Monday, April 4, 2016

My first visit to Bistro Kai & Boutique Hotel Kai

Boutique Hotel Kai & Bistro opened her door for business on Valentine’s Day in 2014. Slightly more than 2 years of operation, it looked superbly new and it is my first time visiting this hotel & bistro. 

Centrally located in the heart of the downtown area with less than 5 minutes of walk to any of the  three MRT stations ( Espanade, City Hall, Bugis). Great for overseas travellers, whether on business or leisure trip to Singapore, can conveniently take an MRT train from Changi Airport to Bugis MRT station. For business travellers, it is located near to Singapore two major convention centres, Suntec and Marina Bay Sands . For holidaying travellers, the excitement of Marina Bay, aged old Raffles Hotel, shopping at Orchard Road, must-have selfie with Merlion, newly opened National Gallery, various Museums, historical Singapore River, will all be within walking distance. If you decided to take a train, it will only be a few stops within downtown area. 

Marina Bay during the i Light Festival

Marina Bay Sands, Casino

National Gallery Singapore during National Day 2015 Celebration

Central Business District ( CBD) area

Merlion and the Jubilee Bridge

As I walked towards this 24 hours Hotel Kai & Bistro which is housed in a conservation shop-house building, my first impression is that it does not look like a hotel. Recalling back my memories when I visited The Settlement Hotel in Melaka in 2015 where conservation building is converted into a boutique hotel in a much bigger scale than Hotel Kai. Usually, the owner of these hotels hope to create a unique styling and personal experience for their hotel guests. 

Before you walk into the main door, you notice many signs and information. Hotel Kai was awarded 2015 TripAdvisor Excellence award. An $18 nett lunch promotion. There is so much going on for this hotel and her bistro. I even noticed a small freshwater stingray swimming at the tank below the main door counter. Something will definitely catch your eyes at the front of the hotel. 

Paying a visit to Bistro Kai, make me research on the word "Bistro". What does Bistro means. ? A bistro is, in its orginal Parisian incarnation, a small restaurant, serving moderately priced and simple meals in a modest setting.  Indeed, Bistro Kai is only able to accommodate around 30 diners, which is located at lobby of Hotel Kai, serving delicious Western staples; enjoy succulent steak and lamb chops, oven-baked salmon or gourmet open-faced sandwiches. The contemporary style decoration also houses an artisan beer and wine bar serving imported and microbrewery beers for guests who wish to chill out after a long day. Here are some quick facts on Bistro Kai. 

  • Operates 24 hours
  • Breakfast from 7am to 10am
  • Lunch from 11.30am to 3pm ( Mondays to Fridays )
  • Dinner ( from 6pm with last order at 10pm )
  • Happy hour ( 5pm to 8pm )
  • Only drinks and cakes are served from 10pm to 7am

Let us now review on the food.

Besides us, another group of diners are celebrating a birthday party. It is a good venue for small celebration. 


A Dozen Oysters ( $30, $2.50/pc, min. order of 6 pcs )

Oysters were air-flown from USA. With a squeeze of fresh lemon juice onto the oyster and in one mouthful, I felt the ocean freshness of the raw oyster. It is definitely fresh and very different from our local oyster. I down three oysters. Thanks to those who does not eat oysters. A good raw start. 

Crispy Baby Squid ( $12 ) - Tasty baby squid deeply fried to crispness and together with sweet dipping sauces make this starter, great with a beer. Unfortunately, I do not drink beer, so I opt for a nice healthy cranberry juice. We finished this dish in extreme quickness.

Crispy Baby Squids

Cranberry Juice

Buffalo Wings ($12) - This popular American cuisine is my first encounter. I have read and seen TV programme on the history of this dish. In fact, two American buffalo wings chefs claimed that they are the first one to come out with this recipe.  Typically, the wings are deep-fried in oil (although they are sometimes grilled or baked) until they are well browned. They are then drained, mixed with  cayenne pepper hot sauce, and shaken to coat the wings, completely covering them in the sauce. Is a bit too hot for me. Good for those who can really take hot spicy food. Bistro Kai kept up with traditional where celery and carrot are served with this dish. 

Buffalo Wings

Broccoli with 63 Degree Egg ($10) - This is a unique dish, although appearance wise may not be so appealing. Special preparation of the 63 degree egg make this dish, a touch of difference in taste together with sprinkles of black, white seasame seeds seasoning. The deep fried broccoli seems odd but the crispness together with the egg and seasoning make this a must try dish. I wonder whether the 63 degree egg is equivalent to our coffee shop half-boiled egg. 

Broccoli with 63 Degrees Egg 

Brussels Sprout with Pickled Beetroot ($14) - Deep fried brussels sprouts with mid-western classic pickled beetroot. Another of my first time tasting brussels sprouts. To me, it is a bit bitter in taste but together with the beetroot, it goes well for me. Brussels sprouts looked like small little cabbages. Not a common vegetables in this part of the world. At least, I do not get to see them very often in our market and supermarket. 

Brussels Sprout with Picklet Beetroot

Main Dishes

Kaibonara ($20) - A poached egg nestled on a bed of linguine with bacon, prawns, cheese, garlic, chilli topped with parmesan cheese. Linguine is a form of pasta which originated in Genoa and the Liguria region of Italy. Big fresh tiger prawns make this dish, a worthy try especially if you are a pasta and cheese lover. Somehow, I prefer spaghetti over linguine.  

Kaibonara ( prawns not visible )

Kaibonara ( prawns visible )

Spicy Tom Yum Risotto ($22) - Thai style spicy Tom Yum based risotto with tiger prawns. Somehow, the chef simply love to add tiger prawns into the dishes. Most of the time, we had Tom Yum soup, but this Tom Yum flavoured dish stays with the risotto which I find it very refreshing for my taste bud. Another noticeable garnish, the chef like to use is to lightly peppered the dishes with freshly chopped parsley. It does add a flavoring touch to the dishes.  

Spicy Tom yum Risotto

Sawadee Seafood Pasta ($20) - Farfelle with tiger prawns, clams & scallops in spicy Thai  green curry cream. This is an awfully delicious dish. It is also my favourite dish. With my favourite clam and Thai green curry, this is a winning dish. At $20, this is a steal with expensive tiger prawns and scallops. Unfortunately, someone decided to ask for permission to have the one and only scallop. But I am still contend with the overall taste of this superb and well presented dish. 

Indonesian Style Barbeque Pork Rib ($24) - Braised bone tender pork ribs glazed with homemade barbeque sauce infused with Indonesian spices, served with seasonal summer vegetables and french fries. Definitely another favourite dish of mine. The homemade barbeque sauce does make a difference to this dish. In my opinion, it is much better than Tony Romas BBQ pork ribs. The present of Indonesia spices not only in the pork ribs but the french fries were also peppered with 14 spices. Suddenly, everyone started to go for the french fries. It was crispy too. 

                                             Indonesian Style Barbeque Pork Rib

Australian Grade Striploin Steak ($26) - Seared sirloin steak with brown sauce, served with summer vegetables and roasted potatoes. This is definitely what you get from Steak house such as Jack's Place, the authentic medium rare steak. The same steak is also presented in cube bite size version. A bit salty and well cooked for my liking. I prefer the medium rare steak. 

Australia Grade Striploin Steak ( Medium Rare) 

Australia Grade Striploin Steak ( Cube Bite Size ) 


We had our desserts at the hotel most expensive suite,  Urban Skyloft. We get to enjoy the nice view from the sky terraces while having our desserts. 

Thai Tea Lava Cake ($10) -  Lava cake infused with Thai Tea. I am not a dessert person. Excessively sweet desserts does not find their way into my stomach. This Lava cake is not overly sweet. In fact, the fruits toppings are a welcoming sight for me. Presentation is good. 

Homemade Creme Brulee ($8) - Freshly homemade creme brulee. The sweet top crust is not my favourite. Overall sweet but the creme and fruits are alright with me. If you ask me to choose the two dessert, I will go for the Lava Cake. 

Hotel Cabin & Suites Visit

During our dinner, we get to visit the available hotel rooms. The Hotel Manager, Emily Lim, brought us to the different type of cabin and suites available in the hotel. I am pleasantly surprised that there are a total of 33 cabins and suites.From the outside of Hotel Kai, it does not look that big. How is it possible to house so many cabins and suites? 

An example of an Urban Studio

Hotel Kai motto is "Small is More". Seems quite logical, after all, the rooms are relatively small in size, but efficiently designed and complete with all the luxurious trappings in a compact package. 

Example of a Urban Bunk. LED TVs are separately provided for each bed in this configuration. 

Example of a toilet and bathroom in one of the Suite

Remote control for bed adjustment

All guest rooms are equipped with basic amenities ( kettle,hairdryer, iron, safe box ), refreshing rain shower, remote-controlled and ergonomically adjustable bed for better lumbar support, as well as Bluetooth speakers and traveler-friendly international power sockets, Choose from 28 complimentary IPTV channels while enjoying a daily replenishment of bottled water, coffee, tea and snack, especially after a ride the hotel complimentary bicycle rental. 

