Dining On Cloud 9: Cable Car Dining Review

dining on cloud 9

I had a most extraordinary birthday dinner yesterday in a cable car, thanks to my pal’s generosity (thank you, Samy!!!) Over 3 cable car round trips from Faber Peak to Sentosa, it was a 3-course dinner with an ever-changing view. Because of the gloomy weather, there wasn’t a glorious sunset to behold but it didn’t get boring (at one point, we even heard music coming from the direction of the Hard Rock Hotel). And how, here’s my review of the Dining On Cloud 9 experience and do note that I’m putting myself in the shoes of someone who paid $288++ and deciding if it’s worth the expense…

sky dining review

Welcome drink of champagne / mocktail before boarding the cable car

Upon arriving at Faber Peak, we found some seats and waited to board the cable car at 6pm for dinner. Signs were not quite prominent so at the beginning, we didn’t know where to go or who to ask regarding the Dining On Cloud 9 booking. Strangely enough, the lighting at the area around the cable cars is always kept dim. So later on, whenever the cable car pulls into a station, we’d just put a pause on the eating.

The first course on-board wasย Chilled King Prawn withย Mesclun, Salmon Roe and Mango Raspberry Dressing. Paired with it was a delightfully warmย Shellfish Consommรฉ, with Seafood Wrapped with Long Cabbage. It was a nice contrast of hot and cold.

cable car dining

At some point, I did wonder what the difference was between this particular $288++ package and the cheaper Singapore delights one, and of course, the regular no-food rides.

We had this cushion placed on top of the (hard) seats within the cable car…

mount faber cable car dining

Beyond that, if you’re expecting air-conditioning, nope there isn’t any. There were 2 small fans though which don’t offer much respite when we’re battling the post-rain humidity. ๐Ÿ˜€ Plus, the windows at the top weren’t shut so we had raindrops with the first course.

For the main course, we could choose either the Char Grilled Angus Beef Sirloin or the Almond Crusted Chilean Sea Bass. So we had one of each. Earlier on, I’d read online reviews about how the beef is rather ‘chewy’ / ‘rubbery’ but I still decided to give it a go. And the reviews were right. LOL! The fish was really good though. (How come it tasted like cod?!) With our mains were the house wine (red and white)

For dessert, we had Cheese Mousse with Wild Berry Compote plusย Coffee / Tea.

dining on cloud 9 review

Each couple also gets a box of chocolates (I’m not sure why since we already have dessert). The dessert was amazing – light, fluffy, and not too sweet. And it’s in the shape of a white rose. The berries were delicious too. This is what I mean by dessert having the power to either ‘make’ or ‘break’ a dining experience. This one was awesome.

~

Overall, here’s how I would rate our experience with Dining On Cloud 9…

Service: 1.75* / 5*

Food: 3.5* / 5*

Value-For-Money: 2* / 5*

The process of making a reservation via email was not that easy – I don’t fancy doing it again. Haha! The food was decent so I might head to Spuds & Aprons for meals in future. ๐Ÿ™‚

If the cable car is not your thing, perhaps the Singapore Flyer might entice you. For a shared capsule, their Premium Sky Dining Flight for 2 starts from 299++. For a private capsule for 2, the price would be $1,800++. (Apparently you get a bouquet there)

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Fry Pan Shokudo @ Isetan Scotts Food Republic

Fry pan shokudo

The Katsu Tower (Pork / Chicken) $40

I’ve never imagined that tonkatsu could be stacked up to form a “Katsu Tower”, but apparently that’s what you’ll find is on the menu at Fry Pan Shokudo. There should be a challenge, say, if you finish eating the entire katsu tower within 20 minutes, then you dine for free. Idea, right? ๐Ÿ˜€ Anyway, my 3 makan kakis and I couldn’t finish that one tower, and I tabao-ed most of it back for the folks at home.

