Vaguely appetizing

Still vagueBecause of work commitments, we’ve been eating out a lot, and we haven’t had much luck with the quality of food either.

Being a little adventurous, we decided yesterday evening to drive all the way, 45 minutes and 30 km, in the evening jam, to Changi Village to dine at Charlie’s corner, only to find that Charlie’s corner’s closed on Mondays.

We did however, plonk ourselves down at this ‘Persian and Italian’ restaurant called Pardis, which, because it was labelled ‘Persian and Italian’, looked appealing enough for us to plonk ourselves down at.

However, the Persian part of the restaurant must have had some communication issues with the Italian part because they got three out of our four orders wrong.

They did however, apologise profusely and vow on their grandmother’s grave to compensate us ‘the next time we ate there’. Perhaps suspecting that there mightn’t be a next time, a staff member who looked like he was the proprietor gave us each a glass of his best sparkling grape juice after we had finished eating and asked for the bill, which they took 10% off as well.

A few days before that, and at the southern end of our fine island, we added one more restaurant to the list of eateries we’ve patronized at Vivo City. The Tung Lok Group’s new restaurant there, called Tung Lok something something, boasts a pleasant harbour view, delicate dim sum and waitresses with the weirdest outfits you’ll find in a Chinese restaurant.

I didn’t take any pictures of them though it was weird enough to warrant a few snapshots, but if you’d picture an Ao Dai with one whole side snipped off from the waist down, you’d be about right.

The food was good, though, as was the service from the lop-sided waitresses, who very helpfully explained and described every dish you pointed at in the menu – mostly because the menu really wasn’t helpful.

iTunes is playing an illegal copy of Al Vaivén de Mi Carreta (To the Rocking of My Cart) from the album “Distinto Diferente” by Afro Cuban All Stars of which I have the original CD.

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No yellow boxes here

The Pump Room, Clarke QuayIt had been awhile since we’ve gone out after work with friends, and for some reason, we said yes to an invitation to go out to a club / pub / oneofthoseplaces.

Clarke Quay on a Friday night was always expected to be crowded, with MOS drawing their usual clientele who appear to spend more time in the queue than in the club proper.

But there’s a new place on Clarke Quay that’s really worth a visit, especially if you’re a non-smoker. As a sign of things to come, The Pump Room is a no-smoking zone, which might seem a bit strange, especially if you’re a smoker like myself.

But you know what? I didn’t end up going outside to light up several times as I expected myself to. Maybe it was because the best cover band in Singapore (Jive Talking) was playing the best set I’ve heard since the last time I saw them play at Bar None.

Or maybe it was the decor, which really is quite nice – we sat at tables made of solid wood, and there were those funky optic fibre lights, pillars coated with what the manager tells us is the same material they use to make MRT seats. Which is really good to know, because if you end up with your butt against the pillar, it’ll at least be a familiar tactile experience. Or something.

Check it out here if you haven’t the time to get your ass to Clarke Quay. But you really should, lah.

iTunes is playing an illegal copy of House of Rising Sun from the album “Romantic Collection Vol. 1” by Animals of which I have the original CD.

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Eyes catching

According to a friend, there’s a shop in Lucky Plaza which has its business model a bit screwy.

See, this friend walked into the shop browsing through funky t-shirts and accessories, and expecting the shopkeeper to mosey up to him and say something to the effect of, ‘ex-cue me, can I helpchu?’ or ‘looking for someting?’

But no, the shopkeeper went up to him and enquired instead, ‘ex-cue me, your beowt very nice, where you buy from? It’s very eyes-catching, you want to sell?’

My friend declined to sell his beowt as he was wearing it not just to catch eyes, but to hold his pants up.

Undeterred, the shopkeeper sized my friend up again and asked, ‘ex-cue me, where you buy your bag from? It’s very eyes-catching. You want to sell?’

Being the first time he was accosted by a salesperson in this manner, my friend left the shop quite unsettled, unsure as to whether the accessories he was wearing were good-looking or simply resembled a cold dessert.

iTunes is playing an illegal copy of Lucky Lucky Me from the album “The Very Best of Marvin Gaye” by Marvin Gaye of which I have the original CD.

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National pride

China A vs China B (Singapore)Because the remote control was too far away, Naomi and I found ourselves watching the semi-final of the women’s table-tennis competition at the Asian Games on Channel 5, played between Singapore and North Korea.

It made for pretty good viewing, and we became mindlessly engrossed in the first match until Naomi asked me, ‘who’s that yelling, and what’s she yelling?’.

I said I didn’t know what the player was yelling, and because I didn’t know what the yelling was, it had to be the North Korean player that was yelling.

Turned out it was the Singaporean player that was yelling something at every point she won, and I hadn’t recognised what she was yelling probably because the Singaporean player, Sun Beibei, like almost every teammate of hers, hails from the People’s Republic of China, and was probably yelling something that People’s Republic Chinese yell when they play table-tennis.

The Singaporeans defeated the North Koreans, who, with their dowdy haircuts, were the defending champions of this competition. The semi-final was exciting enough for us to tune in to tonight’s gold medal match against the People’s Republic of China. A match, which I’m sure more than a few have quipped to be ‘China A versus China B’.

China B lost, of course.

(OK, I have just been scolded for revealing the scores when Naomi’s still watching the match on tv).

iTunes is playing an illegal copy of China from the album “Little Earthquakes” by Tori Amos of which I have the original CD.

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This is a community service message

RakuIf you happen to be in Holland Village and because you can’t decide what to eat, and stroll in to this Japanese Restaurant called Raku, please, walk out again unless money and quality of food is no matter to you.

I’m not saying that the service was bad or anything like that. But there are situations where even Going the Extra Mile for Service is not going to make anything worth $114 for two, and this is one of them. Not even the nice decor and quiet ambience is going to make up for the disappointing food.

First of all, a refreshing raw salad of cabbage leaves, radish, carrot and cucumber sticks was served as an appetizer. Then our order of Ikura Sashimi (Salmon Roe) was served and tasted like the stuff you can buy in supermarkets, which might have been alright with me if I had bought them in the supermarket myself for a lot less than $20.

Then came the $16 California Maki and the $20 tempura, the former being slathered with flying fish roe that tasted synthetic, and the latter being just a bit too oily.

But the killer had to be the Ocha (tea), which was probably made from teabags which had been left to steep too long, which would have been alright if I had bought the teabags from the supermarket and boiled the water myself, but for $6 a cup, no, no, no! To add insult to an injurious bill, the raw vegetable salad was not complimentary, but itemised as ‘Yasai Stick’ at $6, which is a bit like going to a karaoke place and being billed for the ‘compulsory’ fruit platter.

So, you heard it here (as well as here). Don’t go there. And no, I wasn’t grumpy before we dined there. I am now. We could’ve gone and had a real Nabe meal instead of this nabeh one.

Oh, wait. I’ve just been reminded that if you find the Ocha too exorbitantly priced, you can order a glass of warm water at a more reasonable $3 a glass, though we’re not sure if it’s free flow.

iTunes is playing an illegal copy of Japanese Sandman from the album “German Propaganda Swing Vol 1 1941-1942” by Charlie And His Orchestra of which I have the original CD.

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