To Spain by way of Harbourfront

22 11 2012

Calamares Plancha, Serenity Spanish Bar and Restaurant, Vivo City, Singapore

WE LOVED that dinner we had at Blu Kouzina so much that we found ourselves planning the second trip faster than anybody could say “Blu.”  But the night we did, the place was closed.  Not one to pass up on the chance to take gastronomic adventures – technically, opportunities that present themselves when the original plans fall through – we moved on to seek a suitable replacement and found ourselves not wandering far from the cuisine of the Grecian isles.

We decided on Serenity Spanish Bar & Restaurant at Vivo City.  It’s just seven stations away by train from the office, yet much like Blu Kouzina, it held a promise of cuisine that could be good we’d feel like we needed our passports to be rightfully devouring what we were having.

For starters, we rounded up a selection of Spanish tapas that teased with both their modest portions and subtle flavors.  The calamares plancha, which to me literally means grilled squid, was fresh, cooked perfectly – any longer on the fire and it would’ve been stringy – and doused in one of the definitive flavors of the Mediterranean region – extra virgin olive oil.  Patatas bravas, cubes of tenderized potatoes, deep-fried and smothered in a lightly tangy red sauce of tomatoes, paprika, chili and vinegar, with a drizzling of alioli, made a believer in me in the rightful position this tuber occupies in the culinary world.

Patatas Bravas

This was my second time breaking bread with “Team Italia”, an act rendered tangible meaning by two servings of pan con alioli – two loaves of whole bread generously dotted with pumpkin seeds, meant to be dipped in pristine alioli, a mélange of mayonnaise and garlic.

My fresh lime juice



A couple of toasts had been proposed, me with my fresh lime juice and everybody else with their Erdinger beer, before the pièce de résistance made it to the table – Paella Valenciana.  Coming from the Philippines, where arroz a la Valenciana is as common as boiling water, the “purist” in me expected a fragrant simmered short-grain rice dish, infused with the essence of saffron, cooked with meat.  When it is made with seafood, it is called paella de marisco.  Or, when both meat (like chorizo) and seafood are used, it is called mixed paella (paella mixta).  What Serenity served us was the third variant.

Serenity’s Paella Valenciana

But who would be bothered with proper names when we would rather focus on enjoying perfectly cooked plump grains of rice, suffused with the flavors of meat and the sweetness of seafood?  Especially when we have reached the bottom of the pan where everybody went searching for that layer of “toasted” rice that is essential to a good – and may I say, authentic – paella.

Dinner company – Claudio, Paolo, Giovanni, eNTeNG, Kia Leh, and Michele.


Let’s try that once more with flash!


On the purple line on the way back – Paolo, eNTeNG and Kia Leh.


Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved

Back at one

2 02 2012

PAGE ONE, Vivo City, HarbourFront, Singapore

I’VE SORT of rediscovered Vivo City at HarbourFront.  I first learned about it in March 2011 when my frantic search for the Nixon Time Teller Blue-X wristwatch led me to the Tang’s Department Store branch there.  I will always remember the place to be where I amassed my first stash of Time Tellers.  But after my wristwatch lust was satiated, I sort of have relegated this sprawling mall to the backburner.

Lately, like a man on a mission, I’ve always set a goal to make it to the mall before they close at 10:00 PM.  I would finish all that I could at work – and more – and leave just enough time to travel and make it to my latest favorite gustatory destination – Jia Xiang Sarawak Kuching.  I would do it almost everyday now, for the love of all the bowls of mee that I could handle.

Today, the first of February, I had a little time after dinner to do some shopping.  And I knew exactly where to go to – the book store.  PAGE ONE, to be exact.

I noticed that there were so much more people than I would normally see in a book store.  And that everything was marked down.  MARKED WAY DOWN.  I shrugged my shoulders and in my head, I chalked it all up to the still-ongoing Chinese New Year festivities.

I held one huge wristwatch-related coffee table book, saw that it was going for 70% off, and felt really strange.  This was not some usual sale.  I motioned to one of the staff members and asked what the fuss was all about.  She said that the owners have decided to cease operations of the business.  (I don’t think I’m at liberty to discuss as to why.)

I felt kind of sad.  Here in Singapore, I’ve taken great happiness in imbibing the soul-satisfying pleasures of allowing myself to be surrounded by the printed word – at Popular, at Times, at Harris, at Prologue, and here at PAGE ONE.  And while most everybody around me chooses to “slide to unlock,” I’d rather dirty my fingers with the color transfer I would get from going through the papers from cover to cover.

Seeing one book store go is kind of sad.

So to wallow in this grief, I decided to rummage through bins upon bins of marked down stuff and get what I would consider as “memorabilia” from another one of those that somehow succumbed to the changing times.  I think it’s magnanimous of PAGE ONE to allow the public to get a piece of “knowledge” at the cost of almost “nothing.”

I knew exactly the first person to tell about this to – my Youngest Brother!  After realizing that considerable floor space was allocated to architecture, industrial design and interior design, I knew I would need to hoard stuff for Youngest Brother’s office.  I told him, “They would look good on the mantel.”  Hahaha!

I will miss PAGE ONE.  Today – it’s already past midnight – I shall go on a mission to go back to PAGE ONE.  Youngest Brother is going to make me search for titles and authors.


*The closing-out sale ends on the 19th of February 2012.

“UP TO 80% DISCOUNT”… Say what?!


So many titles on architectural design


Design Hotels Year Book


The Architecture Section... I've got to be back!


Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved