A final post on Sydney brunch for 2014…
It took me a significant amount of persuasion in order to convince my Dad to leave his study for a final Sydney brunch together. After my first dining experience at Rushcutters for a friend’s 21st, the birthday girl herself (Hey Pip!) had me determined to revisit the cafe/restaurant/market place for brunch.
I must admit that I am susceptible to the luring decor and ambience of any dining location. The high warehouse like ceilings and floor-to-ceiling glass panels created a spacious and almost al-fresco atmosphere.
I have always loved these dining outings with my family, especially now when I the time I spend with Mama and Lil’ Bro is rather limited. It provides an opportunity to explore and experience new things together as well as share our stories, thoughts and amateur food critiques ;)! The photo below only reinforces to me the joys that my family brings me every day.
To say that Singapore’s cafe scene has grown over the past few years would still be an understatement.
At present, there is no shortage of cafes to choose from when Western dishes or hearty breakfast fare is being craved; a far cry from a time where I remember McDonald’s being the only place we would visit to appease Lil’ Bro’s desire for ‘non-hawker’ food. Singapore has what appears to be an infinite list of cafes making their mark across the island city in unique locations, however there are certainly a few which have stood out.
An animation to whet the appetite….
Five and Dime Eatery is another one of the consistently trending cafe/restaurants, which I had been meaning to try since its existence first surfaced on Instagram. Unlike the typical brunch/lunch fare, Five and Dime adds a Japanese nuance to its menu.
For the last six months I have been travelling between Sydney and Singapore, visiting my Lil’ Bro who has undergone quite a dramatic life-change; moving to Singapore (post-HSC) for National Service. Although there was initial worry for him, in terms of adapting to such change, Lil’ Bro took the challenge with a determined and positive attitude and recently graduated from his Basic Military Training.
The final challenge of this component of his service was a 24km route march from the Training Centre to the majestic location of the Floating Platform at Marina Bay, which is surrounded by the beautiful icons of the city. Following this gruelling but what Lil’ Bro describes as an emotional and breathtaking march, symbolic of their 10 week intensive training, the ‘recruits’ take part in their ‘Passing Out Parade’ (shortened to POP) where they are met by their family and friends.
This event was highly anticipated by my family, however my suspicions are that I was the most eager of all. The night before the POP, I set numerous alarms to ensure that we would be able to secure front row seats for the best photo opportunities – I was out of my bed at 4.00am. My parents and aunt were amused by my eagerness, especially when we ended up being the first to arrive at Marina Bay although I insisted that we were already arriving very late!
The end of semester arrived after what felt like an endless three weeks of study and exams.
Third year has definitely provided its challenges and pressure is most definitely mounting – as my Pharmacology lecturer expresses, “You guys are on the market next year”. So, between study, more study and planning for 2015 (it seems early but as usual application deadlines and New Years will arrive with little warning!!), there has been little time for anything else!
Completing my final paper on the painfully timetabled final Saturday morning of exam period, I met one of my oldest food ‘partners-in-crime’, M for brunch on this chilly Monday. Being my third visit to the increasingly famous Devon Cafe (Mama and I have have enjoyed both their brunch and lunch), I was eager to introduce M to this brunch haven. We agreed that after a hectic semester, the feeling of being able to simply “chill” over winter break (excuse the pun) was more than welcome in a widespread embrace!
My insta-surveying had me eyeing the “Ultimate Toastie” special BUT to my the disappointment of my increasingly large winter appetite, I was told that this highly photographed dish is only served on Friday to Sunday! No matter, this momentary sadness was salvaged by the prospect of trying the “Eggs Blini”; Buckwheat blini, cured king salmon, salmon caviar, broccolini, sauce Mikado and poached eggs. Usually, ‘Benedict-type’ eggs are sometimes rather heavy, but thisdish was quite the opposite. Eggs were poached to oozing perfection, blini was fluffy and slightly sweet and was complemented perfectly by a tangy sauce and delicious cured salmon. Never having seen this on a cafe menu before, I thought it was rather unique and definitely something I would recommend for poached egg enthusiasts and those looking for a dish that is not the ‘run-of-the-mill’ brunch option.
Hello again from Sydney!!
The last few weeks of my stay in Singapore played out with much more haste than I had hoped for. From Chinese New Year onwards, each day was filled to the brim with last minute but nevertheless important rendezvous, running up and down Orchard Road as I made (very) important retail decisions (hehe) and of course ensuring that I had fulfilled my cravings for the local fare. Hence the late post on my family’s Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner!
