An aspiring wordsmith with an ephemeral attention span, drawn to stirring ideas and visual images that evoke thought and awaken an inner consciousness. Ever eager to grasp an understanding of differing perceptions arising from cultural nuances and subtle variations in the way we view the world around us.

The owner has a weak spot for fast cars. He is at times prone to misanthropy but given some space, he will return to his happy self. He craves excitement brought about by change to his surroundings and the people he meets, for stagnation and predictability bore him and cause overwhelming disinterest.

 

Il Baretto in Sydney

Vanilla bean panna cotta with red wine caramel sauce

To Sydney-siders with an interest in food, Il Baretto probably needs no introduction. For those who’ve not heard of this Italian restaurant, this will be my humble attempt to convince you that Il Baretto is worth its place on your itinerary when visiting Sydney.

I dined there when I was in Sydney three years ago, thoroughly enjoying my seafood and squid ink risotto. It was one of my best meals of…

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Chewing the fat at CHUR Burger in Sydney

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I have to admit, if my friend Mark Yeow hadn’t suggested CHUR Burger, I would probably not have known about it despite all the internet research I usually do before each trip abroad. That would have been a real pity. Having agreed to lunch since the week before when I was on secondment in Sydney, we met Mark on his day off, after our visit to the Sydney Fish Market earlier in the day.

Stepping…

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Is Sydney’s Fish Market worth the visit?

Is Sydney’s Fish Market worth the visit?

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The Sydney Fish Market is the largest of its kind this bottom half of the globe, trading over 14,500 tonnes of seafood each year. Within its premises at Bank Street Pyrmont, it hosts six seafood retailers, a bottle shop, greengrocer, bakery, sushi bar, restaurants, gift shop and deli (source). In my second visit to the Sydney Fish Market, I found the quality of the seafood to be consistent with…

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Kilo at Pact

Lunching at Kilo with the Wang girls

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Tucked in a corner of an already under-visited shopping mall, Kilo is a casual restaurant-bar within 7,500 square feet of an emporium at Orchard Central called PACT. The space consists of a hair salon, a retail store and of course, a F&B outlet. The last time Pris and I visited Kilo, I had a really nice honey pork baguette and a Vietnamese drip coffee, while she had a delicious portobello…

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Dinner at Hakumai

Try the truffle salmon don at Hakumai. Seriously, just try it.

Truffle salmon don

Before my secondment in Sydney, I took Pris to dinner at Hakumai Sushi & Omakase. I’d been there for a team lunch earlier in the week, and was so impressed by the quality and affordability of the food that I felt the urge to share it with Pris as soon as I could. And so I returned with her at the end of the week, determined to show her what an amazing find this authentic Japanese restaurant is.

H…

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Mrs Macquarie’s Chair in Sydney

Taking in the view of Sydney’s Opera House and Harbour Bridge from the Royal Botanic Garden

When it comes to grabbing a photo of a landmark, I always insist on scouting locations that offer a view from afar. Picking a good vantage point is vital and while I’m not an expert in photography by any means, I do think it’s probably more important than having masterful compositional skills, an excellent bit of kit or a midas touch with image-editing software, especially when I’m travelling…

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Bourke Street Bakery in Sydney

Visiting the original Bourke Street Bakery for a breakfast that’s guaranteed to leave a great first impression on visitors to Sydney.

Bourke Street Bakery

I vaguely remember the first time I visited the original Bourke Street Bakeryin 2011. It had been a frustrating and tiring walk to get there, and I was acutely disinterested in making conversation with my travelling partners as a result, nor try the pastries or tarts that had already made a name for themselves by then. This time around I was determined not to let that happen, especially since it…

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Dinner at A Tavola in Sydney

Spaghetti alla Chitarra con Gamberi e Fave (A$33)

Highly recommended by both my Singapore- and Sydney-based friends, it was a no-brainer putting this restaurant on our itinerary for Sydney. The restaurant was first established in 2007 on Victoria Street in Sydney’s Darlinghurst (they now have another located at Bondi Beach, open since October 2013) and has seemingly become one of Sydney’s go-to places for authentic Italian pasta.

After an early…

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Driving through the Blue Mountains in a day

Our trusty ride and part-time off-roader

After a thoroughly enjoyable weekend in the Hunter Valley, we checked out of the Leisure Inn Pokolbin Hill at eight in the morning and set off on our road trip through some of the Blue Mountains’ famous sights, driving to Leura Gourmet for brunch along the way.

We picked the Leura Gourmet Deli for its proximity to the popular tourist spots in the Blue Mountains, and it was sort of our gateway on…

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Our road trip to the Hunter Valley

Bless the car that got us here

For people familiar with Australia or wineries in this part of the world, the Hunter Valley should require no introduction. There’s a plethora of leisure activities on offer, particularly in spring when there are mild sunny days and clear blue skies, while nights are cool and an excellent change from Singapore’s muggy climate. The obvious thing to do is to visit the cellars to taste the various…

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Dinner at Il Cacciatore in the Hunter Valley

Dinner at Il Cacciatore in the Hunter Valley

Chicken boscaiola fettuccine in a light garlic cream sauce with pancetta, mushroom and basil

Set in the Hermitage Lodge on the corner of McDonalds Road and Gillards Road in the Hunter Valley’s Pokolbin area, Il Cacciatore‘s menu is inspired by northern Italian cuisine with a menu that offers pizza, pasta and salads, as well as expectedly hearty mains. Having parked our car at the lodge and made the short brisk walk into the restaurant, we were ready for some nice Italian fare – never…

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Lunch at Emerson’s in the Hunter Valley

Poached quince, ginger crumble, white chocolate and redskin ice cream

Emerson’s is an award-winning restaurant in the Pokolbin region of the Hunter Valley which blends refined European techniques with modern Australian flavours. Set beside Adina Vineyard, it offers some fantastic cuisine alongside famous Hunter Valley wines, with an outdoor seating area serving up views of the expansive vineyards surrounding the restaurant.

With our first meal in Hunter…

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Bistro Molines in the Hunter Valley

Pistachio and walnut baklava, spiced syrup and pistachio ice cream

Having arrived by car in the Hunter Valley in the late afternoon, we headed to Bistro Molinesat Mount View for our first meal in New South Wales’ major winemaking region. I had consulted friends and the Internet on where to dine, and this restaurant repeatedly featured as a popular recommendation. Reservations are absolutely essential if you want to avoid disappointment, so send them an email in…

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Beijing in a nutshell

The Forbidden City

Last September, I had the privilege of travelling on business to Beijing with a client for a media tour. This was an organised event jointly planned among us, our client and a travel agency, but my following account is of a day off that my coworkers and I had the luxury of enjoying. While there are certainly nice people in China’s capital, a city of more than 20 million inhabitants with men who…

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Cutting through Flat Iron in London

Cutting through Flat Iron in London’s Soho

Top blade cut of steak

The location for our last meal in London the previous summer was a completely unplanned-for decision that saw us walk past an interesting little steakhouse with little more than a single-sided notepad sized menu on display at its entrance. Flat Ironis a small but busy little steakhouse set on 17 Beak Street in London’s Soho. We’d walked past it a couple of times earlier during our visit to the…

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