Brunch @ The Coastal Settlement

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Coastal Settlement
200 Netheravon Rd, Singapore 508529

Contact: 6475 0200
Website: www.thecoastalsettlement.com

Homemade Ice Lemon Tea ($7)

Freshly Squeezed (Rock Melon) Juice ($9)
"Choice of any 2 fruits: red/green apple, carrot, orange, rock melon, watermelon"

Portobello Fries ($15)
"Portobello mushrooms, *panko, truffle mayo"

*Panko: A japanese-style breadcrumb commonly used for coating deep-fried food such as tonkatsu. Panko differs from standard breadcrumbs as it is made from bread without crust.

Wagyu Beef & Mushroom Thin Pizza ($23)
"Wagyu beef slices, sautéed mushrooms, caramelised onions,
mozzarella, cheddar, white wine reduction cream sauce"

XO Prawn Aglio Olio
"XO sauce, fresh prawns, garlic confit, bird's eye chilli, prawn stock, spaghetti

Rating: 4.3/5

My two cents:

The atmosphere at TCS was wonderful. There were antique scooters and cupboards in one corner of the restaurant, crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, and fanciful ancient chinese wooden latticework on the walls behind the bar. If you are into retro stuff, this is definitely the kind of place for you!

The contrasting themes seemed confusing at first glance, but after while they kinda fit and made sense!

Oh and there are also the full-length glass windows — which fulfils every instagrammer's dream of perfect natural lighting for beautiful photos! — that formed a physical barrier between the inside of the restaurant and the wilderness beyond it.

As for the food, I was definitely satisfied with it as they were impeccably delicious!!! I would highly recommend the Wagyu Beef & Mushroom Thin Pizza, as well as the XO Prawn Aglio Olio which was recommended to me by their waiting staff.

The Wagyu Beef & Mushroom Thin Pizza had a generous portion of tender beef slices, and the taste of it kinda reminded me of Timber's Duck Pizza but with a slightly earthy hint due to the presence of mushrooms.

The XO Prawn Aglio Olio was slightly spicy and flavourful due to the usage of bird's eye chilli and XO sauce. The pasta was done al dente and the prawns were big and succulent — to be honest this is one of the best prawns that I have had in a prawn aglio olio!

Unfortunately with everything good, there comes a down side as well.

The Coastal Settlement is not exactly in an accessible location. One must own a car to reach this place as it is located at the very East side of Singapore. Free valet parking is available at this café due to its small parking space available, however do be nice and tip your valet!

The Coastal Settlement is also not very wallet-friendly as its food are priced at a steeper end in the market. Total damages for the meal that you see above is about SGD 90++, so do be prepared to break your piggy bank if you decide to have a meal here!

I wouldn't deny though that this place and its food would make a great venue for a romantic first-date, anniversary-date or even better yet for a proposal! *smirks*

Ollie Café

Friday, November 20, 2015

Note: All food items were fully paid for by me

Ollie Café
277 Orchard Road B2-10, Singapore 238858
Orchard Gateway Shopping Malls

Contact: 67022168
Website: https://www.facebook.com/Ollie-Cafe-1618004835093140/


A photo posted by Sophie Leow (@sophleow) on

Hazelnut Chocolate ($6.50)

Sabsouska ($15.90)
"Chicken con carne, two 63°C eggs, cheddar cheese, jalapeno, mix salad and toast"

Woody Wood Piper ($18.90)
"Grilled portobello, monteray jack cheese, sautéed mushroom, quattro cheese, 63°C egg, mix salad and truffle fries"


Rating: 4.6/5

My two cents:

I chanced upon this cafe while walking around Orchard Gateway, trying to kill some time... and my, my, my this place is officially my new haunt in town. The service is wonderful, the beverages are great — I absolutely love the Hazelnut Chocolate that I had — and the food gets even better!

