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Old 15th December 2020, 05:50 PM   #16
yflyer
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Next up, we decided to sample a couple of other cocktails...

Yinying mixed a Pear Alexander for Mrs yflyer. The ingredients included Remy Martin VSOP cognac, Poire Williams, Creme de Menthe and whipped cream...



My next was "Drops of Dew", made with Michter's Bourbon, honeydew nectar, and white wine.



These were both marvels of flavour and texture...



We had dinner plans at the Duxton Reserve later, but that didn't stop us from enjoying the small bites at Live Twice, starting with Wasabi Cheese Terrine...



...and their Octopus and Potato...



What was next? I picked Little Bell, made with Calvados, bell pepper honey and lemon...



Mrs yflyer tried their special of the month, a Nikkei Sour, which included some unusual ingredients: barsol pisco quebranta, empirical spirits habanero, lemon juice, ponzu, sugar...



This tasted quite unique...with a distinct taste of ponzu, as well as a hint of spicy peppers...

We were intrigued, and asked YinYing about it...

YinYing showed us the Habanero distilled botanicals that she used, from Empirical Spirits in Copenhagen...



Now these were cocktail ingredients that were really off the beaten track...



She poured us a small sample to taste...



Yes, that was Habanero, all right!

Last edited by yflyer; 16th December 2020 at 09:09 AM..
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Old 15th December 2020, 06:00 PM   #17
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The standout die-die-must-try food item at Live Twice is their beef sando...



This is a battered beef sandwich served between toast, ideally with the beef done medium rare. There are also pork katsu and ebi & corn versions of the sando. Mrs yflyer really liked the ebi & corn, but my favourite by a large margin was the beef sando.

We could not resist a 4th round of cocktails, and asked YinYing for a recommendation...she recommended two whisky-based creations: Mizuwari and Shallow River, the first item on each side of the two categories "One Life for Yourself", which were more traditional cocktails, and "One for your Dreams", where the imagination was the limit...



What a great place to spend time...the cocktails here are inspired, the ambience unique, and the staff all wonderful, with Principal Bartender YinYing very much a star as well as part of a strong team.

After Live Twice, we headed to nearby People's Park Complex for a walk around, and a relaxing round of foot reflexology, before a slow stroll back to the Duxton Reserve for dinner...

Last edited by yflyer; 16th December 2020 at 04:12 PM..
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Old 16th December 2020, 04:12 PM   #18
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Back at Duxton Reserve that evening, we headed to the in-house restaurant and bar, Anouska's, for dinner.



Anouska's has a range of signature cocktails, which combine elements of East and West...



At the start of this report, I noted that hotelier/designer Anouska Hempel was once a Bond girl. From the cocktail menu, one could deduce which James Bond movie this was.

There was a substantial dinner menu as well, with small bites...



...and mains...



As part of our stay package, we each had a Signature Cocktail, and 7 amuse bouche courses, ostensibly from the small bites menu. This was actually enough for a full meal, especially given that we had snacked at Live Twice earlier on, in the late afternoon.

The bar was quite busy with guests that first night of re-opening, and in anticipation of a little bit of a wait before our signature cocktails arrived, our warm and cheerful server surprised us with 2 flutes of complimentary bubbly, which turned out to be a great way to start.



In any case, we were already in such high spirits (both figuratively and literally...after 4 cocktails each at Live Twice just a few hours earlier), that nothing could have dampened our mood that evening.

The signature cocktail that evening was "Escape to Kaifeng", with house-made chrysanthemum and and Tanqueray Gin...



After the ultra-refined cocktail creations at Live Twice, this attempt at an East/West fusion-style cocktail paled just a little in comparison. In my slightly inebriated state, I remarked to Mrs yflyer that it tasted like someone poured a Tetrapak of Yeo Hiap Seng chrysanthemum tea into a martini. So perhaps just a mixed review for this particular cocktail. (I like martinis, and I like YHS chysanthemum tea, but maybe not together...)

