Tokyo Coffee Diary (ii)

Continuing from where I left off the last time...

[I am ashamed to say that this is almost four months late, and unfortunately my memory is fuzzy and my descriptions are not going to be as on point as they were for part (i) (here!), but I will try to recall everything as best as I can.]

6. Paddlers Coffee

So this was a chance visit. It was the kind of place on my coffee list but not on my 'die-die-must-go' list, but when my mom and I walked past it one sunny morning in Shibuya, we decided to check it out. I feel as though we spotted it by a stroke of luck; a little flag hanging off the side of a wall; a stand on the floor that said 'Paddlers Coffee'. Paddlers' is the only place outside of the USA that serves Stumptown Coffee, and having followed Stumptown's Instagram for quite a while, I was undeniably rather excited. 

Tucked in the corner on the second floor of a rather indie-looking shop (Todd Snyder, never heard of it until that day), Paddlers is tiny; unassuming even. Here, they only offer filter coffee, and you have a choice of three regions - Latin America, Africa and Indonesia - and a blend. We had the Indonesia, which came under the barista's recommendation as the "least acidic coffee" of the three. 

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As it was my first time having proper filter coffee, I didn't quite know what to expect. The Indonesia was pleasant; earthy and dark. The coffee had a light mouthfeel, and I wondered if it was too diluted. That aside, it was quite refreshing. I felt a little bad though, as they didn't have any milk on them and my mom doesn't like her coffee black! We later found that they had recently opened a new branch that serves espresso in Nishihara, so if that's more your style, you can head there instead. 

Paddlers' Coffee
Todd Snyder Townhouse, 6-18-14, Jingumae, Shibuya-Ku
Nearest Station: Shibuya Station/Harajuku Station
Open 11am-7pm daily

2-26-5 Nishihara, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Yoyogi-Uehara
Open 7:30am-6pm daily

7. Turret Coffee

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When you're googling the 'best coffee in Tokyo', a few big names come up. Omotesando Koffee. Bear Pond. Streamer. The list goes on. But of all the lists I've seen, Turret hardly makes an appearance on any, which I feel is completely unjustified, because Turret definitely ranks near the top of my list. Turret actually uses the same beans as that of Streamer's and the person who opened it used to work under Hiroshi Sawada at Streamer. However, I found that I enjoyed the coffee at Turret's a lot more than the one at Lattest -  maybe I should have gone to the original Streamer outlet instead. Anyway, this just shows the importance of the many variables involved in the making of coffee, and how the same beans can produce rather different cups of coffees. 

Turret's coffee had a wonderful balance of flavours, and the milk really allowed the dark notes of the coffee to shine instead of overpowering them. The coffee was not acidic in the least, which I liked very much. I highly recommend a trip to this place, especially after a trip to the Tsukiji fish market which is a 5-10 minute walk away! Oh, and did you know that turrets are actually the names of the trucks that deliver goods to and from the Tsukiji fish market? 

Turret Coffee

2-12-6 Tsukiji Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Tsukiji-Shio/Hibiya
Opening Hours: 
Mon-Sat 7am-6pm
Sun 12-6pm

8. About Life Coffee Brewers

I only just realised, but I'm not sure if the guy was posing for my camera. Anyway, I'm kind of upset that I didn't take any good pictures of this lovely little coffee stand in Shibuya, because it's so (instagrammable) adorable. This is pretty much a takeaway joint, and there are no seats save for a tiny bench outside the kiosk itself. My mom and I opted to drink our coffee on-the-go, which is not a very Tokyolite thing to do, but we did it anyway. 

The people here really seem to know their shit about coffee. I didn't get a chance to talk to them but I read a little article about them in Drift (volume 2), a wonderful publication about coffee and I was really quite impressed. What further impressed me, however, was my latte. I was initially a bit skeptical about their coffee as I had read somewhere that this was one of the few places in Tokyo that used a light roast for the beans. But what About Life did was show me that light roasts can be done, and when done right, they are a truly work of art. 

