Wednesday, December 13, 2017

[Cheap Eats] Customise Your Own Pasta @ Palate, SS15, PJ

No doubt the cafe food in KL/PJ is getting increasingly expensive, but this is definitely not the case in Palate because Palate serves pasta at as low as only RM5 per bowl! Where else can you find such a good deal in Subang area?

Yes, you hear me right. Palate features a simple, fuss-free menu that allows us to “mix and match” without blowing our budget. Just order a basic pasta / rice, then add on your favourite toppings which are priced from RM1 to RM6 per item.

BASICS
❤ Fried Rice / Aglio Olio (RM5)
❤ Carbonara / Bolognese (RM6)

ADD-ONS
+ Spicy Flavour (RM0.50)
+ Fried Egg (RM1.00)
+ Mushroom (RM1.00)
+ Chicken Sausage (RM1.20)
+ Mussels (2 pieces) (RM1.20)
+ Baby Squid (3 pieces) (RM1.20)
+ Chicken (RM2.00)
+ Crispy Chicken Ham (RM2.00)
+ Cheese (RM3.00)
+ Tiger Prawns (3 pieces) (RM6.00)

Aglio Olio + Prawns (RM11.00)

Among the varieties of pasta, my personal favourite goes to the aglio olio which gives a nice spicy kick without being overly greasy to my liking. As for the customised toppings, I think it is a very good idea because you can truly have your say in what you really want to eat. Plus, simple comfort food like this is great when the wallet is tight. 

Carbonara + Crispy Ham + Mushroom (RM9.50)

Bolognese + Baby Squid + Mussels (RM8.40)

Sambal Cheese Chicken (RM17.00)

Palate's menu goes beyond the wholesome pasta. Among the wide variety of main courses, snacks, desserts and beverages that are equally friendly to the wallet, my top favourite is the spicy cheese chicken served with rice, vegetables and egg

Each piece of the tender chicken breast is well coated with creamy spicy-sweet sauce, and most importantly it is super cheesy! Highly recommended!

French Croissant (RM6.00)

Light eaters have plenty of food options here too, how about having a buttery croissant with homemade strawberry jam and butter? Another thing to highlight here is, the chef actually makes the strawberry jam from scratch! Try it out and I bet you'll love it :)

Potato Pockets (5 pieces) (RM10.00)

Another unique snack specially created by the chef is the crispy hot potato pockets filled with mashed potato and served with homemade romesco sauce. Ultra light and crisp on the outside, the mash filling is soft and creamy. Be warned, this is pretty addictive! 

DESSERTS
Homemade Gula Melaka Ice Cream with Cornflakes (RM8.00)

Speaking of homemade offerings, there are more from the dessert menu! It impresses me when I was told that the Gula Melaka and Nutella ice creams here are also made from scratch. I can't decide which is better, because both strike the right level of sweetness without being overcloying.

Deep Fried Oreo Cookies with Homemade Nutella Ice Cream (RM12.00)

And this is my first time having deep-fried Oreo cookies which turns out to be a pleasant surprise,
all thanks to its crispy outer shell and sweet cream inside. Unique and interesting!

BEVERAGES
Pear Milk (RM6.00) / Raspberry Latte (RM10.00)

I would say Palate is a hidden gem when it comes to unique beverages! To be honest, I wouldn't have expected that it actually has so many interesting drinks on the menu. For instance, the flavoured latte is available in various flavours such as rose, coconut, hazelnut, raspberry and strawberry.

Grapefruit Iced Tea (RM12.00)

Look at the foamy layer of this drink, it does look like a glass of champagne, isn't it? It is great to have this bubbly sweet handcrafted iced tea served in champagne glass as a sweet endnote of the meal. 

Love Potion No. 9 (RM11.00)

Surprise comes one after another. If you love something refreshing, try the handcrafted sodas infused with various fruits such as apple, strawberry, pear, mango, pineapple and passionfruit. Mine is a tangy concoction of kaffir and pea flower that turns purple after adding the lemon puree; Isn't it pretty?

Ambiance wise, Palate's simple and warm interior makes it a cosy hangout place for friends and families.
I don't mind spending hours here with my work while enjoying the yummy treats.

Location wise, it is just a few doors away from Cosans Coffee. Parking here is ample, or alternatively you can take the LRT to SS15 station and take a short 10-minute walk to reach Palate. 

