CNY ’15: An Ode to Tradition at Hai Tien Lo, Pan Pacific Singapore

The feasting period begins again for the lunar new year season with Hai Tien Lo at Pan Pacific Singapore welcoming the Year of the Wooden Goat with traditional Cantonese cuisine starting from 2 February 2015 to 5 March 2015.

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No Chinese New Year reunion dinner is complete without a majestic centrepiece of Yusheng. For this year, toss to a year of abundance and good fortune with Hai Tien Lo’s Flourishing Prosperity Yusheng featuring a lavish spread of Lobster, Alaskan Crab, Hokkaido Scallop, Norwegian Salmon and Japanese Kelp. Guests can choose from a range of six different Yusheng platters, that come in 2 sizes each- for 4 or 8 persons and are priced between $38 and $228.

Weekend Brunch @ W39 Bistro & Bakery

W39 Bistro & Bakery first made waves when they opened early last year for being one of the few cafes in the West that offered a hearty brunch menu with local delights and decent mains for both lunch and dinner.  Tucked away in the quiet West Coast neighbourhood, this cheery bright-yellow and sky-blue themed bistro, though spacious with indoor and alfresco seating, is usually always crowded. Reservations, especially for brunch which is only available on weekends and public holidays, come highly recommended.

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For the drivers, there is parking available around the area if you come really early like us (we had a 9am reservation), and you might just score a parking lot right in front of the cafe (like we did). Alternatively, you can park near the Clementi Stadium which is also within walking distance.

Whisk & Paddle @ 10 Tebing Lane

Priding itself as a “cafe along the river”, the newly opened Whisk & Paddle facing the Punggol Reservoir certainly delivers that experience. An open bistro with a panoramic view of the mangrove vegetation and meandering river, there is an air of tranquility and peace found here that is hard to come by amidst the hustle and bustle of our cosmopolitan city.

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We made our way here on a quiet Saturday morning just when the joggers were returning from their exercise along the park connectors and the cyclists had completed their rounds. Being the early comers at the cafe, we had first dips on which table to sit at and had a bit of fun deciding between the long communal wooden bar tables, the round colourful tiled ones or the low rise benches that flanked the friendly little playhouse put up for the kiddies. The space of Whisk & Paddle is huge by the way, offering more than enough distance between your table and the next, ensuring that your conversation was not within earshot of others- a luxury that is hard to find in most cafes these days.

Jamie’s Italian All-New Weekend Breakfast

Most brunch places on the weekends do not open early enough. True, many do want to sleep in but there are early risers like me who usually prefer having breakfast or brunch earlier so that the rest of the day is freed up to run errands amongst other things. Needless to say, I was stoked to find out that Jamie’s Italian at Vivocity had recently launched their new weekend breakfast menu which starts from 9.30am and ends at 11.30am- before their regular menu begins.

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Expect family-friendly items, healthy choices and basically very wholesome options on this new breakfast menu. Inspired by Jamie Oliver’s love for comfort food, it is all about fluffy American pancakes, British-style fry ups, Breakfast Butties and great Vegetarian alternatives- reasonably priced between $7.50 – $19.50.

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I zoomed into the Smashed Spicy Avocado $12.50 which turned out to be a great pick with its buttery creaminess and hint of spice that complimented the toasted Calabrese bread so beautifully. An interesting twist to the usual buttered toast and one that is filled with nutrients and healthy monounsaturated fats as well. Vegans and non-vegans alike will definitely enjoy this one. I know I did.

Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters @ Upper Thomson Road

Fans of the now-defunct OZ Specialty Coffee will be pleased to know that the cafe has undergone a major revamp, got an upsize, a new name and postal code. Named after a hybrid blend of coffee hailing all the way from El Salvador, Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters is probably the most talked about cafe in town at the moment- it is essentially your dream location for an Instagram photo op. The walls are white- really white. The tables are mostly wooden and communal while small pots of plants placed at random spots add a touch of green. Overall, spacious, airy and minimalistic with clean lines.

Taking over the corner unit where Liquid Kitchen once stood and just opposite the Shell petrol station, Pacamara is hard to miss. This boutique coffee cafe joins the growing vibrant cafe scene of the Upper Thomson area which includes but is not limited to Habitat Coffee, One Man Coffee, Salted Caramel and Ply Baked Goods. While it may seem difficult having to stand out from the already established brands within the vicinity, judging from the crowds that fill this place even on the weekdays and the rave reviews it had received on Instagram, Pacamara has clearly already won the hearts of many. Mine included.

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The menu features a good mix of brunch items with a price range of $10-$20, starters such as salads from $8-$16 and fancier mains of Wagyu Burger, Miso Glazed Salmon and the likes for $16-$25. None too pricey, with no service charge added and GST already included- essentially all nett prices.

For more eateries/cafes in Singapore with no GST or service charge, check out my list of 25 Places to Eat in Singapore with Nett Prices.