Friday, 21 November 2014

This Saturday: Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014 from 11am-5pm at Suntec


Held at Suntec Convention Centre Halls 401-402 this Saturday from 11am to 5pm, the Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014 looks to gather all the famous hawkers to cook up a storm. I'm already salivating looking at Misstamchiak and SGFoodonFoot Derrick's photos on Instagram! Entry to the event is free - just buy coupons to enjoy the food. You can view the ridiculously sinful menu here for what's cookin', such as lychee wood roasted duck and foie gras rojak. 

See you there! (Btw, Yahoo has 5 reasons for why you shouldn't miss this event.)
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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Japanese Buffet Review: Kushi Dining Bar at Hotel Royal, 36 Newton Rd, Singapore 307964

One of my favorite cuisine of all time has to be Japanese. It is probably been the cuisine that's consistently been consumed all across Singapore (and in Japan, of course) ever since I started eating out proper. I remember how I used to go to Sakae Sushi (and loved it), before moving on to higher quality conveyor belt sushi chains like Sushi Tei.. and then there's the ramen shops, the yakitori joints and the izakaya places. It's actually amazing how many choices we have. And speaking of that, there's the Japanese buffet places where you pay around 40++ to eat however you want from the menu. And that's exactly what Kushi Japanese Dining Bar is. Located on the 3rd floor of the rather vintage Hotel Royal, it's the kind of restaurant that you have to know where it is, or you wouldn't have guessed. And that's why I am here to let you know about it!

The interior is simple, classic, comfortable. Ventilation's good too.

Here's the menu. It's actually quite hilarious. if you read the text on the white part.

For classic it will cost $58.70 after GST/service charge for adults on weekday dinner and another 3 bucks more for the weekend. Slightly steeper than the regular Japanese buffet, but it is worth it because of the things you're getting from it. You'll know why in a bit!

First, we had some thick cut sashimi. Fresh, succulent, no complaints!

Then some Hokkaido oysters. I typically shy away from oysters because they can get a bit too "oystery" for me, but this was fine. See? For the price there's oysters!


One of my favorites from the dinner's the Pi Dan Tofu though. It might look like a humble and 'low cost' item dish, but it's done so well! I love the cold, creamy texture of the tofu that's mixed with the rich century egg sauce. 


We also had some salmon and shiro maguro sushi, aburi style. This was actually a rare dish you won't get easily anywhere else. The fish itself, we learnt, was tasteless originally, and had to be marinated in a special sauce for the flavor before it was blowtorched. Me and my dining companion really enjoyed this one, for how simple it is, yet so full of complexity in taste.


We also tried some interesting tempura. Why have prawn or vegetables when you can batter up some cheese sticks, and anago eel (the one covered with special sauce)? While the cheese tempura was quite a novelty, it was the anago eel that stood out. It was done to perfection - the soft, almost buttery unagi stood on a tightrope with the crispy light batter to deliver a balanced performance.


We also had some beef, grilled to medium rare perfection. Simple, no frills, so you can taste for yourself how pure and good the beef is. For the price again, this is really value for money.


Then an assortment of yakitori. This is alright, compared to so many other stellar performances from other dishes.


The star of the show (together with the co-star, the Pidan Tofu), has to be the Lobster Porridge. It was umami heaven. Look at all the generous chunks of lobster! This is just perfect for a rainy day. The soup was so delicious we couldn't help but keep scooping and slurping it up despite being so full! 


We topped off it all with perfect matcha ice cream coated with some azuki (match!) and fruits. By then we were truly stuffed, but happy to have enjoyed so much quality Japanese food in one sitting.


Kushi Japanese Dining Bar at Hotel Royal is not your typical Japanese buffet joint offering the usual suspects. With surprises that comes seemingly from nowhere, this is the perfect place for jaded Japanese restaurant goers to try something new and exotic while having the assurance that the Japanese level of quality is delivered. I'll recommend this place for a small celebration, or occasion, or if you are really hungry and craving for Japanese food served with some creativity.


Kushi Japanese Dining Bar
Hotel Royal, 36 Newton Road, #03-01, Singapore 307964
+65 62856525
Lunch daily at 11am to 2.30pm (last order); dinner 5.30pm – 9.30pm (last order)

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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The $22 Waffle from Department of Caffeine, 15 Duxton Rd, Singapore 089481

Have you ever wondered how a waffle that costs $22 looks like?

Waffles are all in the rage these days, so for those who dislike doughy, floury things, tough luck. Every other hipster and cool youngster is flocking to waffles and ice cream these days.

One of the perpetrators of this is Department of Caffeine, which serves up an assortment of food and drinks. Here's their menu. The regular buttermilk waffles costs $16 with butter rum bananas or blueberry compote & strawberries. An extra scoop of ice cream costs $4. Coffees are between $5.50-$8.

The cafe is nestled in a shophouse at 15 Duxton Road, which is at a corner, close to Littered with Books. Pretty pleasant, typical 3rd wave cafe decor, if not a bit too noisy and crowded on weekends.



And here, is the $22 waffle. Admire it in all its glory. 


The $22 is for a Valrhona Chocolate Waffle with butter rum bananas, premium vanilla ice cream (from?) and crispy royaltine (some sort of flaky pastry bits thing).

Why did I order it? Is it because I am a sucker? Yea. Probably. But I was with some friends, we wanted to share a dessert, and this is just too overly luxurious to not try. Plus, everyone else didn't bat an eyelid when they are ordering, so am I crazy to think this is too much to pay for some chocolate batter with frozen milk, bananas and syrup?

No thumbs rating for this. 
The waffle's yummy but I won't be paying $22 for any dessert any time soon.

Department of Caffeine
15 Duxton Road, Singapore 089481
+65 6223 3426
Mon - Fri 10.30am - 7.30pm, Sat & Sun 9.30am - 7.30pm (last orders at 6pm)
Closed on Wednesdays. 
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Friday, 14 November 2014

Weekend Event: Singapore Art Book Fair 2014 at 43 Malan Rd, Gilman Barracks 15-16 Nov 2014

In case you are wondering where to this weekend (we are getting pretty spoilt for choices with the myriad of interesting garden fleas, pop-up stalls, adult playgrounds), check out the 2-day only Singapore Art Book Fair at Gilman Barracks, Centre for Contemporary Arts offering art prints, books, zines, letterpress cards and all types of interesting thingamajigs. In particular, check out Delere Press that's set up by a couple of good friends of mine.

Delere Press (pronounced 'dee-leh-ray', which is latin for delete) is a local boutique press that publishes really intellectual, but also pretty, books. You can purchase their books online, or simply head on down to the SABF to purchase! Do also like their Facebook Page for more updates.


Did I mention that these guys are pretty good people who likes to collaborate with other good people? If you have any bright or pretty ideas, don't hesitate to contact them.


The media preview I attended last night was really awesome! There are so many stalls filled with pretty things that I just want to browse and buy all the stuff. I've checked out other stalls briefly too and here's what you can expect. Don't you just want to head on down and see it in person?






There's also a tent outside selling food, drinks and other cool hipstery things so I'm thinking you've got one part of your weekend sorted at least. Let's hope it doesn't rain on this art book fair and hope to see you there!

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Sunday, 9 November 2014

Gadget Review: Pioneer Slim Micro System X-SMC11-K Speakers

Having an set of reliable remote controlled all-in-one sound system at home is very important. I didn't realize how important it was until I got one (the Pioneer Hi-Fi speakers), and now I don't think I can do without it. Fact is, it's now so convenient to have music around me, which immediately made my surroundings sound good. I've done a quick video review of the Pioneer Slim Micro System X-SMC11-K speakers previously, but here I'm gonna review it and show you how great it is with pictures.
First up, I really liked the timeless, slim design of the speakers, which can be wall mounted and befits most home designs with its classy silver black ensemble. 

The speakers are also versatile - it can receive input either from a CD from the top, or via a lightning connector dock that pops out with a light push.

What's really awesome is you could pop in your iPhone, and control the tracks remotely via the remote! It also comes with a iPad stand, so you can plug in your iPad via the USB jack. The sound was crystal clear, and had an impressive bass. Really no complaints. To the untrained ear, this is as good as it gets.


Lastly, the surprising function that I loved the most was the FM radio! It's super low-fi, but I realized how fun it was to listen to radio again when you have high-quality audio. You can preset up to 9 channels on it. Here it is in my room - I've placed it right next to my work station, beside my bed. Behind it I have the artwork I bought from my trip from Nepal.

Here's my little cosy room that I love to spend time in - made all the better with the Pioneer X-SMC11-K speakers. You can purchase it for $319 and get it delivered to you via e-Courts here.

