Food Review in 3 Minutes: The Mad Sailors

Haji Lane has a lot of indie/hipster cafes. I got to try one of them called The Mad Sailors, which served, well, seafood like Fish and Chips.

Fish and Chips it was, for that was what everyone ordered, except for some variety in taste. The classic Fish and Chips I ordered came overflowing from the serving box it came in with – 2 huge pieces of orange-brown fried battered fish laying on a thick bed of piping hot fries oozing with buttery fragrance, which sorta reminds me of the one I had back in Auckland’s The Crab Shack, though the fish was piled over the fries like the mountain of fish found in Boston Sail Loft! The side was coleslaw with Purple Cabbage, which by its looks, added a welcome dash of colour amidst the golden heap of fried food.

IMG_20170831_125104-01.jpeg

Unlike cheap battered Fish and Chips you find in food courts, the fish was soft and yet did not fall apart after you cut open the hard shell of a batter. Therefore, imagine biting into the warm, tender fish sandwiched between the crispy skin… Perhaps tender was a wrong description, but how do you describe fish that is chewy and yet soft to the bite?

The fish tasted nice whether with the tartar sauce it came with, or drizzled with lemon juice; I guess well-cooked food just taste good on its own!

The fries were also great, being fluffy and moist to the palette. As mentioned earlier, the serving was rather huge, so there was a bit of a struggle to finish everything. The coleslaw was nice, cool and soothing, but the fish and fries were too heavy to be balanced out by the veggie. Given the choice, I would prefer to leave the fries behind, since the fish itself was a rare find.

If you ask me, out of all the Fish and Chips I’ve tasted all over the world, Erik’s Fish and Chips by the lake in Queenstown, New Zealand still tugs at my heartstrings, with its soft meat and light batter. The Mad Sailors’ batter tend to be too hard of a shell texture wise.

Frequent visitors to Haji Lane will know it’s a nightmare to find parking over there, so it will be better to take the public transport to The Mad Sailors. The upper level was air-conditioned, though seats are limited. So it will be good to visit the place during lull periods.

p/s: I know people will ask: what about other food? Do they offer others? For this, I will say that The Mad Sailors did one thing well, that is the Fish and Chips, and they should not be bothered by other stuff. If you do not feel peckish for Fish and Chips, why go to The Mad Sailors in the first place?

IMG_20170831_131152-01.jpeg

The Mad Sailors

24 Haji Lane
Singapore 189217
http://www.themadsailors.sg
8768 0465

Are The Lobster Rolls In Boston Really As Good As They Say?

When I went to Boston in 2012, I was left with deep impression of a city that was clean, modern and yet without the rush that most metropoles like New York City or Shanghai have. In fact, Boston is to New York City is just like Yokohama is to Tokyo.

OI000729-01.jpeg

If you haven’t known that, when one visits Boston, he should try the lobster rolls, just like when one is in Singapore, he should try Hainan Chicken Rice, Char Kway Teow, Chye Tow Kueh, Bak Kut Teh…. Imagine my regret when I failed to try the famed lobster rolls!

Therefore, when I finally returned to Boston last year, I made sure I set aside time to try the lobster rolls. In fact, I tried lobster rolls from 2 famous places: Luke’s and Legal Sea Foods.

OI000675-01.jpeg

Legal Sea Foods

Legal Sea Foods is a big franchise name in East Coast (and even bigger in Boston), so visiting it requires little research or preparations; All you need to do is to search for the nearest outlet to get your fix. It serves a wide range of seafood, though I’m gonna focus on the Lobster Rolls and its signature: Oysters Legal and Legal’s Crab Cake.

 

Prior to that, N and I went strolling in MIT and Harvard Square, so we popped by the nearest Legal Sea Foods outlet at Cambridge – Charles Square (in Charles Hotel). According to the official website (https://www.legalseafoods.com), this outlet was designed to “evoke the simple style of the original Legal Sea Foods that was in nearby Inman Square, Cambridge”. I had not been to Inman Square, but I was indeed charmed by the courtyard in Charles Square!

