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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Hathaway - Modern Southeast Asia Fare @ Dempsey

Dempsey Hill is no stranger to us, it's a great, secluded place in the city, perfect for celebrations, dinner dates, or weekend brunches with the children. When the lovely Lady M told me we are going to Dempsey Hill for my birthday breakfast, I was thinking about the many place we been there (but usually we don't do repeats). Nearing the destination, I was asking for the restaurant's name so I can find a parking spot near there, and especially since it was drizzling. 

"Hathaway". To be fair, Anne Hathaway came to mind straight, so I was pretty sure it was a Western restaurant serving the usual egg benedicts, waffles and usual ang-moh (Western) brunch. In fact, the whole place exudes Western vibes, with marble counters and long wooden benches and lush sofa seating. When I looked at the menu, "EH? Apa ini? Kuih Pie Tee? Bergadil? Chap Chye? Kiam Chye Duck??" Yup, so you know.

Just a heads up, they do not serve their brunch menu on weekends, and since it's too early for heavy mains (like their beef cheeks, fried quail and yes, Kiam Chye Duck), we treated ourselves to some of their other signatures. The waiter recommended the Mussels (SGD$24Galician mussels cooked in a mohinga broth). Aside from my lack of understanding of what the heck is "Galician" and "mohinga", these dish is MHMM SEDAP. Mussels, soft and plump. The broth is another level. It tasted like the whole ocean being condensed into a bowl of broth. Something like lobster bisque on spicy steroids. Needless to say, I finished it to the very last bit.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

3D2N IMPERIAL SUITE EXPERIENCE at Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson

Lady M and I were considering a few places when it comes to going for our first trip of the year. We thought of Yunnan, but the air ticket was slashed to half if we were to postpone the trip just by two weeks. We considered the resorts in Langkawi, Bintan and Batam as well, but we chose Port Dickson in the end, due to the accessibility. As with our Desaru trip last year, we opted for a private hire car that brought us directly from our homes to Port Dickson straight. Due to its distance from Singapore, the cost would be approximately $350 (one way) and $600 (two way).

Here's the pros of getting a Private Hire Car.

1. Convenient and fuss-free. Additional pick-ups (chargeable, but only approx $10/location) and breaks can be arranged.

2. You don't have to worry about getting the necessary documents to clear the checkpoints. 

3. They have a way to drive past the snaking queues when it comes to clearing custom.

4. You don't have to worry about your SG-registered car in Malaysia.

Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson

After researching a heck lot on the accommodation in Port Dickson, we decided on Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson - a luxurious 5-star oceanfront resort nestled along the pristine Pasir Panjang Beach and the Straits of Malacca. Considering the name, the formation of 639 pool villas of Lexis Hibiscus is shaped like the national flower of Malaysia - the Hibiscus. You know what's great? Every room has its own private pool and sundeck! Talking about privacy and convenience! Considering the sheer number of villas, you can choose amongst the different rooms and suites.
Here's a fun fact: Lexis Hibiscus has two Guinness World Records for the most swimming pools (643) and overwater villas (522)!

Monday, February 19, 2024

OUMI Modern Japanese Kappo @ CapitaSpring

In yet another blink of an eye, Lady M and I were celebrating out 6th year wedding anniversary. Here' s a fun fact! The traditional gift for six years of marriage is actually iron - a symbol of hardiness and strength. Marriage is a huge topic to be covered for another day, but for starters, don't belittle celebrating the little milestones of your marriage! So for this year, I decided on OUMI - a modern Japanese Kappo restaurant with a western twist. Located at 51st level of CapitaSpring, it is probably (if not) the highest omakase restaurant in Singapore. We later noticed that we came to Artemis two years ago, also located within CapitaSpring.
For starters, we had the Kabocha Uni Tofu (S$30), a perfect rendition of pumpkin, homemade tofu, and a generous portion of uni. The staff was meticulous in describing the ingredients and steps involved into preparing this dish. We had doubts on combining soy, pumpkin, and a strong tasting seafood, but this was a perfect, melt-in-the-mouth combination.
Besides the tofu, my favourite was the Foie Gras Monaka (S$15), crispy wafer filled with a heck load of goodness - a culinary masterpiece boasted a luxurious foie gras ganache, complemented by the briny pop of salmon roe and delicate seasonal flowers. It's a whole explosion of flavours and it looks like art. I mean, would you just look at this.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

TOP 5 Cafes in Jeju You ABSOLUTELY Cannot Miss Out!

 When it comes to Jeju, most people think of a few things - hiking Mount Hallasan, strolling along the scenic coasts, and cafe-hopping. Jeju has got cafes planted in almost every corner. And being an island well-known for its volcanic terrains, most cafes boast breathtaking views, be it the seas or the mountains.

