Saturday, 31 July 2010

By The Way - What to do for National Day

One week more to National Day! Have you put up your flag and readied your red and white outfits? Have your planned your rose water and coconut malk layered agar-agar recipe? We patriotic aunties at SimplyFab are just crazed with excitement and nationalistic fervor! I will be offline this weekend as I am checking in at a hotel to soak in the full dress parade this evening….Yes, I have my little plastic flag at the ready in my quivering hands!

Even if you have not booked your room with a view, there are countless things we can do to mark the delights of independence and self-determination. We the citizens of Singapore can indeed do our bit…. Let SimplyFab count the ways.

Well,  you can go for a spa in celebration…at least that’s what Fairmont Hotel says. For the month of August, they are offering a yummy treat at Willow Stream Spa (level 6). For just $159+, the Spa Burst Experience gives you 90 mins of fun filled pampering - 45mins Customised Deep Cleansing Mini Facial (including skin analysis, gentle exfoliation and masque), 30mins Express Pedicure (Me! Me!) and a 15-min Foot Massage which will surely send me to sleep. Nice!

Tel: 6431 5600, or email:

We can also surround ourselves with celeb aura…..Master Chef Kunio Tokuoka – he of four Michelin stars – will return to Singapore from 9-14 August to cook at his kaiseki restaurant Kunio at RWS. And since he’s offering a special menu at only $120 (compared to $300 being his usual, baseline menu) I will suggest you Fab Foodies just hot foot there without delay for this fantastic opportunity….and I’m not even paid to say that! The menu also comes with a complimentary glass of Kitcho Teioh sake.

Tel: 6686 3633 and mention the special offer.

And finally for all your MediaCorp fans, pack your Bonia bags and head to Carousel, Royal Plaza on Scotts and eat in honour of local cuisines! From 11 August to 9 September 2010, Nelson Li, guest chef and Peranakan culture adviser from The Little Nyonya series will be whipping up some fiery hot peranakan cuisine. Chef Li picked up his skills from grandma and mom and will be doling up yummies like Ayam Buah Keluak and Curry Assam Fish. Available during dinner at $63.00++ on weekdays (Sun to Thu) and $70.00++ on weekends (Fri, Sat and PH). Don't forget to heave mom-in-law along....Auntie will definitely like!

Tel: 6589 7799 or for details
- Ee Waun
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Binge - Tetsuya's New Restaurant Waku Ghin Opens at Marina Bay Sands

When I met Tetsuya a few months back to do an interview for a magazine, I was very pleasantly surprised by how unpretentious he is, yet his PR is super slick. Easy going and mild mannered, he gives you his full attention when you talk to him, and makes you feel you’re the most interesting conversationalist ever. And despite his fine dining credentials, one of his favourite eateries in Singapore, he tells me, is Turtle House at Geylang where he has been frequenting with his other equally illustrious chef friends for years. He’s been visiting Singapore so often that he says he feels pretty much at home here, and he can rattle off the places he likes for bak kut and other hawker food. That’s real cute for a guy who’s one of the most famous chefs in the world, and when I called him a ‘celeb chef’ to his face, he gets bashful and says, “But I am just a cook.”

Well, Waku Ghin, his new fine dining restaurant in Singapore, is finally open, taking up a huge 8000 square feet in Marina Bay Sands. But most of this space is taken up by his kitchen, which he’s real chuffed about cos it’s the biggest kitchen he has. There’s still room for guests, of course, and he serves up dining with a difference – you move from room to room according to your courses….a little like gastronomic musical chairs. Starting from the lounge for pre-dinner drinks, diners move from room to room to “experience the art of skilled chefs preparing food for each group personally”. You then move on to the main dining room or drawing room to relax over desserts, coffee and digestifs, with a floor-to-ceiling view of the Singapore skyline to boot.

