Marina Bay Sands’ Gastronomique Tour de Force (Day 3)

Sept 5, 2012

Thus the story must come to an end. The epilogue of a short trip filled with awesome tales and happy tummies! It has become a journey of an achievement as a food blogger and finally, the opportunity to stand out amongst fellow mainstream journalists. From here on, the food bloggers have their share in taking over the whole world. From here on, the future seems too bright for all of us!

I knew all along that it’s going to be hard to separate myself with this kind of attachment that had bonded us all together for the past three days. At the beginning, we’re all just commoners to each other although some of us know each other better than the rest. But all these walks, all these chit chats, all these unique experiences brought us together and we had all the joy even though most of us were in the line of duty.

There’s the knowledgeable Arie Parikesit, there’s the experienced Burhan Abe, the world travelers Reza and Jed, the fledgling Ellyna, the shy Galuh, the calm girl Muthia, the effervescent Bunga, and the quiet Graham. Not to mention our kindest ever PR slash group guide, Ms Rifka from Stratcom. The Singaporean PR team was also excellent. They switched place between groups Indonesian, Malaysian, and Australian in-betweens and were able to guide us punctually.

The third day schedule was designed to be more relaxing. I can finally lounge a bit very early at SkyPark and dip into the pool. But it was as early as 7 am and the weather was very cloudy. The wind blew so hard and cold, I could barely enjoy the pool even though finally I can witness the skyscrapers while floating there. It was an indescribable moment indeed!

To warm up my body from the point of stasis state, thanks for the windy morning, I dipped in as well at one of the Jacuzzis overlooking the Singapore Bay. It was warm, fuzzy, and very relaxing. Even so, it’s already packed with strangers and sometimes you have to bear with them occupying the same pool with you. Not long, I returned to my room and get myself ready for the remainder of my MBS gastronomic tour.

The VP interview

A session of informal interview over breakfast would be the first event of the last day. Sky on 57 had been appointed for the venue again and it’s just good to be back!

A set of enticing dishes were for the breakfast. Again I wanted to taste the Asian roots of Chef Justin Quek by choosing the delicious mee siam dish. While the rest had their share of Singaporean laksa, ramen, slow cooked organic eggs, and many else. We had the fruits first and that’s indeed something that we should do more every day – fruits first, the real deal later.

Mr Tamir Shanel (VP of F&B)

Mr Tamir Shanel arrived a bit later and joined us for breakfast. There we had a chance to talk more about him, the current, and the future state of Marina Bay Sands. The celebrity chef concept that MBS adopted currently under his leadership is perhaps the most high-profile project in South East Asia ever and promoting the cause had always been the reason of why we came at the first place. I do solemnly believe that today, the concept is probably the most advanced and the coolest thing any resort has within their sleeves.

From here some of us scoured again all over the mall and the plaza just outside just to kill some time before the next event. I suppose my coffee shop mission had gone awry even from the very first day. I got sick the first day, the second day I arrived late at Oriole, and the third day even Trung Nguyen – the nearest substitute coffee shop – was closed. Later this afternoon after lunch there will be around less than two hours before we had to arrive at the airport, but two hours won’t be enough to get myself at the coffee shops since notably they’re quite far in downtown. Not to mention that I’ll be doing plenty of coffee tasting, conversations with the barista, and some photo sessions. Two hours at one place might never be enough.

Well, I guess I had to do it next time. Hopefully soon though!

The pastry king

The Executive Pastry Chef of Marina Bay Sands, Mr Ryan Witcher, was demonstrating his ability to create some of MBS indigenous confectioneries at The Club. It’s more like a cooking class where all of us witness him telling the stories of his youth, well he’s actually still very young and has achieved probably the most important position of his career in years to come, and we were anticipating a lot on sampling some of his creations!

Mr Ryan Witcher (Executive Pastry Chef of MBS)

In fact, I would like to share you all with some of the recipes that he demonstrated that day! The ganache tasted just perfect, while the sorbet was very fruity and herb-ish. He did really well with infusing herbs and chocolate, making them a match made in heaven.

