Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Here's How You Can Make Your House Look Bigger [ADVERTORIAL]

There are many new houses available for sale with beautiful interior designs on iproperty Malaysia. Although some houses come with smaller size, people still manage to make the space appears bigger than the actual size by doing some minor renovation. Are you tired of your current old house layout because it looks small and cramped? Worry not, you could change how your space looks like if you make some minor renovations to your current house. This article will guide you through some tips to make your house looks bigger.

1.     Right proportion
Choose the right proportion for your furniture that you want to place at home. Avoid getting furniture that is too big for your house as this will only make your space looks smaller than it already is. It is suggested to always keep some air or spaces between the walls and your furniture. In addition, avoid heavy and weighty furniture that eat up the spaces in your house.

2.               Keep it low to the ground
It is said that furniture which is lower and nearer to the ground will give a feeling of openness in the house. Hence, it is advised to place mattress direct on the ground or use a loft bed to create the feeling of openness in your bedroom.

3.               Show a little leg
Although the above tip suggest to keep furniture as low as it could to the ground, you could choose furniture with legs if you do not like your furniture laying low to the ground. Furniture with legs allows air and light to flow in, which makes your furniture look like it is floating. You could choose furniture that are low and leggy to create a feeling of openness in your house. Opt for armchairs or sofas that are raised on legs to create a sense of space and light. Show off the legs!

4.               Mirrors
Mirror is said to be the fastest way to make a space looks bigger and brighter than it actually is. Whether or not it is a myth, it is true that they are good in reflecting sunlight in a room. However, it does not work the same when mirrors are placed in dim spaces such as the bathrooms as there are no direct sunlight for reflection purpose. Instead, you could use some framed mirrors to make your space appear brighter and more spacious. Not only they make your room appears larger, they can also reflect light coming into the room if placed across from light sources.

Mirror - Image Credit: Lookbox Living

5.               Ditch the drapes
Ditch the drapes around your house, such as curtains. Expose your windows as you want to allow natural sunlight to create a sense of depth in a small space. Natural sunlight plays an important role in creating a sense of openness in your house, making the space looks bigger than it is. If privacy is your concern, you could choose shutters or cloth blinds.

6.               Keep it white
White color reflects cleanliness and openness. Paint your house white to create a cloud like effect that enhances your house design. In addition, neutral colors give an illusion of a bigger and more organized space. Not only it is comfortable to the eyes, it also makes your space looks bigger than it already is. Minimalists will definitely like the idea of keeping the house white.

7.               Clear pathway
Keep the pathway at your house clear from clutters. Declutter the pathway if you already live in a small space. Not only it helps in keeping your house neat and tidy, it also create a sense of openness in your home that makes your house looks more spacious. Avoid putting too many furniture at the hallway or pathway. This will also prevent you from bumping into those furniture.

Clear Pathway - Image Credit: Singapore Carpentry Service

8.               Breezy fabrics
It is suggested to use soft breezy fabrics that absorb sunlights and promote airiness. Keep heavy materials because it weighs down the space.

9.               Vertical illusion
In addition, you could also add in some vertical stripes to make your space appear longer and bigger. Using tall furniture such as a tall bookshelf will also enhance the sense of openness and height of the space.

10.            Keep it simple
Last but not least, keep everything simple. Less is more, so try not to buy too many furniture for your space as it only makes your space looks crampy and small. Avoid exaggerated patterns or drawings that could be too overwhelming for your house. Instead, go for paintings that are simple that will visually expand a small room.

In conclusion, your house will definitely look more spacious if you follow the tips above. Most importantly, it does not cost as much as you think it would be. If you have the budget, you could definitely engage an interior designer to help you on the design. If not, you could always visit Pinterest to have a look on how people design their house. 

Monday, 3 December 2018

Ellenborough Market Café – Festive Feast 2018 [MEDIA INVITE]

Festive Feast 2018

Swissotel Merchant Court, Singapore has prepared a special feast to celebrate the 2018 festive period. The highlights of this year festive culinary delight at Ellenborough Market Café includes:

Santa, Raindeer and Gingerbread Man

Asian-inspired Turkey with Cranberry and “Kam Heong” Sauce. It is juicy, succulent plus the superior ingredients of dried shrimps, curry powder, shallots and garlic in the Kam Heong marinate infused throughout the turkey. Yum Yum

Asian-inspired Turkey with Cranberry and “Kam Heong” Sauce

Honey Glazed Smoked Gammon Ham (Whole, Semi Bone-In). The ham has a nice smoky aroma, followed with a beautiful combination of sweet and salty in the meat. To balance the rich flavour of the ham, pineapple sauce is served together with the ham.

