Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012!

A little more classy this year!
Usually I find the Xmas decor in the Shopping Malls a little,well, over-the-top and the majority of displays look like they have been thrown-in with a shovel.
This year seems that my message has gotten across
either that or I have been here too long and have succumbed to the tackiness of the usual displays but "Less is More" seems to be working for the malls this year... 

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Probably the Best Indian Food in Kuala Lumpur

......can be found in the most unlikely place.
Situated just behind a car-park, crowded by construction sites just off Changkat Bukit Bintang, down-a-bit from Somerset Condo is a small stall dishing-up what is probably the Best Indian Food you'll find in Kuala Lumpur.
Local  Malaysian born ethnic Indians tell me that the food is "like my mum makes"
A full (almost over-flowing) plate of rice with a few other dishes will set you back about RM 6.50.
The price has increased a little since I wrote about it here! but not too much.
I would still say that after 10 years of eating here it is one of the best value-for-money lunches to be had in KL.
Simply load-up with rice and then serve yourself from the selection of meat, fish and vegetable dishes.
Friday lunchtimes are a little more "vegetarian" as the choice of veggies widens but there is always some lamb, chicken or seafood to select.
I would highly recommend the calamari-and the "Friday-only" potato cakes.

It doesn't look much-but the food is great!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Parking Problems on Changkat Bukit Bintang

Now,here's a guy who will go to any length to avoid the extortion service provided by the Car Jockeys!

If I drive into town on an evening during the week I can usually find somewhere to park near the offices towards Jalan Raja Chulan...But weekends,forget it..The Car Jockeys "cone-off" every available space on Raja Chulan and surrounding roads and charge RM 10 to "look after" your car.
We all know that this is bloody extortion but they are allowed by those in power to get away with it.
In fact, as the street gets more and more busy..their illegal empire expands....Guess we just have to put-up with it.
I don't.
I park somewhere else.

The mini on top of the "Magnificent Fish and Chip Bar" is actually for "Mini Bar" a new joint that they are opening upstairs...looks a bit "mod"....

Other Developments...

"Finnegans" has shut-down..well, it was the only empty bar on the street at 11pm and has been taken-over by the guys behind "Never Mine" a few doors down and will open in September as a Sports Bar and Grill.
Let's hope that the beer price is reasonable.

Tabla Restaurant, just round the corner from Havana will soon be re-opening as a "Deep Blue Sea" themed restaurant/bar.

Flams is shut for a major refurbishment

And a new bar that supposedly will offer "The best value for money on the street" is set to open shortly opposite the Radius Hotel...

At least there may be a few different types of place to check-out....

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Changkat Bukit Bintang

I've written about this street more than anything else and for good reason too as it probably contains the best bars and restaurants and all-round entertainment outlets in Kuala Lumpur.
Thing is,  now I kinda love to hate it.
When I heard that the Green Man had recently celebrated it's 10th anniversary it got me thinking about the rapid and irreverseable  metamorphosis the street has undergone.
I moved into KL about a month before the Green Man opened and it looks to me that they still have exactly the same furniture,bars,chairs tables (and owners attitude!) as they did when they first opened.
It's about the only thing that hasn't changed and has stayed stubbornly and exactly the same on the street in the last 10 years.
However, even The Green Man now has tables and chairs on the pavement....they resisted the idea for so long but have now succumbed.
Old hands like me can always say "Oh, yeah..I remember when there were only 4 or 5 bars on this street-now look at it"-but so what?
It is what it is.
But what got me thinking was this;
If you've been down the street a few of times you will by now have chosen a couple of places that you like
You may not know why you like them-but you do and you tend to gravitate towards one bar or another.
There are too many places to list here but if you go early enough you'll find enough bars/restaurants to cater to your tastes and each establishment has a different feel and a different look.
They all have their own character.
There's now even a sort-of-African Bar down at the end of the street opposite the 7-Eleven so you can't say that the street doesn't cater for a very wide clientele.Spanish-style theme  at the top,then Italian, English, Irish, Japanese, Chinese and local/international all rub shoulders with one another....(I'm just waiting for someone to open an Iranian bar designed to look like it was from Tehran in the 70's to cater to the Middle East tourist market!)

