Archive for October 2014

My Birthday Celebration at Equinox

Well we had decided to schedule a family birthday dinner (with my mum and dad) at a nice restaurant in Singapore – so we decided to do a brunch at Equinox within the Swissôtel The Stamford (City Hall) – which also allows me to utilise my Far Card discount card – which results in 20% of food (as we had 5-10 adults), and 25% of drinks. My aunt and cousin also decided to come across, and I invited my girlfriend too – so there was 6 of us in total.

The Sunday Brunch at the Equinox was pretty good – a great location at the 74th floor of the Swissôtel The Stamford, and we did certainly enjoy the Singapore views from up above.

As it was the last Sunday of the month, there was a Pink theme to the brunch – so the usual Brunch price of $158++ per person was increased to $178++ per person – but with unlimited Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial, house red or white wines, specialty cocktails and a selection of beers (instead of the classic Moët & Chandon Impérial). Anyway, I tried to get the normal price, as I wasn’t really keen to go pink for my birthday, but they said there was no choice as it was a special pink theme. Anyway, at least I would get a discount about 1/5 off (with the Far Card), so it wasn’t all bad.

The food was pretty good – however, the selection was as good as a couple of hour brunch places (St Regis and Mandarin Oriental seemed to be better), but it was still very tasty and very enjoyable!

What was a dampener was the Roast Beef, a couple of us got a couple of slices and we tucked in, however, there was this really funny taste too – as if it the meat was rotten or gone off. I am not sure why, but never smelt or tasted beef as bad as this. Anyway, I went to speak to the chef servicing the hot meat table, and he summounded the head chef, whilst we waited, we enjoyed the rest of the meal. After a few minutes, we noticed that head chef came, tasted the meet, and then took the whole slab of meet away back to the kitchen, whilst they replaced it with another (which tasted far better). The Equinox restaurant manager then came to speak with us, and apologised for this and stated it must have been the supplier etc. I explained that unfortunately it doesn’t matter, as it is the Swissôtel was the one cooking and serving it to the public. Anyway, we relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the meal and then we requested the bill.

After a few minutes, the bill arrived, but there was nothing provided as a gesture due to the off meat. I asked to speak to the restaurant manager and asked him that they should offer something as a way of apologising, he asked me what I wanted, and I told him that it was for him to determine. He agreed and I left for them to consider the offer. After a while the he came back and returned my Amex credit card and stated that the meal was on him – wow! That was not what I was expecting, but I felt it was a great gesture, albeit too much to accept. He apologised again for the issues with the meat, and the F&B also turned up to offer an explanation and also apologised – I did state that all it required was for one customer to complain to the NEA, and they would come and shut down the place – so I sense they realised the severity of it. I just hope no one gets ill because of this – as I know there was other tables eating the meat.

I accepted the offer, but did give about $200 tip for the servicing staff, as I know it wasn’t there fault and they would not receive any service tip from our table otherwise. He accepted it, and said he will make sure the staff received it.

It was a bit of a weird birthday meal – but unfortunately, these things do happen. At least they did the honourable thing and accepted the issue – at the same time, we made quite a saving off the whole meal – wow! What a birthday meal that was!

Swissôtel The Stamford
Equinox Restaurant
2 Stamford Road
Singapore 178882
Tel: +65 6338 8585
Reservations: +65 6837 3322
URL: http://www.equinoxrestaurant.com.sg

SingTel Home Phone Fault

Well it is always annoying when there is an issue with your home line – especially when you are not home to fix it. Luckily the broadband internet and mioTV was still active, and it was just the phone line (which had ‘static’ when you picked up the receiver). Anyway, my mum tried to resolve it but visiting the local SingTel store in Novena Square and they were kind enough to raise a fault with the SingTel Engineers.

My mum was able to arrange an SingTel Engineer to visit my property, they acknowledged that there was a fault outside of my property that would impact the whole building. They went away and we thought after a few days it would be resolved. However, about 4 days later, the fault remained. After I returned, I took over the issue, and noted that there was still not ETA for a resolution – even after contacting the Engineer and them committing to be resolved on the following Monday (which didn’t happen). The Engineer then contacted me on the Tuesday (after a call from me chasing an update) stating that they needed to visit my property again later that day – I said that I would not accept this, as I would only allow another visit once the issue has been resolved (to test the line), but I advised that as it was on the SingTel network, that they don’t need to visit my property to resolve. I didn’t want to waste more time waiting for another Engineer visit to simply tell me that the line issue was still active and the problem was unresolved (silly for them to even offer this ‘solution’?). Anyway, after having a go at the Engineer, they continued to look into the issue and late on Tuesday (after a week of an outage), the phone line was back operational. I did find it amazing that a simply line fault would take 7-8 days to resolve, especially somewhere like Singapore, and especially when the root-cause was previously identified (unless they were unsure whether they had isolated the issue in the first place?)