  • Milk Chocolate-Rosemary Whipped Ganache

Ingredients:

  1. Fresh rosemary = 25 g
  2. Heavy whipping cream = 450 g
  3. Glucose syrup = 50 g
  4. Inverted sugar = 50 g
  5. Milk chocolate = 420 g
  6. Salt = pinch

Method:

  1. In a sauce pan, bring first cream, glucose, and inverted sugar to a boil
  2. Pour over chocolate and emulsify to make a ganache
  3. Stir in remaining cream and mix at will
  4. Let rest overnight in the chiller
  5. Whip to desire consistency

  • Strawberry-Basil Sorbet

Ingredients:

  1. Strawberry puree = 1500 g
  2. Water = 550 g
  3. Sugar = 315 g
  4. Powdered glucose = 200 g
  5. Basil = 75 g
  6. Salt = pinch

Method:

  1. Bring puree and water to a boil
  2. Whisk together the sugar and glucose, then whisk into boiling mixture
  3. Bring mixture back to a boil
  4. Add basil and take off heat then cover
  5. Allow to steep until desired flavor is attained
  6. Strain and let sit in chiller overnight
  7. Portion into containers and freeze. Spin as needed.

Anyway, that’s probably why we should appreciate confectioneries like these more. They require skill, patience, good ingredients, and long preparation time thus making it ‘costly’.

After here, the rest is just lunch and off we head home for Jakarta!

The end of a journey

Osteria and Pizzeria Mozza was the last among the six musketeers of Marina Bay Sands that we visited. For some reasons, I can sense why I see all smiles and laughs from everyone. Knowing that this will be the last event of our tour but it’s just nice to know that everyone’s content about it. Well, we should because it’s been quite a wonderful trip!

The lunch was a series of good stuffs from insalata to pizza. It was all nice but a tad too salty. Then again it’s probably the real Italian stuffs but I have no objection aside from my current flu state. Everyone had their own time of doing stuffs they need to do from here but we all promised to meet again at the shuttle station or at the airport. Some of them still had some interview sessions they need to do, another last tour of hawker’s dishes, a trip to Gardens by the Bay, but for me it’s packing time and the moment of truth.

Chef Mario Batali (The owner of Osteria Mozza / Pizzeria Mozza)
Ms Karla Mendoza (Pizzeria Mozza Executive Chef)
Pizzeria Mozza’s Pizza Margherita

I was still considering until the very last moment whether I should hit the town or not but eventually I decided to lay back and enjoy the remainder of my time here personally in my room.

It’s a start of a new era especially for us bloggers where we could now stand side by side with mainstream journalists. My trip to MBS was basically the second trip abroad as a blogger within a few months period. For the past few years, culinary is probably still the new kid on the block compared with fashion and travel but now everyone’s talking crazy about it. The food bloggers, no matter what their background, are usually a bunch of people driven by passion, curiosity, and great willpower. With the right amount of creativity, everyone can achieve the same or even much bigger than this! I believe in that wholeheartedly.

As I left Singapore with another part of my heart stranded alongside a vivid memory full of joy and happiness back at Marina Bay Sands, I still stood tall and ready to give myself more for something that I really love. It’s all about writing and now I’m off deeper, far away, into the sunset…

THE END

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Marina Bay Sands’ Gastronomique Tour de Force (Day 2 Part 2)

Sept 4, 2012 (noon – evening)

As we head far upstairs for lunch at Sky on 57, my heart filled with anticipation of what I will encounter there. Will it succeed in bringing back my appetite? I bet it will! Not to mention also the kitchen tours at Waku Ghin and Guy Savoy, then a fancy dinner at db Bistro Moderne tonight! It’s gonna be a-w-e-s-o-m-e!

I let my childish side plays the best of me while posting this kind of entries. It’s not my usual post and while remembering my last interview with Fimela, I thinks it’s just fair that once in a while I’ll just let go my ‘Dear Diary’ personality. Tone it down a bit and make it more playful than usual!

