Monday, May 26, 2014

Halo Rooftop Lounge @ Wangz Hotel Outram Road

Last visit was some years back, for a friend's birthday celebration. Was pleasantly surprised to receive an invite for a cocktail and tapas tasting session recently. Hence, the date was set and went after work on a Friday evening.

Wangz Hotel is located at 231 Outram Road. Nearest MRT station would be Tiong Bahru, and very near to Link Hotel too.

Wangz is a cosy boutique hotel that has been in existance since 2009. The entrance led straight to Nectar, its on-premise restaurant.


The lift to the rooftop is a bit secluded, hence do look out for the signage that leads towards the right direction.

hello Halo

The draw at Halo, or any rooftop bar/lounges, would be the view from the top. At Halo, it offers a scenic panoramic view of the Tiong Bahru's skyline and its curved aluminium frame made the rooftop area, pretty interesting.

Was there early, so roamed around the area and snapped a few pictures.

aluminium frame and covered roof
alfresco with a view

Tapas seems to be the buzz these days. Small plates sounds perfect for small eaters, and I'll gladly accept a drink (or two) on a Friday evening. Let the night begin!

First up, Singapore Sling.

Quickly, what did you first think of? An image of tall glass, maraschino cherry and tropical? Was pleasantly surprised to see Halo's version, served in a coconut shell. No kidding!

Singapore Sling - No.3 London Dry, cherry liqueur and bitters

"A classic with a twist." - As quoted by Halo's resident mixologist, the talented As'Ad. He focuses on using fresh fruits and juices, as well as premium liqueur in his creations.

The Singapore Sling here looked good, and tasted good. Pleasant, mildly fruity and of cherries, and thankfully, none of that articificial syrupy aftertaste.

For the next drink, I had to ask as I thought I heard wrongly. "What was the name again?" Bye Bye Mai Tai?

Bye Bye Mai Tai - grapefruit hibiscus liqueur, finished up with rose water

Found that the Mai Tai at Halo, matches closely with the tropical theme. Its usage of edible flowers was much similar to Singapore Sling. It was abit hard to discern the taste in this one. Usually, Mai Tai is made predominantly with rum. Here, it uses grapefruit hibiscus liqueuer. Slightly more grapefruity than hibiscus-y.

The cocktails are quite balanced but in any case, the stomach needed food! Let's bring out the tapas.

Yellow Fin Tuna Ceviche on Crispy Corn Chip - tasting portion

Was trying to decipher what those strips were. If not wrong, should be candied orange peel/ginger. Liked the combination of chopped cucumber, tomato salsa and tuna ceviche. A refreshing taste. A little bit salty, but gone in one bite or two. Wished that the corn chips can be more curled up at its side like a mini taco. Easier to stuff 'em into the mouth!

Well, corn chips with chopped raw fish were fine but needed something more substantial. How about some mini burgers? Lucky me, next up was beef sliders.

Chimay Rouge with Angus Beef Slider

"Try the slider with the beer." Yup, why not. But first, a sip of that cold beer. This was my first, in trying a Chimay, Trappist beer. Beer that was brewed in a monastery for monks. It was easy to drink, smooth with medium carbonation and not that bitter. Enjoyable in big sips.

Angus Slider, I see you

The Angus Beef Slider was made out of two fluffy buns (housemade, nonetheless) that held together some purple cabbage slaw, a slice of tomato and of course, the handmade angus beef patty. No sauce required. This was simplicity. The pickled onion was pretty good too. Full portion @$18++ consists of 3 sliders.

Next up, meaty pork ribs!

US Kurobuta Baby Pork Ribs with Pineapple BBQ Sauce - tasting portion

The ribs were meaty, with a firm bite. As expected, the sauce was a little bit on the sweet side. Wished that the ribs were a bit more charred, with caramelization. These ribs paired well with beer too.

grill masters hard at work

If beer, and Slings are not your thing, then how about an elegant glass of Green Apple & Pineapple Martini? Ingredients included premium liqueur Thoquino cachaca, malibu coconut rum and one can taste real fruits bits of green apple and pineapple.

Green Apple + Pineapple Martini

If you ever wanted to know more about the cocktails, please go right up to the bar area.

bar area - mixologist in the house yo!

Did you know that Halo Rooftop Lounge also has live music on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays? Now you do.

Jazz on Thursdays, and 'Accoustic Live' contemporary hits on Fridays and Saturdays.

Idah and Yazid, performing at Halo on Fridays

Drinks, music and food. What more do we need? about more food!

Chicken Lollipops with Blue Cheese Dip and Crudites - tasting portion

The batter was crispy but slightly bland. Blue cheese dip is an acquired taste. This one is not for me.

