Here's introducing our 1st mini adventure for 2017-Staycation at Hotel Indigo Katong (Singapore).
We searched for a hotel with the following criteria in mind:-
2) Decent-sized swimming pool
3) Reasonable pricing
4) Tasteful decor
5) Accessible with lots of food nearby, even at night
Viola! Hotel Indigo was what we wanted and best of all, it featured an infinity pool! After reading through the numerous positive reviews online, we proceeded with our booking.
Prior to check-in, we had our lunch at the Killiney cafe which sits in a new little shopping centre (Katong Square) right next to the hotel. Sheltered - rain or shine. There is also another bigger shopping mall-Katong 112 next to Katong Square. All a stone's throw away.
Special shout out to the yummy Mee Siam from Killiney! yummy!
Check-in/out process was swift. Hotel lobby was tastefully decorated with a strong Peranakan (Nyonya) theme to it. Peranakan ornaments lined the shelves in the spacious lobby with many comfy seats which you could enjoy your welcome drink in. There is also a Peranakan restaurant (Baba Chew) within the hotel if you are interested in Peranakan cuisine.
Shophouses lie opposite the hotel, featuring a number of eateries/bars/bistro including a famous Nyonya dumpling (i.e. steamed glutinous rice containing bits of sweet meat wrapped in lotus leaves and tied into a pyramid shape) shop -Kim Choo Kueh Chang which offers Nyonya and other meat dumplings alongside other Nyonya kuehs).
We were assigned a room (Premier twin) on the 15th floor which offers a bird's eye view of the neighbourhood. The shower room is at the other end of the room (facing the view- blind available for privacy) separate from the toilet. We suppose this room type is for couples... as there is no bathroom door. Also the restroom's sliding door has no lock. We noticed from the website that there is another type of room with a bathtub in the living area that is perfect for honeymooning couples :)
Room supplies are more than adequate - In-room safe, hairdryer, kettle, bathrobes, toiletries including toothbrushes, toothpaste, sewing kit etc, iron and ironing board, bedroom slippers, well-stocked mini bar with snacks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, TWG tea, coffee, coffee machine etc. There is even a smart phone for guest's use. Numerous channels are also available on TV including HBO, Nat Geo etc. Wifi is stable.
We liked the Carom board in the room and much wanted to play a game or two, but sadly, we were too exhausted on the check-in day after spending about 2 hours in the infinity pool. We went again the following morning before check-out and didn't have the time ultimately to play the game. Maybe next time.
Another item that stood out in the room was a multi-coloured string chair which (we understand from hotel staff) was customised and imported from Italy. It was so comfy and cooling to relax on.
We absolutely love the infinity pool, lying on the water, enjoying cloud gazing and the sunset. It is pretty windy up there but it isn't that cold with the sunlight. We were there from about 4+ in the afternoon till sunset and it was not too crowded.
It was a fun albeit short staycation. Rejuvenated and back to reality the next day!
P/s For tourists, Katong is a neighbourhood which you could consider exploring as you would be able to find good local food by famous eateries such as chicken rice from Boon Tong Kee restaurant, laksa by 328 Katong laksa (prawn noodles with spicy broth with coconut milk), Nyonya delicacies, Bak Kut Teh (pork in herbal/ peppery broth) etc.
The annual mid-autumn festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month (i.e. for this year, it will be 15 September 2016).
For the past many years, many shopping centres all over Singapore have been holding mooncake fairs. We simply love the mega mooncake fair at Takashimaya SC ("TSC"). In this 1,000 square metres event hall (Basement 2 of TSC), you will find more than 25 exhibitors from famous hotels, restaurants, bakeries etc showcasing their mouth-watering/artistic-looking mooncakes. They not only compete in terms of taste but packaging and pricing as well. Packaging is very important to shoppers who are looking to buy the mooncakes as a gift. Lots of efforts are being put into the design of the mooncake boxes.
Sampling is available from most of the exhibitors - some are relatively more generous with their serving sizes.
There are many different types of mooncakes. Some of the usual ones are:
Traditional baked mooncakes (above) - A must!
