Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas In KL

At this time of year the Shopping Malls are covered in Xmas Decorations.
No surprises there.
In Kuala Lumpur it's usually a case of "more is better" as most malls cannot resist going way over-the-top. When it comes to creating that perfect display they add everything and the kitchen-sink and end-up with a bit of a dogs breakfast and a display that looks like it's been thrown together with a shovel.
See last year's comments here!
However,This year Pavilion has done something a little different.
A display of 150 Bears outside (one for each country that bothered to participate) creates quite an interesting installation,with each bear decorated in a unique style by an artist of that country...Some have clearly put in a lot of effort whilst other countries that couldn't really be bothered (but you be the judge of that) have just splashed on a bit of paint and left it at that.
I quite like it.
Once inside the shopping centre I feared the worst as I was greeted by the usual mess of confusing styles and themes but when I had a look at the centre-piece I was pleasantly surprised...
It kinda works......

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 2, 2011

How Not To Promote A Shopping Centre

I lifted this from The Star Online

Friday December 2, 2011
Latin crooner charms ‘crazy’ crowd.

KUALA LUMPUR: Armed with umbrellas and ponchos, scores of people braved the rain to watch Latin crooner Julio Iglesias sing a selection of his hit songs at YTL’s Concert of Celebration 2011.
With 350 million records sold in 14 languages and 79 albums released, the 68-year-old Iglesias showed why he was still top of his game at last night’s concert.
He made up for the damp weather by rousing the audience to sing along to some of his songs, which included Spanish numbers and the ever popular To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before and Crazy.
His most energetic number came at the end of the 90-minute set when he belted out Me Va Me Va.

Now,I've got nothing against Julio and nothing against the crowd who stood in the rain to watch him.
My issue is with the organisers.
Bukit Bintang in one of the busiest roads in KL.
It was closed for 3 days.
The traffic chaos was terrible.
And I mean Terrible.
It's difficult to imagine how a private company can get permission to shut one of the busiest roads in order to promote one of their shopping centres,whilst all around chaos ensures.
Whenever the opposition parties apply for a permit to hold a rally-it's refused on the grounds of "It will cause too much traffic chaos and inconvenience to the public"
You may think that's Double Standards.
You may be well be right.
There were diversions in place but honestly,trying to squeeze 4 lanes of traffic into just one ain't gonna work.
So,as people left work and thought "Oh no!,rain again- it will be a bad journey home tonight" they had no idea how bad it really would be.
The organisers if they even thought for just one second of the chaos they will cause probably didn't care "as the people stuck in the horrendous jam aren't the type of people who shop in Star Hill anyway...and so what? our VIP guests will arrive by a motorcade with police outriders who will carve their way through the traffic"....
And,if you read the report it says "scores of people (for all you metric people a score is an old-fashioned way of saying  20) it was hardly well attended....they could have all fitted inside the shopping centre they were trying to promote.

I really don't understand why they didn't use one of the many under-used stadiums.....

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Return of Tiger Crystal

And what a welcome return it is!
First introduced in February 2010,Tiger Crystal is a light,refreshing bottled beer that is easy to drink and not quite as strong (or sweet and sickly) as normal Tiger draft.
And best of all,it doesn't result in such a horrendous hangover as a night on Tiger draft usually does.
This is good news.
Very Good News.
It disappeared from the bars in March this year and has just made a comeback.
I can only think that my complaints to the Tiger Brewery went unnoticed for a while until some lowly brewer stumbled upon it and thought..."Good idea,lets make some more..." 
At the moment,Gypsy Bar are selling a bucket of 5 for RM 60. whilst in Healy Macs it will cost you RM 70.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hiking Bukit Broga

Bukit Broga is a small hill about 40kms south of KL past Kajang (20kms) and just past Seminyeh.
As usual it's almost impossible to get to without your own transport.There is a University of Nottingham campus close by to serve as a landmark.
It's an unusual place because you see something you don't normally see in Malaysia:
And lots of it.
It must be something to do with the soil being to thin to support trees so you get some pretty good views and some unusual scenery.A different shade of green.
The hike itself starts in a make-shift car-park (RM2) and goes through a small Oil-Palm plantation,which quickly gives way to a few scrawny Rubber Trees but pretty soon you're in open country.
Broga consists of three summits with bare rocks scattered around and although there is some graffiti on the rocks there is very little rubbish/litter.
Yet another surprise.
If you're fairly fit,the hike will not be a problem.
Me? Well, not having done any cardio for a couple of months,it was at times a bit of a struggle,especially the first summit which left me breathless and a bit light-headed until I had a rest and ate a medicinal Mars Bar.
From there-on it was all rather pleasant.
The final summit was a bit of a challenge and there are some fairly big boulders to overcome.
Fortunately,when it gets a bit steep some thoughtful people have laid down some ropes but even though there is a rope at the final summit we had to find an alternate route as the final stretch was a bit too severe.
The 2km hike to the summit takes about 30 mins if you're super-fit but if you're like me and take every opportunity to "enjoy the view" ie catch your breath,it will take an hour or more.
It's slightly disappointing to be greeted by a sign at the top telling you you're 400m high because it seems much higher.
If you're still up for a challenge you can continue further for about 3km to reach the summit of Tok Wan but I think I'll save that for another trip.
As usual with all these hiking places,if you come here on a weekend or public holiday,you'll hate it as there will be a continuous queue going all the way up and all the way down again.
And you will find a few food and drinks stalls complete with white plastic chairs. 
If you come here when it's raining,or are unlucky enough to get caught in a downpour then you will without  a shadow of a doubt really not enjoy the constant slipping,sliding and falling-over and getting covered in mud and could probably be struck by lightening,which will really ruin your day.
But, get the timing right-and its a very enjoyable half-day outing.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Only Dish Worth Trying in Pavilion Food-Court the Mee Jawa at the stall down the end going towards Carl's Junior.
The reason I say this is quite simple-most of the other food on offer has that bland-tasteless,franchised food-court feel about it.
It can all look OK but when you actually eat it,you begin to think ;What's The Point?"
Just about every Shopping Mall has exactly the same old sub-standard crap (except for Lot 10)
Not so with the Mee Jawa in Pavilions.
And,at RM 9 for a big,steaming bowl it's pretty good value for money for this food-court and is quite filling and very tasty.
It's much better than the Mee Jawa on offer at Old Town White Coffee,and cheaper than what they serve atLittle Penang Cafe

