Singapore – Nouri Night Out

While we were here, we thought we’d find a really nice dining experience and I booked us a table at Nouri – it’s considered a global fusion restaurant in that they take inspirations from food cultures all over the world and blend them into unique creations.

I’d heard of before Nouri, and was definitely keen to take the chance to check it out while we were here. The restaurant itself is one of those open kitchen places where the staff are so well drilled you don’t hear a peep out of any of them… everyone knows their jobs and it (outwardly) appears to run like a well oiled machine. The atmosphere, was classy yet not stuffy, and the service was exceptional.

We had to try their iconic Crossroads Menu – which is a chef’s tasting menu which delightfully came with a saké pairing flight. There was a European sommelier who was guiding us through out saké flights, and I swear, I’m no slouch in the saké department, but this guy has probably forgotten more about saké than I’ve ever known. He was so informative and very generous with knowledge, I was truly pleased we had decided to forgo the wine and opt for the saké.

The start of the tasting menu was ‘The Snacks’…

Rye sourdough, Vegetable broth, Silken cheese, Tomato as a sauce, Escabech Gelée and Shanklish… it was all delicious, but OMG the Shanklish was fabulous!

Silken Cheese…


Escabeche Gelée…

Tomato as a sauce…

Narezushi…Otoro tuna, cultured rice cake, prahok, Oscietra caviar and katsuboshi…

Pamonha… Japanese white corn custard, bafun uni, and blue corn velouté…

Barbarians’ Head… Turkic dumplings, confit chicken skin, beef consummé, wagyu, ‘nduja jambu.

Bouride… turbot in it’s own broth, bouquet garni (brewed table side, garlic skyr, and sesame paste.

Acarajé, Afro-Brazilian style fritter.

Vatapá… turmeric and coconut curry, salted prawn emulsion.

Beouf à la Presse… A5 Keisan-guy wagyu ribeye, white kimchi, pressed beef jus.

At this stage of the meal, we were offered tea… this came in the form of, what sort of tea do you usually enjoy and what are your favourite flavours. I responded ‘English Breakfast black tea and vanilla, maple and bourbon’ as the first thing that came to mind, and Mr K replied with ‘Earl Grey, and lemon, whiskey and root beer’.

I don’t know what magic was conjured up as he brewed some combinations of leaves for both of us, but he somehow handed both of us the most delicious cup of tea that was specifically chosen for our individual preferences. No, my tea didn’t taste of the things I listed, but it was absolutely marvellous to my palette… whereas I thought Mr K’s was really ordinary, and he loved it!

Troy de Champenois… violet granita, pickled lemon, sparkling wine.

Chocolate Fish balls… chocolate sorbet, ikan billis, wild pepper leaf, colatura di alici.

Petit Fours…

Nutmeg candy and Giandujotto…

Coffee and Hazelnut Dorayaki and Osmanthus Jelly

Season fruit… mango.

And because I mentioned the now much celebrated 25th wedding anniversary in our booking notes… there was also this delightful peach dessert to finish the meal.

This really was a dining experience like no other I had ever had before. The food was all so incredibly and passionately researched, and the chef was happy to share that inspiration and research with patrons who were interested. The saké flights were fantastic on every level – on one pairing, our sommelier (what is the saké equivalent I wonder?), suggested we try the saké he had chosen, then take a bite of our dish, and he then promised the saké would completely change in its flavour… and it really did! It went from tasting like a fresh crisp and somewhat citrusy saké to being more mellow, and tending towards a melon flavour. It was incredible how the food changed the profile of the drink.

I would highly recommend a night out at Nouri in Singapore. It’s pricey, but absolutely worth it. I will definitely be keeping an eye out to see what Chef Ivan Brehm and his team get up to in the future. 11/10 would absolutely do again.