Be warned there’s only 25 seats here…though he did clarify that the 25 seats refer to each room or course. The group of 25 guests moves from room to room, so once that group moves on to the next room, the next group of 25 will occupy the first room just vacated…..

Open for dinner only, there’s no a la carte menu – just a 10-course degustation serving up Tetsuya’s Euro-Japanese cuisine including signatures like Marinated Botan Shrimp with Sea Urchin and Caviar and Australian Wagyu with Wasabi and Citrus Soy.

We aim to present a layered series of delicate tastes, textures, smells and appearances that build upon one another,” said Chef Tetsuya. “We have created a dining experience that is intimate yet lively, one that allows diners to linger and leaves them with the desire to return for more.”

The restaurant is at Casino Level 2, but non-gamblers can access it by The Shoppes, and its closed on Mondays.  
- Ee Waun
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Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Breaking News and Bytes - iPhone 4 available this Friday

Christmas has come early this year with the crazy rush happening two Fridays ago in July, first for the coveted iPad and now for the iPhone 4. Rejoin the queue as the iPhone 4 arrives in 17 more countries including Singapore and Hong Kong THIS Friday!

Featuring FaceTime, video calls are going to be the norm in phone communications. Apple’s new Retina display, the highest resolution display ever built into a phone will result in stunning text, images and video whilst a beautiful all-new design casing of glass and stainless steel will make this the thinnest and most attractive smartphone in the world.

The 5 megapixel camera comes with an LED flash, HD 720p video recording, Apple’s A4 processor, a 3-axis gyro and up to 40 percent longer talk time. Available in HK at a suggested retail price of HK$4,988 for the 16GB and HK$5,888 for the 32GB model through Apple’s online store ( A new iPhone 3GS 8GB model will be available later in the year for just HK$4,088.

- Elaine
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Breakaway - Finnair goes Hong Kong!

It was hard enough for me to get used to Silkair, Tiger, Jet Star, Value Air and Air Asia in Singapore .. when I moved to Hong Kong, there were some other names to remember like Dragon Air, Jet Airways and now another one. Have you heard of Finnair? Me neither!

I keep picturing an airplane piloted by Mr Claus and his 8 reindeers. I am not completely off as this carrier from Finland has 12 direct flights to Hong Kong per week via Helsinki. This is apparently the shortest route between Asia and Europe. Look out for direct flight from Helsinki to Singapore starting in May 2011. See: Finnair Group website:  

- Elaine
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Saturday, 24 July 2010

Binge - Eat Up For Singapore! National Day Deals and Meals

It’s National Day round the corner, and I’m heading off next Saturday to catch of glimpse of the fireworks! Time to bring out the red and white t-shirt and shorts ensemble, get the kid a Giordano national day T-shirt and wave the little plastic flag from the hotel room balcony! Such excitement! And of course, it’s a perfect excuse to imbibe in some bubbly along the way. After all, despite the recent floods, the education system that strangles all notions of childhood, and the roller coaster ride at Universal Studios that refuses to start, Singapore is still a good place to live.

There’s lots of eating to in celebration of the 45th National Day. SimplyFab has been bombarded with tons of information on National Day deals around, so we’ll be sharing the love in a few parts – most of which revolve around eating. But what better way to celebrate Singapore than to indulge in our national pastime?
If you’re born in the month of August, you get to eat for free at The Line at Shangri-La Hotel, with three other paying guests from 7-9 August. As huge and vast as their spread is already – 16 kitchens in one spread – they’re adding more Singapore dishes to get into the patriotic mood. To get the free meal deal, you have to book in advance and it’s limited to a maximum party of 8 people for each booking. Birthday girl or boy has to bring along the IC for verification. Prices start from $47 per adult, and $24 per child.