Definitely worth a try....makes me hungry just thinking about it.......

Monday, September 19, 2011

Spritz Changkat Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur

This bar has probably had more face-lifts than most ageing Hollywood stars put-together!
If memory serves me correctly,first it was a Brazilian Restaurant which did well for quite a few years,then it became an "upmarket" Chinese Restaurant,then maybe an Italian Restaurant, then it re-opened as "Spritz" and has been refurbished at least 3 times.Each refurbishment moves the establishment further away from "Restaurant" and closer to "Bar"
It is one of the only places on Changkat Bukit Bintang that sells Carlsberg.
Which is good.
And,Sunday night it's RM 10 a mug all night long.
Other nights it has a stupid Happy Hour/Normal Price thing going on until 9pm.
And in a place like this,why pay more after 9pm to drink in exactly the same environment?
They have live,mainly acoustic but over-amplified music most nights.

The night I was there it was far less crowded than it's neighbour (Gypsy) but the Carlsberg Beer and the friendly staff more than compensated.
I'm not really sure what to make of it....there's nothing wrong with it but it leaves me feeling a bit non-plused....

Monday, September 5, 2011

Seduction Jalan P.Ramlee Kuala Lumpur

I stumbled upon Seduction last Sunday and I'm still recovering from the experience!
Situated underneath Modesto's on Jalan P.Ramlee it's become a venue for Sunday Tea Dances-which you can read about here!.
The first thing you should know-It's LOUD!
and secondly,It gets EVEN LOUDER!
On a scale of 1 to 10,  the volume control is set to "11" with most Tea Dances,the crowd seems friendly with lots of Filipinas out for a good time,the price of beer is reasonable,the atmosphere is pretty good and there is no cover charge/Happy Hour vs Normal  (ie. exorbitant) price nonsense that most bars along Jalan P.Ramlee adopt after 9 or 10pm.
If you like live music,flashing lights,dancing competitions and drinking-then you'll like it here.
Some people even try to make conversation,whether they succeed or not I don't know-I could just about hear the guy right next to me if he shouted as close to my ear as possible... and that was when there was a lull between songs.
If you want to experience the Sunday Tea Dance phenomena,get here around 5-6pm.
Make sure you've had something to eat.
And,you'll enjoy it more if you've already got a few beers inside you as if you go in sober,when it's all in full-swing it's a bit of a shock to the system.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Can You Guess What It Is Yet?

I recently purchased this item-See if you can guess what it is-and what it actually does from the description on the back of the packaging.....and I quote as follows;

Expansion Rotary Anti-spattering Machine
series of expansion rotary anti-spattering filter adoptsthe excellent
materials and elegant craft,the wiggly and fluctuationghydrant is
available, convenient and ingenious, welcome to use theproducts
at our factory

Answers by way of the comments option....

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tabla Bar and Cafe Lorong Sahabat Off Changkat Bukit Bintang

Before you ask,it means "Drum" in Tamil (I think)
What used to be "The Red Victorian" just around the corner from Havana has been imaginatively transformed into an Oldies Bar and Kitchen complete with a trio of musicians playing a selection of English,Indian and Chinese instrumentals using drum,violin and recorder.
It's quite a bold concept in an area where all the bars seem to merge into one, Tabla certainly stands-out as being a bit,well,...different.
And I mean that in a good way.
The interior is modern-chilled out with lots of red and black and has an interesting selection of photos and posters on the wall (check-out the Japanese soldiers in front of Masjid Jamek).
There is a nice long bar plus a patio outside.
The atmosphere is relaxed and laid-back and the staff seem pretty friendly.
The red under-the-bar lighting makes everybody glow with health.
Beer prices are quite reasonable at RM 11 for a mug of Tiger,which works out to about RM 12.70 after tax and there is the usual 3 pints for RM 55 promotion going on at the moment.
The Food Menu seems very interesting-lots of Indian dishes,Mutton Vindaloo at RM 17 seems pretty good plus there are the usual pizzas,fries and snacks.
Some of the pizza toppings have taken fusion food to new level-or even gone too far! but some may like it.

Tabla will be a good "after-work" bar or a place to drop-by for a couple of beers before heading somewhere else..I'm not sure I could spend a whole night there-as there is something about the red lighting that makes you feel a bit drowsy after a while....but isn't that the point of a chilled-out bar in the first place? 