Lunch at Le Train Bleu

This famous restaurant was conceived in 1900 around the time of the Universal Exhibition. At that time, it was the Gare de Lyon’s station buffet, which later became Le Train Bleu. It was a famous architect named Marius Toudoire who was responsible for the Gare de Lyon clock tower and the façade of the building who was entrusted with the design and works of the restaurant. The management of the railway company wanted to create an unmissable gourmet expierice for people travelling through the Gare de Lyon.

The station buffet was opened by then French President Emile Loubet and became Le Train Bleu in 1963, the name apparently a tribute to the ‘Paris-Vintimille’ line from 1868 on Le Train Bleu (the legendary train that services the towns along the Mediterranean Coast and the French Riviera). The decor of the restuarant retains that sumptuous ambiance that the Belle Époque (c.1871 to 1914) is so famous for.

It’s like a time capsule…

The restaurant is quite large and has a large lounge/bar area as well, so I looked up to see how many diners they can seat and it’s a huge 200 people that can be seated here at any time. That is quite a considerable number of people and certainly explained the general hustle of the place; totally consistent with being in one of Europe’s very busiest train stations. I also learned at this time that Le Train Bleu is a two Michelin Star restaurant. Seems 2024 is accidentally becoming a ‘Big Year o’ Fine Dining’.

Naturally, we decided to stick to our resolve to drink as much champagne at every opportunity while in France… the Bollinger, always a good choice (for breakfast, lunch or dinner!), was delicious and moorish.

The meal started with a small purée of herbed carrot that wasn’t on the menu… very tasty!

I spent more time looking at the ceilings than at the menu!

Just beautiful!

Mr K looking very happy with his wash… bit of Bolli before lunch will do that.

M. Alain preparing Mr K’s entrée, table side…

Devilled eggs and Petrossian caviar for me; herbed Green Asparagus with vinaigrette for Mr K…

M. Alain returned to prepare Mr K’s main meal table side also… I thought these staff members were wait staff, but it seems they need to be capable chefs too.

Pork medallion Mignon, with champignons for me; braised lamb shoulder with garlic and potato au gratin for Mr K…

Delicious so far – and large portions! Like, pushing American size portions.

I was amazed at how quickly they could turn the tables over. There were loads of people waiting for tables when we arrived. We had booked this on the recommendation of some colleagues before we left home, so had no trouble getting seated but many were standing around for quite a long time waiting for a table to be vacant, but I swear the party opposite us finished up and paid their bill, a new party of diners were being seated within about 3 minutes… impressive.

I had had an elegant sufficiency so passed on dessert, but Mr K had ordered the Iranian pistachio soufflé served with Turkish sour cherry gelato at the beginning of the meal, (as is usually the case with soufflé!). I had a tiny taste, and it was delicious! Seriously, it was a next level super tasty dessert – likely due to the complete lack of chocolate! 😉

A lovely long lunch in a gorgeous restaurant – certainly would recommend it to anyone coming to Paris as an opportunity to step back in time, and have a lovely meal in absolutely beautiful surroundings.

Le Calife Seine Dinner Cruise

Since learning we’d be in Paris leading up to the 2024 Olympics for work, I’ve been following some Americans who moved to Paris on YouTube – their channel is called “Les Frenchies”, (yes, I know… but what can you do?), and they have some great, up-to-date content for people visiting Paris. One of the things they highly recommended, was something I thought would be way too touristy for my liking, but based on their frequently voiced dislike of highly touristy experiences, I thought we’d give it a try. So, I booked us a dinner cruise on ‘Le Calife’.

Seeing we are now staying in Saint Germaine (*wipes away faux tears* – it’s lovely, but it’s not the Georges V!), we had only a short 350m walk to the Pont des Arts, where ‘Le Calife’ is berthed.

I love this! I wonder if this was dedicated before she passed away in 2020… ‘On 23rd September 2021, “The ‘Place Juliette Gréco’ was inaugurated in Paris. It can be found beside the Church of Saint-Germain-de-Paris, in the 6th arrondissement of Paris.” Bummer.

This is not out boat.

