Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bali - 3

Parts 1 and 2 be found here and here.

The rest of the second day was spent in visiting a couple of temples and watching a performance of the Kecak dance. The first temple we visited was the Goa Gajah temple. Goa means cave and Gajah means elephant. So, it translates to Elephant Cave. There are carvings on many menacing looking creatures at the entrance of the cave and one of them is believed to be that of an elephant. Hence the name - Elephant Cave.

Like most temples in Bali, one has to be dressed in a traditional sarong (a wrap around) to enter the cave so as to respect the religious sentiments. Everyone is provided with a  sarong at the entrance (which is included in the 10000 rupiah entrance fee), which has to be returned later. It is said that this temple was built more than 700 years ago but was discovered only in the 1920's. At the entrance of the cave, one can see many pieces of ruins arranged in a small field. The local guide told us that this was from the entrance of the cave, which was damaged due to an earthquake. One can also find huge pieces from a status of Buddha nearby, which is also believed to have been destroyed by an earthquake.

We then went to visit another temple, but I have completely forgotten its name. You see, temples are generally not high on my 'must-see-things' list when I am on a holiday. But, then again each of the temple we visited had this serene atmosphere, where one feels that he/she can think in peace. A place where one can contemplate on his/her life without getting distracted by the trivialities of everyday life. I don't know how most temples manage to have that atmosphere.

By now, it had started getting dark and we ended our sight-seeing day by watching a performance of the kecak dance performed at one of the local institutions. The speciality of this dance performance is that they don't use any musical instruments. Instead the entire background music is provided by the chants of many men, who seemed to chant many variations of the sound 'cak'. The dance is actually a musical drama which depicts some of the prominent scenes from the Ramayana. Now, the Ramayana is not new to Indians and hence we were able to understand what is happening. We were also provided with brochures which explained the scenes which were being enacted for the benefit of the non-hindu or a non-Indian audience. There was even a fire dance, where one of the dancers danced on a burning dry coconut skins. That kind of freaked me out a bit. Just imagine, this guy does it almost every day.

The day ended with a hearty dinner at this restaurant called Simpang Cafe, which is located quite close to where we were staying. Infact, we ended up going there for dinner on both the nights we stayed at Bali. Not only did they serve fantastic food, they had a vegetarian menu. They did great with the vegetarian versions on Nasi Goreng and Mee Goreng. One word - YUM! My dinner there on both days were accompanied with a glass of orange juice. I was pleasantly surprised that the orange juice tasted a bit different from what we generally have here in Singapore. It was like they had added some special/exotic herb to the juice. I thoroughly enjoyed it. My friend told me later that it was the natural taste of the oranges grown in that region and that no herb was added to the juice as such. It was fantastic! One should definitely try out a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice in Bali. The dinner marked the end of a hectic day for me. While my friends continued partying at one of the clubs, I retired early to catchup on some much needed sleep. It was bliss.

The next day was spent shopping for souvenirs and getting a relaxing massage at one of the massage parlours around the hotel. Like I had mentioned in my first post on Bali, Jln Legian is a great place to stroll around and shop. Lovely stuff!

I will definitely visit Bali again to look at many places which I missed out on during this holiday due to lack of time. On my list are the black sandy beaches in the north of Bali and the towering Gunung Agung.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bali - 2

Part 1 of the series can be found here. 

While the day was spent in a quiet way, we all decided to make the night a happening one. Plans were promptly made to check out the club(s). My friend, who had visited Bali previously suggested that we had to visit Kudeta. But we couldn't get reservations since it was a weekend I guess. So we went to checkout the other places. As long as I got to drink alcohol, be a bit high and there is good music and company around, I didn't care where we went to :P

Looks like Bali has some of the most hip and happening nightlife and restaurants in south east Asia. They are all so chic and classy that its quite easy to get mesmerized. I just couldn't get enough of such places and was quite in awe! Not that Singapore doesn't have such places, but I had never imagined Bali would be that way. Not that I am complaining. I have always been a sucker for class and sophistication ;)

After partying most of the night away, I woke up quite sleepy-eyed. But there was no time to go back to bed. I was in Bali for just about three days and there was no way I was going to spend it sleeping in a hotel room. After a nice and refreshing breakfast, it was time to hit the road and soak in the other sights that Bali had to offer.

