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Saturday, 18 April 2015

Dark Room, Golden Drapes, Stifling Silence

Entering the doors only to catch the last glance of the setting sun, before the night was plunged into utter darkness. The orange-pink streaks across the skies now look like angry scars across the sky's darkening skin, draped over the world robbing it of all colours. The memories are invading my personal space, parting through the deafening silence to penetrate my being ever so gently....

Photosource: http://www.remodelista.com/posts/a-glamorous-hollywood-dressing-room-from-the-desk-of-lola

And I clutch the golden silk drapes across the open windows,
Palms and fists holding the smooth, cool drapes tightly,
Clutching them as though it were my very own heart -

Can't breathe, the pain of missing what's no longer around,
Can't think, as the darkness looms heavily over me,
Can't feel, as the warm tears sweep across pale skin.

The room that we used to spin around on moods that were light,
The hall that hurtful words and debris of vases filled on other nights,
The antique clock that never failed to chime every sixty minutes.

The moon has risen to watch over me, to watch this tragedy,
Slowly unfolding with the final strains of our favourite songs;
Mayhaps the night is silently mocking me, mocking us -

On this night so dramatic, terrifying; making the world so huge,
Magnifying the lines that hold the earth intact,
Pushing back the boundaries of the lonely planet -

Making it frightening to even miss you, or the memories,
Every deep breath hits my chest painfully,
This is not the night to think of those who no longer reside here...

And just as I'd imagined, your footsteps were heavy and steady on the wood-panelled floorboards, walking towards me, coming in my direction. The breezes part the golden drapes to let in more moonlight, painting a part of the dark world colourful; and then the footfalls stopped. I did not even know when they'd stopped, or why, but the house, vast as it is, seems to close in on me now - the walls are inching in closer, my breath is coming in shorter and faster gasps -

In the distance, the full moon looks on through the open windows, my golden silken drapes fluttering on its side, like the beautiful face of a lady with golden tresses; it was almost mesmerizing.

Then it all became black....

copyright © thearcticstar 2015. All Rights Reserved

Inspired by the song "One More Time" by Laura Pausini 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Lunch at Yan Ting Restaurant @ St. Regis

29 Tanglin Road, Level 1U,  The St. Regis Singapore, Singapore 247911
Tel:  6506 6887

Been wanting to dine at The St. Regis for a while, but the plans were forgotten because too many newer eateries have popped up. Recently, a friend mentioned her dimsum lunch at Yan Ting Restaurant, reminding me that yes, I still have this restaurant pending on the gastronomical bucket list. So what better time to dine here than my birthday lunch with the family?

Located at such a luxurious hotel, one could not help but anticipate dining here in these plush settings. But first, we were all attracted to the display of takeaway desserts situated at the main entrance of Yan Ting Restaurant - the honeycomb cakes and water chestnut cakes looked very tempting.

The interior decor was all gilt and mirrors, with some frosted glass panels and fine paintings adorning the walls. There was nothing short of a touch of class and sophistication with the drapes and muted but tasteful tones of the restaurant.

Yan Ting Restaurant serves Chinese fine dining cuisine strongly inspired by the authentic Ming Dynasty, when authentic Chinese culinary art flourished. They have an exquisite menu specially designed and crafted by their new Executive Chinese Chef, Tony Wun.  It was Easter Sunday but the restaurant was packed with diners.

We came for their Dimsum, so our first item was their Crispy BBQ Pork Buns (SGD$6.00 for 3) - there were 5 of us and we ordered 3 to start. We liked it enough to order another set of these crispy pork buns with crusty skin that melted in the mouth; the honeyed BBQ pork were tender and sweet, filling up these crusty shells deliciously.

Next, Radish Pastry (SGD$7.00 for 3 rolls) were one of our favorites as well, so we had a second order for this as well. Imagine flakey skin with softly sweet flavor melting away to refreshing bites of radish slivers, no less or more sweeter than its lovely crusts.

Then we had the Glutinous Rice in Leaves aka Rice Dumplings (SGD$18.00 for 3) - which was the exactly the latter in form and printed on the receipt, even though I was sure I'd ordered the former from the menu. Anyway, it did not disappoint at all - the rice was well cooked so that it was soft but still chewy in texture, and the simple ingredients of salted egg yolk, dried shrimps and meat made the tiny dumplings ridiculously tasty.

Following that, we were served the Cheong Fun (SGD$10.00) with BBQ Pork - you can have the choice of scallops, shrimps and something else I cannot recall. The rice rolls were relatively smooth and the bbq pork quite succulent, but sorry to say that I have had better chee cheong fun at other places.

