Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Coffee Bar K

When I was in Shanghai, I used to love going to the likes of Bar Constellation and Shanty – very Japanese bars that made killer precision cocktails, with crazy varied selections of whisky/ sale/ shochus to boot. Many a night, me and my homies spent, nursing our whiskies splashed over cool hand-chipped globes of ice.

Enter Coffee Bar K, a gem of a bar in Singapore I raved about two years ago, made excessive repeat visits to back then, forgot about since, and recently revisited. Sweet was my re-visit – almost like meeting up with a dear old long-lost friend.

The bar was exactly as I remembered it. Oh, to sink into the plush black leather sofas at the bar and be handed a warm towel, asked for my drink order and pampered with platters of snacks. I took my time picking my poison – so many choices of gin/vodka/whisky/wine/liquer base cocktails, luckily they rate the alcoholic content of the cocktails and whether they were suited to the male or female palate (ok, this was admittedly sexist). The Moscow mule was my usual drink but tonight I picked a Honolulu, something light to end off my earlier buffet dinner.

Service was quietly efficient, just the way I liked it. The cute Japanese bartender has left though, in place there was another bartender that had a funny porcupine hair style and looked a tad sulky for my liking. Luckily the Filipino waitress was warm and friendly.

Prices for a cocktail was about $20 and there is a cover charge of $15 after 9pm (which includes above-mentioned snacks - wasabi chips/ ham/ fruit platter). Worth every penny. I have an old friend visiting from Shanghai soon, I must bring him to my new found oasis here. For old times’ sake.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Breakup Heels

My hair is too short and dyed to death already so a change in hair style is a no-go. Same goes to a body tattoo (anywhere), which I think is a really bad idea. So what else is a girl to do when she needs to something cathartic, post-breakup?

She shops.

Not just any shopping, mind you. These are the Swedish Hasbeens I have been lusting for, since, erm, forever. They are not available in Singapore so I had to get them online. The brand is so bohemian - handmade shoes, ecological materials and a never-say-die FUN attitude to match. I like this braided model which they say "will make you look like Sandy in the musical Grease before her total makeover." And I love love love (sorry for gushing here) the bright cheery yellow colour. Very appropriate, don't you think?

Yes, these are the shoes that I will wear strutting into the new era of my life. My Hasbeens are "super-highs" at 4.1 inches, but insiders (which I am now part of, yippee) say they are super duper comfy. SEK 1,731, inclusive of UPS - worth every cent!

Update on 1st July 2011 - IT'S HERE AND IT'S PERFECT!

Everyone, meet the new love of my life. Fits true to size. Luxuriously soft and comfy.

"The fact is, sometimes it's really hard to walk in a single woman's shoes. That's why we need really special ones now and then to make the walk a little more fun." ~ Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

Monday, June 27, 2011

Creperie de Arts

When I think of crepes, desserts come immediately to mind. My idea of savoury crepes is limited to the ham and cheese ones you used to get (or are they still available) at Marche’s, all rolled up like a popiah. So when I visited Creperie de Arts and saw the huge selection of savoury crepes there, I was quite bowled over. Brittany, the motherland of French crêpes indeed! Excellent suggestion to go there, Ling!

Creperie de Arts was a small and intimate joint clad in warm lighting, not unlike eating in a friend’s home kitchen. We had indoor seats but I imagine it would be nice nursing a bottle of wine with a special date at one of the tables outside. Yes, they do a rather palatable bottle of house Côtes du Rhône red wine at a good price.

I had read the hungrygowhere reviews about the Saint Caradec (scallops and leek) crepe and the Auguebelette (potatoes, bacon, onions, melted reblochon) crepe. They all sound delish. But I had my eye on the Complete Forrestiere. Ham, cheese, mushroom and egg – there’s no way you can go wrong with a combination like that. Plus, I am a sucker for anything with a sunny side up on it. The disappointing part was that they overcooked the yolk - sigh, I was looking forward to runny goodness. Fortunately, everything else was tasty and fresh, I loved the texture of the buckwheat crepes. It wasn’t too salty and went very well with the wine. My friends who ordered the salmon crepe said it was good too.

