Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year Resolutions? I Think A Whole Year Is Too Long

Yes, it's the time again for annual reflection. I don't believe in new year resolutions - mainly because one year is way too long. It's like being given an overly generous deadline.

New month resolutions. Now that's something worth considering. Punchier deadlines in which to see results! Goals you can keep, trash or tweak as you go. And not too many goals at one time. Just three for me.


1. Blog fresh, blog faster
I remember the early days when I used to do same-day posts. Yeah, eat today, post today. That was almost seven years ago. Life was a lot simpler then. My camera was a lot simpler then. My posts were a lot simpler too (just 1-3 photos). Now with much more things to juggle, and my greed for more in-depth coverage, it's a bit harder. Some posts get delayed, and that's not fun. Maybe it's time to take a leaf from the simpler days. Faster, fresher and more frequent posts. After I Clear my backlog...


2. Work easier, smarter, and safer
I need more time for family. The girls are starting primary school and will need help (heck, I'll need help too, cos have you seen what math is like now?). I'm glad I have flexible hours, but it still stacks up. Singaporeans famously work the longest hours. But we don't always earn the most or produce the best results. I just read this Forbes story - look at the chart  - hours worked per year axis, we are right there on top! But earnings and productivity? Hmmm...

Oh, I like this post which describes our approach to work as somewhat sadomasochistic! So true but not funny - an Indonesian copywriter at Y&R keeled over from overwork! See her last messages about the crazy hours. And then just days later in Beijing, a young man from Ogilvy PR dies from working too much in the office. Wow, it says China loses 600,000 people to overwork every year - that's like 20 times Singapore's birth rate!

The tendency to overwork can be compelling. I've had my agency days; days ending at 11pm or 2am sound all too familiar to me. Also, flexible work arrangements to achieve work-life balance is not a luxury, it's a necessity that everyone should have a right to.

Gotta work easier, smarter, safer, as they say. The "how" part is the tricky part I'm still trying to figure out, but here are eight tips someone shared with me.


3. Exercise more!
Hey, this has got to be the most neglected of all new year resolutions. I know. I can lean towards the lazy side, but I do love the challenge and effects of a good workout. Next year, I'm adding a new Fitness Friday series (maybe once or twice a month), where I'll share interesting workouts I've found. Maybe a healthy recipe too.

All this blogging and writing also means I spend long hours in front of the computer, getting the attendant problems. When you're tired, you neglect posture. Some days my neck and shoulders are killing me. I'm thinking of swapping out my chair for an exercise ball. Makes you sit up straight! Keeps your core engaged. And you can bounce on it when you get a catchy song!

Hopefully these will be good impetus to keep more active regardless of how hectic the schedule gets. It's the best thing you can do for your health, which is all you have in the long run.

Have a happy and healthy new year!


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Monday, December 23, 2013

I Love Andy's Shin Hinomoto: The Tokyo Izakaya Run by a Brit!


On my Hilton Tokyo familiarisation trip, we came to one of the most intriguing izakayas in Tokyo, thanks to a recommendation by Conrad Tokyo. A Japanese gastropub in Yurakucho where you can speak freely in English and be understood! Andy's Shin Hinomoto is run by Andy Lunt, a British guy who's been doing this for nearly 30 years. The food's good, the atmosphere practically electric, and best of all, prices are affordable!

Full story and photos of dishes on Yahoo Makanation, and Makansutra:
http://sg.entertainment.yahoo.com/news/andy-british-izakaya-invasion-081753694.html

http://makansutra.com/stories/3/1045/Andy%E2%80%99s-TheBritishIzakayaInvasion

Oh I need to go back there...



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Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Lighthouse Restaurant Presents Cucina Costiera (Southern Italian Cuisine); Their Rooftop Bar is Incredible!

Lighthouse gives you panoramic views of the Marina Bay

Wow. Just look at this. At the Lighthouse Restaurant of the Fullerton Hotel, before your food arrives, your breath will have already been taken away.

Perched at the top (level 8) of the building, this intimate fine-dining destination commands majestic 360-degree views of Marina Bay waterfront and the Singapore skyline. As its name suggests, it used to be the location of a functional beacon in the 18th Century. Now its shining quality lies in it being one of Singapore's best Italian restaurants.

The Lighthouse has now refreshed its concept, focusing on Cucina Costiera or authentic Italian cuisine with specialties and produce from gastronomy rich areas like Campania, Sardinia and Sicily.