We had engaged a driver and a car to show us around and hence didn't bother to find out about the public transport options available. We started off with a visit to Sanur beach, which was just about ok. The beach seemed to be quite shallow and it looked like one could walk quite a bit into the sea with the water level still below the knees. But, the beach offered nice views of flights approaching a landing at the Ngurah Rai International airport. 

It was quite a hot day and we were more than happy to get back into the cool confines of our car and proceed to our next destination - Ubud. Enroute, we stopped at a Batik art centre, where we could see the local crasftmen making Batik prints. I was under the impression that batik was an exclusive Indian art, but apparently its not. A quick look at the wikipedia entry on Batik tells that it is extensively practiced in Indonesia too. The Batik art centre even had a huge showroom adjoining where one could buy shirts and other items of clothing with batik prints.

We stopped for lunch at this wonderful restaurant called as Adia Asri. Oh, what a fantastic place with a fantastic view and serving up some fantastic fare. YUM YUM YUMMY! They even had a separte Vegetarian section in the menu. I think I almost jumped up and down with joy. 

Whenever I visit a new place, I always do some research beforehand on the different types of food available there, the specialties, exotic stuff. But, somehow on this trip, I was not at all excited about the food. Probably because I knew that there would hardly be any vegetarian options other than gado-gado perhaps. Again, I was pleasantly surprised. Every restaurant we went to happily obliged us when asked for vegetarian versions. One more thing which I noticed was the way in which food was presented. Almost in every place, it was neatly arranged and so visually appealing. Perfect!

Karala Special

Ubud is the cultural capital of Bali. I believe there are quite a few museums but we didn't visit them. We spent most of our time looking around Puri Saren Ubud or the Ubud Palace. It was a cute and charming place. Somehow, I had a very relaxed feeling when I was around the palace. While my friends we busy taking snaps, I was quite content with observing the palace through my own eyes (Ah! The advantages of not taking a camera). I don't know much about the history of this palace, but we were told that some people still reside in the palace. Wow! Imagine that. It would be so lovely to stay there.

And oh! We also happened to meet a very very friendly and adorable dog, who seemed to enjoy all the attention that the visitors were bestowing upon him/her. Awwww! I think I almost dissolved into a puddle. If ever in my life I have a dog (maybe I should, Hmmmmm....), I want him/her to be just as friendly as this dog. I had always been scared of dogs my entire life, but ever since this happened, I have developed a soft corner for them.

We later visited the market situated next to the palace. It was a typical touristy market selling many souvenirs and other such stuff. It was very reminiscent of India with prices being quoted more than double. Significant bargaining is expected.

More in the next post.

All photos are by Srivats.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bali - 1

Ah! Bali. How do I even start writing about my whirlwind trip to the charming island? A place which is special to me now, for various reasons. 

I have been meaning to visit Bali from almost the time I came to Singapore. I had heard much about its beauty, exotic locales and the beautiful people. Needless to say, I was itching to see for myself this paradise, which conveniently is just a 2.5 hour flight from Singapore. Its things like these, which makes me feel very happy about staying in Singapore. Singapore is located in such a strategic location in South-east asia that any place is just a short flight away. You name it - Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong & China. Even the western parts of Australia also for that matter. Strong presence of three budget airlines - AirAsia, Tiger and JetStar serving most of these destinations ensures that it is not hard to clinch a good deal on the airfare from Singapore.

So when my friend sent me an message informing me of 70 dollar (all inclusive) return fare to Bali, I jumped at the chance and booked tickets almost immediately. Initially I was a bit apprehensive about going on a trip with people whom I did not know all that well, but then isn't that how friendship grows from a formal "Hello! How are you?" to a casual "Stop eating me head you ass!" :P Anyway, I am so glad I did go on the trip.

