Friday, March 14, 2014


Dog on a leash
Gimme Gimme Gimme
Mikkeller & Friends is getting too crowded for you? Or maybe just too turquoise? You're in the mood for a cocktail? Maybe a beer? Something alcoholic to sip on? Head to Mikropolis, the latest Mikkeller offspring! Mikropolis is Mikkeller's attempt at a casual (yet ambitious) cocktail bar. We visited on the bar's second opening day where customers were few and the atmosphere relaxed. B opted for a beer (they have around 15 on tap if I remember correctly and an extensive bottle list), while I jumped straight to the cocktails. First up a Dog on a leash featuring Mikkeller's White Dog, an un-aged whisky, citrus, egg white and freshly grated raw licorice as the final touch. Excellent cocktail (so excellent that I will forgive the use of licorice, which is excessively overused. Marketeers will put it in anything edible at these latitudes). Second up, Gimme Gimme Gimme, another sour. This one featured Del Maguey mezcal, which provided a nice backdrop for other ingredients including cinnamon and Dry Curacao. The cocktails are reasonably priced at 75-85dkk, in other words competitive prices in a Copenhagen context where cocktails easily can set you back 120dkk. Go now, before the presumably upcoming hipster invasion!

Vendersgade 22
1363 Copenhagen K

Friday, October 25, 2013

Soul Food Mahanakorn

Cocktails! Rainy season feat. gin, Pernod, triple sec and lime and Sukhumvit Bitters feat. Campari, Southern Comfort, dark rum, sweet vermouth, and tangerine juice. 
Yam Som-o (salad of pomelo, prawn, shallots, lime and chili) and Som Tam (green papaya salad).
Chili-roasted seabass and plenty of cilantro.

Isaan and Chiang Mai sausages served with vegetables, pork cracklings, peanuts, and chili dip.

Soul Food Mahanakorn
56/10 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Soi Thong Lor)
Thong Lor, Bangkok

Discretely located at the beginning of the Thong Lor Soi, Soul Food Mahakana represents a little oasis of modern Thai food amidst the street kitchens, Japanese eateries and bars otherwise dominating the area. The place is very popular, particularly among foreigners, so as B and I entered at 8pm on a Friday night we were given the last seats in the bar - perfect! We started off with cocktails, both excellent, innovative and recommendable. Generally the cocktail list boasts plenty of Thai-inspired ingredients such as lemongrass, kaffir lime and the local "whisky" Mekhong (which is in fact a rum!), providing plenty of decent pairings to the Thai food.

As to the food, Soul Food practices the concept of sharing plates so we ordered four dishes to share between the two of us. To put it shortly, the food was good, though not mind-blowing. While B wasn't too much of a fan, I very much enjoyed the very meaty Isaan and Chang Mai sausages with all the delicate condiments and crispy vegetables. The som tam was however a bit of a letdown as it was much to rustic for my taste, though it was very fine taste-wise. The two other dishes were both tasty and fiery as both had been fed a healthy dose of chili. Lovely.

All in all, we spent a really enjoyable evening at Soul Food. The prices are more than reasonable so for a casual night out for some light food and great cocktails, the place is highly recommendable.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Misc. Myanmar Eats and Drinks

Burmese meatball curry set at Too Too in Mandalay.
Fried chicken thigh set at small joint, straight across from Hotel Yadanarbon in Mandalay.
Quick and self-composed breakfast of local fruits and the classic 3-in-1 Nescafe.
Black bean pork at Hotel Yadanarbon in Mandalay.
Asian breakfast option at Amazing Bagan Resort in Nyaung-U, Bagan.
Fish curry and fermented tea leaf salad at Amazing Bagan Resort in Nyaung-U, Bagan.

Grilled prawns with cilantro sauce at Amazing Bagan Resort in Nyaung-U, Bagan.
Lunch spread at Golden Myanmar in Old Bagan. 
Lunch spread at Golden Myanmar in Old Bagan.
Beef salad at Beyond Taste in Nyaung Shwe by Inle Lake.

Grilled fish at Green Chili in Nyaung Shwe by Inle Lake.

Fermented tea leaf salad at Green Chili in Nyaung Shwe by Inle Lake.
Breakfast at Inle ViewPoint Fine Lodges & Cuisines incl. Shan style noodle soup and locally produced yogurt with mango puree.

