Posts Tagged ‘Bangsar’

Pulse of The Press Room.

June 6, 2010

Here comes the beginning of the month, when paychecks have just been cashed in. It is also the middle of the year already. Oh, how time flies. The good news is, half of the year’s worries and troubles are over and done with already.

How about a little ‘celebration’ to give yourself a pat on the back for surviving the first 6 months of 2010? Or perhaps just something to treat yourself and your friends to since you now have some extra dough with you?

The Press Room is no stranger for fellow Bangsarians, as well as any KL-ites who enjoy good Anglo-French cuisine and a good atmosphere to be in over the weekends. It is also a commonplace for wine enthusiasts with the restaurant’s abundant collection of the world’s best wines hanging off the shelves.

For starters, there is Escargot Gratinés with Bleu Cheese Butter (RM26).

Or in English, snails.

OK, I know it does not really sound appeasing knowing what it really is. Fact is, I did not even know what I put in my mouth that day either until I babelfished what ‘Escargot’ meant today. But I suppose it was quite an interesting dish. Just as long as I do not eat too much of it.

The dish is prepared in a famous French culinary technique known as gratin, whereby it is cooked under an overhead grill until the toppings of breadcrumbs, bleu cheese and butter is brown and golden. The texture is slick and juice, and the gratin toppings just make everything go down smoother.

There is also Salmon Tartare (RM32) for starters. What better way to start off your course with some finely chopped raw salmon that tingles your tastebuds with its sweetness? The juicy meat, heightened by the seasonings, will awaken your senses to get you all ready on what is to come.

If you are up for some seafood, might we suggest Moules Marinières, Frites (RM30), or fried marine mussels.

I have never been a fan of shellfish. I have to at least be eating them with something else, like pasta or risotto, so I do not throw up. But surprisingly, I loved this dish. The buttery and cheesy sauce kept things fresh for the palette and I am gunning down one after another pretty fast. Definitely something to share with a friend or two.

For something from the grill, Duck Breast à l’orange (RM45) is the dish to go for.

If you have never been a duck fan (because of that ‘duck smell’), you will probably learn to love it here. The so-called ‘duck smell’ is pretty much non-existent – not that I have a problem having it around anyway, and the zesty orange flavour highlights the juicy and tender meat texture.

The Cheese Platter for two (RM42) is perfect to kick start or finish up your meal, or even just to have something to chew on.

Feta cheese, goat cheese and bleu cheese, with complements of crackers, nuts and fruits to reset your tastebuds to end things pretty like the pretty bow for the final touch of your Christmas present.

Too bad we were not given any desserts to try out. It already sounded so yummylicious on the menu itself. So, perhaps some other time, I shall stop by solely for their Crème Brûlée or – gasps – Chocolate Volcano (RM16 each), Lemon Meringue or Peach Melba (RM12 each). Yums.

Also, being called The Press Room and all, wine aficionados will definitely have a field day with their wine list is extensive and superb with a wine collection from all over the world. Reds, whites, champagnes, sparklings, magnums, desserts – you name it, they will probably have it.

Call for any of the waiters or waitresses in The Press Room, as they are all trained to help you with recommendations on what to go best with your selected dishes for the day/night.

Things are quieter in daytime at The Press Room. Although it is located by the busy traffic light of Jalan Maarof, the greeneries that surround the mall seem to filter out the gridlock like a solid wall, leaving patrons in the restaurant  a serene and tranquil atmosphere to enjoy your morning coffee or tea.

Spend your early hours at the al-fresco area enjoying a cuppa while flipping through the Sunday papers alone, or with plenty of company over a feastful luncheon after a fun Saturday night out.

By nightfall, it is said that The Press Room is the place to be to see and to be seen. So guys, give yourself an extra dab of that musky cologne and polish up your charming smile, and ladies, it is the time to put on that sultry body-hugging black dress and dreamy mascara – go all out to look your best while you are dining in one of Bangsar’s bests.

The deep red timber wood complements the sensual colours of golden orange bouncing off the walls set you in the mood for love – or lust, if you must – as you toast to your friends and loved ones the clink of their best house wines meticulously selected from their brewery.

It does not matter whoever you are and whomever you are with: whether you are a guy and you are out with your guy friends for a guys’ night out, or a lady with your lady friends for a girls’ night out with good food, wine and company; someone who would like to lavish your date with something above the class, or a special family dinner to celebrate your grandpap’s 50th birthday – The Press Room fits the picture perfectly.

++
The Press Room
Bangsar Shopping Centre
Lot G110, Ground Floor
Jalan Maarof
Bangsar
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Opens everyday @ 12PM-2AM
T: +6 03 2095 8089
F: +6 03 2095 1089
W: http://www.gastrodome.com.my

When I grow up, I wanna be like David Corio.

April 27, 2010

Event: CONVERSE and Jam Division presents Youth/Decay: Iconic Rock & Roll Photography Exhibition
Date: April 24, 2010 (Saturday) – May 5, 2010 (Wednesday)
Venue: Zinc Art Space, Bangsar

I am hopeless when it comes to music instruments. I was naturally enrolled for piano lessons after my sister when I was 5, only to quit the moment I finally got myself to Grade 8. Better half of my high school days was spent on the school band, only to pay more attention with complicated formations, and to convince apathetic juniors to stay focus and not quit, instead of working on my flute. I also distinctively remember my flute solo being matter-of-factly given to another better player in an orchestra performance years ago. And I never learned to play the guitar, only air guitar – with my left hand.

What are we musically challenged bunch left but our abundant CD collection, a good ear to sift out the good from the bad, and a good eye, to perhaps someday capture moments like these captured by one of the best music photographers out there – David Corio.

After the hype from the exhibition launch the previous night had died down, what was left were the few photography fans, armed with their own DSLRs, with ears on attentively to hear Corio share his stories with famous musicians, while sauntering about the gallery, hoping to take good shots of Corio’s best shots without looking too much of a fool.

I know I felt that way. So, do forgive me if the photos in this entry look weird or amateur (if they aren’t already in general); I did feel intimidated just being in the same room with his photos, let alone being in the same room with him.

The better part of the crowd has left when I arrived later that day. Which was a good thing, since I do not really like crowds. The spacious art gallery left ample space for patrons to move around without obstructing the view of others checking out the photos on display.

To set the mood, drifting in and out from the background was the distinguishable voice of Kelly Jones, only all too appropriate for two reasons: that Stereophonics will be stopping by Malaysia themselves in a few days. And that it is an iconic rock & roll photo exhibition – someday, perhaps, in one of the photos Kelly Jones will sport his leather jacket and Ray Ban shades as he rocked out his solo in Superman. Click. Frozen in time.

With every photo displayed on the wall, Corio told a story behind it. How they were taken, when they were taken. A picture of Eric Clapton actually smiling and letting loose backstage before a gig. An overlapped expose of The Cure, done accidentally, purposely, in a concert setting much too inconvenient for any photographer. A closeup shot of Deborah Harry he took, while the other photographers moved further behind for theirs, and even got a cuffing in the head himself for not following suit.

One of Tom Waits by his piano, too grainy but too perfect to be thrown away. One of Michael Jackson, taken for that split second when he took off his sunglasses and looked back at the flashing cameras – almost scared. That one frozen frame of Bob Marley with his dreadlocks flung in the air like a spider’s legs.

All 36 photos on display during the exhibition are for sale. Some of them cost RM1,800, most of them RM2,000. The thought of looking at some 20 photos that costs as much as the camera I hold in my hands each. Wow.

I noted a few favourites while I was browsing. Two of which were the ones above of Bob Marley and Joe Strummer.

Another is this of AC/DC. I just love photos of musicians and their guitars.

And this of Nick Cave and his long-time collaborator Mick Harvey.

So. Birthday presents for me, anyone? I’d love you forever. Heh.

A plus for showing up that Saturday was that David Corio was there too. He hung back after having a one-hour talk on photography and his works, doing interviews, perhaps even autographs and taking pictures with people.

I even managed to get him to pose with the famous U2 photo he did, which also made the cover of their U218 Singles compilation album, before striking up the courage to shake his hand and introduce myself. Quite a well-mannered guy, with a notable gap between his bucked teeth and talking British with a sort of lisp. I have never been one to come up impromptu conversations. Only managed a lame: “It’s nice to meet you. Your photos are really great.” Meh.

If you are a fan of old rock & roll music, or love photography, or just like to purchase expensive photos out of spite, I would suggest you to stop by this photo exhibition. It is not everyday someone like Corio, who has rubbed shoulders with famous musicians we have only been listening to on the radio, stop by. If you don’t get to meet him in person, it’s still quite a nice trip to Zinc on a weekend.

Someday.

++
Zinc Art Space

Lot 61 Jalan Maarof (opposite Dataran Maybank)
59000 Bangsar
Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
T: +6 03 2282 5388
F: +6 03 2284 8044
W: http://www.zinc.com.my

Youth/Decay: An Iconic Rock & Roll Photography Exhibition
Exhibition date: Apr 24 – May 5, 2010
Business hour: 12PM-6PM; closed on Sunday
Admission: Free

PS: Also, if you are a fan of music photography, might I suggest checking out those by the late Jim Marshall. This is my favourite of Keith Richards. RIP.

Hunting for Food – NOT.

October 5, 2009

Also guest blogging at Backseat Radio: Here comes a regular.

—–

Event: Klang Valley Food Hunt 2009
Date: October 3, 2009 (Saturday)
Venue: Around Klang Valley

We have been trying to go on a food hunt for the longest time now, but it always never seems to fall through. So, when we caught wind of the Klang Valley Food Hunt, organised by Time Out Solutions and Rasa Rasa, we thought this was a good excuse to skip a working Saturday and take part in a long day of chow time.

Initially, I thought it was going to be an Amazing Race kind of food hunt, where we go around town in search of restaurants where we would be doing a series of food challenges like eating nasty food or making hard to make dishes or maybe chow down some food at some obscure restaurant we never knew of.

Boy, was I wrong.

Two days before the hunt, there was a briefing going on in Taman Tun and we got some goodies, as well as a quick low down on what the food hunt was all about.

A decorative leaf pot, which is not a car freshener and does not move, a torchlight-screwdrivers kit, a Man Utd player figurine, which Vincent immediately chucked aside because of his animosity towards the football team, some free samples of instant coffee and oatmeal, Nagomi food vouchers and KVFH bumper stickers for the participating cars.

The one thing everyone moaned about was the need to gather at the start off point at 6ish in the morning. The night before, some of us were out partying and allegedly, one of us came straight for the hunt after clubbing. I, for one, puked at the club, so yeah. And the need to down a can of bad coffee just to stay awake throughout the hunt was equally as nauseous. Bah.

In total, there were about 140 cars participating for the hunt, which is safe to say there were approximately 500 participants. There were two teams of four for us. At the very last minute, one from each team had to back out, one of whom had to tend to his very sick ferret, so that evened us out to three per car.

We were #89 – Edward, Ariel and Nicholas, and #90 – Vincent, Thomas and me. We also honoured Billy’s ferret by calling our team ‘The Dead Ferret’. Heh.

Because the day before everyone was busy with work and some could not come in to the office, thus, they did not get to have a glimpse of the briefing notes till that morning. As we huddled together waiting for the final briefing for that morning, it felt as if we were back in high school, doing the usual last minute cramming before an exam. Heh.

We were also encouraged to dress to impress to win the best dressed team. Some came as chefs, some came as Santa Rina’s, while some came in cowboy hats and wearing sarungs. Heh.

Minutes leading up to the flag off time at 7.30AM, there was a final briefing session before they set us off for our hunt.

Basically, there were two legs.

The first leg involved four locations, Sri Hartamas, Kota Damansara, Damansara Uptown and SS2.

