Friday, April 30, 2010

The Sentosa Casino & Vivo City @ Singapore

I saw Charles & Keith!

Despite going to Singapore so often, I have not stepped foot in Vivo City, which is Singapore's largest retail and lifestyle destination. Johnny was so kind to make himself free on Saturday to take me around the harbour front and the new Resort World Sentosa. It is located at the harbour front, right before you enter Sentosa, making Vivo City an attractive mall with a nice view deck and a meeting point before entering Sentosa Island.


Resort World Sentosa in the background

The Vivo City is designed by international renowned Japanese architect Toyo Ito whom designed the famous Sendai Mediatheque in Japan. His designs focuses on the utilisation of nature, spaces and climate. Vivo City is indeed a very aesthetic pleasing retail centre, offering shoppers a place to wine, dine, shop and relax.



From Vivo City (Lobby L, Level 3), one can be trasported to the Sentosa resort island in less than 5 mins using the Sentosa Express. It is a S$140 million light rail system that provides easy access to Sentosa, HarbourFront Center and St. James Power Station. Ticket is priced at S$3 for two ways. Instead of driving up to Sentosa, we decided to take the Sentosa Express to the new Resort World Sentosa Casino and also Universal Studios.



As we arrived at the entrance of the Universal Studios, I can't help but to take pictures with the big globe. It was indeed very nicely designed. The walkways are spacious and everything is in order. There were many personnel located around the place to guide the visitors and the signages were so cute.


Giving it a good kick!

The entrance fees to Universal Studios is S$72 for a one day weekend adult pass and only $S66 if you go on a weekday. For children, it's S$52 & S$48 respectively. I wouldn't want to go in now because not all the attractions or rides are fully functional. It would be a complete waste of money. However, I did manage to take some pictures from outside. Hey, at least I've been there, ok?!!

After that, we adjourned into the Resorts World Casino by Genting. Before you get to enter the Casino, there's a ID checking process that you have to go through. An international visitor need not pay anything but you will need to show your passport for verification. For Singapore residents and PR holders, you'll need to pay S$100 for the entrance fees. But there's also a package of S$2000 for unlimited entries within a year.


A Lamborghini Gallardo for the Jackpot!

Can't take pictures inside the Casino (obviously these photos are illegal) but we can of course take pictures of the building and the shopping corridor. The casino is big and well designed. Even Singaporeans have their own gaming room separated from the rest. Minimum bet on a Baccarat table is at S$50. There's also live performances like singing and dancing. I like how I walked out from the casino without smelling like a cigarette butt. It's non-smoking inside.



There were many high end fashion labels and also some restaurants which have opened their doors. Johnny was making fun when we saw BreadTalk. In Chinese saying, we always say that if you have no money, you have to eat bread and if you have money, we'll eat sharks fin. So, for those who losses in the Casino, they'll have to live on breads!


Ceh, I also got my own blue Lambo Murcielago.. :P
in my sweetest dreams...


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wild Honey @ Mandarin Gallery Singapore

When your mom tells you that the most important meal of the day is breakfast, you have to listen to her. Have your breakfast during breakfast, or you can have breakfast for lunch and breakfast for dinner! A place that serves breakfast all day sounds like a crazy idea but at Wild Honey, they really do serve your first meal of the day all day long!

Wild Honey, located on the 3rd floor of Mandarin Gallery accepts no reservation. Queuing up for a seat or table can be an arduous affair. My friend and I did wait for 15 minutes before getting a table. After you got your seat, you need to walk to the counter to make your order and pay on the spot. After which, your food will be delivered to you. The menu is all written on the blackboard and they do have an interesting array of breakfast.



You can probably find breakfast like:
  1. Swiss - (V) stone fruit, bircher muesli
  2. Gallic - (V) scrambled eggs the french way, toasted brioche
  3. European - eggs Benedict with field mushrooms & prosciutto
  4. Californian - (V) scrambled eggs, tofu, herbs, peppers on ciabatta
  5. Tunisian - Sizzling pan of tomato stew, fried eggs & chorizo sausage
There are lots more in the menu and they have a good mix of breakfast for vegans and carnivores like me!



I ordered an European breakfast which is eggs Benedict served with mushrooms and prosciutto ham with hollandaise sauce served on handmade toasted brioche. The presentation looks absolutely beautiful and the egg yolks were oozing when I poked it with the knife. However the toasted brioche is too thick for my liking and a little too tough. I think I would have love it if it's served on a crispy toasted baguette. But I think to see such a lovely poached egg is enough to cheer up my day! Can't help but to take a picture of the lovely flowing egg yolk.



N ordered a Belgium breakfast which consists of light textured and fluffy waffles sandwiched with grilled mangoes. The waffles are indeed fluffy and tasty after dipping it with a little honey. The grilled mangoes is something new to me and it goes very well with the whole waffle dish. But I still don't get used to eating waffles for breakfast as I prefer something savoury in the morning.



My cappuccino is pretty. It comes with a nice frothed cream and cocoa powder. I'm not a coffee person but I can tell that it's smooth and nice even without sugar. This is a cosy place for a nice warm breakfast anytime. It's like your typical cafe in Paris, small, tight and smelled of coffee. However, the service over there needs a little improvement. When N ordered an extra Long Black, it never came.

It's not cheap I warn you. The breakfast are priced at S$18/dish and a drink is at almost $8/9. For the two of us, the bill came up to almost S$60. I think for that price, you can get a nice yum cha meal at any Crystal Jade Palace!


Wild Honey
#03-02, Mandarin Gallery,
Orchard Road, Singapore.
Telephone: +65 62353900

www.wildhoney.com.sg

Some of the photos are credited to ShutterbugISm and Dotinabox.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Les Ailes d'Hermès

Buying a good piece of branded item seemed to be an addiction or more like a passion. It all started when I first made some money from my gu-zheng performance when I was a kid and with the money, I bought my first pair of Nike shoes. Then with more money, I got myself a Nike school bag (only to get stolen away when my mom hanged it out to dry on the gate. I was so devastated that I wept and curse the thief of my bag!). After that, I got myself a relatively cheaper Reebok bag.

As I moved on in life, I began to appreciate the finer things in life. My first ever expensive accessory would be a Guess watch and then followed by the necessary rings, earrings and necklaces. Then, I laid my eyes on a T&Co 1837 ring that cost me RM700. After that, it was a pair of earrings from Tiffany & Co which was RM380 for a pair and I thought it was very well worth it because I have bought a pair of Swarovski before and it was even more expensive than that. And the never ending journey led me to Hermes!

I was on an important mission to Singapore. Besides the usual dine, drink, puff and shop, I need to help a friend to look for this particular Hermes H Belt Kit. We have searched for high and low in KL Hermes boutiques but none seemed to have what she wants. So I thought why not look for it in Singapore when I was there. The first outlet I went to was Hermes in Takashimaya and a staff, Oliver was so kind to help me by calling all the stores in Singapore to look for a Martelle buckle for the Hermes H Belt Kit.

The Hermes are all nicely gift-wrapped and I love the ribbons.


Sadly, it was out of stock and even if they have, it's only one or two which was obviously sold out! I couldn't imagine who would be rushing to but a RM1000+ buckle which is not inclusive of the leather strap at RM1500. But there really are such people! And I was one of them trying to jump on the bandwagon hunting for it. Finally I was told that there is a plain H buckle with the matching leather strap that my friend preferred and it's at Changi Airport T3. It was fine as I need to get to Changi on Sunday too so I asked him to reserve it for me.

Don't know I was lucky or unlucky that when I reached T2, MAS has re-timed its flight from 5.25pm to 5.45pm, giving me ample time to move from T2 to T3 via a train. Unlike the skytrain at KLIA, this train is a little slower. When I made my way to T3, I straightaway walked into Hermes and looked for Yani to collect the belt. I checked the belt - right colour, right design and nice leather! Nice price too, at S$920 before GST.




When I was at KLIA a month ago, I was looking at the rings at Hermes and I fell in love with this particular Arcane but they ran out of my size and after two weeks of waiting, there's still no stock! I gave up. Again, who would buy a RM1800 silver ring?!! (blushes) I would. Then, I spotted something I liked! It was a H necklace. They have it in silver and gold. After trying almost all the possible H colours (red, blue gold, black), Yani & I thought that I looked better with gold and I couldn't agree less!




