Monday, January 31, 2011

OZ Online Interior Mag Adore!

I HEART online decor magazines. Very glad to have discovered Adore & am sharing the love here. This site is going into my monthly online magazine list after Lonny & Rue..  :)

Am digging the British edition in Adore. Particularly love a pad designed by Abigail Ahem. The pad was painted in different hues of grey (bold move!) with pops of colour & texture added through layering. It's a place so full of character that you can never call this place boring!


There's also a section on where to shop in London for eclectic wares which I will be noting down for my future trip to London.... *hint *hint to the man Gastronomic G.  :) 

By The Quirky One

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Industrial Gorgeousness

It's Saturday evening and I am FINALLY able to catch up with my regular blog reading & also do a post (yippee!). Have been busy with work & travel this week that the majority of the blogging responsibilities has fall on the shoulders of  the man - Gastronomic G to blog about his food adventures. My schedule is more normal now & I am finally able to blog again. :)

Today's post is inspired by the merci, stack it exhibition & its industrial gorgeousness. I love industrial drop lights and when I saw this I thought to myself that I simply HAVE to include this in a post.

*Image credit: designboom

Love the early 20th century metal bathroom cabinets, stacked as wall installation for the Merci Paris exhibition. A very pretty & functional feature wall indeed.. Yum...

Image credit: designboom
I can't decide if I like the more modern take of the industrial lamp by kyouei design (as featured in design mart in Tokyo last year) or the traditional industrial drop lamp. 

This 'reconstruction lamp' designed by kouichi okamoto can be used as a clip lamp or a stand lamp.  Pretty cool, eh? :)

Image credit: designboom

By The Quirky One

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cheap Eats Review: Tempura Tsunahachi (Tokyo, Japan)

Tsunahachi Tempura *

Tsunahachi = tempura. Tsunahachi specialises in tempura and has become so popular, there are now several outlets thruout Tokyo. Interestingly, Tsunahachi utilizes sesame oil, an oil not usually used for deep frying. We decided to visit the original and main restaurant in Shinjuku (since 1923) on our first day in Tokyo.

All seatings were bar-style, with patrons facing your tempura chef. Once we've ordered, service started with miso soup....while the chef prepares your tempura dishes in front of your very eyes.

This miso soup was the best I had throughout our trip. Cooked with tiny clams, the soup was beautifully rich and flavoursome.

The chefs serves different tempuras each straight out of his deep fryer. All the seafood was fresh. Japanese tiger prawns (kuruma-ebi) were beautifully fresh and appears to come from the huge tank at the corner of the restaurant.

Tempura chef in action
Making fresh tempura batter
A whole oyster with shell tempura - stuffed with a few other seafood goodies

Fish was skillfully gutted and filleted in front of us, and our plates few minutes later.

This is a great novel experience for non-Japanese tempura fans. While there was no "OMG" moments, everything was fresh and beautifully prepared. Menu was very modestly priced and the lunch set menu is particularly suited for those who are budget conscious.

Cheap Eats Rating: 15/20

By Gastronomic G.

Rating explained:
Scores 18 to 20 = *** (3 stars) = World class and close to perfection
Scores 16 to <18 = ** (2 stars) = An exceptional and special dining experience
Scores 15 to <16 = * (1 star) = Very good to great dining experience
Scores 13 to <15 = Good but not memorable
Scores 10 to <13 = Acceptable
Scores <10 = Are you sure you want to eat here?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fine Dining Review: Restaurant Kurosawa - Nagatacho Kurosawa (Tokyo, Japan)

Nagatacho Kurosawa *

Named after legendary Japanese film director/producer Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai, RAN, etc) and run by the Kurosawa clan, we were invited to dinner at Nagatacho Kurosawa by a Japanese friend. Nagatacho Kurosawa is famous for its shabu-shabu and supposedly the place to spot celebrities. Located near the Prime Minister's office, the restaurant also offers hand-made soba (buckwheat noodles) & A la Carte selection.

Shabu-shabu actually refers to the swishing noise as one swishes the meat back and forth in the hot pot. Apart from the shabu-shabu itself, one of the other treats of the meal is usually the wonderfully flavoured broth at the end of the meal.

Starters - root vegetables, arrowroot cake with salmon roe

With our shabu-shabu, the hot pot is filled with clear dashi broth which is predominantly made of bonito and konbu. Once it is fired up, we "shabu-shabu-ed" thinly sliced Kurobuta (Japanese Black Berkshire pork) as well as Kagoshima black beef - both were wonderfully marbled and meltingly tender. The accompanying sesame sauce was wonderful but the meats were so good, they were stand-alone.

The STARS of the meal - thinly sliced and amazingly marbled black beef and black pork
At the end of the meal, eggs were scrambled by the table side and mixed into the hot pot, which is now filled with a broth flavoured with all the wonderful flavours of the beef and pork. This was then served into bowls of rice.This was truly delightful despite both of us feeling completely stuffed by now.

Mixing through the scrambled egg into the flavoursome and wonderfully coloured dashi

Dashi with eggs served with rice

Desert - more food!
A lovely dining experience (even for non-movie buffs) paired with a good selection of sake and soju, and all in a restaurant created to evoke Kurosawa's samurai movies. Arigato, Oba-san!

Fine Dining Rating: 15/20

By Gastronomic G.