*By the way, Miss World Japan 2016, Priyanka Yoshikawa, will be in town at Fry Pan Shokudo on 4 October 2017, 7pm, to promote the newly launched outlet. So if you’re in the Orchard area and want to meet the beauty queen, you know where to find her. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s everything we ordered. And there was just one thing lacking…

fry pan shokudo review

Dinner for 4 came up to almost S$80

Fry Pan Shokudo doesn’t sell drinks. But why not sell hot Japanese tea for $2 a cup? If there are free refills, even better! After you’ve had tonkatsu and tendon, you’ll be craving for a cup of tea to wash it all down. But we did have the Salmon Head Miso Soup ($8). I think the soup could do with stronger seasoning, though I like the large portion size as it’s great for sharing.

fry pan shokudo isetan scotts

Saba Set Meal $9

The saba fish was decent, if a little dry. But I love saba, and have ordered saba sets at various food courts and Japanese restaurants. I haven’t found one that can be labelled “to-die-for” yet; if you have a recommendation, please drop me an email!

My favorite dish at Fry Pan Shokudo was their tendon; well-seasoned with a variety of veggies. And just a tiny portion of rice, so even girlfriends on a diet won’t complain about the quantity. ๐Ÿ˜€

fry pan shokudo isetan scotts food republic

Jumbo Tendon with Soup, $12 each

All in all, I’d say this place is good for students or anyone who will have a kick out of ordering the Katsu Tower. It’s unlikely I’ll return again really soon (ate way too much katsu that day) unless they have something special going on: maybe multiple sauces to dip pieces of katsu in, that 20-minute challenge I mentioned earlier, or something fun along those lines. If you want an insta-worthy katsu picture, though, you’ll certainly get one here. ๐Ÿ™‚

Would You Purchase Chili Crab, Pizza Or Popiah From A Vending Machine?

Singapore Vending Machines

Found these machines at GIANT Tampines. Located on the ground floor, this space previously had fruit stalls. Now there’s an entire row of vending machines selling everything from shavers to snacks.

After some late-night grocery shopping at GIANT Tampines yesterday, my pals and I chanced upon a row of vending machines at the ground floor behind the escalators which took us down from level 2. There was a machine from GIANT which would give you a prize worth $100 (supposedly) if you put in just $10 – but the machine wasn’t in operation yet so we didn’t try it despite the obvious temptation. There were other machines selling toys, shavers (which my pal said seemed “so expensive”) and the usual – snacks. But there were others (as pictured above) which sold crab from House of Seafood, popiah from Mr Popiah and pizza from Shiok Pizza. Wow. Would you try any of these?

As we’d already had our dinner at Chomp Chomp, I purchased just 2 packets of snacks from the boxgreen vending machine.

boxgreen vending machine

Some of the snacks on sale at a boxgreen vending machine.

Had the Acai Berry Granola for breakfast today. You must have heard / read about the superfood acai berry before, right?

The pack supposedly contained “2.7 servings” but I think it’s about 1 serving size lahย unless you’re a really small eater. Taste-wise, I found it too dry for my liking, and it was rather bland. I can probably whip up something similar with products from a supermarket. Just buy some rolled oats, and toss in a few raisins, and you’ll get a similar texture. I was looking for some crunch, or some natural sweetness, so I was a little disappointed.

But it’s healthy, right?

boxgreen acai berry granola

I found the list of ingredients on the back, and was rather shocked to see butter on the list. Butter’s not something I want in my breakfast… so I don’t think I’m purchasing this again.

boxgreen granola review

I also purchased their Shiitake Mushroom Chips. Strangely enough, I couldn’t taste that umami flavor that mushrooms usually have. And they used pepper instead of salt (healthier, yes, I know) but not strong on taste either.

*I’ve actually written to boxgreen about 5 hours before putting together this blogpost. They read my FB message within 33 minutes of me sending it, but didn’t send me a reply. Oh well. I’d wanted to know why butter was in their granola, and how they would respond to customer feedback that the snack’s not very good. No response. O.K.

