Experience ‘Around the World’ Cuisines with Quayside Isle Restaurants

Sentosa has always been a convenient weekend mini-holiday getaway destination for us (e.g. Resorts World Sentosa, Siloso Beach) but recently we had started to check out another happening and interesting side of Sentosa island – Quayside Isle at Sentosa Cove.

quayside-isle-sentosa-cove-map

When I heard that Quayside Isle is within the renowned Sentosa Cove estate – one of the world’s most exclusive marina residential communities, I thought that dining at any one of the waterfront restaurants at Quayside Isle would break the bank since this is such an atas area.

Surprisingly, dining at Quayside Isle does not cost as much as if you were to dine at a restaurant in the Clarke Quay, Orchard or Dempsey area!

For the best value for money dining at Quayside Isle, I recommend that you check out Quayside Isle Weekdays Feel Like Weekends promotions! Not only can you enjoy affordable set lunches, you can even participate in a lucky draw to win attractive prizes!

Quayside Isle Weekdays Feel Like Weekends Lucky Draw and Set Lunch Promotions

With a minimum spending of $120 in maximum 2 same-day combined receipts on weekdays from now till 31 Oct 2014, each shopper/diner will be entitled to enter the Quayside Isle Weekdays Feel Like Weekends Lucky Draw with one qualifying chance, regardless of total amount spent.

The Grand Prize? An Away Wow Suite at W Singapore – Sentosa Cove hotel (including 2 breakfasts, and pick-up and drop-off in a Porsche Cayenne) and $300 worth of Quayside Isle vouchers!

The 2nd to 5th Prizes are just as attractive with $300 worth of Quayside Isle vouchers each up for grabs.

weekday-feel-like-weekend-quayside-isle

So if you work nearby or in the city area, why not try dining at Quayside Isle with your colleagues – either drive down (10 minutes from CBD) or share a cab. Do note that Sentosa admission is only $2 per car on weekdays from 12pm to 2pm and after 5pm.

Bring along your Sentosa Islander pass if you have one as pass holders enjoy unlimited free entry to Sentosa.

There is also free weekday (except public holidays) lunch time parking at Quayside Isle. There is no minimum spending needed.  Simply enter the carpark from 12pm and exit by 2.30pm from Mondays to Fridays and you will not be charged for parking!

Before I show you more about our dining experiences at Quayside Isle, I have another great exclusive deal to share with our readers – a chance to win $200 worth of dining vouchers!

PassportChop Instagram Contest – Win $200 worth of Quayside Isle Dining Vouchers (2 Winners)

Just 3 simple steps to participate in this contest:

  1. Take a photo when you are in Quayside Isle
  2. Upload the photo onto your Instagram
  3. Add both these hashtags to the Instagram photo: #quaysideisle and #passportchop (ensure that your account is not set to private)

2 Winners will each win $100 Quayside Isle Vouchers + $50 Sabio by the Sea, Tapas Bar & Grill Vouchers + $50 Earl of Hindh Vouchers.

Winners will be randomly picked and announced at @passportchop and @Gushcloud_SG Instagram on 1 Oct 2014.

‘Around the World’ Dining Experience at Quayside Isle

One of the things we missed most from our trips around the world is the yummy local cuisine from tapas and paella in Spain to fresh Australian seafood. We were so glad that we can find some of the best and authentic Spanish, Indian, Australian, Japanese and even Mediterranean cuisine at Quayside Isle – all within a few steps of each other!

Latin American Cuisine – Paradiso Restaurant & Bar

Cuban-themed Paradiso (which means “paradise” in Latin) Restaurant & Bar serves up Spanish cuisine in an intimate rustic-chic setting (with Latin influences).

quayside-isle-paradiso-restaurant-bar

I strongly recommend Paradiso Restaurant & Bar’s Classic Seafood Paella Valenciana ($34+). This is a seafood mixture of prawns, squid, mussels, fish & daily vegetables. Cooked together with authentic prawn stock & premium Arborio rice for a period of time, the flavours are allowed to merge and mingle and be absorbed into the rice. This dish is as authentic tasting as the paella you can find in Spain!