The Fullerton Hotel's General Manager Giovanni Viterale grew up in Italy's Amalfi Coast, and he draws inspiration from the region for the restaurant's new culinary direction.

Here are some of the new menu highlights (note that some of these are tasting portions):


Warm toasty Italian breads
Warm toasty Italian breads - well, good bread is a highlight for me always.


ASTICE: Sweet Half Maine Lobster Dressed in Coral Style of Roasted Peppers and Basil Salad
ASTICE: Sweet Half Maine Lobster Dressed in Coral Style of Roasted Peppers and Basil Salad (S$36)

A beautiful medley of seafood, sweet tomatoes and roasted peppers, and savoury salad. The colours are so pretty and the lobster so fresh, you will polish this off in no time.



RISOTTO ALLO SCOGLIO: Sea Rock Style Risotto with Langoustine, Crab, Mussels, Clams, Tomato and Parsley
RISOTTO ALLO SCOGLIO: Sea Rock Style Risotto with Langoustine, Crab, Mussels, Clams, Tomato and Parsley (S$33)

Southern Italy has a strong fishing history, so seafood here is done really well. Potent flavours of the sea come together so well in this luxurious creamy tomato risotto. They used carnaroli rice which is a shorter grain with high starch content.



TAGLIOLINI AL LIMONE: Homemade Tagliolini with Amalfi's Lemon Sauce, Lightly Spiced Prawns
TAGLIOLINI AL LIMONE: Homemade Tagliolini with Amalfi's Lemon Sauce, Lightly Spiced Prawns (S$28)

This is one of Executive Chef Sandro Falbo's signature dishes. Homemade ribbons of tagliolini are doused with a special Amalfi lemon sauce (lemon skin, zest, shallots, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and a splash of Southern white wine). The lemon completely brightens up the cream base, infusing it with a citrusy aroma.


BRANZINO: Roasted Whole Seabass, Fresh Aromatic Herbs, Emulsion of Sicilian Lemons
BRANZINO: Roasted Whole Seabass, Fresh Aromatic Herbs, Emulsion of Sicilian Lemons (S$48 for whole fish)

The whole fish is stunningly served on a cedar plank (apparently they used to serve it this way in Roman times). Here we have one single piece serving. The salty grilled crust is punctuated with aromatic herbs, and you have a tangy and slightly bitter lemon emulsion made to dip it in.




BISTECCA: Grilled Texan Rib-Eye with Flavoured Mushrooms, Truffle Mustard Sauce
BISTECCA: Grilled Texan Rib-Eye with Flavoured Mushrooms, Truffle Mustard Sauce (S$88)

Another showstopping item served on cedar plank (notice the slab beneath the meat? It's not for decoration). The plank envelops the meat very gently in that unmistakably spicy woody signature of cedar. The ribeye is succulently medium rare, and wonderfully complemented by the ingenious truffle mustard sauce.



GRAN DESSERT: ZABAIONE (Zibibbo Sabayon Served with Marinated Strawberry and Traditional Baba), CANNOLO and CASSATA (Sicilian Cannoli and Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips Ricotta Cheese and Candied Fruits)
GRAN DESSERT: ZABAIONE (Zibibbo Sabayon Served with Marinated Strawberry and Traditional Baba), CANNOLO and CASSATA (Sicilian Cannoli and Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips Ricotta Cheese and Candied Fruits)

Dessert is a riotous explosion of Italian classics. I like the Cannoli best.


But wait...there's something even more breathtaking.

Head upstairs to the rooftop bar...


Prime corner at The Lighthouse Rooftop Bar
...and just be astounded by what you see!


Lighthouse Rooftop bar and the gorgeous view
The Rooftop Bar is like a hidden gem, and is so gorgeous, I am torn between wanting to share it and keeping it to myself.


A lovely canopy makes for cosy gatherings
This place is open to the public, not just hotel guests. A pretty canopy give the al fresco place cosiness and grandeur all at once. It's such a lovely place to chill and take in the view.


What a vantage point for F1 viewing!
What a vantage point for F1 races! And National Day Parade!


At the back, Boat Quay in night time splendour
On the other side, you can see Boat Quay and the city.


Why would you want to squint at a tablet when you have this view?
I have no idea how that dude can be so absorbed in a digital device when you have a view like this. Maybe he's telling the world about it.

Well, the Lighthouse is certainly a lovely place for a romantic dinner, with a lovely bar to adjourn to.

From now to 30 December, there is a special intimate 4-course dinner ($138++ per person). Let Chef Sandro indulge you with delectable Southern Italian highlights such as Boston Lobster and Giant Octopus with Sweet Tropea Onion and Crispy Pancetta, Handmade Ravioli filled with Zampone and served on Braised Castellucio Lentils, Roasted Black Cod and Sicilian Red Prawns with Celery Puree, Saffron Potatoes and Amalfi Citrus Emulsion, and Panettone served with Bronte Pistachio Ice Cream and Sabayon Sauce to wrap up the meal.

On 24 and 25 December (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), take your dining experience up a notch with an exquisite 5-course dinner ($198++ per person) inclusive of a glass of Champagne and panettone. Relish beautiful creations such as Alaskan Crab Soup served with Garlic and Paprika Crouton Bread, and Pancetta-wrapped Beef Tenderloin with Porcini, Chanterelle, Shaved Truffle and Amarone Wine Sauce.

The Lighthouse - Handmade Goose Liver Filled Ravioli with Duck Ragout
Handmade Goose Liver Filled Ravioli with Duck Ragout (photo courtesy of Fullerton Hotel)


The Lighthouse - Roasted Black Cod, Sicilian Red Prawns, Celery Puree, Saffron Potatoes and Amalfi Citrus Emulsion
Roasted Black Cod, Sicilian Red Prawns, Celery Puree, Saffron Potatoes and Amalfi Citrus Emulsion (photo courtesy of Fullerton Hotel)


LIGHTHOUSE RESTAURANT & ROOFTOP BAR
Level 8, Fullerton Hotel
1 Fullerton Square
Singapore 049178
Tel: +65 6877-8933
Opening hours:
Mondays to Fridays: 12pm to 2.30pm (Lunch) and 6.30pm to 10.30pm (Dinner)
Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays: 6.30pm to 10.30pm (Dinner)


Many thanks to Fullerton Hotel for the invitation.

All photos (escept last two) taken using the Canon 6D kindly loaned by Canon Singapore
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sick of Hackneyed Turkey and Ham? Go Asian This Christmas




If you're tired of traditional Yuletide festive fare, you can still choose to celebrate with Asian favourites. Try like a different approach to turkey, like the absolutely divine Nyonya Assam Chili Turkey from the InterContinental Singapore, or Turkey Ngoh Hiang from Goodwood Park Hotel. Mikuni at the Fairmont has a special Christmas kaiseki, while Li Bai at the Sheraton Singapore serves Cantonese comfort food for Christmas. Spathe Public House decides to do roast pigeon instead of turkey, with a sambal marinade to boot.

More details in my story here:

http://sg.entertainment.yahoo.com/news/asian-christmas-032955739.html

http://makansutra.com/stories/3/1041/GoAsianthisChristmas


(all photos courtesy of the hotels)
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Halia at Raffles' Christmas Communal Feast and Jolie's Sixth Birthday



Halia at Raffles is all decked out for Christmas. For the festive season, they have rolled out a "Communal Feast Menu" that serves up to 4 guests and features over ten items and three side dishes  (priced at $360++ per set, available til 25 Dec 2013). It's quite a lot of food, as you will see.


Communal dining is something Asians have done for a long time. Everyone partakes of the food placed in the middle for sharing. We value it because it helps people bond together.

And a table laden with food that keeps on coming is simply a celebration of abundance.

So we brought the family to try the feast. Plus it was Jolie's birthday (she turns six today). We thought we'd try dining out for once instead of celebrating at home as we usually do.


Jolie happily coloring the activity panels for kids at Halia
Turns out Halia at Raffles is quite kid-friendly. The waiter brought us coloring paper and materials. When you finish, they will put it up somewhere in the restaurant.

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ToTT Launches New Brunch Recipe Book and E-Store

Best Brunch Ever - Delicious Morning Recipes To Savour

Tools of the Trade (ToTT) has launched a new cookbook “Best Brunch Ever - Delicious Morning Recipes to Savour” and an online shopping portal - see http://www.tottstore.com/ ! This is all to commemorate the their third anniversary in October 2013.

Don't we just love brunch? It's so popular in Singapore, every restaurant pretty much has something on the weekends. But here's something to inspire you to make your own at home.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Food Automatons: Machines Cooking Zi Char For You?


