Beauty In The Pot @ VivoCity

Another hotpot alternative close to the ‘hood.

To celebrate her name day, my hitting-a-milestone pal opted for a hotpot dinner. As Beauty in the Pot has a new outlet at VivoCity, we decided to give that a try, having enjoyed their first outlet at Centrepoint. Knowing how popular hotpot is in Singapore, I made the table reservation two weeks ahead via phone and was relatively amused when asked what occasion were we celebrating. “Birthday,” I replied without hesitation and didn’t give it much thought thereafter (more on that below).

As the table will only be held for 10 minutes, we arrived rather early for our weekend booking only to be told that we still have to wait till our reserved time. Which was fine as there were seats and free water available. (If you have kids, there’s a playpen for them.) Not to mention that the overly-pink restaurant is also located directly opposite the largest public library in a mall, library@harbourfront.

Beauty in the Pot’s key attractions are of course its signature Beauty Collagen Broth, and that you can have up to four (out of six) soup bases at one go. We decided two soup bases will do and went for the rich, flavorful collagen broth ($15/twin pot) and the Herbal Drunken Chicken Broth ($12/twin pot).

Then it was off to prepare our sauces whilst waiting for our food items to arrive. For my usual red chilli, garlic and spring onion combo, I added a creamy peanut sauce plus a dash of soy sauce which was a really good mix. Another nut-based combo with Thai red chilli and chilli oil wasn’t half bad but didn’t have much kick.

The menu has an extensive meat selection comprising chicken, pork, beef, lamb, and seafood (fish, crab, octopus, etc). On this occasion, we decided to stick to just Sliced U.S. Beef ($19.80/full portion) and Live Drunken Tiger Prawns ($13/half). And have to say, the premium quality of Beauty in the Pot’s food items are still as good as before.

Veggie wise we went with the usual suspects except with a different variety. Instead of plain lettuce, we had Baby Romaine Lettuce ($3.70/half); instead of “big” spinach, we had Baby Chinese Spinach ($3.70/half). Sliced Lotus Shoot ($3.40/half) was as it is…

We also had White and Hon Shimeji ($4.50/half), which on hindsight was unnecessary as there was actually a good helping of these mushrooms, and tofu slices too, in the collagen broth. The crispy and tasty Fried Fish Skin ($5.90/half) though is always good as a snack or appetizer.

A good choice was the Teochew Style Fish Balls ($4.90/half), which were really yummy. The Prawn Dumpling ($7.50/half) though wasn’t as great; the wrapping was very sticky and the taste not as scrumptious as we hoped it would be. No faulting the Silken Tofu ($2/half) though but as mentioned, the collagen broth also contained tofu slices.

Oh, one item that is a must-have is the Fried Beancurd Skin ($5/half), which tastes especially good when dipped into the collagen broth. It can be very filling though, so best to eat it early in the meal rather at the tail end.

We were getting really stuffed when a staff asked if we would like more dishes. It was then we realised we’d forgotten about our drunken prawns which were hidden away in the side trolley. Fret not, said the nice chap, who simply proceeded to peel for us the prawns which was fresh and sweet.

It was when we were having fruits for dessert, that the fun bit came. Just like at Hard Rock Cafe, Beauty in the Pot diners celebrating birthdays get cool perks. Not only you get a cake and balloon, the staff—like these two sweet suds here— would sing “Happy Birthday” to you three times – in English, Mandarin and Cantonese!!

That my very shy friend—seen here heavily filtered with her complimentary cake and balloon—was utterly surprised was an understatement. That it was one of the most funniest moments I’ve ever observed is of no doubt, hahaha!

Lastly, the complimentary Yuzu drink was served at the end and that went really well with our cake [as they have already stopped re-filling our Luo Han Guo / Sour Plum Juice ($3.80/glass) once they cleared the table].

Well, our Beauty in the Pot experience at VivoCity was certainly better than our first one at Centrepoint. Service was certainly better – we were led to our table at the appointed time, items came fast, refilling of the soups and drinks was done without our asking, and every staff member was courteous and attentive. Only one or two still bow at almost 90 degrees but though admirable, it is seriously not required.

