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Friday, 31 January 2014

Dinner at Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts, with its famous Belgian beers and mussels, bas three (3) outlets in Singapore -

80 Muhammad Sultan Road #01-02 The Pier at Robertson Quay, Singapore 239013 (Tel: 6887 4344), 
902 East Coast Parkway, Block F, Unit 01-27 Big Splash, Singapore 449874 (Tel: 6346 4344) and
31 Ocean Way, #01-01 Sentosa Cove, Quayside Isle, Singapore 098375 (Tel: 6684 4344).

I headed to the one at Big Splash @ East Coast Parkway for some sea breezes and a more senerade environment,. Brussels Sprouts boosts of a very chilled environment complete with simple decor and colorful lights and easy-listening music so that diners could kick back their heels and just relax over good food and drinks.

I always start with a good drink, no matter what - and this time my Rose Wine, sweet, light and cooling. It makes it easier to wait for the food and people watch.

The Salade Au Fromage Belge - mesclun salad, passendale cheese, hazel-walnut dressing, dried apricots and red grapes - a healthy starter under the "Garden Eat" selection of the menu - was served first. I loved the blend of cheese's savoury flavor and the sweetness of the dressing and fruits; the crisp of the vegetables and the juiciness of the fruits. This was an appetizing teaser of a starter for sure.

Next, how could I not try the famous Moules Frites (mussels and fries) combination here? I had the Brussels Sprouts special - clear broth of onion, parsley, butter, celery and black pepper. The broth was very delicious, so the mussels having been infused with this rich flavor, was a palatable burst of delicacy. The fries were thick and filled with goodness of real potato flesh. 

Overall, it was rather satisfying , the entire gastronomical encore. We spent around SGD$30.00 per person on this chillout session cum dinner.

Platonic Relationships - do they exist?

Platonic love is a chaste, pure and non-sexual love / affection that one feels; and platonic relationship is one whereby friends of the opposite sex share a special friendship with no sexual or romantic links at all.

While there are people who clearly believe that platonic friendships exist, and are currently enjoy these kind of friendships - there are also the staunch believers that platonic relationships do not exist.

Let us take a look at these differing views and how to make platonic friendships work.

The Non-Believers in Platonic Relationships
More of these staunch believers that "platonic relationships" do not exist, or are not possible are males, not that surprisingly. They tend to think that they cannot be "merely friends" with just females, or if they do, it would have to be "friends with benefits" with the opposite gender.

For instance, Callen*, an Accounts Manager, who shared his views with us," It is not possible for a male and female to get very close without feeling anything. Call it chemistry, slow love, whatever - but I believe that the two friends were probably in love with each other without realizing it."

Another interviewee, Roman*, Civil Servant, told us this, "Men are more practical creatures, really. Sometimes they get close to a female because they are interested, but if the female friend-zones him, he cannot do anything also... just have to wait till she gives him a chance."

Interesting takes from the two gentlemen. So when males see, or get close to a female, is it not possible to just regard them as another fellow human being, and talk to them like a sister / brother or buddy?

The Believers in Platonic Relationships
"Not true, I have many close female friends as well, and I don't think lewd or romantic thoughts towards them. I always handle them with respect, and we hang out and confide in each other like brothers, literally," Jeff*,  who works in the Media line, tells us.

"I also believe in platonic relationshps - there are some people that you feel very comfortable with, but there is just no chemistry between us - so they become good friends in the end," Megan*, a Banker, shares her views.

It is true, that males and females can be devoid of romantic or sexual feelings towards each other. It all takes mutual trust, respect and efforts to make it work.

In fact, while same-gender friends are awesome, we all need unbiased opinions and support from friends of the opposite gender. For a similar issue, I like to seek the views of both my female and male friends, and I like how both sets of friends assess the same situations differently, and see things from different angles / perspectives.

Not just for support, opinions, views and solutions - in fact, sometimes friends of the opposite gender make for great hanging out or hobbies buddies. If you are like me and enjoy activities such as singing, pool and maybe exploring haunted sites or sports, you would appreciate like-minded buddies regardless of gender.

