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07 August 2014

Island Exploring Around Krabi

I've managed to fit in a fair amount of travelling so far this year thanks to the various wedding invitations we've received.  2014 certainly is proving to be the year to get married it seems!  Of course as well as weddings there are also sometimes hen or stag do's to enjoy and I was lucky enough to spend a weekend in Krabi, Thailand for one friend's hen do.

We had a lovely weekend doing lots of different things (you can read more in my friends blogs herehere and here) this included, on the Saturday, taking a long-tail boat tour around some of the islands off Krabi.  The day began fairly early (for a hen party) with our lovely skipper picking us all up from our hotel to take us to the mooring area for the boats.  There we met his assistant and all boarded.  As the boat was exclusively ours we were able to make ourselves at home and the drinks (and later food) provided for the day only had to be shared amongst us.

Inside our long-tail boat

We travelled a fair distance to our first stop (further than I expected) and once we got out into the deeper sea travelled at quite a fast rate but eventually arrived at Hong Island.  All the beaches and islands in and around Krabi conjure up those images of tropical getaways and this was certainly no exception.  The water was wonderfully clear and the beach suitably tropical looking with white sand and blue skies.  Without hesitation we all got off the boat, walked down a jetty and on to the beach.  The beach is quite small and there were plenty of other people on the beach but we soon found a spot to stop, some of us then went swimming in the sea and some soaked up the sun on the beach.  Whilst we were there we even managed to see a little of the local wildlife in the form of a monitor lizard.

By the time we left the tide had come in quite considerably and most of the beach was beginning to disappear under the sea.  So it was more of a paddle back to the boat than a walk.  By the time we got to the jetty the shallow water we'd paddled through when we got off the boat had got a fair bit deeper and I confess to a little panic inside as I'm not a great swimmer.  I had visions of having to swim back!  Luckily though I was overreacting, some people heading back to another boat before us simply waded through the water and it only came up to their thighs so it wasn't as bad as I had feared.

Approaching Hong Island
The beach on Hong Island


From Hong Island we then headed off to our next stop, on the way enjoying a snack of some delicious fresh fruit, including pineapple and melon, provided by our guide.  Before long we arrived at the beautiful Hong lagoon.  The lagoon is surrounded by the spectacular cliffs you can see in my photo below and the water is an amazing blue colour.  There were a couple of other boats in the vicinity but it was wonderfully peaceful and relaxing being there.  Again some of us took advantage of being able to go for a swim in the warm waters and jumping off the side of the boat and some stayed on board sitting out in the sun and enjoying the view.

Hong Lagoon

By now lunch time had arrived and we were all getting a little hungry with all the fresh air we'd had that morning.  Our fabulous guide had prepared a load of food for our lunch which he'd cooked himself that morning.  You can see what we got to eat below, but it included a vegetable green curry, chicken wings and noodle dishes.  This was rounded off by a dessert of sticky rice with coconut and palm sugar wrapped up in the banana leaves in the photo.

Our lunch on board the boat

With lunch done we headed off again but, as you can see in the photo below, a storm was brewing out at sea.  Our guide had been a fisherman before he started taking tourists out on his boat so he was very knowledgeable about the waters in the area and the possible impact of bad weather.  He made the decision that we should stop in a nearby cove and wait the storm out before heading off again.  We weren't the only boat to do that, some of us then got out and went up on to the beach and some (myself included) stayed on board with our guide.  The storm did hit and I'm glad we were safely moored up for it, even there it got pretty bouncy on the boat so I can't imagine what it would have been like if we'd been out in the open sea.

Storm approaching

By the time the storm passed it was time to head back to Krabi so we made the journey back.  We all thoroughly enjoyed our day, our guide was knowledgeable of the area, was a lot of fun and very amenable and flexible.  If you are heading out to Krabi and thinking about doing a boat trip I'd definitely recommend this company, here is the link to their website and finally big thanks to our lovely organiser of this and the whole hen weekend, she did a fabulous job! 

04 August 2014

Seasons Bistro, Triple One Somerset

I recently went to the Seasons Bistro, Triple One Somerset to check out some of the dishes on offer.  The Seasons Bistro presents seasonally changing menus to its customers using the varying cuisines of the Americas as its inspiration.  Eating by the seasons is the idea behind this restaurant as the founders believe seasonal food tastes better and also offers better value for customers.  Growing up with a Dad who loves growing seasonal fruit and vegetables this concept certainly appeals to me too.


Image courtesy of Food News PR

The dishes have been influenced by Executive Chef, Benjamin Fong's personal travels in America.  He has previously worked in several restaurants in Canada as well as locally in various places including PS Cafe.  He is a supporter of sustainability and conservation practices which is reflected in his choice of ingredients in his seasonal menus.  Using the Americas many diverse cuisines from its regions and countries as the basis for the bistro allows for a whole host of potential dishes, from seafood ones inspired by the specialities of New England to Mexican inspired dishes and much more in between.  Seasons Bistro takes you on a culinary journey around the continent.

The layout of the restaurant is designed to welcome you at any time of the day.  It's comfortable and relaxed and the large windows looking out on to Somerset Road offer you a great opportunity to watch the world go by as you dine.  The restaurant has a separate bar area which looks perfect for pre or post dinner drinks.  The bar also offers up an extensive deli counter with a takeaway menu of gourmet sandwiches, cold cuts and cheese platters.  Worth noting as well is that there is a good selection of vegetarian dishes to choose from across the menu, as well as daily specials for starters, main courses and desserts, all prepared with available seasonal ingredients.

