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23 Oct 2015

IMPRESSIONS (墨韵) by Lim Tze Peng Exhibition (Ode To Art)

I had the privilege to meet a local renowned artist Lim Tze Peng who celebrated his 95th birthday with IMPRESSIONS (墨韵)! It was a grand showcase of his 95 masterpieces at Ode To Art gallery located at Raffles City Shopping Center, #01-36 E/F . Being a cultural medallion awardee, Lim began practising calligraphy since young and achieved a stylistic breakthrough of abstract calligraphy once he had a strong foundation of it.

I don't count myself as an art lover to begin with. To appreciate art, it is said that it takes time to cultivate, not a sudden overnight thing. For me, I am still starting to appreciate art since art is a medium to showcase one's emotion as well as individuality. I could see a consistency in Lim's style across all of his paintings. 

Lim rose to fame for his Chinese ink artworks of Chinatown and the Singapore River in the early 1980s. Since I am a 1990s' baby, his works helped me to visualise the urban landmarks, developments and scenes during that era. I appreciate such form of retrospect which I would never have a chance to witness and experience.

Since I am a foodie, I am particularly attracted to paintings that usually showcase the bustling marketplace, food streets or even stalls. Take the 'Duck Rice Stall' below for example. A simple scene with shophouses in the backdrop that once existed from the past and lost in the present. It portrays a simple makeshift-looking stall with patchwork shelters and people whose livelihood depended on it. As I looked closer, I see minimal outline of stocks and utensils needed to run the stall. The image lured me closer to observe each little details, yet the dull historic tones acts like a barrier, reminding me that it was all in the past. From a kampong village to a first-world country.

Duck Rice Stall (Ink on Paper)
144 x 179cm 

My Neighbourhood (Ink on Paper)
142 x 179 cm
Morning Markets (Ink on Paper)
 200 x 228 cm

Abstract Calligraphy
 ''When I write, impressions of paintings form in my mind'' - Lim Tze Peng

People might be stunned by some of his painting styles which has multiple Chinese characters seen overlapping each other. Lim prefer to emphasise on the expressiveness and elegance of strokes rather than the meanings of these characters. It is his stylistic breakthrough of abstract calligraphy which I myself heard for the first time, also known as 糊塗字.

I start to imagine myself looking at a painting instead of Chinese characters. Art has no right or wrong to me, just how each of us interpret each painting individually. My first image that materialized was a plantation. It might be due to greenish brown background. I see crops semi harvested, some left to decay as they were left alone. Towards the right middle of the painting, I must have spotted a house...

How about you? 

Abstract Calligraphy 2

Fishermen Along the Seashore (Ink on Paper)
100 x 105 cm

I was staring at one of the largest and most eye catching painting in the gallery. The light brownish tones produced the same historic feeling that was felt across most of his paintings. The feeling of wanting to be there, strolling across the same river which our forefathers had once walked through. That feeling was surreal.  

Feel free to visit IMPRESSIONS (墨韵) by Lim Tze Peng Exhibition. It would be great to view some historical moments as well as modern calligraphy.

Date: 13 Oct - 30 Nov 2015
Time: 11am - 9pm (Sun - Thur) ; 12 noon - 10pm (Fri - Sat)
Venue: Ode to Art Raffles City Gallery
Free Entry  

15 Oct 2015

The Dwelling Place X Karafuru Desserts

 Yay great! I need not crack my brain to think of where to have my dinner since the destination has already been set by my friend. My friend is the type who usually hunt for cafés that open its doors in less than a month or even a few days old. His aim is simply to help these new outlets gain awareness via his social media posts. As for me, I would prefer to visit an established outlet.
That day, despite the distance from Farrer Park Mrt, we made our way to The Dwelling Place. It was surprising to find 2 more cafes along that same stretch of road. The first thing that caught my attention was the spiral staircase. Photos were allowed on the stairs only since the second floor was not accessible to public. Here goes a couple of shots!

I ordered the brown rice pumpkin risotto with crispy pumpkin chips and silverfish. Slightly bland, healthy nevertheless and I felt like I was eating baby food since it was mildly sweet and porridge-like.
My friend had the pasta with shredded chicken breast. It was a bit bland to him too... 
The ambience was perfect to chill while the service staff was extremely friendly, knowledgeable and polite! Thumbs up!!!! 

After our meal, we walked to Karafuru for our desserts! Not an advisable walking distance I would say since I was perspiring slightly by the time I reached the outlet. 
The interior was brightly lit up and 'white-washed'. I preferred the opposite contrast. The place was really packed and sad to say, with the remaining 2 options of éclair left, we took the Yuzu. The coating of the marzipan had a shiny gloss with distinct almond taste (obviously since it was marzipan). The custard was thick and firm.  
I actually jokingly asked the staff why the interior is white, after she mentioned that Karafuru meant colourful in Japanese. Must be their desserts and their namecards! Another thing I fancied was their utensils. Forks, spoons as well as their knives were all made of wood. I love wood, maybe not when it touches my tongue. 

