Thursday, April 1, 2010

Blue Basil, Oriole

It's been such a long time since I had really stimulating and hilarious conversation in leisure and this must be one of the best meals I've had, both food and company wise. I cant believe we date all the way to rjc days, and the common so3L class that links us all..and of cos, I do wonder, if our friendship started since JC days how deep it could have gone =D
I was deciding between Applebee's or the Swiss Halal place, but decided to go try Blue Basil (56 Cairnhill Road) since James was driving. That place is incredibly difficult to access (no parking = no go, in julie's books) but since James was an acs (junior) boy which was right round the corner, he was more or less ready to take us there, esp armed with receeing on his laptop (and my refusal to unwrap his new map).
Anw, we departed at 7 pm (tho I kept niaoing him say its too early we were only suppose to pick up carol at 7pm!!!!!!) he said wanted to go and recee the place....and of cos, I couldnt say anything as I was triumphed over by the driver.
On the drive there, I was really cracked up by how eldora's toilet trained like a pet (cant get over how she goes to her favourite spot to indicate her toilet needs sooooocute) and then he cracked me up over my affinity with fat boys. Sigh looks like cant marry husband cos 1. will get ami and stroke and dm and gotta make sure he take his million and one pills on time and gotta take hypocount tds 2. got OSA = snoring = horrible sleepy = JULIE CANT SLEEP!!! Sleep is my top priority in life, higher than food so ....3. Cant jog with me (not like i jog now, anyway, with horrible pollution) cos will get OA (i think i will get OA first, with my recurrent patella dislocation). OK OK I GET IT james. haha carol also got so interested in my reasons about fat boys cos like me, she doesnt mind them at all. But now to fend off her friend lol.

We were indeed early and right after we found the free carpark (to James' glee) Carol called us 5 min later!!!!!!!Ugh we could have picked her up if he wasnt SOOOO punctual. ok lar, cant complain. Punctual boys are hard to come by.

On the way to walking to meet Carol at the junction, I took a picture of James in front of his alma mater, as it looks like it was gonna get torn down for good. We all decided during dinner we'll send our kids to acs or scgs (hopefully our spouses come from the appropriate schools! or else gotta spend money buy house nearby lol) =D our alma maters blessed us with a wonderful education and schooling environment. Carol took super long to come, and much to my astonishment (or at my astonishingly bad eyesight), James recognised Carol's gait, and mentioned the colours she was wearing (it sounded like Carols colours haha) so didnt doubt him. Was so scared she overshot and we'd all have to dine at Goodwood =D i can then reminisce about my first birthday lunch in primary one (the earliest birthday lunch i can rem!) in Good wood. haha.

Anyway, we arrived at Blue Basil finally, this quaint restored shophouse (thank goodness for James' sense of direction) and they commented it was rather empty, save for a huge group right near the corner. I like quiet places anyway, and you'll see why in a bit.

We were wondering between the dinner sets (cos there were discounts refer to hungrygowhere) and ala carte (but got no stan chart card!) but in the end decided to go for ala carte cos the dinner set range was rather limited.

We shared 2 starters and each a main grill item.

Absolutely loved the Grilled Vegetables Brushetta. Could smell the fragrance of this when it was placed in front of us, finely chopped up fruits and vegetables (capsicum ++). It felt totally mediterrenean.

This has got to take the prize for the chunkiest mushroom soup ever (and lol, tops it all if the shrooms were indeed grown in their garden, or so J and C says =P). Its like the consistency of green bean soup, and is so earthy and chunkily packed with mushrooms, you don't sense the cream in it at all. Lovely!
Gotta be the best White Cod ($25.90) I've had in awhile too. You'd love it if you like your fish smooth and oily, with a crisp skin. Wanted to have 2 carbs (like James heh we're the carb camp), but on hearing the veggy of the day I had the Ratatouille.

Basically with the Lava Grill items, you can choose your sauce with the mains - my fish was with the blue basil pesto (which was most buttery yumms), and one selection from the veggies and one selection from the carbs.

The carbs was obviously the most interesting part, the Pilaf Rice sounds totally yummy, but I felt like I miss the fish and co rice in the seafood platter after it. James say they cheat cos they have seafood flavours in it, mimicking paella. I also koped some of James' cold pasta which was also super interesting cos it was so herby.
I cant forget the look of James' as he first took a bite of his grilled lamb shoulder ($29.90). It was a very very crisp exterior with tender meat within, the type of consistency you expect in a stew for the inside. Its pretty amazing. Must take papa here..

before I met you all, mummy told me in the car to make sure this dinner is a treat for james cos you helped me so much esp so close to mbbs!! really saved me for surgery shorts, would have flunked totally. thank you so so so much, dun think could have thanked enough even with this lamb shoulder!! (thank goodness you chose this instead of the stuffed cheesy chicken breast we were both eyeing, aye?) Yes and thanks for being gracious to accept this treat otherwise mummy will make me go to marks and spencer to buy you a box of chocolates!!!!!
Carol had the King Prawns. ($25.90)I kinda read it was recommended, but was afraid it'll only be 2 or 3 prawns (and james said newton has prawns that price -_-), and Carol chose it cos she was semi hungry lol. She complained that the prawns needed shelling. Sharing unfriendly!! Cos nobardy peels prawns with hands in a western place man.... James was reminded of the chunky prawns in First Thai (peeled, with heads intact!!) and wondered if there's an option to request for unshelled prawns. Pampered kids lar...
I wanted to bring C and J to no 5 Emerald Hill but it was SOOOOO packed on the eve of Good Friday so after the tour round the NOISY and SMOKY place we left. Sigh you guys must so totally try the interesting 1-for-1 martinis here when its quieter! lovely oriental place, tho massively littered with peanut shells.

C and J were creeped out by Emerald Hill (eh my favourite place in town mannnnnn) esp when i suggested J can bring his date here (and he sprints off first lol). Date guru fail. We thought of a wonderful plan for J who eats no raw veg (so everytime we go out i have to gobble his share of raw veg -_-) so all he has to do to feed his skinny petit gf (who wont SINK the see saw LOL) is to just order a mains, eat all the meat he wants and give tiny all the raw veg so she save calories and you save cash =D

So we ended up near Orchard Central. James was such a gentlemen, volunteering to run back all the way to the car park so we don't need to suffer walking all the way back to the car park again. (cos i complain so far............) Going one way is fine but all the way back....but haha in the end still walked back without complaint. Good company lar, thats what makes the journey so much easier. In more ways than one.

We walked thru 313, where I popped by for the loo, but thank good ness cos we found a short cut to Oriole (Pan Pacific Suites). I didnt realised it was connected, cos it was so massively renovated during my 2 visits to Oriole. We almost went by the long long way cos I didnt know. Yes yes your good sense of direction haha.

I HEART the Honey Crumble Affogato. Best BEST. James said it was too calorie loaded but its one caffeine heaven in that shot. Omg damn yummy. And you couldnt remember the outing when we had affogato!!! Promised to come here with you this is absolutely worth the trouble.
Another reason to come here is for the AMAZING coffees. I had their newest coffee (not in the menu) - its orange chocolate coffee, and its gotta be the most interesting coffee of my life, a unanimous agreement between Carol James and me. Its got a million and one ingredients in that drink including star anise and spiked with mint (right at the end)

The real coffee was actually the second cup, cos the barista got the coffee a tad mixed up (so i had 2 cups lol). My first cup tasted SO MUCH like my favourite Chilli Chocolate Mocha (the barista admitted so), but I didnt bring it up (cos i thought supposed to squeeze the orange to get the effect).

However, when the real orange chocolate coffee came, we realised what a real difference it was. The orange coffee is so interesting, the orange flavour only emerges unexpectedly as you savour the coffee. Every sip is unpredictable, for the orange flavour takes some time to manifest, and we were wondering behind the physiology behind taste, why does certain flavours only unfold, how do flavours get layered? Thats the amazing thing about food, food that gets you thinking and only gets better, as it stimulates conversation.
And when you DO squeeze the orange over, the unpredictability disappears cos the orange zing hits you the moment you drink it. So drink it bare first!