When we reached the restaurant, it was already drizzling. The courtyard was wet and cloudy, but the wooden structure in the centre of the courtyard beckoned at us as we trudged across the tranquil space. We were met with a warm welcome by the friendly staff and an equally warm interior set up. As we were early (the crowd came fast and furious after 12pm), we had the luxury of a whole booth seat to ourselves!

 

Unlike the other restaurants we visited in Boston (or even NYC), the layout of Legal Sea Foods at Charles Square was spacious. The earthy wooden setting was a stark contrast to the damp and cold winter draped across the courtyard, which made the meal all the more warm and welcoming.

The Oysters Legal, being an appetizer, was HUGE.  I meant the serving, not the oysters themselves. Each oyster was deep-fried with breaded crumbs, which resulted in a heavenly concoction of soft juicy tenderness wrapped in piping pot, crispy fragrance. Many Singaporeans would have been disappointed to know the oysters were deep-fried, but I must say they were not deep-fried in vain!

OI000689-01.jpeg

OI000687-01.jpeg

N ordered a Legal’s Crab Cake, which was a burger with Crab Cake as a patty. Like most American burgers, the patty was drenched in melted cheese and paired with the shoestring fries and broccoli. The crab cake did not disappoint, bringing on the flavour-burst with each bite. If you ask me, the fries were too much (maybe for an Asian), since the burger was heavy (in carbs and proteins) already.

The highlight of the day was of course the Lobster Roll. The chunky lobster meat was served in a 6-inch heated bun, along with shoestring fries and onion rings as sides. What I loved about this was that the Lobster Roll was not pre-drenched with any sauce. In other words, I could was able to confirm that the lobster served was fresh! Adding a dash of salt and pepper created an alternate flavour to the roll, but I still preferred to enjoy my Lobster Roll nude!

OI000692-01.jpeg

On a side note, I quote enjoyed the onion rings. Onion rings found in Singapore were made of mashed onions, whereas the onion rings at Legal Sea Foods used the onion in its original form. The only disappointment was that the onion cooled down quickly (as you can see from the photo, they were thing rings), and lost its flavour when chilled.

Legal Sea Foods, as the name suggested, served more than the oysters and lobster rolls that we had. When we peeped over at the family seated next to us, we were also bowled over by the tantalising spread of grilled fish and crab. We had only space for lobster rolls and fried oysters, though!

OI000695-01.jpeg

OI000694-01.jpeg

The lunch crowd soon drowned the cosiness we experienced and as the food coma overcame us, restaurant became too stuffy for us. Despite the slight drizzle, the cold fresh air that washed over us as we stepped out of Legal Sea Foods refreshed our memories of the yummy Lobster Rolls as we trudged our way across puddles of water back to Havard Yard.

OI000582-01.jpeg

Luke’s Lobster

Technically speaking, Luke’s Lobster is also a franchise, albeit a smaller one. Especially for the outlet at Back Bay, which was just around a corner from Boston Public Library, it looked like we had stepped into a lazy seaside restaurant within a second from a bustling city!

Luke’s Lobster boasted seafood that is sustainable and traceable, something which is growing amongst conscious foodies. The wooden, organic décor of the outlet spoke much about such an ideal on being responsible to the environment while basking in life’s luxury.

By the time we pulled into Boston’s Back Bay, after a late afternoon train ride from New York City (because we really could not bear to leave that city of wonder!), the sun had already set. Therefore, we were so worried that Luke’s Lobster would be closed by the time we found our way there after checking into our hotel!

 

OI000583-01.jpeg

Luckily, we made it in time. In fact, we were lucky that the dinner crowed had left and the restaurant was only filled with the quiet chatter of a couple of youngsters hanging out. We made our orders at the cashier that was manned by youngsters who most likely were undergraduates from the colleges in the city, before making ourselves comfortable in the restaurant. In contrast to Legal Sea Foods, Luke’s Lobster’s tables were small, configurable, yet cosy.

Huddling over a small table, we balked at the Lobster Rolls and Clam Chowder we ordered.

Although visitors to Boston would have came to Luke’s for Lobster Rolls, I went for Luke’s Trio, which consisted of a platter (of sorts) of Lobster Roll, Crab Roll and Shrimp Roll, but halved in sizes. N on the other hand, went for the good old traditional Lobster Roll, which according to the menu, was “¼ pound of chilled wild caught lobster” drizzled with “melted lemon butter, mayo” and Luke’s secret seasoning.