Rating explained:
Scores 18 to 20 = *** (3 stars) = World class and close to perfection
Scores 16 to <18 = ** (2 stars) = An exceptional and special dining experience
Scores 15 to <16 = * (1 star) = Very good to great dining experience
Scores 13 to <15 = Good but not memorable
Scores 10 to <13 = Acceptable
Scores <10 = Are you sure you want to eat here?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Glorious Art: Ann Carrington

The Bungalow Hotel, designed by the Novogratz from SixxDesign
I first spotted this queen stamp art piece on 9 by design & have been trying to find out  more about the artist behind this glorious artwork since. That artist is Ann Carrington

Ann's pearly queens & crowns has been featured in many high profile homes (Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Smith to name a few) & it is not difficult to see why. It is a statement piece that one will remember for a long time. And each item  in the queen or stamp collection goes for about £5,000 a piece. It is an artwork that I would like to have but can't afford.. O well.. so are a lot of other things.. :)

Florence Rolando home from Design*Sponge
Ann is also known as the Sculptor of Scrap, if you take a closer look at her piece, they are never really what they seem. Some of her sculptures were made of old forks, shoes and tires. Her stamp collection are made from pearl buttons and her coin collection from safety pins. It gives the artwork more texture and depth, whether there are other symbolism associated, I'm not sure.

Ann Carrington has been getting quite a bit of publicity the past few years and was featured in several interior magazines. I am very sure you will be seeing a lot more of her! 

Check out the article on her six bedroom home in Broadstairs, near Kent here.

Photo credit of Ann Carrington home: Michael Franke
By The Quirky One

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fine Dining Review: Mathias Dahlgren (Stockholm, Sweden)

Mathias Dahlgren **

I decide to keep in line with the Swedish theme. While Tong was excited about exploring Scandinavian design  in Stockholm, I was pretty much excited about Mathias Dahlgren that has been getting rave reviews since it opened in 2007.

Mathias Dahlgren in a way was a compromise of not being able to get a spot in Noma (and this was before they became the world's best restaurant!).  Located in the appropriately named Grand Hotel Stockholm,  Mathias Dahlgren has become one of the hottest dining destination in Stockholm in just over 2 years..... scoring 2 Michelin stars and also ranking 25th in the more fashionable (but personally less reliable) San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurant (2010 list). The restaurant is divided into two: Matbaren (food bar) and Matsalen (dining room) - serving conceptually different but still equally cutting edge food. We dined at the more relaxed but still stylish Matbaren.

Tong has been telling me that she wants to get those statement chairs...

We started with the Fried Pork Sausage and Truffles from Gotland (6/10).

The steamed Wild Cod from Lofoten was spectacularly fresh - like most Swedish food...the seasoning was slightly on the heavy side. Accompanying forest mushroom emulsion perfect and trout roe provided textural variation. This was a great dish (9/10).

Another standout was the Canette from Bretagne - a wonderfully tender duckling with fried mushrooms, cabbage, ginger and chilli (8/10).

Deserts were memorable. Farm Milk Pudding with vanilla ice cream and cherry sorbet. This smooth Mathias Dahlgren version of panna-cotta was delightfully light, refreshing - the quality and freshness of the milk coming through (8/10).

The Baked Wild Chocolate from Bolivia was our favourite. Amazingly strong dark chocolate flavours but nicely balanced out by sour cream and toffee ice cream (10/10).

Soft and gooey chocolate awaits inside the crusty exterior
Mathias Dahlgren is worthy of its hype and accolade. I can only imagine how amazing Matsalen would be.... 

Fine Dining Rating: 16/20

By Gastronomic G.

Rating explained:
Scores 18 to 20 = *** (3 stars) = World class and close to perfection
Scores 16 to <18 = ** (2 stars) = An exceptional and special dining experience
Scores 15 to <16 = * (1 star) = Very good to great dining experience
Scores 13 to <15 = Good but not memorable
Scores 10 to <13 = Acceptable
Scores <10 = Are you sure you want to eat here?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stockholm: H&M Home Concept Store

Since I've blogged about Moooi in Amsterdam, I thought I might as well blog about some of the awesome design stores that I have visited in my travels.

One of the most memorable store experience for me in Stockholm was visiting the H&M Home concept store when it was first launched. It was a home decor store like no-other. The concept store was gallery-like & paints a different light to the H&M brand (for me).

The unexpected presentation of the home concept store was enlightening. With a combination of suspended furniture & mirrors, the showroom exudes a dreamlike quality. The installation named 'Home Reflections' apparently was meant to evoke shoppers to imagine the world through a looking glass, reflecting & exploring our ever changing relationship between identity & style. LOVE the concept! 

How do you shop in such 'gallery-esque environment'? All products are displayed on the side & if there's a product that you want to purchase, you simply pick up a product card, bring it to the counter & the shop assistant will bring out the merchandise when you finish the transaction.

I couldn't help myself from browsing the H&M Home site to check out at their latest Spring offering. LOVE the blue & green in the textile, the raw natural look of unbleached linen & the black & white Nordic prints on the hand & bath towel. There seems to be hints of pink everywhere as well.. in line with Pantone 2011 colour of the year. 

Now can someone please bring H&M to Australia? I need affordable & fashionable clothing & beautiful soft furnishings... :)

LOVE those Guest Bath Towels!

By The Quirky One