Monday, February 27, 2012

McHenry Hohnen Wine-Tasting at ECO Gourmet Cafe

One Thursday evening, Straits Wine organized an informal get-together to sample some of McHenry Hohnen's wines. The winemaker himself, Mr Murray McHenry was here to share with guests some of his cultivations from Margaret River.

The wines sampled that evening were :

Fine wines and canapes like grilled watermelon with oven- dried tomato & basil; tuna tataki with mango salsa; seared scallop with mocha foam; mushroom bruschetta,truffle oil; goat's cheese mousse on crouton - at a cost of just $35!!

Till the next wine party, stay tuned!

A New ECO-logy

ECO Gourmet Cafe in Singapore is our latest addition.
And starting from March, it has a new culinary expert. Executive Chef, Thiti Thammanatr who has won multiple awards leading the hugely successful Tamarind Hill and NEO Tamarind restaurants in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is now reassigned by the managing company (Samadhi Retreats)
to lead both culinary teams at ECO as well as Tamarind Hill in Singapore.

Chef Thiti, vested with international experience and deep knowledge of different cuisines will definitely add an edge to ECO’s current menu.

The Restaurant

Dining at ECO is intended to be a refined yet unpretentious experience; its rustic-luxe façade, the laid-back atmosphere, it’s delicious menu, an extensive yet inexpensive wine selection, and bundled with its sincere hospitality. Located in the heart of Labrador Nature Reserve, this is one place to dine close to nature. Now open every day, the restaurant also makes the perfect venue for weddings, special celebrations, private parties and corporate functions. 'Dine By Design' is a personalized service ECO offers for unique requirements and one-of-a-kind setups catered to your needs.

Location & History

Located in a hotbed of historical sights opposite the Labrador secret tunnels where the park contains many historical relics from World War II left behind by the British. The nature reserve and park, formerly known as Pasir Panjang Beach is currently managed by National Parks Singapore and boasts the only rocky sea-cliff in Singapore. The 10-hecter coastal vegetation was gazetted as a nature reserve in January 2002 not only offers rich biodiversity, but played a significant role in the history of Singapore in World War II.



Mondays to Fridays
Lunch: 12noon – 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.30-10.30pm

Saturdays & Sundays

Mondays to Fridays
12noon – 10.30pm

Saturdays & Sundays

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tamarind Hill Singapore - OPENING SOON!

Nestled atop the forested Labrador Nature Reserve, Tamarind Hill is perfectly reminiscent of the original Tamarind Hill in Kuala Lumpur, preserving the milieu of being in a stand-alone historic colonial bungalow amid a vastly green surrounding.

Malaysian diners who have had the experience dining with us in that beautiful 100 year-old colonial bungalow which we had occupied for 8 good years, will immediately sense a familiar air here...

The ambiance, those who follow and regularly dine at any of our Tamarinds, will notice the unmistakable rustic-luxe Asian character and flair which quintessentially defines us. The cuisine, staying true to what defines us, delicious Thai food true in flavor and intensity.

Our food designer and culinary expert Chef Thiti Thamanatr is Canadian-Thai originally a native in Bangkok. After his stunning tribute over the last 3 years in Tamarind Hill KL when it reopened since its relocation to the city from the suburb of Ampang in that charming colonial bungalow, Thiti is now reassigned to work his magic in Singapore. He shall introduce western methods, techniques and presentation style as well as creatively injecting ingredients never attempted before or explored in traditional Thai cuisine, all without departing from true Thai flavors.
With 3 distinct dining areas which includes lanai dining open to the jungle, intimate seating within the house in private corners and quiet section and the vast green lawn that opens to sea view, as well as a welcoming long bar at the front of house. It is an elegant and quiet place for lunch and dinner, an atmospheric venue for any party or occasion. A retreat by day, a holiday by night.
Tamarind Hill Singapore has settled in and ready to open its doors in a few months time! For queries, email us at

Friday, February 10, 2012

JapaMala Resort Bags Top Industry Awards!

Flying out to the resort last week for just 4 days to recharge was simply the best decision we've made in months. And being stranded there for an extra day due to strong winds, simply can't complain! With such amazing sunny weather, we didn't remember it was the last leg of the monsoon. And frankly, we didn't care. For 8 years, 8 has always been wonderful at the resort. Rain or shine. How time flies...JapaMala is already 8 years old! 8 amazing years.

Being the only boutique resort on Tioman island and one of the only two Relais & Chateaux
properties in Malaysia, JapaMala has recently bagged 3 top Trip Advisor's Traveler's Choice Awards 2012 as well as 5 top HAPA awards 2010-2012.