With lotus seed paste/white lotus seed paste* and macadamia nuts/melon seeds
With single/double/4 salted egg yolks
With mixed nuts (not our cup of tea though but some people likes it!)
With lotus seed paste with pandan extract
Snow-skin mooncakes (usually taste sweeter)
With lotus seed paste/white lotus seed paste* and macadamia nuts/melon seeds
With single/double/4 salted egg yolks
With fresh durian (mao san wang durian being the most premium/fragrant) - Durian lovers are always willing to pay a premium for it. Usually costs above $60 for a box of 4
Flaky skin mooncakes
With yam filling
* Less sweet but slightly more costly
Our personal favourites are (1) Traditional baked mooncakes (2) Snow-skin durian mooncakes! More on that below!
Top 2 rows: Traditional baked mooncakes
Last row (from left): Flaky skin mooncake with yam filling, Moon tarts with lotus seed/walnut filling
We didn't try the moon cakes from the above booth so can't really give any comments.
Mooncakes that are freshly baked on-the-spot... the flaky skin mooncake with yam filling. Nice...
We like the taste of the traditional baked white lotus seeds mooncake from Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The skin is fragrant and the white lotus paste is just of the right texture and sweetness... After sampling the mooncakes from the different hotels/restaurants, we finally settled for the one below...
Traditional baked white lotus seeds mooncakes (with single yolk) from InterContinental Hotel. It won us over in terms of taste, packaging and price ($48 for a box of 4 mooncakes). Fragrant, yummy, great texture, just the right amount of sweetness! Nice rectangular paper bag too!
Mooncakes are best paired with hot Chinese tea. There is a booth at the mooncake fair where you can get to sample some of the selections from Pryce. Comes in elegant packaging and a variety of gift sets. We absolutely love the aroma of "Ginger Garden"- a homeopathic blend of Oolong with lingering hints of ginger and rosemary that is light on the palate, as well as "Vanda Miss Joaquim" - Tie Guan Yin with sprinkles of fragrant Orchid petals. The tea bags come in beautiful silken shaped pyramids. We bought 3 boxes at the promotional price of $55.
If you are a fan of durian mooncakes, you may want to give this brand, ""Kele", a try. You may not be aware of this brand previously because it is the first year they are participating in the mooncake fair at TSC. We sampled the mao shan wang durian filling which was really thick and creamy with that strong distinctive aroma. Definitely on par with the established brands! We bought 4 mao shan wang mooncakes from them at $58 (early bird discount). Not too sure what the price is currently but mao shan wang durian mooncakes from reputable brands usually retail for $70 and above.
Charcoal snow skin mao shan wang mooncake
Best eaten frozen! Heavenly smell and taste for a durian fan!
Apart from mooncakes, there are many other delectable pastries... Watch out for the calories and sugar though...
Kueh lapis and other pastries...
Mellben Seafood- Pasir Ris Drive 4 Blk 440 #01-13
On the recommendation of a relative who raved about the claypot crab laksa here, we decided to check this out after a mini work-out session at Pasir Ris Park.
Mention "Mellben Seafood" and most people would think of the branches in Ang Mo Kio or Toa Payoh. Little did we know that there is also an outlet in Pasir Ris and what's more, it is the very first outlet in Singapore.
It was a Saturday and we hardly have to queue. For those who go solely for good seafood and would not really mind the humble ambience (non air-conditioned coffee shop), this is the place!
Tada... The piping hot yummy claypot laksa!
We like the idea that the laksa came in a claypot as it keeps the food real hot. The gravy is just nice; not too spicy, oily nor thick. The crab is very fresh with sturdy white flesh. The laksa could be a satisfying meal in itself. We slurped up every single bit in the claypot!
Another star of the night!! "Shimmering sand crab" or "jin sha xie" in Chinese. Crab cooked in buttery cream sauce with just the right hint of sweetness & saltiness. For those who dislike the smell of milk (like myself), don't worry, there is absolutely no milky smell at all... You just have to try to know it! Pairs perfectly with the mini fried buns (or "mantou")
Check out the sturdy flesh from this male crab! If you do not particularly enjoy crab roe, then you may wish to go for male crabs as they tend to be bigger with firmer flesh.
