Oriole Coffee

One of my all-time favourite places for coffee, lazy brunches and even dessert! Located a stone's throw away from Somerset, with a strategic placing for al fresco dining - you can people watch, but not uncomfortably the other way round ;)

 One of my default orders - flat white.

 All day brunch - English breakfast consisting of sunny side up eggs with toast, sausages, bacon and mushroom. Extremely filling!

 Parma ham with rocket on toast with scrambled eggs. Rockets are probably one of the very small group of veg that I don't take :\

Super mega huge extravaganza brunch of ham, slab of steak, sausages, mushrooms, eggs and potato wedges. Only for the guys. Or an extremely hungry female with worms in tummy.
 Pear salad with sun-dried tomatoes, rocket, romaine lettuce, chopped walnuts with some unidentified cheese. My guess is mascarporne lah. Iz sedap.

 Soup of the day - potato and leek soup. Double thumbs up! This shot is pretty crappy la, but seriously love the soup. Initially thought the brown stuff in it was truffle hehehe but of course the idea was dismissed as fast as it appeared. They are in fact roasted thinly sliced potatoes. Seriously yummy!

 Baked salmon with potato wedges and some pineapple side. I'm a raw salmon lover, I find that cooking salmon kinda ruins it hehehe but I must say Oriole is doing it great - salmon is still succulent and soft nomnomnom. And that pineapple sort of sauce goes so well with the salmon.

 Chicken confit served on a bed of mashed taters and mushroom sauce. The chicken leg was a tad too salty for me (but I supposed that's the purpose of confits). Though I particularly enjoyed the oh-so-fluffy mash.

 I can find no fault with every Oriole coffee I've ordered thus far. This was a mocha latte :D

Apple strudel with warm vanilla sauce and vanilla ice-cream. (Menu: traditional bavarian, phyla wrapped apple-raisins strudel, warm vanilla sauce)

Wah, I tell you, this has got to be one of my favourites by Oriole. Fine layers of pastry puff nesting the sweetest diced apples cooked in cinnamon and vanilla.... absolutely decadent. Oh! And the combination of the warm vanilla sauce with the strudel against the cold ice-cream is soooooooo oomph *melt (literally).

Oriole Café & Bar
96 Somerset Road #01-01 Pan Pacific Serviced Suites
Tel: +65 6238 8348

Diving in Anambas Islands

My third diving trip this year, supposed to go for a major one in Derawan, Indonesia, but one of our dive kaki friends couldn't make it and he's usually the guy who handles everything so we decided to opt that one out hehe.

Still, three dive trips a year is pretty good I think. I'm gonna try to make it more often if I can. Which, hopefully should be really achievable with my future work schedule. But these trips are gonna take a large chunk off my savings.

This dive trip differs from the dive trips I've made. My first LOB experience. Live Onboard, that is.

 Anyway, I'd like to think this trip as a sort of warm up event to the main 5-week stay in a vessel (digressing, I've toured the vessel, seen the food they serve in the galley, looks very yummy. I can live this way. I think.)

By Friday evening, we gathered at the Tanah Merah ferry terminal before boarding the MV White Manta. Super excited!

Exploring our tiny room. The girls.

 And the guys

 View from the stern. Note how the sea is still blue green when we were closer to cities.

 Me and my mate of 20 years!

Itinerary drafted to the final day, and they're really punctual with the timings too. 5:45pm say will depart and chun chun 5:45pm we took off. Chun chun 8pm dinner, and dinner is definitely served at that time. Great time management.

 Stopped for a bit at Batam to get our passports checked and stamped. But one of the crew did it for us - we didn't have to leave the boat.

 The lounge-cum-eating-cum-briefing area where, well, we lounge, eat and get briefing. The crew on board were great, attentive, funny and very helpful. There were also the Thai crew onboard who does the cooking, cleaning, massages, etc.

With the Thai crew onboard, needless to say, our meals are of Thai influences and the food they served for us were excellent! First night dinner consists of stir fried taugeh, deep fried chicken wings, veg, green curry chicken and stir fried basil chicken yum yumers. Food was buffet style, but just about enough for everyone. Canned drinks are chargeable but based on honesty. If you take a can from the chiller, then you just write down your name and the quantity you took.

After dinner, we started setting up our gears so we have one less thing to worry about next morning. By the way, that's our dive master Marcus, very cute looking guy. drool (lucky lucky) He also has a bodhi tree tattoo!

I was burned out by 10pm, while the others were watching some movie playing in the cabin, I trudged back to our room and konked off. At 8am the next day, we were woken up and this lovely breakfast spread awaits us :D

Eggs sunny side up, fried bacon, salad and fruits. Oh by the way, breads for toast and other drinks such as coffee, milo, etc are always available if you're hungry between meals (great for people like me who needs to get fed every few hours).

 Beautiful start to our Day 1! Check out how BLUE the sea is!! I love, love, love this shade of the ocean :) <-- contented smile. I think I'll be seeing lots of this in the future leh. hmm.

