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Funsiamo, Suntec City

Go!!!

If you’re ever out of birthday cake ideas, why not bake one your own? At Funsiamo, you choose your preferred cake, turn up at your reserved time slot, marvel at how everything has been prepared nicely for you, and bake away!

When I visited on a weekday afternoon it was empty so I had the whole place as well as the staff’s attention to myself.

The interior is bright, clean and neat. The working stations are on one end of the studio while the mixers and ovens are on the other end. You can leave your belongings in the lockers provided. Remember to take your phone because you’ll be taking pictures throughout the session.

I chose to bake the Rarity Unicorn cake ($130).

Depending on your selection, the staff would have prepared all necessary tools and ingredients before your arrival. For example, if the recipe calls for just egg yolks, you’ll find separated yolks in their fridge. No fuss about separating them on your own and making a mess out of it.

Before starting work, you’ll first have to watch a video of how the cake is made. The video is customised by Funsiamo, so everything you see in the video is similar to what you’ll experience later on.

Let’s start!

Detailed, step by step instructions (including which tools you’ll need at which stages) are all available so it’s really quite foolproof.

Whisking the egg whites.

If you have baked before, you’ll know how difficult it is to get the soft peaks/ hard peaks correct. Here at Funsiamo, the staff generally lets you do your own mojo, but at critical junctures like this they’ll be there to assist. I got the perfect egg white texture with their help.

Coloured the egg whites.

My unicorn cake is actually a rainbow cake within! Pretty excited at this point to see how it’ll turn out in the end.

Letting the cakes cool down.

The baking process was fuss free. I think I was too easy on the colouring here, couldn’t really tell which was what colour till I took them out of their trays.

Preparing the buttercream for the unicorn mane.

While the buttercream was already provided (i.e., you don’t do it from scratch), you have to colour the buttercream separately before combining them into one huge tube. By the way, do you see those three little squeeze bottles at the back? Those were used to draw the eyes and ears!

Stacking the cakes together.

After stacking the coloured cakes on top of each other (haha they even instruct you which colours to stack first so you get that nice contrast in between the colours), you can slap on the soft cream and freeze your cake in the blast chiller before decorating.

Stuck on the eyes and ears.

Piping the buttercream twirl by twirl. This was so much fun.

The end product! Love how this cake turned out.

Cake, box with ribbon and a fitted paper bag.

Funsiamo has got you covered till the very end. They would pack your cake into a box with an ice pack so you have enough time to travel home without the cake melting. If you prefer to shop around or have your meal in Suntec before leaving, do let them know as they will let you to store your cake with them if there’s enough space.

Had a pleasant surprise after cutting the cake. The colours were so pretty! Taste wise, it wasn’t too sweet as well. Not a single piece of cake was left that day.

My experience at Funsiamo was great for several reasons. At Funsiamo, you don’t have to wash anything except your hands! You know how many bowls you will use in baking? Every ingredient one bowl, 10 ingredients 10 bowls. The staff will also constantly clear your workspace for you so that you have more space to do your stuff.

What stood out for me was the staff’s attentiveness. You don’t get the feeling that someone is eyeballing you yet at the same time the staff will appear when you need help. For instance, I was super nervous when piping the mane because I was afraid that I’ll screw it up. In this split second a staff showed up and helped me to pipe the first one!

3 Temasek Boulevard, #02-458 Suntec City North Wing, S(038983)

Daily: 10am to 10pm

+65 6910 0890

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SKAI Lunch Menu, Swissotel The Stamford

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Taking over the space of Equinox on the 70th floor of Swissotel The Stamford is SKAI, a contemporary grill helmed by Chef Paul Hallett. As with all atas places with a ceiling to floor view of the CBD area and a great ambience, the hack is to have their lunch sets which promises you all the frills without burning a hole in your pocket.

As soon as the lift door opens you are greeted with the warmth of overflowing natural sunlight. The super high ceiling gives this place a feeling of grandeur, lifting your spirits instantly.

The interior is simple yet classy. Love the woody textures overlaid with various greens scattered around the place.

The view from my table. Protip: if you’re there to impress, do request for a table by the window prior to your reservation.

For lunch, a 2 course set menu will set you back by $39++ while a 3 course set will set you back by $45++. Needless to say, I went for the 3 course set because you get one more dish for only $6++!

Freshly baked sourdough served with mushroom butter.

Hehe, one of the things I look forward to at such posh restaurants is the bread basket. The bread was so crusty! Left a whole trail of breadcrumbs on my table.