Tel: 6213 4398 or e mail for details and reservations.
For the entire month of August, Triple Three at Mandarin Orchard is offering 45% off your total buffet bill if you turn 45 this year. And you see? Citizenship still has its privileges – this deal is for Singaporeans only! The spread is impressive – expect over 100 savoury and sweet dishes from various cuisines such as Japanese, Italian, Indian. This deal is good for a minimum of 4 diners and maximum of 8 diners. Alternatively, catch the fireworks up at Top of the M on National Day itself with a special package deal of $30++ per person which includes a glass of Mumm Champagne and a choice of Asian light bites. They promise a ‘fabulous view of the National Day Parade Fireworks’ up on this 38th floor drinking hole.

Tel: 6831 6288 or email for details and reservations
How about a barbecue buffet and fireworks? Up at al fresco restaurant Brunch at the Pan Pacific Singapore, there’s a Barbie burning with meat galore, seafood and all sorts of sweets and free flowing beer and wine, plus ‘glimpses of the fireworks from the National Day parade’ on 9 August from 6.30pm. The kid’s price is a steal too at $1++ per year of age for children below 12 years. Adults pay $85++ (inclusive of beers and wines) or $55 with soda.

Tel: 6826 8240 or email
You’re a lucky bunny if you are a 1965 baby. Those who turn 45 this year get to eat a free buffet at Palm’s Asian Brasserie at Copthorne Orchid Hotel when you are there with another paying adult. The buffet spread is, of course, great local favourites like Bak Kut Teh, Kueh Pie Tee, Po Piah, Grilled Stingray, etc, plus live stations for dishes like Laksa, Prawn, Wanton or Fish Ball Minced Pork Noodles. Singapore Fare is served lunch and dinner from 2 - 31 August 2010. Prices from $30.80 - $34.80 per adult; $18.80 – $19.90

Tel: 6415 6037 for details and reservations
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Thursday, 22 July 2010

Binge – Sweet Sinfulness! Cakes, Ice Cream and Desserts!

Such sinfulness! Like sugar isn’t enough of the devil for us svelte darlings, they’re now combining it with alcohol, too. What is a modern girl to do to hold on to her raging infernal desires? What’s this frenzy all about?

Häagen-Dazs Singapore is the FIRST country in Asia to launch a Cocktail Menu. Available only at its Clarke Quay café (3A River Valley Road, #01-07), the menu offers ice cream cocktails, sorbet-blended cocktails and liqueur coffee! According to Mr. Yiannis Karaolides, Managing Director for General Mills Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia & Malaysia, this is part of the brand’s ‘Slow Melting in Progress’ campaign. For a sampling for sin, consider Roman Romance ($18) a fusion of raspberry sorbet, sparkling lemonade, lime juice, fresh strawberry and a shot of tequila, or Santorini Sunset ($16), a combination of Mango Sorbet, vodka, lime juice and pineapple juice. Ooh – and what’s this? Luscious Venetian Velvet ($16), a concoction of Belgian Chocolate ice cream, fresh milk and Bailey’s Irish Cream! If you’ve got the cone, I’ve got the cream!

Clark Quay
3A River Valley Road #01-07

Speaking of sins, 1-Twenty Six, the ‘copacobana’ bar at East Coast Park has rolled out a new cocktail menu that draws from the seven deadly sins – sloth, lust, wrath, despair and the lot. Under each ‘sin’ is a selection of dangerous and bold cocktails made from fruits and ingredients often found in the pastry kitchen. Sip on cocktails like Dragon’s Breath, a fiery-red concoction of spiced rum, dragon fruit, Frangelico hazelnut, vanilla and coconut cream (Ooo! Cholesterol!); Antoinette’s Vanity (named after Marie-Antoinette) which contains passion fruit vodka, pear, grapefruit, green tea, vanilla and comes with a freshly made cupcake (Cute!) and a titillating tipple called The Younger Man with brandy, lychee, blue curacao, passionfruit, cranberries, and soursop. Included in the heady line-up is a category of drinks called ‘Punch Bowl’ ($80) which serves 3-4 people. There are four choices here, of which White Rosemount Sangri and Pimm's Lemonade, comprising Pimm's No. 1, cucumbers, lemonade, ginger and apple sounds best. So go for your healthy evening run with a bit of cash in your pocket, end at the bar and hydrate with these sexy sins. We like!

