Romantic Weekend with Horizon Bistronomy at Punggol Settlement

Mention Punggol and the immediate association is with the new residential estate of mostly young couples. Punggol may still be a new town in development and lacking in some facilities. But with the new publicity about Punggol Waterway Park, the town has come under the radar with many interesting places to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

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Located at the tail end of Punggol Road, The Punggol Settlement sits directly at Punggol Promenade. Just imagine a waterfront dining experience similar to Kallang Wave or East Coast Park, but with more privacy and serenity. The Punggol Settlement is a specialised food and beverage development concept envisioned aim to revive old Punggol back to its former glory as the dining destination of north-eastern Singapore.

With a total of more than 14 retail and restaurants nestled within The Punggol Settlement, you can have your choice from seafood, Thai, western, or even a Peranakan restaurant. It’s a great for a weekend family outing. For a quiet, romantic dinner with a view, my recommendation is Horizon Bistronomy located at level 2 of The Punggol Settlement. It’s a fantastic place to bring your date and enjoy a good French cuisine without burning a hole in your pocket.

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Horizon Bistronomy is a French restaurant that aims to deliver fine and quality French food to the mass market , in a casual and affordable setting. Head by Chef Chris Fong, the owner of Horizon Bistronomy, the bistro serves fine French delights in a casual setting. Chef Chris started his own restaurant because he wanted to introduce fine food to the masses without compromising quality.

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It was my pleasure to be invited by Horizon Bistronomy for their food tasting event two weeks ago. Here’s the list of the recommended menu and food description. I have also added my own comments as well as my ideal wine-pairing with the dishes. All wines mentioned are available at Horizon Bistronomy, by glass or bottle.

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Chilled Crab Meat Angel Hair (S$11.90) – Truffle angel hair topped with jumbo crabmeat infused with chorizo oil finished off with salmon roe. 

The first dish of the evening was the truffle oil-infused pasta pair with scrumptious crabmeat. For this appetizer, my recommendation is to pair with Waipara West Sauvigon Blanc 2013 from New Zealand. New Zealand is famous for their “crisp, elegant, and fresh” Sauvigon Blanc. It’s one of the few wines that goes really well with seafood.

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Assorted Tomato Salad (S$12.90) – Medley of fresh tomatoes  with home made red pesto and burrata cheese.

A refreshing salad with different types of tomatoes from Japanese, US and local. Although I like this appetizer for its freshness, but comparing the two dishes, I would order the Chilled Crab Meat Angel Hair if I can only choose it. The former is good for its value-for-money quality.

For this dish, I’ve selected Louis Latour Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2012 from Burgundy, France. Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2012 reveals an intense red color, with flecks of rubis color. Ample and powerful on tasting, this wine expresses an interesting aromatic complexity, coated in soft tannins. Perfect with grilled meat or cheese.

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Horizon Pork 2 Way (S$25.00)- 24-hour slow braised pork belly & Kurobuta pork tenderloin served with roasted cauliflower puree, vegetables, grape mustard and black pepper sauce.

The braised pork belly remains me of a Chinese dish – Dongpo Pork. In the classic French style of cooking, the braised pork is fat but well-balanced with the light cauliflower puree, and touch of grape mustard.

I would suggest ordering a bottle of Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2012 to go with the tomato salad and Pork 2 Way. Alternatively, try this with a glass of Cheval Noir Bordeaux 2010 or Famille Perrin “Perrin Reserve” Cotes du Rhone, both from France.

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King of the Sea (S$22.00) – Miso infused torched king salmon & king prawn on a bed of assorted vegetables ragout.

I like the freshness and sweetness of the prawn is fresh & sweet. Chef added foam mustard to balance acidity of the seafood. Maybe I expected too much, but I was hoping that the salmon would have an X-factor but unfortunately it grilled salmon tastes fairly in comparison. Perhaps the chef’s idea was to lock it in its freshness.

Try pairing this main course with Simonnet-Febvre Chablis 2012 from Chablis, France. The cool climate of this region produces wines with more acidity and flavors less fruity than Chardonnay wines grown in warmer climate.

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Citrus White Chocolate Mousse (S$12.00) – Short crusted pastry layer with Valrhona white chocolate mousse, lemon curd, orange creme anglaise, sprinkled with white chocolate soil.