About Life Coffee Brewers
1-19-8 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Shibuya
Open daily 8:30am-8:30pm  

9. Omotesando Koffee [CLOSED] 

[edit (26/1/2016):  I just did a random google search and discovered that Omotesando has closed! My heart just broke into a million pieces. Toranomon Koffee is, thankfully, still up and running - but I will miss this quaint hideout very much.] 

The place is a little shed tucked away in a quiet street away from the busy streets of Shibuya and Harajuku. It feels like an entirely different world once you turn into the side streets, and when you step into Omotesando Koffee, you'd wonder if you are really in the city at all. Most of the seats are found in the garden, and the whole place exudes incredibly homely vibes. I would think "quaint" is the best word to describe this place. 

I was highly impressed by the fact that they had an automatic (??) tamper. And it's pretty genius, I don't know why most places don't seem to use one but it's such a good idea. It would really make all the coffees a lot more consistent. Consistent tamping probably wouldn't be much of a problem for such experienced baristas though, but it's the little things that count, right? 

The coffee was smooth, nothing mind-blowing, but good, and safe. The baked custard cube complemented the coffee rather well. It's something like a canele, and the crunchy, caramelised edges were divine. (P.s. do forgive my ugly thumbnail in the picture above.)

 Omotesando Koffee
4-15-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Omotesando
Open daily 10am-7pm

10. Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle Coffee is where I had one of my first experiences with specialty coffee. It was during a trip to San Fran in 2013. Unfortunately, I don't think I truly appreciated what I was drinking back then. All I remember thinking was that they had a really nice logo and that the queue was very long. I was very excited to hear that they had expanded to Asia, though, and to Tokyo at that! 

Their Tokyo outpost is huge. It's actually located on the second floor of a building, on top of a shop called Zucca - so don't get confused while you're looking at google maps. The design of the place is minimalistic, while the wood flooring gives it  a rustic feel, coupled with the greenery at the patio. They even have a whole section selling merchandise! 

Of course, I had to have a gibraltar as Blue Bottle is supposedly the place that invented it! A gibraltar is basically the in-between of a macchiato and a latte, somewhat similar to a piccolo. I distinctly remember that the coffee here was a lot sharper and brighter compared to most of the coffees I've had on the trip, and it had a fantastic mouthfeel. And just look at that latte art. The milk was done beautifully. 

My only regret was leaving this to the last day, because the brunch menu looked awesome and I would have loved to try their beignets but I was too stuffed from a morning of eating. But I'll make it back, I promise. Or to the SF branch. Somewhere, someday, somehow. 

Blue Bottle Coffee
3-13-14 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku
Tokyo 107-0062
Nearest Station: Omotesando
Open daily from 10am-9pm 

 

Tokyo Coffee Diary (i)

The tea culture in Japan is a strong one - it has been rooted in tradition ever since introduced from China in the 18th century. However, it seems as though the coffee culture has been catching up in recent years. Of course, recent trends can't keep up with centuries of history and tradition - the true test of a fad is its' staying power - but given coffee's track record, I think this one might be here to stay. 

In Tokyo, you'll find that few cafes that claim to be "specialty coffee houses" exist, and the few that do carry out what they do with great finesse, both in the coffee and brunch department. More prevalent are the true specialty coffee houses, the kissaten, solely dedicated to the art and science of brewing. Purists stick to traditional drip coffees and the occasional filter brews; while the progressive ones (largely inspired by the West) go for espressos. What remains consistent is the quality and dedication to the bean - their focus does not shift. This commitment to a singular pursuit is quintessentially Japanese; and is something I greatly respect and admire. The Japanese are true craftsmen indeed.