You’ll need to try the traditional apple cider too. Nice aperitif to whet the appetite. Will I be back? Likely, the raclette looks good.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Because It's Hard

I’ve never been a very sporty person, but since last year I started going to the gym and I run regularly now. Not hard-core running, but at least I don’t wheeze on the treadmill anymore. When Yuming told me this morning that he signed up for the Standard Chartered Bank Marathon and encouraged me to do the same, albeit for the more palatable half Marathon, I was tempted.

Why run a marathon? I took the day today to consider my motivations carefully. The reason I finally arrived at was: I want to do it because it’s hard.

In the early 1960s President Kennedy set a national goal of landing a man on the Moon. He said that we choose to do this not because it is easy but because it is hard. One of Edmond Hillary's comments about finally scaling Everest was: "It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves. We all need challenges and the sense of euphoria that comes from achieving a difficult personal goal.

Well, I for one don’t expect myself to ever stand on the Moon or the summit of Everest. But a marathon – now that’s something I can do. It’s not going to be easy but it’s ACHIEVABLE. I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, complete the distance, no need to come in first or anything. I just need to prove to myself that I CAN DO IT.

The secondary reason of course is that training for the half-marathon will give me the focus I need, and hopefully distract me from unhappy thoughts. Send me a minor victory to cheer me up please!

So 4th December will see me taking on 21.1km. I hear the views on the route are going to be great. There’re early bird offers and discounts for SCB card/ Passion card holders so go check out if you are keen!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wine Dinner at MLSP

I hadn’t hung out with Vivo Shifu for a while, so when he asked me to join for the June Ribera del Duero dinner at My Little Spanish Place, I was quite happy to join. The promise of free-flow jamon definitely helped sweeten the deal haha.

So there I was, blind tasting various (blends of) tinto fino (the local name for tempranillo) and stuffing my face with jamon. Whilst the offerings from Pago de los Capellanes, Domino de Atauta and Protos were all fairly decent, it turns out my favorite was the Crianza 2008 from Pago de los Capellanes – what can I say, I’m a cheap drunk!

Dinner with wines was priced at $90+, good value, considering the jamon-ful dinner and “freebies” of rose wine. Foodwise other than the jamon, the paella was flavorful although a tad dry for my liking. I remember from the last time we celebrated Bev’s birthday here that the meatballs, grilled squid and mushroom tapas were a hit, so be sure to sample those if you happen to visit MLSP.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ice-cream Making at Tom's Palette

It was tough waking up early the morning after Beerfest, but boy am I glad I made it for the ice cream making class at Tom's Palette.

Located at Shaw Leisure Gallery, Tom’s Palette is a non descript shop space hiding a delightful Willy Wonka’s factory within. I knew they had been around for a while (since 2005) and won many accolades, but it was my first time there.

There were 8 of us in the ice cream making class. The class started with the instructor giving us a demonstration on making green tea ice cream, followed by our own hands-on effort to make chocolate ice cream. I was quite surprised by how easy it was – mix up the egg yolk, milk, cream and sugar to create the custard, infuse the custard with the flavoring you want, chuck it in the freezer for a bit, churn it by hand and return it to freezer for a bit more and voila – your very own traditional homemade ice cream!

While waiting for our custards to freeze, we were treated to an ice cream buffet. It was surreal – so many flavours to try, so limited stomach space! There were some incredible flavors at Tom’s – I especially loved the chocolate stout, salted egg yolk and onion, popping candy (melt ‘n’ sizzle) and salty yuzu flavors. I was stuffed but I couldn’t resist asking for one last scoop of Granny’s Favourite, packed with cookie dough goodness. Perfect hangover food haha.

TADA! The picture on the left shows our finished product. Very yummy chocolate ice cream. We were immensely proud of ourselves :)

The private class lasted from 11am till 1.30pm, when they opened the doors to the public. Wow, I never knew that there are so many people craving ice cream so early in the afternoon. Brisk business indeed.