The next two cocktails were more successful...we sampled their "Yellow Pot", with Tequila, Elderflower and soda, as well as their "Canton Sour", with Amaretto, Monkey Shoulder Whisky, and egg white...



Both of these tasted wonderful...

While sipping our cocktails, we enjoyed the amuse bouche platters...



These were quite inspired, and very tasty, indeed they were enough for a full meal, and were perfect to have with our cocktails...



On the whole, I was quite happy with our dinner at Anouska. That said, the whole Tanjong Pagar area is chock full of restaurants, all within walking distance -- the competition for your F&B dollars is really fierce in this part of Singapore!

The hardest part of a stay at Duxton Reserve is probably choosing which restaurants in the area to try, given the number of superb options at their doorstep.

Last edited by yflyer; 16th December 2020 at 11:07 PM..
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Old 16th December 2020, 04:54 PM   #19
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Breakfast served at the hotel included both local and Western a la carte selections...



Coffee and juice to start...



We ordered kaya toast...



...and local-style soft boiled eggs...



These didn't come with soy sauce by default, but we asked for this essential condiment, and a small dish of soy sauce was brought out moments later...



Yum!



The rice porridge with ginseng and chicken was very good too...



...and so was the Dim Sum basket...



Mrs yflyer washed down her dim sum with some Chinese tea...



A very nice breakfast spread!

Last edited by yflyer; 16th December 2020 at 11:05 PM..
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Old 16th December 2020, 05:03 PM   #20
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Later that day, we had lunch at Rhubarb, located just a short walk way from the hotel, at Duxton Hill.



Like the vast majority of restaurants in the area, Rhubarb was located in a restored shophouse...





Rhubarb is one of those restaurants where you step inside, take in the vibe, and you know immediately that the meal is going to be excellent...



The decor and ambience here just felt very sophisticated, warm and refined...


Last edited by yflyer; 16th December 2020 at 11:10 PM..
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Old 16th December 2020, 05:08 PM   #21
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There were several options for a set lunch, as well as an Omakase menu...



We decided on the Omakase, and asked the Sommelier to recommend a couple of glasses of wine to pair with our courses...



An amuse bouche to start...fish roe on a charcoal cracker...which we each devoured in a couple of bites...



A selection of bread offered from a basket...



Slightly salted butter...

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Old 16th December 2020, 05:10 PM   #22
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Our first wine was a Pouilly-Fume...



This was crisp and balanced...a great way to start...



Our first course was an amazingly delicate soft boiled egg with cream, raw scallop and salmon roe...



This was just beautiful...and very tasty!

The next course had a cream emulsion on which black truffle was generously grated...



What an amazingly delicious, and indulgent dish!


Last edited by yflyer; 16th December 2020 at 11:11 PM..
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Old 16th December 2020, 05:26 PM   #23
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To go with our main course, our next wine was a Beaujolais / Morgon Cote du Py from Jean-Marc Burgaud.



This was quite a delicious red, smooth and medium bodied, made from the Gamay grape...



Our main course was pork, encrusted in bright pink beetroot...



I have seldom tasted pork so tender and juicy...



This was quite an inspired dish...

Last edited by yflyer; 16th December 2020 at 11:11 PM..
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Old 16th December 2020, 05:40 PM   #24
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Dessert had elements of chocolate, foam and a fruit-based gel/disc on top, and was delicious...



The different elements of this dessert somehow came together very well...



...and then it was time for Petit Fours...



What an excellent lunch...we will definitely be back again, perhaps for dinner on a special occasion. Highly recommended!
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Old 16th December 2020, 05:47 PM   #25
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After lunch, we spent a little time in "Littered with Books" just down the road from Rhubarb.



"Littered with Books" is a rarity nowadays: an independent bookstore.



The selection within was quite eclectic...





Wish there were more such bookstores in Singapore...

After that, it was back to the hotel for a late checkout just before 4pm (The late checkout was included as art of the staycation package).

Last edited by yflyer; 16th December 2020 at 05:58 PM..
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Old 16th December 2020, 05:58 PM   #26
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Final reflections on the Duxton Reserve...

This must be one of the most distinctive hotels in Singapore. The hotel design concept and decor, by Anouska Hempel, is timeless and very striking, both in the public areas and the rooms themselves, which are full of character.



For anyone used to cookie-cutter rectangular box hotel rooms, this hotel would be a breath of fresh air, and would make for a very memorable stay.

The whole Duxton and Tanjong Pagar area is also great to explore: There are countless restaurants and bars of all sizes, shapes and cuisines. We could easily have stayed on for another day, maybe more, just to sample more of the food and drink available in the area.



If the target objective of a staycation is to get away from daily life to experience something other than routine, then a short getaway at the Duxton Reserve must be considered a bulls-eye.



Next up, a stay at the JW Marriott South Beach...to be posted next week, after my stay!

Last edited by yflyer; 5th January 2021 at 10:22 AM..
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Old 25th December 2020, 03:04 PM   #27
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Continuing with the TR...

The next weekend, we headed to the JW Marriott South Beach, for another staycation.



To avoid potentially long check-in queues, I did an oniine check-in on my Marriott Bonvoy iPhone App the day before, and indicated in the app that I would arrive at the hotel at 9.30am, well before the standard check-in time of 3pm.



When I arrived at the hotel before 10am, there was a short line, but as I had already checked in on the app, I was directed to another counter where pre-checked in guests were separately served where check-in formalities were completed.



The rooms were not ready yet, though, but that was not an issue, as our party had other plans for the morning, namely a visit to an exhibition at Gardens by the Bay, "Once upon a Time on the Orient Express".

We headed to Orient Express exhibition and had a great time there before returning to the hotel in the afternoon, when the rooms were ready for us.

The hotel lobby area is not large, but it is very stylishly decorated...



Christmas decor in the lobby...






Last edited by yflyer; 25th December 2020 at 05:27 PM..
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Old 25th December 2020, 03:10 PM   #28
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There were 5 in our party, so I had booked two rooms: a Premier King room, as well as a Marina Bay Suite. Both rooms had lounge and breakfast privileges, which comprised breakfast at the Beach Road Kitchen, as well as afternoon tea and evening canapes and drinks in the Executive Lounge.

As there were social distancing, and other COVID-19, measures in place at the hotel, capacity at many hotel facilities was limited, which meant we had to pre-book specific timeslots for breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening drinks, as well as a timeslot for the swimming pool.

The allocated timeslots were 1 hour for tea and hors d'oeuvres, 45 minutes for breakfast (!) and 45 minutes for a swim. These were hardly generous timings, but these measures were probably inevitable given the COVID-19 situation.



These timings were bookable only at check-in (Not in advance), but thankfully our preferred timeslots for meals and hotel facilities were all available.
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Old 25th December 2020, 03:20 PM   #29
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The lifts at the JW were very colourful affairs, with psychedelic colours and lighting slowing shifting from green to red and back again...



I thought this lift concept was more the preserve of the W brand rather than JW Marriott, but I felt it to be a refreshing change from the usual boring lift decor, and it did get me in the mood for a staycation...



Corridors on each floor were in soft beige and brown...

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Old 25th December 2020, 03:30 PM   #30
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We first checked out the Premier King room, which was on the 19th floor.



This was a beautifully styled room...



...with spectacular views of the area...





We had great views of the Singapore Flyer, the Marina Bay Sands Complex, and Marina Bay itself...



The wardrobe...



The minibar was not stocked in the regular rooms on account of COVID-19, but coffee and tea facilities were available.



Corridor leading to the entrance and the bathroom.



Sofa by the room entrance...

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