If you can only have one cocktail for the night, then may I recommend you the Botanist Bowl (@$18++). It had me at first sip. Yes, this was my kind of drink!

Botanist Bowl

Perhaps, it was the Botanist Gin, which is a small-batch, artisanal Islay (Scotland) gin. Perhaps, it was the Elderflower Liqueuer, or was it the fresh strawberries or home-made lemon foam? Or was it the molecular process of making it that brought out the flavours?

According to wiki, molecular mixology sees the creation of cocktails using equipment and techniques of molecular gastronomy. layman's term, it involves changing the appearance/texture of the original item, enhancing flavours by using gels, foam, sprays etc.

All I know, is that I liked it very much, so thanks for having this on the menu. As'Ad revealed that this is actually their bestseller cocktail, followed by Singapore Sling.

To end the night on a sweeter note, a small plate of honey BBQ wings.

Honey BBQ Wings

Served piping hot, sweet and slightly crispy at its edges. But, abit too skinny these wings!

In general, the tapas price ranges from $15++ to $18++ and most cocktails are priced at $18++.

Special thanks to Ms Prue Chin, Marketing Manager of Wangz Hotel for the invitation. Glad to be re-acquainted with Halo Rooftop Lounge. Not forgetting As'Ad, whom expertly concocted those drinks. Saw another rather interestingly named cocktail such as the 'Rhubarb Pie'. If you try it, let me know how it taste like!

Happy Hour happens daily from 4pm to 8pm, and all night long on Sundays. Look out for selected 1-for-1 offers during Happy Hour. Do note that the closing hour for Halo is on 11pm (Sunday to Thursday) and 12am (Fri, Sat, eve and on public holidays).


Halo Rooftop Lounge @ Wangz Hotel

Address: 231 Outram Road, Singapore 169040
Tel: (65) 6595 1388
Fax: (65) 6595 1399

Saturday, May 24, 2014

天晴 Appare Udon & Tempura Japanese Restaurant @ Novena Square 2

Located at Level 2 of Square 2. Opened in April 2014, so it is fairly new. The first thing one notices, would be the huge serving bowls for the udon!

Already tried their udon and tempura, so wanted to try something else for this visit. Earlier visit saw teething problems, not unexpected as of newly opened restaurants. During April visit, our food did not come till much later, and we were given a free-piece of tempura. For this visit, the food came out in good speed.

nabeyaki udon @$16.50++
tempura prawns, fish cake, mushroom, peas and raw egg

Had to wait a few minutes to heat up the udon and to cook the raw egg. While waiting for that, my seafood donburi was served.

seafood donburi @$16.50++

There's salmon, tuna, scallops and ikura. The rice was not heavily vinegared and the whole bowl had a homely and mellow feel to it.

plenty of toppings

The donburi came with miso soup.

miso soup

Some service staff are fairly new, and hence could be a bit clueless. However, there was one staff that was pretty attentive to our needs. Tea refilled every so often. Came over to ensure that the raw egg in nabeyaki udon was properly cooked, and even gave a refill for miso soup. Excellent service.

Green tea is complimentary and total bill came up to $19.50 per pax.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Yi Jia Le Seafood Delivery (一家乐煮炒外卖) & Shi Fu Ge (食福阁) @ Foodpanda

Had previously used Foodpanda, so once in a while will receive email offering discounts or vouchers. Feeling lazy one weekend, so decided to use the voucher before it expires (only valid for 3 days).

Very quickly settled on Shi Fu Ge as the delivery menu looks more manageable (aka reasonably priced and minimum order is $30 with additional $3 for delivery).

Chinese zhi char food it is, and for two pax. Assam fish head, omelette egg, salted egg yolk pork ribs and white rice. Both small portions for the omelette egg and pork ribs. Total bill was $43.50 before the use of discount voucher.

The total estimated delivery time shown online was 2 hours. Various modes available for payment. Once that's done, there should be a confirmation email for the delivery order. There will be an automated sms sent out to indicate that the restaurant had received and confirmed the order. Though the sms stated 105 minutes for delivery to arrive, the initial estimation of 2 hours was more accurate.

Previously, the experience with Indian food order was that the butter chicken that costs us $17++ came in the normal noodle soup container size. So this time round, we waited with trepidation on how the fish head will turn out. Thankfully, it arrived in a good sized round container!

'Ang kueh' assam fish head @$21
closer view of the ingredients

The assam fish gravy was really appetising. Sourish but not overly. Brinjal looked abit raw but actually pretty juicy. The fish was a tad overcooked.

salted egg pork ribs (咸蛋排骨) @$12

Hmm. For some reason I had expected pork ribs as in pork ribs with the bone-in. Haha...The pork ribs were lean and some meat was quite tough. Turned out quite oily too, otherwise the salted egg flavour is there although abit mild.

egg omelette (芙蓉蛋) @$6

The white rice portion was actually adequate per pax and came in individual styrofoam box, much like when we 'da bao' rice outside. Had ordered 3 white rice (@$0.50 each) as precaution and ended up with one extra that was kept for the next day as we couldn't finish.