This is our boat. Le Calife was originally built in Belgium in 19as a cargo carrying ship and has large twin stream engines, but when this type of transportation became less popular it was sold to an enthusiast for restoration. It apparently took 18 years to restore and transform it into a restaurant; it has its original engines still operating. The ship is all fitted out with red mahogany, brass and other decorative details, including seriously vintage stained glass lamps from 1789… which I will no doubt mention later!

Square du Vert-Galant…

Pont Neuf…

We were welcomed aboard at 20:00 with a glass of champagne, and a set menu with several delicious choices for each course…

Our delightful waiter asked us if we would like a bottle of red wine or white wine, all chosen by the chef… we had both chosen meat for dinner so opted for a bottle of red. Which may or may not have been a bit of a mistake, because we didn’t realise that we weren’t going anywhere until 2045, and the first course of dinner wouldn’t be served until roughly 21:30..!

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris… still under masses amounts of scaffold as the restoration after the 2019 fire, but expected to reopen December 2024.

A nod to the teams of people working on the Cathédrale…

L’entrées… the vol au vent of chanterelles with foie gras and morel mushroom sauce for me, the Label Rouge salmon fillet gravlax with fresh cheese and herbs for Mr K:

Ah, there they are, the fabulous antique stained glass lamps through the verandah of the boat. A lovely touch, but perhaps not so practical when it comes to photography reflections!

The mains… Rossini style beef tenderloin, with foie gras, Dauphinois potatoes and roasted vegetables for me, and Lamb shoulder confit, with seasonal vegetables and baby roast potatoes for Mr K:

Just as dinner was being served we sailed into view of the Eiffel Tower. Gorgeous! I particularly love the stained glass motif they have incorporated into the lighting! 🙂

It is a striking element of the Parisian skyline for sure. A little after these pictures were taken, we swung around and the tower started to ‘sparkle’ as they have the flashing lights going for five minutes on the hour every hour… kinda gave up on the photos by now though.

The underside of one of the several bridges we went under… complete with reflections of someone’s dinner. 🙂

Dessert… Lemon cheese cake, with lemon cream, lemon sorbet and limoncello for me, and Chocolate lava cake, custard and Madagascar vanilla ice cream for Mr K. The lemon on lemon with a lemon motif was really quite good!

Alas we were back to the quay all too soon; not really it was just before midnight. The dinner cruise was really lovely. The food was nice, but we made the mistake of doing this *after* we’d had the fanciest meal of our lives at Le Cinq! When will we learn… you don’t go China straight after you go to Japan and you don’t go to a *good* French restaurant the night after going to a internationally famous three Michelin star’d French restaurant!

The Georges V Wedding Anniversary

Concierge: Oui, madame?
Kate: Yes, bonjour. Do you speak any English?
Concierge: Of course. This is the George V, not some backpacker hovel.

Ever since seeing those hilarious and famously snobby lines in the 1995 movie, French Kiss, with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kleine, I’ve wanted to come check out the Georges V hotel in Paris… and here I am nearly 30 years later finally getting a chance to do so.

The hotel has an artistic director, and one of his responsibilities are the famous floral arrangements that are found throughout the hotel’s foyer, restaurants, bars and rooms. The flowers are replaced every 21 days like clockwork and they order between 12,000 to 14,000 stems per week with a budget of around $.1.4M (and I assume that is USD) per annum! Seeing that it is spring, I was expecting bright colourful displays something akin to what we saw at the Kukenhof only, indoors… instead it was a rather understated affair with the boldest element being masses of yellow roses:

Juliette checked us in and let us know that she was available to assist us with anything we might need. She congratulated us on our silver wedding anniversary, and showed us to our room personally. Along the way, she confirmed that our dinner at Le Cinq was confirmed and should we need anything at all special at dinner, to please let her know so she could take care of it for us.

