IndoChine Waterfront + Restaurant, Empress Place

We are not where we want to be. We are where we ought to be.

“God works in mysterious ways”, and I’m a firm believer in that. I believe that we ourselves aren’t the best judge of our own character and everywhere I look reinforces that belief – the things we want are not necessarily the things we ought to have. Deep down, I want to be with Andy. Deep down, I want to sever all ties with my family, migrate to Tokyo, Paris, New York or Melbourne – to be an accomplished writer, free from all the restraints that I’m tied to. I want to be that guy who’s got everything going his way not because he possesses any extraordinary talent per se, but because he’s rich, good-looking and understands the art of human interaction. Deep down, I want to be anybody else but me. But I can’t. I can’t change the past. I can’t change where I came from. A curious thing then happens: you can’t change yet you won’t accept – you’re stuck in the middle – so you just cope with it. Yet, you’re never alone. I am never alone – I have to believe it, if only to keep the fire burning inside me. My partners have abandoned me when I needed them the most. My friends have forsaken me when I need the most. Even my family has betrayed me when I needed the most. I have been pigeon-holed, I feel unwanted, I feel like an outcast. So tell me, would I still be alive if I didn’t believe there was some greater power out there watching me. “Faith”. It’s funny how people believe I don’t possess it, and convince me that I need it, because it’s all I ever known.

This afternoon, I met a friend – a fellow industry peer – at the launch of MOGi Singapore, a mobile wallet solution. It had been months since we last met, and in that time, we moved on from previous positions and took on new challenges with new titles. Life doesn’t always go the way we want, but we somehow find ourselves in a place we need to be. I’m truly happy that we’ve all since moved on to bigger and better places.On to MOGi. Since time immemorial, mobile wallet solutions like Groupon and Deals.com have never appealed to me, mostly because their deals have never, for once, been irresistible. The company is kicking off with an impressive start, with hundreds of merchants, but right now, it’s rather oriented towards females… and like that, they’ve lost me. The launch was held at Bar Opiume, part of IndoChine’s Waterfront & Restaurant at Empress Place, located within the Asian Civilizations Museum, complete with a luncheon.

Refreshingly yet unsurprisingly, the menu was Vietnamese (the name IndoChine is a nod to Vietnam, known during the colonial times as French IndoChina). Before dining, I didn’t think much of IndoChine as a good place for Vietnamese food, but writing on retrospect, it performed a lot better than Les Amis’ fast food venture, Nam Nam Noodle Bar; exceeding the latter in every level. Starting on the right note were the appetizers, the ubiquitous Vietnamese spring rolls – presenting both the northern and southern variety. The Goi Cuon, or fresh rice paper prawn rolls, with its generous serving of lettuce, bean sprouts, chives and mint leaves, after being dipped in the ubiquitous Vietnamese sauce, contrasted perfectly against the Cha Gio, or crispy Vietnamese spring rolls.

For the mains, we had a choice of four main courses but it seems like most, like myself, chose the Ragout-French Beef Stew. Succulent beef, sweet potatoes and carrot simmered in a robust stew, while decent, was unfortunately not the most sizeable of portions but was satisfactorily adequate. This WAS a media luncheon after all, and not a tasting.

The final course was Banh Chuoi, banana fritters with vanilla ice cream. Again, it served its purpose, but I would have liked my “Goreng Pisang” to be served hot and possess a robust flavor to contrast with the coldness of the ice cream.

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