I love traveling with AirAsia. I haven't had any problems with them so far and I think the combination of Red with Black upholstery inside the cabin looks very classy. Yes, that is how I choose which airline I want to travel with - choice of colours :P

Anyway, I am digressing. Lets get back to Bali. It looks like the runway of Ngurah Rai international airport at Bali has actually been built on reclaimed land. The runway almost entirely juts out into the sea. So, when our flight was approaching the landing, it looked like we were going to land right over the water. Its just at the last moment, I spotted the tarmac below. Perfect landing. The buildings of the airport have been built in the typical Balinese architecture. Infact most of the houses and old buildings in Bali have a conical roof. A unique thing I noticed about these conical roofs is that the base of all these  cones were squares. I hardly ever spotted a rectangle. Err.... I just reread what I have written and it sounds so geeky. No wonder things like this happen.

Indians are eligible for an on arrival visa to enter Indonesia. I was already mentally prepared for long queues at the immigration. Surprisingly it was super fast and very efficient. Btw, do you people know what is the coolest thing in the whole wide world? Its the automatic immigration machines at Changi airport. Oh dear lord! God bless Changi  airport and Singapore. It took me less than 10 seconds to clear immigration.

We had already booked our accommodation. Our hotel was very conveniently located along Jln Legian, which has shops and restaurants on either sides, is a very charming place. It has many famous brands lined up alongside quaint little shops selling artifacts and other cutesy stuff. I would personally love to walk along Jln Legian on a day just randomly looking around and wandering around such shops at my own pace. Perfect for a relaxed day with nice weather. Speaking of weather, Bali has a very tropical climate and is quite hot during the daytime. But the humidity is much less when compared to Singapore.

The first day was spent just roaming around our hotel, visiting the beach and restaurants. Actually, Bali is a great place for surfing. One will find lots of people doing that. Kuta beach is the place to be to see people surfing. Infact, many famous surfing brands have a presence in Kuta/Legian.

More in the next post. In the meanwhile, here is a teaser.

Do it NOW!

Alright, all you men out there, who have *never* got their hair shampooed and blow dried at a salon, raise your hands.

Let me count how many hands are raised. I can see atleast 5. Now, go do it. Yes, go get your hair shampooed and blow dried at a salon convenient to you. You need to know how it feels.

I just got it done and I feel lighter than air and pampered to the core! Ah! What a relaxed feeling it is.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Singapore.... Yea.... whatever!

Sigh! The vacation got over so soon! I wanted to be in Bali for some more time. Its such a beautiful and charming place.

I am definitely going there again! And this time I am gonna spend more time there and see as much as possible.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bali.. Yeeeeeeeeeah!!

Am off to Bali for a much needed vacation. Will be back soon!

I promise to blog about the trip. Incase, I don't, please feel free to kick my ass!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Simple Equation

Healthy dinner at Subway + Peach flavoured frozen yoghurt with fresh mango topping + aimless walking along the exotic aisles of Cold storage = One happy boy :D :D :D

Cold Storage is a fantasy land for me!! I will get lost and drift to my happy place when I am there. The rest of the world ceases to exist! Infact, my ex had gotten quite jealous that I seemed more excited at cold storage than on our dates. LOL!!

A sure shot way to make me happy (especially if I am angry with you) - Drop me of at Cold Storage and come and pick me up after a couple of hours :D Importantly, pay for whatever I purchase there.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The nicknames

Recently I started thinking about the different nicknames that are usually associated with me. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I have so many nicknames. In an effort that I don't forget them (and that I need to update my blog more regularly), here they are and the story behind them.

1. Pizzadude - My online name. I didn't come up with this name actually. Instead, it was coined by a close friend of mine, after he discovered my LOVE for pizzas. I don't think he even remembers that he coined this name. Pills, thanks so much for inspiring my online identity.

2. Chinnu - My family calls me by this name. Soon my friends caught on to this and I am now frequently referred by this name.