I didn’t even have to prompt about the birthday bit – it was noted via the phone reservation and they delivered without the need to double check. Kudos indeed. Also, though it is stated in the reservation that small groups have a 90-minute time limit, at no time were we asked to finish up though we stayed about two hours. (Guess it also depend on how busy the place is.)

The bill was about $140, i.e $70 per person, which was decent considering what we ordered and the quality of the ingredients. Except for the far walk to the restrooms (down the escalator and to the right, due to the structure of the mall – it’s the same for the rooftop Haidilao), it’s definitely good to know there’s another reputable hotpot restaurant near our ‘hood to consider whenever we have steamboat cravings. In fact, Beauty in the Pot has just opened another outlet at The Star Vista, even closer still. Have to check that one out soon!

Beauty in the Pot is at 1 Harbourfront Walk, VivoCity #03-08A, Singapore 098585. Tel: +65 6255 0758. Opening Hours: Daily 11.30am to 3.00am (Last order at 2.15am).

Advertisements

Ash & Elm @ InterContinental SG

Scrumptious European dining at Ash & Elm.

For our latest quarterly dinner date, my church mate who shares the name of an evergreen climbing woody plant and I decided to go for European flair this time. That’s how we ended with Ash & Elm at InterContinental Singapore, which now occupies the space where the former (and rather good) Olive Tree restaurant used to be.

Decor was chic and elegant, and though the tables for two were small, the space however was comfy. After the waitress presented us with the menus, a waiter popped over to run us through the very extensive wine list comprising reds, whites, sparkling, champagnes and ports. Ash & Elm boasts three culinary theatres including a charcuterie and cheese room, wood-fired oven and an open charcoal-grill kitchen. The dinner menu thus comprises sections for charcuterie and cheese ($24-$60), wood-fired flatbreads ($22-$28), charcoal grill items ($39-$188) and a host of other meat and seafood items “from the pan” ($22-$69), plus good selections of hors d’oeuvres, salads, soups, sides and desserts.

Thought the restaurant was trying to match the water with the nice cosy chairs!

The first thing we were attracted to was the “non mineral nor sparkling” water they served us – whether warm and cold, it was a lovely blue! When asked, our server told us that the color comes from the butterfly pea flower which is said to have loads of antioxidants and health benefits for the body. Apparently the hotel was taking part in Singapore International Water Week 2019 and offering a healthy alternative for serving water was one of their contributions. Well, that’s rather ingenious I must say!

Super cool bread basket.

We thought of trying one of their hand-crafted, sourdough-based flatbreads but was quickly told that for every table, a bread basket will be provided. And what a great basket it was, there were five different types of yummy bread—the chewy mini-baguette was my fave—with portions enough for two, served with salted and seaweed butter. (So good I actually contemplate coming on my own next time and maybe just have a small charcuterie and cheese platter along with this bread basket!)

A carnivore’s delight: the Ash & Elm Platter.

Except that even a regular charcuterie and cheese platter is way too much for one person (unless you really, really enjoy chewing lots and lots of meat!) We had a regular sized Ash & Elm Platter ($28/$48 for large) which comprises house-cured beef pastrami, house-smoked pork loin, air-dried pork belly, cold-roasted beef and pressé de foie gras with smoked duck. Every item was delicious in its own way but the platter was seriously big enough for a party of four. Went very well with the wonderful bread though and I kinda regretted not ordering a red wine to go with all these great red meat.

Love it when chefs put effort to make a dish look pretty.

Knowing the platter will have a lot of beef and pork—plus the fact that most of really nice sounding meat items (especially the steaks) were a tad expensive—we went for chicken for our second dish. The French free-range yellow chicken breast a la basquaise ($34) was alright — tasty but nothing out of the extraordinary. Top marks though go to its presentation and the delicious Basmati pilaf rice and sweet cherry tomatoes.

Seasonal Vegetables Persillade

For our “healthy” bit, we opted for a side of Seasonal Vegetables Persillade ($10) which is really “side dish” sized (read: not meant for a vegetarian meal). Still, it had a good mix of veggies including sweet corn, carrot, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, and long bean. Other choices for sides include homemade ratatouille ($10) and sauteed mushrooms ($10).

