This is a really quick 2-part post.
1. I’m off to Venice (Italy) this weekend, there for 10 days for work. While I’ve been pretty successful in sussing out some good restaurants and cafes, I’m sure there are many, many more I don’t know about. So, if any of y’all out there have some suggestions and recommendations, please, please tell me about them. Post them in my comments or email me! I especially want to find some great, affordable places. Thanks!
2. Over this past weekend, while wandering around looking for a place to eat before catching a film, my wife and I wandered into the recently refurbished Oriental Hotel (in Singapore). The redesign is fantastic and shows what a good, well thought out renovation can do for an aging hotel (for an example of the opposite, visit the Pan Pacific). The new interior is sleek, dark, and sexy. It’s also very Asian. Finally, the hotel looks like it belongs in the Mandarin Oriental group (which it does)! While walking around the hotel, we checked out their new buffet station cafe/restaurant Melt (gee, is every hotel in Singapore doing this now?) and then went up a floor to look at the newly re-opened and renovated Cherry Garden. We loved the new look–styled to look like a chic but zen courtyard house–of this classic Cantonese and Sichuan restaurant and were tempted to try it. And I’m glad we did. The food was very good. We had, as an amuse-bouche, a duck roll with honey, followed by carrot cake with XO sauce, some of the best siu mai I have eaten in a long time, pan-fried Shanghainese dumplings with a gorgeous, finely spun crust, spinach beancurd with crabmeat, cai miao poached in a superior stock, and cheong fan with shredded abalone. The service was also excellent and the restaurant was quiet and calm (possibly because we were eating at noon). I hate noisy, crowded Chinese restaurants with kids running all over the place. Cherry Garden, by comparison, was entirely civilized. I can’t wait to try it again. (Oh, sorry, no photos. I wasn’t carrying my camera with me.)
Cherry Garden, tel: 68853538