All in all,Tabla is a bloody good effort at offering something a bit different.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Duck King Restaurant Food-Court Level Pavilion Mall Jalan Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur

After opening one of the two best food stalls in Lot 10 read about it hear! You would have thought that the people who run Star Duck/Duck King would know how to do things.
I normally can't be bothered to add a caption!
The recently opened Duck King Restaurant at the food-court level in Pavilion *should* be fantastic-but it's not.
Tastes like instant Noodles-but ten times the price!
Whether it's just "teething-problems" or not I don't know but we were sadly disappointed with our recent visits.
They have opened near the Supermarket end,a place that has had rather a lot of tenants...maybe it's just in a poor location....
Or,maybe we just selected the wrong dishes.
First,the noodles were no better than a packet of Instant Noodles you make at home.
Secondly,the Carrot Cake was powdery.
Third,the Fried Rice was bland and tasteless
and Fourth...
The service was..hmmm..."clueless" would be too severe a criticism but they were a bit "all-over-the-place"
Scallops were nice tho...
The only saving grace was that the scallops were rather good.
Powdery-Carrot Cake
Now,as I said there are always teething problems when opening a new restaurant but I wasn't impressed at all,especially when I love their little stall in Lot 10.
If ever you're hungry in Pavilion Mall and you don't mind spending a bit of money there is still no better bet than Crystal Jade which you can read about here!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Celsius Bar Farenheit Mall Bukit Bintang (Revisited)

I wrote about Celsius Bar back in October here! and I wasn't too impressed-it smelt like a construction sight,which to be fair,it was.
It's located on the back corner of the pointless Farenheit Shopping Mall on Bukit Bintang.
I don't usually venture onto the main street of Bukit Bintang at night because I don't really need a foot-massage and I don't meed to buy a fake watch. I find the whole street unbearably tacky and somehow too frantic.
But..after dinner one night in Pavilion,a stop at Celsius was almost on the way home-so what harm could it do to pop-in and see how?
I have to say I was pleasantly suprised!
It didn't smell of concrete or glue and was quite busy with a good "after-office" crowd.
The decor is a bit "over-the top" with disco-balls,fibre-optics and the bar counter and pinnacle keep changing colour but I guess it makes a change from staring at fake Irish wood or a crappy re-run of a South American football match on TV.
And-in what must be a first for a bar in KL,the music was actually at an agreeable level..not too loud so as to make conversation an impossibility but neither too quite to make it sound like those 70's and 80's rock concerts you went to have really screwed-up your hearing!
So,the atmosphere is pretty OK.
The crowd quite agreeable
The staff seemed pretty switched-on.
Beer prices before 9pm are reasonable (2 pints of tiger for RM 35)
After 9pm?
Best not to ask-you'll be paying "club-land prices"
There are so few bars along Bukit Bintang,apart from the soulless Hotel Bars- that I'm sure that Celsius has got it's own group of regulars who go for a few chill-out beers after work and then the party-people arrive at 11pm onwards.
All-in-all, not a bad bar.

Monday, June 20, 2011

But Could You Eat A Whole One?

This Burger Bar has a rather interesting menu...
Situated on the corner of Tengkat Tong Shin and Jalan Sahabat,opposite the new and rather useless Carrefour Express,Diamond Burger Bar has been operating for about a month,every night.
It has an extensive menu of Burgers from RM 2-RM 7 but I haven't been drunk enough or hungry enough to want to sample one of their delights....but there is always someone placing an order so I guess they can't be too bad.
Apart from the usual Beef Burger you can choose from; Rabbit, Catfish,Ostrich,Lamb and even Camel.
That made me think,if you order a Camel Burger from your car,would it tip-over like in the Flintstones?
And...they even have a "Baby Burger" on the not to ask!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Never Mine Bar Changkat Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur

Never Mine is the new name for what was the unpopular Cin-Cin Champagne Bar.
Gone is the plush velvet low-seating to be replaced with high tables and stools.
Gone is the fancy lighting to be replaced by a disco-ball!

One sidewall has been painted white so it's not all black and chrome but there are still a few too many mirrors for my liking....I like to look at other people when I'm drinking...not to be reminded how I look,but I have noticed that the more I drink,the better-looking I become!

The decor is "stark-modern"
As always,the music is too loud but the price of the beer makes-up for that.
Tiger at RM 10 per mug all night long or 3 pints for RM 58 seems pretty good value.
Bar snacks are available,all supplied via Baan 26 Thai Restaurant and range from RM 15-RM 30.

The bar inside is a bit too stark and impersonal for my liking but I could get used to it.
The outside seating is a little hot and airless unless you pick a cool night to go out.whilst the upstairs balcony is very popular.

As I've mentioned before it's always good to see new places opening and Never Mine could become one of the most popular Bars on the street for it's no-nonsense,unpretentious atmosphere and value-for-money beer.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Bergie Evergreen Pub and Restaurant Jalan Berangan Kuala Lumpur

The road that runs parallel to Changkat Bukit Bintang which has BarKita,Albion and Bar Italia now has a new addition-Bergie Evergreen Pub.
I'm not really sure what a "Bergie" is but the waiter pointed to a weird statue in the corner...some sort of troll/ idol.
The bar has been open for about a month and looks pretty good.
Nice Black and White decor.
Friendly staff.
When I walked past at 9pm on a Saturday it was empty but so was BarKita...perhaps it gets busier later.
I don't really like going into empty bars but the staff were quite happy to chat outside.
It's yet another outlet that sells Tiger-I really don't know what the guys at Carlsberg are doing they just don't seem to be interested in doing business in this part of town.
If I'm not mistaken the only bars that sell Carlsberg are BarKita and Spritz,next to Gypsy.
At the moment Bergie Bar has a good promotion,3 pints of Tiger for RM 55 otherwise the normal price of RM 15 for a mug seems way,way too pricey.
Various promotions run throughout the week such as half-price cocktails on Tuesdays and on Wednesdays buy one get one free for pints of Tiger or Heineken.
A set lunch during the week is RM 10 ++ whilst on Sundays you can get a roast brunch for RM 40 ++
It's always good to see new bars opening and Bergie is definitely worth a visit.
If you want a slightly different atmosphere to the late night mayhem that can erupt on Changkat Bukit Bintang then the outlets on Jalan Berangan offer something a bit more relaxed and chilled.