This goes exactly the same for some males who may prefer to bake, cook or are into fashion, it is essential for you to cast aside all romantic thoughts and take a serious look at the next girl who enjoys these activities as well, but is not attracted to you romantically. Don't cast her aside yet - she may become the best buddy you could ever have.

How to Make Platonic Relationships Work
Firstly, adjust your mindset if you have always been skeptical of platonic relationships. When you see someone from the opposite gender, do not immediately scan them to guess their cup size, gawk at their long legs or generalize them into the "yes" or "no" categories just yet. Instead, focus on their strengths and bask in the benefits a platonic female friend can offer - such as a different opinion, soft skills or tips on how to handle your current girlfriend / wife etc.

Secondly, regard them as your "brotherly" or "sisterly" pal - they are no different from the same-gender friends that you hang out with. Be natural, be yourself when you hang out with them and offer comfort in times of need - they are people you can laugh with, and count on - but you do not want to kiss or touch them. You enjoy their company, but know that it would not lead to anything complicated or misunderstood.

Thirdly, be very clear and firm on one's stand - do not give your friend the wrong idea or false hopes. If you are sure that you are not interested, yet the potential friend may feel more than just pure friendship, put them down gently. Then explain that although you don't feel romantically-inclined towards them, you would like to keep them as friends if they did not mind because of their great personality or like-mindedness.

Fourthly, do not give off the wrong vibes or signals. If both of you are more open-minded or physical, ensure that a friendly hug or lending of shoulders to cry on are within acceptable limits and do not cross the line. For females, do not wear anything too revealing when meeting any male friend alone, or even in a small group. You would not want them to start feeling more than friendship toward you after they'd gotten a good glimpse of your cleavage!

Finally, ensure that your partners do not feel insecure or threatened by these close friends from the opposite gender. Do not over-mention the friend's name to your partners, or  turning down your partner's suggestion to attend some event and then agreeing to attend when your close female friend asks you to. Do not lie about meeting the friends from opposite gender; if possible introduce them to your partners, so that he / she know who you are hanging out with and the extent of friendship.  In short, never prioritize your platonic buddy over your partner (depends on individual case by case basis though) generally. Once your partner and platonic buddies have better understanding with each other, it would make things easier for you too.

No part of this may be republished without the writer's permission. Copyright  ©  Thearcticstar. All rights reserved.

English High Tea at Cafe L'espresso @ Goodwood Park Hotel

Cafe L'espresso at Goodwood Park Hotel earned itself the title of a place for elegant teatime pursuits, and is a favorite haunt for anyone who is looking to enjoy a sumptuous high tea in this quaint, luxurious boutique hotel. The beautiful Goodwood Park Hotel is located at 22 Scotts Road, Ground Floor Level, Singapore 228221, please make reservations before heading down, at 6730 1843.

It boosts of a cozy, classy environment complete with comfortable armchairs and also a poolside terrace offering gorgeous views. We sat indoors though, around the round dark-glass tables and cushy chairs. The outdoors looked very tempting, but the hot sun had us ducking back into the comfort of the cool interiors.

We ordered our pot of tea first - we were allowed to choose two different kinds of coffee or tea during our high-tea session (between 3-5pm).  I had my pot of tea and we were all ready to attack the food counters. We were excited about this "English high tea" concept - I was thinking all sorts of traditional English muffins and tea-cakes, scones etc.

A little disappointed that there weren't much of those, but nonetheless, the overall spread was good. 

There were assortments of savoury items such as mini crossant sandwiches and other finger sandwiches, Nicoise tartlets, mini shrimp patty burger, baked pork meatloaf, farm chicken in crepes, roast beef with cornichons, and open-faced sandwiches of prawns with pineapple salsa, brie cheese with grape, and smoked salmon with beetroot mousse and caviar etc.

For those who like hot food, there were crispy vegetable croquettes, deep fried chicken karaage and Swedish meatballs.

As for the sweets, there are an assortments of cupcakes, scones, muffins, pecan pie, lime cake, strawberry shortcake and chocolate fondue etc. 

Overall, we had a fulfilling high-tea and tried a little of everything - superb quality in bite sizes. Each of us spent SGD$48.00 and left with satisfied mouths and tummies.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Happy Lunar New Year

Happy Chinese New Year to all! May the New 2014 Year of the Horse bring about joy, good health, great wealth and prosperity.

After the hectic Spring Cleaning, shopping, and other preparations, finally it is time for us to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Whether you are still shopping for New Year goodies such as cookies, sweet meat, arrowhead chips etc, or having reunion dinners with families at restaurants, steamboat at home or otherwise, it is a great time to celebrate and welcome the brand new year.

In the past, there were so many customs and traditions to observe- such as no wearing of black, no breaking of glassware, no throwing away of things on New Year's day itself, etc, how many of you still observes this?

For the unmarried, have fun receiving red packets and dodging questions during visitations. For the married ones with families - may this be a good time for all to bond and catch up with relatives all over the island. And for the young adults who are going for countdown, River Angpao, zoo to see baby horses parading around, watching movies, singing KTV or hang out - take good care when in crowds, and enjoy yourselves to the utmost!

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Tackling Thailand - Koh Samui

All right, after my Bangkok and Pattaya trips in exotic Thailand, now it is time for Koh Samui - the beautific resort island mentioned in "Meet the Fockers" movie, and also visited by none other than Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Upon reaching, it was check-in time. I stayed at The Saraan - a luxurious beachfront villa with private pool and deck chairs facing the seas directly - tranquil and nestled at the tip of the pristine Chaweng Beach. Service was really not bad, and the views were breathtaking.
One could tan and swim in the clear blue waters and soft, white sands of Chaweng Beach. I tried to jet-ski here as well - the waters were relatively calm so there wasnt much bumps, just the delicious salty breezes against my face.


There are plenty of food and drinks to be found around the island, worry not. At The Saraan itself, there is already the Wild Ginger restaurant, a fine dining concept offering gorgeous sea views and attentive service.  If not, one could head to Chaweng Central where there are rows of restaurants offering Spanish cuisine, Thai cuisine, fresh seafood etc to suit each individual's preference. I tried everything from fresh, sumptuous meals to Cashew Nut Chicken to the Suckling Pig and traditional Thai Tomyam soup and Pineapple Fried Rice. Also, I dined at the Peak Eye View restaurant up the hills where I was offered magnificent views while enjoying authentic Thai cuisine.

For drinks, I visited the Bar Ice - a very welcome respite in this tropical island, complete with ice sculptures and bungalow tables. One could drink anywhere from the alfresco bungalow tables to the indoors bar stools to the ice bar itself - the latter is freezingly cold,  but they offer coats so no worries. The ice sculptures were simply exquisite.

There is also the infamous Full Moon party at Cha Cha Moon  I heard that it was very wild, but it appeared to be pretty normal for me - a lovely beachside bar concept with poolside or seaside seatings. They play house music and one could sip drinks and enjoy the caress of the breezes at the same time, as well as people watch. Perhaps I left the place too early, because as I was walking out at 11.30pm there were more people starting to pour in.


Yes, if you are up for a traditional, hardcore Thai massage, or soothing Swedish Thai massage, there are spa parlours strewn all over the island. Since there was one at my resort, I made full use of it and had myself a very invigorating and refreshing Swedish-Thai massage.


I signed up for a half-day Jungle tour by jeep, and there were tourists from other resorts together so I made some new friends too. The tour began with a visit to the Temple of Wat Khunaram - where one could see the preserved body of the sacrad Mummified Monk.  Sunglasses were placed over his emptied-out sockets for fear that tourists would be frightened.

Next, we were brought to the famous Namuang Waterfalls which boosts of a tall, gorgeous falls and a giant slide. It was a very serene and enchanting little respite and the falls soothed us after a hot day of travelling around.

Our next destination was the Magic Buddha Gardens - another serenade, enchanting nature enclaves with age-old statues and the tranqulizing waterfalls. We took many pictures and did some climbing around to see all the Buddha sculptures so exquisite and lively.

Finally, the tour ended with a visit to this place where there were elephant trekking, and performances by baby elephants, monkeys and crocodiles. The first one was most entertaining- and I got to feed bananas to the baby elephants, whereas the last item was the most exciting because it was risky. We feared for the crocodile trainers' safety when they stuck their hands or heads into the awful jaws.