The preferred roast in Tokyo is a dark one, based on observation and the numerous websites I've scoured through for reviews and other 'best coffee guides'. I've found that darker roasts provide a larger room for error when it comes to the actual brewing of the coffee, resulting in consistent coffees all around. My mom and I both enjoy the simplicity and the sweetness of a dark-roasted coffee, and around Tokyo we went, hunting around for some of the best coffees in Tokyo. Thankfully, good coffee spots in Tokyo are not few and far between. 

1. Bear Pond Espresso

I hate that I have to reuse photos, but I consider myself lucky to even have a shot of this dirty espresso (how punny). This coffee stood out due to how unique it was, both in terms of taste and texture. Even the experience itself was quite unlike any other. Bear Pond is the result of years of development and experimentation from its' humble beginnings in New York eighteen years ago - I would think that all of it has paid off. So let go of your pride as you step in; and as you take your first sip of your coffee you will begin to understand, and maybe, just maybe, it justifies the air of arrogance and superiority that pervades this little cafe. 

Full review here.

Bear Pond Espresso
2-Chome-36-12, Kitazawa, Setagaya, Tokyo 155-0031
Nearest station: Shimokitazawa (take the North exit)
Open Wed-Mon

2. Lattest Omotesando

Beautiful and intricate latte art is probably a given at each and every one of Hiroshi Sawada's cafes. After all, he is the first Asian to win the world latte art championships back in 2008. Visiting at least one of his cafes was another must for me when I was in Tokyo, as I have actually had the privilege of meeting Hiroshi himself when he was in Singapore for the Cafe Asia exhibition. I even did an interview with him which you can read here

Unfortunately, Hiroshi wasn't there when I visited, but I still spent a lovely afternoon hiding from the rain in the warmly-lit Lattest. It's very cosy. I sat at the high table in the middle of the room, where a bunch of magazines were located. If only they were in English. Instead, I continued my book (PoDG) and sipped on my cappuccino. It tasted somewhat like Liberty's speakeasy blend, albeit slightly burnt. The amount of milk in that large cup couldn't quite hide it. It wasn't a bad cup, though it certainly paled in comparison to the cuppa Hiroshi made for me when he was in Singapore. On another note, the service staff there are cute. 

Lattest Omotesando 
3-5-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Nearest Station: Omotesando 
Mon-Fri:
10:00–19:00
Sat-Sun:
12:00–19:00

3. Little Nap Coffee Stand

I made my way there on another rainy morning, taking a wrong turn out of the subway station. If only I had known to simply follow the train tracks. Anyway, Little Nap is absolutely adorable. It's a tiny shopspace filled with knickknacks that can accommodate 10 people, maximum. It was empty when I arrived, so I took a window seat and people-watched and journalled. It's also situated right across Yoyogi Park, so I got a lovely glimpse of greenery, too. Such a tranquil and dreamy space. 

Accompanying me that morning was a cappuccino. It made me feel all warm and toasty inside, and it felt much like reconnecting with an old friend. I also received a wonderful caffeine kick, which is always a good thing. 

Throughout the morning, a steady stream of regulars came for their coffee despite the rain and it was lovely to watch them interact with the barista. I entertained a little daydream about being one such regular someday. Tokyo Summer School, maybe? 

Little Nap Coffee Stand
5-64-4 Yoyogi, Shibuya-Ku 
Nearest Station: Yoyogi-Koen 
Open Tues-Sun, 9am-7pm
 

4. Fuglen Tokyo 

Decorated just like a living room, Fuglen Tokyo is a cozy space with a rustic interior and coffee to boot. Bonus: all the furniture pieces are for sale!  I visited on a rainy Thursday afternoon with a friend that I am really thankful to have crossed paths with. Friendships like these really remind me of how life and things have a way of working out - sometimes you lose, but you never know cause you might have gained something (better) instead. 

