Modern departures from familiar flavours at Bacchanalia, Singapore

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Singapore is currently enjoying quite the culinary renaissance. It feels like there are new restaurants and cafes opening weekly. And to be honest, I can’t even keep up with all these new places. Unfortunately, judging from my dining-out experiences over the past year, far too many newbies prize style over substance, i.e. while many of these new eateries look great and attract a growing pride of local hipsters, the reality is that their food is often both mediocre and very expensive. One restaurant that opened this past year, however, whose culinary program has continued to impress me is Bacchanalia, located (oddly enough) in the city’s Masonic Hall. Continue Reading →

Baishinka Tea House by Higashiya, Tokyo, Japan

Baishinka-kakigori

When I had told my wife S that I was taking her to Tokyo to celebrate our wedding anniversary, she pretty much left the planning to me. The only requests she made were a stop by her favorite designer’s boutique in Omotesando and a visit to Baishinka, the gorgeous new tea room opened by the folks behind Higashiya (which we’ve established in an earlier article that she’s quite obsessed with). Of course, I was happy to accommodate her requests. Continue Reading →

Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa of DEN, Tokyo, is a master culinary comedian. And his restaurant is the coolest place in Tokyo to dine in right now.

DEN-DFC3

Earlier this month, thanks to some amazingly cheap deals on Scoot, I was able to whisk my wife S up to Tokyo for a three day eating trip to celebrate our twelfth wedding anniversary. We had only three nights in town, which meant (to me at least) making sure each dinner was truly something special. On the first two nights, we visited familiar favorites (including, of course, Sushi Sho). For the last night in town, I wanted to take S somewhere neither of us had been. And after a bit of research, decided the restaurant I most wanted to try — and that I thought she’d really enjoy — was DEN, in Jimbocho. And boy am I glad I did. Continue Reading →

IZY. Chic, modern, urban izakaya dining in Singapore

izy, modern izakaya in singapore

Finally, after months of waiting, IZY is open. This chic, ultra-urban modern izakaya opened its doors (to the public) for the first time last night. Yours truly, along with his always gorgeous and almost always hungry wife, and four friends, were among the first to check out Club Street’s newest (dare I say hottest?) arrival. Continue Reading →

Tohoku, Japan’s onsen (hot spring) paradise

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There are few things as relaxing and pleasurable than taking a bath–Japanese style–in natural hot spring water. For those of you who have yet to experience the joys of the onsen (the Japanese term for hot springs and baths using their waters), you have no idea what you are missing. I, myself, didn’t until a few years ago. For most of my life, I’ve been a shower person. I truly didn’t see the point of and never appreciated baths. But then, for a consultancy gig I had undertaken for a hotel collections company, I spent two and half weeks visiting some of Japan’s most beautiful and unique boutique hotels and inns, several of which boasted onsens among their main selling points.  Continue Reading →

Holiday Gift Guide 2012

Christmas is coming up fast. And while some of you may have already completed all your holiday shopping, I’m sure there are many more who are still seeking out the perfect gifts for your loved ones. The below list are some of my favourite things–gifts that I’ve purchased for family and friends, or gifts that I’ve been fantasizing about receiving myself. In the spirit of the twelve days of Christmas, I’ve kept to 12 gifts, one for each day. I hope some of the below inspire you. Happy Holidays!  Continue Reading →

Hotels We Love: HOSHINOYA Kyoto (part 2 of 2)

When you stay in a traditional ryokan in Japan, it’s almost always assumed that you’ll be having dinner on property. In many cases, the price of your dinner is automatically included as part of your room rate. And you simply don’t have the option of bowing out of the meal. At HOSHINOYA Kyoto, however, because the resort is both more modern and flexible in its packages and because it caters to guests that often stay for multiple days, guests can choose whether or not they wish to dine on premises. In my opinion though, if one stays at this gorgeous property, it would be a travesty not to have dinner in HOSHINOYA’s restaurant and to taste the truly exceptional cuisine of Chef Ichiro Kubota.   Continue Reading →

Hotels We Love: HOSHINOYA in Kyoto (part 1 of 2)

Ever since the HOSHINOYA resort opened in the scenic Arashiyama region of Kyoto in December 2009, I’ve been dying to check into this very special property. While Kyoto, one of my favourite cities in the world, is home to both modern (Western) hotels and ultra-pricey, ultra-exclusive traditional ryokans, HOSHINOYA is unique in that it offers the best of both worlds, in a resort setting unlike any other.  Continue Reading →

The Siam, Bangkok (part 2)

Fried egg, tomato and minced pork salad from The Siam

When my darling wife S and I choose a hotel to stay in, one of the most important factors (for us) is the food. While I realise that there are many that choose not to eat in the hotels they stay in, we tend to have at least one real meal (other than breakfast) if not more on property. To me, the food and beverage side of a hotel is as important as the room size, the service, and the architecture. When I choose to stay somewhere nice, I want to experience all that the hotel offers. And that means checking out their restaurants and bars (as well as their spa, gym, etc). When S and I checked into The Siam a few weeks back, knowing that the owners Kriss and Mel are real foodies, we were very much looking forward to exploring the hotel’s restaurants. Continue Reading →

The Siam, Bangkok (part 1)

The Siam hotel Bangkok

Over a decade ago, my next door neighbor, a stunning half Chinese, half British gal from Hong Kong met an equally handsome Thai rock star and fell in love. A number of years later, Kriss (the rock star, now also an actor) led S and me on a fun, rather amusing tour of his favourite old buildings in Bangkok, which culminated in us being chased out of the former Russian Embassy by security guards at two in the morning. Another couple of years later, Kriss showed us an amazing plot of land, on the river and in the old part of the city, that had been in his mother’s family for decades. He told us how he wanted to build a truly stunning, riverside, five-star urban resort there – something that would fit within his mother’s hotel company but that would also embrace his love of antiques, architecture, vintage glamour and luxury. That dream would eventually become The Siam, one of the most stunning hotels in Asia and easily the most significant new property to open in Thailand this year.  Continue Reading →

Make your day with shoes – from boot to brain inside George Cleverley

Women are spoilt for choice when it comes to buying great shoes.  I know I can rattle off over a dozen names of amazing designers that create gorgeous kicks, ranging from elegant ballet flats or electrifying stiletto heels. The very best designers make shoes that are a both a joy to wear and that make us gals look simply sensational. Unfortunately, for the boys, the choices are a little more limited. As the devoted girlfriend to a metrosexual hunk, I admit that I devote quite a bit of my free time sussing out cool designers that I can introduce to my sartorially-inclined beau. Being in London for a summer of leather accessories courses at the London College of Fashion meant that I recently had the delightful opportunity to meet George Glasgow, owner of cult bespoke shoemaker George CleverleyContinue Reading →