For shopping of souveinirs, beachwear, spas or restaurants, head down the Chaweng Central where there are rows of shops for one to browse and enjoy. It is a bustling area filled with diners, shoppers and party-goers. Sometimes there are bazaars as well, so it would be fun to drop by to shop like the locals do.

Overall, Koh Samui is a gorgeous haven for vacationers seeking a private, relaxing respite away from stress and the hectic city pace.

Abusive Relationships or Partners

The Sweet Beginnings
He was the perfect gentleman, and she was the sweetest girl on earth; they fell in love, so it was inevitable that they got together. Everything was perfect for them - every date was a dream come true, every joke was laughed twice over, and every gift was to be cherished. The days were saccharine and the nights were vivacious - this was the kind of relationship they hoped to maintain. 

Well, who doesn't?

The First Blow For Her
As all relationships go, disagreements soon set in. He doesn't like what she wears; she does not like his sloppiness. They try to talk about it, but it ends up in raised voices and tears - and then his hands could not be controlled. They lash out and slap her arm, very hard. Then he kicks shin; she falls back onto the floor shocked and hurting.

She may take some time to realize that she has been hit before she assessed the damages - both physically and emotionally. 

In future, when they have heated arguments again, she would gradually develope phobia of being hit again. Sometimes, she may even think of attacking him back.

But other times, she just fills her mind with the happier memories, and hopes that the abuse would not repeat.

The First Blow for Him
As for why he had hit her, the reasons are aplenty.

Firstly, he was so angry / jealous at something that she had said or done, so he lashed out even before his mind could fully process what was happening.. He feels extremely guilty, and vows to himself that he would never hit her again.

Secondly, she had to be taught a lesson because she was too dumb or stubborn, or she had deliberately provoked him into doing so. The blow was justifiable - in fact, he should hit her harder in future if this first smack did not serve to teach her a good lesson.

Thirdly, he was so emotionally welled-up he could not help it - he was literally trembling with anger, and had to vent his frustration at her. It empowered him, and made him feel strong and superior over her. He was taught to be this way when growing up, and this is the right method to handle women like her.  Now he understands why his father / mother / guardian / relative / grandparent used to torture him physically when he did wrong as well.

Alarming Signs
If he has violent streaks in him, and gets agitated easily, it could be that he has a very nasty temper or has suffered violent treatment in the past. He flares up easily, raises his voice, throws things around and always threatens to hit someone if they do not abide by his will. 

For some people, though, the violent tendencies are not shown until the couple are married or have had sex - only when he feels that she belong to him truly would he allow himself to show his weakness, i.e. being unable to handle his own violent behavior.

A couple of rare cases are even more frightening - a benign, kindly looking lecturer or nurse, who is popular and well-received in his / her workplace, has hidden violent inclination that they only exhbit at homes toward their family members or partners.

Other more common cases of violent occurences are due to the inflicters being intoxicated, drunk or under the influence of drugs. 

Solutions on How to Handle Abusive Partners
Firstly, even though the urge is strong to just hit back immediately, or throw something at them to hurt them back or halt them - please do not. This would potentially turn the abuse into a full-fledge fight and someone may get seriously hurt. 

Secondly, never ever accept that you deserve to be hit, or that being hit means that you have done something wrong and need to learn. Never believe that a partner has any right to hit you at all - if they cannot settle a disagreement with words alone, they do not love you enough. No one should inflict bodily harm upon another.

Thirdly, help them if they are willing to change. If your partner has severe anger management issues, substance or alcohol addictions, or trauma from childhood  abuse - do encourage them (when they are calmed down, of course) to seek help with counsellors and / or psychiatrists. They would be able to attempt talking sense and helping your partners deal with their issues, and of course there are medications to help control one's moods.

Next, inform someone, maybe his family members or your family members / friends. Do not suffer in silence - but this is also not to let them look up your partner to return the favour. You just need someone to be aware of what is happening, so that one day if something untoward happens to you or you are in danger, at least they may have an idea of where to look for you or which suspect to inform the relevant authorities of.

Lastly, assess clearly if he or she is worth keeping. The likelihood of this person never repeating their violent acts is close to zero, unless they become handicapped - ditch him or her if possible. There have been many case studies all over the world where partners are being killed accidentally due to domestic violence - never put yourself in potential harm's way. If they are unwilling to change or seek help for you and for the sake of your relationship, you know it is time to walk away. 

