19 May 2015

Red Dot Roaming - Haw Par Villa MRT - West Coast Park

No doubt the fact I decided my next Red Dot Roaming would be from Haw Par Villa MRT would naturally suggest I visited the same named Haw Par Villa which is right on the station's doorstep. Well I'd already visited there sometime ago (it's well worth a visit if you haven't been) so this time I decided to walk a little further and explore West Coast park. I live on the doorstep of East Coast park and regularly spend time there so I was keen to explore here a little more and my Red Dot Roaming gave me the perfect opportunity to do just that.

I have to admit though that on first arriving at the park I was a little disappointed, it certainly isn't as big as East Coast park and initially just seemed to be a noisy stretch of land between the busy West Coast Highway and the port. The only novel and slightly random aspect being this dog wash that I stumbled upon. Sadly no one (or no dog) was making use of it when I was there. Anyone seen anyone using it ever?

I carried on walking though and after going through an underpass beneath the busy road things started to improve. Here the park opened up a lot more and wasn't such a narrow stretch of land. There were paths taking you in various directions as well as various designated areas for different activities, including a spot where you could go camping. There were lots of people taking advantage of this with their tents pitched.

The port to my left (above) and the West Coast Highway to my right (below)

I kept on walking around the various paths passing dog walkers, people riding bikes and using rollerblades, it certainly seems to be a well used park especially as my visit was on a week day. This was nice to see as many other parks have seemed quite empty during the week. Eventually I got to the water edge which was mainly rocks but there was a small bit of beach too. Here I had a view back to the port, of various yachts, the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club have their base there so I guess these were linked to that and a few smaller more basic boats in the shallower water. There were a number of families enjoying the park here and several children playing in the shallow water and on the tiny piece of sand. Whilst the view with the port in the background may not be conventionally beautiful it was surprisingly peaceful down there and nice to stop awhile and listen to the children playing, people chatting and watch the boats and yachts out on the water.

After taking a break to watch the world go by for a time I eventually decided to head back towards the MRT station. As I was walking back I saw what proved to be the highlight of my visit to the park, my first snake in the wild in Singapore. When we visited Siem Reap last year we saw one in the bushes right outside our hotel room and whilst, I know there are plenty in Singapore, they had so far proved allusive to me here.

I almost did not see this one too and in fact nearly trod on it but out of the corner of my eye I saw something moving besides me and there it was at my feet. Whilst I was a little dumbstruck and I have no idea what type of snake it was, I was also very excited and yes I managed to get a short video of it just to prove I really did see it! Can anyone confirm what kind of snake I saw? (I've since had it confirmed that I saw a Paradise Tree snake)

The highlight - spotting my first snake in the wild in Singapore


Footage of the snake

So my visit to West Coast park concluded on a bit of a high for me personally and overall the park ended up being a lot better than I thought it was going to be. I still think East Coast park has the edge but maybe having lived so close to it my whole time in Singapore I am just biased. Either way though it was great to visit a different area, another park and see another part of Singapore that I hadn't before.

Haw Par Villa MRT is on the Circle Line (CC25)

If you missed any of my previous Red Dot Roaming posts check them out here

10 May 2015

Hanoi - a Mausoleum, a Palace and a Museum

After our flying visit to the UK to see family and our couple of day trips to Lancaster and Bodiam castles whilst there, we returned to Singapore for just one night before jetting off to Vietnam for the week. This was my first visit and my husband had only been there for work previously so we were both very excited! The trip began with us flying to Hanoi for a couple of days.

Our base for our stay there was the Metropole hotel, an amazing old Colonial style hotel right up there in the league of the grand old hotels of Asia, a place for stepping back in history. We were truly spoilt for our few days there enjoying everything that a good hotel has to offer. Certainly somewhere I'd recommend if you are planning a visit.

The first place on our visit list was to Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum complex. We initially didn't intend to go inside the mausoleum and view the body of Ho Chi Minh but we quickly realised we couldn't get to the other parts without doing just that. The first part of the complex taking you to the mausoleum was quite heavily patrolled by guards and we didn't fancy trying to drop out of the queue once we'd joined it. So we stayed in the queue, which thankfully was moving at a steady pace, filed around the grounds and eventually entered into the mausoleum.