Appetizer: Yellow Fin Tuna with Kohlrabi Remoulade, Watercress, Rice Crisp

The rhapsody of elements in this dish makes every bite a different and refreshing experience. You wouldn’t think that some of the components would make a big difference because they seem so innocuous.

Appetizer: Cauliflower Soup with Roasted Eggplant, Enoki and Truffle

If I were to give a name to this dish, I would call it The Girl Next Door. The whole dish looks really plain and simple, until you take the first scoop. The soup was extremely smooth and you could tell that it’s filled with the natural sweetness of the cauliflower. Also, check out the amount of truffle shavings!

Main: Stanbroke Wagyu Petite Tender with Endive Salad and Asian Spice

Did you know that tenderloins are the most tender part of the cow since this muscle does very little work? It’s perfect for grilling and has that melt in your mouth texture. Super pleased they serve this part for lunch because again, this 3 course meal is only $45++!!!

Look at that pinkish, juicy meat!

Dessert: Exotic Trifle — Coconut, Mango Compote, Lemongrass Sorbet

This dessert is served as a mini show. The staff will pour water into the glass dome containing dry ice in front of you. I knew what was coming but I couldn’t help feeling like a little girl feeling excited and in awe. A pity the dry ice ran out too quickly.

Dessert: Earl Grey Parfait — Raspberry, Citrus Jelly, Yoghurt Ice Cream

Where is the earl grey you wonder? It’s in that hexagonal biscuit looking thing! Because of the sweet and sour details of this dish, you’ll find yourself wanting more and more after every bite.

SKAI lunch sets are a really good deal given the amount of creativity and variation going into each dish. I had a great experience there, and so will you.

2 Stamford Road, Level 70, S(178882)

Lunch: Mondays to Fridays 12noon to 230pm, Saturdays 12noon to 330pm

+65 6837 3322

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Blue Ginger, Tanjong Pagar Road

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Tanjong Pagar road is famous for rows of Korean BBQ eateries and bridal shops, but little did I know a charming Peranakan restaurant rests itself here as well.

As I came with a large group, I was immediately escorted to the second floor where the Peranakan setting was more apparent.

They don’t have set menus for lunch or for a large group, so do ask the staff if the food you’ve ordered is enough for your group; it’s hard to tell the portion size just by the price of it.

Ngo Heong, $12.50.

This dish was good, but must be eaten piping hot to experience that crackling skin sensation. We were hooked, and immediately ordered a second plate to share.

Kang Kong Lemak, $12.

Those chunks that you see are actually sweet potatoes! Oh my, what a delightful combination! Who could have guessed that sweet potatoes would be this delicious with coconut milk and chilli shrimp paste.

Beef Rendang, $18.

I think this was the best dish in the entire meal. The rendang was aromatic to say the least. My table unanimously agreed this was one dish not to be missed.

Ayam Buah Keluak, $20.

Was slightly annoyed that they didn’t provide picks to dig out the creamy flesh but other than that, the dish was well seasoned and prepared.

Chap Chye Masak Titek, $13.

The Chap Chye tasted weird. Apparently it’s prepared using prawn stock but it didn’t taste like the usual Nonya Chap Chye that my colleagues or myself were used to. I recommend skipping this dish.

Otak Otak, $4 per piece.

At this price, I expect the otak to be meaty, creamy and substantial. Blue Ginger’s rendition of otak had bits of fish within and a well balanced blend of spices. Yums.

Bakwan Kepeting, $6.80.

I felt this bowl was a tad too pricy. Granted, the meatballs were made with minced meat and crabmeat, but $6.80… Plus, the soup was also a little mild for my liking.

Nonya Fish Head Curry, $32.

I can’t begin expressing how disappointed we were at this dish. It was overly sweet! What a bugger because it was supposed to be the star of the show. Also, I had the belly area which tasted really, really bad. I am usually I am able to stand the smell of bellies but this was particularly repulsive.

Gula Melaka, $4.50.

Is there such thing as an overly sweet dessert? The gula melaka was so rich that I had a sugar rush shortly after my meal.

97 Tanjong Pagar Road, S(088518)

Daily: 12noon to 3pm, 630pm to 1030pm

+65 6222 3928

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Four Points Eatery Weekend Lunch Buffet, Four Points by Sheraton

Worth a try.