Verdict:
1. Palate is an underrated eatery that serves good quality pasta at really affordable prices, and also a hidden gem for unique eats. Here you can always enjoy good food within your budget.
2. Recommended: Aglio Olio, Sambal Cheese Chicken, Raspberry Latte, Gula Melaka Ice Cream

Palate
48, Jalan SS15/4,
47500 Subang Jaya,
Selangor.
Contact:
+6011-3987 9961
Facebook: fb.com/PalateMY
Instagram: @Palate.MY
Business Hours: 11.30am - 10pm
Closed on Wednesdays

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

7 Reasons to Visit Sand & Sandals Desaru Beach Resort & Spa, Johor

Greetings from the sunny sands of one of Malaysia's pristine East Coast beaches!

Approaching year end, most of the islands in Malaysia are already closed due to the monsoon season, but fret not, Desaru is an all-year-round ideal beach holiday destination in Johor that you can consider for romantic getaways, family vacations and corporate trips.

This is my third time visiting Desaru and the reason I keep coming back is because it is easily accessible from KL and the price is reasonable for a beach getaway.

How to get to Desaru:
❤ By car: 3.5 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur
❤ By air: 50 minutes flight from Kuala Lumpur + 45 minutes drive from Senai Airport
     *Airport transfer is available (Pickup/ drop off from Senai Airport) upon booking.
❤ By ferry: 30 minutes from Singapore + 1 hour drive to the resort

Sand & Sandals Desaru Beach Resort & Spa is an up-and-coming resort in en the overall good ratings. So I thought, it’s time for me to experience Sand and Sandals myself.

From the quirky name itself, I can tell that Sand and Sandals is a contemporary casual, laid back resort where I can truly leave the stress behind and immerse myself into a relaxing resort life. It mainly features a long stretch of fine sandy beach and panoramic view of South China Sea, but of course there are more things to explore here. 


Here are the 7 main reasons you’d enjoy your vacation in Sand & Sandals:

1. Romantic Couple Room with In-room Pool
2. Private Quiet Beach
3. Romantic Spa Experience
4. Large Kid-friendly Tropical Pool
5. Plenty of Dining Options
6. Outdoor Activities
7. Nearby Local Attractions

.....Now let's check out the reasons one by one!


1. Romantic Couple Room with In-room Pool

Sand and Sandals heard you, lovebirds! There are 9 types of room amounting to 208 units available in total, but my favourite is the Romantic Deluxe Room with Private Pool. What's better than enjoying a swim with your soul mate at your private space? A cheaper alternative would be the Couple Suite, a duplex room with interesting bar counter overlooking the beach. 


Duplex Couple Suite

Premium Deluxe with Private Garden

The one I stay is a Premium Deluxe Room located right next to the pool. The room amenities are very complete but the Wi-Fi network strength is a little lacking. On the bright side, we can stay disconnected and enjoy some personal time on the swing and in the bathtub at our private garden.

The interior of our room is pretty spacious :) 

If you are travelling with family, you should opt for the Family Suite; I am sure your kids will love it!

2. Private Quiet Beach

Another thing I like here is the beach where I can sit here for hours enjoying the smell of the warm sea breeze while being serenaded by the sound of the crashing waves and soft sand. Seriously, nothing could be better in calming the soul than those salty kisses from the sand, sea and sun.

Adventurous souls can try the water sports activities here such as:
❤ Jet Ski
❤ Canoeing
❤ Banana Boat
❤ Deep Sea Fishing

Unfortunately, luck is not on my side during my visit. These weather-dependent activities are unavailable due to the heavy rain / monsoon season during year end.

3. Romantic Spa Experience

When the rainy weather does not allow us to go to the beach, we treat ourselves with a luxurious outdoor spa exceptionally designed for couples at the Senses Spa by Sand & Sandals.

Senses Spa
Operating Hours: 10am - 10pm daily

Foot reflexology and lounge at the garden area

Luxury Outdoor Spa Pavilion

To complete the lovey dovey experience, you must not miss this! We are delighted to have one whole luxury outdoor spa pavilion to ourselves, which contains a bathtub made of love shape, an open-air shower made of bamboo, two comfort treatment beds and foot soak stations.

Our 90-minute treatment begins with a quick foot soak, followed by Sands Signature Massage and lastly a Milk Bath. To my surprise, my first outdoor spa experience turns out to be extra comfortable and satisfying amidst the tranquil atmosphere. Love how the overall experience of refreshing our souls at a natural space reserved only for the both of us!

Sorry, no photos taken during the Sands Signature Massage session. It is totally a therapeutic session that deeply soothes our body, carrying away the stress as well as easing digestive disorder and headache too.

Milk Bath helps soothe and smooth the skin after scrubbing and massaging :)

Finally, a quick shower at the bamboo shower area. Interesting right?

Before we leave our spa pavilion, the staff has prepared for us
a pot of post-treatment ginger tea to warm the body.