After a bit of debate, we finally ended up with the Hanami Parfait which consisted of several of these components - Fast-to-melt and milky vanilla soft serve, dango balls, sakura biscuit, cookie base, vanilla pudding, red berries, corn flakes look-a-like crunch, a sakura-flavoured light sponge cake as well as a little jug of diluted strawberry sauce to pour over.  
It seems like I visit cafés only once if not twice due to the steep price tags these days. A warm gathering with friends would be the only factor that could distract me for a moment before feeling the pinch of the price tag once again. Oh well...


6 Oct 2015

Sunday Garden Party at Barnacles By The Sea (Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa)

I could already hear shouts of excitement and splashing sounds even before I caught sight of the uniquely shaped pool. Rows of beach chairs lined up along the curves, mostly laying with adults sun tanning and relaxing while their children were happily taking a dip. The lively atmosphere tempted me to strip and jump into the pool with a splash as well! Besides the pool, there were also children slides, splash pad, all complimentary access as part of the Sunday Garden Party at Barnacles By The Sea. 

While making my way to Barnacles By The Sea after being wowed by the architectural design of the resort, I met a 3-foot long monitor lizard which I later learned from the chefs that it was a regular customer of this place. Don't be afraid, it is harmless.
As I entered the spacious restaurant, my eyes were already darting towards the buffet spread. I caught sight of the fresh seafood section, attention seeking reddish hues from their shells as well as a containment of juicy-big shucked oysters on ice. Needless to say, this section was definitely the most popular among us!

As for me, I was quite inclined and impressed with the garde manger (cold dishes) section. The variety and quality of ingredients used was quite impressive I would say. Sushi, poached eggs with runny yolk, white/green asparagus with feta cheese, mozzarella cheese with tomatoes, sweet melon wrapped with parma ham, chilled crab meat, cold cuts, cold tomato soup and raw salmon related dishes. (Just some of the dishes that I actually remembered.) Of course not forgetting the salad section that contributed to the vibrant colours. 


Don't miss the gourmet cheese selections imported from France! Bread sticks, fruits, nuts, sliced baguette and lavosh all set up and ready to compliment your cheese.

You definitely would not want to miss the feio gras terrine which I had, spread across a slice of baguette since the liver taste was a little overwhelming for me to eat it on its own.

I also had my fun decorating my salmon slice with colourful roes of salmon and sturgeon (caviars).

After a few rounds of garde manger, I finally decided to explore the other stations. Surprisingly there was a children's section where they had pasta, fried finger food as well as broccoli cupcakes?? An interesting way to get kids to have their greens! I almost laugh out loud (LOL).  

 I spotted the coffee and tea section as well! Biscotti and cookies available to go with your drinks? Anyway, I was satisfied with my glass of freshly squeezed orange juice while the rest had their alcoholic fill of white wine.

The mains were stationed outdoors but I was almost full from all the appetisers. Go ahead to try the Indian spread if you were more adventurous than me since I usually stick to my preference or comfort food. I tried the Peking duck, roast chicken, beef steak (well done by default) as well as lamb (medium rare by default). Ala minute pasta as well as soup of the day available too!

After stuffing myself silly with food and getting a little full, taking a walk around the place would definitely be a good idea, especially when the surrounding is greenery and seaside. Just outside the restaurant there would be a magic show going on, with the magician performing enthustically in front of a group of kids. 
Balloon sculpting session is also available for kids! Check out the reaction of happy kids with balloons shaped like dogs or flowers. Also not forgetting the 3-men team of musicians performing in house while I enjoyed my meal.

The dessert section consisted of cut fruits, a 4-tier chocolate fondue, whole cakes, kuehs, macarons as well as mousse in petite cups. Yup, I tried everything as usual, including 5 scopes of ice cream from 'Gelato' brand (5 out of 8 types of flavours). Vanilla, raspberry cheesecake, cotton candy, pandan and passion fruit. For pandan, I felt that the taste was too overwhelming and artificial while the 'passion fruit' was actually pink guava dominant. The rest fared quite decent.

The buffet is every Sunday from 12 noon to 3pm and free parking on a first come first serve basic. Why not just take a stroll along the coastal line right outside Barnacles itself and not fret over your parking fees. Nice scenery, great place for a selfie/ootd as well as a great way to allow your food to slowly digest in your tummy after your buffet!
The Sunday Garden Party at Barnacles By The Sea is available at S$138++ per adult.
One child below 12 years dines free with every paying adult and additional S$28++ applies for each additional child (including free flow soft drinks and juices). (Include pool access.)
This offer ends at 15 Dec 2015.
For reservation or enquiries, please call (65) 6371 1966.

Thank you Hungrygowhere via Alvin Tan for the tasting invite as well as Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa for the hosting.