3. Chinoto - Coined by Sri, my ex-flatmate. He saw the name on the drinks menu at Pasta Fresca and became obsessed with it and started referring to me that way. Now, the other ex-flatmate also refers to me by this name.

4. Thai-chi - Again coined by Sri, after he discovered my unconditional love for Thai food!

5. Aloo Bhujia Controller Confiscator Dude (ABCD) - Coined by Shub. Story here.

6. Aloobun Dude - Coined by Shub after I made here jealous by eating aloo bun (got by ex-flatmate from Bangalore) and not giving it to her.

7. Thames - Coined by Sumanthe, after noticing my supposedly angrezi behaviour/mannerisms.

8. Thudson - Coined by Viv. During dinner one day, my friends were referring to me as Thames as usual. I opined that since I prefer US to UK, I should be called as Hudson. This prompted Viv to refer to me as Thud-son, with a resounding thud on my back!

9. Joey - Coined by Sash, after the character of Joey Tribbiani from F.R.I.E.N.D.S., when she found out about my love for pizzas and food and for typical Joey like behaviour.

10. Veshtiman - Story here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Shantamma Parvatamma Chronicles

It all started more than a year ago. One evening, I had finished cooking dinner quite early. While waiting for my flatmates to arrive, Shub happened to call. During the course of our conversation, I happened to tell her how convenient it is to cook with the microwave oven, how I finished cooking much sooner than I had expected to, how it avoids mess and clutter and how I will end up washing less vessels. I went on and on, which prompted her to say that I sound like a housewife. She then proceeded to ask me, in typical Bangalore fashion - Yen ri Shantamma? Adige aaytha?

Subsequently, we would get into this Shantamma mode every now and then and end up amusing ourselves silly. That's when it struck us - lets make this a feature on our blogs - The Shantamma Parvatamma Chronicles, henceforth referred to as TSPC. Their character sketches are here.

So, the other day, Shub remarked that I looked quite thin of late and then proceeded to ask me -

Yen ri shantamma phull figure-aa? ;)

Howdri Parvatamma. Eegina kaaladalli figure-gigure irbeku. Illa andre yaaru tirugkooda nodalla. ;)

Hoon kanri. Namm yajmanru, marathon geerathon antha shanivaara aadre oadakke hogtaare. Adu alde neenu baare baare antha tale tinn taare. Saakaagbittide nange!

Nimm yejamanru bidre. Phull popular aagbitidare. Hudugiru alde hudugurugu kooda phull interest avarabagge. Nimm friendu, hindinbeedi Meenu-akka, avarannu hogalidde hogaliddu.

Howdu. Naanu kooda adeno koodlu kappu maadodikke DYE antha yeno sigothe antharalla..adu talege hachhc bekaa nodtideeni... naan avra ajji antha tilkobaardu nodi jana!

Howdu howdu. DYE hachikolli. Reshme sereenu utkoli. Talege swalpa mallige hoovu mudukoli. Phull lakshanavaagi kaanteera.

Tip-taap kaan bekri naanu. Bob cut maadsi dye hachkondu heng kaantheeni noodi. Aa pakkada mane mahaaalakshmige phull hotte uribeku!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tequila Blue

I don't know what exactly about Mexican food excites me. Maybe its the flavour or the vibrant colours or many vegetarian options. Or maybe its a mix of all these things. So, its high time that I feature a Mexican restaurant in FoodieExpress. Presenting, ladies and gentlemen, the latest discovery by our resident consultant, Ms. Sayesha - Tequila Blue. Its situated at Changi Village, very close to the Changi ferry terminal and the Changi Bus terminal.

My all time favourite Mexican place in Singapore is Cafe Iguana. Well, Cafe Iguana now has a competitor. After my visit to Tequila Blue, its has definitely been added to my favourites list. Not only was the food great, but they had a wide variety of veggie options.

They had quite an interesting ambience. Check out this hilarious poster that we saw at the entrance.

