Saturday, December 11, 2010

Valentino Retrospective In Singapore

When I think of Valentino, I think of a beautiful breathtaking red gown. I never had the chance to meet Mr Garavani in person when I was working for the label in Singapore many years ago. However, I did meet Naomi Campbell when she was in Singapore to grace the opening of the then Paragon boutique in 2003. What was unforgettable was not just meeting Naomi (for the record, she was not a diva and was obliging), but I remembered being given the chance to touch and feel the beautiful vintage gowns that were brought in for a mini retrospective exhibition. I was trained as a fashion designer in London and it meant a lot to me to be able to see the masterpieces by Valentino up close.

Publicity photo for the exhibition in Rome, 2007.

The exhibition at Museum of the Ara Pacis, 2007.

In 2007, Valentino created an amazing retrospective exhibition in Rome to celebrate his 45 years as a couturier. Approximately 360 costumes and rare, archived materials were displayed through a spectacular display at the Museum of the Ara Pacis.

For those (that's me for one) who didn't get the chance to visit Rome during that time, will be able to see some of the rare pieces in Singapore very soon. From 22nd December 2010 to 13th February 2011, 100 exquisite haute couture pieces from the renowned Italian Maison Valentino will be displayed in a curated exhibition at Singapore’s first integrated resort, Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).

The inaugural Asian exhibition “Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future” featuring 100 haute couture looks from founder Valentino Garavani’s early designs to present-day creations by current Creative Directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli (who worked alongside Mr Garavani for a decade before their appointment), is developed by Les Arts D√©coratifs of Paris and produced by Olga Iserlis, with assistance from the House of Valentino.

Sophisticated designs on display include those worn by Hollywood celebrities and members of high society around the world, such as Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Elizabeth Taylor. Pieces in the exhibition highlight Valentino's intricate techniques and trademark themes of embellishments.

Julia Roberts wearing a vintage Valentino gown at the 2001 Oscars. This dress will on display at the exhibition.

The exhibition will open to the public on 22nd December, daily from 11am to 8pm (Sundays to Thursdays) and 11am to 11pm (Fridays, Saturdays, eve of public holidays and public holidays). The exhibition will also be open for extended hours 11am to 11pm (2 to 3 February 2011). Tickets are priced at S$6 for children and S$12 for adults and are available at all SISTIC outlets and RWS.

Official Sites:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Best Burger Is In Town. All Hail Daniel Boulud!

I am not a fan of Marina Bay Sands (MBS). River Dance performance was disappointing, crippled with embarrassing technical breakdown halfway through the performance. Parking sucks at MBS in the evenings, and worse when there's an event taking place. The pathetic gondolas on the water channel are something I won't be caught dead in. However, the only salvation for MBS has to be the stellar line-up of restaurants. I have raved about Guy Savoy and Waku Ghin, and today marks the day that I am a burger convert and a big db fan.

All foodies rejoice. db bistro moderne by the highly acclaimed Chef Daniel Boulud has opened its door to the public today. Fate has it that I was there today to dine with a fellow foodie friend of mine. To set the record straight, I pay for my own meals. I don't get invited as a media guest to do food sampling. I dined at the restaurant as someone who will pay top dollars for the food I love. That means I have the liberty to write about restaurants that I truly like.

To cut to the chase, here are the pics of the immaculate meal I had. For those who want to know more about Chef Boulud and his restos, you can easily read about it online. I shan't bore you with the details and will let the food pics do the talking.

Many great chefs such as Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay will say the key to success is to keep things simple. db bistro does it well with a simple menu offering unpretentious dishes in an easy to read format.

The devil is in the details. As a perfectionist, I appreciate subtle perfections... such as the initials on the napkin. Also on the paper of the bread bowl.

The most basic items usually are the hardest to get right. Even the simple bread here tasted good.

Amuse Bouche was goat's cheese wrapped with zucchini slice on a bed of pumpkin puree. I can eat a dozen of these but it won't be wise, considering the amount of good food that followed.

