Coffee Bean

Special thanks to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for extending this food review invitation.

Founded in 1963 in Los Angeles, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is an international chain that specializes in coffee and tea. In Penang, there are around 10 outlets, the latest of which is located at Automall. The store is sandwiched between Macau Street and Droptop on the Ground Floor.
Besides coffee and tea, Coffee Bean also serves proper meals such as breakfast, pasta and pastry. Like most outlets, this store also sells store merchandise such as coffee beans, tea leaves, tumblers, coffee capsules and capsule machines.
Just recently, Coffee Bean has introduced Nitro Cold Brew in selected outlets in Penang. Unlike espresso, cold brewed coffee is prepared by steeping ground coffee in cold water. After steeping for 20 hours, the coffee is filtered and infused with pressurized nitrogen gas. Dispensed from a tap, the fizzy Nitro Cold Brew has a creamy head similar to draft beer.
Nitro Cold Brew is prepared from a blend of Bali Blue Moon and Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans. The former contains a hint of spice notes, while the latter carries more earthy flavors. Because the temperature of water affects the solubility of each chemical, cold brewing leaches different composition of compounds from coffee beans. Most notably, cold brewed coffee has lower caffeine, oils and fatty acids than typical espresso. This fact is a plus for casual coffee drinkers because the former can be enjoyed slowly over an extended period of time.
There are three ways to appreciate Coffee Bean's Nitro Cold Brew. The titular Nitro Cold Brew (RM13.50) is dispensed fresh from the tap, ideal for customers who are wary of their caloric intake - coffee without milk or sugar contains virtually zero calories. Meanwhile, Nitro Cold Brew Latte (RM14.50) has fresh milk added to give a creamy consistency. Last but not least, Mint Nitro Latte (RM15.50) also contains cool peppermint to lend a refreshing breath.
At present, Nitro Cold Brew is only offered in selected outlets in Penang: G Hotel, Queensbay Mall, e-Gate, Automall, Gleneagles Penang and Auto-City. More outlets will be covered as this drink gains more momentum from its customers.

Name: The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Address: 29C-1-7, Automall Penang, Persiaran Karpal Singh, 11600 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-609-1647
Business hours: 8:00am-12:00am (Sunday-Thursday), 8:00am-1:00am (Friday-Saturday)
Website: https://www.coffeebean.com.my
Coordinates: 5.39810 N, 100.32967 E
Directions: From Lebuhraya Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu, take the Sungai Pinang exit and head east. Drive to the end of the road, then turn left. Automall is within a short distance on the left, while The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is one of the shops on the ground floor. Street parking and indoor mall parking are available.

Lobby Lounge

Special thanks to Shangri-La Hotel Singapore for extending this food review invitation.

There are plenty of dining options at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore. The Lobby Lounge is one of the many restaurants in this 5-star hotel. Located at the Tower Wing's lobby, the eatery is separated from the hotel's reception by an infinity pool with "floating candles". Behind the bar is an imposing basalt wall that rises to the ceiling. Crevices on the rock's surface are covered with ferns and mosses, presenting the appearance of a warm tropical oasis.
The Lobby Lounge provides a comfortable setting for casual family dining. Although there are proper dining tables, most guests prefer low coffee tables with comfortable café chairs. In addition, there are also cozy couches next to the glass walls. A small library at the back is stocked with reading materials for guests to pass the time.
The food menu here leans towards local Singaporean heritage fare. There are 6 signature dishes to choose from, each of which is inspired by a popular stall in Singapore's hawker scene. The Local Semi-Buffet Lunch is highly recommended. This offer allows the guest to pick a signature dish and drink, plus unlimited access to the buffet.
For the signature dish, we were eyeing for the Chilli Crab & Mantou (辣椒螃蟹和馒头) but this delicacy is unfortunately not available today. Therefore, our first choice is Bak Chor Mee (肉脞面), a noodle dish of Teochew (潮州) origin. This dish is inspired by the recipe at Seng Kee Mushroom Minced Meat Noodle (胜记香菇肉脞面) at Serangoon Garden Market.
Bak Chor Mee is tossed in a dark sauce that is prepared from soy sauce, vinegar and pork lard. Minced pork, mushrooms and chopped scallion are added on top. However, it is the dried sole (鳎目鱼干) that does the heavy lifting to the overall taste.
Served with Bak Chor Mee is a bowl of fish maw soup (鱼肚汤). Stewed from pork bones, the soup is loaded with threadfin (马鲛鱼) fish maw, pork slices and eggs. The soup's taste is absolutely satisfying.