Friday, May 27, 2011

New RM 20 Note

I lifted this from The Star...

Thursday May 26, 2011

RM20 banknote making a comeback


PETALING JAYA: After a 16-year hiatus, the RM20 banknote will be re-introduced by Bank Negara.

It is part of a new design of Malaysian banknotes and coins which will be issued for circulation early next year in an exercise that is undertaken periodically every 12 years.

The re-introduction of the RM20 banknote in the new currency series is primarily to function as an intermediary denomination to bridge the value gap between RM10 and RM50 for greater convenience in making payments,” Bank Negara told The Star in a statement yesterday.

With the new RM20 banknote, the central bank expects a reduction in overall demand for RM10 and RM50 banknotes.

The old RM20 banknote was introduced during the second series in 1982 and was discontinued in 1995.

It featured Malaysian traditional ornamental designs and the Bank Negara headquarters on its reverse side.

Read paragraph 3 again....Priceless Drivel!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Think I'll Buy Two!

If you think that BB Plaza is a less than busy Shopping Mall tagged onto the more popular Sungei Wang ,you'd be right.
Most people just use it as the main entrance to Sungei Wang (but that's actually on the side facing Jalan Sultan Ismail)...and the shops in BB Plaza such as Metrojaya or MPH never seem to be busy but I came across this little jewelery store the other day and was amazed that they were advertising an item in their shop window for...wait for it....put little finger in mouth like Dr. Evil in Austin Powers....

One and a Half Million Ringgit!
That's right..RM 1,500,000.

Now to me,it looks like a Jade Cabbage.
I know that lots of people in this part of the world like Jade and the special powers such as Good luck,Peace and Wisdom that Jade is said to bring but I think that if you can already afford RM 1,500,000 for a cabbage that you've already had enough  good-luck but you may indeed be lacking in wisdom!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Little Penang Cafe Mid Valley Megamall Kuala Lumpur

If you're stuck in one of the god-awful cathedral-like malls in Kuala Lumpur and need something to eat without splashing-out in a restaurant your choice is usually a dilemma between bland and tasteless food-court fare or dreadful international fast food chains.
There are a few mid-price cafes if you look hard enough and Little Penang have 3 outlets (KLCC,The Curve and Mid Valley) that may be worth trying.
As the name suggests,the style of food is supposed to reflect that of Penang.
It's a bit hit'n'miss....which is a shame as when it's good,it's very,very good and when it's bad...well it's just a bit too bland or poorly prepared.
Mee Jawa
The Mee Jawa is very good.
This is an Indonesian-style noodle soup with bean-sprouts,tomatoes,shallots,hard-boiled egg,potatoes,tofu and squid that is served in a really thick and tasty gravy.
The Lor Bak is excellent-Lor Bak should be pork sausage wrapped in crunchy bean curd but as Little Penang is halal they serve chicken sausage but it's still very tasty (and you won't know the difference)
The Fried Kway Teow is disappointing. (there is only one place to go for Fried Kway Teow-and that's here! in Brickfileds)
Other dishes of noodles,rice,nasi lemak etc are available.
Lunch for two will set you back around RM 30-RM 40 so it's not cheap by any standards but it is worth a try.

Lor Bak
Service? Well, just try and make sure that you're in a good mood when you enter as the service is pretty-poor.....

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cin Cin Bar Changkat Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur

A bottle of Tiger Beer for RM 9!
I'll repeat that, A Bottle of Tiger Beer for RM 9!

When Cin Cin first opened it's doors a couple of months ago after taking ages and ages with their refurbishment many people were perplexed to discover it was a "Champagne Bar" aimed at the movers and shakers of the KL social-scene-which certainly didn't include the likes of me.
So I never went there.
and it would seem...
neither did anyone else.
I have never seen a new bar stay so empty for so long,and that's despite having a couple of classy looking girls in nice dresses trying to entice you inside.

All this changed a few days ago when new management moved in.

Rule #1 when opening a bar on Changkat Bukit Bintang seems to be that you *must* place some tables and chairs outside on the pavement (Whisky bar discovered this a few months ago)
Cin Cin have done this and not surprisingly there were people sitting there and drinking on the pavement.
Rule #2 seems to be...Offer the public value for money,hence the RM 9 for a bottle of Tiger or RM 50 for 3 pints of tiger draft.....I'm sure there are other offers but I can't remember.
I really hope that it's just not in order to clear old stock.
Rule #3-and probably the most important: Hire Good People.
The staff/customer service was nice and friendly.
As far as the atmosphere is concerned...well, at this early stage you will probably have to take your own but I'm sure that will change when more people come to discover it.
The decor is definitely up-market and a bit swanky.
The upstairs area has a good balcony but the rest of it gets very smokey and a bit smelly from the cooking smoke and fumes from the Indian Restaurant next door....
Downstairs is a bit stark-sorry,"modern and trendy" but not too bad and it seems that as with most bars on the street, people would prefer to sit outside.

Hopefully the value-for-money promotions will continue and Cin Cin will become another venue on the street worth going to....only time will tell.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Missing the Point.....

I lifted this article from the Star 26/4/11:

GEORGE TOWN: A honeymooning couple from Saudi Arabia was among some 2,000 tourists and locals who boarded the Penang Hill funicular train, which resumed operations after a lapse of 14 months.

Alaa Abduallae, 30, and Wafaa Ali, 23, were thrilled to take the 10-minute ride up the hill.
“However, the train was going too fast for us to snap any good photographs,” Alaa said.
The train will run for charity till April 30. The return fare for the charity ride is RM10 for adults. It is free for children aged 12 and below.

The proceeds will go to the Penang Welfare Department to help underprivileged people identified by the state government.
The service started at 6.30am yesterday.
Among those who tried it was a group of 37 Year Five students and three teachers of SK Pulai in Baling.
Their counselling teacher Khaizuran Isa said they made the trip to give students an opportunity to ride on the train.
“We want to expose them to new things and let them learn about tourist spots,” she said.
Penangites Les Leong and Jane Ooi, both in their 30s, also brought their six-year-old twin sons to enjoy the train ride to a friend's birthday party on Penang Hill.
This is their second time on the train. They were very excited and said that the ride was faster than the previous tram,” Ooi said.

From May 1, the return fare for Malaysians will be RM8 for adults (below 55 years) and RM4 for children (aged three to 12).
Senior citizens (aged 55 and above) and Malaysian students will enjoy a reduced rate of RM4.
For foreigners, the return fare is RM30 (for adults) and RM15 (for children aged three to 12).
The revamped train service runs from 6.30am to 9.30pm daily.
The service was suspended since Feb 22 last year for the RM73mil upgrading project by the Tourism Ministry.
Penang Hill Corporation marketing and promotion division senior assistant manager Anne Goh said 1,500 people rode on the train from 6.30am till 4pm"

Now then, I've just got to highlight a couple of points that to me are a bit symptomatic of why the tourism industry in Malaysia is not as good as it could be...

1. Foreigners pay more than locals.-in this case,nearly 4 times as much!
This also happens at the KL Tower and all the National Parks...
Can you imagine a tourist attraction in the UK or USA charging tourists 4 times more than the locals...they'd never get away with it!
2.They don't really get it do the quote "the train was going too fast to take pictures"
A lot of fuss was made last year when the old,charming,creaky and dilapidated hill railway was replaced with a shiny and new train that would get people to the top of the hill faster than before.
The whole point of the slow train ride was that you enjoyed the view on the it just whizzes by.

UPDATE 10/6/11...and the "new and improved" service has broken-down 3 times in the last 5 weeks.....

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Are They Sure.....

Malaysian advertising companies can be a bit too creative at times,whilst at other times they completely miss the mark.
As for this example,I'll let you decide...
But I never thought that I would see the words 'naughty" and "Volvo" in the same sentence....

OK-It now seems that I was wrong.
This is a global campaign,not just in Malaysia
so whatever advertising company came-up with the slogan needs to do a bit more "creative brainstorming"

Friday, April 8, 2011

TwinTowers @Live 2011

I didn't really get this.....
A free concert held at the front of the Twin Towers in conjunction with the F1 weekend.
A real mish-mash of bands.
No Beer.
Nothing to do with the actual F1.
A lack of atmosphere-for me at least.
and...No Beer (yes,it's worth repeating)
But then again,I'm definitely not the ideal demographic/target audience.
So, I'm sure that some people really got into it.
The crowd seemed to be either young/teenagers or mums and dads with their kids plus the occasional "lost" tourist.
I don't think that many in the crowd would be attending the actual race,it was more designed to give young people something to see and to keep them out of the bars and clubs.
It started at 6pm....but the first band didn't come on until 9pm.
So there was 3 hours of inane chatter by host DJ's....I honestly can't abide it when told 'Make Some Noise" by some idiot DJ...I mean,it's so much of a cliche isn't it?
Perhaps it was that that put me in a bad mood...
First band was a girl wearing a Tudong singing "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse....Oh! the Irony!
Then there were then a few local metal/rock bands that I think I've seen before and are actually rather good and quite refreshing.
But by then I'd had enough.
Headlining on the night I was there were either Wonder Girls or Hoobastank.
The last band would have come on at around midnight....far too long a wait as far as I was concerned.
Main act on the second night will be a version of Earth Wind and Fire but you will have to put-up with Colby Adonis (whoever they are) and a host of local bands (who will all probably be OK) before you hear Boogie Wonderland....

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tired of Traffic Jams in Kuala Lumpur?

If ever you've sat in one of KL's horrendous traffic jams,especially on a Thursday or Friday when it's usually very hot and is always quicker to walk to your destination you may find yourself wanting one of these new MPV's....

I think they would be particularly useful when one of those motor-cades of VIP's or Tin-Pot Dictators snarl-up the traffic even more....

....if you don't want an MPV they also do a sports version.....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

T-Bowl Restaurant 3rd Floor Sungei Wang Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur

I swear that this is true!
A new type of concept restaurant has opened on the third floor of Sungei Wang Shopping Mall.
The theme is crap.
And that's the only joke I'm going to make about a restaurant where diners are seated on toilets.
The entire decor consists of toilet bowls,urinals and squat-toilets.
Some of the food is even designed to look like excrement (use your imagination) whilst other dishes are served in miniature toilet bowls.
I was quite taken aback when I stumbled upon this place,situated on the 3rd floor at the back near the Roller-Rink it is amongst a small collection of restaurants in a newly opened sort-of mini food-court.
I can't tell you much more about t-bowl as almost all the signage is in Chinese.
I've not eaten there but the few times I've walked past it's fairly busy and seems quite popular with teenagers and children with a scatological fixation (as Freud would put it)
I've no idea on menu or prices and their website was no real help either,so if you decide to go and try it please let me know.
I just think it's bizarre.

