Thursday, 28 June 2012

Chiso Zanmai Japanese Buffet Restaurant

During June School Holidays we have quiet a number of activities such as the Angry Birds Cable Car Ride (HERE), 6 Days Cruise Trip (HERE), exploring the new Ice Skating Rink at JCube (HERE) and etc. And just a week before the school holidays ends, my brother organized a buffet lunch meetup over at "Chiso Zanmai" since he knows our family loves Japanese cuisine.

Above shows my plating of "Kaiseki" which is a traditional multi-course Japanese cuisine where we just grab a big tray at the counter and pick-up our favourite Kaiseki dishes and enjoy our meal like what the Japanese Emperor did in the olden days. (All photos in this post are taken using iPhone since it is just our causal family gathering)

Chiso Zanmai is a Japanese Buffet Restaurant located at The Central, Clarke Quay which overtakes it's previous owner where Fisherman’s Market used to be. For the price of S$14.90++ to enjoy a Japanese style lunch buffet which serves up more than 80 varieties of food and desserts is definitely worth trying. And moreover Chiso Zanmai is originated from Osaka and this is their first branch outside of Japan.

Appetizers Counter
As usual to start off the buffet, I will pick up some cold dishes from the Appetizer Counter and enjoy it before heading for the hot dishes. For the appetizers, other than the above they also have cha soba, potato salad, mixed salad, deep-fried eggplant with bonito broth and etc. But my favourite choices are those shown above. 

These are my little boy's favourite and indeed they have quiet a good spread of Sushi upon selection too.

Hakkaido Ishikari Nabe is a common seafood and vegetables soup served in Hakkaido and most of us on our table loves this seafood pot with it's sweet and flavousome clear soup broth. As you can see from the photo above, there are prawn, flower crab, tofu, leek and etc in it which makes it prefer to go with steamed rice.

Ramen lover, you can choose between either Tonkotsu or Shoya soup base to go with your Ramen. For me, I will prefer the Tonkotsu which is pork base with a thicker and stronger taste compared to Shoya. Surprisingly the noodles are still quiet springy when bite so overall it still blends well with the broth.

Traditional Japanese Counter
There are basically two sections on the Hot Food Counter where you can grab some Traditional Japanese Cuisine or Teppan. Above shown a selection from Braised Squid with White Radish, Corn Cream Croquette, Stewed Pork And Potato, Crab Shao-mai and etc.

Hot Food
I did not snap much on the Teppan Counter as there are quiet a number of people around queuing for the food. But you can find yummy Takoyaki(octopus balls), Stir Fried Noodles, Tempura, Fried Pumpkin and etc. Above are some of the items from the Hot Food Counter that I love.

Mum loves these Deep Fried Yam which she mentioned is quiet similar taste to our Chinese Abacus Seeds.

Love this crispy and delicious Chicken Karaage that dipped in some Ponzu Sauce (citrus-based sauce) which gives it a similar taste like our Asian Lemon Chicken.

Dessert Counter
After a hearty meal, it's time to pamper yourself with some "sweet" dessert such as cake, tart, pastry or ice-cream. At their Dessert Counter, items are routine frequently through out the buffet and you can find some fresh fruits, cheesecake, mochi, eclair, jelly, ice cream or etc.

Since for the month of June they are having this "Matcha Fair", you could find most of their desserts are made with matcha theme. Out of those shown above, I love their matcha mochi, matcha tofu as well as the matcha tiramisu. Too bad I didn't get a chance to try their Matcha Panna Cotta which might be rotating in their dinner menu instead.

6 Eu Tong Sen Street
The Central @ Clarke Quay
Reservation: +65 6221 3177

Lunch (12.00pm - 3.00pm)
Monday - Friday
Adult: S$14.90++   Child(below 1m): S$9.90++   Senior (above 60): S$12.90++

Saturday, Sunday And Public Holidays
Adult: S$19.90++   Child(below 1m): S$9.90++   Senior (above 60): S$17.90++

Dinner (6.00 - 10.00pm) SASHIMI (DINNER ONLY)
Sunday - Thursday And Public Holidays
Adult: S$24.90++   Child(below 1m): S$14.90++   Senior (above 60): S$22.90++

Friday, Saturday, Sunday And Public Holidays
Adult: S$29.90++   Child(below 1m): S$14.90++   Senior (above 60): S$27.90++

Top-Up $1.99++ For Free Flow Of Drinks
Cold beverages such as green tea, iced lemon tea, root beer and etc
Hot beverage such as coffee (black, cappuccino, latte) and tea

So if you are looking for some Japanese Style Buffet at an affordable price, perhaps you would want to consider Chiso Zanmai which I personally think it worth what we pay for. Will check what's on their July / August dinner menu soon as I eying on their SASHIMI!!!


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Rink @ JCube

With the recent heat waves that hits Singapore these two weeks, the best thing to do is to stay in-door in a fully air-conditioning shopping malls. And since my boy is interested in Ice Skating ever since our trip back from Voyager of The Seas early June.

We decided to check out this Singapore’s first Olympic-size ice rink which is located at JCube. It has a 460 seat gallery and the 60 by 30 metre rink is designed to host international events and competitions for sports such as ice hockey, curling and speed skating.

JCube is a new shopping mall that is filled with retails, dining and entertainment scene in Jurong East which is about 5 minutes walk from Jurong East MRT station (you can see the mall from the MRT platform).

The entrance of The Rink is located at level 3 of the mall at one end where you can access it via the lift at level 1. Beside the The Rink there are also winter wears and skates shops where you can purchase the gloves, socks and etc if you didn't bring along.

Here is the break-down of the "timing" for those who wish to visit The Rink. (my advice is to either go early if you can)

At the ticketing area grab the "combination" that you prefer. For us as since we have brought our own gloves and socks (thanks for maameemoomoo advice) we took the "Combo E" which consists Admission Fee plus Skate at S$15.50(Kids, 4 - 12 years old) and S$17.50 (Adult).

Normal Price List

Combination Rates. You can purchase either "Gloves" or "Socks" at S$2.00 per pair if you don't wish to loot them along with you! I advise Socks are a MUST for personal hygiene as well as prevention of blisters and the thicker the better!

After getting the entry tickets, you can proceed to the Skates Rental area to redeem your skates according to your shoes size. (for your information, your shoes will be retained in-exchange of the skates) And from what I have read online the smallest skates size is about 27 for kids.

These are the crowds at the Locker Area waiting to redeem their skates for the 2nd session which is at 12.45pm.

If you need a locker to keep your belonging, they do have a decent size of locker which is similar to those at the swimming pool at Non-Refundable fee of S$2.00 per locker. But if you forget something half way through during your game and wish to open the locker, you would have to pay another S$2.00 to lock it back.

All set and ready to go into the Ice Rink!

Since we went during School Holidays, the crowds are more towards family with younger kids and teenagers. Some of them are really good skaters who can skate well while others who can't also enjoys themselves at the Rink moving along happily at the sides of the wall.

It's pretty cold during the morning session that we went, so you might want to bring along a light jacket if you are afraid of the cold air. And wearing of jeans or long pant is advisable instead of shorts and skirt. Hope you have fun and enjoy the cold environment.


Monday, 25 June 2012

Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家)

Read up a few reviews on "Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家)" which is located along 45 Tai Thong Crescent where the nearest MRT access is at Potong Pasir Station(NE10) plus about 8 - 10 minutes walking distance to the restaurant. And since we heard so much raves about their food, we decided to drop by two weeks back to try out some of their "recommended" dishes.

Indeed the place and the interior give us a "homely" family restaurant atmosphere and their staffs were pretty friendly when taking orders and etc.

Although they have quiet a range of items from their menu but this signature "Assam Fish Head (亚参鱼头)" is what we are there for. The gravy might look "spicy" from the photo above, but when taste it is just nice with good balance of spiciness and sourish taste which our family loves. And moreover the fish is very fresh with firm and juicy meat together with lovely brinjal, lady fingers, pineapple and etc which makes it perfect for 2 bowls of steamed white rice.
Price: S$25.00 per plate (half fish head)

To be honest, I ordered this "Kyoto Pork Ribs (京都排骨)" because I wanted to see the "fire" effect before the "parcel" is being reveal to show the pork ribs but sad to say instead of "fire" we were all being "smoke" by its smoky effect when the dish is being place on the table.

For us, nothing special about this pork which we find it rather a bit salty and tough. Should have try the coffee pork ribs instead.

