Ginett @ Hotel G

2017-05-09 20.29.00 (640x531) (2)The Middle Road / Waterloo Street area has always been a haven of food of all varieties, and there’s yet more new eateries to check out. On the eve of Vesak Day, the lovely office minions I worked with regularly decided to descend upon Ginett Restaurant & Wine Bar located in Hotel G, prior to a pre-planned karaoke night jam at some joint across the street.

Tuesday evening was a great time to go to Ginett too ‘cos it’s their weekly Ladies Night in which groups of four ladies get to enjoy a free bottle of wine, while a pair get a Carafe of wine from 6pm to 11pm. Well, with 13 ladies and 1 guy in our group, we were thrilled to have 3 free bottles of rose wine to kick off our dinner. (A scheme to try to get our sole male mate to “lady-fied” himself so we can get an additional free Carafe alas didn’t quite work. So we just asked for extra glasses for him and the “odd-one-out” lady colleague).
2017-05-09 20.03.23 (640x640)Ginett has a nice cosy ambience, very spacious both on the ground floor and on an upper level (it even has al fresco island tables). It’s well-decked with cool artwork and faux greenery on the walls, but the premises’ most eye-catching attraction is the multiple rows of wine glasses hung above the wine bar.

The menu is extensive with a wide selection of appetisers, salads, pastas, seafood, charcoal grilled meats and desserts (with most main courses priced between $18-$42). And of course, not forgetting the wine list that starts from $6 a glass and $30 a bottle.

As we were such a big group, we were given the long communal table situated right by the entrance. With hungry hippos everywhere, a string of starters x 2 were ordered in a hurry. Served on brown paper in a small metal bucket, the Deep Fried Chicken Wings with Fries were tasty, as were the Sweet Potato Fries – so good, second helpings were ordered of each.
2017-05-09 19.33.54 (640x600)For the main dishes, everyone agreed that a mix of pasta and meat dishes will do fine. The Carbonara Pasta with bacon bits and egg was a good choice.
2017-05-09 19.32.45 (640x640)So was the Duck Confit, easily one of the best duck confits I’ve eaten locally. The meat is tender with the skin slightly burnt, offering a favourful taste. The gravy was great as well, along with the garnishes.
2017-05-09 19.33.20 (640x630)Some of us were dying to try one of lobster dishes but in the end, this simple yet extremely delicious Vongole Pasta ($26) with a generous helping of white clams and cheese was more than a-ok.
2017-05-09 19.33.05 (635x640)We had an Australian Angus Ribeye that was so good, it was gone so fast I didn’t have time to take a snapshot of it! Luckily, some kind soul grabbed this Wagyu Beef Cheek which was just as good (well, in taste and not in looks). The slices of beef cheek were so tender and juicy, and the sauce was so yummy that we used the complimentary bread rolls to lap up every last drop.
2017-05-09 19.34.54 (640x640)As we were late for our karaoke session, we skipped dessert which is a pity as there is a marvelous cheese board item called the 1 Metre Board (S$54) with at least 5 cheeses and 5 cold cuts. It needs to be shared and it would have gone well with wines but team-bonding sing-alongs come first…

Will I be back? For sure. The food is good, the non-free wines are probably better, and prices on the whole are rather decent. It was about $50-$60 per person, but we did have a couple of free bottles of wine. Will definitely want to try that cheese board, the lobster dish, an escargot starter, and try out more meat items.

Now, just need to find 3 female friends who are free on Tuesday nights…

Ginett Restaurant & Wine Bar is at 200 Middle Road.

Bumbu @ Kandahar Street

2017-01-31 14.39.46 (640x640)Was meeting two longtime-no-see friends for lunch and we decided the best place to find a restaurant that will appeal to all our tastebuds was down at Kampong Glam (which is fast becoming a favourite haunt of mine). After walking up and down the most popular streets (Arab, Bussorah, Haji Lane, etc), we settled for the halal-certified #Bumbu restaurant at #KandaharStreet.
2017-01-31 14.37.20 (640x640)Bumbu serves Thai-Indonesian cuisine, housed surprisingly in a very quaint Perankan shophouse. For a moment we thought it was a fancy place but it just simply well-decorated with beautiful furniture, with comfortable ambiences in both its dining areas upstairs and downstairs.
2017-01-31 13.23.25 (640x640)

Bumbu’s menu is decently extensive with a good range of appetisers, meats, seafood, vegetables, noodles and rice, and desserts.