While Singapore is ever changing, there are traditional elements to it which I hope never change. Coincidently, I had a foodie experience, which I felt to underscore this notion.
MODERN LOCAL: Pidgin Kitchen and Bar
It is a rare occurrence when Lil’ Bro and I have the chance to go on a food related outing together. With Papa Ho returning to Sydney and Mama off being a busy bee, we decided to venture around the area of Kampung Bahru before Lil’ Bro’s ‘work training’… Yes, embarrassingly for jobless me, my little brother secured an ‘intermission’ job before starting his internship as he waits for his army enlistment in May.
Originally, I was planning on heading towards a cafe hotspot around Duxton Road. Sometimes I become caught up in my determination to check out one of the many locations on my foodie ‘wish list’, which ends up in hungry stomachs and walking around in an endless search for a well hidden cafe. On this occasion, I was reminded by Lil’ Bro that time was limited so as I was about to turn back and settle for a cafe near his work place, I spotted ‘The Provision Shop’ hiding behind a bus stop and underneath a towering block of HDB flats. As per usual, I had been enlightened of its existence by the wonderful world of Instagram and immediately rushed towards this surprise discovery.
At 5pm on a Tuesday, the cafe was relatively busy. After teaching Lil Bro how to differentiate between different types of coffee, he decided upon an Iced Latte while I chose the Iced Long Black…yes the climate is rather warm here! Both were enjoyed and I definitely appreciated the break from milky coffees.
In addition, the growing boy had his heart set on the Chocolate Cheese Cake from the minute we entered. From my sample of the cake, it was not overly rich and had a great texture that lay in the spectrum between the dense New York Cheesecake and light Japanese rendition. Lil’ Bro was definitely a fan.
After talking to the friendly staff in charge I was informed that the cafe was very new and only open for about 2.5 months. My first impression was that it was definitely holding its own for such a new kid on the block. In addition to usual cafe items, The Provision Shop is also open for dinners offering pasta dishes until 8pm. Hopefully I’ll be able to make my way there with the parentals for a meal before I leave!
Oh Yes….Lil Bro has caught the Instagram bug….. Hehe
So I suppose the moral of the story is sometimes when we stop searching we stumble upon just what we are looking for. Enjoy the journey because you never know when life may take you on a pleasant detour.
Address: #01-79, 3 Everton Park
Before, after and during… Ok maybe context is irrelevant……..
I spend an undisclosed amount of time trawling through #sgig, seeking out the latest must-try eating spots in the eclectic foodie scene of Singapore.
I spied a number of brunch and dinner posts featuring a new addition to the scene, Chopsuey, a new ‘East meets West’ concept restaurant established by the people behind P.S. Cafe. For foodies unfamiliar with P.S. Cafe, there were originally three sites in Singapore, boasting to-die-for Truffle Fries, however one of their branches was transformed into Chopsuey.
Christmas Eve 2013 approached much faster than I expected it to and before in knew it I was completely behind in finding somewhere to celebrate…. Until I remembered this venue and made a last minute booking which was accommodated for efficiently!
Set in Dempsey Hill, an area of restored army barracks which is now home to many other interesting eating venues, the restaurant interior is truly unique. High ceilings and an airy old-time bungalow accommodates for diners ranging from small to large groups with beautiful marble tables.
I have been pondering upon this post for a long while now – how to approach a ‘conversation’ after 6 months away from the world of WordPress and the blogosphere. Upon embracing the mantra of my mother “just go for it”, I am rather excited to ‘resuscitate’ this ‘friend’.
It would only be fair for me to explain to my absence; which can be summarized succinctly in one simple yet daunting noun…UNIVERSITY. When people tell you that second year will be breezes compared to first year DOO NOOOTTT believe them! While it seems that my entire life had become consumed by the domino effect of assessments, practicals, lectures and exams last semester and ‘hello it’s ming’ was placed on the backburner, I truly did enjoy completing the last component of second year university despite the constant whining and complaining to my patient and supportive mother!
Over my blog detox, I had time to consider my outlook on this space. Originally I had seen this space as a rather ‘text-based’ method of sharing of my foodie journeys and life in general, and with the encroaching clouds of study the perfectionist within me was reluctant to post anything that I was not entirely satisfied with. My epiphany came when I realized I had forgotten that what I have most enjoy about the experience of blogging is the ability to share an experience, whether it be through words or simply an uploaded Instagram image and the animated banter shared with a community of individuals I have connected with over the past year and a half.
