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Archive for September, 2015

An hour away from Singapore lies Montigo Resorts in Batam, a sprawling architectural expanse of white against the deep blue waters of South China Sea. The nearest ferry terminal is Nongsapura Ferry Terminal and it takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (Singapore) to Nongsapura Ferry Terminal (Nongsa), easy! There is even 2-way complimentary land transfers from Nongsapura Ferry Terminal to Montigo Resorts and back.

Moving around the resort is a breeze through the on-site buggy service, simply call and you will be picked up!

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There are four types of villas – hilltop villa (highest viewpoint at the resort’s crest), hillside villa (between hilltop and seafront), seafront villa (unobstructed view of the sea), and spa villa (with private cabana). Most villas have the same structural layout so whichever you pick, it will be a safe choice!

Our hillside villa comes with a private sea facing infinity plunge pool (K totally maximized the use of it lol), master bedroom complete with king-size canopy bed, large modern bathing area with natural skylight, guest bedroom with two single beds, rooftop dining terrace (very Santorini-ish!) and a living room/kitchenette with basic facilities.

I didn’t want to step out at all!

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On second thoughts, it’s such a waste to stay indoors all day and not explore the resort further. We opted for a fishing trip and it was so fun! The staff was really patient and genuinely wanted us to have a good time. Although it was our first fishing experience, I got lucky and caught two snappers, score! #lunchsettled

Other water activities include wake boarding, water skiing or mangrove tour and firefly sighting for a more laid back excursion.

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With the fresh fish in hand, we headed to the kitchen of TIIGO beach club to prepare an Indonesian home-style lunch of gado gado and grilled snapper. On a side note, TIIGO’s a la carte menu features typical bar bites, tapas and sandwiches. The seafood medley of soy infused scallops, tuna carpaccio on watermelon and mahi-mahi ceviche is worth a try but avoid the club sandwich unless you like dry roast beef and smoked chicken breast.

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With our tummies full, it’s time for our favourite activity – spa!!! We are huge fans of spa and massage (imagine going for massage sessions at least twice a day in Bangkok, that’s us!) so we were looking forward to this the most. The Montigo Spa has rustic little Sumatran huts acquired exclusively for the resort, with a steam bath and plunge pools – the latter perfect to lounge, wade or simply cool off in.

Other than massages, the comprehensive spa menu also offers facials, body wraps, scrubs, and even medi/pedicure! It was difficult to choose as I wanted to do everything ha. In the end we picked the “Montigo Signature Revival Journey for Him & Her” consisting of a refreshing facial, moisturizing scrub, firming wrap and traditional massage. That is 3 hours of pure bliss, my friends. Highly recommended!

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Time to feast again ha. For dinner, we had private dining at a section off the main restaurant. Honestly it felt kind of weird and I think in-villa dining may be a better option! The chef put together a special menu for us – seared scallop, tuna nicoise salad, thick and chunky cream of mushroom (omg this was unexpectedly good!!), snapper with prawns, beef tenderloin and sago malacca with palm sugar, creme anglaise and vanilla ice cream. I was more impressed with the service than food – professional, intrusive and so friendly!

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An all day dining spot, TADD’S is the place to go for breakfast the next morning. The buffet spread has lots of local delights from pastries and kuehs to noodles and prata. What caught our eyes from the a la carte menu was the traditional tahu tek – a delicious dish of tofu and egg omelette, carrot, cucumber, spinach salad and black peanut sauce. I was kicking myself for not ordering it the day before! Besides Asian selection, there is also Western comfort cuisine in the form of eggs hemingway (smoked salmon with perfect poached eggs on english muffin) and the signature beef burger!

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Our special thanks to Montigo Resorts for organizing this trip!

Montigo Resorts Nongsa
Jalan Hang Lekir, Nongsa, Batam
Kepulauan Riau 29465, Indonesia
+62 778 7768888

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Violet Herbs is too… Purple.

Seriously, I’ve never seen a more purplish restaurant before.

Disturbing colour theme aside, the food is pretty good, and the affordable price tag is another plus. The Modern European menu offers easy-to-like choices – I couldn’t decide on the roasted chilean seabass or red miso cod so K suggested that I get both, score! The former is delicious with soft and fatty flaky meat; the latter can do with less miso but still very agreeable to my palate, all thanks to the lovely buttery texture and plump eggplant coated with almond on the side. My seafood choices fare better than K’s grilled tenderloin – slightly overcooked (errr, he eats it rare…) so that’s a shame. For dessert, get the decadent nutella bar! It’s as good as it sounds, only if you are a chocolate/nutella fan.