I highly recommend the ice cream making class at Tom’s Palette!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pink Dot 2011

Looking for something meaningful/interesting to do this Saturday June 18th? Go down to Hong Lim Park to form a human pink dot!

Yes, it’s PINK as in gay, lesbian, transsexual/ transgender/ bisexual/ intersexual/ queer. This will be its 3rd year running and like previous years, Pink Dot aims to nurture an all-inclusive, non-discriminatory society which appreciates diversity and understands the basic human need to love and be loved. Everyone deserves the freedom to love!

Kudos to Google for supporting the event and making the concert possible. The event this year promises to be BIG, with a whole slew of celebrities performing, including the Dim Sum Dollies and the Broadway Beng.

1. Go at 4pm or earlier to chope a nice picnic spot right in front of the stage. Concert starts at 5pm sharp and the whole event is expected to end by 6:45pm.

2. There’ll also be a lot of other activities going on around the park so feel free to bring the whole family along. Going by last year's experience, I think it will all be very subtle and tasteful.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cream Bistro

5 years ago, before I left Singapore for Shanghai, I used to frequent Cream Bistro on weekends or off days. It's one of those places I feel perfectly comfortable dining alone, reading from their rich library of fashion magazines and enjoying my old favorite seafood don. It's a huge serving of eggy seafood and rice, and I would always walk away feeling happily satiated. Perfect me-time memory.
Today, I revisited the bistro. It's amazing how the seafood don still looks and tastes the same after so many years. I've had better versions of seafood don since, but nothing beats the taste of nostalgia. Sitting there alone with the magazines, watching the crowd go by was pure deja vu.

Today, I am back to where I was exactly, 5 years ago. I feel oddly conscious that I am no longer that doe-eyed girl excitedly planning to take on the world and trying hard to make a difference. I guess life has mellowed me down and I'm just glad to be home. That bowl of seafood don is indeed comfort food for my soul.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

13 Wives

It must be nice to open a bar with the cocktails inspired by one’s lost loves.

Kampong Bugis is one of those places that’s actually very near my home but it’s so obscure that I will never think of venturing there, much lest have a party on a Saturday night. But it was AL’s big 30th bash and the princess has requested to celebrate there.

13 Wives is part of an old building which also houses Kilo (new restaurant on my to-try list) and Loysel’s Toy, a coffee joint opened by the same guys behind Papa Palheta. The bar is only open on weekend evenings, apparently. It’s an al fresco area with wooden tables and benches, a bit old skool. Sorry, no pics to show.

There's 13 signature cocktails here, inspired by each of the 13 "wives". On this occasion I did not try any of the cocktails because we BYO-ed our own sangria, but the few people who had them said they were quite good.

My verdict? I think it's a bit of a stretch, calling it a waterfront bar. Seriously, it seemed more like a "lokang" (drain) view. But I suppose the bar is worth checking out if you are into the eclectic. Reminds me of my primary school canteen outdoor area haha. To be fair, it can be a nice quiet chill out place. But not one I'd personally hang out often at. Maybe I'll try a cocktail the next time after dinner-at-Kilo.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Table at 7

I used to love Sage. What's not to love - food was fantastic and corkage was free. I celebrated my birthday there last year and when news came that they were closing, I rushed to make reservations for dinner on closing day, to bid Jusman all the best in Bali.

Another husband-wife team (Karl and Eugenia) has since taken over where Sage used to be and opened Table at 7. Eugenia is Indonesian, so it's a mix of Indonesian food and European fare dished up by Austria-born Karl. I heard the food was good. When AL asked for suggestions on where to go for her birthday dinner, I immediately lobbied for Table at 7.

I would have loved to do the degustation menu but the rest of the group weren't keen. A bit disappointing, but oh well, the ala carte experience rocked too. For starters, most of us had the highly recommended "Twice-baked Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Cheese Soufflé, White Wine Fondue Sauce" - sounds delicious, doesn't it? And it was. A bit jelat for a starter, but we polished off every last bit. I thought the Iced Gaszpacho with Tuna Tartare looked good too.

