The Royal Touch Bakery Café by Carolyn Robb @ Ocean Terminal, Hong Kong

Date of Visit:  July 19 2015

I had a good Sunday lunch today – which was a surprise – considering, it’s a small unassuming ‘restaurant’ (if you can call it that) in a mall, with a prominent display case of cakes and pastries!  It’s tiny with only 30 seats!  (Psst… here’s its digits for reservations: +852 3188 8086 ☺️)

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The Royal Touch is a brand created by Carolyn Robb, former executive chef to Prince Charles and Lady Diana, so without doubt, this cafe features some royal dishes! Those following the Royal Family will know that Ms Robb is also famous for being  the creator of Prince William’s Chocolate Biscuit Groom’s Cake!

Without further ado…

We had the Set Lunch Menu – simple British fare but really special!

APPETISER

Seasonal Fresh Fruit Salad with Raspberry & Passion Fruit Dressing

or 

Avocado & Papaya Salad with Papaya Dressing

I had the Avocado Papaya Salad which was very different to the salads I have had.  The combination is unusual – papaya and avocado (?), but very flavourful – slightly tart and not overly sweet.

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Avocado & Papaya Salad with Papaya Dressing

SOUP

Asparagus and New Potato Soup

or

Soup of the Day

I opted for Carrot Cream Soup was the Soup of The Day.  Normally, soups featuring carrots in Hong Kong is sweet, Ms Robb’s carrot soup is creamy and savoury.

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Carrot Cream Soup

MAINS

We decided on different items for our Mains.  The price of the Set Lunch is dependent on the Main course one chooses:

My bro got Corned Beef Potato Cake with Black Truffle Scrambled Eggs (HK$218).  The creamy eggs with truffles were highly recommended.

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Corned Beef Potato Cake with Black Truffle Scrambled Eggs

I had the Slow Cooked UK Dingley Dell Pork Collar with Wild Berry Jam (HK$288).  I ordered it medium, but parts of it was a little bit undercooked, but nevertheless not bloody and tasted good. What I especially liked was the cute Romanesco Brocoli or Buzzy Broc, the potato mash with truffles was divine!

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Slow Cooked UK Dingley Dell Pork Collar with Wild Berry Jam

My mom had the Royal Classic Cod Fish Pie (HK$228).  it arrived piping hot, but not enough fish she said…😏

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Royal Classic Cod Fish Pie

The mains are heavy in potatoes and all used campari tomatoes as garnish.

DESSERT

Dessert was chocolate cupcake with different butter cream frosting – I had the Earl Grey frosting, the others were Blueberry and Pistachio…

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Chocolate Cupcake

COFFEE OR TEA

I also have to mention that the coffee (included in the Set Lunch) is very good – strong, not bitter – definitly better than those from the speciality coffee bars around… seriously!

A look at their menu says that we shall be back for their afternoon tea set!  The waiters are very polite and attentive, and the price very reasonable, so pinkies up, everybody! ☕️👌🏻 Next time, Royal Afternoon Tea!
Where is The Royal Touch Bakery Café by Carolyn Robb?

Shop G02, G/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

A Quickie @ Jamie’s Italian, Harbour City TST, Hong Kong

Date of Visit:  July 2015

Lunch today was at Jamie’s Italian in Harbour City.  Since it’s summer, the best thing to do is to hit the mall for free air-conditioning! The normally busy mall with trolley totting tourists is surprisingly quiet… I guess they are all queuing at LV and Channel at Champs-Élysées! 😜

I have been to Jamie’s Kitchen once when it first opened.  There was a huge queue so I was surprised that my mom had scored a table without a reservation.  As I was doing an errand, my mom and brother bombed me with texts urging me to drop everything as the wait time for guests is only 15mins and we can only have the table for 1.5hours max!

