Thursday, 5 April 2018

Things to take note of when planning for your holiday trip

April is definitely my favourite month of the year because it's my birthday! I find it the best time to go on a vacation with my bf because it feels like a special celebration trip as compared to just any ordinary trip. This is the second time we are flying to BKK together and we're so excited! Last year, it was a disaster before our trip because of a mistake I made and you'll find out more in my post.

Some people prefer to go on a spontaneous holiday because of excitement and unpredictable experiences. Personally, I cannot stand it without an itinerary. I would rather spend a little more time planning my trip than to waste our time deciding where to go in the middle of our trip.

I'm not a travel expert but I'd love to share some of the things I would do when planning for my holidays ;)


How to plan for your trip?

Choice of Destination

Why did we chose BKK when there are tons of other interesting places? I think the reason is pretty obvious. BKK remains as a popular tourist destination for most Singaporeans because it is so AFFORDABLE. I feel that BKK is one of the few places where we are able to shop and eat without worrying so much about our budget. And we both love Thai food so why not right? Last year, we had quite many bowls of Thai Boat noodles and the bill was less than S$10 for 2!


Check for Festivals

The first thing to do before booking your flight ticket other than to compare flight prices, is to check for any festivals/happenings! I didn't think of this and booked our holidays during the Songkran festival last year. I know there are people who would fly there just to enjoy Songkran but it was a big no-no for me. From friend's experiences, most markets would be closed and you risk getting drenched the moment you step out of the hotel..

It was kinda a blessing in disguise in the end as we postponed our trip and extended it due to my job resignation in April. But let's not mention about the additional costs due to my mistake. 


Plan your Itinerary

Like I've said, I don't really like wasting time deciding where to visit while we're already at the country. Planning your itinerary smartly also saves you on transport and time, especially when you group activities on the same day where they are located near one another. For example, we planned to visit the new Rot Fai Night Market after Big Dog Cafe as they are only opposite each other. This might seemed like a very obvious thing to do, but if you're not familiar with the country, failing to plan your itinerary might result in missing out the small details. 

If you are not familiar with the country, just do a little bit of research on Google. There are many blogs and articles recommending the popular places and it's really not difficult to find and shortlist those that you are interested in! 


Remember to check all the opening hours as well! Most night markets tend to close on Mondays-Wednesdays. And cafes are usually closed on Monday as well. Check all this info prior to your planning and it will make things a lot easier. If you don't mind the extra work, you can even check if the cafes take reservations. And some places have strict timings e.g. True Love Neverland only opens at certain timings and is always sold out daily. You wouldn't want to travel all the way there and be disappointed.

Not sure about you but I usually plan my outfits according to the places I visit as well! The itinerary really comes in handy!

It's not necessary for us to follow the itinerary strictly but at least we have a plan! 

Budget your trip

Unless you have too much to spare, it's best to budget your trip and know how much cash to bring (At least extra SGD in case you need to change money). Having a rough budget in mind will also prevent you from overspending unknowingly.

I like to mark down the cost of every item and meal so that it's easier to refer when we wish to know how much we spent. It can also be a gauge for us to know if the next item we buy is worth the money. 


Checklist

I have a default checklist for the items that I need to bring along for my holiday trip. Seems quite kiasu but I don't want to reach the hotel and regret not bringing something I need. Always be prepared especially if you're traveling for more than a couple of days! And you wouldn't want to forget important documents like your passport anyway! 

I guess that's the main things to take note when planning for your holidays! (At least that's what I usually do)
#countdownto18april


YAY I CAN'T WAIT! 



Sunday, 1 April 2018

The Flame Cafe with NEW prices | 4 Tier Pagoda Steamboat

There are 3 types of people - the ones who love the smoky taste of a BBQ, and those who prefer to savour the soup for a shiok hotpot session. For me, I love the best of both worlds (Greedy like that). And guess what, The Flame Cafe offers a 4-tier pagoda steamboat style that allows you to enjoy your food in 4 different ways! I have actually introduced this restaurant in my blog prior to this if you haven't already know.


With high ceiling and a brightly lit area, the restaurant feels pretty spacious for a pleasant dining experience. You might have to wait for your turn at the buffet counter though as the space might be a little small for a few people to squeeze in. On a better note, you may order your seafood dishes separately and they will be served to your table. Personally, I prefer it this way as the freshness is better maintained! 


If you are coming in large groups or would like to throw a party at The Flame Cafe, they have a spacious outdoor area with pretty fairy lights. If you need to know, the place is also sheltered!