Moving on, we had Meat Dumplings with Abalone (SGD$9.00 for 3), or better known as "Siew Mai". The abalone was steamed soft and tender, very easy to bite - even the mom approves. The shrimp within the dumpling was very fresh and bouncy, however I did not like the meat. Instead of the usual minced meat, the meat in the siew mai here seemed to be in pieces, and were hard, with a distinctive porky taste that was not pleasant in my opinion.

The next item we had was the Spare Ribs (SGD$6.00) with a decidedly light-flavored sauce. The portion was rather generous but the meat was taut rather than tender.

Then came the Shrimp Dumplings (SGD$9.00 for 3) - juicy prawns with buoyancy in texture once the teeth bites through the thin veil of the dumpling skin. This was definitely a palate pleaser.

After that, we got to enjoy some really good Egg Yolk Buns (SGD$6.00 for 3), more commonly known as "Liu Sha Bao" - small little darlings oozing perfectly warm and delicious salted egg yolk like golden syrup, a unique blend of sweet-saltiness draping luxiously across the tongue like a dream.

The next item another remarkable favorite of mine - the Goose Liver Spring Rolls (SGD$14.00 for 3) - crackling on the exterior and scrumptious on the inside. If you love foie gras, this is just the thing for you - goose liver amongst slivers of vegetables, perfectly paired in texture and flavours.

Following on the heels of the spring rolls were the Chicken Claws (SGD$6.00 for 3) - one could never get enough of plump, juicy chicken feet that are cooked with thick bean paste gravy.

Next up, the Pan Fried Radish Cake with XO Sauce (SGD$10.00) - these deceptively-simple looking cubes were ridiculously palatable and very rich in taste, not sure if it is due to the infusion of XO sauce or the fact that radish was used in lieu of the usual carrots. Every cube was soft, with distinctive taste of radish, dark soy sauce and XO hints - full as we were, we still fought for these irresistable delicacies.

Finally, the one item we managed to squeeze space in our abdomens for - Red Bean Cakes (SGD$8.00 for 3), or known as "3-layers cakes" as recommended by the service crew. The first layer is Osmanthus, then Coconut in the middle, sitting atop Red Bean which is the bottommost layer - the cooling and refreshing dessert was utterly endearing. They were not too sweet, adding just the right touch of soothe to the palate after an engaging savoury meal (yes, the dimsum managed to engage the senses overall).

The only tiny little complaint we had about the place is that our pot of Pu-Er tea was SGD$20.00 in total, but then again this is St. Regis, and I believe they use quality tea (hopefully).

We left the beautiful place suitably pleased - the dimsum items were dainty in size so we could try more variety, some of the items were rather exotic and sumptuous, and the service was excellent. The price was very reasonable as well- SGD$150.00 (after 15% Starwood Group membership discount) for 5 of us.  Here are some ending shots of the sleek settings.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

IPPUDO EXPRESS @ Changi – Japanese dip sandwiches & more!

April 2015, Singapore – Following the recent launch of its 5th store in Singapore at Shaw Centre, the award-winning ramen emporium has yet again unveiled its latest concept store locally – IPPUDO EXPRESS – in Terminal 3 of Singapore’s Changi Airport, which was voted top airport for the 3rd year running in the recent 2015 World Airport Awards.

A unique product available at this new concept store is the offering of Japanese dip sandwiches. Made with premium ingredients, the sandwiches offered include hearty fillings such as chicken, beef and shrimp, complete with flavourful IPPUDO homemade dips for a twist of flavours on the palate.

Ramen fans would not be disappointed with the options offered at the Changi location, which boasts a well-rounded mix between soup bases and flavours. New and exclusive Miso Butter Tonkotsu offers a flavourful, fragrant broth while other special ramen include the originalHakata Tonkotsu, fiery delights Spicy Tan-Tan Men and Spicy Miso Tonkotsu, wholesome and refreshing Hakata Mentai Tonkotsu, as well as the unique dry ramen served hot - Maze Soba.

“We are pleased to bring IPPUDO EXPRESS to Changi Airport, which sees a large number of travellers from all around the world. Launching our new product offering (IPPUDO Dip Sandwiches) at Changi is a great start to conveying to our diners from around the world that in addition to specialising in ramen, we at IPPUDO are constantly innovating and are able to also provide other quality creations to cater to the discerning tastes of consumers,” beams Mr. Toshiyuki Kiyomiya, CEO of Chikaranomoto Holdings Ltd, parent company of IPPUDO.