Another breakfast set at Inle ViewPoint, the selection changes every day.
Tea and htamanei (Burmese sweet rice cake) at Inle ViewPoint.
Shan style chicken noodle soup featuing plenty of fried garlic, cilantro, peanuts and spring onions.
Shan tapas at Inle ViewPoint incl. rice cakes, fish ball on sugarcane, baby shrimp pattiers, pumpkin dumpling with pork, crispy fish fry with lemon soy sauce and peanuts.
Shan tapas at Inle ViewPoint incl. chicken and young coconut, asparagus and stoneflower mushroom salad, cucumber sesame salad, butterfly beans with spring onions. Also banana leaf baked butterfish and soon htam soup (not pictured).

Pumpkin custard with watermelon sauce at Inle ViewPoint.
Innovative minibar at Inle ViewPoint. 
"Dry-fried chicken" or just plan fried chicken fat and onions at Motherland Inn in Yangon.
Market purchases, clockwise from left: fried broad beans, fermented tea leafs, raw peanuts and assorted fried beans.

Mandalay necessities and peculiarities: sunblock, Anti-malaria herbal rum, ABC stout, Pop Soda club soda and apple/cinnamon Fisherman's Friend. 

Recommended adresses: 

Too Too
27th Street, between 74th and 75thClassic Burmese kitchen. Go to the counter and have your pick of dish, and the staff will the serve the entire set at your table. A meal and a bottle of water costs approx. 3,000 kyats (3USD).

Amazing Bagan Resort
Nyang-U, Bagan
Due to its isolated location, I had quite a few meals here. The fish curry was excellent, the laphet tea leaf salad the best during the entire trip, and the selection of food quite large. Dishes range from 3,000-12,000 kyats (3-12USD), the fish curry and salad set me back 5,000 (5USD).

Golden Myanmar
Nyaung Rd., Bagan
Classic Burmese. You will be served your own little "buffet", which will be refilled, featuring many of Myanmar's traditional dishes. A meal and a bottle of water costs 3,500 kyats (3.5USD).

Beyond Taste
No.10,Phaung Daw Pyan Street, Nyaung Shwe
Burmese and "continental" food. Service was excellent and wifi is free. My beef salad was tasty and cheap (2,500 kyats aka 2.5USD) and to my delight they even had Diet Coke, which is a rarity in Myanmar.

Green ChiliHospital Rd, Nyaung Shwe
Burmese and Thai food. While the food I had here was fine, I was slightly disturbed by being served a glass of "wine", which tasted like water but smelled like sewer, though even more so as the staff did not acknowledge that it wasn't wine until after a 10 min. discussion and a talk to the manager. Stick to the beer, and you will be fine. Dishes range from 2,000-10,000 kyats (2-10USD), and the place is furthermore a popular tourist hang-out.

Inle ViewPoint - Lodge & Fine Cuisines
Near Talk Nan Bridge and Canal, Nyaung Shwe
I stayed at Inle ViewPoint, which not only is one of the most lovely hotels I have stayed at, but also one of the best eating options in the area. The breakfast spread is impressive and changes daily. The restaurant serves "tapas" inspired by the Shan cuisine, which was both challenging and tasty. A three course serving and half a bottle of wine set me back only 30,000 (30USD). Finally, the hotel is a Taittinger ambassador, and a glass of champagne will set you back a mere 12,000 kyats (12USD). Highly recommended.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Red Mountain Estate Vineyards & Winery

Entry to the wine estate.
View from the tasting room.
A shot from the vineyard.

Overview of the winemaking process for dummies.

Tasting set. From left: sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, Rosé d'Inlé made from shiraz, shiraz/tempranillo blend and Late Harvest made from muscat and sauvignon blanc.

Red Mountain Estate Vineyards & Winery
Taung Chay Village Group, Nyaungshwe Township,
Southern Shan State, Myanmar

During my research prior to my vacation to Myanmar, I had stumbled across several blogposts on the locally produced wine, which was fairly well-praised. I however remained sceptic as prior successful experiences with wines from Southern Asia have been few, particularly with Indian wines. Once I had arrived in Myanmar it however became evident that local wines are intensively distributed, particularly those from the Red Mountain and Aythaya estates. My first taste of the local produce was the sauvignon blanc, which I quite honestly was very impressed with - it could had fooled my for a wine from New Zealand. Once I arrived at Lake Inle it thus seemed like a fun activity to go see the vineyards and visit the estate.

The estate is located very close to the Nyuang Shwe township, approximately 20 minutes by bike. The buildings are beautifully set atop a hill from where you have a gorgeous view of the lake (as well as a good indicator of when to leave again if you, like me, were coming by bike during rainy season sans umbrella). It is possible to have a tour of the facilities, though little information is provided by the staff, though printed marketing material is readily available. 

