Saturday, August 06, 2016

Staycation Ideas with Delicious Food and Great View: The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore.

If you are a last minute planner or your partner is suddenly available during this coming National Day holiday, you can consider the "Celebrate with the Nation" or "Explore Singapore" room packages that is valid from 29 to 31 July and 8 to 10 August 2016.

These two packages are offered by The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore and the rooms offered are the Premier Rooms / Club Rooms.

We had the privilege to join The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore folks for a half-day experience of the "Explore Singapore" guided tour and dinner at Colony.

View of the National Stadium from The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore

The photo above was taken from the Premier Room.  It will be exciting to witness the fireworks that will light up the sky above and over the Singapore National Stadium where the National Day Parade will be held this year, in the comfort of a luxurious room where you can enjoy a bottle of Moët & Chandon and a variety of snacks.

Below are details of the two packages:

"Celebrate with the Nation" - SGD740
  • Overnight accommodation in a Premier Room
  • Daily buffet breakfast for two persons
  • One bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne per stay
  • SGD50 in-room dining credit.
(If you want to snack while watching the fireworks, you can order the Celebratory Snack Platter on 9 August from SGD80 that includes steamed seafood siew mai, California maki and gula melaka cupcakes.)

"Explore Singapore" - SGD1800
  • Overnight accommodation in a Club room including exclusive Club privileges
  • A three-hour private guided tour by an accredited local guide conducted in English, inclusive of limousine transfers per stay
  • Dinner for two person at Colony per stay
  • A bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne per stay

Here are some photos of the "Explore Singapore" tour. We joined a local tour where we visited Haji Lane, Kampung Gelam and Chinatown.  The tour guide was engaging and we didn't even realised we had walked for 3 hours!

Mural at Haji Lane

It's been some time since we last went to Haji Lane. The artistic murals are the centre of attraction.  Our tour guide told us that this area was previously a sea shore and Muslims would start their pilgrimage to Mecca by boarding the boat here.

Mural at Haji Lane

While we were intrigued by the interesting shops, cafes and bakeries along the way, we noticed many people taking selfies /wefies 'instagram' worthy photos. 

Our tour guide gave us a crash course in the history behind Kampong Gelam.  He pointed us to the "Gelam" tree which Kampung Gelam is named after and also captivated us with the history on the Sultan Mosque, Sri Mariamman Temple and also the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum.

After the tour, we made our way to Colony for dinner.

Ice Bar featuring various Cold Seafood like Oysters and Lobsters at Colony, The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore

It was a fully booked night. We have dined here privately on several occasions and noticed the menu is always slightly different depending on the season so we are assured of the freshness of the ingredients.

If you are interested to view photos of what Colony offers, you can follow the hashtag #DiningAtColony on Instagram.

Tomahawk - Colony, The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore

The "Tomahawk" Roast that was the feature "Roast" of that night.  We once had the "Iberico Roast Piglet" during one of our previous visit. I have to refer to the photos in my phone for other visits. It was always changing.

Fireworks from the Premier Room, The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore

This photo was taken from an iPhone so don't worry if you do not own a DSLR to be able to capture the fireworks.

Here are snippets of the outing.  Sorry for the jerky video as it was taken using a tiny hand-held camera. Enjoy the video.

The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
7 Raffles Avenue
Singapore 039799

For reservations and enquiry:
Tel: (65) 6434 5111

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Seasonal Taste @ The Westin Singapore, The Great Thai Feast.

It has been some time since the wife and I dined here. We first dine here when we saw the opening specials of Westin Singapore and booked a room for a short staycation. (Time passes so quickly as they are now 3 years old!)

We wondered into Seasonal Taste because there was nothing really opened at Asia Square at that time. During the weekends the restaurants at Asia Square were all closed then. We decided to have the a la carte items during lunch and they were good. All the Westins around the world has this healthy menu. Healthy yet tasty menu.

For dinner, we had dinner one night at Cook and Brew and another night at Seasonal Taste. We had their buffet then and somehow we never came back. If you watched enough restaurants reality TV, you know why you shouldn't come during the early days of opening. LOL.

We are back this time and this was an invite from the hotel and was also an unhosted tasting. You just dine like a regular guest, they foot the bill. If we liked it, we write about it. We were seated near a table of 4 hungry ladies, a couple on a date and a table of 8 businessmen on company dinner.

For 2 weeks till 31 July, they are having The Great Thai Feast.

