Tulipmania

Back when GBTB was built, I made a visit with two of my besties and we checked out one of the conservatories. It was quite expensive at the time if I remember rightly, so we made the decision to go inside only one of them. I’m quite happy then at the request of dear Mum to check out both of them today.

First up is the Flower Dome, which contains plants and flowers from around the world.  The Tulipmania floral display is currently on show in this dome.  These Tulips are set against a Persian style backdrop where you can learn about the flowers origins in the ancient Ottoman empire (now Turkey) where they were first cultivated and its significance in arts and culture. The colours are just stunning – beautiful cremes against vibrant oranges, rich velvety textures to frilly edges beauties.

The rest of the garden on display is equally as impressive, one of my favourite parts being this incredible sculpture (of which there are many hiding throughout the domes)…

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And of course I can never resist a cherry blossom…

IMG_2419The Cloud Forest is filled with plants from tropical highland locations, the centrepiece of which is a massive mountain waterfall, around which spirals a suspended walkway, allowing you to glimpse the garden from above – just as if you were walking in the clouds.

Leaving the gardens behind via the little garden shuttle bus, its time to make our way to shopping paradise – Orchard Road.   Not that we have shopping on our minds.

On my last trip to Singapore, I found myself frantically tracking down the ice cream uncles I had seen lining Orchard Road on umpteen trips before, finally ready to try this mysterious ice cream bread sandwich. And once I had, I wondered (as you usually do) why the heck I had waited so long to do so. So this visit, it’s definitely on the list again and I’m going to see if I can tempt Mum into trying it too – especially after her brave foray into Black Sesame Ice Cream yesterday.  The deal is you can have a normal flavoured ice cream only if you have it in bread.  Otherwise you go the safe option with the wafer – you need to try red bean or sweet corn or the like.  She picks the fruit tingle with the bread and I try the yam flavoured ice cream.  The yam flavour is kind of like a watered down blueberry flavour almost – nice.

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With the sightseeing and food tasting out of the way, it’s time to head for those bird cage cabanas at the hotel to relax by the pool.  The water was chilly but there was incentive in making it to the edge of the infinity pool for a snapshot!  And chillin in the cabana with a beer was really nice.

Chijmes is one of my favourite places in Singapore. I just love the beautifully restored colonial buildings with restaurants pouring into the outdoors, alongside perfectly manicured lawns and hedges and twinkling fairy lights. In a busy city like this, spaces with the ability to make you forget the hustle and bustle are worth a million. We’ll check out another one tomorrow, but Chijmes is just absolutely beautiful.

This is Mum’s first time to Chijmes and I can’t wait to show her and she is as bewitched as me.  There are different cuisines and types of restaurant on offer from Japanese to Western and from pub dining to elegant restaurant settings.  Even just coming here for a sneaky drink is a great way to end the day.

We decided on Wharf Oyster Restaurant, which also did a variety of fish, burgers and other dishes, so it’s a great choice even if you are not a fan of seafood like Mum.  The service was prompt and very good and the food was great too – especially the Black Sesame Brulee.  OMG I’ve never tasted anything so luxurious – if you get the chance it’s something not to miss.

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To learn about the history of Chijmes, check out my earlier post here.

 

 

 

The Delights of Ice Cream in Bread

My time in Singapore is almost at an end again.  I have most of today to finish off my list of must do’s.  Of course, there are still things I didn’t get to do and plenty more inspiration for next time.  I still haven’t made it to Pulau Ubin (grrr) and I would love to stay in a totally new location again next time – more residential if possible or even out as far as Changi.  Who knows – I’ll always be back, so there’s no hurry.

I have been to Tiong Bahru before, but only briefly (for a stop at the Nimble/Knead beauty salon in shipping containers – check it out if you get a chance), so I really wanted the chance to return again and stroll around it’s up and coming streets.

The architecture of Tiong Bahru is art deco and quite different from elsewhere on the island.  I really like its clean lines, which I think have held well against modern times considering it’s one of Singapore’s oldest suburbs.

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The two main streets to consider for funky little cafes and shops are Eng Hoon Street (where you’ll find the fabulous Tiong Bahru Bakery and the Orange Thimble) and Yong Siak Street (where you’ll find cafes like 40 Hands, the Open Door Policy bistro and Books Actually).  But wherever you walk, there’s a nice relaxing treat for your eyes and most likely, your stomach.

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Much, much quieter than Orchard Road or any of the areas in the CBD, Tiong Bahru marches to a different beat and it’s easy to see why there has been a resurgence of people moving back into the suburb.

I definitely look forward to spending more time here from now on.

With only a few hours left before I need to get to the airport, there’s one thing I have got to do with my remaining time – track down one of the ice cream men on Orchard Road so I can try the ice cream in bread.  I have no trouble finding one just outside Wisma Atria – he’s just served up an ice cream to a foreign couple and has now unexpectedly been asked to pose for a photo with one of these strangers.  He looks as though he’s not sure what the heck is going on, he’s just serving ice cream and now he’s going to wind up in someone’s photo album?  He grimaces into the camera before turning back to his cart and looking anxiously around for his next customer.  Which is me.  I’m still not sure about this bread thing, so I’m definitely not going to go with an exotic ice cream flavour.  So I scan the list and think surely ‘Ripple’ would ease the blow in case the bread doesn’t cut it.

I grab my sandwich, exploring the texture and colour of the bread, clamp it down and bite into it – the berry flavour of the ripple ice cream is just gorgeous and the bread is, almost sweet I guess.  Or is it just that I think it’s sweet with those pretty pink and green swirls surrounding the sweet ice cream?

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In any case, it’s really great and I would have no hesitation in making this a must do every time I’m in Singapore.

I’ve enjoyed this (nearly) week in Singapore so much.  It’s been amazing getting to know the other sides of her personality and I can’t wait to see more next time.

So long for now, Singapore!

On the Corner of Dorsett & Duxton

This trip to Singapore was literally included as a grounder on the way home – there’ll hardly be time to explore. Dad hasn’t been here for quite a few years so he’s bound to notice a lot of changes – I think they had only started clearing the land for Gardens by the Bay back then. And Marina Bay Sands certainly wasn’t fanning the skyline with her deck of cards. For me it will just be a couple of days to get back into my own time zone before I get back to the grind.

Arriving in Singapore at around 4.20pm, we are feeling fine thanks to our JetEase tablets.

We’ve checked into a recently opened hotel named the Dorsett which sits between Chinatown and Tiong Bahru, nearby to Duxton Hill. Loads of funky little restaurants have breathed new life into renovated shophouses in this area, their five footways filled with excited diners, lively additions to the narrow windy streets of old.

My room is pretty small, but you only need a bed right!.  The hotel is quite wonderfully decorated – winged, coloured Chinese buddahs adorn one window, bling bordered panelling on the walls, huge chandeliers and a piano that plays itself.  And it’s a 10 minute walk to Chinatown, which is exactly where we are heading for dinner.

Chinatown Food Street Chinatown Meal

Given our location, there’s any number of places we could try for dinner. Russian caviar bar, Peranakan delights, Fusion fantasies…but it’s raining, and Chinatown is one MRT stop away from our hotel and it’s cheap.  My awesome meal cost me about SG$12 (king brown beer included!).

Chinatown’s food street has recently been revamped.  It’s now undercover and all sanitized, but I think it’s still a good place to go for a meal.  Currently, it’s time for the Mid-Autumn festival and the main streets on each side of Chinatown are adorned with large colourful silk flowers.  There’s also a lantern display, which lights up the entrance of the Chinatown MRT station.

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Stomachs full though, it’s now time to rest our weary heads before we storm our way through tomorrow.