As to the wines, the estate's has a tasting room, where most people opt for the tasting set, which will set you back a mere 3,000 kyats (3 USD), including the wines imaged above. I chose to add the 2010 chardonnay, which apparently won a bronze medal in the World's Best Chardonnay competition in 2013. If that is a large accomplishment I remain unsure, but it surely was a pleasant drinking experience carrying many of the characteristics that an oak-aged chardonnay typically does. My favorite however remained the sauvignon blanc and the pinot noir, which turned out to be a earthy, spicy variety. No need to say, I had to bring both bottles back. All in all, Red Mountain left a great impression, and makes for a lovely activity if you're in the Lake Inle area. And do make sure to visit at sunset - the view is breathtaking! Highly recommended.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

The Strand Hotel

Pegu Club.
Cocktail menu.

Strand Sour.
92 Strand Road

The bar at Strand Hotel is pretty much the perfect escape from bustle of Yangon's streets. Situated in the epicenter of the city's colonial architectural area, the hotel itself is a prime example hereof being categorized as one of South East Asia's grand heritage hotels, alongside Raffles in Singapore and The Metropole in Hanoi. The bar itself is classy decorated with dark wood, marble floor and high ceilings. And the cocktail menu is equally classic. Due to the Pegu Club's Yangon roots it was an obvious choice, which turned out to also be a good choice, as it was  fresh and well-balanced (though I was puzzled how it was served over ice). So was my other cocktail, though also intended to; the Strand Sour is made with Myanmar rum as the main character, which provided a smooth backdrop to a comforting and refreshing cocktail. Including taxes a cocktail will set you back 8 USD, and while it will buy you many delicious meals in the alleys of Yangon, it is also a relatively low-cost alternative if you, like me, wanted a quiet and cosy escape for postcard writing. Highly recommended.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Charcuteri: bresaola, smoked pork tenderloin and coppa. A passable glass of chardonnay.

Amazing cheese plate. Goat's cheese, camembert and a morbier with fresh black truffle. Roasted cashews and cinnamon/apple compote.

The best artisanal ice cream I have had in Asia. Rum/raisin, chocolate chip and coconut.

117 Dhammazedi Road
(just north of the Shwe Dagon pagoda)
Yangon, Myanmar

Notes: It all started with a Monocle podcast. B and I are both avid listeners of The Menu and long before I had even considered going to Myanmar, there was a feature on Sharky's in Yangon. Why? The place is rather unique in comparison to Yangon's culinary scene's other offerings where most food is served on the street and made from local prodce and more formalized options are based on imported goods. Sharky's however produces its own charcuteri, cheese and ice creams with locally sourced inputs. Pretty spectacular given the evident lack of infrastructure, especially cold chains and the like. So of course I had to give it a shot during my time in Yangon. 

For the sake of sampling the entire portfolio of their foods made in-house, I went a bit overboard but honestly, the food was so delicious that I finished it all. The charcuteri? Good. Certainly matches the quality of many South European equivalents. The bresaola had some chew, which I really liked, while the coppa was the sort that melts-in-your mouth. The cheese? Obviously, the place specializes in dairy products that do not require too long time for production, why I was only served softer types. All were great and full fat varieties. Especially, the morbier was incredibly delicious and I was baffled by the use of fresh truffle (as much as I know those cannot be sourced in Myanmar, though!). All in all, a pretty exceptional selection where you certainly felt that it was homemade and not of the imported kind. The same goes for the ice cream. Probably the best artisanal ice cream I have tried anywhere in Asia, again due to the high quality of the cream. To me the rum/raisin was the showstopper here. I am sure I could have eaten three more scoops had they been set in front of me.

In total, I had a very pleasant evening at Sharky's. The place is not inexpensive, and for the three dishes and two glasses of wine, I paid approx. 50 USD. The wine I should say, is of the imported kind, and given the fact that Myanmar now produces wine that is more than just merely drinkable, I thought it could had been a great feature. The high price level is naturally also reflected in the clientele, as prices by far exceed what locals can afford. Nonetheless, the atmosphere at Sharky's is light and relaxed. I quickly fell into talks with the couple dining next to me and would most certainly return for a scoop or three of that delicious ice cream. Highly recommended.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Amass (Table 153)

Restaurant entrance.

Apéritifs. I had a glass of sparkling red, pinot noir to be exact, a Charmoire from Domaine Alice Beaufort. B had a glass of Bois san Soif by Olivier Masson, made from romorantin and menu pineau.

First dish. St. John's wort with fillings of fava beans, samphire and crème fraiche. Refreshing. In our glass 2012 Amphibolit Nature from Domain Landron in Loire. Served in jeroboam (double magnum) bottles with beautiful seals of yellow lacquer.

