Friday, December 02, 2016

The Learning Lab Experience Day

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We popped by The Learning Lab (TLL)’s newest facility at Tampines Mall last weekend to check out the place as well as let Jayne experience what a typical lesson at The Learning Lab is like. Needless to say, she enjoyed it!

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If you are still considering whether to enroll your kid into The Learning Lab, I say this is the best opportunity for you to find out more about their curriculum and what they are able to offer that will distinguish your kids from their peers. Personally, Joey has gone through a term of Math lessons with them and she has gone away from the experience with greater confidence and interest in the subject. In fact, from a borderline Band 2 and nearly Band 3 student in Math at the beginning of this year, she went on to obtain a 94% for her Math SA2 paper, which totally blew our minds away! As a student who struggled in Math through my many years of studies, I know what a great feat that is, and a great deal of credit should go to the boost of confidence she got at The Learning Lab.

Like the other Learning Lab facilities I’ve been to, this new facility at Tampines Mall is classy, sleek and well-equipped. Your kids will enjoy every lesson in these rooms. Trust me – My kids certainly did.

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At The Experience Day, you will be able to look at the type of curriculum offered as well as the materials that would be used at every class. The Learning Lab has a team of dedicated curriculum developers who design and create unique and customized materials for their students which cannot be found elsewhere. This means that unless your kid is in The Learning Lab, they will not have access to those materials.

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One of the greatest things I like about their curriculum is how up-to-date it is – The kids may be studying Math but the reference materials and discussion may center around the hottest topic in town and what everyone is concerned about at the moment. In my opinion, this makes the whole learning process not just academic but relevant to the changing times as well. At the end of the day, we do not just want our kids to be smart academically, we want them to be street smart and know what is happening in the world. Growing up, I had zero interest in current affairs and never would voluntarily pick up the newspapers to read. So when I entered Junior College and had to study General Paper, it was torturous for me. I love it that my kids don’t have to go through that – They are a lot more savvy than I was at their age!

While waiting for her trial class to start, Jayne had fun trying several activities. At the Experience Day, you can let your kids be entertained in this room with teachers guiding them along while you talk to the staff onsite and find out more about their curriculum.

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Then a pleasant surprise came for Jayne! Kidzania’s Urbano showed up at the Activity Room and asked Jayne to help him with his crossword puzzle – Haha! We were just at Kidzania a week ago and everything was still fresh in her mind, so I could literally see her eyes light up when he walked in. In case you didn’t know, The Learning Lab is one of the institutions in Kidzania and you can earn degrees to increase your kidzo earnings there!

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Jayne attended a one-hour trial class of P2 Math, and she enjoyed the activities she did in class. Your kids can attend a one-hour trial class as well and experience it for themselves what a typical lesson at The Learning Lab is like, while you get to attend a one-hour curriculum talk as the teachers share about their unique approach – from syllabus to curriculum outlines. At the end of the one hour, both you and your kid will have a better understanding of what you can expect at The Learning Lab.

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Register your kid with The Learning Lab on the Experience Day, and you are entitled to the following privileges for every new core programme:

  • A waiver of registration fee worth $63, excluding GST (applicable for new students)
  • A set of exclusive TLL Merchandise worth $25
  • Rebate of event registration fee worth $40
  • For classes enrolled in Tampines Mall and Tampines Point, you will be a part of a lucky draw and stand to win a grand prize of a $200 rebate off Term 2 - 2017 fees
    (Terms and conditions apply)

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The Learning Lab Experience Day will be ongoing till 11 December 2016 at the following centres and you can check out the schedule here. Not too late to check them out and get a head-start for 2017! :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christmas Listing: Brotzeit German Christmas Menu

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Yes, Christmas is all about feasting with our loved ones! More than all the good food, I find it a joy to indulge in the relaxing and celebratory atmosphere everywhere we go this season. Good food is a must in every celebration, and it doesn’t get more perfect than enjoying it in the midst of laughter and sharing of stories that happened through the year. Speaking of which, if you are a meat lover, I’ve found just the perfect place for you this Christmas season! The husband and I had a really lovely ‘date night’ at Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant last week at the outlet at 313@Somerset, pleasantly surprised to know that there is actually an indoor air-conditioned Level Two of the restaurant. Now, bet you didn’t know that right? Oh well, you’re welcome. :)

I may not be a super meat lover, but I do love my pork knuckles and I’m sure you know that’s the star at Brotzeit. I couldn’t wait to try it alongside with Chef Ranner’s Christmas creations this year!