Seasonal Taste @ Westin - The Great Thai Feast

If you are a SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest, not Sarong Party Girl lah...) member (which is free by the way, and I have it since 2003), you get a discount of 20% plus Starpoints for future hotel stay redemption.

Seasonal Taste @ Westin - The Great Thai Feast

One of the highlights of the Thai Feast is the Kor Moo Yang (Marinated Grilled Pork Neck). Yes, it's the fatty and muscled meat part of the oink oink animal and is used in Thai and Chinese cooking for melt in the mouth dishes. I am sure if you have been to Thailand, you have bought them to snack like me.

The dipping sauce Jim Jaew is an addictive sauce accompanies this dish. I drizzled it for most of the things I ate!

Seasonal Taste @ Westin - The Great Thai Feast

Another highlight of the Thai Feast is the Tom Yum Gung. Prepare to "cough /choke" on your first mouth. Recover from it and you will want more. I know my stomach, so I shared a bowl with the Mrs. If I have more of it, the body will tell me!

The table next to us really loved it from their chatter.  It's sometimes a joy to watch other people eat right? "Eavesdropping" on people who talk loudly and enjoying and laughing silently with and also at them. 

Seasonal Taste @ Westin - The Great Thai Feast

Marry a partner who peels prawns, and she will dish a bowl to share and then peel it for you as well.

Seasonal Taste @ Westin - The Great Thai Feast

Papaya salad - the 'live' station that has the chef pound your salad in the Clay Kruk mortar and wooden pestle. Do you think the clay mortar bruise the Som Tams and Nam Priks gentler so they are better flavoured?

It's recommended to eat it with the Grilled Pork Neck, fresh prawns and/or salted egg.

Seasonal Taste @ Westin - The Great Thai Feast

Pad Thai! There was once when a few of us visited Bangkok, we were on a Pad Thai discovery. We ordered and tasted Pad Thai from so many places, from streets carts and small eateries, chain restaurants and higher end establishments. We discovered that where the locals eat, the noodles are QQ / al dente. If it's a place where tourists go, it's soft like how we normally get in Thai restaurants here. I wonder if my observation was correct.

Well, this Thai Chef prepares it the QQ way here. Your parents might say it's undercook haha! A good thing about a buffet is you can add as much peanuts or chilli flakes or lime on it.

Many people will avoid the raw bean spouts and chives right?

Seasonal Taste @ Westin - The Great Thai Feast

I had many rounds from this station. Skewered meats, chicken wings and roast chicken with that dipping sauce that is addictive. 

Seasonal Taste @ Westin - The Great Thai Feast

I have a confession. I mostly skipped this station. Too much veggies for a pig out night.
I only took the Nam Prik for the veggies and used it for some rounds of cold seafood and meats.

Seasonal Taste @ Westin - The Great Thai Feast

Not Oysters Kilpatrick, but grilled oysters with Red Curry and Green Curry. 
I think they have this for those who don't like freshly shucked oysters! Somehow they tasted so good. 

Seasonal Taste @ Westin - The Great Thai Feast

The main staples of the Seasonal Taste buffet - Canadian Lobsters, freshly shucked oysters. (also mussels, prawns, scallops). For the Thai Feast, they have in addition to the usual dips and sauces, Thai sauces and dips.

This was the Mrs. She always love her lobsters and oysters.

Seasonal Taste @ Westin - The Great Thai Feast

This is my plate. I prefer Lobsters and Prawns. I had them with Jim Jaew.

Oh, if you like Pork Skin/Rind, they have a bag at the salad table and it disappears quickly. If you see it when you walk past, grab some and then top it with the spicy spreads. That's why there is pork rind on my seafood.

Seasonal Taste @ Westin - The Great Thai Feast

They have a quite a few Thai based desserts too. The colourful Khanom Luk Chup, it's mung bean filling inside the colourful outer layer. Like Ang Ku Kueh! 

They also have some Thai Pumpkin Custard which disappeared quite quickly! When I wanted to taste it, it's gone!

Seasonal Taste @ Westin - The Great Thai Feast

I had Khao Niew Ma Muang (Mango Sticky Rice), I know many people love this, but I am one who don't appreciate it. I like my Toffee Pudding with Toffee Sauce eaten with a scoop of Dark Chocolate Gelato, so good. I had a few more scoops of blood orange sorbet, mango sorbet and avocado gelato.