So, the gold H necklace in red was bought! I have my cherry popped for Hermes! Not only it was my first gold jewellery that I bought myself, it was also the first Hermes. Although I too liked the Hermes Birkin bag, it costs RM25,000! Again who would actually buy such an expensive bag? I think many would and it's currently out of stock. I heard that the waiting list in KL is one and a half years. In Paris, it was sold out the last time my friend went and check. Crazy!!!

Ok, for some fun, Can anyone guess how much is my Hermes gold plated H necklace in Singapore Dollars (SGD) without GST exactly? The first one whom gets it right or the first one with the closest answer will win this:


A travel size L'Occitane Set

Give it a shot.
Closing date: Friday 30th April 2010 - 12.00 noon.
For Malaysian Residents only.
Leave your email please.

If you're kiasu, you can send me an email at eilingblog@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mandarin Orchard Hotel @ Singapore


I managed to get a pretty cheap fair to Singapore about 2-3 weeks ago on Jetstar which was only at RM60 one way and I planned to fly on Saturday morning. Then, my friend asked me why not fly there on a Friday evening so that I can have dinner in Singapore and so I thought, why not take leave on Friday and flew there in the morning. And so I forfeited my Jetstar ticket (which cost me and additional RM110 to change my schedule) and went ahead with Airasia that costs me RM80. It's still cheaper than changing my schedule.

It didn't really went as well as I thought because of the hotel bookings. It was FHA week and some passengers are still stranded due to the volcanic ash. Initially, I was supposed to stay at Four Seasons (my favourite hotel since my first stay in Dec 2008) but it was fully booked and the rates were crazy. So I settled for Mandarin Orchard, which has been newly renovated and I absolutely love the location!



The Mandarin Orchard, formerly known as Meritus Mandarin is famous for it's location and it's nice restaurants such as The Chatterbox, the home of the famously expensive and awesome chicken rice. My friend calls this an Indonesian hotel because there are many Indonesians staying here for their shopping weekend. The proximity of this hotel to Takashimaya at Ngee Ann City is like crossing a one lane street. Yes, it is that close! And just a step away, just a step, is the newly opened Mandarin Gallery for your fix of expensive shopping. They have brands like Marc Jacobs, Emporio Armani, Tribecca, Vertu and delicious Beschle Suisse Chocolate.



I was lucky to be put in the Main Tower, which will cost an additional S$30 (I was eavesdropping on the conversation between the receptionist and the lady beside me because she wanted a room at the Main Tower instead of the Orchard Wing). The Main Tower has easy access to the lift and lobby. The last time I stayed at Mandarin Orchard was a year ago and my friend managed to get me a Club Room at a special rate. In every of the Club Room, there is a massage chair and you won't want to get out of the room!



The Deluxe Room has been given a new upholstery, new furniture and interior design to give it a modern and sleek atmosphere. It's simple and nice but I felt the Plasma TV was rather funny to be positioned in such a way that you actually have to tilt the TV to the right if you are watching it from the bed. Toiletries are ample, with toothbrush and the standard bath foam, (since there is a bathtub) shampoo, conditioner and body lotion.

I enjoyed every minute of stay at the hotel but of course a good hotel wouldn't come cheap, well, at least not in Singapore. I think an indulgence once in a while is good for the body, soul and mind.


Emporio Armani @ Mandarin Gallery


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Crystal Jade Palace @ Ngee Ann City Singapore

Look at the gigantic seafood!

The Crystal Jade Palace restaurant is very well established place for yum cha as well as lunch and dinner. This group of restaurants can be found all over Asia from Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and many more. Even in Singapore itself, they have more than 30 outlets countrywide. The funny thing is, I have not tried the Crystal Jade in KL which is present in The Gardens, Pavilion and also Lot 10.



Just before my flight, my friend, Johnny took me to this place for lunch. According to him, this restaurant is always packed to the brim and people are willing to queue for this place. Speaking of which, don't all Singaporeans like to queue? They like to queue for good food. For me, it depends, if I have to wait for more than 30 mins for it, I'll say forget it and I'll go elsewhere. Surprisingly, the night before, I was willing to wait for 45mins for a particular restaurant in Singapore. Lucky, Johnny made a reservation and we were shown to the table right away as we arrived at 4th floor of Takashimaya Shopping Centre in Ngee Ann City.