902 East Coast Parkway
Playground@Big Splash #01-26
If you're into a spot of clean-living, over at Handy Road, 1-Caramel recently served forth its new cake menu. So lovely, charming and prim, you feel you’re a blue-rinsed, floral frocked lady sitting on those tight little tables and nibbling on fine confections. What did Auntie enjoy here since she didn’t taste The Younger Man (see above)?

I liked Midori ($7.90) the best – a slice of green decadence flavoured with matcha and adzuki beans (aka ‘ang tow’) with yuzu-infused bavarois. So oriental chic, I could keel over. I also tried the Lychee Rose ($7.90) with lychee and rose mousse with juicy lychee jelly and valrhona ivoire chocolate glaze. Nice for lychee martini lovers, prim nuns and preschool teachers. It’s all very sweet and yummy. Most tantalizing was the Chocolate Slut ($8.90) - love the name! - with multiple layers of chocolate sponge, caramel peanut butter mousse, marshmallow chunks, with dark rich glaze. So decadent, no wonder it comes with such an ‘in-your-face’ name. As you can see, they are geniuses in naming their cakes.

Other slices that caught my eye - Red Velvet ($7.90) with moist sponge and layers of rich 75% Sao Tome dark chocolate and juicy dark sweet cherries; Hazelnut Orange ($6.90) – my favourite pastry kitchen ingredients!– which includes hazelnuts, rosemary, navel orange and grand marnier, and a dense, unforgiving Maltesers cheesecake ($8.90) with a coffee crumb base, horlicks marbling and maltesers chocolate balls topped with luscious manjari ganache. Indeed they specialize overwhelmingly in cakes and sweets, but just a quick note, they serve light brunches here too, lunch items and a lovely range of souffles. Must go! Do note though that there is absolutely no salvation here, ladies!

The Luxe
Handy Road
- Ee Waun
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Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Breakaway - Hong Kong Off The Beaten Track Excursions By Boat

The next time you find yourself bored in Hong Kong and in the mood for adventure. Try an off the beaten track excursion to a remote island on a sailing vessel with a dim sum lunch and a drinky poo thrown in at only HK$340 per person and HK$200 for children, 4 to 11 years.

Hong Kong’s iconic traditional red-sailed Chinese junk, the Aqua Luna sails every Thursday this Summer to the isolated “Temple on the Sea” in Joss House Bay. The popular afternoon junk trip to one of Hong Kong’s “hidden gems” departs from Central Pier No. 9 at 12:15pm and Tsim Sha Tsui Public Pier No.1 at 12:30pm.

Standing guard at the eastern entrance to Victoria Harbour, Joss House Bay is home to Hong Kong’s oldest and largest Tin Hau temple, dedicated to the ‘Goddess of the Sea’. Built in 1266, the Tin Hau temple is a Grade I Historic Building in Hong Kong. Guests visiting the temple will bound to be impressed by the stature of the temple, the vivid colours of the scenery as well as the scent of burning incense. En route to the magnificent temple for Hong Kong’s sea-faring community, the cruise aboard the beautiful 28-metre aqua luna takes in the sights and sounds of Hong Kong’s ‘Fragrant Harbour’ and old shipyards of Shau Kei Wan where the junk was built.