Traveling up 57 floors felt so swift once you’re using MBS elevators but the downside is that when you’re having flu symptoms like I had that time, it’s just annoying. The pressure made you ‘deaf’ but you can’t just swallow your saliva one time to cure it. All it took was an effort to do it and by luck, you’ll get your hearing back. Although in the end, we all frequently used the elevators and that’s making all the efforts futile.

Sky on 57 is not Skye on 56

We finally arrived at Sky on 57 and it was just pristine white and fancy. With the 360 degrees view of Singapore and the sea, you’ll just have to decide where you want to sit for today and choose a different angle for your next visit. For example you can rest easy at the porch during colder days or simply have it romantic inside, both with a view to kill – the Singaporean skyscrapers!

Well, that’s not the case for us since we’re already set to sit somewhere. But the coolest thing was that Chef Justin Quek welcomed us personally and happily explaining some of his achievements while also introducing his selected products used exclusively for the restaurant.

The lunch was exquisite, though did not really involve expensive ingredients that much. We started with a demitasse of mushroom cappuccino which was Chef JQ’s signature dish. The second appetizer was even more enticing, the slow-cooked organic egg with foie gras emulsion. Then I had to choose between lamb and fried rice which of course, I voted for Asia. To end our lunch, Chef JQ prepared us a unique jackfruit tart.

Well, it was a fine lunch and helped my appetite a lot. I’d thank him personally but he went missing. It was a shame that I didn’t have the chance to take any photographs with him alongside. Well, after all celebrity chefs are the latest idol in entertainment industry.

Kitchen tours at Waku Ghin and Guy Savoy

After the much needed an-hour break back at my room, we then assembled again for the kitchen tours and furthermore to know more about Waku Ghin and Guy Savoy. As you might already knew, Waku Ghin is side-by-side with Guy Savoy also overlooking the casino. Ms Matsumoto welcomed us again at Waku Ghin and brought us on a tour to the exquisitely designed dining rooms. She also said that Chef Tetsuya Wakuda often came here even for a few hours inspection before heading next to Sydney, where his other flagship restaurant resides.

Later Ms Matsumoto introduced us to Waku Ghin’s private chefs and the one responsible to demonstrate a preview dish was Chef Kazu. Though he’s pretty much silent during his cooking demo but I found out that he’s a very resourceful persona. During a Q&A session, we asked a bit about his background and he explained it in very fluent English, unlike most Japanese who still keep their accent but Chef Kazu speaks clear English. His samples of lobsters were also delectable, though I would really like to see them demonstrating us on how to grate a wasabi, as presented in front of us alongside other fresh ingredients from the sea.

From here we continued for Guy Savoy where we Chef Charles Benoit welcomed us warmly but quite the contrary with Chef Kazu, he’s apparently quite nervous with his English. Guy Savoy is pretty much similar with Waku Ghin. We encountered the dark side of them first, a luxurious lounge, and then came the main dining room.

Here, Chef Charles demonstrated us on how to make a summer dish all made from different kinds of tomato with a hint of sauce and gelatins. There he also presented a neat technique on how to please the customers – a dish under a dish. Well, basically it’s two different dishes on the same plate but masqueraded by a layer of plating to conceal the base. After you finish the upper dish then the waiter will come by and remove the plate. Voi la! You have your surprise!

Before we leave, we were also served with an artichoke and black truffle soup with a mushroom brioche. A warm soup that healed my soul a lot! I suppose I’m gonna be ready to hit db Bistro Moderne for the much-anticipated dinner. Before that, I returned back for a while to my room for another rest.

A ‘superb’ dinner at db Bistro Moderne

Chef Stephane Istel and Pastry Chef Benjamin were perhaps the liveliest French guys I had ever met aside from the feisty Chef Antoine Audran of Java Bleu back in Jakarta. Not only that Chef Istel served us ‘superbly’ (well, he said the word ‘superb’ a lot and always doing it in high spirit), but also punctually. We’re supposed to gather at the Theatre for the Snowshow at 8 and he’s doing the best he could to clear the entire dinner course before that.

