Monday, 31 May 2010

Binge – Here's Where To Go For Unpretentious, Hearty Indonesian Food!

The hubs has a thing for spicy food, being part Peranakan. But whenever we decide to hunt down some Indonesian food, it always proves elusive, especially since we don’t like wading into the crowds at Orchard Road! But I was recently reminded of two Indonesian restaurants that skirts the busy town area, and if your dad is a person who likes hot flavours, here are two unpretentious places to head for.
Garuda Padang Cuisine recently opened a branch at Far East Square serving up pretty good Padang fare. Apart from a la carte, I didn’t know you could also have a buffet for lunch and dinner. Must tries, according to sources, are the Ayam Bumbu Goreng, their signature dish of crispy chicken with ‘floss’; beef tendon curry and tumis kang kong, which is one of the less spicy items on their list. Lunch buffet at $21.80++ per adult, $11++ per child; and for dinner, from $23.80++ per adult and $12++ per child.
Far East Square #01-01
7-9 Amoy Street
Tel: 6536 4111
Over at Furama Riverfront Singapore, Kintamani Indonesian Restaurant – a stalwart since 1985 – is a simple, unpretentious restaurant that serves what they call ‘authentic Balinese cuisine’. Bali or not, this halal-certified restaurant offers both ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ renditions of popular Indonesian dishes. Specialities include classics like Rendang Daging Sapi (Beef simmered in Spicy Coconut Milk Gravy) and Sup Buntut (Oxtail Soup) and updated interpretations like Avocado & Prawn Salad and Stir-fried Prawns in Butter Sauce. A must-try is Ayam Kodok Kintamani, boneless chicken, minced and marinated with a medley of spices and deep-fried till golden brown, as well as chilli crab (pix above) and Ikan bakar Kintamani.
Furama RiverFront,
405, Havelock Road, Level 3,
Tel: 6739 6463
- By EW
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Binge Hong Kong - NEW places to WOW Dad!

So he is a creature of habit .. but then again he did say, "You decide!" when you asked "where to?" for Fathers' Day. Well then, choose because there are a few new and notable places that have recently come to 'be' in Kowloon, all in the bustling Tsim Sha Tsui area.

Billed as 'Hong Kong’s most prestigious new Chinese dining and drinking destination restaurant and bar', Nanhai No. 1 and Eyebar promises to offer great food and an even more spectacular view. Find it in Tsim Sha Tsui’s new iSQUARE mall on the 30th-floor. It has a ‘sea-and-be-seen’ nautical themed dining room, with soaring picture windows, an open grill kitchen, and a sexy rooftop deck called Eyebar where before dinner you must have that exotic fruit cocktail (or lychee martini) under the stars. On the menu which focuses on premium seafood, watch as your lobster is roasted, steamed, sautéed and grilled in front of you in a glass-enclosed seafood barbecue kitchen. Must try dishes are the Braised Garoupa's Fin with Bamboo shoots, Simmered Geoduck with Consomme, Baked Oyster in Sichuan Spicy Sauce, Simmered Tomato with Mixture of Mushrooms, Crispy Shredded Yam and Deep-fried Spareribs Marinated in Nanhai’s Special Sauce.
Nanhai No. 1 and Eyebar are located at 30/F, iSQUARE, 63 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Reservations at +852 2487 3688.

At One Peking is the recently established flagship of Shanghai’s famous Xiao Nan Guo restaurant designed by renowned Hong Kong interior designer Steve Leung. The restaurant reflects an elegant Chinese Jiang-nan garden with a Chinese-style wooden ceiling, dark-grey stone flooring and simple, yet stylish, wooden furnishings. As you enter the restaurant, walk the traditional Chinese zigzag bridge to the main dining area where seating provides every guest with panoramic city views through huge glass windows. From a small restaurant with a few tables over 20 years ago to what it has become today, a renowned fine-food brand.
Xiao Nan Guo Premier Haute Cuisine de Shanghai is on the 10F, One Peking, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Reservations at +852 25278899