Allow for about 20-25 minutes cooking time – it is worth the wait!

paradiso-classic-seafood-paella-valenciana

We also loved the Pan Fried Seabass ($24+) served with spicy poached onion cream sauce and sides of potatoes and garlic. I am very concerned about trying fish dishes in restaurants because if not prepared well, there might be a lingering fishy smell but you get none of that here at Paradiso Restaurant & Bar – it was a very fresh and satisfying pan fried seabass dish!

paradiso-pan-fried-seabass

Paradiso calls their Dulce de Leche Tiramisu ($12+) a “crowds’ favorite tiramisu” and they are absolutely right – both of us loved it! This tiramisu fused the Argentina and Italian tiramisu making tradition with a delicious caramel twist. You can definitely expect to taste the rich sweetness of dulce de leche.

paradiso-dulce-de-leche-tiramisu

At Paradiso Restaurant & Bar, you don’t have to pay the usual 10% service charge levied by many restaurants – just pay the 7% GST on top of the quoted menu price! This makes dining at Paradiso Restaurant & Bar much more affordable!

Paradiso Restaurant & Bar
31 Ocean Way #01-03 Quayside Isle
www.paradiso.com.sg

Opening Hours: 5pm to 11pm (Mon), 11am to 11pm (Tues-Thurs), 11am to 1am (Fri-Sat), 11am to 11pm (Sun). Last order for food is at 9.15pm daily.

Timings accurate as at time of print. Please call Paradiso Restaurant & Bar at +65 66945428 to check for updated opening hours.

Spanish Cuisine – Sabio by the Sea, Tapas & Grill

 Spanish tapas bar Sabio by the Sea, Tapas Bar & Grill offers an authentic tapas experience along with an additional grill menu, with a spacious and relaxing ambience. What caught my eye was the restaurant’s interesting and beautiful restaurant décor.

quayside isle sabio by the sea tapas grill bar restaurant

sabio-by-the-sea-quayside-isle-decor

quayside isle sabio by sea tapas and grill decor restaurant

Sabio by the Sea offers a great selection of salads – personally, I like the Ensalada de Pincho Moruno de Pollo ($17++) i.e. Marinated and Grilled Chicken Salad, served with Capsicum and Orange. It was quite a filling dish and tasted great.

sabio-salad-grilled-chicken-ensalada-pincho-moruno-pollo

Their weekday set lunches (available Monday to Friday 12pm to 3pm) are very value for money as it is priced at just $23++ for a three-course meal. You can also add $5++ to enjoy a glass of refreshing Red/White Sangria with your set lunch.

For starter, you have a choice of Mushroom Soup or Vegetarian Salad (with goat cheese – add $3) or Cold Cut Platter.

For main, you have a choice of Mixed Grilled Vegetables with Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Gambas “Pil Pil” or Pincho Moruno.

I strongly recommend the Pincho Moruno. It is Grilled Chicken with Roasted Garlic and Melted Manchego Cheese. Manchego cheese is a popular cheese in Spain, produced in the La Mancha region and made from sheep’s milk. Each portion comes with 2 skewers of grilled chicken.

sabio-sea-pincho-moruno-manchego-cheese

For dessert, you have a choice off Churros or Crema Catalan. You will also be served hot coffee/tea.

Take the Churros, you will get 2 pieces of Spanish doughnuts per portion and it comes with hot chocolate for dipping.

sabio-by-sea-churros-chocolate-dip-dessert-quayside

With their weekday set lunch promotion, it’s a combination of a satisfying and delicious meal that comes with great savings!

Sabio By The Sea, Tapas Bar & Grill
31 Ocean Way #01-02 Quayside Isle
www.sabio.sg/bythesea

Opening Hours: 12pm to 10pm (Mon-Thurs), 12pm to 12am (Fri-Sat), 10:30am to 10pm (Sun)

Timings accurate as at time of print. Please call Sabio By The Sea, Tapas Bar & Grill at +65 66907568 to check for updated opening hours.

Mediterranean Cuisine – Miska Café

With Mediterranean influences in both its décor and food, you can experience an authentic yet modern experience at Miska Café through a creative Mediterranean menu that combines fresh products, homemade sauces and dressings, a subtle blend of spices and exotic flavours.

