Melbourne Day 1

Yay, finally found the time to blog about my recent trip in August to Melbourne together with my family. We just made a trip to Taiwan a couple of months back, and usually family trip is only once a year but because this Melbourne trip I’m sponsoring about half the cost, therefore we decided to go ahead with another trip.

We took a midnight Qantas flight and landed in Melbourne at about 6am plus. We had to take our rented car at 8am so we had some time to loiter around Melbourne’s airport.

Our first stop was to go to outlet shopping at Harbour Town. Harbour Town is quite near to where we are staying, probably a half hour car ride. Because it’s still early and not yet time to check in, we decided to head to a mall first and so that boyfriend can get a hang of driving the roads in Australia and not too far a distance since we took a midnight flight and we are well deprived of sleep.

It’s my 2nd time hitting Harbour Town. First time was in Perth though, but both times I didn’t buy alot of things. Lol… Probably because I’m already in the clothing line as well so it’s like no point buying so many clothes too. I bought one sweater and one pair of ankle boots. That’s about it.

It’s so cold in the morning that we had to go to the washroom to pile on more clothes before the final warmest outer wear. I’m wearing H&M trench coat from Hong Kong, warm leggings bought online, and Giuseppe Zanotti boots.

Bacon and egg toast is a must have breakfast in Australia.

My mum and sis both too the ham croissant.

This place is managed by two sisters. They look like they’re from China but their English is full of an Australian’s accent.

We explored a little opposite Harbourtown.  I have the world’s funniest and most comical dad. Tell me, which dad is so ‘cartoonish’ like him?

He always love to mimic statues. I love my dad. Lol…

Oh and we ended up at Melbourne City Marina.

Look almost like our Singapore’s Keppel Bay area.

While we were leaving the mall, we saw a pretty cool car plate. Unlike Singapore’s car plates with all the alphabets and numbers, you can put names on your car plates in Australia! Naise!

Yay check in to our apartment!

A lovely and cosy affair. 2 rooms plus a sofa bed.

Where we have our breakfast the next day 🙂

After checking in, we took a walk around where we stay. We are almost central so could walk to plenty of places. We passed by Hollywood. Hehe…

And the famous Flinders Street Station.

Love is in the air!

Prints on the ground.

With the beautiful weather and a nice floral shop.

Oh hey, shopping again! Hehe… I bought a ring and a pair of earrings from Lovisa.

And we got hungry. Time to have our dinner. My mum doesn’t like western food so everyday we’ll hunt for Asian cuisines. There, we arrived in Chinatown.

Looks kinda empty but more people streamed in after.

I had sweet and sour pork chop rice. Delicious!

Apparently, this fried banana fritters is like one of the hot favorite dish on the Chinese menu. Every Chinese restaurant we go to have this on their menu. Anyway’ it’s not bad but I prefer Singapore’s goreng pisang more.

A simple day in Melbourne city. We’ll be heading to Philip Island the next day! Stay tuned! 🙂

Baby’s Birthday Celebration at Salt Grill & Sky Bar

It’s like once a year splurge for my dearest on his big day. I planned a surprise dinner for him. Maybe it’s not exactly a surprise-surprise perse, because he knew we are going for dinner, it’s just that the location is a secret. As his birthday falls on the F1 weekend, it’s really inconvenient when there’s road closures at the Marina area, so my choice of dining places were greatly reduced.

I also wanted to book a hotel but the prices were all raised due to the F1 again, so I scraped the idea. Besides, we just came back from Melbourne and we are heading to Italy next month, that’s quite an amount already. Therefore, I thought we’ll just have a good dinner.

Here, the secret lift which you need to access on level 4 of Ion Orchard. I love the life area. It’s kinda magical. Sorry for the low quality pics. I couldn’t get the right exposure with the backlight.

On, something random. I gave him his present at midnight so he’s already wearing it. A pair of Alexander Mcqueen cuffs. He likes skulls, so I thought this is really nice. On the other side where you hook the cuff to your sleeves, it’s actually a bone. Pretty cool.
Here we are at Salt Grill & Sky Bar at Ion Orchard, level 55. Here, you can have a good look at the town area and I chose this restaurant because it has a romantic setting as well. I specifically requested for windows seats, and just to share, for you to secure a guaranteed window seat, you need to pay $20 extra. Ultimately, I decided to go for their WOW package, which the guaranteed window seat is in the package too. More of that later.

I made the reservations at 6pm, so that we can go for the Prix Fixe menu which I think is alot more worth it and also we could catch the sunset and have the experience of dining from day to night. For the Prix Fixe menu, you can order it only between 6pm- 6.30pm. For your information, you need to vacate the table by 7.30pm but you can continue your desserts and drinks at their Sky Bar. This option was pretty feasible for us because I would like to take a look at their Sky Bar nonetheless, so why not? Besides the food for the price is so much more worth it than if you were to go the alacarte way.

Ok, for the WOW package, basically it includes a guaranteed window seat (which otherwise would have cost $20 to secure), 2 cocktails, 1 chocolate cake, 1 long stemmed rose, a spice from Luke’s Dukkah, 1 remembrance photo and a Salt Grill & Sky Bar privilege card which can be used for future visits for a 10% discount to Salt Grill and other associated restaurants. This package costs $95++.

Pretty decor in the restaurant.

You see the nut-like thing? It’s the spice which the WOW package comes with. It’s really tasty.

He ordered a mojito.

I ordered a mocktail instead because I’m shunning away from alcohol and caffeine because of my not too great health. This is lycheetini.

For tapas, we both ordered a salt and pepper squid which was super yummilicious. The other 2 tapas didn’t quite interest us.

While eating, we had a great view of the sunset.

Mains, I had the salmon.

He took the pork loin.

Sides, I took the french fries with rosemary salt while he took the roast mushrooms with garlic butter.

Sky’s turning dark…

Yay! Lights on.

Oh and surprise! The waiter sang a birthday song for the birthday boy.

The restaurant got kinda dark and really romantic I would say but unfortunately, I couldn’t take good pics with my camera.

After serving the cake, it was about 7.30pm. Actually the waiters didn’t ask us to vacate our table but I requested for it because I wanna go to the Sky Bar. Haha…

This is the view of the restaurant from the Sky Bar.

The sky bar is really kinda small, good for a cosy affair, not great for a party more than 4 I would say.

My long stem of rose. Lol…

After devouring our desserts, we really didn’t have space to eat the cake anymore. The staffs were really nice and asked us if we wanted to pack the cake even before we asked them.

This is the privilege card and the spice.

Our remembrance photo.

Overall, from the communication to the sending of confirmation via emails, to the actual visit to the restaurants as well as the food, I would give them 9.5 out of 10. Service was tip top. Boyfriend and I both enjoyed ourselves tremendously. The only thing was the staffs didn’t really seem to know about their privilege card because the card’s expiry was stated on the card as 22 December 2013, which makes it effectively around 3 months? I did see the expiry but I wanted to check with the staffs exactly when does the card expire. Unfortunately they didn’t seem to know but the person who came back to us said it’s valid for 1 year from the day we signed up. So I’m not sure which is which but I certainly hope it’s valid for 1 year. Therefore I’m giving them 9.5 points, which, by my standard is considered very high already. The person whom I’ve been liaising was Terrence, and he’s really good. Thumbs up for him! Overall damage on my wallet that night was around $280 which was all worth it for my dearest.

Honestly, it would have been even nicer if we could stay on slightly longer and I could enjoy my dinner a little more if I had not super last minute arranged a surprise birthday celebration for boyfriend with his friends.

I only started texting all of them (thank God for Whatsapp group chat) at 2pm plus on the same day, and the attendance was relatively not bad! Thank you all for making this day possible and for making my boyfriend a happy man! So during dinner I was really busy texting them to confirm on the place and for someone to help get a cake. I was also busy taking photos. Lol…

I wanted the location to be Shangri La lounge since we are at Orchard area and we both love the lounge there but because I only let boyfriend’s friends know about the surprise gathering at 2pm plus, some of them were not in the right attire.

Someone suggested One Twenty-six but one of them said he was leaving early and the place isn’t that convenient for him. We nearly didn’t meet up because Jeremy said why not make it another day when even more people could make it, which was fine with me too since it was so last minute and I didn’t really expect a good turnout. But eventually, they said to go ahead after I suggested airport (all these were done during the dinner!!) Crowne Plaza lounge, which was finally agreed upon.

Kin was the earliest so he was there first but he told us the lounge closes at 10.30pm. Our meeting time was 9.30pm but some of them were late.

So we had to change location to TCC. We reached at about 9.35pm so I had to pretend that I needed to get something from the airport and we were sort of walking around aimlessly. I said I wanted to buy something from Planet Traveller but by the time we went to the washroom and walked to Planet, they were preparing to close already. Fortunately boyfriend wanted to get coffee beans from Starbucks so we went to the basement of Terminal 3.

Finally all of them arrived at TCC and got a table already then we headed to TCC. Outside TCC, I asked the boyfriend whether can he see anyone familiar. At first he said “No” but after another glance he said “Oh. You got all of them here?” Lol…

While in TCC after all the wishes of happy birthdays died down, Jeremy said we are allowed to cut the cake in TCC but not eat the cake there. So we decided not to even cut the cake at TCC. We just had drinks which unfortunately took 1 hour to arrive because they miss out our entire table’s orders. Some guys were upset and spoke to the waiter, which eventually gave us a 30% off the bill. When they took half hour, we already approached someone but it took them another 15 minutes or so for some drinks to arrive and for the whole table to get the drinks it took about an hour. Big boo boo.

So, we ended up at the viewing mall to cut the cake. It’s so secondary school k. Remember those days spending time in the airport to study and to chill. At the viewing mall, we realised nobody has a lighter!!! All the smokers in the group have quit smoking (hooray and kudos to all!!!) We thought of borrowing but then Kin said maybe we can’t even light a candle there as we might trigger the fire alarm. Lol… So no candles on the cake.

And all of them sang a very mellow happy birthday for fear of disturbing other people and there was someone sleeping behind us. LOL!!!

Still, it was an enjoyable catch up with them, which topics ranged from breast feeding, pumping milk, placentas and Running Man.

Hope my dearest had an awesome birthday! And oh, morale of the story, don’t plan last minute things. It will get you all flustered. Lol…