Sabsouka seems to be a up and coming trending dish. This one prepared at Ollie Café is pretty decent in taste, and as expected it had a fairly rich tangy tomato flavour with bits of chicken in every bite. The chef had also managed to successfully keep both egg yolks runny! Plus points because we all know that making poached eggs aren't as easy as it looks!

As for the Woody Wood Piper, it is the café's best seller and I totally understand why so! Customers get a choice of having either a chicken or beef patty for their burger.

To my surprise, this burger wasn't rich in flavour and the sauce tasted light and subtle. The manager shared with me that the chef had smoked the mushrooms which gave it a smoky after-taste and that accentuated the mushrooms' natural earthy flavour.

I am guessing that the concept of this burger was to make use of all the natural flavour of the ingredients used, even the egg. FYI I requested for my egg to be thoroughly cooked due to my pathetic stomach; it was suppose to be a poached egg and the runny yolk would have added more flavour to the whole dish.

Now down to the truffle fries... that was a bit of a disappointment. I could barely taste the truffle in it! It tasted more like normal fries instead. The colour of the fries and the crisp was amazing though!

Other than serving brunch and main items, Ollie Café also serves an interesting variety of salads which I aim to try during my next visit. They also have a $9.90 all-day cake set that offers a cup of long black or breakfast tea, together with your choice of either cake or muffin!

Trips Under 500: Guide to 3D2N in Batam, Indonesia

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Everyone in Singapore is familiar with Batam. Like how can we not be? It is one of the nearest getaway sites that we can run off to whenever we are in a desperate need for a recharge.

There are 5 ferry operators that will send you from either of Singapore's two ferry terminals to 7 different locations in Batam. Awesome muchhhhhhhh!

This is my virgin trip to Batam and I explored mostly Nagoya and Harbour Bay during this trip.

Transportation

I took Horizon Ferry (aka the renewed 'Prima Ferries') and I must say that my trip was smooth-sailing and comfortable. It was less boring than I thought due to the presence of two 20" LCD TV, playing Channel NewsAsia, in each section (front and back) of the ship.

The round trip ticket for the Economy Class cost me SGD $48. To get bumped up to Business Class, it was an additional $8 per trip.

The benefits of being in Business Class were listed as such on their site:
  • Priority in embarking and disembarking the ship
  • Being seated on the upper deck of the ferry which would guarantee low noise levels
  • Spacious legroom and plusher seats
  • On-board steward/stewards to assist you and ensure the additional paid-level of comfortability
  • Better view of the sea? (dependent on the seat that you choose)

Passengers who would like to enjoy more privacy on board can request for their VIP room, which without saying comes at an additional cost of $50 per trip. Do note that the VIP room is only able to contain 3 guests at any one time.

Accommodation

Allium Panorama Hotel Batam
Komplek Panorama Nagoya, Kepulauan Riau 29432, Indonesia
Contact: +62 778 452888
Website: http://alliumbatam.samalihotels.com/

Overview of Executive Room

Marble bathroom with bathtub and shower facilities


Breakfast buffet in the morning

Room service to satiate midnight hunger pangs

Damages: SGD 100 ($50/night)
  • Price stated includes breakfast buffet for 2 and internet access
  • Price stated does not include transport service from the ferry terminal to hotel, however it can be arranged upon request and would cost an additional $9.50 per trip
  • The room is furnished with a king size bed, working desk, and offers a splendid view of Nagoya
  • Gym and pool are available for usage by hotel guests

Review:
  • Clean room but disappointing hotel amenities. (Within my room, there were two buggy sockets and two buggy lights. My nights were spent in a dimly lit environment.)
  • Water heating system seems to be failing as I had to take a lukewarm bath on my second night
  • Half of the food served during the morning breakfast buffet were cold and had a lack of sufficient seasoning. However food from the room service was awesome!
  • Friendly staff who always had a smile on their faces and were eager to extend their help
  • Private concierge service available from a counter at the hotel lobby, which makes travelling around the island extremely convenient
  • Where Paris-Lyon Café (ranked #73 on TripAdvisor's "Top Restaurants in Batam", and #4 on "Best Cafés in Batam") is situated at



Entertainment

The Spa Secret
Komp. Nagoya Garden Phase I Blok D No. 1-2-3, Riau 29432, Indonesia
Contact: +62 778 423123
Website: http://www.spasecretbatam.com/

Reception area

I wasn't keen on sight-seeing nor shopping in Batam, and so after doing some research, I chose the best thing for me on TripAdvisor's list of "Things to do in Batam".

