KH and I continued to stay on, exploring the interesting neighbourhood. Immediately after ODP, we popped over to Forty Hands, a coffee specialist. Named for the fact that it takes approximately forty hands to produce coffee from plant to cup. Ordered a latte and a kong ba pau. To me, the latte was a bit sour. Different from what I'm used to. The kong ba pau was basically a pocket man tou served with kau yuk marinated with five spice powder and pepper corns. Explored further on Yong Siak Street. Stopped at Books Actually, a book shop selling specialty books and retro knick knacks. Wandered around until we were at Eng Hoon Street. Walked into Tiong Bahru Bakery by Gontran Cherrier. So weird to find a French bakery in a old Chinese neighbourhood. According to KH, there's a line into the shop every morning. Didn't sit down or anything, just walked in and walked out with a croissant. The crispiest and most expensive croissant I had ever eaten-- SGD2.50. As crispy as those layered curry puffs. Divine. If you Google the owner, you will find that he's quite cute! Next, we ended up at Thian Hock Keng Temple, dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea, Mazu. Been there years back while lunching with JJ at Hachi-Tei, but I did not go in. Beautiful and intricate carvings inside. Definitely worth a look.
Nearby was P.S. Cafe on Ann Siang Hill. Historically, it was the mansion of a wealthy sawmiller. Years ago, it was also the site of a gay sauna by the name of "Raw". Now it has become a posh and pretentious cafe that prominently displays a sign at the front saying "No Children Allowed". The decor was predominantly black with dark woods. The faces of the staff were also black and unfriendly. How matching. Just sat down for a while. KH changed his mind, and we just ordered a slice of Double Chocolate Blackout cake to go. Also stopped at Maxwell Food Court to buy a pack of tau fu fah custard from Lao Ban. Amazingly, people queue for it. Took the cake and venture to POD's workplace, which is an art gallery in the Tanjong Pagar area. He showed us his photos from his vacation in the US while he nearly single-handedly finished the cake (after he complained that he gained 15kg in the US). Wanna know why it's called a blackout cake? Cause on top of the double chocolate, you're give a chocolate sauce to drizzle all over it! Sinful! Banjir!
While waiting for dinner time, POD closed up the gallery and brought us to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum. Passed by it so many times, but never went in. Fantastic place build based on Tang Dynasty architecture at a cost of SGD62 million. Hampir pengsan. The exterior was decorated with colourful lanterns and stalks of plastic flowers, perhaps due to the coming mid-autumn festival. We immediately went up Ten Thousand Buddhas Pavillion on the roof as it was already nearing closing hours. In the central pagoda is the giant Vairocana Buddha Prayer Wheel, surrounded by ever-flowering Dendrobium Buddha Tooth orchids. We went down floor by floor, visiting the Sacred Light Hall – Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic Chamber first. Unfortunately, the curtain was not raised and we could not catch a glimpse of the gold stupa containing the Buddha tooth relic. Another floor down is the Samantabhadra Hall – Nagapuspa Buddhist Culture Museum. Plenty of Buddhist artefacts on display. On the second floor is the Manjushri Hall – Aranya Gallery which houses Buddhist art and sculptures. Further down in the mezzanine floor overlooking the central hall and exhibits eminent persons from the Sangha.
Down on the first floor is the Hundred Dragon - Maitreya Hall. The centerpiece of this breathtaking hall is the Maitreya Trinity in the middle. Buddha Maitreya is in the middle, with the Bodhisattva Dharma Garden Grove on the left and the Bodhisattva Great Wondrous Appearance on the right. What is interesting about these 15-foot Buddhas is the fact that they are crowned and the middle Buddha is seated, like on a throne. Around the walls are niches for hundreds of Buddhas, each with a unique mudra. Definitely filled my Buddhist quota for the year. Haha. Dinner was at Pasta Brava, Craig Road. Met up with the elusive Kidz (was amazed that he made an appearance), POD, W850i, Andy and Suzy. Andy came in with the blondest hair... I already kenot tahan seeing it on FB, but in person... Yarabi. Teased him for hours about it. Kidz was hunkier than ever. Definitely stepped up on the gymming. Appeared at the restaurant in a tank top, but the staff told him to change. Luckily he had a spare top. Suzy was the earliest to arrive. Never met her before. A fun-loving character who is the sister of Nic's ex-best friend. Complicated right? Somehow, everyone started abandoning the fella due to his jerk-ish ways and welcomed his sister into the fold instead.
Ordered loads to eat-- Carpaccio Della Nonna, Funghi Trifolati Alla Romana, Calamari Fritti, Fettuccine alla Carbonara, Fusilli alla Boscaiola, Risotto ai Funghi Porcii, Zuppa Amalfitana, Vellutata di Funghi, Agnolotti Farciti al Salmone and Spaghetti della Pescatrice. Such a long list of incomprehensible Italian dishes right? Like a mouthful of Italian cock. But I have just one photo to show for it. Sorry. :P. My favorite was the squid ink spaghetti. So lovely that I stained my white T! Gah! And they even purposely change the napkins from white to gray because we ordered that. Luckily the