I’m no stranger to Jamie’s Italian as I’ve been to their Sydney branch many times – so it’s good to do a comparison between Sydney and Hong Kong…

My 1st experience with Jamie’s Italian in Hong Kong…was their Superfood Salad.  A mouth-wateringly tart plate of avocado, shaved fennel, candied beets, pulses, Italian sprouting broccoli, creamy cottage cheese, pomegranate, smashed nuts & seeds and served with a fennel blossom Sicilian harissa.  I had also added beetroot-cured salmon.  Lots of stuffs, but still not very filling.😁

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SUPERFOOD SALAD WITH BEET-ROOT CURED SALMON Instagram:https://instagram.com/outforalonglunch/

Today we ordered…

Burger Italiano:  Chargrilled beef burger with melted fontina cheese, sweet tomato salsa, schiacciata piccante, pickles, chilli, crispy fried onions & chips.  The burger was good, but the chips was a tiny bit disappointing as I don’t think it’s been double-fried, hence did not retain the crunch.

BURGER ITALIANO

Mom ordered the Sausage Pappardelle:  Braised fennel sausage ragù with incredible Chianti, Parmesan & crunchy, herby breadcrumbs.  The sausage ragu were akin to minced meats…so it might be ‘deconstructed’ sausage!

SAUSAGE PAPPARDELLE

…and the pappardelle looks like instant noodles!  Not the large, broad flat pasta noodles that we are accustomed to but ‘reengineered’ pappardelle! 😇

PAPPARDELLE = MAGGIE MEE 😶

I ordered the Fish in A Bag:  Fish of the day with clams, mussels, fennel, chilli, anchovies & cracked wheat, topped with fiery arrabbiata sauce.  It’s very simple dish that I can cook at home – all the seafood packed in butter-paper and foil! What I don’t like about my order is that it’s too tart?  I like fresh lemon juices over my food, but not slices of lemon cooked with my food – and I don’t like an overkill of tomato sauce!

FISH IN A BAG

I guess Jamie’s recipes must have been tweaked to the local Hong Kong taste, as I find them quite ‘powerful’.  Also, this is the first time that a customer is obligated to choose to tip their server 10%, 12.5% or 15% – pre-calculated on their docket!

Nevertheless as with any celebrity chef’s franchise it will surely be a tourist must-visit resto!

CX’s First Class Meal Inspired by Mandarin Oriental

Date: June – July 2015

I had just returned from my exhausting but extremely rewarding trip to Europe encompassing 6 cities – Milan, Venice, Zurich, Basel, London and Paris – courtesy of my brother! Surprisingly, I did not experience much jet lag at all while in Europe, it was only when I returned to Hong Kong that the lack of sleep and fatigue struck!  Let’s see how long I shall remain in European time! 😁

Everyone knows the perks of travelling First and Business Classes – the use of lounge service!  Needless to say, the lounge was jammed-packed with people.  After checking in and going through customs and immigration, I gladly headed left into the First Class Lounge.

Relaxing lounge not, this is akin to a cafeteria in peak hours!

… Whatever, I finally found a seat, settled down and relaxed with free-flow Billecart Salmon Brut Rose with some nuts. 😁

Some tidbits…

As our flight is taking off at 1am – I sampled some dessert from the buffet.  A sugar hit is the perfect way to counter any hangover.

Pralines, Pear Tart and a modern-take on the Chinese mango pudding. The egg yolk look (mango puree on mango pudding) and in a boat-shaped bowl topped with pistachio bits was the reason I chose this dessert. 😋

On-board the flight before take-off, I was served a chilled scallop. It’s nice to have something tangy and zesty to chew.  I was nearly asleep but wanted to stay up for the dinner menu especially created for First Class passengers on Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong to Milan, aptly called “Inspired by Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong“.

Chilled scallop ceviche with pomelo, lime and lavash

Here’s the dishes created by Michelin-starred Executive Chef Uwe Opocensky.

First Class Meal from Hong Kong to Milan

Starter:  A very fresh summer salad of prociutto ham and vegetable salad served in olive oil and lemon juice.