They even had a foosball table, where we played a few games. Needless to say, I lost hopelessly. I still need to get hang of that game. Also noticed was a pedestal kind of thing, where had kept many bottles of tequila. It resembled the typical positioning of gods as depicted in a bollywood movie. Haha! Well, some people consider tequila as god. :P

We quickly placed an order for a jug of mango margherita, a plate of Nachos Grande, Quesadilla and Jalapeno Rellenos. While we were waiting for the food to arrive, I was experimenting with my friend's new DSLR camera, doing random photography and also taking pictures in the manual mode. It was nice fun. I liked this particular photo very much.

Ofcourse, I also loved the photo I took of all of us, but I cannot post that here, else we will be hounded by the paparazzi on Singapore streets. LOL!

Mango Margherita

Our food arrived shortly. First came the Nachos, followed by the Quesadilla and Jalapeno Rellenos. They dishes were lovely and I had to quickly take a few pictures before my friends attacked the food. My yelling at them to not touch the food before I can take pictures does not seem to have its desired effect anymore. Here are a couple of pictures that I managed to take before we devoured the food.

Nachos Grande

Jalapeno Rellenos


For the main course, the vegetarian items ordered were a Veg Burrito, Veg Enchilada and a Veg burger. They quickly found their way to our table. I had more time to take pictures though as my friends were busy devouring the appetizers.



Veg Burger

The food was quite good overall and I would definitely recommend this place to people. The dinner and drinks can be followed by a leisurely walk on Changi beach situated nearby. If you like to watch planes land and take off, Changi beach is one of the places to be. Great views of all sorts of flights landing and taking off at the ever busy Changi airport.

The bill came to about 150 bucks for 5 of us, which makes it about 30 bucks per head. Quite affordable by Singapore standards. This restaurant was good value for money. If you are in or around Changi and looking for a place to eat, do consider visiting this place. You won't go back disappointed.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Woods Bio Marché

Presenting the next installment in Foodie Express - Woods Bio Marché. This post is for all those people who tell that we visit restaurants in the east only. This particular restaurant is in the north. About 350 km north of Singapore to be precise. In Kuala Lumpur. I had clearly mentioned that Foodie Express will be sort of a vegetarian's guide to Singapore restaurants. But then, rules are meant to be broken :P And we sort of got carried away. Hehe!

We happened to come across this restaurant purely by chance. On our recent road trip to KL, we were walking around the Bukit Bintang area looking for a place to eat, when we chanced upon this place serving organic, vegetarian and vegan food. My curiosity was certainly piqued. A quick look at the menu and we found ourselves inside the restaurant, ready to order.

The place served mainly vegetarian/vegan versions of local dishes such as Nasi Lemak, Noodle soup apart from a couple of Western items. They had quite an interesting and colourful menu. Also mentioned on the menu, under each dish was its health value, like Anti-oxidant, Stamina, Relaxation etc.

It is such a relief to go to an all vegetarian restaurant. The knowledge that I can order anything from the menu is like a major high in itself. I will usually be found asking the waiter/waitress if a particular dish can be made vegetarian. But this, was something lovely.

As usual, I was confused on what to order. I am generally the last to decide. So, while my friends waited patiently, I zeroed in on Dumpling Soup. Orders were also placed for a Fusion Nasi Lemak set, Nonya curry somen (noodles) and a soyabean burger. While we were waiting for food to arrive, we indulged in some mindless chit-chat, people watching and random photography.

The items arrived one by one. First came the Nasi Lemak set.

followed by the Nonya curry somen,

dumpling soup

and finally the burger

I think the highlight of the entire meal was Nasi Lemak. It was very very tasty. It came along with a side of some chopped vegetables, roasted peanuts and some sambal paste. Yummy!

The dumpling soup was quite good too. The stuffing has coarsely powdered peanuts mixed along with it, which gave the dish a very interesting twist. Soft(the covering) and crunchy(due to the peanuts).

The noodles in Nonya curry was great, especially the veggies. Not overpowering like some curries generally are.

The burger was just about ok. Not particularly a big fan of the mock meat patty.

