Thursday, July 28, 2011
Seeing as I missed June, July can have two posts. And this is going to be the third, and last, based around the KTM railway. (Thank the gods, right?)
I'd been talking with anyone who'd listen about taking a train trip up to the East Coast of Malaysia after hearing about the demise of the railway. Unfortunately people either weren't up for it, or had already done it. Then some South African friends suggested we 'do' the Eastern & Oriental Express dinner train. They'd had a great trip (obviously they thought it was great - he proposed to her and she said yes). So without telling J I booked it in as a surprise - it was going to be the (second) last train ever from downtown Singapore - an opportunity too good to pass up!
Oh oh. She wasn't feeling great all that week and sadly had to bow out the day before, so in came the pinch hitter, our mate S. Wondering if people would think we were a gay couple out on a first date (love that pink dollar), we suited up and headed down to the KTMB's Tanjong Pagar Station. The waiting room was pretty sparse (and hot!) but soon enough we were on the platform for some exterior pics, through Malaysian immigration and then into the train's bar car and a nice cold glass of ... Tiger. Or some dodgy Australian wine ('red' or 'white'). I had a Tiger. Honestly after the amount of money you pay for the ticket, you'd think they could serve an imported beer and decent wine at least. Then again, I guess they usually cater for people who've flown into Singapore and are heading up to KL or Bangkers, who are looking for that local flavour. But our fellow passengers seemed mostly to be expats and locals. Maybe it was the "occasion"? We got stuck in to some more Tigers before having to detrain to go through Singaporean immigration at Woodlands. A smooth affair as always but I imagine a pain for the chefs and stewards who were trying to prepare dinner.
Back onto the train and into one of the four dining cars. We had a table for two (how romantic!) while other couples had to share with strangers (on a train...) at four-tops. Unlucky for them. While the beer and wine was a let down, the food I have to say was fantastic. A molecular concoction of tom yum 'cappucino style' as entree, then some huge tandoori lamb chops done old fashioned. Big, meaty and rare. Yum. Dessert was.. I think a panacotta style thing, but to be honest desserts are rarely my thing. No food pics. Puhlease. The couple adjacent to us was getting very amorous during the meal, even (I'm not kidding) going around the table and climbing into each others laps at some points. S had his back to them but I found it hard to concentrate on the lamb. Glad they had a good time though! The guys let us into the kitchen (galley?) for a squiz after dinner, and then it was into the bar car where I made friends with the Italian-Chinese piano player by requesting some Dave Brubeck (he was sick of playing Top40). S then kept the whisky flowing (although again the selection was extremely disappointing) before we headed out to the observation car for the trip back into Singapore. Of which a lot of it was just the teensiest bit blurry. All in all a fantastic night and one to treasure, especially now as it can't be repeated!