Archive for May 2013

La Bistrot Stadium – Nice French Restaurant :)

A colleague from work recommended a nice French Bistro – called La Bistrot located in Stadium to celebrate a colleagues birthday – so a group of us decided to pay a visit and celebrate in style. I am certainly very happy that we decided to go there, as it was a delightful little place.

The food was lush, and the atmosphere was fresh and a nice very relaxing setting – and the wine – well lets just say we had a bottle or two…haha!

What a nice way to spend quality time with a great bunch of friends and to celebrate the young lady’s birthday in style.

It wasn’t necessarily a cheap place, but the quality and ambience (and company) certainly made up for that – and we created our own entertainment throughout the night. BUT, the news is that it is closing down in mid-June, due to the 5x increase in rent, which was not surprising based on what they intend to do around the area, but it was a big annoyance for the Proprietor. The two Partners did not intend to set-up anywhere else, so it is likely this little gem of a place will be gone forever. Who knows, they may reappear (I hope), or they might choose to do something different (private catering etc). What a shame though – those greedy landowners and landlords! :(

This area is really being developed, in fact I was doing some reading online about Singapore’s history, and always wanted to know what was is the area before the ‘Stadium’, and it turned out that it was actually an Airport – part of Kallang Airport – before it closed in 1955, and the area redeveloped to become what is now the sports hub and entertainment venue – and where the new National Stadium is under construction. We’ll see what else this area becomes, but I definitely think fine dining is not going to be the key focus of this area…especially now La Bistrot is going – shame though, but alas that’s show business! You may actually recall that I visit the Stadium every Sunday (no, not for Church and my Confessions) but for Futsal (indoor astro-turf football), so I am getting to know the area and shopping mall pretty well – haha!

Anyway, to end, it was a very delightful dinner, the people that attended were so much fun, and we really enjoyed the food, wine and entertainment throughout the night.

Le Bistrot
2 Stadium Walk
#01-03 Singapore Indoor Stadium
Singapore 396691
Tel:      +65 64470018
Email:  lebistrot_news@yahoo.com
URL:    http://www.lebistrot.com.sg

DBS Marina Bay Regatta 2013

A two-day event scheduled for the 18th-19th May along Marina Bay.

I have heard about Dragon Boat racing, but wanted to … no not give it a go … but witness the sport in all its glory, and what better way than popping back to Marina Bay and enjoying the sights and spectacle of this amazing water sport.

Looks hard work indeed – well watching that is – but they do make it look (relatively) easy.

A pleasureable visit to the Gardens by the Bay

Well to fully utilise my annual pass, I decided to pay a visit to the Gardens by the Bay last Sunday – the newly opened (since October 2012 – still new to me!) Botanic Gardens just opposite Marina Bay Sands.

It is a pleasant location, and I must admit the timing was absolutely perfect, as the temporary Tulip display was ending on 20th May – so if I didn’t do it, it would have been a sad mistake. It’s kinda visiting a little bit of the Netherlands in Singapore – Europe in Asia – haha!

I decided to visit both the Flower Dome (where the Tulip display was) and the Cloud Dome (where there was an indoor waterfall display). Both were delightful, and definitely worth a visit.

The captivating part was definitely the Cautus and Tulip display (in the Flower Dome) – which was a very simply but delightful display, and for the Tulips, it was the glorious colours that made the display.

I wasn’t that impressed with the Cloud Dome personally, but it was more of an education display about the pressures on our global water supply and how precious water really is (remember those days from school?) – haha…

Either way, a very enjoyable early after session – a nice way to walk off my Sunday Roast – hehe!

Pasarbella @ The Grandstand

I’ve heard a lot of interesting things about Pasarbella Farmer’s market at the Grandstand, so decided to try it out. I was looking to go a couple of weeks back, but never got around to it. So this time, I called a couple of friends and we decided to give it a go.

It’s a bit out of the sticks – not near any MRT stations, but once you are there, there is quite a bit to look and do. Apparently, it is located in what was the Grandstand of the old (horse) race track, so it was quite a long but spacious location.

The Pasarbella was interesting – it was full of small sellers and stalls, but they weren’t cheap. A lot of the produce was organic – and that itself means more $$$. The selections were nice though – but I am not sure if I would come back just to buy extraordinary groceries or similar – I would probably visit Jason’s or similar, which is closer and more convenient. I don’t know, maybe I would come back, we’ll see.

After buying what we could, we then went to ‘The Ascot’ – a restaurant that was very English indeed. A nice atmosphere, and most importantly a great menu on offer. We went for the Burgers, and one of us went for the BBQ Ribs – it was certainly nicely done, and didn’t cost that bad – $98.87 for the 3 of us.