Just looking at the description made me drool.

OI000587-01.jpeg

OI000584-01.jpeg

Again, the lobster itself was fantastic on its own (without additional salt and pepper, I mean, since the Lobster Roll was already served with melted butter and mayo). The hint of sea rolled over the tongue amidst the waves of tangy flavour burst from the butter. More importantly, the bun was toasted to a state of light and crispy, which was a terrific match for the succulent lobster meat!

My preference was actually the shrimp roll – surprise! It was ironic, since shrimps were supposed to be in the same “family” as lobsters. However, the North Atlantic Shrimps were bite-sized chewy balls that splattered freshness over the tongue that gave a stronger, but short-lived, shiokness over the lobster. In fact, the seasoning for the shrimp rolls (which was the same as that of the Lobster Rolls) complemented the meat so well, I was immediately awakened despite the long, tiring train journey from New York City.

OI000588-01.jpeg

The small-sized bowls that the clam chowder came in with was barely bigger than XK and XD. However, they were filled to the brim with umami goodness (that you can top up by pouring the oyster crackers) over the top. The chowder was full of good old English flavour, creamy but not chunky and bursting with flavour every time I bit into the clams. For added texture, mix the oyster crackers thoroughly, so that you can enjoy some crunch with your chowder!

Just how good was Luke’s Lobster? Well… the ambience weren’t exactly spectacular (more of student-friendly than hipster-cosy), and the serving was average. However, that particular late-night meal I had got me craving for more of the Lobster Rolls that I forced N to return before we left Boston on Christmas Eve!

For first-timers (especially if you’re thinking of dropping in the outlets in Japan), Luke’s Trio is good for a taster. However, you may end up like me, preferring the Shrimp Roll over the Lobster Roll, and order a full-sized Shrimp Roll instead! No matter what you prefer, remember to pair it with good old England Clam Chowder!

OI000722-01.jpeg

Bonus! Boston Sail Loft

I can’t really say if Boston Sail Loft was an accident. It was a fact that I planned to visit it, yet it was part of a dinner plan that I thought I’d make-do with a decent restaurant while I was in the area. After all, the area was filled with restaurants that was listed on any Tripadvisor review or food blogs available.

Again, the journey to Boston Sail Loft was a memorable one.

In my past visit to Boston, I had not managed to visit the wharf area since the area was rather far from a subway station and I didn’t want to wander too far off as a lone traveller with no data roaming. This time around, though, I came well-prepared.

After switching lines, we finally arrived at Aquarium station. It had been raining when we started our journey at Park Street, but that did not prepare us for the surprise by the wharf.

OI000720-01.jpeg

The wind was so strong over there that we had a hard time even exiting the station and opening our umbrellas! Apparently, the structure of the station had an effect on the wind. By the time we were away from the building and headed into Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, the wind had wound down a little, though it was still blowing hard and cold. Therefore, if you are going to Boston Sail Loft in winter, remember to put on waterproof and windproof clothing!

The wind chill was terrible, especially with the open concept of the park creating a huge fetch for the wind coming in from the Atlantic. However, it was all worth it. In the middle of the park, one could catch a good view of the harbour on one side, with the city on the other, by just standing beside (Christopher Columbus?) the statue.

OI000717-01.jpeg

Boston Sail Loft is 2 small junctions away from the park (yes, small, because according to Google, Boston Sail Loft was just a good 250m away from the station). The facade of the restaurant was deceiving; the small shopfront facing the junction gave the illusion that it was just a small restaurant. However, it was an elongated building (refurbished from old warehouses by the wharf). After entering the doorway, one would have to walk past the bar before settling down at the dining area.

 

As we were early (again, because we planned to have our meals before peak periods kick in), we scored ourselves a table by the window, overlooking the harbour. It was hard to imagine from the warm restaurant that the peaceful wharf outside was in fact enduring harsh winter winds!

The ambience of the restaurant reminded me of the The Crab Shack at Auckland, though not so much. Their similarity lie in the fact that they were both by the harbour, super winder and served seafood. However, Boston Sail Loft has a much older charm than The Crab Shack, which also embraced alfresco concept.