As we were severely hungry by the time we sat down, we decided to go for the signature dishes. For an Indonesian choice, we opted for Tahu Telor which was a very good choice as the tahu (fried tofu) was fresh and crispy and the peanut sauce sweet and delicious.
2017-01-31 13.23.47 (640x640)For Thai, the Tom Yum Seafood Soup was another good choice as it was chock-full of ingredients such as mushrooms and seafood items such as squids, prawns and fish. Not to mention it offered the right amount of tom yum spiciness.
2017-01-31 13.32.01 (640x640)Eyeing other tables, we noticed that the Cereal Soft Shell Crab so we ordered that. And yup, it was as good as it looked on the other tables. 🙂
2017-01-31 13.33.55 (640x640)We thought we probably need a meat item but the Beef Rendang was rather disappointing. It looked good and the gravy was fine but the meat wasn’t very exciting. It wasn’t tough but it wasn’t very tender either. Probably was having a bad day. Should have gone for the Pandan Leaf chicken instead…
2017-01-31 13.33.00 (640x640)Veggie wise you can’t really go wrong with Sambal Kangkong and we have no complaints about this one.
2017-01-31 13.36.08 (640x640)Of course, all of the above were washed down with white rice and accompanied by these really tasty prawn crackers. We didn’t go for desserts by the end as we were too full – too much rice and crackers – and also we ordered Chendol as our drinks.

All in all, the three of us paid about $35 each which is decent for a restaurant. The food is value for money and it’s a place I would come again if I’m with a number of friends.

Bumbu Restaurant is at 44 Kandahar Street, opens from Tue to Sun, 11am-3pm and 6-10pm.

Flying Monkey @ Bussorah Street

[Credit: Marguerita Tan]

Flying Monkey interiors [Credit: Marguerita Tan]

Have to confess: have yet to check out all the cool eateries in and around Kampong Glam and new ones are already popping up. Last week, Musings on the M49 was chuffed to be invited to the opening of #FlyingMonkey, the first #Indiantapas restaurant with a full-fledged cocktail bar to set up along bustling #BussorahStreet.

[Credit: Marguerita Tan]

[Credit: Marguerita Tan]

Owned and managed by engineer-turned-entrepreneur Sumeet Singla, the same chap who owned the popular Pizza Fabricca next door, Flying Monkey is a bright, spacious space filled with colourful motifs on the walls, while al fresco seating is available as well. A gaming lounge, to be located on the second floor, is presently in the works.

The simple yet attractive menu features an extensive list of contemporary Pan-Asian cuisine served tapas style, comprising small plates, large plates, desserts, and sides such as breads, rice and yogurt.

The kitchen is helmed by Head Chef Azad, formerly from Yantra, who leads a team of chefs with strong traditional backgrounds and five-star restaurant experience.

Here’s but a small selection of the best dishes:

[Credit: Marguerita Tan]

Nalli Gosht aka Lamb Shank [Credit: Marguerita Tan]

This Nalli Gosht ($26), which is lamb shank cooked for hours overnight and served with garlic naan, is da bomb. The meat was tender and flavourful, and comes off the bone easily, while the creamy peanut-cashew curry tasted so good with the naan slices. Needless to say, this large plate item scored high points with this carnivore!

[Credit: Marguerita Tan]

Tulsi Cod [Credit: Marguerita Tan]

I’m not a fish person but this Tulsi Cod ($15) is utterly awesome. Every bite of the cod fillet, which is marinated in Italian basil and charred in a 500-degree Tandoor oven, truly tantalized the tastebuds. One of the standout dishes on the menu.

[Credit: Marguerita Tan]

Quail Musallam [Credit: Marguerita Tan]

Flying Monkey’s Tandoori Chicken ($10) marinated in yogurt and spices is one of their best sellers, but if you are willing to try a bird of a different kind, the Quail Musallam ($26) is it. The whole bird, which is of a decent small size, is slow cooked and served with curry and a hard-boiled egg on Kashmiri Pulao (tasty yellow rice cooked with dried fruits and nuts). A large plate that is good enough for a single meal, I don’t really fancy sharing it with anyone else if truth be told!

