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A feast at Bali Asli

I wanted F’s first trip to Southeast Asia be a memorable one, so I put in considerable effort in planning our holiday. Not a rigid hour-by-hour schedule, mind, but enough to have a good idea what we could do each day and what were the alternatives should we fancy a change. It was during this research phase that I came to know about Bali Asli.

“Asli” refers to something genuine or authentic, and Bali Asli strives to promote the food tradition of East Bali by using own-grown or locally sourced fresh produce for its constantly changing menu. Not only the ingredients used are indigenous to the region, the cooking method is also preserved (wood-fired mud brick stoves!) so to showcase the best East Bali has to offer. More significantly, Bali Asli serves a menu that is based on the concept of megibung, where food and drink are presented as communal platters to be shared, a tradition that harks back a few centuries ago where the King of Karangasem would sit down with his soldiers for their daily meals.

This was the restaurant we “dropped a cool half million for lunch” ;)

Bali Asli

Bali Asli

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Project 365 – Week 29

What a scorcher of a week. With temperature hitting high 20s and pushing into 30s, we are pretty much melting in the city. I guess most of Europe is really not equipped for dealing with such high temperature. In UK, roads were melting! This is the time that reminds me just how amazing the inventions of fans and air-conditioners are. And freezer to keep ice cubes.

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St Sulpice

15 Jul: Passing through St Sulpice in the evening is one of F’s favourite thing to do in Paris. He shuns the cathedral of Notre Dame (and its accompanying crowd), preferring instead to gaze at St Sulpice bathed in the shades of red and orange, and with just a handful few passerby, perhaps a few who also linger and happily sit on the benches surrounding the square in front of the church. The sound of the water from the Fontaine St Sulpice is calming, making us feel like we’re somewhere else and not in the busiest city in France.

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Lunch at Le Jardin des Plumes

If anyone tells me right now that he/she will be visiting Giverny, my immediate response is “Call Le Jardin des Plumes, book a table in their restaurant and treat yourself to a wonderful meal”. It may only be a few months old, but at its helm is Chef Joackim Salliot, who interprets the vision of Michelin-starred Chef Eric Guérin, and a warm welcome from the maitresse de maison, Nadia Socheleau, awaits all. Seriously – Just. Do. It.

Le Jardin des Plumes

Le Jardin des Plumes

Tucked hidden away from the main village on rue du Millieu but mere handful few minutes walk away from the Musée des Impressionnismes, the restaurant is part of an elegant boutique hotel surrounded by the calm of the countryside. Few visitors of the village explore beyond rue Claude Monet, so this is, for now, truly off the beaten track.

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The anatomy of a French picnic

We have been blessed with a second sunny weekend in a row. While the temperature was a good 8-10°C lower this time round, when the sun hit upon us directly, we remained quite warm and happily stayed outdoors without a coat.


Last weekend, for Anne’s birthday, a picnic was held at the Parc Montsouris at our regular spot. We numbered just over a dozen people, and everyone brought a little something to share. Everything was fairly casual, people came and went at convenient times, and I thought – hey, why don’t I share photos of what make a typical yet informal picnic between my friends and I?

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Guy Savoy’s Les Bouquinistes

A couple of weeks ago I managed to not only renew my carte de séjour but to also change the visa type to vie privée et familiale. It went well, except for the part where I forgot to bring my current carte de séjour with me and had to go home to retrieve it, oops.

Frédéric attended the appointment with me – a requirement given the change of visa type – and even though we arrived 15 minutes ahead of our appointment, we were attended to immediately. After about an hour wait while someone reviewed the file, we were informed that the application has been approved and a relevant récépissé for me was duly issued.

Les Bouquinistes

Menu of the day

We celebrated this paperwork victory with a lovely lunch at Les Bouquinistes. The choice was an impromptu one. Initially we were going to go our favourite creperie near Odéon but when we passed by Les Bouquinistes, I couldn’t help but paused to take a peek at their lunch menu. The next you know, Frédéric walked in the door to ask if a table for two is available.

Choosing what we would eat couldn’t have been easier. The daily lunch menu consisted of two options for each of the courses: starter, main, dessert. Yup, you’ve guessed it, we both ordered the different items and promised to swap a few bites during the meal. Drink-wise, a glass of apricot juice for me, and a glass of white wine for Frédéric.