I had a cortado, and what I liked best about it was that you could customise the amount of milk to your liking! So the barista would pull the shot (I had a single shot) and steam the milk, and pour the milk into the cup until you tell him/her to stop. The coffee here is by far the lightest one I've had on the trip; but I hear that light roasts are typically Scandinavian, which is where they come from. On hindsight, I think I should have added a bit more milk to balance out the acidity of the coffee, which turned out to be quite overpowering. Fuglen also serves up a pretty decent smoked salmon sandwich from their small menu of food offerings, so do go for that if you're after a light bite (really, this is very light - it's quite tiny). 

There's just something so wonderfully intimate and unpretentious about Fuglen that makes you want to stay there with a good book or your laptop and chill for hours. The rain seemed to accentuate this, giving the cafe a warm and homely vibe. Good vibes, indeed. 

Fuglen Tokyo 
1-16-11 Tomigaya, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo 151-0063
Nearest Station: Yoyogi-Koen 
Cafe opening hours: 
Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat-Sun: 10am-7pm
 

5. Bills Omotesando

Bills is actually from Sydney, Australia - where I was just a month before my Tokyo trip! However, I failed to make a trip to Bills when I was there, so I decided to pay a visit to the Tokyo outpost instead. Oh, the irony. Anyway, if you want to make a trip here, you better be a morning person, if only just for a day. We got here at 8:45am, and the place was more than half full. By the time it was 9:30, we could see a queue going out of the door. When we left just after 10, the queue went down the steps all the way to the floor below. 

Bills is incredibly airy, well-lit and it's one of those really pristine spaces that you can't help but spam pictures of because it's so gorgeous and minimalist. I was delighted to see that the coffee here was from Single Origin Roasters - I loved their coffee from Three Williams while I was in Sydney (read here)! 

The coffee here is pretty decent. I enjoyed my flat white - it was smooth and sweet, easy on the palate. Like a taste of Australia in Tokyo, albeit with less of a kick. Of course, one could not expect it to taste exactly the same, but it does the beans justice, at the very least. Now, Single Origin Roasters, will you please come down to Singapore soon? 

Bills Omotesando 
4-30-4 Jingumae, Shibuya-Ku, 7F Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku 
Nearest Station: Meiji-Jingumae/Harajuku Station
Open daily 830am-11pm

That's all for part one, part two's coming up soon! :-) 
 

Rocket Coffeebar

This is probably my favourite cafe in Bangkok, and thus it demands a post of its' own.

It was a five-minute walk from our hotel, which made it even better. We went back twice this trip, and I would have gone back more if not for the many other cafes that I had yet to discover. It's definitely worth a visit even if you don't live near there! 

The coffee here is the best I had in Bangkok, in my opinion. The flat whites are amazing - strong, smooth, and lovely. They don't always come with latte art, and although I was a little surprised (and underwhelmed) at first - because we always base our first impressions on looks - it had me further convinced that latte art is overrated. The coffee tasted great, and that's far more important than the most exquisite latte art.

I would strongly advise you not to order skinny milk!! But if you choose to do so, do it at your own risk because my uncle ordered a skinny capp and it tasted awfully weird... Just go for full-fat milk. It's worth it, and it's not laden with chemicals so that's good for your body too. 

We got three items to share, two of which were egg dishes because eggs are life. The eggs here are farm fresh, sustainably sourced and the chickens are well taken care of. (??) The scrambled eggs with sour cream on sourdough toast was fantastic, the sour cream added some tang and creaminess to the eggs that I liked. And the country rye bread was yumz. Simple, yet delicious. I preferred this to the eggs benedict, which came with salami, a side salad and sautéed mushrooms (the latter added on by us). The eggs were soft-boiled, which made for a lot of runny whites AND yolk on the bread. I personally prefer them to be properly poached, with firm whites that will hold their own against the runny yolk. We found the hollandaise to be too thick in texture and buttery and slightly sour in taste, which was not quite suited to our buds.  

THIS yoghurt bowl with granola was amazing. Is granola a thing in Bangkok? All the granola I had there was so good. The mix of ingredients and the crunchiness of the oats with just the right amount of sweetness is something that the Thai have seemed to gotten right. It's even topped with some of my favourite berries and plated beautifully (the honey!). 