Not far away at the newly renovated Heritage 1881 (near the Star Ferry, if you are coming over from Hong Kong to Kowloon) is busy suzie, now busier than ever as they have launched a New Lunch Menu which I have been to try and have given a big thumbs up. I vote this great value, presentation and a lovely way to brunch on a lazy Sunday morning. First explore Heritage 1881, the old Marine Police Headquarters which has now become a home and haven to various watch and jewelry retailers and after a wander, you can head for a great value robatayaki lunch with Prime Australian Wagyu beef tenderloin, the freshest seafood and delectably light vegetarian options including Sushi with Soba; Pork Cutlet Donburi; Eel “Kabayaki”; Beef or Chicken Teriyaki and Vegetarian Tempura Set all priced from only HK$98 to HK250+ and served with salad, vegetable sakizuke, Japanese egg custard and fruit. Watch the Robata chefs practice the ancient tradition of using a wooden paddle to pass food items to customers further adding to the fun and theatre of the robata dining experience. Whilst you are there try the cold sake, Yukinobosha Yamahai Honjyozo or the hot Suishin Junmaishu Komenokiwami, both better than the stuff served at regular Japanese restaurants.
busy suzie is at Shop 209, 1881 Heritage, 2A Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon,
Reservations at +852 2369 0077. Website:

- Elaine
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Saturday, 29 May 2010

Binge Hong Kong - Portuguese fare in the heart of Hong Kong!

So you did not make it to Macau for the recent long weekend and you have no intention of jostling with the Aunties on the ferry to Macau during the coming Fathers'Day weekend. But you have managed to get on the MTR to Central and find yourself aimlessly wandering in Lan Kwai Fong at just about lunchtime. Well, head to the 8th floor of the LKF Tower above the swanky Lan Kwai Fong Hotel (not to be mistaken for the Lan Kwai Fong Hotel in SoHo, a few streets away) where you can tuck into some authentic Portuguese fare. SIMPLYFAB was asked to check out Casa Lisboa, a new colonial-style cosy Portuguese eatery opened by the same folks who own the Imperial Kitchen, Eighteen Brook Cantonese Cuisine and Ole Spanish Restaurant and Wine Bar.

The Executive Chef here, Martinho Moniz has bagged several notable European awards in Portugal and through Europe for his creativity in combining traditional Portuguese cooking with modern elements, all the time using Portuguese ingredients flown in from Portugal to keep the taste authentic. The menu offers good variety and a long list of traditional Portuguese favorites.

We started with a selection of home made bread baked in their very own bakery and a selection of four different types of Portuguese cheese. All best downed with a glass of their excellent Sangria which served in a good sized glass and was full bodied rather than watered down (unlike many restaurants here that I won't name).

The starters landed 50-50 with me. The Pork Sausage Flambe or Chourico as its called was tough on the chew (think leathery) and a bit too fatty for my liking. Not on my re-order list but perhaps this was a matter of personal taste. 
I was however most suitably impressed by the house specialty a Bacalhau Cream Crunchy Croquette. Well presented, this rich and creamy croquette was just the right appetiser and served in the right proportion to whet your tastebuds and leave you wanting more. If you are a soup person, the restaurant serves a traditional green and vegetable soup made from potato and spinach.

We had a tasting portion of another restaurant specialty, a Roast Suckling Pig done Bairrada style which reminded me a little of a good German pork knuckle with its delicious crispy flavour. This was served cut into small squares with a side of chips that were a bit too soft for my liking. 

My favourite and something that I will definitely order when I come again is the Lobster Seafood Rice. It really looked alot like Spanish Paella but I would rate this better in many respects as it tastes like a lovely risotto done perfectly and with a more than generous serving of seafood rather than rice so you definitely get your value for money.

By this time, we were stuffed but of course I have never turned a good dessert down and there is a fine selection of Portuguese desserts at Casa Lisboa to ensure that sweet ending to your meal. We tried the Sweetened Biscuit with Egg and Cream and Portuguese Egg Pudding served with special house made cream.

8/F LKF Tower, 55, D'Arguilar Street, Central, Hong Kong.
Tel: +852 2905 1168

- Elaine
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Simply Fabulicious People – The Artist, Her Addiction and A Tea Box

We’ve always known we have a fantastic pool of readers from all walks of life, brimming with talent and many with fascinating stories of their own. Sometimes we smack our foreheads and wonder why no one has discovered their stories yet? Then Elaine and I had a stupendous brainwave: let’s feature some of the fabulous ladies (and the odd guy or two) who make up our quaint SimplyFab community! So in this new column of SimplyFab People, we turn the limelight onto the remarkable people in our midst.

First up, meet Wyn-Lyn Tan, 35, a professional artist, journalist and totally fabulicious cool chick!

And because Wyn-Lyn’s a stylish girl who would humour us, we ask her crucial questions we’ve always wanted to ask artists but felt they were too indelicate to mention.