Onward to the desserts… The lemon curd is refreshing and able to balance off the sweetness of white chocolate. If you are planning to order a bottle of white, both the Sauvigon Blanc from New Zealand or Chablis blend are good to last the whole night. If you are ordering by glass, try tasting this dessert with  Paolo Saracco Moscato d’asti from Pietmont, Italy if you have a sweet tooth.

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Fig & Bacon Sabayon (S$9.80) – A unique combination of candied bacon and fig compote, with fresh berries and a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream, resting on a bed of champagne sabayon

How many times have you had sweet bacon as a dessert item? Well, if you are a lover of bak kwa then this special combination of sweetness, saltiness, sourness, cold, crisp with a touch of champagne is the perfect way to finish off the meal. Try pairing it with Joostenberg Little J Cinsault Rose 2011 from Paarl, South Africa.

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Garden by the Bay ($14.00) – Fresh strawberry, kiwi and apple bits layered by vanilla mousse, topped with dark chocolate soil resting on apple compote infused with cranberry.

The dessert gets better as it goes down the list. With a cute name like Garden by the Bay, this dessert consists of hazelnut & chocolate soil layered by vanilla cream with a touch of sea salt. The bits of strawberry, apple and kiwi help to balance of the rich vanilla mousse. Try the dry Pares Balta Cava Brut NV from Penedes, Spain to balance the sweetness of this dessert.

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Horizon Bistronomy is definitely a good place to chill out with your friends or an ideal date by the bay. The price is very reasonable and it has an great ambiance with sea view. Food is of good quality but don’t expect fast service. Quality French cuisine takes time to prepare so be ready to wait for 15-20 minutes between dishes.

The Punggol Promenade area, thought isolated, offers other activities to do around Punggol Road End…

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Gallop Stable and Punggol Ranch Resort

A laid back leisure park where you can try riding a horse at Gallop Stable, enjoy a drink or meal or even a staycation in one of the stable chalet at Punggol Ranch Resort. It’s just located right next to The Punggol Settlement. Scroll down to the end for directions on getting there.

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Cycling or taking a walk along Punggol Point Park or Punggol Promenade 

Want to feel like guilty before you pig out at The Punggol Settlement? Why not try renting a bicycle and go for a leisure ride along the serene Punggol Promenade? Or you can take a stroll along Punggol Point Park watch ships docking between the Straits of Johor after dinner.

Address: 3 Punggol Point Road, Singapore 828694

Reservation hotline: +65 6702 2855 (Closed on Mondays)

Getting there

If you are not driving, going to The Punggol Settlement and the other above mentioned places is not difficult. Just take bus 84 from Punggol MRT Station and alight at Punggol Road End.

Do you know of other places worth visiting in Singapore? Please comment below.

Splurge or Save: 6 Ways to Spend the Ultimate Weekend in Singapore

It’s official, Singapore overtakes Tokyo and is now the world’s most expensive city to live in, according to a report by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). These days, weekends are no longer fun anymore. A weekend trip out with your partner / friends / family can easily cost more than S$100 per person. I hunt down the latest buzz for you to enjoy at a dime, but wait, there’re also options for special treats!

Weekend is the best day of the week for sleeping in. Usually I will spend Saturday hanging out with friends and keep my Sunday to laze around. After all, it definitely cost less to enjoy beer at home than a meal outside. (Read on to find out how to win FREE F&B vouchers GIVEAWAY!)

Suggested Itinerary / Recommended Program

1. Brunch @ MEDZ 

There’s a new brunch in town packed with culturally diverse flavours happening at MEDZ  – the casual dining restaurant for Mediterranean food. Recently launched on 22 February, I ditched my nasi lemak and kaya toast to choose from the wide range of cuisines from France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

SAVE: Experience one of the largest range of brunch items with prices from just $12.90 to $14.90. All brunch items come with free coffee. Go in a group of 5-6 and order 4-5 items for sharing. Remember to leave some room for the delightful dessert – The Berry Lust Pancake!

