Straits Cuisine at Orchard Cafe

Orchard Hotel’s Orchard Cafe has relaunched its “Straits Cuisine” buffet where you can savour Peranakan dishes, traditional roasts, seafood options and all-time local favourites. This is really one buffet where you won’t find any cooked Western dishes, which attests to the passion that Orchard Cafe, Executive Chef Paul Then and his team of chefs have for the buffet spread they have come up with.

Straits Cuisine at Orchard Cafe

Available at the Straits Cuisine buffet spread includes familiar favourites such as Ayam Buah Keluak, Sambal Sting Ray in Banana Leaf, Nyonya Chap Chye, Beef Cheek Rendang etc. Chef Then has has also come up with some interesting dishes such as Black Cod Fish Otah, Crabmeat Kueh Pie Tee with Buah Keluak Caviar and Chempedak Creme Brulee.

The worry about attending such Peranakan / Straits Cuisine themed buffets is that those who love such dishes often come with very high expectations, having had their palates refined from a very young age. To be more direct, there’s just no beating your grandmother’s or your mother’s version. There are however some gems that I’ll be mentioning below. 

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Craftsmen Specialty Coffee

The cafes have heeded my call and are now slowly popping up in the Eastern part of Singapore! Check out this new Craftsmen Specialty Coffee, which opened just a couple of weeks back at Siglap V, opposite the old Siglap Centre. It’s a pretty spacious cafe as they haven’t packed the place to the gills with seating. When I was there around 4 plus pm yesterday on Good Friday, it was nearly full. And when I left at about 5 plus pm, it was nearly empty.

Craftsmen Speciality Coffee Cafe Shop Front (2)

With a name like Craftsmen Specialty Coffee, you know the emphasis here is on coffee. You want V-60, Chemex, Siphon, Woodneck and Cold Brew, they have it here. For me, while I like to think of myself as a coffee lover, my coffee drinking repertoire stops at cafe latte and flat white. I’ve tried Chemex and Cold Brews before elsewhere, but I suppose my palate was not refined enough to really appreciate the flavours. Give me a cafe latte anytime.

Just to add, apart from a selection of 3 quiches and 2 sandwiches, Craftsmen Specialty Coffee does not appear to be serving any other types of food requiring onsite preparation. At least not for now.

Craftsmen Speciality Coffee - Cafe Latte $4.50

Cafe Latte $4.50

And so a cafe latte I got. If you feel that the saucers and cups remind you of Dutch Colony Cafe, you are right, because they have invested here. The cafe latte was pretty enjoyable, strong aroma although it had a slight bitter aftertaste yet not a robust body.

Craftsmen Speciality Coffee - Flat White $4.50 and Almond Croissant $4 (1) Read more »

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Design Hub

I’ve been furniture hunting for the new place and checking out all the usual suspects such as Ikea, Park Mall, Courts etc. Been wanting to go down to Tan Boon Liat Building as well in Outram, where I heard you can find indie and retro furniture. Actually, after you’ve seen what other furniture stores have to offer, you won’t look at Ikea in the same way again.

Then we read about this newly opened Design Hub in the Straits Times boasting 45,000 sqft worth of furniture showrooms! Have to go right??? Only issue is, it’s in Tuas, and just about the furthest part of Tuas you can get too before you drop into the sea! We decided to forgo one morning’s worth of cafe hopping and did the cross-country drive all the way to Design Hub. Guess you could call it furniture hopping?

This Design Hub is really cool. First of all, it’s SO SPACIOUS! The building is about 10 storeys high or so, but the showrooms are concentrated on the 1st 3 floors. There was hardly a soul there on that Saturday morning, and even if a hundred more people poured in, you would still have room to run about. The 1st floor comprises mostly kitchen showrooms and huge art pieces, the 2nd floor comprises of a mish mash of furniture such as tables, chairs, tiles, carpetting, and the 3rd floor comprises main bathrooms.