Vegetable a la Grecque

Soup: The lumpy soup was very heavy and extremely filling

Courgette Soup with Ricotta Tortellini

Main:  A REALLY lovely piece of fish, perfectly cooked and rival that in restaurants on-land! 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

Line-caught Seabass, crushed potato, summer vegetable, caviar

Dessert:  Would be a Chocolate Dome, mousse, rapsberry, sauce… but I skipped that as I was too tired and stuffed…

The next morning, I had…

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Coffee with biscotti – very Italian! 👅

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Chocolates that I missed last night!

Breakfast…

Fruits and muffins

After the highlights to Milan, on my return leg from Paris to Hong Kong, the inflight meal was very anti-climax. 😓  (Aside: I noticed that most of the lady passengers have in their arms, new Channel bags! 😍)

Business Class Meal from Paris to Hong Kong

Starter:

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Foie Gras, Brioche, Peach and Peach Chutney

The accompanying toasted brioche for foie gras was soggy so I got a piece of bread which was the highlight of the meal!

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Warm Damper

Salad:  Wilted Salad leaves did not fare well either…

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Salad

Main:  I wanted to have beef but seeing unappetizing gravy drenched on top of the beef on the lunch trolley, I opted for lamb instead.  There are 2 pieces of lambs, edible with side of soggy onions and potatoes.

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Lamb

Dessert: Cheese

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Cheese Plate with glass of Penfold’s Port

So the ‘moral’ of the story is, if there’s any, First Class meals rocks!😄

Expedition To Canberra

Date of Visit:  April 18 2015

A quick pictorial post of my visit to Canberra, primarily to see James Turrell’s Retrospective at NGA, Canberra.  Unfortunately I can’t post any pictures from the exhibition since photography was prohibited.  In any regards, if you are interested, do a Google search on the artist himself…

Trees are especially pretty in autumn, one of the ideas for the design of the ‘Garden City’ is to promote a distinctive European feel…And walking by the artificial lake was very relaxing.

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Hues of Gold

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Hues of Reds

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Flags of all countries with an embassy in Canberra

Canberra is a geometric city with radials and axis… The direct axis from Parliament House to War Memorial

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Parliament House

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War Memorial

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The National Carillon on Aspen Island

A walk on Anzac Parade with many sculptural memorials…

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A hike up Mount Ainslie – the highest point in Canberra

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Panorama of Canberra

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Note the distinctive axis

I stayed at Hotel-Hotel, the newest and hottest hotel in Canberra or Australia at the moment…

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Entrance

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Rear of Hotel-Hotel linking to cinema, offices and alternative exit to the street

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Small, tight hotel reception

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Restaurant/ Cafe

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A play on linear-planes using recycled timber

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My room

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Artwork on walls

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External artwork – more bikes

I had a good dinner at the hotel.

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Octopus with smoked curd (?)

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Duck breast with figs and cherries

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Apple crumble

This breakfast cost $14.50!  Very steep for 2 crumpets – and a cup of Long Black! Totally not worth the $$! 😓

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2 small crumpets, honey and butter

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Cute salt container

External of the hotel at the back…

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Facade treatment at the back, sun-shades and vertical gardens…

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Origami facade at the frontIMG_2586

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The art gallery outside the hotel (at the back)

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More artworks… an eagle crafted from metal

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Quivo, Pavilion KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visits:  Various since April 2015

There are many, many restaurants in Pavilion KLCC – and the thing is, they all serve practically the same stuff!

I have been frequenting Quivo quite often when I’m in town.  I like the interior decor – pretty and swanky, like sitting in a furniture shop 😜 – and with the opened terrace, I can indulge in my favourite activity that is people-watching, while sitting high up in the high chair by the bar area!

Pretty swish interior

The barman is entertaining too when he’s juggling the bottles to mix drinks! 👯👯

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Bar area

Art-deco-mod Menu Cover! (Slightly tired nonetheless…)

To drink…

A fruit juice combo (carrot, berries,etc..?)