Friday, March 18, 2011

St.Patrick's Day Street Party Changkat Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur

You have to hand it to the guys at Guinness-they certainly know how to organise a street party!
In honour of St.Patrick's Day-when the whole world turns Irish (except maybe Saudi and Kuwait),Guinness threw what is probably the most successful street party we've had on Changkat Bukit Bintang for quite a while now.
It makes such a difference when the street is closed for traffic and it's really great to wander up-and-down the street to check-out the various establishments.
A Great Party Atmosphere!
There were temporary beer dispensers outside most pubs and table and chairs arranged in the street so that the bars did not get overwhelmed....but boy,did it get hot and airless on the street later on!
Indeed the street was overflowing with people whilst the inside of some bars were almost empty..
Changkat Bukit Bintang was packed! I mean,where did everyone come from?
At 7.30pm just about the entire street was bustling with activity....
By 10pm if you fell-over you'd probably remain upright!
Face painters,Balloon folders,Stilt-Walkers and Juglers and the compulsory "over-the-top" sound system PA with-a-girl-with-the-most-annoyingly-over-amplified-voice-ever were trying to entertain the crowd who were really only intent on one thing-Drinking!
OK two things...Drinking and then More Drinking!
It was
Gave a feeling that it might suddenly collapse and descend into real anarchy....
Everything a party should be!
I couldn't work out if it was free Guinness that was being given away in plastic cups or somehow you had to pay for it...I was told the bars were selling a (plastic) glass for RM 10 for "street use" whilst inside it was "buy-one-get-one-free"
I don't like Guinness ( a result of excessive over-indulgence visiting their brewery in Dublin many years ago)
so I stuck with the Tiger Draft as ,sadly Tiger Crystal is no longer available....
But,what a great party!
Now...if only this street was closed to traffic every weekend.....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Now,This Is Going To Get Confusing!

Petronas Mercedes
 Malaysia has been hosting an F1 event for something like 13 years now and if you're an F1 fan you're probably used to seeing Petronas sponsorship.
But this season there are Malaysian interests sponsoring 6 cars... 25% of the Grid!

A Lotus
 We have the Petronas sponsored Mercedes
Then the Air Asia sponsored Lotus with a Renault/Red Bull engine
Lotus-Proton sponsored Renault with Lada written on the side...

And Another Lotus!
 I think.....
This is not bad for a country with no real racing pedigree and it must cost them a fortune.
Anyway,lets hope that they all qualify and deliver some exciting racing this season

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ceylon Bar Changkat Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur

Ceylon Bar on Changkat Bukit Bintang has been around for years and has built-up a loyal following of locals and expats alike plus there are usually a few backpackers as Pondok Lodge is situated right on top of the bar.
Although it's been open for years for some reason it's a place that I rarely visit and on my last visit there for a Roast Dinner and to watch F1 I noticed how shabby and run-down the place was looking in the harsh,unforgiving daylight.
Having said that-I guess no bar looks good in daylight but I was interested to learn that Ceylon Bar has just had a refurbishment so it was worth another look.
Yeah,it looks alright although the guy next to me said it reminded him of drinking in his living room-and we couldn't decide whether that was a good thing or not....
The bar has been extended outwards which creates a slightly smaller drinking area but it's been made smoother by removing the little wall tables and replacing them with couches along the wall which is great as it creates opportunities for easy conversation with fellow drinkers.
The decor is black and cream that has a slightly Mediterranean feel, tasteful rather than rustic.
All the furniture has been replaced.
A lot of people like to hang-out on the terrace but I find the chairs there a bit too uncomfortable whilst the upstairs area at the back is a bit too impersonal-and remote.
The bar is a nice place to hang-out but you've gotta get there fairly early to get some bar space.
What hasn't changed is the friendly service and warm welcome you get here.
I probably go to Ceylon Bar less than once a year but I'm always met with good,friendly service.
The food is pretty damn good too-and the snack menu is probably one of the most extensive menus around with prices ranging from RM 11 to RM 30 you'll have no problem finding something you like.
A mug of Tiger will set you back RM 12.60 after taxes...cheaper than Finegans or Healy Macs but not quite as good value as Gypsy.
Ceylon Bar's success(and it's always pretty busy) is,I think down to the management and staff making that little bit more effort than their competitors do...and Good luck to them! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kasturi Walk Central Market Kuala Lumpur

Kasturi Walk is the much-hyped new tourist-friendly development in KL
running alongside Central Market.
It opened with lots of fireworks and publicity a few weeks back.
And guess what?
It's no big deal at all.
Just an extension of Central Market so you can buy more tourist bric-a-brac.
In the publicity blurb it goes something like .." enjoy an al-fresco shopping and eating experience"
In reality it's a row of little kiosks offering snack- food and the usual tourist junk.
I saw T Shirts priced at RM 29 which I'm pretty sure you can pick-up in Sungai Wang for RM 10.
OK,so I have to admit that the pavement ,which they call a "walkway" is better than before because it's level and clean and if the stalls are all owned by local entrepreneurs then good luck to them.
Kasturi Walk even has 24hr security guards who will not let you walk down before the stalls are open.
But come on,RM 8 million for this?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Is Penang really the 8th Best Island in the World?

