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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Christmas Dinner at Melt The World Cafe @ Mandarin Oriental

5 Raffles Avenue, Level 4, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Singapore 039797
Tel:  6885 3500

So, *Celine and I were selecting the venue for our Christmas buffet, and we decided to go Melt ~ The World Cafe @ Mandarin Oriental.

The elegant hotel was decked up beautifully for Christmas, and this added a festive touch to the usual sleek, chic settings. The multi-cultural buffet spread was satisfying, and I was happy to see the important things such as turkey, pork knuckles, logcake etc that contributed to the festive meal this season.

So, the exploration began with the station that serves the Turkey and Pork Knuckle - both looked tantalizing. I pegged this as the station I must go to.

Then there were the Asian food sections - with their hearty display of traditional Indian dishes at one counter, Thai food at another counter, and then the Chinese food counter with soups as well.

Everything looked so tempting.

The bread section was so adorable - bread done in all kinds of shapes and Christmas characters.

There were also the Ham and Cheese stations as well.

And the mandatory Seafood counters  (did not managed to snap photos because crowded with people) and Japanese counter with sushi, sashimi, soba etc.

Last but not least, my favorite Desserts corner - with a large variety of macaroons, waffles, cakes, tarts, pies, Chinese cakes (kuehs) and fruits etc.

I finally settled down with my first plate  - Seafood, comprising of lobster, scallops, oysters and prawns. The seafood was rather fresh.

Then, I attacked the Salad counter for some greens and olives, as well as the Japanese counter for some sashimi and sushi. The sashimi were not as fresh as I had anticipated disappointedly.

Moving on, I helped myself to some cheese and fruits and crackers, a sinful but utter indulgence. This would have been perfect to nibble along with some white wine.

Now, time for turkey and pork knuckle - the latter was crispy. The turkey was very succulent to both our surprise - no joke, none of that rough texture we get usually when chewing on turkey flesh. The cranberry sauce was a fabulous accompaniment.

More seafood - this time with the inclusion of crayfish and clams as well.

Finally, time for desserts. I had the Pistachio macaroon (had thought it was green tea- but turned out alot nicer!), a minced fruit meat pie, chocolates in shape of tree trunk sections, lemon tart, fruit cake etc. Everything was a delicious palate sweetener.

I decided to try out some of the Asian food, so here it is - a piece of Pappadum, some curry and stuff. The Indian food at Melt the World Cafe has been widely raved about.

There was also the irresistable bowl of Black Chicken Herbal soup - lightly infused with herbal taste, but the perfect thing on a cold evening as such.

I had one bite of *Celine's waffles - it was pretty average, even though supposedly "made on the spot". The gelato were lovely though.

After some fruits, it was tea time - digestion and letting the stomach rest after the sumptuous feast.

We spent SGD$96.00 per pax for this scrumptious meal, and enjoyed it tremendously. The serene ambience and colorful variety of food was well worth it. There were also dedicated servers for each section of tables, so we got efficient service. I would definitely recommend this place.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Dinner at Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh @ Rangoon Road

208 Rangoon Road, Level 1, Hong Building, Singapore 218453
Tel: 6291 4537

After my first Bak Kut Teh review (view here), I decided to try Ng Ah Sio at Rangoon Road, since I heard so much ravings about it.

The location was by the main road so very easy to spot; the interior was spacious and brightly lit. The small touches of decor strewn around the restaurant were rather delightful in their simplicity.

The menu was limited on the choices of soup but vast on the list of sides.

We started with drinks - Lime juice for The Beau and Warm Barley for me.

The Beau had the Signature Pork Ribs Soup while I had the Signature Spare Ribs Soup. The meat was tender and the soup was heavily peppered, giving it a strong taste very welcoming especially on a rainy evening as such.

We had the Braised Eggs as well, one of my favorite food.

He ordered a large bowl of rice so I could steal a couple of spoonfuls for my hot soup.

Next, The Beau's favorite DoughStick (you tiao), which we took two bowls of. These were rather crispy and tasted good soaked in the soup , but I guess everyone knows that.

Lastly, of course a plate of vegetables to balance the meal - Xiao Bai Cai - fresh and soothing.

Overall, the food and service here was better than average. The portions may look deceptively small, but they were very filling. Like many Bak Kut Teh restaurants, one may ask for refill of soup as well.  The two of us spent a total of SGD$29.00 for dinner.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Dinner at Equinox @ Swiss'hotel Stamford

2 Stamford Road, Level 69, Swissotel the Stamford, Singapore 178882
Tel: 6338 8585

The chosen venue tonight is Equinox @ Swissotel Stamford, for its magnificent cityscape views, high floor-dining and elegant ambience. Also, it was The Beau's birthday.

So how it worked was that, we rode this adorable elevator with the irridescent walls up to Level 69, where then we were ushered to our seat.

We chose a Windows Seat so that we could dine with this kind of view looming in front of us. Yes, the night seemed to come alive, and the view is breathtaking - I believe Singapore's sensual night views have overtaken many urban cities' in recent years.  The glowing Singapore Flyer making its rounds against the dark nightskies, the colors of the various skycrapers flanking the iconic MBS, and the Laser Shows etc were all worth the extra SGD$20.00 we paid for the windows seat.

Besides the views, the restaurant itself had an easy comfort to its elegance, and we loved the contemporary music. The only problem we had was that the tables were positioned rather near to each other. Maybe Equinox tried to cramp more tables by the windows so that more patrons get to drink in the scenic flavors of the night?

The staff came over with the tray of Bread, so I selected an Olive bread and The Beau took a Baguette and a Cheese bun. We loved the crisp freshness of the bread, especially the olive and cheese ones; butter was served on the side.

There was also a complimentary starter that was being served, consisting of some cream cheese and raisins, and was being described by the staff as "like panna cotta".  It was pleasant - a touch of savoury and raisins; I ate mine with the bread.

The Beau had a starter of Duck Consomme, Braised Duck Leg, Truffle Ravioli (SGD$20.00) . The consomme broth was herbal in nature, but strangely warm instead of hot, hence the grease was illuminated. The ravioli melted in the mouth, and the braised duck leg was crispy around the edges; the pairing was excellent.

For mains, The Beau had the Slow-cooked Pork Cheek and Belly, Mushroom Escabeche, Coriander (SGD$58.00). The pork cheek was not cooked to a tenderness as I had hoped it to be, but instead was crisp and delicious in a chewy manner. The pork belly flanked some fatty parts and was an overall texture tease of tender flesh and bouncy parts.

I chose the Miso-Roasted Black Cod, Sweet Pickled Vegetables, Horseradish Edamane Puree (SGD$75.00). The buttery-smooth fish was roasted to a lovely golden sheen, and its saccharine taste was slightly enhanced by the ever-so-light smoky overtures. The fish had a nicely firm texture to it as well. The tiny radish tempura balls hidden within the pickled vegetables were appetite whetting discoveries.

For drinks, The Beau chose an Equinox Blue cocktail (SGD$22.00) - comprising of some fruits and blue curaco etc, with a generous dash of liquer to it.

I had a Cosmopolitan (SGD$22.00), a sweet and pretty red cocktail served in an ice bowl glass.

For desserts, we shared a Poached William Pear (SGD$18.00)- with scented Rooibos tea, honey, lemongrass sorbet and served with a lovely dash of dry ice, making the place so beautifully misty. The lemongrass sorbet was utterly refreshing, and paired with the grainy-textured sweetened pear, made this dessert an excellant choice.

All in all, we enjoyed our dining experience at Equinox, from the sophisticated ambience to impeccable service to magnificent views and lovely cuisine. It was worth nearly every dime.