Friday, 15 June 2012

DINE@LXG: Spruce

In the chaos and confusion that is Orchard Road on a weekend morning, it really pays to know of some places where one can retreat to, when all the crowds and traffic jams in Singapore's Shopping Capital become too much.

And better yet, a place where one can also relieve mid-morning hunger pangs without having to resort to the 50-cent upsize options so easily available on every street corner…

One such retreat from the city can be found just a few minutes away from the centre of Orchard. Tucked away in the Phoenix Park complex along Tanglin Road lies Spruce, a hardwood hideaway surrounded by greenery and sheltered on all sides by trees and shrubs. Although just a stone’s throw away, all traces of the city are gone, and it’s a relief to just step into the restaurant’s open-planned entrance.

Originally created to represent the flavours and influences of classic American and European dishes, the menu has evolved to include more exotic ingredients into the mix. I’m here for Brunch, and at the top of the menu is the House Special, Spruce’s Signature Burger. But for all its popularity, I’ve been fore-warned that it’s a monster, and I’ve come here with the intention of getting through more than just one dish!  So I give that a miss and scour the menu for my favourites…

A sure sign of a good restaurant is the freshness of its seafood and the subtlety in the way it is prepared. Strong favouring is not required and of course over-cooking is to be absolutely avoided. And so, with this in mind, I choose my starter:  the Ahi Tuna Tartar…

This dish is served with chunky slices of Ciabatta and Avocado, but I first sample the tartar on its own. It’s literally a taste explosion – with the various spices and distinct flavours of lime, chilli and vinegar igniting on the tongue. The texture of the finely chopped tuna combines perfectly with the buttery avocado and chewy, freshly-baked bread.

This dish definitely goes into the ‘must-have’ list. The only problem is that it’s over too soon. But that was down to my own greed; the serving was a generous one.  

Carrying on with my need for seafood, the main course is soon decided: Cajun Prawns Eggs Benedict.  Served on a toasted Bagel, and drizzled with Hollandaise Sauce, a piquant Hot Sauce and a sprinkling of chopped Dill, a generous serving of juicy prawns shares centre-stage with poached eggs; the contents of which run wild as I eagerly dig in. The combination of texture and taste is wonderful, and no flavour outdoes the next. Again it’s a generous serving and I am left completely satisfied with my two choices… 

But of course… there’s always room for dessert!

My meal is finished off with another Spruce favourite – the Steamed Ginger Date Pudding with Chocolate Toffee Sauce.

This little piece of heaven is a contrast in hot and cold. Rich vanilla ice cream slowly melts and absorbs into a sandwich of warm ginger pudding. The chocolate toffee sauce adds further decadence to the dish. Just forget about the calories – it’s the flavour that counts here!

The Lunch and Dinner menus at Spruce build further on these combinations of texture and flavour, and ‘East meets West’ fusion.

In a drive to further whet the palates of their clientele, Spruce have also built an impressive wine collection, sourced from select wine-producers from around the world.

Spruce is open during the week from 10:30am to 10:30pm, and during the weekends from 8:30am to 10:30pm. They also have their own in-house bakery and even an outdoor Taqueria, serving tacos during the week.

Check out the complete Spruce menus at

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

MUSIC@LXG: Henry Rollins Tells It Like It Is.

Henry Rollins has a lot to say... and he's not afraid to rip into the state of the modern music industry.

Sarcastic, vitriolic and highly opinionated, the veteran rocker tells it like it is...
Jaded? Oh yeah - but the man needs to be heard:


In this day and age, you can't avoid becoming part of the Rat Race. You can choose to be a willing participant or not - but either way, you're in it for the long run...

Unfortunately a 5-day-a-week, 9-to-5 schedule is going to eventually lead to wear and tear in some form or another - no matter how well you look after yourself.

So now and again, its nice for even the most resilient of us to take a break and impart some care and attention to our weary muscles and bones...

There's no shame these days in borrowing a page or two out of our better-half's books and using the odd therapeutic remedy to ease the discomfort brought on by stress and fatigue.

Okay so most of us reach for the good old Medicated Balm to bring about some relief. But even the most effective balm is hardly a delight to the senses - watering the eyes, overpowering the nose and often leaving behind a greasy slick on the skin. And all thoughts of hot dates and romantic evenings out will be shattered as long as you are wandering around reeking like a chemical factory.

Which is why I am suggesting this very effective Warming Massage Oil from Kneipp...     

...Warming Massage Oil with Arnica and Ginger to be exact. Fortified with the active ingredients of the Arnica Blossom, Ginger and Almond Oil, the oil provides a warming and moisturizing sensation: Ginger creates warming and soothing effects on the skin; and Almond Oil, known for its high content of Essential Fatty Acids and Vitamin E, helps regulate the skin's natural hydration.

But the special ingredient here is Arnica - a flower with some surprisingly potent effects. Arnica montana, found on mountainsides at 2,500-5,000 feet, has been revered for centuries for its miraculous benefits on sprains, bruises and wounds. In fact Kneipp's founder, Sebastian Kneipp held the plant in very high regard, often stating that, “Gold could not buy Arnica…”

After having recently used the massage oil during a long overseas flight, I can now appreciate the rich praise. I always have problems on long-haul flights - plane seats and foot-rests were never designed for anyone over 6ft in height, and after the 6 hour mark, I invariably begin to wish I could cut my damn legs off...

But this time a little birdy told me to use the oil on my legs - so just before I started getting restless on the plane, I rubbed a palm-full on my feet, forelegs and knee joints. The oil spreads and absorbs easily - and there's no residue left on the skin. The fragrance of ginger is pleasant and there is actually a warming sensation that quickly takes effect.

So the Warming Massage Oil actually does what it says on the container; I wouldn't give it a thumbs-up if it didn't.  My legs felt like they had been treated to a soothing massage, and the rest of my flight was stress-free.

Of course if you're more athletic than me and work out regularly or indulge in sports, then this Arnica-based concoction can really be put to work in an intensive, post-exercise massage - easing sore muscles, joints and ligaments.

But don't just take my word for it...


For all our readers in Singapore, I've got 3 top prizes worth $58.80 each comprising of a Set of Warming Massage Oil with Arnica and Ginger and Warming Foot Balm with Cardamom and Ginger from those nice people at Kneipp.  

All you've got to do, is to Like the Kneipp Facebook Page, and then tell us here at the LXG, why you feel you deserve one of these Oil and Balm Sets. 

Our Winners will be announced on the 19th June. But even if you're not one of our winners, we will also have 10 consolation prizes worth $20 each, up for grabs.

Good Health!
Mr. C.