Another popular dish from the menu is Fish Bee Hoon (鲜鱼米粉汤). This crowd favorite is based on the original recipe at Ka-Soh Restaurant (家嫂). Boiling hamachi (鰤鱼) bones for several hours culminated in a rich soup of creamy consistency. However unlike most recipes in Malaysia, no evaporated milk is used to prepare this soup.
Thick rice noodle called "lai fun" (濑粉) is used here. We also enjoy the delectable slices of giant snakehead (巨型鳢鱼). The fish is tender and succulent, making every bite gratifying indeed. Just before serving, a dash of XO brandy is added to suppress the strong fishy smell.
Meanwhile, the buffet counters present a variety of Peranakan dishes. Also known as Nyonya, the Peranakan culture is the legacy of early Chinese migrants who settled down in Penang, Malacca and Singapore several centuries ago. Back then, these territories were under direct British control and were collectively known as the Straits Settlements.
Starting with appetizers, Pie Tee consists of crispy tart shells filled with shredded carrots and jicama (凉薯). Cooked shrimps, omelette, dark sauce, chili sauce and coriander are also added to enhance its flavor.
Popiah (薄饼) is a snack from Fujian (福建), a province in China from which the majority of ethnic Chinese in Singapore descended from. Wrapped in soft skin made from wheat flour, Popiah is typically filled with carrots, jicama, omelette, crushed peanuts, lettuce and fried shallots. Unlike Spring Roll, Popiah is never deep-fried.
Achar is a pickled vegetable dish that consists of julienned cucumbers and carrots in sweet-sour-spicy dressing. Crushed peanuts and sesame seeds are sprinkled on top to improve the salad's mouthfeel. Like other Nyonya dishes, Achar is served using porcelain tableware reminiscent of the pre-modern days of China.
Beef Rendang is a traditional Minangkabau delicacy that is usually reserved for festive occasions and wedding ceremonies. The spicy dish contains bite-size chunks of beef seasoned with galangal, turmeric, lemongrass and other spices. Beef is slow-braised for hours until most liquid has boiled away, resulting in a savory dish saturated with essences of coconut milk and spices.
Ayam Ponteh is a popular Nyonya dish which contains chunks of chicken and potato. The thick gravy is made from fermented soybean paste (豆酱) and gula melaka (palm sugar). Another poultry dish which deserves special mention is Duck With Salted Vegetable Soup.
Jellyfish With Sesame has similar taste and texture to its Japanese counterpart, chuka kurage (中華クラゲ). Meanwhile for Tofu Skin, yuba sheets are cut into long, thin strips that resemble noodles.
Next, Nyonya Assam Pedas Fish is cooked in spicy gravy. The gravy's fiery aroma comes from red chili peppers, while tamarind pulp is responsible for providing sourness. Cooked with battered fish fillets are assorted vegetables such as okra (lady's fingers), eggplant (brinjal), yardlong beans, shallots and tomato. Sambal Vegetables is the vegetarian equivalent of this dish.
The desserts section presents a number of traditional Nyonya kuih. These traditional snacks are supplied by HarriAnns, a local family business which specializes in Peranakan recipes. Kueh Sago Melaka is made from sago pearls and gula melaka, while Kueh Lavender is infused with genuine lavender extract. Other delectable choices are Ondeh Ondeh, Peanut Ang Ku Kueh, Kueh Salat, Kueh Lapis and Kueh Rainbow Lapis.
Cheng Teng (清汤) is a sweet syrup with scrumptious ingredients like white fungus (银耳) and longan (龙眼). The dessert is usually served warm. Meanwhile, Bubur Cha-Cha derives its creaminess from coconut milk. The warm, starchy soup also contains sweet potatoes, taro, black-eyed peas and sago pearls.
As for drinks, guests may opt for endless flow of Teh Tarik and Kopi C. Each drink is prepared by repeatedly "pulling" it between two cups. This process allows the drink to cool down and gives it a frothy top. Other drinks of the menu are Barley, Bandung, Chin Chow, Milo Dinosaur and Milo Over-The-Top.
The Local Semi-Buffet Lunch is available from 11:30am to 2:30pm on weekdays (SGD42.00), and from 11:30am to 4:00pm on weekends and public holidays (SGD48.00). As for entertainment, live music is performed here every evening except on Sundays. The current star is the lovely Tria Bascon, who will be delighting the audience with classic jazz songs until 12 May 2018.

Name: The Lobby Lounge
Address: 22 Orange Grove Road, Singapore 258350
Contact: +65-6213-4288
Business hours: 7:30am-1:00am
Website: http://www.shangri-la.com/singapore/shangrila/dining/bars-lounges/lobby-lounge
Coordinates: 1.31141 N, 103.82639 E
Directions: Shangri-La Hotel Singapore is located along Orange Grove Road. The Lobby Lounge is located at the lobby of the Tower Wing. Shangri-La Hotel provides complimentary parking for its guests.

NAMI

Special thanks to Shangri-La Hotel Singapore for extending this food review invitation.

NAMI Restaurant & Bar (波心) is a Japanese fine dining restaurant in Shangri-La Hotel Singapore. The restaurant serves exquisite Japanese fare using the freshest seafood from Japan. NAMI specializes in omakase (おまかせ), which means "I'll leave it up to you". This gives the restaurant greater latitude in expressing its gastronomical philosophy.
NAMI is designed by the same team that conceptualized the new Tower Wing lobby. Located on Level 24 of the hotel's Tower Wing, the restaurant offers scenic views of Singapore's city skyline. Customers can opt for al fresco dining at the outdoor terrace. Meanwhile, the sushi bar allows customers to watch the chef at work. There are also two rooms to accommodate private dining for small groups.
Head Chef Shigeo Akiba (秋葉重雄) takes the helm in the kitchen. Hailing from Yokohama (横浜), Chef Akiba is a highly accomplished personality in the Japanese culinary profession. Throughout his career which spans over 3 decades, he has the distinction of having served high-profile banquets, including meals for the Imperial House of Japan and many foreign dignitaries. Favoring a minimalist approach, Chef Akiba emphasizes on accentuating natural flavors of seafood as opposed to using heavy seasoning.
NAMI is offering the Hokkaido Omakase (北海道フェアーおまかせ), which is available through the winter season (till the end of January 2018). This 7-course menu features seasonal delicacies from Kitano Daichi (北の大地). Meaning "up north", this term often refers to Hokkaido (北海道), Japan's northernmost major island and renowned for fresh seafood harvested from its pristine waters.

The appetizer (先附) is presented as two pieces of amuse-bouche: Hairy Crab With Tosa Vinegar (毛蟹土佐酢掛け) and Yuba Tofu & Sea Urchin (とろ湯葉、雲丹、鼈甲餡). Hairy crab (毛蟹), also known as horsehair crab, is found only in the cold waters of the North Pacific Ocean. The crab is flavored by unami-rich Tosa vinegar (土佐酢), which is prepared from bonito flakes, rice vinegar, mirin, dashi and soy sauce.
Yuba tofu (とろ湯葉) is essentially bean curd skin. Topping the mild-flavored silky tofu is the savory roe of sea urchin (雲丹). This prized delicacy from the marine kingdom is in turn flavored by thick dashi stock called tortoiseshell sauce (鼈甲餡).

