The Modern Izakaya, Chijmes, Singapore

Chijmes in Singapore was an old Catholic convent that has now been converted to a restaurant, bar and entertainment area across the road from Raffles City.

Walking through one evening I noticed a new Japanese restaurant (It wasn’t there in December 2015 when I last walked past) but it wasn’t open for dinner yet – it opens at 6pm. I took a mental note to come back the next day.

Having been to Japan a month ago I was excited to re-taste the unique flavors of Japanese dishes.

I tried several different yakatori type dishes.

The Chicken Thigh skewers were very good and reminded me very much of the yakatori I’d eaten in Nagoya, Osaka & Tokyo, as did the Asparagus and Bacon skewers.

A Lamb Rack, well a single lamb cutlet, was well seasoned and tasty, but completely over priced for what was received.

The Pork Belly skewers, on the other hand, were very much underwhelming to the point of not tasting like much at all.

Happy hour here was 6pm til 8pm (I think!) so 2 glasses of Asahi were around $16.

Overall, I wasn’t impressed with this place. It didn’t seem to me to be authentic Japanese and was overpriced in my opinion.

I wouldn’t return.

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Caffe Leffe, Grenoble, France

About an hours drive from Villard Reculas is Grenoble at the base of the spectacular French Alps.

We arrived in Grenoble around 11am which gave us enough time to explore the historic centre of the city before finding somewhere for lunch to shelter us from the blistering midday sun.

Grenoble is compact and quite flat in the city centre so it was an easy walk. Great architecture and nice parks make it a pleasant walk – just watch out for the trams!

There’s a town square of sorts called Place Grenette close to the Jardin de Ville (Town Garden) which has dozens of restaurants around the square with several of the larger ones having tents in the square itself for you to sit under while you dine.

One of the larger establishments with a good menu that suited all 3 of us was Cafe Leffe so we decided to eat here under the tent. Some of the tents have water mist sprinklers to keep you cool, unfortunately not Cafe Leffe but we did get some relief from the adjacent cafe when the breeze was right.

Cafe Leffe is a chain of cafes across France and Belgium and the menu is standard across the chain.

As you can guess Leffe brand beers are prominent on the menu, as well as a number of other beers if Trappist beer isn’t your thing.

I chose a Leffe Ruby to rehydrate with.

For my meal I ordered a double Leffe Burger (around 300g of meat all up!) with cheese that came with a serving of chips. It was absolutely HUGE and a struggle to finish.

For a pub meal it was decent and not overly expensive given the tourist area that we were in.

After lunch we caught the cable car upto La Bastille which is definitely worth a visit for an hour or so. You can see the world famous Mont Blanc in the distance.

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Renn Thai, Clarke Quay, Singapore

I’d been down near the Singapore River for the morning when the pangs for lunch started just before midday. If you’ve been to Clarke Quay before you’ll know its very much a nighttime area, so there weren’t an overwhelming number of options for lunch.

One restaurant that was open for lunch was Renn Thai. It is directly across the river from SQUE. At midday I was the first person in the door and during my stay there was a slow stream of other diners coming in.

The menu was fairly extensive and very well presented.

I like spicy, but not overly spicy food, so I decided to start with a Tom Kha Gai which had a bit of a kick to it. I had sweat pouring off my forehead!

For main course I ordered a Massaman Beef curry and a small serving of steamed rice. This was a large dish, an OK taste, but by no means the best massaman curry I’ve had but it was still a good, solid dish.

As is the norm in Singapore, sunlight hours are pretty much “happy hour” so I enjoyed 2 mugs of Tiger beer for the price of 1 with my meal.

Curry was $26. Soup was $10. Beers were $11 each but with happy hour it was $11 for 2.

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Danish Tavern, Brussels, Belgium

On Sunday morning, my first full day in Belgium, I’d wandered into the centre of Brussels which was about a 10 minute walk from my hotel.

The centre of Brussels is a compact and historical area of meandering roads and lanes with history, restaurants and bars at every turn.

I’m not known for keeping my bearings in cities, and often end up going in completely the wrong direction. After walking around in circles for a while with my thirst growing I saw the Danish Tavern near the Church of Saint Nicolas and the Brussels Stock Exchange.

The Danish Tavern had a well frequented outside area overlooking the passing throngs. As it was full I adjourned inside to the almost empty bar.

The drinks menu had a decent number of beers including Chimay, Kwak, Leffe and Orval. You could make yourself at home here!

After a beer to cool down it was lunchtime and I had their Gigot D’Agneau Grille (Grilled rack of lamb) which was cooked well and certainly filled me up.

Several more beers and the waitress pointed me back towards my hotel for an afternoon snooze.

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Din Tai Fung, Sentosa, Singapore

Din Tai Fung is a restaurant chain in Asia that has it’s roots in Taiwan. I’d tried one of their Singapore restaurants previously so when I was looking for somewhere for lunch on Sentosa Island I knew I’d get a decent feed.

Their restaurant on Sentosa, near the Sentosa Express Waterfront station, is very large. I guess it can become very busy on weekends. Even on a weekday it was already half full by midday and it just keep on filling up for the 45 minutes I was there.

I was only looking for a small lunch to allow me to try other places in Singapore later on in the day.

I’m a bit of a sucker for Duck, so when I saw Sliced Duck in Crispy Spring Onion Pastry on the appetiser menu I had one dish worked out pretty quickly. To round off the meal I chose to go Japanese with a serving of 5 Gyoza.

Food was very good quality.

For drinks I tried a beer I’ve never tried before, a Gold Medal Taiwan Beer.

The food dishes were around $9 each, and the beer $11.50 (for a small bottle though)

Definitely enough food to tide me over with an all up cost of around SGD$35 once all the service charges and taxes are added.

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