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.

Bangkok snippets

For a ten day trip, it didn’t feel like we did a lot of truly touristy stuff in Bangkok (which is probably because I smashed a couple of days in Cambodia into the middle of it)… but some of the highlights were 1) Gamer booking us a fancy dinner at Aksorn – a really nice Michelin star restaurant that does traditional Thai food in a small rooftop, open kitchen restaurant. The food was amazing! Red duck curry has now been officially ruined for me for life – as the insipid pathetic offerings that pass for red duck curry in Australian restaurants is truly dismal in comparison. *sad face*. There was a fair bit of wine twonking as Gamer is fond of international wines, whereas I am mostly familiar with boutique Australian vineyards.

Afterwards, we went to some weird tropics bar where everyone was ordering weird umbrella encumbered cocktails served in carved out baby pineapples (Thai pineapples are a fraction of the size of the ones we usually get at home – and much much sweeter)… at the time I remember thinking, ‘Why the fuck are all these highly intelligent people choosing to spend their time and money in an OUTDOOR venue when it’s stinking hot and humid?!? Where’s the AC people?’ As it turns out, I should be thanking them, the guy I was sitting beside and chatting with, tested positive for Covid like two days later! Yay, hot and sticky outdoor drinking, I guess? *shrug*

Another interesting stop we did was to the ICONSIAM shopping centre which to me if more affectionately known as the Brand Whore Mall – there was everything from Armani and BVLGARI to Burberry to Yves St Laurent and Zegna, plus every expensive twonky thing in between. Floors and floors of huge, largely empty but over staffed luxury brands everywhere. The most interesting area of the centre though was the ICONSIAM Floating Market that was built in the bottom of the shopping centre, which was less ‘floating market’ and rather more, ‘we build a fucking fish pond and plonked some colourful Thai-looking boats in it’! Totes for the tourists… but cute enough. I think we probably dropped a grand total of about $20 there grabbing a bite to ear. Not so exciting imho… but I’m not their target demographic; my clothes and shoes are chosen 100% for comfort and preferred colour, not name brands, and I’ve been using the same $90 nylon cross body handbag for probably close to 8 years now. 😛

We did manage to go visit the HUGE temple complex at Wat Pho which is the home of Bangkok’s famous Reclining Buddha. The temple has loads of funereal monuments all over the place and seems to be a rabbit warren of monasteries and smaller temples covering an 80,000sqm complex. From what I could find, not a lot is known about the origins of the temple being on this site – they don’t know exactly who founded it and aren’t exactly sure when construction started. It is thought to have been built and heavily expanded on during the reign of King Phetracha, (1688–1703)… hmm never heard of him; oddly enough Thai rulers were never covered in my various history lectures at uni.

Cool statues lined the outside of some of the temple buildings… Yale for scale:

The Reclining Buddha is HUGE! And of course, being such an internationally recognised monument of Bangkok, we ran into a line of people waiting to go in… a line that was slowed down by the need to take off shoes. Now, I travel a lot, and in no small part due to my experiences in Japan, I often travel in slip on shoes – Sketchers are perfect for this sort of light walking in fair weather – and I tend to carry a reusable shopping bag in my purse that can be used for throwing my shoes into in a pinch… seems that this sort of thing isn’t common practice. There were soooo many people with either lace up boots on, or stupid strappy sandals, that needed to sit down in order to take their shoes off and my god did it clog up the entrance and exit areas.

But once we got inside it was spectacular, and not just the statue of the Buddha itself, but the intricate artwork on every single interior surface of the building.

There were several small shrines in between the columns that supported the enormous roof that houses the 46m long Buddha, but I couldn’t find any information on what these particular shrines were dedicated to. I find this so frustrating – the main reason I love to travel is to learn about different cultures and traditions, so when you visit a place which is obviously set up to cater for tourists (and you know they are because there’s a fucking cash register selling tickets on the way in!) there should be information readily available… and I don’t mind if the info plaques aren’t in English – Google Translate is so good these days, you can just take a picture and import it and get the general idea. Grrr.. spoiled much?

As we all slow marched down the length of the Buddha and tried not to lose an eye to some oblivious selfie stick wielding tourist, I found myself more fascinated with the artworks on the walls, and columns of the building – they are extremely intricate and no doubt are full of religious iconography that I (as an exceedingly lapsed Catholic type) am really unfamiliar with. These painted frescos are certainly worthy of consideration as artworks in their own right, but 99% of visitors were walking past them either with with their backs to them, or if they did turn to face them, they were looking at their phones and trying to compose their 43rd selfie in that spot! lol. The walls are covered in these beautiful artworks…

Also, for reasons I am not quite sure of, I did find myself somewhat obsessed with the Buddha’s enormous and very precisely crafted feet. They appear to have been made of ebony and mother of pearl and must have taken a huge amount of man hours. I had seen many, many pictures of the Reclining Buddha before – but don’t recall seeing images of his feet! They were enormous and very impressive.

