Review: Novotel Clarke Quay’s Special Seafood Buffet

I’d give up every kind of food, except seafood. I’ve been relishing all kinds of seafood ever since I can remember. My parents tell me I used to enjoy fried fish and prawns more than candy. And to tell you a secret…I still do! So you can imagine I was mighty excited when Novotel Clarke Quay in Singapore invited me to try out their special, limited period seafood buffet at The Square restaurant.

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From April 6 to May 26, 2018, The Square is serving up a fabulous seafood buffet. And I can’t wait to tell you all about it. For starters, I love buffets. They’re a total value for money and you get to sample so many dishes. This one, in particular, is a steal as it features several expensive and exotic seafood.

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At The Square, the spread is crazy expansive – there’s so much variety. There’s a whole section for freshly cooked (and raw oysters) yummies from the ocean. I sampled a piece of it ALL – poached prawns, stone crabs claw, baby maroon lobsters, poached muscles, poached clams, scallops, bamboo clams, Alaskan king crabs, langoustine, Dungeness crabs and two kinds of oysters (US & Irish).

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Everything was so fresh, cold, clean and tasty. And and and… No two things tasted the same. My favourites (as hard as it was to choose) were the yum baby maroon lobster, textured scallops, cool bamboo clams, sesame infused octopus salad, the sweetest langoustine and the fresh oysters.

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Oh, and I haven’t even come to the mains yet. Wok-fried crayfish in two kinds of sauce (salted egg and pepper) – I couldn’t possibly eat both (wish I could) but I tried the pepper one. So good –  the inside was perfectly cooked and the outside was wok-fried that made it tastier! And the country’s favourite dish, chilli crab cooked in a delectable sauce. It tasted diving with soft and golden-hued mantou buns.

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Even on a regular, non-seafood buffet day, Novotel Clarke Quay is famous for its Laksa. I had to make a beeline for it. I’m a picky Laksa eater, so a DIY station made me happy. I piled a concoction of fresh ingredients into a bowl and handed it to the chef who put together a mouthwatering laksa with a broth that was not too thick.

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I liked that although there were two live stations dealing with heavily fragrant dishes (laksa and wok-fried crayfish), its scent didn’t overwhelm the restaurant. If you think about it, strong chimneys make such a difference to the dining experience.

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And now to the massive dessert bar.

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There’s an ice cream section with many toppings and classic and exotic flavours including a soothing green tea! There’s a sprawling table with cakes, pastries and chocolate fountain. Take your pick with the cakes – it’s hard to choose because everything looks beautiful. Even if you are too stuffed for dessert, you have to make room for the Wasabi cake (sweet to taste with wasabi-zingy aftertaste), the light meringue and the sinful caramel mousse pastry.

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Apart from Laksa, The Square has another speciality – Durian Pengat. Although I personally haven’t acquired the taste for this exotic fruit, all the other food bloggers on my table were humming in praise. So if you’re a Durian lover, you ought to give this a try.

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This is one of those leisurely buffets where you can sit and hammer every shellfish in sight, relish exotic seafood in Asian flavours that you might have never tried…and finally finish off with the sweetest treats and warm tea.

Okay, so how much is this buffet you ask?

Dinner buffet on Friday, Saturday, Eve of and Public Holidays
(6pm – 10pm)

Adult: $78++
Senior Citizen (above 55yrs): $55++
Child (5 – 12 yrs): $39++
++ 10% service charge and thereafter 7% GST

Where is it?
The Square Restaurant
Novotel Clarke Quay
(closest MRT is Fort Canning but can also get there from Clarke Quay MRT)
Level 7
177A River Valley Rd,
Singapore 179031

For reservations
Tel: +65 6433 8790
Email: H5993-FB8@accor.com

 

 

 

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Singapore Expat: Most essential apps to download when you reach the country

Moving to a new city can be fun, exciting and daunting in equal parts. But it helps to know that technology has your back. When we moved here late 2017, we relied heavily on apps and websites to make ourselves feel at home.

If you’ve just moved to Singapore or are just passing through, I guarantee this list right here is gonna be a lifesaver. My husband and I use all these apps on a regular basis, so rest assured these are reviewed and well-loved. This is one of two apps based stories.