It simply means that he / she would rather kill you one day in anger than put themselves through treatment of their own problems.

Similarly, if your partner exhibits weird behaviour such as pouring ice cold water onto you when you're sound sleeping, cutting off your long braid, or holding you upside down just to threaten you, it means that they have abusive nature within them as well - even sadistic, in fact. It may be time to get them help or kiss goodbye.

Be extra careful though, too - some people, when dumped, may resort to even more erratic violent means such as stalking you, dousing you with kerosene to burn you or simply harming you. Be alert and seek protection from friends or family members if need be, and vary your daily routines. Make a police report if abuse is serious or leaves bruises. At least get a Personal Protection Order in place.

Good luck!

This article is written by the author of this blog, and no part may be reproduced or distributed without permission. Copyright  © thearcticstar. All Rights Reserved.

Vietnam Vacation - Mui Ne Resort

Photo source: http://luxurysquad.com/anatara-mui-ne-resort-and-spa-in-vietnam/anantara-mui-ne-resort-and-spa-6/

After Ho Chi Minh City, I returned to Vietnam again, this time to a lovely resort named Mui Ne. It is 5 hours drive from the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, so be prepared to nap on the journey. Their speed limit is fifty (50) kilometres per hour, so bear with the drivers.

Accomodation was at Anatara Mui Ne Spa Resort - a luxurious, gorgeous beachfront resort for a promising vacation anytime. The villas come with tranquil sea views, serene settings and a lovely private pool. There are many resorts alongside Anatara Mui Ne, and scores of tourists visit for private, secluded holidays away from the hectic-ness of citylife.


There are rows of seafood, Western, Vietnamese, Italian and other cuisine at the front of the resort, as well as drinking places and pubs.

We dined at the hotel's L'anmien Restaurant or some of the seafood restaurants for tasty fresh catch, traditional Broken Rice, grilled fish with special Vietnamese fish sauce and pho (Vietnamese noodle soup). One is spoilt for choice when it comes to food and drinks. 


As for this, we took a tour half-day private tour package and the friendly guide brought us to the famous tourists' attractions around the tiny, serene escapade island.

First, we visited the Mui Ne Fishing Village (Phan Thiet) - an essential congretation of fishing boats and swaying palm trees where we watched the fishermen in action, casting their nets and reaping in their catch. It was windy and soothing, and we were glad for the opportunity to see the local fishermen at work.

Next, we visited the famous Red Sand Dunes, we had heard that its beauty was unquestionable, and it had replaced the White Sand Dunes as the tourists' top favorite places to visit. Not only did we walked on the coarse red sands, we loved the ripples caused by the wind as well. This was truly a scenic place.

We were brought to see the White Sand Dunes after this, where the sands were softer and we thought that this place looked more beautiful than the Red Sand Dunes earlier on. Moreover, there was a Lotus Lake filled with lovely lotus leaves and flowers on a reflective water oasis. We heard that the color of the sands change at different times of the day.

Finally, the tour ended at Fairy Streams (Suoi Tien) - we were supposed to take a 30 minute walk through the streambank, but I was wearing heels so we skipped that part, and chose to instead gaze at the colorful sands of the canyon - we heard that the walk was amazing as one would get to experience soft sands and warm water beneath their feet. It was known as the most magical spot in Mui Ne, a hidden gem of nature.

On the way back, we stopped by a plantation where they grew peanuts and watermelons, and we watched the hardworking farmers raking away diligently.  This was truly an aspect of cultural infusion I enjoyed, taking in the scenic views and being surrounded by nature.

Yes, if you are into spas and massages, Mui Ne has it all for you - cheap and good massages for you to choose from. 

Not much except Kayaking and Jet-Ski - we tried the latter. The excellent, private beach was rough with high waves, hence it made jet-skiing on it rocky and exciting - a tumultous but thrilling ride with the wind in one's hair and water beneath one's feet.