There are three types of buffet selection - Deluxe Basic Buffet Set, Premium Selection and Supreme Indulgence. (Refer to prices at the end of this post) 

The Deluxe Buffet allows you to satisfy your basic cravings for meat indulgence and the Premium Buffet gives you a few more choices of soup selections as well as a variety of seafood. If you are feeling experimental, you can even try out their DIY Mini Pizza (I think kids will love this).

For the Supreme Indulgence, you get to pick from 1 fresh Cheese Lobster per 4 pax or 1 Live Crab per 3 pax. Oysters will be included for the Supreme selection as well, but unfortunately they won't be providing oysters till further notice.



They didn't have Pink Guava juice the last time I visited, so good news for me! My brother can't stop commenting how much he loved the Thai milk tea (he drank like 5 cups). 

Look at the huge seafood variety! And these are not even everything from the menu yet. If you don't find it a hassle, you can order their flower crab as well. My personal favourites are fish paste, clams, and king prawns! The serving size on the ordering form is based on per piece unless stated otherwise. The seafood were quite fresh and the clams were really sweet unlike other places which were tasteless. Definitely a feast for the 3 of us! 


My bf is a huge fan of the crayfish and it's probably his favourite dish here. He was already commenting about the freshness while removing the shell. If cooked right, the texture is bouncy and chewy. He also stated that the crayfish at the Flame Cafe is better than most other hotpot/mookata buffets.


Sorry to say but we didn't enjoy the meat as much as the seafood. The beef was sadly on the tougher side. Surprisingly, I preferred the chicken over the beef as it was more tender. In case you were also wondering, The Flame Cafe is also a halal restaurant and therefore do not serve pork.

Thankfully, we were mostly into the seafood and shifted our focus there shortly into our meal. They were also not short of the common steamboat items like crab meat, tofu, beancurd and more.



Dip your meat in the hot gooey cheese mix for the extra shiok-ness! 


We decided to give this mini DIY pizza a try as the "brick oven" looks quite interesting. Check out our greedy pile of sauces and cheese (Not my idea btw). 


I think we should stick to steamboat because look at our overflowing pizza... I think we failed terribly in this. It's good that the pizza is kept to a really small size so that there is less wastage after enjoying all the fun. 


#dontjudge

The Flame Cafe is also launching their Executive Lunch Ala-carte Set which includes interesting flavours such as Ayam Lemak Chilli Padi Pasta and Shrimp Salted Egg Pasta! Guess what! You can enjoy the 3 course sumptuous meal for 2 at only $20 nett! (Available from Monday-Friday 12-3pm)


The Shrimp Salted Egg Pasta is packed with strong flavours. I like how the pasta is coated with creamy salted egg sauce with a hint of spice. It might get a little gelat after a few mouths but if you're a huge fan of salted egg flavor, you can give this a try!


On the other hand, I am so much in love with the Ayam Lemak Chilli Padi Pasta. My brother and I took a bite and we love it! The cream tasted a little like the green curry sauce at Malay food stalls. As spice lovers, we feel that the spiciness is not too bad. The sauce is really creamy and surprisingly it doesn't dry up even after an hour as compared to the salted egg. Yes, I actually left the pasta there because there were way too many food, but I can't help to have my 2nd ,3rd, 4th mouth subsequently because it really tasted so yummy. 

My bf cannot take spicy food, but he actually said that it's worth the recommendation! 

Refer to The Flame Cafe menu and prices below:




The Flame Cafe

Level 1, 73 Upper Paya Lebar Rd, Singapore 534818


Contact: 6282 0251

P.S. This is a food tasting invite but all opinions are my own

Friday, 23 March 2018

Hoshino Coffee Bedok Point | We waited 45 minutes for the food!

I was scrolling on Bedok Point's food directory to decide what to have for dinner and noticed that Hoshino Coffee has already opened on the same day! I was excitedly informing bf about wanting to try out the new outlet. The restaurant was located just at the entrance of the mall and it's difficult to miss. As we were entering the new outlet, we were greeted by enthusiastic and friendly staff that brought us to our table at the corner.



Since it was our first visit, we wanted to try the Souffle Dessert (which they are famous for). The drinks menu looked extensive as well so we decided to go ahead with their $60++ promotion for 2 pax - 2 Main Dishes + 2 Drinks + 1 Dessert.

FYI, it is only worth it if you choose the more expensive choices. 

We were told that we could have either 2 cakes or 1 Souffle dessert. Souffle it shall be.  



The restaurant was very spacious and could accommodate quite a lot of customers, hence we didn't really have to wait for a seat. I love that they had the big sofa leathery seats which were so comfortable to sit in. I would say the ambience makes it a pretty good place for a date.




