Jul 12, 2012|
Gordon Ramsay protégé Jason Atherton’s two new restaurants in Singapore have gotten the Lion City’s culinary mavens all excited. The most recent entrée into the dining scene is Pollen, a large restaurant set amid lots of flora which opened at the end of June in a new waterfront complex, Gardens by the Bay. It’s a sister eatery to his London restaurant Pollen Street Social, which has scooped all kinds of culinary awards. Pollen is a 120-seater serving up modern European fare with Mediterranean elements drawn from their very own garden and inspired by the food of Spain, France and Italy. Expect dishes like crispy baby squid with piperade puree and roasted lime, and scallop carpaccio with cucumber, apple and horseradish snow. Plus, there’s no end of hype around Esquina, a shoebox-sized tapas joint in a restored Chinatown shophouse that opened in December of 2011. With only a dozen or so seats at the scrubbed steel counter and a no-reservations policy, it’s a nightly hotbox of people getting high on foodie chatter, pork belly confit and bottles of Estrella Damm (a Catalan pilsener).
Esquina: 16 Jiak Chuan Rd., Singapore 089267, (+65) 6222-1616, www.esquina.com.sg.
Pollen: Units 1-9, Flower Dome, Gardens By The Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953, (+65) 6604-9988, www.pollen.com.sg.
The last time I was in Malaysian Borneo, I climbed Mount Kinabalu and explored Kota Kinabalu’s street food market and batik stalls. And, oh yeah, I stayed in a grotty hostel in which I definitely had to squash a few bugs. The brand-new Gaya Island Resort, which opened its doors on July 1, sounds like the polar opposite. Located on an idyllic private island (Pulau Gaya) in a marine park off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, it has 120 villas and two-bedroom suites as well as all the luxe resort amenities you’d expect, among them four dining options, a spa, pool, library, boutique and dive and water sports center. The hotel tries to reflect its surroundings by using local materials in the décor and letting the stunning sea vistas, framed by mountains, speak for themselves. There’s a heavy emphasis on activities here, like snorkeling with a marine biologist or attending a handicrafts workshop. Per-room, per-night rates start at about $1,500 (including breakfast and excluding taxes, which amount to 16 percent).
Malohom Bay, Pulau Gaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Kota Kinabalu 88000, Sabah, Malaysia, www.gayaislandresort.com. Book via (+60) 3-2783-1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thai AirAsia (www.airasia.com) is moving all its flights operating out of Suvarnabhumi to Don Muang Airport in October. DMK used to be Bangkok’s main airport, but now it’s been relegated to second-tier status—think the Orly to Paris’s Charles de Gaulle, or Stansted to London’s Heathrow. It’s a bit more of an ordeal to get into town. Reviews describe a slightly sketchy train into town as well as a couple of buses. Plus, you have to walk out to the main road to catch the latter instead of hopping on them by the arrivals hall. A taxi into town should run you about THB 300 ($75). AirAsia’s flight schedules remain the same, but affected passengers have the option to change their flights or convert them to credit. AirAsia will be the third commercial airline based in Don Muang, alongside budget carriers Nok Air (www.nokair.com) and Orient Thai (www.flyorientthai.com), which moved there at the end of June.
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