I just read this article (screenshot above):

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/innovation-productivity/912516.html

The TungLok Group has added three Artificial Intelligence Cooking (AIC) machines. They can stirfry your ee-fu noodles and gongbao chicken.

At first I baulked at it, recalling the Ruyi Kitchen automated wok machine. The mechanical arm tossing fried rice in a wok. Gosh, machines can never replace the artistry of the cook. Does it not take the heart and soul out of cooking? Then I saw the video. Hey, that rolling hot barrel is pretty neat. Just the thing you need when cooking for a big party. It does save a lot of elbow grease, and sweat too, in front of that hot wok!

Cooking for big numbers is clearly what TungLok does in its 15,000 square feet central kitchens. I googled and found out more about their automated processes, which are supposed to make food preparation cheaper, better and faster.

From the SPRING press release, it's said that the gains are numerous:

"More than 75 products are prepared daily at TungLok’s central kitchen including semi-processed food, sauces, soups and dim sum. The high volume of food production made it more economical for TungLok to invest in automation. This has subsequently enabled the food preparation processes in the various outlets’ kitchens to be simplified and less labour-intensive. As a result, more employees at the outlets can be redeployed to better serve customers instead.

An example of TungLok’s automation is the “Char Siew Bao" 2 maker, which can produce close to 1,000 pieces per hour, with only six employees. Previously, the manual method, by hand, required 20 highly trained employees to produce the same quantity and quality. With the maker, TungLok’s value-added per worker increased by three times for that section.

The use of specialised equipment has also cut down food preparation time. For example, it now only takes two hours to boil soup using a pressure cooker, as compared to the conventional way of boiling which takes eight hours. Automatic cookers with robotic stirrers are able to prepare large volumes of sauces and soup broths, with very minimal supervision from TungLok’s employees."


Wow, now you know how your food gets prepared at TungLok.

Personally, while I'm all for productivity gains, I'm still a little skeptical when it comes to food. The most important ingredient in cooking (err, not to quote Stephen Chow in his God of Cookery movie) is "heart".

But then again, human beings do make crappy food too. And good cooks can have bad days. At least a machine is consistent. So, maybe it's good enough food at a good value price that wins the day.


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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Perfect Italiano Food Fixes in 15 Seconds: Easy Cheesy Recipes for the Festive Season

Look what we got!

You know, 2013 has just flown by. Christmas is already almost upon us, and coincidentally, it's the time both my girls are missing their two front teeth.

Do you find festive season cooking stressful amidst all the other 1001 things to do? How many gatherings are you setting up for different groups of friends and family? It's a wonderful time but I try to keep things as simple as possible, so I can focus on the right things - people.

Last week, I got a batch of Perfect Italiano cheeses to try out, and they've got some incredibly easy recipes that are great not just for busy festive periods, but also for everyday home-cooking.

As Gordon Ramsay said on TV this morning on his Ultimate Home Cooking show, "Home cooking has to be easy. It's got to be fast. It's got to be delicious."

Mmmh, cheese, few things are more delicious than cheese. Wait, bacon is. But cheese is special. My kids love cheese too.

Perfect Italiano also just launched Perfect Bakes (450g) which is a full flavoured cheddar blended with Mozzarella for stretch and Parmesan for bite. It's designed for baked dishes like lasagne, baked rice/pasta/vegetables.

For the festive season, they have designed a five-course menu from appetizer to dessert - Food Fixes in 15. What's really helpful are the 15-second demo videos that show you just how easy the recipes are. You can view the full descriptions and recipes online at http://perfectitaliano.com.sg/foodfixesin15/

I made two of the main dishes.

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Purer Skin Bird's Nest Skin Care, and Gifts for Christmas!



Do you believe in eating bird's nest for enhancing complexions? I definitely do. I took a tiny teaspoon of it almost daily in the final trimester when I was pregnant with Jolie, and my skin became noticeably soft and smooth. Jolie turned out to have amazing skin, although I'm not sure if it's due to the bird's nest consumption.

But will bird's nest work as part of a skincare solution? One company thinks so. Purer Skin has come up with a complete line of cleanser, toner, serum and night cream that contain pure bird's nest.

Dr. Henry Leung, an expert in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine from Hong Kong University – discovered a method to liquefy pure bird’s nest into highly concentrated active ingredients that can be easily absorbed by your skin. You can read more about the science here and the five bioactivities.