SimplyFab: So, how true is this notion that all artists are ‘starving’? Are you?
Wyn Lyn: Most of the artists I know may be thin, but I don’t think they are starving. More likely we are too preoccupied or inspired with work to eat! But seriously, I think there’s always a way to make a living—if not yet from your art, then at least from a supplementary income. Yes, it won’t be easy juggling two jobs at one time, and splurging on a Gucci bag is definitely out of the question. (And I know of many artists who give up on art because the reality is that it’s hard to survive on just art alone, especially in Singapore.) But I guess one really has to persevere, have a dogged belief in what you are doing and think of the bigger picture. I’m fortunate that I have another income from freelance writing.

SimplyFab: So if our daughters want to run away with an artist, what is your advice?
Wyn Lyn: I would say, by all means let her follow her heart, but he’d better be a dedicated, responsible, talented, hardworking artist. Stick with him and who knows, he may be making a fortune from his art in 15 years time!

SimplyFab: How and why did you become an artist?
Wyn Lyn: My journey towards being an artist was actually a little long-winded. I did the whole “get-a-proper-degree” thing (I have a business degree), worked for a year-plus as a full-time writer, then quit my job to finally pursue a Diploma in Fine Art at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. I had always been very interested in art, and one day realized that hey, it’s now or never. I didn’t want to just do a part-time night art course either, as I was going to make art a profession and not a hobby.

Art is a calling one can’t explain either. You could say it’s a passion that has become as natural as breathing. When I paint, I feel alive—frustrated, sometimes, yes, when a painting is not working—but always, there is excitement, energy, buzz and sense of knowing “this is who I am” that I wouldn’t be able to give up. In a way, art defines my existence. Even when I am not physically painting, I am constantly thinking about a work-in-process. When I am unable to paint, I feel cantankerous and unfulfilled. You could say it’s almost like an addiction. And I’m not talking about getting high on turpentine-sniffing!

SimplyFab: Sorry, but abstract art is all splotches of paint to us. Care to give us a few clever comments which we can bandy about so people think we are really deep?
Wyn Lyn: In general, abstract art is not as much about the subject as about the feeling it invokes. So, you could always offer an opinion on how the art makes you feel—quite foolproof, since one single painting can incite different emotions in each viewer. You could say, “I love the energy (or calmness) in this piece.” You could also comment on the visual, like, “I like how the brush strokes draws you right into the space.” Some other useful phrases to keep up your sleeve: “a playful use of colour” (for a colourful work), “intriguing” (dark colours), “very lyrical” (soft, wash-like paintings). Or simply throw the ball back in the other person’s court by asking for their opinion thus: “This artist has a unique sensibility that is hard to describe. What do you think?”

SimplyFab: We like!! Does that mean abstract artists are deep, dark and emo?...since they seem to appreciate something that most of us don’t understand?
Wyn Lyn: Maybe we’re deep, but not necessarily dark and emo, lah. I prefer to think that we just see things in a different way, that’s all.

SimplyFab: Can we just splotch some paint across a canvas ourselves, frame it and call it art? Will that fly?
Wyn Lyn: Sorry, no. There’s a difference between a simply decorative piece and real art. Real art takes into account factors such as the provenance (or origin) of the artist, his or her reputation and biography as an artist. All these matter when it comes to how much the art is worth.

SimplyFab: How about a quickie on appreciating abstract art in 3-5 tips?
Wyn Lyn: Some elements to look out for:
1.Composition: a good composition has a focal point that draws your eye to it.
2.Line/ Mark/ Stroke: Can be gestural (freeform and loose) or more deliberate. Often used to convey the sense of energy in a painting.
3.Space: The artist’s use of positive and negative space gives the feeling of depth in a painting.
At the end of the day, abstract art is all about feeling. To quote Wassily Kandinsky, one of the first modern abstract painters, “Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for colours, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential."

SimplyFab: If we still don’t see the art in the splotches of paint, what do you advise we do?
Wyn Lyn: Don’t worry, it takes time. Everyone has different preferences; perhaps you simply prefer realism to abstraction.

- By EW
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Friday, 28 May 2010

BINGE Hong Kong - A toast to China-made wine!

Ever heard of wine grown and bottled in China? 

The next time you browse the wine section, look out for a brand called Dynasty, a Chinese wine label that is set to go international in a big way. The brand has a 30 year award-winning history and is a joint venture with Remy Cointreau. They are already leaders in China’s wine industry with world-class advanced wine-making equipment, engaging new processes and technologies.

They made their debut at the recent VINEXPO held in Hong Kong and if you see them on shelves, you might want to bag their Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005 which is a dry red harvested from the ripest Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with raspberry, black cherry and blackcurrant notes or the Muscat Sparkling Wine harvested from one of the best Muscat vineyards in China, Hangu Vineyard in Tianjin. I personally like the sound of their 5-star Icewine Reserve, made from naturally frozen Vidal grapes growing beside Henglong Lake in Wunushan. 