We were served generously first with Alsatian flat bread and wild mushrooms alongside the beautiful tuna carpaccio for the starters. The feast then continued with huge seafood platters filled heartily with oysters, lobsters, shrimps, clams, whelks, scampi, and crabs. Not stopping there, Chef Istel further treated us with the restaurant’s signature dish, The Original db Burger which was a combination of sirloin burger filled with braised short ribs and foie gras served in a parmesan bun plus the French fries of course! As for the sides, a potato gratin, mashed potato, asparagus, and roast chickens were also there. What a treat from db! Hats off for these kind chefs and Mr Daniel Boulud, of course!

Pastry Chef Benjamin then treated us with beautifully made dessert, so eloquent and yet colorful! Everything from apricot clafoutis, peach melba, tarte fine aux figues, vanilla soufflé, profiteroles, and chocolate fondant were all served for everyone. It was unlucky that we had to finish them all quick because of the not-so-important Snowshow. Of course, I finished last and had a chance to thank the Chefs personally, wishing that next time I could visit again and taste the ‘superb’ goodness of db Bistro Moderne again.

The Snowshow and a cup of jo

Needless to say, we’re a bit late for the show and weren’t permitted to enter for a while. Not to mention that everybody’s busy with depositing their cameras. Imagine if I could stay a bit longer for dessert and I need not had to witness all this. I was even imagining myself hopping from one dessert to another alone (because everyone already left) and savoring it all like a Sir upon a long dinner table. There’s no telling that I could have conversed a bit more with Chef Stephane and Chef Benjamin about food!

Well, the harsh reality was that I had to witness this expensive Snowshow and it better be good!

Slava’s Snowshow is a clown show with an abstract and artistic presentation, audio and visually. They’re changing from one scene to another and sometimes doing silly things, sometimes also mimicking certain moves that can make people laugh or a bit tearful. Well, it was quite brilliant but it’s not really my kind of show. Some of my colleagues were already disappearing. I had my chances to escape but I decided to just return and ask everyone to join me later for a cup of jo somewhere in the city.

We finished at around 9.15 and rushed ourselves to Bayfront MRT station. Well, to tell you the truth, I actually had this secret mission to undertake every opportunity to visit third wave coffee shops all over Singapore. Unlucky that my schedule was full so I can only visit these coffee shops at night. Even so, most of the coffee shops are already closed at around 6 or 7 pm. The only one still open until 11 pm would be Oriole at Pan Pacific Suites just beside 313@Somerset.

As fast as we can made it there, we had to accept the fact that we started at the edge of the line – Marina Bay MRT station, thus the train kept us waiting a bit longer than usual before leaving. We finally arrived at Somerset around 10.40 but it was too late. The last order was supposedly around 10.30 and we’re just late for about 10 minutes. It’s a shame because on the first day I got sick and the only opportunity I had on the second day was wasted only by an inch.

I guess Fate wanted me to steer away from coffee that time, but I was still very determined to do it on the third day even though the schedule will be full as well. We then all returned back to the hotel, exhausted and dejected. Well, on the bright side, the second day activities were all went well and I had a fantastic experience back at the celebrity restaurants and interesting Heart-of-House tour. The exhibitions of Andy Warhol and Harry Potter were all exciting as well. Looking forward for the third day then!

TO BE CONTINUED TO DAY 3

Marina Bay Sands’ Gastronomique Tour de Force (Day 2 Part 1)

Sept 4, 2012 (morning – noon)

It was a rough night but I had all the rest that I need. In the morning, the sore throat and flu symptoms still hampered my total fitness but those didn’t stop me to fulfill my obligations and excitements for another fun day at Marina Bay Sands!

Yes, I woke up still unwell and hoping to get a full rest for the whole day. Perhaps later after I got better, sometime in the afternoon after lunch, I could sneak away for a cuppa somewhere in a nice, artisanal coffee shop in Singapore. What a wishful thinking! Besides, I didn’t want to miss this rare moment of scouring around MBS. Not to mention also having meals at the celebrity chef restaurants!