The bread was interestingly one of the highlights for me this evening. Served steaming warm, featuring fermented potato and served with pesto made from greens from the garden. Delicious and certainly different. I love how fermentation is getting popular among Copenhagen chefs!

Raw mackerel and spring onion, topped with crispy mackerel skin. Very simple, somewhat fishy, which I appreciated. 

Chips made from oat porridge, walnuts and grated, frozen foie gras. Very subtle, almost too subtle, and easily forgotten. We had a white wine from Bourgogne in our glass. A 2012 Aligoté by Didier Montchovet.

Crisp bits of chicken skin, egg yolk, virgin butter and a "salsa" of sugarsnap peas and söl. So rich but still a very well-balanced dish. A highlight this evening. We drank an oxidized Savagnin from Arbois in Jura

To round off the savory adventures, there was lamb. Breast of lamb in thin slices, accompanied by raw cucumber and gooseberries and mint. A very delicate dish, which however lacked a wow-effect and left an impression of being slightly insipid and slightly unbalanced, as the gooseberries and mint almost took up too much space in the mouth. Our wine pairing was a blend of Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanch and Chardonnay from Anjou, a 2010 Sauvageonne from Domaine Les Griottes. Evident fruity aromas and as such a very good match.

Dessert was a lovely composition of unsweetened milk ice cream, topped with wild cherries, bread croûtons and olive oil. In our glasses, we had another wine by Alice Beaufort, Le Petit Beaufort, Demi-Sec. Unfortunately bit too acidic and dry in the given context.

Avecs. Which could not afford. We had a lovely, Danish apple brandy instead.

Warm and buttery madeleines with pepper, to be eaten with rhubarb compote.

Refshalevej 153
1432 Copenhagen

Frankly, it's about fair time that I get to blog about my experience at highly anticipated Amass, fronted by former head chef at Noma, California-born Matt Orlando. B and I visited more than one month ago amidst a heavy final thesis spurt and time has thus been scarce. Better late than never, though and as it appears that the food in the mean time has been more than sufficiently described in detail (as well as photographed from every possible angle), this review will refrain from just that. Rather I will provide my later reflections on how we experienced the concept of table 153 and the restaurant as a whole.

Turning the clock back to mid-June, tables for Amass were first released for reservation. B had expressed a distinct desire to visit since the restaurant launch was made official in early 2013, and I was quick to book us a table at the Table 153. According to mr. Orlando the concept of the table, hosting a maximum of 10 diners each night, is to bring all sorts of people together. One may call it a communal table, which is a concept I think the concept to some extent succeeded with. 

As we entered the restaurant we were brought to the lounge area for an apéritif with our fellow diners. These included two hardcore and very well-off gastro-tourists from NYC, a Dubai-based Australian heading for an ironman in Sweden, an Austrian-Danish couple and two twenty-something female brits. Quite a mix, and most of all, it was interesting to hear their take on Amass and the Copenhagen dining scene in general. A good start to the evening.

We were seated for dinner and were all served the tasting menu. Both B and I felt slightly disappointed that this "special" table provided nothing but a different, interactive setting for our dinner. Unjustified maybe, I don't know. It was however especially in the light that Amass' acoustic conditions by no means supported the concept of a communal table that disappointment set in (as also pointed to here and here). I was put at the very end and was only able to speak to B and one other person across the table. Further, it was really hard to identify the details of the food and wines when presented by the waiters.

These are thus the main points of criticism of the night. But all in all, what is the conclusion? No doubt Amass is the single-most hyped restaurant opening in Copenhagen, which I have ever witnessed. I can thus only imagine the pressure that Mr. Orlando and the rest of the staff must have felt at opening, particularly in the light of how everyone will compare it to Noma. I think the restaurant showcased a number of sympathetic features, especially the little menu tweaks from day to day is a detail that I really appreciated. The food as such did not blow me away. Was it good? Yes. Mind-blowing? No. I found much greater attention to detail at Bror for instance, which by the way comes at a lower price tag and is set in a cosy venue, too. So as the food certainly was good, I felt like too much attention had been brought to the non-food features of the restaurant. The location, the space, the 153 concept, "lets do a Mikkeller-colab", "always spaces reserved for walk-ins" stressed and so on. And I certainly understand how the restaurant would like to clearly establish its own identify from the very beginning. 

In total, the 153 concept has potential to become really great. Unfortunately, the surroundings when we were visiting did not quite support the proper execution of its mission, to bring people together, and somehow our dinner at Amass did not turn out to be the holistic and sensory experience, which he had hoped for. Too little interaction and too little engagement. Will we visit again? Possibly, but not until the first half year has passed and the fundamental components of the restaurant have been further established.