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Sunday, 30 November 2014

The ArcticStar's December Christmas GIVEAWAYs

So, it IS December 2014 any my favorite time of the year.... hence I am doing a Christmas Giveaway. No joke, no gimmick - just see the 8 items below, select the ones you like, and drop an email to cloverleaf.wish@gmail.com with the subject "Christmas Giveaway 2014".

Please note that all items are brand new and normal shipping is free of charge. These giveaways only applies to Singaporean readers, and TheArcticStar is merely doing the gifting and not responsible in the event of any user's allergies to any products herein, thanks.

Here goes the list:-

Item 001 - Balance Me (A natural and science-led British skincare brand) - Shine On Tinted Lip Salve, in Nude tone, 10ml.

Item 002 - Cosme Decorte by Kose (a Japanese brand that needs no introduction) - AQMW Repletion Essence, 6ml.

Item 003 -  Crabtree & Evelyn (another UK brand that requires no introduction) - Evelyn Rose Hand Cream, 25 grams.

Item 004 - Dr. Hauschka (a German brand offering organic and natural skincare products) - Hand Cream, 10 grams.

Item 005 - The Face Shop (everybody knows this Korean skincare brand, right?) - Green Tea Hand Cream, 30 ml.

Item 006 - Lancome (famous French skincare brand) - Mat Miracle, long wear and comfort satin light creator - 24 hours liquid foundation, 5 ml in Shade 01.

Item 007 - Lancome - UV Expert XL Shield, 12 hours active beauty shield (against the sun), 5 ml.

Item 008 - Laneige (another well loved Korean skincare brand) - BB Cushion REFILL (complete with sponge and all) in Shade 21 Natural Beige, 15 grams.

All the best and Merry Christmas 2014 in Advance!

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Lunch at Straits Kitchen @ Grand Hyatt

10 Scotts Road, Lobby Level, The Grand Hyatt Hotel, Singapore 228211
Tel:  6738 1234

Having been to Grand Hyatt's hightea at 10 Scotts some months back, I was rather thrilled to be back at Grand Hyatt for lunch this time round. But first, do pop by my hightea visit here.

Anyway, the exterior was glossy and modernistic as expected, exuding class and style. The inner elegance of the dimly-lit restaurant with its comfortable seats were plain raw beautiful. I was escorted to my seat while waiting for my esteemed dining companion to arrive. Interestingly, in such a setting, they were playing Chinese songs literally.

Lunch started, and we began browsing the variety of local / Chinese cuisine on display, in this posh marketplace setting.  There was quite a huge spread of food - starting from the Nasi Lemak stall with tantalizing ingredients.

Next, there was the Satay stall - complete with beef, mutton and chicken and the full range of rice cakes, raw onions, peanut gravy etc.

The next stall was an assortment of local delights - fried carrot cake, fried kuey teow with seafood etc. I knew I was eyeing this stall to fulfill some cravings later.

There was a station serving colorful fruit juices and barley, bandung etc drinks, to fruits like water-melon, dragonfruit et al.

Then a stall serving more local delights such as Indian's Gado-Gado, Indian Rojak etc. There was another Indian stall I did not manage to take photos of - serving a variety of different curries, so tempting.

Finally, Chinese desserts for the taking - all kinds of Chinese cakes (kuehs) and muah chee, herbal jelly, longan desserts etc.

We had some Popiah (Chinese spring rolls with turnips, chopped peanuts etc within) - large rolls of ingredients filled spring rolls. The taste was pretty all right - not too salty, a little on the bland side.

I took a little of Char Kuey Teow and Fried Carrot Cake alongside with some vegetables. The fried pasta both tasted rather good too, and were not oily.

The Satay (meat on sticks) was pretty all right - chargrilled meat that was rather tender, though lacking in the smokey fragrance of traditional satay - and they were careful not to burn the sides (usually I prefer to have a little burned edges).

Next, the Prawn Noodles that was light in flavor and flaccid in texture. There were rather big shrimps at the bottom of the soup though, and that (when shelled) enhanced the overall flavor dramatically.

Finally, desserts. I tried the Muah Chee (glutinuous rice cubes eaten with thick coat of ground peanut and sugar). And some light green (pandan?) roll with coconut flakes within. I also took a bowl of longan syrup and tossed in some herbal jelly. I enjoyed the desserts - not too sweet, but refreshing.

Last but not least, a hot cup of English Breakfast tea to end off a fulfilling meal, and to continue the catching up with my esteemed dining companion. We spent about SGD$60++ per person.

Lunch at Loysels Toys Cafe (revisit)

66 Kampong Bugis #01-02 Sam Tat Building, Singapore 338987
Tel: 6292 2306

I seem to keep frequenting Loysels' Toys Cafe lately...  ever since my first review here.

This quaint, quiet little cafe sits silently by the river, bringing to its patrons river breezes and lip-smacking good food and coffee - and the best thing is now it opens daily (even Mondays as well).

The dim lighting is offset by the bright sun rays coming in through the generous glass windows, and by lunchtime this lovely little dinery is filled up with people indoors and outdoors. I still like its rustic, hipster vibes and friendly service.

Here is a peek at the recent menu (did they revamp? )

I always check out the available pastries for the day without fail - hmmm .. I wanted everything but I knew I could only choose one. It was a tough choice between Lemon Tart and Strawberry Rhubarb Teacake. And the croissants and Blueberry Cheesecake!