If you read this review here! Yahoo Travel Guide has selected Penang as the 8th Best Island In The World to Visit....placing it in the same top 10 as Bali and Bora Bora....
Come on! Seriously?
Now,far be it for me to suggest the reviewer was paid to say it...but to me Penang is really over-rated.
Here's a few reasons why...
1.It's dirty.
2.It's overcrowded.
3.It's overdeveloped.
4.Very little is done to preserve the remaining old buildings. Despite all the "hoo-ha" over being given UNESCO status they still managed to screw-up-an example being replacing the Penang Hill funicular railway.)
5.Batu Ferringhi Beach is full of touts giving non-stop hassle,litter everywhere,polluted water.
6.The strip of restaurants at Batu Ferringhi is quantity over quality.
7. It's a bit pricey...and not very friendly.
I could go on but I'm sure you get my point.
I may be a bit biased as my last few trips there just involve the Industrial Park at Bayan Lepas.

So for balance, a few good points about Penang are:
1.You get some nice views of greenery and beach.
2.Georgetown is very nice to wander around for a few hours.
3 The food is OK-but so what?
4.It's not KL-so it's nice to visit once in a while.
5.If you think of any more let me know...

My wife fondly remembers cycling around Penang as a child-try doing that now and you won't survive the first road junction!
Many people from Penang now work in KL and they will all say the same thing...that Penang is overdeveloped,overpriced and dirty.
It was probably a brilliant island to go to 25-30 years ago but in my opinion the rampant development over the past 2 decades has destroyed any charm that "The Pearl of the Orient" used to have.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Late Night Nan Bread @ SK Corner

A few years back it was almost compulsory to have a late night supper of nan bread after a heavy night to try and mop-up the excess alcohol in your system....
Venue of choice was the 24hr coffee shop now sadly replaced by the 7-Eleven at the corner of Changkat Bukit Bintang and Tengkat Tong Shin....oh Happy Days!
These days after a night of partying on Changkat Bukit Bintang if you want a nan supper and can't be bothered to walk very far you will probably head to SK Corner a bit further down Tengkat Tong Shin.
When it first opened it was quite good but sad to say it's gone downhill recently.
And it's never as busy as it used to I'm not the only one who thinks so......
Like so many food places these days they are either increasing prices or cutting-back on quality/quantity
I don't think they can make their nans any smaller so they have cut back on the dips/sauces that you get with your nan.
I used to like the dhall curry dip as there would be a surprise chunk of potato and the chick peas would be quite wholesome and at about RM 2 it was a good value supper (RM 3.50 if you added a 100 plus into the mix).....
Alas no more...
I was served a thin watery tasteless gravy that had no flavour whatsoever.and the nan bread wasn't even cooked properly..quite disappointing and not worth going there again...
The Maggi-Mee Goring was also dreadful....
Something so simple...and they've screwed it up!
If you want a nan supper try either along Jalan Nagasari heading towards the Istana Hotel or the Indian restaurant underneath Cruz Club on Jalan Sultan Ismail....or even the recently opened (but rather uninviting looking) new place up the steep bit of hill on Changkat Bukit Bintang heading towards Bukit Bintang near Jalan Alor....If you find any others please let me know....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Best Not To Ask.....

If you're sensible enough to ask "What's in the other 10%?", you're probably not crazy enough to actually eat it!......

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Starduck @ Lot 10 Food Court Bukit Bintang

I mentioned here that you can find the Best Hokkien Mee in the World at Lot 10 Hutong Food Court.
I would have to say that this is without doubt the best food court in KL and the thought of eating some Hokkien Mee to help cure a hangover is rather comforting.
Incidentally,the German Restaurant mentioned here!  in the same foodcourt has gone off-the-boil a bit...they've cut down on portion size but maintained the price.I now avoid it.
Anyway...back to the point... On days when you're feeling fine you may need something less oily and lardy than Hokkien Mee
Fear Not.
Have a look at Starduck-Duckling,it's opposite the Sun Moulin Bakery and usually has a queue-always a sign of good food.
Here they specialise in Roast Pork and ,as the name suggests,Roast Duck.
The Roast Pork is gorgeous!
It's a little pricey (about RM 12 for a dish) compared to other stalls but it's worth it as it's unlikely you will ever find anything better in the heart of KL...and even in the suburbs food stalls like this are fast-disappearing.
So,what do you get for your RM 12?
A big glutinous ball of clotted noodles,a "nod" towards vegetables with an unidentifiable green-thing and some mouth-wateringly good slices of roast pork.
And the "secret sauce" which I think is sweet soy sauce.
The trick is to "untie" the noodles by continuously tossing and separating them with your chosen utensils (fork and spoon or the twig technology of chopsticks) and mix them in with the soy sauce underneath them.
Once the noodles have changed colour from white to're ready to eat.
You'll be surprised how good it tastes.
And yet it's so sweet and simple...a bit like my wife!...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year!

According to most Chinese astrologers The Year of the Rabbit is going to be peaceful and prosperous for all of us. This is in direct contradiction to most world economists who are all talking doom-and-gloom and strife.
So,lets hope  the astrologers and 1.3 Billion Chinese are correct.

