Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gaziano & Girling

Buffalo micro box grained seamless, stitchless wholecut oxfords

August 2010, Tokyo

Fast forward to.....

February 2011, Hong Kong

Bespoke requires patience. But I think it's worth the wait!

Next commission...

 Sort of...


Related : Gaziano & Girling Trunk Show

Friday, February 25, 2011


Nosh Restaurant
111 Coliemore Rd
Co Dublin
+353 (0)1 284-0666

Another notable restaurant in Dalkey is 'Nosh', though its bright, sun-filled informal interior means that it could easily be taken for a cafe. They have a children's menu as well, adding to the relaxed feel of the place.

The treacle bread (a traditional Irish bread) and the fish and with chunky homemade chips were outright winners.

Beer battered cod, pea puree + tartare sauce (13.50)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sportful Garden Restaurant

Sportful Garden Restaurant
G/F, Eton Tower
8 Hysan Avenue
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong
Ph: +85225762008

I am not quite sure about why the Sportful Garden chain of (nine) restaurants goes by this name, but English name aside, I was staying in the Causeway Bay area, feeling like some yum cha, and was there on a family recommendation.

Situated in a large comfortable second level space, this restaurant is a mid-range Yum Cha option. With friendly and professional staff, the menu is in both Chinese and English, but on this occasion, it was very much a local crowd dining there.

Spring rolls. Pan fried turnip cake.

Pan fried turnip cake is a dim sum favourite of mine, and this one, presented in a more thought-out manner than most places, was hot, slightly crispy on the top and bottom (one of my pet peeves being turnip cake that has not been pan fried for long enough and has no crispiness), and with a nice balance of the turnip cake and the sausage that forms part of it. 

The spring rolls, not normally something I would order, had a wonderfully light crunchy exterior, the filling generous but not too heavy. I would order these again.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Define Watches - auction for the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal

This Summer has been a difficult one in Australia, from floods in Queensland, Victoria and NSW, to bushfires and Cyclone Yasi in North Queensland.

We were very relieved to hear that our fellow Ristis in Brisbane in particular, were all safe.

Fortunately, our friends at Define Watches also escaped the worst of the floods in Brisbane, but as you know, many were not as lucky.

To assist in the rebuilding of their home town, Define Watches are conducting a watch auction with 100% of proceeds going to the Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal.

In a very generous act, all the timepieces to be auctioned have been donated by the relevant German and Swiss watchmakers, and include the following :

Armin Strom - Blue Chip Power Reserve

Jörg Schauer - Edition 10 white dial
Personalised with initials of the buyer on the dial

MeisterSinger - No 03
Special Edition Black PVD (AM 910)

The watches will be auctioned from 9:00 am on Feb 21 to midnight, February 27.

Details of all watches being auctioned, and the registration and bidding process, can be found here.

For any additional information call Peter on 07 3395 7728 or 0401 326 998 or email him at

Happy bidding, and please support this worthy cause.

An interview with A.B.P. (Atelier du Bracelet Parisien)

For many a watch enthusiast, straps are an important part of watch ownership, with strap purchases and changes according to mood/ weather/ purpose/ colour/ material  being a regular part of one's horological existence.  If you're a Paneristi, strapmania can reach epic proportions, with leather strap cases which can hold two dozen straps, vintage straps that go for four figure amounts, and adoration of particular strapmakers and types of straps leathers and styles.

Perhaps the most celebrated maker of custom straps is A.B.P. (Atelier du Bracelet Parisien).

Situated in the heart of Paris, A.B.P. was founded in 1997 by Jean-Claude Perrin who, after 40 years of experience in the industry with Camille Fournet & Créations Perrin, decided to dedicate himself to bespoke strap making for individual clients. Today, it remains a family business, with Jean-Claude and his son Yann at its helm.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Yann via email, giving some insight into the A.B.P. atelier and those of us (yes, myself included) who have their straps. Apart from the dizzying array of combinations which a customer can select, the most unexpected insight for me was the small percentage of Panerai related straps that they sell.

Left : Alligator. Right : Ostrich leg

1. ABP is the most renowned strap maker amongst watch enthusiasts, and your customers are worldwide. How many people are there in your workshop making straps?

We are a team of 14 people at the workshop, but only seven are making straps.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ouzo's Bar & Grill

Ouzo's Bar and Grill
22 Castle St.
Co. Dublin
Ph : +353 1 285 1890

This was one of those happy accidents - I'd stumbled into town and was, at the last minute, looking for somewhere to get in, let alone eat. It was late, and these guys were able to accommodate me with a table.

Being rather hungry I opted for the crab claws followed by a standard sirloin steak - all I can say is this restaurant is about as good as one could hope for - the food was top notch and the value for money outstanding.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tribes Restaurant

Tribes Restaurant
57a Glasthule Rd
Co Dublin
Ph : +353 (0)1 236 5971

Lunch 12.30 - 3.00pm (4.00pm Sun)
Dinner 5.30 - 11.00pm Mon-Sat (6.00 - 10.00pm Sun)

Just next door to Cavistons is the very laid back Tribes Bar and Restaurant - it serves what is, to date, the best lamb shank I've ever eaten. Yes I know that this is a big call but trust me, so was the taste and delivery of this dish.