Anyway, the famous Lemon Tart (SGD$5.00) won hands down, with fluffy yet solid crust, sweet buttery taste on its own, and the zesty lemon custard was lovely with the right notes of sweet and sour blended into one. I loved the light sugar dusting atop the citrusy delicacy as well.

The other memorable dessert would be the Rhubard Tea Cake (SGD$3.30) - that shade of pink always entices me, what more, it was a teacake, something I have been meaning to have. Fluffy but not overly soft, the cake exudes a delicious berry flavor to it, overall taste enhanced by the crispy crumbs sitting atop the cake prettily like a crown.

*Sidney had the Beefy Burger (SGD$16.00) - rib eye steaks with tomato, Arugula (rocket salad) and Hollandaise. He was disappointed with the bun - the toasted ones with sesame seeds would have fared better. The beef patty whilst containing a nice smokey hint to its flavor, was a little dry and bland.

I had the Caesar Salad with Prawns (SGD$10.00) - comprising of fresh Romaine lettuce, croutons, poached eggs, cheese powder and succulent, bouncy prawns. I guess not many people could get a Caesar Salad wrong - hence I did enjoy the freshly tossed salad here, especially paired with my favorite seafood (prawns) to add a seaworthy sweetness to the flavor.

I had the usual Soy Mocha (SGD$6.00) for my beverage - sweet, chocolatey with the delicious hints of soy .I enjoyed it as usual.

*Sidney wanted to try the same drink, but being the usual Latte drinker, had order a Soy Latte (SGD$5.50) by mistake. Good experiementation, but ... oh well, let's just say that soy doesn't go that well with a milky coffee.

Anyway, here is a photo taken during another visits - in which indulgence in their lovely, flakey croissants and soy Mochas was captured. I had the Almond Croissant, and it was huge and tasty!

Lunch at Cafe Oriental @ Amara Hotel

165 Tanjong Pagar Road #1F, Amara Hotel, Singapore 088539
Tel: 6879 2555

I was in the mood for Chinese / local food for lunch, hence Cafe Oriental was the selected venue. It was done in strong replicate of vintage Chinese coffeeshops in the past , complete with marble-topped round tables and wooden chairs. It looked promising in its theme, and we were looking to the food here.

See, a close up shot of the marble-topped table and settings of chopsticks, potpurri etc. We browsed the menu to choose our food from a long list of Chinese / Straits cuisines.

I started with a Hot Ginger Milk Tea (SGD$5.50) , also known as "Teh Halia" in Melayu. It was a lovely ginger-infused milk tea - rich, smooth and warm without being overtly spicy.

*Will started with a Malay Chicken Rice (SGD$18.00) served prettily on a tray with a small bowl of soup, roasted chicken, preserved vegetables and chilli on the side. The chicken meat was rather tender and the rice had hints of traditional chicken rice fragrance, but other than that, *Will found it to be a rather average dish.

I had the Seafood Hor Fun (SGD$18.00) - Chinese rice pasta tossed in supposed superior broth and loads of seafood - giant prawns, squids, cod fish and some vegetables. While I appreciated the smoothness of the horfun and the generous portions of seafood, I was disappointed to note that even with these ingredients, the dish was bland. There was no hints of sweetness or flavor, it was nearly tasteless so I concentrated on finishing my seafood and vegetables mostly.

Service was average as well, nothing spectacular for a restaurant serving Chinese dishes that probably tasted better at stalls at a fraction of the price here.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Dinner at Dojo Fusion @ Circular Road

72 Circular Road, Singapore 049426
Tel: None supplied
Website: http://dojo.sg

For fans of unconventional burgers, look no further - Dojo Fusion is a new kid on the pork serving everything pork, from snacks to mains. It is also an interesting blend of Japanese and American cuisine, encompassing exotic flavors with conventional concepts.

I brought The Beau there after catching wind of this eatery, since he loves pork and pork burgers (you get them easily in overseas McDonalds but not here). The service crew was warm and hospitable, right from the moment we entered all the way till we said goodbye.

I ordered a side of Pork Nuggets (SGD$5.00) to share, since I was not hungry. I had expected oval-rectangular pieces of flour-mix-pork, like how "nuggets" are typically derived to be. However, this was an interesting surprise of pure pork meat - deep fried akin cutlet style. It was crispy, tasty, and threefold enhanced if one chose to dip into the honey chilli provided together with the pork nuggets.

Then I ordered a Kong Bak Bun (SGD$6.00, also known as Komba Bao here) - fried buns encompassing layered pork meat. Usually, the three layers comprised of fats as well, which this one followed tradition, however they added lettuce for a refreshing touch. The pork was succulent and well-marinated, plus the sweet, crispy fried bun - oh well, this was definitely a palate pleaser.

The Beau decided to go for a Little Dragon Burger (SGD$12.00) - grilled pork steak, lettuce, tomatoes and melted cheese. The bun alone was a keeper - crunchy in its toasted golden texture, and the pork was tender as promised, as well as juicy. It was delicious and extremely satisfying, with the different flavors and textures of various ingredients coming together.

We also topped up SGD$2.00 to upgrade the fries to Chilli Cheese Fries - soft, chewy chinks of mashed pork in a rather sweet gravy enhanced by the cheese, but this was a little disappointing. Perhaps we were comparing it to another eatery's chilli cheese fries.

Nonetheless, the food here is definitely nice even though it is inexpensive and it is actually one of the few small restaurants with a punch. We would be back for sure.