Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fairmont Jakarta, Indonesia: Hotel Tour and Review

The Fairmont Jakarta is fairly new; this luxurious five-star hotel opened in Jan 2015. The location in Senayan makes it close to the Indonesian Stock Exchange, Jakarta Convention Center and malls like Plaza Senayan and Sentral Senayan office towers.

We got to tour the 488-room hotel and its sister property the Raffles Jakarta, both new luxury additions to the Accor Group stable of hotels. The Fairmont was hosting chefs and a mixologist from the Savoy London (also a sister hotel) for "When Jakarta Meets London" series of culinary events.


Monday, September 25, 2017

Scoot Singapore-Jakarta Flight

By now most of you will have heard that Scoot and Tigerair have merged under the Scoot brand. I have rarely flown Tiger but I like Scoot's branding and energetic vibe.

Recently on our trip to see the Fairmont and Raffles Jakarta, we got to fly one of these former Tiger routes. It was all Scoot on the surface, but you could see a bit of the Tiger still - see the tail and engine? Hidden Tiger, Crouching Scoot?


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Tefal Dark Ruby Wok Pan Review & Sesame Oil Chicken Recipe

I got a new wok. And what did I feel like cooking? Sesame oil chicken! This is a really comforting dish that's easy to make (recipe and video below).

I prefer making most Chinese food in a wok, because it's deeper than a skillet or frying pan, so this allows you to stir-fry without worrying about spilling any ingredients.

But my Tefal Dark Ruby Wok Pan has quite a few more features than just depth.

Tefal Dark Ruby Wok Pan
Firstly, it looks amazing. The Tefal Dark Ruby Cookware range is as beautiful as it is easy to use. The deep gem-like colour, the gleamingly smooth surface and the sturdy feel of the wok all make this a solid cookware item.

It works on pretty much all types of stoves, including induction. 

The Tefal wok is great for searing meat
The Dark Ruby range features a high density technology: a dense, non-porous ceramic coating surface ideal for producing crisp cooking results with just the use of a little oil. It's apparently ideal for searing meat.

The pans also feature an extra hard surface reinforced with mica for additional resistance to abrasion and metal spatulas.

I threw my old wok out almost immediately. I hadn't been using it much because the non-stick surface had scratched and peeled off so badly. I know this won't happen with the Dark Ruby wok, given its extra resistance and ceramic coating.

Tefal Dark Ruby Wok Pan
The 28cm wok has the same Tefal Thermo-Spot technology that turns full red when the pan has reached the ideal temperature.

Tefal Frying Pan
That Thermo-spot I am very familiar with as it's also on my favourite frying pan.

Tefal Dark Ruby Wok Pan
The Dark Ruby cookware range is easy to wash and has a high thermal shock resistance, which means you can wash the pan under running water immediately after cooking - even when it’s still warm! I still prefer to let it cool a bit naturally. Who wants to do washing when a piping hot dish is ready to eat?

The Dark Ruby range includes the Dark Ruby Frypan (24cm S$69.90, 28cm S$79.90), Dark Ruby Wokpan (S$89.90), Dark Ruby Saucepan (20cm S$89.90, no lid), Dark Ruby Sautepan with lid (24cm S$119.90), and Dark Ruby Stewpot with lid (S$119.90. The Tefal Dark Ruby cookware range retails between $69.90 and $119 and is available at OG, Takashimaya, TANGS, Metro, Isetan and Lazada.

Here's a quick video on using the wok in making sesame oil chicken.


2-3 tablespoons sesame oil
2-inch knob of ginger, peeled and sliced
300-400g chicken, cut into pieces
2-3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or Chinese rice wine
1 tablespoon sweet dark soy
1/2 cup water
3-5 dashes ground white pepper
Optional: scallions (they add a nice touch of green)
(I added some oyster sauce as well; you can simply season to taste)

1. Heat up a wok over high heat and pour in the sesame oil.
2. When the oil is fully heated, add the ginger and stir fry until aromatic.
3. Add the chicken and stir fry for about 15 seconds.
4. Add the soy sauce, wine, dark sweet soy and ground white pepper.
5. Add the water and continue stirring until well-mixed.
6. Continue cooking on medium heat (5-10 minutes) until chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickened.
7. Add scallions if you wish towards the end. Dish out and serve immediately.

Many thanks to Tefal for providing the wok for review.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Peaceful Cuisine: Most Therapeutic YouTube Cooking Channel

Do you feel that too many videos these days are too loud, talk too much and pile on the hyper-energetic vibe in order to be interesting? Then you'll really find Peaceful Cuisine a pleasant change. Hypnotic food porn meditation with just the sounds of cooking and minimal talking. Some of the videos have a version that come without music. The sounds are so crisp and soothing, they practically qualify as ASMR.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

iPhone 8 or Samsung 8? Contract or No Contract? See Comparisons, Circles.Life Pricing and Referral Code

It's the battle of the eights. Which will you choose? iPhone 8/8 Plus or Samsung Galaxy s8/s8+/Note 8? Which telco will give you the best savings? Should you tie yourself to a two-year contract in order to enjoy a low upfront price on your new phone?

I'm only looking at Circles' pricing for now, because I know there aren't any real "discounts" on phones. The phone cost is already worked into the contract. In fact, it can cost more with a contract.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Mooncakes 2017 (Mid-Autumn Festival Singapore): Best & Favourites

Mooncake season is unseasonally late this year in October, thanks to a leap month in the lunar calendar. So if you still haven't bought your mooncakes, all is not lost. There's still plenty of choices this year, and here are some of my favourites, and my totally arbitrary awards (just for fun).


