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Monday, 24 October 2016

Dinner at The SPRMRKT Cafe @ Raffles Place

2 McCallum Street, Singapore 069043
Tel: 6221 2105

Short form for being "Supermarket Cafe";  this cosy, refreshing cafe was my chance discovery. The kitchen of a nearby pub broke down, so *RM and I were discussing options for takeout food. He made some suggestions, including "there's supermarket....."

I happily replied to grab some chips and takeout sushi. He looked at me oddly, then explained that "Sprmrkt" was a cafe.

A western concept cafe situated midway between Raffles Place and Tanjong Pagar, this modern European / American cafe brought grocery shopping up another level. Yes, there were items for sale upon entering the cafe, but deep within nestled a dining corner with a rather extensive menu.

We had Chips and Salsa (SGD$7.00) - the perfect accompaniments for drinks - nachos and a small tub of somewhat diluted salsa sauce (tomato chunks, etc).

The Buffalo Wings (SGD$11,00) were moistened, and tender, infused in the tangy and smokey hints of the sauce it was marinated with. Sour cream and Chive dip were served on the side.

Next, Truffle Fries (SGD$13.00) which consisted of shoestring fries exuding light hints of truffle aroma. they were also sprinkled with parmesan and kelp. Wasnt outstanding, but a kind of comfort snack.

Beer Battered Fish Bites (SGD) were battered with beer and deep-fried to its crispy golden exterior, with saccharine white flesh within.  The beer was not distinctive, but this dish had a good bite to it and tasty fish flavor.

Grilled Chicken Breast Burger with Fries (SGD$18.00) looked more like a sandwich - chicken fillet slathered with siracha mayo, sauteed mushrooms, cheddar cheese and sunny side up egg clasped by bread. Feedback was that chicken was succulent and tasted lovely; the paprika fries were crispy and delicious as well (better than the Truffle Fries in our opinions).

The Grilled Wagyu Burger with Fries (SGD$25.00) tasted a lot better than it looked as well - smokiness seeping from the palatable, juicy slate of beef patty. The egg, sauteed mushrooms and emmental cheese enhanced the flavor and texture further, making it really enjoyable to eat.

I heard the brunch is pretty dope too, so do drop by if you are in the vicinity and give their food a try. I really love how their food tastes much better than they look, teaching us to never judge a dish by its "cover".

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Afternoon Tea at Bicky and Brew @ Club Street

31 Club Street, #01-02 Emerald Garden, Singapore
Tel: 9129 7114
Opening Hours: Weekdays 7.30am to 5.00pm

Fascinated by Instagram photos of the signature Pink Pelicans adorning snow white coffee cups, and a colleague's recent fascination with their coffee as well, I decided to give Bicky and Brew a try as well.

A 4-month old, hole-in-the-wall cafe just beside Emerald Garden Residences - in fact maybe the term "cafe" is a little generous, since this joint is tiny, and housing only a ledge for "table" accommodating 2 persons at most. Okay, it's a takeout cafe.

Make that a takeout cafe with the most friendly and sweet owner, Erin. She greets patrons brightly when we step in, and serves everything with a mega-watt smile. One couldnt help feeling warmed by her hospitality here, even if we were to just grab a coffee. While there are several types of coffee available here, pastries are rather limited at this moment - but it is awesome because Erin bakes all of them by herself!

The pastries change daily by the way. Sometimes I see Chocolate Mocha Muffins or Pear Almond Muffins etc. The large cookies are baked by her too, fresh out of the oven.

I asked Erin about the significance of the pelican - and she cheerily replied that there isn't any significant meaning to it - she just finds it incredibly adorable. Anyway, there's an entire wall of them here at Bicky and Brew.

Americano (SGD$5.00) was strong and rich - the colleague likes it with cold milk though (regular personal preference).

Cappuccino (SGD$5.00) was darkly aromatic, with a roasted nutty hint about it, and creamy smooth in texture. I opened up the lid to discover pretty foamy top with a nice brown centre orb.