Le Jolly Monsieur (French) - Ham, bacon, Bechemel sauce, cheese, scramble egg & pork bratwurst ($13.90)

Le Jolly Monsieur (French) – Ham, bacon, Bechemel sauce, cheese, scramble egg & pork bratwurst ($13.90)

Stacked Brunch Torte (Italian) - Puff pastry, eggs, ham, mushroom, spinach, cheese & bell pepper ($14.90)

Stacked Brunch Torte (Italian) – Puff pastry, eggs, ham, mushroom, spinach, cheese & bell pepper ($14.90)

Bouncy Benedict (MEDZ style) - Home-cured salmon, baked tomato, rosti potato, English muffin & salad ($14.90)

Bouncy Benedict (MEDZ style) – Home-cured salmon, baked tomato, rosti potato, English muffin & salad ($14.90)

Toasty Tortilla (Spanish) - Scrambled egg, stewed beans with chorizo & Brioche toast ($14.90)

Toasty Tortilla (Spanish) – Scrambled egg, stewed beans with chorizo & Brioche toast ($14.90)

Poseidon's Wrap (Greek) - Prawn, fish, squid, tomato, lettuce, scramble egg, tzatziki & Greek salad ($14.90)

Poseidon’s Wrap (Greek) – Prawn, fish, squid, tomato, lettuce, scramble egg, tzatziki & Greek salad ($14.90)

A Berry Pancake Gala (dessert) - Fresh berries, summer berries, topping cream ($12.90)

A Berry Pancake Gala (dessert) – Fresh berries, summer berries, topping cream ($12.90)

Locations: MEDZ currently has two locations – Orchard Central #B2-01 to 03 / #B2-30 to 43, and Millenia Walk #01-46/47/55/56. Brunch available from 11am onwards at Orchard Central, and from 11.30am onwards at Millenia Walk out. For more information, check out their Facebook.

2. Teo Heng KTV Studio

After a hearty meal, hop on to the MRT and alight at Bras Basah station (Circle Line) or Dhoby Ghaut station (North-South / North-east Line) . A stone throw away is Teo Heng KTV Studio where you can sing your heart out without bursting the seams. For those who are not aware, this budget karaoke studio has a new outlet at Rendezvous Hotel.

SAVE: Happy Hours start from 12pm to 7pm. Medium size room costs only $10 per hour, can accommodate up to 5-6 persons. If you and 4 of your friends sing for 3 hours, that’s only $6 per person! It’s a no-frills concept but drinks available at $1 onwards.

I had a good 3-hour of singing with my UniSIM school mates after our exams

I had a good 3-hour of singing with my UniSIM school mates after our exams

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Photo credit: http://michellelujj.com

Location: Teo Heng KTV studio is located at 9 Bras Basah Road, Rendezvous Hotel Gallery #02-03. Remember to call the outlet at 6338 0603 to make reservations at least 1-2 weeks in advance. They have other outlets spread across the island, check out their website for more information.

3. Platinum Movie Suite @ The Cathay

If you croak like a frog or just tired from singing, take a walk down Orchard Road to The Cathay. Golden Village has its version of Gold Class and Cathay Cineplexes has its Platinum Movie Suite. I was fortunate to enjoy the experience as my friend, Min Lee had a free pair of tickets to RoboCop (2014) from her boss. We were treated to spacious airline first class style couch with butler service and a welcome drink. The butler on duty would tuck us in a comfortable duvet before the start of the movie.

SPLURGE:  This is for one of those special occasions. Perhaps it’s your first date, anniversary or celebration, get a pair of platinum movie ticket at $28 each. Dining & Movie Experience package is at $76 per person (Priority Cardholder: $69). For the budget conscious, there is the 1-for-1 student deal every Monday & Tuesday for screen before 6pm, and discount on popcorn and F&B menu.

Image from Popspoken.com

Image from Popspoken.com

Locations: Cathay Platinum Movie Suites are located at The Cathay, level 5 (2 Handy Road), Cathay Cineleisure Orchard, level 4 (8 Grange Road) and JEM, level 5 (50 Jurong Gateway Road). Visit their website for more information.

4. Ramen Kagetsu Arashi 

After movie at The Cathay, go down Basement 1 for a mouthwatering ramen treat to end the day! Ranked one of Japan’s top 3 ramen chains with more than 290 outlets worldwide, within 6 months, Ramen Kagetsu Arashi has already opened 3 outlets in Singapore. My personal recommendations are their gyoza and the two new exclusive dishes – Ginjiro ramen and Itameshi dry curry rice.

SAVE: Gourmet ramen and tasty curry rice can be affortable. A bowl of Ginjiro ramen is priced at only $13.90 (definitely tastier than any of Ramen Champion’s ramen) and Itameshi Dry Curry Rice, priced at $12.90, gives Pepper Lunch a run for its money. Ramen Kagetsu Arashi provides freshly crushed garlic, special in-house seasoned chives (prepared daily), specially imported black pepper and their chef’s secret recipe soy sauce to accompany your meal.