With the purity focus, Purer Skin products are also free from parabens and sulphates.

Anyway, I have a set of the Purer Skin Symphony to try out. I haven't started yet, but I'll let you guys know later if it really works!

The Purer Skin line includes:
1.       Purer Skin Crème Cleanser – S$25.90 (incl. GST)
2.       Purer Skin Clarifying Toner – S$35.90 (incl. GST)
3.       Purer Skin Miracle Serum – S$66.90 (incl. GST)
4.       Purer Skin Night Recovery – S$40.90 (incl. GST)
5.       Purer Skin Symphony (box set of all four above) - $168.00 (incl. GST)

From now till 28 February 2014, Purer Skin would like to offer the following promotion:
- 5 ml Purer Skin Miracle Serum Traveler ($12.90 with $10 store credit at PurerSkin.com);
- 10 ml Purer Skin Miracle Serum Global Traveler ($22.90 with $20 store credit at PurerSkin.com)

There's a 30-Day Money-Back-Guarantee, no questions asked. If you are not satisfied, you can return the miniatures with the receipt and proof of purchase for a full refund.

The products are also available at selected Watson's stores.

Seems like it would make a great gift for moms, aunts, girlfriends and whoever believes in bird's nest and skincare.

Meanwhile, speaking of Christmas gifts, I've been shopping for mine mostly online! No time for real life foraging in crowded malls and queueing at the cashiers. There's so much online - eBay, Asos, Rakuten, Luxola, etc. Zalora has a nifty Christmas guide, and you can even get a S$10 voucher when you sign up for their newsletter. Happy shopping!

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Nearby the Tokyo Hilton: Shinjuku, Kabukicho, Menya Musashi Ramen and Mentsudan Udon


Staying at the Hilton Tokyo means you're right at the doorstep of one of Tokyo's busiest wards - Shinjuku. The hotel is in the quieter western area with government office buildings and skyscrapers but is only ten minutes walk away from shopping and dining options galore.

Maria na Klaibaan (a Thai photographer-blogger) and I could not resist the lure of Shinjuku at night. We were only staying at the Hilton for one evening, so we had to make the most of what we had. So even at 11:30pm, we snuck out to see the nightlife.

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Tour of Tokyo Hilton Hotel in Shinjuku, Dinner at Musashino Japanese Restaurant and Breakfast Buffet at Marble Lounge



The Hilton Tokyo in Shinjuku is lovely. It's everything you'd expect of a four-star hotel, and more. Looks like in Japan, they do four-star with quality that would blow some five-star hotels elsewhere out of the water.

As many of you know, I'm always happiest when I'm in Japan. This is my 10th trip here (seems like a lot, but you really don't feel like going anywhere else after you've had a taste of Japan), and my sixth one to Tokyo. But because my last Tokyo trip was in 2007, this latest jaunt was much welcomed as a refreshing update. 



Dennis, Adrian, Irene and I at Narita Airport

I had wonderful travel buddies on this trip to Tokyo! Here are Dennis and Adrian (Superadrianme), and Irene (Moonberry). Check out their blogs too.

We had just arrived at Narita Airport. This is the first time I am taking the airport limousine express buses to the hotels (slightly over two hours). I normally take the N'EX to Shinjuku. But the advantage of these buses is they drop you off right at the hotel. If you have a lot of luggage, that might be a good idea.

I was pretty amazed that the ground staff (ushers and luggage handlers) would ritually bow to (the guests in) the buses as they arrived and departed. The Japanese have such incredible dedication to their tasks.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas at nydc! See special treat for readers too


Christmas at nydc - an immersion in warm, cheery fun!

This year is flying by real fast. Christmas is less than a month away. And nydc has come up with some goodies for the festive season - Big Plates, Small Plates, and of course desserts and drinks.

I was totally bowled over (yes, pun all intended) by Gingy's Butter Rum Bath (above). It's an Elephanccino™ in which you get to soak a very cute gingerbread man cookie. Look at him just melt and luxuriate in the warmth of his butter rum onsen topped with whipped cream.

And there was another item that really knocked my socks off. It's crispy and spicy! You'll see.


nydc's Christmas 2013 theme revolves around Santa
This year, the theme revolves around Santa, and his little helpers. These are mini log cakes (S$6.80) which are perfect for individual indulgence. Holly Choco Log (left) which is a dark chocolate coated buttery chocolate cream centre log while Jolly White Choc Cheese Log has a cream cheese centre underneath a white chocolate coat. Both also available as full size logs (S$48).