Thanks to Chope’s 1 for 1 buffet promotion, a weekend lunch buffet at Four Points Eatery costs only $30! It is definitely a budget buffet for sure, but at this price, why not go for the experience? Besides, some of the dishes are really worth the calories. You also get a glass of beer or orange/apple juice.

On a Saturday afternoon this place isn’t packed at all. It’s comfortable, bright and the food is well spaced (lack of variety more accurate?).

The cold dishes were barely sufficient. No oysters (duh!) but I was surprised that there weren’t any sushi or sashimi as well.

Fried Homemade Tofu with Chilli Mei Chye Chicken.

Fried Mussels with Dried Tom Yam.

Assam Curry Crab.

Kueh Pie-Ti station.

Roast Meat station.

Salted Egg Squid.

Fried Chicken.

Rojak station.

I would say that Four Points Eatery does their Chinese dishes well. The salted egg squid especially was super crunchy and on point with the amount of salted egg flavour. The roast chicken was also cooked well, not dry at all.

Of all the Chinese dishes, the only miss was the asam curry crab. It lacked the sour kick I was looking for. The crabs were also quite small, not quite worth the effort cracking and digging.

Baked Salmon, Spinach and Parmesan Crust.

Seafood Quiche.

There were a couple more non-Chinese dishes such as Sambal Udang Bendi, Braised Oxtail, Ayam Panggang and Duck with Orang Sauce. Didn’t think those were exceptionally great.

Assortment of local desserts.

Mango Sticky Rice.

Muah Chee.

Ice Kachang station.

The dessert station was quite surprising actually. Didn’t expect to see muah chee and mango sticky rice. They did try to have some exquisite looking cakes (about 3 varieties by the side, bottom left of the picture above) and frankly they were quite nice! My favourite was the mango sticky rice.

I have pretty much covered the entire buffet above, and you can see that indeed the spread is rather limited. For the price of $30, I think the spread and quality of food is worth the buck.

382 Havelock Road, S(169629)

+65 6349 4872

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Shang Pin Hot Pot, Marina Square and Rendezvous Hotel

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Step out of the comforts of Hai Di Lao and Beauty in the Pot. Shang Pin Hotpot at Marina Square and Rendezvous Hotel is arguably the most affordable alternative to the two big players. As a bonus, there’s hardly any queue especially at the Marina Square branch because the floor area is huge!

I’ve visited both branches and there’s a stark contrast in ambience and service between both branches. Go for the Marina Square branch if you can.

I’ve included pictures from both Marina Square and Rendezvous Hotel just to show you the contrast.

Exterior and interior of Rendezvous Hotel branch (my pictures look better than the reality!):

Exterior and interior of Marina Square branch, so huge that they have a children’s play area:

Below pictures are a mix from both branches; quality is similar with some differences which I’ll mention.

(L) Tomato Soup, (R) Pig Stomach and Chicken Soup, (M) Mushroom Soup.

The price of the soup is dependent on the most expensive soup you’ve selected. It doesn’t matter if you select one, two or three soups, they charge you only for one soup base. In this case, the pig stomach was the most expensive at $20.

Meat Festival, $24.

I giggled at the name of the dish. At one point the service at Rendezous was so slow that I had to ask the staff “is my Meat Festival coming soon?” Apart from that, good quality slices of beef, mutton and pork. The beef was really fatty though.

Fish Egg Ball (half portion), $6.

Ordered this in lieu of fancy pastes. Unlike HDL and BITP, Shang Pin’s pastes are rather ordinary and common. This was the most interesting fresh paste ball out of the entire selection.

(L) Mushroom Platter (half portion), $7. (R) Cabbage (full portion), $4.

I thought the mushroom platter was value for money. 5 different types of mushrooms for $7! The mushrooms here are about $5 to $6 for full portions so the amount you pay for variety is well spent.

Fried Beancurd Skin (full portion), $6.

I ordered this dish at both outlets but somehow it seems like ordering the half portion is more worth it. The above picture has 6 rolls (Rendezvous Hotel) but when I ordered the half portion for $3 (Marina Square), I got 4 rolls! So I should be getting 8 rolls at Rendezvous but somehow only got 6. Hmm.

Shrimp Paste (half portion), $7.

This is a must order when you’re here. The shrimp paste was crunchy and fresh.

Shang Pin Beef, $16.

The Rendezous Hotel one came rather frozen, causing its texture to be a little rough after cooking. The Marina Square (above) came thawed and fresh looking.

US Beef (half portion), $7.