We were handed a bunch of questions that we need to solve when we reached said locations. Now, these questions, are real messed up questions. They were riddles, and half of the time we need to actually rack our brain juice – which was impossible considering it was way early in the morning to do such a thing – to break down anagrams and solve charades. Some were simple, some were just plain mean.

Some questions went like this: “Orang dengar, kami tidak dibenarkan”, “Backcurrent? Park to eat here”, “Turn page, stay alive, go here to be satisfied”, “Mungkin cari makan di sini” or something like that. It was crazy.

And you could not really sit down beforehand over a laidback breakfast to figure out the questions. You had to actually go to the said locations, have a look at what the clues are to pinpoint the answers.

The frustrating thing was that you knew the answers were right in front of you, but you just did not know how to crack the code to find out which one it was. And also when you have gotten the answer right the first time, but because you were iffy so you switched to a wrong answer instead. And also the fact that you were staring at the answer the whole time, and it was so obvious, only you were a little stupid to find out. Meh.

We took quite a lot of time and mental energy for the first leg, and could not really solve some of the questions because we were running out of time.

We were to hand in our answers for the first leg at the mid-leg pit stop – Nagomi at Jaya 33, and over there, we were to take part in a challenge. I was expecting a challenge to down some wasabi-infused sushi, or cook our sukiyaki in the quickest possible way. But, no.

10 pictures were given to us and another competing team, and within 90 seconds, we were to figure out what herbs and spices they were. Real simple, but the time constraint was the pressuring part, and pictures were colourless so it was a little hard in figuring out whether they were mint leaves or parsley leaves, ginger or tumeric or gallangal.

Before we knew it, time was up, and we had to hand in our answers for our questions for the second leg.

This leg, to me, seemed easier than the first. It involved two main locations – behind Jaya 33, Bangsar and Solaris Mont Kiara. And we were given a set of ‘tulips’, which basically were directions to the locations. Initially, I thought ‘tulips’ were stops we had to go through for a series of challenges. Meh.

We did not need much help with the tulips because we kind of knew our way round those locations, so we just needed to know where we should be next to figure out our questions, and we just went there using the quickest route we know of.

There was a congestion in the Jalan Telawi area in Bangsar, and a few teams actually got down from the car to go on foot, figuring out the questions. Thomas and I went on foot as Vincent worked his car out of the traffic to meet us where we would head off next.

Things were quite easy over at Bangsar and Mont Kiara. Bangsar, being like a home turf for Thomas – and also the fact that he seemed to be figuring out most of the questions anyway, heh – and Mont Kiara because Solaris only have so many roads and occupied shops there.

We breezed through these leg and was off in no time.

However, besides doing these, there was a Food Challenge and a Treasure Hunt.

Food Challenge involved the usage of Finder 301, which is a Maxis-based SMS service that offers the closest food outlets or amenities where you shot out the text message. It offers at least three options, each comes with the venue’s address, contact number, as well as a link to a GPS map.

We had to use Finder 301 to look up eight venues – 6 eateries (one of which we had to dine in), 1 ATM/bank and 1 police station along the route of the first and/or second leg. As proof, we had to snap a picture of our search results (to prove that we used the service), and another of our team members posing in front of the venues with our team number – preferably in creative poses.

Oh, and we also needed to develop all 16 photos and hand them in at the finish line. Something Edward, Ariel and Nicholas’ team failed to do so because they could not find the nearest photo developing shop. Darn.

There were quite some complaints on using Finder 301 because the SMS  failed to show results on the locations they were in, and I think Maxis was congested for a while so results came back a little slow.

For the Treasure Hunt, there were three sets of riddles, which were like the leg questions only ten times harder. They were clues to find out what we should get to gain more points.

After spending so much time with the leg questions, we barely had time to finish up the Food Challenge and Treasure Hunt. We only managed 5 venues for the former, and one for the latter, which was wrong anyway. Heh.

We arrived at the finish line in Solaris Dutamas a few minutes after our given time frame. After that, we had to take part in a second challenge, whereby we had to flip a roti canai, spread it out as wide as possible. That was sort of fun.

