Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney, Australia

I’d attended a seminar at the Sydney Shangri-La before but never had the opportunity to stay here.

It’s in a sort of weird location right at the corner of the Cahill Expressway and the southern approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. So close that my room window allowed me to almost look across the bridge in it’s entirety.

Upon entering the hotel you’re welcomed by a bright, marble reception area with a lobby lounge to the left and reception to the right. Checking in was fast and painless and I was off to my room in about 5 minutes.

In many hotels the corridors are cramped and claustrophobic. But here they are expansive. Probably the widest I’ve seen in any hotel recently. No filthy carpet like the Hyatt Regency either :).

The room was large by comparison to the Marriott and the InterContinental. I had a view of the Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay from my sixth floor room.

For drinks we headed upto Blu Bar on level 36 which offers absolutely magnificent panoramic views of Sydney. Drinks were standard hotel prices but the view means you’ll forget getting gouged.

The bed and pillows were some of the most comfortable I’d had in quite a while but that’s expected of a 5 star hotel.

Bathroom was large and had a separate bath and shower which you don’t see that often anymore.

Despite my room being on a low floor and being so close to 2 majorly busy roads there was no problem with noise.

Superb hotel!

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Little Island Brewing, Singapore

Out by the northern end of the western runway for Singapore’s Changi Airport is Changi Village. A nice area with a hotel, heaps of restaurants and a hawker center all a short walk from the beach.

There’s also a microbrewery called Little Island Brewing.

From City Hall I’d jumped on the train all the way to the end of the line, Pasir Ris. From Pasir Ris you can jump on a bus, or take a taxi, to Changi Village. I chose the taxi option and the ride was around 10 minutes.

I’d originally thought about grabbing a bite to eat at the hawker center before heading for a drink but a number of stalls were closed, as this was the week between Christmas and New Year, and those that were open were packed. I decided to head to the brewery for a drink and then I found that they also serve food.

Before I get onto the beer I need to talk about the food. One of the options was a wagyu beef brisket burger with chips for $18. I’m a bit of a sucker for BBQed meat so I was interested in what this would be like.

Well… all I can say was that this was an exquisite burger. Fresh, perfectly cooked and juicy. The bun was firm (though it did fall to pieces before I finished) and the fried chips were perfectly cooked and not overly salty.

Foodwise lunch was a 10 out of 10.

You can get your first pint for $5 with your meal. For your subsequent beers you need to purchase a pre-paid card that you then use on some really modern beer taps.

When you want a beer you grab a clean glass out of the fridge. Once you’ve chosen which beer you want you swipe your card, press the yes button and pour your own beer. You pay for the beer by the milliliter, and each beer has it’s own per milliliter cost. A really cool system! It looks like beers cost about $10/pint on average.

The beer’s that are available on tap constantly change so you could keep coming back here and not be bored.

Definitely worth the train trip.

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Alchemist Beer Lab, Singapore

Close to the Swissotel Stamford and across the road from Raffle Hotel in the newly developed building on top of Esplanade MRT station is a modern area with plenty of restaurants and bars.

One of those bars is called the Alchemist Beer Lab.

While their speciality is beer infusions I decided to try a couple of the straight beers I’d not heard of before.

First I chose a 8 Bit IPA that had a decent taste – it didn’t last too long in the heat. For my second drink I ordered a local drop from Little Island Brewing, a Naked Lager which was an interesting and tasty brew.

Foodwise there was a small menu at the time I was there. The pork scratchings were a great accompaniment for the beer. But I also disappointingly ordered the Spiced Nuts which turned out to be a small cup of mixed nuts with a masala that was just far too overwhelming both in taste and volume.

Website here > https://southbeachavenue.com/alchemist/

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The Modern Izakaya, Chijmes, Singapore

I tried The Modern Izakaya previously – it didn’t set my world on fire and I said at the time that I wouldn’t return but I thought I’d give them a second chance to see if they’d improved.

I trundled in around 6:30pm and was shown to a small table. While the place wasn’t busy at the moment, there were a good number of people already eating.

I ordered a glass of Asahi for an eye watering $16 while I perused the menu.

I ordered some tsukune (chicken meatballs) and momo (chicken thigh). Freshly cooked the dishes came out with the traditional tare (a salty sweet sauce). While tasty there was a different taste than you’ll get in Japan.

I decided to try a second round but this time I asked for no sauce but just salt and pepper which was delivered within about 10 minutes. Again, it wasn’t what you would get in Japan, it seemed a bit bland to me.

The prices of the yakitori were reasonable at $3 to $4 a piece.

If you’re looking for some Japanese-like food then you’ll get an OK feed here.

But if you’re looking for yakitori similar to what you would eat in Japan I think you’d be disappointed to eat here.

By the time I left the restaurant was busier with most of the outside tables taken, so despite this not being real Japanese in my view it must resonate with Singaporeans.

 

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TAP Craft Beer Bar, Singapore

If you like pints of unique beers, at a price that isn’t too far over the odds, then TAP Craft Beer Bar is one place you should visit in Singapore.

At $10 a pint you can’t go wrong. The menu has around 15 beers, local and imported, available on tap and you can give them a try before you buy.

I visited twice during the week and had a good selection of beers including

Being in the old, colonial Capitol Theatre building it’s nice and cool inside even though its a hot and humid 35 outside.

 

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