Ho Chi Minh mausoleum

The mausoleum was constructed between 1973 and 1975 and stands in the centre of Ba Dinh Square, this was where Ho Chi Minh read the Proclamation of Independence in 1945 leading to the independence of Vietnam. The building was inspired by Lenin's mausoleum in Moscow and I have to say isn't the most beautiful building I've ever seen. It apparently also goes against Ho Chi Minh's last will request which was to be cremated. If you want to visit there are strict rules about clothing and and the use of mobiles, taking of photography etc. Be prepared to hand your camera in (if you have a larger one) you get a ticket to collect it on the other side, dress conservatively and maintain respect whilst you are inside the mausoleum. This was my first experience of seeing an embalmed body, I didn't really know what to expect but I wasn't blown away by the visit if I'm honest. You file into the mausoleum in a line and walk around the glass case where he is lying. His body is heavily guarded, there's no time really to stop (not that you can take photos or anything) and then before you know it you are outside again.

As soon as you leave here the military presence lessens and you have more freedom to walk where you want to. Here too you can also take photos of the outside of the mausoleum. From there we went to see the Presidential Palace, a beautiful building built between 1900 and 1906, originally to house the French Governor-General of Indochina. The building has an unsurprisingly European look to it and with the sun shining on it the day we visited looked truly lovely. Ho Chi Minh refused to live there when independence was achieved in 1954, instead eventually opting to live in a stilt house which is also in the grounds. Non-Vietnamese visitors have to pay to enter the grounds where the palace and other buildings are but unfortunately you can't really get a lot closer to the palace than in my photo below. You also can't go into the palace which I thought was a pity but it is now used for Government meetings so that is the reason why, but still a bit of a shame.

Presidential Palace

From viewing the palace you can then go and view a garage where Ho Chi Minh's various cars are displayed. Although Ho Chi Minh didn't live in the Presidential Palace he did live firstly in the former electrician's quarters behind the building. Here, through some glass panelling in the building, again you can't go in, you can get a glimpse of the simple style that Ho Chi Minh chose to live in whilst living and working there from 1954 to 1958.

The path that leads from the palace around the carp pond in my photo below to the stilt house is known as 'mango alley' due to the numerous mango trees here. The stilt house is claimed to have housed Ho Chi Minh from 1958 until his death in 1969. The design of the stilt house is based upon traditional houses from the Vietnamese north west. It is said this reminded him of the houses he took refuge in from the French whilst still a revolutionary. The stilt house is pretty small and only has two rooms in it with no bathroom and again is very simple in its decor with only a few personal items of Ho Chi Minh's there.

From here we passed the One Pillar Pagoda, a Buddhist temple regarded as one of Vietnam's most iconic temples. This was built by Emperor Ly Thai Tong who reigned from 1028 - 1054. It was designed to represent a lotus blossom, a symbol of purity, rising out of a sea of sorrow.

As you are leaving the mausoleum complex you approach the Ho Chi Minh museum. So we decided to end our visit to this part of Hanoi by taking a look in there. The museum is divided into various sections, including one about Ho Chi Minh and another about Vietnam's struggles and victories. Whilst there is information in English to read I admit that some parts of the exhibits and the symbolism contained within them were a little hard to follow and make sense of. I guess you probably need a greater understanding of Vietnam's history then I possess to fully make sense of it all.

Vietnamese flags outside the Ho Chi Minh museum

After our busy and interesting morning we decided we needed to eat so headed off to find something. On the way we passed the Flag Tower in my photo below which was built in 1812. This was part of the Hanoi Citadel, the former residence of Vietnamese monarchs, much of this was destroyed in the late 19th Century but a few parts such as this tower remain. 

We'd barely scratched the surface of Hanoi on our first day there (more to come on the blog soon) but it was a great start to our holiday. I couldn't wait to see more!

Flag Tower

03 May 2015

Tulipmania 2015

The other weekend we popped along to Gardens by the Bay to take a look at this year's Tulipmania display. Now in its third year this has become a regular feature on their calendar of events and never fails to disappoint. 