[Credit: Marguerita Tan]

Galouti Kebab [Credit: Marguerita Tan]

Galouti Kebab ($14) is one of Flying Monkey’s signature dishes and it has a great story behind it. Long long time ago, there was an Indian king who loves to eat meat but couldn’t do so after losing all his teeth. So he ordered the royal chefs to come out with a plan and this was what they came out with: mutton meat grinded into a gooey paste, marinated with spices and unripe papaya, and then made into mini kebabs that His Majesty could easily munch on. This “melt-in-your-mouth” kebab was cute and invitting but it has a spicy flavour that was way too strong for me. It’s definitely an acquired taste which it would take a long while to get used to.

[Credit: Marguerita Tan]

Chilli Poppers [Credit: Marguerita Tan]

Okay, if you are just here for the drinks, you can’t not have “bar grub”. Here’s one of the best choices on the menu but only if you can handle the “hotness”. These Chilli Poppers ($10) are Rajasthani-styled green chilli stuffed with potato masala. Crunchy, spicy and deliciously hot – on a chilli hot scale of 1-5, it rates a #4 – it’s a great snack to go with your poison of choice.

[Credit: Marguerita Tan]

Calamari 65 [Credit: Marguerita Tan]

Another great snack to go with liquor is Calamari 65 ($10), a play on the popular deep-fried snack Chicken 65 from Chennai. Unlike the calamari you find in western diners, these calamari rings are crunchy with a spicy taste as they are deep fried with curry leaves. A real good beer snack.

[Credit: Marguerita Tan]

Jalebi [Credit: Marguerita Tan]

Last but by no means least, do make room for the wonderful dessert that is Jalebi ($10). Freshly made-to-order each time, this crispy, super sweet Indian pretzel is best eaten when it’s still warm and dipped in aromatic syrup. You can’t leave Flying Monkey without trying this!

The menu also have a number of tasty vegetarian dishes worth trying such as Baigan Salan ($16), which is eggplant braised in peanut-cashew curry and served with rice, and Mustard Gohbi ($8), which is cauliflower marinated with mustard and charred in the Tandoor.

Flying Monkey owns the distinction of being one of the few restaurants in the Kampong Glam vicinity to have bespoke cocktails available. But if you are the kind who rather just order your drinks straight off the menu, it has a cocktail menu filled with fascinating choices ($14-$20) such as classic cocktails with an Indian twist on flavours.

[Credit: Marguerita Tan]

“The Beard” in action [Credit: Marguerita Tan]

The bar is manned by Head Bartender Kannan aka “The Beard”, seen above preparing a Monkey on Fire ($20), which is Monkey Shoulder Whiskey, Grand Marnier, Maraschino, Honey, 3-Spice and Coconut Water. Don’t worry, the cocktail will be served without fire but in a cute little clay pot filled to the brim with ice. It has a smooth, sweet taste while the fiery smokiness does add an edge to it.

[Credit: Marguerita Tan]

The Flying Monkey [Credit: Marguerita Tan]

If you like a strong whiskey taste in your cocktails, try the signature, The Flying Monkey ($18), which contains Monkey Shoulder Whiskey, King’s Ginger, Jaggery Syrup and Bitters.

[Credit: Marguerita Tan]

[Credit: Marguerita Tan]

Other interesting cocktails include Goa Mamma Lassi ($18, Mango, Passion Fruit, Aylesbury Vodka, Plantation Dark Rum, Milk,Yogurt) and Yo Yo Mani ($18, Plantation 3 Stars, White & Overproof Rum, Koko Kanu Coconut Rum, Coconut Water & Cream, 5-spice Kerala Rice Syrup).

If you are looking for a casual place with good Indian food, Flying Monkey is worth trying out. For me, the curry lamb shank with naan, for one, is worth coming back for. Prices are relatively decent for a tapas bar, and although I wished they have more beer choices, India’s Kingfisher beer is seriously not a bad accompaniment for Indian cuisine.

Flying Monkey is at 67 Bussorah Street. Lunch: 12-2.30pm; Dinner 5.30pm-11pm. Weekends till late, last order 10.30pm.