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This list includes only the Most Basic and Most Essential apps you will need on arriving in the country. No smartphone in Singapore ought to exist without these all-holy apps. Our second list of Must-Have apps which you can pick and choose depending on your preference.

* this info is relevant as of March 2018. I hope the future me will update the app list! 

Never Get Lost with CityMapper
There’s no use relying on Google Maps in Singapore. What you really really need is CityMapper. Yes, there are other apps to help find your way around like MyTransport and Bus@SG, and I’ve tried them all. But CityMapper comes out on top as a clear winner.

It detects where you are, punch in where you want to go and CityMapper will list out all the possible routes and means of transportation to get there – from bus stops, bus numbers, MRT stations nearby to the exact transit time, which exit to take at the MRT and various heat safe routes. It even notifies you just before your bus stop and tells you which part of the train is emptier. I can’t get over this app!

CityMapper also has a fully functional website which lets you do the same thing.

Con: If I need to walk from the MRT or bus stop, CityMapper shows me the map and directions. Only this bit can get wonky sometimes. Sometimes I’ve got not-so-accurate (longer) routes. To fix it, I usually jump to Google Maps to crosscheck.

Free Internet with Wireless@SGx
Singapore has tons of places that provide free, public access internet to everyone. It’s fast, safe and always functional. Data by telecom providers is rather expensive, so you’re gonna want to download this little app for free internet.

Wireless@SG is is a wireless broadband programme developed by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. If you’re passing by the country, download Wireless@SG where you have to input your number everytime you want to use free public access internet.

If you’re here for a longer time or moving here as an expat, download Wireless@SGx. If you have a local number, you only have to register once and it automatically connects to free public access internet when you’re in range.

Find a flat with 99.co & PropertyGuru
Ah, the dread of the house hunt. Housing hunting can be fun and tiring. If you’re moving here, finding a nice place to live is probably numero uno on your checklist. Apart from FB groups, 99.co and PropertyGuru are the most popular platforms to find rentals. Almost always, the posts are uploaded by agents – which means you might have to pay them one month’s rent as a fee. But sometimes you’ll find homeowners listing their flats too. Both these apps let you call and message the person who uploaded the listing and coordinate conveniently.

Honestly, I’m not sure which of the two platform helped us find our home because we were really really active on both of them. We got lucky because our listing was posted by the homeowner himself, so we didn’t have to pay an agent fee. We just paid the deposit along with the first month’s rent.

There are several new and upcoming websites/apps like hmlet and roommates, but I haven’t really used them. So cannot vouch for them just yet.

Call a cab with Grab & Uber
Singapore is small and has one of the most connected, smooth transport systems. If you want to get somewhere quick or don’t prefer using public transport or are being lazy on a rainy day, then Grab or Uber your way around.
Be nice and use my reference codes that let both of us get free rides. 
Referral Code for Uber: aditig4063ui

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Disclaimer: Not a sponsored post. All views and reviews are mine. 

 

Event: Singapore’s First Silent Piano Concert

This was my first event as a blogger in Singapore and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Yamaha Music with Silent Disco Asia and FabCafe held Singapore’s first ever silent piano concert on Dec 21, 2017. It was held at night at ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay. And we were there to witness it all!

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Young and mighty talented pianist Li Churen played several pieces on Yamaha’s hybrid Silent Piano. As the presenter pointed out, it’s built for regular people like us who live in apartments. It’s fitted with a magnificent “Quiet Mode”. In this mode, you can play the piano and listen to yourself play live on a set of headphones attached directly to the instrument.

Continue reading “Event: Singapore’s First Silent Piano Concert”

Review: Flower Arrangement Workshop at A Better Florist, Singapore

It started a few days before New Year’s Eve and it still hasn’t stopped. It’s been pouring or drizzling in Singapore for a little over two weeks now and the temp has dropped drastically. I’m not complaining or anything but wearing full-length pants is a pain.