As a special treat for Camemberu readers: Get a Free Mini log cake (any flavour) with any order of 1 Christmas big plate and 1 christmas drink (no min spend required). Just mention “Holly Jolly Christmas at nydc” or flash this blogpost on your mobile device! More details at end of post!


Elves’ Salmon Logs (S$9.80)
Elves’ Salmon Logs (S$9.80)
These are really clever and look like Nordic sushi. Crepe rolls with smoked salmon and cream cheese, and garnished with dill. Pink peppercorns add to the festive look, like holly berries.


Elves’ Mini Meat Munchies (S$9.80)
Elves’ Mini Meat Munchies (S$9.80)
If fish is not your thing, tuck in to these instead. Meat loaves on toast, topped with either brandied cherries or cranberry jam.

And for the mains (big plates), we have something for hearty appetites!


Santa's Wagyu Steak Frites (S$28.80)
Santa's Wagyu Steak Frites (S$28.80)
Judging from Santa's big belly, he'd need a good-sized steak. That's what you'll get here. I think it's Australian wagyu, of a leaner cut, so it's very beefy and not too fatty.


Merry Merry Mixed Grill (S$26.80)
Merry Merry Mixed Grill (S$26.80)
This has a bit of everything for people who like variety. Grilled king prawns, beef sirloin, sausages and crispy lamb ribs alongside salad, fries, grilled pineapple and a pepper dip sauce.

When this dish came, all I could smell was the alluring spice mix of the crispy lamb ribs. Oh my!


Awesome crispy spiced lamb ribs!!!
The awesome crispy spiced lamb ribs! Wow factor, check. Oh, the heady crunch of spiced batter yielding to tender and juicy lamb meat within. It's not too gamey, so even those who don't like lamb may take well to this. Me, I love it. It's so good we asked for extras.

This is an expensive item too. You'd normally only find this in higher end restaurants.

But I really really really hope they make this a permanent small plate item! Four pieces, just right for snacking.



Traditional Cornish Hen (S$16.80)
Traditional Cornish Hen (S$16.80)
Instead of turkey, nydc decided to serve Cornish hen. The smaller bird is sweeter and more juicy, something you won't get sick of when every other place is touting turkey. It's served with cornbread stuffing, a caramelised pineapple ring, red cherry, Brussels sprouts, carrots and giblet sauce.


For desserts, you get your Christmas favourites served in fun ways.

Gingy's Butter Rum Bath Elephanccino (S$8.80) - Gingy is available separately at S$4.80 per piece
Gingy's Butter Rum Bath Elephanccino (S$8.80) - Each Elephanccino comes with a warm Butter Rum bath and an nydc Gingerbreadman for dunking! You can get Gingy on his own too at $4.80! He’s cute.


Tutti Frutti Mudpie (S$11.80)
Tutti Frutti Mudpie (S$11.80)
Oh, this is their ice cream version of fruitcake, which I much prefer. Ice cream densely packed on a graham crackers base, liberally sprinkled with multi-hued gummies on top. It's a happy sight.


Fruity Joyous Delight (S$26.80, 500g)
Fruity Joyous Delight (S$26.80, 500g)
As for the actual fruitcake, they have it too, but only for corporate or staff orders (of 20 boxes or more). It sure looks good laden with festive fruits and nuts. If you're interested, please email sales@nydc.com.sg for more details.

Individual orders for log cakes can be made three days in advance. Download the Order Form here and drop by any outlet to place your order. Their Early Bird promotion just ended but if you are a SUTL Life Member or Citibank Cardmember, you still get to enjoy 10% off all log cake orders.


Christmas Carollers' Cheer (S$8.50)
Christmas Carollers' Cheer (S$8.50)
It's fresh strawberries, bananas, strawberry cheesecake ice cream and milk with a hint of mint!


Jolly White Choc Cheese Mini Log (S$6.80)
There are several promotions going on from now til 31 Dec 2013.

Christmas Set: Enjoy a ‘Mudpie of the Day’ on the house when you order 2 Christmas Big Plates and 2 Christmas Drinks!

Mini Logs Bundle: All good things come by... Half a dozen! Buy 5, get 1 free Mini Logs!