10 Scotts High Tea @ Grand Hyatt Revisited

2017-03-04-15-10-54-640x640A few years ago when I had the afternoon tea at 10 Scotts @ Grand Hyatt, I did not have a pleasant experience cos’, though the food spread was decent, the service was way below par. So when another group of friends booked the place for a get-together recently, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. Thankfully, much has changed since my last visit – not only is the food better presented, the service this time is top-notch too.
2017-03-04-15-11-07-640x640Let’s begin with the food. As our server Nicholas patiently told us, the “hot” (savoury stuff) and “cold” items (desserts) previously served all together on a tiered tray are now separated, which is a very good thing. The “hot” items such as the delicious flaky-crusted curry puff and yummy deep-fried crab balls are now kept warm on the long, buffet-styled counter, where one can also find steaming hot soups, har kow (prawn dumplings), shrimp sandwiches, mini ham wraps, and an assortment of sushi.
2017-03-04-15-11-19-640x640Scones are now served on the same counter and only delivered when they are fresh out of the oven. Needless to say, each lot goes very fast so I would advise that you grab what you need the moment you see there’s a pile available.
2017-03-04-16-41-37-640x640There’s also a live station here when the chef will cook chicken breast in cream sauce a la minute, garnished with parsley and roasted cherry tomatoes.
2017-03-04-16-44-02-640x640There was an added surprise too – fresh oysters are also available in the fridge where you will usually find frozen desserts or cakes. So together with my chicken and prawn dumpling as seen above, for a moment I thought I was having buffet lunch and not high tea!
2017-03-04-16-24-57-640x640Front of the fridge (seen in background above) is an island table where there’s a decent selection of cheeses, breads, cold cuts (parma ham!) and other garnishes. I have to say that this was my favourite corner. Would have gone for a fourth round if I didn’t remember in time that the tiered desserts have yet to arrive…
2017-03-04-16-21-51-581x640An hour into our seating – we opted for 3-5pm – the dessert tray was served. The desserts looked sparse on the tray but every item will satisfy every sweet tooth and can be replenished. Just before the cut-off time, Nicholas came along to ask us what items we want more of and we just ordered what we enjoyed, like the strawberries, shortbread sticks, and opera cakes. Previously, each person would get a set – and there were 3 of us this time – but I guessed this way wastage can definitely be cut ‘cos by the time you reach this point, you will be too stuffed to eat anything more. So, if the sweet stuff is what you came for, either don’t eat too much of the counter stuff or ask them to bring this earlier!
2017-03-04-16-20-47-640x640As mentioned, service was a great improvement from my last visit. Not only did waiter Nicholas explained clearly how the afternoon tea works – there’s also a free-flow champagne version – he was very good with the tea recommendations as well. When we were done with our first choice, he would return recommending that we try another flavour for variety. And when he brought the dessert tray, he didn’t just plonk it on the table and walk away, but would go on introducing every item on it. Needless to say, thanks to him, my party had a wonderful high tea experience this time round at 10 Scotts!

For its delectable food spread alone, 10 Scotts is definitely well worth the money, esp now that the presentation and service have improved greatly. Worth a visit.

Afternoon tea (regular/champagne) is $45/$75 (weekdays) and $55/$85 (weekends and PH). The seatings are from 12.00pm-2.30pm and 3-5pm.

Cairns: Thrills & Spills (IV)


When in Cairns: When all is said and done, you cannot go to Cairns and not visit the Great Barrier Reef. Just remember that there’re many other things you can do on dry land as well, in and out of the city!

Find Nemo
snorkeling-in-great-barrier-reef_by-reef-magic-cruises-640x425                      Yours truly snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef (Credit: Reef Magic)

One of the world’s seven natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef’s coral reef system is the largest on the planet and a spectacular sight to behold.

There are daily day tours and cruise providers, such as Reef Magic (, that offer a host of activities including snorkelling, diving, glass-bottom boat rides, helmet dives (note: Not for those with asthma) and even helicopter rides ( where you can admire the vast expanse of the reef from high above.

If you cannot swim or are a poor swimmer like me, opt for a guided snorkelling tour with a marine biologist who will steer you through the waters with a life buoy, and explain and point out things underwater such as clown fishes (“Nemo!”) hiding in sea anemones. If you can dive or swim well enough, take the plunge into deeper waters, where you will get to see a greater variety of corals and fish species.

