Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

If Apple were to design a hotel, it would look like Nine Hours (9h). Clean and sleek lines, futuristic and stark design, idiot friendly check in system, minimalist comfort. Welcome to the future of capsule hotels, right smack in the heart of traditional Kyoto.

We stayed here just for a night because it's too cool not to be checked out and the novelty of sleeping in a capsule was certainly a major pull factor.
The concept: 1 hour shower + 7 hours sleep + 1 hour rest = 9 hours; the optimum length of time for a short yet complete stay. Signs guide you silently and effectively. Quite perfect for the antisocial. Shoe check, luggage check, and then off to the showers.
Follow the number on your key tag and deposit your belongings in the locker. The size is big enough for a cabin bag or medium sized backpack.
Fresh towels, toothbrush set, a comfortable set of PJs and slippers welcome you after a long day of transit. 
A hot shower awaits and there's even a shared hot tub on the other side of the frosted door should you need a relaxing soak. 
I felt like Scarlett Johansson in The Island after donning the chic black pjs. The gender specific lifts will take you to your designated sleeping pods. Certainly very safe for solo women travelers.
The quiet and dimly lit pods were very conducive for a deep rest. There's ample head and leg room even for the non Asian travelers.
No worries about alarms going off while you are asleep. A sleep ambient control system is used to help you fall asleep and wake naturally to the brightness level in the pod. How cool is that right? A shade shields you from the outside world without causing claustrophobia. 

The pods are for 900Y for a day and you can stay up to a maximum of 17h (not just 9h). There's even a sleek space for work or lounging. I'd definitely recommend this for travelers who want a centrally located spot in Kyoto for a short stay. 

Check out the video for a better sense of how 9h is like.

Nine Hours Kyoto Teramachi
588 Teianmaeno-cho, Shijyo, Teramachi-dori,
Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, 600-8031 Japan
Tel: +81 75-353-9005
The long weekend that passed some time ago provided an opportunity to get away. However, our escapade failed because we thought of that too late and tickets were really ex and mostly sold out. In an attempt to satisfy our wanderlust, we headed out of the city to W Hotel at Sentosa Cove for an afternoon of decadent tea.
It is easy to feel like one is out of the country on this off shore island. W may not be the most ideal though. I would suggest Capella because it feels so remote and calm, nothing like the craziness in the city. W still feels like a regular hotel. 

Anyway, we headed to Woobar for their 3 tiered high tea which they have weirdly named DROP THE T². Being a sucker for all things pretty, what got me interested was the presentation of the food. Take a look for yourself. 
Silver bird cages holding the sweet delights line the dining area. Ladies of leisure sip on tea and nibble on little bites while enjoying a bird's eye view of the outdoor marina and yachts. For S$58 for 2 pax, you can feast on the good looking people, not so much the food.
Tea and coffee are free flow and you can change the drinks whenever you want. Fine Dilmah tea is served here and they fared better than the coffee.      
The savory bites were very limited. The 3 pieces were (from left to right) the Chocolate Foie Gras Ganache Tart with Port Wine Jelly and gold leaf, Smoked Chicken Brioche and the Sliced Gravlax Salmon with Soft Goat's Cheese Roll. The foie gras tart was more of a sweet dish than a savory one due to the double combination chocolate and port wine. It wasn't too bad imo but not fantastic either. The brioche was too dry and it's filling pathetic. Of the lot, my favorite was the the smoked salmon and goat cheese roll. The cheese was a little tart but goes well with the smokiness of the salty salmon. I didn't think it was too strong tasting but i love my cheeses so yea..
The sweets were alright if not for the fact that the huge marshmallow balls were disgusting. The airy puffs were waaaaaayyyy too sweet. I can't imagine anyone liking the mint green one unless you like eating toothpaste.

The egg mayonaise sandwich was fine with its almost cake like texture though it was nothing spectacular. A little on the bland side but my friends were ok with it. The Crisp Mango Katafi Roll is kinda like our chinese fried dim sum.

The better items includes the Torched Lemon Meringue Tart which was refreshing and sharp. The crunchy pastry base was buttery enough for my liking. If you like chocolates, there were plenty of big cubes though one was more than enough for me.
I like their scones as well, plain and cranberry were served with passion fruit curd and clotted cream (so they say but i tell you they are whipped for sure). Though the pale looking scones lacked the crunch that i much preferred on the outside, they were dense and had sufficient moisture on the inside. The pairing with the sweet and sour passion fruit curd made them taste way better than they were on their own. 
Now their macarons are actually pretty good. Way better than the regular Antoinette, Bakerzin and Canele. I put them on par with Obolo's and that's something for a locally made macaron. I love the dense chocolate with blueberry center in the blueberry macaron. The Strawberry one was alright as i never fancied cream fillings. 
My verdict? WOOBAR is not a good place for tea. Food isn't great, ambience isn't that fantastic as well. That price will get you better tea somewhere else. If you are in the area, i'd suggest Kith Cafe or another restaurant at Quayside Isle.

21 Ocean Way, Sentosa Cove, W Hotel Singapore
Tel: +65 6808 7258
Sun - Thu: 8am - 11pm
Fri - Sat: 8am - 1.30am
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I'm a carnivore and nothing makes me happier than a combination of thin juicy slices of premium beef with gravy, topped with melted American cheese and sauteed onions sandwiched in a bread roll.  The latest option to satisfy this Philly Cheesesteak craving in Singapore is the Yellow Submarines, a cheery and happy spot located in the Toa Payoh heartland. 
The menu here was conceptualized by fellow Philly cheesesteak lovers, with the help of celebrity chef Chef Eric Teo. Other than the classic cheesesteak, there's also the chicken sub, veg sub, tuna sub and burgers. From a sales point of view, that's only logical considering how we Singaporeans are so darn fickle-minded when it comes to food. 
It's fast food self service at the Yellow Submarines though all orders are made to order on the spot. The food comes out pretty fast so make sure you keep your eyes on the display for your queue number to be pinged. 
The Yellow Submarine Classic (S$6.90) is a tasty sub no doubt with high quality Australian sirloin steak being used in this one. The cheese sauce also had me swooning and i wished there was more of that in my sub (i gave feedback that they should provide a side portion of cheese sauce for all who wants more heh). The bun was also faultless with its crusty exterior and toasted  buttery interior.  

Here comes the but.. and only because i'm too accustomed to the real deal. The meat was a little too thickly sliced and hence it lacked in the juice department. The large onion chunks (a fixture in all their subs) were too Asian styled for my liking. Philly cheesesteaks have long strands of sauteed, caramelized onions, not chunky pieces. And why the ketchup? Now that definitely doesn't belong in a Philly cheesesteak. Thankfully the ketchup taste wasn't too overpowering. I'm not saying it is no good, it's just not authentic Americano. 
Now the Oregano Submarine ($6.90) is nothing American. This is what i'd call an Asian Chicken sandwich. I don't mind the onions in this one as much as i do in the Classic because it belongs with the other flavors. The chicken meat was very tender and juicy and I enjoyed the peppery taste in this one. Aunties and uncles from the neighborhood would probably identify with this sub. 
The Single Hit Beef burger ($5.90) is actually an Italian sausage masquerading as a burger patty. I love how herby and fragrant the meat is and the bun goes so darn well with it. What's missing? Cheese sauce for sure! 
I cannot express how crazy i am about Yellow Submarines' cheese sauce. Made from a blend of several cheeses, this heavily guarded secret recipe is a sure winner. You gotta make your sub a meal with the Torpedo fries and a drink for an additional $3. I say this is certainly one of the best tasting cheese fries in Singapore. 
Other sides were pretty good as well. I had fun with the Dino Chick Junior (4pcs, $2.80), which were perfect with cheese sauce. Kids would love this one. The Corn Mine ($1.50) was also very sweet and juicy. Dayums!
Desserts don't fare as well here ($2.80 each). Again, everything was toned down for the Asian palate. The cheesecake was very milky and soft, though lacking in the richness of the cheese. The brownie was dry and not chocolatey enough.

Overall, i did enjoy my meal at the Yellow Submarines. The fries are sufficient for me to visit again soon. Do hope some changes will be made to un-Asian-fy the subs. More cheese would definitely be awesome. 

On a side note, i lament this whole 'catered to Asian taste' thingy. Food should educate, not accommodate. I admire those chef that stick to the authentic flavors and not let the whim and fancy of ignorant customers dictate what they should serve on the plate. It takes time, but I'm sure the sophisticated Singaporean diner would appreciate that. 

Peace out.

Yellow Submarines
Blk 177 #01-110, Toa Payoh Central (S)310177
Daily: 10.30am – 10.30pm

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I'm a fan of Chef Vincent Teng even before Skyve Wine Bistro was established at Winstedt Road. I fell in love with his European fare and that to-die-for Duck Confit when i first tasted it at Table 66. My duty as a food blogger has made it hard for me to visit any particular restaurant on a regular basis but Skyve is gonna be another exception (there aren't many) for me. 
Sous vide is the focus at Skyve Wine Bistro, as it was at Table 66. With the larger kitchen, Chef Vincent has taken the sous vide technique to a higher level and practically every item was done this way for their updated menu. If you don't get what the rave is all about sous vide, you should really give it a try at Skyve because it's fantastic. Sous vide enhances the natural flavors of the ingredients and you can really taste the goodness of each cow, lamb, fish or vegetable. S claimed that i was gushing non-stop after my meal. Perhaps i was/am still gushing but that's what good food do. 
Following the awesomest olive bread that was served (i was too shy to ask for seconds), we had the cold Crab & Tomato Momotaro ($22) as the first starter. The confit of tomato momotaro from Japan is an intricate and harmonious combination of sweet and tangy. The chilled crab meat provided a tinge of saltiness from the sea and thai inspired basil pesto (with fish sauce) a taste of the garden. What's surprising was the icy yuzu sorbet that cooled and refreshed the palate.
If i were to give a description of the 64 deg Sous Vide Egg & Spaghettini ($18) on the menu, it would be 'The starter that you will NEVER wanna share". I'm just a little disappointed that they only serve this for dinner! Soft poached egg, spaghettini in truffle salsa, iberico ham, truffle hollandaise.. this is perfect breakfast food hello! The truffle taste was pretty strong on aroma but the taste was bland. However, if you mix the whole lot together, the saltiness of the Iberico ham will help to overcome that. Still.. this is my favorite dish.
Something a little more Asian was the Cereal Crusted Cod ($36).
The cereal and spice crust was similar to our chinese zi char style. The cod fish was slightly savory and i do love the oily fish which was accompanied by a soyu ginger vinaigrette. All the seasonal vegetables are sous vide as well and i love how tender and sweet they were despite the absence of seasoning.
When i first heard that we were gonna do a tempura of beef tongue, i was puzzled. Like seriously? Beef tongue? With all its chewiness? But that's the great thing about sous vide and its ability to break down all that sinew and proteins and that's how the beef tongue became.. Tofu. The other half of Tongue in Cheeks ($36) is a 6 hours sous vide wagyu beef cheeks that is soooo well done (not in the overcooked sense) it melts. Lovely lovely dish.
Now what i like better than the beef and fish was the Lamb Rack ($40), a lovely grilled marinated lamb rack served with a light curry spiced roasted pumpkin (da luuurve). The sauce is a little sweet and sour a la Korean style when eaten on its own. However, when accompanied with the mango and mint chutney, the dish took on a Mediterranean taste. Surprise surprise.
Desserts were pretty stellar. The Mango & Cheese Semifreddo ($12) wasn't the least heavy/gelat because of the frozen lime foam that tasted like a zingy yogurt. I'm glad that Chef Vincent shares my love for buttery and crumbly pastries because the sablee cookies that he insists on making himself were fabulous.

Inspired By Reds ($12) is an intense strawberry parfait served with sous vide strawberry in balsamic vinegar (werrrt), raspberry sorbet, flower tuile, dehydrated raspberry. I can go on eating dehydrated raspberries because the flavor was much more powerful than the fresh ones.
Skyve gave the typical Tiramisu ($12) a twist with this open presentation. The ladyfingers were soaked in STRONG coffee liqueur, piled with whipped and light mascarpone cream and icy kahlua granita. More crunchy cookie bits to give it more texture. I stopped myself from eating the display set for our blogging purposes. Chef Vincent made us petit portions so that we could enjoy all the dishes without stuffing ourselves silly. Such a sweet man. 
Me with Myfoodsirens, Chef Vincent and Alexis 
So yea.. Skyve is definitely my chill out place from now. It's great for a lazy brunch (which i will post up on the blog soon), a fun dinner with the girls or even for drinks with the pals. I do love the alfresco area on a breezy night. Live music also available every Wed and Friday. Now let's go skyving. ;)

Skyve Wine Bistro
10 Winstedt Road, Block E, #01-17, Singapore 227977
Tel: +65 6225 6690
Daily: 10am to 1am 

I've been exploring the off the beaten path eats along the Orchard hotel belt and it has been pretty enjoyable. The ambience is serene and peaceful and there is none of that jostling with the Orchard Road crowd. I recently dined at the Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre’s Tandoor North Indian Restaurant, which i didn't even know existed because it's hidden at the basement of the hotel, which is not even visible from Orchard Road.

This hidden gem is only mostly known to the Indian community and corporate diners looking for a posh yet cosy dining environment. The palace courtyard decor is complete with balcony-like windows and tranquil fountains. This will change come August 2013 as the restaurant undergo a contemporary facelift in June.  

In commemoration of their 28th year of operation, the restaurant is offering a 12-dish set menu (veg and non-veg) comprising of their all-time favourites. Available from 1 April to 31 May, the menu is affordably priced at $28 nett and will allow loyal customers and new ones to reminisce and sample their offerings. 
The sampler of appetizers in the Non Veg menu include Tandoori Aloo, Paneer Ka Soola, Mahi Rai (Sole fillet) and Murg Tikka (tandoori chicken). My favorite was surprisingly the starchy and smoky Aloo (potatoes) stuffed with dry fruits and Indian spices (i've a potato-cooked-indian-style phobia since my 1 month stint in Uttarakhand). The Sole Fillet was moist and flavored with yogurt, mustard seeds and lemon juice but i thought it was a tad salty. 
The Tandoori Chicken on the other hand was a little bland despite the spices. I'm not a fan of tandoori chicken because they tend to be a little dry but these cubes maintained their juiciness.

My liking for an Indian restaurant depends largely on how well they do their Butter Chicken. Tandoor did it well enough for me to ask for a second helping. The sauce was creamy and thick enough to be easily mopped up by the garlic naan though i would prefer something richer. The richness in the flavor has been toned down to suit the Asian palate with the generous use of tomato sauce, which tasted even stronger when the food is cold. I guess i'm not that Asian/Chinese when it comes to eating..
Other items for the main course include the Classic Mutton Curry, Gobhi Gajar, Bhindi Jaipuri (okra) and Yellow Moong lentils dhal. I especially loved the Spinach paneer. Gotta feed my Popeye biceps you know ;) Naans, Lachha Parantha and Tandoori Roti, as well as basmati rice are served along with the mains. The naans were a little tough and chewy while i prefer soft and fluffy texture.
The food is served by small portions but you can ask for seconds or thirds and fourths. For small eaters like me who love variety, this is a great way to dine. 
Dinner ended on a sweet note with a Cardamom flavored indian ice cream with pistachio and a milky cup of Masala Chai. I left Tandoor feeling a little nostalgic thinking about all that chai i had in India. Would certainly be interested to come back for the relaunch in August to taste their special degustation menu ($48) which will be updated and modernized. Head on down to taste their food before the closing in June. 

Tandoor North Indian Restaurant
Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre
Basement 1
Daily: 12 - 2.30pm; 7 - 10.30pm   

Clinton Street Bakery serves the BEST Breakfast in New York City. There I said it. Even though i haven't tried all the breakfast places in NYC but it about tops all the breakfasts that i have had in my entire life. That's gotta be something considering i do Breakfast-Breakfast-Breakfast-Breakfast-Breakfast for my meals. And NYC agrees with me, because practically everyone in the city was there queuing to get a table at this coveted bakery/cafe/bistro/restaurant.
Despite our best efforts to get there early, the starving and jet-lagged us (mainly S) were told the wait was 2-3 hours. Desperation called for some random breakfast around the corner (which turned out to be decent), just so we could have a taste of the best blueberry pancakes in NYC (crowned by New York Magazine twice) and more.
The wait and additional calories consumed prior were all worth it when i took that first bite into my Eggs Benedict (US$15). Perfectly poached cafe free organic eggs sat on top the maple cured ham and the signature toasted buttermilk biscuit and given a generous pour over of a creamy, cheesy and full bodied hollandaise sauce. This is THE orgasmic combination and i think we should only do Eggs Ben on Biscuits from now on.

It isn't the most traditional Eggs Benny but who cares? Clinton Street Bakery is part Jewish deli, some Mexican stop and the rest American take out, but the best qualities of them mixed together, as said by owner/chef Neil Kleinberg. It's that kind of hearty food that comforts and warms the tummy when one is exhausted and starved, just as we were that morning.
Great ingredients maketh a good meal and Clinton Street Bakery sources their products from organic and quality farms so that means cage free eggs and chickens, seasonal and local produce, as well as prime quality meats and high grade maple syrup.
Their Award winning pancakes also had Martha Steward singing their praises. Their Wild Maine Blueberry with warm maple butter ($14) are so recognizable i could identify it anywhere. Texture-wise, it's like biting into a slightly salted and buttery cloud dusted with snowy icing. And that warm maple butter is simply divine. This is an excellence case of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

And guess what?! The above mentioned items are served ALL DAY. YESSSS! Even for dinner. That's how good and popular they are. The other 2 breakfast items available all day include The Clinton St. Omelette ($14) and the Huevos Rancheros (Mexican breakfast tortilla, $14).
I guess i'll never do lunch or dinner at Clinton Street Bakery. I'm sure that they do some good food as well but nothing can trump breakfast. If you wanna do the other breakfast items, they are served daily from 8am to 4pm.

Clinton Street Bakery
4 Clinton Street (btw. East Houston & Stanton)
New York, NY 10002 
Tel: +1 646 602 6263