Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Another weekend, another staycation. This time in my eventual hood- Marine Parade/Katong! For all those poor souls living in other parts of Singapore, this is an opportunity to experience what the East has to offer you. (I've a giveaway at the end of post so read on!) I've always known that Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy is right smack in the middle of the rich Peranakan area in East Coast, but what I didn't know was that it's a gem hidden in plain sight. 
Location wise, Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy is less than 15 mins away from the city, the beach, and the airport. Try beating that really! There's certainly no lack of food, shopping, and entertainment options (only lack of stomach space), with malls (Parkway Parade and i12 Katong are just next door), local food, and East Coast Park at your doorstep.
While room space is a luxury in Singapore, the rooms at Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy boasts of a spacious 32sqm or more. The rooms are equipped with the usual services like IDD service, Cable TV, ironing board, minibar, safe deposit, complimentary coffee and tea making facilities, hairdryer, over-mattress and bathroom amenities with bathrobe and slippers.
Our super huge bathroom with tub and all!  
Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy got you covered with their full range of bath amenities.  
Staying in the executive room or suite also entitles you to complimentary WiFi, breakfast, and exclusive access to the Executive Lounge on level 17.  
All day refreshments and evening cocktails with canapés are provided at the lounge. It's a nice spot to enjoy the sea view! Well, get a few drinks and save space for a more substantial meal in the neighborhood.
If you're too lazy to head out, you should check out Breez Bistro Bar which is right by the pool on level 4. Yes it is indeed breezy in this fairly open restaurant and we were pleasantly surprised by the standard of the food. A selection of drinks are also available
This creamy and hearty mushroom soup was one of the better ones i've tasted (for real). It definitely didn't come out of a can! Plus that touch of tempura enoki for an added crisp. 
I also enjoyed the huge slab of salmon fillet that was perfectly cooked, pink in the center and crispy all around. We hear the burgers and steaks are pretty satisfying too! 
We had a special dessert brought up from the Wave Cafe located on level 1. This Salted Caramel cake was another lovely surprise with a espresso mousse hiding a crunchy salted caramel core. We polished this in no time.
Of course I had to squeeze in a session between all that eating. Thankfully the well equipped gym is open 24h. 
Executive guests are treated to breakfast at the lounge, or at the Feast@East buffet restaurant. I decided to stick to the simple but adequate breakfast selection upstairs, since it meant a more peaceful dining experience (plus that view)! 
Still peckish? Well remember that you are in the Food Mecca of Singapore! Katong Laksa; Peranakan kuehs and more at Glory or Kim Choo; local breakfast at Chin Mei Chin Confectionery; Beach Road Prawn Noodles; Ampang Yong Tau Foo; all that hawker food at Marine Parade or Marine Terrace Hawker Center... Plus all the hip cafes all within your reach- Dutch Colony, Stamping Ground, Group Therapy, Domain Bakery etc. We had a hard time deciding where to eat at, despite being Easties ourselves.

Business Travelers will be happy to know that there is also complimentary daily shuttle services to and from Singapore Changi Airport, and a shuttle service to Orchard Road!

Well here is another incentive to check out Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy! I'm giving away a 2D1N Studio Suite Weekend Stay with Buffet Breakfast and Executive lounge access for 2!

Giveaway Details:
1. Repost/Share the Instagram/FB post on Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy with hashtag #MSFxGMSR
2. Like/Follow and Tag @MsSkinnyfat and @GrandMercureSingaporeRoxy in the repost
3. Also tag someone you want to go on this staycation with! Of course tell us why you wanna win this stay! :) 

Giveaway ends midnight 28 Aug 2016! Winner will be contacted separately!

Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy
50 East Coast Road, Roxy Square, Singapore 428769
Telephone: +65 6340 5809
Durian lovers, you need to run down to the Resorts World Sentosa Durian Fest NAO! The festival is back bigger than ever, as aficionados line up to pay tribute to the King of fruits during this annual bonanza.
The world’s largest stack of durians takes center stage, with 21 tonnes of the fruit imported specially from plantations in Pahang, Malaysia. Besides the durians, specialist supplier Durian 36 also provides staff who will expertly pick out the variety of durian you want. Simply walk up to the mounds of durians and ask for the one (or more) of your choice, and the staff will crack those pesky shells open for you. 
Besides the perennial favorite Mao Shan Wang, this year’s durian selection also includes the D13, Red Prawn (Ang Hei), Golden Phoenix (Jin Feng) and the Bamboo (Tekka). Each variety of durian comes with their unique properties- the Mao Shan Wang undisputedly the crowd favorite for its creamy and rich taste. Just 2 seeds and you're mostly full! However, fans have also expressed their love for the sweet and intense flavor of the Ang Hei, a fleshy orange hue fruit with small seeds. 
Tucking in to Indian cuisine is a pleasurable affair for me. Loaded with rich flavours and spices, the meal usually heats me up (in a very good way) and the taste lingers satisfyingly in the mouth. And recently, the Monsoon Menu at Punjab Grill did just that.

From 15 July to 31 Aug 2016, Punjab Grill pays tribute to the Monsoon with its Monsoon platters to evoke the unique smells, tastes and flavors associated with this season. There is a wide selection of dishes on the menu, and even exotic mocktails and cocktails crafted for the Monsoon season. Now bring on the rain!
For starters, there is Apple wood smoked salmon & Tempered quinoa salad ($18). Do not scoff at the healthy grain! The quinoa has been tempered with mustard seeds, which balances the strong flavours of the tandoori salmon. I can’t help smiling at the chunky slab of blushing pink salmon.
Who would have thought that chaat, the humble street snack served at roadside stalls and carts, could be elevated to this beautiful dish at Punjab Grill? A dish of many flavours, the Plantain & Spinach Tikki chole ki chaat ($20) has hints of sour plum and spicy tamarind, mint, and yogurt. Under the mountain of flavors are chickpeas and a patty of spinach that is unlike any that you have seen or tasted. The spinach patty even has the fishcake ‘Q’ texture. I love this one!
The Japanese may have the tempura, but the Punjabis have the perfect comfort food on rainy days—pakodas! With Monsoon Assorted pakoda (fritters) platter ($45), you can be sure that the kids eat their vegetables too! Broccoli, capsicum, cottage cheese, artichoke and green asparagus coated with spiced gram flour and fried. Yummy!
I'm not a buffet fan but after all that judging for the Weekender Food Mania Awards 2016, I'm practically a buffet expert. SO it is with great pleasure to announce that I have found the BEST CHAMPAGNE BRUNCH IN SINGAPORE (ok chill) and it is BAR & BILLIARD ROOM at Raffles Hotel Singapore (sorry can't get over the excitement)!
No seriously, if I have to pay for a buffet, Bar & Billiard Room can take my money NAO. Well, Raffles Hotel is honestly the best place to waste your Sunday away at (such gorgeous grounds) and BBR oozes class and fun. I would liken it to a fabulous house party thrown by your best foodie friend I.e. ME (haha)! I was sold once they brought the magnums of Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose around and started filling our glasses. OH YAASSS. 

We were overwhelmed by the massive spread of appetizers, none of which are your run-of-the-mill sort of stuff. We feasted on the best mix of vegetables- artichokes, beets, tapenade, quinoa, ripened vine tomatoes, eggplant, and smoked/cured meats- salmon, duck, ham, chicken. 
Shooters make for easier eating and while you can easily grab some of that Maine Lobster with Avocado & Black Truffle; King Prawns; and Parma with Burratina from the cold cuts area, you should also walk to the other end of the room where the the live stations are. DO NOT BE LAZY. That short walk will reward you with that fat creamy foie gras with pea purée
Also, the other highlight is the UNI SCRAMBLED EGGS. While i wasn't impressed with the eggs (they seemed more like mashed potato?), i would die for that uni. Oh no it's not even any of that nonsense uni sauce, there were tongues of uni in every little cup. 
All that amazing cheeses (about 40 varieties) hard, soft, cow, goat, bleu (they were oh so pungent and savory).. With dried fruits, quince paste, jams, and a delicious array of artisanal breads to go with. You can't go wrong with the sourdough selection (with cheese, multigrain and more), or that lovely Sundried tomato ciabatta that i devoured with the salted Echire butter (lovely)! I was upset that i couldn't fit in any of the glorious flaky croissants and quiches! :( 
Obviously my preferred starter is cheese. ;) 
All that lovely cold cuts, and sides of foie gras in terrine and marbre form. Pair them with the melons of course or on the lovely brioche. 
Seafood wise, you wouldn't be disappointed with fresh and plump lobster, prawns, oysters, and more..
How about some hot seafood? Do not miss the gorgeous scallop with potatoes, leek risotto and black truffle! 
On to the meats! Do not miss the Iberico pork ribs for your life. Seriously that fatty tender meat was so well marinated with a well balanced sweetness. It could do with some char but was delicious nonetheless. I had seconds. And I did not share.