My advice is to skip this and go straight for the Shang Pin Beef. The difference is only $2 for the full portion but the quality is so, so different.

US Black Pork (half portion), $6.50.

Look at the balance of fats to lean meat! I only thought it was slightly unsightly that the meat was cut in half. Doesn’t have that shiok feeling if you know what I mean.

Chinese Dumplings (half portion), $2.50.

The dumplings were normal tasting. What caught my attention writing this part was that I realised I had 6 dumplings for $2.50. Not sure if they had mistakenly given me the full portion but if not, $2.50 for 6 dumplings is so worth it!

Overall, you can expect the price per pax to be about $40. It’s still not really within the budget of an everyday hotpot meal, but it’s slightly cheaper than HDL and much cheaper than BITP. There’s no fancy waitressing or gifts at all, but the amount of food you get here is definitely more than the other two places. The variety at Shang Pin honestly is not as great, but it suffices. Best of all, NO LONG QUEUES!

Marina Square

6 Raffles Boulevard, #02-102, S(039594)

+65 6565 7666

Daily: 11am to 12am

Rendezvous Hotel

9 Bras Basah Road, #02-02, S(189559)

+65 6238 7666

Daily: 12 noon to 12am

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The Salted Plum, Circular Road

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When my friends suggested The Salted Plum for dinner I was afraid it’ll turn out to be one of those exorbitant priced eatery along Boay Quay. Turns out they have a very unique business proposition. All their items are priced at $5, $10 or $15, which doesn’t seem too overly pricey and to be honest, it isn’t.

My friend made a reservation which was a really smart move because not long after it opened for business there was a super long queue.

Smashed Baby Potatoes with Salted Plum Powder, $5.

Great way to start the dinner! Loved that the fried potatoes were not oily and it paired well with the salted plum powder. It comes with a side serving of chilli which I thought was not needed at all. The dish was good on its own.

Haus Fried Rice, $2.

This (and the porridge below) will be your staple for the side dishes, so ration wisely! Don’t finish them in one mouth.

Sweet Potato Congee, $3.

This is a must try. I thought this would be the big grain, watery kind of porridge with chunks of sweet potatoes within but no! Super smooth and gentle on the stomach, great base dish for all the fried and braised meat to come.

Five-Spice BBQ Glazed Squid, $10.

Not quite a fan of squid but I couldn’t stop taking seconds from this dish. The squid was rather well done, so you don’t get that overly rubbery and chewy mouthful.

Mega Lu Rou, $15.

This is also a must try. The meat was well braised and super soft. The proportion of lean meat to fats were also just right.

Hamachi Collar, $15.

Quite an interesting dish to be on the menu. The collar was well fried (again, not oily) and the meat was aplenty.

Mega Fried Chicken, $15.

This plate of fried chicken could do with more seasoning. When I saw fried chicken I immediately thought of the Shilin XXL chicken with lots of powder so I had a little expectation, and indeed I was disappointed with this dish.

Hoisin-Glazed Pork Ribs, $15.

The pork ribs were sous vide! You can be sure that the meat will fall off the bone easily and cleanly.

Steak, $10.

The steak looked good, but taste wise it didn’t meet my expectations. I guess if there was one thing you had to skip, this is it.

Burnt Chilli Chicken, $10.

Not for the faint hearted or light chilli eater, this charred chicken thighs with chilli and coriander is best eaten with the Haus Fried Rice.

Considering how much food there was on the table (I had two meat dishes leftover which I brought home for my lunch the next day), the bill came up to an affordable $120. I thoroughly enjoyed the variety and flavours of the dishes, as did my party of four.

10 Circular Road, S(049366)

+65 6260 0155

Mondays to Saturdays: 1130am to 230pm, 6pm to 930pm

Closed Sundays

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Why I decided to discontinue MealPal Singapore after a month

TL;DR: Do NOT subscribe to MealPal.

When MealPal was introduced in Singapore majority of the CBD folks rejoiced, myself included.

(Screenshot from MealPal’s website.)

To put simply, MealPal is a subscription service where you pay a fixed amount of money for a fixed number of meals per month. You order your meal from the restaurant the day before, and simply show up to collect your food the next day when it’s time. No queue, no fuss.

The model is simple math. Taking the mid level package as a reference, you get 12 restaurant meals for $96, averaging it out to $8 per meal. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect to eat with MealPal:

(Screenshots all taken from the respective Facebook pages or websites.)

All’s good? Not quite.