Not sure about the resplendently gold lame dresses on the models but I guess, it is in total keeping with the Chinese notion of a luxurious golden start! If you have got over your fear of China-made products, pick up a bottle today! Girls not included, of course!  

- Elaine
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Thursday, 27 May 2010

This Weekend - Carrie K's Sangria and Bling Afternoon Is Back!

Not much to do this weekend? It's worth checking out Carrie K's funky new jewellery collection on Saturday 29 May at 52 Norma Terrace at Opera Estate. Get your friends and head over. It'll be a quiant, cosy, stylish shop-and-chill experience happily soothed with her signature sangria. Very potent!  

Things to watch out for are her bright leather bracelets, stone earrings and cool customised charm necklaces. I've always liked her stuff....ask to look at her older collections as well, if she has them. They are all gorgeous. For a quick preview, check out her website:

29 May, Saturday 2-6pm 
52 Norma Terrance
T: 90990936
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Bytes – In Case You Missed Out On The Man Bag For Dad…

Sweeties! Did you see the uber-cool Tods Man Bag in Elaine’s post (‘Quirky But Useful Father’s Day Gifts’ – 25 May)? Don’t we just absolutely love it for good old Dad or even our guy, for that matter?!

Well, if it runs out of stock while you’re rushing down to grab it – and we can just SEE the frenzied queues of people tearing the house down just to get hold of one – don’t despair! There are robust alternatives out there that will soothe both you and your deprived dad. Here’s our picks of more Father’s Day gifts.

A camera is always more exciting than a tie or pair of socks. Of course, it comes nowhere in comparison with the Tods Man Bag but at least Dad can take his mind off it by photographing the grandkids, the birds and bees and stuff around him. The Olympus SP-800UZ is the smallest compact digital camera in its class and the first in the world to incorporate a super powerful 30x optical zoom. Combined with digital zooming, the total effect is increased to 150x which means you can zoom right in on the craters of the moon. So cool!

It’s also got a wide shooting range with focal lengths ranging from 28mm wide-angle (think Himalayan panorama) to 840mm telephoto (craters of the moon or ex-boyfriend’s face). High resolution 14 megapixel CCD means good clear pictures, a 3-inch wide screen means Dad can see the pretty pictures without straining his eyes, and CCD-shift image stabilization function and high-sensitivity imaging means no blurred pictures whether Dad is shaking or the object in this viewfinder is. A big bonus – he can record HDTV movies on this camera too. Lots of other bells and whistles are packed into this little sweetie, and it’s so small it fits just nicely into the Tods Man Bag (if only we got it!) and also in the palm of your hand. Only comes in titanium silver, priced at $748, with 8GB mSD card.

If he is into sound, Creative’s ZiiSound D5it’s flagship wireless speaker system – is easy peasy for even the most technophobic dad to plug into. Just launched, this rather compact wireless speaker system is locally designed and developed and gives great, rich sound (I heard it myself and was so impressed!) and is so easy to use. Essentially, you blue-tooth it to any blue tooth-enabled gadget – be it your laptop, notebook, iphone, ipad, etc – and it will deliver the fantastic sound that rivals any hi-fi system. No complicated installations or downloading programmes from a CDRom - it's just literally plug and play. I saw the demo.

It won't fit into the Tods  Man Bag but it's so light, Dad can bring it around the house with him and soothe his (Tod's Man-)Bagless woes away with crystal clear music. An added bonus – the speakers charge the iPhone or iPod while they are docked. What I can’t understand is why it isn’t compatible wirelessly with its own Zen MP3 players! Duh!! Still, I say, buy local!! Costs S$399 and bundled with USB Transmitter for the launch period (worth $59) while stocks lasts. Available at  Creative stores at International Buisiness Park, Marina Square and authorised dealers.

Finally, SingTel and Samsung Electronics has just announced that the hotly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S smartphone will be available from 4 June 2010 – the first time it hits Singapore’s shops. The Android-powered Galaxy S has an ultra-responsive SUPER AMOLED screen, super sharp viewing of images and movies, 80% less reflectivity even out in the sun, video play and record functions, and allows you to record, edit and play HD video, browse the Internet, and read e-books. You can also check emails, listen to music and send messages without having to open and close applications, and it fits niftily into the Tods Man Bag. In fact, with this smartphone, he can keep track of the new shipment of Tods Man Bags the moment it hits the stores, with just a call to the boutique, anywhere, anytime! 

