La Bourse et La Vie – Upmarket Bistro, Traditional French Fare

La Bourse et La Vie, an upmarket bistro is helmed behind chef Daniel Rose, who also brought Spring to fame. The 29-seats bistro is small and cozy, serving traditional French cuisine and reservations need to be made way in advance. There was a mix of tourists and locals while we were dining there and it proved to be a popular place with every table snapped up

Amuse Boche – Gougères

Baked savory choux pastry made of choux dough mixed with cheese. These gougères were so delicious the friend said it deserved a photo on its own. ha. I love the delicately baked pastry that was warm and crispy and complemented well with the savoury cheese beneath

Artichoke with Foie Gras €18

The friend was bent on having foie gras every meal and I was glad this foie gras terrine tasted much better than our last one. Smooth, creamier and less weird taste

Oysters with Gratin, Normandy Fresh Cream and Spinach €14

The oysters were really huge, too big for our mouth in fact. I thought the flavours were a little overwhelming. Very creamy and salty. I think I was full on just one

Pot-au-Feu €29

The veal stew was comforting, even more so cos the friend was sick and a nice hot stew was simply delightful. This traditional French veal stew contains various kind of meat, bone marrow and generous amount of vegetables and beautiful herbs. Love how tender and flavourful the veal was with a delicate pink in contrast

And comes with a side of crispy cheek topped with egg whites mixed with herbs and citron dressing. Simple, classic, elevated

Steak Frites & Salad €27

The steak was okay, though pretty famous for. Meat was tender, succulent and nicely done though I think there can be a little more seasoning to it. Fries were good but we were too full for them

Caramel Pudding €8

Even though we were really full, I cannot give up on desserts and boy I’m glad I didn’t. This crème caramel is undoubtedly one of the best in Paris or perhaps the best I have ever tasted. Give it a try!

La Bourse et La Vie uses cuisine bourgeoise bistro cooking with styles more refined and delicate and premium ingredients chosen to elevate the taste. It is a bistro worth considering if you are staying at the 2nd arrondissement. The food here is classic traditional French with flavours clear and precise and possibly serving one of the best Caramel pudding

La Bourse et La Vie

12 Rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris, France

Swiss International Airlines – A Dramatic Experience

Dear Swiss Air,

I am absolutely disappointed in your service. I flew from Paris to Singapore via Zurich on 11 September LX645 leaving 2045. I had checked in online prior within 24 hours and chose window seats for both flights. I am very sure everyone knows seat selection plays a critical role in a long haul flight, for various reasons and for me, I do not like to be disturbed when I’m sleeping with people going to the bathroom in the middle of the flight. My friend and I reached Paris airport (CDG T1) way before and started queuing at 1800 even before the check-in counter for Swiss Air was opened. We were 2nd in line, and upon reaching the counter, to be told that the flight was overbooked when the service staff knew we were flying to Singapore. He offered a solution to fly us with Air France given we were involuntarily bumped from the flight without much alternatives, and were told to come back in an hour’s time when the check-in counter would be closing. I had chosen to fly with Swiss Air because I have heard reviews on great service and flight quality but if you are offering to fly me with another carrier, I would have just chosen to fly with Air France in the first place without going through so much headaches at the check-in counter.

So we heeded the guy’s suggestion to come back in another hour and we were on ‘standby’ list. But what I don’t appreciate is the attitude the service staff who wasn’t even apologetic that we were in this situation at all. He was the duty manager at the period of time but he was not providing the best solution to our benefit, but instead whichever solution that he thinks work best for him by telling us repeatedly he cannot do anything more for us with his very limited powers even though he is the guy who can make the decisions. He even told us to write a complaint to Swiss Air. I was appalled and even amused by his reasoning. A flight that is overbooked is not a passenger’s fault, and I think we have the right to reclaim our seats, plus I had the screenshot to confirm I was checked in with seats allocated. I am a frequent traveler and had flown with many International airlines but I had never had such a bad experience before. I hope you can understand the unnecessary stress and unhappiness Swiss Air had given us in the hour of waiting, and the remaining 12 hours of flight time back to Singapore, and I would think much more improvement would need to be done on your end in order to pride yourself as an airline that provides good service and high standards of quality.

I know I am an insignificant economy class passenger but I am still a passenger of Swiss International Airlines which is why I hope Swiss Air can take this feedback seriously. I have no patience to wait for a reply that may take weeks or months to or may not even come given I had already filed an official complaint once I landed. As much as I hate to do this, until my grievance is resolved, this review will be going on a different platform every 24 hours, so I suggest the relevant department(s) attend to this as soon as possible. I hope my letter will not reach the senior management of the airline but if if the unfortunate calls for the extreme, then it cannot be helped. And if anyone can provide suggestions to resolve this, I welcome you to drop me a note!