It was around 2 in the afternoon when everything was done.

They announced the winners during the award dinner that night at 3K Complex in Subang Jaya. They also revealed all the answers for the questions that morning, and there were a lot of forehead smacking and dawning ohhhhh‘s for unfigured questions, and cheers and applause for teams that got the answers right.

Too bad we did not win anything. Meh.

I guess it was something different to do on a weekend, though not something most people would opt to do. But it would be more fun if the ‘food hunt’ actually involved food, instead of things just related or not related at all to food.

Like in 60 seconds, stuff your face with as many sushi as you can, or see how many bean sprouts we can pick out from a bowl of char kuey teow, skewer and grill as many satays as you can, tie up ketupat pouches – I know this one is a toughie because I tried it once and failed majestically – things like that.

But their questions were real refreshing and mind-boggling, I’d give them that. It is quite evident that they have spent an immense amount of time coming up with them, and making sure some are not too tough for beginners, while others are not too piece of  a cake for rookies. So, well done anyway, guys.

Sunday’s Marmalade matinee.

June 15, 2009

Also guest blogging at Backseat Radio: Aimee Mann live in Singapore @ 29 August 2009.

—–

It was another Sunday of nothingness, as I lay in bed trying to decide where to go for a quiet meal for one, when I recalled a sweet little place at the corner in Bangsar Village II, where Leng and I last met up for some afternoon tea a while back. It was also a day to try out new joints and see if I like it, instead of heading for another round of waffles at Deli.cious Cafe.

The place was already rowdy with expats and locals with friends, families and kids. Children were running around the wooden floor, as parents engaged in conversations with one another and read the day’s newspapers while sipping on coffee getting cold, cross-legged.

It was already well past noon when I arrived and the breakfast menu has ended. When at a new place and wary as to what to order, delve for the Chef’s Recommendation. You have half a chance of getting it wrong. So, I ordered a Smoked Salmon Quiche, a baked slice of battered smoked salmon, eggs, peas and whatnot, and a glass of Day Starter, a fruit juice consisting of apples, bananas and strawberries blend.

I stole the cherry tomatoes from the cute salad bowl, and delved into my quiche as I continued on a few more pages of Keruoac’s On The Road.

The quiche was just right: it was not too heavy, the eggs were fluffy on the tongue, and the salmon added a sweet tinge in every bite. I was about to finish it when I wondered if I would ever get filled with this slice, then the tummy took up the stop sign and I was suddenly filled.

The Day Starter was refreshing. Every gulpful was a different taste, sometimes apple, sometimes banana, sometimes strawberries. I could still sip the seedy texture of the strawberries. It was nice and thirst-quenching.

I like it that they have cutesy designs on the wall, and they do not go overboard with it. Even their counter and the cakes they serve are a real eye-catcher too. It definitely gives out an atmosphere where you would see yourself in a sundress, sipping iced tea and enjoying your favourite book.

I also managed to catch some familiar tunes playing in the background. Songs like The Boy Least Likely To’s Be Gentle with Me, The Feeling’s Fill My Little World and The Moldy Peaches’ Anyone Else But You. You know, those adorable and indie ones.

Granted it was first built a family-oriented cafe, so if you cannot stand kids running around and screaming, you may want to avoid the place, especially during weekends. But if you are not too picky, and you like doing funny faces to the babies in trolleys when their moms are not watching, may we suggest our next Sunday matinee at Marmalade?

++
Marmalade Cafe

1F-18, 1st Floor
Bangsar Village II
Jalan Telawi 2
Bangsar Baru
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Opens 10AM-10PM
T: +6 03 2282 8301
E: contact@ilovemarmalade.com.my
W: http://www.ilovemarmalade.com.my

How to teleport – well, almost.

July 13, 2008

Yes, how we all wish we can teleport like Hiro Nakamura of Heroes. If not to the past or the future, but at least just to get from one place to another at the snap of the fingers, and in zilch seconds. Small time travellers don’t just travel long distance to other countries or states, and only hop on airplanes and buses. Sometimes, we have to be our own drivers, figure out the route ourselves and pay up on the insanely high fuel pumps.