4. Plenty of Dining Options

Surprise comes one after another! It is rare to see so many dining establishments within a resort serving us from day till night. While our breakfast (buffet) is already included in the room package, we are spoilt with choices for lunch and dinner, ranging from authentic Thai, Japanese and Chinese cuisine to modern Western delights; all located within walking distance from our room.

[Modern Chinese Cuisine] Fortune Kitchen
Daily Operating Hours: 11am - 3pm | 6pm - 10.30pm
Recommended: Crispy Avocado Roll, Herbal Soup in Teapot

[Thai Street Food] Snuk Thai Street BBQ
Daily Operating Hours: 11am - 3pm | 6pm - 10pm
Recommended: Thai Seafood Otak-Otak, Fried Chicken Soft Bone

[Asian/International Cuisine] Spices & Herbs
Daily Operating Hours: 11am - 11pm
Recommended: Thali (Assorted Indian food in a platter) and Crispy Chicken Chop with Black Pepper Sauce

*In-room dining menu is from this restaurant

[Japanese Cuisine] Shiokaze Teppan
Daily Operating Hours: 11am – 3pm | 6pm – 10pm
Recommended: Bento (We didn't manage to try any, shall leave it for the next visit!)

[Cafe] The Cafe
Daily Operating Hours: 10am – 9pm
Recommended: Specialty cakes and coffee


The night life here is pretty easygoing. I personally love chilling at the beach bar, The Sunken Bar with my cocktail and beer while being serenaded by the live band performances which keep me glued to the seat till midnight.

The Sunken Bar
Daily Operating Hours: 11am - 12am
Recommended: Drink by the Pool

Beach Hut Bistro
Daily Operating Hours: 11am - 11pm
Recommended: Pizza

But if you prefer somewhere quieter for chitchatting, chilling at the next-door Beach Hut Bistro
with some drinks and pizza can be an equally relaxing and enjoyable experience.

5. Large Kid-friendly Tropical Pool
Opening Hours: 7am – 7pm

Another reason you'll love Sand and Sandals is because of its family-friendly sparkling blue water pool amidst the lush garden landscape. Look at the designated zone for your kids, I'm sure they'd love it!


Gym on the Pool
Opening Hours: 7am – 11pm

What's better here is the gym standing on the pool, overlooking the breathtaking view of the South China Sea. Fully equipped and air-conditioned, this gym is probably the coolest one I have ever been in a resort!

6. Fun Outdoor Activities

The beach resort life here wouldn't be boring for the adventure goers as Sand and Sandals offers a wide variety of outdoor activities such as ATV Ride, Paintball, Tele-match and Bonfire. I personally like the fun and challenging ATV experience (20 minutes @ RM100) here especially when riding along the bumpy and muddy 1.5km-long route.

No worries if it rains, there are plenty of indoor activities to explore here including Arcade Games, Kids Craft Activities, Mahjong, Pool and Billiards.

7. Various Nearby Local Attractions

Well, since we are in Desaru, why not follow the Sand and Sandals’ tours / excursions to explore and experience the local life in Desaru? The resort shuttle can bring us for:

❤ Fireflies Experience Tour
❤ River Cruise Tour
❤ River Fishing Trip
❤ Sunset Cruising
❤ Fruit Farm Tour
❤ Els Club Golf Session (5 minutes' drive)


Look at the amount of fruits we can enjoy during our trip to the Fruit Farm!

I have been to the Fruit Farm Tour, Els Club Golf and Desaru Ostrich Farm during my previous trip to Desaru. Feel free to check out the 5 must-visit places in Desaru: HERE.


Els Club Golf, the championship golf course designed by Ernie Els and Vijay Singh
offering 27-hole and 18-hole is only 5 minutes drive from the resort.

You can book your trip / excursion at the Game On counter.
Operating Hours: 7am - 8pm daily

8. Bonus Point!

If you feel that all the activities in my previous points are just too energy-draining for you, then don't do anything and just C-H-I-L-L at the resort! Well, doing nothing is the best way to enjoy my getaway in such a relaxing resort.

Verdict
1. Overall, Sand and Sandals is an ideal romantic getaway for couples to enjoy some peaceful time away from the city.
2. My favourite experience here is the couple spa pampering session which I think you shouldn't miss! Also, thumbs up to the top-notch service / hospitality -- the staff are really helpful and courteous -- throughout the trip.
3. If I were to have any complaints at all, it would be the undesirable weather during the end-of-year monsoon season that limits most of our outdoor activities.


Sand & Sandals Desaru Beach Resort & Spa
Lot 2263, Jalan Desaru,
81930 Bandar Penawar,
Johor.
Contact: +607-822 2222
Email: enquiry@sandandsandals.com
Instagram: @sandnsandals

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