All in all, we really had an enjoyable time at Ash & Elm, definitely one of our most satisfying dinners. As we decided we needed a walk and will have coffee and dessert elsewhere, the total came up to about $85 which is decent for what we ordered. Will definitely come back again to try other items, especially the other charcuterie and cheese platters — and to enjoy that bread basket again!

Ash & Elm is at Level 1, InterContinental Singapore, 80 Middle Road, S(188966). Breakfast: 6-10.30am daily; Lunch: 12pm-3pm (Mon to Sat); Sunday Champagne Brunch 12pm-3pm (Sundays); Dinner: 6-10.30pm daily.

Japan Cool: Unique Products From Japanese Prefectures

Sagabiyori rice from Takeo City, Saga Prefecture

If you can’t go to Japan, let Japan come to you.

In the past few years, I’ve been trying to arrange a cherry blossom holiday (March-April) to Japan but each time something or other would crop up and I end up going somewhere else.

Hence I was pleased when Musings on the M49 was invited by Media Japan and the Japan Local Government Alliance to a special preview session to sample unique products from three Japanese prefectures. At least I get to see some things uniquely Japan right here in Singapore!

Held at Tomi Sushi @ Millenia Walk, the preview showcased three Japanese product and food items namely Sagabiyori rice from Takeo City in Saga Prefecture, Senshu cotton towels from Izumisano City in Osaka Prefecture, and Tsuiki aluminium spoons from TsubameSanjo City in Niigata Prefecture.

Sagabiyori Rice from Saga Prefecture

First item for us to sample was Sagabiyori Japanese rice. The short-grain rice is primarily planted and harvested in Saga Prefecture, located north of Kyushu Island in the south of Japan. Rice farming is the main industry in Saga’s fertile plains, while fishing thrives in the coastal areas.

Thanks to venue host Tomi Sushi, we got to try the Sagabiyori Japanese rice in the form of onigiri rice balls, wrapped in toasted seaweed. If you love Japanese cuisine, you will know that the Japanese rice used is often light, fluffy and sightly sticky. Sagabiyori Japanese rice is rather different – the rice grains are bigger, a tad sweeter and not that sticky.

Often eaten as a snack or a quick breakfast/lunch item in Japan, the onigiri stuffed with tuna mayo and spicy ikura (large red Japanese caviar, pictured left) were really tasty and delicious. Even without stuffing, plain onigiri made of Sagabiyori Japanese rice was very filling on its own.

The premium rice brand—granted the top ‘Special A’ ranking by the Japan Grain Inspection Association—is available in 5kg packs from $60 in Isetan and Meidi-ya.

Senshu Cotton Towels from Osaka Prefecture

Next, we were introduced to the soft-to-the-touch Senshu cotton towels, known for their high water absorbency. Truth be told, I never knew towel production was a thing in Japan! The industry started as far back as 1887 when Japanese native Enjiro Satoi, impressed by quality imported towels, decided to produce his own towels in the Senshu region in Osaka Prefecture (an hour’s train ride from Kansai International Airport).

As lots of Senshu towels were provided at the event for us to touch and feel, their softness and gentleness cannot be doubted. We were also informed that the towels do not contain any wax, glue and dyes due to Atozarashi, a process unique to the Izumisano towel-producing region. This process involves thoroughly rinsing off waste and by-products from the delicate towel fabrics with fresh underground water.

We were also encouraged to soak the Senshu towels with water to test its high water absorbency. Well, when drenched, the towel certainly absorbed well with hardly any water droplets rolling off the material’s surface (like very cheap towels do). Along with its soft texture—a key feature for me when it comes to buying face towels—the Senshu towel is a product worth considering.

Available in various colors and sizes, Senshu face towels priced from $6-$8 can be found in Takashimaya and Isetan.

Tsuiki Aluminium Spoons from Niigata Prefecture

One thing I love about Japan is that they seem to have an invention for everything in life – from the world’s first rice cooker to, er, square watermelons. Well, at this preview, we were introduced to these cool looking, aluminium “thermal conduction” ice cream spoons from TsubameSanjo City in Niigata Prefecture, a 70-minute train ride north of Tokyo.

Produced by Tsuiki in TsubameSanjo, an area renowned for the production of quality metal wares, each spoon is made from 100% aluminium. The way it works is that if you hold it for at least 10 seconds, it will conduct your body heat down to its squared-shape bowl tip, warming it up enough to slice through ice-cold desserts such as ice creams and puddings easily!

