Tuesday, November 27, 2018

[Media Invite] Winter Wonderland @ Grand Copthorne Waterfront

Be mesmerized by this year's Christmas decorations as Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel has specially flown in replica of famous trains in Switzerland like the Bernina Express and the Rhaetian Railway. A first in Singapore.

Walk into the lobby and one could view an elevated platform of snowy alps with railway tracks running through it, complete with gingerbread houses (non-edible!) and a Christmas tree perched atop the white mountain.

Winter Wonderland
gingerbread house
look, there's Santa!
all onboard~

It was pretty fun (possibly therapeutic) watching the train moving on its track before it disappears out of view and then back again. Love the tiny fir trees decorating the snowy mountain.

Food Capital - Dazzling Festive Buffet

Executive Chef, David Toh and his dedicated culinary team have prepared a dazzling array of festive delights to tantalize our taste buds.

Honey Baked Ham
Bone-in Gammon Ham

I love love the bone-in Gammon Ham. This is one of the item that I look forward to, during Christmas feasting. Succulent, moist and so yummy. Leftovers, makes a darn good sandwich.

Baked Australian Lamb Rack

My goodness, the baked Australian lamb rack was so delicious. Pinkish meat, baked to tender perfection, tasted of natural flavours and non gamey. Delightful chew. Paired well with delicious, juicy red wine.

Roast Beef Sirloin with Mixed Spices
Thick slab of medium cooked roast beef. Topped with red wine jus reduction. What a meaty galore! This would rank at the top 3 choices of meat from this festive buffet.

Traditional Marinated Whole Turkey

I tried the Baked Cordon Bleu Turkey which has portobello mushroom, turkey breast and wrapped in puff pastry. If I didn't look at the menu, one might not know that there's turkey meat in there.

And, it is an absolute must to try the dessert.

Traditional Valrhona Alpaco 66& Chocolate Log Cake

I adore the Valrhona Chocolate Log Cake. The crunchy bits were so satisfying. The green tea pound cake makes a good pair with hot coffee. Rich and buttery.

Green Tea Pound Cake
Strawberry Mousse with Earl Grey Cremeux Log Cake
Rich Christmas Fruit Cake

For buffet price info, please refer to Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel website: http://www.celebrateatgcw.com/xmas2018

Thank you Gilbert for the invite and Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel for hosting.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Happenings Every 1st Saturday of the Month @ Live Like a Local with Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel

If you are staying over at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel over the weekends and it happens to be the 1st Saturday of the month, then you are in for a treat. The hotel has specially curated activities in accordance of cultural festivities celebrated in Singapore, to allow a fresh, hands-on experience for their guests. One could take a look at the activity schedule here. All these are offered complimentary, hence do enquire from the concierge.

Let's have a glimpse of the activities!

How to Cook like a Master Chef –1 December 2018 (Christmas)

We tried our hands at panzerotti making under the watchful guidance from Chef Mirko Vinci, Head Chef of Grissini. Panzerotti originates from Central and South Italy, and is like a mini calzone.

making panzerotti with Chef Mirko @ Grissini

Was stoked to have our own apron and Chef's hat prepared for the session. This activity is also suitable for families with children. Chef demonstrated the process of making the dough from scratch as well as mixing of the ingredients.

Chef Mirko kneading the dough
churning out the pastry sheet

getting it ready for the participants to hands-on

It was like making prawn dumplings or curry puff. Get the pastry sheet, put in the fillings, spritz it with water and fold it, before deep frying.

ready for the fryer

enjoying the outcome

To be a Tai Chi Master– 5 January 2019 (New Year)

It was a rainy morning when we had the session with Master Leo. First, he'd explain the benefits of Tai Chi and after which, we proceeded to watch a demonstration before eventually trying out the basic moves with him.

Tai Chi Quan (太极拳) is a form of martial arts, often practiced for self-defense and health benefits. Modern styles of Tai Chi are differentiated into five schools; Chen, Yang, Hao, Wu and Sun. The one taught by Master Leo belongs to the Yang family style; 楊氏. If you are interested to know the stances for Yang-family Tai Chi, here is a link.

Master Leo, Tai Chi Master
advanced moves
Master Leo conducts the lesson in English and he has given English names to the stances. Expect to hear things like "Grasp the bird tail", "Stork spread wings" etc. We were introduced to the first 18 out of 104 stances. At least, now I know what to do when I hear"commencement of Tai Chi".

Merlion Chocolate Carving– 6 July 2019 (Racial Harmony Day)

Chocolate carving experience was fun, and if you need glasses, do bring them along otherwise, you'd be like me, having to squint through out the session. I am presbyopic. Ooh, do wear a light cardigan or a sweater as the room will be tuned to a lower temperature in order to preserve the condition of the chocolate block.

everything that we need
Artist Wee introducing the processes

Put on the glove and we are ready to start. Handling the tools reminded me of my Biology classes. Artist Wee was friendly and we could ask him any questions when we got stuck or made a mistake during the session.

let's the fun begin!
most often used tool
I carved a (choco) Merlion today
The merlion chocolate makes a good souvenir to bring home.

Shake a Cocktail– 6 April 2019 (Easter)

We headed down to Tempo for this session. In-house mixologist, Valentyn was on-hand to guide us through.

Shake a Cocktail
ingredients all lined up

We made Singapore Sling and Daiquiri. Singapore Sling is an iconic drink that is gin-based. There were 7 ingredients for Singapore Sling, and all these were to be poured into the shaker.

ready to be shaken
shake it, don't drop it
strain it 
topped it with soda water
Singapore Sling, Grand Copthorne Waterfront style

In comparison, Daiquiri's recipe was much easier. Only 3 ingredients. The only question that I had was why the shaker was not insulated? So cold and hard to shake for long. Kudos to the mixologist and bartenders for being able to withstand the cold.

pour it in
Daiquiri, shaken not stirred

Am guessing that this activity would be pretty popular amongst guests who loves their cocktail. Remember not to miss it!