Impressive and neatly designed board to keep all the necessary basic amenities. At the same time, it aids hotel staff easy accountability of these amenities.

At the Urban SkyLoft unit, it even have a personal washing machine

The cabin is stylishly furbished and can expect all the luxuries from a premium hotel without a premium price tag. The Suites are made to impress with usually high double volume ceiling rooms, framed with vintage timber slatted windows, open sky terrace and a fully equipped kitchen. The use of Mood-Enhance LED lighting helps to dim the lights and premium pocket-spring mattresses for a comfortable sleep. 

Hotel Kai is indeed a boutique hotel. 

Best Available Room Rates : 
  • Urban Cabin - $148
  • Urban Bunk - $160
  • Urban Studio - $168
  • Urban Premier - $178
  • Urban Heritage - $300
  • Urban Skyloft - $350

Hotel Kai provides the following services

  • Free breakfast and welcome drink ( beer included ) for every room booking
  • Free Wi-Fi thoughout the hotel
  • Complimentary ultra-fast 4G personal Wi-F device for usage anywhere in Singapore
  • Complimentary bicycle rental for a fun, healthy and green way to explore Singapore

Urban SkyLoft with addition bed on the second level. 

Urban SkyLoft additional bedroom on the second floor

Urban SkyLoft second floor ceiling opening

From Urban SkyLoft second floor bedroom, you get to see the stars and moon ( if they are sighted ) through this ceiling opening. The opening is protected by a water-tight thick glass. During the day, you get to allow natural daylight into the room. A very cool design. No wonder it is awarded with 2014 BCA Green Mark Gold Award. 

View of the iron staircase from the second floor of the Urban SkyLoft

Greetings from Elaine Heng from the Urban SkyLoft second floor.

Urban SkyLoft second floor bedroom also provide a personal LED TV.

Large open balcony or sky terrace with changeable lighting built into water- resistant outdoor sofa set. You get to enjoy the surrounding beautiful city scapes. 

Hotel Manager, Emily Lim demonstrated using this remote control to change the available coloured lights to suit individual preferences in the outdoor sofa set at the sky terrace / balcony. 

View from the sky terrace or balcony of the Urban SkyLoft

Had our dessert at the sky terrace / balcony

Remembering Tradition

The original Hainanese residents of this shophouse ( Hotel Kai ) would have used a cup like this in his everyday life. This enamel cup was present as a tribute to the rich history of this building. It shows how much Hotel Kai remember the tradition of the residenta as well as going into details and making Hotel Kai, a unique boutique in it's own way.

Another example is this traditional toilet bowl which is now used as a rubbish bin, provided in all cabin and suite in the hotel. 

More information on the hotel and bistro can be found in the following websites.

You can also follow their instagram at : @hotelkaisg @bistrokaisg

Address of Hotel Kai. 14 Purvis Street Singapore 188593. 

For Booking or enquiries : (+65) 66439999

Quote "ChillAtKai" when you're dining at Bistro Kai to enjoy exclusive offers and discounts. 

Personal Opinions

In my opinion, the food at Bistro Kai is excellent. Given the quality of the food, it is not expensive. Even though it served Western food, the restaurant also serves Thai and Indonesian cuisine. A good chef will know his/her spices. This is demonstrated in dishes such as the Sawadee Seafood Pasta and Indonesian Style Barbeque Pork Rib. 

Even though I have not stay in the hotel, my guided hotel tour by the hotel manager, Emily Lim , does convince me one thing, a clean room with a comfortable bed is important for a traveler. Additional provision of wi-fi and other services will only be added point to the hotel. I have gone through some of reviews at tripadvisor ( Review) by travellers who have stay in the hotel. One of them described it as "A hidden gem in great location". Indeed, Hotel Kai has a great location. Some of travellers praises the staff at the hotel. I have also read the way the Hotel Manager, Emily Lim replied to some of the reviews written by the travellers. She replied with professionalism. Polite and in a calm manner. 

I believe Hotel Kai and Bistro Kai will continue to do well into the future. Thanks to Tony and Elaine for the invite. 

Note : I do not receive any commission for this blog entry. 

1 comment:

  1. The Boutique Hotel Kai and Bistro is a beautiful place, and I love the close location to the attractions and shopping districts. I am impressed with the various signs, friendly staff and clean interior. It shows that the staff wants to keep their guests well-informed and comfortable at this hotel. I can see why this hotel won an award from TripAdvisor.