Me, Mr Arie Parikesit and Mr Jed Doble were all occupied three different rooms at the same floor. While Mr Parikesit disappeared so early – he later told us that he had had an early breakfast in a hawkers’ center somewhere. Well, he’s the typical Jalansutra adventurer. So Mr Doble and I decided to just meet up at the elevator and off we went for the scheduled breakfast at Rise on the ground floor of the hotel.

A short detour before the tour

The breakfast at Rise was quite pleasant but my appetite hadn’t returned yet since early morning. My taste buds felt only bitter or flat taste, but then again perhaps that’s the taste from all the food I collected for breakfast. But anyway, at Rise the variety of food was quite plentiful but crammed with hotel guests even as early as 7.30. I had worse experience back at First World Café in Genting or seen businessmen queuing at the entrance of the two international restaurants at Swissotel at The Stamford just a few blocks away from here. It’s somehow better here.

 

Mr Doble specifically commended the swiftness and hospitality from the cooks behind the egg station. As we all know, people from this section usually gets grumpy easily especially with so many patrons flocking and shouting, ‘Scrambled with cheese!’, ‘Sunny side up!’, ‘Omelette!’ and so on. As for me, I was quite satisfied only with the continental breakfast that I chose. The usual smoked salmon, salmon gravlax, air-dried beef, and smoked haddock were just nice as the opener, but not from the Asian section which I found just at par for my main dish. Well, the best part of all was that I took a large amount of lychee and longan to refresh my appetite and just to make my wife, who happens to really love lychee so much, envious of my catch!

The rest of the team arrived a bit late for breakfast and there’s still time before the tour. Mr Doble asked me to assist him in taking pictures while he’s having a dip at the pool up high in the sky. As much as I wanted a lot to enjoy the pool but there’s still tomorrow. So I’d just wait until I get better and enjoy myself with the pool since early morning! Not to forget the Jacuzzi as well!

Heart-of-House, the lifeline of MBS

We assembled at the lobby at around 10 am and headed downstairs nearby the MRT station for the staffs entrance. Yes, we’re heading to the Heart-of-House or the massive labyrinth where thousands of MBS employees went through daily for work. The whole place felt like a huge underground Tube station and to get in, we also encountered similar gates we found at train stations.

On our way to see Executive Chef Christopher Christie, we also bumped into the outfit room that has around 20 small doors filled with different costume lanes for staffs. All they got to do is to punch the card and wait until the designated costume appears. Later we also conversed a bit with a lady who runs the place. She might be short in stature and appears like a nice lady but she runs 50,000 costumes only for the staffs including the laundry or any sewing needs. Just fantastic!

Chef Christopher Christie was already there waiting for us. He happens to be very similar with Sir Ben Kingsley, by the way. I jovially asked him later after the tour whether somebody before me ever told him that he looks like Ben Kingsley. He replied with a smile that he remembered some who had told him about it. Anyway, Mr Christie is a Canadian, again short in stature but has a commanding tone and appears very confident with what he’s doing down here. He’s responsible to take care of the food for around 7,000 employees everyday! That doesn’t include for the guests both at the restaurants and for room services!

While he’s touring us around the kitchen to see sections responsible with meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, and pastry, we also met Executive Pastry Chef Ryan Witcher who will be doing a chocolate-making presentation tomorrow – a really young fella who runs the show for all the pastries needs for the whole MBS! Not only him, we also met Mr Tamir Shanel, the VP for F&B of MBS, and reminded each other about a breakfast session with him tomorrow.

That time, We all thought that this massive work down here would require people to walk around so much and Mr Christie admitted that within these labyrinth that spanned over 500 meters from Tower 1 to Tower 3, a walk around 15 kilometers a day is something that he commonly does every day! But he looks healthy and high in spirit. That’s what you get from working for to fuel your passion!

Lastly, we also visited the canteen for the employees and it was just nice, clean, and very fulfilling. We even wanted to have our lunch here instead! The canteen has a massive dining room with plenty of food stations from appetizers, Western, Chinese, halal section, and also plenty of beverage stations. The employees are allowed for seconds or even more but they’re constantly reminded to always take food prudently. ‘Start small but seconds always welcome’, well that’s the motto there I suppose.

The unique ArtScience Museum

Finally before lunch, we headed for the ArtScience Museum at the corner of MBS complex. It’s a massive building shaped like a lotus and designed with brilliant architectural feats. A walk from the Heart-of-House to ArtScience Museum was already far and as for lunch, we will then ascend to the top floor for Sky on 57. That would also require a long walk heading back to the hotel first. But it’ll be fun and might as well just enjoy it while it lasts!

At ArtScience Museum, we all happily took the opportunity to see the exhibition of Andy Warhol’s history and artworks. It took quite a while here as the museum guide was very passionate in telling the details about Andy Warhol. But I enjoyed his works a lot and get a glimpse about his life, the story behind it all, and appreciate more of his qualities – rarely found during his time. Always thought that he’s an Englishman but turns out that he’s an American – well, the last cultured American I suppose.

The next exhibition was the Harry Potter! While I might not a real fan of J.K Rowling’s work, but still it’s just interesting to see the exhibits of costumes, wands, and props used during the filmmaking. I get to see the moving paintings (well, in reality they use LCD TV) and the noisy mandrakes as well! Lastly the tour ended at a store full of Harry Potter’s merchandises which I found mostly overrated and overpriced. Still unsatisfied with looking around the exhibits, the PRs already rushed us to assemble and head back upstairs for lunch.

Here comes another long walk!

TO BE CONTINUED

QuikSkoop™: Marina Prawn Mee

It’s a rare thing for me to scour as far as Western Jakarta (somehow Bali or Saigon feels nearer), but it’s a good thing. You get to know one or two new things, especially the bustling restaurants around Taman Ratu vicinity. Marina Prawn Mee being one of them invited several bloggers to let them know ‘Singaporean’ they are.

It’s an easy task to find the place thanks to the GPS and we didn’t even afraid to ask the locals. Good thing that Marina Prawn Mee is located within the main road, making it easier for everyone to find it. The owner later told us that they had replaced the signboard with red color. The previous one had been a fluke since after several months of its existence, many people thought that they’re still new to the neighborhood! Well, lesson learned I guess.

If you look at the place from the front, it’s probably like the usual Chinese food restaurant with the open kitchen preceding the entry to the restaurant. But once you’re inside, it’s a kopitiam-themed restaurant. All whitewashed but not too bright. The owners happen to be very fond of IKEA products and they hand-brought many stuffs here for the decorations and lightings straight from Singapore.

In all, Marina Prawn Mee presents a fresh look of a restaurant but lacking in three so far.

The first one is more dilemmatic– tables and chairs. They had to find local furnishings and didn’t match that much with the whole kopitiam and IKEA decorations. To bring them here would be extra cost, not to mention the problems with customs, but it’s very understandable since IKEA’s not here yet – or never.

Marina Mie Udang

The second problem is that the restaurant was too humid that night. I braced myself originally with a coat and seeing the all four air conditioners will instill chills to your neck but not all of them operated that night. People in Jakarta desperately need AC and comfort during their stay over the course of their meals. This is also a matter of customer’s satisfaction where one does not always derived from the goodness of the meal but also the level of comfort when they’re having dine-outs. I was happy that the owners promised us to give more concern over this matter and hopefully the next time I visit the place, it’ll be cool and gives everyone more spirit to dig in!

The third one was that they’re in short of employees due to Lebaran holiday, where usually some staffs don’t return afterwards for unknown reasons. This made the service slow but certainly not as slow as our disastrous Nannini visit months ago – a ridiculous case of a high-profile restaurant with the so-called experienced chef who kept us hungry for three hours straight over a silly reason. Luckily, our wait here was worth it.

Nasi Goreng Ikan Asin

Among the dishes that we ordered, the highlights for me were between the mie goreng belacan (belacan fried noodles), which appeared enticing with plenty of condiments such as meatballs, shrimps, with decent belacan taste, and the nasi goreng ikan asin (salted fish fried rice). The rest of the food bloggers were quite contented with the rich appearance of the Marina mie udang (Singaporean style prawn noodle), with huge prawns, vegetables, and braised pork – if I’m not mistaken. Read more about this dish at my fellow bloggers posts – Oh My Good Food, Yummy For Dummy, and Anak Jajan.

The owners are now personally nurturing the growth of their venture and have been planning for several expansions in the future. In terms of taste, they have managed a decent level and have acquired many loyal customers – some of them even ordered two or three times of those huge portions of goodness! Under current interior, hopefully soon enough Marina Prawn Mee will also provide the customers with interesting kopitiam menu. Well, they might have to change again the signboard but kudos for the continuous effort and hopefully it will stand the test of time.

Mie Goreng Belacan

———-

MARINA PRAWN MEE

Halal-friendliness to be confirmed (some dishes contain pork)

Some menu might be suitable for vegetarians

Wi-fi available

Address: Taman Ratu Blok D11 no. 22 – Jakarta, Indonesia

Opening Hours: Daily, 10 am – 10 pm

RSVP: +62.21.950.5895 (also for delivery)

BB Pin: N/A

Email: N/A

Website: N/A

Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/marina.prawnmee

https://www.facebook.com/marina.prawnmee.9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/marinaprawnmee

Atmosphere: A kopitiam-like Singaporean Peranakan restaurant. Everything’s great except for the humidity.

Ambiance: Conversational.

Service: Currently slow but concerns have been noted.

Pricing: Around IDR 5o,000 – IDR 75,000 for two.

—–

Marina Bay Sands’ Gastronomique Tour de Force (Day 1 Part 2)

Sept 3, 2012 (noon-evening)

No matter how excited I was during my first day at MBS, I was a bit suspicious of myself because my appetite for lunch didn’t pan out as usual. But then the reality came out by itself, I was about to have a fever.

MBS shopping mall was indeed huge and full of sunshine. The spaciousness intrigued me to just simply scour the place up to the highest elevators, down to the lowest MRT station, or just simply do the window shopping, boating around and even having fun on its skating rink. We arrived at one corner of the mall for our lunch at Todai. It’s full of with anticipation but my appetite’s not there yet and I didn’t know why. I decided to just give everything a try from the sushi & sashimi section, churrasco section, and every savory foodstuffs I can found. It was fun and cheated my hunger although not really fulfilling.

Next we headed for The Social Pavilion or the photo booth that can connects to your Facebook and you can have as much picture as you want for free here. Here, we finally got a good look of other teams from Malaysia and Australia. Every team was led by MBS’s PR officer and they were constantly switching each other neatly. The schedule of every team was different as well but each team gets the same itinerary.

The rooftop tour

It’s time for the rooftop tour then, ladies and gents. Off we went to see the legendary Sands SkyPark and the Banyan Tree clubs for gym and spa. They’re all located up high and each one of them has impressive view of Singapore in 360 degrees. As much as doing sport can be something that we food bloggers least wanted but I would really love to try doing a bit cardio, weightlifting or even some yoga for just viewing the city! The spa was also appeared so appealing yet relaxing. Imagine having a massage up high in the sky.

A small tour to the luxurious suites high above was also quite interesting. Not only that these suites are spacious but they are also well-equipped with basic gym equipments, grand piano, meeting table, and Nespresso coffee machine. I had to stop for a while just to sit and rest my legs, much to my amazement of how weak I had become for even a very easy tour like this. I gritted my teeth and psyched up myself to let this day over merrily!

By the way, the Sands SkyPark was even more breathtaking although it was around 2 pm in the afternoon and packed with people. I’d love to dip in first thing in the morning before anyone gets here or just even to see the skylines during the evening. Surely it’s a comeback later tomorrow or my last day here. I was getting unwell at this point. I figured that I should head back for a while to the room and get myself a dose of energizer just to keep the day running. The rooftop tour was supposedly to continue with the spacious observation deck but most of us preferred to just retreat for a while and have a quick shower.

Waku Ghin and CUT

We then gathered around again at the lobby to continue for two sessions of cocktail refreshments at one of the world’s best Waku Ghin owned by Chef Tetsuya Wakuda then at Chef Wolfgang Puck’s CUT. Located just above the casino, Waku Ghin and its neighbor Guy Savoy were indeed very special. Before getting inside we witnessed how massive and colorful the casino was from above.

We were greeted warmly by the beautiful manager of Waku Ghin, Ms Hitomi Matsumoto and its famous bartenders, Mr Akihiro Eguchi and Mr Kazuhiro Chii. Then Mr Eguchi led the presentation on how to create proper ice for cocktails and formulated their signature drinks such as Gimlet and Moscow Mule for us all. Additionally we were also served delicious finger foods such as the small portions of duck confit over mashed potato and scampi drowned in salted water to be pulled up and reached olive oil – intriguing! It was interesting and enlightening for all of us especially when presented neatly by the duo bartenders of excellence, as one of them Mr Eguchi frequently travels to Jakarta for cocktail events and has won several championships.

On the other hand, CUT is located within the corridors of MBS shoppes. Different than Waku Ghin’s bar that appears dark and intimate, CUT presents its bar with a cheerful yet elegant atmosphere. It’s basked with setting sun but the bartenders are gazing straight towards it. I had to applause them for being very resilient in their arduous tasks of bar tending. They have to carve the ice everyday with their bare hands, some learn on how to jug bottles and stuffs, they have to formulate new drinks and innovations with the risk on getting intoxicated every day (though I assume that they like it instead), and finally here at CUT, they have to work against the simmering sunshine. With glasses that dominate the whole architecture of MBS, the air conditioned temperature gets beaten sometimes with the heat coming from the sun especially during noontime.

But it’s a bit of shame that they treated us less generous than Waku Ghin with each of us only sipping a small amount of liquids from their drinks with divided food. But here we saw more samples of drinks at the very least. The restaurant itself opens only for dinner but according to our itinerary, CUT will serve only small cocktails and no dinner for this media trip. Well, in this case I had to suggest MBS on how to treat media on a more elaborated scheme if they want us to write properly. It’s a different policy though at Sky on 57 and db Bistro Moderne on my upcoming posts as they’re pretty much doing the opposite and decent enough for full coverage.

The finale of the first day

As we head into the evening with my ailing body, Au Chocolat became the place for our dinner. Au Chocolat itself is a chocolatier, ice cream shop, toy shop, cake shopand also a bistro. Occupying a large corner equals for three shops, Au Chocolat is indeed one of the largest tenant there. Under normal condition, I’d be very much tempted with the beautiful gelato – arranged stylishly like Gelatissimo, the cakes, the chocolates, and of course the dinner! Well, anyway I had to eat to beat this feverish crap out of my body.

It was a dinner course of limited choice there. For the opener, I chose French onion soup to boost my morale again to be continued with fish and chips. I was thinking also on having roast chicken or duck confit as the alternative but then again, I have to beat this appetite problem with something easy and I guess the fish n’ chips would be the best choice.

Well, the onion soup worked well but still cannot help my appetite any further. I had to take away my fish and chips and leave early. Just in case, I brought home also the dessert which was a decent cheese cake made by Pastry Chef Mai Mai – a good old friend of my entourage, Mr Jed Doble. He told me that they both used to work at the same bank years ago and set course on different paths. Pastry Chef Mai Mai went for the States to learn more about baking and Mr Doble set course for Indonesia to explore more about photography and finally, he becomes a prominent journalist there.

Before everyone finished their dinner, I returned back to my room to struggle against the fever and hoping that tomorrow it will subside somehow. But before that, I also dropped by to the luxurious Louis Vuitton store there to collect a sunglasses owned by my friend back at Bandung. The rest of the team went for a river cruise and to see the fireworks show known as Wonder Full. It’s a shame but an obligation is an obligation and it is my obligation to be healthy for tomorrow’s busy schedule. Not only that, my spirit remained high and really looking forward for the next adventure, even if that means that I have to sleep early.

TO BE CONTINUED WITH DAY 2