The room was beautiful – and enormous. We booked a standard king room, but Juliette led us to a superior room with a balcony. As a general rule, the hotels of Paris are busiest in the high season, but in the shoulder season, like this, the busiest time of the weeks is Wednesday to Sunday with many rooms remaining empty on Monday and Tuesday nights… so hint for new players; best chance for a room upgrade on Monday or Tuesday nights.

Juliette was sure to let us know that the Georges V wished us a very happy anniversary and they offered us a bottle of champagne with their compliments, (a bottle I later spotted on the room service menu for €170)…

Also was a piece of chocolate cake that I am sure Mr K will enjoy later…

And some very pretty love heart chocolates filled with liqueur…

It seems sweet treats are the favourites in this part of the world, as we were also bestowed a box of delightful macarons, and a special chocolate and pecan brownie from the hotel’s patisser.

Juliette wished us a very nice stay and handed us our keys, and I got to poke around properly. lol.
The keys, btw… beautiful.

We had a delightful space to make tea and coffee with a ceramic and leather kettle, a coffee machine and a huge variety of teas and coffees to choose from.

We also had a well stocked mini-bar, and the fridge was bursting with goodies also… though I’m wary of the price point on some of these! That’s the problem with hotels of this level of luxury – they’re usually catering for people who don’t care what the bill comes to! Not people like us, who are splashing out as a one-off!

The bathroom had a beautiful and deep bathtub, which I took full advantage of!

The bathroom was as stocked with amenities as a minibar – loofah, bath salts, dental kit, sewing kit, nail kit, shaving kit, cotton buds, make-up wipes, comb, hair brush, shower cap, mouth wash, dental floss, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, hand wash, moisturiser… you name it, it was probably already here for you.

This is *half* the walk in closet, complete with safe, slippers, bathrobes, laundry bags and god knows what else.

The bed looked so good, I almost didn’t want to jump on it… but I did!

Complete with monogrammed pillow shams…

Every little detail was beautiful… I had a lovely hour relaxing in the tub followed by the decidedly thoughtful champagne; felt thoroughly spoilt.

Dinner was booked months ago when we booked the hotel. The Georges V is famous for its Le Cinq restaurant… of course with claims like this, you wonder if it will live up to the hype.

The restaurant is actually quite small, seating only 60 guests and very elegantly appointed. I snavelled some stock photos of the restaurant as it was quite dimly lit and I forgot to stop and take a picture.

Before we even saw a menu or the wine list, (which btw, is like a 200 page book!) we were presented with some delightful canapés… the caviar was the really good stuff!

The degustation menu looked really good, so we decided to order that. Given we have no allergies or anything, the only information we provided the staff, was that I don’t like chocolate, so would be grateful if the chefs could find a different dessert course for me.

Mise en Bouche:
White asparagus and carrot and champagne foam.

Foie Gras poached like a pebble in a iodised broth…

Truffled Gree Asparaus, with a Château-Chalon wine mousseline…

Matured Ossetra Caviar and Bulltermilk with warm smoked salmon… (this dish was my favourite).

Pistachio Sorbet with Citrus Flavour and lobster bisque…

Black Pudding scented with passion fruit and coffee…

M. Roman came along at this moment with the highlight of the meal… le chariot à fromages magique! We chose about six different cheese, and they were all delicious.


Dairy Iced with yeast flavours…

Crunch Grapefruit, preserved and raw…

Chocolate and Hazelnut Crisps with malt whisky ice cream…

Vanilla mousse served with Strawberries and pesto…! Which sounds bizarre, but tasted amazing.

M. Roman with a Chocolate trolley also filled with ‘Pastry from My Childhood’. Mr K took a selection of chocolates, truffles, marshmallow and other sweet things, but I well and truly felt I had exceeded my sugar quota for the month by this point!

We were also presented with a small chocolate plaque beside some vanilla ice cream to acknowledge out special occasion.

Mr K looking happy and relaxed*
(*He hadn’t confronted the bill yet, lol… oh, and I should mention this, as you don’t see it much anymore – my menu had no prices in it, only his did! Que c’est démodé?

