Friday, September 30, 2011

Sweet charity for NUH Kids Heart Fund

Twelve restaurants have come together for Sweet Charity for the whole of October 2011.

Order a signature dessert, and they'll donate S$5 to the NUH Kids Heart Fund, which helps subsidize surgical costs for financially needy kids with congenital heart disease (CHD).


Nadine
I know that condition well because my older daughter Nadine had to undergo open-heart surgery at the age of three months. It can be the most heart-wrenching thing to go through.
But scary as it sounds, the procedure is pretty routine, and it not only saved Nadine's life but enabled her to go about being an active child, like she never had heart problems at all. If any child were denied this simply because of a lack of money, then it's pretty tragic.

The other thing I found out through her case is - there are so many kids who have CHD! It's stunning how packed the heart clinics are (at least at KKH). I'm sure among them there are people who would need financial assistance, and treatment cost is a real concern.

Anyway, here are the 12 participating restaurants, their locations, and what they feature:

  • Cocotte (No. 2 Dickson Road, tel: 6298-1188): Traditional Basque Cake with various fillings
  • The Dining Room at Tanjong Beach Club (120 Tanjong Beach Walk, Sentosa, tel: 6270-1355): Honey & Tea Parfait (Earl Grey cremeux, honey ice cream, house-made honeycomb, chocolate crisp); Hot Cinnamon Sugar Donuts with warm nutella fondue (brunch only)
  • The Disgruntled Chef (26B Dempsey Road, tel: 6476-5305): Sticky Toffee Pudding with vanilla ice cream
  • Epicurious (The Quayside, 60 Robertson Quay, tel: 6734-7720): Red Velvet Chocolate Cake
  • Loof (331 North Bridge Road, Odeon Towers Extension Rooftop, #03-07, 6338-8035): The Gummiberry (gin, Cointreau, fresh forest berries, French meringue)
  • OverEasy Bar and Diner (1 Fullerton Road, #01-06, One Fullerton, tel: 6423-0701): Donut Balls with warm chocolate fondue 2
  • PS.Cafe at Ann Siang Hill Park (45 Ann Siang Road, #02-02, tel: 9797-0648): Toffee Nutty Carrot Cake
  • PS.Cafe at Harding (28B Harding Road, tel: 9070-8782): Chocolate Chip Carrot Cake
  • PS.Cafe at Palais (390 Orchard Road, Level 2 Palais Renaissance, tel: 9834-8232): Orangey Carrot Cake
  • PS.Cafe at Paragon (290 Orchard Road, Level 3 Paragon, tel: 9297-7008): Blueberry Carrot Cake
  • Torte (96 Waterloo Street, #01-07, tel: 6571-0197): Banana Chocolate Torte Muffins (box of eight)
  • The White Rabbit (39C Harding Road, tel: 6473-9965): Crêpes Suzette flambéed tableside with Grand Marnier

If you order a whole signature carrot cake from PS.Cafe, 70% of the proceeds will go directly to the NUH Kids Heart Fund. Cocotte’s Basque Cake and Epicurious’ Red Velvet Chocolate Cake are also available for purchase whole, while Torte’s Banana Chocolate Torte Muffins (box of eight) are available for takeaway.

Make a reservation at any of the participating restaurants through www.chope.com.sg or order any desserts through www.chope.com.sg/sweetcharity and Chope will donate a dollar for each reservation or order.

You could also make direct donations to the heart fund, and receive income tax deductions of 2.5 times the donation value (if you are a Singapore resident). Nothing is too modest as every dollar counts. Call 6772 2980 or 6772 6909, email giving@nuhs.edu.sg or visit their website.

Meanwhile, you can stay updated on the Sweet Charity Facebook page too.




Thursday, September 29, 2011


OK, I'm geeking out again. I rarely see a tablet that excites me enough to look up from my iPad, but the new Sony Tablet S is quite impressive. It packs so many features and custom software in a nice sleek device, it's easily the best Android tablet I've come across so far.

What I like:

  • The crisp, clear 9.4" TruBlack display. This reminds you, "It's a Sony"
  • Nice, responsive touch panel (very important)
  • Great industrial and ergonomic design - it's shaped like a flipped magazine, with weight focused on one side, where you hold it (works for either hand)
  • It's Playstation-certified, meaning you'll soon be able to play your favourite titles here. The tablet comes pre-installed with Crush Bandicoot and Pinball Heroes. I'm curious what the pricing will be like, given the very competitive pricing of apps on Android and iOS.
  • Two cameras, front and back (5 megapixel rear camera)
  • It's a universal remote for many devices, including non-Sony brands
  • Full SD memory slot and micro USB slot 
  • Great ways to organize your apps
  • You can "throw" content (music, photos, videos, Internet content) to other DLNA entertainment devices. You can even stream stuff from one machine to another. Pick a movie from your laptop using the tablet and "throw" it up on the big screen. I can imagine my kids playing with this feature non-stop. Nadine can view rogue videos of Dora the Explorer being shot and killed to her heart's content. OK, kidding, I'm the one watching those.