I then emailed a complaint to SingTel to provide feedback about the service provided and the delays in repairing. I had asked for a month’s compensation, but they offered a 2 week rebate, which I accepted. I guess they know when they do wrong, and at least it wasn’t all bad!

Dad’s Marina Bay Tour (25th Oct)

It was great that my dad was able to enjoy his Singapore holiday so far whilst I was away, but now that I was back, I decided to take him for a tour of Marina Bay and the area where I work.

I met them at my place, and then we took the MRT from Novena to Marina Bay, we then visited the Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) complex and visited Tower 2 – where I work. We rested for a few minutes, before venturing into the Marina Bay Link Mall, and then across the road to the Marina Bay walkway. We took a few photos, and then we continued walking around to the Marina Bay Gallery, which gave an insight of what the vision is for the Marina Bay and new Financial Business District area – it implies that every bit of grassland in the area will be a skyscraper within the next 5-10 years. It is amazing how much the area has changed, and how much it will continue to change, and I am glad we were able to enjoy the vision as it stands today.

We continued the tour and then headed to the Lau Pa Sat market, and we rested with a drink. After some time we decided to go to Satay Street alongside the market, and enjoy a nice Satay dinner – with nice vegetables and sting-ray fish – what a delight to enjoy it with both of my parents.

Dad Arrives in Singapore (25th Oct)

Well whilst I was on my way back from my holiday, my dad arrived in Singapore.  I arrived back on 25th October, and was able to meet my mum and dad and start the Singapore Tour with them both.

I took my dad around the Marina Bay area, visiting my office location and taking the sights and sounds of the area, as well as visiting some well-known landmarks in the area.

I didn’t want to venture too far, as it would involve a lot of walking, so after a couple of hours venturing around, we decided to go to the Lau Pa Sat (Telok Ayer) market, to relax, grab a drink and chat a bit.  After this, we then went to get some food – so we decided to try out the Satay Street, and get some sting ray, and a selection of delicious satay to enjoy and watch the world go by.  It was a great occasion, and it was a nice way to spend the weekend.

New Apartment Visit – Same Condo, Different Unit

After 2 years in my current condo, my rental lease agreement was up for renewal – so I was keen to see what was available on the market – noting that the ‘housing conditions’ had put the market in the favour of the rentee rather than then landlord – lets see whether this will be the case for me.

I started but trying to negotiate with my current landlord, but I was keen to only renew for one more year (rather than another two years) – he was keen to keep the rent at the same level – he commented that it was a good price having been low to start with, and because I had asked for one year only.

Potential New Option

Potential New Option

I was not that convinced, so started to look around before I responded. I noted that in my current condo, there were a number of smaller units between $2400 – $2800 – so I knew I couldn’t push lower by much, but then I saw that there was a similar sized unit (570 sq ft) for rent – that was priced at $3000 a month. I asked to check the place and went up to have a look – I asked what was the best price he could offer, and he suggested he could push for 2800. I was quite shocked that they were willing to reduce $200 a month to easily, so the landlord must have been keen to rent it out. Anyway, I said I would think about it for the weekend, and then decided to email my current landlord’s agent, who stated that $2900 (current rental) was the best and the landlord would not go lower. I decided to take a risk and email the landlord directly, who responded in a day to state that he was willing to go down to $2800 – a bit interesting that I get a different result when I liaise with the landlord directly isn’t it? 🙂

I started to think about staying, but I decided to visit the new condo unit again with my girlfriend. There were a few pros and cons in both apartments. Lets start with my current one:

Current Unit – Pros:

  • Don’t need to move
  • Don’t need to dry-clean curtains
  • Don’t need to worry about changing addresses in everything
  • Landlord seems pretty nice and responsive
  • Lots of wasted space with the staircase

Current Unit – Cons:

  • Agent is a bit annoying and seems to not communicate effectively or accurately
  • Only partial furnished

And now the new one for comparison…

Potential New Unit – Pros:

  • Cheaper unit
  • A higher floor
  • Fully furnished – also a con due to furniture I’ve purchased!