Strike one. I should have seen this as a red flag. When I was still exploring MealPal I had wanted to see the variety of restaurants as well as food options under their belt.

I couldn’t.

I was prompted to sign up for an account, including giving my credit card details and choosing my meal plan before I could view the restaurants. I was definitely not comfortable doing that. Why do I even need to sign up for an account?! It’s like having to sign up and give your credit card details before you can browse Qoo10. I got around this by browsing through my friend’s app (she was already a member).

Strike two. Restaurants offer only one option per day. If you don’t like beef soup, then restaurant A is out for the day. The whole idea is to allow the restaurants to prepare the required demand so they don’t run into issues of insufficient food. Sure, I’ll just wait until a day where restaurant A finally offers that meal I really wanted; the meal they are well known for.

Wait long long.

Most, if not all, rotate their menu between two to three options across the days. It’s always either Green Curry or Tom Yam Chicken. After a while, you can guess tomorrow’s menu, and it screams boring. Also, this means that people with preferred dietary options have a super small selection to choose from.

Strike three. Some restaurants offer very limited sets. And I mean the likes of 10 meals a day. To give you context, MealPal opens the kitchen at 5pm sharp daily. Once an item is sold out, the pin would be greyed out, like in the screenshot below:

Needless to say, the greyed out restaurants offer something really value for money. So I tried to grab a meal. I went in daily at 5pm sharp. Got my co-workers to do so as well. None of us successfully got it for as long as a week, until Lady Luck smiled at one of my co-worker. When she went to collect her meal the next day, she asked if they (the restaurant) could release more meals.

The answer is no.

MealPal had capped the number of meals they (the restaurant) offered per day. The restaurant explained a little more, and I figured that MealPal wouldn’t be able to cover the costs if more sets were released. Sure, I’m fine that it makes perfect business sense, but as a customer, being unable to get my favourite meal even though I went in at 5pm sharp daily for a week no less, is just ridiculous.

Strike four. I was primed to think that I had only 12 meals per month. If I used up all 12 meals before the billing cycle ended, I would have to wait till the next cycle before my meals would be reset. Not too bad, I can choose to have other types of food however I pleased on the other non-MealPal days.

Nope.

The moment you finish your 12th meal, MealPal will start billing you for the next 12 meals. What this means is that even if you haven’t reached the 1 month mark, you might be billed again depending on how quickly you finish your meals. Not quite the typical way of how subscription services work.

Strike five. By this time I was starting to fume. I explored the notion of cancelling my subscription, and started looking through the app for that “unsubscribe” button. Couldn’t find any, so I tried looking for the “FAQs”.

There were none.

Wtfbbq? How could it be so difficult to unsubscribe? What was MealPal trying to hide from me? Desperate, I clicked on everything, and finally, the “Tems of Use” (who reads these anyway?). Cue enlightening background music. The answers were all there, within the 946261957462 paragraphs of words.

“For a cancellation to be effective for your next Membership Cycle, it must be received at least 7 days prior to the end of your then-current Membership Cycle or before you reserve your last meal in your cycle, whichever comes first. To cancel a membership, i) email hi@mealpal.com with “Cancel Membership” in the subject line; or ii) access “My Account” from the MealPal dropdown. To cancel your membership in My Account, click “Change Plan for Next Cycle”; then “Hold or Cancel My Account”; and then “Cancel Account”. ”

Oh I must have missed the “My Account” button on the App. So I checked again and:

This was the last straw that broke the camel’s back for me. Come on MealPal, isn’t it obvious that everyone works on their mobile smartphones these days? Going to a desktop meant that I’ll have to make that dedicated, special trip to my study room, and that I’ll have to key in my password (which I may have forgotten by now since mobile apps are unlocked via thumbprints these days).

Bonus strike. You have to unsubscribe at least 7 days in advanced, either before the last meal or before the billing cycle ended, whichever comes first. What is this 7 days notice about? MealPal are you paying me a salary? Do you need 7 days because you need to find a replacement for me? The last I checked I am in fact paying you close to a $100 a month. And note this ridiculous condition if you decide to unsubscribe but later for some reason think that you want back in: you have to pay $19 to re-join.

Still thinking of subscribing to Mealpal? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

To be honest, towards the end of my first month I was screaming to be released from MealPal. It was pure torture, having to settle for food that I didn’t really like (or rather, was bored of), coupled with the accumulated disgust I had for them.

So it’s goodbye MealPal, you won’t be missed.

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