They even had vegan coffee (I am guessing made with soy milk), but I wasn't in an adventurous mood. So didn't try it. Somehow, I am not all that adventurous when it comes to coffee. There is just one or two ways in which I like my coffee and I don't prefer it having any other way.

I would definitely visit this place again. Now that I think of my visit to this place, I feel that I didn't spend enough time there to completely soak in the place or try out a few more dishes. Like my visit isn't complete or there are some loose ends which need to be tied.

I personally felt that the prices were quite cheap compared to Singapore standards. We paid about 56 Ringgits for the entire meal for 5 people, which comes to about 23 Singapore dollars. Holy Cow! That is incredibly inexpensive. We would have probably spent 60-70 dollars minimum at such a restaurant in Singapore.

You can read more about them here.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I am wondering what to write in this post. A post which marks my completion of 2 years in Singapore. 2 years of living by myself. Being at a loss of words made me take a look at the post I wrote 1 year ago.

Yes, I am still very happy about all the things that I have mentioned in that post. Each time I travel on the Benjamin Sheares Bridge, from where I can view the entire Marina Bay area, it fills me with a sense of pride that I live here. And every single time, I still gawk at the skyscrapers and the view like I haven't seen it before in my life.

It feels like the past one year has flown by so fast. Maybe because a lot has happened in my life in the past one year - Traveling,
friends, shifting homes, the beach, hour long commutes to work, taking a big decision, surprise birthday parties, getting into a relationship, getting out of a relationship, etc. I am glad about every thing that has happened - the good ones and the not so good ones. It gives me the feeling and the high of living my life on my own terms and being responsible for it.

Cheesecakes on the house to all the readers. Its time for some celebration! And a biiiiiig and tiiiight hug to a big bunch of people. You know who you are.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Pizzadude decides to go for a swim in the evening.

Pizzadude feels very sleepy through the course of the day.

Pizzadude thinks of canceling the swimming plans and heading back home and going to bed early.

Pizzadude says "Yeah right! As if he will sleep early".

Pizzadude overcomes laziness and decides to stick to his swimming plans.

Pizzadude goes swimming at a pool near his office.

Pizzadude doesn't like the pool. He is used to the usual pool near his house.

Pizzadude swims for about 45 mins.

Pizzadude is tired and very thirsty.

Pizzadude is happy with the workout and all the extra-calories he burned (which he had accumulated by eating cookies and chocolate cake in the morning).

Pizzadude decides to treat himself to a nice and healthy dinner at Subway.

Pizzadude goes to the nearest mall.

Pizzadude gets distracted by all the restaurants.

Pizzadude almost walks into a Japanese restaurant, but then decides against it when he realizes that they don't have any vegetarian food.

Pizzadude decides to check out the Kopitiam (local food court).

Pizzadude is amazed at the variety and wonders why he never came here before.

Pizzadude spots a vegetarian stall and almost jumps up and down in joy. He then realizes that doing so does not go well with his sophisticated and dignified image and is not good on his knees. So, he just sports an angelic smile.

Pizzadude spots noodle soup on their menu. Its called Lor Mee.

Pizzadude is all excited and places an order for it.

Pizzadude waits eagerly for the dish to arrive. Filmfare magazine and some eye-candy nearby gives him company.

Pizzadude is not very impressed with the way it looks.

Pizzadude realizes to his horror that it is laden with oil and soy sauce.

Pizzadude does not like the taste so much.

Pizzadude manages to almost finish the dish as he does not like to waste food.

Pizzadude realizes that he just undid the effects of his evening swim.

Pizzadude feels bloated and fat.

Pizzadude thunks head against the table.

Pizzadude resolves to head to the nearest Subway outlet after his swim from next time.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Recently, I came across this video on youtube. I didn't realize what was happening in the video initially, but then when I reached the end and realized what it was about, I was at a loss of words. It is so well done and conveys the message extremely well.

Thanks Sumanth for the link.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It all started when I first heard this song and saw its trailer on youtube.

Pretty soon, I was addicted to it. The song just wouldn't get out of my head. It was driving me nuts and nothing seemed to be working. So, I tweeted about it asking for help.
He promptly suggested that I listen to this song.