I really like the Mediterranean-themed interior design – brings back memories of our trip to Turkey! Try the 3 P’s here at Miska Café – Pasta, Pita and Pizza – very tasty and worth it.

Miska Café offers a 3-course weekday set lunch at $25++ where you can get a starter course (small salad) and a main course (varies every week and chosen by the chef) and dessert. You will also be served with either a glass of juice or fresh fruit salad.

quayside-isle-miska-cafe-dining

quayside-isle-miska-mediterranean-cuisine

I recommend Miska Café’s pasta dishes especially the Arrabiata ($22++) – spaghetti served with spicy tomato sauce, olives, topped with parmesan cheese and choice of beef or chicken kebab. Vegetarian options are available for this dish.

miska-cafe-arrabiata-pasta

Miska Café’s pitas and wraps are freshly baked daily and served with fries and slaw. The Tuna & Avocado Wrap ($22++) – comprising mix tuna, avocado, onion, chili, dill and tomato, rolled with beetroot dressing and salad – is quite big in serving size. Taste great too.

miska-cafe-tuna-avocado-wrap

On to the last P – pizza: the Klymali ($22+) – a special mix of herbs, spices and premium quality mince beef with in house pizza toppings.

miska-cafe-quayside-isle-pizza klymali

Miska Café
31 Ocean Way #01-07 Quayside Isle
www.miska.sg

Opening Hours: 12pm to 10pm (Mon-Fri), 10am to 11pm (Sat-Sun)

Timings accurate as at time of print. Please call Miska Café at +65 63390903 to check for updated opening hours.

Having experienced European cuisines, we move on to the other side of the world with Japanese, Indian and Australian cuisines.

Japanese Cuisine – Oyster Bar & Grill Wharf

If you have a craving for oysters, Oyster Bar & Grill Wharf is the Quayside Isle restaurant to check out as they offers an extensive selection of the establishment’s signature fresh oysters handpicked from all around the world.

There is also an array of Western & Japanese dishes, grills, tapas and seafood. If you can’t get enough of Spanish tapas, you can try the Japanese tapas here e.g. grilled shiitake mushrooms, edamame.

I was quite overwhelmed by Oyster Bar & Grill Wharf’s 100 different flavours of mojitos and international collection of a hundred varieties of wines. Check out Oyster Bar & Grill Wharf Quayside Isle’s website for promotions e.g. you can find a voucher for a complimentary mojito on your next dinner here: http://www.dinelike.sg/sentosa/p1008.

oyster-bar-grill-wharf-restaurant-mojito

Just so you know, Oyster Bar & Grill Wharf’s fresh oysters are flown in daily from around the world. When we visited Oyster Bar & Grill Wharf, we got to try the restaurant’s signature dish – Fresh Oyster Platter – that comprises of USA Pacific Oysters and Canadian Fanny Bay Oysters.

Fanny Bay is well known for producing the best oysters around the world! For half a dozen (6 pieces), you pay $36++ and if that’s not enough for you, go for a dozen (12 pieces) for $69++.

Personally, I liked the Canadian Fanny Bay oysters more because they tasted sweeter; the USA Pacific oysters tasted saltier. The oysters from the two different regions also looked different – if you see the picture below, separated by the column of sliced lemon on your right is the Canadian Fanny Bay oysters and on the other side USA Pacific oysters – the shells of the Canadian oysters are much smoother than that of the American ones!

quayside-isle-oyster-grill-wharf-fresh-oyster-platter-fanny-bay

quayside-isle-oyster-grill-wharf-fresh-oyster-platter-usa-pacific

The Charcoal Grilled Oysters (from New Zealand Kaipara) also taste great (1 piece for $8++; 4 pieces for $28++); if you don’t like the raw taste of oysters, this is a good alternative oyster dish to try.

oyster-bar-wharf-quayside-charcoal-grilled-oysters-kaipara

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Shopping in Seoul, South Korea is not exactly cheap (except for skincare products from local Korean brands) but there is a way that you can get more bang for your bucks – claiming VAT tax refunds from your shopping in Korea. You can enjoy 10% tax refund when you spend more than 30,000 Korean won (KRW) (about 30 USD or 38 Singapore dollars) from any shop in South Korea with Tax Free logos – the more notable ones are Global Blue Tax Free and the Orange Global Tax Free logos. This applies anywhere in South Korea e.g. Seoul, Jeju and other parts of the country as long as the shop has the logos shown in the picture below.  I will be sharing with you a guide to claiming tax refund not just via the traditional way of claiming tax refunds at airport but how you can also save a lot of time claiming tax refunds in Downtown Seoul while your shop.

global-blue-tax-free-seoul

Even when you buy Korean snacks e.g. Lotte cookies, Korean ramen from supermarkets like Big C, you can also claim for tax refund if you spend more than KRW 30,000 (Korean won). Simply proceed to the Information Counter for help on claiming tax refund.

supermarket-big-c-vat-refund-tax-free

You will not get paid your 10% VAT tax refund on the spot. You will have to ask the cashier for a tax refund slip – typically provided in a white and blue envelope (Global Blue Tax Free) or in a white and orange envelope (Global Tax Free). The tax refund slips and receipts are typically written in Korean but you can easily deduce how much tax refund you are eligible for. So Step 1 to claiming your 10% tax free is to get your tax refund slip.

Before you get too excited about tax refund claims – do note these conditions for tax refunds.

You must have spent at least 30,000 Korean won (inclusive of tax) at a shop participating as Global Blue or Orange Global Tax Free. Whatever you bought must have been purchased within 3 months of your departure from Korea.

You must be an foreign visitor who has been residing/visiting in Korea for less than six months or is an overseas Korean (holder of Korean passport and permanent resident) residing in/visiting Korea for less than 3 months or is a Korean student studying abroad for three years or more.

These persons are not eligible for tax refund claims: U.S. Armed Forces in Korea, diplomats in Korea, foreigners without passport, those who overstayed their visa, foreigners working in Korea.

seoul-shopping-tax-refund-global-blue-tax-free

Processing Tax Refund Claims in Incheon International Airport

The typical way to claim your tax refund is via the customs office at the airport. Your purchased goods will be subject to examination so don’t pack your purchased items in your check-in luggage yet. Look for the Tax Refund/Customs Declaration counter in the Incheon airport (if you are flying back to Singapore from Seoul). Typically there are quite long queues – ensure that you have filled up all particulars on the tax refund slip and that your purchased goods are easily accessible for inspection (if needed).

The aim is to get the coveted “All Goods Exported” stamp on your tax refund slip. We were lucky that we need not display our purchased goods – it will be very troublesome to show all the facial masks and skincare products for verification. I think the customs officers do random checks.

You can check-in to your airline first – just inform the check-in staff that you have tax refund items in one of your bags to be checked in. They will do what they usually do with checked-in luggages e.g. stick on the baggage claim labels and return the bag to you. You will need to bring this bag to the custom office to get your “All Goods Exported” stamp. Once you have gotten the custom stamp, deposit your bag at the oversized baggage counter next to the custom counter.

So to recap: Step 2 – get your “All Goods Exported” stamp at the customs office/counter at the airport.

incheon-airport-tax-refund-customs-officer

There are airport staff around the customs office to assist you with your tax refund after you have gotten the stamp of approval from the customs officers. We had to scan our receipts using Tax Refund machines – not quite sure what this step is all about – just follow instructions from the staff. You will still not get your money here. Proceed to check-in your luggages and go to the secured airport area after clearing immigration.

scan-receipt-self-tax-refund-airport

At Incheon airport, the gate to take note of within the secured airport area is Gate 28. This is where the Global Blue Tax Free and Global Tax Free offices are located at. You will typically have tax refund slips from both companies if you do a lot of shopping in Seoul. Do note that Global Blue Tax Free office will not process your tax refund slips from Global Tax Free (the orange one) so if you have a mix of both tax refund slips – you will need to re-queue at the other office after you have completed with one. Do note that if you don’t have the “All Goods Exported” stamp on your tax refund slip, you can forget about claiming your tax refunds.

