Cabane Mont Fort, Verbier

Our third day of skiing, it’s just Andre and I as we stayed the Sunday night, and we find ourselves at the Cabane Mont Fort, which we had been to last year and I loved!

So, back we came… Unlike many of the other restaurants in Verbier, Cabane Mont Fort is in between a canteen and regular waiter-service restaurant. You go up to the order window and order whatever you’d like… and they give you a ticket to hand in after your main meal if you want dessert or a coffee (so that you don’t have to queue up at the order window and pay again!)

Andre went for the croute – with tons of cheese, some lardons, cornichons and baby pickled onions, and an egg on top. Apparently it tasted just ok!

I went for the veal sausage, which was exactly as expected, and pretty good with the light salad on the side…

And then, for dessert, they have all sorts of berry tartes… we went for the raspberry, which had a nice filling and fruit, but for me, it was the pastry crust that really did it… crusty and firm, not at all soggy…

And the view didn’t suck either…


Le Mouton Noir, Verbier

The next day, we had another beautiful day of spring-like weather and blue skies… and decided to sit outside again (seriously, in January, how lucky are we?!)

Today, we were looking at the sled dogs (mostly huskies!) in the pen near the restaurant and thinking about going sledding one day…

The menu at Le Mouton Noir isn’t very large, and it more high end than your typical mountain food…. though as we didn’t want a steak or veal, we went for the lower-end options…

I went for the chicken burger, which was served with goat cheese and a honey mustard sauce. Lightly fried, it crunched nicely and the mix of the goat cheese and honey mustard was really good. The fries were also very good, mushy inside and very fried (tasted like they have been fried a few times) on the outside… this surprisingly ended up being quite a good dish!

Andre had the croute with ham, cheese and an egg. It was good, but not amazing… the cheese had managed to congeal on top of the bread without really mixing in, so it just tasted like toast with congealed cheese on top. Meh.

After a little sit in the sun to digest, we were off to ski again!

Xu, Soho

A few months ago, a new restaurant opened in Chinatown, this time a tea parlour that serves Taiwanese fare in a 1920’s glamorous setting!

The tea list consists of two cold and nine hot teas, with flavour descriptions such as having a slight taste of “yams.” They served the tea in a ceramic cup, already brewed, but also bring you a small teapot with tea inside (empty) and a large carafe of hot water, so that you can reserve yourself tea (I had another four servings… and it didn’t seem like it made even a dent in the water!)

I have to say, the lady that was my waitress was fantastic. The menu is large and quite ecclectic, with small bites, dumplings and different types of animal jerkies to start. She did an excellent job of navigating me through the menu, giving suggestions and making sure I didn’t over-order!

She suggested I try both the eel with tomato and the whipped cod roe on prawn toast to start, as those were her favourites (and two starters are good for one person).

I went for the tomato with smoked eel, which was incredible. Funnily enough, while I like eel, what was really good here was the tomato, apparently it comes from France and is much more flavourful… either way, the taste of that sweet tomato in the chili oil was such a treat! The texture of the eel was also good, but I didn’t find it especially noticeable next to the tomato.

Then, I went for the Xian Bing dumplings, pork dumplings pan-fried and served with a vinegar and chili oil. The waitress warned me that they are made with a tiny bit of broth, so to be careful when i bit into them… which I did tentatively… and they still squirted, a lot! The second dumpling squirted halfway across the room… oops. But the taste of the dumplings was good, pork with a bit of spring onion and coriander, with a nice pan-fried taste of the pancake outside.

Finally, the main course, the crab. She warned me that this would be spicy, but I found it mild after the chili oil in the tomato and eel dish…

The chilli egg-drop crab was something else… white and brown crabmeat in the shell, served with salmon roe, egg drop sauce, red chili, fermented shrimp, and garlic, the sauce was as delicious as the crab was, having a thick, but almost tomatoey consistency.

The waitress had recommended the white rice with this dish (and I listened, instead of ordering the mushroom glutinous rice), and she was right, there was no need for a flavourful rice with this dish, but more of a base or palate on which to eat these tasty bits.. Yum.

What a good lunch.. I’ll be back soon to try some of the other dishes on the menu, all of those smaller dishes but also the char shui pork and shou pa chicken!

