MeetDrinks venue review: Kokomama

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Situated at a prime location where we are nurturing our burgeoning artistic talent at School Of The Arts (SOTA), KOKOMAMA has a vibrant and wide range of fusion dishes and korean bingsu that are perfect for sharing on dates. I was ushered in by the marketing coordinator of KOKOMAMA, Jerrel, who presented me the menu.

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I get a little excited whenever I get to look through the menu of a fusion eatery and to taste the possibilities of a good mix. My eye got drawn to the Salted Egg Prawns Pasta, which Jerrel recommended. Knowing it to be a gamble, I went for the Honey Ice Lemon for my drink, to act as a good refreshing beverage and to prep my tastebuds for the Mango Madness Snow Storm which is one of their best selling desserts.

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The main came with a slice of garlic bread and mini cup of creamy mushroom to act as a dip and a tiny side serving which was a new addition from what Jerrel told me. I initially had some reservations about having salted egg as a flavouring is not as easy to pull off with a main, for the most part, as much as salted egg goes well with shellfish, it runs the risk of being overpowering. I was pleasantly surprised for the most part. The prawns have been pre peeled and easy to separate from the shell without any mess (EXCELLENT for first dates where you wouldn’t want to make a mess)

Though the salted egg taste remained strong and distinct it did not cross the point which would fatigue my dining experience. Having the mushroom soup  and the crispy, sharp garlic bread helped in maintaining the creamy texture and consistency of the main while giving me a means to taper off the salted egg flavour before it became too overwhelming. The tang and kick from the copious curry leaves added a much appreciated complement to the savoury salted egg. An array of colours added a zest to the dish, with light brown from the sliced mushrooms to the red, orange and green of assorted bell peppers.

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“We believe the magic of the first date to be like our fusion dishes, where distinct flavours added together hold a unique surprise.” Mentioned Jerrel as I was down to my last bite, before he brought the last thing on the menu to me.

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The Mango Madness Snow Storm came in a portion which was larger than what I expected for one person but it is a perfect serving for two. Smooth, finely grated ice hiding under a generous mound of fresh creamy mango lathered modestly with condensed milk, it harboured thoughts of indulgence. Hiding between the fresh cut mango pieces are small, delectable bits of citrus flavoured jelly mochi, carrying just a hint of a sour signature to add to a larger palette to the sweet and sour juiciness. The dessert presented itself with a scoop of mango ice-cream, crowning the top and begging me to dig in more.

 

Like I said.

 

Indulgence.

 

Use MeetDrinks to meet someone new today for a drink at Kokomama – located at 1 Zubir Said Drive #01-01, School of The Arts, 227968.

 

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MeetDrinks venue review: CATO

Nestled along South Bridge Road across from the Sri Mariamman Temple, CATO sports a humble exterior which belies much more when you enter.

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I was ushered from the first floor, which was a large restaurant space, to the second floor bar area. Sharm, the managing director of CATO told me that couples from Meet Drinks would be brought to. There were enough seats around and the arrangement made it easy to mingle or keep engagements more closed and intimate.

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“Definitely the G’Vine gin and tonic and the Thai style glazed crispy squid.” Said Sharm, a recommendation for a first date at CATO that took the better part of a split second. “CATO has a myriad of craft beers and a crafted contemporary cuisine to match the pace and excitement for your first date”

 

The Thai style glazed crispy squid was served on a board, neatly stacked in a well balanced mound in the center, a good portion to snack for two. The crisp, golden batter wrapped evenly around the squid, the batter was thick enough with a crunchy consistency that held throughout.

 

The squid blazed a clear path away from the pitfalls of squid being too damp and wet, holding too much of a pungent fishy taste, and especially in this case with batter, being overly dry. Fresh and chewy, each bite was met with the juicy flavour of squid.

 

Holding the traditional standout tastes associated with Thai cuisine, my tastebuds were rushed with a very light touch of sourness, with a large majority being split between sweet and salty. The aftertaste held a tinge of peppery spice. A side of sea salt at the corner of the board allowed me to add more zing to the catchy dish.

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The G’Vine gin and tonic exceeded my expectations. With many gins, there is a strong bitter citrus taste that holds the drink, and once downed, the citrus fades and gives way to a distinct dry bitter quality as the aftertaste, which tends to colour everything eaten and drank after with its stamp.