Have to confess it didn’t really worked for me at the preview as the tips of my fingers were rather cold then and I felt the ice cream given to us were kinda soft in the first place. Even if the heat bit need a bit of work to work, I love the spoon’s shiny look and its design which makes it very comfortable to hold. I did try it again at home when my hand was warmer and the spoon did slice through my hard butter easily. Also, the Tsuiki spoon definitely heats up when I used it to stir hot coffee!

Tsuiki ice cream spoons, priced from $10-$15 in various colors, are currently available exclusively at Tomi Sushi @ Millenia Walk.

Makeful: Inspiring The Creatives At Heart

2018-09-19 14.44.47 (640x367)It’s always fun to see creative people making something out of nothing — whether it’s as simple as folding cranes out of paper, or making a cartoon character come to life with balls of rice. So it was great to know that to mark its Asia debut on Starhub TV Channel 436, lifestyle specialty channel Makeful HD is launching the #MakefulInspires movement—in collaboration with IKEA Singapore—that will showcase talented Singapore makers through short clips shown on their channel , as well as a series of workshops that aim to stir passion and creativity in every Singaporean.

At the Makeful HD launch held at IKEA Tampines, Musings on the M49 (MOTM49) got to meet three of the five local makers featured in the Makeful shorts. These are scheduled to be shown in eight slots daily on the channel inbetween regular programming starting from October and will also be shared on Makeful’s various digital platforms.

Makeful Shorts’ Artist: Food Artist Shirley Wong (@littlemissbento)

First up was Ms Shirley Wong, famously known as @LittleMissBento on Instagram (ISG) and highly popular for her amazing character creations for Japanese bento lunch box sets, which range from cutesy Disney creatures to Japanese manga icons. It was nice to meet the affable food artist again as I’m a big fan, faithfully following her every creation on ISG. For the launch, Shirley had specially made the cute panda set pictured above, which seriously can make adults, let alone kids, eat all their vegetables obediently!

Ms Wong revealed that she only works towards creating a “designer” meal once every day, which means, yes, her family gets to eat “normal” looking food too. She also disclosed that she does do sketches of what she plan to create the night before as it will easier to visualize it as well as knowing what ingredients she will need. When asked by MOTM49  what characters are the most difficult to make, Ms Wong said, “Definitely the manga characters as you have to get the whole look right, from the eyes to the hair.”

Makeful Shorts’ Artist: Bespoke, Up-cycled and Handmade Furniture Maker Jackie Tan of Triple Eyelid Studio (@tripleeyelid)

Next up was the thorn among the roses, Jackie Tan whose company Triple Eyelid designs custom-made furniture based on materials that the clients provide which can range from beer crates to leftover marble stabs. That is seriously very cool considering we all need to do our bit to reduce environmental waste as much as possible. Take for example the 50 bespoke mooncake crates pictured above which he made from reused wood for a corporate client.

Another creative item he made was using the bottom half of an old manual sewing machine and simply attached  a wooden top on it—and voila!—a unique and totally usable table! The special phone stands on the right were what the media received in our goodie bag. Lovely.

Makeful Shorts’ Artist: Paper and Mixed Media Craft Maker Aida Haron (@aidaville)

Memories are big with Aida Haron and hence just hand her a bunch of colored pens, colored papers, various embellishments, and photographs, and she can create a handmade scrapbook layout for you. The former flight attendent loves to remember the good moments in life and would like to help others to remember theirs too, which brings her much joy. Aida’s art pieces come in all forms – it can be as big as wall plaques or as handy as greeting cards such as the ones below.


Makeful Workshops and Contest

2018-09-19 14.43.53 (640x357)

Aida Haron at her workdesk. [Credit: Makeful Asia]

As part of the #MakefulInspires movement, Aida will be the first local maker to kick off the series of quarterly Makeful workshops. Starting on Saturday October 13, 2018 and to be held at IKEA Alexandria, the Aida Haron craft-making workshop is exclusive to Makeful fans, Starhub subscribers and Aida’s social media followers. There will also be a contest from October 15 where members of the public will get a chance to win an IKEA Gift Card worth $1,000. For more details, visit Makeful’s Facebook page @bemakeful.