The theme this year centres on story telling (a theme that will run across the year in future displays at the gardens) focusing specifically on fairy tales with famous stories featured such as Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel to name a few. 

Here are just a few photos from our latest visit. Plus check out my posts of the previous years displays.

Planting Tulips for Tulipmania
Tulips in Bloom at Tulipmania
Tulipmania is Back for 2014!

Tulipmania is on now until the 10 May 2015. Entrance charges to the Flower Dome apply. The dome is open from 9am to 9pm daily. 

30 April 2015

Hotel Clover 33 Jalan Sultan: Perfect for a Weekend Staycation

Travel and staying in a hotel, with all the little perks that come with that, is always fun, right? But sometimes you just can't give up the additional time needed to jet off somewhere or maybe you just don't want to for once. So how about a staycation instead? 

We've done this before in Singapore and really enjoyed it so that's exactly what we did again recently, this time at the Hotel Clover 33 Jalan Sultan in Kampong Glam. They also have other hotels in Singapore located at North Bridge Road, Hongkong Street and Chinatown. For our stay we decided to go for a Saturday night and made a proper weekend of it with me even taking the Saturday off work! This also meant we got to play tourists and explore a little more of the Kampong Glam area during the day, more on that soon!

Exterior of Hotel Clover 33 Jalan Sultan
Image courtesy of Hotel Clover 33 Jalan Sultan

Anyway back to the hotel and our stay. The hotel, which opened in July 2014, is housed in a row of seventeen two-storey conserved shophouses. I realised that this was the first time I'd ever stayed in a shophouse, not really that surprising perhaps but still quite exciting. A boutique style hotel, it only has eighty-eight rooms and once you are inside has a really calming feel to it despite being so central. The hotel has a decor that draws inspiration from the heritage of South-East Asia and the whole place has a 'serene urban sanctuary' feel. There is plenty of greenery throughout to give you a feel of being close to nature, some of the rooms have gardens and in one part of the hotel, although covered, the corridor is semi open so you can hear the birds singing, see the greenery and feel the warm tropical heat.

There are six different categories of room on offer depending on your budget and needs and for our stay we were in a 'Clover Plush Queen' room. At Hotel Clover 33 Jalan Sultan as well as the regular rooms they also offer some unique room choices. Hotel Clover 33 Jalan Sultan is all about the urban sanctuary idea and being able to get close to nature with guests being able to opt to stay in one of their Garden rooms complete with a patio and funky vertical gardens. There are also a number of suites suitable for families or for that very special occasion. Some of these are split over two levels, complete with a private living area. You really get the feel of being in a shophouse in these with the upper level taking you right up to the roof. Their most exclusive suites, the 'Garden Suites' are even more special. There are three of these available to guests, one is Indonesian inspired, one with a Peranakan feel and the third with a Thai inspired theme, all of which feature a private garden. The Thai one is also extra special as it is the only one to feature a built-in hydro bath too.

Back to our room though which was a perfect base for a one night stay such as ours. All rooms come equipped with a well stocked complimentary mini bar, coffee and tea making facilities, unlimited Internet access (perfect for all your social media updates or to catch up on work emails if you really must) and local calls, as well as an en-suite bathroom with shower. We did have to call down to reception to get some more tea (we'd drunk all that was left in the room) but this was not a problem and the tea was quickly delivered to us. Our room was tastefully decorated, the common theme throughout the whole of the hotel interior is a dark brown colour palette with warm lighting. The hotel design is very contemporary and complimented with tasteful and historic touches. Our room was quite cosy and compact size wise but didn't scrimp on design. The en-suite was a good size and offered all the complimentary toiletries you would typically expect to find. We did notice that because the shower door only opened inwards into the shower cubicle this meant that due to the positioning of the shower in the bathroom there was only a narrow space to get through to enter and exit the shower, but this was only a very minor detail. The bathroom walls (as you can see in the photo below) are glass, again giving a modern contemporary edge to the room, but there is a frosted part large enough to protect your modesty!

