Tanuki Raw Martini Bar

Fresh oysters are a common interest between GT and me. When we tried some of the best oysters ever from London’s Borough Market at £8 per six pieces, we agreed that paying any more would be excessive. The sad truth is, fresh oysters are never affordable. In Singapore, where there is no lack of oyster & champagne bars, even the most normal places sell at an average of $5 per piece. Which could amount to quite a fortune if you love your crustaceans as much as we do.

Well, those are all problems of the past now. Never again will we have to worry about the hefty bill guilt tripping us into eating less than we want to. I never thought it was possible, but yes, I have found cheap oysters. Is this a secret I want to share? No. But no one reads this blog anyway, right…

The place in question is Tanuki, located at Orchard Central. It is brought to you by the folks from Standing Sushi Bar, but a more modern contemporary jap cuisine arm. This place is fast becoming one of my favourite places in town for the very irresistible happy hour, which happens daily from 5-8pm. Get this, during this period, you get $10 cocktails and $1 oysters. Yup, fresh oysters flown in from Japan at $1 each. Too good to be true but I’ve tried and tested it and pinched myself twice. Definitely not dreaming.

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Plus, Tanuki is quite the celebrity hotspot too. During our visit, we spotted DJ weelikeme (Adrian Wee) and a contestant from that TV show Eye For A Guy. A little birdie also told me that model-cum-host Livv Lo frequents this place too. Not surprisingly, because Tanuki is modern, chic, serves good food and offers excellent service. Check out their very cute mascot below ‘letting it all hang out’ on the cover of the happy hour menu below. At their smoking corner, this same mascot is seen coolly puffing out smoke too.

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Food wise, definitely no complaints. Our dreams basically came true in that little restaurant. We ordered a dozen of Japanese oysters and they provided us with the usual lemon, red wine vinegar and tobasco sauce as dressing. They have many interesting concoctions on their sushi menu, so we tried a ‘Caveman’ which is beef sashimi with other stuff. It was great. Check out their set lunches too, which go at a reasonable $12-15 for a don, soup and drink.

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As for the cocktails, which is my favourite thing to talk about, I give them props. GT and I decided to go for classic favourites that evening. I picked an ‘old-fashioned’ and he went for a ‘manhattan’. They even asked GT whether he liked his ‘manhattan’ dry, perfect or sweet. I found that very thoughtful. We were both very impressed by his chosen dry ‘manhattan’ when it arrived. They filled the martini glass almost to the brim, and it was smooth with a kick. I made a wrong choice with the ‘old-fashioned’, as I realized that I do not like having bitters in my drink. Alas, I still felt a slight buzz when I finished my drink. $10 for quality cocktails, I think you know where to find me after work/school now.

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This brings the question, how do they make money? Definitely from the drinks that they make you buy, because you can only get $1 oysters with the purchase of a cocktail. Cheap as the cocktail might be, they are still making money from charging you 10 bucks. And also oysters will not fill you up, you always end up ordering more than you set out to. That’s the thing with jap food, it’s so appetizing.

I’ll be back.

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Tanuki Raw
Orchard Central £02-03
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Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day this year was quiet and quaint. GT surprised me at my place at 7 in the morning and we went our separate ways for school stuff in the afternoon, but reconverged for dinner when he surprised me again with a bouquet of flowers before an entire audience at a bus stop (aww..), and we wined and dined.

Here’s me outside IN ITALY (the restaurant we dined at) with the flowers, and another one of the two of us along Keong Saik Road.

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After bringing the flowers back I gave them a new home. I was trying my best to keep them alive but my fingers aren’t that green after all, no surprise. So I told GT we should get a plant together! It’s a lot more meaningful because we can grow it and keep it. And it’s a lot more rewarding to watch it bear fruit than watching roses die. So we are going to make a trip down to Bollywood Veggies and find ourselves an organic plan

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Steph & Ging’s Infinite Bar List 3

Today my friend asked me why I’m posting so many pictures of myself up here. Am I mistaking this for Instagram? I realized I should stick to what this blog was made for. So I’m going to do one of those classic infinite bar lists right now.

The Library
47 Keong Saik Road

You must have heard of The Library by now, it is the bar that requires a password for entry. Some people complain that it is gimmicky and exclusive. But it’s just a very simple marketing strategy at the end of the day. Their password is always posted as a status on their Facebook page. So essentially they just want you to check back constantly for updates. There was one week when the password was about the newest dish on the menu at Keong Saik Snacks. Now we all know about that don’t we? Their scheme worked.

I’m also not dissing on their password gimmick because I’m head over heels in love with this place. I’ve learnt that the best seat at a bar is always at the bar counter where you watch the bartenders in action. These bartenders are serious about their drinks and really know what they are doing. Organized, orderly and in the zone. They are generous with the alcohol, use high quality ingredients and are really detailed about the presentation. It was impressive.

