Friday, August 1, 2014

Halia at Raffles Hotel

I am always on the look out for good food in pretty places and I am sharing one of such restaurants today! A couple of weeks back, I was invited to Halia at Raffles Hotel with Nadia for their new Communal Dinner menu!

Raffles Hotel is such a beautiful building. I love the white washed elegance and colonial design.  I had dined at Halia in Botanic Gardens last year and loved the quiet ambience among the foliage. Although the restaurant at Raffles Hotel is located in a more contemporary environment, it does not venture far from it's original style, with a garden themed dining hall interior.

We started off with Goat's Cheese Mousse served with heirloom tomato, olive, wild honey and dried brioche. I didn't quite like the strong taste but cheese-lovers like Nadia would love this dish!

Chef's soup came in a pot which was promptly divided into individual portions and served with bread selections. Initially I thought I wouldn't like it when I heard it was cauliflower soup that day because I am not a fan of the veggie. However, the soup turned out pleasant and was a great start to the following feast.

Oriental Pulled Duck on soba noodle was an interesting dish which I really enjoyed, and whetted my appetite for more yummy dishes coming along.

It only gets better. The house smoked salmon pate came in a jar that releases smoke upon opening the cover. Not only it is instagram worthy, it is also very tasty!

One of the best dish that day was the Chilli Crab dip with toasted baguette. I am very picky when it comes to Chilli Crab sauce, but Halia does it well, with a generous serving of crab meat in its sauce. I couldn't stop myself from a 2nd serving!

Next up is the Wagyu Beef Zha Jiang Mian, which I didn't try because I don't eat beef. What's different about this Zha Jiang Mian is that the "noodles" are vegetables instead!

The Baked Kingfish Collar was well marinated but slightly salty. However, I love its tender meat very much and ate almost the entire piece! It came with the very unique orange miso sauce.

And my favourite dish is the Twice Cooked Spatchcock of Spring Chicken. The flavor was well absorbed into the meat, plus the chicken was juicy and tender too. Thumbs up for this dish!

Another dish I couldn't eat...

"The Mayura Station Full Blood MBS 9+ 'Gunpowder' Wagyu Rump Cap is marinated for 4 to 6 hours with elements similar to gunpowder (mainly charcoal and nitrate salt), to cure the meat by preventing oxidation as well as to add a touch of smokiness. The meat is then cooked sous-vide in a water bath at 59 degrees Celsius for 30 to 45 minutes before it is quickly grilled on the grill to finish before it is served directly. However, kindly note that sulphur and potassium nitrate are not included in the marinate."

The Coconut parfait was an interested dessert (it has popping candy!!!), but I loved the second dessert even more.

Yep, the Sticky Toffee Pudding had me finishing everything even though I was already so full from all the food, because it was just too good. It was a sweet and heavenly end to our feast.

Diid you noticed the lovely paper mat we had under our food? It was designed specially for the communal dining menu and it caught my eye first thing when I arrived!

The communal menu is $270 and serves 4. The price is extremely reasonable for its ambience and quality food. I highly recommend it for family gatherings! Actually, I think the food portion is enough for 5-6 pax too! Our table had four and we were very full after the meal. The set also comes with a jug of lemongrass drink or ice tea. The lemongrass drink had all my dining companions raving it!

1 Beach Road,
Raffles Hotel
Singapore 189673

Was great to catch up with Nadia over good food again!

Dressed myself in neutral tones that day. My top is from! Really liked the versatile design which goes well with anything. Do check out the site for more lovely tops!

A flatlay of my outfit that day for a clearer look :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Singapore Discovery Centre & Army Museum

I have a question.

Where do you all date? What do you all do during dates?

Besides movie and dinner, me and my boyfriend are running out of ideas for our weekly dates. We need ideas!!! Haha. So one day I suggested Singapore Discovery Centre as I have not been there for years. Since we had nothing better to do anyway, we went! It is located in the far away west side of Singapore and free admission for Singaporeans!

I didn't really understood what the Singapore Discovery Centre was about after all these years.... But after this visit I guess it's about discovering Singapore?

There were quite a number of interactive exhibits around. One of them, a news studio where we can pretend to be newscasters and read from the teleprompter and then playback to see ourselves on TV. It was quite awkward and I realize I can never be a newscaster because I look as awkward as can be. I also look extremely fat on screen. Guess what they say about how television adds a couple of inches to your weight is true. Those pretty actresses tv must be really super skinny in real life then?!