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A taste of Indonesia

Visiting friends always make the best excuse to eat in new restaurants (well, new to us anyway) and we took advantage of it recently to check out an Indonesian restaurant not far from our place. Restaurant Indonesia – I know, not the most imaginative of name but does the job perfectly – is just steps away from Luxembourg Garden, thus location-wise, it’s central and a walk in Luco after lunch would have been a good option. When it is not raining, that is.

The restaurant is long and narrow, and upon arrival we were warmly welcomed by the sole server(!) waiting on all the tables in the dining room. On a Saturday afternoon in a restaurant full of diners, that was an impressive feat. She left us to peruse the menu at our leisure – a small basket of prawn crackers was also deposited in the centre of the table so we can snack in the mean time – and we decided to go for the rijstafel (i.e. rice table – a Dutch word in origin, bearing in mind Indonesia was formerly a Dutch colony) where we would have a selection of dishes to share between us instead of restricting ourselves to just a handful few main dishes.

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Oh yes, do go to Abri

Barely a couple of weeks following its opening, Nico’s brother suggested that we met for lunch at “a sandwicherie near Poissonnière”. It was all rather mysterious and upon arrival, I was confused by the name City Café Sandwich but something clicked – I have just glanced through a café-bistrot recommendation a few days earlier and this was the place! Gourmet sandwicherie on Mondays and Saturdays, and restaurant serving fixed-menus from Tuesday to Friday, there is already quite a buzz surrounding this venture by Japanese chef Katsuaki “Katsy” Okiyama, formerly of Robuchon and l’Agapé.

Despite arriving at noon (it opens on Saturday at 12.30pm, although many articles I’ve seen stated Saturday opening hour at 10am or noon), a queue has started gathering outside Abri and when it came to our turn to be seated, there simply wasn’t a table available for 5 pax. There were only a couple of potential tables for 5-6, except they have been split to accommodate groups of 3-4. The rest which remained were tables for two.

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Nordic dining: DILL Restaurant

On the eve before our departure for Reykjavík, I had the good fortune to across an article that talked about the emergence of Nordic cuisine, led by René Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen. As I read through the article, my attention was steered immediately to the mention of DILL Restaurant, conveniently located in the city where I’d be visiting right the next day. I immediately sent an email to them, hoping to snare a table for LT and me with such short notice. We struck gold – they booked us in for Saturday night, hurrah!

Kitchen of DILL Restaurant

Arriving back from the Golden Circle Tour, we hastily made ourselves presentable and requested the front desk for a taxi to drive us over. We were not far from the restaurant, but after the wet and windy day, we needed more comfort than ever. At least the rain seemed to have abated. I wasn’t sure my coat would be happy to get another dose of soaking!

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Grillið Restaurant

When it comes to the monetary aspect, Iceland is not for the faint-hearted. Food in particular don’t come cheap. Bearing that in mind, LT and I thought, why not splurge a little? Instead of paying dearly for supposed budget eats, we would indulge in higher-end dining that would actually be comparable in price to that in Paris. This way, we won’t feel like we’ve paid too much for what we can get cheaper in Paris; instead, we will get fine dining at the “regular” price. Another plus point – we will experience Icelandic dining at the top level.

Grillið Restaurant


We had our first evening meal at Grillið Restaurant, situated on the 8th floor of our hotel. As we were there very early, the place was practically empty and we scored a table next to the windows, affording us some impressive panoramic view despite the falling rain and setting fogs. Chef milled about in the kitchen that can be openly observed via see-through glass panelling. I find the interior decor a little tacky though, featuring the signs of the zodiac.

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The joy of raclette

Winter get-together chez Chloé invariably means there would be at least one raclette session, if not another couple of sessions of aligot and mont d’or too. These cheese-filled events are relatively easy to organise, feed a good crowd, and everyone’s always content after that.


What’s fun is that Chloé has a good old fashion raclette apparatus, unlike the more modern contraption/grill that is used to heat up sliced cheese inside some small pans. You don’t get to racler properly with the grill apparatus! (And yes, she even has the specific knives to racler the cheese.)

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