2018-09-19 14.43.49 (640x360)

Shirley Wong totally engrossed in her next creation. [Credit: Makeful Asia]


Don’t forget to catch the Makeful shorts on Singapore makers on the Makeful channel or its social media platforms.

Makeful HD, part of Blue Ant Media, is available via Starhub TV Channel 436.

 

Embark On A Gourmet Escape to Margaret River, Western Australia

Margaret River Gourmet Escape_Festival Tents

 [Credit: Margaret River Gourmet Escape]

Mention Margaret River and most people will say, “Great wines!” And they are right. Home to over 200 vineyards and 187 wineries, the Western Australian destination—about a 3-hour drive south of Perth—is one of the world’s most famous wine regions. Hence I was chuffed when Musings on the M49 was invited to attend the media event introducing the highlights of this year’s Margaret River Gourmet Escape (gourmetescape.com.au) that will take place from 16-18 November.

Now in its 7th year, the popular food and wine festival is a great way to savor Margaret River’s fine wines, quality local produce, and natural beauty all at one go. Featuring internationally celebrated chefs, food producers and winemakers, 45 food and wine events will be held in over 25 unique locations in the region including wine-tasting at award-winning wineries, BBQs at secluded white beaches and feasts in the scenic Karri forest.

Festival Headliner: Culinary Celebrity Nigella Lawson

Margaret River Gourmet Escape_Nigella Lawson

Nigella Lawson [Credit: Margaret River Gourmet Escape]

And new events are still being added it seems. As announced by Western Australia’s Tourism Minister Mr Paul Papalia at the wine and canapé reception held at the National Gallery of Singapore, renowned food celebrity and festival headliner Nigella Lawson will host Supper with Nigella at Xanadu Wines on Saturday 17 November. This is in addition to her other events including the Westpac Gourmet Beach BBQ (16 Nov, Lunch and Dinner), Nigella’s Tea Party at Howard Park Winery (18 Nov), as well as book signings at the Gourmet Village at Leeuwin Estate (17 and 18 Nov).

Margaret River: Great Wines & Food To Be Expected

Margaret River Gourmet Escape_Pouring Red Wine

Red, red wine… [Credit: Margaret River Gourmet Escape]

Truth be told, you simply cannot not try the wines at a Margaret River event. (Deepest sympathies to those who drove or who can’t drink.) For reds, I started with a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon by Vasse Felix, said to be first red wine produced in Margaret River and has been made every year since 1972. Deep maroon in color, it has flora notes with a medium-bodied taste. I liked it but I preferred my second more which was a 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot by Cullen Wines as it has a very strong flavor and intense finish.

My first white was a Chardonnay by Pedestal (above left) and it was light with much floral notes that tasted really nice on the palate. I would have missed my second if a fellow guest didn’t gesture to me saying, “Try that now, it’s the last bottle!” Glad he did as the 2017 Art Series Riesling from Leeuwin Estate (above right) is crisp and bubbly, with distinct flavors of lemon and lime. Small wonder it ran out so fast! Add to that, it has easily the most artistic and eye-catching label too.

There was also a special stand where a bartender was mixing Seedlip’s distilled non-alcoholic spirits—comprising spice, garden and grove components—with tonic water and garnishes ranging from pepper pods to peas. It’s not exactly a “gin and tonic without kick” as it was actually quite tasty and refreshing and welcomed by those who had to drive or not into alcohol.

Let’s not forget the canapés. The evening’s food fare comprised Western Australian inspired delights prepared by Chef Seth James from Margaret River’s Wills Domain and Jake Kellie from Singapore’s Burnt Ends, both of whom are part of the 45-strong culinary line up for Margaret River Gourmet Escape 2018. The delicious items this writer managed to get her hands on included Margaret River Wagyu with Manjimup Truffle (above right), Amelia Park Lamb Rib with Wheat Beer Glaze and Toasted Buckwheat, Mario’s Artichoke with Beef and Scampi, Parfait Tartlet with Fermented Blackberry, and Potato cooked in Wattle Seed, Lemon Myrtle, Salted Egg and Manjimup Truffle (cutely served in a bark-like wrap, see above left.)

Additional Tickets & Exclusive SQ Promo Available

Margaret River Gourmet Escape_Table setting (640x427)

[Credit: Margaret River Gourmet Escape]

There’s no denying that there’s good wining and dining to be had at Margaret River. If you are a food and wine lover, and have time to spare in November, go and check out the programs for Margaret River Gourmet Escape 2018 which will highlight world-renowned wines as well as cuisines ranging from Italian to Chinese, Mexican to Japanese. Besides Nigella Lawson, other leading culinary talent appearing include Rick Stein, Skye Gyngell and Julien Royer, just to name but a few.

Most events are apparently sold out but additional tickets are now available for the following via gourmetescape.com.au:
* Westpac Gourmet Beach BBQ
* Feast in the Forest
* Cape on a Plate
* Chow’s Table Chinese Feast
* Caves Road Cantina at Black Brewing Co.
* Smith & Daughters 90s Trattoria Dinner
* Cape Mentelle International Cabernet Tasting and Long Lunch
* Cullen Chardonnay Tasting & Lunch

In addition, Singapore Airlines have an exclusive promotional offer just for Gourmet Escape subscribers – Return Economy Class fares to Perth around the Gourmet Escape weekend from SGD538 available now till 30 Sept 2018.

For more information on Margaret River Gourmet Escape, visit gourmetescape.com.au.

No text or photos from this post are to be reproduced without permission of the blog author.

Gemmills @ Gemmill Lane

2018-05-11 18.53.39 (640x640)A church mate and I wanted to try something off the beaten track for dinner one evening but we didn’t expect it was going to be that tough to find Gemmills. Technically its address is 110 Amoy Street but to locate its entrance, you need to first get into Amoy Alley, then turn right into a back alley off Gemmill Lane to find this quaint little wine bar that serves all-day dining.

The place was small and dim, but still rather charming thanks to its rustic decor. Tables are tiny too and we reckoned Gemmills is more popular as a place to wine rather than to dine. Its one-page Mediterranean-influenced menu is not extensive, not exactly cheap either, but fascinating nonetheless. Half of it were appetizers priced between SGD$6-$12, most seem very vegetarian (albeit healthy sounding), and “meaty” main courses ($18-32) seem to comprise mainly two fish dishes ($32) and one whole roast chicken ($50). Besides desserts (@$12), there is a decent selection of wines, cocktails, beers and ciders, juices, gourmet coffee and tea.

2018-05-11 18.57.12 (560x640)Since it’s a wine place, we kicked off with the house wines which were just $10 per glass during Happy Hour (5-7pm, Mon to Thu). I love my red but my friend’s white was quite bland. Luckily they served water as well so my pal was happy to go with that thereafter, while I had another glass of red.

2018-05-11 19.02.44 (640x605)As one of our starters, we ordered a House Baked Sourdough ($6) served with herbal butter which was quite nice. Although the crust was hard as rock, the inside was super soft and tasted really yummy with the butter.

2018-05-11 19.03.01 (635x640)We also had the Cold Cuts Board ($18) which was actually sufficient as a dish by itself. Lots of delicious slices of different kinds of ham, a generous dosh of salad, and even came with sourdough bread. Service was on the whole great but we felt that the waiter could have helped by letting us know how big the portions for each dish is, and – as there is bread with the cold cuts board – that we may not need to order a separate bread item (unless we wanted to). Still, they were considerate enough to give us two tables considering the amount of food we ordered. As you can see, the platter above plus our wines took up a whole table by itself. I’m not kidding when I say the tables are small…

2018-05-11 19.03.10 (640x640)We also had an Endive Salad ($10), a neat medium-sized bowl piled to the brim with slices of endives, hazel nuts, feta cheese and burnt honey. I don’t think I ever ate an endive in my iife but for this carnivore, this salad was one of the best “cow food” I’ve ever eaten. Crunchy, sweet, tangy and fragrant, just so many flavors in one dish.

2018-05-11 19.12.35 (615x640)Being a carnivore, I would have gone for the roast chicken item but at $50 and a whole chicken at that, there was no way the two of us could finish it. So instead we went for the Barramundi ($32) served with acid onions, leeks and salmarejo. The portion was so small – it was less than 2-in square – both of us were glad we didn’t order this as a main each! And the wood plate itself – gorgeous as it is – took up a quarter of the table! All said, the fish was very very well-cooked, thankfully. Soft, fresh and extremely tasty. For the price though, we could have order two or three other appetizers.