First dive on the Seven Skies Wreck. We were diving nitrox and went as deep as 38m. My dive comp was beeping like mad before I realized it was coming from my own wrist and I was in too deep :x whoopsie

I'm not sure if because it was still the first dive of this trip, or what but I label this by far the most challenging dive I've had to make. Currents were strong and it was hard work and 50bars consumed going down the line to the wreck. I started thinking nonsense on the way down and prayed hard I would make this through. Now, thinking back, I was just being ridiculous, but the dive certainly is no joke lor...

Second dive went on the Seven Skies again before we took off and anchored at this Pulau Damar.

Puffer fish here. Nothing spectacular sighted.... I think I need to get strobes to get nicer pictures :s

The Pinnacle on Pular Damar.

This is how the diving platform looks like on the stern of our MV. I really enjoyed LOBs. It felt less tiring as we didn't have to travel by boats to dive sites, or carry our equipments across the beach... It was all just the huge vessel anchoring at the dive site, we gear up and dive - that's it!

Beautiful sun setting.... I was almost tempted to wake up early in the morning to catch the sunrise. Almost.

Oh I didn't take shots of the tea time we had.... Nothing worth taking though. We were served fried popiahs and samosas.

Dinner!!! Awesome, awesome meal by the Thai crew again. Satays, fried tempura prawns, grilled pork ribs, corn on cob, mashed taters, salad and fried rice. :D After dinner I got an hour-long massage for $30 on the upper deck. It was blissful with the engine droning in the background and the soft breeze playing on your face... mmm.....

Next morning woke up at the ungodly hour of 6am. We are diving another wreck today again. Igara!

One of the crew divers who had to dive into the wreck to secure the rope that attaches to our MV came up and announced that the current was super, super, super strong. And the dive may only be fit for experienced divers. The other girls were concerned and decided to skip this one as we were told the currents is way stronger than the first dive we've had to make. I wanted to go down, for the sake of gaining experience diving in harsh environment but decided to forgo as well because I didn't want to risk my life if I'm not confident.

The other guys went down and one of them emerged after 10minutes of diving. He said he was trying to go down the line but even after what felt like a long time, when he checked his dive comp, he was only still at 5 meters! lol. So he decided to skip that one as well. He described the dive somewhat similar to riding a motorcyle with the current is whipping on you hahaha.

After a breakfast of cereal, bananas and I can't remember what else (oh ya, roti canai! very awesome ones if I may add), for the second Igara wreck dive, Suewern and I decided to go for it. The current is so strong that we had to jump into the waters while holding on to the rope! But it was fun! Visibility was really bad though. A whale shark could have swam right close by to us and we probably would not have realized. Ah well. Lunch awaits us!

Another yummy lunch! Sweet and sour sotong, stir fried spicy kangkung, a sort of savoury beef and vegetable spicy sour soup, chicken curry and more fruits. Lip smacking.

The girls again.

Final ride back to Singapore waters.... chillaxing on the lounge-cum-eating-cum-briefing area. It started getting dark and drizzled for a bit - just great for naps and hot neslo + dipping in those square biscuits with sugar ones. nomnomnomzzzz.............

A Hawpan Meal

When you're out with a group of friends, the eventual and dreaded question is always, where to eat? Then you act nonchalant, saying anywhere is fine but inside your mind you're silently pre-cursing them in case they say "Korean". So yea...first we said Japanese then friend said wants meat, then Nando's came up somehow but Friend 2 just had that couple of days ago, ding dong and after ping pong back and forth, we decided to try a Hawaiian-Japanese fusion place instead - Hawpan! (self-coined, nice righttt??? :D)

Pictures taken with ze phone.

I like the décor. Pops of colours with a beach-y theme to it. I wanna go Hawaii! (random excuse)

Ekchually the place is called Aloha Ma Maison la. Ma Maison is actually French for 'my house', I have no idea why it's named that way for a Hawpan restaurant. Trying to sound more atas kot.

Friend 1's (F1) order. Some beef/steak don. I tried the beef - a tad too chewy. F1 said the sauce is too greasy that the rice is practically covered in oil.

Oh- you have an option of having regular rice or mixed grains with your order! I obviously chose the mixed grains lor. I love it when restaurants give you that option to be healthy.

My Hawpan order of teriyaki chicken with 2 eggs, sunny side up! I love, love, love the simplicity of this dish combined! A few slices of cucumber, a couple of tomato chunks, teriyaki chicken, a spoonful of corn, lettuce on the side and a sprinkling of seaweed. It's so easy to make (I'm sure you can find teriyaki sauce at any ol' supermarket) and to put together! This is gonna be one of my default meals for my future family :P

Friend 2 (F2)'s order of beef burger. I didn't try the burger but it sure looks good topped with an egg and avocado. Fries too salty to my liking.

Bill came to about $15 per pax (but we minum tap water saje). It's quite not bad la, but this place is supposed to be more famous for their pancakes (look at the overwhelming whipped cream) - just didn't seem impressive enough though. But I must give credit to this Hawpan - what they serve really does look almost 100% like the mock ones here!

Aloha Ma Maison
201 Victoria Street,
#01-12 Bugis +
Tel: +65 6884 4471

The Georgian Adventure - Hike to Chalaadi Glacier

Our third, and last hike in Svaneti. There are so many more places to hike and explore around Georgia, it was a hard decision to premature...