Certainly would recommend a visit to Pasarbella and certainly a meal at The Ascot!!

Big Mama Korean Night

A Korean food night is always a pleasure to join – and especially when it is with some fab friends and colleagues. A group of us left work on Friday, 17th May and we went to Tiong Bahru to locate and visit the Big Mama Korean BBQ place – it was surely a popular spot, but it was highly recommended. Of course, we did visit Harry’s beforehand – which made it every more pleasureable!

One of our colleagues duly ordered (she was Korean – perfect!) – and we knew we were going to be in for a treat of a night, and it didn’t disappoint. A selection of delightful dishes that was delicious, tasty and a pleasure to enjoy!

This place was also quite delightful and I must state that some of the ‘scenary’ at the other tables were also quite enjoyable to watch too – only looking though, haha!!

Big Mama Korean Restaurant
2 Kim Tian Road
Singapore 169244
Tel:   +65 6270 7704
URL: http://bigmama.sg/

Ramen Night at Bugis Plus

Well after work, I usually do one of 3 things – go home and chill locally around Novena, go and find somewhere to eat and drink before going home, or go out with some work colleagues and friends to do the same, and then go home quite late :)

I decided to do the latter, as I was invited to join a colleague for some delightful Ramen from Bugis+ – a shopping and food mall in central Bugis.

There was a bout 5-6 places selling different types of Japanese Ramen and Soup – and I must admit it was quite difficult to choose my dish, but I chose the Ramen Champion place – which was delicious indeed. Topped off by some delightful and refreshing Italian Gelati from Gelateria Italia – aptly named, of course :)

It was a very relaxing evening, and good to spend it with a fab colleague. Haha!

Ramen Champion
201 Victoria Street
Bugis+ #04 – 10
Singapore 188607
Tel:   +65 6238 1011
URL: http://www.ramenchampion.com.sg

Cheese Night at O’Batignolles

Well what a nice way to relax with some great office folks – to visit Club Street and relax with some cheese and wine (well you can’t really have cheese on its own!).

One of my colleagues suggested this French establishment as a way to chill and chat after a hard day at work – and I must state it was delightful.  The cheese platter was delicious, the wine was really refreshing, and the fresh warm bread was a perfect accompliment (for the cheese that is!).

The only difference than being in France is the fact that it is that hot and humid in France – but there’s nothing like a bit of France in Singapore :)

O’Batignolles Wine Bar & Bistrot
2 Gemmill Lane, Club Street
Singapore 069247
Tel: +65 6438 3913
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OBatignolles

Exercise and Sports can be Dangerous – that’s Official :)

Well the Futsal game on Sunday, 12th May started like most others…a casual but sweaty game with some great chums.

It was definitely more relaxing having had more people turned up – because we have played when we have had 3 a side and 4 a side – and these are pretty tough, but when we had 5 and then 6 a side it was a lot better.

The challenge is when you are the one in goal, you’ve got more guys to look out for.  This happened to me, and I had the most scary moments I have experienced for a while – a ball being shot directly at my face, with my inability to stop it.  BANG!

I felt the pain, I knew it was a bad one, but I didn’t know how bad, until I saw a bit of blood on my hand – as I was wearing glasses, it turned out that the ball had pushed the glasses into my face.  I knew I was going to get some lingering issues, and it certainly turned out to be an issue…I got a nice shiner, which came up after a day or two.  Ouch!

 

Standard Chartered – S$80 Cashback

Sad to say it, but I took a plunge to the dark side and successfully applied for a new Credit Card with Standard Chartered.  It was called the MasterCard World Manhatten card – so an elite card – with an offer of S$80 cashback upon activation.  It also provides 5% cashback for every charge – up to S$800 per year – nice!

I hope I can spend a bit on the card to get this level of cashback.

Someone also told me that if apply for another Standard Chartered credit card, you can get another S$80 cashback, so I might give this a go.  I will probably spend a few txns on the card, and cancel it upon annual renewal :)  Hopefully, that is!

Poor Experience at Boulevard Bar – Marina Bay Financial Centre

Well it started like any other night, a nice gathering with work chums to celebrate the success of another hard days at work. We ended up going to the Boulevard Bar in Tower 1 of MArina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC), and it kinda snowed balled from there.

We ordered out drinks which came pretty promptly, we also ordered a pizza and a side dish of fries.