For mains, the Black Angus Beef Onglet Steak, and the Wagyu Oxtail Rendang were big hits. I kinda regretted ordering the Chilean Sea Bass when I saw what my friends were served. They nicely let me try some of it, indeed, very flavorful. Fortunately, my choice turned out well too - the sea bass was very well-executed - fresh, sweet tasting and the garlic mash and sauce were awesome.

We bought a bottle of wine from them, got free corkage for 1 of our own bottles and paid $30 each for the remaining bottles. The wine list has a good mix from all over, and prices were fairly decent. Service was rather good - Eugenia was friendly and the staff were prompt and responsive to our needs. Food came at a good speed.

Excellent new restaurant, quite worthy to take over the special place Sage holds in my heart. I will be back with a big bold bottle of red to try the beef or lamb.

Happy birthday darling AL! The theme of the night was Mafia and Mistresses - group shot of all the mistresses (or are we mafia?)!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Let me let you in on a little secret. The wine prices at Incontro are AMAZING. Take the Torzi Matthews Frost Dodger Shiraz 2008 (delicious burst of dark berry and tobacco) from Eden Valley for example. I have a bottle in my fridge which I bought from Wine Directions for $51. Over at Incontro, you can order it for $54 a pop – the (what) mark-up is wayyy reasonable. I wish I could say the same for many other restaurants out there.

Incontro is this rustic Italian bistro and bar located at Robertson Quay and it is officially my favourite wine bar for now. The food is not particularly impressive but it’s good enough. Give me my wine and some Tête de Moine with crackers and I’m a happy girl. In true Italian hospitality, the service is friendly and attentive.

Unlike many other wine bars which carry mostly mainstream labels, what I like about Incontro is its carefully selected wine portfolio which the owners personally enjoy and recommend. When I complimented Amy on the fantastic setup she had going, she replied that they wanted to create a haven for people to enjoy wines at affordable prices.

We had the “La Braja” 2007 from Piemonte last night and it was a cracker, that one! I think you will find me at Incontro A LOT.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mai Thai

It has been a while since I had Thai food and I was craving it. Nothing like a bowl of potent tom yum to perk your senses and ignite your taste buds. When tasked to propose a “other than Jap” restaurant near home, I immediately thought of Mai Thai, a casual fine-dining (hmm irony?) restaurant long established at Chip Bee Gardens, but which recently opened an outlet at East Coast.

We got there at 8pm on a Saturday night and the restaurant was half-filled. It looked a bit understaffed with only the manager and a waiter, but they and the kitchen handled our orders quite competently, not bad. We ordered a few dishes to share – the obligatory tom yum soup, bean sheet (what’s that) salad, cuttle fish with salted egg (sounds delicious, doesn’t it) and pineapple rice. Be warned, portions are small. We had to order an additional green curry later on.

Food was pretty good. Nothing wow but pleasant and we enjoyed the meal. We had a few glasses of the Anakena Sauvignon Blanc to go with our meal and it was crisp and refreshing. It wasn’t the cheapest meal at $120 for two, but it’s a nice restaurant and service was good. Not sure if I’d be back though, there’s also Porn’s at east coast which I want to try.

Funny how there were 4 pairs of mixed (Caucasian guy and sarong-party-ish girl) couples sitting all around us. Probably just the neighbourhood I guess. Haha.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pizzeria Mozza

It was a long planned dinner date. We heard the rave about Pizzeria Mozza and were all psyched to check it out. The place is not big so we made our reservations well in advance (erm 3 weeks) and managed to get a slot for 7.45pm on a Friday night. Well worth the effort because the food was absolutely delish!

Kev is an ardent fan of Mozza and we let him do the ordering. Feed us please, we cheered. He did not let us down. The combination of creamy buffalo mozzerella cheese and the warm, crusty bread they served was amazing. I love the texture of the bread, slightly chewy - it made me excited about the pizzas. We also shared a big platter of mixed ham, omg I can't get enough of the lardo ham! Diets took a backseat, that evening.

We were happily "appetized" and happier from the bottles of very palatable Rosso Montalcino by the time the pizzas came. We expected the pizzas to be bigger (there was seven of us) so we quickly ordered one more. The meat lover's pizza was incredible, so glad I took a large slice haha. The salami pizza was good too. I was stuffed!

We went all out on desserts and got the caramel copetta , the banana gelato pie and (Kev insisted) the olive oil ice cream. I was a bit doubtful about the olive oil ice cream but it turned out to be a hit!

The food at Pizzeria Mozza is fantastic, well worth the hype. But I'm pretty certain it was the excellent company of my homies which made the dinner such a "wow" experience. Passionate about food. Passionate about life. You guys inspire and keep me going :)

Go with a big group to sample more of what Mozza offers. Now, can someone please take me on a date to Osteria Mozza? It's on my radar next!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

We Love Air

I am in love with the furniture at AIR. We love AIR is right - I feel so tempted to buy everything in the store!

AIR is having a sale this GSS and the timing couldn’t be better for me. I’m looking to buy a sofa for the new flat. Gorgeous the wares at AIR are, but pricey too. The 25% discount during the GSS definitely makes it more affordable for a mere mortal like me. Not that $2k for a sofa is cheap. But trust me, after hours prowling the likes of Furniture Mall and looking at ugly and not-that-cheap-either things, AIR is really a breath of fresh air. Unique, modern, quality designs!

It’s been a long-drawn process but I finally found the dream sofa. 3 expeditions to the Wilkie flagship store before I made my decision. Thanks NDee for sitting on so many sofas with me. Thanks K for getting me the additional 5% discount which sweetened the deal.

Yay, I’m having my NUBAR 3-seater customized in fabric – the loveliest shade of my favourite colour green and quality water repellent for easy maintenance. It’ll take 5-6 weeks. I can’t wait to see it sitting pretty in my living room *big smile*.

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change

I love romantic comedies. Isn’t it surreal, the idea that if someone is meant to be with you, then they should know what you want without you telling them? Unrealistic yes, but surreal.

A new friend WS suggested going for the musical “I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change” and so I did some homework on it. it’s been staged in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the UK and Australia before. Reviews look good. The musical supposedly does a comedic take on all things taboo about dating, marriage, spouses and in-laws. Romantic comedy? NOT. Which is just as well, given my current state of mind. “A tribute to those who have loved and lost, to those who have fallen on their face at the portal of romance”. Yeap, that’s me. See you there!

Date : Jun 9-19, 8pm; 11-12, 18-19, 3pm
Cost : $69.00-89.00 from Sistic
Venue : The Drama Centre, National Library

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nueva Cuba

It was the first launch of “Wine Tastings Evenings” by Trevor and I decided to show support by rounding up a group of wino friends for the event. Tastings of 6 different wines from France along with 6 Cuban tapas. $65/pax. A pretty neat deal, considering what we had.

I was there early and as usual I was starving. We got some tostadas to tide us over first – creamy cheesy shrimp and mozzarella cheese mushroom – good stuff, especially paired with the welcome glass of Chateau d'Esclans Whispering Angel Rose.

Finally my group of 8 arrived and the tasting started proper. First up, a nice tapas platter to pair with 3 white wines. To be honest, I’ve only been to Nueva Cuba for drinks, so I was pleasantly surprised by how good the food was. I really enjoyed the quesadilla, salmon wrapped asparagus and skewered mushrooms. Not to mention the glass of Sacha Lichine, yums.

The second tapas platter was just as impressive as the first. Here we had beef, salsa and cheese layered tortilla (I think that was what we had but it was excellent, in any case), some chorizo tostada, and bacon wrapped asparagus. 3 reds were paired with this, my favourite being the Bordeaux from Thunevin Presidial.

Verdict: I’ve known for a long time that Nueva Cuba, like its Clarke Quay counterpart Cuba Libre, serves up the best mojitos in town. It’s good to know that they have now also expanded their wine list for the benefit of us wino-sapiens. Most importantly, they serve really delicious food! I see myself making return visits to further explore the food menu here.