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Mine

Last Saturday was chilly and cloudy too, perfect weather for some long tau foo and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. Since I was invited to attend a flower arrangement workshop at The Better Florist, I pushed myself out of bed and skipped to their Clarke Quay HQ.
Continue reading “Review: Flower Arrangement Workshop at A Better Florist, Singapore”

Review: Magnum Choco Cappuccino

If you know anything about me, you will know my two weaknesses: Coffee & Chocolate. I know a lot of people who share my craze for these two sinful elements. And the other day, Magnum took it a step further. They recently launched their newest flavour – Magnum Choco Cappuccino – and I was one of the first few foodies to have the pleasure of tasting it.

If that wasn’t good enough, we did it with two of the biggest names the world of chocolate and coffee – Asia’s best pastry chef Janice Wong and World Barista Champion Fritz Storm. On the Sunday of 22nd February, Magnum invited a host of Bombay’s food bloggers for a super Masterclass 2.0 with this awesome twosome.

Fritz, who has an hilarious sense of humor, spoke to us about the intriguing world of coffee from its production and selection right up to brewing and pairing. If there was one thing that he ingrained in all of us was the importance of flushing the coffee maker before every brew. Janice, who’s confidence was contagious, narrated the tale of cocoa and talked about experimenting with her favourite muse. She even went on to create a scrumptious mousse with just 3 ingredients – chocolate, egg whites and water!

The Verdict
When we came to tasting the new Magnum Choco Cappaccino, the first crack of the chocolate coating resonated in the room and it was immediately following by a chorus ‘mmmmm’. This new Magnum flavour is available across outlets from March 1, 2015. It came as a surprise but there is one distinct element of the sweet-salty caramel that you cannot miss. I would have loved more coffee in the ice cream but that’s just me and my craze for black coffee talking.

Review: Jabong.com

Photography by Sirawon Khathing

I know a lot of people are still unsure of it but I’m all for shopping online. Some might even call me a bit of an addict. When I got a chance to review Jabong.com, I already knew what my verdict would be considering I’ve been an ardent shopper with them. So here goes…

The Shopping
The website itself is very intuitive and user friendly. I have signed up with them, so they even keep me posted about the latest offers and discounts. If you know what you are looking for, the filters on the site are amazing to help you narrow down your options. Filters including clothes category, size, offers, price, brands, colours eased it out for me to find that perfect dress under 1k.  
I usually take my time with shopping (typically Libran) so Jabong.com App in App Store/Google Play was a great help while browsing through dresses while on the move. I save the options I like in my Wishlist and come to it when I’m ready to make a decision. 
The Order 
From the options that I had (COD, Credit etc), I chose to pay online. I received my well packaged order in 1 and half days which was rather quick. One of the reasons I am unafraid to buy on Jabong.com is because of their 30 day return policy. If the dress doesn’t fit or I don’t like the way it looks on, I simply email them and they collect it back from my home, following which the amount given back to my as Jabong Credits. I didn’t have any problems with this dress so I kept it. 
The Verdict 
It was and always will be my favourite Indian online shopping website. 

Review: L’oreal Colour Riche Nail Polish

I’m the last person you will find in pink. But this L’oreal nail Polish was a tad hard to resist.

When I was given the Shocking Pink 201 I had my reservations. I wasn’t sure how it will look against my dusk skin but was I wrong. I tried it on a whim and totally loved it. It’s bright, it’s neon ish and bolder: it takes a different kind of crazy to get away with this. Full marks + a brownie point for the glossy finish that lasts.

Review: GAIA’s Green Tea + Tulsi

When the folks at GAIA sent over their tea, I was curious and how. Green tea, on its own, is an acquired taste for most and add a dash of tulsi to it to make it healthier… well it could either go really good or really bad from here. I’ve been trying out green teas for a while in a bid to lose some meat and this one definitely goes in the “hmm…interesting” pile.

