seating arrangements, more people would benefit from knowing the details than not because it’s unlikely most people will get the opportunity to dine. Since you are the reader, I’ll let you decide.

I have put a simple password on the previous post, but if you’d like, leave a comment and I’ll email you the password so you can read it.