Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sunday Lunch - 8: Dempsey

I'm picking our lunch places off a list of names I've cobbled together from many sources. Recommendations from friends, Singapore's Time out, recommendations on an FB page I follow, and a bunch of serious Singaporean food blogs.

This Sunday I got us a booking at Chopsuey in Dempsey Hill. It's relatively new and had mixed reviews but the menu looked intriguing enough to try. It was all 6 of us (my sis in law is vegetarian and my nephew tends to be as well) this hot Sunday. And the trains of course (that's two Bill's and two Toby's). 

Am I glad we tried it or what?! It was OUTSTANDING. We ordered a variety of dim sum including some pork buns, vegetable noodles, chicken with tofu satay, stir fried vegetables, chicken in schezuan sauce and some rice with spinach. Each of the dim sum dishes appeared in a cute little basket. 

The bulk of the menu is seafood based with prawn and various meats. But there are vegetarian gems to be found and asked for. The vegetarian dumplings were outstanding as were the lovely dry vegetable noodles which were utterly fresh and delicious and covered in delectable vegetables.

The decor is simple. Black and white dominates the space but blended beautifully so it does not look stark. The big framed windows look out into a covered outdoor area and to banana trees and lush greenery. And although the restaurant is not very big it's all very pleasing to the eye. 

The food is served on white plates which sit within heavy silver ware. The quantities are generous and the staff understood what we meant when we said vegetarian/ shellfish allergies and made helpful suggestions. It was fairly full but we didn't feel rushed or intruded upon. It was not an inexpensive meal but really we do this once a week and Singapore is expensive so now we know what to expect. 

What I didn't know till the very end was that this is a venture by the already famous P.S.Cafe. Once I knew I could see the odd touch that is common. I rarely leave a comment card unless it's to complain about something (one of the things I am trying to do this year is find something good in everything rather than complain a lot - and I thought writing a little nice something in comment cards would be a good start) and so I wrote them a little compliment on their card. All in all it was a lovely leisurely lunch and I for one have a new Dempsey favourite. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I bow to thee my A.M.A.Z.I.N.G friend

It's Sunday and I'm sat the movie hall waiting for my weekly movie fix to be sorted by Jack Ryan. I don't have high hopes which is good. At least I have M&M's.

I've been thinking of my amazing friend all day today, from the second I woke up till I just read this post.

I have only awe - for her 42.195 in 4:43mins, her falling nails, her water filled blisters, her endurance, HER. And I know thousands of people run it but this is the person I know so I'm allowed to have awe for just her. 

Take a bow, Ms. Raman, for you and what you did are amazing and I can't wait to donate to the many many marathons I see in your future! 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Will the real BlogReaders please stand up?

I often get the odd comment that people read but don't comment on a regular basis. Today I'm asking you not to comment but to go to this link and donate whatever you can to support my friend Menaka (also known as Shoefiend) in her attempt to run a marathon this Sunday in aid of Educo. You can read all about them in the link.

What you can't read about however is this:
1. M and I 'clicked' in the first 5 minutes we met in London many many years ago.
2. We met because our husbands were friends and they had moved to London (therefore regulation group dinner happened).
3. Almost from the start it was apparent that we would be friends even though our respective husbands are nonsense at keeping in touch (lethargy is something they are both prone to) and could not be counted on to organise anything sociable on their own.
4. We both began blogging within a few days/ weeks of each other. And explored London with its eccentric eclectic nature together (museums that no husband would set foot in, mainly) and our lives in that mirror reflection on our blogs.
5. She is one of those people with an undiscovered book in her. If only she would get to it. Maybe after the marathon?
6. Her writing is usually quite humorous. And when not funny, thoughtful. We often think of the same things but while I rotate the thoughts endlessly in the hamster wheel that is my brain she just goes ahead and writes them down beautifully. I  usually just nod knowingly while I read.
7. She was part of the gaggle of girls that made London so very fun. Memorable indeed was her farewell dinner which involved a lot of alcohol, food, aimless wandering down Marylebone High Street and giggling. Oh so much giggling.
8. She began this running lark (with another WonderWoman who does not write enough). And she stuck with it. I went from 'why would she do that' to 'seriously in awe' in no time at all. 
9. Knowing that the way she relates an anecdote is sure to make me smile/ laugh/ nod in aquiecense I often check to see what she has written or call for a dose of funny. FaceTime and Skype make it all so easy.
10. She is a stand up person. In 48 hours this woman would have run a marathon to support a cause she believes in. I donated because I believe in her. I'm asking you to donate just a little/ lot in sheer admiration of someone who is going to run ALL. THAT. WAY for someone else. 

From your desk/ couch, that is far more precious than any comment you could leave me. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Sunday night movies

Have I told you about my Sunday night movie? 