I don’t know what got over me, but we did not order Lobster Roll (which was Lobster Salad Roll Market on the menu, which probably didn’t catch our eyes as we were still reeling from the cold). Instead, we ordered Clam Chowder to warm ourselves up; N ordered a Boiled Fresh Scrod  while I went for Fish and Chips.

OI000743-01.jpeg

N’s Boiled Fresh Scrod was grilled cod covered with a layer of piping hot Ritz cracker crumb sauce. That added a crispy texture to the tender fish, which was nothing short of fresh! The meal was served with a warm, fluffy baked potato (other options included rice or mashed potatoes) and vegetables. As usual, that serving was too much for an Asian.

In fact, all servings in the US were too much for us!

OI000736-01.jpeg

My Fish and Chips came as a surprise. On the menu, I saw “Boston’s Best Fish and Chips” and decided that I wanted something simple and reliable. I had missed the description of “Mounds of fresh cod fried golden brown”.

First, my fish was not served in fillet forms like Singaporeans used to (I mean, Swensen’s is of American style, right?). They came in nuggets. And they came piled up in a HUUUGE mound that really took my breath away (granted, they were seated on a bed of fries, but I was contemplating how to fit all those goodness in my tummy!), while N eyed me with a sly smile.

OI000751-01.jpeg

When I said “fish nuggets”, do not imagine they were like McDonald’s chicken nuggets, made up of mashed up fish parts. They were whole, small fish fillets wrapped in golden bread crumbs. The amazing thing was that the fish remained soft and moist despite the deep-frying process, and the outside was crispy and light! I am a sucker for tartar sauce, which paired very well with the fish, though I would say the fish was fresh enough to be savoured on its own! (N.B: the fish was not well marinated; the crispy outside was plain and if the fish was not fresh and tender, that would have been a bad dish)

OI000750-01.jpeg

The highlight was of course the clam chowder. It came just like how the menu portrayed it: in a bowl, overflowing at the sides, topped with that crunchy oyster crackers. Just the sight of the cream flowing down the sides of the bowl was enough to whet the appetite (it came before the mains).

The chowder was a heavenly mix of savoury seafood and sweet, buttery flavour. Despite the thick texture, one could taste the clams with every bite. I guess we were both too overwhelmed by the cold outside that when the warmth of the chowder flowed from our tummy through our veins to every corner of our bodies, that sense of gratification was unspeakably ecstatic!

If you planned for a longer stay or have a huge appetite, you could actually order a jug of beer to chill, since the harbour was a pretty view to behold. My only gripe was the strong, fishy smell that, well, reminds one of an old wet market. That was quickly forgotten when them chowder and fish and baked potatoes started coming! lol

Cambridge – Charles Square

20 University Road
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-491-9400
https://www.legalseafoods.com/restaurants/cambridge-charles-square-90

Luke’s Lobster Back Bay

75 Exeter St
Boston, MA 02116, USA
lukeslobster.com
+1 857-350-4626

Boston Sail Loft

 

80 Atlantic Ave
Boston, MA 02110, USA
thebostonsailloft.com
+1 617-227-7280

Food Review in 3 Minutes: McDonald’s Fish Season

By now, everyone would have received the “bad news”: McDonald’s Chocolate Pie is now out of stock! To be honest, I didn’t quite fancy the pie; it was fancy and novel, but a little too “heaty” for my liking.

Instead, I liked the Fish and Fries that was introduced together with the pie.

IMG_20180303_180012-01.jpeg

If you had been living under a rock for the past few weeks, let me give you a recap: McDonald’s released a new fish item (after like donkey years), namely the Fish and Fries, and Sweet Chilli Fish Burger. The desserts that were introduced together were the Chocolate Pie and Thai Milk Tea ice cream (cone/sundae), all under the campaign “Fish Season”.

Knowing there would be a stampede to try out the new items, I held off my craving till the weekend to scout for a less crowded McDonald’s outlet to get my fix. My first target was Fish and Fries.