I am hoping to return to this space with a flexibility in format of posting. Each post does not need to be in the meticulous detail which I am usually so particular about. Whether it be a full fledged account of my escapades with a common theme or a photolog with a few vignettes, I wish to continue sharing my experiences whether they be about food or life (food :P).
Hello out there! Sorry for the lack of updates- I’m still alive!! The past few weeks have been quite hectic to say the least – second year uni has begun and my brain/body was/is still clinging on to the summer holidays for dear life! Full of lab hours and afternoon lectures, blogging time and foodie trips have been limited but I thought I would post a quick review as a break from all the scientific mumbo jumbo on nerves which have been sending me into a head spin.
The first weekend after resuming study had the family booked into ‘The Grace Hotel’s new ‘Seafood Buffet’ as a stress reliever. What could be better than seafood to take my mind off the troubles of uni haha?! I was ‘slightly’ excited when I heard that the Brasserie would be providing my seafood loving tastebuds with an array of Sydney’s finest produce! After my fun and delicious experiences at The Grace Hotel for their ‘Flavours of…’ food festivals I felt reassured that my stomach would be in good hands!
As per usual the ‘salad station’ did not fail to impress, with a rather wide selection of cold salads, perfect for the awkward ‘it’s autumn but it feels like summer’ weather. My picks would have been the cabbage coleslaw, which was full of crunch and freshness, without being drowned out by a heavy dressing. If you’re looking for something slightly more ‘solid’ for your salads then the ‘Cous Cous with Pumpkin’ would be the way to go!
Oh and you surely won’t walk past this section of the lineage of food without picking up some mighty fine ‘King Prawns’ from a large bucket of ‘heaven’ (well in the eyes of any seafood lover). Combine the simple yet wonderfully fresh prawns with ‘Thousand Island’ sauce and I would have been quite content, but I didn’t want to miss out on the Mussels or Smoked Salmon which were both testament to Sydney’s fantastic seafood and the kitchen’s ability to bring out the best …from the best!
A tasty segue between salads and mains came in the form of a tomato seafood soup which was full of flavour and had me ready to tackle the next course!
When it came to the main course there were numerous options, even for those who want to opt for a non-seafood dish (…..no comment…….are you crazy?? Haha).
Lil’ Bro went for the ‘Roast Lamb’(which was unsurprising) and by his return for a second serving, I can safely say that he thoroughly enjoyed it!
My picks for the mains would be the ‘Steamed Ginger Barramundi with Chilli’ and ‘Pasta’ dish.
Normally, one would expect a steamed fish to be on the ‘no-go-zone’ of the buffet but having tried quite a few fish dishes at the Grace before, I knew that this was a must-try dish. The combination of ginger and chilli created a light yet flavoursome and appetising dish, that held no trace of ‘fishiness’; only the fresh taste of a well cooked, tender fish! Combining my two loves of chilli and fish, I was a happy seafood diner to say the least!
The Pasta is a fantastic option as a ‘break’ from seafood if need be. A few buffet experiences have led me to fear overcooked and lack lustre buffet pasta, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with this dish. The creamy pesto and sundried tomato combination made for a simple yet effective ‘carb’ dish – I may have scraped the plate clean…shhh!
I had already spied the vast array of mouth watering desserts as I lined up for the salads! I loved how the desserts were ‘mini’ cakes and thus easy to serve with no messy cutting up involved!! It may have also aided in the process of trying a majority of the options.
In terms of ‘top picks’ for the desserts, I have to say that competition was steep! Each miniature serving of goodness was not too heavy (perfect if you want to sample a few options) but definitely not boring for the tastebuds! In the end I would recommend just choosing your dessert based on your favourite flavours, but my picks would have been the ‘Cheesecake’ and anything ‘Berry’!
Oh and if that’s not enough to satisfy your stomach, the cocktail menu is being developed and updated! I can’t quite remember the names of these creations but the fruitier watermelon option was perfectly refreshing, while the banana and chocolate flavoured option was definitely my kind of cocktail…..mmmm…such a great flavour combination!!
All in all, for $45 pp, The Grace Hotel’s Seafood Buffet is definitely value for money! The food is fresh and the kitchen has brought out the best from Sydney’s fine produce. Yeah yeah, I know there weren’t any oysters (a little heartbreaking) BUT for the price paid, I was perfectly content with my prawns and barramundi! For seafood lovers looking to kick their craving in a comfortable and welcoming environment, make a trip to The Grace Hotel before this introductory promotion ends!
Hope everyone is having a wonderful Easter!!