Ella Canta, Mayfair

A girl’s night in early December, before the Christmas season properly kicked off… My friend Sara had been wanting to try Ella Canta, the Mexican restaurant that had recently opened in the Intercontinental Hotel by Martha Ortiz (better known for her restaurant Dulce Patria in Mexico City, which Sara had recently also been to and had an amazing experience). I am never one to say no to modern Mexican food, and expectations were high, so we tried it out!

After a margarita at the bar, we ordered a few appetisers to start… the guacamole, which was topped with ricotta and pomegranate (good, and we gobbled it up in about two seconds!) and the salmon tostadas, crispy chips topped with salmon escabeche, avocado, and a chipotle sauce. The tostadas were good, but a tiny morsel each… it would have been nice if they were slightly more substantial!

Next appetiser that came was the ceviche, which was also good but also small… sea bass ceviche topped with mango and a sangrita sorbet, it was called a vampire ceviche on the menu due to its colour!

They also kept bringing chips and salsas, both a red one and a green tomatillo one… we had about five of these, as both salsas were so good!

After this, the main dishes… Cindy had ordered the carnitas, whereas I ordered the cochinita al pibil. When our dishes arrived, we were sure that they switched them…

This was Cindy’s carnitas, which we both expected to be in shredded pieces… her pork was slow-cooked but not in pieces… served with an arbol chili sauce and a salad. I had a little taste and can attest that it was very good and very tender!

My cochinita pibil looked more like what I would have expected the carnitas to look like… as my pork was shredded… cooked in a delicious sauce with an anchiote paste on the side (the rust coloured sauce) and served with a black bean tortilla and black bean salad and some pickled onion, my dish was a good combinations of flavours!

Sara went for the soft-shell crab, served on a guajillo hummus and pineapple puree. I tasted a bit of her crab, that also was layered with tomatillos and radish, and it was much lighter and flakier than most soft shell crabs you get (that can sometimes be VERY fried). Yum!

Finally, it was dessert time, and we had a little room left, so we decided to share the cheesecake. It tasted like a US cheesecake, only more dense… we gobbled this up in seconds!

So what was the overall thought on Ella Canta? Everything tasted good, but not much was ground-breaking or amazing… it was “just” posh Mexican food. After Sara’s visit to Dulce Patria, we were expecting a bit more zing… and left dinner satisfied but not excited.

Houseboat in Alleppy, Kerala


From Cochin, we continued south into the backwaters of Kerala and spent a night on a houseboat. The houseboat we had booked in advance was fine, not luxurious but also not falling apart like some of the ones we saw… and though we thought that we had a boat to ourselves for the night, at the last minute (the boat was running late as they had miscalculated what we owed them, then took an hour to figure it out), they brought on a straggler (who had probably showed up last minute and they thought, why not add him to a boat already leaving?!) Annoying as we wanted the boat to ourselves, but he was good about leaving us on the upper terrace platform mainly to ourselves, and had a varied background that was interesting to talk about over meals.

For dinner, the boat provides you with cooked vegetables and a chicken curry. In the late afternoon, they stop off at a fishmongers and you can supplement the dinner with what ever fish or seafood you buy.

So… we picked up some tiger prawns that they grilled for us after putting on a spicy paste… and they were fresh, juicy and had a nice kick to them.


Alongside this, Yoshi, our travel partner for the evening, had picked up some king fish, which they somehow cajoled him into buying at a size much to big for himself… so when they brought out both grilled fish and a fish curry, he begged us to have some… the curry was a thin and watery tomato and coconut-based curry that did the job…


And then there was the chicken curry that came with our dinner… honestly, I didn’t even get to taste this, as I was already so full from the prawns, fish and veggies…


The lentils, our injection of vegetable protein…


And the vegetable dishes, an okra thorens (basically an okra stir-fry with coconut) that was almost as good as the okra stir-fry we had had at Oceans in Cochin and some deliciously-cooked potatoes in mustard seeds, curry leaves and spice. I have to say, this is my favorite way to eat potatoes, I usually find them quite boring unless they’re pan-fried or mashed, but this is a great different way to eat them that I also need to work on perfecting at home!