Come down for a relaxing holiday devoid of stress and worries, and enjoy the magnificence of what nature has to offer. Let the gentleness of the winds soothe you and the warmth of the sun caress you for a change.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Dinner at The Vault Bistro

I have heard about The Vault Bistro at 23 Circular Road, Singapore 049379 (Tel: 6223 5001) and good reviews about it from different friends - whether one chooses to dine at the bistro on level one or chill in level two's high-ceiling lounge. Which is why when Katherine* suggested going there with Edison* and Zachery*,  I was more than happy to agree.

The Vault has an actual bronze steel-reinforced vault door from a bank vault that weighs a ton and a rather chic interior that boosts a hybrid wine cellar, bistro and relaxed concept-  comfortable and yet stylish. Service was a little slow, but other than that, the comforting ambience was really rather satisfying.

We started our meal with a bottle of red and ended the meal with a round of drinks up at the lounge upstairs. 

Food-wise, we began with a Chicken Liver Parfait - similar to chicken pate except smoother, with hints of butter and salt, and the bottom portion is actually mashed potato, believe it or not. It was rather tasty - smooth, thick and exotic in taste with a slight hint of iron of chicken intestines. It was what I would consider an "acquired taste" if one could get used to it.

Next, we shared the Mussels in a delicious cream sauce - the succulent, chewy texture of mussels soaked in a lightly-flavored but tasty savoury cream sauce left one yearning for more. Paired with the crispy slices of bread roll, this was a teaser for more good food to come, we were sure.

We had the Ribeye Steak, medium doneness, with grilled wedges and a delicious herb-butter to spread over the thick and tender steak. The steak was grilled to perfection and filled the mouth and teeth with pleasure as they work to chew on the juicy meat. The herb butter was rich and fragrant, and the wedges were almost-crispy on the outside and softly on the inside, the way I liked it.

Next in line, we were served the Crabmeat Pasta in Tomato Sauce - another supremely done dish with springy pasta strands infused in a sweet-sour tomato sauce - not too wet, just enough to drench the noodles with a touch of goodness. The crab meat flakes were scattered throughout the pasta dish and tasted lovely in its sweet-sour-saline blend. 

Then the Mushroom & Leek Pie - a healthy combination of button mushrooms and sweet leek within a flakey puff pastry baked perfectly. For this dish, more fillings within the puff pastry would have been more ideal, but nonetheless, for taste we would give it a high score.

Last but not least, the Fish Pie, also for sharing. We were a little disappointed that it was merely tender slices of fish baked with mashed potato under a layer of golden-crispy cheese. Nonetheless, it was palatable and the mashed potato contained tiny chunks of potatoes so for potato lovers, you would love this dish.

A slice of Chocolate Cake - light, fluffy and rich in taste- this pretty creation melted our hearts and fulfilled our required of daily sugar happy dosage.

All in all, we spent around SGD$50.00 on our food, a worthy gastronomical retreat.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Chilling Out at Re-Wine at Hotel Re

                                             Photo source: Hotel Re's website at http://www.hotelre.com.sg/index.html

Hotel Re
is a modern boutique converted from a primary school of the past - it gives off a retro vibe amongst all its vivacious psychedelic colors. Its address is at 175 Chin Swee Road Singapore 169879 and the number to dial is 6827 8289. 

               Photo source: Hotel Re's website at: http://www.hotelre.com.sg/restaurant-bar.html

I was there for chilling out at its breezy chillout alfresco bar Re-Wine, perched on the second floor balcony overlooking scenic night views of the CBD / Chinatown area. This open concept bar is tacky in a sleek, retro manner complete with red vinyl seats, black-white checkered tiles, billiard table and pictures of gorgeous Hollywood classic beauties such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn - I loved it instantly.

Yes, let's take a closer look at these photographs.

Drinks to start off the chilling out session and great retro music to match, of course. A glass of red wine and Lobster Bisque with Atlantic Scallops - a delicious, rich soup simmered to perfection with the sweetness of lobster and generous seared scallops and slipper lobster.

Next, the Crabmeat Fried Rice with Salted Fish - another palatable, flavor-filled delicacy with lots of seafood ingredients - you can already see the large juicy shrimps, crabmeat, silver sprout, Chicken sausage and eggs scattered around the right-textured rice. Every bite exploded with goodness, and the fried rice was not oily at all.  The portion was rather huge, though.