Most importantly though the bed was very comfortable, a good size and with pillows that you could get totally lost in and we got a very good and peaceful night's sleep. After our busy day of walking, exploring the neighbourhood and eating we were more than ready for a relaxed evening and our bed. We woke up refreshed the next morning and ready for breakfast (served until 10.30am) in the hotel restaurant. The breakfast consisting of some Asian inspired dishes plus meats, cheese, fruit, yogurt and so on. 

Interior of a Plush Queen room, similar to ours
Image courtesy of Hotel Clover 33 Jalan Sultan

Interior of a room, similar to ours
Image courtesy of Hotel Clover 33 Jalan Sultan

Interior of an en-suite bathroom, similar to ours (though the toilet and sink were the opposite way around in our room)
Image courtesy of Hotel Clover 33 Jalan Sultan

If you run out of things to do during your stay or it's just too hot (or wet) to venture far, the hotel offers its guests access to a small gym with all the basic equipment you would expect to find. We didn't make use of this, I'm not a gym person, but this can be accessed 24 hours a day so no excuses if you are! There is also a cosy lounge for guests who want a little time to themselves. The hotel has a restaurant on site (as I mentioned above) with room service also available until 10pm daily. We didn't dine their in the evening (opting to head out to the nearby Kampong Glam area instead for food) but did go there for our breakfast the next morning as I mentioned.

All too soon though it was time to head back to reality once more and home. We had a great time at Hotel Clover 33 Jalan Sultan. It's the perfect spot for your own staycation or as a base if you are visiting Singapore or indeed a business traveller. 

Exclusive Reader Offer!

Now you've read about mine how do you fancy a stay of your own at Hotel Clover 33 Jalan Sultan and even better at a discounted rate? If you do then you can currently enjoy a discounted stay of 30% off the Best Available Rates until 31 December 2015, Terms and Conditions apply.

Terms: 30% discount off Best Available Rates, only through direct booking via sherrine@hotelclover.com - please quote 'expatadventures'  (Terms & Conditions Apply) 

Duration: Valid until 31 December 2015

What are you waiting for?!?

Hotel Clover 
33 Jalan Sultan
Singapore 198965

Tel: +65 6830 7888
Fax: +65 6830 7889
Email: enquiries@hotelclover.com
Website: www.hotelclover.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hotel-Clover-33-Jalan-Sultan/250592788481743

This blog resulted from an invitation and represents the thoughts and opinions of the writer. All information on this blog is provided "as is", with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy or timeliness and the writer will not be liable for any losses, injuries or damages from the display or use of this information. All text and photos on this blog are the original works of the writer unless stated otherwise.

Thank you to Hotel Clover 33 Jalan Sultan for the kind invitation.

22 April 2015

'Charcuterie, Cheese and Wine Unlimited' Promotion - Vine Lounge at KUVO

One of our recent Friday evenings saw us visiting a fairly new bar and restaurant concept on Orchard Road. The Orchard Road area is not somewhere I often go out in the evening now, I think partly because I work there so like to go elsewhere in my free time and at the weekends, for me at least, it is very crowded. KUVO (where we were wining and dining) is actually in the Orchard Shopping mall, an older looking mall (to me) that although I was aware of I'm fairly certain I've never been in before and assumed I probably never would. KUVO then is a bit of a hidden delight tucked away in amongst the malls and busyness of Orchard Road and is well worth checking out.

KUVO offers a multi-concept approach to dining with four different ways to enjoy an evening however you choose. It's a surprisingly large space (spanning over 9000sqft) offering distinct areas to enjoy some bespoke cocktails, an extensive range of wines, a spread of dishes in their restaurant or to spend some of your hard earned cash in their gift shop. I like the fact that the different areas are divided off, ensuring that, however you want to spend your evening, you know you'll be surrounded by like-minded individuals. Each area has a pleasant intimacy and is very welcoming ensuring that you'll be able to enjoy your evening to the utmost.

Interior of the Vine Lounge, KUVO

The areas within KUVO include the Ambrosia I and II and Gazebo, the main dining space where you can dine on a selection of Western and Asian inspired dishes, the Elixir Bar for cocktails and small plates to match the drinks and the Vine Lounge housing over 140 wine labels including several exclusive selections. Our evening was spent in the Vine Lounge where we got to enjoy KUVO's current 'Charcuterie, Cheese and Wine Unlimited' promotion which is available now until 31 May 2015.