SingTel is introducing three enhanced Galaxy 3G Flexi price plans at launch from $39/month including unlimited LIVE MobileTV Basic Pack viewing for up to 24 months, free additional 200 minutes of talktime*, free local mobile data of 12GB (capped at $30), plus free access to SingTel AMPed offering unlimited music downloads. You can get it from today online at and Singtel stores from 4 June.

- by EW
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Wednesday, 26 May 2010

This Weekend - Land Sakes! Sweet Angels of Charity!

Look what landed on our laps! The Angel of Charity?

Maaan…we wish! (Stop peeping up the loin cloth, darling! We KNOW you did!)

No, it’s pictures of the Manhunt contestants who pottered about Orchard Road last week, bare-chested and selling dinky little Ben & Jerry's ice cream for charity in the sweltering h-h-h-h-hot afternoon sun. So sweeeeet!

The ice cream they offered went for $5 a pop, but we hear many enthusiastic customers forked out twice the amount for the pleasure of buying from these hunky-duhnks. The deed was done to raise funds for the Boys Town new dorms, to replace the current grounds that have been around for the past 62 years. While the cream isn’t going to dent much of the $15 million target required, at least it gave a little eye candy to passers by that day. If you, like us, missed the action on Orchard Road that day, have a sweet peek of these young’uns. (You know what I learnt from these pictures? Always dress properly, cos you never know who you might bump into! No more baggy bermudas and muffin tops, please!)

And if you’re in Orchard Road this Saturday (5 June) and it’s not too much of a detour for the trusty old orthopedic shoes, the Manhunt Finals will be held at The Heeren from 4-6 pm. Twenty of these pretty boys will be posing (ewwww!) their way to titles like Mystique Most Promising Male Model, Corona Beer Most Sexiest Hunk (grammar situation here!), Ripcurl Surfer Dude Award (honestly, how many of these chaps can even stand on a surfboard at sea????) and the grand title of Manhunt Singapore 2010.

Hey…just ‘cos we’re married with kids doesn’t mean we’re totally blind, ya know! As a friend had said, "You can peruse the menu, dear, just make sure you eat at home!"
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Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Binge - Father’s Day Eats

Father’s Day is round the corner, and for us in the ‘Sandwich Generation’, make sure you do spend time with good old dad and let him know he’s the best. Not all our dad’s are hale and hearty – count your blessings if he is – so spending time with him is the best thing you can do on Father’s Day…and for every opportunity you are given.

So what’s out there for fatherly indulgence? How about what is dubbed ‘the ultimate crab buffet’ (4-27 June)? The chefs at Ellenborough Market Café at Swissotel Merchant Court are rolling out a serious spread of over 20 sinful crab dishes that the food-loving fathers will definitely enjoy. Consider Teochew Style Cold Crab, Steamed Mud Crab with Shaoxing Wine, Salted Egg Flower Crab wok fried with salted egg yolks, Thai Crab Bee Hoon, Dungeness and Snow Crab cooked in Beer, Black Pepper Crab and Sri Lankan Chili Crab with Fried (not steamed!) mantou. With the rich flavours and even richer cholesterol count, this is surely an indulgence reserved only for special occasions. Father’s Day is definitely one such!

Available for dinner daily, and for lunch only on weekends. On Father’s Day weekend, all dining dads get a complimentary Tiger Beer. From $45++ for lunch, and $52++ for dinner. (For HSBC card holders, one dines free for every three paying adults.)

20 Merchant Road

Tel: 62391848

If Dad is into haute gourmet, fill up on foie gras at Ristorante Bologna at the Marina Mandarin Singapore. Chef Patron Carlo Marengoni weaves the flavours of foie gras into authentic Italian cuisine, such as Pan-fried goose liver with fig jam and Brandy sauce ($32++), Pan-fried goose liver with asparagus and Madeira wine sauce ($40++) and Porcini mushroom soup with diced Foie Gras and Truffle oil ($22++). Daily for lunch and dinner for the month of June. (closed Sundays)

Ristorante Bologna, level 4
Marina Mandarin Singapore
6 Raffles Blvd, Marina Sq.

Tel: 6845 1111

For the healthy dad, a meat fest is always a sure winner. Get it at Pan Pacific Singapore’s all-you-can-eat brunch at Global Kitchen on 20 June. Apart from the necessary crustacean counter and salads, there’s roasted carved meats, plus unlimited sparkling wine and beer. Price - $88++ or $108++ with sparkling wine, beers and soda; $28++ per child (6 to 12 years). If dad’s a little old fashioned, heave him up to Hai Tien Lo (37 flr) for the all you can eat brunch (20 June from 11.30am) at a happy $62++ per person $28++ per child (6 to 12 years). The spread includes up to 60 different highlights including dim sum, roasts, soups, noodles, seafood and dessert. But if dad prefers superior quality over quantity, take their set menus (from $78++; 14 – 20 June) of fine Chinese cuisines featuring dishes like Double-boiled ‘Buddha Jumps Over the Wall’ with Black Truffles and Steamed Sea Perch Fillet with Preserved Vegetables.