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Complement the flavours by adding freshly crushed garlic using the unique garlic press tool provided

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I added seasoned chives and a dash black pepper to accentuate the flavours of the signature soup base

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Even those who cannot take spicy food will like the brand new dry curry rice

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No ramen meal is complete without gyoza (5-pc for $6.00)

Locations: Choose from 3 locations – The Cathay #B1-01/02/03, The Star Vista #01-41, or Tampines 1 #02-09/10. Their Facebook page contains more information on contact number and opening hours.

Off the beaten track – Hidden Cafes in the heartland

If a day in town is not your thing, why not try these quiet corners for cafe in Singapore? Forget about heading to shopping malls, I have enough of Starbucks and ToastBox. Here are 2 of my personal choice when it comes to the pastries, moreover, you don’t have to look far as they are probably your neighbourhood.

5. The Audacious Cakery 

Everton Park is slowly evolving into an enclave of vibrant food scene with the addition of The Audacious Cakery being the new kid on the block. Located a short walk away from Outram MRT station, this cozy, vintage theme cafe is hidden from the main road. Though a small seating area for about 10 persons, this unique cakery offers mini cakes, tarts, cupcakes and macarons. Some of my favorites include Lemon Meringue Tart and the Matcha (green tea) Cupcake.

SPLURGE: Come to The Audacious Cakery because it offers a selection of alcohol-infused pastries. I confessed I’m alcoholic hence my choice of these premium cakes. I simply can’t get enough of their Foret Noir ($9.80) and Monet ($9.80) cakes. Two distinctively flavours – one with Kirsh soaked cherries and Kirsh Cream on a dark Vairhona chocolate genoise, and the other contains orange mousse with champagne, served with a tart raspberry compote on a Cointreau soaked sponge studded with red currants.

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Foret Noir (Black Forest) – $9.80 for the petit gateau servers 1-2 persons, warning it’s alcoholic

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Quintessential vintage style environment greets you as you walk into The Audacious Cakery

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Mini cakes start from $6.80 to $9.80 each. Cupcakes at $3.50 each (addition $1.00 for alcoholic cupcakes – Irish Cream, White Russian and Strawberry Daiquiri)

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Order your cuppa to enjoy with the delectable tarts from $5.80 to $8.80 each

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I had a good time with Sophie and Mariana. Alcoholic pastry treats are best enjoyed with your Down Under buddies.

Location: The Audacious Cakery is located at 2 Everton Park, #01-61, Singapore 081002. Opening hours is from 8am to 7pm (closed on Sunday & public holidays). For more information, please visit their website or Facebook.

6. fRoZ Bakery

If splurging on pastries burns a hole in your hole, try these treats from fRoZ Bakery. I guarantee that you will soon be burning calories due to these irresistible muffins, cheesecakes and brownies at affordable prices.  Originally located at 128 Bedok North Street 2, fRoZ Bakery made a business decision to relocate. It’s now located near Dunman Secondary School and All Saints Home. I managed to chance upon it while attending Mr Baey Yam Keng’s monthly Kopi Talk.  Check out the review by Priscilla (Pingerrain.com) and Michelle (Michhysaurous)

SAVE: Muffins are priced at $1.30 each, brownies at $1.70 per piece and miniature cheesecake from $3.50 onwards. My all-time favorite is the Banana Walnut Muffin (only $1.30), consumed when freshly baked is a heavenly treat. Now they also have premium flavour selection muffins at $1.50 each. They have several set promotions like 6-piece Value Box consisting of 2 muffins, 2 brownies and 2 mini cheesecake at only $10.80 (usual price $14.00). Take your time and have your choice.

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12 different flavours to choose from. A box of 6 muffins at $6.80. Ala carte at $1.30 per piece. Premium flavours available at additional $0.20 per piece.

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6-piece Value Box with 2 muffins, 2 cheesecakes and 2 brownies at only $10.80. Let’s call for a tea party!

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Food styling by http://www.pingerrain.com

Location: fRoZ Bakery is tucked in a corner on the eastern shore of the island at Blk 476, Tampines Street 44, #01-175B, Singapore 520476. For details, please visit their Facebook page or website. Opens daily from 9am, except every Thursday (closed).