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When you’re making a purchase from vending machines, it’s generally better to purchase products you’ve already tried and liked, e.g. a certain soft drink or sports beverage. When it comes to food, especially if you’re concerned about food allergies, these machines don’t really give you the option of flipping the products around and checking their ingredients list or where they were manufactured. You’ll probably have to rely on the reviews by bloggers. I went to boxgreen’s FB page and didn’t see any review section – I’m hoping it’s not because they don’t want feedback. As for the chili crab, I’ve read some online reviews that it’s probably 80% as good as those you get in the restaurant. So… you might want to try those. (Read more here)

Saveur @ Far East Plaza

saveur chili crab squid ink pasta

Far East Plaza used to be a very ‘happening’ place when I was a student. It’s where we went to buy accessories, shoes, clothes, etc. Now, it’s a lot ‘quieter’ and that’s somehow sad if you’ve visited FEP during its heyday. And like many malls in Singapore, retail’s gonna suffer but F&B joints (which make the cut) and services would do well. I went past Far East Plaza today, spotted a poster with their current promotions and went in for a late lunch. I ordered just two items from their menu: the Chilli Crab Squid Ink Pasta and their Homemade Iced Lemon Tea. Lunch cost $20 but was slightly underwhelming.

I didn’t know what to make of that pasta dish. The overall taste was tart due to the tomatoes. And there were scallions (I believe) and spring onion – since when is that in a chili crab dish? The pasta was cooked perfectly though. And eggs with runny yolks always put a smile on my face.

I should have gone with the Salmon Confit ๐Ÿ˜€

saveur singapore promotion

Anyway, this promo ends tomorrow. So hurry down to Saveur if you want to enjoy those 3 items at discounted rates.

Their lunch and dinner sets are pretty tempting too. A 3-course lunch set costs $22.90++ while dinner is at $29.90++.

saveur lunch set

IF I return for lunch next time, I’ll probably go with the *gulp* Truffle Foie Gras (add $6, plus some guilt), Slow-Roasted Pork Belly, and the Creme Brulee. (Today’s ‘dessert of the day’ is Vanilla Ice Cream – how, erm, uninspiring).

If it’s dinner, I’ll go with Truffle Foie Gras (add $2 only!), Steak Au Poivre (add $8) and a Salted Caramel Lava Cake (add $5). Oh gosh, I see what you did there, Saveur. $29.90 + $2 +$8 +$5 + SV and GST= $52.53.

*”Steak au poivre or pepper steak is a French dish that consists of a steak, traditionally a filet mignon, coated with loosely cracked peppercorns and then cooked.”

Saveur dinner set

The iced lemon tea tasted a bit odd. One of the oddest “homemade” iced lemon teas I have ever tried. I think I’ll order something else next time. Water (refillable) at 30 cents might be a good choice also.

Saveur is located at #01-07 of Far East Plaza.

Jamie’s Italian @ Vivocity: Free Gelato One Time; Loyal Customers For Life

Jamie's Italian singapore

Have you ever experienced being rather lucky in a particular week, or just over a couple of days? Sure, misfortune loves company, but so does good luck! ๐Ÿ˜€ For about a week or so, I kept receiving free ice cream (is the Universe conspiring to make me fat-ter?) and no, it’s not because I’m a blogger. First, there was a scoop of free ice cream at Citrus Bistroย when he and I dined there after our swim; I was very happy to leave them a Facebook review when they asked, so I got rewarded with free ice cream. Couple days’ later, my pals and I got free coconut ice cream (that was so delicious) at Samsung’s Galaxy Studio when we were there to check out the new Note8. AND we also received complimentary gelato after lunch at Jamie’s Italian (Vivocity). Wait… complimentary gelato at Jamie’s Italian?! Haha. I’ll explain how it happened at the end of this blogpost. It was my third time dining at Jamie’s Italian but the first time for both of my pals.

The ambiance, as you can imagine, is pretty awesome.

Jamie's Italian vivocity

We weren’t exactly very hungry, thanks to the ice cream at Samsung. But since it was past lunchtime, and we hadn’t taken our lunch, PLUS it’s Jamie’s Italian, we simply ordered two mains to share. We ordered “Our Famous Prawn Linguine” and “Gennaro’s Tagliatelle Bolognese”. (1st and 3rd pics in this post)

This dish may not look like much, but it’s very tasty:

jamie's italian prices

We also checked out the menus for their set lunch and dinner. It’s pretty good value for money! Just make sure you bring an empty stomach.