What I'm not sure about:
  • The lack of 3G. Yeah, it's Wi-Fi only for now. Personally I'm crippled without 3G if I'm moving around in Singapore. 
  • Still feels a little heavy after a while, even though it's only 598g. But that could be me, because I don't usually use one hand to hold my tablet devices. 
  • Graphics for the Playstation games are still a little too "classic" with obvious pixelation (but that retains original feel of the games). I'm also hoping the graphics for future games will catch up with the display capability of the machine.
Hand model credit: DK


The Sony Tablet S comes in 16GB and 32GB versions for S$668 and S$798 respectively. They will be available in Singapore end October, but you can pre-order from 30 September.

Definitely a gadget that will get people talking.


Top and Second Photo Credit: Sony
They sure looked nice!
The legendary Tai Cheong egg tarts.


Tai Cheong at Lyndhurst Terrace
The one that draws queues like this (and I think this is on a less busy day).


The one that Chris Patton loves
The one that Chris Patton loves.


The famous egg tart
Well, I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed. Maybe it's due to expectations caused by the hype, or the fact that I ate them cold. I hear they are better when eaten warm, right there on the spot. Guess I should try them again next time for a fairer estimate, but I can't help but feel there are plenty of egg tarts in Singapore that are almost as tasty, if not more.


Coconut tart
They also have coconut tarts and other items.


Some dough fritter coated with sugar
This was pretty good. Then again, how can it not be? It's deep-fried dough coated with sugar.

Tai Cheong seems to have gone on an expansion spree. It now has 15 outlets throughout Hong Kong and Macau, but this is the original branch at Lyndhurst Terrace. I didn't know it then, but the Tao Heung group seems to have acquired the bakery, so that might explain it.

Also, I can't believe their egg tart recipe is publicly available!  It's also on CNNgo's "behind the scenes" feature on Tai Cheong Bakery.

Update: The recipe, as expected, doesn't quite turn out the same kind of tarts. Check out The Little Teochew's experiment on it.

TAI CHEONG'S EGG TART RECIPE

Ingredients
Pastry:
Flour 450g
Sugar 110g
Evaporated milk 2 teaspoons
Margarine 110g
Butter 110g

Egg Custard Filling:
Water 450ml
Evaporated milk 200ml
Sugar 450g
Egg 4pcs


Pre-heat the baking oven to 300°C

Method
Pastry:
1. Mix all pastry ingredients and knead it into a dough
2. Refrigerate the dough for 2 hours, re-knead it before use
3. Roll out the dough and cut it to small dough balls, then press the balls into the tart shells.
4. Pour the egg custard filling into the shells. Bake it 5 minutes until the pastry turns gold brown, then bake for another 15 minutes at 150°C

Egg Custard Filling:
1. Dissolve the sugar in the boiling water, set it aside to cool down
2. Stir in the egg, evaporated milk with the cold sugar water
3. Sieve the mixture and refrigerate it for 30 minutes before pouring it into the shells with pastry on



TAI CHEONG BAKERY
35 Lyndhurst Terrace (main branch)
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 544 3475

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's two stories of massive dining space
We were out scouting the Nathan Road area for breakfast, and chanced upon this endless stream of people going in and out this building. Most of them were leaving with happy faces and belly laughs. So we followed the stream and found that indeed, they were heading to a restaurant. Cheers Restaurant, a two-storey massive banquet hall that was so full, we had to wait (and eventually share a table).

Seriously, a wedding banquet theme. I thought they'd just forgotten to take down the decorations
I later found out that Cheers is Hong Kong's first Chinese wedding banquet themed restaurant. Say what? Wedding banquet as a theme? I'd thought they had just forgotten or didn't bother to take down the decorations that must have been used by a wedding the night before or something.

I'd understand if the setting was more historical, maybe with older furniture and wooden rafters. That would at least be more interesting. This is too modern, like dining in a mass market ballroom. Still, the hordes were coming for this. Maybe the food was good.


Steamed dumplings in spicy oil
OK, honestly, it looked decent but was not as good as I'd hoped. Maybe you need to know what their specialties are (and we didn't). We kicked off with steamed dumplings in spicy oil.


Pan-fried dumplings
Pan-fried dumplings (gyoza style) were a bit dry.


Ham sui kok fried dumplings
Ham sui kok or deep-fried dumplings. I've had better, and I've had worse.


