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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Percolate – New Cafe in the East!

Those of you living in the East, especially in Bedok, I have good news to announce! There is a new cafe on the block!  I’d known of the empty unit a number of months back, and I had thought to myself that it would be a good spot for a cafe. And guess what, last Wednesday while travelling past in a taxi, I spotted the new Percolate. I think I shouted so loudly that both the Partner and the cab driver had a shock! Luckily our stop was just the next street, and we quickly made our way to the cafe. Apparently Percolate opened just last week on 31 March!

Even until now, I find it such a dream come true that I now have a cafe in my neighbourhood to call my own! It takes me just 2 minutes to walk to the cafe, and 1 minute if I run. I feel like my neighbourhood has been upgraded! Check out these pictures below. I’ll do a longer review once I try more of the items here. Now, when we just want a quick cuppa at night, we don’t have to think 3 times where!

Percolate (3)

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Brunch at Ku De Ta, Marina Bay Sands

Ku De Ta - (9)

Are you looking for a brunch location with a difference? How about having brunch at one of the highest spots possible in Singapore, and having it in style? Ku De Ta’s modern Asian brunch moves away from conventional eggs, sausages and baked beans to feature an assortment of fresh sashimi and Asian breakfast favourites inspired by the Singaporean and Japanese palate.

I had the opportunity to partake in Ku De Ta’s gastronomic brunch a couple of weeks back. I have one word of advice, come HUNGRY. As it’s Asian styled, appetisers will be served sharing style. Portions below are for three pax.

Ku De Ta - Edamame with maldon salt

Edamame with Maldon salt

Healthy start to the brunch. And the Maldon salt, there is salt, and there is Maldon salt. These salt flakes are less bitter than the usual iodized granular types that we are so used to.

Ku De Ta - Oysters on Ice, Salmon Sashimi, Tuna Tataki (2)

Oysters on Ice, Salmon Sashimi, Tuna Tataki

Sashimi and oysters to further whet the appetite. As you can probably tell from the photos, these were exceedingly fresh tasting and delicious with the condiments. The tuna tataki had onion ponzu and spring onions on top while the salmon sashimi had a shishito, mizuna and uni powder dressing.

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Blu Kouzina–Greek food in Singapore

There are a precious few Greek restaurants in Singapore. The last I counted, there were only TWO. One is Blu Kouzina, of which is the focus of this article, the other being Myconos on the Bay at Quayside Isle, Sentosa.

I’ve always wondered why is it that we have such a proliferation of Italian restaurants in Singapore, and French restaurants as well, but not Greek? Can there be that many Italians in Singapore or is it a simple case of pizza and pastas being easily received by the general public, largely helped along by American TV programmes? The thing with Greek food is that it is probably very palatable to the Asian palate, as Greek food emphasises fresh ingredients cooked in a simple and light way. Because Greek food is not often smothered in thick sauces, freshness of ingredients is key.  Perhaps that’s the reason why so few Greek restaurants have managed to stay afloat in a country that has precious few farms providing fresh produce that is demanded of Greek cooking.

Anyway, it was my father’s big birthday, and I had spent the entire week thinking of somewhere unique enough to hold a birthday celebration for a person who does not eat meat! I went through a gazillion fine dining restaurants, but because menu choices are limited at such places, and I couldn’t run the risk of not having fish and prawn dishes for my father to choose from, it was decided that Blu Kouzina would be the birthday venue. It’s quite certain that none of us had tried Greek cuisine in Singapore before.

Blu Kouzina (4)

Menu is not cheap though. Appetisers are mostly above $15, meats are $20 and above and seafood $30 and above, in general. But the food here is REALLY GOOD.

Blu Kouzina - Spanakopita - Phylo pastry filled with spinach, feta cheese and herbs - $14 (3)

Spanakopita cut in halves

Spanakopita – Phylo pastry filled with spinach, feta cheese and herbs – $14

For some reason, I just knew I would love this dish when I saw it on the menu. Piping hot filo pastry filled with slightly creamy spinach. The filo was as crisp as can be and the buttery taste went really well with the fillings. SO GOOOOOD. If it wasn’t so expensive, we would really have liked to have a second serving of this.

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The Missing Pan

With a name like that, it’s hard not to sit up and notice this new cafe that’s popped up in the Bukit Timah area back in November 2013. I was quite happy to be invited down for a tasting session to help them find their pan if need be. For the record, there’s a western stall at the food court in the Botanic Gardens called Two Cooks and a Pan. The people from The Missing Pan might want to inquire with the Two Cooks….

The Missing Pan - (6)

If you walk past The Missing Pan, at first glance, you might mistaken it for a really tiny cafe able to seat 2 or 3 couples at the most. That’s because the bulk of the seating is actually upstairs! Take the tiny lift right in the middle of the cafe to the 2nd floor, and take your pick of whether to sit facing the open kitchen concept or by the full length windows looking out onto Bukit Timah Road. I’m sure most people would love the quirky yet stylish decor here, with understated tones lots of shelves high above us. I’m frankly a little tired of the retro look that so many cafes sport these days.

The Missing Pan - (26)

The Missing Pan not only differentiates itself from the other cafe in terms of decor, but in terms of menu as well. I like it that there are quite a number of items to choose from. I’ve kinda reached a point where I would like to relax in a cafe and have some brunch that doesn’t just comprise of eggs benedict or all day breakfast, although I must admit I do often order those. But I would LIKE to have a choice. At The Missing Pan, you have 4 egg dishes to choose from, several sandwiches, burgers, a pasta dish, salads and a beef stew.

The Missing Pan - French Toast Salpicon - Chicken, spinach and mushrooms stuffed in French toast, banana nuggets, mixed berries, strawberry-smoked maple syrup ($19  ) (2)

French Toast Salpicon – Chicken, spinach and mushrooms stuffed in French toast, banana nuggets, mixed berries, strawberry-smoked maple syrup ($19)

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