Chateau Rigaud – The Wedding Day & Party After

The wedding day.

Woke up bright and early for hair since the makeup artist needs some time to doll everyone up. The bride hired a local makeup artist by the name of Laura who lived 30 minutes away from the place and by the time the artist was done with the bride, it’s time for lunch

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Pre-lunch drinks

Lunch was a simple affair in preparation for a lavish dinner later in the evening

Roasted Potatoes Salad

Salmon with more Potatoes

Brie Baguette

A toast to remember

The bridesmaids

Getting ready

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Waiting for the groom’s arrival

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As per tradition, we decided to do an impromptu gatecrashing even though the bride didn’t really want it. But we are not sisters if there isn’t one. ha

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The second look

Walk-in was done at the lawn. Love the blooms that the chateau had put together

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And of course, we took lots of photos to entertain ourselves

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The bride with the dad

And her sister, who was moved to tears and moved everyone else to tears

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Moved on to the terrace for the start of the celebratory dinner, where we were stuffed with canapés and champagne. The place must have a list of canapés recipes for we never see the same one and all of them tasted absolutely amazing

Never ending fill of champagne

Chilled Soup

Croquettes

Cherry Tomatoes with Brie

Caramelised Onions with Goat Cheese

Tuna with Wasabi Mayo

Toast with Grilled Bacon

Steak Tartare

This was my favourite of the lot and the staffs were so sweet to keep it for us just cos we were not around when they were giving these out

Oysters and Sausages

Seared Scallops

Which took a really long time to come, but it was worth the wait nevertheless

Dinner under a tree

Simple, fitting, classy

Home Cured Salmon with Root Vegetables, Soft Boiled Quail Egg and Horseradish Creme Fraiche

Chargrilled Fillet of Beef with Cauliflower Puree, Braised Shallot, Fondant Potato, Crispy Pancetta, Kale and Foie Gras

Many were raving about the beef but mine was left rested too long such that the outer was a little hard and the crispy pancetta, according to everyone else tasted like soap

Assiette of Chocolate Tastes – Salted Chocolate Fondant, Macaron, White Chocolate & Lavender Milkshake

A delightful and balanced dessert, built on various sweetness

Selection of Cheese

By then we had already gave up

Celebratory Cake

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Which looked every bit stunning

And the couple took their first dance. This marked the end of the wedding where we were left pampered and spoilt for (so much) food, life was simply enjoyable there

We visited the town of St Emilion the next day, filled with cobbled pavement and lots of wine shops. It would probably be a good place to get some wine if you didn’t manage to get them at the wineries

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What a view

Had lunch at a random restaurant (Salmon tartare with fries that were so good) before carting off to Bordeaux, which is a half hour train ride away by TGV

Bordeaux would make a good day trip if you are bored, but maximum 2 days at best. We finished most of the attractions in half a day by walking from one place to another. This speaks volume on how small the place is. The friend even managed to squeeze in some shopping time before we were off to search for dinner. Also, there is an area which has a heavy middle Eastern influence, which can be pretty scary when you walk at night.. So just be careful

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Saint Michel Bell Tower, or otherwise known as La Flèche is a source of pride of Bordeaux

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Grosse Cloche de Bordeaux

Porte Cailhau

Strolling along the riverside

Place de la Bourse

Rue Sainte-Catherine Street, the main shopping street in Bordeaux

Since Bordeaux is a small town, it will be necessary to make reservations at restaurants if you have any to dine at, if not you might just have to make do with one of those touristy restaurants which we didn’t want to. So we were venturing around the Saint Pierre district and we found a place that serves crepes

The place was pretty interesting in terms of interior design. It’s a very local kind of place with crowd coming in during later part of the evening and I just can’t wait for dinner

Foie Gras and Toasts €9.80

I didn’t quite like the foie gras here. I thought the butter tasted a little strange

Oceane €9.90

Scallops, tomatoes, parsley, garlic and cream

Bouchère €11

The minced beef topped with emmental cheese and mushrooms served with roquefort sauce was amazing. I love how tender and sweet the meat was, complemented with a flavourful cheese sauce

We had actually wanted to dine elsewhere but unfortunately the place was already fully booked. Turns out it was a blessing in disguise since we were lucky we managed to find a decent dinner place without having to walk for long. At the very least, I get to tick ‘French Crepes’ off my food list

Creperie Sel et Sucre

5 Rue du Palais de l Ombriere33000, Bordeaux, France

And with the wedding behind us, Paris next.