IMG_20180303_175243-01.jpeg

The Fish and Fries was just that: breaded fish with small fries. I topped it up with a meal that included a drink and the Chocolate Pie. Unlike some “high class” restaurants serving breaded fish, McDonald’s fish was not flaky. Instead, it was firm, full in texture, and yet was soft and sweet. The garlic marinate was strong, yet complemented the fish very well. The meal included tartar sauce (quite unlike that found in Filet-o-Fish, which was lighter) that I felt didn’t quite pair with the fish as well as the sweet chilli sauce that I will mention later.

Like I mentioned, I found the Chocolate Pie satisfyingly sweet, with the cocoa taste bursting full awesomeness in the mouth. The gooey chocolate filling was more like dark chocolate, which was the reason why it felt “heaty” despite its goodness. One pie would be enough, though I felt the pie should be best shared.

IMG_20180304_184521-01.jpeg

Now that the Chocolate Pie is out of stock (Amen!), the only other alternative we have is the Thai Milk Tea Ice Cream, which can come in the form of the ice cream cone or the sundae. I myself tried the sundae: Thai Milk Tea with Chocolate Fudge – as if the sweetness was not enough!

Alone, the soft service ice cream was full of Thai Milk Tea goodness (I read on my FB that some people complained the ice cream was bland, yet I felt it was rich. Guess the taste i subjective then!). I thought adding the hot fudge was overkill, which made me swear off sweets for one week lol If you are someone who prefers lighter taste, you will be better off with Thai Milk Tea ice cream cone 🙂

IMG_20180304_165006-01.jpeg

The Sweet Chilli Fish Burger made use of the same fish filet as Fish and Fries, but sandwiched it between orange-coloured buns (that didn’t taste any different from the normal ones), topped with chopped salad found in its Buttermilk Chicken Signature Sandwich and namesake sweet chilli.

If I can have a say, I would recommend that the Fish and Fries be served with the sweet chilli, either as a dip or be drizzled over the fish. They totally complement each other! The orange freak buns and salad were just distractions.

IMG_20180303_180012-01.jpeg

p/s: I experimented dipping the fish in McDonald’s own garlic chilli sauce and tomato sauce. Although the former had garlic just like the fish, and that I had said that the sweet chilli complemented the fish, the combination of garlic chilli sauce with the fish did not go well. Amazingly, the garlic taste seemed to cancel each other out and the outcome tasted like a salty mess. The tomato sauce fared not much better, even though seafood was supposed to taste better with sour dips. The fish also tasted salty when paired with ketchup. I suppose the fish was too unique to be simply paired with any average sauce!

IMG_20180303_180420-01.jpeg

Bonus!

In the same week when McDonald’s rolled out Fish Season, Old Chang Kee introduced a new curry puff: Nasi Lemak Puff. In the outlet nearest to my office, they were always sold out by lunch time. It was only 1 week later that I managed to get my hands onto the sell-out.

And I thought I might as well didn’t.

It was just sambal chilli wrapped with a green-coloured puff skin, and dashed with some chicken bits and eggs. It was so spicy there was no other taste to speak of.

Stay away from this overhyped item if you don’t want to waste your calories!

IMG_20180305_134904-01.jpeg

Auckland in 48 Hours

I love New Zealand, mind you, but ask any flight attendant if they enjoyed layover at Auckland, the answer will most likely be “No” and I am inclined to agree. Unlike Queenstown, Auckland does not have that X factor that appeals you to return to the city. But do not be mistaken; Auckland has enough attractions to entertain a first-time visitor, which makes it an ideal city for a 48-hour getaway!

P5166237-01.jpeg

First Impressions

Auckland gives the vibes of a working city. When I was walking around the city centre, all I saw were stern-faced workers shuffling along the streets. And unlike most major cities, Auckland has yet to have a metro system (construction was underway and I read that it would be ready in a few years’ time). Therefore, the best way to get around the city centre was on foot, and thankfully, most sights were within reach.

OI000203-01.jpeg

Silo Park

My first recommendation is Silo Park, which is not far off from the picturesque, insta-worthy marina with seemingly endless rows of yachts parked there.

And after passing through the scenic marina, you cross a landmark bridge, the Wynyard Crossing, where one is offered a window in between the rows of sails to the city skyline, complete with the iconic Sky Tower smack in the middle of the frame.

