Friday, December 24, 2010

The Red Victorian Bar/Bistro

Situated just around the corner from Havana on Changkat Butik Bintang,opposite the Chinese Temple,The Red Victorian has been open for a couple of weeks now.
It's a Bar/Bistro with a rustic/simple feel to it.
It's always good to see new places opening-and even if I don't like them,I always wish them well.
The Red Victorian (yes,it is painted red) is going to need to do something a bit special in order to attract a good crowd and I'm not really sure what that will be.
The only draft beer they sell is that disgusting Starker/Jaz. I don't think I need tell you how bad that is.
Bottled Beers are available at around RM15.
The food menu is nothing to shout about and is a bit "so what"..It's also fairly limited in choice.
There is the compulsory Pasta section that every restaurant in KL seems to offer and then one beef dish.a chicken and a fish etc etc...
It's like they're offering something of everything but don't really have an identity or uniqueness.
I think they're trying to recreate a relaxed,casual atmosphere.The furniture is functional but the outside seats are those horrid Starbucks style steel chairs that cut-off blood circulation to your legs.
And because there is so much competition on the street they will have to do something a bit special to get bums-on-seats.
At the moment it looks like only the owners friends go there...maybe that will change over time.
As I said,I wish them well but I don't see a reason to spend any money here yet.

UPDATE 20/3/11
The Red Victorian is now under new management.
The people at Gypsy Bar have now assumed the managerial role at the Red Victorian.
Gone is that disgusting Starker Beer to be replaced with a mug of Tiger at RM 10 net-probably the best value for money around Chankgat Bukit Bintang at the moment.
There have been changes to the menu, it's still fairly limited but has a few interesting items (Spanish Sausage and stuff like that).
When I dropped-by it was still fairly quite but seemed to be picking-up a little.
Knowing how successful Gypsy Bar has become,compared to what was there before (Hemingways) then maybe in a few months Red Victorian will be full!
Anyway, Good Luck to them!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Xmas Lights at Pavilion Shopping Mall (part II)

I had to go back to Pavilion at night to see what the Xmas lights looked like....not as impressive or tacky as I thought they would be....But...
What has happened to Bukit Bintang?
I've always thought it was a bit tacky at night with all the foot-massage places,pimps and taxi-drivers touting for business as I've mentioned before but take a walk between Pavilion and Lot 10 on the side of the street with all the Middle Eastern restaurants and you'd be amazed at how grubby,tasteless and depressing it has become...there's a row of of Middle Eastern beggars with their children and a few touts selling fake and/or stolen watches.handphones and's like a mini-thieves market.
Now,as all this happens on Kuala Lumpur's main shopping street right next to the Millennium Hotel I can only assume that the authorities are aware of it and let it carry-on to provide a service to tourists,as they think that it's what tourists want to see....

You get that real third-world experience on Bukit Bintang of finding High-end expensive fashion like Gucci and Hermes shops right next to a guy sitting on the pavement selling fake watches.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Nyonya Curry Laksa @ Precious Restaurant,Central Market Kuala Lumpur

I have generally avoided noodle-soup type dishes in the past,not because I don't like them but because I can't eat the bloody things as my chopstick skills are not sufficiently developed to grasp the slippery noodles.
I end up wearing more food than I've eaten and get really sulky and ratty!
However,on a recent visit to the tacky Central Market I stumbled across Precious Nyonya Restaurant,on the first floor at the front of the building and for a change I ordered a bowl of Nonya Curry Laksa.
It was gorgeous!
And I ditched the twig-technology of chopsticks and used a fairly modern invention of a fork and spoon and was able to eat the dish and not wear it.
The restaurant was a real discovery for me...There are very,very few places in town where you can get good Malay or Nyonya food ( a sort of hybrid Malay/Chinese cuisine) and to find this restaurant right in the heart of the tourist belt was surprising in that a) The food was great and b) It was patronised by many locals,so you knew it was not just serving bland crappy food to tourists who don't know any better.
The decor was interesting with old antique furniture,the service was average,the prices were OK but the food....yeah! the food was great!
A good friend of mine used to rave about Curry Laksa in Singapore and I never tried it because I knew I couldn't master the skills to eat it's taken me 10 years to try it....what a waste...Nyonya Curry Laksa is a bowl of coconut flavoured curry soup with noodles,bean sprouts,tofu, fish balls,prawns and a hard-boiled egg and a few green beans floating on top.
What makes it fantastic is the flavour and smell of the curry sauce.
I can't recommend this highly enough and I want another bowl...right now....
You can find many Laksa dishes in the foodcourts of most shopping malls....but it will not taste anywhere near as good as this.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show 2010