That was it! I was addicted again and how! It was driving me nuts even more. I was standing at the bus stop and going "Gee gee gee gee baby baby baby". I was doing some serious coding and the next thing I know, I am humming "Gee gee gee gee baby baby baby". It was worse then the previous one!

So, I had to get re-addicted to the first song to get over my addiction to the this song. Whew!

I am ok now :)

Monday, June 15, 2009


I just don't know how to start describing this restaurant - Naive. Oh! I was so taken in by it. You know, when one is looking forward to something for a long time and when that something actually happens and it turns out to be just as amazing as one had expected it, if not better - that is exactly how our visit to Naive unfolded. It was a long pending visit, which when we finally visited, matched up exactly to how I had expected it to be.

Situated on East coast road, opposite to Katong Mall, the restaurant cannot be missed. I particularly liked their name board done up in black and white.

And while we are on the topic of the location of the restaurant, most of the posts on FoodieExpress so far have concentrated on restaurants in the eastern part of Singapore. That is mainly because we stay in the east and there are many restaurants that are yet to be explored here. That is one of the main reasons I shifted to the east :P Although I would like to mention that we are willing the travel the entire country in search of restaurants which serve up good vegetarian fare. If you know restaurants in the north, north-east or the west which meets this need and is non-Indian(preferably), do leave a comment and we will try to visit place and blog about it!

Okay, back to Naive. I am feeling a bit lazy and at a loss of words to compose this post. So, I will let the pictures do most of the talking.

The owners have a nice vision for their restaurant as can be seen from this picture and I was quite impressed.

The cover page of the menu.

I generally like glancing though reading the menu. I usually take my own sweet time to do that, like I am studying for an exam. After studying the menu, I am invariably confused on what to order because there will be atleast four or five items which I would want to try but I cannot, since I have a small appetite (being a foodie is not exactly about the quantity. Its about quality and variety!). So I generally bully my friends into ordering what I want and yell at politely remind them, if they touch the dish before I can take a photo of it :P

The drinks menu had interesting names for the drinks on offer.

We ordered the Passion of Life

and the Sour Power

But, Passion of Life tasted more sour than Sour power. LOL! While both the drinks were quite good, I liked Sour Power better!

Before the start of every meal, they have a Japanese inspired "Bloss" ceremony during which the diners are provided with a mortar and a pestle, which they use to grind some toasted sesame seeds, which can be sprinkled over the meal later.

Sayesha partaking in the "bloss" ceremony.

For starters, we ordered Penang Rendang along with some steamed buns which were very soft.

You can either tear a piece of the buns and dip it in the gravy and eat it or you could stuff the bread with the gravy(like a pita bread) and eat it.

We also ordered a plate of Mega Mini Mushroom, which is the recommended dish. And boy! We were so enamoured by this dish that we promptly ordered another plate of it. The dish comprised of succellent Lingzhi mushrooms fried and then mixed with a spicy szechuan sauce. Oh! It was very tasty. This is definitely one of the must have items at Naive.

Moving on, we ordered Wolfberry soup, Tom yam soup and a Organic mushroom miso soup! The soups were very well done. I personally liked the Wolfberry soup and it has a very comforting feel to it. Like being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold day!

For the main course, we ordered a few bowls of Olive rice (creatively named as Oliver Twist on the menu) and a bowl of brown rice along with "Spice of Life" and a plate of Sambal Broccoli respectively.
Spice of Life comprised of vegetables which were sauteed in a spicy kongpo sauce. The sauce was quite similar in taste to the sauce in Mega mini mushroom dish. Nevertheless, it was quite good and went along very well with the Olive rice.

The Sambal Brocolli was quite good too!

One might notice (especially an Indian customer) that the vegetables in most dishes are quite raw. Infact, that is a very common complaint that I have heard from fellow Indian colleagues and friends. They feel that the vegetables are not cooked at all and that is one of the main reasons why they dont like eating the local food. As Indians, we are so used to eating dishes where the vegetable have been cooked tender along wth the spices in such a way that the flavour of the spices are more prominent than that flavour of the vegetable. This is not the case with many south east Asian dishes as is explained in this post.