The next course is a soup (御椀): Dobin Mushi With Matsutake Mushrooms (松茸土瓶蒸し). Dobin mushi (土瓶蒸し) is a unique style of preparing dashi in a ceramic teapot. The rich broth is prepared from top grade kombu kelp (昆布) from Hokkaido and handpicked katsuobushi (鰹節) from Kyushu (九州).
The first way to enjoy the seafood-infused soup is by pouring some onto a small saucer, add a squeeze of sudachi lime (酢橘), and then sip gently while the broth is still warm. Afterwards, open the teapot's lid and consume the seafood ingredients that are left behind. Premium ingredients are Daggertooth pike conger (ハモ), matsutake mushrooms (松茸) and Japanese honewort (三つ葉).

The sashimi (御造り) course comprises of 5 assorted pieces of sashimi on a stone board. Fresh botan shrimp (ボタン海老) and scallop (帆立) embody the pristine waters of Hokkaido.
Olive flounder (平目) is prized for its white, delicate flesh. The reddish flesh of tuna (鮪) carries a hint of saltiness. On the other hand, amberjack (カンパチ) presents a rather fatty mouthfeel. Wasabi (山葵) and soy sauce (醤油) are provided as condiments.

The omakase meal proceeds to fish (魚料理). The centerpiece of this dish is Capelin Fish Tempura (シシャモ天麩羅). The fish is highly sought for the delectable roe in its belly. Also included are pieces of pumpkin (南瓜), kidney beans (隠元豆) and lotus root (蓮根), each coated with crispy batter. Tempura is customarily dipped in tentsuyu sauce (天つゆ).
The next course is meat (肉料理): Saga Beef Steak (佐賀牛ステーキ). Widely regarded as the highest quality Wagyu beef, the sirloin is best enjoyed at medium rare doneness. Chef Akiba's signature steak sauce also helps to elevate the juicy beef to new heights. On the side are grilled shiitake mushroom (ステーキ椎茸), sliced daikon (大根) and katsuobushi.
As for customers who do not take beef, NAMI is happy to replace this dish with Pan-Fried Tuna Head (鮪ノーテン焼). Tuna head is one of the most refined sections of the fish. Each fish has barely enough flesh for three servings. The fillet is flavored with sweet soy sauce and dashi, while a squeeze of lemon brings out the fish's succulent freshness.
Moving on to rice (食事), the penultimate dish is Rice With Matsutake Mushroom (松茸ご飯). Chopped mushrooms impart savory flavors to the Japanese short-grain rice. Served on the side are red miso soup (赤出汁) and pickles (香の物) like takuan (沢庵) and shibazuke (柴漬け).
The omakase meal concludes with a dessert (デザート), an assortment of fresh fruits. The Yubari melon (夕張メロン) is one of the most expensive cantaloupe cultivars in Japan. Other fruits presented are apples (りんご) and strawberry (苺). Japanese maple leaf (紅葉) provides aesthetic appeal.
The Hokkaido Omakase is priced at SGD180.00++ per person. After the satisfying meal, a fine cup of Japanese sake (お酒) is well deserved. NAMI has a decent collection of wines to choose from.
By the way, the restaurant's Japanese name consists of two kanji (漢字) characters. The word "nami" (波, meaning "waves") underscores the vital role of seafood in Japanese cuisine, while "kokoro" (心, meaning "heart") reflects the passionate service that restaurant strives to provide its customers.

Name: NAMI Restaurant & Bar (波心)
Address: 22 Orange Grove Road, Singapore 258350
Contact: +65-6213-4398
Business hours: 12:00pm-2:30pm, 6:00pm-12:00am
Website: http://www.shangri-la.com/singapore/shangrila/dining/restaurants/nami
Coordinates: 1.31090 N, 103.82674 E
Directions: Shangri-La Hotel Singapore is located along Orange Grove Road. NAMI Restaurant & Bar is located at Level 24 of the Tower Wing. Shangri-La Hotel provides complimentary parking for its guests.