I love her Mocha (SGD$5.00) because it is soooo smooth and rich in chocolate goodness - the perfect beverage for warming up the day and easing my headaches.

Carrot and Walnuts Muffin (SGD$3.00) was huge, interesting and totally inexpensive. I was drawn by the ingredients first, followed by the light sheen of glossy smoothness and then the plumpness of this pastry.

It was dense in texture, thus making it very filling. Flavour was lightly sweet and definitely goes very well with my Cappuccino.

For non-coffee drinkers, there's Homemade Iced Tea as an option as well.

Happy to have visited, and would be glad to drop by again for good coffee and Erin's dose of sunshine!

Friday, 21 October 2016

Poem: Of Demise and Drinks

So much news of demise and passings 
Lately, as the years 
Go by, and bodies grow old, 
Reliving the souls from their shells, 
Shrouding the families in cold, 
Sad states of mind. . . 

It will be us one day, lying in the earth, 
Dreaming of another world, 
Our flesh too weak to support us 
Torn and frayed like our coats. 
But for now, I need a drink, 
A subtle touch of numbness. 

Copyright © 2016 thearcticstar

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Chilling Out at Mr Punch's Public House @ Cityhall

26 Seah Street, Basement Level, Mint Museum of Toys, Singapore 188382
Tel: 6339 6266

Located at basement level of Mint Museum of Toys (review here) is Mr. Punch's Public House. Mr. Punch is known for his work in the famous puppet act "Judy and Punch", a rather violent creature.

This is an artistic gastropub themed for a nostalgic celebration, good food and drinks. Vintage music filled the air when we stepped down the stairs into this restaurant bar. Enamel prints and statues line the area, as polite servers came over to meet and greet.

The cuisine is here modern European and they have a pretty interesting list of cocktails as well.

A glass of Riesling (SGD$16.00) kickstarted the chilling out session, utter perfection for weekends after work, out with lovely companions.

Foodwise, we went for the Sharing Platter (SGD$38.00 for 3 items) - Fresh Salmon Cake, Chicken Thigh Roulade and Slow-cooked Pork Belly. The platter was also strewn with thin deep-fried potato crisps, lettuce, tomatoes and olives.

Salmon Cake was quite tender, softly saccharine. Chicken Thigh Roulade was stuffed with foie gras; the chicken was incredibly succulent, tasty together with the creamier taste of foie gras. Also liked the Slow-cooked Pork Belly, cut into small pieces and very soft.

Teriyaki Charred Squid (SGD$12.00) doused with tobiko boosted smokey and tender pieces of squid, infused with teriyaki sweetness. These were so worth nibbling - succulent, crunchy and tasty.

Lovely place to visit and chill out overall, I will definitely like to be back for their main courses or cocktails someday soon. The platter is very value for money as well, letting us try 3 types of starters at a reasonable price.

Monday, 17 October 2016

The Honeymoon Series [iii] - Preparing for the Trip

After you have finished with Part 1 and Part 2 of the Honeymoon Series, finally, destinations are selected and the trip is booked! Research has been done too, and now all we have to do is to prepare for the trip.

This means..... shopping!

We are going Europe in November, the start of Winter. This also means that while the weather is cooling to cold, we won't be enjoying snow. That's good enough for me.


No matter where I go, these are very important for me to bring along, for we will never know when stomachache or fever strikes. Clarinase is essential as well, to counter colds and blocked nose during cold weather.

And for countries with time difference, I always prepare Melatonin - aka magic pills to help regulate sleeping hours to reduce the effect of jet lag.


In colder regions and climates, the skin tends to br drier too. I have purchased (both online and offline), an assortment of moisturizere and hydrating creams, lotions, etc for the face and body. For countries and climates as such, I will happily indulge in some oil-based and oil-infused products, as well as richer creams.


Since the weather is chilly, I will be bringing thicker and warmer clothes as well as a variety of jackets, sweaters and coats.

On top of that, some thick stockings and my black leather hand gloves for extra protection, as well as mufflers.  Singapore's retailers Cold Wear and Winter Time are good places to shop for basic, affordable winter wear.


Usually pretty much a heels person, I am not sure if it would be wise to bring along my 4 - 5 inches heels for the trip. The reason being that we are going with a group tour so might need to walk faster to catch up, and pavements in European cities aren't exactly even.

I intend to bring along my new Adidas sports shoes. Those would be practical even if it rains and grounds are wet.

I have also ordered a pair of low-heeled high black boots from MyGlamorous.SG.  They are soft, nearly velvety, and extremely to wear and walk in (at least for now, when I am just testing them out). Plus, they would look good with many outfits.

Luggage locks and hidden compartments are definitely in place, as well as travel insurance. I bought a rather comprehensive travel policy because well, one never knows.

I also prepared a couple of smaller pouched with slim straps that I can easily sling over my shoulder and keep it tucked inside my jackets and coats. There we are - nothing for the potential pickpockets or snatch thieves to see.

Remember these, especially in an era where we are not able to live without our gadgets. These will come in very handy for your handphones, tablets, cameras as well as powerbanks etc.


If you think you might not be able to survive on food in your chosen destinations, or that you will be hungry in the middle of the night, or you want to save some money, pack some Instant Noodles or easy-to-make Campbell Soup, etc into your bags. They would come in handy when you least expect them.

Last but not least, and most importantly, your Passport (ensure it has at least 6 months' validity), Visas (if required) and money - whether in the form of cash, credit cards or travellers' cheques.

A List of things to pack has also helped tremendously, to ensure that nothing gets left out.

I think I am ready to jet set and go enjoy my Honeymoon. How about you?

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Lunch at Vegetarian Express Cafe @ Kovan

205 Hougang Street 21, #02-04 Heartland Mall, Singapore 530205
Tel: 6383 5672

Stumbled upon this little vegetarian cafe after an appointment, and decided to give it a try. The casual settings of this cosy little cafe impressed with a wide variety of dishes ranging from local dishes (fried Kuey Teow, Chicken Rice etc) to Japanese food (Bento sets, Udon dishes) as well as a myriad of Zichar-styled items.

Service was friendly and very hospitable, with the guy in charge being very easy-going and accommodating with customers' requests. I read some reviews back in 2013 when they'd first opened - and realize that they've probably come a long way, and am glad they are still around. By the way there is no service charge for this cafe even though you have your food served to your table.

Many dishes caught my attention but alas, being the solo diner this afternoon, I had to forgo the luxury of trying more items.

So I went with my heart (and cravings) for the day and ordered the Japanese Unagi Bento set (SGD$12.00).

It looked exactly like the Japanese bento sets we eat at a real, non-Vegetarian Japanese restaurant! There were fresh pickles, seaweed strips, juicy water-melon and a Miso Soup filled with Tofu cubes on my tray. The main player was the mock Unagi (also known as "River Eel") and Japanese rice.

So the vegetarian Unagi was uncannily like its authentic counterpart - tones of black, brown and white like it's been grilled gently. As it was made of soy, the flesh was firm and springy, doused with an unagi-tasting sauce that even made the taste similar.

Had wanted a Peppermint Tea (SGD$2.50) initially, but traded it for a Roselle Farms' Hibiscus Juice Drink (SGD$2.50) that is a lovely blend of sweet and sour, aiding to detox and beautify.

Boy, did I love the food here! Whoever said vegetarian food has to be boring and greasy? I will be back.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

[Invited Tasting] Greenwood Fish Market 13th Anniversary Gala Dinner @ Sentosa Cove

31 Ocean Way #01-04 / 05 Quayside Isle @ Sentosa Cove, Singapore 098375
Tel: 6262 0450

Happening on 20th October 2016 at Bukit Timah Outlet and 26th October 2016 at Quayside Isle Outlet respectively, from 6.30pm till closing - is Greenwood Seafood Market's 13th Anniversary Gala Dinner, a buffet style with widespread fresh, innovative seafood dishes.

