Archive for August, 2008

Caffe Roma – Beverly Hills, California

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

350 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Tel. 310-274-7834
Opening Hours: Lunch, Dinner and open throughout the day
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Moderate-Expensive

Many years ago, Caffe Roma, was frequented by a smart crowd for lunch or so they thought, when Realtor, Elaine Young among others, held court, until over the years this cafe’s lunch crowd grew older and fewer showed up; and in the evening it appealed mainly to middle-eastern types that hung-out to hear Arabic music played nightly. Finally, due to poor quality of food and service the restaurant on most days was mainly deserted.

Enter Ago Sciandri, owner of Ago and Sor Tino, and one of the founders of Toscana, Brentwood who has now acquired Caffe Roma and all of this has now changed. He has breathed a new infusion of fresh life into the menu and the overall spirit of this cafe/restaurant. Ago has installed Piero Topputo, previously of Toscana, as the new chef, and he has overhauled the menu. The new menu offers sophisticated dishes including: pappardelle with wild boar ragu, fettuccine with summer truffes, spaghetti with sea urchin, and taglioni with scampi bottarga, orechiette laced with broccoli and pecorino, cavatelli with rapini, broccoli and mixed seafood. There is Jazz music as well as a live DJ Wednesday through Saturday.
The Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was known to turn up to smoke cigars in the patio dining area before the smoking ban was passed in Beverly Hills.

Cafe Annie & Bar Annie – Houston

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

1728 Post Oak Blvd
Houston, TX 77056-3802
Tel. 713-840-1111
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Expensive-Very Expensive

UPDATE: CAFE ANNIE IS PERMANENTLY SHUT. Link to new post on RDG Grill, Bar Annie & BLVD Lounge

The venue has moved to 1800 Post Oak Blvd. close to the old location, although is entirely different in concept.  RDG Grill Room and Bar Annie are an evolution of Cafe Annie’s white-tablecloth dining room with an expanded bar concept, while BLVD Lounge is a completely new casual idea. the service hours will expand and pricing will be under $20 at the bar and from $20-30 for main courses at the RDG Grill.

Following is the original post I wrote on Cafe Annie & Bar Annie. See RDG Grill, Cafe Annie & BLVD Lounge for the latest information:

I first met Robert Del Grande and his wife Mimi at Cafe Annie’s original location in a small strip mall in Houston during the early to mid eighties when I spent a good deal of time in Houston and Dallas. I really enjoyed the easy-going relaxed feel of the place and the simple, although at the same time innovative cuisine, that Robert was turning out.
Robert had just earned his PhD in Biochemistry, but he had always loved to cook. Initially he planned to spend a little time in the Cafe Annie kitchen until he found a permanent biochemistry job. However, he found out shortly after that he really preferred cooking and Robert and Mimi took over the operation of Cafe Annie with Robert in the kitchen and Mimi in the front of house.
During the 80’s Cafe Annie’s reputation grew, with Robert winning some very important culinary awards: the James Beard Award, Top Ten restaurants in America, Who is Who of Cooking in Texas, Honor Roll of American Chefs, Food & Wine; he also appeared with Julia Child in her “Great Chefs” PBS special. He cooked for George Bush and James Baker at the Houston Economic summit along with many others. Robert and several other regional chefs including Mark Miller created what is now known as Southwestern Cuisine.
In 1989 Cafe Annie moved to its new location on Post Oak Blvd., a larger space, although not necessarily as comfortable a feeling as the previous situation. Just recently however, Cafe Annie introduced Bar Annie, the more informal option to the main dining room, with a more simplified bar menu, which reminds me more of the original space as it was in the eighties.

La Régalade French Bistro – Makati, Manila

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

820 Arnaiz Avenue (formerly Pasay Road),
Makati, Manila, Philippines
Tel. (63 2) 750-2104 to 05
Opening Hours: Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Dinner from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday
Bar will stay open late
Credit Cards: Cash, Visa, Mastercard
Prices: Moderate

This website has received so many searches from the Philippines for “La Régalade Makati, Manila” recently, that I thought we might help those searching for this restaurant, by compiling some information and providing links.
The Philippine version of the Vancouver based La Régalade, no relation to Yves Camdeborde’s former restaurant La Régalade in Paris, is owned by Alain Rayé who opened the original in Vancouver, Canada in 2001 after moving there with his family from France. He earned a Michelin star at two restaurants he previously owned in France, his first star in a restaurant in Albertville and a second at La Belle Epoque in Chateaufort, where his cuisine earned him another Michelin star.
The Philippine site in Makati opened this month August 2008.
Among those who frequented his bistro in the suburbs of Western Vancouver and braved the creaky old Lion’s Gate Bridge was Perfecto “Bubot” Quicho, a former hotelier who made history in 1984 when he was named General Manager of Hyatt Regency Manila, the first Filipino to attain such a position in a five-star worldwide chain.
Perfecto “Bubut” Quicho (pictured) is the manager and one of the partners along with Alain Rayé and Tonyboy Cojuangco. They have put together an “A List” group of customers that are filling the 70 odd seats nightly.

Le Beaulieu, Hill-Lodge Resort – Chiang Mai

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Le Beaulieu At Hill Lodge Resort
140 M.5 T. Banpong
Handong Chiangmai
Tel. 053 365 011-2
Fax. 053 365 060
Credit Cards: All Major

Le Beaulieu French Restaurant in Bangkok has opened a restaurant in the hills above Chiang Mai. The Hill-Lodge is already very well known, and the addition of Le Beaulieu Restaurant at this resort will certainly be a great added attraction. Chalaluck Bunnag will be presenting Le Beaulieu at the Hill-Lodge Resort. The restaurant is now open and you can book by calling the telephone number listed above.