I chose a price-worthy spa package at The Spa Secret, rated #3 on TripAdvisor's list of "Top Spas in Batam".

Some light refreshments available for their guests

Foot reflexology area

Single Spa Room

Couple Spa Room

En suite jacuzzi pool in the Couple Spa Room

Damages: SGD 79 (for 2.5 hours of "Fruits" Spa treatment)
  • Price depends on the type of spa treatment chosen, it ranges from SGD 68 to SGD 96
  • We paid full in cash thus there was no hidden GST, service charge nor additional service fee
  • No complimentary transport service available for this spa parlour

Review:
  • Plus points for convenience (directly opposite Nagoya Hills Shopping Mall)
  • Facilities were clean, and amenities provided was hygenic
  • Service provided by the administrative staff was professional and on-the-point
  • Masseuse was friendly and observant. Always asking about my level of comfortability, and was patient in explaining each treatment process
  • Price worthy spa package as it included 9 different treatment processes and a complimentary drink

Arcade
Nagoya Hills Shopping Mall
3rd floor, Jalan Teuku Umar No. 1, Batam, Kepulauan Riau 29432, Indonesia
Contact: +62 778 433988
Website: http://www.nagoyahill.co.id/

FunWorld @ Nagoya Citywalk Batam
Jl. Imam Bonjol, Kota Batam, Kepulauan Riau 29444, Indonesia
Contact: +62 778 430000
Website: http://nagoyacitywalk.wix.com/nagoya-citywalk

Review:
  • Inexpensive arcade games at SGD 0.20 per game (!!!)
  • Got the chance to play all of the arcade games that I never would have in Singapore, and deliberately chose the silliest ones in the game centre
  • Reminisced over old-school paper tickets that were dispensed upon winning a game (compared to the electronic system in Singapore where all tickets are charged to a player's game card)
  • Small and uninteresting variety of prizes to exchange for with the tickets
  • Preference for the arcade at Nagoya Citywalk due to the lack of individuals smoking indoors #indoorhaze



Dining

Baresto Cafe
Nagoya Hills Shopping Mall

3rd floor, Jalan Teuku Umar No. 1, Batam,
Kepulauan Riau 29432, Indonesia


Damages: SGD 14 for 2 pax

Review:
  • Best thing about Indonesia? Good food at an even better price!
  • Wide variety in the menu, from Asian delights to local Indonesian cuisine and Western food too
  • Generous with food portions
  • Huge dining area, thus I was able to select a table that was away from other smoking diners
  • Lack of proper inventory check as they were already out of fish when we arrived at about 6pm for dinner
  • Only selective staff members were able to converse in English

Kangen Cafe
Nagoya Hills Shopping Mall

3rd floor, Jalan Teuku Umar No. 1, Batam,
Kepulauan Riau 29432, Indonesia


Damages: SGD 18 for 2 pax

Review:
  • Most staff were able to converse in basic English
  • Food is affordable, but the price point is slightly higher as compared to Baresto Cafe
  • In terms of food fragrance and food proportions, Baresto Cafe has got the upper hand
  • Tons of diners smoking within the indoor restaurant which made the dining experience dreadful and unbearable
  • Not advisable to order their strawberry juice as it is mostly made out of strawberry syrup #artificialflavouring
  • Highly recommend their Deep Fried Fish in Mango Sauce — addictively appetising!