Pan Pacific Singapore
Hai Tien Lo, 37 Flr
Tel: 6826 8240

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Buys - Quirky but Useful Fathers' Day Gifts

Quirky but useful gift ideas that we have received for Fathers Day (20 June). Have a look at our picks ....

RAINBOW CLOCK - no more fumbling in the night for glasses to scrutinise the time as this clock from Oregon Scientific at HK$898 has a sharp amber digital display against a black screen that enables him to read the time clearly from a distance. There is an outdoor temperature display for those who live in a seasonal climate and the clock creates mood lighting in the bedroom at night via a light that runs in loops just like having a vivid rainbow in the bedroom or it can also be set to a still mode. If he likes to go to bed with music in the background, the clock connects to the iPod and most Mp3 players. In the morning, he can opt for the radio alarm to wake him or a selection of 8 sounds from nature - the sound of the breeze, ocean waves, bird chirpings, rustling trees etc. See:

NIKE + iPOD SPORTS KIT - your man likes to run or walk or gym. Whatever it is, his iPod and Nikes can now team up allowing him to literally see the minutes tick by, watch the miles unfold and hear real-time voice feedback. All to his favorite music — including his power song - the one song that always gets him through the home stretch. Nike+ iPod Sport Kit only S$55 at

HOGAN Tees - I recently read a book on colour therapy that says that colour has an influence on how you are perceived. Red for passionate, Blue for calm and collected, White for purity and trustworthiness and the list goes on. Colour code his day with these newly launched Summer tees from Hogan. See:

And our unrivaled favourite is definitely this one: The TODS MAN BAG. -  this definitely takes a certain kind of guy to carry off this bag as part of his wardrobe no matter how metrosexually inclined he is. This lightweight calf leather hand carry in canary yellow makes a bold and 'ballsy' statement for the man who dares! See:

- Elaine
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Monday, 24 May 2010

Buys - GSS Best of Queensland Fair at Vivocity

Did someone say ‘sale’? Do we sense the impending quiver of retail frenzy? Indeed the The Great Singapore Sale (GSS) is back and the action is hotting up for those who just need to shop. From 1-6 June, Vivocity is holding the Best of Queensland fair, so if you can’t get yourself the real thing, let the bits of weird and wonderful come to you. Craftsmen from the Eumundi Markets will be displaying their ware at Vivocity, including handmade cupcake pincushions, kits and patterns from Fiona Hocking, ceramic hand-sculpted kookaburras, koalas and other nature-inspired art by ceramicist Anna Morgan and liqueurs, schnapps, vodkas and eaux de vie, in beautifully hand-painted bottles from Tambourine Mountain Distillery. For a spot of entertainment, if you want to call it that, get up close to 50,000 buzzing bees with a live bee keeping demo and a chance to extract honey from their hive in a (hopefully) safe manner.
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This Weekend Hong Kong - Handicraft Bazaar at Discovery Bay

Summer is officially here in Hong Kong. Before the heat gets sweltering, pack the beach mat, picnic basket, mozzie spray and sunnies and hit the beach on Discovery Bay this weekend in Hong Kong. 

And whilst you are there, be sure to check out 'Handmade Hong Kong' their out door arts, crafts and bazaar fair at DB Plaza on from 10am to 5pm, Sunday, 30th May. Free entry for all!  

- Elaine
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BINGE Hong Kong - Fathers' Day from Beef and BBQ to Buffets

Fathers' Day (20th June) dining options are aplenty in Hong Kong so the trick is to pick and book early! Heed our suggestions for a great day out in Stanley, Central or the Wan Chai area:

Head out to Stanley ... where you will find Rocksalt in leisurely laid back setting with beautiful views of Stanley Bay and a 3 course set lunch at HK$238 per person or a 3 course dinner at HK$328 per person. 

Expect items like Forrest Mushroom Soup served with porcini dust and a splash of fresh cream, a Rocksalt Salad of salt cured salmon served with beetroot, cucumber and crumbed quail eggs. For mains, think Char Grilled Sirloin steak served with steamed vegetables and potato gratin in a red wine sauce, succulent Char Grilled Lamb Chops served with steamed vegetables and potato gratin in a red wine sauce or the beautiful Father’s Catch with paperbark cod with cherry tomatoes, wild mushrooms, baby fennel. Tiramisu for dessert and special kid's menus available. If thats not enough, Dad's get a free takeaway - a stubby holder and a free round of drinks for himself and 3 buddies on his next visit to the restaurant. Rocksalt is at 25 Stanley Market Road, Stanley, T: +852 2899 0818

Saigon, also at Stanley also offers three special sets priced at $388 for two people, HK$788 for four and HK$988 for six. 