The Silo Park is just beyond the bridge, which was converted from an old port/yard and housed structures from its previous incarnation. It borrowed its name from the silos there, which, standing as tall as 35m, was used to store cement in its heyday. Be sure to stay till night; not only will the lights on the skin of the structures offers an alternate view of the park, the management of the park also organises outdoor entertainment events like outdoor cinema and live music. Therefore, be sure to check out its official website (https://www.silopark.co.nz/) for interesting events you can immerse yourself in!

Another reason why I felt the Silo Park is worth visiting, was that enroute, not only would you be able to capture insta-worthy shots, but you would also walk past a 100m row of restaurants along Jellicoe Street (the whole waterfront area is also known as Wynyard Quarter; https://www.wynyard-quarter.co.nz/) converted from old buildings that once housed marine and fishing industries of Auckland. These restaurants face the harbour, providing a unique dining experience and making a half-day itinerary to the Silo Park more memorable!

OI000201-01.jpeg

Queen Street

Queen Street to Auckland is like Orchard Road to Singapore. And because Auckland is built to an almost grid-like pattern, being familiar with Queen Street helps one orientate themselves to the stores and cafes around town. If you ask me, yes, you can also buy branded goods on Queen Street, but since everything in New Zealand is expensive (it is, after all, at the corner of the world), these goods aren’t very value-for-money. However, if you want to buy something uniquely from New Zealand (Manuka Honey, anyone?), this is the place to drop by for last-minute shopping for your folks back home!

And yes, you can find a number of grocery stores/supermarkets, if you are a grocery-geek like me 😛

OI000171-01.jpeg

Albert Park

Albert Park is the city park in Auckland, much like Central Park is for New York City.

When I visited the park, it was not as crowded as the streets of Auckland. And since the park is elevated away from the traffic and its resulting pollution, the park offers an ideal sanctuary for one to take a break from the daily bustle.

P5166275-01.jpeg

If you’d like, you can visit the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki which is at a corner of the park, or drop by the University of Auckland to soak in some scholarly vibes. Remember to take a selfie at the sculptural fountain in the middle of the park, with the Sky Tower in the background!

OI000173-01.jpeg

Sky Tower

On the other side of Queen Street from Albert Park is the Sky Tower. If you’ve never been to the Sky Tower, you can’t really claim to have visited Auckland!

What can one do at such a touristy place, actually? Observation deck, for one, is a must.  Since Auckland is made up of mostly low-density buildings, the observation deck provides a superb view into the horizon. On a clear day, you can even see the famed Lone Tree Hill or even the airplanes take off or land at Auckland Airport. Lastly, make sure to time your visit to catch the sunset from the vantage point!

There’s a Sky Cafe up there, though I found the prices a bit steep (it’s a tourist trap after all). But then… it would be a different experience altogether to sip a cuppa while watching the hustle and bustle below, like ants winding through the narrow streets…

If you are adventurous (and if weather is good) enough, you can also take a (tethered) walk on the outside of the tower.

Last but not least, the Tower is also built upon a mall (complete with a casino) for one to spend the remainder of day.

Food

To be honest, Auckland is so urbanised that, while it’s easy to satisfy one’s hunger with the wide range of food options, there isn’t much specialty to hunt for like that found in Queenstown or Bangkok (unless you have fat wallets). Luckily for us, we managed to seek out some special eating places (when we were not eating McDonald’s and Burger King lol)

OI000179-01.jpeg

Remedy Coffee

You can start your day at Remedy Coffee off Queen Street. A small outfit that offers a cosy ambience, it serves up healthy doses of granola and Western breakfast for the inner health guru in you 😛

If possible, opt to seat yourself by the wooden window to people watch while you dig in!

OI000184-01.jpeg

The Crab Shack

Situated at one of the piers just beside New Zealand Maritime Museum, The Crab Shack offers more than crab: one can find a range of seafood served in various preparation methods one can find!

For example, we had the standard Fish n Chips together with a pot of mussels bathed in white wine. The former was unlike the fish bites I had at Boston Sail Loft, since the batter was lighter. But I must still say the one at Queenstown Airport’s Airspresso still scored the best, especially considering the ambience of being able to watch airplanes up close! The mussels definitely won hands down compared to the ones bathed in salty broth at Roast at theCommons, Bangkok!