So, this is what I think: Why spread out your appointments to different days when you can do them all at the same day to save time in so many dimensions. Sure, there is a line to draw on biting off more than you can chew, but hey, what’s life without a little adventure, especially when there aren’t much to look forward to in your life anymore.

This is how it goes.

1. Making appointments
Consider the travelling time that you will need, and I don’t mean only the time you are going to spend in your appointments, but also how much time you need to get from one place to another. Bring into mind also the rush hours and lunch hours, which you may need to put in an extra half an hour or more, give or take.

Next, consider also the journey path. What is the point of saving time and money if you travel from A to C then back to B but need to get to D and then back to A again. Know the locations of your appointments then arrange them accordingly so that it makes a straight path. Maybe not literally, but straight to not make you go on two trips back to the same location.

I managed to arrange four appointments, which are in three different locations, with two hours apart for each, and all during the office hours, lunch hours included. If you are staying in KL, you would know that Bangsar stands in between Petaling Jaya and the KL city, and you would know as well that during lunch hours (or any fucking hours for that matter), it is a headache to drive in KL. And for someone who doesn’t hail from KL, getting lost is pretty damn easier than getting on the right roads.

So, I decided to start things off from Petaling Jaya, get to Bangsar, then to KL (whereby the two locations are nearby as well), before going back to PJ. OK, so going back to PJ from KL ain’t exactly a joy ride, but one must cut some slacks too.

2. Getting directions
A map directory is always handy, but a GPS will always be handier. But if you don’t have the luxury to afford such expensive gadgets, settle for the next best thing. You can also look for a friend who has grown up in these parts of town, and is more familiar with directions.

For me, I hit up JoeVern, a kid grown up beneath the KL city lights and has – according to him – discovered every nook and cranny possible in Klang Valley. Someone as fluent as he, gave me a rough idea how to get from one place to another, which expressway to hit up, and which route is better to get on to avoid certain gridlocks. Check out the map directory along with his directions and you would already have a next to clear idea of the journey.

3. Pushing appointments forward
Time is crucial, we know that right about now. If it so happens that you manage to wrap up an appointment earlier, why not ring up the next appointment and see if they can push the appointment forward? That way, not only can you get to another location without rushing, you can also wrap things up earlier.

But keep in mind not to push things. You are, after all, riding the waves according to the wind; going against it will just break your sail and capsize your boat. If the appointed person is not free to do so – or just not nice enough to grant you such flexibility – let it be. Just head to the place earlier, hang out in your car to read a book or listen to Death Cab’s new one, or just wander around the mall a little.

4. Biting the right mouthful
If you can’t make it, you can’t make it. If you can’t fit in more than five appointments in the allocated day, you can’t. It’s Murphy’s Law, or some other guy’s law. In fact, it’s common sense, really. Would you date more than three girls simultaneously when you know each need alternate days and your money cannot support it? No. You will, at most, date two girls, and leave Sundays all to yourself. So, same goes for appointments, if you can’t go any more than four appointments a day, give it a rest.

5. Prepping for the journey
The usual drill. Make sure your car is in good condition. Yes, even when it is just travelling in town. And make sure you have sufficient fuel in the car to run for the day. Have your map directory bookmarked, or your directions in close proximity so that you can check them from time to time without getting into an accident. And, don’t be an ass: pull over and figure out where you are if you are lost; don’t just stop in the middle of the road. Ask someone too, if you may. Also, have the appointed people’s contact numbers, just in case you need to call them up.

Have a good book with you in case #3 isn’t possible to carry out. And for a comfortable drive, put in your favourite band to listen to. For me, it was Death Cab’s Transatlanticism, Plans and Narrow Stairs. But hey, each to his own. You can listen to whatever genre of music you like for all I care. As long as it keeps you from getting on a road rage, we on the road at the same time are as happy as you are.

Happy driving!