Shangri-La Hotel

Special thanks to Shangri-La Hotel Singapore for extending this hotel review invitation.

Shangri-La Hotel Singapore has the distinction of being the first resort under Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts. As the origin of Shangri-La's long history of Asian hospitality, this five-star hotel holds a special place in my heart.
Shangri-La Hotel is perched on the top of a hill which overlooks Orchard Road, Singapore's premier shopping destination. The hotel consists of three wings: Tower Wing, Garden Wing and Valley Wing. Each wing presents a unique character and offers an entirely different holidaying experience.
The Tower Wing was the original building when Shangri-La Hotel opened in 1971, but is also the wing that was most recently renovated. The remodeled lobby is meticulously crafted with classical elements in perfect harmony. From the ceiling, a "swarm" of enchanting metallic leaves leads the way to the hotel's reception. As Christmas is just around the corner, the lobby is also decorated with festive Christmas trees.
Across the infinity pool is The Lobby Lounge. Flanked by potted trees, the pool features two of the six sculptures of children at play. The lounge's menu specializes in Singaporean heritage fare. There is live music performance at The Lobby Lounge every evening except on Sundays.
Upon arriving at the hotel, we are immediately welcomed by the courteous front office staff, who promptly served us welcome drinks. Much to our surprise, we are also personally escorted to our room.
Our room, the Tower Deluxe, is furnished with a king-size bed with comfortable pillows. A painting hangs above the bed; a unique one in every guestroom. All in all, the charming ambience of the room makes us feel very welcomed indeed.
A semicircular window opens up a captivating view of Singapore's city skyline. Two sets of curtains, one translucent and another opaque, can be extended or retracted with the flip of a switch. A strategically-placed sofa bed allows one to be immersed in the mesmerizing view at night.
The dressing table has a hidden panel which opens up to reveal a mirror. A hair dryer is conveniently kept in one of the table's inner compartments. Behind the dressing table, the glass wardrobe contains an electronic safe. A clothes iron and an ironing board are provided for guests' convenience.
To cater business travelers, the room is furnished with a full-size executive desk stocked with all sorts of stationery. The Wi-Fi connection here is sufficiently fast enough to stream Internet telephony. As for in-room entertainment, the flat screen television has tens of international cable channels with 24-hour programming.
The luxurious ensuite bathroom is fitted with a bathtub and a shower stall. The comfort rendered by pressurized heated water is certainly gratifying. After a nice bath, we are contented to put on some snuggly bathrobes. Bath slippers are also provided.
The wash basin is stocked with toiletries such as dental kit, shampoo and bath gel. The housekeeping crew replenishes these consumables every day. Be sure not to leave the "Do Not Disturb" light on as you step out of the room.
A platter of fresh fruits is one of Shangri-La Hotel's many welcoming gestures. We are also delighted to receive a lovely box of chocolate truffles.
The cabinet drawer under the television is loaded with a plethora of snacks such as cookies and chocolate bars. An electric boiler allows guests to prepare instant coffee or tea. Each guestroom is equipped with a capsule coffee machine.
The minibar is stocked with beverages like juice, soda, beer and wine. Meanwhile, guests who prefer cooked food to be delivered to their rooms can take advantage of the 24-hour room service.
After having settled down, we are given a private tour of other room categories in Shangri-La Hotel. Opened in 1978, the Garden Wing integrates lush tropical vegetation in its design. For example, the balcony of each guestroom features a hanging garden.
An artificial stream flows through the Garden Wing. A short walking trail follows the water as it trickles down slippery rock formations. Towards the end of the path is a majestic waterfall that empties into a pond. The charming pond is home to a school of brocaded carp (錦鯉). In Japan, this auspicious fish is thought to bring good fortune.
The guestrooms in Garden Wing are designed with nature as the overarching theme. The wooden floor presents a homely rustic feel. Attached to each room is a large private balcony where guests can enjoy the cooling evening breeze.
Right across the swimming pool is the Valley Wing. Embodying the pinnacle of luxury, the Valley Wing caters the elites with unsurpassed hospitality. This exclusive wing even has its own lobby and lounge.
Fitted with beautifully-polished marble, the lavish lobby defines the hallmark of opulence. Elaborate chandeliers hang imposingly from its tall ceiling. Near the entrance is a large painting of a hidden mountain paradise. In fact, Shangri-La Hotel takes inspiration from Shangri-La, the fictional utopia as depicted in James Hilton's novel, "Lost Horizon".
The lounge in the Valley Wing welcomes its distinguished guests with a refined appearance. A professional harpist plays classical music in the afternoon, filling the lobby with soothing tranquility. The elevator carpets here are changed every day. This tradition is practiced in two properties only; the other is Island Shangri-La in Hong Kong.
As expected, the standard guestroom in the Valley Wing offers a distinctive level of luxury. Fancy chandeliers fill the room with charming golden light. Meanwhile, plush upholstered chairs present an elegant touch of warmth.
The ensuite bathroom spares no expenses in pampering Valley Wing guests with top-tier luxury.
The Valley Wing also has several suites in which the living room and bedroom are segregated. Each partition has its own entrance, but both share a common door before reaching the corridor.
Occupying one of the highest floors of the Tower Wing is the Grand Suite, the largest guestroom that the hotel has to offer. The suite is so spacious that it includes its own private office, workout area and massage table. The balcony along its perimeter is sufficiently wide for having private parties.
In the bedroom, a king-size bed basks under the alluring charm of golden ceiling above. Similarly, the ensuite bathroom is furnished with luxury of unparalleled grandeur.
The Horizon Club Lounge on Level 24 is exclusively for Horizon Club guests only. With glass windows on both sides, the Horizon Club Lounge affords panoramic views of Singapore's metropolitan skyline.
Heading down to the Ground Floor, Shangri-La Hotel's outdoor swimming pool is large by Singaporean standards. In effort to appeal to families with children, the hotel has several smaller wading pools. The pool area is open from 6:00am to 8:00pm. There is a lifeguard on duty during these hours.
Along the perimeter of the swimming pool are sunloungers where guests can relax under the partial shade of palm trees. Given the resort's expansive lawns dotted with lush greenery, it is not surprising that Shangri-La Hotel is colloquially known as Singapore's second Botanical Gardens.
The centerpiece of the hotel's beautifully landscaped grounds is The Orchid. This graceful structure was erected last year in celebration of the hotel's 45th anniversary. When viewed from above, The Orchid is reminiscent of a flower with petals, while the walking path that leads to The Orchid resembles its stalk.
As Singapore's national flower, the Singapore orchid plays a distinguished role in The Orchid. The wooden structure boasts an estimated 600 flowers at any given time. Different orchid cultivars are featured with each passing season. The Orchid also makes an ideal setting for romantic dinners in the evening. Weather permitting, of course.
The poolside Health Club has over a hundred pieces of top-of-the-line exercise equipment, making it one of best equipped gyms that I have encountered so far. Friendly personal trainers are on hand to help guests with the gym's equipment. The Health Club is open around the clock.
After an exhausting workout section, why not wind down to a pampering session of sauna, steambath or Jacuzzi? There are separate sections for male and female guests. These facilities are open from 6:00am to 8:00pm.
There is no shortage of dining options in Shangri-La Hotel. The Line is the hotel's flagship restaurant, primarily serving international cuisine in buffet settings.
The Line presents a relaxing atmosphere for casual family dining. A substantial section of the dining area is illuminated by natural sunlight from the glass ceiling above.