Before our trip, we did our researched and bookmarked a heck lot. But to be honest, there are simply too many which we couldn’t possibly cover all, especially when we have a 5 year-old who constantly complained we are taking too many photos.

Without any particular order, here are the top 5 we been to.

Address: 25 Aewol-ro 1-gil, Aewol-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea

BOMNAL is nestled in a bustling street where there are lots of cafes. This cafe is seriously insta-worthy with photo opportunities at every turn. Given its popularity among tourists, be sure to grab your slots to secure the best views! Best place IMO is definitely close to sunset, where you can see the sun hides itself in front of you.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

The BEST 7D6N Jeju Itinerary (Perfect for family with children!)

When it comes to our annual holiday, we put in a heck load of thought. The first being - can our little Emmanuel (1.5 y.o at point of writing) follow us? Probably next year. So where to? We shortlisted a few places with our budget - Sydney, Melbourne.. But having been to Western Australia last year, we thought why not go somewhere in Asia? Japan? Korea? We did plan on going to Seoul, but ended up with Jeju. A whole week of Jeju. When I did my research, there are a lot of people doing 4D3N or even less. But we know we wanted a slow and relaxing one, so we opted for 7D6N. And to be awfully honest, it was still kinda rushed, as Jeju has lots to offer.
Trip Summary

With children, we love to do road trips (as with Perth), if not you'll be carrying them around. Trust me. This trip ain't any different. Once we rested at Jeju city for a day, we will embark on a 5-day road trip, covering an entire ring of Jeju - East Jeju, Seogwipo (South Jeju), and West Jeju, before returning to the city. Since we are bringing our 5 y.o daughter, Olivia, we have slot in lots of activities for children, and not to miss out many insta-worthy cafe and scenic spots. Initially we thought of station ourselves in a location and travel to-and-fro daily, but found the travelling time a bit 

Do Koreans speak English?

Most don't. But  don't worry, due to the influx of travelers, most places have pictures, and English (and Mandarin) signs. There are lots of Chinese residing and working there as well. If all else fails, there's always Google translate. And uh, hand signs.
The Weather

We went during autumn in late October, where temperature is around 13C to 20C. The sun shines pretty harshly in the afternoons, so there are many times we just forgo our jackets and just put on a sweater. On hot days, you could even wear sleeveless. Thank God it's not as sweaty as Singapore. But do take note that it starts to get chilly when the sun goes down. Skies go entirely dark by 7pm as the weather transits to winter. Here's their weather across the year for your reference:

Our Packing List

I wouldn't go as extensive as I did for Perth. Pack according to the weather. Food can be found every where and is affordable. An average meal is approximately $10/pax. If you would like to cook or something to-go, there are a  heck load of supermarts and convenience stores. Unlike Perth, where a meal for 3 easily cost up $80, I didn't have to bring my trusty rice cooker. Again, being in an Asian country, rice can be easily found. Yay!

Before the Trip

International Driving Permit (IDP - IMPORTANT if you're driving in Korea)
Unlike many countries that your local driving license can be used, you need to apply for a IDP. For Singapore license, you can apply to convert at this link. It costs just $20. There are two options:

1. Walk-in at their locations (please check their website) and collect on the spot (approximately 1 hour).

2.  Apply online and have it delivered to your house (additional $5.50 courier fees apply). PLEASE NOTE THIS WILL TAKE APPROX 2 WEEKS TO ARRIVE. So if you're in a hurry, please go with the first option.

Download these APPS
1. KAKAO T - mainly for cab/private hire services. It works like GRAB or UBER and you can select cash payment (= pay direct to driver via card). Downside is that you might need to search in Korean if the place is not that well-known, but you can simply copy the Korean address via Google and paste it in the app.

2. NAVER - especially useful for driving and saving key places. It works like Google Maps, but has a heck load of local reviews (if you can't read Korean, see the ratings), and way more accurate than Google as locals will update Naver. We learnt this the hard way.

3. Google Translate - duh. Best function is it's real-time translate via camera - simply point and aim, and the text will be automatically translated to your preferred language.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Tanglin Cookhouse - Local Fare at a British Colonial Setting

We are always on a hunt to bring our children to somewhere new, so recently I was scrolling my phone when an IG-story of another nearby cafe popped by. It was screaming kids activities, such as face-painting and balloon sculpturing. So with the intention of going there, we headed to Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ), but found out that the activities have already ended. We took a nearby scroll to see what's around that area when we spotted Tanglin Cookhouse. It wasn't exactly crowded when we reached there at lunchtime, so we had the privilege to choose our seats. And thank God for that, because within 30 minutes, the restaurant is really packed. Guessed everyone slept in on a Sunday morning.

The interior of Tanglin Cookhouse was small but beautiful, it has a nice British colonial style touch to some Peranakan furnishing. Menu-wise, it has a pretty extensive selection of all-day breakfast paired with Asian-inspired dishes, pastas, soups and many others.