Exam fever is upon us, and if you have school-going children, you will surely feel some pressure. All the stress, late nights, revision, cramming ... poor parents! It seems we are the ones doing the studying even though our children are the ones taking the exams.
Anyway, I decided a dinner out would be a nice break (from cooking, blogging and studying). So, off we went to Playground@Big Splash. Our dinner venue? Claypot Fun. What a cute pun on the name :)
When we arrived, the kids went wild. There was a mini-fair just steps away from the restaurant and not surprisingly, they wanted to "go there!" It was just as well, because we needed to wait 20mins for a table. It was only 6.40pm and the restaurant was already packed.
Zorbing in water!
There were many people making their way to the beach. Loads of cyclists, rollerbladers and joggers.
Soon, dusk fell.
But none of the children seemed to care.
I saw a solitary kite flying ...
Dusk is my favourite time of day. It signals a time to wind down ... the day is done (except for stayhome moms and workaholics). I also equate it with sadness, for I remember the day a loved one breathed his last at dusk. I will never forget.
The restaurant called and said our table was ready. So we made our way back, with much resistance from my older boy.
When we walked in, it was like a blast from the past. The first thing that greeted us at the entrance was this really old record player (above). I thought it was just for display, until I saw one of the wait staff open up a compartment and change the vinyl record!
The menu in chinese characters.
OMG ... Adam Cheng! That was eons ago! LOL!
Old fans and tiffin carriers for decor ... how about that? :)
You have to wait for your food because they are prepared fresh.
Claypotfun is managed by Jumbo Seafood, so we expected a certain level of quality in our food, and they certainly didn't disappoint.
We had 4 adults, 2 children and 1 baby. If you have young ones who can't sit still, I would recommend dining al fresco. The sitting configuration indoors, especially the booths (as seen above), can be quite claustrophobic.
First to arrive were the soups!
Old Cucumber soup, which had lotus root in it. Check out the plate ... my granny used to feed me from such plates ;)
It was a pain taking photos with so many spotlights overhead. The soup was reflecting light from all angles. Apologies for the bad photos :(
Watercress soup, which I got to try. It was nice and light. I didn't get to try the Old Cucumber soup because my children drank that up.
Then came the mains. We ordered a large Claypot Rice with Chicken & Mushroom, and a regular Claypot Rice With Preserved Chinese Sausage.
Here's the Claypot Rice with Chicken & Mushroom, with its ingredients brimming over. The chinese mushrooms were meaty and chewy - lovely! I didn't quite like the chicken. They were fillets, and I still prefer chicken with bone on.
The rice however, was top class. Fluffy, fragrant and firm. You know instantly that you are eating good rice. Just the rice and sauce alone are reasons enough to eat here again.
You're supposed to remove all the ingredients onto a plate, then drizzle a special soy sauce over the rice. I don't know what goes into the soy sauce, but I could see a layer of oil in the bottle it was provided in. I think that's what makes it so aromatic.
The chinese sausages were very tender and moist, without that artificial sweetness that comes with inferior grade ones. I also spied chunks of salted fish. Ahhh ... salted fish makes all the difference. An absolute delight to eat with that rice. Pssst ... see the toy car in the top left corner? Sigh ... dining with kids ;)
The charred bits were saved for last. For some, this is the best part of eating claypot rice.
After a very satisfying dinner (which came up to less than $50!) we had to take a walk by the beach. As we exited, we passed Yoshimaru Ramen Bar, which was located next door. We are going to eat there the next time.
Here we are, at the beach and looking back.
My 4-year old made me buy a shovel from 7-11 so that he could "dig for treasure". How do I tell him that he is the treasure? :) He shoveled tirelessly for a good half hour before we went home.
I'm looking forward to next week, when the exams end ... then we'll come back again for more food and more play.
Good luck to all parents for your children's final year exams!