In Joss House Bay, guests have the rare opportunity to explore the temple and local community before re-boarding for a relaxing return voyage, reclining on comfortable sofa beds, to Central at 3:45pm and Tsim Sha Tsui at 4:00pm.
If you have already been there and done that, there are other sail to options. Their Monday ‘Life on the Sea’ sailings go to Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter and there are also Wednesday trips to outlying Cheung Chau Island and weekend junk trips to Stanley Village and market, every Saturday and Sunday. Alternatively there is a regular 45-minute Victoria Harbour sailing departing from Pier 1 by the Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui and Pier 9, Central. Prices for these are at HK$150; $180 for evening sailings and HK$220 for ‘Symphony of Lights’ sailings (7:30pm from Tsim Sha Tsui &7:45pm from Central). Prices are inclusive of one complimentary beverage.

Tickets for aqua luna can be booked online at For further details and reservations call +852 2116 8821 or visit the website.
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Breakaway - Diane von Furstenberg makeover for Claridge's London

If you ever get a chance to check into Claridge’s, one of the world’s most famous and glamorous hotels in London, make sure you ask to see or stay in one of the 20 DVF styled rooms that the hotel has collaborated on with the Queen of the wrap dress, Diane von Furstenberg.
Before looking at the pictures, I kept imagining what her signature style would translate into. My guess: loud prints and a beautifully but tightly wrapped arm chair???. My guess was not too off!

Unveiled on June 23 this year, the Art Deco jewel of Mayfair, the legendary Claridge’s has stood as an emblem of timeless elegance in London and is also the hotel where Diane von Furstenberg has been a loyal guest for the past three decades. I wonder if this was how she volunteered to settle her hotel bill? Snigger!
Designed in collaboration with longtime friend and interior decorator Olivier Gelbsmann, each guestroom features contemporary prints, some with Chinese florals in big, bold scale and some with animal patterns. Each bedroom will have a Diane von Furstenberg custom designed cashmere blanket in sumptuous colour combinations with four star pieces including a dressing table, travelling trunk, desk and cocktail bar, all inspired by Diane von Furstenberg’s travels. Complementing this is furniture handmade by British craftsmen with light fixtures that have been created in the UK and Paris using Murano glass. The rooms will also display photographs taken by Diane von Furstenberg on her travels through Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. DVF’s exclusive textile collection which will be available to interior designers and consumers in September 2010 will be the choice fabric through each room's drapery and overlays. Check out:

- Elaine
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Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Breaking News - iPad out in HK and SG on 23 July, Friday!

The wait ends officially on Friday because you will be able to pick yours up in HK or SG on Friday, 23 July. Browse the web, read and send email, enjoy and share photos, watch HD videos, listen to music, play games, read ebooks and much more, all using iPad’s revolutionary Multi-Touch™ user interface. iPad is 0.5 inches thin and weighs just 1.5 pounds—thinner and lighter than any laptop or netbook—and delivers up to 10 hours of battery life.*

All the iPad models will be available from July 23 in 9 more countries including Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore for a suggested retail price of HK$3,888 for the 16GB model, HK$4,888 for the 16 GB + 3G model, HK$4,688 for the 32GB model, HK$5,688 for the 32 GB + 3G mode, HK$5,488 for the 64GB model and HK$6,488 for the 64GB + 3G model.

- Elaine 
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Monday, 19 July 2010

Breakaway – Apple Tree Cottage - The Best Holiday Cottage in South Australia

I had always meant to write about this little cottage we discovered on a trip last year to South Australia’s Adelaide Hills.

When I was trawling for accommodation for a personal holiday to South Australia, I realized that it was real tough to get really nice, luxe holiday digs out in the countryside. Until I came across Apple Tree Cottage.

Run by Adelaide Hills Country Cottages, it is one of five lovely holiday cottages scattered in a huge working cattle farm, so well spaced out you don’t see each other at all. In all our three days there, we saw no one. In other words, total privacy!

Of all the holiday homes we had stayed in, this is one of the most unique and charming, in a genteel, old English sort of way. If you like Pride and Prejudice, you could imagine this is a tiny version of Longbourne, perhaps! Definitely a place where you can run off to with your own Mr Darcy, and also with your chickadees. Kids would definitely love this place.