There was one drink I ordered that came with a banana note (currency used in WW2 in Singapore) laminated and used as a coaster. Of course, their most distinctive and signature drink is the rubber ducky drink that comes in a mini bath tub with a floating rubber ducky inside, meant to be shared among four. It’s gin based, and I usually don’t drink anything besides whisky so this was a change. But wow it was so good. If you can’t take ginger though, you might want to tell the bartender to tone the spice down by a notch.

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The decor at this place was private, dim and classy. But the funny thing is they manage all of that WHILE being young and quirky too. That’s one reason why I’m taking more to this place than 28 HKS, another top choice.

I need and want to go back again. And given that there are so many bars in Singapore, a repeat visit to any one shows how good it is!

Cufflink Club
6 Jiak Chuan Road

This is just a few steps away from The Library, but worlds apart in terms of standards. I suspect that the rejects from The Library usually end up at Cufflink Club out of convenience and resignation. The bar is pretty open, you can just walk in and plop down on a seat and no waiter would notice you. When I ordered, it tasted diluted and watered down. I paid waaaay too much for what I got.

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View the Infinite Bar List 1 here, and part 2 here.

CNY Day 3

I had a CNY party at home the other day, and invited a few friends over. Since I was already home anyway, I decided to go big and dress up. Cheongsams are too mainstream, so I had to wear a red kebaya. Cheesy picture below.

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CNY Day 2: Lucking Out

Second day of the CNY holiday was a bit more eventful. After drinking with friends the previous night, it sucked to have to wake up early. But lunch at Hua Ting was good. My fortune cookie advised me to buy 2424 for 4D. I’ll just check the results tomorrow and decide how I want to feel about this.

On second thought though, my luck today wasn’t too bad. I went to the casino at Marina Bay Sands for a New Year’s gamble, and walked out with a net gain of $12.50 and a big smile plastered on my face. Gambling for Singaporeans in Singapore is really stressful (especially for poor students like me). The $100 entry levy really does it job because it is a huge and expensive deterring factor. The minimum bid for blackjack is $25 (wtf?) and there were only two of such tables. I bought in at $100 which would give me only 4 hands (or 4 minutes) in the worst case scenario.

To make a commitment to gamble, I had to be very sure I was going to win back at least $200, or lose at least $200. The latter is a scary thought. I was very close to that and it was very very depressing. That’s why I packed up and left once I had $212.50 worth of chips on hand. I love the thrill and all, but I suspect my wallet does not feel the same way.

Later on in the night we popped a bottle of champagne and ooh la la. It’s a wrap!

Below is what I wore today. I scored this Moschino Cheap & Chic dress at a major discount, one of my best bargains ever!

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What to do on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day is just around the corner. If you’re still fretting over where to go on this overpriced holiday, I’ve done the work for you. Well actually I did it for myself but I’ll share notes.

Firstly, any holiday is an alcoholiday. You can figure out what to eat yourself. I’ll skip the niceties and get to the good part. Where should you drink after dinner?

On this occasion, cocktail bars would seem too “hipster” and less “romantic”. Besides, cocktails are tiny, expensive, and you’ll be done even before you can say “happy valentines day”. You need something substantial enough so you can mull over it, enjoy the ambience of the places I’m about to recommend to you, and the guy/girl on your arm.

My proposition is for you to pop a bottle of champagne on this wonderful night. I can’t think of a better occasion to have this celebratory drink. To quote the lovers’ dictionary,

“The thing about champagne,” you say, unfoiling the cork, unwinding the wire restraint, “is that is the ultimate associative object. Every time you open a bottle of champagne, it’s a celebration, so there’s no better way of starting a celebration than opening a bottle of champagne. Every time you sip it, you’re sipping from all those other celebrations. The joy accumulates over time.”

Also, this is gonna keep you busy (buzzed) for a good couple of hours too.

Here’s where you might want to check out:

Level 33 – I love this place! It’s more of a gourmet brewery actually, a very posh one. On the 33rd floor of Marina Bay Financial Centre, there’s even a private lift that takes you directly to its doorstep. Make sure to get a seat outside because it faces the Marina Bay area and you don’t want to miss this view. From $148 for champagne.

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Catalunya – Classy and luxurious in the most unpretentious way. Perfect location with stunning views. I like the bar seats that face the Marina Bay. Expensive though, prices from $180 for champagnes as they only carry select high-end ones, mostly vintage. The cocktails here are a more affordable alternative and worth a try too.

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One Altitude – Needs no introduction. From $150.

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Kinki – My research to find more affordable champagnes at equally kick ass bars led me to Kinki. Just a stone’s throw away from Catalunya, but they carry $100 champagnes.

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New Asia Bar – $135

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Loof – $130

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Straits Wine Co – $85

Thanks for reading, and have a good one 🙂