Click here for Chateau Rigaud – The Wedding Prelude 

Chateau Rigaud – The Wedding Prelude

We finally countdown to the days we depart for France to attend the wedding of #ziqiandjames, held at the beautiful Chateau Rigaud, in the region of Bordeaux. The nearest train station located at Libourne is about 3.5 hours away from Paris and a further 20 minutes drive away. The quiet town makes it really chill and relaxing, where we dine in fine champagne, wine and food every meal and we had to make it up by going for morning runs every day when we were there. A balance of feasting and exercising was hard indeed

The chateau was made up of 2 stories, surrounded by lush greens, heated pool, barn, gardens and comprises of many spacious rooms

The favourite corner for some – open tap for beer!

The gorgeous dining area where we mainly gathered for wifi since we can’t really detect the wifi from our room

And the kitchen, where we popped in during meals to see what the chefs are preparing for the day

Having champagne and canapés at the lawn before meal

This is what it looks like every meal – champagne, red, white & water (for sure)

I shall skip the commentary on how each dish was so delectable, cos I would probably use the same vocabulary for every meal but in essence, the food there was pretty impressive with the chefs put their heart to prepare each dish for us

We got to choose our arrival dinner, and here’s my pick:

Seared Scallops, Cauliflower Puree and Peppered Caramel

Confit Duck Cassoulet, White Beans, Pancetta, Red Peppers, Summer Vegetables

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Banoffee Pie with Caramelised Banana

Apple Tarte Tartin

And I took a shot of the other party’s dessert that looked like it could be presented in a magazine anytime

Star gazing at night just cos there was no light pollution

The next morning was a day trip to Chateau La Dominique where we took a quick wine tour and had lunch at La Terrace Rouge, supposedly famous for their view. But first, breakfast in the morning

Breakfast was a simple affair with mainly pastries, ham and yoghurt

Even a simple croissant makes us happy

Tour at Chateau La Dominique (€18), located at the famed St Emilion

The wine tasting was okay, not particularly loving the wine since I had drank better. So I did not buy any back

Lunch next. I doubt the restaurant is famed for their view, or perhaps it is the only decent restaurant in the area. Lunch was a 3-course meal at €35, not inclusive of drinks

Parma Ham with Rock melon

Pleasant starter. Very very sweet slices of rock melon, so sweet you might think they are artificial

Hangar Steak, Shallots Confit, Potatoes and Vegetables

We didn’t like the cut of the steak. A little too chewy, somewhat similar to chewing tendon

Valrhona Chocolate Fudge Cake, Vanilla Icecream

Very gao chocolate, decent end to the meal

Madeleine to accompany some very bad coffee, that tasted like the beans were over roasted. So bad I don’t recommend you order them

That marks the end of the not very impressive tour, where we got back to the chateau and chill before our barbecue dinner beckons, but before that, freshly made figs and chocolate cupcakes for us to enjoy

Never got to try these cos I was still full from lunch, but I heard they were delicious

And snapping the bts of dinner

Hummus

Various selection of tomatoes grown in their garden and all very sweet

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Offered with canapés while waiting for dinner

And we all agreed this was better than what we had for lunch. ha

The chefs came from various cities, around the world, and decided a change of environment and hence landed a job here

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SO MUCH FOOD. Gosh

Roast Carrot, Raddichio, Feta Salad

Potato, Red Cabbage and Mint Slaw

Pork Ribs with Maple Glaze

Moroccan Chicken

Sausages with Honey & Mustard

Lamb with Spiced Yoghurt

Grilled Mackerel with Mango & Pepper Salsa

And something for the young ones

It was a feast with champagne, red, white and rose. It was a nice change to have bbq for dinner though I thought the execution was a little short of perfect. Still, it was a filling meal with too much food to handle

Vanilla Cheesecake

Love the bits of honeycomb, watermelon and peaches to the crumbles at the bottom

And this marks the end of The Prelude, while we prepare for the Actual Day

Sakurazaka – Serving Premium Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki

The friend wanted Japanese for lunch so we ended up at Sakurazaka, well known for their shabu shabu and sukiyaki. The place has been around for some time, but the location at Greenwood is quite a walk from the nearest downtown station. The place serves shabu shabu for lunch as well, despite having a lunch menu on their website

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Senshomasamune Junmai Daijingo (300ml) $40

Light, sweet and very clean. Perfect to go with a hearty meal

The menu is straightforward. You can either choose one of the 4 sets or go ala carte. We went for the shabu shabu pork set $48 and the shabu shabu beef set $64

Each set comprises of a stone grilled pork/beef, shabu shabu and Japanese shaved ice kagigori

Stone Grilled Wagyu Beef Ishiyaki

Stone Grilled Pork Ishiyaki

Lay it over the piping hot stone and watch it sizzle. Dip it in the egg and eat it like this. I love the marinate on the meat and how sweet, tender and juicy the meat is when grilled nicely

