Today I had a very pleasant morning walking around the Gardens by the Bay, Singapore's newest attraction that just opened in June. It's beautiful and pretty amazing, as well as a nice change from all the manmade attractions on this island.
Of course Gardens by the Bay is also manmade -- but you certainly don't feel this is so, when you're here. It's like you walked into a rainforest and then a garden, somewhere exotic in the world.
ON SALE EVERYWHERE NOW
Only one part of the very large project is open as of now, but it's beautiful. You can visit two pretty impressive climate-controlled domes. The Cloud Forest contains a multi-level construction that you can walk through and it mimics the feeling of being in the clouds.
Meanwhile, the Flower Dome is basically a giant greenhouse of plants and flora from all over the world.
STRATEGY FOR THE GARDENS
The trick is to start your walk in the Cloud Forest mid-morning and then end up in the Flower Dome so you can then have a very nice lunch at Pollen, a hot new restaurant right inside the Flower Dome that's currently getting rave reviews from foodies for its simple and yet tasty and sophisticated dishes.
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Or, if you're up for a romantic dinner, you can show up at the Gardens by the Bay in the evening and take the restaurant buggy to the restaurant itself. When you get to Pollen, order your dinner and then have a nice walk around the Flower Dome before your first course arrives.
The Flower Dome is open until about 9 PM and if you're eating at Pollen, you can walk straight into it from the back of the restaurant -- whereas if you're not eating in Pollen, you need to purchase tickets at another entrance.
Pollen is one of the newest foodie destinations in Singapore, and it's very refreshing as it's like having a meal in the middle of a beautiful and exotic garden.
In fact, when I mentioned to two people I know in Singapore today that I'd just eaten there, it turns out that they'd both been planning to bring their spouses there for birthday dinners.
A BIT OF LONDON IN SINGAPORE
Pollen is the Singapore outpost of a popular restaurant in London with the same name, by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton.
The Singapore team too is led by him, and there are a couple of classic dishes from the London restaurant that have also found their way to Pollen Singapore at the Gardens by the Bay.
I had a look through their menu and was sorely tempted to do a tasting of several dishes that seemed absolutely scrumptious.
Unfortunately, as always trying to do everything all at once, I still wanted to head over to Dempsey for some shopping and then to check out the new art galleries at The Gilman Barracks before dinner, so I had to content myself with what I thought would be a quick three-course lunch for SG$70.
A VERY GOOD EXPRESS LUNCH
Content is an understatement here, of course, as the express lunch menu was very good and also pretty reasonable by the standards of restaurants of this category in Singapore.
It's not cheap, but it's on the reasonable side for the Singapore outpost of a well-known restaurant in Europe.
I had a Jerusalem artichoke soup with a grilled scallop that was topped with a few tiny morsels of spicy deep-fried calamari to start.
For the main course, there was a choice of a shoulder of lamb, a grilled fish or a risotto with wild mushrooms and morelles. Perhaps because I'd walked so much that morning, I was hankering for some carbo, so I went with the risotto.
For dessert, I had honey ice cream and pistachio ice cream with pieces of salty and sweet chocolate, and lots of nuts thrown in.
I can't remember the exact name of this dessert on the menu, as it was quite long; but that was what was in the dessert and it was incredibly good.
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ICE CREAM BARS FOR AFTER-DESSERT
As if life could not get more fattening, Marie, the very charming but professional French maitre'd of Pollen, came over with a plate of freshly-made chocolates -- as in freshly-made on the premises -- and ice cream bars for all of us.
Yes, ice cream bars! I can't even remember when was the last time I had a proper ice cream bar before today, but I definitely enjoyed the one I was given today.
It was pure chocolate, and it was dusted with palm sugar powder for a rather Asian twist on a Western dessert.
Of course lunch ended way past the time it should have ended, and so I never made it to Dempsey today. But I still hope to be able to get there tomorrow, on my way to the airport for the next round of my never-ending Travelife...
Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay
18 Marina Gardens Drive
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