Friday, November 23, 2012

Share My Restaurant

Because my father is a business man and he loves to eat. Therefore, I spent my childhood mostly in restaurants and hotels. I didn’t really live a child’s life because I always hang around with adult, I felt lonely at times especially when I know most kids were playing at the park or went to visit each other and playing Atari.  I have to stay in my father’s office on the weekend or whenever he wanted me to. I have met many different kind of people from different countries because my father’s office were in a major hotel, so often his friends and clients will come to visit and almost every time we will go to have coffee at the hotel lounge or go eat. I hated it back then but now more I think about it, more I felt lucky to have chances to tried so many good food in such a young age and I have to say it has been influenced me. I still remember the first time I tried sashimi at 2 am in the morning at Japanese restaurant or duck liver and black truffle pasta in a famous Italian place. 

Going out dinning was part of my life, the time I spent with my father in the restaurants more than I spent with him at home, most restaurants and hotels staff can call me by name, I knew the hidden exits in different hotels, I could walk into a kitchen of a some restaurants and get the ice cream or the cake for myself. I talked to chefs and sometime I learnt from them because I was bored, it was Italian restaurant where I learnt to poach my first egg the chefs and waiters became my friends. That’s why one of my dream growing up beside making movie is to have my own hotel and a restaurant, but if I open a restaurant, what should it be? How about an international place with famous dishes from different countries? 
Sushi is a must, Japanese food has been very popular over the years all over the world but I have noticed there aren’t many of them are authentic. I must find a good sushi chef and he is not limited to sushi but the traditional Japanese menu. I am not a big fan of fusion Japanese, to me they are just people who can’t do the real Japanese well.
Then what about Thai? I always love Thai food, the chili, hot and sour and the green curry,  the smell of coconut and lime and shrimp paste. At home when I have dinner party I always love to serve a seafood green curry in a whole pumpkin. First you make a lid on the top of the pumpkin by cutting around the stem with a angle. Make sure the opening is large enough to work within. Then remove the seeds and fibers with a metal spoon. Brush the outside of the pumpkin and the lid with butter or vegetable oil around a casserole dish large enough to hold the pumpkin Then bake the pumpkin for about 30 minutes until it is half soft. Remove the pumpkin from the oven, and gently scrape some of the flesh into the curry mixture. Puree with blender, combine the puree, onion, curry paste, chicken broth, brown sugar and lime juice coconut cream and cook it altogether then put it in the hollow pumpkin. Replace the lid of the pumpkin to cover. Bake for an other half an hour. Serve immediately once it is done.This is a easy and impressive dish to treat your dinner guest and it tastes very good, especially for winter. Doing Thai food has to be spicy, many places adjusted the taste for the customer, that is a big no no. Thai food needs to be exciting like Bangkok.

If I talked about Bangkok, I have to mention Vietnam. And talk about Vietnamese food how can I not to talk about pho? The beef rice noodle soup, the best pho is addictive. People who never try it will never understand “its just a beef broth with rice noodles. What so special about it? Yes, you are right when you had a bad experience of pho but once you try the best. Like the one I had in Melbourne and Brisbane. You will right away fall in love with it. And then the taste will become part of your DNA, you can never go back . ..Melbourne? I thought you said its Vietnamese food? 

Yes, actually there are a lot good Vietnamese restaurants in Australia because of the immigrate. Some of them were there since the 70’s. A good recipes with the best soup base ,good slices of beef and noodles serve with a little plate of Vietnamese mints/ basil, bean spout, chili and lime, squeeze a bit of lime juice and put a little bit of mints and bean spout in the soup, the aroma and the fragrance of all the good ingredients go straight to your nose with the steam, you taste the first slip of soup, that is not just food,  it’s a spiritual journey and you think life is good. The most import part of pho is the broth and there are many recipes on and off the internet teaching you how to do the broth and believe me, if you follows them you will only fail. If you want to make it good, you have to first try the best soup and then keep trying until it tastes right, but I can tell you, if you only use beef bone to make the soup that is not enough, you have to at least do it with chicken bone and beef tongue as well and of coz with star arise and cinnamon etc? Just try it until you success, it will be fun and satisfy. The worse pho I have tried was in Barcelona. A place near Plaza Cathedral. The soup they do is tasteless, I rather have instant noodles.

There are so many different kind of curry. The sweet curry from Japan, the butter chicken from India and the coconut base curry from Thailand, also curry from Malaysia, Singapore, even China .. one day I should do a full curry dinner and everything will be made by curry from different countries. My restaurant should have a curry section only catering for curry lover? Curry lamb, curry fish head, curry chicken, curry beef ... green ... yellow, curry everything. That will be fun and colorful.

Italian is all about the pasta. Many places called themselves Italian restaurant but can’t even do it right , they think if they just throw in some tomatoes, olive oil and vinegar then it will become Italian food? 

The perfect sauce should be made from gently squeezed fresh tomatoes, garlic carefully minced and olive oil pressed from the happiest little olives and set to gently simmer for hours. In the movie Goodfellas  it showed you the mafia using razor blade to cut the garlic really thin ,I think that’s also a good way too if you have the time.