The Chop Chop Salad. I usually won't order salads as appetisers but this is a signature dish and came recommended by the wait staff. It is the dressing that maketh the salad in this case. This is will something I will order every time I dine at db bistro from now on. Yes mum, I am eating my greens.

Even though I am not a burger fan, I had to order the Original db Burger to try. If burger is a religion, I am a follower now. This is THE burger that converted me. The frites have to be the supermodel of all french fries... perfectly shaped and fried to a golden yellow. Once you tried the fries db bistro, you won't want to go near fast food fries again (those junk food are called "junk" for a reason).

Sirloin steak with frites. What you see is what you get. What you taste is what will bring you back.

As stuffed as we were, we struggled and decided that we have to try at least one dessert. With much prudence, I decided on the profiteroles. I can safely proclaim these as the best I had so far. It is definitely not your usual frozen mass produced profiteroles. This is the king of profiteroles with the hot chocolate sauce drenched over three crisp profiteroles filled with ice cream and hazelnuts (for the added crunchy contrasting texture).

It was a perfect meal. Amazing food, stylish decor, excellent service. I like the food so much that I called the resto when I got home from dinner and made a reservation for dinner again for Monday, 13th December.

me : Hi, I would like to make a reservation for Monday the 13th.
db staff : Madam, did you dine with us earlier?
me : Yes. I love it so much I can't wait to be back.
db staff : Wow. This is the first time in my career that I have a guest called up after dinner on the same day to make another reservation.
me : Thanks for remembering and appreciating the fact that I dined at your restaurant earlier.

Official Sites: (db bistro moderne Singapore is not updated on the site yet) (it still says "Opening Soon" on the MBS site)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Xiao Long Bao Paradise

Last night, I had dinner with my two gal pals at Paradise Dynasty at ION Orchard. Opened on 15 September 2010, Paradise Dynasty is a new casual dining concept by Paradise Group that dishes up an affordable selection of northern and southern Chinese cuisine. I was a little skeptical at first when my gal pal suggested Paradise Dynasty, as I was not impressed by its sister restaurant Taste Paradise. However, I think I might have found the best xiao long bao in Singapore.

I like the modern take on traditional Chinese decor. The restaurant offers an intimate ambience by giving you a sense of space, and not having tables placed too near one another. You know how Chinese restaurants are always noisy, but the noise level here is kept under control. Perhaps the interior designer did a great job with the sound proofing.

So, let's talk about the xiao long bao. They have 8 varieties and you have to order by half a dozen per selection. We chose foie gras and black truffles. I can safely proclaim they are the best in Singapore. Forget Ding Tai Fung or Imperial Treasure, this is much better.

Original ($6.80 / 6 pcs OR $9.80 / 10 pcs)


Ginseng ($12.80 / 6 pcs OR $19.80 / 10 pcs)

Foie Gras ($12.80 / 6 pcs OR $19.80 / 10 pcs)

Black Truffle ($12.80 / 6 pcs OR $19.80 / 10 pcs)

Cheese ($8.80 / 6 pcs OR $13.80 / 10 pcs)


Crab Roe ($12.80 / 6 pcs OR $19.80 / 10 pcs)


Garlic ($8.80 / 6 pcs OR $13.80 / 10 pcs)

Szechuan ($8.80 / 6 pcs OR $13.80 / 10 pcs)

Here are some of the other dishes we had...

Pork dumplings with chilli oil - must try!

Sichuan hot and sour soup

Yangzhou meatball soup

Sauteed French beans with minced pork

Souffle egg white balls stuffed with red bean and banana

Chilled aloe vera with osmanthus jelly
*The best guilt-free dessert!

Out of all the dishes we ordered, most were delicious except for the fried cod fish and stir-fry noodles that were a little tasteless. This restaurant will be my favourite joint for xiao long bao from now on. To avoid the long queues, go during off peak hours between 2.30-6.30pm.

Official Site: