Day 8: The Penultimate Chapter

by cedhausen

Alrighty folks, today’s post is going to be a little longer than usual… Not that I really have the extra time, I seem to be doing these posts at around 2AM/3AM… Yowzah. But I do owe everyone some visuals and text on the marvellous experience I had at Sofitel So Singapore yesterday. I’ll cover more of the things I did before and after the hotel later, so today’s post will focus mostly on Sofitel and a little on today’s itinerary.

So, once again, this is how Xperience looks like as you enter the hotel, just across the main entrance:

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As you can see, there’s a lot going on in there in terms of the design, and while I appreciate this aesthetic entropy that surrounds me, my host-cum-dinner partner disagrees. He tells me he couldn’t stand the place, and would’ve preferred a much simpler interior with a tamer colour palette. For me, I welcome the seemingly incongruent design elements that scatter the place. It isn’t everyday one falls through the looking glass and comes upon a whimsical gem such as this. I love it because I have more to write about it, instead of falling back on the usual “oh they have large Palladian windows” or “the faux Corinthian columns look almost… Corinthian”. If you forgive my language, this place screams “move aside bitches”. To call the place très chic is an understatement.

Moving on to the food. Since there were two of us, we decided to try everything on their Signature Menu (a three-course meal at S$75++ per person). We begin with appetisers: Foie Gras and Truffle Siew Mai, and Smoked Salmon Vodka and Caviar.

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The Siew Mai is unlike the ones I’m familiar with, which has a much chewy texture to it. These just crumble so easily in the mouth, and though it was hard to detect all the things that was bouncing on my tongue, these had a great mouthfeel and the clear broth complemented the dish wonderfully, giving the dumplings a Xiao Long Bao feel to it.

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The Smoked Salmon left me wanting more, because there were only four slices! The dish has been carefully deconstructed, and I really recommend having it with the accompanying leaves as they pack a punch for their size (I wonder if these have been laced with something…).

Next, the mains: Lobster and Scallops Laksa Risotto (OMG X3), and Braised Wagyu Short Ribs.

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If you’re only going to have to pick one item off the menu, it will be this one. The risotto was prepared perfectly al dente, peppered with local spices and dowsed in fragrant laksa, which bombards the olfactory even before the dish arrives at the table. Coconut foam envelops the dish, gently balancing out the piquant risotto and enhancing the fresh seafood. I was initially a little concerned about the scallops, thinking they weren’t fresh, but realised that their entry was surprising only because I’ve never had them with so much spices. The laksa completely overwhelms anything with a milder profile, yet isn’t too fiery as to disturb me from savouring the meal, one bite at a time. Seriously people, get this if you’re ever visiting Sofitel… no, if you’re ever visiting Singapore, make sure to stop by for this. As someone who has had his share of local cuisine (the difference between Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine are like Variations on a Theme of Paganini), I’d never thought I’d taste laksa on my risotto. Yes, it is a little pricey at S$39 (size XM, à la carte), but I’d come back for this.

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The Wagyu Short Ribs was impressive too, and apparently the second most popular main after the risotto as our waiter tells us. Served with potatoes (though they taste like fried carrot cake, or chai tow kway), some rockets, and spinach, the ribs are incredibly filling. The meat separates easily and slides off the knife luxuriously as I slice into it. Considering I have weak teeth, I thoroughly enjoyed the beef as it posed no risk of shattering my chompers. I like to have it with the potatoes just to balance out the beefy flavour a little.

Finally, desserts: Banana and Passion Fruit, and Lemon and Marshmallow.

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Yes, I am missing a picture (blasphemy!)… I don’t have a “useable” picture of the Banana and Passion Fruit so I’ll describe it to you. Imagine a cannoli with a thinner, crispier, and more brittle crust containing passion fruit cream and banana slices in it. This was served with a a scoop of Gula Melaka ice cream that works well with the zesty passionfruit.

The picture shows the Lemon and Marshmallow, which is really a deconstructed lemon meringue pie. The lemon comes in the form of a sorbet, which is an instant favourite of my host as the flavour kinda slaps you awake. I love having a little bit of everything in my mouth and the biggest surprise for me was that the meringue had Pop Rocks on top of it! An absolute delight.

Oh! I almost forgot… My host, who fancies himself a wine connoisseur also ordered this to whet his appetite:

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From left to right: A Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir 2011, an Argentinian Clos de los Siete by Michel Rolland 2010, and a Heartland Langhorne Creek Shiraz 2012. My favourite of the trio is the Shiraz, though the most memorable one will have to be the Argentinian red. Milder than most reds from the country, but had a most wonderful spicy profile which surprised my host and me. This isn’t to say the Pinot Noir wasn’t without its merits, though it did pale in comparison to the other two bottles.

After dinner, our waiter arranged for guest relations to take us on a tour of the hotel. The offer took us by surprise, but I jumped on the opportunity anyway as I’d love to learn more about the property. The hotel itself only started its operations four months ago, but is already drawing a fair bit of attention among design enthusiasts for its quirky decorative elements:

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I love how the table in the second picture just has this pencil-sharpener-thing going right through it. Even the rooms are funky:

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As all of the suites were taken that night, we were taken to visit their “Cozy” room instead. All of the rooms in the hotel utilise iPads and iPhones, and guests are able to conduct various tasks using these gadgets, from turning off the lights to opening the curtain blinds. Each room also comes with their own mini bar, which opens from a hidden door made conspicuous only from its framed silhouette against the wall. Like the rest of the hotel, the room was very vibrant and sorta beckons to be occupied by artistic visionaries.

We were then taken up to the rooftop bar, which had a decent view of Singapore’s financial district:

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After which, our tour guide brought us to the gym, where I found these nifty looking lamps dangling from the ceiling:

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So that’s the Sofitel So Singapore for you. A beautifully designed boutique hotel with something new to discover at every corner. Now before I slam my head on the table because of sleep deprivation, here’s today’s Photo of the Day (finally!):

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This was taken as my host and I were just circling Clarke Quay after dinner, and I just couldn’t resist snapping a picture. I mean look at the colours! Not surprising, the building is the headquarters for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

Since I’ve talked at length about dinner at the hotel, I’ll wrap this up pretty quickly. Met up with a college mate and had Singaporean Bak Kut Teh (again, cannot believe it slipped my mind to snap a photo… that said, the place was incredibly busy and I didn’t want to risk dropping my phone into soup as I ate and chatted with my friend); visited Sentosa after postponing it for so long but was severely disappointed because of the thunderstorm completely ruining my plans… again. I guess I should’ve taken this as a warning sign:

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Look. at. that. cloud. Can it get any more ominous? This was taken from the boardwalk to the island.

But my disappointment was curbed by a visit to KU DÉ TA at the top of the Marina Bay Sands…:

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… and satay at Telok Ayer Market (Lau Pa Sat):

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Okay peeps, that’s one too many intriguing photos for one post. I should really separate these into different posts! But I can’t talk about today without touching on them… so here they are. I will still return to these once I’m back in Kuala Lumpur and share my experiences with everyone. I have a lot more photographs to go through after all.

Holy mother of blueberry cheesecakes it’s 4AM… I’ll be leaving back for Batu Pahat tomorrow, though probably not before having my last lunch at Singapore before I do. I can’t believe it’s the end of my trip here already. The thought of knowing Singapore isn’t really that far away isn’t comforting in the least… annoyingly so for me. Argh…

One last thing: I might be absent from the blogosphere tomorrow, which drives me crazy because I’ve finally gotten into the routine of posting once per day. The only reason being I’m not able to access the Internet though I’ll try to work my way around that.

For now, it’s sleeping time. So goodnight world.

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