by around 11pm when things start to get louder and louder and more frantic and over-crowded and the masses descend desperately looking for a good time...well, it all starts to look exactly the same wherever you look.
It doesn't matter what bar you're at. It could be anywhere. They're. All. The. Same.
As many patrons choose to sit outside, the entertainment becomes the street itself and not what's happening inside the bar.
So, it doesn't really matter where you go-you're going to end up with the same homogenized mass-produced night-out wherever you go....
There seems to be a definite lack of imagination from the bar owners.
They come-up with different styles but in a very narrow framework
Maybe because the rents are so high that they cannot afford to experiment or think outside the box....but what happened to all those quirky bars built around funny themes that were around in the 80's or 90' know what I mean? Like the Stock Market Bars built around the demand of certain drinks where the price would fluctuate or Sports Bars or Fun Pubs or a Beach-bar or the rustic looking French or Spanish Bar?
These days they all look at bit too 'corporate" like they are all franchises or something...

Right.... grumble over-does, anyone fancy a beer? See you on the street!

Friday, April 6, 2012


Another grab from The Star newspaper...
I don't really think I need to comment....
THE first thing passengers see when getting into Syed Zahid Syed Abdullah’s taxi are the neatly arranged toy cars and action figures all around the vehicle.
Zahid has 1,155 toy cars and figurines in his taxi which he has been collecting for the past six years.
He has spent about RM15,000 so far and his latest collection is only two weeks old.
Zahid said it took a day to put together the toys inside his taxi using super glue and adhesive tape.
Syed Zahid in his taxi.
“It all began with the free Ferrari cars from Shell and later it became a passion and the collection grew.
“There were too many to keep and so I decided to share my hobby with people.
“I have been driving the taxi since 1997 and I thought this will be a great way to attract passengers.
“The toys have been good for business while some call my hobby crazy.
“There was one passenger from India, who even gave me an auto rickshaw to add to my collection. Although I may not know all the names of the toys but I remember every colour and model,” he said.
Zahid said he would remind his passengers that they had to pay extra if their children damaged any of his toys.
Master of the universe: Ultraman figurines and Hot Wheels cars are glued to the dashboard.
“I usually carry spare toy cars for the children to play when they come into my taxi. I also check every month to see if the toys are all in place and well secured.
“When I first started this, my wife did not talk to me for a week but she eventually came around because she knew that it was more than just a hobby.
“Even my daughters know well enough and not touch anything.
“There are passengers who have offered to buy the toys. If I were to sell it to an enthusiast, I would probably opt for selling the whole car,” he said.
He said a lot of passengers would promote his taxi via Facebook or twitter when they get back home.
For those who want to catch a glimpse or ride in Zahid’s taxi, he usually picks up his passengers in front of the Grand Millenium Hotel in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.

No,wait..I have to comment...There is no taxi stand at the Grand Millenium on Bukit Bintang...what you normally see are about 25 taxis parked all along Bukit Bintang effectively blocking one of the lanes and contributing to the traffic jam.This,along with the taxis parked at the hotels and malls on the opposite side of the street make it a 2 lane road instead of 4.
It's also where it is very,very unusual to find a taxi that will stick to the metre....what most of them want to do is to charge you or an unsuspecting tourist RM 50 for a trip to KLCC.... 
So,when you next sit in the traffic jam,at least you can be comforted by the fact that some obsessive-compulsive taxi driver blocking the road ahead has filled his cab with toys...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

St. Patrick's Day 2012

Just to show that last year was not a fluke Guinness got their act together again this year to organise a street party on Changkat Bukit Bintang.

I had no idea that St. Patrick was so popular as about 8,000-10,000 people descended on the street hell-bent on having a good time.
It was hot, damn hot! and chaotic and too crowded and noisey but it looked like Guinness had employed every tall,thin Chinese girl they could find in KL to work for them as a no complaints from me on that one!
If you were in the mood you probably had a great night....friends of mine finished their last drink at around 6am the following morning but I just don't have the stamina for that anymore...(if i ever did)
Closing the street to traffic seemed to work just fine..sure, leaving was chaos but it is every Friday and Saturday. As I've said before it should be done every weekend.
The only people who would be against it would be the territory-hungry car jockeys who take-up more and more space along the side streets every month.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Good Beer vs Bad Beer

Regular readers will by now have deduced that I enjoy a beer or two...what I don't enjoy  is the hangover that potentially greets me the next morning.
After years of "research" I was hit with a startling discovery- (I won't say how many beers as some of you will think I'm a bit of a lightweight,while others may think I'm a bit of an alcoholic) How come I can drink exactly the same amount of draught beer and sometimes get a really head-splitting hangover one night and then a few days later after another night-out, I can wake-up feeling fine.Well,fine-ish anyway.

From a scientific viewpoint I know it's all about your mood,state of health and diet but also I think it may have something to do with the venue and the quality and freshness of the beer they serve.
To put it simply,the cheaper the beer, the worse the potential headache next morning while if the beer is a bit on the pricey side...less of a bad head the next morning.
After discussing this with other "experts"....we came up with a not very scientific list...

Good Beer Places

  • Hard Rock Cafe (sells more Carlsberg than anywhere else in town)
  • The Green Man
  • Healy Macs
  • Magnificent Fish and Chip/Havana/Racks (same owners)
  • Twenty One
  • Ceylon Bar
  • Any random very expensive rooftop bar (G Tower,Luna,Traders-all look the same to me) 
  • Aloha
  • Finnegans
  • Spritz
  • Hotel Lounges/Hotel Bars (if you can afford them!)
This list is by no means complete- I'm sure there are a lot more.... .

Now onto the very subjective and anecdotal...

Bad Beer Places;

  • Gypsy (still my favourite bar,so I must be a masochist!)
  • Nevermine
  • Sutra
  • Reggae Bar
  • Overtime (unfair to include them really as they don't serve Carlsberg or Tiger-they serve their own horrible concoction)
  • Thai Club
  • Rum Jungle
  • Beach Club (but the bottled beer is fine)
  • Bearded Clam (situated in Ampang Point,quite possibly the worse bar in KL!)
At times the beer in some of these establishments can be OK-whilst at other times it can taste like someone else has already drunk it.
Whether it's down to storage,cleanliness of apparatus.cleanliness of glasses or staleness of beer,mixing of slops... I just don't least the bottled beer has a consistency.

I'm sure there are others out feel free to add your own......

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lake Gardens

Huh? get up at 6.30am? on a Saturday? When I don't need to?
What kind of idiot does that?
An idiot who wants to be a little bit fitter, that's who!
Many of us begin a new year with a commitment to "get a bit fitter".
It seemed that the whole world and his wife was at Lake Gardens the other Saturday morning.
Some embrace fitness, other just nod at it from across the lake!
Partly to keep, or start getting fitter and partly because well, there isn't really anywhere else to go, the place gets really packed.
As a city, KL is almost devoid of any big green space for joggers or walkers.
Viewed from above, say from KL Tower, the city looks very green but at ground level, this illusion disappears and all you have beneath your feet is concrete.
I can think of only a few places where you can actually walk on grass (not counting the little strip outside Lot 10 when the security staff aren't looking!) and they would be KLCC Park, KL Tower and Lake Gardens.
KL Tower is a bit too strenuous and steep for me most, so the other two places get mobbed during weekend early mornings...
Lake Gardens is very friendly as people jog, run or walk around the lake wishing "Good Morning" to one-and-all-and the fitter people can tackle some of the steeper hills-but it gets packed.
Arriving at around 7am it was surprisingly cool-and doesn't feel like a city at all but at 7.45am all the car-parks are full and people start parking on the narrow,twisting roads.
Too bad if you're jogging on the road as now you have to navigate parked cars plus moving traffic.
The path around the lake is a pleasant 2.5km track and there are a few different species of birds and trees to look at to take your mind off the ungodly hour.
A few steep paths radiate from the lake going past a goat farm and a deer park.
You can also see a 1950's era motorboat! at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Museum at the top of the hill.
Lake Gardens is actually quite a well-landscaped, artificial-ish oasis in the heart of KL.
As usual, with most Malaysian sites, except for some toilets and a dodgy-looking cafe there are few facilities and so many people bring a picnic as a reward for making it around the lake...a great way to pile on the calories after shedding least I waited until we were on the way home before stopping for some curry noodles!
Best to get there before 7am as it starts to get light, take some water with you but some enterprising people set-up stalls selling bottled water.
And, it's probably best enjoyed without a hangover!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Elevated Walkways

