"Who knew heaven was in Singapore?" fellow fashion blogger Serene a.k.a. The Elegant Bohemian quipped in response to one of my responses about a chocolate buffet in my tag post here many weeks ago. Forgive my tardiness in posting it up-- there's hell alot of photographs since it's a monumental thing where your camera is saturated with shots everytime you go there. Yes, I have been there several times, the first time when I was eighteen with The Best Friend. Ever since then, I've always brought someone there for their first time, it's as though I am some sort of Chocolate Buffet Induction Extraordinaire a.k.a. I Who Lead Thee Into Chocolate And Vanity Temptation. This time, when I went back to Singapore for a holiday a few months back, I brought my very good friend Vee over for her virgin Chocolate Buffet Session. .
Going for the chocolate buffet is always nostalgic, so I dug up a few old shots. My first trip was in 2004, when The Best Friend and I had first started earning some money, and decided to treat ourselves. The buffet is held from 8 to 11pm (although it always extends beyond that) on Friday and Saturday evenings at the courtyard of Singapore's first six-star establishment The Fullerton, a sprawling glamorous transformation of the old Post Office building by the river. At eighteen, we both decided we were going to work darned hard to achieve a fine lifestyle. Somewhere along the line, we're both in the UK now, by a strange twist of fate. The other shot that I included here was with my cousin, probably a few months later. You see, I have loads of memories with loads of people at the buffet (and am intending to take D there soon). During our first trip, Denise and I were sitting on the huge sofa armchairs and laughing as usual over stories, when we accidentally tripped the switch on the wall. Bam. The lights went off. The chocolate fountain got switched off. Oh no! We were way embarrassed. Many trips later, the head waiter (who wasn't always on duty everytime I went, thank goodness) looked at me quizically and said, "You . . always come here, don't you?". Errr, yes. And then I discovered that most normal people go there as a once in a lifetime sort of experience, rather than as a regular treat. Fair enough. Some of us love chocolate more than others. So it is 2010 now, I look way less fresh-faced and innocent, and six years and various rounds of price increases later, my love and cravings for it is still going strong. .
I don't count myself as one of those outgoing sociable types. Sometimes I think I even shun communities and groups deliberately because group dynamics in certain formations (e.g. when you join a new school/place) mold one into something else. Think induction rites designed to strip you of an identity to give you a new one, or people making friends for agendas. Therefore, making acquaintances isn't high on my priority list-- I may collect shoes that I love, but not people (whom I don't love). Lately someone was musing with me how it's sad to have 4142014 friends whom you know aren't really friends, and to have no one who will ever watch your back but might just air kiss you in social events. And it made me realise, for someone who doesn't overtly seek collectives or relationships, I am extremely lucky to know I have at least seven true, real friends-- independent, individual people who respect and celebrate our differences, who are with each other in spirit, and during the few times that we meet up, burst with excitement and revel in the spirit of friendship and camaraderie. Vee is one of them, a gorgeous and intelligent girl I met during my A'Levels. Seven years of friendship on, we always have an insane plethora of topics to muse about, from food to life to philosophy to hot men. So when we met up for drinks and Indian food one sultry Friday evening, we decided to go for the chocolate buffet on the next. But, the buffet was fully booked, yet the food in Singapore (well, the people too) convinced me to extend my holiday. A ten-day one became a three-week adventure. This was my last Friday in Singapore. .
I wore my mom's white and black long dress. When I was in my early teens, I'd laugh at her, telling her such dresses of hers are old-fashioned; towards my late teens did I learn to appreciate their prints, so I suggested that she should slash the hemlines and change them to halterneck cuts. You see, she is about 174cm tall (I am the in-house midget) and has the build of a slender Amazonian woman with a stomach that curves inwards unlike me. Her side of the family is really tall-- strange for Singaporeans/Chinese, and my shortest uncle is about 6-foot tall; once again, unlike myself. So with such amazing genes, these dresses look splendid on her. Luckily for me, she never cut them nor repurposed them, so as I grew older and learned to appreciate these wondrous beauties, I started wearing them. And going home, what better than to raid your mother's wardrobe? Worn here with Mango double-buckled belt (a.k.a. Policewoman belt), Betts' wedges (from Perth), Warehouse silver cuff that makes me feel like a Stargate character, my Evil Eye ring (as I call it), and a humongous necklace Denise got me from Thailand, telling me, "Only you will be able to pull it off". I also attached a thick ship's anchor-like chain from my Celine bag (seen here) to my Marble Ink handbag which I carry everywhere, and the white, black, silver look was all set in place. Voila. Okay, fashion spiel over, just because Devilishly Pleasurable has more food than fashion these days ;)
The Fullerton Hotel is a beauty, a piece of architectural splendor standing proudly by the Singapore River-- where economic life of the country first started bustling after its 'official founding' in 1819 by the British. The River then was the site for entrepot trade, where traders from the Far East and Europe would converge, bringing with them exotic spices, materials and foodstuffs. Today, the river has been cleaned up, flanked by modern skyscrapers, as this site is now the Central Business District. The Hotel itself has a gorgeous bar, live classical music, and the most amazing spa I have ever been to (if I say so myself). Its rooms are also luxurious, but like most things in Singapore, doesn't come close to reasonably priced, much less cheap. But to the dismay of my mother, I like to spoil myself there with my hard-earned money, rather than 'saving it up like a good girl'. I mean, I do save. Just that I like to pamper myself.
I used to read that dresses at calf-length are no-nos because they'll give you stumpy calves; maybe I'm insane but sometimes it's nice to have a little illusion of what you don't have. . . In some sense it is a little like "don't wear turtlenecks if you have a generous chest" but maybe sometimes we don't want to downplay our chests? And funnily enough, in October 09 before I left Singapore, I also took some photographs by the river. .
More shots by Vee, who understands my camwhorism. Lol.
Going early means we camwhored in the bathrooms. "They should have a Toilet Mode for cameras" she goes! I know.
As you can probably tell in the top picture, those are some of the delightful offerings on the main table. Each selection is exquisite, for instance dark grapes swimming in a chocolate-wineish liquid, an assortment of fluffy mousse with different types of chocolates and fruits, moist cakes, and crisp tarts in every sort of chocolate imaginable. So no, you're not going to the Chocolate Buffet to only eat bars of chocolate.
And you kick back on plush Prussian Blue velvet armchairs, whilst there is a freeflow of coffee and tea, complete with lumps of sugar. You can also choose to have a specially-selected dessert wine as accompaniment, but I was thinking of being teetotaler during that time.
This photograph was taken towards closing time, which is why the trays were rather empty. . we were having too much of a good time with multiple rounds, catching up. . and the time flew by, as always as when you are with excellent company.
And of course, a chocolate fondue fountain with fruits, pastry puffs and marshmallows for you to coat in molten chocolate cascading down. Part of the fun lies in saturating your food in chocolate, filling up tiny bowls with that same chocolate, and dipping it further when you sit down. . By now I probably sound like a pig. Actually my brother tells everyone my name is Piggy because I sleep loads. But yes, chocolate is my staple; and its entire history fascinates me-- D has concluded that he was Mayan in a past life, and I was an Aztec because we both dig chocolate.
If memory serves me right, that was a green tea pudding marbled with chocolate, topped with fruits of the forest. And of course, my deliberate mess.
And my favourite part? Chocolate soup. You choose from a selection of chocolates varying in intensity of cocoa, and your accompaniment. These include masala, rose petals, wasabi, chilli, lavender, cinnamon and cacao beans-- their essence in a little dropper a-la science experiments. The cook combines them with a little milk in a pot, whisking it lightly, and your very own brew of Chocolate Soup is served to you in a tiny little bowl. I recommend you try all, if you can.
Do I see your eyes widening ;)
Whilst it looks like fairyland outside in the country that has food 24-hours a day. . take a stroll down the different quays by the river, hop into a jazz bar and enjoy the rest of the night. .
Have a glorious chocolatey weekend my friends, whether it's molten hot cocoa by the fireplace or refreshingly-cold icecream ;)x