Admittedly I am getting worse at keeping on top of documenting my life and unfortunately it does mean that I end up forgetting some of the finer details! Anyway following on from my travels in Australia during recess week my parents arrived a couple of days later in Singapore so that my Dad and I could celebrate our birthdays together. He turned 60 on the 8th of March and I turned 21 on the 10th, I have imagined what that very significant celebration would be like since our lovely dinner we had with family and friends for our 61st (11+50) birthday 10 years ago. I thought we would have a massive party in a venue somewhere near our home and have a huge dinner… little did I imagine when I was 11 that we would infact spend our 81st birthday week in both Singapore and Bangkok!! It’s funny where life takes you.
My parents have racked up the air miles over the last 8 to 9 months jetting out to visit me 3 times! I have been so fortunate that they have both the time and means to be able to do this, it has meant that I haven’t felt homesick as I’ve always had their visits to look forward to. However this was a bittersweet trip as it was their last one, the next time I see them will be back in Heathrow airport in July. Anyway I am getting ahead of myself!
The aim of their trip, primarily my Dads plan, was to go on a gastronomical tour. The previous week they had gone to visit my brother at Nottingham uni and visited Sat Bains – a michelin star restaurant, to start their foodie journey but also so that my brother didn’t feel left out stuck in the UK. So on the 8th of March we dined at Restaurant Andre – this is a 2 michelin starred restaurant located in a lovely tradition house near Outram Park mrt. It was recently announced to be the best restaurant in Singapore and the 2nd best in Asia, and it did not disappoint.
At Andre’s we had a 15 course meal, some of which was so undeniably delicious that you couldn’t help say “this may be the best thing I’ve ever eaten”! Other than the 3 snack courses, 2 dessert courses and the cake (for our birthdays) each course was based on a different concept: texture, pure, artisan, south, salt, memory, terroir and unique. I could attempt to explain but it would take forever. My favourite however was the memory course which was simply truffle jelly served on top of a very light fois gras mouse – it was incredible.
Unfortunately part of the deal with being a student is the requirement that you do some work and it just so happened I had an exam to sit at 8:30 am the following morning. So after dinner I hopped on the mrt for 45 mins to get home, sleep for 6 hours, get up and travel to campus and sit the exam. I still don’t know the results of this exam but considering the circumstances before I sat it and the fact i finished after 25 mins into an hour exam… I’m not entirely sure it was my finest piece of work.
Following my exam I then went home, packed a bag and went to the airport so that I would start my 21st Birthday in Bangkok! Thursday evening we went to Cabbages and Condoms for dinner – they have an initiative to help social development projects and promote safe sex. Amazing thai food and a free condom for dessert – what more could you ask from a restaurant (if not slightly awkward since it was just me and my parents, mad it a more memorable evening).
So I turned 21, waking up in a very comfortable double bed in a gorgeous and huge apartment in Bangkok – pretty much the best way I could have started my birthday. After a pre-breakfast swim in the pool we went down to breakfast where I opened an array of cards and presents from family that they had brought all the way from the UK for me! Honestly I feel privileged to have such an amazing family but that day I truly felt like a princess. We spent the day in John Thompson’s house – an incredible place with an unbelievable history! After which we took a canal boat down the river and climbed up the Golden mount and then got a tuktuk to the Golden Buddha, both incredible places. It was a hot day and by this point we were all ready for some aircon and a rest… so I had the solution – The Unicorn Cafe! Proving that I’m still and will always be a child at heart:
For dinner we couldn’t just go anywhere, this was my 21st birthday and my Dad’s gastronomy tour – so we went to Nahm which was recently titled the 5th best restaurant in Asia. Another evening of incredible food, this was slightly more tame than the other’s as it was a more normal meal with starters, soups, mains and then desserts. It was all traditional Thai food but done to a very high standard and all completely delicious – I would definitely go back! Definitely a true celebration, perfectly fitting for my current position of immersion in different cultures and travel!
The rest of our trip to Bangkok was filled with the typical tourist sites – the Palace – a grandiose series of buildings coated in gold, gems, paintings and everything shiny and ostentatious you could image! It was impressive however I was more impressed by the complex surrounding the Reclining Buddha statue, more tranquil and calm than the huge masses of people both Thai and tourists cramming in to see the King’s Palace. On Sunday we spent a couple of hours sweating as we tried to navigate the very touristy Chatuchak market where I purchased a couple more ‘birthday presents’ and we all enjoyed a very much needed back massage.
Finally, the crowning glory of the food tour was the Best restaurant in Asia, Gaggan. Despite being late due to horrific Bangkok traffic the 25 course meal described only by an emoji menu was was even more daring than Andres. I have to admit I didn’t like a few of the courses and others were a little too avant-garde for their own good but the overall experience was incredible, especially the fact our table was next to a glass window into the kitchen so we could watch the dishes being prepared before they arrived in front of us.
The next day I was booked to fly home in the afternoon… leaving me just enough time to go to a hairdresser and get my hair bleached for absolutely no reason. I’m an adult now, I can do what I want. So, I returned to Singapore, leaving my parents to gallivant off to Ayutthaya and relax in peace for a few more days, while I had an Italian oral exam and some assignments to complete! Overall, it was alright I guess… 😉