 

However with the G’Vine gin and tonic, I enjoyed the characteristics that marked an enjoyable gin and tonic. Most gins are made from grain whereas the G’Vine gin is made from grapes, the citrus bite was less and instead held a honeyed sweetness that didn’t make any of the drinking feel like it was overpowering, and I enjoyed the aftertaste, dry, less bitter and citrusy, but more importantly, it stayed long enough to leave an imprint but not overstay a welcome that would overly dominate drink and not let the food complement it. The aftertastes of both squid and gin and tonic melded like harmony. I found myself experimenting with the amount and time in between each bite and drink to experience how the synergy would be like.

 

I had to go for a second serving to sate my appetite for the night.

 

Notes:

 

Thai style glazed crispy squid and G’Vine gin and tonic

 

Modern asian cuisine

 

Thai style glazed crispy squid

 

– Sweet and savoury batter

 

– Crunchy batter

 

– Side of sea salt to add more twang

 

– Fresh and chewy

 

– tangy after taste that matches drink

 

G’Vine gin and tonic

 

– G’Vine Nouaison gin, only grape based gin

 

Use MeetDrinks to meet someone new today for a drink at CATO – located at 237 South Bridge Rd, 058786

 

 

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Do you even, group date?

Traditionally, dating is a one-to-one affair. In middle school, you may need a chaperone or back in Sicily (aka the old country), your whole family accompanied you out on a date. Even in modern times, with online / mobile / internet dating where you can meet thousands of men and women in one evening sitting on, the end result is still to meet up by yourself in person.

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Group dating is loosely defined as a modern pattern for dating where there are more than 2 people organise a night out together, with the hope of forming romantic partnerships. Apparently, it is most popular in Japan, where it is known as gōkon. So, are the Japanese once again onto something great or is it an acquired taste for eccentric people?

 

Pro: More fishes in the sea

On a regular date, you only have one person to interact with. More often than not, it ends in disappointment – either he is too quiet or she is too ditzy or etc. In a group date, both parties bring a friend or friends and now there are more choices to have.

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Con: Conflict of interests

You and your buddies may end up vying for attention from the same person. Even the strongest friendships may not withstand this type of competition. This is probably best described and solved with the Equilibrium Game Theory.

 

Pro: Safety in numbers

There is nowhere to hide in one-on-one situations – when there is nothing to say, the silence is rather awkward. In groups, there will always be a quiet few while more vocal ones will keep the interactions going. Also, if the date is going south, you and your friends will have no problem just walking out together.

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Con: Little to lose but little to gain

If the group is too big, there will be very limited interaction with the person you really came out to see. It will not be clear if there was a connection at all with anyone. The best that you can gleam is whether your target is sociable in a group setting.

 

Pro: Sharing is caring

All venues love big groups who spend more money, order more food plus make the place look lively while they meet and drink. There are group discounts, sharing platters, jugs of beverages and more to be shared. Also, splitting the bill with more people means enjoying more variety at a cut price.

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Con: Subdued personalities

It is often said that on dates, you are meeting your date’s representative. We tend to put our best foot forward and hide our truer / uglier selves. This gets multiplied even more when trying to win the approval of many potential candi-dates.

 

Group dating has pros and cons – as do everything else. If you do want to give it a shot, here’s how to make the best of it.

 

  1. Choose a suitable date venue – pick an interesting bar/cafe/restaurant that is conducive to conversations with intriguing activities for the group.

 

  1. Make eye contact – with the one you like, try to catch a glimpse into the windows of his/her soul.

 

  1. Focus on your target – don’t be rude in ignoring everyone but put in more effort to listen to him/her speak or laugh at their jokes.

 

  1. Share private time – after making some connection, sometime in the night, try to separate him/her from the pack to have one-on-one time i.e. ask for accompaniment to get drinks from the bar.

 

  1. Give up when pointless – sometimes, nothing works. Everyone is quiet and/or boring so the evening is going nowhere. It is just the nature of dating, its a toss up. You can always call it a night and walk away.

 

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What to talk about on 1st dates?

So, you’ve taken the first step by setting up or agreeing to a date. Leading up to meeting up, it is exciting and scary at the same time. After all, you will be sharing a drink or perhaps a meal with someone new – what will you talk about during?

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The goal of dates is to show the best of yourself. There is a fine line between talking too much and talking too little. Conversation topics that you should discuss would be things that are trivial enough to be polite and yet interesting to you both. It is easier than it sounds.

 GOOD TOPICS

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With budget travel so readily available and work hours increasing, try talking about travelling – almost everyone goes someone. One study states that 58% of all Brits will travel abroad in summer.