Embark on a Food Trail
                   English Devonshire tea at Lake Barrine teahouse (Credit: Marguerita Tan)

If you enjoy food and nature in equal measures, embark on a food trail tour to the Anderton Tablelands ( located south-west of Cairns, where you will learn how regional foods are produced there, while zipping through the Wet Tropics rainforest, dry plains, rolling hills and mountain ranges.

For this foodie, there was no greater joy than feasting on delicious tea and scones in a historic teahouse by Lake Barrine; sampling fresh cheeses and chocolates in Atherton; learning how macadamias, Australia’s most famous nut, are grown and harvested; and tasting over 20 fruit wines, ports and liqueurs at a Mareeba tropical fruit winery.

For more info on this food trail, check out my blog post on it at this link:

On route to the area are many nature highlights including this massive 500-year-old, 50m-tall and 44m-wide Curtain Fig Tree sited near the town of Yungaburra. Simply ask your tour guide to point them out to you (although he would probably do so anyway without your asking!)

l1140962-480x640                      The 500-year-old Giant Curtain Fig Tree (Credit: Marguerita Tan)

My article on Cairns was originally published in TODAY newspaper
 on December 15, 2016.


Maison Ikkoku @ Kandahar Street

2016-12-23-23-48-27-640x394A group of pals invited me to go waterhole-hopping just before Christmas last year and we had a blast. One of the places we went to just before midnight was this cool place, Maison Ikkoku Cocktail Bar, located on the second floor of a shophouse unit on Kandahar Street.

The Cafe at Level 1 is known for its all-day breakfast, gourmet sandwiches and gourmet coffee, while the cocktail bar upstairs – which only open from 4pm to 1/2am –  is renowned for their bespoke cocktails which are priced from $20-$26++. Though narrow and tight, the place does have a cosy feel and gives good vibes to anyone who simply wants to chill with good drinks and snacks.
2016-12-23-23-38-17-640x480Managed by three enterprising young lads behind the bar counter at any one time, just tell them the poison craving  you are feeling (rum, vodka, brandy, lime juice, mint, chocolate, etc) and they will conjure up something that is most likely to satisfy your palate (and if not, I suspect most people are too polite to say so or make a fuss ‘cos, hey, you did allow them to come up with anything!)

The one in the group who is a regular here recommended the Tom Yum cocktail. It’s super spicy tom yum alright, just with liquor, but I prefer my tom yum with rice and not sipped from a glass! The adventurous among us then asked for various concoctions that would include (separately) rum (with lime juice or mint), green tea and fruit punch. And one ordered a Mojito. Ok, maybe we weren’t that adventurous but we did have a couple of drinks before coming here and so, were kinda not wanting to mix our drinks (which on hindsight, is a tad too late!) The cocktails were served in various types of glasses and in general, gave us the taste we wanted. Whether we would order the same again was very unlikely though, but then it give us cause to order more specific ingredients the next time round.
2016-12-24-01-17-57-640x640One cocktail we would order again though is this chocolate-based “martini” that has Nutella spread evenly around the glass. It was sweet and refreshing but seriously, we were happy just using the ice-cream stick to spoon every bit of the Nutella out to lick!

2016-12-23-23-59-26-640x480The bar food was not half bad too. The meaty nachos with cheese and mayo was delicious…

2016-12-23-23-59-47-640x597So was the trio of fries comprising french fries, sweet potato fries and luncheon meat fries. (And which probably would go better with beer actually…)

2016-12-24-00-16-34-619x640One must try is their signature Mac & Cheese Ball ($12) which – be warned – is one giant tennis ball sized. We thought it was going to come in six tiny balls but no, it’s just one ball which we had to share by scooping one spoonful each. A bit unsightly and quite heavy for just one person, but it was very yummy.

2016-12-24-01-07-15-491x640Lastly, our table was given this stack of toasted, ice-cream-covered marshmallows to munch on in the midst of our various flavoured cocktails. Love it when a bar keeps serving you tidbits inbetween drinks. 🙂

In all, six of us spent about $60 each on the cocktails and food over a few hours. A charming place that is definitely worth a few more visits, especially if you are into craft cocktails.