We asked for recommendation for the drinks. Bf picked the Ginger Ale while I had the Fruit tea, which was popular among ladies. The generosity level is legit. Look at that huge jar of fruit tea, I couldn't even finish half of it, what a waste.

Turns out that the Ginger is made from scratch in the restaurant. The ginger kick is quite a punch to your taste buds and I wouldn't recommend it if you're not in for that kind of surprise. If you're a fan of Ginger Ale, go ahead. 

I love the fruit tea though! It was very fruity. If you think fruit teas are supposed to taste fruity then you are WRONG. I have tasted some really tasteless ones unfortunately. 


I was craving for pasta that day and soft shell crab is one of my favourite Japanese dishes of all time! I haven't seen this combination before so I just had to try it! The pasta is packed with so much flavour. I initially thought it was a little too salty, but turns out I just didn't mix them well enough yet. The soft shell crab was also super crunchy.

At this point, I was filling up their feedback form because I loved the drinks, my dish and their exceptional service as well. I thought so. 

After my pasta arrived, we waited so long for the next dish to arrive (bf's order). And you know how restaurants shouldn't serve 2 dishes apart for too long in case people wait for each other to eat? Either way it's just weird. 

We chased them a few times and the dish only arrived 45 minutes after the order was taken, which is about 25-30 minutes after mine arrived. You should have seen how LONG I took to slowly eat my pasta just so that I could at least eat together with him. The wait was so long yet the beef was cold when it arrived (We didn't bother to send the food back to the kitchen because we waited too long already). 


The beef tasted nice but it was unfortunately overcooked and cold. Only the rice and wedges were still piping hot. What a disappointment.


Thankfully, they didn't make us wait too long for the baked Souffle dessert and it looks delicious! Bf is not really a fan of it due to the very eggy and custard taste. I wouldn't say its my favourite type of dessert but I would definitely love to try some other flavor, perhaps Matcha next time! 

Surprisingly, Souffle isn't as gelat as I thought it to be. It was quite airy and fluffy with a custard-like texture in the middle. 



We were initially quite happy with the service and food quality, however the long wait (also part of the reason why the food became cold) really ruined the rest of our dinner. The giveaway here looks tempting, but I won't be posting a 5 stars review anytime now.

While we were upset about the long wait and cold food, it might be a one-off issue due to shortage of staff. But they should have known better since it's their first opening. There are still many items on their menu that I would love to try and hopefully they won't disappoint the next time!

Hoshino Coffee

799 New Upper Changi R
 #01-01, Bedok Point, (S) 467351. 

Contact: 6284 1344




Saturday, 10 March 2018

3rd Visit to Dim Sum Icon HK | Garfield Theme

It's a yearly affair with Dim Sum Icon whenever I go back to Hong Kong. NOPE, not bored of it yet. Obviously not because they change the theme about twice a year. I actually preferred the Spongebob Squarepants theme because I can relate to it better, but we totally missed it! I was quite surprised that the Garfield theme managed to impress us even though we're not really a fan of the cartoon.


The menu also had more items as compared to previous years so we had a difficult time ordering our food. And we only had 1 hour to dine in. The time limit was crazy given that you needed time to order, wait for the food to arrive, take tons of pics before digging in. But we can totally understand why this is necessary, there was already a huge crowd waiting in line before the restaurant even opened at 11am.

Dim Sum Icon Menu:




As usual, the food standard is average, but definitely higher than most cartoon cafes in Singapore (Sadly that's the truth). There's a few hits and misses, some of the Har Kau had quite a thick skin and was a tad dry. Other than a few criticisms here and there, most of the food tasted quite nice if you don't visit with high expectations.

The average price of each dish is about HK50 = SGD8 (I think it's really reasonable given that they really spent so much effort on the design!)



SO CUTEEEE!!

(Sometimes I wonder to myself why do I still get so excitable when I make so much cartoon desserts myself hahahhaha) 







I wouldn't recommend ordering drinks as it's not really worth it in my opinion, my drink tasted like artificial flavouring. There was a cookie decor on the drink which was pretty cute. But the cookie was so hard to bite. And I had to rush my drinks so quickly due to the time limit.



I'll probably continue to visit every year if I could, even if the characters are not those that I love or even relate to. In fact, how often do you get to visit such a non-mainstream cartoon cafe?

I was actually hoping for a Tsum tsum theme, but maybe not. It's too common. I hope they will come out with more nostalgic cartoon - perhaps Tom & Jerry?

Dim Sum Icon
The One, L308
100 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong