Today, I turn a quarter of a century old, but I feel just a quarter of a century young.
To be honest, I feel like right now, I am at the peak of my life. I am young, I feel more beautiful and confident than I have ever felt, I feel loved and secure and my biggest problems aren’t ones I cannot solve with a lot of faith, determination and a good dose of hope 🙂
I feel like ten years have passed since the me of last year – newlywed, worrying to death about my job, and struggling with separation. I have grown more in the past 12 months than I ever have in all 25 years I have lived and breathed.
I have also finally outgrown large themed parties and noisy drinking celebrations – all I want for my birthday this year is the company of my loved ones and for them to stay happy and healthy.
My family and I (or rather, whatever of our family still in SG) celebrated with a simple birthday brunch at Cafe Melba, a dog-friendly Kiwi-style breakfast place in Goodman Road, where the old School of the Arts used to be.
Tucked away in a quiet residential area full of palatial homes, the crowd is mainly expatriate and dog lovers – it used to be an undiscovered gem but the crowds are really starting to come in and sadly the ambience gets too noisy after noon.
I can still see myself coming back to Melba – because they serve Spruce-style brunches but are dog friendly, and that’s super hard to find – no more travelling all the way to Nex for passable human food at the Doggie Style Cafe!
Cafe Melba is done up in rough hewn woods, heavy industrial tables and bar-top style seats which make for a very varied but casual, Australian vibe.
Simple, bright and rustic touches include little sprigs of pink and light green fieldflowers in glass jars, brown and sugar cubes in snap-lid cookie jars, and brown weave baskets for the cutlery – very Bills’ .
The breakfast items are a mixed bag !
My pancakes were pretty .. but really dry.
They were fluffy but not moist, and they came only with a too-sour berry compote and whipped butter – so the first mouthful was quite a shock. I tried to remedy the situation by drowning the entire thing in lots of maple syrup (incidentally, the maple syrup was very good indeed), but couldn’t get over the mouth feel of bready, dry, overcooked hotcake-ness.
A far cry from Spruce’s great banana hotcakes which are moist, warm, and topped with a delicious blueberry streusel, or Hummerston’s idealized pancakes, which are the perfect texture, size, and color.
The savouries fared better 🙂
The classic Eggs Benedict was above average – the Hollandaise sauce in particular went perfectly with the buttered English muffin and was just the right, creamy consistency with no sourness from too much vinegar at all. Mopped up every bit of that delicious sauce. The bacon, which is smoked in house, was also great – sinful salty crunchy goodness. But the eggs let down what could have been a 10/10 – they were just a touch overcooked and didn’t yield a runny river of golden lava when cut.
Still better that a lot of the Eggs Benedict you get out that, at even more exorbitant prices.
For main courses, my brother P and his girlfriend C had the Chicken Parmigiana, which they enjoyed very much but found just a little dry.
My aunt had the Vongole, which, when it came, resembled a very scary sea monster.
They used a squid ink tagliatelle, or Italian egg noodles.
The squid ink really added to the complexity of the pasta – it lent it a dark, umami touch that went really well with the strong garlic, wine, and parsley flavours of the classic vongole broth that was seafoody and slightly boozy.
The clam meat was abundant and very fresh too – a very heady dish overall.
Moving on to the company this morning :
We had a previous guest star who now is the ruling diva of my family and sister D : Madeleine, who we have since diagnosed as a cairn-silky cross.
She has become the world’s biggest attention hogger and get away with practically anything by looking up doefully with her bright black eyes and flapping those butterfly like ears. We have had adoption offers pouring in by the dozen but after six months with my family, she’s going no where but Hong Kong 🙂
My Yeye, who is 93 years old but can still out-eat all of us and cycles to the market everyday ! Lately I’ve been very guilty about not spending as much time as I should with him – one of my resolutions is to make sure to visit him at least thrice a week, especially when P flies to Hong Kong to join the rest of my family and Yeye will be living alone with our long-time helper, Yati.
The best sister and best aunt in the world, who indulgently gave in to my ridiculous whims and fancies and got me cupcakes and a Hello Kitty balloon even though they are very anti-kawaii nehz without me even asking !
The dawgies are my Aunt’s – Joy the Schnauzer, who has the sweetest, biggest eyes, and Ashton, the deranged but very handsome cocker spaniel.
This year we had a new addition – my brother P’s girlfriend, C.
She’s the first girlfriend my brother P has brought home to introduce to the family, and I can see why ! He clearly adores her, and from our few chats, she seems to be a really genuine, nice and funny person. We’ve all already started telling him to treat her better, much to his defensive chagrin.
And the most important leading man in my life, my husband K, without whom my happiness can no longer be complete.
여보 , 많이 많이 사랑해! 🙂
We’ve already spent six birthdays together, but what is six birthdays when we have a lifetime of them to come?
Because cupcakes are cuter …
Older, wiser and happier !