It's started innocently enough, the by product of no babysitter, V's long work hours/ travel and the absolute lack of close friends leading to me needing desperately this time to be on my own. I'm no great critic or lover of movies. In fact in all the time after Kid was born and I lived in London I went for 3 movies (that's in 3.4 years). And although I missed going for movies like we did when we didn't have a child (twice or so a month) I wasn't desperate by any means. 

About a month or so into this Singapore stint I decided that I would go out on Sunday evenings. V, an entirely exemplary father was happy to have that uninterrupted time with Kid, playing and doing the bath and bed routine. So I'd set off after 6, once kid was fed and then wander the malls, window shopping and browsing the too expensive bookshops. I would buy dinner around 8.30 and head home and we would have a lovely meal together before the next hectic week began. It was a plan that worked, gave me the break and headspace I desperately needed.  

By week three I had made a few acquaintances and been rebuffed by almost all the people I had been introduced to. I was bored of the window shopping and page turning and decided that instead I would go and watch a movie. In that one evening I re-discovered popcorn and a small drink making for a wonderful combination in front of the big screen. And so my Sunday night movie ritual was born. 

For over a year now, each Sunday evening I leave after getting Kid's dinner organised and go to watch a movie. I tried to involve various people in this scheme but it turns out people are either uninterested or unreliable or just plain have a life. It's also probably my curmudgeonly-ness. And while I balked initially at going to do this on my own week after week, I stuck to it and within a matter of weeks I loved the calm of the ritual, the not needing anyone to do it with me. People look at me like I'm crazy for going on my own but hey people think I'm crazy anyway. On occasion people offer to join in and that's fine but I find I like the Sundays on my own best of all. I love that at 38 I've discovered I am really and truly my own best company. Curmudgeonly and all. 

Cinemas are plentiful, clean, have fantastic audio and video, cost about $10 for a show and have an array of snacks (very important). There is a plethora of movies on all the time (thank you Hollywood and Bollywood) and I am not picky. I'm watching for the art of big screen productions and the experience rather than deep and meaningful stories and that is the key to my success. Not having to think too much about it. As a result I have seen some brilliant and unexpected movies and some really terrible productions. 

Sunday is my day. It's the day we go out for lunch as a family (sometimes 3 of us, sometimes all 6) and buy in dinner for the two of us. It's the day I get to be silent from answering all the 'why mama' questions, from deciding what puzzles arts and crafts and games we will play after school, from cooking up something for dinner. It's the day I don't eat in front of the TV and watch a re-run of a re-run while V slogs away at work or on a call from home. Instead it's the day I choose what new restaurant on this small island will be worth trying. It's the day I worry about whether Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Shwarznegger will be friends again. Or if Ryan Gosling could get any handsomer. It's the day I decide if I want to replace my popcorn with an ice cream. Or if I want dumplings for dinner even though I had them for lunch.  

It's my much needed day. And although a lot is due to change in the working of our household over the next few weeks I am determined to hold on to these Sundays. I really am my own best company. Curmudgeonly and all. 

I'm off for The Wolf of Wall Street. Good night. 

Sunday Lunch - 7: Rubato

This first Sunday of the year was a quiet one. We played with train tracks all morning and as I sat on the knit ball that is my seat in Kid's room I browsed the net looking for lunch inspiration.

It turned out my first choice does not open on Sundays so I had to go back to the beginning and look at my lists. But my second choice was such a close second that I was very pleased when I called and they said they could fit us in. 

We went to Rubato in Greenwood Avenue. I've been to that bit of town a few times for playdatea but never knew that behind the lovely Watten Estate with its houses and parks was this little market. It's packed with restaurants and shops and looks like a place I need a few hours to explore. 

Rubato was bright and airy and full of light. The table tops were a lovely brown wood that looked new. They had a weekend menu but on request we ordered a charcoal grilled Squid starter from their weekday a la carte menu whose rave reviews were what drew me to them. It was all the reviews said, perfectly done with the smokiness of the charcoal melding with olive oil and just big enough for us to share. 

I had a chicken saltimbocca which was tender and tasty (unlike Singapore chicken which always tastes stale to me) and V had a spaghetti with tiger prawn dish. 

But the winner was the Margherita pizza that Kid had. Absolutely delicious and he finished most of it in no time, leaving just a piece for us to taste. 

It was quiet when we arrived - we are always early for lunch, arriving by noon so that kid can eat at the time he is most used to. It filled up as we were sitting there and by the time we left there was not a free seat to be found. 

It was raining when we left, sated. We shared a taxi and dropped off V to his errands before heading for the National Library to borrow some books. I'm encouraging him to choose books on his own now (while steering him away from his favourite) and this is much harder than one imagines. He chooses the first book he sees and while I guess there is logic in that this week it turned out to be a book beyond his years, one about an orphan boy living in a work camp with his camel. It's been hard to explain the story to him as we read it. It's an interesting age, 4.5, full of questions and opinions and feelings, many confusing and all valid. Needless to say we have a new plan to book borrowing next weekend. 

Home and an early dinner of tofu and noodles before I headed off for my Sunday night movie.