 Finally, dessert of Tiramisu - a lovely creation of mascarpone cream, coffee-flavored cake sloshed with amaretto. I loved the moist sweetness of this aromatic cake, it was a dream ending to a scrumptious meal consumed with the scenic views in my sight and cool breezes against my bare skin.

The total damage was SGD$60.00, little steep for considering it a three-course meal with wine, good music and vintage settings transporting one back in time, every cent was well-spent. 

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Lunch at Sushi Kanazawa @ International Building

Having visited Sushi Kanazawa sometime ago (when it was named Sushi Kikuzawa), through reviews and recommendations of friends, I decided to pay them another visit as I remember the sushi there was fresh and palatable. This little Japanese restaurant is located at 360 Orchard Road #02-13 International Building, Singapore 238869 and the number for reservations is 6738 3833.

A traditionally-furnished Japanese food bar, Sushi Kanazawa only seats about 10-12 at one time, so do make your reservations to avoid disappointment. While diners are perched on the comfortable high seats, the friendly and attentive chefs prepare sushi items right in front of diners, and serve them fresh. We opted for the ala-carte buffet lunch, and awaited the surprises that awaited us.

We were first served appetizer items such as Edamane (Japanese green peas) lightly salted and a bowl of Nikijaga (stewed chicken, radish slice, fried tofu cube and mysterious-jelly broth) was tasty and welcoming since it was piping hot. 

A tantalizing platter of Sashimi Moriawase - raw tuna, shrimp, white fish and squid, was served next. I loved the fresh tastiness of it all, with slight hints of chewiness. My only qualms were that we were only allowed one serving of this dish, and they did not include my favorite salmon and swordfish sashimi.

Nonetheless, moving on, we savoured the Unagi Aburi (river eel) sushi served next - slightly crispy with hints of smokiness amongst the sweet eel taste. It was so, so buttery smooth and tender it melted in the mouth - nothing of the "boney" texture of unagi served by other Japanese restaurants. I had a second helping on this.

Next, the Saba (mackerel) - another tender creation that was quickly stuffed into the mouth to be devoured. The torched Shake Aburi (seared salmon) was the winner here - succulent and smokey on the top and chewy beneath - because only the top was torched. I loved the texture and taste of this delicacy.

The Ika (squid) sushi was next in line - a very chewy, smooth treasure with a light flavor.

Then we were served the Amaebi Mentai Aburi (seared sweet prawn with cod roe) - another expertly blowtorch application by the chef - the delicious blend of slightly charred, saltish roe that melted in the mouth stacked atop of the succulent raw sweet prawn was heavenly. I loved this divine dish - and had a second helping on this as well.

After the delicious sushi earlier on, the Aji (horse mackerel) tasted average - saltish, smooth and chewy. One thing about their sushi is that the rice is oh-so-soft, so easy to eat!

My Kajiki (Swordfish) was finally served - love the slightly creamy taste, chewy texture that is slightly sandy; it is my all time favorite.

Another variation of the Kajiki (swordfish) sushi was served - this one prepared a different way, and come with a refreshing strip of mint leaf beneath the swordfish. I loved how the minty-spiciness of the leaf complemented the saltiness of the swordfish.

The delicious Potato Salad with bacon bits was served next, a welcoming change from consuming too much fish at one go. The Chawanmushi (Japanese steamed egg) was hot, and filled to the brim with ingredients, but I thought it was a little rough in texture and bland in taste.

Next in line, an enigmatic fish which name I did not managed to catch, apologies. Rest assured that it was another delicacy.

And the Maguro (tuna) - prepared with an exotic sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds, this dish was scrumptious and I loved the soft, slightly chewy texture.

Last but not least, we had the Mentaiko Sushi - traditional good old seaweed-wrapped sushi with pearl rice, cucumber slices and roe - slightly spicy, but otherwise, just melted on the tongue seamlessly.

After a satisfactory meal with great service - never ending refill of hot green tea without preamble, and chef who pays attention to diners' preference for instance noted I did not really eat the rice so he made a smaller portion of rice for me - we skipped desserts since we were too full. Each of us paid SGD49.00 for this tantalizing ala carte buffet.