Watching the sunset from our perched terrace, we watched other houseboats float by and find docking places for the evening… and watched the electric-colored sun sink into the horizon…


Brown Bread Bakery, Varanasi, India

It’s already New Year’s Eve, and we’ve made our way to Varanasi. Varanasi, on the Ganges River, is a holy city that people come to for religious ceremonies and to cremate their family members.

After strolling along the Ganges all morning, we stopped at the Brown Bread Bakery for some lunch… you can’t miss the signs as you walk along the Ganges, as they are posted every five feet… but once you climb the stairs up into the city from the ghats and actually try to find the bakery, it’s a bit harder… you pass peoples’ homes (clothes drying in courtyards, next to chained-up buffaloes) until you finally get to a busier road, that has has signs for hostels, yoga classes and… there we go, bakeries.

The Brown Bread Bakery’s claim to fame (apart from a nice rooftop restaurant) is that it has a huge cheese list, of many cheeses made nearby (South Asia, from Nepal, the Himalayas, Auroville near Pondicherry). So, of course, we looked through the two pages of lists of cheese and ordered!

And, well, they basically didn’t have anything that we asked for. So after a few tries, we gave up and asked if they would give us a selection of cheeses that they do have available…

When it came, it was clear that we had three similar cheeses, one plain, one with chili flakes, and one with herbs…. okay… so not exactly the variety that we were expecting! And when we ordered our bread, same thing, they didn’t have the multi-grain or the rye bread on the menu, but would give us the bread basket, a mix of their best breads, which they thought that we would enjoy…

And it was all fine. I enjoyed the cheese with the chili flakes and the salty, meaty texture of the black olives. The brown bread in the bread basket was also pretty good… the rest we could have taken or left.

And then came our pizza… we got one with mushrooms, Italian ham and mozzarella… when it came, I’m not sure it was really mozzarella, but hey, it did the job. Not the best pizza I’ve had, but it filled us up and was a change from the curries and tikkas we had been eating for the past week.


The cool thing about the Brown Bakery, really, is that you’re sitting up on a rooftop. You’re caged in, as there are many monkeys that like to rooftop hop and would be only too happy to  come share your food, but sitting four flights up above the city really is a cool view. You can see people out on their rooftops as well, hanging laundry, hanging out and playing, or shooing monkeys away.

And the kites… it seems like there are at least forty of them in the sky at any time… We spent a while watching the kids on the rooftop next to ours try to launch their kite into the sky, a patient give and pull to get the kite up and weaving through the air…

Then, we headed back to the river for en evening cruise, to see the same city we’d seen from land and during the day at night, which culminated with us spending in time of the same funeral pyres we had seen up close during in the day, but now by night.


Truffles, Bangalore, India

It’s here, a two week trip through India! I have been waiting for months and am SO excited to be back. I don’t know what it is about India, but I land here and all the craziness, the fast-paced everything, the traffic and pollution and noise, all comes back to me, it’s overwhelming… and I love it.

This time, I have Andre with me, who is here experiencing all of this for the first time! We have a week planned in Rajasthan, Agra and Varanasi, playing tourists, then a week in Kerala down south, where we will basically be sitting on a beach and chilling out!

Our initial flight lands in Bangalore and gives us a day there to explore, before moving on to the north. Walking around, we come to the center of town, to the local park and then to a number of restaurants nearby. It’s Saturday and lunchtime, so most of these restaurants are packed. We find the restaurant suggested to us… and find it to be closed down for renovations! Right… so we head back to the last restaurant we saw with a huge queue outside. They manage to sit us in minutes… and we really have to make an effort with the menu, as there are at least 50 options to choose from.

Jetlagged, we go for easy options, a vegetarian thai coconut curry, and a vegetarian thali to share.

The thai curry is very good, a thick curry with a good bite and not too creamy…

The vegetarian thali is also good, served with chapatis (that basically look like tortilla wraps), with two kinds of paneer, one version dry-roasted with a rub, and another with a tomato-ey curry, both quite good… and a pea and cauliflower, gravy-based curry on the side.

And lots of coffee, as it’s lunchtime and we’re already starting to flag. We eat up, have some more coffee, and then it’s back to exploring the city!