Digital dance studio where we can learn how to dance from videos.

We had quite abit of fun at some of the stations! One thing though, the centre is especially empty for a weekend.

We had the whole 4D/XD theater to ourselves! $10 per pax for a 5 minutes ride.

We were looking forward to the shooting gallery! $6 per pax for one round of game.

The gun was super heavy! Who wears a dress and carries a handbag to shoot people? Lol.

Afterwards, we took the free bus tour.

We could have played the pedal boat too but it was closed that day due to weather :(

Went over to the Army Museum after that since it's just beside! I didn't know we had an Army Museum till recently. Again, free admission for Singaporeans. Awesome!

NS bunk bed of the past.

Visited the tanks outside and took some photos~!

Afterwards, I got bf to show me how to get pass all these obstacles which are common for army trainings! Quite fun lah, but it was a mosquito-feeding session for me -.-"

That's all for this entry! Hopefully we can find more fun places to go in Singapore!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

10 Yummy Brunch Cafes In Singapore Under $10

Scrolling through instagram and craving for brunch food? Your friends wants to have brunch in a nice and instagrammable cafe, but you are on a shoestring budget? No worries! Here are some good cafes that serves yummy "brunch food" for under $10!

1. Cad Café
Scrambled Eggs on Toast $10

I put this on the top of my list because whenever people ask for brunch recommendations, Cad Cafe would definitely be one of them. Both times I was there, quality food was served. Even a simple dish like scrambled eggs on toast was done perfect.

Read more:

2. Nine Thirty
Poached Eggs on English Muffin with Hollandaise ($9)/ Scrambled Eggs with Toast ($8)

Went out with $10 meal budget with my friends and was surprised that we could find affordable brunch food near town area, in Esplanade Mall. Scrambled Eggs and Toast was a delicious and filling lunch.

Read more:

3. One Man Coffee
Ham and Cheese Croissant $6, Gashouse Egg $10, Brioche French Toast $10

The food served here are quite yummy, though the portion is quite small for most of the dishes. The french toast would be more filling although the sweetness makes it feel like dessert. Dished on wooden planks, the presentation was also very pretty!

Read more:

4. Epicurious
Under $10: Scrambled/Fried Eggs and buttered toast, Smoked salmon bagel, Pancakes

One of the cafes I dined at when I first ventured into brunch food. In loved with their baked eggs ever since. Also had their pancakes, which are a beautifully stacked and topped with fruits.

Read more:

5. Flock Café
Scrambled Eggs and Toast ($7.50), French Toast and Bananas ($9.50), Pancakes and Strawberries ($9.50)

Flock Café, located in the famous Tiong Bahru café area, left a very good impression when I visited. The food were remarkably yummy and every single item on my dish was good. Pictured are the Scrambled Eggs and Toast. If you have a little more budget, add a sausage and smoked salmon like I did.

Read more:

6. Food For Thought
Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Butter Toast ($8)

Located in Botanic Gardens, you could even take some pretty pictures outside after brunch.

Read more:

7. Kith Café
Grilled Ham, Cheese Toast ($8), 2pc Toast + Scrambled/Poached Eggs ($8)

The toast is prettily grilled with lines. Put it beside some eggs = Instagram-worthy. The food at Kith is not bad too. The pizza is good. Share it with friends!

Read more:

8. Loysels Toy
Quite a number of items here are under $10. Hidden away in an out-of-the-way ulu corner, I liked the quiet ambience of Loysels Toy, almost like a little weekend getaway.

Read more:

9. Chye Seng Huat Hardware
Under $10: French Toast w mixed berries, Pancake Stack w Banana and walnuts, Ham Omelette, etc.

Café lovers must visit Chye Seng Huat Hardware at least once. I love the hip vibes of this "hidden" café and the food we had (not listed above) was not too bad.

Read more:

10. Toby's Estate
Scrambled eggs with Croissant/Brioche ($8)

I liked how this cafe is tucked away in a quiet town during the day and the interior is quite nice and spacious too.

Read more:

Looks like most of the items are toasts and eggs! I actually started the list with 5, then realize that I have many more places to recommend and ended up with 10. There are probably a lot more cafes in Singapore with affordable and pretty brunch food around - it's just the trick of choosing a less fanciful dish from the menu. Of course, there also plenty serving brunch at prices of at least $20-$30 per head even for simple food like above... Hopefully this list would be helpful for poorer days (like end of the month!), and I have curated the list in a way that all cafes are tried-and-tasted yummy.