It happened to be their birthday on our second visit (it was their two-year anniversary, congrats!!) and as such, all their coffees were going at 2 baht (SGD$0.08?!?) from 730-9am and  every customer received a free brownie cube. 

The brownie cube, baked in-house, is my favourite fudgy brownie ever. It probably doesn't say much as I'm not a big fan of fudgy brownies as they're often cloying and way too dense, but I have to say, when they're done right, they're good. If I were to make a fudgy brownie, this would be #goals. 

Their menu was smaller that day as the kitchen was undergoing maintenance, but we were pleased to see that the yoghurt bowl was still on the menu for us to order. One of that please, and an almond bircher for us too! It was my first time trying a proper bircher muesli, and I fell in love. Maybe I don't really know what a "proper" bircher is, but I would hope that it means that the oats retain their original shape, and haven't all turned to mush. 

Soaked in soy/almond milk, this felt like a healthy addition to our breakfast hehe. It was so addictive and I loved biting on the oats. The chia seeds were a nice touch, and I'm still amazed by how such tiny things can pack such a huge (healthy) punch. See, good things come in small packages. 

I also had the buckwheat waffle, a welcome change from the usual waffles that I see around town hehe. For starters, I loved the shape of the waffle (it's like a lot of hearts put together when you cut it up!) and just look at that dollop of mascarpone on top. Such creamy goodness, juxtaposed by the tart berry compote. The waffle was surprisingly crisp around the edges, which made me very happy indeed. It also had a somewhat earthy taste to it, if I can recall. I think buckwheat's an acquired taste.

And of course, the best for last. I considered talking about this with the regular espresso-based coffees but this cold brew is in a class of its own. My first experience with cold brew was Chye Seng Huat's, which left me squeezing my eyes and pursing my lips with each sip; it was terribly bitter and acidic. This brew was quite unlike that. It was delightfully smooth and well-balanced; the citrus notes shone through beautifully. My uncles and I bought a few bottles to bring home, and thankfully they survived the flight back. They kept for about a week or so. 

Food and coffee aside, I do miss the atmosphere and the insanely chill (that juxtaposition) vibes that Rocket exudes. But that said, I'm a sucker for spaces with natural light, and the friendly service staff make you feel right at home. The communal tables make for interesting conversations, and the counter table gives you a lovely view of the staff hard at work making coffee and preparing granola bowls. 

So that's that for Rocket, at least for now. I'll be back for the charming wooden furniture, amazing brews and stellar service. 

Rocket Coffeebar

147 Sathorn Soi 12, Silom, Bangkok 10500, Thailand

Open daily 7am-11pm (yay!)

June in Film ⚓︎

It's that time of the month again! June began with two rounds of travelling, to Sydney and then Bangkok, respectively. It was then followed by rag practices and catching up with friends, and work. A good half of my pictures (or more) from this batch of film is from the two rounds of travelling I did, I think, and the rest from all over the place. 

This post is kind of overdue. Maybe kind of is an understatement; we're already (almost) midway through July (oh no oh noooo). Time is going by at an astonishingly fast rate. :-( 

One of my favourite pictures from this roll. Took this through the glass window from my room on the 25th storey. I had an amazing view. 

View of Darling Harbour, taken on our first morning on the way to the aquarium. It was a beautiful morning :-)

A train station // Shoes found hanging on a power line

And I’ll be here by the ocean just waiting for proof that there’s sunsets and silhouette dreams.
— You Be The Anchor, Mayday Parade

Bondi Beach, where we watched the sunset and watched waves crash against the rocks. I tried to capture the breaking of the waves, especially the larger ones, but it wasn't always successful. (Evidently)

The Grounds of Alexandria. Altogether a lovely place, and I like the whimsical touch film gives it. 