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True enough, I love the beers! Now, that’s really quite something for someone like me who doesn’t enjoy beers. I am more of a wine or cocktail person, but the beers at Brotzeit were awesome! The husband had their Limited-Edition Brotzeit Kellerbier' – a beer specially brewed as part of their 10th anniversary celebration, and mine was a fruity version called the 'Affensaft' Wheatbier with mango juice . Absolutely delightful!

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The beers were smooth and easy to drink and not bitter like other beers I’ve tried. I definitely recommend you order a beer to match your food with – They go super well together! I would say that Christmas is one of the best festive seasons to enjoy a meal at Brotzeit with your family and friends – The whole restaurant is nicely decorated with soft music playing in the background. Thumbs up for their ambience - I almost forgot it was a weekday night and there’s work the next day! =P

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Then came the glorious food - The first dish totally surprised me. At first glance, it was a platter of items that I prefer not to take normally, but I was glad I tried them anyway! This appetizer on Chef Ranner’s Christmas Menu, aptly named Seafood Medley ($25), truly creates a symphony of senses not just visually, but on my taste buds as well. Tuck into this really appetizing dish of smoked trout, salmon gravlax, anchovies and prawns with caramelized lemon, horseradish cream and pickled olives, and I guarantee that you will start craving for more. The smoked trout was especially delightful and packed with strong smoked flavors (even though it looked very raw on the surface!) that I could not help but take a second helping. Mind you, I typically don’t take raw or smoked food, but this was just irresistible! (OK, now I sound like a really picky eater! =X) Curious about those little round bits?? Those were mustard seeds! How amazing – My first taste of mustard seeds!

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The fried prawns were needless to say – Savory and really awesome. Prawns are my favorite food of all time and when it’s deep fried, there is really no way I would say no to it. All in all, this appetizer dish is super yummy!

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Then this traditional classic dish often served in German restaurants appeared before us – Braised Duck and Cranberry Sauce ($32)! The duck meat was so tender and moist, with flavors thoroughly infused through the slow roasting. The sides were perfect – Crunchy red cabbage and a unique style of potato dumplings rolled in almond slivers. I enjoyed this dish so much up to the last bite! This is an epitome of comfort food at the highest level.

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The potato dumplings were unlike any that I’ve tried before. I adore potatoes and these are mashed-up versions rolled into balls, rolled in almonds and then fried – Whoever thought of this ingenious dish ought to be given a Nobel prize! =D

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Now, on to more meat dishes. For a perennial favorite on Brotzeit’s festive menu, we got to savor a tender cut of juicy Venison Steak ($42) paired with almond-potato dumplings and bacon-wrapped asparagus spears. Timing is of the essence when it comes to steaks, but look at how perfectly cooked this steak was! Every bite was tender and juicy, and absolutely delicious. Oh, and have I mentioned how much I love bacon with asparagus? Now, you know.

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Finally, the star of the evening appeared. The Christmas Sharing Platter ($118) is for those who want it all and of course, great for groups of friends to share. In this platter, you’ll get the signature Roast Pork Knuckle, a selection of Veal and Venison Sausages, Roast Pork Roulade and Veal Shank, with ample sides of seasonal vegetables, mash potato and dumplings to satisfy a group of four persons and above.

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It would not be exaggerating to say that this is a piece of art. Not only is it a feast for the eyes, everyone was probably thinking which item to attack first, after taking all the photographs we need. Even the guests from the other tables were all looking over and gasping at the amount of goodness on that one wooden log tray!

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The little pot of truffle mashed potatoes with fried onion shreds was super awesome. That’s the side dish you will get if you order the Veal Shank (as above), which is slow-braised and so tender & savory.

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The pork knuckle was beautifully roasted and the crackling were extremely crunchy. The flesh was tender and extremely flavorful, and I can finally understand why everybody says you have not been to Brotzeit if you have not tried their pork knuckles! These are just perfect with their traditional beers.

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Chef Ranner’s Christmas specialties extend to dessert as well. Expect to discover a typical festive market treat of warm, crisp Choco Drizzled Waffles ($12) with walnut ice cream, plum sauce and a drizzling of decadent molten chocolate! Oh, so good!