Interior of the Vine Lounge, KUVO

The Vine Lounge, described as 'a welcoming oasis for urban warriors seeking a laidback spot to satiate their love for wine' is a relaxed spot to enjoy wine in the company of friends and loved ones, though it would also make a good choice for drinks for more formal occasions too. As you can see in the photos above it has a number of comfy sofas and seats to unwind in, whether in large or small groups, after a busy day along with a bar on the far wall which you can sit at as well if you wish. It was nice to note that the seating is far enough apart from others that you don't spend your evening unwittingly eavesdropping on other people's conversations or them doing it to you.

Their "Charcuterie, Cheese & Wine Unlimited" promotion, is pretty impressive as you can enjoy unlimited servings of charcuterie, cheese and wine for $78++ per person. The promotion is available every Friday and Saturday, from 9pm to 12 midnight and runs from now until 31 May 2015.

Deluxe Charcuterie and Cheese Platter

During our visit we were able to enjoy a selection of the wines available in the lounge alongside our platter, note that these are subject to availability. Our wines for the evening were;

  • Antica Fratta Brut (one of the Vine Lounge's exclusive selections)
  • J.Hofsttater Pinot Bianco (one of the Vine Lounge's exclusive selections)
  • Markowisch Pinot Noir
  • Pierre Jean Chardonnay
  • Arlequin GSM
My preference is for white wine I have to admit so I had a glass of the chardonnay to start and then stuck to the Italian bubbles (Antica Fratta Brut) which went down very nicely. My husband also tried the Arlequin GSM, a red, describing it as light and refreshing. I had a little too and even for me it was pleasant and I'm pretty sure I could have drunk a glass.

The deluxe charcuterie and cheese platter included the following;
  • Cold Cut (Pork Salami and Prosciutto Ham)
  • Cheese (Taleggio, Bleu de Bresse)
  • Olives (House marinated, Sun-dried tomatoes)
  • Dried fruits, prune and apricot marmalade 
  • Toasted walnut and table wafers
This was absolutely delicious and well worth trying. What's not to like about cured meats and full of flavour cheeses all washed down with a few glasses of wine? Alongside delicious, sharp and tangy marmalades, just right for adding an extra zing to your plate and a different texture to your food. The pickled garnish of vegetables were also very tasty. I only tried the taleggio cheese, a soft cheese, as I admit I'm not really a blue cheese fan (my husband was delighted to benefit from that) but this was surprisingly mild and very very pleasant. He definitely wasn't getting any of that one!

As I've mentioned with the current promotion, the platter, and the wine are on an unlimited serving between 9pm and 12 midnight, Friday and Saturday nights. All the more reason to go and sample it very soon! I don't think you could possibly leave hungry and the platters are perfect for sharing, or just simply eating it all yourself.

Close up of that meat and cheese goodness in the Deluxe Charcuterie and Cheese Platter

The 'Charcuterie, Cheese and Wine Unlimited' promotion, offering unlimited servings of charcuterie, cheese and wine at $78++ per person, is available now until 31 May 2015. The promotion is available every Friday and Saturday night from 9pm until 12 midnight

#02-01, 321 Orchard Road
Orchard Shopping Centre
Singapore 238866

For reservations telephone: (65) 6733 8272

Opening Times

The Vine Lounge and Elixir Bar (tapas and wine)
Sunday - Thursday - 12noon - 1am; last order: 12.30am
Friday - Saturday and Eve of Public Holidays: 12noon–2am; last order: 1:30am

Elixir Bar (Cocktails)
Sunday - Thursday: 5pm–1am
Friday - Saturday and Eve of Public Holidays: 5pm–2am

12noon–11pmdaily; last order: 10.30pm

This blog resulted from an invitation and represents the thoughts and opinions of the writer. All information on this blog is provided "as is", with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy or timeliness and the writer will not be liable for any losses, injuries or damages from the display or use of this information. All text and photos on this blog are the original works of the writer unless stated otherwise.

Thanks to Food News PR and KUVO for the kind invitation.

