Twenty-one years ago, I spent the summer after my freshman year in university working at a beach resort in Phuket. It remains one of the wildest and most fun experiences of my life. That summer, I fell in love with the southern Thai island, located in the Andaman Sea. And for several years after, it remained one of my favorite holiday destinations. Sadly though, as time went by and Phuket became ever increasingly commercialized and congested, and as my favorite undeveloped beaches began to be overrun with gaudy hotels, I lost interest in visiting. Just recently, however, I have discovered a reason to return to Phuket — not just once but again and again. That reason is Point Yamu, a stunning new resort by COMO Hotels and Resorts, located on the eastern side of the island, at the tip of Cape Yamu.
A couple of weeks ago, the missus and I abandoned our son to go on a babymoon, i.e. a vacation just for us before the arrival of another child (yup, we’re expecting number two to join us at the end of the year or at the start of the new year). We chose, as many regular readers would have been able to predict, to go to Tokyo, our single favourite city on the planet when it comes to eating and shopping. This time, we stayed in Asakusa, a neighbourhood that was completely new to us, and at a relatively new hotel that we discovered through Mr and Mrs Smith, The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon.
I relish the tastes of summer – BBQ, cold beer on a hot day and delicious fruity desserts like sorbet. One of summer’s rituals is a trip to the ice cream shop, but if you are like me, maybe you prefer to chill at home (directly under the air con) on those sweltering days. Well, in that case, you can do both. What you may not know is homemade sorbet is quick and easy. In fact you might be shocked just how easy it can be.
It’s no secret that my wife and I are big fans of Chef Willin Low and the Modern Singaporean food he’s been pioneering for the past 9 years through his restaurant Wild Rocket. Fans of Willin’s, including us, were rather distraught last year when he announced he was closing down this flagship eatery in search of a new location. After a few months of looking around, however, he decided that his original location on Mount Emily Hill was better than anything he’d seen. And so, instead of moving, he renovated the old space, re-opening with a brand new look last week, and with the very notable addition of a dining bar, at which Willin has begun to serve a new 8 course degustation menu.
Ever since my last trip to Bali, where I spent four idyllic days on the beach at Nusa Dua, I have been constantly thinking about going back. But this time around, I yearned for the lush hills, ravines and lurid green paddy fields of Ubud, which I have fond memories of, from my honeymoon years ago. The therapeutic effects of being enveloped by peace and tranquility was what I desperately needed to dissolve the stress of the daily hustle and bustle of the city.
You have probably read about China’s obsession with wine. If you are interested in the intersection of wine and China, you should definitely watch the documentary Red Obsession – narrated by Russell Crowe, this documentary details the relationship between China and Bordeaux and how Chinese demand artificially inflated Bordeaux market values which later crashed. And so it is, quite rightly true, that the Chinese are becoming big wine drinkers.
In the first of this series, I sit down with Jennifer Dembitz from PS.Gourmet over a deep plate of linguini vongole. The PS.Gourmet group owns and operates six successful outlets, and will be adding two more to their roster very soon. Jen came to Singapore in 2010 by way of New York, where she was a publicist at award-winning agency Bullfrog & Baum. We talk about her bi-continental F&B career, personal cooking style and of course, the magic formula behind PS.Cafe.
Su-Lyn and I love Margaret River. We used to visit this West Australian wine (and surf) region on an annual basis back my wifey was working on her (never-completed) doctorate with a university in Perth. A number of years ago, we discovered an incredible, gorgeously-designed house, just a short five minute drive from Margaret River Town, perched on a cliff, and overlooking the Indian Ocean. Back then, we had rented the house with two other couples and (because we were in the area for a wedding) had a blast entertaining several friends during our stay. Most recently, we decided to head back to the house with our son and Su-Lyn’s parents.