As I was still very full from a heavy breakfast, we didn't order much. I wanted to try as many dishes as possible but I know I can't and thus settled for just 4 dishes. The must try dishes for every yum cha place must not run away from the classic favourites like the Siew Mai (steamed pork dumpling), Har Gow (prawn dumpling) and also the Char Siew Pau (Roast Pork Bun). But I decide to skip the Char Siew Pau and opted for the Fried Beancurd Skin with Prawns instead. That's one of my favourites of all time!

The dim sum didn't disappoint. In fact the prawns are not only fresh and succulent, they are rather big too! Notice that the portions come in fours unlike in KL, they usually come in threes. A dish costs S$4.00-5.00 which in my opinion is very affordable and fair, provided you do not convert. Come to think of it, things in KL is rather expensive, as a plate of Har Gow of threes will cost around that price too, in Ringgit of course. If you earn in Singapore and spend the money there, it wouldn't be expensive at all.



Johnny strongly recommend me to try a new type of Chee Cheong Fun (Rice Roll) which is not available in KL and it's popular in Singapore. This CCF is called the Sauteed Rice Roll with Dry Shrimps. It's indeed very special. The rice roll come all sauteed and infused with soy sauce, dry shrimps and spring onions. The condiments for this dish is none other than ketchup and also peanut sauce. I find it very interesting on the palate as the rice roll goes very well with the paired sauces! Although it's not my usual favourite steamed Hong Kong CCF, I wouldn't mind having this in KL once in a while if they do serve this.

The whole bill only come up to S$31.00 for both of us. a word of advice though - come early or make a reservation prior to lunch or dinner to avoid queuing. Weekends is crazy!


Crystal Jade Palace Restaurant
391 Orchard Road,
Ngee Ann City #04-19
Takashimaya Shopping Centre
Singapore 238872
Tel: +65-6735 2388
www.crystaljade.com




Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yo! Sisters...

China has its famous Soong sisters, whom were three Hainanese women, along with their husbands were influential political figures in the early 20th century. Oh well, Ipoh has the famous Lim sisters too! Not only we are Hainanese purebreed, we are also the Chinese musical instruments performer under the Lim Sistas tag since the late 20th century as well. Don't play play...

What a grand introduction, to such minions like us but anyways, I just wanna talk about our previous outing to Pavilion. After getting a bonus, I was feeling a little generous and thus told the other two Lim sisters that they can eat anything for tea time and I'll give them a treat. And so they chose Yo! Sushi.

I've always wanted to have a taste of this yuppie and hippie sushi joint as the colours are very vibrant and modern. What was available on the Kaiten belt was a little disappointing as there were not much variety. The menu is a disappointment too with little to choose from. I guess this is a place for a fast and easy meal.

The food are all served on colour-coded-rimmed-plates...


We ordered some sushi, salmon sashimi, agedashi tofu, a ramen, cawan mushi and a mochi dessert. I must say that the quality of food here is not what I would expect. I think I can conclude that I still prefer Sakae Sushi or Sushi Zanmai if you were to compare on the same grounds.

The Lim sisters left with disappointment and then adjourned to more shopping.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Artistic One

Was at Brussels in Jaya One the other day for a drink. It was just one of the chilling sessions that I usually have with a whisky or two and I know it sounds weird drinking whisky at a beer cafe. I have previously blogged about Brussels here. I don't come here quite often but occasionally I do like to go there to catch up with some friends.

The last time I was there was probably almost 2 months ago with my gf and then once by myself while waiting for a dinner appointment with a client. I like the place because I can have a cigar or two in the open space, and it's not too hot. Moreover, one of my favourite chinese restaurants is there too. The food over there is not bad, and they serve a variety of finger food and also the German pork knuckle.


Dennis is having the Hoegaarden (his favourite anyway) while I have a glass of Singleton 12yo on the rocks. If I have to drink a beer, I would definitely choose a Hoegaarden for it's smooth, thick and hints of orange peel. Do you know that he can actually take 3 pints by himself? I think I would drown in that much of beer.