Extra: The Taste Makers
Not exactly brunch, but this cozy and pretty café serves yummy toast at $3 ala-carte, and $5.80 for a set (+ eggs and coffee/tea)! Will blog about this place soon.

If you are not tight on budget, here's my list of recommended and
which serve delicious food AND good ambience:
2. Sprmrkt
Was very impressed with the quality of food here. Even if you are on a budget, breakfast croissant here is only $7 nett! Choose your fillings from ham n cheese, chicken mayo, tuna mayo, or others. But I recommend splurging la, the other food are super delicious! 

and the ones also listed above:
5. Chye Seng Huat Hardware
6. Epicurious
7. Flock Café

More cafes are popping up, and I'm loving it! What are your favourite cafes? Do share with me!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Like life, a canvas can only be blank once

One fine afternoon, I suddenly wanted to paint again so I headed to the nearest shopping mall to search for a canvas board to work on. Didn't manage to find any but luckily I rummaged through my art stash at home and found one which I bought a long time back!

Painting is so therapeutic, it's like a cheaper and less tiring alternative to shopping.

Most of the time I only paint flowers and scenery so I decided to do something different this time! Painted two birds... Quite difficult to draw animals in my opinion! My dad asked why my birds so fat. Haha. Shall stick to painting florals and scenery in the future....

Anyway, I realize that my paintings always coincidentally have a blue base no matter what the subject is. My next painting shall be another color!

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Braces: First Tightening Session

Here to update more about my braces!

After the first month, it's time to tighten the wires! Dr Enrica removed my old wires and brackets (they were quite stained towards the end of the first month because I went to eat curry quite a few times, not heeding her advice :x Must avoid curry in the next month!)

The entire procedure was easy-peasy, just a bit of pressure applied while fixing the wires. Everyone told me that after each tightening it would be very painful but for it was kinda ok! Pain but not as pain as the first time the braces got on. Even went to Milly's birthday party after the dental visit and had lots of fun! Can't really eat much the first day but by second day I was back to my usual diet.

Just an update of my diet, I only watched my food for the 1st week after fitting of braces. Thereafter, I ate like normal already. Just rinse after each meal to ensure that no food get stuck inside!

Personally I felt that meat was easier to eat. Leafy chinese vegetables tend to get stuck easily so I avoid those. Things to avoid are the obvious ones like chips, pop corns, peanuts, chewy candy, harder fruits like apple, etc. I can't really bite with my front teeth anymore so I always cut into smaller pieces and bite with the back teeth. I thought I couldn't eat my favourite chicken wings but I am so happy that I still can! I just have to pull out the meat using my fingers instead of biting directly on the wing. Overall having braces is still quite bearable lah! In the end I never really get the chance to slim down because I am still eating like a pig. Hahaha. 


9 Penang Road #07-27
Park Mall
Singapore 238459

Phone: (65) 6338 6639

Free braces/invisalign consultation when you quote my name "ESTHER"! 

To read all my entries featuring my braces journey, click HERE

Monday, July 21, 2014

One Man Coffee

Another brunch entry...

I look at my list of backlog entries and realize that most of them are food entries. This means that I need to go out there and do something else instead of spending all my time stuffing myself with food. Haha. Even when I meet up with friends, our main activity is eat! No worries, I'd try my best to make sure that I sandwich my food entries with non-food entries~ I must remember that I am a lifestyle blogger, not food blogger! :-)

So anyway, we visited a small and cozy cafe, One Man Coffee some time back!

One Man Coffee serves affordable All Day Brunch at $12 and less!

Had the above Ice Lemon Tea because I was advised to avoid coffee as they could stain my ceramic braces. I miss having latte with my brunch food so much! Took me so much willpower to not order it. Bf got it instead!

Brioche French Toast W/ Homemade Berries Compote, Candied Walnuts and Fresh Cream was one of their main highlights so bf ordered it to share! It was indeed quite heavenly.

He also got the Gashouse Egg with Bacon Jam for himself. It is actually bread with egg in the middle. Quite interesting!

I got myself the butter croissant with butter and jam. I don't mind having butter croissants for breakfast every morning!

Overall was a yummy brunch! :) One Man Coffee is worth a visit!

One Man Coffee is located at 215R Upper Thomson Road!

The mandatory outfit photo everytime I head out~ Still in love with this red satchel bag that I got for $5! What a lucky buy :)

It was a scorching hot day that day! Anyway, my ceramic braces hardly bother me anymore and I think I am able to smile properly already! Yay to that!