Al fresco dining is also possible here. The outdoor section also serves as a temporary arts & crafts workshop for children. According to the hotel staff, an interactive play space for children, Buds by Shangri-La, will be opening in the Garden Wing next month.
The Line is also where breakfast is served every morning. The buffet menu spread across 16 stations, offering a diverse variety of cuisines that few restaurants can emulate. Breakfast is served from 6:00am to 10:30am on weekdays, and from 6:00am to 11:00am on weekends and public holidays.
At the bread section, baguettes and bread rolls are accompanied by exquisite cheeses such as Camembert, Gouda, Brie, Boursin, Chèvre and Blue Stilton. Cold cuts include mortadella, pastrami, smoked duck, paprika chicken ham, pepper tuna and salmon roulade just to name a few.
The Gammon Bone-In Ham is probably the most captivating delicacy in the breakfast menu. Cured using salt, gammon is essentially the hind leg of the swine. Flanking the gammon are Spiral Pork Sausage and Vegetable Quiche, both of which strike a chord with my palate.
Made from cured pork, the two types of streaky bacon appeal to my palate. In addition, the buffet counter also presents chicken sausages and turkey ham.
Warm pancakes and waffles are also prepared. The latter is available in plain and red velvet flavors. Honey, strawberry jam and orange marmalade are provided.
Other popular Western breakfast foods are hash browns, roasted potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, creamy corn and baked beans.
The egg station prepares à la minute egg dishes including omelette. Omelette usually contains onions and ham, so please inform the staff if you have any dietary restrictions.
Hard-boiled quail eggs are prepared in addition to chicken eggs. I am particularly fond of quail eggs.
At the noodle station, guests can order local delicacies such as Singapore Laksa, Prawn Mee Soup and Chicken Noodle Soup. Noodle choices are lye water noodle (碱面), koay teow (粿条), rice vermicelli (米粉), egg noodle (全蛋面) and spinach noodle (菠菜面). There are also optional ingredients such as shrimps, fish balls, pork meatballs, fish cake and bean sprouts.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Singapore Laksa is therefore my obvious choice. Prepared from spicy broth and coconut milk, this noodle dish carries sweet-savory flavors with a creamy consistency. Chopped laksa leaves (daun kesum) serve as garnish.
The next station features several types of Chinese congee. The menu varies on a daily basis. Examples of side dishes that go well with rice porridge are century eggs (皮蛋), meat floss (肉松), pickled mustard (榨菜), red fermented bean curd (红腐乳) and youtiao (油条).
Dim sum (点心) is cooked and kept warm in bamboo steamer baskets. There are several varieties such as shaomai (烧卖), har gow (虾饺) and char siu bao (叉烧包). Most of these delicacies are filled with minced pork.
Next to the dim sum steamer are several types of Chinese hot dishes. Today's choices include Roast Pork Belly, Wok-Fried Vegetables and Chinese Pancake.
Indian cuisine is renowned for its liberal use of spices. Flavorful stews from the subcontinent include Sambar, Aloo Matter and Vegetable Curry. The curries go well with rice dishes like Poha, Pongal and Khichdi. Popular Indian condiments include Mango Chutney and Raita.
Roti Prata is synonymous to Roti Canai in Malaysia. The pan-fried flatbread is available in plain and egg versions. Meanwhile, Vada (lentil doughnuts) and Onion Pakoda (onion fritters) are deep-fried foods.
The Japanese station features exquisite dishes such as soba noodle (盛り蕎麦), onsen tamago (温泉卵), natto (納豆), kimchi (キムチ) and edamame (枝豆).
Several types of breakfast cereals are available. Fresh milk, chocolate milk and soy milk are provided. In addition, the buffet prepares several types of muesli (banana, apple, mango and soy milk) and yogurt (apricot, blueberry, aloe vera and more).
As part of the hotel's effort to encourage healthy eating, the Wellness Corner's menu is crafted in collaboration with nutritionists. The "superfoods" presented here are almonds, walnuts, apricots, raisins, wolfberries, pumpkin seeds, steel-cut oats and more.