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Really festive looking too, don’t you think?? Love it.

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Finally, we ended our evening with a unique glass of Brotzeit’s homemade Gluehwein ($12) – a mulled wine spiced with cinnamon, oranges and cloves, for a truly German Christmas flavor. I enjoyed this so very much – It’s like having red wine warmed up. My tummy felt really happy after downing this glass of goodness! 

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Can’t wait to try the Christmas menu for yourself? Hop down to any of their outlets soon and you too can enjoy a great Christmas feast this season - Guaranteed to satisfy even the most picky tastebuds! More on http://www.brotzeit.co/

Disclosure: The J Babies were invited for a media tasting at Brotzeit Germain Bier Bar & Restaurant for purpose of review. All photographs and opinions are our own and no other financial compensation was received.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Christmas Listing: Festive Family Tea Experience At Capella Singapore

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Christmas is indeed the most wonderful time of the year.

As the year is drawing to an end, most of us start wrapping up a year’s worth of hard work and prepare to get into a mode of feasting and celebration. This is the time of the year that I look forward to the most, because I start relaxing and spend quality time with my family and friends, usually over a lovely meal. We Singaporeans can never get out of feasting and eating in everything that we do, and I think it should always stay that way. Last weekend, my family had a really exquisite Festive Family Tea Experience at Capella Hotel on Sentosa, and it totally ushered in the Christmas mood for me personally. I couldn’t stop smiling at the pinecones and berries everywhere in the hotel and the restaurant we were in – Chef’s Table. The glittering Christmas tree, traditional carols playing softly in the background and the fragrant aroma of Christmas in the air made everything magical. It was my first time stepping into Capella Hotel, and I was already in love with the place.

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The chef was preparing the food behind the counter and I love it that you can watch him in action from any part of the restaurant.

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How gorgeous is this Christmas tree? Chef’s Table was so beautifully adorned that I imagine spending Christmas Eve and Christmas here would be just perfect. :)

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We were served a unique welcome drink (not part of the Festive Family Tea Experience) and surprisingly, I loved it! It was a warmed up red wine with spices and lemon. Super appetizing!

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The various courses on the Festive Family Tea Experience menu were served to our table, and we enjoyed savoring every dish as they came while the kids left intermittently for activities outside the restaurant. It was great that they could try their hand at decorating gingerbread man and cupcakes with over-the-top decorations!

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My favorite item on the menu would be the first appetizer dish that comprised of the following:

1. Custard Duck Liver with Fresh Black Truffle & Port Wine Sauce
2. Mushroom Croque Sandwich with Cheese & Smoked Duck
3. Christmas Feuillete with Parmesan
4. Home Cured Salmon Gravlax with Watercress Puree and Pickled Shallots

I am more of a savory person, so this was right down my alley. If you are one with sweet tooth, don’t worry – The rest of the menu are sweet and perfect for you!

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I love scones, and their cranberry scones were just perfect. Warm, soft and fluffy and matched so well with the cranberry jam and honey. I love it so much! Epitome of ultra comfort food.

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The tray of assorted cakes and pastries were so pretty to look at, and tasted just as good. Enjoying them with your favorite tea from a wide tea selection on the menu, while chit chatting with family and friends is such a wonderful way to pamper yourself after working hard for a year, don’t you think?

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The cakes were rich and very skillfully made. My personal favorite would be the Lemon Curd Tartlet!

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This last dish on the menu was worth a double mention – The Citrus Peel Dundee Cake came fresh right out from the oven to our table, so that when we bit into it, it was warm and moist with a surprise burst of citrus flavors from the peels. IT WAS SOOOOO GOOD. I might have proclaimed that my favorite dishes were something else earlier on, but this was my absolute favorite. Nobody said we can only have one favorite, right??

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The Festive Family Tea Experience will be happening exclusively at Chef’s Table, Capella Singapore on 3 & 17 December 2016, 3.00pm to 5.00pm. As the restaurant’s capacity is not big, do make your reservations early so as not to be disappointed. The Festive Family Tea Experience is priced at S$52++ per person. You can see the full menu here.

Thanks for having us, Capella! We had a most wonderful time having an early Christmas celebration as a family. :)

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For other unique dining experiences that Capella Hotel has lined up this Christmas, hop to their website and find out more at http://www.capellahotels.com/singapore/festive/dining/