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Roasted Chilean Seabass ($32++)
saffron mushroom ragout, truffle egg fluid, kabanyaki lobster sauce, shiso cress

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Marinated Red Miso Cod ($33++)
roasted pumpkin puree, almond eggplant, mix herbs

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Char Grilled Tenderloin ($42++)
grain fed 120 days, herb potatoes, sauteed baby spinach, onion thyme reduction

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Nutella Bar ($12++)
strawberry coulis, nutella tuile, pearl chocolate, bailey ice cream

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Violet Herbs
81 Tras Street
6221 3988

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Korean food is not high on my list of preferred cuisine but Joo Bar is an exception only because it serves modern Korean bites, thankfully nothing too traditional, phew. Oh, and also because I really like makgeolli! Meaning ‘alcohol’ in Korean, ‘Joo’ is the first in Singapore to brew its signature makgeolli and the makgeolli sampler is the best way to taste-test this cloudy and light-bodied 6-8% ABV rice wine. Out of the five different flavours, my favourite is the tangy yuzu makgeolli, so good when it’s icy cold!

On to the food now. Creative starters such as the baby eel paper and house-made tofu chips sound tempting on paper. The former was a dangerous snack – I polished it off easily with the makgeolli in hand! The cracker-like tofu chips tasted nothing like tofu hmm, and the shrimp avocado salad was heavy on mayo and salt. Luckily that meant I had more stomach space for the delicious seafood risotto and soft tofu stew! If generous portions of carbs and soup ain’t comfort food, I don’t know what is ha. One of the recommended meat dishes is the slow roasted mangalitsa pork belly (I liken that to the meat version of otoro? LOL) but mom said it’s “ok, too fatty” so it’s a love-or-hate dish, I suppose.

Dessert is straightforward – there is bingsu but sadly unavailable so tiramisu it is! Very very moist and I love that they use makgeolli in it too!

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Makgeolli Sampler Set ($35++)
original, yuzu, lychee, strawberry, passionfruit

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Baby Eel Paper ($14++)
deep fried baby eel, chilli salt, lime zest

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Tofu Chips ($14++)
guacamole, kimchi salsa, cucumber

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Shrimp & Avocado Salad ($14++)
hass avocado, tiger shrimp, miso mayo dressing

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Slow Roasted Mangalitsa Belly ($32++)
thick cut mangalitsa pork belly, onion, garlic, dijon mustard, spring onion salad

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Seafood Gochujang Risotto ($24++)
shrimp, black mussel, clam, squid, red pepper paste cream sauce

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Seafood Soft Tofu Stew ($24++)
black mussel, clam, shrimp, squid, egg

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Joo Tiramisu ($12++)
mascarpone, shaved dark chocolate, cocoa powder, korean raspberry wine, makgeolli

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Special thanks to Cherry for arranging dinner!

Joo Bar
5 Tan Quee Lan Street
8138 1628

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I’m guilty of associating drinking holes with bar grub, i.e. mediocre food. Which is why Harry’s new menu created by culinary director Chef Daniel Sia (from The Disgruntled Chef!) is such a pleasant surprise. Hits for me from the comprehensive menu include the fried fish skin (so addictive that I shamelessly hogged this), delectable golden brown crab and potato cakes (very smart of them to print “crab and potato” instead of “crab cakes” so that expectations are managed), and the sinful rum-spiked baked chocolate cake served with vanilla ice cream and raspberry bits! Other than these, K really liked the signature spicy wings too, as well as the hearty beef stroganoff pasta. The premium lager battered fish and chips were rather disappointing; the generous pieces of fish looked perfect but the one on my plate was too oily. Then there are the average dishes – charcoal and onion ciabatta bread (essentially carbs to fill the stomach) and mushroom flatbread (more carbs), skippable.

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Fish Cracklings
fish skin tossed with in-house spice mix, served with aioli

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Charcoal & Onion Ciabatta
served with imam bayildi (turkish eggplant dip) and marinated olives

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Harry’s Signature Wings
crispy wings dressed in a secret spice served with homemade chilli jam

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Crab & Potato Cakes
blue swimmer crab and potato cakes with a light crunch, served with sriracha tomato dip

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Mushroom & Truffle Oil Flatbread
crisp flatbread with garlic mayo, field mushrooms and truffle oil

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Harry’s Beer Battered Fish & Chips
fresh hake fillet with exclusive harry’s premium lager batter, served with mushy peas, raisin coleslaw and chips

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Beef Stroganoff
smoky grilled beef and penne pasta in creamy sauce with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese

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Sticky Date Toffee Pudding
served warm with toffee sauce and topped with vanilla ice cream

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My thanks to Hsian Ming for hosting dinner!

Harry’s Bar
#01-01, 3D River Valley Road
6338 7331

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