Cheong fun's not bad
The cheong fun is not too bad.


Braised fish maw with mushroom and chicken
Braised fish maw with mushroom and chicken (or at least I think it's chicken). I just wanted the fish maw.


Some sort of creme brulee
Not too much in the way of desserts, but they do have an odd choice of creme brulee.


We saw lots of people coming here
I have to guess that people were coming here because it was affordable. We spent less than HK$200 for two persons in all, inclusive of tea.

Cheers Restaurant is a chain belonging to the big Tao Heung Holdings which also includes many other restaurants like Pier 88, Hak Ka Hut, Chao Inn, and oh my god, the Tai Cheong Bakery that's so famous for its egg tarts. Yes, I tried those too...coming up in a separate post.


CHEERS RESTAURANT (info off their website)
Shop Units 203, Paradise Mall, 100 Shing Tai Road, Heng Fa Chuen, H.K.
Business Hours: 7:00am - 11:30pm
Tel: +852 3520 1268
Fax: +852 3520 1269

Cheers Restaurant
Shop A, 3/F & 4/F., Grand Tower, 639 Nathan Road, Mongkok, KLN.
Business Hours: 7:00am - 12:00am(3/F)
Mon - Sat: 12:00noon - 12:00am(4/F)
Sun & Public Holiday: 11:00am - 12:00am(4/F)
Tel: +852 2308 1668(3/F)
+852 3698 0028(4/F)
Fax: +852 2390 0182(3/F)
+852 3541 9858(4/F)

Cheers Restaurant
1/F., Nathan Hotel, 378 Nathan Rd., KLN.
Business Hours: 10:30am - 12:00nn
Tel: +852 2770 3323
Fax: +852 2771 1081

Cheers Restaurant
Shops No.S1, 2/F, Laguna Plaza, 88 Cha Kwo Ling Rd, Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Business Hours: 7:00am - 12:00nn
Tel: +852 2717 6860
Fax: +852 2717 0811

Cheers Restaurant
Shop 136-150, Level I, Zone B, Tai Po Mega Mall, 8 On Pong Road, Tai Po, N.T.
Business Hours: 7:00am - 11:00pm
Tel: +852 2144 0889
Fax: +852 2144 0038

Cheers Restaurant
Shop 601-613, Level 6, Tsuen Wan Plaza, 4-30 Tai Pa Street, Tsuen Wan, N.T.
Business Hours: 8:30pm - 23:30pm
Tel: +852 2405 3928
Fax: +852 2499 0335

Cheers Restaurant
Shop 204, 2/F, Hau Tak Shopping Centre, Tseung Kwan O, N.T.
Business Hours: 7:00am - 1:00am
Tel: +852 2701 3800
Fax: +852 2701 3871

Cheers Restaurant
Shop 23, Level 1, South Wing, Trend Plaza, Tuen Mun, N.T
Business Hours: Mon - Sat: 09:00am - 12:00am
Sun & Public Holiday: 08:00am - 12:00am
Tel: +852 2404 5018
Fax: +852 2404 5028

Cheers Restaurant
Shop 541-555, Level 5, Metroplaza, 223 Hing Fong Road, Kwai Fong, N.T.
Business Hours: 7:00am - 12:00am
Tel: +852 2309 2982
Fax: +852 2309 2983

Cheers Restaurant
5/F, Windsor House, 311 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, H.K.
Business Hours: 7:00am - 1:00am
Tel: +852 3167 7288
Fax: +852 3167 7338

Monday, September 26, 2011

IMG_0469
The Luxe Manor in Hong Kong may be a small boutique hotel, but it sure packs a lot within. Quirky, surreal decor throughout the hotel, dreamy themed suites, a Scandinavian restaurant, a modern fine-dining restaurant called G.E. (Gastronomy Extraordinaire), plus a bar and lounge inspired by the Dada art movement.

Dada Bar and Lounge, is super-plush and again, surreal. A lot of eclectic pieces of furniture are thrown together, and not too many are alike. It's got that late-night vibe, perfect for the live jazz performances that happen here.

IMG_0470
This must be the crowning piece in terms of decor and furniture. A royal purple double chaise longue that looks like a funky throne to laze around on.


Will Empress Cixi be delighted at being made a lampstand?
Will Empress Cixi be delighted at being made a lampstand?


HK2-Day24
The bar table is equally flamboyant, with beasts of all manner emerging from its corners.

Mixmeister Sam Limbu will whip up signature cocktails for you like Dali's Iced Tea, Trinity, Equinox, and Void. Dada also started presenting high teas, and most recently specials seven days a week. Free gourmet canapes happen during the week, and live music on weekends.


