Santi was the best Spanish restaurant in Singapore that i ever dined in, and then they closed. Imagine my devastation. Thankfully Chef Jose Alonso went over to Binomio, which is now officially my favorite tapas spot. For $69 for 6 plates or $86 for 8 plates, you can eat to your heart's/tummy's content with Binomio's tapas tasting menu. Well, S didn't quite know how to make reservations and we ended up in the 'fine dining' restaurant instead of the raucous bar.
The romantic and gorgeous Maldives has been touted as a honeymoon spot since... well i'm of age to know what romance is. Yes it's the perfect setting for romance, but also a great destination for city folks like us to de-stress and recharge on the pearl string of island atolls in the Indian Ocean. And i thought it would be even more so perfect as a wellness destination, with plenty of yoga involved, and healthy delicious cuisine as well (you just can't take the yogi out of me).
It was fate that brought me and Ayurva Traveller, together, just when i was planning my Maldivian holiday. Ayurva Traveller specializes in wellness holidays in exotic destinations such as Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan (all on my travel list) and founder Nilusha shares the same travel philosophy as i do. It also helps that there is a variety of resorts (all on my list as well), with different packages and experiences that are exclusive to them.
We took a three day wellness package with Detox Spa Treatment at Jumeirah Vittaveli, a sophisticated and lux resort in the Southern Atoll. What i liked about the resort is that they also offer a host of fitness activities like yoga, Muay Tai, circuit training, meditation etc. which complements the spa-focused wellness package that Ayurva Traveller offers.
A little more on our 3d wellness package, it includes 3 x 1h spa treatments at the Talise Spa i.e. body scrub, lymphatic drainage massage, and cellulite massage.
The Over Water treatment suite at the Talise Spa is an oasis of tranquility and luxury. We were also treated to fresh juices as part of our treatments.
A private wellness activity (
Call me spoilt but i've also come to expect yoga mats in my hotels and JV provides that in our villa! Yay to sunrise and sunset yoga any time of day!
Of course, living well is like 70% diet and 30% exercise (though we can always exercise more) and we made sure we put in some goodness into our tummies.
Jumeirah is starting to go big on the wellness aspect and that shows in their f&b and private dining options. We had a private breakfast which revolves around the special Talise Nutrition recipes planned by the Jumeirah team of nutritionists in Dubai.
The same goodness can be experienced at the breakfast buffet at Samsara in fact but it's always nice to have a bit of privacy.
Make sure you get some of the delicious oatmeal porridge with honeycomb and the homemade muesli (love it). I can not resist the Mango smoothie (more like lassi) and the Ayurvedic water tasted like chai latte without any of that caffeine or milk!
Fresh juices with tropical fruits can be prepared on demand as well.
It's the first time i felt so relaxed in a while. It must be the Maldivian air. I'm so coming back again. Maybe a different package at another luxury resort? ;)
For more information on Ayurva Traveller and Jumeirah Vittaveli, check out their respective websites.
Will be updating on the accommodation options at Jumeirah Vittaveli, as well as a full food review of their f&b offerings! Stay tuned!
Finally A.E.I.O.U. Because Avocado Coffee. We have been getting avocado gula melaka milkshake at our hawker centers since eons ago so it kinda puzzles me how people didn't think of this avo + coffee pairing sooner. (Like why didn't i think of this!) Anyhoo, love love love this healthy morning shot of caffeine at this sprawling vintage cafe in the industrious Jalan Besar.
I didn't expect to finish the huge cup of blended and sweetened avocado shake in the Absolut Vodka bottle but i did. In fact, I would have gladly finished another bottle of this but i may just OD on caffeine (each bottle comes with 2 shots of espresso). The bitterness and acidity of the espresso was nicely balanced with the creamy, nutty avocado blend though i found it a little sweet for my liking. Tell them to cut the sugar and sweeten on your own if that's preferred.
W decided to be adventurous and went for the Lemongrass coffee. Again, another drink that came sweetened. This is essentially a long black with a light hint of lemongrass. Our verdict is to skip this and stick with the regular flat white or latte.
The Beef Cheek Pasta ($24.90) was recommended by my sources but us girls were not up for an assault of our palates so early in the morning. Do give it a shot if you need something heavy.
So instead, we had the Sunny side up ($13.90) which is kind of like baked eggs (4 of them), or more like a half-baked shakshuka, drizzled minimally with pesto sauce. The iron cast pan dish came with a choice of duck confit, smoked salmon or roast chicken. Perhaps a change from fried eggs to slightly more runny ones to fully utilize that lovely crusty garlic bread. 2 slices weren't enough and we added more of that pungent garlic herb butter toast ($2.90 for 4 slices).