For more information on the other activities happening on the 1st Saturday of the month, please visit the hotel link.

Thank you Gilbert and team Grand Copthorne Waterfront for the experience preview. It was fun!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Tiong Bahru Heritage Tour @ "Live Like A Local" with Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel

Starting from 1 December 2018, guests at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel will get to participate in complimentary half-day tour that happens on every Saturday, and other fun activity lined up on the first Saturday of the month, which had been thoughtfully curated by team Grand Copthorne Waterfront. This is the "Live Like A Local" initiative by Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.

The half-day "Tiong Bahru Heritage Tour" will bring guests to Tiong Bahru,which is one of Singapore's oldest housing estate and probably one of the hippest in town. Eh, so what do locals do in these tour? We get a chance to explore on nooks and corners that we may not notice in our day-to-day lives. With professional tour guide from Tour East Singapore, one could obtain nuggets of interesting information about the area as well as brief history on the place, plus it was a comfortable shuttle ride to get to Tiong Bahru from the hotel. Rain or shine, let's go explore!

On the morning of the tour, guests would congregate at Tour East Lounge at Level 3. At the appointed time, together with the tour guide, everyone would then board the shuttle towards Tiong Bahru.

Upon arrival, we spent the first few minutes listening to our guide regaling us about the tales of Tiong Bahru Bird Corner, one of the oldest in Singapore. In the past, we would have noticed elderly men taking their beloved singing birds in cages to such an area. The bird cage would be hung onto the available hooks and naturally, the birds would start to compete against one another.

Tiong Bahru Bird Corner
to Tiong Bahru Market
built in 1950 as Seng Poh Market, revamped in 1993 and renamed as Tiong Bahru Market

Tiong Bahru Market is well-known to the locals. I have fond memories of my aunt, who fetched us from the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station after an overnight journey and we headed straight to Tiong Bahru Market for breakfast. Our usual choice? The porridge and the fishballs. The Tiong Bahru Fishball stall has been there since forever (at least for me!) and is one of the originals.

Tiong Bahru Fishball Stall

Assorted fishballs and fishcakes from Tiong Bahru Fishball Stall

Of course, one of the iconic eats at Tiong Bahru Market would be Jian Bo Shui Kueh which has been featured in Michelin Guide 2017. Shui Kueh (水粿) or in local colloquial; chwee kueh literally means water cake. It is steamed rice cake topped with deliciously fried preserved radish and if you like spice, take the sambal chili which is usually served on the side. This is one oily dish but one that is worth trying. You could finish one in two-bites but it does fills you up pretty quickly. Good to share.

Jian Bo Shui Kueh stall
楗柏水粿 (Jian Bo Shui Kueh)
I like the steamed char siew bao from Tiong Bahru Pau. Fluffy, and of a traditional taste, the fillings were generous and flavourful. Not too sweet nor too heavy.

Tiong Bahru Pau
small pau and big pau
叉燒包 (char siew bao)

Tiong Bahru Market has lift, escalator and stairs to its eating place at Level 2. As the tour allows free time of about an hour for breakfast, do take some time to explore the ground level as there's plenty of things to see. As it is a wet market, one could get flowers, dry goods, fruits, vegetables, eggs and fresh meats. Many expats and locals come to this market for their weekend groceries.

flower shop
party shop
fruits stall
chicken stall

While waiting for the rest to regroup, I had a fun time watching Teddy, the friendly poodle who was brought out for a walk but got tired and was resting with his owner. Teddy was such a darling with kids.

Teddy, the poodle
After breakfast, we continued with the Heritage Walk and was rewarded with interesting sights and nuggets of knowledge. Bumped into a group of artists on their outing and they were painting the sights of the vicinity.

an artist and her painting
Sights encountered along the way.

nice colour, vespa
iconic spiral stairs

We also visited the Qi Tian Gong Temple, founded in 1920 and dedicated to the Monkey God (Sun Wu Kong  孫悟空). There are many statues of the monkey god in the temple with the oldest one believed to be nearly a hundred years old.

Qi Tian Gong Temple

Have you heard of the "Dancing Girl" sculpture in Seng Poh Garden? Most likely not, but fret not since this guided tour will bring guests deep into the neighbourhood to visit this interesting sight.

Dancing Girl Sculpture in Seng Poh Garden
"My Home" mural by Singapore artist, Mr Yip Yew Chong (photographed here is our friendly tour guide, Ms Faridah)

"Pasar & the Fortune Teller"
lookout for the poem

The wall murals and its corresponding poems were lovely as it depicts the actual scenes of  yesteryears and if you would like to know more about its other locations, here is the link.

After all the walking, we ventured into the hipster stretch of the cafes.

Tiong Bahru Bakery
Galicier Pastry

Guests were then treated to some pastries from Galicier, a well-known establishment that spans generations and is beloved for its nonya kueh, retro cakes, traditional cookies and pastries. We tried the kueh dadar and putu ayu and both were good. Loved the refreshing natural sweetness taste from the freshly grated coconut fillings of the kueh dadar.

kueh dadar
putu ayu

After the light snack, guests will then be ferried back to the hotel via the shuttle bus and the tour ends on a sweet note. Many thanks to Grand Copthorne Waterfront team and Tour East for the experience.

For more information and enquiries of the Live Like a Local experience, please visit the hotel link directly.

ps: any readers who type 'LOCAL' under the discount code when booking rooms through Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, gets to enjoy 3% discount!
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