Vino blanco💃🏻

There’s also a wide range of alcoholic beverages and cocktails which I shall try and Instagram (check me out here ) next time instead…

Even though I have been there a few times, I only just realised that Quivo is a ‘Mediterranean inspired restaurant’ when I googled it!  😜  Ex..see..Q..see..mee!  Anyway, here are pictures of stuffs I’ve tried!

A piping hot Cheesy Spinach Dip with toasted pita bread.  Nice snack while waiting for the mains to arrive.

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Spinach Dip

The healthy Meze share plate.  There’s hummus made from chickpeas and spicy salsa with roasted peppers.  There’s an inflated pita bread to dip the hummus and salsa and crunchy crudités and olives for munching.

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Mezze Platter

Chicken Caesar with an overly generous coating of shaved parmesan cheese, but only a skewer of chicken.  Although, I like the salad, I didn’t like the rock-hard cold chicken nor the poached egg with a just-thawed yolk!

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Chicken Caesar Salad

We have tried a couple of the burgers on the menu. Here’s a picture of the Spicy Fish Burger that I’ve tried, it was good – and rather healthy with grilled barramundi and extra jalapeños for a kick!

Spicy Fish

The Philly Style Wagyu Steak Sandwich was seared beef stacked with onions, grilled peppers, stir-fried mushrooms, cheese and mustard-mayo in a hoagie roll.  It was very American! So, I don’t think it is Mediterranean at all! Still, it was a nice stomach filler.

Philly Style Wagyu Steak Sandwich

The paddle board pizza selections are highly recommended!  If I recall, you can choose to have either the regular or thin crust pizza base.

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Pizza Margherita

And last but not least, the Fish and Chips

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Fish and Chips

…’til next time!

#LagiLagiGilaGila: National Humour Magazine Exhibition @ Galeri Petronas, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Duration : 14 April 2015 – 15 July 2015
Opening hours: 10am to 8pm (closed on Monday). Admission is free.

GILA-GILA is a national humour magazine that was first published on 1 April 1978. It is a socially-accepted novelty and an important piece of history that embodies the brilliant minds of Malaysia‛s top cartoonists.”

Gila Gila is an equivalent of the American Mad comics.  It is a hilarious satirical comic publication that touches on the poignant cultural landscape of Malaysian lives.

Comics are also creative vehicles which provoke an insight to the cartoonists’s minds.  Whilst fun, it is also powerful enough to disseminate information through parody – a useful propaganda to reach out to the young and illiterates.

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1st edition magazine covers. Worth a few quid, ya think?

There are over 500 original artworks ranging from comic strips, editorial cartoons, rare first editions and sketches and drawings on display.

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B&W illustrations

As this is a restropective exhibition on Malaysian comics, portfolios of top Malaysian cartoonists are exhibited and explained. I believe there are also opportunities to meet with the artists on certain dates, however, do refer to Galeri Petronas’ webpage (here).

There were a lot of explanations on individual panel boards (thus information overload for me)… but what truly captivated me were the beautiful watercolours and the masterful strokes of the cartoonist-artists.  Comics are powerful in that one does not need to read nor understand the language:  A picture tells a thousand words.

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A comic tells a thousand words

Gila Gila caricatured and injected a sense of humor to a wide array of pressing cultural, social and political issues of the day.

Malaysian Popular Culture:  The identity and lifestyle captured in the scenes are all very familiar in the public’s collective memories.

Remember the day when when dad brought home a new bike?

Humour in domestic life

Bike ride through the kampung

Jungle Tales

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Backpacker

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AC/DC!

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Movie Star

Kampung humor

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Durian season

If animals can talk…by cartoonist Jaafar Taib

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Economic critique:   Poking fun at world economic – remember the GFC?

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IMF + International Mat-Salleh Fun *Mat Salleh means Westerners in Malay

In honour of humour, if you are in KL, why not go visit?  You might view comics in a brand new light!