I was also lucky that night to bump into one of my friends whom is also the partner of the place and he bought me a glass of Glenfiddich 18yo. Woot!

Was also introduced to Tham by Dennis whom is his classmate and is now working for Brussels and he is really friendly and a nice chap. Still single. Any takers? Let me know, I'm the new "mama-san". Lol... (and maybe I could take pimping as my new career.. the legal pimping job FTW)



Tham & Me. Tham & Dennis.


As to why this post is called "The Artistic One", ahem... ahem... I was just trying to be artistic and testing out on the effects of different textures done to the photos. And drinking with the artistic one does match the title too. Thanks for the drinks! I'm also pimping his album.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Affair with Suntory Yamazaki 25 yo

So after having a string of affairs with Yamazaki, I finally come to a conclusion that Suntory Yamazaki is a very enjoyable affair to have. It has proven itself to be a classy partner, yet seductive and of course worthy of my licks and kisses. It's not often that I get to enjoy some Japanese seduction and when I do, I'll make sure that it's all worth while!

This time, I get a chance to savour a 25-year-old Suntory Yamazaki.

This super premium whisky is carefully vatted from key malts and then aged 25 years in sherrywood. It's incredibly dark colour which is in deep mahogany suggests that this is aged from an outstanding Oloroso cask. (Oloroso means "scented" in Spanish and it is a variety of sherry produced by oxidative aging) The bottle is plastic-screwed capped and the label is made of washi paper (just like the Suntory Hibiki 17 yo).


The aroma is also outstanding with whiffs of sherry, flowery and fruity notes, some hints of bittery flavours and chocolate as well. On the palate, there is a tinge of bitterness brought out by the long-aging process. The finish - oaky and lingering long finish.

I don't have an idea how much this bottle will cost but it's of limited quantities only of approximately 12,000 bottles per year. But the Japanese whisky scene is getting more exciting and I can foresee that this market will continue to grow and more and more people are willing to give it a try.



The very same night, we had the 25 yo Highland Park and then another 30 yo Highland Park had also made it onto the sacrificial list. These bottles, I called them - The Amazing 3.


The whole lick, sip and savour is getting me all excited again. After the 12yo, 18yo and 25yo, perhaps I should dream about the 30 yo and 50 yo Suntory Yamazaki (which I think would definitely be a worthwhile wait).

I envy my friend's collection of whisky. Period.


Previous Japanese whisky reviewed:
Suntory Yamazaki 12 yo
Suntory Yamazaki 18 yo
Suntory Hibiki 17 yo

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ultimo @ Solaris Mont Kiara

Honestly, I don't really venture into Solaris Mont Kiara, knowing that I would be lost in that area and true enough, I was taken on a long ride en route to Ultimo even with the GPS! I thought of using my own sense of direction and luckily I didn't or else I'll never made it on time for dessert at the recent food review @ Ultimo, invited by the Qguides and the young chef, CQ (whom is no more than 30 years old).



Ultimo and its deco, me in the background caught on cam.


It was very inviting when I walked into the restaurant. The deco was simple and there was nothing pretentious about the whole place. They have a open kitchen concept and lucky the ventilation is working very well except for the air-condition which is not chilling very well as we progressed into more drinking. I think it looked very much like one particular fine-dining place I liked in Singapore. This place consists of 3 floors and private dining is available on 1st and 2nd floor.



Frat Mustard posing with Peter Lehmann Semillon 2005, Lisa from Qguides, the home-made bun and CQ.


Well, it was a brave move for CQ to venture into Ultimo, as they call it the modern Australian fine dining where he had been in oz for sometime and before this, he was also a chef at Senses in KL Hilton that serves modern Australian cuisine as well.



A bottle of Bosca Verdi Spumante, the Italian Salute, Jek from Qguides and
Alan & Cheng Yi (FatBoyBakes)



The dinner is started with a obligatory salute from a bottle of the Italian Bosca Verdi Spumante which is a low alcohol content (5%) bubbly that will help to cut away the fattiness of the salmon which we were having. Everyone frowned when we heard that it was only a 5% alcohol drink but as we progressed, we actually have another 6 bottles of wine to go. We were served a degustation menu that consist of 8 dishes and a dessert!