Ate as much as we could, and there was enough for the next day too. The meal can actually feed 3 pax easily.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Soup Restaurant @ United Square

Located at B1 of United Square. Finding for that escalator to move downwards to basement in United Square took a bit of time.

This restaurant has a lot of secluded corners so there was that bit of privacy, though our corner actually has clear glass that outside can see. Haha!

@Soup Restaurant
typical cover charge

Dinner with two lovely ladies. Ex-colleagues that have known each other for about 7 to 8 years now? How time had passed by so quickly.

Was already 8pm, so decided on 3 dishes to share and a pot of soup.

order chit
chrysanthemum tea (sweetened and refillable)

Service was efficient. Food was delivered in quick succession and tea regularly topped up.

lotus root soup with pork ribs (medium)

For soups, one could order individual portion with various properties. For example, they have 'Healing', 'Strengthening', 'Wellness' type of soups. However, seemed like only lotus root soup has a bigger portion for sharing.

lotus root pork ribs soup (莲藕汤)

Soup was simple and flavourful. Plenty of pork ribs in the pot.

Samsui Ginger Chicken

Steamed white chicken with tender flesh. Lettuce was really sweet and crisp. Best eaten with lots of those yummy ginger. Oily, yes but it is a necessity!

leaf lettuce (油麦菜) with fried dace fish

Usually will order sweet potato leaves (番薯叶) if its in the menu. Decided on something different and friends liked it. Leaf lettuce has that slightly rough feeling but yet still gentle to eat. First time having it with fried dace fish.

hometown fried fish belly (鱼腩)

Loved the thick slices of fried fish belly. Firm and tasty with the simple sauce.

Hearty homely meal with good friends. Thank you guys!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Melt - The World Cafe @ Mandarin Oriental

Located at Level 4 of Mandarin Oriental at Raffles Blvd, Marina Square. Friend said he wanted to do a research on buffet, hence I got a free meal. Yay!

Buffet for adults are priced @$68++ per pax on weekdays. Lunch is from 1130am to 230pm.


Buffet drinks include juices only. The juice counter is located at the dessert section. There were orange, guava (green and pink), grapefruit, mango and fruit punch.

tiny glasses for juice

As usual, started with cold seafood. No oysters nor crabs though. =(

white fish sashimi, scallop sushi and maguro sashimi

clams, prawns, mussels, small scallops in shell

Enjoyed the prawns. Firm flesh and sweetish meat. Yums.

For bread lovers, no worries. Took some pictures of what's available although bread is not one of the items that I'd take when having buffet.

selection of bread
cold cuts

Next, took some crackers from the Thai food section to munch. Also tried baked salmon, chicken tandoori and lamb skewer.

baked salmon with some tubers, crackers with thai chili sauce, chicken tandoori and lamb

The baked salmon was still pinkish and thankfully, not dried out. The tandoori item was so-so.

baked salmon
crispy fish skin for snacks

There was a section where it has more European influence dishes such as duck confit, lamb stew, oxtail stew and seafood stew.

stews, sauteed vege and soups

Tried the seafood stew which had plenty of mussels and squid. Didn't have the seafood umami and it was rather salty.

Decided to get some salad for the daily greens intake.

cucumber tomato salad (at the back). feta cheese, smoked salmon
my plate of greens, well...sort of

The Thai beef salad was kinda salty (and tasted heavily of fish sauce), cucumber tomato salad was nice, the minced crab with fish roe was really good as well. Smoked salmon was abit too thick.

Can't believe that I only had 2 prawns so went back and took some more.

succulent fresh prawns

Had 3 more of those babies while friend devoured the rest. Service staff was attentive and she brought out a bowl of warm water with lemon for us.Thanks to her, our fingers were lemony and clean after that! =)

Had 4 glasses of juice, and I like orange the best. Grapefruit was good to digest the food as it was sourish.

Desserts for finale.

chocolate fountain with marshmallows and fruit sticks nearby
cakes galore
chestful of sweet delights

My loot.

petit six - blackcurrant macaron, financier, raspberry velvet cake, coconut pandan, tapioca kueh, forgot the name but it was super-sweet dessert

The raspberry red velvet cake and coconut tapioca were really nice. Soft, cakey and not overly sweet.

banana panna cotta

The banana panna cotta has a really strong banana taste. Sweet on its own but its sugary high was evened out with the blueberries.

Service was efficient and the staff would come and clear the plates every so often.

Didn't eat alot but was seriously full after that. Thank you for the lunch treat!

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