One thing that I really like about the Taronga Zoo is how it is a sort of safe haven from the city, a place where the animals are given the space to roam (relatively) freely and just how open it all is. So close yet so far. The view of the city is stunning, especially at the giraffe enclosure. 

Shots taken while walking around the city/relaxing on the grass. I love the abundance of beautiful grass patches in Sydney, and I miss how the sun wasn't harsh and unrelenting; but gentle, as it casts a soft glow over the city. 

A block of HDB flats in Dakota. 

My two favourite uncles ever, on our trip to Bangkok. I wish I'd remembered to use my film camera more while we were there, but all I've got are these two pictures (and a few other painfully underexposed ones).

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Path to school #1!!! 

Taken in the Jalan Besar area after a lunch one day; tried to capture the flowers (??) in the photo on the left but didn't expect to get so much of the road in the background oops. 

CBD sights 

Marina-ish. Undoubtedly, one of my favourite ares in Singapore. 

Ending off with the momentous cap-throwing to mark the end of the POP (Passing Out Parade)! It's a very proud moment, and I'm glad that I was there to experience it despite having to brave the insane rain. :-) 

So that's the first half of the year gone by in a flash, and here's to an even greater second half! In other news, my dad is currently hunting for his old Pentax film camera (the one that all my baby photos were taken with) to send for repair so that I can use it!! A little excited to be moving past my incredibly amateur disposable camera, although I really like this baby as well. The cost tho :-( 

Sydney Travel Diary (i)

I'm really enjoying this break I have before University. Almost halfway through the year and I daresay it's been a pretty good year thus far. Trying to learn not to sweat the small stuff and have a good detox before school starts. I'm also very privileged that I get to travel a fair bit during this period as well, breaks from Singapore are doing me good (especially since I will be spending the next five years studying here instead of my original plans to go to the UK)...

So. My first trip out of the country this year was to Sydney, Australia! This was my fourth trip to Sydney, and the last time I was there was in August 2012, over the long weekend from Hari Raya. When I was in Grade 10, we took our Chinese IGCSEs in May, while we took the rest of our exams in November. I had decided to challenge myself (lol) and take First Language Chinese. It was a bit of a risk as no one in the previous year had scored an A or A*. As a result, my mom told me that she would bring me on a trip to Hong Kong if I managed to score an A or A* and miracle of miracles, I did. But I went to Sydney instead of Hong Kong as my dad was going on a business trip there so I could just tag along. :b

On this trip, I travelled with one of my best friends of mg, Stace :-) We were accompanied by Ryan and Leonard (Ryan's friend who stays and studies in Sydney). It was a wonderful break from the heat and humidity of Singapore - the weather in Sydney hovered around 11-19 degrees, save for the first day when we were greeted with "the coldest morning in four years". What a welcome. 

We flew over via British Airways, and we had a very pleasant flight there (at least I did). It was a night flight, so I slept for the bulk of it and watched two and a quarter episodes of the Great British Bake-Off. We were lucky enough to get front row seats, although getting the entertainment screen up was a bit hard as the button was so stiff! Stace and I tried so hard before giving up and asking one of the stewards to help us, upon which he effortlessly pulled the screen up. Magic, he called it.

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We headed to the fish market for breakfast after dropping our bags off at Leonard's. It was a lovely walk from his place (albeit a very cold one). We made a pit stop at a cafe called the Pigeonhole along the way, where Stace and I got coffee and Ryan had tea and an almond croissant which was the best almond croissant that I have ever tasted.

Onward to the fish market! It was just as I remembered it from my last visit. Ryan and Leonard got most of the food. I only had one slice of sashimi (which was fresh and lovely) but I have come to the conclusion that sashimi is best not eaten in the morning... My tummy felt a little funny after. 