Price: S$20.00 per plate

Special Made Tofu With Lingzhi Mushroom (灵芝菇扒豆腐盒) taste good with their silky homemade tofu which is deep-fried but yet not oily. The tofu blocks are serve with some lingzhi mushroom together with blanched broccoli.
Price:- S$12.00 per plate

Their Prawn Roll (虾卷) or also known as Hei Zho is served with the usual sweet sauce with the smaller portion of 8 pieces in a plate. Quiet similar taste to the usual hei zho we had from some cze char stalls which is wrapped with beancurd skins and deep-fried till crispy. Love the juicy filling with crunch of chestnuts bits which taste great with the dipping sauce.
Price:- S$8.00 per plate (8 pieces)

Lastly we also tried the Oyster Omelette (蚝煎蛋) which looks so good on one of the blog reviews that I have read. This oyster omelette is different from those served in the hawker center where you find more starchy content rather thane egg. Here the omelette is more fluffy with less starch and generous amount of fat and juicy oysters that service with some spicy chilli sauce on it. The dish is a bit salty on its own so it is best to eat it with some rice unless you have strong taste bubs.
Price:- S$12.00 per plate

GU MA JIA (姑妈家)
45 Tai Thong Crescent Sennett Estate
Singapore 347866
Reservation No.: 6285 2023


Opening hours: 11.00am – 10.00pm(daily)


Monday, 18 June 2012

Voyager Of The Seas - Royal Caribbean International [Part I]

After about a month of waiting time, we are finally on board the "Voyager Of The Seas" which kicks off her maiden Asian itinerary coincides with Singapore’s June School Holiday period. Although this is not our 1st cruise experience but we are all very excited to onboard this huge cruise ship that first dock on our new cruise terminal at marina bay.

For your information this 14 passenger-deck "Voyager of the Seas" carries 3,840 guests at its total occupancy with luxury furnishing, international cuisines and world class entertainments on board. The package she offers during her dock in Singapore are short cruises of 3 - 5 nights to Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Phuket, as well as an 8-night cruise to Shanghai that features Ho Chi Minh, Xiamen and an overnight in Hong Kong. (A Chinese Version of this post is available over at HERE)

Due to the huge size of the ship, it is actually dock at the new "Singapore Marina Bay International Cruise Terminal" which completed in May 2012. Although the cruise terminal is new but one thing for praise is that the "check-in and out" process for boarding and embarking is pretty smooth and fast (less than 10 minutes).

Out of the 5 scheduled itinerary from Voyager Of The Seas available in Singapore, we were on the 3rd trip which sailed off on 02 June 2012 starting from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Phuket and back to Singapore. Although last boarding time for guest is around 5.00pm but most of the guests choose to board as early as 11.00am when the gangway opens for boarding.

Upon registration for check-in, all guests will be issued a "SeaPass Card" (either blue or golden colour shown above) each which acts as the onbaord charge card as well as room key. And if you choose to link your SeaPass account to credit card like what we did, you don't have to stand in line to pay your bill(s) at the end of your vacation upon check-up which in-term helps to save time on queuing and etc.

For your information, each SeaPass Card has a a unique number such as "B05" like mine which means the Assembly Drill area is at Deck 4, B05. And the "05" which is an odd number also indicate our siting and dining group on "Odd" too.

After the security Photo ID scanning upon arrival, remember to pick up a copy of the "As You Arrive" itinerary near the Guest Relations Desk @ Deck 5 to get familiar with the surrounding, layout and deck facilities onboard.

Guest Relations Desk @ Deck 5 where you can book your shore excursions, pay bills incurred, making enquires, currency exchanges and etc.

For Suite guests these Cruise Compass plus Cruise Specials and Dining Menu would be available daily in the room for guests to read up on the following day event after the evening room services.  Or you could just pick up a copy (this cruise compass is available in a few language; such as Chinese, Korean, Japanese and etc) near the Guest Relations Desk @ Deck 5 too.

If you have a kid together as a family like us, remember to grab a copy of this "Kids Daily Planner" which is recommended for kids between 3 - 11 years old where they can enjoy many fun and laughter activities together with other kids onboard.

While waiting for the luggage to be delivered to the room and check-in, all the onboard guests were advised to have Lunch at Windjammer which is located at Deck 11. Windjammer opens for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner which serves a total of 4 meals per days ranging from Asian to Western cuisines and pastries. (will update more Windjammer food menu in up-coming "Onboard Dining Post")

After lunch, we managed to check-in our room at about 1.00pm which is a plus benefit for Suite guests. The Grand Suite room consist of either 2 twin beds or one queen-size bed with private balcony and sitting area with sofa bed, TV, telephone, mini bar and etc.

Our main bed room view with 2 twin beds, safe box and dressing table.

Private bathroom with bathtub, hairdryer and vanity area.

Other than the round 2 and 3 pins(sample here) socket available in the room, there is this Desk Top iPhone and iPod Charger which s also available in the Suite room.

Private Balcony for guests to enjoy the sea breeze and beautiful scenic during vacation.

View from the private balcony facing the Marina Bay Cruise Terminal before departing.