Even when we thought dinner was over, we were presented with two little boxes full of fudge to take back to our room…

… which another staff member promptly put into bag with two more little boxes of fudge and another box with a breakfast pastry, ‘in case you need a little something in the middle of the night!’

All up we had an amazing night. The staff were attentive and super friendly. The sommelier was generous, down to earth and told us she is doing an apprenticeship in wine so she goes to study wine one day a week. I realised after dinner that I had expected this to be a stuffy affair – but everyone was friendly and their English was certainly fluent enough to be bantering with the guests, so that kept the atmosphere light and entertaining… and the food was amazing! I don’t know that we would ever do this again, but it was certainly an experience we won’t forget in a hurry.

My mum has alway said, “I wonder what the poor folk are doing today?”, when she was in a luxurious mood… and now I feel like I know what the really rich people are doing!

Mr K posted this on FB:

🌿 Celebrating Our 25th Anniversary 🌿

On this day, a quarter of a century past, we entered into the marrriage, witnessed by our friends and family, to embark upon a partnership of profound affection and mutual respect. I could not have imagined a greater setting to celebrate our love and 25 years of marriage than to be with you now in Paris. This is a significant occasion, and I am compelled to reflect upon the years we have shared, each marked by trials and triumphs that have but strengthened the bonds of our union and have deepened my love for you.

These 25 years have been as full as my heart if of my love for you, as we made a wonderful home together, built multiple careers and now a business, studied, laughed, loved, and grew a family through the blessing of our dear son, Angus. Everything I cherish, and everything I have done of worth in this life was only important to me because you were there and only possible because of your love, belief, and support.

I have always loved you, (and told you so in the first three weeks after we met) but I never believed that anyone could love another more than I did you then. Yet here I stand by your side 25 years later loving you more every passing day as our adventures continue, my love for you deepens, and our friendship grows.

So today know that there is no limit to how ardently I admire and love you, and with great joy can express my deepest gratitude and love on this, our silver jubilee.

May we continue to walk together, guided by affection and esteem, through whatever our future may hold and to embark as soulmates on new adventures until we can no longer travel and then, we can sit together and reflect on what amazing lives we shared and enjoyed together.

To our next adventure, and our next 25 years.
Love your dedicated (and hopelessly in love) husband.”

The next morning we decided to just sleep in and luxuriate in the beautiful room. Juliette had given us a late check-out… 3pm! Which is unheard of, (again Monday or Tuesday night bonus apparently!), so we decided to take advantage of the down time before we had to face the work that would be taking over this week. We are here to meet with bus people and Olympics transport organisers for the 2024 games, which happens in less than 100 days, so there was going to be plenty to do. We ordered in breakfast around 10:30am.

Eggs Benedict. I loved the little stamped cultured and uncultured butters… you guess which is which.

We had an amazing stay… the hotel really pulled out all the stops. I’m not sure I would want to stay here a week, even if we could afford it, mostly because this area doesn’t really reflect my perceptions of ‘typical Paris’, but it has definitely been an amazing anniversary interlude in the middle of a work week – even if we did end up on zoom meetings this morning!

Just when we thought they couldn’t exceed expectations any more with the personal touches, Juliette came to see us as we were checking out with yet another gift, this time containing a candle that has the Georges V’s signature scent – and indeed, the box smells just like the entire hotel does!
I❤️ Paris!


We drove from Lucerne via Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen and wasn’t exactly expecting this:

Immediately, I’m wondering if we needed snow tires!

Insert random American Christmas music here!

Ok, enough snow photos (pick the Queenslander who hasn’t seen snow in forever. No, wait… I lie, not since last November in Japan). Anyway, we arrived in Interlaken and while we seemed to be just below the snow line, it was still bloody freezing and just for fun, raining.

We had diverged off the highway on the way into town to get a better look at the lake, and found us a swan, not of the ‘Threatened’ variety.