After the fish market, we went to the Sea Life Aquarium to see the friends of the fish we just ate. The aquarium was painfully underwhelming... It might have been the effect of the complete lack of sleep (for Stace and Ryan) and an insufficient amount of sleep (for me) as well as the fact that pretty much half of our time spent in the aquarium involved walking up and down numerous ramps to get from one exhibit to another, surrounded by oldish, industrial-looking walls, painted a grisly, dismal blue. 

We walked back to the apartment after, but not before stopping by a playground with a spider structure which we played on, and Woolworths', where the guys bought an ice cream called golden gaytime (for real). After which we slept most of the afternoon away. :b 

Dinner for the day was at Rockpool Bar and Grill, our most expensive meal of the trip. The wagyu bolognese that Stace and I had was pretty good though (and the cheapest thing on the menu) heh. OH, and this was the restaurant at which I got carded. We ordered wine and I was asked to show my ID as I guess I don't look 18... At least it means that I look young? 

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Walked back, and that was the end of our first day! 

The effects of the night flight stayed with us (or me, at least) and resulted in me getting up at a horrifying 10:45am that morning. At 8:45am in Singapore it would have been okay, but as Sydney is two hours ahead of Singapore, 10:45am is horrifying, especially while on holiday. What a waste of the morning! 

The guys got up early to cook breakfast for us, which we ate before renting a car to go to the Adriano Zumbo Patisserie! This was one of the places that ranked pretty highly on our to-go list, as Adriano Zumbo is a famous patisseir from Masterchef Australia. 

We didn't realise that the patisserie had no seats, it was a takeaway concept so we decided to just buy a number of different things back to the apartment to eat. We ordered a lot of things to try, pictured above and arranged by Stace, Leonard and I! 

Of everything we ordered, I liked the cakes the best. We had the V8 passionfruit (the orange-yellow square at the bottom of the picture) and the 'Ed, it's been a long time' cake which was like an opera cake (to the right of the passionfruit cake). I loved them both, they had a lot of different textures going on and tasted fantastic on the whole. You have to eat the different layers at the same time to get the full experience!! 

The zonut and the palmier were from the bread and pastry display. I felt that the zonut had too much sugar on the top, and I felt like I was just eating plain sugar at certain points. The custard inside was good though, creamy and it contrasted with the crisp texture of the zonut beautifully. I liked the palmier; it reminded me of TBB's Kouign Amann. I think some would find it too sweet though. 

The rest of the desserts weren't that amazing (to me, at least) - I didn't eat much of the quiche but the guys seemed to like it a lot, I think I would have enjoyed the one bite I had a lot more if it was hot. The lemon meringue tart was weak, both in terms of the filling (a tarter, more lemon-y one would have been nice) and the pastry - the meringue felt too light; the crust too soft. Stace and I had the zumbarons at night, and they were ok to me - I heard that they were disappointing for some but I guess having little-to-no expectations of something helps. I had the salted-butter-toast one or something like that and I quite liked how it tasted faintly of butter toast. Ryan had the salted caramel popcorn one the next day and he discovered that taking a bite of the macaron/zumbaron along with a sip of champagne is a delightful way of eating it. I can attest to that. 

After our pretty-much-a-pastry-and-dessert-lunch, we took the train down to Circular Quay, with the intention of visiting the Taronga Zoo. Unfortunately, by the time we got there it was 2 something and we were told by the ticket man that there wasn't much of a point in going, as the zoo would close at 4:30 that day. 

So we hopped on a bus to Bondi Beach! It was a 45-minute journey (I think, I can't quite remember) from the city, but it was a lovely journey. My favourite part about road trips, bus rides or train rides above ground is looking out of the window, admiring the sights and just letting my mind wander. It's one of life's simple pleasures. 

Bondi beach is beautiful. (Loving the alliteration going on in that sentence). I've come to realise that I do love the beach, and I love the sea - I just don't want to swim in it. I think the idea of swimming in the sea with fishes and all is a lot nicer than the actual act of swimming, maybe until you see these animals up close but I'd rather stay dry. This might change in the future, but right now, this is how I feel about it. 