Issue 1 – Smoking in a non-smoking area
We noticed that the table next to us continued to lit off during the first round of our drinks. As one of the members of our group suffered from asthma, we reported this to the staff member. The first one said that we were in a smoking area (which was not true, as the law forbids smoking in any ‘covered areas’. They then walked away. After another cigarette was lit, we again reported the breach to the staff, this time they advised us that they would asked the other table to refrain from smoking in the non-smoking area – but this fell on deaf ears. After they lit up again, the staff advised us that they couldn’t enforce the ban – even though we reminded them that the establishment was also liable for any fines if the smokers were caught by inspectors.

Issue 2 – Appalling Service
Whilst we chatted away with our drinks, we started to notice that our food dishes did not show up. We asked one of the staff members, and was brushed off with the “it is coming excuse”. A few minutes later (about 15 minutes wait) the pizza arrived, and we chatted and enjoyed this. After another 20-25 minutes we noticed that the fries had still not yet appeared. We asked the status and again was told “they were on their way”. Another 10-15 minutes passed and we again asked, only to be told that there were some delays at the dish would take another 15 minutes – at this point we asked for the dish to be cancelled. The waitress then returned with the dish. We told her that we didn’t want the dish and to return it to the kitchen. We also asked to speak to the manager, he offered no support and allowed us to voice our concerns, but simply asked whether we wanted to cancel the dish, which we once again repeated (third time now) that yes we did.

We then asked for another dish that “was quick” to order, and duly ordered this from him – which he agreed to waive. A couple of minutes later, the other bar staff returned and then asked us “if everything was okay”, which of course, we responded as “sorry no it wasn’t” – not knowing what to do, she simply rolled her eyes and went away. How insulting, you don’t ask that questions (which would result in a negative response) shortly after a complaint has been filed to the manager.

Issue 3 – ‘Discretionary’ Service Charge
During the evening I considered asking for the service charge to be removed, but was told by the establishment that they couldn’t do this – advising it was a fixed charge. I am not sure of the Singapore consumer law, but in the US, UK, Australia and Europe, you can request this to be removed if the service being provided was significantly sub-standarded.

Issue 4 – confusion on soft drink happy hour
One of the group ordered a soft drink and settled before leaving, and didn’t realise that it was not under the ‘happy hour’ rule. What I found interesting is that the soft drink happy hour starts at 4pm but ends at 5pm, but whilst the alcohol happy hour (actually hours) started at 4pm and ended at 9pm. Talk about injustice for those that don’t drink alcohol. Either way, it is fine if 1 or 2 of us misunderstood this, but all 5 of us!?!? Therefore, something must be wrong with the way they presented this to the customer.

Having written a formal complaint to the Boulevard Head Office on all of these 4 concerns, I was invited to meet with the owner, their servicing head and the manager of Boulevard Marina Bay. They attempted to discount every single point I made, blaming the rain, unenforceable non-smoking law (which the landlord, not the establishment was liable for), that they didn’t feel the service issues was their fault and the service charge was indeed fix – and quoting this to be a “stealth tax”.

With Compliments from Boulevard Bayfront

With Compliments from Boulevard Bayfront

Relating to my request for a fully refund (S$138), they then advised me that if was really that dissatisfied that they actually would consider not serving me again in the future – this wasn’t exactly the best way for them to ‘deal’ with a complaint, trying to make it sound like it was my fault that I was unhappy, not theirs. I did explain that none of the 5 people who were present enjoyed the experience and it was multitude or failures that they needed to learn from – ranging from a recap for the non-smoking law, education and re-training. They then decided to offer a bottle of wine as an alternative ‘way’ of settling my complaint.

All in all, I found the owner and the experience extremely unsettling, and actually would personally consider stopping going they myself. After all there are plenty of nicer places to visit in Singapore than this :). But more importantly, it was the altitude of the owner and the way they tried to quash all elements of the feedback that caused me more concern – basically implying that they don’t care about the customer satisfaction!! How wrong can they be…

Moet and Chandon - Lovely Huvly Bubbly

Moet and Chandon – Lovely Huvly Bubbly

Funnily, they then agreed to give me this free bottle of wine – which turned into a bottle of Möet and Chandon…

The bottle costs around S120 – so covers the majority of the meal that we were complaining about (yes I know that the wholesale prices is a portion of this – but still, I never say no to a freebie)…

I guess the magic question is whether I want to go back to the Boulevard Bars or not in the future :)

Well we’ll see how I feel after a few weeks…there’s always plenty of places to drink in Singapore, so I am sure I won’t miss the place!!

Boulevard Bayfront
Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1
8 Marina Boulevard #01-02
Singapore 018981
Tel:      +65 – 6634 8761
Email:  info@boulevard.com.sg
URL:   http://www.boulevard.com.sg

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