The last time KL held a Motor Show was about 5 years ago...I can remember being amazed by the way the public were allowed to get up close and personal to the cars on show and how many cars were covered in greasy,sticky finger-prints....and how many guys pretended to take a snap of a car but accidentally pan left and take a picture of the glamour-model posing next to the car instead.
So,five years later,what's changed is that most cars were displayed behind red-rope and you had to ask to sit in them...It was a little more sedate and well-behaved than previous and although the newspaper said that 28.000 people attended on the opening day,it didn't feel like it.
The show was mainly a vehicle(pun intended) for local companies and their international marques....there was no Alfa,Bentley,Bugatti,BMW,Citroen,Ford,Jaguar,Land Rover,Mercedes,Porsche,Renault,Volvo or even Volkswagen present...Indeed Volkswagen chose to launch their new cars at a street party on Changkat Bukit Bintang a month earlier rather than attend an International Motor Show.
What you got was Proton and their Lotus offshoots and Perodua,Hyundai,Kia,Honda and Toyota as well as Naza and their branded Peugeot's and their exotic brands of Maserati,Ferrari,Aston Martin and the only new Rolls Royce Silver Cloud in the country,a really ugly brute of a car by the way,as well as their bike-brands of Harley Davidson,Ducati,Apprila and Vespa(!)
Interesting to note that although there were some hot,cute and even elegant female models posing with the cars that Naza's exotic and expensive section had a a guy standing there,as if to say "We don't want to lower our brand by having girls drape themselves over it"
Admission was RM15 and it took about 90 minutes to slowly wander around the 4 exhibition halls.
It was a bit disappointing,I was expecting more marques but it was OK-ish
Of the 100 or so cars on display I would think that at least half of them were not real....they were design concepts or Work-in-Progress-not yet available,like the new Lotus Elite.
It would have been nice to see a few racing cars and some classic/vintage models.
If you want to drop-by,it's held at the PWTC
until 12th Dec.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Healy Macs Changkat Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur

Healy Macs has been open for about a year and I must say that when it first opened I was fairly non-plussed about it....yet another Irish Bar in KL....It was all a bit predictable and delivered exactly what you would expect...
I'd drop by on a very infrequent basis,mainly to watch late-night F1 races (Canada and Brazil) or some very disappointing World Cup clashes (England v Germany;which surprisingly my German friend rather enjoyed-can't think why....)
However,I've got to say that after spending a very enjoyable Monday night there that I'm quite impressed with the place!
And not just because the quiz team I was with won 10 free beers-although that was a bonus!
I think that the secret to Healy Macs is that, pure-and-simple.. it's an honest-to-goodness Pub.
Not pretentious in any way. Not full of posers or wanna-be gangstas.
Just full of people enjoying the beer,the food and the atmosphere,or "craig" as it's called in Ireland.
The staff are friendly,well-trained and attentive without being pushy and you don't have to shout for service.
I still think that the beer is a bit pricey at RM 11.50 ++ for a mug of Tiger but at least it's now the same price all night.
They also have lots of deals and special offers going on, so look at all the blackboards before you order,for example 2 pints of Tiger at RM 25 or a bucket of 5 Tiger Crystal at RM 55 nett is pretty good.
Other nights it's "buy 2 get 1 free"...or some other promotion.
It always gets a good crowd and can get very lively indeed,the later it gets.
What I also like is that their website (click the title above to link) publishes all the prices-a nice touch.
Guinness drinkers say that they pour a perfect pint.
The food is pretty good as well,with big portions on offer.
Healy Macs has been so successful within it's first year that I was informed that they will be opening bars in:
Kertih,Penang,Malacca,JB,Sri Hartamas and Kota Kinabalu.
And Good Luck to 'em!
Now have to revise for next Monday's Quiz Nite.....