Salmon

This salmon platter has an array of salmon prepared in tataki, confit and roast styles. In tataki, the salmon slices are lightly seared at the sides, before being quickly dipped in ice cold water. I like this dish as there were 3 different tastes and textures to experience.





Next up, we had the Scallop and Prawn Raviolo served with spinach, lobster bisque, shellfish vinaigrette. It looked very much like a giant chinese "sui kow". But this one has got whole prawn hiding under it's pretty skin. It went down very well with the Australian Peter Lehmann Semillon 2005 from Barossa with lots of notes of lemon and grapefruit.

The Steamed Eastern Star Coral Trout is served with baby bok choy, leek butter, caviar and mousseline sauce (in simple terms, Hollandaise blended with whipped cream). One comment though, the fried shallots actually did affect the taste of the Australian Katnook Founders Block Chardonnay 2005 from Coonawarra. The Katnook also appeared to be lighter than the P. Lehmann Semillon, and they should have served the Katnook first.

Oh, the Quail. The quaint quail consists of a crusted breast and a leg farci (which mean stuffed with finely grounded meat) served with chestnuts, shallot confit and cognac jus. I think the cognac jus wasn't that apparent but the overall dish turned out to be a fine combi of imgredients. It was paired with a bottle of Beaujolais Villages Joseph Droughin 2007. A burgundy!



Day Braised Pork Belly with a seared scallop and cauliflower puree was a delight. I love seeing a minimum three-tiered pork belly and this was not roasted like your normal "siew yoke". It's braised and it taste a little like the pork knuckle vinegar dish. A German Riesling 2007 by Fr. Loosen was chose to go with the dish. The sweetness of the riesling paired well with this dish.

The Lamb dish was a saddle of lamb served with fondant potatoes, garlic puree, pepper coulis and cute little cubes of mint jelly, so small that some people actually didn't even notice it on their plates! I generally isn't fond of lamb and this one goes down well pretty well since I have a glass of Chateau Franc Cardinal Bordeaux 2003 to go with it.

I was stuffed to the brim and it was already past 10pm. But we saw the last dish on the menu and Cheng Yi blurted "Even if I have to throw up, I need to have the wagyu!" Exclamation mark, exclamation mark!

And so, we have the wagyu...



Actually, I'm not really crazy for wagyu. I can be happy with just any beef that is tender. This wagyu dish here is cooked with red wine and served with galette potato (thinly sliced potatoes), mushrooms, sauteed vegetables and a baby red tomato. This tomato is so sweet and according to CQ, they are planted by a friend in Cameron Highlands whom does it for leisure and not available for sale. Therefore, supplies is limited and not consistent. I asked him if he could just serve these sweet baby tomatoes as appetisers?!! He grinned. The last dish here is paired with a bottle of Australian Evan & Tate Gnangara Shiraz 2007 from Margaret River.




Evan & Tate, Shawn the Floor Asst Manager and taking wines the Sean style.

I am so full, I am so full and it's almost midnight. Why are we still eating?!!



This was my expression when I saw the dessert.
Meena (
A Whiff of Lemongrass) is happy!



The dessert that we had consisted of a strawberry white chocolate tart, chocolate bavarian decorated with gold leaf and a classic creme brulee. Before that, we were given a melon sorbet to clean our palate. I liked the chocolate bavarian and the strawberry tart as I find the creme brulee a little to watery for my liking.

The chef's 7 course degustation menu is priced at RM228++ per person not inclusive of wines from Tuesday to Sunday. I think it's quite a good deal considering that they have items like foie gras and scallops in the menu. The degustation menu changes and you can check it out from their website here.

To make your reservations, try Qguides. It helps you make reservations a breeze and all you need is to register yourself, make a booking and wait for the confirmation email. No more waiting on the line and wasting time. The more bookings you make, the more points you would be rewarded!



Ultimo
13A Jalan Solaris 4,
Solaris Mont Kiara.
Tel: +603 6204 0887.

www.ultimofinedining.com



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