A photo posted by Philip Lim (@keropokman) on

I had 6 helping of this addictive Cha Yen (Thai Milk Tea), made from black tea infused with condensed milk. The hungry ladies beside us, they were also thirsty! Instead of these small mugs that is placed at the dessert table, they used their big iced water glasses from their table to fill it up! That good! I think I haven't had anything with condensed milk for a long time that's why!
(Warning, very sweet! Thai style sweet, which I think some people can't take it.)

If you consider this for dinner this week if you are planning for some Thai food. On a Wednesday night, it was quite filled up.

Seasonal Taste
The Westin Singapore
Level 32,
12 Marina View,
Asia Square Tower 2
Singapore 018961

Tel: +65 6922 6968

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Michelin Guide 2016 - Bib Gourmand awarded to 34 eating places in Singapore.

I have ordered my personal copy of Singapore Michelin Guide 2016 and waiting for it to arrive. I know some people says isn't it silly to order when the information will be available online? Well, I have the early versions of Makan Sutra Guide, Miele Guide and why not at least a copy of Michelin Guide too? I love reading from paper is my answer.

It's one week before the official launch of the Singapore version of the Guide and they have released the names of restaurants and street food outlets in Singapore that has been awarded the "Bib Gourmand". It's what the 'Michelin Inspectors' have regarded as very good and the price range is lower than the restaurants that have the 'stars'. In Singapore the price is below $45. (In Hong Kong, it's below HKD300, or London below £28). I certainly hope the prices of the food won't reach $45 for a bowl of Bak Kut Teh!!

The press release has the following listing:

Alaturka Bussorah Street
Hjh Maimunah Jln Pisang
Ka Soh College Rd
Kok Sen Keong Saik Rd
Lagnaa Upper Dickson Rd
New Ubin Seafood Sin Ming Road
Peony Jade Bukit Chermin Road
Shish Mahal Albert St
Song Fa Bak Kut Teh New Bridge Road
328 Katong Laksa East Coast Rd
True Blue Cuisine Armenian St
Whole Earth Peck Seah St
Yhingthai Palace Purvis St
Zaffron Kitchen East Coast Rd
Other Street Food Establishments
Bismillah Biryani Dunlop Street
JB Ah Meng Kitchen Geylang Road
Sin Huat Eating House Geylang Road
Hawker Stalls
Claypot Laksa Alexandra Village Food Centre
A Noodle Story Amoy Street Food Centre
Famous Crispy Curry Puff Amoy Street Food Centre
Hong Kee Beef Noodle Amoy Street Food Centre
Hoo Kee Rice Dumpling Amoy Street Food Centre
Wedang Golden Mile Food Centre
Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa Hong Lim Market and Food Centre
Na Na Curry 115 Bukit Merah View Market and Food Centre
Chey Sua Carrot Cake Toa Payoh Block 127 Food Centre
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Maxwell Food Centre
Shi Hui Yuan Mei Ling Food Centre
Alliance Seafood Newton Food Centre
The Fishball Story Have since relocated to NUS University Town and Timbre+
Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice Tiong Bahru Market
Hong Heng Fried Sotong Prawn Mee Tiong Bahru Market
Balestier Road Hoover Rojak Whampoa Market Place
Liang Zhao Ji Whampoa Market Place

I have not tried all of it, never heard of some of it as well. Some deserve it as they food has been really good and my family and I enjoy eating there. Some eating places have moved away more than 5 km from where we stay and we stopped going there. Maybe it's time to try the food at Ka Soh again!

Some listing.... I wonder why..... I really wonder!!! There are more who deserve the listing. Before anyone say why isn't more deserving ones listed? It's just like any other guide or listing, online or on paper.  It's just someone's view. Just like you might not totally agree with what I write.

Here are 2 photos of our recent eats at an establishment that has been awarded the Bib Gourmand. The Crab Porridge and Crab Garlic Baked Style at New Ubin Seafood. When we dined there, they said they had one-for-one offer, so we had loads of crabs.

Also some places the prices are not really $45 or less. Maybe a dish maybe. So we don't really know their criteria or who the inspectors are....

A photo posted by Philip Lim (@keropokman) on

A photo posted by Philip Lim (@keropokman) on

 I am also secretly quite happy the Food Centre near my home hasn't got any listings. Prices have been going up by 10-20% for many stalls. One aunty told me, we haven't raised our prices for 8 years, which is fair enough. At least I know the stalls in the Food Centre won't be suddenly going up by a lot so soon.

Happy Eating!

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