But if you don’t have enough time, then try sautéed some onions and garlic with some crushed tomatoes and a mix of dried herbs cooked for 25 minutes or so can also make it taste like an ancient family recipes, the pasta have to cooked right ,not too hard and not too soft as the Italian call it “al dente”. And no matter what don’t  rinse the pasta, Italians never rinse their pasta. 

The perfect Italian’s pasta dish it is the combination between noodles and sauce. Always put your pasta in the pan where your sauce is cooking, add a little bit of the pasta water from the pot in which you cooked your noodles. Cooking the pasta in the sauce let the sauce to coat and cook into the pasta rather than just sitting on top of the noodle, that are  simple and logical steps but strangely many people have missed it, but many of them are so called chef as well.

Beside Italian, Chinese also do noodles. Noodles in the soup. Wonton soup or noodle without soup . Shanghainese or Beijing  stir fired noodles or fired noodles with seafood or beef.., Singapore has Singapore rice noodles or maybe we can have Japanese ramen? Yakisoba? How about cold wheat or green tea noodles.

My restaurant will have fresh seafood in the big fish tank, if possible, so you can see all the sea food swimming. All you have to do is to tell the waiter which fish that you want and we will get it for you. Maybe I can even get a diver to catch the fish or pick up the lobster or sea urchin in front of you? 

If you don’t like seafood you can try our meats? We have the best cut of meats from Japan, America and Australia. What about pork from Spain? You can have your choice of meat from different size and parts. Have you try Cow cheek or Iberian Pork Cheek? I will also serve you the best porterhouse steak with the perfect thickness like the one in Peter Luger and the Strip house in New York. Many restaurants serve their steak really thin in Spain and I still don’t understand why.  

You can also have steak tartar and it will come with a small glass of port but I prefer the Korean taste - Yukhoe - made with: ground pepper, garlic, honey, roasted sesame seeds, sesame oil, soy sauce. It tastes much better than the European one. You don’t like raw beef but don’t mind raw oysters? You are lucky because I have the best oyster bar in town, where you can see all the different oysters in front of you. Just pick and eat , you will see our oyster master to open a dozen of oysters within 3 minutes, it will be just like a show.  So don’t forget the give the master your applause.  

Burger, hotdog ,calms chowder from New York,  how about some fried chicken from new Orleans too? Dumpling and Peking duck and all sort of dishes from China, lets not forget  the French? Cassoulet, escargots, foie gras. 

Maybe I should have one whole floor just for sweet food? Grill chicken wings, kebab, takoyaki, curry fish balls, fried squid, oyster omelette, pizza? Kind of like a Spanish tapas place? People can just sit at a bar table to order? A fresh fruit garden have all kind of fruit from different countries, all the fridges are designed like a real tree and farm so people have to pick up their apple from a “tree” ? Or watermelon from the “fram” ? 

A rooftop barbecue and grill section you can have all the seafood and meats with all kind of bbq way. Why not to grill it yourself? We have more than 50 kinds of dipping sauces? You must find something you like.

Want to have something simple? How about sandwiches, we have different kind of bread you can chose from and we will do the best tuna sandwiches with tartar sauce? you don’t like tuna then you can have the roast beef with Coleman mustard instead. Still don’t like then I hope the roast chicken with avocado, cherry chutney or a roast pork with apple sauce and I am sure the Vietnamese pork pun will get your attention, don’t forget to order extra chili if you like it spicy. So much food already and you want something to drink?  

How about a nice cold beer ? we brew our own beer and with the biggest selection from around the world. You have red wine from Italy and France and the white from New Zealand and Chile, Singapore Sling anyone? Yes. We do the best cocktail in town as well. Just watch how the bartender throwing the bottle at each other.
My restaurant will be so big, it’s like a food amusement park! everyone come in and enjoy what ever they like. I think 7 floors should be enough but basement is a room for family and kids so they can have their dessert? There are so many different kind of food. I didn’t tell you about the Hainanese chicken rice or Teppanyaki, the German roast pork or Ukrainian borsch and Caviar from iran, oh I forgot to tell you the Satay I like, why not try the new dish we have from Hungry?  We also have the best chocolate, what about the fresh… ?? 

Hey, Peter, you are out of control, you wrote just a long blog about your restaurant is kind of silly ,besides, who can have such a big restaurant and have so much food in one place? Do you know how much money you have to invest and how many people you need to hire? And how much you are going to charge people? what if too many people to come how are you going to control it? 

Yes , you are right. I believe to make a good restaurant, the best way is to keep it affordable but affordable doesn’t mean low quality, and decoration has to be really nice and clear, a modern look with comfortable seats and setting, keep the menu small, but when I say small it means it will have the best that chef can offer, with well trained stuff and good wine and dessert, I also know, to have such food amusement park is almost impossible but you never try you never know . Every good thing started with a dream, so writing about it, is my first step. If I cant even write about my dream, then why should I have this blog for? so, tell me your ideal restaurant and your favorite food or we can swap recipes and we can connect because one of the best thing  about eating is sharing.

Thank you for reading

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