Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Onboard the Orient Express!

I watched a TV drama years ago, starring Cheryl Ladd, called Romance on the Orient Express, and I fell in love with trains! I've since taken a steam train at Fort Bragg, California, the shinkansen (bullet train) in Kyoto, and just last week, the luxurious Eastern & Oriental Express.

The classic green & gold of the Eastern & Oriental Express.

It was just a dinner trip which started at 6.30pm and ended at midnight, and we probably went as far as Johor. But the Orient Express managed to transport me into another time and place. It was pure luxury, and I allowed myself to be spoilt rotten! *LOL*

Today in The Living Room, Stan & I had the pleasure of hosting the General Manager of Eastern & Oriental Express, Leesa Lovelace, and the man who whipped up that delectable gourmet meal for us, Chef Yannis Martineau.

From them, we got a rare behind-the-scenes peek into life onboard the Orient Express, which currently runs the Singapore-KL-Butterworth-Bangkok route. We're told it has since gained access to Laos, and will be making its maiden journey to Cambodia!

GM Leesa Lovelace & Chef Yannis Martineau step off the Orient Express to join us today in The Living Room!

But I'll let my photos tell the story of that marvelous adventure. ENJOY!

Stan could not make the trip, so I invited my best friend Ning to join me. The train was to depart from the Railway Station at 6.30pm, but we had an exclusive guided tour by Leesa at 5.15pm, so we made it there early!

Ning & I were ushered into the VIP Lounge at the Railway Station where we filled up our travel documents in cool comfort. Boarding passes & passports all ready!

All the guests were impeccably dressed. The men had to be (at least) in jackets & ties, while the ladies were dolled up in cocktail dresses & gowns!

Leesa met us there and took us onboard the Orient Express for a guided tour. We were told to walk towards the train discreetly so that the other passengers would not think it was time for them to board too. We cleared immigration there with little fuss and *woohoo* climbed onboard....

Leesa shows us the restaurant carriages where we'd have our dinner.

There are various accommodation options available. For those who think a train journey is not really a train journey unless you sleep on double-decker beds, you can book a Pullman room. Charming!

... or you can opt for a State room, which has two single beds. Does this look like a train to you? It's seriously so luxurious, it can pass off as room in a 5-star hotel!

The Presidential Suite ~ there are only 2 onboard. This is its day setting. When guests head for dinner, the staff transforms it into its night setting.

Every room comes with an attached w/c and shower!

After the guided tour, all us media folk were ushered to the Observation Car at the back of the train to get some fresh air and drinks as the other guests started boarding.

Ning and I (being non-drinkers, although booze was free flow for us that night!) ordered some mango juice and chilled out at the open-air Observation Car.

Mingling with the other journalists at the Observation Car before the train pulled out of the Railway Station.

We were scheduled for the second seating for dinner at 9.15pm. The exquisite meal was prepared by Executive Chef Yannis Martineau and his team of talented chefs. And we totally enjoyed the feast laid out before us!

We started off with warm breads.

The starter.
A unique blend of East & West: Tom Yam Cappucino.

For mains, I opted for the sea bass. There was also the option of lamb!

Always room for dessert. This was really yummy! *drool*

After dinner, we were served coffee/tea and treated to this pretty serving of petit fours. By then, we were too full to eat! But we took the opportunity to chit chat...

We shared a table with the Group Editor of Expat Living and his lovely wife Jillian, who shared about their adventures living & working around the world. Such a delightful couple!

You can catch the encore broadcast of this interview on 938LIVE at 11.10pm, or on Channel NewsAsia at 2.30am. To find out more about the Eastern & Orient Express, click here.

All aboard!!! *toot*

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