Oosh Restaurant & Bar – Singapore

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

22 Dempsey Road
Tel. 65 6475 0002
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Expensive

Oosh is located at the former British Army barracks district at Tanglin Village (Dempsey Hill) formerly known as Dempsey Road. The alfresco bar and restaurant has a long beautiful sushi bar, attractive and artfully-lit cabanas along with numerous aquatic special effects. You will find an extensive drinks menu listing most of the premium liquors available. Sensibly, there is a dress code: no slippers, singlets or cut-offs.

A lot of thought has gone into the architecture, design, and décor, it is really very well coordinated. The negatives are that the service is slow in spite of a service call button, and the prices are high for food that is only average at best, and drinks and wine are unfairly marked up. It is not necessary to dwell anymore on this establishment except to say; that it is a romantic place to visit but the bullet stops there—nothing else will impress!

Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice – Singapore

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

275 Thompson Rd., #01-05 Novena Ville, Singapore
307645 (opposite Novena Church)
Opening Hours: 10am-2am
Tel. 6255 6396 Take Away

As is so often the case, the landlord thought that Wee Nam Kee chicken rice was doing such a good business that they did not renew the lease and took over the shop house themselves to serve chicken rice,
and Wee Nam Kee was forced to move up the street, where they still are doing a thriving business while
the landlord’s operation went bust.

IndoChine, Indo China Cuisine – Singapore

Monday, August 25th, 2008

1 Empress Place, Asian Civilisations Museum
Tel. 65/6339-1720
Modern Chinese, Vietnamese, Lao/Cambodian, French
Opening Hours: Sun-Thurs noon-2:30pm and 6:30-11pm; Fri-Sat noon-2:30pm and 6:30pm-midnight
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Moderate

The view of the Singapore River with a backdrop of skyscrapers is the most effective part of the décor at IndoChine, embellishing this are lotus flower-shaped crystal chandeliers and towering Sukothai Buddha statues, which blend the charms of the old world with what we are offering today; convenience.

The cleverly designed and implemented menu gives a glimpse of truly authentic Indochinese cuisine prepared by chefs from Indo-China. More traditional Vietnamese favorites, like spring rolls and prawns grilled on sugar cane, are good starters.

IndoChine has other sister restaurants, one in a quaint Chinatown shophouse

Club Street

49B Club St.; tel. 65/6323-0503) and another in Wisma Atria on Orchard Road #01-18/23 (tel. 65/6238-3470).

IndoChine Forbidden City
3A Merchant’s Court, River Valley Road, #01-02, Singpore
Restaurant madame Butterfly (+65 6557 6266
Bar CoCoon +65 6557 6268
Bamboo Bar

Siem Reap 1
44 Lor Mambong Holland Village, Singapore +65 6468 5798
Stop by for a drink and appetizers or for dinner that is enhanced by the extensive wine list, a mix of New World and Old World wines.

Raffles Grill – Singapore

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Raffles Grill
1 Beach Road
Singapore 189673 Singapore
Tel. +65 6337 1886
Opening Hours: Lunch: Monday to Friday – 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; Dinner: Monday to Saturday – 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Very Expensive

The formal dining room known previously as the Main Dining Room (1899) and the Elizabethan Grill (in the 1950’s) and now named simply, Raffles Grill has been beautifully restored to its original luster with French windows overlooking the Palm Court, the Raffles Grill captures the true essence of fine dining. The kitchen features a blend of contemporary and classical French cuisine. You may choose from either the a la carte or degustation menus, everything I sampled was superb. There is a large 400 plus wine list with vintages dating back to 1890.
Gentlemen are required to wear a collared long sleeve shirt and a jacket, the jacket although not required would be advisable. Of course, dress pants and shoes are also required.

Chatterbox, Meritus Mandarin, Singapore Hotel – Singapore

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Chatterbox, Meritus Mandarin (photo credit: Meritus Mandarin)333 Orchard Road
Level 1, Mandarin Singapore Hotel
Singapore SG, 238867
Tel. +65 6831 6288; 6737 4411
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Inexpensive-Moderate

Singapore’s most popular chicken rice has a new home! Relocated to the 38th/39th floor of the Grand Tower, Chatterbox has replaced the now defunct Revolving Restaurant. Having undergone a complete makeover, Chatterbox – Home of the Mandarin Chicken Rice has shed the Perenakan look and now infuses a vibrancy with a bold color mix of red, black and white. The dining experience at Chatterbox is re-energized although, they have been very careful to make sure that the tastes remain the same.

This at one time was one of the best places to find Hainanese chicken rice, a local favorite. In fact, the dish is the main reason to dine here. The chicken is firm; the rice fragrant while the ground chilli sauce with ginger provides the finishing touch. Other local favorites include the nasi lemak with its fragrant coconut milk rice and fresh sambal chilli, and laksa. There is also an adequate wine list.

Prego Italian Restaurant – Singapore

Monday, August 25th, 2008


2 Stamford Road
Level 1, Raffles The Plaza
Singapore SG, 178882
Tel. +65 6431 6156; 6338 8585
Opening Hours: Lunch: 11.30am-2.30pm daily. Dinner: 6.30pm-10.30pm daily.
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Moderate

This casual modern trattoria located in the Colonial District has become one of the more popular Italian restaurants in Singapore, although it may not be at the same level as it was 15 or so years ago it is still a viable choice and a very comfortable and pleasant experience. The floor-to-ceiling glass windows allow natural light to stream in and the décor creates a relaxed ambience that appeals to the upscale diner as well as the younger crowd. The wood-fired pizzas are freshly made and offer a wide selection. Many of the pasta dishes are good as are osso buco and grilled items such as pork chops and baby chicken. A good selection of Italian wine is available by the glass.