These - for the 3 of us.
We will definitely be back for more. This time round, we will bring more people so that we can order more dishes! The bill came up to be about $120 (about $50 for each crab).
East Coast Park with a new face! We have not explored the whole park but these were the few things we noted:-
1) More pubs and restaurants - the park appears more brightly lit and lively especially on a weekend.
2) MacDonald's "State of the Art" feel (e.g. mobile charging stations equipped with handphone cables for both android and iphones). Also features a salad bar and more extensive menu
3) A large playground for kids and perhaps grown-ups...
4) Bicycle rental shops (not new). Check out the quadcycle if exploring the park with family members who can't cycle.
Sakuraya (Parkway Parade Shopping Centre #B1-84D) is one of our favourite Japanese restaurants when it comes to quality Japanese food that is pretty wallet-friendly at the same time.
This little restaurant sits at the back of a mini Japanese supermarket that offers various Japanese snacks, groceries, frozen food items, ice-cream etc.
There is also a fresh food section where you can get to select fresh sashimi, scallops, octopus etc that are housed in clear transparent bags. Both take-away and dining-in options are available.
Alina simply loves the scallops and octopus for their freshness and texture! At just the right consistency, every bite is heavenly to her! Raw food is not for Aileen though because of her weak stomach.
If you love potatoes, you should also try their smooth and somewhat creamy potato salad that contains bits of hard boiled egg (white) and finely chopped carrots. Otherwise, you could also order their cold block of tofu in sesame salad dressing. Both are perfect as appetizers.
The chawanmushi is smooth, somewhat similar to that at Sushi Tei.
If you love crispy fried food, we would highly recommend the ebi fry maki. The sushi rice and fried ebi are tasty and in good proportions.
The next time you are in Parkway and craving Japanese food, do give it a try:)
We were on our way to Parkway Parade Shopping Centre where we chanced upon this little organic shop in Roxy Square (#02-05).
Rows of "candy" dispensers lined the wall of the shop. Lo and behold! They contained not candies but a wide selection of treats such as brazil nuts, cocoa nibs, chocolates... the list goes on.
The friendly and knowledgeable lady boss, Ling Kwan, was very welcoming and made many product recommendations and their benefits.
We walked around the shop and caught sight of organic coconut oil. We have read about coconut oil being able to aid in weight loss - something that both of us really need!
However, Ling Kwan suggested their home brand Chia Oil instead. She shared that it aids in weight loss as well as help in balancing hormones. We decided to give this product a try! In place of salad cream when we have our salad...
As we marvelled over those "candy" containers, we saw Chia seeds. They look very fine and clean (no sight of any debris or impurities - something we have been wary of after a previous encounter with an online seller). We decided to give these seeds a 2nd chance:)
As we were chatting about health foods, turmeric being one of them, Ling Kwan brought out some almonds from the refrigerator and told us to try them. Boy! These are not your usual almonds but turmeric, garlic and lime infused almonds. They tasted really fragrant with a hint of sourness in them but not at all overpowering despite the turmeric/garlic used. We love them. The picture on the right shows a half-consumed packet.
If you are looking for something that isn't too sinful to munch on, you may want to consider these dried mulberries. They taste a little like raisins but not as sweet. Those without the overly sweet tooth will probably enjoy munching on them. Do go easy on them though as dried fruits contain natural sugar which should not be consumed in excess!
At SGD8.80 a bottle, this little bottle of mulberry essence is a tad too costly for daily consumption. We diluted this in a glass of ice water. It has a strong smell of red wine but the taste is pretty bland. Perhaps we added too much water. It is said to be packed with resveratrol and other vitamins. They have a 750ml bottle at SGD88.
As we were browsing the shelves, there was a powdered version of yoghurt that caught our attention. As we enquired about it, we were shown to the refrigerator where there were ready made yoghurts in various flavours such as passion fruit (sold out) and berries in little containers. We bought 1 at SGD1.20. It was so yummy. Ling Kwan thoughtfully packed in 2 little spoons and added some yummy organic raisins knowing that we are headed to the beach.
We will definitely be back for more!!!