Interlaken is a resort town in central Switzerland in the Bernese Oberland mountain region. It is often a jumping off point for people who come to the area for winter sports if they’re looking for more amenities than the smaller villages might provide. It is built in a narrow stretch of valley between two lakes – Lake Thun and Lake Brienz – hence, Interlaken. Lots of traditionally Swiss timber houses, alpine forests and skiing areas.

I love the colour of glacial rivers… you see them in Iceland, Canada, New Zealand, Chile. It’s just such a beautiful teal/grey colour that looks inviting, but is so dangerously not!

Having skipped breakfast we were looking for lunch and again turned to the Google, ‘Restaurants Near Me’ function to find somewhere to eat… it’s got me wondering, I use this feature *every* time I travel because if I am going to spend money of a restaurant meal, I don’t want to end up with with a really ordinary experience. But I’m wondering – who actually gets on Google and leaves these reviews? There must be loads of people who do, but I don’t think I’ve ever left a Google review for a restaurant…?

Anyway, we ended up at a restaurant called, ‘Gleis 3’, (which had a 4.6 on the Googles), and an indecipherable Swiss German menu. Mr K ordered a traditional Swiss meal consisting of a potato roesti with ham, cheese and egg, and I had a chicken Cordon Bleu. The foood was beautifully presented and really good.

And because we were planning on skipping dinner, we split an apple strudel as well.

Interlaken is a pretty town, even in the rain.


Lauterbrunnen and more snow! Lauterbrunnen is a village of around 2500 people nestled in a valley surrounded by high rocky cliffs. It has a cable car that runs up to nearby Shilthorn Mountain and the town subsists mostly on tourism, so it is full of lovely quaint little hotels with neat little restaurants.

We chose to stay in the village at the Hotel Silberhorn. I chose a room with a view in case ‘we get crap weather and end up spending a lot of time working in the hotel’. And I think in doing so, I’ve kinda put the mockers on us! Last week, this area was in the low 20°Cs every day and sunny/party cloudy… this week: fucking cold and snow or rain all day every day.

The hotel has had a recent make over apparently – the room smelled like freshly milled timber and has beautiful views down the valley (when the clouds aren’t in, that is).

Old habits came back quickly… popped the beers and bubbles out on the balcony because it’s more efficient than a fridge!

In every direction the mountains looked gorgeous – this is literally the view from the bathroom!

We had some work to get onto, so got stuck into it, while watching the snow falling in large flurries outside and enjoying a nice cup of port.

The next morning, the entire village was covered in a thick blanket of snow! It was still snowing so much you couldn’t see the mountain – behind that tree is a small waterfall somewhere!

We did head out to try and visit Trummelbach falls, which are supposed to be open, only to discover they have had to close the walkways this week due to the excessive amount of rain and snow that they’ve had making entering the falls dangerous. Bummer. I came here back in 1995 an was looking forward to going to see these waterfalls again – the Trummbelback falls have an enormous volume of water coming through them, as they crash down through a crevice *in* the mountain – not tumbling over the side of a cliff like you usually expect. My most vivid memory of them was they were soooo loud and you got quite wet walking around the various levels of the winding pathway that goes through/into the mountain to see them.

So we had a little tootle around the village instead, and went back to the hotel to do some work.

The snow burned off relatively quickly – not because the sun came out, but things warmed up just a couple of degrees and most of it melted away.

As the weather cleared, the view from our room improved – there is the mountain and the waterfall I knew was out there somewhere.

The 300m high Staubbach Falls which is just outside the village. Lauterbrunnen is only about 800m above sea level I think.

There are far more hideous views to work with for the day… 🙂

At the end of the day we treated ourselves to a nice bottle of champagne that we had picked up on the way into town and had dinner in the hotel restaurant.

These last two photos were taken at 10pm – it was pitch black, but my iPhone did a brilliant job with the low light conditions. The waterfall is lit up in the evenings; we couldn’t see it at all last night the weather was so snowy and cloudy… but tonight, it looks lovely.