The Food Package (SGD$99.00++) comprises Cold Station, Sashimi Station, Smorgasbord Station, Foie Gras Station, Whole Roasts Station, Salad and Dessert Bar. The Drinks Package (SGD$49.00++) consists of free-flow of Prosecco, House Wines, Beer and other drinks. There are other promotions for Lobster and Giant Halibut as well, for the seafood lovers - so come on down and join in the celebration.

I have visited Greenwood Fish Market's Bukit Timah outlet a few times, and was thus excited to be checking out their Quayside Isle station, dining by the marina and sea-view! It was a very spacious restaurant with well-spaced tables, many different areas from indoors to alfresco. Service was professional and personable, with Clifford himself leading by example.

Bread starter was good - especially the Tomato Focaccia with cheese, as well as the Olive Bread. The Hawaiian or Californian roll (the brown one) was a little hard for my preference, but it was very aromatic.

We started with a mini cold platter, comprising Freshly-shucked Oysters (Irish Ostera Regal), Pickled Oysters (French Gillardeau) and Chu Toro Sashimi. Fleshy freshness was the name of the game, especially for the freshly-shucked Oysters; the pickled Oysters were seasoned with a dark soy sauce which we felt obliterated the natural sweetness of the Oysters; the Chu Toro practically dissolved in our mouths.

Moving on, we had a variety of small tapas items - Cold Smoked Salmon with Blueberries and Feta Pearls (tasty, bursting with flavours), Sauteed Spinach on Smoked Shirobuta with Fried Caper Aioli (giving us the best of their woodfire goodness), Cooked Prawns with Crabmeat Slaw (indulgent and saccharine), Hot Smoked Trout with Shaved Avocado (brilliantly combining smokey deliciousness with buttery rawness), Blue Cheese with Maple Syrup (light, non-pungent, the fig piece helped a lot), and Poached Halibut on Sea Lavender (palatable and well-balanced item).

Bluefin Tartare with White Truffle Rice and Russian Caviar was decadent, umami, smooth Bluefin tuna tartare heightened by piquant earthly flavour of truffle.

Following that, Butternut Pumpkin and Smoked Cheddar Soup, with Onion Puree and served in Espresso cups - an interesting, creamy soup sweetened by pumpkin's natural taste, yet given a lovely twist by the melted cheese.

The Pan-seared Swordfish Belly, served with Pea Risotto - in Avocado skin, was one of my very favorites of the night. The Swordfish Belly was light in flavour and tender-textured; the pea risotto boosted lightly of pea's flavour, infused with avocado aroma.

Next, King Crab Legs with Sweet Potato Cream and Truffle Butter, a luscious creation casting an impression on me with springy, shelled crab leg and gentle sweetness of sweet potato cream.

Then we tried the Chef's Platter, comprising USD Prime Rib slices with American Dill Pickles (thought the texture was a little chewy for my liking), Boston Lobster Tails Grilled with Chimichurri (utterly bouncy in texture, luscious in taste, loved it!) as well as Rock Lobster Medallions on Sobayaki Aioli (the latter is Tofu and Ginger Glaze - this lightly-battered lobster was so good, so good, like tempura, and fantastic when eaten with the tofu curd. The combination of hot and cold,  hard and soft, saccharine and salty, excited the tastebuds.

Finally, Desserts were served! There were light, airy Donuts to reckon with, and a Coconut Panna Cotta that was robust of the tropical fruit's flavour. I also loved the Strawberry and Passion Fruit Frozen Parfait - the perfect cooler after a heavy seafood dinner. Finally, the dense Banoffee Tarts - made of bananas and toffee - sapid of banana flavour largely due to the use of fresh bananas.

Overall, we enjoyed the food very much, marking a few items as personal favorites. Come on down to enjoy a meal here and take part in their 13th Anniversary Gala Dinner so you could indulge in sumptuous weekend meal at a leisurely pace, in comfortable settings and being attended to by very hospitable, understanding staff!

Thank you Greenwood Fish Market for the invite, as well as Clifford for the arrangements.

For other dining experiences at Greenwood Fish Market, check out the following:
(i) World Oyster Festival 2016 (click here)
(ii) World Oyster Festival 2015 (click here)
(iii) Little Fish Shop @ Nex (click here)