 

Do you like travelling? When was the last time you travelled? Where did you go? Where is your favorite destination? Where is your dream destination?

 

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Some people eat to live, while others live to eat – regardless which one you are, everyone eats. So definitely talk about food – future dates can be set accordingly. The same can be applied when you meet for drinks – be it alcoholic or not, coffee or tea and more.

 

What is your favorite cuisine? Which is your favorite restaurant / food stall? Do you cook? What is your drink of choice? Which is your favourite bar?

 

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Find out what you both like to do in your spare time. Share your interests and hobbies so that if there is a follow-on date, you may experience something together. You may not have to agree on everything (and that’s okay) but at least you find out more about each other.

 

What do you like to do in your off-time? How do you spend your weekend? Tell me about your perfect day. Do you like (enter activity)?

 

Relationship goals

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It may be a bit heavy at the start of the date but it is essential. Get a grip on whether there is potential in this or not. Everyone is busy nowadays – the nice thing to do is to not waste each other’s time.

 

Are you looking for a relationship or just friends?

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Beyond what you should talk about, there are also plenty of things that you not talk about, yet. Here are some subjects that will definitely antagonise your date.

 

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In the first few dates, it is best to steer clear of religion and politics. These are sensitive topics that are easy to rub people the wrong way. While it may matter in a serious relationship, try to keep it light at the start.

 

Health conditions

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Casual conversations are not insurance policies, it shouldn’t cover major illnesses and disabilities. While it may be very honest, it may make your date uncomfortable.

 

Exes

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Don’t dwell on previous relationships – if you are out meeting new people, you’re moving on. Bringing it up may show that you are not still lingering emotionally on the past.

 

Work

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While it is perfectly fine to talk about what is your career, it shouldn’t be a seminar on your industry. Give only a brief introduction, as this is not an interview. If you are not in a job currently, say you are transitioning between posts or upgrading for the next progression.

 

Overly focused on your children

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If you have children, you should mention that you have and love them. Though, constant regaling about their achievements isn’t recommended. Too much time spent on talking about your children shows that you are unlikely to have time in the future for your date.

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Nobody wants to spend time with a person who babbles about everything or someone who is so quiet that the awkward silence is deafening. So it is always good to prepare some conversation topics while avoiding others ahead of time to ensure a good date.

 

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3 online to offline dating safety tips

Online dating is all the rage these days. And it is hard to deny its popularity – never before is it possible to “meet” hundreds of thousands of people from the comfort of one’s home/office/car/etc.

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Behind a monitor or a smartphone, it is easy to be bold, funny and outgoing. In person, where the real connection happens, plenty of variables are bound to happen. There is plenty of advice on how to make sure a first date goes well, here are some tips on keeping it safe.

 

Tip 1: Share your whereabouts

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Share your geo-location, always let a trusted friend know where and when this date will be. He or she will be able to check in on you to know you are doing well. After all, you will be talking about the date anyway afterwards – might as well make it a safety measure too.

 

Another thing you can do is to get the same friend to call in the middle of the date. On one hand, if the date isn’t going as planned, it is a chance to bail out of the date – a work emergency is always a good excuse. If the date is proceeding well, you can always answer that “I’m busy and work will have to wait.” This will always score brownie points with your date.

 

Tip 2: Meet in a public place

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By choosing the date venue, it reveals much about your personality and interests. Be it a cafe, bar, pub, restaurant or any other spot, always make sure it is a public place. Two reasons for this – first, with some people around you, there is less silence/pressure on the date. Second, plenty of other patrons around can ensure that civility is maintained.

 

If your date chooses a venue that you’ve never been, you can always make a site visit prior to scout it out. At any time, that you aren’t keen on the location, you should ask to switch. If possible, suggest a venue that you’ve been to before so the familiarity makes you more comfortable. An excuse could be that there is a drink or dish that your date must definitely try there.

 

Tip 3: Two drinks maximum

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As an icebreaker and part of proper etiquette, dates usually start with drinks. To break the awkwardness, alcohol eases the stress. Also, your drink choice tells a lot about who you are – it often is a conversation starter. Whatever the drink (especially an alcoholic one), keep it to a maximum of two drinks.

 

Alcohol’s other side effect is impaired judgement. Having too many may result in saying the wrong things and even getting taken advantage of. Two drinks is also a polite amount of time that you should spend on a first date. It prevents leaving too early and over-lingering.

So, after swiping through a ton of profiles online, chatting with a selected few, you’ve decided to meet up in person with one of them in person. This is an important step as it is time to make this date, well, real. Since you will be meeting a stranger for the first time – so you will be really putting yourself out there emotionally and physically.

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To ensure that taking the leap of faith pays off, be mindful of these tips to keep you happy and secure.

 

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Meet Drinks venue review: 3 Bistro

Nestled conveniently at Marina Square, I was greeted by Jon Lukas from 3 Bistro, a spacious restaurant that boasts a robust selection of wines and spirits made to match the menu. The venue’s decor had a fun, versatile vibe.

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I was given the 3 Bistro Tiger Prawn Aglio Olio along with a glass of Santa Alicia Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile by Jon’s recommendation to accentuate the point.

 

First, the pasta is first blanched in water, olive oil and a thick prawn stock before ending with a quick stir fry, resulting in a texture I can best describe as “al dente plus”. Firm but chewy with a hint of crunch.

 

Small cut chilly and light touch of finely chopped roasted garlic enhances the pasta, already imbued with flavourful prawn essence before it had graced the plate.

 

A generous serving of fresh tiger prawns adorned the presentation, the red succulent stars of the dish. Fresh seafood doesn’t need much to be done to it to bring out the taste, the shell came off easily with none of the meaty bounty getting stuck. Overall juicy and cooked well.

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The glass of cabernet sauvignon was a young vintage and it complemented the meal with its light fruity body, the long nose of the wine held flavours of blackberry and plums, a nose that delivered a matching taste to tantalise my waiting palate. The playfulness in the light acidity to match the vintage pulls the fine oak overtone finish to a consistent aftertaste, making sure that with and between each bite of my aglio olio, my taste buds were never left idle long after the flavour of prawn and roasted garlic had all but disappeared.

 

I saved the last two sips of my wine for the chocolate lava cake served with Vanilla ice cream topped with sunflower seeds and chocolate syrup. I’ll leave it to your imagination to linger on the sinfulness of the dessert.

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“We want to use the food as a bridge for the couples to connect” mentions Jon, and 3 Bistro sports a good space for you to get to know your date at your own pace through the night. Whether over a younger vintage for casual drinking, or an older, stronger wine, for the conversations late through the night that sparks something new.

Use MeetDrinks to meet someone new today for a drink at 3Bistro- located at 6 Raffles Blvd, Singapore 039594

 

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Holiday season first dates

As they say, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. The festive season of Christmas and New Years sees more people taking it easy from work – spending more time out merry making. Traditionally, as the weather gets cooler /colder, everyone’s hearts warm up more – meaning it is a great time for meeting new people.

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So after you’ve found someone interesting for a date, here are some reminders as you step out of the office or your home.

 

Do not go to places that plays holiday music

It may be unavoidable but keep this to a minimum. Malls and cheesy bars tend to blare such music to encourage purchases. First dates can sometimes be awkward so the last thing you want is to spend your time humming the infectious “Jingle Bells” or “Au Lang Sye”.

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Such places also tend to attract a family crowd. Screaming kids running around plus old people wearing tacky sweaters are extreme distractions when you should be paying attention to each other. If necessary, call ahead to the venue to enquire about their music selection.

 

Do not order the holiday special

In every restaurant, there is bound to be Christmas special meal for two. It is more expensive, have limited options and more food than needed for the date. It is always good to give your date a choice over her meal options. Also, not having to stuff it all down means there is more room for conversation.

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Likewise, there will be a themed drink at the bar. Why shouldn’t you try it out? It is gimmick and unless there is mixologist on hand, it will likely look/taste interesting but not in a good way. Instead, order what you would usually have and let your date do the same. Your drink choices reveal much about yourself and it can be an interesting topic to connect on.

 

Do talk about the past and the future

As the year winds down, it is a good time to reflect. Talking about the highlights and lowlights of 2015 and the choices can reveal plenty about what is important to you and your date. Next, Encourage each other to summarize the year so you can cover major personal milestones in a short time.

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And next up is 2016 – talk about resolutions and goals. This could see if you guys are in sync for the coming year. Beyond the typical ones to save more money or lose weight, try to be more adventurous in suggesting to try something new i.e. cooking class, modern dance circle, etc . This could lead to a next date doing exactly that.

 

It is definitely a good idea to ask someone out or accept a date. If things work out, this time of the year will always be special for you both. Though if it ends up otherwise, you can always chock it up to 2015 and move on. With only a short time to the end, try some new beginnings to make 2016 much more to look forward to.

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