This is the part where I'm going to spam photos because you can never have enough pretty photos of the sea. 

We decided to stop by at a cafe for some fish and chips while walking along the beach! Bondi has a lot of street art (or beach art?) lining the walls just on the outside of the beach, and some of them really are pretty cool. 

We had initially planned to go on the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk which was about 6km long and would have taken us about an hour or so, but by the time we were done with our late lunch/tea we were advised by the kind service staff at the cafe that it would be better to walk another day as the sky would turn dark before we could finish the walk. 

And that's how we ended up on the rocks, watching the sunset. It was quite a lovely sight. 

When the sun set, we made our way back to the city to try Pancakes on the Rocks (for dinner, because breakfast for dinner is the best thing ever), where we were greeted with a line that snaked out of the door. Well, expectations were certainly raised then. Did you know that Pancakes on the Rocks was a 24/7 joint? We only found out when we reached the front of the queue. If only we had known just a bit earlier... To be fair, however, the queue did move rather quickly! 

I had the Pancakes with sausages, grilled tomatoes and scrambled eggs. I really wanted to try the banana pancakes, but I needed something savoury after all those sweet treats in the day. I quite liked what I had, my scrambled eggs were sufficiently runny, and the grilled tomatoes were delicious. I don't think they're very consistent, though - Ryan's side order of scrambled eggs arrived dry and looked overcooked. Also, beware of the bacon - I didn't try any myself, but the others agreed that it was very salty and it was alluded to as the trigger for Stace's cough. The pancake itself was very much like a McDonald's hotcake, but fluffier, larger and with a little more flavour. Good thing I like hotcakes. The serving is huge, by the way - I could only manage one pancake! 

The journey back to the apartment was an incredibly cold one, it was unusually cold that night. Stace even had to stand outside a restaurant's fire display to warm herself up, much to the amusement of the family waiting outside. :') 

I've decided to split the trip up into three parts since it was a six day trip, so I'll cover two days per post! And in other news, after spending the whole morning on Corel Painter, I've finally managed to get my blog header done! Really pooped but feeling fulfilled at the same time. Sad to say, technology is not my best friend. Still trying to touch up various odds and ends and this is still a site-in-progress, but I think it'll be worth the effort when I'm done. :-) 

april in film

I bought a disposable film camera last month. I'm no professional photographer or an expert with film - my first and only experience with film was last year, when I bought the same camera to document the last few days of school.

I'm trying to make it a point to buy a camera once a month, at least in the short term. With it I hope to be able to document how I'm spending this break of mine, and also to capture the beauty of our little country. Singapore is actually quite beautiful, but we often overlook this beauty and take it for granted. Which is a pity actually, because we go to other countries and to us, these places are "the most beautiful place on Earth" but we can't even appreciate our own home.

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Taken during one of my breaks from work while I was interning in a law firm in the CBD

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Hong Lim Complex, Chinatown 

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Hort Park 

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South Buona Vista Road (Paddy Hills!!) 

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(I don't even remember where the above photo was taken but I like it anyway) 

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Ghim Moh / Flock Cafe 

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Clarke Quay 

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Tiong Bahru / Plain Vanilla / Forty Hands

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Botanic Gardens on a Sunday 

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Potato Head Folk // Chinatown 

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Artistry x SAM in film 

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On the way to Hoopla (the flowers along the road were really pretty) 

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National Museum of Singapore in evening

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Bloomsbury Bakers / Haji Lane (which came out blurry sob) 

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Chun Tin Road / The Bravery (detox day) 

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Everyday things 

Most of these photos came out underexposed. I think it's because I pretty much didn't use the flash at all in this roll of film, so that's something to take note of for May's camera. It's quite a pity because I took some night shots with this camera, and they came out completely dark. That being said, this camera works wonders in bright light! Hopefully the next roll of film will be better : ) It's such an exciting journey!