I was most amazed by the bathrooms. One look and I just fell in love with all the designs! They look so “hotel like”! I’ve always maintained the mantra that, all things being equal, we should spend more money decoring our house so that we would not feel the need to spend money on staycations. Of course it’s easier said than done, but really, shouldn’t we all try to spend our money “inside” rather than “outside”?

Devon & Devon Bathrooms and Bathtubs (10)

You’ll never look at bathrooms the same way after you view these bathrooms by Devon & Devon. They remind me so much of hotel bathrooms. In fact, if you read my article on my stay at the Citadines Suites Louvre Paris, you’ll see a striking similarity in terms of design. I’ve no idea what the official name of this design, sometimes I call it “English”, sometimes I call it “New England”. Can someone enlighten me? Love the heater too!!

Devon & Devon Bathrooms and Bathtubs (7)

This is one of my favourite looking bathtub designs! Although it’s smaller in size than what I would prefer, I just love the detailing on the feet, as well as the taps and showerhead! They remind me of old school telephones. I can just imagine the stress melting away with a soak in this bathtub.

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Arossa Wine & Grill

I haven’t had many opportunities to visit Scott’s Square, one of the newest kids on the block along Scotts Road so I was sure glad to be given the opportunity to review Arossa Wine & Grill. If this place sounds or looks vaguely familiar, that’s because they did a revamp of the restaurant and had a change of name from La Luna Rossa to Arossa Wine & Grill. The wooden floors and brick walls have been retained to exude the rustic charm.

Arossa Wine & Grill (2)

Pricing wise, Arossa caters mainly to the business crowd, what with the table cloths and wine glasses. Strangely though, there are attempts to appeal to the masses by doing away with napkins and also serving brunch on the weekends.

Arossa - Charcuterie of Pate de Campagne, Foie Gras Terrine, Proscuitto $32 (2)Charcuterie of Pate de Campagne, Foie Gras Terrine, Prosciutto $32

We started off our meal with this mouth-watering plate of chacuterie. Seeing slivers of ham, pate and terrines never fails to lift my mood up. It’s also a very good way to distract customers while they wait for the mains to be prepared. I particularly liked the Foie Gras Terrine, which went really well with the complimentary bread. Had to control myself or I would have eaten more and had no space for the mains. The Pate de Campagne was also quite interesting as it had nutty bits in it, something that is not too common.

Arossa - Pan Fried foie Gras with Caramelized Apple $30 (2)

Pan Fried foie Gras with Caramelized Apple $30

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Hotel Clover Staycation review

Staycations are all the rage these days, it makes you wonder why haven’t they been popular all along? I suppose 10 years ago when the oil price was still cheap, one could simply fly away to a distant beach resort to spend the weekend there. But with air tickets costing what they do these days, staycations, aka hotel vacations without leaving Singapore makes sense. It definitely does make good sense to me. I for one do not believe in short weekend getaways. If I have to take a plane to get somewhere, I’m going to stay at least 4 or 5 days.

And we all know how taxing it is to take leave from work. First of all, you have to choose dates which are preferably not during your department’s peak period. The days leading up to the said holiday, you feel like you’re in a pressure cooker, trying to make sure all the work is cleared before your departure! A short weekend staycation takes the pressure off me, as there’s no leave that needs to be taken.

Couple of weeks ago, the Partner and I had a short staycation at Hotel Clover along Hong Kong Street. Hotel Clover is a new budget business hotel. The rooms may be small, I’ll be frank about that, but being new, the rooms and furniture are speckless and clean. The best part about Hotel Clover? That it’s so close to the Central Business District area! It’s located right smack in the middle, where Clarke Quay is on one end while Boat Quay is on another. We had a great time combing the whole of Clarke Quay to soak in the vibes, and only had to take a short stroll back. No need to worry about how long it would take to get a taxi! If we had had another night to spare at Hotel Clover, we would have checked out Boat Quay as well. The stroll along the river at night can be quite romantic.

Hotel Clover on Hong Kong Street Facade

Hotel Clover on Hong Kong Street

Hotel Clover on Hong Kong Street Reception Foyer

Reception Area

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