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(Top down) Sesame, Lime Ponzu, Miso Ponzu

Sesame and miso is recommended for the meat while lime ponzu for seafood and vegetables. I thought the meat tasted pretty delicious by itself without the sauce, but if you would like a little more salt on your meat, dip it with the miso sauce which is a little citrusy

Kyushu Shirobuta Pork  – Belly/Loin

Amori Japanese Rice-Fed Beef – Stripling/Red Eye

The set also comes with vegetables and choice of egg noodles or udon

Egg Noodles

Udon

Squid (200g) $6/100g

We add on some ala carte items since there is a minimum cover charge of $48++ per pax and also, I doubt we would be full with 2 sets (among the 4 of us)

Shirobuta Pork Tsukune $14

We preferred the chicken tsukune to the pork just cos the latter is a little too salty. The texture on the chicken is also firmer and sweeter

Ago Dash/Beef Consommé Soup Base

Love how tender the pieces of meat are

It totally tasted like wanton mee. We preferred the udon. The udon when cooked in the stock was sweet and smooth and has a nice chewy texture

Matcha Kakigori

Hokkaido Milk Kakigori

Both the kakigori were good. The flavour of the matcha stood out and the icecream in the middle was icing on the cake. The milk pudding was nice, smooth and melts in your mouth, topped with chewy mochi and fragrant peanut powder

The shabu shabu was pretty good, with high quality cuts of meat though the whole bill didn’t come up cheap after adding on more items to the list. But I think with limited choices of shabu shabu places in Singapore, Sakurazaka probably serves one of the better shabu shabu around. I wouldn’t mind going back, if someone gives me a ride😉

Sakurazaka

24 Greenwood Ave, S(289221)

Coffee Break – Hipster Coffee at Amoy Food Centre

Located on the second level of the bustling Amoy Street Food Centre, this kopi stall ain’t your usual coffee stall. Serving traditional Hainanese coffee, this stall also introduced flavour lattes to cater to the young crowd, and the queue during lunch just never seems to end

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Iced Latte with Sea Salt Mint $4.30

The blend of coffee was pretty smooth but the combination of latte and sea salt mint was appalling. I thought I was drinking toothpaste when the first wave hit my palate. Not that I’m not a fan of mint, but I thought the flavour was too strong and there wasn’t any hint of sea salt. The friend thought her roasted almond was bad, but she concluded mine was worst. lol

Toast with Taro $3

Serving traditional toast with a twist, we tried both their taro and earl grey creme

Toast with Earl Grey Creme $3

The earl grey one was better. We like the toast was thin, crisp and fragrant with a slight burnt taste

I think this place might be a little too hip for us. I understand the need to constantly improve and innovate to keep up with the changing food trends and the fight to keep hawker spirit alive. But I think, I still prefer the traditional latte anytime

Coffee Break

Amoy Street Food Centre

7 Maxwell Road, #02-78, S(069111)

Mikuni – Serving Lunch Bento & Business Sets

Mikuni at Fairmont Singapore serves 3 different Japanese style of cooking: Teppanyaki, Sushi & Robatayaki, offering a convenient experience for Japanese food lovers. The 150-seater restaurant is helmed by Korean born Chef Moon Kyung Soo that aims to bring the best culinary experience. The friend and I popped by for lunch and I was drawn by its dark interior. The place was packed yet quiet enough as lunch crowd throngs the place for its lunch and business sets

Starter: Salad & Prawn Crackers

The crackers were dusted with a delectable shrimp flavour and these thin slices were just something to munch on while waiting for the mains to arrive, and luckily they did arrive pretty fast

Business Bento $68

Lobster Uni Yaki, Sashimi, Futomaki, Agadeshi Tofu with Turnip Sauce, Takiawase, Miso Soup

I wasn’t particularly blown away by the food. Sashimi was fresh and sweet, maki and lobster were decent

Uminosachi Teppanyaki Set $70

Chawanmushi, Teppanyaki Prawns with Golden Sauce, Scallops, Cod, Vegetables, Garlic Rice, Miso Soup

I thought the teppanyaki was much better, in terms of execution and flavour. Though the garlic fried rice could do with a little bit more fragrance, I thought the prawns, scallops and cod were pretty well done

Espresso Ice Cream

Dessert came in the form of espresso icecream. The friend was happy cos it was icecream, and I was happy cos it was coffee

The overall experience at Mikuni was alright with expectations higher than expected. I probably wouldn’t make a trip down specially for this, but if I do, I think the teppanyaki would definitely be my pick of the 2

Mikuni

Fairmont Singapore, Level 3

2 Stamford Road, S(178882)