The restaurant offers both indoor and alfresco dining. Although I was there during autumn, the cold did not stop me from dining outdoors, since the windows stopped the bone-chilling wind at bay. I can’t really say for the bird poops that may drop from above, though 😛

If you are in Auckland on weekdays, they also offer daytime specials, from 3pm – 6pm.

OI000195-01.jpeg

Esquires

There are plenty of cafes around Auckland, but Esquires, just off Customs Street is a quiet spot from the busy streets. Just opposite Mercure Hotel, this is your standard cafe equipped with decent coffee for you to take a rest from all the sightseeing. From what I know, this is a franchise. So feel free to step into one whenever you feel like a break!

P5156192-01~01.jpeg

Accommodation

My stay was at The Sebel Auckland Viaduct Harbour (what a mouthful!), which is actually at the crossroads of the harbours and the shopping streets.

The pubs and bars are found conveniently downstairs (be sure to request for a room that face away from the bars, but you would not be able to enjoy harbour views from your room then). Beyond the bars, you either turn left for the yachts and the Silo Park, or right for the old harbour district and Queen Street.

The studio was spacious enough for 2 large suitcases to be opened simultaneously with space to spare. The room also contained washer and dryer, complete with cooking facilities, which makes it suitable for longer stays. Similarly, the bathroom was spacious and had plenty of room for toiletries. I had no complaints about the room in general.

In terms of security, they did not have dedicated security features, which would seem very out of place in such a peaceful city/country! Since Queen Street is just a few blocks away, buying grocery items will also be a breeze.

 

Stay Warm

Strolling down the harbour was a joy, except that the wind was both strong and chilly. One needs to be properly insulated (with windbreaker) when visiting Silo Park and The Crab Shack.

The wind was so strong that it also got windy 3 streets in at Customs Street, so keep that in mind when planning for your accoutrement and itinerary for the day.

P5176303-01.jpeg

One More Thing

Somehow, New Zealand deserves the title of an aviation hub more than Singapore, even though the air traffic down under isn’t much to boast of. Why do I say that? Remember I said in my previous post that Queenstown Airport has a great cafe that is right beside the apron, offering a super, up-close view of the planes?

Well, for Auckland Airport, there were exhibits reminiscent of those found in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. I mean, in how many airports do you find a model of a good old propeller plane? It is in the transit area, so there’s plenty of reason for you to clear the security checks early 🙂

P5176302-01.jpeg

How to Get There

The SIN-AKL route is served by daily flights by Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand. For a full 48-hour stay at Auckland, the timings of Singapore Airlines is a better match (not to forget you need to apply a day off on Friday or Monday to make up for a long weekend).

SQ285 SQ286 SIN-AKL

The timing above showed the flights we took to and from Auckland. Do note that airlines adjust their flight schedules in different seasons. For SIA, it is just a matter of shifting forward/backward the take off time by 1 or 2 hours. Always plan well in advance, be it for flights or for accommodation.

From the airport, one just need to activate Uber (or just hail a cab off the curb) to get to the city centre. That easy. Do account for an hour or more for the journey to city centre.

Read more about making full use of your time at Queenstown, New Zealand!

NZ in 48 Hours Pt 1

[Explore] Queenstown, New Zealand in 48 Hours (No Daredevil Activities Involved) Part 1NZ in 48 Hours Pt 2

[Explore] Queenstown, New Zealand in 48 Hours (No Daredevil Activities Involved) Part 2NZ in 48 Hours Pt 3

[Explore] Queenstown, New Zealand (Extended)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

[Stay] Wake Up To A Ravishing View: Mercure Queenstown Resort

 


The Crab Shack

137 Quay St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

crabshack.co.nz

+64 9-972 1599

Remedy Coffee

1 Wellesley St W, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

+64 9-377 1030

Esquires – Customs Street

Citibank Building Ground Floor, 23 Customs Street East, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

esquirescoffee.co.nz

+64 9-377 6857

The Sebel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

85/89 Customs St W, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

accorhotels.com

+64 9-978 4000