Expect simple delicious Vietnamese flavours served in a sultry colonial era atmosphere amidst gentle rattan fans, soothing celadon tones and grand French doors opening onto an outdoor veranda with panoramic views over the South China Sea. Tuck into Vietnamese favourites like Fresh Rice Paper Rolls with choice of Pork and Prawn, Soft Shell Crab or Duck Breast, Saigon Spring Rolls with pork and shrimp and Shrimp Mousse on sugarcane. The mains include items like the Wok-Braised Beef Tenderloin with Black Pepper and Fresh Herbs, Lemongrass Curry, Southern Vietnamese Fried Noodles with Pork, and Crab Meat Fried Rice. For Dessert, there are items like the Sago with Pomelo and Mango in Coconut Soup or Lemongrass flavoured Panna Cotta. Saigon is at 1/F, Murray House, Stanley. T: +852 2899 0999

For something meatier (and more in Central), check out the newly opened Blue Smoke Bar-B-Que, in Lan Kwai Fong. 

Step back into time into the old South into a unique ambience of antique timber panels, rust iron, concrete slabs and old-style benches which the restaurant owners have actually salvaged construction materials from Tennessee factories and dilapidated farmhouses. 

This is definitely a sit and share kind of place with big plate items like their ‘secret recipe’ spicy ribs to even a whole suckling pig. True to the theme, there are a whole lot of bar-b-que dishes - think ‘Budweiser Beer Can’ smoked USA chicken and unique bar-b-que platters with dishes like bar-b-que turkey

Kids will love the nachos and if you like good ol' American fare you will not be dissapointed by the Texas red beef chili, Texas brisket, pulled pork, lamb rib, and hot links – with traditional side dishes of coleslaw, baked beans, corn bread, mac ‘n’ cheese and classic homemade American pies. A good drinks menu awaits with a good selection of American beer, signature 14oz frozen Margaritas, bourbon cocktails, lemonade by the pitcher and iced tea. Blue Smoke Bar-B-Que is at 3/F Grand Progress Building, 15-16 Lan Kwai Fong, Central. Tel: +852 2816 9018.

For a more delicate and luxe take on beef, cross over to IFC Mall and check out H One where 12 imaginatively prepared Beef dishes await, showcasing high quality beef from around the world from US Angus Beef, USDA Prime Dry Aged Beef, Australian Wagyu Beef, Italian Beef to Japanese Kobe Beef. 

Their USDA Prime Dry Aged Sirloin is aged for 14-28 days for a more intense flavor and there is even Wagyu beef tongue and beef cheek on the menu, both rarely available in Hong Kong. Some of the starters include a Slow Cooked Prime US Beef Carpaccio, Parsnip, Black Truffle and Walnut Vinaigrette, Char-Grilled Wagyu Beef Tongue, Watercress Leaves and Horseradish Cream, Kobe Beef Tartar, Sunny Side Up Quail Egg and Brioche Bread and a Wagyu Beef Cheek Ravioli, Foie Gras and Light Truffle Sauce. Mains include favourites like the Charcoal Grilled Black Angus Rib Eye, Asparagus, Rosemary Potatoes and Thyme Jus, Bollito Misto of Beef with Salsa Verde (brisket, tongue, rib) or a Pan Fried Wagyu Beef Tenderloin, Broccolini, Garlic Mashed Potato and Shallot Red Wine Jus. H one is at Shop 4008, Podium Level 4, ifc mall, 8 Finance Street, Central. Tel: +852 2805-0638.

In the Wan Chai area, head to the award winning Cepage, opened by Singapore's Les Amis Group. They are serving up a special menu celebrating their new ranking among the world’s top 100 restaurants and their accomplished achievement of bagging a Michelin star within a year of their opening in Hong Kong. 