Braised lamb shank "off the bone" with vegetables, crushed potato and rosemary jus

The lamb is removed from the bone before cooking and placed in a tubed tin (I know that sounds odd) for the cooking process. You can't tell from looking at it, but the meat just falls apart at touch. Served with a very traditional rosemary combination, it was also good value for money, a similar dish in London would cost considerably more.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cavistons Seafood Restaurant

Cavistons Emporium
58 Glasthule Rd
Co. Dublin
Ph : +3531 2809120

A seafood restaurant run by the same family that operates the food emporium next door, Cavistons has its origins over fifty years ago as a modest fish-shop. Nowadays it is a renowned delicatessen, and sells products spanning the seafood and delicatessen spectrum. This emporium has received great reviews over the years, and came recommended to me by the folks here I was working with.

Michelin recommended and locally acclaimed, there was almost no more room left on the wall and windows for their awards.

Booking a seat was a week advance for the Saturday night, and even then that was a booking for the early evening sitting only.

My starter was 'Local crab claws' - absolutely delicious, the crab fresh, fragrant and tender.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Crystal Jade : Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao
Shop B221A, Times Square
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong
Ph: (852) 2506 0080

Ten countries, and with ten branches in Hong Kong alone, the Jade Crystal Group is a dining behemoth that I would be happy to see in Australia. Having eaten at a few branches  over the years, and a variety of dishes, I can state that the standard is good, and it is consistent. It is also better than most similar places in Sydney, in my view.

Hot and sour soup (HKD35)

This photo is deceptive, as it was a good sized serving. Not too hot, nor too sour or vinegary (and I do like my vinegar), nicely balanced, and not containing the excessive cornflour that this soup sometimes seems to 'attract'. I'd have liked a bit more chilli component, but that's a very subjective preference, as I tend to like this soup with a bit more of a punch.

Xiao long bao (HKD28)

Well pleated, the skin thin and transluscent, the sweet rich broth so tongue scorchingly hot (as I like it) that you have to wait until it cools down enough to eat, this mainstay of the cuisine and cult bun (not a dumpling, as many seem to call it) is a form of comfort food, and Crystal Jade's hit that comfort spot. I've commented on the consistency of the restaurants, this is one example of this.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Geneva Time Exhibition (GTE) 2011

SIHH, GTE, and a Geneva pilgrimage for a Sydney Tart

For most, SIHH (Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie) is a trade fair, an opportunity to catch up with old and new in the watch business, see the latest editions, plan the years' inventory and, at a guess, plan to part with six figure numbers in the process.

GTE ( Geneva Time Exhibition), on the other hand, is the independents' watchmaking exhibition with a somewhat different spirit, but at the same time I am sure if the truth be told hoping to achieve the same goals as my last statement regarding SIHH.

SIHH has been covered extensively on various fora and blogs. I can't offer nothing new because whilst I was physically was there, I didn't get across the barrier, owing to a registration glitch. However, I met and hung out with plenty of watch mates who kept me fed with press hand outs and happy watch conversation. From what I did get to see, the show is a trade delight, with every request beckon and every facility laid on. This is not a show for the faint hearted, no half measures, but then again what would you expect from the Richemont Group.

Literally minutes down the road from the SIHH trade fair is Geneva exhibition centre and GTE. First impressions were good. The building hosting the event on the inside not looking to dissimilar to the inside of the Sydney Opera house, and as such, had more design style over that of the Palexpo's aircraft hanger sized event.

Split into two main areas, walking around the show felt comfortable and relaxed, with a coffee bar placed in the centre of the hall to supply all with caffeine and provide a pit-stop conversation area.

I attended GTE to visit and meet Peter Speake-Marin, but along the way I saw these horological offerings.

Ressence, offering a beautiful simplistic design dial - sorry for not getting a pic of the watch, but  I loved seeing these glowing orbs.

The new HD3 Slyde, a couple of variants and the Black Widow catching more than a little attention.

Snyper just for men - hmm best they not see the film Black Swan ;-)

Louis Moinet using creative use of materials embedded within the case.

Various shots of the PSM stand and his variants ;-)

Laurent Ferrier making classic smooth lined watches.

The Da Vindice Tourbillon-Barometer. As I heard a mate say - "for when you can't drive your Bugatti into the restaurant, this is what one would wear!"

This is an incredible beautiful piece measuring  measuring 100mm by 50mm at least!

Photos from the Gala evening and Expo :

Some of the true greats of independent watch making were walking around the Exhibition, and it was such a pleasure to just bump into someone you recognised or by casually introduced a known legend (one whom you know the name and not the face) This was a true meeting place of artisans.

I've only touched upon a handful of makers here out of some 60 entrants, but hopefully it gives you a taste of want the expo is about.

For me, not being there for business, this was a complete pleasure and one I'd wittingly venture again. As I tweeted on the Gala night I only wish more of my SLT were with me ;-)