So what do you get at Apple Tree Cottage? A picture perfect setting for starters. The cottage is very charming, with antiques, country furniture and low slung windows...

Outside is a sprawling garden with lots of flowers and nature....

And best of all, a low spreading walnut tree with a hammock slung from its branches where we took turns to while away the afternoons with a book and a nap....

You also get a gorgeous, substantially sized, private lake at your doorstep....

On which you can fish for red snapper in your personal bathtub of a boat.....

Left: View from the bedroom window. Right: kitchen window from the garden.

In fact, every room in the house looks out towards the lake, so you get a real treat of a view from the moment you wake up to the time the sun sets.

A five minute walk away but still on the bigger property is an apple orchard (pix above)...

And a short drive away is a lemon orchard (pix above) where you can pick fruits. We made lemonade out of these juicy, thick skinned lemons.

Side gate of the garden en route to the lake. See the lavender bush?

The property is absolutely tranquil. Outside the fence of your garden is miles of private property, and it takes another 5 minutes' drive to get you to the public road beyond.
The lay of the land - the lake and the roof of the cottage on the left side.
The shed contains ancient farm equipment on display. 

It's a half hour drive from the pretty town of Hahndorf, the wineries and the other little towns, so this makes a good base for exploration if you have a car.

 View of the cottage from the lake's edge.

And in case you're wondering, no, this is not info from the South Australian Tourism Commission but our very own discovery. Check it out at
- Ee Waun (pictures too)
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Saturday, 17 July 2010

Breakaway - Beach Bunny Travels Green at Club Med -Part 2

Speaking of natural, the whole resort (yes, all 80 hectares of it) is a preserved, natural site. And before I go on about the backend eco-initiatives, I have to say that I was quite impressed by the architecture here. Not only is it stunning, but also its eco-consciousness, even when this traditional kampong-styled lodging was built back in 1977!

Constructed with local materials, the architecture not just reduces its transportation and carbon footprint, but also blends in beautifully with its surroundings. Additionally, the amazing 850-metre structure is one of Asia’s longest wooden structures, and built on stilts to prevent flooding.

There many other behind-the-scenes eco-initiatives in place too, as I learnt from my walk with Mr Ary Dam, Regional Landscape Maintenance Manager. Mr Ary explained how Club Med Cherating won the Silver Green Globe Benchmark award, by meeting and exceeding the stringent guidelines of a sustainable policy and more.

For example, the resort places a strong emphasis on saving water and energy. Mr Ary took us to the Natural Waste Water Treatment (Lagoon System), which is a natural way to purify water via pre-treatment debris trap areas, as well as slow and gravitationally driven ponds.

The lagoon is a great spot for landscape and lotus photographs, by the way! (See the pictures!) This natural system also protects the flora and fauna as it easily integrates into the surroundings, and is an excellent way to eliminate micro-biotic pollution.

To save energy at the resort, Club Med Cherating recovers the energy from the air-conditioning system to heat your water! Instead of using a boiler or electric energy, water is warmed by a heat exchanger, which provides huge energy savings and avoids the release of carbon gas. How clever! And since Cherating Beach is so sunny, the resort uses solar energy for Rembulan Terrace Restaurant, too. That’s responsible eating….!

The Kitchen is in on the Green journey too, with a special waste management system and composting programme. Mr Ary said that the staff has to undergo training to ensure they understand and implement these eco-initiatives at all times, like biodegradable food waste separation. And while Club Med serves up great food for the hungry hoardes, don’t expect any sharks’ fins or endangered animal parts to be served here – that’s a strict no-no!

G.O Mobeen also shared a small clothes tag with me during one of our meals together; even the Club Med G.O outfits were made of 100% organic fair trade cotton. Hmmm… it seems that Club Med has really got it together to ensure an amazing experience while being ecologically responsible in every possible way… and all at its natural best! (Scroll down and see more random pictures of gorgeousness...)

Bottoms Up!
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