Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Our First Visit to Istana Open House during Deepavali

I had shared that Little One had to stay at home a fortnight ago because she contacted  conjunctivitis. As she was on the stage of recovery, she could not attend her cousin's birthday party. I was pretty worried that she may not recover in time for her first performance at her annual school concert. She had been so excited about it and had showed me her dance moves everyday then. Luckily, she made a speedy recovery. To make up for the days she had to stay at home, I brought her to Istana which was having open house during Deepavali last week.

The Istana ('Palace" in Malay) was formerly known as "The Government House" during the British colonial days. It is the official residence of the President of Singapore. However, since 1959, no president nor cabinet minister lives in it.

The grounds is open to the public on a few occasions such as Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa, Labour Day, and National Day every year. You could view for announcement at the Istana webpage.

Admission to the Istana grounds is free for Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs). Other visitors are required to pay an entrance fee of $1 per person. Entrance to the grounds is via the main gate at Orchard Road. Opening hours are usually from 8.30am to 6.00pm.

The Istana was designed and built by Colonial Engineer, Major John Frederick Adolphus McNair when Singapore was under British colonial rule. Did you know the entire brickwork, exterior of plastering and most of the flooring and interior work of Government House were done by Indian convict labourers? The building had also survived the Japanese Occupation.

We went in the late afternoon. There was already a long queue outside the Istana grounds.

For Singaporeans and PRs, all you need to do is to flash your identity cards. Other visitors would have to pay and entrance fee. After which, visitors are to go through security screening. 

Area accessible to the public
Upon entering the Istana, we were greeted immediately by the swan pond. Little One loves looking at the swans. We spent quite some time here. There were plenty of dragonflies as well as some small insects flying around as we walked on the grass patch.
Then, we walked past the Centre Gate.
There is a miniature Japanese Garden.

There will be a variety of performances on the grounds during the Open House. We watched a band performance by Siglap Secondary School Band.

Istana building

For an entrance fee of $2, visitors could tour selected function rooms in the Istana building and view a special display of gifts presented to the President and the Prime Minister. However, no photography is allowed inside the building. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Posh Nosh

Well, we celebrated my hubby's birthday a couple of months ago at Nosh Restaurant & Bar a couple of months ago. It was our first time in this restaurant and we were charmed by it. To be frank, this was not the intended restaurant we wanted to go. It was the first time we explored this Rochester Park though I used to stay pretty near. We were having problems locating the intended restaurant.  He used GPS and that GPS led us here instead. Though that GPS is not working too well but we were glad we settled here. 

Nosh (meaning meal or light snack) , located at 9 Rochester Park, serves modern bistro fare in a beautiful historic black-and-white house that is set in lush green surroundings. We hesitated but stepped in nevertheless as hubby says mosquitoes were most active at evening. He feared Little One would be bitten by mozzie since she is very prone to getting mozzie bites. 

Upon entering, Little One saw a 2 seater swing near the black and white house and immediately sat on it. After some short fun, we climbed up the stairs to the reception area. We were greeted by a waiter almost immediately and was led to the air-con area. On the way, I was wowed by the romantic candle lights and lush greenery. Pretty relaxing and romantic if you ask me. Perfect as a wedding venue!

The country decor is extended indoors too. Though there is no candle lights here, the lighting is pretty soft. It is as if we are dining in someone's home at the countryside! 

Enjoying her drink
Our starters came together. After we finished these, our main dishes came together too!

Kurobuta Pork Belly - S$29.  Hubby said this is nice! Like char siew. 

Herb Roasted Chicken- S$28. Rather juicy and tender

With stuffing in it. 
Although the food is expensive (We spent about $$90+), we enjoyed ourselves very much that night with good food and laughter. The waitress who served us was very attentive. She provided kid tableware for Little One. When we were mid way through our dinner, she was kind enough to come over to enquire how the food was. She had certainly made our day too!

Operating Hours:


Tuesday – Thursday & Sundays : 6pm – 10.30pm
Fridays and Saturdays : 6pm-11pm
Last Orders for Dinner: 10pm

Saturday & Sunday: 10.30am – 2.30pm
Last Orders for Brunch: 2.15pm

Closed on Mondays

9 Rochester Park Singapore 139220 (next to Rochester Mall)

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