Here are the specs:

Plays:DVDs and CDs, iPod, iPhone Audio and FM Radio
Speakers:2x Full Range
2x Passive Radiators
Terminals:• 1 x iPod/iPhone (lightning dock)
• 1 x USB
• 1 x Headphones 3.5 mm Jack Out
• 1 x Audio 3.5 mm Jack In
• 1 x Tuner Antenna
Display
:LED 7-Digit Display
Remote Control Unit:Remote control included
Dimensions (W x H x D):520 x 218 x 137 mm
Weight:3.9 kg
Power Requirements:AC 220/240V, 50/60Hz
Amplifier
Power RMS Front:20W + 20W (8Ω)


Compatible Generations:iPod Classic, iPod Video (5th gen.), iPod nano, (3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th gen.) iPod touch (1st - 4th gen.) iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 Audio only for iPod nano 1st and 2nd gen.

Supported Functions:Battery Charging iPod Video Support

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Sunday, 2 November 2014

Event Report: Cold Storage at Plaza Singapura Flavors of the World Food Fair 2014

I attended Plaza Singapura's inaugural epicurean event, “Flavours of the World” 2 weeks ago, which was held in celebration of its 40th anniversary in partnership with Cold Storage, a first live gourmet event of such a scale in a shopping mall. The food fair was really impressive as it had an oyster bar, meat carving stations, an extensive selection of beers, ciders and wines, as well as exclusive launches of new food and beverage brands and products. Today's the last day of the fair so try your best to pop by!

I had the chance to sample the exclusive Hoegaarden Rosée, an original raspberry-flavoured Hoegaarden white beer, which will be sold exclusively at Cold Storage from November onwards! It is the perfect holidays drink and I can see it being a hit among the ladies because it is tart but also sweet -- not like your regular beer!

There are also other new labels launching for the first time in Singapore such as Herr’s, Torres, and Vintage Italia – bestselling brands of potato chips specially imported from the United States, Spain and the United Kingdom respectively. 

There's also new and exclusive labels such as Terra Vega from the award-winning Chilean wine producer Luis Felipe Edwards, as well as the limited edition and highly sought-after Rekorderlig Winter Brew beer, which is making its first appearance in Singapore at the event. 


I received a goodie bag or should I say party pack of the new flavours of chips from Herr's (Baby Back Ribs chips and Buffalo Blue Cheese curls), a can of the very delightful Rosée Hoegaarden, a Tiger Radler, a Savanna Dry Cider (goes well if you pop in a dried plum!) and a personalized bottle of wine! How incredibly thoughtful and cool is that?

Visit Cold Storage now at Plaza Singapura to stock up on all these goodies now!

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Friday, 31 October 2014

HTC One M8: 5 reasons why I won't be switching to the iPhone 6

So the past month has been all about the iPhone 6, which is for the first time ever having a bigger screen size due to pressures from other manufacturers who have gone from big to gigantic. Even though I felt my heart twitch a beat when I saw how gorgeous the curves are on the 6, this time round I am strangely not compelled at all to go out and get it, mainly because I already have a smartphone, the HTC One (M8) that I am very happy about. Let me tell you why.



1. The screen
It's slightly bigger than the 6, but its not really about the size (though it helps) but the quality of it. It has a 1920px by 1080px resolution, which means there's more pixels cramped in this small 5" screen than there is on my 20" monitor (1440 x 900px) at home. How crazy is that? I really enjoy looking at things on it because it's so clear and big. And the screen is strangely fingerprint-repellent, by the way. I don't know why but I really liked that it does that, by some sorcery disguised as technological innovation not doubt.

2. Android OS without all the junk
I realize even though I use Macbooks at work and home, I'm not forcibly "tied into the system" because I really didn't like the updates they have been doing lately to the iOS design and all the interconnectedness between phone and computer is really not necessary for me. What I realize is that I am however using Google products every day, from Chrome to Gmail, Maps and YouTube. All of which works seamlessly on the Android OS (install the Google keyboard on your HTC One to get a better typing experience too! This is very important!) and pre-installed. Another good thing is that beyond a few native apps, HTC does not install junk apps on your phone that you do not need (and cannot delete).

3. The sound and camera
I love watching the odd YouTube video now and then, especially at night before bed and I want to unwind. Instead of getting my iPad out, I now just use my HTC one, which comes with two front-facing speakers with Beats audio that has crystal clear and more importantly, loud sound.

For camera, I love the uFocus feature that's unique to the HTC, where after you take the photo you can select which part to focus on, and the rest gets blurred out. Read more about it on fonearena.com.