That Omaha Beef tenderloin is one of the smoothest piece of meat that I have had! Want something more manly? There's also the Australian grain-fed rib on bone; Welsh lamb (both saddle and rack with herbs form); and duck too!
Pair them with sides of potato gratin, eggplant parmigiana, creamed spinach, creamy leeks with ham, or pasta even.

I took too many trips to beautiful desserts table of course. It was hard to find fault with what was available! I loved the homemade chocolate chunk with nuts, mixed nut tart, salted caramel Saint Honor (such lovely choux with smooth cream), hazelnut opera, coffee caramel cream and MORE! 
SO PLEASE, TAKE MY MONEY ALREADY Bar & Billiard Room! Save all your buffet money for this people but it's worth that decadent Sunday afternoon. Sunday brunch runs from 12 to 3pm weekly. It's $198/$218 for the Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve/Brut Rose, or $158 for a selection of wines, beers, juices, and signature Singapore Sling.

Trust me, the best Sunday Champagne Brunch experience right here at Raffles Hotel Singapore.

Bar & Billiard Room 
Raffles Hotel Singapore
1 Beach Road Singapore 189673
Tel: +65 6412 1816

I have just added an Italian restaurant to my list of noteworthy Italian restaurants. A hidden gem, il Cielo is located by the pool of Hilton on level 24. Looking somewhat in between an uptight classy and a flip-flops casual restaurant, it is just my kind of place to get away for a couple of hours and indulge in Italian gastronomy.
At il Cielo, Chef Riccardo Cartasi focuses on the flavours of Tuscany, well, simply because he is proud of his home region! Using seasonal produce that are largely sourced from Italy, Chef Riccardo creates art dish after dish. His inspirational role model? Massimo Botturo from the three-stars-Michelin restaurant in Modena, who juxtaposes culinary traditions and innovations with contemporary art and design.

For this Spring/Summer, il Cielo has unveiled a new menu. Let me take you through the gallery, I mean, menu highlights.
A signature at il Cielo, Burrata Fatta In Casa ($25) is a mild appetizer that whets the appetite. In the middle of the carefully-selected plate is a beautiful piece of famous buffalo milk burratina on a bed of marinated tomato carpaccio, basil cream and olives. (Hands up if you had thought it is a bao, Italian or not.)
If you love seafood like I do, do not hesitate to select Fantasia di Capesanne ($28). Peeking under the black truffle slices are perfectly pan-seared MSC Hokkaido scallops in bottarga mayonnaise. Notice the roasted mushrooms, pine nuts and red radish that outline the seashell? They are enjoyed with the scallop or on their own. Carefully selected for textures and flavours, this dish is a thoughtful and toothsome masterpiece.
The selection of homemade pastas at il Cielo is a handful. With only five choices, how tough can the decision be? Very much, if you love raviolis and risottos, on top of oxtails, lamb shanks and crustaceans. For now, I will be contented with La Toscana In Tortello ($24) and Spaghettoni all’Astice ($39). An elegantly plated dish that highlights the flavours of Tuscany—pumpkin, chickpea and onion—the signature La Toscana In Tortello makes you sit up. Have the pumpkin charcoal ravioli with the chickpeas cream, red onion, and Modena balsamico. No matter how much you hate red onions (perhaps for its embarrassing effect), do not omit these sweet and sour onions as they elevate the flavours!
I’m not a fan of spaghetti but I polished the plate of Spaghettoni all’Astice. The homemade pasta is coated with a delicious sauce of fresh tomatoes, Italian basil and bottarga, and my! That Maine lobster! The generous and fresh piece of juicy crustacean oozes with lobster sweetness! Such indulgence!
You know how your nose picks up an aroma before the food is sighted? This is precisely how fragrant Branzino d’Orbetello ($68) is. Roasted on olive wood, the fresh sea bass from Orbetello has a subtle smokiness while retaining its natural sweetness. It is somehow mesmerising to witness the fish being deboned at the table, although I am pretty sure I can do the job too, because with such a divine branzino, I’d be sucking off the bone from head to tail! Oops!
If you love cod, you will love Baccala ($45). A relative of the cod, this MSC glacier 51 toothfish is slow-cooked in smoked herbs. The black breadcrumbs on the fillet adds an additional texture to the soft flakes of succulent flesh. Served with roasted pumpkin cream, asparagus, and cauliflower, this dish delights both the tastebuds and visual senses.
A modern rendition of the traditional tiramisu, Tiramisu Mille Foglie ($14) is presented with an alternating stack of mille foglie (the Italian version of the french mille feuille) and tiramisu cream. Sounds good? Wait for it. Each layer of pastry is glazed with salted caramel! And the winning bit? The in-house cappuccino gelato!
With a splash of vibrant shades of red, Composizione di Fragole ($14) is artistic in presentation yet emanating notes of sweet 16. Blushing standouts on this plate are the sorbet and macaron. The house-made strawberry sorbet is unlike the typical sorbet—I’d name it homemade strawberry jam sorbet to be precise, but that will be a tad lengthy; the macaron is definitely one of the better macarons available in Singapore with its denser shell (vs. the hollow imitations).

End the lovely meal with coffee, served with cantucci on the side. Say cantucci, not biscotti. Maybe you’ll have an extra piece (you will wish you have more!), compliments of Chef Riccardo. Don’t quote me on that!

Buon appetito!

Besides the ala carte menu, also available are lunch and dinner menus—$25 (2-course) and $35 (3-course) for lunch; $59 (3-course) and $79 (4-course) for dinner.

il Cielo
Hilton Singapore, Level 24
581 Orchard Road Singapore 238883
Lunch: 12-2pm (Mon-Fri)
Dinner: 7-10.30pm (Daily)
Only Singaporeans get the idea of staycation really. Trust me if this @travelerintransit can, she would be on the first flight out of Singapore every weekend. But when you have a busy other half who's always stuck at work, then the next best thing is to check yourself into a hotel for some quality snuggle time, preferably Oasia Hotel Downtown Singapore (if you're a sucker for design like me). 
Oasia Hotel Downtown Singapore is a breath of fresh air in the concrete jungle. With its interesting phallic silhouette that is covered in a lush green facade (also made to be a vertical garden) Oasia Hotel certainly stands out (hurhur punny) in the conveniently located Tanjong Pagar location. 
The 314 rooms are designed by renowned Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola. I love the simple sleek lines with a comfortable woody tone. The space is highly functional, yet comfortable. 
The Superior and Deluxe rooms are 23sqm of space and comes with floor to ceiling views, the deluxe of unblocked views of the city at a $20 difference. A small work desk and a free smartphone that provides connectivity (calls and wifi) in the city, cater to the business and leisure traveler alike. 
Bathrooms come with the basic amenities and toiletries as well as a standing shower room. I liked the fresh scent of the Fresh Artistry White Tea products. Published weekday room rates for the Superior Room start at S$330 for weekdays per night. 
Need a bath? The 28sqm Club rooms and suites located on the 22nd to 25th levels will satisfy with their tub and Thann amenities. Enjoy exclusive access to the Club lounge and infinity pool at Level 21, Nespresso coffee-making facilities and complimentary wellness drink.
On to the common spaces. Level 12 is where the check in is, with plenty of open space, tropical (no AC) and green (lawns). It attempts to be a resort in a city, and i'd say that they excelled at it.
The 24h gym accommodates your work out, but if you can, just hit the lawn for some yoga or HIIT. 
I would have planned for a picnic under the stars given time to plan but we are an spontaneous couple. Well, wine and desserts can do too! ;)
Not a gym person? Then take a swim at one of the two roof top pools.
Life is pretty awesome by the pool. All we need is a pool bar and life will be perfect.
Not the suntanning type as well? Then take shelter and swing around in one of the nests with a book. 
Breakfast is at The Marmalade Pantry which we know is a pretty decent option. If local is more your thing, the Tanjong Pagar Plaza Market and Food Centre or Maxwell Food Centre is just a stone's throw away. There's also plenty of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean restaurants in the vicinity. Check out what's available under the CBD tab!