We also had the bite size quiches ($8.90 for 3) and they were more tart-like than quiche. Loved the buttery and crumbly tart though. We asked for a mix of shredded beef and vegetable quiches, which were baked with caramelised onions and served with sweet onion marmalade. The beef had a sourish balsamic flavor, with a hint of olive tapenade. It's not a spectacular dish and i wouldn't recommend ordering this.
I wanted to like A.E.I.O.U. a lot more. It's a great space actually. Maybe it's more suited for having a proper meal.
111 King George’s Avenue Singapore 208559
Tel : +65 6291 2698
Tue- Thu: 11am - 10pm (Fri till 11pm)
Tue- Thu: 11am - 10pm (Fri till 11pm)
Sat: 10am - 11pm
Sun: 10am - 9pm
Gentle(wo)manly pursuits at the revamped Bar & Billiard Room at Raffles Singapore. B&B is the oldest existing bar in its original location in Singapore, and it will bring you back to the old school with their crazy storage of 400 curated whiskies alongside an entirely new cocktail list and bar menu. Sophisticated yet relaxed, just like what you would expect a gentlemen bar to be (cigars included, not that i approve of smoking).
Even if you can't appreciate whisky (like me), you can get schooled here by Christoph B. Nyfeler Raffles Singapore’s Resident Whisky Expert (dude has 16 years of whisky experience). For serious drinkers, the whisky list here boasts a strong Scottish presence with a good selection of American bourbons and Japanese whiskies, many of which hand selected, limited ed and directly imported.
I would fly anywhere for food (sorta) but currently there isn't much of a need to with Citibank's $100Gourmet. Since April 2015, Citibank has been bringing in the foreign star chefs to Singapore and toying with creative collaborative cuisine with our local stars every month. From now till April 2016, there would be one visiting chef working in partnership with two major Singaporean restaurants to present inventive menus at a special price of $100++ for Citibank cardmembers.
A 6 course menu is presented over a period of 6-8 days and seats are super limited. We were lucky to bag a table for the month of July and had the dinner by Nick Bril (The Jane Antwerp, Belgium) and Takuma Seki (IKYU).
The Jubilee Weekend in Singapore may be over but and it doesn't take an occassion to celebrate Singapore and IMO there's no better way than eating up a storm! I would recommend that you guys head on over to The Clifford Pier for a taste of Shermay Lee's ‘Singapore’s Culinary Grande Dames Menu’, which features a curated selection of dishes from three grande dames of Singaporean and Peranakan cooking – Mrs. Lee Chin Koon, Mrs. Leong Yee Soo and Mrs. Ellice Handy.
Eating and living well is a big part of my life. While it may seem like i'm always indulging in rich and decadent food as shown on my social media platforms, i actually eat simply and healthily on a daily basis and am a regular at my yoga studio. That's how i was drawn to check out Saakalya Yoga's Yogalicious programme, a half day cooking and yoga course, at their Chip Bee Gardens home studio.
I was struck by a serious case of wanderlust (i get that kind of 'attacks' rather frequently) with nowhere to go and that's when i got started on searching for idyllic spa experiences in hope that it'll take that edge away. The search kinda ended at ESPA at Resorts World™ Sentosa, a massive 10,000 sqm spa wonderland with an on-site spa restaurant Tangerine to enhance your outer beauty with inner goodness.
Well before i got a chance to check myself into the full day spa treatment, i had the opportunity to sample dishes from the the newly created spa menu by Thailand's Iron Chef Ian Kittichai. Chef absolutely shattered the notion that healthy spa food has to be raw and bland with his version of flavorful Thai flavored Western dishes that are low in calories and big on flavors. You can be sure that only the best, wholesome and sustainable ingredients go into your tummy after a relaxing massage.
We love odens. Having sticks of warmness on a cold winter night is just so comforting. Like I’m being wrapped in a chikuwa blanket. It took nary effort to convince this 2 skinnyfat girls (twin tummy and I) to check out the new Oden Kaiseiki meal at HAN, a restaurant specializing in in Naniwa (‘old’ Osaka) cuisine and Kushikatsu.
We were curious about the kaiseki aspect, since oden is typically a one-pot affair, a convenient store eat, a bar snack (yea Japanese). HAN modernizes and enhances the guests’ experience by serving each ingredient in individual courses, allowing for the distinctive taste of each component to be highlighted in every dish. For $160/set, we were very interested in seeing how Chef Arakawa elevates the simple ingredients.
We started with the appetizers of Anago, Whelk with Sake Lees and Wasabi, Chicken Fillet with Asparagus Terrine with Sesame Sauce. While there weren't anything spectacular, the flavors were familiar with an extra touch of TLC e.g. the umami sake yeast and crunchy Hokkaido asparagus. God knows how much effort went into making that chicken fillet dressing.
Another pretty distraction was the Sashimi. The gelatinous pike eel was an interesting change to the usual mix of sashimi assortment served in restaurants and we had it alongside the fresh cuts of kinmedai, maguro, kanpachi and saba.
Finally! Oden was served! HAN has chosen to serve Kansai-style (specifically the Kamigata Osaka style) Oden, using a blend of kelp, dried bonito, white shoyu and mirin to yield a lighter and sweeter broth. Every piece of oden (7 in total) was served individually on a beautiful ceramic dish (the pottery artist in us couldn't stop admiring the artworks). The simplicity captured the essence of ‘wa' in Japanese art. Sitting at the counter, it was as though we were transported to a Japanese family-run restaurant, having a comforting meal after a hot soak in the onsen.
Cold is how i typically like my Hokkaido Snow Crab Leg, but the sweetness of the succulent and fluffy meat was brought out by the dashi. We could certainly do with more of this!
The Thick Fried Tofu with homemade Inaka Miso, and Fried Beancurd Skin, tasted just like their names—simple and homely. The bean products were of high quality, having been sourced from Osaka and Kyoto respectively. We are fans of the silky sheets of beancurd skin-- the layers picked up the lovely broth so perfectly. And that personal touch of inaka miso.. oh how i love miso.
“One cannot claim to have eaten oden if he did not eat the daikon”. Famous words by the twin tummy and i concur! The beauty of daikon is that it absorbs the flavours of the stock that it had been carefully simmered in, and a bite into it is like eating a round block of TLC. The Boiled Radish with Sweet White Miso at Han satisfied the tastebuds. The daikon was well-prepared and can be eaten without the miso. However, the miso was delightful with hints of yuzu and that citrusy sweet-salty combination is a winner that can be easily eat on its own.
Also served was the Simmered Pork with Ankake Sauce, Sardine Ball with Yuzu Chilli Paste and Cabbage Roll with Minced Beef and Pork. We loved the healthy vegetarian-looking Cabbage Roll which exploded with the taste of a hamburg with a touch of light homemade tomato sauce.
The simmered pork belly was first broiled, then steamed for 3 hours with ginger, garlic and spring onions to break down every sinew for that melt-in-your-mouth texture. Delicious.
Even though i'm not a fan of sardine, this sardine ball mixed with horse mackerel reduced the strong fishy flavor and the yuzu green chili paste masked it further. That said, it was a little powdery on the palate.
The grilled course consists the Burdock Cake and Red Ginger Fish Cake. I was never a Japanese fish cake fan as it's often quite dense and jaw-breakingly chewy. HAN didn't change my mind but the flavors were interesting enough. As for Z, she was in love with the Burdock, something she only fell in love with while living in Japan.
Kushikatsu was next and one can't go wrong with breaded and fried food on sticks. The taste of Italian-Japanese cuisine was reflected in the Cherry Tomato with Cream Cheese. Give us more!
The Angel Prawn and Scallop Kushikatsu (the later hails from the Aomori sea) had the distinct taste of the ocean.
Like at a chinese wedding dinner, the last course (before dessert at least!) served was a carb dish. It was a choice between Udon or Ochazuke (plum, seaweed or wasabi). The udon was decent but you should not miss the Ochazuke. The smoky soup porridge is best paired with seaweed for that comforting and warm buzz, plum for a sour hit, or the seasoned wasabi stem if you like a punch (i loved this too).
The evening at Han was a cozy affair and ended with the refreshing Shizuoka Melon and Peach. Now, the big question is, would you pay $160 for the simple (but high quality) produce that are prepared perfectly? You decide. It did kind of 'transported' us to Japan, and made us forget that we were dining in a restaurant right smacked in the 'Civic District' on a Tuesday night.
HAN’s Oden Kaiseki Course is available at dinner and it includes an Appetizer, Sashimi, 7 kinds of Oden, 1 Grilled course, 1 Fried course, a choice between Udon or Ochazuke and Dessert. Those looking for the complete Oden experience can opt for HAN’s Oden Omakase Menu at $120++ per person. Ala carte Oden is available at market price.
This article is proudly presented to you by the Skinnyfat Twin Tummies C and Z.
331 North Bridge Road #01-04
Odeon Towers Singapore 188720
Tel: +65 6336 2466
Daily: 12 - 3pm, 6 - 11pm