4. Little nifty gestures
Again, this might not seem much at first, but it's just so intelligent. You can pick up a call by just lifting it to your ear - there's no need to tap on "answer". You can reject a call by flipping the phone onto it's front. The ringtone volume can also soften as you pick it up towards you, when you receive a call. You can also switch between cameras by swiping the camera screen to the left or right (yes, iPhone does that too), which I learnt from stooffi, a fellow HTC user. 

5. Battery life
Any iPhone user will agree that battery life on the Apple phones are not the best. I often find my iPhone 5 not lasting beyond 3/4 of a day before it gets to 5%, which is when I start to panic. When I got the HTC, I can leave my house with 100%, and still have 35% left when I am home after dinner. That's pretty impressive if you consider how much of a social media and IM user I am! Its not just me too -- battery tests by tech magazines concur.

Source: phonearena.com


So there you go! The five reasons why I am sticking to the HTC One M8, and why you should be getting one too! Check out their price plans at your local telcos (such as StarHub) and be pleasantly surprised at how good it is.



Thanks to HTC for sending across the review unit! This article is 100% my own opinion and not a paid advertorial.

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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Japanese Teppanyaki Buffet Lunch at Shima, Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Road, Singapore 228221

In case you are wondering if teppanyaki from Shima at Goodwood Park Hotel any good, let me save you the time and research and just give you the answer now. YES. If there is one teppanyaki restaurant you want to go to this year or the next, make that Shima. 

是吗?是, 是。(haha sorry I couldn't resist it).

Having recently renovated, this institution of a restaurant has been around since 1980, which makes it probably the oldest teppanyaki restaurant in Singapore! The interior has been updated, but they have kept the 1-inch thick cast iron griddles that has been around since the beginning because those things just get better with age and can spread and maintain heat like no other.

The teppanyaki lunch buffets are really value for money. It's

- $49.90++/pax on weekdays
- $59.90++/pax on weekends and public holidays (selection offers a few more dishes)

Because this is a buffet, it means you can order from the menu items as much as you like. FREE FLOW sashimi and everything!



We had the pleasure of having Sous Chef Victor Yok to prepare the teppanyaki for us. He was with Shima since 1984, and we could all tell how experienced he is in making the food. He also shared some tales with us of weird requests from customers over the years, including making full-vegetarian teppanyaki, and custom-making oyster omelette (he might do it for you if you ask nicely!)


The salmon sashimi was so fresh, so omega, so delicious. 

The prawn tempura was also a classic execution.

What we all liked quite a fair bit was the poached salmon in secret sauce ($25). Chef placed these well-portioned Norwegian salmon on aluminium containers, poured some home made sauce in, and let it sizzle for a quick beat. We could see the salmon turning color and smell it while it was cooking - that's the beauty of teppanyaki!

We also had some prawns, which was also good.

Followed by oysters, cooked on the griddle too! They are from Hokkaido. I've never had oysters prepared this way before. It was coated with a mix of garlic and seasoning, that mixes well with the small but flavorful oysters.

We also had teriyaki chicken, and no fault can be found with it.

The highlight of the meal was the beef. While Australian Tenderloin will typically be served on the buffet menu, we had the chance to try the US Tenderloin (available on ala carte menu, $45 for 120g). I'm sure any beef cooked by chef will taste amazing though.


Look at that! We all had our cameras ready to snap this fiery performance. It was over in a flash.

Resulting in perfection on a plate, like so. 
It tasted as good as you'd imagine (and how it'd looked).

We ended with some garlic butter fried rice (a bit too bitter for me. I'll recommend you to skip the rice and go for more salmon sashimi or beef if you are not a garlic rice fan).

There was also ice cream (sesame and matcha) as well as fruits for dessert, as we adjourned to another area away from the griddle to digest and chat. Actually I really liked the ice creams - they were creamy and smooth, so do look out for it and don't skip it thinking it's some average ice cream!


SHIMA at Goodwood Park is really THE place to go for teppanyaki, so do make a mental note to put down a weekend buffet lunch with family or friends. Otherwise it is also worth going for their ala carte dinner menu if you are a small but picky eater looking for some high quality Japanese teppanyaki.
SHIMA
Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road, Singapore 228221
Tel: +65 6734 6281
Open daily, lunch from 12noon to 3pm, dinner from 6pm to 10pm
Reservations for the lunch buffet are highly recommended to avoid any disappointment.

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