Mar 13, 2014

Singapore: R.O.M. & The Big Eats

When a close friend of mine told me that she just got engaged, I knew that it was just a matter of time before I head over to Singapore. For this sparkling reason; for the solemnization ceremony. Not exactly a widely celebrated occasion in homeland but largely societal there.

I was ruffled at the idea of attending the event, but didn't clearly know what to expect. It came and went earlier of this month. One thing I'd noticed about my trip down south, its usually never longer than 3 days. The last time I visited Singapore, that was sometime in 2010.

This time round, I planned my trip beforehand, decidedly cramming my days with a sequential streak of events. I like to keep myself busy sometimes.

I visited quite a fair number of places over the precised 3 days. There were heaps of laughter as well as genuine camaraderie between friends. I had a jolly time meeting new ones as well as reviving rusty ones. Henceforth, I'm starting this write-up in chronological order.
1. Tim Ho Wan, Dhoby Ghaut
Straightaway after our arrival at Novena, we rushed to THW. Starving. There were no one in line and we got in at a jiff. Thankfully. It was already close to 3pm at that time. I have never dine at a Michelin star restaurant before and I figured this would be the nearest I could get to one. Tim Ho Wan is a 1 star Michelin rated dim sum restaurant.

The pork dumpling with shrimp (SGD5.00) that we had was amazing, and so was the baked bun with BBQ pork (SGD4.50), that's a must-have. We ordered a few more baskets of dim sum to share and it all tasted daintily delectable. I havn't been to the original franchise in Hong Kong, thus, the replicate was as good as new to me. Knowing that I'll be eating more later, I was struggling to save tummy space. These were merely tea time nibbles.

2. Common Man Coffee Roaster, Martin Road
Right after my satisfying dim sum session, I met up with cafe-expert-come-star-instagrammer @alainllicious. We cafe-hopped our way to Common Man Coffee Roasters. My first cafe visit and obviously I was extremely psyched. The place is tucked at a quieter part of town, about 10 minutes cab ride from Orchard. The restaurant somehow or rather reminded me of the five element theory. Evident from the use of natural stones, ceramic and mosaic tiles, porcelain, granite and marble walls.

3. Toby's Estate, Robertson Quay
Once we famished off those sweetened pancakes, we strolled towards Toby's Estate, just about a block away from Common Man Coffee Roasters. It was a nice windy evening and the sun was close to setting. We thought it'd be great idea to sit outdoors and enjoy the cool breeze and do some people-watching. The cafe sits among a row of Western styled cafes and bars, along a river channel, at Robertson Quay. 

4. Jai Thai, Purvis Street
Me and Alain, we talked about almost everything. From food blogging, cafe hopping and even the property market. But mostly on food. Time passby so quickly and it was already nightfall by the time we got to Purvis Street. It is located along stretch of colonial-like buildings, a stone throw away from Bugis.

My initial plan was to dine at Saveur, a notable and affordable French restaurant. But sadly, there were still a handful of people waiting in line. Our plan didn't turn sour however, few doors away, was one of the most affordable Thai restaurant I've come across, both in Malaysia and Singapore. Yet again without Alain, we might not have known. Thank you.

We had a hefty six course dinner consisting of Thai salad, green curry, tom yum, fishcakes, squid and fish slices. All dishes we ordered were really delicious and came in larger portions than expected. The bill came up to a worthwhile SGD60 in total.

5. Friend's Place, Woodlands
After dinner, with plenty to digest, we decided its time to head our friend's place. We'll be staying at hers for the next 2 nights.

From Raffles Place, we took a 40 minute train ride to Woodlands. Apart from the address that was given to us earlier, we really had no clue on the exact route to the place, but we figured it wouldn't be that far. We hopped on a cab and got there within minutes. But it wasn't looking for the condominium that frustrated us, it was the maze that ensued inside the place. We were circling the blocks, unsure of where we were going, and finally after a good 20 minutes of sweating and lugging my luggage behind me, we found it.

We were greeted with a bottle of red and white. Perfect - after a long day out. We spend hours catching up and laughing at each others jokes till wee hours of the morning. Thank you for being such a fantastic host.

6. Lavin & Zee's Solemnisation, Royal Scott On The Plaza
After what seemed like a hectic rush and a lot of running in high heels on tarmacs and climbing up steps, we still arrived late at the solemnization ceremony. Paiseh. Malaysian timing at its best. Thankfully, meals were served first, followed by the official event. I would have hated myself if I'd missed the most important part of the show.

The main reason I came to Singapore was solely for this. To witness a childhood friend's registration of marriage, or to put bluntly, to see her get hitched. There was something about these vows and exchanging of rings that felt important.

Settings were chic and pretty; Ceremony was intimate and simple; Food was unexpectedly fantastic. It was a jolly and merry ceremony and there were loads of pictures taken. This was my first time attending R.O.M. in Singapore, and it was a great and memorable experience for me. Thank you so much for the invitation and I wish you both the best in marriage.

7. PasarBella, Turf Club
My friend posted a couple of pictures of PasarBella on facebook not long ago. I told her that if I were to visit Singapore soon, she would have to bring me there. I love conceptual restaurants like these. An incredible variety of food stalls, in a cozy yet rustic setting. A farmer's market; A European inspired food court if you may.

PasarBella is quite a distance from the city. About 30 minutes cab ride from Orchard, right at the edge of Turf Club, Bukit Timah. We arrived at slightly before 6pm. We walked around in circles, maneuvering among crowds of hungry patrons, arduously deciding what to have for dinner. Occasionally stopping and peeping at whats cooking, while breathing in tasty aromas of freshly cooked food. That made me hungry.

Barely had time to rest and digest, I was ready to feast again. We had a go at the seafood paella (SGD14), crackling roast pork, followed by coffee and cheese for nibbles. I don't quite recall the names of the stalls however. while having coffee, I stumbled upon one of the cutest balloon ever, and the only time I would ever want to have a dog. A dog balloon!

8. China House, Clarke Quay
We went to Clarke Quay for drinks after dinner. Customary of every visit to Singapore, Clarke Quay always made it to my to-go-list. With a valid reason this time - to toast for the new bride.

9. Wild Honey, Mandarin Gallery, Orchard
For the seemingly die-hard brunch enthusiast, I was extremely keen to explore Wild Honey upon numerous recommendation by friends. The place have an extremely advance waiting-list. By keying in your name and phone number in their ticketing machine, one of their staff will call you, on your mobile, once a table is available. The first I've seen thus far. Advance.

I was unquestionably keen to gorge; subconsciously expecting food to be very good. I was prohibited from taking a picture of menu, hence I don't quite recall the exact prices of the food we ordered. We had the Tunisia (SGD20+), Eggs Benedict (SGD20+) and coffee. The Eggs-Ben were glorious and the fish was amazing. Though while I'm writing this, I felt that food was slightly overpriced and a tad overrated. Withal, I was glad I dropped by nonetheless.

For my last meal in Singapore before departing back to KL, I met up with Rosalind. A university mate back during my UQ years in Australia. We chatted about food, to Stomp, to reminiscing about some good old times. It was great outing.

10. Orchard Road
Obliged to take pictures of Ochard Rd. Like a tourist. On second thought, I am a tourist.

I bid farewell to Singapore at mid-noon. My bus ride back turned into a horrendous 7 hour pain in the butt. There was a massive traffic jam heading back into town. With barely hours of sleep for the past couple of days, I was exhausted as soon as I got home. I swear there were tears of joy when I saw my bed and pillow.

While I'm writing this, I was honestly looking forward to visiting Singapore again. See you again real soon!


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