All in all, the quality of the food and the quaint ambience – dim as it was, I assume it’s brighter in the day – made Gemmills a nice experience. We were later told by the waitress that it’s managed by the same people who also runs Maggie Joan’s next door and Moosehead. Cool, two more places with good food (we assume) to try out in future then.

Gemmills is at 110 Amoy Street, #01-02 (entrance via Gemmill Lane). Opens 12nn-11pm (Mon-Thu), 10am-12mn (Fri) and 6pm-11pm (Sat). Closed on Sundays.

 

J65 Seafood Buffet @ Hotel Jen Tanglin

2018-06-08 18.33.31 (640x640)Let me tell you: trying to get a hotpot / steamboat restaurant reservation with a popular brand name on a Friday evening is practically impossible unless you’d booked way way in advance or are willing to wait over two hours for a walk-in chance. That’s why last Friday, me and two birthday “babies” pals of mine ended up with the Seafood Madness Buffett (SGD78++) at Hotel Jen Tanglin instead. Which wasn’t a bad alternative at all if truth be told.

2018-06-08 18.20.46 (640x640)For instance, just this gorgeous rack of chilled golden tiger prawns and snow crab claws had me at hello. The prawns were meaty and tasty, the snow crabs juicy and succulent. There were a good few customers who piled up their plates with nothing but the snow crab claws, and not that we can blame them.

2018-06-08 18.22.36 (640x640)Also popular were the giant Boston Lobsters, which the staff had to keep replenishing as well. Personally I found the meat a tad too tough and my hope of having free-flow lobster had to be curbed for another day.

2018-06-08 18.23.13 (640x582)There was also a fabulous pot of chili crab, which was arguably more popular than the lobsters. The crabs were fresh and fleshy, and the gravy absolutely delicious, great for dipping bread or papadum (Indian crackers) into. Though a tad messy to eat in a public place (and at a hotel no less), I seriously couldn’t get enough of this.

2018-06-08 18.30.15 (626x640)Oysters were surprisingly “hidden” away at a far corner, just in front of the grilled counter where you can order lobster, prawn, salmon or anything else grilled. Needless to say, at most times, all you see is ice on the tray till it got replenished yet again.

2018-06-08 18.21.17 (640x640)

The buffet also offers a wide variety of seafood-related items to choose from such as this giant seafood paella, lobster fried rice, bee hoon with fish slices, soups, etc.

2018-06-08 18.21.02 (640x528)This huge baked salmon was a sight to behold, but I prefer my salmon in sashimi style and there is a whole counter devoted to Japanese sushi items and loads of salmon sashimi. We ended up using the wasabi and soy sauce from here as our “chili” base for our chilled seafood choices as we couldn’t find one to our liking.

2018-06-08 18.31.39 (640x640)The buffet is not all seafood – roast items such as honey baked ham and beef steak were actually good. There is also counters where you can make your own rojak and kueh pie ti. My pals probably tried every item there was; as for me, my total focus was on prawns and crabs on repeat.

2018-06-08 18.24.41 (640x640)Desserts feature the usual suspects – fruits, cakes, pastries, chocolate fountain, etc. The durian pengat got us excited but nice as it was, we have tasted better (at a steamboat buffet at M Hotel).

2018-06-08 18.22.51 (620x640)The buffet ended at 9.30pm but we – and a few other tables – were allowed to carry on and eat/chat till we are done. I guess the days of 24-hour hotel cafes are long gone. For its choices, J65 Seafood Madness Buffet (Friday-Sunday) is value-for-money, especially if you simply indulge in everything seafood. There’s a discount given for online reservations, which makes it even more worthwhile.

I for one wouldn’t mind going back for another round. Maybe to see how different is their International Seafood Buffet (SGD88++) is on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Wednesdays is Lobster Rock ‘n’ Roll nights (SGD$129++). If you are big on seafood, this is one buffet worth checking out. J65’s daily seafood themed dinner promotion ends 31 August 2018.

J65 is at Level 1, Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore, 1A Cuscaden Road,  Singapore 249716.