DADA BAR & LOUNGE
2/F The Luxe Manor
39 Kimberly Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3763-8778
Open daily
Sun-Thurs 2.30pm to 1am
Fri-Sat 2.30pm to 2am

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The living room and the bedroom are separated by curtains
How would you like travel accommodation that's a flight of fantasy all its own? Here's a peek at the Safari suite, one of the six specially themed suites at The Luxe Manor, that wonderful emporium of mystical whimsy. I stayed at a regular room but got to view these fabulously show-stopping suites. (And yes, I'm late with the second half of my Hong Kong travel posts, but here they are, finally!)

The Safari suite is decidedly Arabian-Moroccan with hints of Persia and the Silk Road. Peel away the curtains in the living room, and you'll access the bedroom.


Safari suite: harem-like yet very tastefully done
The living room's got that exotic harem feel, but very tastefully so. It's even got that silken canopy on the ceiling, anchored by the intricate metalwork lamps.


Twinkly "stars" beckon from above the canopy
When you dim the ambient light, a surprise awaits - "stars" twinkling above the canopy! It is such a beautifully romantic effect. Sorry for the fuzzy photo, but I had no tripod with me, and we had to shoot this in near darkness to capture the "stars".


The Safari bedroom and ensuite toilet is so Arabian
The Safari bedroom and ensuite toilet have very pretty Arabian accents.


The desk is like a vintage travel suitcase!
The writing desk is like a vintage leather travel case! The chair is part of the table, and can be pushed back into the recess when not in use.



The Nordic suite is all things furry and frosty
The Nordic suite is a total contrast - it's all things furry and frosty!


Furniture that looks like it's carved out of ice
It has furniture that looks like it's carved from blocks of ice.


The Nordic suite bedroom is cool!
It may be an icy theme, but the bedroom sure looks warmly inviting!


The crystal icy theme continues in the bathroom
The ice-like theme continues through the bathroom.


Even the door handles are chosen to match the icy Nordic theme
And even the door knob's been specially chosen to match! There is great attention to detail.


Our favourite suite though is the Mirage suite, where everything is not what it seems.

The curtains are like blonde tresses
The curtains look like blonde tresses. And there's fun furniture everywhere.


The TV is hidden behind a painting
The flatscreen TV is hidden behind a painting. Come to think of it, paintings probably were the pre-cursor of TVs, in a way...


This is not a plastic chair. It's solid wood! Check out the semi-submerged lamp too!
This is not a plastic chair. It's solid wood! I love the irony.
Check out the semi-submerged lamp too!


Wouldn't it be cool if each handle opened up a different room?
The doors are a hoot! Which handle is the one that really opens? Wouldn't it be cool if each handle opened up a different room?


Quirky cushions and wardrobe panels
Quirky cushions and wardrobe panels with clothing silhouettes add interest to the brightly coloured bedroom.


Look at the bedside table inside the Mirage suite!
Even the bedside table is a surrealist surprise, juxtaposing reality with the ridiculous.


Who left all the clothes on the rugs? Oh wait, those are the rugs!
Who left all the clothes on the rugs? Oh wait, those are the rugs!


Even the showerhead in the Mirage suite bathroom is rubberised and bendable!
There are so many playful details within the suite to explore. Even the showerhead in the Mirage suite bathroom is rubberised and bendable!


By comparison, the Royale suite seems almost ordinary, even with all its posh fittings and furnishings.


Bedroom inside Royale suite
This is a suite that's apparently popular with the glam set. Models, make-up artists, divas...


The Royale Suite screams "opulent diva"
You can see why. The Royale suite practically screams screen goddess opulence and over-the-top flamboyance.


Look at how the mirrored table seems to meld with the wall
The mirrored table practically melds with the silvery wallpaper.


Twin basins, full bath and shower at the Royale suite
Divas don't share, so you get twin wash basins for your bathroom. Only one long bath and shower, as those are obviously more fun with company!


Everything is over the top at the Royale Suite
These are the four suites I was fortunate enough to view. The other two (Chic and Liaison) were occupied. You can view the hotel's themed suites brochure to see more if you like.

At 500-760 square feet each, these suites are easily double or triple the regular rooms, and each of them are an exquisite flight of fantasy and indulgence. Perfect for that special occasion or anniversary, don't you think? Rack rates start from HK$8,800 (about US$1,128) for these suites, but as usual, ask a travel agent, or check online rates or your office for corporate rates.


THE LUXE MANOR
39 Kimberly Road
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3763 8888 (general); +852 3763 8880 (reservations)
Fax: +852 3763 8899 (general); +852 3763 8882 (reservations)
Email: info@theluxemanor.com or rsvn@theluxemanor.com
 
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