100 Peck Seah Street Singapore 079333
Tel: +65 6812 6900/ 6881 8888
Looking for new flavours to excite the tastebuds? Come 15 to 21 Aug, head over to The Dining Room at Sheraton Towers for An Indonesian Gastronomic Experience. Taking classic Indonesian flavours to greater heights with French techniques and modern interpretations, Guest Chef John Sawarto presents us with his hearty Indonesian delights.
When it comes to Indonesian cuisine, gado gado is a must-have. It is like an Indonesian version of a salad—naked ingredients and a winning peanut sauce. Thus, I had been looking forward to Chef John’s version of Grilled Lobster Gado Gado—grilled lobster on tropical fruit salsa, kaffir and kencur infused peanut dressing, micrograms and kalamansi vinaigrette. I wish I had more peanut dressing!
Prepared with just salt and pepper and served with apple and starfruit slaw and rujak, the Seared Foie Gras was unique to the tastebuds. With kecap manis (love~) in the sauce, the foie gras has changed its nationality.
My favourites would be a toss between Wagyu Beef Cheek Rendang and Crispy Spiced Duck Confit. Slow-braised in rendang spices and coconut cream for 6 hours, the Wagyu Beef Cheek Rendang is melt-in-the-mouth delicious. The rendang is accompanied with fragrant jasmine rice infused with saffron and lemongrass and vanilla poached petit brastagi potatoes. I could have the rendang spicier, but that is just my personal preference.
Can you believe it's been a year since SG50 already??! Well with the upcoming National Day, let us walk down memory lane at Singapore's Favorite Buffet The Line at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore. From now till 14 AugChef de Cuisine Vincent Wong has enhanced the highlights for buffet dinner with local delights. Travel back in time and revel in old-world charm as The Line transforms into a bustling food market reminiscent of traditional hawker streets from the 1960s.
Savour signature and new highlights such as Singapore Laksa; Oyster Omelette; Otak-otak; Satay; Nasi Lemak and Kueh, alongside creatively-reinterpreted delights including Chicken Rice Maki Roll; Chilli Crab Brioche and Chendol Bubbles. BUT OF COURSE, a wide range of international delights will complement the Singapore-themed highlights from the buffet. You can read about my review on The Line Shangri-La Hotel here.
Guess what! There's also specially imported durians from Malaysia (think Mao Shan Wang and D24), alongside other tropical fruits like mangosteen, jackfruit, rambutan and more. 

The Line's Dinner Buffet is priced at $79/adult (Mon, Wed, Sun), $92 (Fri & Sat), $98/108 (Tues/Thu- with enhanced seafood selection and alcohol).

If that's not enough durians for you, head over to The Line Shop for takeaways of a variety of Durian desserts like Durian and Pandan Roulade; Durian Choux; Durian Kueh Lapis; Durian Gula Melaka Tart; and Durian Cheesecake! All for $8 nett per piece!! They are open 7am - 9pm daily. 
Buffets are too much for you? Well there's also the National Day Afternoon Tea Celebration at Lobby CourtFrom 1 to 31 Aug 2016, indulge in Shang's National Day themed three-tiered tea set and delight in familiar local favourites with a modern twist such as Chili Crab in Tomato Bun; Beef Rendang Herb Bun, Mini Croissant with Otak Otak and Pineapple Slaw and Chicken Curry Bruschetta.

Sweets wise, how do Pandan Scones; Kueh Lapis; Onde Onde; Orchid Macaron; Durian Cheese Cake; Ang Ku Kuih; Coconut Brown Sugar Éclair and Rainbow Cake sound?

The Afternoon Tea Set is priced at $42/pax, inclusive of unlimited pours of 1 type of tea/coffee, and $51/pax inclusive of a Singapore Sling/Tiger Beer. Subsequent glasses are charged at $5.10 each. 

Orange Grove Road Singapore 258350