12 April 2015

Bodiam Castle

Before leaving the UK to embark on another adventure (more on that soon) we managed to fit in one more day out, to another castle, this time Bodiam castle in East Sussex. We sure do like our castles! It was yet another very cold day and this time we also had to deal with cold rain and a keen breeze as the castle is in quite an exposed spot. So once again our exploring ended with a visit to the cafe for hot drinks.

Bodiam castle is another favourite from my childhood, being fairly close to where I grew up I visited it numerous times, and for me conjures up all those images of what a fairytale castle in a moat should look like. The castle dates from the 14th century and is what is known as a moated castle, for obvious reasons. You can see the castle sitting in the middle of the moat in the photo above. It was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight of Edward III, for him and his family to live in.

Hope those ducks paid the entrance fee.

Whilst from the outside the castle appears intact once you get inside the castle walls you discover that it is mainly ruins inside, as you can see in the following photos. It is not known exactly when it became a ruin, it was in fact dismantled or slighted which means it was deliberately destroyed to prevent it from being used as a fortress and not, as you might imagine, destroyed in a battle. This was quite common during and after the English Civil War. After being partially deliberately damaged it passed through a series of owners before eventually being given to the National Trust for protection in 1925.

Despite it being a ruin inside there is some information around to tell you a bit about the castle and you can still make out quite easily the layout of some parts of the internal castle. You can also climb the outer walls and go up inside the towers to the top to get some lovely views over the castle and beyond into the East Sussex countryside. Given it was so cold on the day we visited though being up high didn't make it feel any warmer or less exposed. They also have a short video to watch, luckily indoors, which gives a very informative account of the castle's history right up to the present day.

It was great fun to be back at Bodiam castle after a very long time. We all did say perhaps we should have waited until the weather was a little warmer but, if I'm honest, although it was very cold I kind of enjoyed it as a brief break from the weather in Singapore. There was no danger of us getting hot and sticky on that day! Also, despite it being the school holidays, it was possibly a little quieter on our visit as a result of the inclement weather. I think this castle is great for both adults and children as there is lots of exploring to be done amongst the ruins and battlements. It's a place you can let your imagination run away with you and do a little daydreaming of knights and battles. Definitely one to visit if you are in the area.

07 April 2015

Chill Out Bars Goes East

My husband has been writing again about some more bars for you to check out, this time all in our neighbourhood in the east of Singapore. He can be found on Twitter, @AskSirStamford 

Trenchard Arms is a narrow bar (set in an old shophouse), situated on East Coast Road between Haig Road and Joo Chiat. The bar could nominally be called a British Pub. The decor includes wood panelling and wall paper fashioned from old covers of the UK’s upper class (posh people) society magazine, (there are many pictures of Her Majesty The Queen) Country Life and a long wooden bar running half the length of the establishment. The name of the pub is inspired by the acknowledged founder of the Royal Air Force, Lord Trenchard and a number of items point to this heritage, the aircraft throttle beer taps, the aluminium and leather armchairs, they are really comfortable to relax in over a cold pint at the end of a hard day. To add to the British feel there is a statue of a bulldog that often stands at the end of the bar smoking and drinking (he worn a Santa hat on Christmas Day). Drinks include a range of cocktails, wines (including that rarest of finds in Singapore, a Rose), cider and beers (there are ales on tap, as well as a range of craft bottled beers). Food options cover burgers, fish & chips (everywhere has this in SG), a ploughman's (cheeses and pickles etc) and fabulous pork pies imported from Blighty. At weekends the food selection expands to cover the standard brunch items offered by the sister establishment next door (Rabbit Carrot Gun) so includes eggs (many ways, including Benedict, Florentine, or plain fried and scrambled), bacon, sausage and, more recently, Lancashire’s finest export to the world, black pudding. The place is great for Saturday afternoon people watch (a founder needs to observe) or to catch a rugby (a thug’s game played by gentlemen) match or a BPL game (a gentleman’s game played by thugs) on a Saturday night. The F1 races are also shown. By the way the owner of this blog has also written about both places too, take a peek here to read it for yourself.