Health-conscious guests can opt for lactose-free milk, or non-dairy ones like almond milk or oat milk. There are also wholesome versions of muesli, muffins, parfait, pudding and salads that integrate superfoods into their recipes.
As an omelette, the vegetable frittata is rich in protein. I also love the delectable taste of roasted vegetable & hummus sandwich. These snacks support the fact that healthy foods can be delicious too!
To accommodate guests who suffer from wheat allergy, The Line dedicates a station for gluten-free meals. Included here are gluten-free versions of brioches, madeleines, muffins and sliced bread.
There are also several types of gluten-free breakfast cereals, namely Honey'd Corn Flakes, Whole O's, Gorilla Munch and Koala Crisp. Produced by Nature's Path, these breakfast cereals are also vegetarian-friendly and organic in nature.
We are also awed by The Line's pastry station. Neatly arranged on the shelves are baskets of croissants of various flavors to satisfy our sweet tooth. The variety of doughnuts, buns, brioches, puffs and cakes is also impressive.
Muffins are available in blueberry, chocolate and cranberry flavors. Meanwhile, Danish pastries are prepared with many toppings like apricots, raisins, chocolate and lychee.
In my opinion, the most amazing Danish is the one that is made from five types of berries, namely strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry and cranberry.
For something unconventional, try the oven-baked pizza with blueberry toppings. Of course, the classic Cheese Pizza is also prepared.
The Line presents whole and cut fruits such as apples, honeydew, rockmelons (cantaloupes), pitaya (dragon fruit) and rose apples.
At the drinks counter, the barista prepares espresso-based coffee drinks. Tea blends like Earl Grey are provided in tea bags. For something more local, request for a frothy glass of teh tarik (pulled tea).
We conclude our meal with chilled fruit juices. Some of these juices are cold-pressed to retain the fruits' wholesome goodness.
Having wine for breakfast is something new to me. Served chilled, Ruggeri Argeo Prosecco is a sparkling wine from Italy. This non-vintage label carries flowery aroma with fruity notes.
As for other restaurants, Shangri-La Hotel is also home to Shang Place (香宫), a Chinese restaurant which specializes in Cantonese cuisine.
The top floor of the Tower Wing is occupied by NAMI Restaurant & Bar (波心). This Japanese fine dining restaurant serves fresh seafood in omakase (おまかせ) style.
Meanwhile at the Garden Wing, The Waterfall offers Mediterranean fare with special emphasis on southern Italian cuisine.
The Rose Veranda serves European afternoon tea, while the upcoming Origin Grill & Bar specializes in seafood and meats. For guests who seek quick bites, The Shophouse (铺22) sells fresh breads, artisanal pastries, designer cakes, chocolate truffles, light snacks and coffee.
For its size, Shangri-La Hotel has a surprisingly large number of conference facilities. Riding on Singapore's status as an international city, Shangri-La Hotel is the venue of high profile events like the annual Shangri-La Dialogue and the Ma-Xi meeting in 2015.
The largest ballroom here is the Island Ballroom. This pillarless hall can accommodate 1,000 people in a banquet setting. For smaller events, the Dutch Pavilion is a sound choice. Once a Dutch school, the building was annexed by Shangri-La Hotel in 1982 and restored to its former glory.
We are blown away by the impeccable level of hospitality demonstrated by the hotel staff. Every aspect of our stay has been taken care of to the finest details. It is no wonder that Shangri-La Hotel Singapore has been consistently rated as one of best hotels in the world. To appreciate Shangri-La's highest standards of hospitality, one need not look further than the hotel that pioneered this longstanding tradition.
Name: Shangri-La Hotel Singapore
Address: 22 Orange Grove Road, Singapore 258350
Contact: +65-6737-3644
Business hours: 24 hours
Website: http://www.shangri-la.com/singapore/shangrila
Coordinates: 1.31106 N, 103.82661 E
Directions: Shangri-La Hotel Singapore is located along Orange Grove Road. The hotel is 500 meters from the western end of Orchard Road. Meanwhile, the Valley Wing's lobby is located at Anderson Road. Shangri-La Hotel provides complimentary parking for its guests.