Maison Ikkoku Cocktail Bar is at Level 2, 20 Kandahar Street.



Vatos Urban Tacos @ South Beach Quarter

2016-12-09-18-53-52-640x480Have always wanted to try Vatos Urban Tacos since it opened as I’ve been wondering  what Korean-Mexican (Ko-Mex) cuisine is like but friends who had tried it earlier gave mixed reviews. But as it was arguably the only place in Singapore that offers Margaritas with beer bottles overturned in them (a.k.a Mexican-Bulldog style) – something which I saw in practically every F&B outlet in Miami, Florida but just didn’t have the time to try one – a pal and I decided to go there last Friday for an early Christmas celebration dinner.

When we made our reservation, we were told that there were two sittings – one at 6.30pm and the other at 9pm, and we will have to vacate our table by 9pm if we opted for the early slot. Such requests have been quite common of late and what we usually do is simply go somewhere else for coffee and desserts if the eatery can’t spare us the time. Anyway, we were here for the tacos and margaritas, we reminded ourselves so off we went.

Vatos Urban Tacos is located at the colonial white armoury building known as the South Beach Quarter within the South Beach complex (diagonally opposite Raffles Hotel). The menu is kind of what you would expect from a Mexican restaurant with offerings such as chips & salsa for starters, tacos, quesadillas, burritos and burgers.  The Korean part comes in the form of items such as Kimchi Carnita Fries ($16),  Kimchi Pork Quesidillas ($18) and Spicy Chicken Tacos ($10 for 2, $14 for 3). Drinks-wise, there is a selection of craft beers on draft and of course their signature Vatos’ Ritas (margaritas + beer).

2016-12-09-18-52-55-480x640As we arrived early with the place yet to be packed, service was attentive and prompt (although the waiter did forgot one of our margaritas!) My pal’s Dae Han Mango arrived first and impressive as it looked, the Mango Margarita + Longboard Island Lager took a while to get used to. It was thick and sweet but it was also a case of “Mr Mango Suffocating Mr Tequila” and even “Mr Beer”. Refreshing but not “toxic” enough, hee.
2016-12-09-19-01-21-480x640I opted for the combination commonly known as the Mexican Bulldog Margarita which is a Lime Margarita + Corona Beer. It is as refreshing as I expected it to be but on hindsight, I would probably prefer drinking a Corona and a Margarita separately on their own as the beer does dilute the taste of the margarita somewhat, in a case of “Mr Beer Suffocating Mr Margarita”… What was really fascinating is how the magarita glass will never overflow,as long you keep the head of the beer bottle submerged in the margarita (law of physics at play here, folks). Priced at $29 each, it may seem pricey but remember you are paying for two beverages here.
2016-12-09-18-54-35-640x480Food-wise, we decided to go for the tacos. First choice was the Galbi Short Rib Tacos ($13 for 2/$18 for 3) which was filled with marinated short rib, ssamjang aioli, Asian slaw, cilantro, chopped onions and roasted sesame seeds, and served on a soft handmade tortilla. The beef, though not exactly tender, was tasty but we would have preferred chewing it on a hard taco shell rather on a soft one (something which we forgot to ask if there was a choice).
2016-12-09-18-54-20-640x480We also ordered Korean Pork Belly Tacos ($11 for 2/$15 for 3) which is pork belly marinated with a Korean chili sauce, julienned spring onions and ssamjang aioli. Again, though the pork belly is chewy and flavourful, and went well with all the garnishes, we would rather it be on a hard corn tortillas like those given in the free basket of Fresh Chip & Salsa (which the tornatillo salsa verde and roasted onion chiptotle salsa are really good, by the way).

If ever we make a return, we definitely would try the Honey Tequila Chicken Wings ($16) and maybe the Quesidillas which looked more value-for-money than the Tacos, judging from what we saw on other diners’ table.

Vatos Urban Tacos has a nice ambience and is a good place if you just want to have drinks and try out the beer margaritas. I actually fancy the cheaper (but delicious) tacos at Guzman Y Gomez more, but would give Vatos’ other offerings a try in future.

Vatos Urban Tacos is at 36 Beach Road, South Beach Quarter.