While J and C really liked the orange coffee, I still LOVED the first coffee, the replicate of the chilli chocolate mocha. I love how potently bitter it was, the spicy sensation tinkling. Its my first cup of coffee since Amelia checked and polished my teeth at CGH, never touched a single coffee or tea since reading break (explains my incredibly short days spent more on sleeping than studying!!!!)but this is totally worth the stains (James say that should drink more to make the dentist's visit more worth it cos got more stains to clean -_-). Anyway had to get my teeth cleaned so I don't look like I have a smoker's set of teeth (damn those coffees and teas) to flash at the examiners =D Damn cant believe its also been a year since I cut my hair ugh massive grooming needed!!
Where we sat, at our L shaped corner at the bar, we were very near the expresso machine and we spied the barista at work (J was totally checking out the latte art......haha while I was adding/destroying it). We really admired his passion of his job (cos of lar, national barista championship leh!!), and how he checked on us from time to time. He says the chilli chocolate coffee is made from blended chillis (no wonder really spicy :s), how my favourite chilli chocolate icecream is in HK (right kels?by our pier =)), and how its so difficult to find good chilli chocolate (yes, like real chocolate here). I tried the brown chilli chocolate packets one (with the red chilli in shiny red foil, and its real ex at $6 per bar) in Cold Storage but nowhere as good as the coffees here can mimick. In fact, learnt from the barista in the olden times, spices used to be added to the chocolates and that was how it was meant to be.

Conversation in our L shaped corner was really exhaustingly funny!! Carol describes how jobs like ours are truly altruistic but J and I vehemently think our commensuration is insufficient. Carol agreed eventually (hahahaha) when she realises she doesnt want to sing Majulah on Saturdays and Sundays and Public Holidays. Teaching and med is so similar, even on the very most sats that teachers come back, and some kid needs some help (just like some pts will delay you running off) you will obviously oblige, but no majulah on sat and sun we reiterate!!! Thats like the funniest analogy ever ever.

And the ridiculous prices of branded bags that J can think of a trip to Italy to make a bag and back with a Birk. Eh......I disagree you still need to pay for all the accomod plus airfare plus food plus bag for her too la you need at least 2 Birks! Anw we're all on the same camp when it comes to branded and partners. Glad to be =D
And of cos, the eccentric doc that links us all, j chiam =D

Walked Carol to train (if she misses last train def sending her), and otw back learnt from J about houses, money and what it does to your relationship esp if issues like these are not sorted b4 the big M. Realists, and the cruel reality of what temptation does, to destroy what could have been.

We popped by at SPC (really had to resist temptation to buy this month's Time out), but now can only rem Smoke Shack. Haha. He complains we havent been hawkering....but we ate at Bt Timah Hawker Ctr didnt we?Ok soon again we'll go makan at hawker ctr =D

Anw, read the Review article in Thurs's Straits times. Meaningful company and the relatioship to finances, absolutely relevant after today's. Really appreciate the power of fate. And will treasure it. where got we won't meet in 3 years lar, residency so competitive leh.
Since exams ended, watched New York I love you, The blind side (half watched twice, at Marc's), and An Education (which reminded me incredibly of Carol and Pam!), starring the absolutely charismatic Carrie Mulligan. Thought it was such a classic film, esp relevant from girls from an all girls school. Loved the whole 1960s French English culture, the music, the arts scene, the cars, the houses, the prim and proper British Education, the books and the instrumentals. What I'll give, to live in that era! (Carol, must go read Shantaram! I'm starting a new book called Let the Great World Spin oh reading novels is SUCH a luxury) On reflection from that film, Would you rather have a smooth sailing planned academic path, marry safely and lead a steady life, or would you rather a man who brings a new angle, a new perspective, and make you so much more interesting? J disagrees with the latter, but eventually agreed with us girls. Who'll be the one, that is gonna bring out that hidden aspect of you, that you never realised you had, till the right person came along?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Julie,

My company is holding a food sampling session and I would like to invite you. If you are interested, do drop me an email at and I will send an official invitation to you. thank you!