And they're having a 12-day giveaway from 14-25 Dec 2013 - the first 12 customers who spend S$80 and above will get a gift from Santa's sack each day!

AND A SPECIAL TREAT FOR CAMEMBERU READERS:

A Free Mini log cake (any flavour) with any order of 1 Christmas big plate and 1 christmas drink (no min spend required). To redeem: Just mention “Holly Jolly Christmas at nydc” or flash this blogpost on your mobile device to enjoy! Feel free to share this with your friends or family.

Fans can only utilise 1 promo code per visit (i.e. all offers cannot be used in conjunction with any other discounts, privileges, promotions or vouchers).



nydc

Bugis Junction, #02-47/48
200 Victoria St, Singapore 188021
Tel: +65 6333-3161
Sun - Thurs, PH 11.30am to 10pm
Fri, Sat; Eve of PH 11.30am to 10.30pm

Holland Village, 30 Lorong Mambong
Singapore 277688
Tel: +65 6469-2998
Sun - Thurs; PH 11.30am to 10.30pm
Fri, Sat; Eve of PH 11.30am to 11pm

Wheelock Place, #02-19
501 Orchard Rd,
Singapore 238880
Tel: +65 6736-3253
Sun - Thurs; PH 11.30am to 10.30pm
Fri, Sat; Eve of PH 11.30am to 11pm


Thanks to nydc for the invite.

Photos taken with the Canon 5D Mark III kindly loaned by Canon Singapore.
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Morton's is still the steakhouse to beat; Plus happy hours now daily!

The Bar within Morton's

Steakhouses - we sure have seen quite a few of them popping up in Singapore in the past couple of years - CUT, Wooloomooloo, Ruth's Chris, plus other restaurants also offering steaks and grills. Oh, it's nice to be spoilt for choice. And some of these places have seriously pushed up the bar for good steak.

Still, where do you go for the best steak in Singapore? Well, I've been trying more than a few places, but reserved my opinion until I took on the granddaddy of steakhouses in Singapore - Morton's at the Mandarin Oriental.


Center cut prime ribeye
And I have to say - I am blown away. Despite hype and high expectations, Morton's still delivered, and more than delighted. It was love at first ribeye bite...

But wait. I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let's start with the famous MORTini Nights - probably the best happy hours in town! For just S$14.95, you get a full-sized martini and free-flow filet mignon sandwiches! And it's now on every day, 5pm to 7pm! Happy hours just got happier!


This is the Lycheetini. It's pretty strong, for me, anyway - I'm an alcoholic wuss!


The famous Filet Mignon sandwiches
The famous complimentary sandwiches that everyone grabs. I am not a fan of filet mignon, so these were just okay for me. These are nothing, NOTHING(!!) like the steaks you will get inside.

Let's hurry and move on inside...

The kitchen at Morton's
The kitchen at Morton's - they are busy! You'll see them just after the bar (first photo). Morton's use their own special griller that sears the meats at 800-1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Seven to eight minutes is all it takes to broil most cuts. Only the double porterhouse takes 20 minutes.


The famous Onion Loaf!
The famous Onion Loaf! It's huge, it's delicious - we finished it all! Yes, I came with Leroy, and we both love bread, so this was short work.



I love this little pig lamp
I don't know why but I just love this little pig lamp. Must be the aura of contentment.



Lobster Bisque
Lobster Bisque (S$36)
This is very smooth and one of the more delicate-tasting ones around. It's rich without being too overpowering. Personally though, I prefer a bisque that's bolder and sharper (even if it's more rustic).



Baked Five Onion Soup (tasting portion)
Baked Five Onion Soup (S$28) 
This is a half-portion for tasting purposes, but I felt that it was actually just right, as too much will just fill you up prematurely. This potent concoction is crusted with Swiss cheese - addictive and savoury to the last drop.



Prime Ocean Platter (Baked)
Prime Ocean Platter - Baked (S$85 for two pax/S$171 for 3-4 pax/S$255 for 5-6 pax)
Morton's also serves some pretty decent seafood. In this decadent platter, you'll get a sampling of some appetisers: Sea scallops wrapped in Bacon, Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, Oysters Rockefeller, Jumbo Shrimp Alexander. A good way to try a little bit of everything.

There's also a chilled seafood version with Maine lobster, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Jumbo Lump Crabmeat, Oysters on the Half-Shell, Alaskan King Crab Legs. Oh man, we had difficulty choosing!



