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Showing posts from August, 2009

Fabulous bignes at Andreotti in Rome

My friend Luca has an encyclopedic knowledge of patisseries in Rome. So when I told him I was going to be near Ostiense station on a Saturday morning, he'd recommended to me Andreotti on via Ostiense. Like many good things in Rome, it's understated and simple, yet the atmosphere and buzz tells you people are here for one reason - pastries! Everything looked delicious. The chocolate and caramel bignes that I had with my cappuccino (yes it was before 11am) were only a mouthful big, but the flavours exploded in my mouth before it all melted away.A coffee and a bigne came to less than €2. Un'altro per favore!

Tristan und Isolde at Glyndebourne

It is not easy to stage Tristan und Isolde: if it's too realistic, the story becomes unbelievable, if it's too conceptual, the story gets lost. So what to do?

Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s production and Roland Aeschlimann's set design (of 2003 revived this year) seem to have pulled it off. There was enough shapes on the set where one can project ones imagination (inside the ship's cabin, the Cornish coast, Tristan's home, etc.) The lighting (hues of blue and grey) gave it a somewhat ethereal feel. The costumes were medieval with a twist. All in all, it kind of worked.
Of course, the most important thing was the music. It's Vladimir Jurowski's first time conducting a full length Wagner opera. One dreads to think how many rehearsals the LPO must have had. The result came across as  poised and controlled, punctuated by contrasting orchestral colours. The orchestral passages can sometimes come across as symphonic, but that goes away when the singing takes over. Anja Ka…

"the drawing room" offers some gastronomic delights in Hong Kong

The quail was from France, Scallops from Japan, Wagyu beef probably from Australia and prawns from ilas canarias. It seems  the drawing room has access to some fantastic ingredients. And it's no coincidence that they have the skills and inspiration to put these produce to good use. The "quail and foie gras with over-roasted figs" was well executed and when paired with a light and aromatic Italian soave produced some surprising sensation.

The rest of the menu offered some consistently high quality dishes, such as a green pea (lightly minted) soup with scallop and caviar,  linguine with Canarian prawns (god knows how the prawns would be transported from Gran Canaria via mainland Spain, then to another port before they arrive in Hong Kong) and a pan fried brioche with a goat cheese ice cream. All matched with a 5* hotel service.