IPPUDO EXPRESS @ Changi aims to provide a quick and convenient option for travellers on the go, featuring a selection of fresh salads in convenient takeaway packaging, including best-sellers Nikumiso Tofu Salad and Cobb Salad, as well as new additions Japanese Chicken Salad and Beans Salad.

More expansion news are in the pipeline for this exciting year ahead and guests are urged to keep a lookout on IPPUDO SG’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ippudosg for the latest updates. 

Address: 65 Airport Boulevard, #02-K3, Changi Airport Terminal 3 (Department Transit Lounge South), Singapore 819663
Tel: 6241 1591

**Article by Ms Vivien Seah of International Marketing in the form of press release.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Drinks at The Post Bar @ The Fullerton Hotel

1 Fullerton Square, Lobby Level (Groundfloor), Singapore 049178
Tel:  6877 8135

Been wanting to visit this place for a while, and I finally got to do so on the last night of March 2015.  The Post Bar speaks volumes when it comes to conveying the history of The Fullerton Hotel - a posh place converted from the building of the old general post office.

The settings are sleek, chic and classy in their modern honey onyx tones and standing artichoke cardboard lamps. The motif walls and coffered ceilings are retained from the original days of when this place was used as the post office - and of course, the most obvious feature would be the red post box greeting customers at the front of the lounge (see first photo in this blog entry) - and this postbox is STILL in operation, mind you.

Besides the sophisticated ambience and polite service, they have a really awesome band. I forgot to ask for their name and charges - but the male singer had a very smooth and soothing voice - completely moving me when they did Lionel Richie's "Hello".

Okay, so it was the Bro, the SIL and I for drinks chilling out for the night. studying the extensive menu and debating what to have.

The SIL started with a Mai Tai (SGD$19.00), a large bowl-glass of cocktail sweetened by pineapple.  It was certainly a very refreshing drink, and they were generous with the alcohol.

The Bro had a glass of Faively Pinot Noir (SGD$19.00), a smooth but light-bodied wine with a saccharine overture.

I began my thirst quenching with a Classic Mojito (SGD$22.00) - they also have the strawberry or raspberry flavored ones. There was a good balance of mint and lime amongst the rum, though I would have loved the mint to be stronger. They were also very generous with the rum here.

For round 2, the SIL chose a Rusty Nails - a no-nonsense, no-fuss concoction of (alot of) Whiskey and Drambui - too strong for my liking (I don't like Whiskey).

The Bro ordered a Lychee Sling - a vintage cocktail with a fruity twist, concocted by their dedicated mixologists. They actually have many different and unique flavors of Sling other than the classic Singapore Sling - such as Almond, Hazelnut, Vanilla etc. The drink was a little too sweet, like mocktails, with slight hints of alcohol in this case.

For me, I ended the evening with a Raspberry Daiquiri - dashes of raspberry juice with tequila and Triple Sec, strong enough for my liking but sweetened by the dash of raspberry.  I enjoyed this drink  as well.

It was a lovely place, and actually the bar snacks (cooked food) smelt really good - next time I might pop by earlier on emptier stomaches to give the grub a try.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Afternoon Tea at The Cafe & Terrace @ Raffles Town Club

1 Plymouth Avenue, Level 2 Whitley Wing, Raffles Town Club, Singapore 297753
Tel: 6357 3332

Located within the quiet serenade of Raffles Town Club, The Cafe and Terrace lounge is basked in an elegance of elegance and quiet sophistication; even the guests take care to tone down their conversation in this posh lounge that looks like it has been frozen in classic timelessness.

A few steps away, one is treated to the enticing poolview, more befitting for a lovely sunny day (it was drizzling when I was there), hence we retreated into the comfort of the lounge with a window view facing the other side of bustling Dunearn Road.

Pity there was only one waitress on duty to take care of the entire lounge this afternoon, hence service was a little slow. Anyway, we had Black Coffee and Earl Grey Tea, basic drinks that somehow tasted better in this ambience.

There was no food menu available for browsing, and if I heard the waitress correctly, there is no fixed food items on a daily basis. One has to check for what's available on a daily basis - I like the air of mystery.

So we had the Club Sandwich, consisting of ham and eggs with chips on the side. As club sandwiches go, this was a rather tall / thick stack of ingredients slapped into one, held together by a long metallic pick. The flavor was quite good, and bread was soft.

Overall, it is a beautiful lounge, very comfortable for a leisurely afternoon tea session, catching up or business discussions.