At HK$488 per person or HK$678 with a wine pairing, the menu is served every Saturday. Appetiser choices include a Boston lobster salad with green apple gelée and crème fraiche, or Wagyu beef carpaccio with marinated white asparagus, aged parmesan and summer truffle. This starter is paired with Palmer Champagne. For a second course try their hearty and classic bouillabaisse seafood stew in puff pastry. Mains are a choice between pan-seared, line-caught snapper and crunchy tête de veau, layered with baguette, eggplant caviar and datterino tomato-pinenut dressing, or a serving for two of roasted premier French free range chicken, Coquelet de Bresse, with lemon confit and rosemary, roasted pearl onion, new potato and courgette. Both are paired with the light and tasty - Misha "The High Note" Pinot Noir, 2008. Dessert is a mascarpone mousse with marinated strawberry and elderflower sorbet, complemented by La Spinetta Moscato d’ Asti, Quaglia 2009. Great value if you ask me! CEPAGE is at 23 Wing Fung Street in Wanchai. Tel: +852 2861 3130.

In the Harbour Road area at The Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, Buffet is the word and their 3 most popular restaurants Tiffin, Grissini and Kaetsu all have grand buffet options. For reservations, call: +852 2584 7722.

Tiffin well known for European-style delicacies serves a wonderful Sunday Brunch spread at HK$638 or HK$698 with free flow Moet Chandon Rose Champagne, kids pay only HK$319. If its an Afternoon Tea affair, then the buffet spread is only HK$258 for adults and HK$129 for kids. The Dinner Buffet spread is at HK$538 for adults and HK$269 for kids.

Grissini also brings out their Italiano best with a lunch buffet spread of authentic Italian feast with antipasti, homemade pastas, carving station, cheese table and sensational desserts and a complimentary glass of Italian sparkling wine for each guest. Adults HK$485 and Kids HK$243.

Japanese Kaetsu's buffets present a wide range of traditional Japanese delights including sea urchin and fresh prime tuna at the sashimi station, a la minute tempura prepared from the kitchen and pan-fried Japanese Wagyu beef at HK$680 for Adults and HK$340 for Kids for Lunch. The Dinner Buffet is HK$780 per adult and HK$390 for kids.

- Elaine
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Friday, 21 May 2010

By The Way - Funky Art Exhibition Just For Kids At SAM

Goodness! We haven’t done a museum post for some time. Well, here’s an exhibition with a difference. The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) has recently launched a Art Garden: Children’s Season (now until 18 July 2010) , an interactive contemporary art exhibition to engage kids and the rest of us who have not grown up. 8Q, the ‘annexe’ building next to the main museum is turned into a “magical art garden” with artworks inspired by nature and created by local and international artists, targeted at children aged four to 12.

Heave the kids to see Walter the rabbit, a giant floating sculpture in the courtyard (Dawn Ng); mechanical flowers ‘grow’ and ‘bloom’ (Geoffrey Drake-Brockman); a beautifully illustrated enchanted forest (Sandra Lee); then ‘grow’ trees and ‘divert’ streams with the help of interactive new media (Theodore Watson and Emily Gobeille) in a funky magical forest.

How about a bit of shopping? Adorable merchandise inspired by Walter, including inflatable toys, tote bags and t-shirts, specially created by Dawn Ng, will also be on sale during the exhibition.

Also just opened is The Learning Gallery, an “interactive learning playhouse” showcasing contemporary artworks for younger visitors, and Programme Space, a new workshop space at SAM at 8Q where kids experience the process of art-making and present their own works.

Singapore Art Museum at 8Q
8 Queen Street
10 am – 7 pm / 9pm Fridays
$10 per adult and $5 for students with ID
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This Weekend – Thai Fest At The Thai Embassy

The yearly Thai Fest at the Thai Embassy on Orchard is here again from now until 23 May, Sunday. This time they’ve done it up in a more organized set up, with around 80 stalls of jewellery, food, household items, toiletries and clothes in neater sections. Madam pottered over there for a look see, and my conclusion is, if you’re in the vicinity, it’s worth popping in, but not if you’re making a special trip down.
What to buy there? My picks nice glass blown jewelry from Lailan Décor. I like the cocktail rings ($15) in all sorts of colours in a bulbous glass bauble. Good to know, bulk orders are priced at $2.80 for a minimum order of 100 pieces.

Beautiful glass pens ($30 per set) from Honey Glass. I tried it and they write very smoothly using ordinary fountain pen ink…This makes a great present ‘cos it’s so unique. Each pen is made from a single handblown glass.

The solid perfume ($20) and luffa embedded soap from another stall called Natural Homemade….

And gorgeous cocktail jewellery by Anada. The pictures didn’t turn out very well I’m afraid, but the rings are absolutely beautiful, including gold plated silver pieces, chunky semi precious stones, and sleek streamlined yet bold pieces from matte gold and silver to pieces with wood, and stones.
Definitely worth dropping in on over the weekend. Bring cash! Until 23 May, Sunday.
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