Bar area in the Seasons Bistro

On my visit I got to try a whole range of different dishes beginning with the seared yellowfin tuna taco ($14++).  This dish is a nod to the food trucks common all over the western United States.  As I've said before I'm not a huge seafood eater but am now definitely far happier to try fish dishes than I was when I first arrived in Singapore.  Still though this is not a dish I'd probably choose for myself, that said however this ended up being my favourite of all the starters I had.  It had a pleasant light freshness to it and readied my taste buds for the rest of the dishes to come.  I could even see myself selecting this again!

Seared yellowfin tuna taco - avocado mayonnaise, pickled onions, crispy shallots, cotjia cheese and cilantro jalapeno watercress salad on tortilla shell

Next we sampled the pan seared foie gras ($16++).  The menu states that this dish is definitely not a dessert, which from looking at the list of ingredients you could almost think it was.  It was an unusual combination of ingredients but I was excited to try it and I wasn't disappointed.  The sweet and savoury flavours combined very well and although rich (not one I could eat a lot of, maybe good for sharing) it was delicious.

pan seared foie gras - pain de mie, chocolate ganache, bacon jam, caramelised bananas and granola crumbs

Before moving on to the mains I got to try one of the salads from the menu, the grilled portobello salad ($16++).  Again I probably would not have chosen this salad ordinarily but this was very good, perfect for a light lunch or as a starter.  The walnuts gave it a nice crunch to contrast with the mushrooms and other ingredients.

Grilled portobello salad - St Maure Terroir, tomatoes, beans, candied walnuts, pickled onions, bacon crisp and red wine vinaigrette

After our starters and salad we moved on to the main courses beginning with the seared albacore tuna ($26++).  This was incredibly good and really fresh tasting with the fruit complimenting the tuna.  I think I am developing much more of a taste for fish dishes!  This one takes its inspiration from dishes from Cuba and Hawaii, a nice light main course if you want to have room for dessert afterwards.

Seared albacore tuna - Asian pear, avocado, jicama, watermelon with chipotle mojo and salsa verde

Then it was on to the surf and turf gumbo ($27++), which as many of you will know is a dish from Louisiana in the United States.  A hearty, warming stew embodying the idea of a surf and turf dish by combining shrimps, chicken and chorizo served with dirty rice.  All of the sauces accompanying the dishes are made in-house and the chow chow relish in this dish is the chef's twist on the local achar pickle (yum)!  This dish was very filling and incredibly good, definitely great comfort food!

Surf & turf gumbo - shrimp, chicken, sausage, okra tomato stew with dirty rice, pickled onion, cilantro, chow chow relish and French bean salad.

Lastly we had the buttermilk fried chicken ($22++).  This is a dish I'd typically choose and this one didn't disappoint.  It is one of the most popular choices on the menu and I think probably my favourite too.  The buttermilk tenderises the chicken making it a very tasty dish and there is no fried greasiness to worry about.  As with the other dishes the accompanying relishes are made in-house and the ketchup style relish has a real fruity twist.  Yum!

Buttermilk fried chicken - succotash and deviled ranch dressing and homemade catsup

Finally on to the desserts, one of my favourite parts of a meal if I'm honest!  The first dish I tried was the Season's carrot cake ($12++).  I love carrot cake, both the Singaporean version and the sweet cake version.  If I see carrot cake on a menu most of the time I will opt for it and this one did not disappoint me.  With its thick layer of cream cheese on top and plenty of nuts throughout it was delicious and definitely not too heavy.

Season's carrot cake

Next up was the mojito tart ($12++) which, as the name suggests, pays tribute to the Cuban cocktail in the form of a tart with mint lime curd and rum cream.  Another excellent way to end a meal with a nice lime zing, for those looking for something not too filling at the end this may just be perfect for you.  Can you tell I'm a dessert fan?

mojito tart - toasted coconut tart with mint lime curd and rum cream

Finally we had a dessert from that day's specials board, the strawberry shortcake ($10++).  The specials are offered on a daily basis with two starters, main courses and desserts available to diners and, as with all the dishes, these showcase the Executive Chef's creative flair and offer customers familiar flavours prepared with seasonal ingredients.  This shortcake was light and creamy, packed full of strawberries and was a real delight.

Alongside the food menu there is an extensive drinks list including creative cocktails, a range of American craft beers, wines and spirits.  Non-alcoholic drinks, including mocktails, juices and smoothies are also available.

Strawberry shortcake - wine-soaked strawberries, chantilly cream and vanilla crumbs

I had a great night at the Seasons Bistro, it is certainly somewhere I'd return to whether for lunch or an evening meal.  With the changing seasonal menus it's not somewhere you could become bored with as hopefully they'll be something new to tempt you everytime.  For a lunch or dinner date with friends or loved ones right in the heart of the city this is a great spot to choose.

Seasons Bistro
#01-11/12
Triple One Somerset 
Singapore 238164

Reservations: (65) 6836 5841

Email: info@seasonsbistro.com.sg


Dress code: smart casual

Opening hours: Mondays - Thursdays 11am - 12am
                           Fridays 11am - 2am
                           Saturdays 10am - 2am
                           Sundays 10am - 12am

Available menus: a la carte menu available daily, all-day 
                               set-lunch menu available from Monday to Friday - 12noon to 3pm
                               brunch menu available on Saturday and Sunday - 10am to 4pm


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 Food News PR and Seasons Bistro for the kind invitation.
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