A lovely video introduction to Chai Wan in Hong Kong by Monocle Magazine.
Have you ever had disagreements in your family in terms of where to go out to eat? Ever get each person saying they want to eat a particular type of cuisine or want to go somewhere specific which no one else is in a mood for? It certainly happens to us. So, on a recent trip to Cardiff, when friends recommended we MUST (it was pretty emphatic) eat at Red Hot World Buffet, we made a point of seeking it out.
Located smack in the city center, the restaurant’s claim to fame is that for one price (9.99 pounds per person on a Saturday for lunch), you can eat a buffet filled to your heart’s content. Now a lot of restaurants advertise that, but what is promised here is a buffet encompassing Indian, Thai, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, Italian and Mediterranean food.
As soon as we entered, we noticed the restaurant was packed and bustling with activity. We got seated within a few minutes and then came a journey that I have to say has not been commonplace. Walking slowly towards the appetizers area, I knew their claim of serving an assortment of cuisine was absolutely spot on. This was not some token, obligatory check the box with one dish dedicated to each cuisine but dishes upon dishes and stations dedicated to each specialty.
For a foodie, this was a fantasy come true….but it was also tremendously stress inducing. ”Oh I wish I had not eaten breakfast” , “Wait, how can I try everything here?” “I’ve always wanted to try this…” my mind was a smorgasbord of questions.
Each dish we ate tasted fresh and authentic. From the freshly piped hummus served in dainty cups with an olive slice at the top to the fiery hot Thai green curry, from the potatoes with mustard to the pizza with jalapenos, from the mango souffle to the chocolate cake, the list of dishes was totally satiating. We ate our way through multiple rounds and left incredibly content and happy. Our only complaint on a cold day was that there was no place close by that we could retire for a nap!
If you think we are exaggerating about the choices, simply take a look at their menu in Cardiff that we partook.
We have subsequently discovered that the restaurant has multiple locations throughout the UK. To get more information on their locations, click here:
If you’ve had a similar dining experience, we’d absolutely love to hear from you.
Last night, a dear friend made reservations for us to dine at Molto Bene, a small jewel box like Italian restaurant located in the heart of historic Cranbury in New Jersey. Named for the Italian term “very good”, this tiny restaurant packs in a bar, a mercato (market) and a dining area in its compact space, which is always brimming with diners.
As we noticed the diners around us, it was clear that this place was different from many an Italian restaurant. The plates coming on to the tables were diminutive with beautifully presented assortments of food.
Our native Italian friend decided that trying a series of small platters was the way to experience the full array of tastes available at our disposal. The first bite of the Palline di Palermo (Chickpea Fritters) served with a lemon alioli yogurt sauce had our taste buds singing. Reminiscent of the falafel (for its ingredients) and an Indian cutlet (for its texture), these crisp on the outside, smooth on the inside concoctions were awesome. The Polenta Fritta (Polenta Fries) that followed were a simple rendition of polenta that paired beautifully with the mozzarella cream rouille. Our vegetarian version of the Ricotta al Forno (Baked Ricotta) with homemade fig marmalade and flatbread blended the salty and sweet into a perfect mix of flavors.
From an impressive start of appetizers, none of which we had savored before, we moved on to their CICCHETTI chi-KE-tee (Small plates) dishes. We started with a tomato bruschetta and followed it with a Ricotta Gnocchi Fatta in Casa (perfect pieces of gnocci in a very simple tomato sauce).
For those wondering if we were satiated at this point, the answer is…life is too short to not indulge in dessert. So, out came the traditional Tiramisu, a warm banana bread pudding, crisp friend Zeppoles (Italian mini donuts) with chocolate sauce and some homemade cookies to compensate for our missing macaroni entrée.
A final shot of espresso capped a “molto bene” evening spent with friends discovering a new world of Italian cuisine.
If you’d like to learn more about Molto Bene or explore their off the beaten track menu for inspiration, click here: