Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

I recently celebrated my super belated birthday with the Stupidgirl (yes it was 4 months too late). The final dinner destination was Pollen, at Gardens by the Bay. Long story short, it was another one of the Stupidgirl's booboo but we were lucky to find an alternative table at Pollen on a Sunday night.

Not that i minded the change in restaurants. Pollen is Michelin star Chef Jason Atherton's second venture in Singapore, following Esquina (read review here). It also is the second outlet of his London flagship restaurant, Pollen Street Social. The food here is supposed to be Mediterranean-inspired modern European cuisine but really, i don't see or taste the Mediterranean at all.

Dinner started with 3 little amuse bouche, all of which distracted us from the important task of creating our menu for the night.
Choux bun filled with cheese and truffle.
Cracklings served with an apple puree and arancini (breaded rice ball with cheese) served with hummus. Adored the arancini with the creamy risotto style rice.
White for the night. Chardonnay and Malagousia. 
The greedy girl insisted on ordering 3 starters because she wanted to try them all. Over ordering and over eating are typical features in our meal dates. The Mosaic of foie gras and confit duck with cherries and tangy apple puree ($40) was quite different from the usual that is served with berries compote. Very yummy.
I highly recommend the Trip to Japan 2012 ($38). Stellar succulent and sweet scallop sashimi were served atop marinated daikon in a lemony and saltish broth of sake and mirin. The sea urchin didn't make a difference to the overall dish. Kinda seemed like it was thrown in just to glorify the dish. More snow in this one (horseradish) but it melted when we were happily snapping away. 
The Scottish lobster ($55) was an elaborate dish. When it was served, we were wondering if we accidentally ordered extra food. This was a 3 course dish and it consisted of an intense lobster bisque, a lobster 'burger' and chilled lobster with fennel cream and sea urchin.
Our favorite was the bisque which was served in a wine glass. Exactly the way it should be savored. Next was the burger was done a la atas lobster roll style but with a buttery brioche bun. These were way better than the tasteless rubbery lobster chunks that were served with fennel cream and sea urchin. Again, the sea urchin was purposeless. 
Our mains- Kurobuta pork belly, braised cheek, charred spring onions, butternut squash, Sudachi lime ($67). There was a great balance of fat and meat though i still removed the obvious squishy bits. Take away all the sides and you have pork belly done Asian way. This is really good roast pork with kong ba essentially. The caramelized and smokey leek with sweet pumpkin puree were great accompaniments. The overall dish was delightful with the various textures and flavors. 
I would do beef anytime but the Halibut ($70) was recommended. Decided to be nice and ordered fish since the SG doesn't do beef. This is a lightly flavored dish and i'm more a fan of strong flavors. Despite that, the simply pan fried fish held up on its own. Again, the sea urchin cream was irrelevant though you could taste a little sweetness as compared to the bland sea urchin complement for all the other dishes.
We were stuffed but we had to have desserts to conclude our Pollen experience. We had the Pollen "Tatin" which was made of Verjusm creme fraiche, caramel jelly, red and green apples ($20). This is a really small dessert and i thought the caramel jelly was an interesting touch. Anyway, i'd much rather a pot of tea with their stellar petit fours. For that i had the moist matcha cake, perfect lime macaron, smooth coffee chocolate and a piece of candy to end the meal. 
Overall, the Pollen experience was great. Lovely ambience that was comfortable and cosy. Great service as well though they could be a little more attentive. Plus the food was pretty good too. Certainly would recommend Pollen for a special occasion. 
18 Marina Gardens Drive
#01-09 Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay
Tel: +65 6604 9988
Daily: 12 - 2.30pm; 6 - 10pm
Singapore Airlines is my favorite airline. While it may not be the cheapest and the flight timing may not be the best all the time, the boy and i would rather pay than sacrifice our comfort. And the best way to fly on SQ? The Singapore Airlines Suites, exclusively on board my other favorite, the A380. This is really the class above the rest. 

And that was what we took to Melbourne! It was a delightful surprise from the boy for our anniversary and Valentine's celebration. I was a little puzzled when our cab pulled up at the private First Class check-in reception at Changi Airport instead of the regular Business Class check in. It was only after the gold printed Suites boarding passes were in my hands did I realize that he had it all planned! Such a sneaky boy. And no it wasn't a surprise proposal if you are wondering. Hur hur.

I did a little dance as we were whisked through Immigration via the private entrance and directly into the SilverKris Lounge like celebrities. 

The Private Room is only meant for First Class and Suites passengers and is separated from the Business class lounge. The warm and luscious tones of gold, warm browns, orange and cream soothed and relaxed my mind and body as i sip on my first glass of bubbly. We adjourned to the dining section for our sit down dinner, fine dining style no less, accompanied by my second glass of bubbles.
For the sake of you, my dear readers, we ordered a fair number of dishes for tasting. Good thing the dishes were degustation portions. Here's the US Prime Beef Burger with Foie Gras and fried quail egg. Burger patty wasn't too flavorful but the foie gras was seared adequately and that had me asking for a second serving. 
I thought i would be sick of lobsters after our Cuba trip but Boston lobsters are sweeter and more flavorful. Love the Baked Lobster in the creamy 3 cheeses- gruyere, emmental and cheddar. Yums. 

IMO, i felt that the Asian dishes were executed better. S enjoyed his flavorful "Lap Mei Fun" Claypot Rice with Chinese pork sausage, waxed duck leg and waxed pork belly, salted fish and cabbage in dark soy sauce. My Chinese Dim Sum basket was delightful as well with fresh and succulent prawns and juicy marinated pork. They were certainly on par with the top Cantonese restaurants in the city. A pity there wasn't any salted egg yolk buns. Now that's the look of a happy belly. Off to the showers and then onto the plane.

Classy wood and leather interior in soothing natural hues, similar to that of the lounge, enhances the sense of serenity. There is also more privacy in Suites as compared to the regular First Class. Each individual cabin features sliding doors and window blinds, offering passengers the level of privacy that they desire.
Here's me getting comfy in the largest ever armchair hand-stitched by master Italian craftsmen Poltrona Frau. And it's bubbly time again! First the Krug Grande Cuvee, and then Dom Perignon 2003, followed by 2011 Cloudy Bay Savignon Blanc Marlborough...

Plenty of leg and butt room. My Bottega Veneta gets her own seat too!

Was too full to eat at this point so it was TV time on the largest personal screen in the sky. The 23 inch seemed a little small from where i'm seated though #firstworldproblems. Hmm.. The advanced Bose QuietComfort 2 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones shut off any noise from the surroundings and it was me and Ben Affleck for a while.

I was looking forward to the Book the Cook service and S had already ordered my Kyo-Kaiseki by Chef Yoshihiro Murata but guess what.. this stupid girl got motion sickness. All that bubbly plus bumpy ride didn't help much. SOBS. I was too sick to eat anything and my lousy dr didn't bring any motion sickness pills up the plane as well. So the only thing to do was to change into my Givenchy Pjs and freshened up with my Kiehl's amenity kit and then off to bed. I was appalled at the amenity kit though. It used to be Salvatore Ferragamo and now it's so... meh?
Miserable pic of me on the bed that our steward and stewardess made. What i love about the bed is that it's a full bed, complete with fine linen and plush, full-sized pillows. Take a look at how this is done, while i was sulking away in another cabin.
Amazing hur? Words cannot convey how grateful i was for the restful slumber. Snuggled up to S on our mini queen size bed and woke up surprisingly better. And this was what greeted us. LOVE.
Gorgeous isn't it? 
Still looking a little pale and queasy at breakfast. Simple breakfast of croissant and milk. I was still very annoyed at myself for ruining dinner. :( And also a little disappointed that breakfast was just this. Boo. 

Regardless, the whole SQ Suites experience was wonderful but just a little too short. Oh well.. will be back soon. ;) I'll give you a better review next time. And next time, i'm staying off the bubbly.. till meal time that is. 

Singapore Airlines Suites, the BEST way to fly. 

[Media Invite]
There was a time when it was hard to find a decent cafe in Serangoon Gardens. Back then, we only had 1 pathetic Coffee Bean. Now the brunch hungry have more options e.g. Chillax Cafe, Cedele, The Coffee Daily (read review here) and the pet friendly Sun Ray Cafe
When I first visited Sun Ray Cafe in Feb, it was your typical neighborhood joint, with affordable and hearty western food (among other Asian style dishes) and cosy interior. The food concept was kinda haphazard, along with their mismatched decor. When owner Dave said that he wants to introduce coffee to the mix, i was doubtful it could work, especially with the Coffee Daily just next door and how they've kinda established themselves as THE coffee joint in Gardens. 
But SRC was determined to make that work and they underwent a 180 degree change. Their recently completed renovation gave the cafe a new chic interior (though cramped) and i was glad to see that the menu is more streamlined and coffee is now playing a bigger role. Coffee appreciation courses are conducted here now and you can enjoy various coffee brewed using different techniques such as syphon, cold-brew, French press, and own specialty drip coffee. The folks even have their  own custom-roasted blend, called the Brighton blend.
Needless to say, i got really high after sampling the various coffees. I quite enjoyed the latte and the iced mocha wasn't too shady as well. The cold brew will send your brain and heart into overdrive. Try it at your own risk! Now if only they serve better desserts to go with my coffee. After all, a good cafe has to have the entire package and that includes good sweets to accompany the coffee. 
The homemade scones ($3), which were promised to be crusty and buttery, fell terribly short of my expectation. This is not a scone. It's a cross between a bun and a really soft tart. I finished half the chocolate scone because i wanted to eat the chocolate chips. The blueberry and strawberry (or was it raspberry) ones reminded me of the Arnott's tartlets in terms of flavor. The crust was not even as crisp as Artnott's. Meh. 
I shall not even discuss the cupcakes ($3). Go figure. The Tiramisu ($6.50) weren't that bad after they defrosted. I believe SRC is working on adding more coffee to that recipe after our feedback. 

I shall not nit pick. SRC's focus doesn't seem to be much on the pastries and sweets (yet). They should though if they wanna position themselves as more of a cafe. Anyway, i do think that their main dishes are pretty good given the price and the portion served. 
The Oven-Baked Escargots ($8.90 half-dozen | $15.90 one dozen) were well flavored with the garlic and parsley butter. They are typically served in the escargot pot but this was for our tasting purposes. 
The Wild Mushroom Soup ($7.90) was made fresh and came served with the perfumed truffle oil. I love the thick, creamy and smooth texture and intense flavor of this one. 
My favorite dish was the Carbonara ($12.90). This is the dish that i'll come back to SRC for (since it's in da hood). I'm glad that this pasta isn't swimming in sauce. This was pretty salty but i love that each mouthful had the smoky meat flavor of the bacon and each strand was nicely coated with sticky cream, raw egg yolk and cheese. Too good... 
J enjoyed the Cumin Crusted Lamb Rack ($23.90) which was served with ratatouille and rosemary sauce. The meat was tender and didn't have that gamey taste. The Grilled Strip Loin ($23.90) served with potato gratin and the Yorkshire Pork Rack ($23.90) with apple cider sauce both paled in comparison. Both meats were overdone and dry and we simply gave up after 2 bites (you can't say that we didn't give them a second chance). Confit Spring Chicken ($18.90) was alright. Cream sauce and rosemary seasoning. Nothing memorable but it was decent.
Seafood Risotto ($18.90) is catered to the Singaporean style, which is overcooked and not al dente. The creamy tomato sauce was balanced but the seafood could be fresher. The prawns were fine but the squid and mussels weren't that great. This is a tasting portion so i would expect more ingredients in the usual size. SRC is very generous with their portions btw. 

Hits and misses at Sun Ray Cafe. I would say go for their coffee and tiramisu. The carbonara and lamb rack are worth dropping by for as well. Plus, here is a special treat for my readers. 

Free Cup of Coffee
Like Sun Ray Cafe's FB page, show it to their staff and say "Happiness in a cup" 
Available for non flavored, espresso based coffee e.g. latte, cappuccino etc

15% off Final Bill
Shout out to SRC's staff "Happiness at Sun Ray Cafe" and get 15% off your final bill.
Not applicable with other promotions, vouchers, set meals and alcoholic drinks

Promotion is valid till 20 June 2013. Enjoy!

Sun Ray Cafe
79 Brighton Crescent, Singapore 559218
Tel: +65 6283 8700
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