Scotch egg - just one of the British themed items on the Trenchard Arms' menu

Lower East Side is another great place on East Coast Road for cheap happy hour beers and sparkling wine (1 for 1 everyday, all day until 8 pm) and a touch of Mexican food. The fish tacos are really good and with all, the dish can be ordered with varying levels of spice. Those that can manage to down a level five set of tacos will eat for free, I chickened out at spice level four, the day they were slow bringing the next beer to extinguish the burning inferno in my mouth. We have previously mentioned the place as a weekend brunch joint (not sure if this is still available, can anyone confirm?) but here is all about the ale.

Brotzeit is a German Bar / Restaurant on the corner of East Coast Road and Joo Chiat Road (diagonally opposite AliBarBar and opposite i12 Katong). The bar forms part of a chain with other branches being in Vivo City & Raffles City (I have even been to one in Saigon, next to the Hard Rock Cafe). The food is excellent, ranging from pizza, Teutonic sausage to the ubiquitous and enormous pork knuckle (we have shared this between the two of us and not managed to finish it) with its marvelous crispy crackling, sharp potato salad and tangy sauerkraut. However the main event is the beer, brewed German type and served in a range of vessel, there is a litre stein that is almost impossible to pick up and warms up too quickly in the very inclement Singapore weather. There is also wine, including in the past a Christmas mulled wine, this was a reminder of the gluwein we sipped on a cold day in Cologne in the shadows of the Dom, otherwise known as the cathedral, just before Christmas in 2009.    
Now that I work at home I often get a degree of cabin fever towards the end of the afternoon, so to alleviate this we decided to try a new bar (for us) that had been recommended to me awhile ago (by a Welshman). The bar is called The Tuckshop (made by locals) and is situated beside the Geylang River on Guillemard Road not far from Dakota MRT. The road is named after a 1920’s Singapore Governor, Laurence Nunns Guillemard, who amongst other things laid the fountain stone for the Causeway linking the island to Malaysia. The bar itself has an industrial minimalist feel with a range of inside and outside seating options and a set of long tables built on what looks like and probably is scaffolding. Drinks on offer include a range of beers, including a number of unusual craft ales from around the world, have a Shepherd Neame (England’s oldest family owned brewer) Spitfire, and wines and spirits. There are a range of food options ranging from light bites to more substantial meals (the portions were not very generous, so I use the term substantial very loosely). The style of food could be described as Singaporean / Asian / Western fusion. I had the fish and chips, which unusually was a deep fried piece of salmon, with a wasabi dipping sauce. This was very tasty. The owner of this blog had a beef noodle dish (see the photo below) that looked great also. We didn’t have dessert, but the choice is a range of traditional ice cream sandwiches.

Exterior of The Tuckshop

Interior of The Tuckshop

The owner of this blog tried the delicious Beefalicious Noodles when we visited

All in all, a good place for a chilled out couple of beers. The place opens daily at 5pm, with happy hour on draft beers until 7pm. The bar staff come around and remind you of the approaching end of the cheaper drinks, which I thought was a nice touch.
For a bar with a view, try Brussels Sprouts, at Big Splash on East Coast Park (like Brotzeit they do have other bars in other locations in Singapore). At Big Splash though you can sup ales from the fine beer producing nation of Belgium, whilst listening to the lap of the South China Sea waves. The food is not to bad either, with fries and mayonnaise, mussels (cooked in a variety of sauces / broths) or fish and chips. Though really for fish and chips, in my opinion, just go to Smiths on Tanjong Katong Road (they have another branch in Bukit Timah) and be done with it, they also sell beer.
Further east, in Siglap, try The Dog and Bone, great for Saturday night footy or The Sidewalk Tavern for a Sunday Roast and a few jars.
Previous posts have covered The Cider Pit (again check out this separate post by the owner of this blog about The Cider Pit as well) and The Immigrants (Peranakan tapas and Asashi) on Joo Chiat Road and Bar Bar Black Sheep on Tanjong Katong Road (they also have other branches in Singapore). If you need any more bar suggestions in Singapore check out the posts in the links below which include those just mentioned and many, many more! 

Finally let me know if you know of anywhere in Singapore I should be checking out!
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