A detail of some of the designs painted on the columns… it seems depictions of Buddha’s life were on the walls of the building and the columns were all adorned in repeating patterns of floral motifs.

On the way out behind the Buddha, there was a place to make a donation to the temple – you could just give them you notes I guess, but instead there are 108 bronze pots lining the wall as you exit. I took a photo of the sign entreating donations, which I translated later. Apparently the 108 pots represent the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. Visitors trade their notes for a cup full of coins and walk along dropping coins into each of the bowls as it is believed to bring good fortune. The donations also assist the monks in the day to day maintenance of the temple complex – so yes, tangible evidence that putting money into the pots at least brings someone good fortune!

It really is an unusually designed temple complex with beautiful and creative architecture.

I gotta say though, walking around Bangkok in the Outside is not my cup of tea. I’m from Brisbane where we have heat and humidity and I found it draining – I can’t imagine how your average tourist from Manchester in the UK or Minnesota in the US would handle this sort of heat. ‘Feels like 43C, more like!’ At 6pm!

Another very cool stop we made was another rooftop restaurant! There seems to be a bit of a running theme for this trip. We made a booking to go to Akira Back, one of Bangkok’s best rated Japanese restaurants… had to be done. There is only so much Michelin Star Pad Thai Poo that a short blonde can consume in a week! Google it.

The ambiance was really kinda cool, from the muted lighting of the lift lobby that was also somewhat surprisingly adorned with what looked suspiciously inspired by Shibari rope work…

… to the ladies room with the fully glass wall that was sheer drop 28 floors down! It was so freaky I had to call Yale in to investigate. (After making sure the bathroom was empty of course!).

We opted for the Omikaze menu, which weirdly only came with a wine flight, not a saké flight, so we skipped that and bought a nice bottle of saké to go with our dinner, and the food was delicious. Even though I find myself becoming increasingly disappointed with Japanese fusion restaurants adding fucking truffles to Japanese dishes… to me, truffles are a really over powering flavour compared to a lot of the subtle but complex flavours of high end Japanese cuisines. There seems to be a fashion for adding truffles nowadays, it’s happening at home in Australia too.

On the menu was tuna carpaccio with, you guessed it, truffles. Hakodate scallops served with kiwi and strawberry and jalapeño salsa and a garlic and citrus soy sauce, miso Black Cod with yuzu saké foam, special crab miso soup, hot stone grilled Kagoshima Japanese A5 wagu steak with Ishiyaki sauce, shrimp tempura on a Bubu arare cucumber roll, with a grilled eel sauce, and a desert that looked like a banana and a lump of ice cream but which was actually a banana shaped cheese cake! It was obviously designed to be some sort of signature Instagrammable desert, but it was kinda fun – the yellow ‘skin’ of the banana was banana flavoured chocolate and inside was made of a light vanilla style cheesecake, and the usual crumb base seemed to run through the centre of the banana with a slight caramel flavoured syrup. Very novel and fun. All up – was a fabulous dinner out, even with the disappointing truffles. lol.

For special torture, Yale told the restaurant that it was my birthday – and they gave me a fabulous little chocolate cake as a gift…yay?! Chocolate! Bleurk… but Yale was happy, and thankfully they didn’t sing to me.

The view from the restaurant was also just simply amazing…

The only other stand out weirdness that night was a pair of Chinese girls who were beautiful young women, dressed to the nines in fancy designed clobber, dining together who – like me! – were taking photos of the beautifully presented food, but they were celebrating one of their birthdays. I say ‘one of their birthdays’ because for the life of me I couldn’t tell which was the birthday girl – they had provided the kitchen with a very photogenic cake (I mean, it must have been there was soooo many pictures taken of the damn thing) and a large bouquet of tightly arranged pale pink roses – probably two dozen put together like a tight bridal bouquet. Seriously – there’s nothing special about this cake – or this bouquet of flowers…

And they both seem super excited when the cake came out (even though they bought it with them) and the phones were clicking away like mad, and lots of taking each others photos with the cake, and then lining up the flowers in front of the cake and one of them, flowers beside the cake and one of them, flowers behind the cake… and so on. You get the idea. As it happened I had glanced at my watch just as the cake was arriving, and I was enjoying my meal, but also kind of distracted by the over the top, weird arse, photo shoot going on directly in my line of sight. No shit, they must have taken 500 photos EACH of this ordinary looking cake and a possibly pricey bunch of flowers – they were at it for a full 45 minutes. I shit you not. Then, OMG, then… they asked a staff member to some photos for them. Fucking wannabe influencers, man. Give it up! How many pics can you take of a cake and some bloody roses!

Tourists huh? They’re the worst! 😉

Overall, I had a great time in Bangkok, and 10/10 would come back for another visit – though would definitely never want to be visiting in high summer or monsoon season! That shit sounds like it’s for Other People!