I take my green tea with a teaspoon of honey. Now, this tea bag doesn’t need more than 3 dips to change colour in pipping hot water. Tulsi has a tendency to make the concoction bitter so I stuck to 2 few second dips and I suggest you do the same, unless you like your tea strong. 
My favourite thing about tulsi flavoured tea is the earthy aroma that transports me to a rainy day by the hillside. And this tea didn’t disappoint there. I also like how the packaging suggests you save and refrigerate used tea bag as facial cleansers and eye packs. 
FACT FILE
No of bags: 25
Price: Rs 150
Verdict: The other day, I completely forgot about my tea and it ended up cold. Before I could zap it in the microwave, I took a few sips (I’m adventurous like that) and guess what, it tastes great when its room temperature cold. When it’s hot though, I like it mild with honey. The tulsi can get a tad overpowering so dip with caution as per your taste.    

Review: Moshe’s Apple Honey & Cinnamon Jam

On an impromptu trip to FoodHall, I spotted his little jar. Apples, Honey, Cinnamon: Three of my favourite ingredients put together to make a jam. What could ever go wrong? Consistency of the jam, unlike most gelatin filled jams in the market, is soft, which I liked. Super excited, I slathered it generously on my multi-grain oats bread and took my first bite.

It did nothing for me. Second bite. Again…nothing. I couldn’t taste/smell cinnamon…which was a big disappointment considering there is a piece of bark in the jar. As for apples, there’s no denying that’s there but what’s that tangy flavour I keep getting?
Lime juice. It’s a bit overpowering. I am big fan of lime but not when I’m promised cinnamon. Now that I have already bought the bottle, I need to finish it. Turns out it tastes slightly better when it is refrigerated and used. 
FACT CHART
Price: Rs 105
Weight: 250gm
Ingredients: Apples, honey, cinnamon, sulphurless sugar, pectin, lime juice
Verdict: Maybe I set my expectations too high considering it’s Moshe’s and cinnamon. But if you say cinnamon on the bottle, a bark in the jar isn’t enough. I want more flavour and less lime. Or maybe, simply rename it to apples, honey and lime for accuracy.  
All images by Slow Motion Thoughts

Review: Cashkaro.com

When the good folks at CashKaro.com asked me to review their new website, I was rather curious. I love discovering new sites like any self respecting 20-something and I have a crazy Sale radar (digital and real life) that constantly baffles The Boy. So finding a new website that lists out all the e-discounts in India and allows for cashbacks on most of them was delightful.

I decided to buy this pretty little sling from LimeRoad.com that happened to give the highest cashback. If you are following me on my Instagram account, you would have seen this bag making an appearance now and again.

How it works is, you have to sign in to Cashkaro.com and go via that to a site of your choice. Choose the coupon of your choice and the cashback offered gets credited to your account in 3 days. To understand it better, read this.

Sometimes, like in my case, the purchase doesn’t register with the CashKaro. All I had to do was fill in a ticket where they asked for invoice details. This takes you to a waiting period where the guys at CashKaro verify if you really did go through their website. In a couple of weeks, stuff gets sorted and money gets credited to you account.

Once the monies is in the your digital account, you can transfer it to your bank. That’s the great part about this website. Discounts get converted to real moolah. Verdict, you ask? I like what I see. I wish it didn’t take so long though. But a little waiting never killed anybody…

Review: Bath Etc…’s Lip Balm

I was at an exhibition recently when I came across a stall run by this young girl – Pushtiie Shakti – who owns a line of handmade products under the name Bath Etc…I don’t know if they have a store but I tracked down their website.

Coming back to the exhibition… After sniffing almost everything on the table (more than once), I finally came out of my many heady trips with one and only decision. I have to own a Bath Etc… product and I have to own it now. She had soaps, moisturisers, lip balms and what not. She said they were all handmade with natural ingredients.

I was short of money but that didn’t turn out to be much of a problem because the stuff was surprisingly reasonably priced. You know me and my crazy person unhealthy love for cupcakes, so it was only natural…almost predictable…that I picked out the Raspberry Vanilla flavoured lip balm.
Best. 100 bucks. Spent. Ever.

Image by Slow Motion Thoughts

Moist, it last long but sadly I end up inadvertently eating most of my lip balm (See: Hogger).
Now that I constantly get the aroma of a small bakery, I can rest in peace! And like Pushtiie said, I’m sure The Boy is going to love it as much as I do!

Image by Slow Motion Thoughts