Jamie's Italian lunch menu

Jamie's Italian dinner menu

So… what happened was… at the end of the meal, the wait staff came by our table to help settle the bill. And then someone who looked like a manager / supervisor came by to ask if we’d enjoyed the meal and if everything’s ok. And, of course, I can only say the food’s awesome and service was good too. And my pal chimed in, saying that it would be even better with (free) ice cream. As a joke, of course.

The dude took him seriously. And told us to look for him at the gelato counter on our way out. Oh gosh. As we were exiting the restaurant, he said something like “three cups, yes?” and I responded along the lines of “For real?!” (@_@)

And for the cherry on top, my pal (again) had something to say about the gelato. He wanted the hazelnut flavor, but wanted to try a little bit of the chocolate as well. So the very kind manager gave him two scoops of gelato.

All hail the God of Ice Cream:

Jamie's Italian Gelato

I already love Jamie’s Italian because (most importantly) the food is good, and they have really nice decor. But these little touches really blow the customer away. When other restaurants ask for feedback, it appears they ask out of habit. They don’t really intend to act on your feedback; and some even get defensive (like “no lah, it’s not that salty, other customers say it tastes great”). When my pal said ice cream would really make the meal even more enjoyable (and we’d already settled the bill), the fact that the guy gave us complimentary gelato… *sniffle*

THANK YOU! And I’ll be back! ๐Ÿ˜€

Kuro Izakaya @ Suntec: Will Be Back For The Oysters

kuro izakaya suntec

Yesterday, I met someone who said that whenever he’s thinking of what to eat, the “default” would always be Japanese food. Isn’t that interesting? I’m a big fan of Japanese food myself, and it seems like we keep trying to find good Japanese cuisine in Singapore, but they always pale in comparison to what’s available in Japan. So why do we even bother with eating Japanese food here instead of saving up and pigging out in Japan?

Anyhow, he and I redeemed a Fave by Groupon voucher for a meal at Kuro Izakaya at Suntec City recently. The restaurant is a little difficult to find as it’s not within the mall per se, but outside. Check out the last picture in this blogpost.

This entire meal, without Fave, would probably cost something like $30+ / $40 per pax.

In the very first picture you see above, all I can say is that the sashimi is decent – thicker slices would have given more of a ‘wow’ factor that I’ll go back for again. The mochi dessert that came with the meal was a little tough. I like mochi that is fluffy and chewy; theirs is more dense, like something you’d defrost from a package purchased at a supermarket. For me, the dessert can really make or break the whole experience.

Both of us agreed that the oysters with the mentaiko sauce was the best item we tried:

kuro izakaya singapore menu

Took perhaps all of 45 minutes to prepare. The last item that was served up. But it was worth the wait.

$15 for 3 oysters. I’d totally order this again.

We also had the pork belly on a skewer. He’d requested for less salt, but it arrived with lots of salt on it anyway. Oh dear. If your blood pressure needs a boost, here’s something to consider. ๐Ÿ˜€

kuro izakaya suntec review

I love beef + egg + caramelized onions on Japanese rice. Who knew that those crispy garlic slices would be the missing element? Now all this needs is a really tasty sauce (that is, hopefully, not overly salty)…

kuro izakaya review

So here’s a picture of where Kuro Izakaya is located. Near Suntec Tower Three and situated outside the mall. ๐Ÿ™‚ You’re welcome.

kuro izakaya singapore review

Citrus Bistro: Halal Eatery @ Sengkang Swimming Complex

citrus bistro halal

Thanks to a reservations site I like booking meals at ‘cos there are discounts of up to 50%, we had a most enjoyable meal at Citrus Bistro after our swim. He and I ordered quite a lot of food for 2 pax and ended up paying just half price. ๐Ÿ˜€ There was the set of beef sliders served with nachos that you see above ($10.90) and the potato wedges with 3 different dips – the wasabi mayo is the best – that usually costs $5.90.

citrus bistro sengkang menu

We also had the Mushroom Bruschetta ($5.50) that was delicious:

sengkang swimming complex food

And, without fail, I’ll order the Tom Yum Seafood Pasta ($12.90) which is a must-order dish, in my opinion:

citrus bistro senkang review

The lighting doesn’t do the pasta dish any justice, but you’ll have to trust me on this: the sauce is the right mix of tangy and spicy. It really whets your appetite so take it slow or else you’ll finish this dish in no time at all.

For dessert, we had the Molten Chocolate Lava Cake ($10.90) which came with a double scoop of ice cream thanks to the generous staff. When we were about to finish eating the first few dishes, one of them came over to present us with a loyalty card and ask if we would leave them a review on Facebook. And, of course, I happily obliged, and he said we’ll be given an extra serving of ice cream. ๐Ÿ˜€

citrus bistro sengkang

Their lava cake is really something else. It’s just a thin crust holding all that molten chocolate together. So expect that chocolate volcano to ‘erupt’ once you take a spoon to it. So awesome. ๐Ÿ˜€

citrus bistro sengkang price

Delicious: Cadbudy’s Old Jamaica Rum ‘N’ Raisin Dark Chocolate

Cadbury Old Gold Dark Chocolate

I like chocolate kept at room temperature (all melted and gooey) but this bar was kept in the fridge for folks who aren’t like me. ๐Ÿ˜€ Better for breaking into pieces for picture-taking too.

To me, Cadbury chocolates have always been the standard for ‘cheap and good’ chocolates. They satisfy chocolate cravings without putting a dent in your wallet. But there’s a range of (also cheap) Cadbury Old Gold Dark Chocolates that are simply… amazing. You might not believe they are Cadbury chocolates if you sample them in a blind taste test! I picked the Old Jamaica Rum ‘N’ Raisin dark chocolates as I love rum and raisin (ice cream), and I found this Cadbury version SO GOOD. There goes my plans of clean dieting…

Anyway, how do you like your chocolate? Kept in the fridge till it’s solid or left out at room temperature so it’s sticky and gooey? ๐Ÿ˜€ I really don’t like chocolates kept in the fridge because it’s all hard and less flavorful then.

Whether you like your chocolates rock solid or soft and chewy, you’ll love the Cadbury Old Gold (Rum ‘N’ Raisin). Upon tearing open the package, that smell of rum just hits you in the face, and once you taste a chunk of the chocolate, you’ll be amazed at the flavor and texture.

Cadbury Old Gold Old Jamaica Rum N Raisin

The package is resealable. Just peel it open, take a piece, and then seal it all back. I then put it in a ziplock bag, ‘cos I want to keep the chocs out in the open but don’t want ants attacking them. ๐Ÿ˜€

I’ve always been a fan of Cadbury’s Fruit n Nut chocolates. These R n R ones will likely appeal to fans of fruit n nut chocs! Even if you don’t like dark chocolate! It’s not as sweet as milk chocolate and it’s not bitter like dark chocolate usually is either. It’s the perfect balance! I think I’ve found my favorite chocolates! ๐Ÿ˜€

I’m just hoping some smart entrepreneur will use these chocolates in cupcakes. Rum ‘N’ Raisin Dark Chocolate cupcakes! Yummy! These would be awesome in ice cream as well.

Gosh. I’ll have to go grab a few more bars to gift to friends. I’ve never felt this impulse before. Cadbury chocolates have always been “cheap and good”. But these are cheap and GOLD!

The Grumpy Bear Cafe: Not For Grumpy Customers :D

the grumpy bear cafe

After our MacRitchie nature trail walk on Sunday, where we got to see monkeys, lizards, ginormous ants (fire ants, maybe?), we had an enjoyable lunch sesh at The Grumpy Bear located within Thomson Plaza. My Groupon-obsessed other half had bought a voucher for a meal for two here and so we ended up ordering the Fish & Chips and the Pork Loin. He used the squeeze bottle to write the word ‘Love’ on the plate using chili sauce (that you see in the picture above). So cute! And I must say it added some much needed color to the plate. I would recommend that the cafe adds some cherry tomatoes to the salad – it’ll add a nice pop of color. Here’s what the platter with the Pan Seared Pork Loin looked like originally:

the grumpy bear review

The fish & chips were ok, nothing great, just a decent plate of battered dory with shoestring fries, and no dip. We had to ask the staff for tartar sauce.

the grumpy bear cafe singapore

The couple seated at the table right next to ours had also ordered similar dishes. The lady was almost done with her plate of Fish & Chips when mine arrived. She looked over at my plate, then commented (loudly) to her partner that my fish & chips looked better than hers did. I think she was a little unsettled after the staff had served up someone else’s order to her table, and they had to come over and confirm what it was she had ordered for herself and her companion. I would agree that it was rather odd as all of us had to pay up first before our food would be served, so the cafe should have all orders printed out as per the receipts we’d received.

Anyhow, I guess we were high on endorphins after that 2-hour walk at MacRitchie, and nothing could upset us and love-filled makan session. Haha!

We had iced lemon tea with our meal (not bad) and ice cream served up in little sundae cups that they’d obviously kept in the chiller beforehand. It helped prevent the ice cream from melting too quickly. ๐Ÿ˜€ Thumbs up! *Also, I prefer the chocolate ice cream over the cookies ‘n’ cream!

the grumpy bear cafe menu

The cafe was celebrating its first anniversary, I think. ‘Cos they had a 1-for-1 promotion going on, which we obviously couldn’t enjoy as we’d arrived with Groupon/Fave vouchers. ๐Ÿ˜€ The prices are already VERY reasonable, as you’ll see in the menu below:

the grumpy bear menu

the grumpy bear thomson

I think there’s always going to be a trade-off. If the prices are reasonable / low, expect the cafe to be ‘cozy’, i.e. chairs and tables located close together in order to have as many diners seated within the cafe as is humanly possible. Our table was the one nearest to the entrance and yes, it was a bit of a squeeze. But when you dine at The Grumpy Bear, do not be grumpy ‘cos who knows when the “bear” is gonna dash out from the kitchen, spatula in handย paw? ๐Ÿ˜€ #justkidding

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The Grumpy Bear is located at #02-10 Thomson Plaza, 301 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574408.

Tel: 6452 0737

Recipes: Make Refreshing Cocktails & Mocktails With Twinings’ Tea

twinings tea singapore

I’ve previously blogged about how much I love Twinings’ Earl Grey Tea, and this month I got to learn from two of Twinings ambassadors how to brew their tea, and how to make cocktails and mocktails using Twinings’ range of tea (they have over 600 different tea blends, by the way). Twinings has a very long history behind it, hailing back to 1706. Also, in 1836, Queen Victoria appointed Twinings as an official Royal Warrant holder, i.e. the official tea supplier for the Queen’s houses. Whoa.

And this tea brand is supposedly really popular all over the world. They claim that in 2013, over 7 billion cups of Twinings tea was drunk! (I’m not sure how to verify that claim, but I do know for certain that their teas are really fragrant, and I love their earl grey tea – just gotta mention that again) ๐Ÿ˜€

If you’re slightly more hardworking than me, you can try your hand at making a cocktail or mocktail using Twinings’ tea or infusions. I simply add their Earl Grey tea to some lychees out of a can. ๐Ÿ˜€

Twinings flavors

Made using Twinings’ Strawberry & Mango infusion, with Sunquick’s Mixed Mango cordial.

Twinings Cocktails and Mocktails

A little decoration goes a long way ๐Ÿ˜€

Here are

Twinings cocktail recipe

twinings mocktail recipe

In this particular workshop, what I found most interesting was the bit about how Twinings does not own tea estates! They source from Ethical Tea Partnership tea gardens all over the world.

Also, they have a ‘Prince of Wales tea’, which cannot be sold in the UK, so you have to get them elsewhere. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Twinings Prince Of Wales Tea

How to brew the perfect cup of Twinings tea at home:

Step 1: Warm the cup
Step 2:  4 minutes with boiling water is good for infusions and black tea. Green tea will just take 3 mins, and it’s 2 minutes for white tea. Take care not to burn the green tea leaves or leave it for too long as it’ll turn bitter!

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twinings tea flavours

This workshop was organised by Auric and supported by the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i). e2i organises and supports various masterclasses to connect workers and industry practitioners with industry experts. Participants benefit from learning best practices, deepening their skillsets and mastering skills in their career to be future-ready.