Thursday, 15 April 2010

Fifteenth month, fun in the sun

This month, we have mostly been...

- Bemused by Opera. We checked out the launch event for An Expat Journey In Singapore at the swish and swanky recently opened Opera Gallery on the third floor of the monstrous just-landed-from-outer-space ION Orchard. I don't believe I've been in a gallery with less 'cohesion'. I'm a firm believer that a gallery should offer a journey through the curator's mind and not just be a shop selling art. In any event, I have never understood opera, so I guess I was never going to understand Opera Gallery.

- Tippling. What an experience. We sat at the bar, at right angles to the service station, so were in full view of the glory of the Tippling Club kitchen. The brainchild of Chef Ryan Clift and Head Bartender Matthew Bax, Tippling Club is perched on the edge of the Dempsey jungle. No sooner had our bottle of elegant and complex white arrived than we were presented with a plate of grapes. Ah-ha! But these were no ordinary grapes, these were carbonated “bourbon” grapes. Cue an explosion of little whisky bubbles in my mouth. Up next was a plate of 2-inch long knobbled black sticks and a little dish of light brown sauce. Ta-da! Char-grilled green peppers served with a miso soy foam. To finish our last glasses, we tucked into morsels of freshly cut jamón serrano from pigs reared by Ryan's mate's Dad. Absolutely delicious and proving that Chef Ryan is not so far up his own proverbial with 'foam of this' and 'essence of that' to appreciate good quality ingredients. Of course, all of this was topped off by the fact that we were personally served by Chef Ryan himself. It was truly a wonder that one can be Head Chef and Awesome Maître d' at the same time and the food is testament to the fact that the kitchen is clearly a superbly and slickly run operation. We left vowing to return for our post-wedding diner pour deux. In fifteen months of living in Singapore, this was the first experience where the quality of service matched the food.

Another store that will never have a UK branch

- Tittering. From 'Toss' Salad Bar to private investigators and from a pie that gets you 'high' to the all-new crunchy offering from Pizza Hut complete with cornflakes(!), it's good to know that we still delight in the peculiarities of living outside the UK.

- Getting high. It's good to have friends in 'high places'. Hidden amongst the forgotten malls of Beach Road, an office block has a supreme roof top pool and deck perfect for an all-night rave with a rare perspective of the Kallang River and indoor stadium. Okay, so, as if on cue, the Party Police turned up at midnight and waited patiently, as usual, for the troops to move on, but it sure was fun while it lasted.

- Mangiato. We were treated to a divine Italian feast at Otto. Wines sourced from organic producers in Italy by Enrico Furlan, stories provided by reportage photographer and writer, Brian Palmer, currently artist-in-residence at Objectifs, and food laced with love and packed with passion. We were lucky enough to be guinea pigs for some selections of the new menu and were pleased to give a resounding thumbs up. Along with Tippling Club, this was one for the Schwarzenegger List.

- Chillaxin' and Rinsin'. Another Rawa rinse-out involving the avoidance of liver malfunction whilst imbibing copious amounts of alcohol, playing in the sea and dancing like no one's watching. Bliss.

- Attending to last minute preparations. We're getting married on Saturday, 1 May in Somerset, England. Five things that we have organised here: rings from DeRocks (10 Anson Rd #19-11 Singapore 079903. Contact: 62226818); a suit from Rossi (9 Raffles Boulevard #01-36 Millenia Walk, Singapore 039596. Contact: 63362818); a wedding dress from Silhouette; wedding programmes from Card Blanche; and learning to dance with Calvin at Shawn & Gladys. Overall, we have been very impressed with the service: from larger than life Izik at DeRocks who makes you feel like a real high-roller whilst diamond 'shopping'; to Ferne at Card Blanche who punctuates her sentences with "yeah". It's possible and enjoyable to deal with some 'wedmin' from afar!

Up next is said wedding, a 'mini-moon' in the Cotswolds, and the general feeling of excitement at being reunited with close friends and family. Bring it on!

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