FREE food vouchers for GIVEAWAY!

I’m doing a Rafflecopter giveaway (10 sets of $25 vouchers to be given away), simply click on the link and follow the instructions.

1. Follow @MalcolmSunny on Twitter

2. Comment on any of my blog posts

3. Follow @MalcolmSunny on Instagram

Giveaway ends on 31 March 2014. Applicable for only residents in Singapore. Good luck! 

“Save time, pay less, travel more – Get cheaper air tickets and hotel rooms with Wego.com“.

Go Fly Kite!

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Nested at the heart of Marina Reservoir is my favorite weekend hang out venue. The Marine Barrage creates Singapore’s 15th reservoir, making Marina Reservoir the first water catchment in the city centre. Its quiet corner grands us the magnificent view of the Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Flyer while we enjoy our picnic and watch children and adults alike attempting to fly their kites.

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Kite flying is one of my favorite leisure activity and one of the cheapest activities to do on a weekend with friends. Just bring along a kite (which you can get from shops in heartland for less than $5 each), string, ground sheet and a picnic basket and you will be able to enjoy a relaxing weekend.

It was partly cloudy we arrived at Marina Barrage around 5pm on Sunday. We attempted a few times to get our kite up but the lack of breeze was not helping. It’s quite strange as usually there are strong winds and it’s effortless to fly a kite there. In the end, we decided to camp at a corner and watch other people (mainly children) running around and trying to fly their kite.

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While I was busy trying to fly the kite, my friend Kate was secretly getting my birthday cake ready. I knew they were going to celebrate my birthday since this outing was planned weeks but I didn’t expect a cake because I didn’t see them carrying it. One of them must have hidden the surprise inside their large bags!

Ming Li was the creative artist behind the self-design cake from Icing Room. Are you able to see the Garfield that she draw? It’s not the best cartoon but brownie points for the effort.

I met Kate and Ming Li many year ago while we were all volunteering for Cat Welfare Society. Our common love for cats has been a pillar of our friendship all these years. Hence the reason why Ming Li drew Garfield on my birthday cake.

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A birthday is not complete without getting sabotage from your friends. Just when I was not looking, Ming Li ambushed me with the reminding cream. I resigned to fate and surrendered my forehead for her to express her creativity once again. OMG, indeed!

Actually these two playful friends of mine are still single so if you are an eligible bachelor looking to start a family with someone, do drop me a note and I will link you up with them. 🙂

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[Ming Li doing a pose at the roof top of Marina Barrage.]

If you find the two of them familiar, you may have seen them in my post about our $78 getaway to Batam last year. If not, read about our budget adventure in Batam here.

How to get to Marina Barrage?

Take the Circle Line or North-South Line to Marina Bay MRT Station. Come out from Exit A, look out for the bus-stop on your left and take Bus 400. Marina Barrage is just a few bus stop away. Our friendly bus driver made an announcement to remind us to get off the bus.

Link: http://www.pub.gov.sg/Marina/Pages/Getting-There.aspx

Mid-Autumn Outing

 

On the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar new year, Chinese all over the world will come together with their friends and family to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival by eating mooncakes and playing a game of solving riddles. Children will carry lanterns and walk along the streets.

This popular lunar harvest festival is celebrated by Chinese and Vietnamese, with a tradition that goes as far back as the Tang Dynasty. Several versions of how this festival first began, some say it is to celebrate the overthrow of Mongol rule, other stories are more fanciful, detailing the story of warrior Houyi and his beautiful wife Chang’e who eventually flies up to the moon.

 

When I was younger, my mom would bring my sister and I to community events, where often my creative self would take part in lantern-making contest and my mom would be participating in the riddles competition. Fast forward to present, Mid-Autumn is one of our family occasion where we would visit our relatives to present them a box of mooncakes and to catch up over our lives.

This year, I was invited for a full moon tour at Chinese Garden for Mid-Autumn. Organised by People’s Association, it’s east meets west in this park located on the western corner of our tiny island; there were lantern displays of dragons, the Little Match Girl, the Three Little Pigs, and other cutesy characters that the young and the young-at-heart can identify with.

 

 

 

 

 

For me, the highlight of the event was the wishing tree. We wrote our wishes on gold coins and we had to toss them up the tree. Click below to see what happen to Valentine‘s gold coin. It’s a must watch 16 seconds video!!!