A waiter will show you the different cuts
Of course, the Morton's experience is not complete without the steak cuts show-and-tell. A waiter will briefly explain the different selections available. The porterhouse and double porterhouse are both aged beef from Australia (yes, drats to the bone-in US beef ban that's still in place). USDA Prime beef selections include center cut ribeye, center cut filet mignon, signature cut New York strip. They also have boneless prime rib on Fridays and Saturdays.



That's what the lighting is like in Morton's
The very sublime Center Cut Prime Ribeye (16oz or 464g; S$99.50), also pictured upfront. I'm showing you this unedited photo to demonstrate the lighting you get at Morton's. As many of you may know, the ambiance there is wonderfully romantic. But a total nightmare challenge for food photography. So my apologies for photos that look off or grainy.

If not for the Canon 6D which has high ISO capabilities, I'd never be able to take anything (certainly not with my old 400D). The next time I go, I'll be happy to leave the camera at home. Oh who am I kidding? Every meal at Morton's is worth capturing and remembering!



Ribeye cut up
Here's the medium-rare ribeye all sliced up. Every bite of this tender well-marbled meat is a chorus of joy. The perfectly caramelised exterior adds aromatic contrast with the juicy center. The beef is wet-aged about 3-4 weeks (longer than most places) and while it's from grain-fed cattle, you still get a nice balance of beefy flavours along with the fat.



Cajun Ribeye Steak
Cajun Ribeye Steak (16oz or 464g; S$102)
Also very popular is the ribeye marinated with Morton's special Cajun spices for 60 hours. This steak tends to be a bit more charred because of the spice mix on the outside. The spices certainly lent a more complex flavour experience, but ultimately we both preferred the unadulterated flavours of the regular ribeye.


Jumbo Idaho Baked Potato
Jumbo Idaho Baked Potato (S$24)
Oh the many ways to enjoy potatoes - they are all here at Morton's. Baked, mashed, Lyonnaise, hashed brown, steak frites, and even in a bacon & onion macaroni and cheese.

Other side dishes (S$22) include jumbo asparagus (steamed or grilled), creamed spinach, brussels sprouts, onion rings with Thai cream sauce, and sauteed button mushrooms.


Morton's also has an excellent sommelier who can deftly recommend wine pairings for your meal. Of course, you can also pick spirits, beers and cocktails if you prefer.

Speaking of their staff, the service here is lovely. Warm, welcoming and not pretentious. More importantly, they know their stuff.



Dessert tray showing you choice for the night
This is the dessert tray showing you choices for the night. Will you pick the double chocolate mousse, seasonal berries with sabayon sauce, creme brulee, or souffle for two?



Keylime pie
Key Lime Pie (S$23)
We chose something a bit different and were rewarded with a gorgeously rich yet tangy treat. It's intense, but not too sour. I normally do not like sour desserts, but this was pretty good.



Morton's Legendary Hot Chocolate Cake
Morton's Legendary Hot Chocolate Cake (S$30)
Of course, you can't walk away without trying their most famous and possibly most decadent dessert. Oh scrumptious chocolate. Yes, the molten centre sort of flowed when we cut into it, but not a lot. So don't wait too long to cut into it!



Morton's at The Mandarin Oriental

Morton's has 63 outlets in the United States, but only six internationally - Mexico City, Toronto, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau and Shanghai.

They've made their name providing epic portions of good food with excellent service, and I hope they continue to do so. It truly is an enjoyable dining experience. Right now, the restaurant still sports the 1920s vibe with dark woods and subdued lighting, but there is talk of the place adopting a more contemporary design next year (with the change in direction by Landry's, Inc acquisition of the chain).

So if you like the classic look, go while you still can. I'll certainly be back for more ribeye.


MORTON'S THE STEAKHOUSE
Mandarin Oriental Singapore
Fourth storey, 5 Raffles Avenue
Singapore 039797
Tel: +65 63393740

Open daily

Bar 
Monday to Saturday 5pm to 11pm
Sunday 5pm to 10pm

Dining room
Monday to Saturday 5.30pm to 11pm
Sunday 5pm to 10pm


Many thanks to Morton's for the invitation, and to GHC Asia for hosting the memorable dinner.

Photos taken with the Canon 6D kindly loaned by Canon Singapore.
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