As usual the Shopping Malls in KL are full of CNY decorations-and as usual Pavilion is the most over-the-top and combines classy with tacky.....combining plastic rabbits (or are they fat rats?) with some interesting Lion Heads and Drums.
The lanterns also add a nice touch.
All the other malls use the same theme of a slightly comical looking plastic rabbit and a host of red lanterns.
Mid Valley also has a "Chinese Village" with all sorts of handicrafts on display and even DBKL (City Hall) has taken the opportunity to string-up some red lanterns along Jalan Bukit Bintang and Jalan Alor.
Although they do look a bit half-hearted.
Most Shopping Malls are playing slightly likable but at the same time slightly annoying Chinese New Year music...there only seem to be two slow one and one slightly faster.
And the Lion Dances have already started.
And yet..and yet...somehow it all seems to lack a bit of atmosphere and seems a bit "flat"-and that's according to my Chinese friends.
Maybe we've had one holiday too many...or they're just too close to each other....Christmas rapidly followed by New Year and then Thaipusum. And there is a holiday in KL for Federal Territory Day next Tuesday and then we get a 15 day Chinese New Year (admittedly only Chinese New Year Eve and Days 1,2 and 15 are really celebrated) but we may be suffering from "Holiday Fatigue" ....
Still,better make the most of it as after Feb 15th the next Public Holiday is 1st May.... So Gong Xi Fat Chai,as they say!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Quiz Nights and Price Increases along Changkat Bukit Bintang

I mentioned here about the Quiz Night held in Healy Mac's on a Monday night...well,it seems to be growing in popularity as last week there were about 20 teams...that's about 100 people so you can imagine it was pretty busy...and a little claustrophobic.
And there are some very clever buggers/walking encyclopedias taking part.
I also mentioned that Healy Macs offered some fairly good promotions on their beer....well,this all seems to have stopped.
This might be something to do with the time of year but it just might be a little un-sporting.
A mug of Tiger is unchanged at  RM13.50. but there is  no longer any "buy one get one free pint promotion"....and worse of all,they have re-introduced that dreadful "Happy-Hour" order your beer before 10pm.
A pint is RM 21...RM 24.50 with all the taxes.
I have no idea how much it is after Happy Hour as I refuse to pay it,just out of principle.
(Yikes! someone just told me it was RM 16 for a mug after 10pm!)
A bucket of Tiger Crystal is RM70 all night,which works out to RM14 per bottle.
It's still a great night-out....but I'm a little upset over the pricing.
And,just to prove that "anything you can do I can do better" Gypsy Bar now also hold a quiz night (Wednesdays) but sadly increased their prices on Dec 31st.last year.
I thought that this was just a "one-off" to capitalize on New Year's Eve but it's here to stay.
A mug of Tiger is now RM11 whilst a bucket of Crystal in now RM65 for 5 bottles. (RM13 each)
If you go to Beach Club you can still get a bucket of 6 Carlsberg for RM69 for 6 (RM11.50 each) as long as you order before 9pm.
Now all this may make me sound a little stingy,well I guess I am and I know that just about everything else is going up in price as well.
But I want Value for Money.
I don't think that the cost from the Brewery to the Bar has they are just profiteering.
Anyway,I still like both Bars and if I really wanted cheap(er) beer I could buy it at a supermarket and sit at home drinking it.
But where's the fun in that?
I believe that Ceylon Bar now offers the best deal along the street with a Tiger at just over RM10.
but as they're going to be refurbished soon...maybe their prices will change.
Incidentally,there are a few places on Tengkat Tong Shin that seem  less expensive but are totally devoid of atmosphere.
The massage place/Bali Restaurant is offering 3 jugs at RM100..which probably works out to RM8 per glass but unless you become your own entertainment you'll be bored as there is nothing to look at.
A bucket of 4 goes for RM 38.
Anyway,back to the Quiz night at Gypsy.It was a little less serious and a bit more light-hearted than Healy Macs,maybe because it was the first one...and it's a good opportunity to try and win some free beer/cash.
I've been told that The Social  has a quiz night on Tuesday's...and maybe Finnegan's does something as well.
So,If you've got the brain cells(and you're willing to sacrifice them)...Monday at Healy Macs,Tuesday at Social and Wednesday at Gypsy...oh and maybe even Spritz on a Thursday night.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Little India...aka Brickfields.

Little India used to be an area of KL just off Jalan TAR,along Jalan Masjid India,an area crammed with shops selling Saris and loads of  Vegetarian Restaurants...I say "used" to be as sometime late last year it was decided to re-name and re-brand Brickfields as "Little India"
All of this was a cynical political move and culminated in a visit by the President of India to officially open the area.
So,what used to be Brickfields to everyone has undergone somewhat of a "wash-and-brush-up."
At least on the surface...but dig down a bit and move into the side streets and you can still find the original flavour of the place (illegal bottle shops,worn-out hookers and The Best Fried Kway Teow in town)
I like has a more relaxed suburban feel than the city centre...and one of the really good things is that you can find Mosques,Churches,Assrams and Chinese Temples all within very close proximity to each other-and everyone seems to get along just fine in that laid-back "live and let live" kind of way. 
Opposite the huge construction site of KL Sentral,Jalan Tun Sambanthan,the main drag is now a one-way street with crazy paving and wiggly lampposts.
There is an archway at one end saying "Salamat Datang Ke Little India" and a totally over-the-top fountain complete with elephant motifs....a column of arches leads into the distance and lotus blooms mosaics are embedded into the road.
And it looks kinda nice... I believe at night that the fountain is illuminated with a light display.
And there's more to come...more arches and stuff and a food stall/hawker centre...the only sad thing is that what used to be a playing field is now covered in concrete and full of market stalls but other than that it looks allright and sort-of works.
You can now get a free walking tour of the area every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month starting at the YMCA and taking about 2.5 hrs.