About TripAdvisor
Trip Advisor, the world' largest travel site is a trusted source for travelers around the world looking for timely, reliable information for their travel destinations awards JapaMala 3 key Traveler's Choice Awards, Top 20 Hotels for Service Malaysia, Top 25 Relaxation/Spa Hotels in Malaysia and Top 25 Hotels in Malaysia.

About HAPA
Also recognized by Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards (HAPA) with five awards 2010-2012, Award for Excellence, HAPA Best Boutique Hotel/Resort, Top 10 HAPA Best ALL-Day Dining Restaurant, Tamarind Tioman, Top 10 HAPA Service Excellence, Top 10 HAPA Most Unique F&B Concept, Mandi-Mandi and Top 5 Resort of the year. HAPA recognizes and rewards the crème de la crème of the hospitality industry at all levels, a signature event that is much anticipated by hoteliers in the region.

For us, JapaMala is a very small place that fills a very big part in our hearts. From a truly humble beginning to its huge success today, JapaMala's magic could not have prevailed without the pure effort of our innkeepers - our team of devoted staff - who truly understand our passion and vision, the meaning of genuine hospitality, and who keep the Samadhi experience alive everyday.
Aruni Sutchai (aka Lah) has been a fantastic leader as Resident Manager over the last 8 years. There are so many challenges running a resort out there in the middle of nowhere simultaneously maintaining quality of standard. Managing import of provision and disposing of garbage are equally tricky. Simply because we're at the mercy of the forces of nature as well as the incompetence of third party transportation. Against all odds, we think the JapaMala team, under the leadership of Lah, has managed with outstanding effort in problem-solving and decision-making to ensure all our guests are looked after tremendously.

About JapaMala Resort & our Eco-Luxe Philosophy
The resort comprises of 13 rooms hidden amidst 11 acres of lush tropical rainforest. Charming Malay village-style villas and chalets are positioned in the most breathtaking spots. In true seclusion, JapaMala is a one village-one resort property flanked by our own private beach. Sought after by nature-lovers, honey-mooners and those yearning to simply indulge in an unadulterated way of life close to nature.

Known as an 'eco-luxe' resort, bringing man closer to nature is our core philosophy. From this, comes the idea to create the most unforgettable experiences for people who seek the same connection with nature. In line with the guidelines of 'Responsible Tourism', no trees were ever felled, wild habitats remain preserved and the entire resort was built completely around its natural landscape. As a result, no two rooms are the same. And each is unique, taking character of the land upon which it is built. Beautifully designed by natural streams, steep cliffs and towering boulders, JapaMala possesses the most stunning nature-inspired villas on the island.

Among other eco-conscious efforts are the prevalent use of second-hand timber which are sourced from all over the country, environmentally friendly waste management and ensuring none goes into the sea, we also eschew plastic by eliminating the use of shower caps, import of plastic mineral water into the island (as much as we can) by producing reverse osmosis drinking water from the resort's natural river instead, conserve electricity with use of key-card system and encourage guests to change towels less frequently.

Awards and Accolades:

Ø The Award for excellence, HAPA Best Boutique Hotel/Resort 2010-2012

Ø Top 10 HAPA Best All-Day Dining Restaurant / Tamarind Tioman / 2010-2012

Ø Top 10 HAPA Service Excellence 2010-2012

Ø Top 10 HAPA Most Unique F&B Concept / Mandi-Mandi / 2010-2012

Ø HAPA Top 5 Hotel / Resort of the Year / 2010-2012

Ø HAPA Regional Series 2011-2013 – Participating Nominee

Ø Trip Advisor Travelers' Choice® 2012 Winner - Top 20 Hotels for Service in Malaysia

Ø Trip Advisor Travelers' Choice® 2012 Winner - Top 25 Relaxation / Spa Hotels in Malaysia

Ø Trip Advisor Travelers' Choice® 2012 Winner - Top 25 Hotels in Malaysia

Ø Expatriate Lifestyle - Best of Malaysia Awards 2011

Ø Relais & Chateaux Best Bar Lounge Trophy /Mandi-Mandi/2010

Ø Best Romantic Stay : Excellence Award

Ø - Top 10 Ultra Boutique Hotels In The World

Ø International Restaurant and Hotel Awards (IRHA), 2nd Place, Breathtaking Views - 2008

Ø International Restaurant and Hotel Awards (IRHA), 3rd Place, Best Design Luxury - 2008

In summary, with views in living colors, sites that hoist your spirits, food that nurse your soul and hospitality that is abundant, many say JapaMala is one holistic experience. A state of mind. See you there!