tax-refund-gate-28-incheon-airport

Claiming your tax refunds via the Global Blue Tax Free and the Orange Global Tax Free at Gate 28 is not the only way – some receipts are eligible for auto-tax refunds via Tax Refund machines in the airport – try to scan your receipts to see if your receipts are eligible. I think this is what the above Step 3 is about – to check the eligibility for such auto-tax refunds before you clear immigration.

kt-tourist-reward-tax-refund-seoul-korea

Do note that the tax refund process at the Incheon airport can involve quite a lot of queuing so get to the airport early if you intend to do tax refund claims. For international flights by non-Korean carriers e.g. Singapore Airlines, you will still need to take the shuttle train to the other terminal to catch your flight so do budget some time to do these tax refunds if you plan to do so at Incheon Airport.

If you are leaving the country from an airport/port that does not have a tax refund counter or got your documents stamped but did not have the time to visit the tax refund counter or are traveling at a time when the counter(s) is closed, drop off your tax refund slips at the Refunds Box. The tax refunds will be sent directly to your credit card-linked bank account.

There is another way to settle your tax refunds even before going to the airport and skip all the queuing and waiting at the airport.

Processing Tax Refund Claims in Downtown Seoul e.g. Myeongdong

There are various locations in Seoul where you can get your tax refunds processed for Global Blue and Orange Global Tax Free tax refund slips (see table below).

You will need to present:

(1) All your receipts and tax refund slips;

(2) Your passport; and

(3) Your credit card. Your name in the passport must match that of the credit card.

You are not required to bring your purchased goods.

Your credit card will be charged with the same amount as the tax refund eligible to you as a guarantee.  The payment will be cancelled once the stamped tax refund documents arrive at the respective tax refund agency within a certain period of time.

You will be refunded in cash.  The staff will stamp “CASH PAID” at all receipts and return the receipts to you.

You will still need to present your receipts and tax refund slips and your purchased goods for customs inspection at the Incheon airport (see Step 2 above).  The customs officers will stamp “ALL GOODS EXPORTED” on these receipts and will not return the tax refund slips to you.  The customs office will send these stamped receipts/tax refund slips back to Global Blue or Orange Global Tax Free.  You must complete this step and ensure that you don’t end up with the stamped tax refund slips (these slips should go direct to the tax refund office).  If you miss this step, you will forfeit the guarantee charged to your credit card plus penalty fees (about 15%).

Do note that Global Blue accepts MasterCard credit card but Orange Global Tax Free does not accept MasterCard (VISA credit card is ok).

By claiming tax refund downtown in Seoul, you save time on queuing at the airport.  You also get extra cash to spend with the tax refund!  Do note that while you can process most of your tax refund slips downtown, there are still some tax refund slips that require you to claim directly at the airport e.g. handwritten tax refund slips.

More info here:

Global Blue Korea: +82-2-776-2170 / www.global-blue.com

Global Tax Free Korea: +82-2-518-0837 / www.global-taxfree.com

Agent Location Opening Hours
Global Blue Woori Bank, Myeongdong Branch (located across Myeongdong Theatre) Mon-Fri: 09:00 – 17:00
Sat-Sun, Holidays: 10:00 – 17:00
1F Lotte Department Store, Flagship Store, Myeongdong Mon-Fri: 10:30 – 20:00
Sat- Sun, Holidays: 10:00 – 20:30
10F Hyundai Department Store, Sinchon Mon-Fri: 10:30 – 20:00
Sat- Sun, Holidays: 10:00 – 20:30
Global Tax Free 2F Olive Young Flagship Store, Myeongdong (located next to Seoul Royal Hotel) Mon-Fri: 10:00 – 22:00
Main Building 1F, Shinsegae Department Store, Myeongdong Mon-Fri: 10:30 – 20:00
Sat-Sun, Holidays: 10:00 – 20:30
B1 and 5F, Doota, Dongdaemun Mon-Fri: 10:30 – 23:00

 
Shopping online is one way you can avoid all these hassle of claiming tax refunds – for example with online fashion and beauty retailer Zalora – you can find watches online for women – right now there are over 99+ designs to choose from!

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