Tuesday, 25 January 2011


[[Sorry, this has been delayed due to family problems]]

It was obviously a good day for me, not only did I get a posh taxi for an ordinary taxi price, but when  I got to the Conrad and was whisked up to the Executive Floor, the magic words were uttered “Could you wait a little while whilst we finish preparing your suite”.  That’s a three level upgrade from the originally booked room, as a Hilton Gold, I hope for a one-level upgrade.  The suite overlooked the Fountain of Wealth, which I'm sure would make many people happy. It was quickly available and I swiftly unpacked, sorted out some clothes for pressing and then headed off for supplies into Sun-Tec City. Oh boy, did I get lost. What should have been a twenty minute expedition, turned into about a 90 minute trip. After that, I finally managed to touch base with my friend Michael who had been trying to get hold of me, but the hotel’s computer system had been down. After making arrangements for the next day, I wandered off, first to have a quick look at the lounge and then to find somewhere to eat. Rather than going hawker, as it was raining heavily, I took a table at a Vietnamese restaurant – I had some lovely light prawn summer rolls and a nice bowl of northern style pho, along with lime juice to drink. Good smiley service, food produced swiftly and quite delicious.

View from the Suite
The next morning, I met Michael in the lobby, he was a bit late, so he missed the teddy bear tree which was being taken down which was a shame. We then proceeded towards the National Museum via various shopping malls with both of us getting distracted by various things in shops. We did stop for kaya toast and hot drinks (Teh-C in my case, Kopi in Michael’s). I’d never had kaya toast before and it was delicious if not terribly good for you. 

The Bear Tree at the Conrad

Teh, Kopi, Kaya Toast, Eggs
The Museum was very interesting, I had to remember my Latin for the very good Pompeii exhibition and the Singapore food exhibition was fascinating. The old part of the building has a wonderful  dome and cupola with lovely iron railings. 

We then had a long food dithering session, but ended up at a little shop in an arcade which specialised in noodles. I had crispy mushrooms, spinach noodles and prawn dumplings. To drink was home-made iced tea.

Spinach Noodles

Crispy Mushrooms
Then it was back to the hotel for afternoon tea in the lounge, which both Michael and I found to be a little disappointing, there wasn’t much to tempt me and whilst the service of tea and cold drinks was very nice, a few nicer cakes or pastries would have been welcome. We also went up a bit later for pre-dinner snacks, again I found these inspiring, although the cheeses were nice and there were replenishment problems. 

After that, we wandered through to the Arts Centre and the Library and Michael showed me the fabulous night time views from the roof garden at the Arts Centre which has been unfortunately spoilt by Marina Bay Sands – which looks like a distorted giant wicket. We wandered back via a slightly strange route which seemed to involve walking through the public areas of several hotels.

The next morning, I went for a bit of a wander down to the Esplanade and back whilst doing some window shopping and looking at cameras (mine is starting to play up a bit). I didn’t get too lost in Suntec City this time, although it has to be amongst the most confusing malls I’ve ever been in.  Kaya Toast may have been involved at some point. Anyway, we ended up going for lunch at a Javanese place in SunTec – it was quite enjoyable, although the rice being removed after we had taken some was not so much fun. To start with there were bitter nut crackers with sambal. Then we had half a fish (which was delish, but skimpy on the fish), some sambal aubergine (tender and delicious) and some lovely chicken. 

Fish and sambal

The bill was modest and the service OK. Later that evening,  I met another friend for drinks and chit-chat which was very pleasant and ended up realising I hadn’t eaten and wasn’t that hungry, so I just went and found a stall which sold me a couple of curry puffs.

Michael had been saying how much Orchard had changed in the previous two years, so I took a trip to ION Orchard which is the swankest new kid on the shopping block. It has obviously been carefully planned by Patsy and Edina because it is full of “small, beautiful expensive things”.  Readers of Douglas Adams may have heard of the Shoe Event Horizon, at ION Orchard it is the Handbag Event Horizon that is evident. I was looking potentially for three things, a manbag (some nice ones at hideous prices), a pair of shoes (nothing available above a 10½) and some books. There is a very nice bookshop on, I think Level 4, where I spent a happy hour and made some purchases.  After a quick kaya toast stop thanks to Facebook directions, I wandered around Orchard and, yes, there has been a great deal of change over the last two years.
An interesting MRT ride and the usual maze of twisty passages at Suntec City lead me back towards the hotel and a branch of Mosburger. Now I try not to do Burger in Singapore – but this is Japanese burger. One Spicy Cheese Mosburger with fries later – as warned, small, quite spicy (lumps of green chilli evident) and a step up from the usual burger cheese – decent fries.

I spent the afternoon relaxing in my room, Michael popped along in the early evening and then we headed out for a veritable feast of seafood. Given the compensation I received from Singapore Airlines, I’d promised him a fancy meal out and as usual there had been much dithering. We eventually decided after a bit of a last minute waiver on Jumbo Seafood, who despite being a bit nickel and dime-ish have a good reputation. The fine dining resto really lost out when Michael rang up and the receptionist couldn’t pronounce or explain the dishes on the set menu. We did have a wander around the area, which is full of restaurants and bars of just about every possible sort.

Jumbo on Clarke Quay is noisy, as it gets full, it’s very noisy. They like to have their tables back quick, but will deliver food very quickly to allow for this and the food is pretty damn good. We had some jasmine tea but otherwise stuck to Aqua Tap (neither of us are big drinkers) and sent the nice dish of peanuts away (otherwise they charge for them). Michael ordered with some consultation, we had squid fritters (I didn’t like these), cereal prawns (best I’ve had so far), scallops with broccoli (a bit below standard, scallops could have been plumper), a chilli crab (just over 1.2 kilo normal spicing level and sadly Jumbo only do male crabs) and salted chicken fried rice (I insisted on this and it was very good). We left a bit of rice, some chilli crab gravy and a bit of scallop/broccoli and it was extremely enjoyable. Total cost, 143 S$, value for money, I dread to think how much it would cost in the UK. 

Waiting for the crab

Chili Crab - yum

We bumbled around in the warm drizzle for an hour or so around the Civic area before I was led to the evils of a gelato stall. The evils of a gelato stall with Dulce de Leche gelato. We both only had small tubs, otherwise I think I might have burst. It was very good gelato, certainly in the top 5 I’ve had. They also had gelato lollies, which of course are Sick and wrong and yet so pretty and tempting.


Right two more bits to go.

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