Wednesday, October 07, 2015

'19th' Birthday - Dolphins, Dazzling Cafe and Pollen at Gardens by The Bay, Singapore

So, I turned 19th last month! :)

September has always been an exceptionally exciting month and even more so this year because one of my longest time bff had her wedding last month too! But as usual, work had kept me very preoccupied since I was working the rest of the month to made up for all the leaves and off I had.

I spent my birthday in Singapore this year. Pretty bad timing now but it was pre planned so we just went ahead anyways.

Midnight surprise!Really love the cake and the surprise
This cake is so awfully, sinfully delicious. The chocolate is super rich and the strawberries balanced out the sweetness just right. In fact, it has the taste of Ferrero Rocher chocolates I wonder if they use the same type of hazelnut chocolate. And if you look close enough, you can actually see gold sprinkles all over the cake. Tasted so seriously good I ate a few slices even though it was in the middle of the night!
We drove into Singapore the next morning and the peak hour morning traffic was no joke. Dolphins are one of my favourite sea mammal and I had always wanted to get up close with them. The nearest we could get to do so is at Dolphin Lagoon, Underwater World Singapore. Thus, we were pretty excited when we knew that Dolphin Lagoon have the pink dolphins and decided to join their 'Swim with Dolphins' programme.

It felt really fantastic being finally able to touch and swim with the pink dolphins in flesh! As a bonus, we also got to cuddle the fur seal. I don't mean to complain here but I guessed for the benefit of anyone who might be interested in future, I think the whole thing is rather overprice.

Firstly, they should had been more efficient in handling their booking and payment online since they required all participants to do booking and payment in advance. There was not even a confirmation email from their side until we had to call in personally to confirm the status of our booking and payment.

Secondly, since the programme is promoted as 'Swim with the Dolphins', they should allow us to swim at least 1 minute or a full round with the dolphins!! I mean, come on, they mentioned that the whole programme will be about 30 minutes to an hour and you will expect some good time spent swimming with the dolphins but NOPE. You get to do a few things with the dolphins including photography and touching them but the swimming part is only about 30 seconds and at most 1 meter distance!!! Even the time for touching and getting up close was just a few minutes. How disappointing and how smart of them to not mention the actual time of swimming on their website or during inquiry. Like seriously, Underwater World, Singapore? I felt kinda duped in the end because the main reason we joined was to swim with the dolphins as advertised but they filled us up with all other activities with a mere few seconds of REAL SWIMMING with the dolphins. Ethically, they should have just name their programme 'Hanging out with the Dolphins' instead to avoid 'cheating' the feelings of people like me who had high hopes of at least spending 5 minutes of real swimming with the cute dolphins! They might be worry participants will hurt the dolphins if given too long a time but the guides are there so they can just stop the participants at any point in time if they think the dolphins are being hurt, no?  

Dolphin Lagoon. Sadly, we only got to swim like 1/10th of the pool with the dolphins
The main reason for our participation, hence 2 photos! So, we were taught how to hold on to the dolphins to swim with them and it was really exhilarating :)
OMG, pink dolphin love
Oh yes, we also got to cuddle the fur seal
And carry her. Oh my, despite looking small in size, this adorable fellow is pretty heavy

Well, despite the disappointing relatively short time spent with the dolphins, it was still a pretty pleasant and great morning with these highly intelligent and lovable mammals. They are just too cute to not love them. Since the 'swim with dolphins' pass also includes the Underwater World pass, we went there after our dolphins rendezvous. It's been years since my last visit to the Underwater World but it felt like it hasn't change a bit.
Finding nemo
I could just pass this off as a diving shot! hehe
It is true that anything that is pretty underwater is definitely dangerous
The underwater tunnel
The only thing separating us is that piece of glass
Oh boy, why are you so huge?
A dark spotted stingray
Do you dare to look down? It's 181 meters above ground
View of Sentosa Island from the Fort Siloso skywalk. It started raining heavily the minute we reached the skywalk
A must take touristy shot at the skywalk

By the time we were done with the skywalk, we were famished from the morning activities. We did not want a heavy lunch hence we thought we go try out one of the latest craze in town, Dazzling Cafe, a Taiwanese cafe that recently opened it's first outlet at Capitol Piazza. I guessed either the craze for it has died down a little now or we were past lunch time as there was no need for a queue. Lucky us! 
This must be one of the most pretty waffle I had ever seen. As pretty as it looks, it tasted pretty awesome too especially the strawberry ice cream. I realized, the ice cream is really hard to melt as despite all the time taken for #foodography, it still did not melt one bit. You can determine if you want your waffle more soft or crispy and we went for the crispier version as it goes better with ice cream. There are also 3 types of sweeteners to go with the waffle but my favourite is still the classic maple syrup. Aside from the cream (me no cream fan), this waffle is certainly worth the try
Instead of their classic honey toast, we went for this cheddar cheese danish honey toast. It tasted very good with the melting cheese over the buttery toast and definitely big portion enough to be shared by two
Aside from their toast and waffles, their spaghetti is delish too. We tried their pan seared duck breast spaghetti in orange mustard sauce and HT loves it. The orange reduction gave it a tinge of sweet and sour and it's not too creamy nor too sour
Yummy yum yum

The food at Dazzling Cafe are certainly not cheap. Their toasts are like SGD 18.90 to 19.90 one but they are large enough to be shared and are not only photogenic, but satisfying for the taste bud as well. As Capitol Piazza is newly refurbised, you might not find it on the GPS yet and for some unknown reason, it's address is also unreliable on the GPS (yeah put in 15 Stamford Road on your GPS and it will lead you somewhere else seriously), so you can try searching for Capitol Building or theatre instead!