 A fully air-conditioned RM100mil pedestrian walkway linking Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) and Bukit Bintang is now open.
It seems like it's been under construction for about 3 years at least...but at least it looks solid and  is so over-engineered that it's probably able to withstand a direct nuclear strike.
It's also very ugly.
Ugly in a "Soviet-style architecture" sort-of-way.
The walkway includes a 562m long and five-metre wide elevated walkway that traverses through the busy, traffic-choked areas of Jalan Pinang, Jalan Perak and Jalan Raja Chulan with escalator and staircase entry and exit points at strategic and convenient locations.It doesn't quite reach to Raja Chulan monorail station,which is a bit of a shame.
The elevated section links the KL Convention Centre to Pavilion shopping Centre
Another portion is made up of a pedestrian tunnel from the concourse level of the convention centre which now links to the existing tunnel to the Suria KLCC shopping complex.
So you can now walk in aircon comfort from one huge shopping mall to another big huge shopping mall.

Monday, January 23, 2012

On The Comeback-Trail

So,this is where it begins.....
After disappearing and faking his own death back in '77, Elvis has decided to come out of hiding and begin his musical comeback.
And what better place to start than Healy Macs on Changkat Bukit Bintang.
He does look a little different and he did speak with an Oirish Accent but the crowd didn't seem to mind one bit.
His voice wasn't quite as good either but that was compensated for by his enthusiasm and stage-craft.
It was cheesy and tacky-and everbody knew it but that didn't stop anyone from having a good ole singalong and joining in the fun.
Elvis will be around for another week or so before heading back to Gracelands but as we were leaving Healy Macs, my attention was drawn to a poster advertising an appearance by Lady Gaga (whoever he is) in the near future......interesting.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!...I SAID, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I think I just may be getting a little too old for this......maybe.
I don't mind the crowds and the hustle and bustle of a New Year's Eve party.
After all,that's what it's all about really.
It's the very,very loud music that annoys me.
Really annoys me.
All along Changkat Bukit Bintang the bars compete for custom by playing music to entice us punters inside.
I don't have a problem with that just so long as I can actually talk to people sitting at my table or at the bar.
And,as the hours tick by,the volume increases until you find yourself shouting at the top of your voice just to be heard by the guy sitting next to you.
And there are times when you sit outside Gypsy or Healy Macs and you hear the music from 4 or 5 other bars combine to  produce the most annoying racket.
I know this all sounds a bit "bar-humbug" and you could say if I don't like the loud music go somewhere else. But I do actually like the music.
It's just way too loud.
The problem is that the DJ's just keep turning the volume up on the hour,every hour until the sound is actually very distorted as the loudspeakers in most establishments are domestic,designed for home-use and are not capable of taking the punishment.
Even on a "normal" weekend I've lost count of how many times I have tell them to turn it down.
New Year's Eve was much too loud,much too soon.
And...if you visit any of these bars the style of music that they play early (mainly oldies and rock) suddenly turns into full-on dance music at midnight. Why? The clientele is the same as it was at 11pm.
You can now see that more people chose to sit outside the bars, even on the pavement because inside it is too noisy-and all that happens is that the DJ turns it up even louder so that the guys outside can hear it.
If we wanted loud music we would all be in a club somewhere (where the loudspeakers can cope and don't distort)
And,don't get me started on the RM 50 cover charge that many bars introduced for New Year's Eve.....