A&W
Nagoya Hills Shopping Mall

B1 and 1st floor, Jalan Teuku Umar No. 1, Batam,
Kepulauan Riau 29432, Indonesia


Damages: Average price of SGD 4 per pax

Review:
  • Root beer float, curly fries, fresh waffles topped with vanilla soft serve drizzled with strawberry syrup... Need I say more?
  • Affordable but considered to be on the relatively pricier end, given the standards of food pricing in Indonesia
  • It felt really good to finally satiate my many years of craving for A&W (ROOT BEER FLOAT!!!)

Bella Italia Pizzeria Restaurant
Komplek Harbor Bay City Walk No. 16
Jalan Duyung, Batu Ampar, Kepulauan Riau 23424, Indonesia
Contact: +62 778 7415225
Opening hours: 11am to 11pm
Website: http://bellaitaliabatam.co.id/

Ranked #1 as the "Best Restaurant in Batam" by TripAdvisor

Funghi Saltati in Padella (SGD 8.70)
"Sautéed wild mushroom dressed with balsamic syrup"

La Frittura di Calamari e Gamberi (SGD 8)
"Deep fried squids & prawns with tartar sauce"

Gli Gnocchi alla Fiorentina (SGD 9.90)
"Dumpling Potato Pasta Served With Bolognese Sauce, Mushroom, Tomato & Cream"

Bella Italia Pizza (SGD 11.20)
"Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella Cheese, Beef Ham, Mushroom & Egg"

Damages: SGD 42 for 2 pax (including GST and service charge)

Review:
  • Price point is on the higher end based on Indonesia's food pricing standards
  • The mushroom dish was an incredible starter to work-up an appetite
  • Calamari and prawn fritters were lightly battered and fried to perfection as the calamari was not rubbery nor was the prawn too soft. Plus points for the usage of fresh seafood!
  • Gnocchi was unfortunately on a slightly softer side, whereas the bolognese sauce was a perfect combination of tangy and sweetness which made the dish hard to resist
  • Pizza was average and toppings were scattered unevenly. It took a long time to cook (more than 30 mins), thus we had to have it packed to go.
  • Concurred with TripAdvisor's statement as this being the Best Restaurant in Batam. Worthy of a second visit!



Snacks and Drinks

Mois Layer Cake House
Nagoya Citywalk

Jln Wiratno Ruko Sederet Hotel Kaputra, Tanjungpinang

Damages: SGD 8 (for 6" x 6" original flavor lapis cake)

Review:
  • Buttery flavoured. Not too sweet nor oily
  • Lack of the layered cake texture that would be expected in lapis cakes
  • Preference for original flavour instead of prune flavour for this bakery due to its increased fragrance and buttery taste

Brewsky & Co Microbrewery
Nagoya Citywalk Batam

LG no. 06-09, Riau Islands Province, Indonesia
Contact: +62 778 429999
Opening hours: (Mon-Thurs) 12pm-1.30am, (Fri-Sun) 12pm-2.30am
Website: https://www.facebook.com/Brewsky-Co

Belgium Booze (SGD 3.15 for 350ml)
"Golden colour, aromatic hop, tangy, refreshing. Alcohol by volume: 5.5%"

Brewsky Kölsch (SGD 3.15 for 350ml)
"Golden colour, moderate hop, tangy and refreshing. Alcohol by volume: 5.5%"

Damages: 6.30 (for 2 pax, excluding GST and service charge)

Review:
  • Limited beer choices were available for order despite the wide variety on their menu
  • The beers were exceptionally hoppy for its types
  • They also had a sour aftermath which is either due to the lack of proper filtration or excessive yeast added
  • Plus points: These draft beers are considered to be cheap, as compared to the price point in Singapore


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Total damages: SGD 250/pax
  • Ferry: SGD 48 for round-way ticket
  • Accommodation: SGD 50 for 2 nights
  • Transport around Batam: SGD 50(SGD 5/taxi ride)
  • Food & Entertainment: SGD 100