Honey Glazed Smoked Gammon Ham (Whole, Semi Bone-In)

Braised Short Rib of Beef with Winter Mushroom. The meat has a nice marbling and just simply melts in your mouth. The braising sauce absorbs into meat nicely. This dish got our pick for the best dish this year.

Braised Short Rib of Beef with Winter Mushroom.

On top of the Signature Log Cake, the culinary team also introduced the Ivory Valrhona Yule Log with Pandan Roulade, White Sesame Mousse and Azuki Red Bean. An interesting combination of Asian flavours, especially blending white chocolate with red bean.

Signature Log Cake

Ivory Valrhona Yule Log with Pandan Roulade, White Sesame Mousse and Azuki Red Bean

Keep a look out for their Smoked Salmon. It is surprisingly good and surprisingly makes a nice pairing with the mushroom salad and roasted pumpkin.

Smoked Salmon

Charcuterie Platter

These dishes are available on top of the regular spread at Ellenborough Market Café

Pumpkin Salad

Mushroom Salad

Festive Feast at Ellenborough Market Café
When: 3 to 31 December 2018
Lunch (Monday to Sunday): $58++ for Adult, $29++ for Child
Dinner (Monday to Sunday): $78++ for Adult, $39++ for Child

Cookies and Gingerbread Woman

Blushing Santarina Cocktails - at Crossroads Bar
(Homemade pomegranate, prosecco, gold dust and sugar)

Santa's Devotion - at Crossroads Bar
(Frangelico hazelnut liqueur, Mozart dark chocolate, double espresso, kahlua,
whipped cream, and grated cinnamon served with cinnamon stick)

The delicious festive dishes above also available for takeaways. Check out their Takeaway order form below. Festive Takeaway Treats is available from 1 to 25 December 2018.

Take Away Order Form

Take Away Order Form

Thank you very much for Swissotel Merchant Court for the tasting invitation

Food & Drinks: 7.5/10
Value: 7.25/10
Service: N/A (Tasting Event)
Ambiance: 7.75/10
Budget per Person: $51 - $80, $81 and Above

Ellenborough Market Cafe
20 Merchant Road
Level 1, Swissotel Merchant Court
Singapore 058281

T: +65 6239 1847/1848
IG: @Swissotelmerchantcourt
Buffet Breakfast: Daily, 06.30 – 10.30
Buffet Lunch: Daily, 12.00 – 14.30
Buffet Dinner: Daily, 18.30 – 22.00
Buffet High Tea: Sat, Sun & PH: 15.30 – 17.30
(Ala Carte Menu is available upon request)

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

The Nest – Nordic Inspired Christmas Dinner [MEDIA INVITE]

Roasted Turkey Scallop with Chestnut Apricot Stuffing at The Nest

Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2019 within the grounds of acclaimed Laguna National Golf & Country Club Singapore. The Nest, a casual dining restaurant in Laguna National provide us with the preview on what to expect once the hotel is open.

The Nest
Part of the Dining Area

Part of the Dining Area

The Nest which open to the public on weekdays and by advanced reservations only for the weekend has launched their Festive Menu for this Year, available from 19 November 2018 to 6 January 2019.

The View from The Nest Balcony

We have the privilege to try out their Christmas Set Dinner Menu ($68++ per person, 4 course) available from 19 November to 27 December 2018. When I was writing this review, I realised that this menu curated based on Nordic Christmas traditions, dishes that are celebrated with by the Scandinavians during Christmas seasons.  

Table Setting for Christmas Set Lunch and Dinner

The Setting

We started with Glogg Wine with Warm Christmas Bread and Dippers. Glogg wine is a traditional festive season drink from Sweden. It is fruity, warm with a touch of spiciness perfect to warm up your body during the chilly winter. A good welcome drink.

Glogg Wine
For the starter bread, I opted for a slice of soft pumpkin bread and traditional sourdough. Served with roasted red pepper dip and balsamic vinegar with olive oil. We were also served garlic bread, that is crispy and generous spread with butter and garlic.

Soft Pumpkin Bread and Traditional Sourdough

Garlic Bread

Gravlax Salmon, Pickled Quail’s Eggs and Dill Potatoes (sharing). A gorgeous cured salmon, smooth and delicious, nicely paired with pickled quail’s eggs and dill potatoes patties. The fresh salad provided a nice balance to the dish, while salmon roe and cheery roman tomatoes gave the instant burst of flavour in the dish. A very “Merry Christmas” dish from Sweden.

Gravlax Salmon, Pickled Quail’s Eggs and Dill Potatoes (sharing)

Next up is the Cream of Forest Soup, plated in a bread bowl. The soup is thick, creamy and packs the vegetable flavour. The top opening part of the bread bowl is toasted to create contrasting texture for this dish. Soup in a bread bowl is definitely yummy, but I find it a bit waste to serve it in a four-course meal as most of the bread will go to waste.

Cream of Forest Soup

For the main, there are two choices: Roasted Turkey Scallop with Chestnut Apricot Stuffing or Sautéed Atlantic Salmon with Burnt Cucumber, Braised Fennel and Saffron Potatoes.

Only turkey breast is used for this beautifully plated dish. It is nicely roasted as the meat remain juicy and succulent. The stuffing is not empowering, and I like the crunchy cracker they have in the middle. For the sides, there is asparagus wrapped with bacon and brussels sprouts sautéed with bacon. Both vegetables are crunchy infused with bacon flavour.

Roasted Turkey Scallop with Chestnut Apricot Stuffing

Sautéed Atlantic Salmon with Burnt Cucumber, Braised Fennel and Saffron Potatoes is a good option for seafood lovers. A little bit un-Christmassy dish previously, however, it is getting more popular and served during Christmas nowadays.

Sautéed Atlantic Salmon with Burnt Cucumber, Braised Fennel and Saffron Potatoes

Candied Potato baked with marshmallow is served as side dishes together with the main meal. Apparently, this is one traditional Christmas dish served in Nordic countries during this festive period. It is very sweet, so a little too strong for me.

Candied Potato baked with marshmallow

For the desserts, you can choose the Scandinavian option of Christmas Rice Pudding with Almonds, or go with the British way of Christmas Pudding with Brandy Sauce. Both desserts are as authentic as you can get and bold in flavours. Don’t be surprised if you get a little high after consuming the Christmas pudding generously bask in Brandy.

Christmas Rice Pudding with Almonds

Christmas Pudding with Brandy Sauce

Coffee or Tea also served with the desserts together with Christmas Petit Fours.

Tea with Petit Fours

Before the dessert, we were served the Roasted Rack of Lamb ($108.80) from the Festive Takeaway menu. It is as perfect as it comes. Pink in the middle, juicy and succulent and without any gamy flavour.

Roasted Rack of Lamb

Roasted Rack of Lamb

Roasted Rack of Lamb

Dining at The Nest comes with a spectacular view as it overlooking the Master’s course. The rustic feel to the restaurant together with high ceiling and walls decorated with painting and pictures of legendary golfers, that will make golfers right at home.

Outdoor Seating

Part of the Dining Area

Overall, it was indeed a memorable dining experience. It is the first time that I tried the Nordic Christmas Dinner Flavours and I definitely recommend this to those who want to experience a unique Christmas celebration this year. Cheers!!

Festive Feast
When: 19 November to 27 December 2018 (Christmas)
            28 December 2018 to 6 January 2019 (New Year’s Day)
3 Course Christmas Set Lunch - $48++ per person
4 Course Christmas Set Dinner - $68++ per person
5 Course Christmas Set Dinner - $88++ per person

Christmas Set Lunch / Dinner Menu

3 Course New Year Set Lunch - $45++ per person
4 Course New Year Set Dinner - $75++ per person
For Reservation: Call +65 6248 1711, or email thenest@lagunanational.com
*For the group booking of 60 pax and above, please check out the menu at the end.

New Year Set Lunch & Dinner Menu

Festive Takeaways
When: 21 November to 25 December 2018
Advanced booking of 4 working days is required
For Reservation: Call +65 6248 1711, or email thenest@lagunanational.com

Festive Takeaway Menu

Food & Drink: 7.5/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: N/A (Media Invite)
Ambiance: 8.5 / 10
Budget per Person: $51 - $80; $81 and above.

The Nest
11 Laguna Golf Green
Laguna National
Singapore 488047

T: +65 6248 1711
Mon – Fri: 07.00 – 22.00 (Open to Public)
Sat & Sun: 07.00 – 22.00 (Advanced Reservation Needed)

Christmas Market Buffet Lunch and Dinner Menu for 60 pax

New Year Gala Dinner Buffet Menu for 60 pax

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Shabestan – Persian Green Month [MEDIA INVITE]

Sabzi Kebab @ Shabestan 

Shabestan is an authentic Persian restaurant located in Singapore riverfront district, Robertson Quay. Helmed by Executive Chef Hamid Hosseini, Shabestan served authentic Persian cuisine that combines premium halal lamb, beef, chicken, fish with Persian’s finest ingredients like saffron, olive oil, pomegranates, prunes, raisins and nuts.