Potential New – Cons:

  • Need to move
  • Layout is worse than current, bomb shelter is on ground floor
  • No ground floor wash room
  • Staircase location wastes space

The new agent then contacted me for a decision, and I said that I will likely renew with my current unit – and I then preceded with the confirmation. The new agent then stated that the landlord was willing to reduce to $2700 – wow – what a quandary…save another $100 a month. I then presented this to the existing landlord, who then responded saying ‘now what?’ – as the documentation was being prepared. I asked him that I was very keen to move due to the price reduction, but had decided to stay as I preferred to stay with him as the landlord (better the devil you know, as they say). He then responded stating that he will match that price – so I got the same unit, for 1 year renewal, at the $2700 rate – a $200 reduction per month – not bad methinks. I think I could have gone lower, but at least it is a saving.

I now need to sort out the new repayments and get part of my deposit back, as I only need a month’s deposit of the 2 month’s that I currently have settled with the landlord – he owes me $$$ for a change (all of $3100) – haha!

Taylor B – Patriotic Views

Well we were looking for interesting furniture, and we went to the Taylor B furniture store, just off Keppel Road. It was actually a very nice and intriguing place, with a very nice selection of furniture – although a little pricey, it was of fine quality products.

What I did notice is a nice furniture set – in the great patriot colours of the United Jack – what made it more enjoyable was that the Scottish Independent vote had just came in – and the United Jack would remain United – yay!

It was sooo tempting to buy this nice furniture set – but I held out (well just about) – I had to buy two cushions to feel the part – after way, they were delightful velvet quality 🙂

It is really good to be British – the best of British in all its glory!

Taylor B. Furniture Store
43 Keppel Road
Singapore 099418
Tel: +65 9420 4040
Email: customerservice@taylorbdesign.com
URL: http://www.taylorbdesign.com

Cucina Italian Restaurant GroupOn (11th Oct)

I always keep an eye on GroupOn to see what types of offer are available, and I stumbled upon one offer for a place called Cucina, an Italian Restaurant, and it was situated in the heart of Holland Village, and so I hope it was going to be a good local place to try out.

The offer was a S$40 voucher for S$19.90 – so just over 50% saving… I wonder for this price, how the restaurant could afford it. I also sometimes wonder it looks too good to be true, maybe the food quality sucks? – I just hope it doesn’t! Alas, I am willing to give it a try. I have to use it by 7 Feb 2015 – so gonna wait to find a nice and relaxing evening to give it a go.

Cucina Restaurant
275 Holland Avenue
Tel: +65 92486662
URL: http://www.cucina.com.sg

Nan Hwa Chong Fish Head Steamboat Dinner (6th Oct)

Another day, another dinner! I was recommended to visit this fine fish head steamboat, just off North Bridge Road, so I did with the G/F. It was certainly a great find – and I do appreciate the g/f recommendation of this fine eating establishment.

It was a nice area, we went into the air-con first floor, which was actually very nice – and we ordered a few dishes – we decided to go with the Grouper steamboat, sweet and sour pork ribs, a vegetable dish and some rice. It was very very tasty – although it was hot hot hot as they served the steam boat. There was quite a bit of fish meat, and actually felt we had ordered just enough to enjoy the meal properly.

The total was amazingly for this quality of food – the whole meal came to $65.30 (that’s just over £30 – or £15 per head!) – not mad at all! I definitely would come again 🙂

Nan Gwa Chong Fish Head Steambeat
808/812/814/816 North Bridge Road
Singapore
198779
Tel: +65 6297 9319
URL: http://www.nanhwachong.com

The Reading Room Cafe – Brunch (6th Oct)

The Reading Room

The Reading Room

Another nice find – after going for a stroll around Tiong Bahru, we stumbled upon a nice reading-room-turn-cafe, along Bukit Pasoh Road.

It was a nice setting, and as we tucked into our Sunday Brunch and Tea, we grabbed a book or two to read away and enjoy the peaceful setting that it is.

Food quality was good, although the service was a bit slow. But overall it was a nice experience in a different but relaxing environment.

 

The Reading Room
19 Bukit Pasoh Road
Singapore 089833
Tel: +65 6220 9019
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thereadingroom.com.sg

Auto Incs – Car Exhibition

Collection of Sport Cars

Collection of Sport Cars

Well it is always nice to see a collection of the best cars in one location – so when we were in a taxi ride passing by Auto Incs, near Commonwealth MRT, we noticed that there was a line of Ferrari’s, Porches, Lamborghini’s and Maserati’s – now THAT’s a collection.

But there are still no Bugatti Veryon’s in Singapore just yet – apparently they barred it from being imported as it was still a left hand drive and thus, cannot be registered in Singapore, accordingly to the Yahoo report in Aug 2014.

Apparently, it isn’t just Bugatti Veryon’s that cannot be driven in Singapore…there was a CNN report in Feb 2010 that four Lamborghini Reventons were registered to Singapore owners, but they couldn’t drive it on the island’s roads!  How funny.

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