Dazzling Cafe,
15 Stamford Road,
#01-85, Capitol Piazza
178906 Singapore
Tel : +65-6384 3310

We met up with the family for a charming evening at the Gardens by the Bay. We were there around 7pm, just in time to enjoy the final light of dusk. Those were the good days when there wasn't any haze to make the sky grey all the time.
Supertrees at the Silver Garden. The supertrees, made up of more than 162, 900 plants and 200 species are indeed a spectacular view and especially pretty at night with the lights lit up 
Still can't get enough of these gorgeous supertrees
And a last one

Of course, our ultimate intention that night was dinner at Pollen, housed in the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay. Fortunately, there is shuttle service provided from the visitor centre right up to the doorstep of the restaurant as it is quite a long walk in and it would had been aching especially for us ladies in those killer heels. 

Diners at the restaurant gets complimentary admission to the Flower Dome too. We decided to tour the Flower Dome first before dinner as the dome closes at 9pm. Besides, the sight of all those pretty flowers pre conditioned our appetite to be better, making the food taste more appetizing later.
Beautiful white orchids!
More of them beautiful white orchids
The sight of this gives me the Christmas vibe already

Once back at the restaurant, we were promptly seated. I was impressed with how efficient and friendly their staffs are but at the same time, as a fine dining restaurant, I suppose they are train to be professional. I'm not particularly a huge fan of fine dining because there are just too many fine dining etiquette to observe, but I definitely would not mind being pampered once in a while especially in a classy and unique glass dome surrounded by alluring flowers and an excellent view of the Singapore Flyer while enjoying my meal.
Happy birthday to me :)
Instead of wine, mum had like this craving for latte and Pollen actually has it
We waited kinda long (almost an hour) before dinner was served. Thankfully, in the meantime we got these starters and appetizers to fill us up. This is complimentary mini macarons with cream cheese. Very distinctive way of presentation, no?
This is complimentary as well. Not too sure what is it but it's a combination of some nuts with herbs and crackers
Complimentary mini steam buns
Crisp baguette and their special butter. Seriously, their special butter is really special. I love how it has a tinge of cheese in them 

They mised out on the starter we ordered but since we were partially filled with all their complimentary appetizers, it was probably a blessing in disguise.
Our first main of the day was this incredible 1kg large 36 days old Stockyard tomahawk, large enough to be shared among the 3 of us! It was done medium rare and the prime-aged steak was really tender and juicy. We were really stoked by the taste of it
Dad went for this BBQ Iberico pork chop with baby leek, chicory, apple and sage polenta which tasted savory and well done
Mum's wild NZ Ling was fresh and succulent
Sis went for her favourite Norwegian salmon poached in jasmine tea served with truffle gnochi, brown butter, broccolini, orange and capers which makes the taste somewhat exclusive
Our sides of tenderstem broccoli in sesame dressing. Honestly, if you think this looks like a kailan, it is because it actually really is. We later found out that the tenderstem broccoli is literally a cross between kailan and broccoli!
The duck fat chips are really fat, huge and satisfying
Fragrant and rich cauliflower gratin with truffle oil
Being a fan of peach, I went for this roasted peach with chamomile, ginger, granola and yogurt for dessert. Simply refreshing!
Lastly, some pineapple, coconut candies and white chocolates to end the meal. This is a plate of intense sweetness
The very cosy and romantic  interior of Pollen

We also found out that the chefs at Pollen actually hand picked their own vegetables and herbs fresh from their herbs garden as ingredients for their dishes every morning. Hence, you can imagine the freshness of their vegetables and herbs. It was definitely a very delightful birthday dinner with awesome food and the most wonderful company in such an appealing restaurant. 

Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay,
18 Marina Gardens DRive #01-09
Singapore 018953
Tel : +65 6604 9988

I also met up with my lovely girlfriends and we had the most amazing time, celebrating our dear Shirlyn's hens night at well.  

I love these girls to the moon and back 
Cheers to our bride-to-be!
Girls just wanna have fun. It is always fun time hanging out with these girls
Incredible food and quality time with the girls at PS Cafe, Dempsey Hill 
What's a birthday without presents? Haha!
No, it's not a Chanel handbag but more beauty products to keep me pretty! :)

I certainly had the most awesome birthday weekend in Singapore, all thanks to the family and my girls, filled with plenty of laughter and crazy memories. This year, I'm more grateful than ever to be able to celebrate this day in good health with all my closest loves. I'm thankful that I had been given so much opportunities to explore and learn for the past one year. Thanks to everyone of you who remembered and dropped me even a simple birthday wish. I really appreciate your sweet thought. Turning another year wiser would not had been so meaningful if not for the love of you lovely people.  

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