A Mandatory Assembly Drill for all guests is conducted at 5.15pm after the last boarding time(5.00pm). The purpose of this drill is to familiarize the guests with the safety routine onboard as well as the Muster Station assigned to meet up in case of any emergency.

Royal Promenade located at Deck 5, is the heartbeat of the ship that forms a shopping mall filled with a naturally lighted four-story area that lined with bars and shops.

Crowds along the Royal Promenade during Shopping Day onboard where branded goods are sold at discounted price.

Voyager Of The Seas has her own Radio And TV stations plus a few basic channels such as CNN and the Cartoon Network. Locate at Deck 3.

Casino Royale is at Deck 4 where guests can play different kinds of games from slot machines to cards games and etc. Note: All rate are in US Currency(USD) and you can either used your SeaPass card or cash for the games.

The Vault at Deck 3 And 4 is a great place to make new friends, enjoy a cocktail or just listen to the latest hits. It is open to guests over the age of 18; but however the guests must be above 21 to consume alcohol.

For Suite Guests, there is another place for afternoon tea other than Windjammer and Cafe Promenade. You can visit the Concierge Club Lounge at Deck 9  to enjoy some hot food, cake and pastry as well as beverage such as coffee, juice and cocktail.

For a relax afternoon you could indulged yourself with your favourite book at the Library on or stay connected with Royal Caribbean Online Cafe both located at Deck 7 And 8.  There will be charges for the usage of internet cafe and WiFi (US$35 for 60 minutes) services on board so perhaps you could just forget about the social media world and enjoy the holidays without them. 

For those who wish to keep up with your daily body training program, there is a Voyager Fitness Center located at Deck 11 featuring modern exercise equipments, yoga, pilates and etc as well as a indoor jacuzzi pool for guests to relax their body and mind.

On Deck 15, there is a "Skylight Chapel" which is acts as a wedding chapel that can accommodate 40 people. You can enter the chapel via the Viking Crown Lounge (the highest point on the ship).

Helicopter Landing Pad is one of the viewing deck onboard which is located above Deck 4 (walkway) outside the side entrance of La Scala Theatre (there is a stairways at the end of the walkway going up to deck 5)

Imagine doing rock-climbing at 150-200 feet above sea level, the wall offers skill combinations for all levels. A Rock-Climbing Wall waiver must be completed once a cruise vacation and children must be 6 years of age or older to climb.

The Sport Courts located at Deck 13 is an outdoor activity court for sports, including basketball and volleyball.

Pool and Jacuzzi Facilities available at Deck 11 as well as the pool live band and SkyBar (access for guests with Gold Volour SeaPass card only) area.

The DreamWorks Parade is held on the 1st evening upon arrival to act as a highlight event to welcome all the guests on board the Voyager Of The Seas.

The parade is held along Royal Promenade @ Deck 5 featuring the DreamWorks Family and Entertainment Staffs where you get to see most of the cartoon characters from Madagascar, Shrek and Kong Fu Panda.

Studio B is the main reason why we are here for the cruise vacation but due to the popularity of the usage it is often packed with guests unless during days where most of them are going for the shore excursion. Each skating session last for about 45 minutes and it is advisable to wear jeans or long pant plus thick sock before entering the rink.

For your information, children under age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian present to sign a waiver for them and there is a maximum of 50 guests per session for safety precaution.

Other than acting as a normal skating rink for the guests, Studio B also provided ice shows feature a cast of professional skaters from around the world which guests could find the scheduled shows timing on the Cruise Compass and Daily Planner available near the Guest Relations Desk @ Deck 5.

The La Scala Theatre is located at Deck 3 And 4 where the theatre consists of  5 stories from orchestra pit to domed ceiling features contemporary musical stage productions. This 3 stories siting theatre can hold up to a maximum capacity of 1,348 (plus 14 disabled) people.

Every evenings there are two seating for the shows at La Scala Theatre from 7.00pm (pre-dinner, showtime for Second Seating Guests) and 9.00pm (showtime for Main Seating Guests) featuring acrobatic, magic, musical and etc which is worth catching before or after mealtime.

For more photos related to this post on Voyager Of The Seas, please click on the link HERE (photos from Cuisine Paradise facebook page).

Till then stay tune for Part II which features the Dining Rooms and Food Menu onboard Voyager of the Seas. At the meantime you might want to read my previous post on "Legend of the Seas"(for those who are interested to book a cruise holiday) which which is another cruise by Royal Caribbean International too!



Latest Kitchen Updates @ Cuisine Paradise

Click on the above photos or HERE for more kitchen pantry ideas.