Moving along to the dessert, we noticed that they don't have anything specifically mentioned on the menu. But, they do serve a dessert of the day. On the day we went, the desserts on offer were a pumpkin based item and a pear based item. We ordered the latter and this is what we got -

It was maily boiled pears along with some chinese almonds served in a mildly flavoured broth. We didn't like it so much. Maybe we should have ordered the pumpkin dessert.

Dinner costed us about 140 bucks for six of us, which boils down to about 22 buck per head. Not at all expensive considering and is definitely worth a visit. I am surely going to visit this place again!

99, East coast Road
Singapore - 428795

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Check and mate!

A fire (of revenge) had been ignited within me ever since this happened a year ago. And now, I can say that I have taken my revenge. Details are here.

Badle ki jo jawalamukhi bhadak rahi thi, woh apne anjaam ko pahunch gayi. Haye! Dil ko thandak pahunch gayi.

:D :D :D

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Xin Wang Hong Kong Cafe

Another restaurant which is very close to my heart is Xin Wang Hong Kong Cafe (XWHKC). It is no wonder that it had to figure in FoodieExpress. This place came into focus from the time Sash was raving about the Iced lychee tea and the glasses they were served in. Another dish which pushed this restaurant onto our foodie express list was '/\'. Patience my dear readers. You will find out what '/\' is soon. After all we have to save the best for the last ;)

XWHKC have a couple of branches around the country. We chose to visit the one in Siglap since its the one closest to our homes. Located at the junction of East coast road and Upper east coast road, it is quite easy to find. Siglap is full of restaurants and XWHKC is one among them.

The place is nicely done up and has a chic ambience. They even have booths. Although, it required some amount of squeezing oneself between other tables to reach them. But once reached, one can park one's ass comfortably and look forward to a nice meal.

As their name suggests they serve food local to Macau, Shanghai and
Hong Kong(I can't wait to go there) and do have a few vegetarian options. But I guess one has to be able to eat non-vegetarian food (also known as food here in Singapore) to enjoy most of the dishes. Amongst the common veggie items, one item which stood out was the Papaya soup. I hadn't heard of it before and was quite eager to try it. It comes in a huge bowl with vegetables, a cob of corn and a few huge chunks of papaya in a white coloured broth with ramen noodles inside. I have a soft corner in my heart for noodle soups. So its no wonder that I enjoyed the dish. Although, I felt it was slightly bland for my taste. The other dishes ordered were a baked veggie lasagne, a curry maggi dish and a chicken dish. Good food. Very fast and efficient service.

Oh! I forgot to talk about the drinks. Two items which must not be missed are the iced
lychee tea and a cold Ying Yang. Many would have had the iced lychee tea, so am not going to describe it. But, many may not have had a Ying Yang. Before telling you what it is, I think you must know that it tastes delicious and is very refreshing. It has to be had cold and in a special steel tumbler that they serve it in, which I guess may be characteristic of Hong Kong.

Ying Yang is actually a mixture of Coffee and Tea! Weird combination no? But, trust me, it doesn't taste weird at all. After you take a sip, it is the flavour of the tea which hits you first. The coffee flavour hits you later once you have almost swallowed it. Since it is served cold, it can very refreshing on a hot day and still keep you alert at the same time. Both the flavours are not very intense. Very pleasant. This is my favourite drink at the restaurant!

And now, let me present to you the highlight of of the meal - the '/\'

Yes, its a mountain of shaved ice on a bed of mango pieces with mango sauce/puree dripping from its sides and a scoop of mango ice-cream on top. Mango lovers, this is a treat for you. One word to describe it -YUMTASTIC!!

It cost us about 80 dollars and we were totally 5 people. But, let me tell you that a couple of us hardly ate anything. So on an average, it might cost you about 20-25 dollars per head. Worth it!