To celebrate World Vegan Month, Shabestan launched a new vegetarian and vegan menu as part of its Persian Green Month. This special menu offers healthy, plant-based dishes for vegetarians and health-conscious diners. It is available until 15 December 2018.  

We started the tasting with Appetiser Platter ($35). Consist of Hummus, Homemade Cheese, Muhammara, Kashk-E-Bademjan, and Borani Esfanaaj; Served with Persian Bread ($3).

Appetiser Platter. From Left: Borani Esfanaaj, Kashk-E-Bademjan, Muhammara, Homemade Cheese and Hummus

The Persian Bread is just awesome. It is crisp, light, fragrant with a slight chewiness in it bodes well with all the appetizer. I like the homemade cheese (creamy with a touch of twang), Muhammara (bursting with flavour from roasted bell peppers and crunchy pomegranate) and Borani Esfanaaj (an aromatic mixture of fried onions and spinach) as they suit my palate.

Persian Bread

Shirazi Salad ($12), a combination of freshly chopped cucumber, tomatoes, onion and house dressing. It is crunchy, juicy and refreshing. The acidity in the house dressing is very strong, and it helps to open up your appetite. It is also good to consume with your main meal, as the acidity helps to balance any overwhelming flavour from the main meals.

Shirazi Salad

Dolma ($9), a stuffed mixture of rice, split yellow peas, savoury herbs used as a filling, wrapped with grapevine layers. Persian version of rice dumpling tasted like rice and peas wrapped in cassava leaves. Good for small bites, a prelude to the main meal.



Mirza Ghasemi With Egg ($25) - Northern Iranian grilled eggplant with garlic, tomatoes and spices. It also comes without Egg for Vegan. The eggplant is grilled and cooked until soft, infused with garlic, tomato and spices. The garlic flavour is very strong here, however, the sweetness from the fried onion and tomatoes really perk up this dish. I personally like to have it with Persian bread.

Mirza Ghasemi With Egg

Ghormeh Sabzi Vegetarian ($29) - A savoury medley of fresh herbs, cottage cheese cooked with red beans, sun-dried lime and fresh vegetables in Persian spices. It reminds me of Palak Paneer, the spinach and feta cheese in Indian cuisine. However, the version here is different, it is cooked for close to 4 hours, allowing it to extract the essence of the herbs. The cheese added a chewy texture and umami flavour to the dish. For me, it is definitely a “rice thief” dish.

Ghormeh Sabzi Vegetarian

Assorted Rice ($10 each), Baghala Polo (rice, lima beans & fresh dill); Zereshk Polo (wild barberries, fresh pomegranate and saffron flavoured basmati rice); Javaher Polo (basmati rice mixed with Persian nuts, berries & sun-dried orange peel).

Javaher Polo (Left); Zereshk Polo (Top); Baghala Polo (Right).

I like the Bagholo Polo as suitable to go with the savoury or main dishes, while the Zereshk Polo and Javaher Polo are more like a rice salad, due to the sweetness and nutty ingredients in the rice.

Sabzi Kebab ($25), served with Basmati Rice and Bagholo Polo. Chef's recipe charcoal grilled vegetarian kebab with seasonal fresh vegetables & homemade cottage cheese. The grilled vegetables are aromatic and nicely charred. The homemade cottage cheese is springy and delicious.

Sabzi Kebab

Dessert is Persian Saffron Ice Cream ($8). It is homemade with pistachio, cream and saffron. Not a straightforward pistachio ice cream, I feel the combination of cream and saffron are too strong for my liking.

Persian Saffron Ice Cream

Persian is known for their tea. I manage to try Persian Tea, served with saffron sugar. Fruity and aromatic tea, infused with mint leaves. The saffron sugar adds a touch of class in the tea.

Persian Tea with Saffron Sugar

True to its identity, Shabestan restaurant décor exudes Persian characters in each corner. You can be forgiven if you think you are dining in Persia instead of Singapore.

Part of Dining Area

Overall, the dishes in Shabestan have its own unique characteristic. Although some dishes might look similar to other Mediterranean restaurants, it definitely has a distinct taste. Don’t miss out on Persian Green Month at Shabestan. Cheers!!

Thank you very much to Shabestan’s Team and Catherine Ong’s Team for the tasting invitation.

Food & Drink: 7.75/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: N/A (Media Invite)
Ambiance: 8.5 / 10
Budget per Person: $11 - $25, $26, $50

80 Mohamed Sultan Road
The Pier @ Robertson
#01-13. Singapore 239013

T: +65 6836 1270
IG: @Shabestan.sg
Sun – Thu: 12.00 – Midnight (LO 23.00)
Fri, Sat and Eve PH: 12.00 – Midnight (LO 23.30)

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