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See you there!


            

‘Superhero Mode’ @Strato, Troika KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit:  May 17 2015

Tired of eating around the Pavilion and Suria KLCC vicinity, my brother and I decided to done our capes to venture further afield – i.e. to cut across the KLCC Park over to Troika, a residential building complex designed by Norman Forster.  *superhero mode*🙌

In the heat of a tropical showdown, getting to the restaurant on foot is a mission in itself.  First, we have to contend with the heat, find our way through the park,  dodge speeding cars  then upon arriving at the destination to find out where among the 2 buildings that ‘famed’ Troika Sky Dining is located.

After enquiring with the guards on duty, we were escorted to the elevator and transported to level 23A…slightly dishevelled and sweaty!

Since we were early – the restaurant only opens at 12pm – we were seated at Claret (the bar), downstairs and given the drinks and food menu to peruse… Interestingly, being an Italian resto, there were pages and pages listing pasta and pizzas… with only 1 page of mains…hmmm…😏

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I quite like ‘kiddy’ graphics for the menu

The downstairs bar area is called ‘Claret’

Circular stairs to ‘Strato’ restaurant

View down to ‘Claret’ bar

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Strato, the Italian restaurant on the upper deck

Bench-style seating for the lone diners. Let the KLCC park views do the talkin’

No kidding – check out our obstacles in getting to our lunch here!

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Part of KLCC park under construction/renovation – but see what I meant when I said getting to the resto was a mission! ☺️

We were entertained by a group of aunties reliving their high-school days, let loose in the marvel of the apps on their smartphones.  They were happily WhatsApp-ing and FaceBook-ing each other (whilst in the presence of each other nonetheless?!🙊…) and with their friends in virtual space.

Cute reminder, but why bother?? 😳

I ordered the No.3 Rickey (steep at RM36++) – gin, fresh lime, soda and no sugar – it was an OK drink.  I didn’t get any ‘kick’ out of it! 😛

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My gin – and a disconnected but ‘wired’ lunch companion

While waiting for my lunch, my tummy started to rumble.  I guess it must be a sign of heatstroke… So off I went to the Ladies’… Sometimes, I wonder why in Malaysia or in other developing Asian countries, things are always half-done.  Here, we have a beautiful restaurant which was very thoughtfully conceived, but when it comes to the servicing part – e.g. the toilets, guests are made to run up/ down the dusty fire-stairs to a toilet that doesn’t even flush properly!

Complimentary Foccacia

Much to our delight, there’s set lunch where we only need to pick a choice for each course! RM50++ for 2 courses and RM65++ for 3 courses.  Naturally, we opted for the later, dessert was bonus for braving the ‘elements’.

The octopus salad was good. The deep-fried transparent leaves added a touch of colour to a  well composed plate of yellow, green, orange…and a squeeze of lemon imparted tanginess to the salted and smoked bean puree.

Grilled baby Octopus with smashed borlotti beans and lobster oil

I had a little ‘surprise’ when the beef tenderloin arrived as I find it very small.  The tenderloin might have weighed less 100g, but for the price of the set lunch, I should not be surprised. Nonetheless, it was well executed and I enjoyed it.

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Pan seared grass fed Tenderloin, roasted root vegetables and porcini jus (there were typos in the menu, but I won’t harp on it! 😜)

Beef done medium-rare, accompanied by roasted turnips, shallots, baby carrot and spinach

Budino is a sweet traditional Italian dessert, rich and creamy like a custard pudding. Here, it is served with plumped-up sweetened cranberries and biscuit crumbs.  It wasn’t too sweet, so I was happy with my choice and it was a good end to our lunch!

Vanilla Budino & Mixed Berries Compote

We lingered a bit with our coffees after the meal…

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Complimentary Coffee

Typically in tropical climes, after a really hot morning, dark clouds will roll in to bring in a storm for a cool-down.  Seeing the dark skies, we decided to hurry home…

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The Twin Towers of Malaysia