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

La Brasserie at Fullerton Bay Hotel: French Restaurant with Marina Bay Views

La Brasserie at Fullerton Bay Hotel has refurbished its salons. Gone is the heavy masculine decor; in its place is a new light Herringbone floor and colour scheme centred on a grey, burnt orange and ivory theme, with redesigned furnishings and drapery by Jim Thompson giving it a more lively contemporary ambience.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Sudio REGENT Wireless Bluetooth Headphones: Quick Review

These Sudio REGENT wireless Bluetooth headphones from Sweden are a real beauty. The simple yet stylish headphones feature 24+ hours of battery life, a full-leather composition, and nice booming bass. It even allows you to change the caps at the side to personalise your headphones in six different styles.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Summerlong at Robertson Quay: Brunch with Mediterranean Beach Vibes

Fancy a posh casual eatery with Mediterranean beachside vibes? The team behind Neon Pigeon, Fat Prince and The Ottoman Room have dreamt up a new concept, Summerlong, at The Quayside at Robertson Quay.

The open kitchen, helmed by Chef Justin Hammond (of Neon Pigeon), serves up a mix of snacks, dips, grilled items and shared dishes to nibble on, which are meant for communal enjoyment with family and friends.

Summerlong at Robertson Quay

Summerlong does embody the bright and breezy beachside style that is reminiscent of summer seaside vacations. While there is no beach in sight, the riverside location does help lend a relaxing feel to the white-washed space.

This "city beach" cafe and bar does aim to offer fresh and healthy food and drinks inspired by the Eastern Mediterranean. Brunch here seems to echo that theme. My favourite part was the side counter with dishes that are almost as good as mains.

Dishes on the Side Counter
These are mainly vegetarian, to cater to as wide a group as possible.

Mix of dishes from side counter
The chef was kind enough to let me try a little bit of everything. My favourite is the Cauliflower and Beef (first photo). Nadine liked the Roasted Pumpkin. The Kale Tart was well-made too. Only the roasted carrots were a little tough.

From the a la carte menu, there is a nice variety of starters, mains, snacks, side salads, more side dishes and desserts.

Almond Yoghurt and Granola, Buckwheat, Poached Pear, Nuts (S$15)
Almond Yoghurt and Granola, Buckwheat, Poached Pear, Nuts (S$15)
The almond yoghurt turned out quite differently from what we expected. It was light-bodied and tremendously sweet without any yoghurt-like tang. There wasn't much granola or buckwheat, so it didn't feel substantial. It really feels more like a dessert, like melted ice cream. This is a palm-sized portion (that's a teaspoon in there for size comparison), which for S$15 is really small. But it's meant as a starter.

Smoked Salmon, Sous Vide Egg, Capers, Pickled Shallots, Rye (S$20)
Smoked Salmon, Sous Vide Egg, Capers, Pickled Shallots, Rye (S$20)
I liked this much better. It's a fool-proof ensemble of salmon, capers, pickles on rye with runny eggs pulling it all together. But it's not really big enough to share.

I hear the Blueberry Pancakes, served with lemon butterscotch maple syrup and marscapone ($18), are highly recommended but our order never came. It was fine; we were already full from the dishes we had.

Savoury items include the Falafel Scotch Egg, avocado, preserved lemon, cardamom ($22) and the signature Persian Fried Chicken & Egg, sweet potato corn hash, herbs (S$22). Or you could splash out for the Turkish Breakfast - labneh, olives, mushrooms, beans, sausage, tomato, cucumber, salad, tangerine, sour cherry jam, bread (S$32).

I totally missed the Soft Serve Ice Cream (S$4) counter, where kids and adults alike can load up on the good stuff with a myriad of toppings ranging from chocolate to candy to fruit (S$1 per topping).

The Summerlong menu also has pitchers for sharing such as the Summerlong Spritz, a riff on the classic Aperol spritz, made with Aperol, Cava, grapefruit and soda ($50). It comes in a jug which is probably good for three glasses. I only took one glass. It's really easy to drink, and not too heavy on the alcohol.

The group’s Bar Manager, Symphony Loo, is behind their creative cocktails program. For a light afternoon tipple, the Medius Terra Fizz made with rosehip gin, lemongrass, ginger, soda ($15) makes for easy drinking in the tropics. A hardier libation with the vacation beach vibe is the 3 Continents, made with three rums, pineapple and passionfruit, served in a coconut shell (S$21). For a frozen option, the Greek Elixir uses ouzo, lime and herbs (S$19).

Summerlong's wine list consists of hand-picked selections from Mediterranean vineyards including France, Italy, Spain and Turkey. Beer and cider is available on tap as well as by the bottle. For craft beer lovers, Desecutes “Fresh Squeeze” IPA (S$14) is on tap, and for a lighter beer option, there is a Greek lager, Mythos (S$14) served by the bottle and by the Bucket (S$55 for six).

The guys from “A Stimulant by SARNIES” are behind the coffee and serve the traditional favourites, plus some new introductions like Bullet Proof Coffee (S$6) for those looking for a serious caffeine kick.

Summerlong was packed when we visited; it looks like the place is popular with well-heeled expats, young couples and tourists. Service was friendly enough, and the bright, well-decorated, open-air space certainly has its charm.

60 Robertson Quay #01-04
Singapore 238252
Email: info@summerlongsg.com
Tel: +65 6235-1225
Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Friday - 5PM to Midnight
Saturday & Sunday - 11:30AM to Midnight
Closed on Monday

Many thanks to Summerlong for the invitation.
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