16 November 2015

Bread Street Kitchen @ Marina Bay Sands

We've probably all heard his rantings on TV. Often, these were nasty remarks that pierce right to the heart. At times, it looks like he was about to get a stroke. Ah, Gordon Ramsey. Perhaps his bark is louder than his bite. And it was his food that I was more interested in.

He had found it worth his while to set up a restaurant in Singapore. And of course, it has to be at an upmarket location at Marina Bay Sands. His Bread Street Kitchen sits at one corner of the complex. Wonder what's the story behind the name though? Gordon wasn't around to answer that question.

Wifey and I decided to make a visit there on our special day. It was a long walk to the restaurant, a walk filled with much expectations. The restaurant itself seemed pretty innocuous from the outside.

With a view facing the bay though, the restaurant is actually at a very nice spot. Fascinating place for people watching too. Many joggers and tourists went traipsing by as we sat our table. I think the ambiance would probably be even more fantastic at night?

We ordered an appetizer, main course and dessert each.

I had ordered the Black Angus Steak (10 oz). When the waitress asked for my choice of sauce to go with it, I took whatever the first thing it was that she said. I didn't know what it was actually. I was completely clueless. When the dish came, it was some gooey yellowish stuff. But, it was REALLY, REALLY GOOD! Turns out it is "bearnaise". Never heard of it before. But apparently, bearnaise and steak is a match made in heaven. The steak itself was impeccable. Yumz.

My dessert was Monkey Shoulder Cheesecake with Sorbet. I was expecting a cheesecake. What came later looked like a pudding, along with a scoop of sorbet. But the taste, oh the taste! Googling the Internet, I discovered that Monkey Shoulder seems to be a whiskey. The sorbet was of course sour. But when I mixed the two, the sourness wasn't there at all. Most intriguing. The whiskey, cheesecake and sorbet blended together to offer a completely different taste experience. There is a logic to the blending. Here's a case of 1+1 does not equal 2. Yumz once again.

The meal of course didn't come cheap. It cost about $100 per person. They actually have much cheaper set meal options. But no regrets. Well worth the price from my perspective. And to top it off, the bill came discounted. Apparently, Citibank Visa has a 10% discount deal. Cool.

Oh, the service? Simply put, fantastic! I wish all service staff were so attentive, and well informed. Gordon must be paying them well.

Everything came looking great, and more importantly, tasted great! It definitely did not disappoint. Well done Bread Street Kitchen! Thoroughly enjoyed the dining experience.

11 November 2015

Boteyju San - satisfying a crave for Japanese food

Tuesday was Deepavali. It was great to have yet another public holiday to take things easy. Zen. Happy Dewali to our friends.

I've yet to satisfy my craving for Japanese food despite having gone for a week's sojourn in Tokyo two months ago. Having no other plans for the day, wifey and I decided to give it a go at a Boteyju San restaurant at Star Vista.

Guess we were early. The restaurant wasn't crowded and we managed to get a table for the three of us. I noticed the restaurant was largely laid out for 2-seaters. Perhaps that's more of their typical clientele. Like many such restaurants, orders were placed using a Tablet (iPad?).

I ordered a mixed set which came with servings of wagyu beef, salmon and chicken, along with some potato and vegetables. Tasty enough, although the beef was a tad overcooked.

My daughter ordered the garlic fried rice. It was really tasty! Fragrant.

Wifey went for the yakisoba. It was quite good as well.

The main feature was probably the okonomiyaki which I believe this restaurant is famous for. It didn't disappoint. Might have been more fun though if we could have done some self cooking for this. Kind of remembered the fun we had when we did this previously in Japan, even if we couldn't communicate a word at all with the Japanese staff then who spoke no english! All we needed was a smartphone with a language translator! A life saver to break down language barriers.

What's this got to do with investment or finance? Not much, except maybe the point that we have to enjoy life even as we save towards a financial future. Ok, ok, that's perhaps a wee bit cheesy?

Actually, there is a link. But it wasn't the reason that led me to patronise this restaurant. It was a discovery after the fact, and therefore totally serendipitous. As I was paying for the meal, I discovered with some glee that this restaurant is actually part of a chain for which I had a discount card. 10% discount is no small amount. Thank you Japan Foods!

As a stock though, Japan Foods hasn't been great for me so far. I guess the food industry is a difficult one as there is much competition. Labour in Singapore is expensive. But I do note that Japan Foods makes use of technology to streamline its operations. Its service staff standard isn't as great though, so there's much room for improvement.

Still, the discount card hasn't been a bad thing. Slurp slurp, munch munch.

Japan Foods - Ajisen Discount

05 November 2015

Discounts on Discounts - Saving to the Last Cents

The number of membership discount cards that we hold these days is simply amazing. Some are even in electronic form.

I couldn't help noticing how I was reaping multiple layers of discounts when I was shopping at a mall recently.

I bought dinner at the Food Junction food court. They now have a discount cash card which you can buy from their drink stall. Aside from using the pre-paid (top-up) cash card to pay for the food at the stalls, the same card offers a discount from those food stalls.

I could do likewise for expenses at the Ajisen outlet, where I also have a Japan Foods member discount card for use at Ajisen. The membership card came free when I owned shares of Japan Foods.

And if the payments are made using the Citibank Dividend Card, or POSB Master Card, there are further cash back from the credit cards.

At Popular, I could use my Popular card to buy stuff for my school going teens. On top of which, payments made with with POSB Master Card offers further discount.

Frasers malls (e.g. Causeway Point, Yew Tee Point, etc) have their Frasers Rewards app that allow members to scan in the receipts to get rewards points that are convertible to vouchers after accumulating certain number of points. And if the numerous Frasers mall isn't your kind of place, there're also the CapitaMalls (e.g. Lot One, Plaza Singapura, Bt Panjang Plaza, etc) which have the Capitastar app.

I have on occasion stupidly submitted receipts to the wrong app! Sheesh. It can be a bit tough trying to keep track of which cards and apps to use.

Trivia: How many SGX stocks can you spot related to above?

03 November 2015

Considerations in Stock Picking

This is a reminder for myself on the considerations in selecting stocks to invest in ...

I am not a trader, so carrying out technical analysis to decide when to buy and sell by the minute isn't my thing. That is perhaps best left to a full time professional. For a working professional, a value investing approach is probably more appropriate.


Business that lasts, not a flavour of the year thing.
Has products/services that is consumed again and again.
A business that is difficult for competitors to come in is best, less competition.

[I'd rather buy a company that supplies detergent than one that sells washing machines.]


Reliable management, in sync with shareholder interests.
A management that owns and buy even more of their own stocks.
Not overpaying themselves as board members/executives.
Above board business dealings.

[Give me an honest management any day. One that seeks to rewards themselves exorbitantly in times both good and bad is really no different from the gold scam schemers. The only difference is that they 'steal' from investors in broad daylight without having to run away.]


Viable financials with positive Free Cash Flow (FCF).
Shows growth that is generally growing year on year. Positive earnings (EPS).
Profitable, yet undervalued. Low PE <15, PTB <1.0 (exciting)
Pays sustainable dividends; Dividends (DPS) < Earnings (EPS)

[It's hard to lie with real data. With fraud, something will not balance out, eventually. Unusual increases in Trade Receivables is not a good sign!]

"It's the business, stupid!"