Monday, December 19, 2005

Jack's Place, One Utama New Wing

Jack's Place is another eatery that we have been quite eager to try out. Jack's Place has been around for donkey years in Singapore but they've only recently opened up a branch in One Utama's new wing. Like most Malaysians I have been brought up to believe that food from Singapore cannot compare to our Malaysian cooking. Is this indeed a fact? Well everyone knows Malaysia is the food paradise of the world so there's really no sense in comparing :) However, let's give Jack's Place a chance. On with the review:

I'm fairly broke these days and I will continue to be broke till the end of next year. Saving up for something big :) So it was a small relieve that Jack's Place offered lunch sets. Prices range from about RM15 to RM20 per person (as usual I don't remember the exact prices). Each set comes with soup of the day, garlic bread, an entree and is rounded up with coffee/tea and desert of the day. Main course selections vary with each day of the week.

The juice is not part of the set lunch. Soup looks nice doesn't it? The garlic bread was good but the soup was just ok. By the way the drink was lemon orange or something like that. Don't order it! Something about it doesn't taste right.

Sirlion steak with oyster mushroom sauce. I thought it was oyster + mushroom sauce but the two words are meant to be read together ;) Look at how they skimped on that sauce. Not that it mattered anyway because I think they left out the mushrooms when making the sauce. Luckily chilli sauce was within reach.

Chicken with almond sauce. ST liked this one and you can see the almonds in the sauce. I'm no fan of almonds so bleh ;p

A side order that turned out to be an utter waste of money. Mushrooms stuffed with crab meat and baked with cheese. Sure the texture feels like mushrooms but it tastes like cardboard cutouts. I'm not sure if even the venerable chilli sauce can save this dish.

And to round out the set lunch are the ever present coffee/tea and ice-cream. No comments here lah... you get this with every set lunch in every western restaurant in Malaysia.

Conclusion: Jack's Place is a waste of money. Don't think I'll ever go back. Like Dragon-i, some of the new restaurants in One Utama's new wing are turning out to be big disappointments.

posted by wyejon at Monday, December 19, 2005 (permalink) | 8 comments | trackbacks

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Nissin Dog and Panda Noodles!

** Alert: This isn't halal so if you're Muslim don't pick this off the supermarket shelf **

Hehe... how many of you came here from PPS simply because of this post's odd title? Well I meant every word of it. Don't believe me? Take a look...

Introducing the Nissin Dog and Panda Mug Cup Noodle.

The packaging is a little confusing because Nissin could not decide between calling them Mug Noodles or Cup Noodles so they stuffed in all the labels.

Here's what you get in every packet:

Basically there are 4 packets of noodles and 4 packets of seasoning (2 with dogs and 2 with pandas).

Now what the heck do the dog and the panda actually refer to? Surely they can't be serving dog and panda meat, right? Well...

They've got panda heads...

and dog heads :)

Ok so they don't actually contain any actual meat. The animal heads are used to represent some kind of flavours though I have no idea what they are since I can't read Japanese. However, what I can tell you is...

The panda flavour is like eating salt all the way... the dog flavour is a little more clear and thus much more pleasant.

The serving for this thing is extremely small. If you're thinking of beating hunger with this packet of Mug Noodles you're better off having something better like Nong Shim's Shin Ramen.

Still to come:

Fox and pig flavour.

posted by wyejon at Thursday, December 15, 2005 (permalink) | 12 comments | trackbacks

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Boring Chronicles of Narnia


Narnia seems to be getting pretty good reviews all round. Frankly speaking I found it a bore. I can't remember the last time I watched a movie and fell asleep. To Narnia's credit I didn't fall asleep during but that was because I was eagerly awaiting the massive battle scene at the end that I thought would be the movie's redemption. Unfortunately no, Narnia is over two hours of boring scenes of talking animals and bad acting by the child leads.

I've never read the source material by C.S. Lewis so I can't say how faithful the movie was to the book. What I can say though is that if the movie follows the books closely then the books may not be worth reading. If you're turned off by the alleged Christian allegory well I'm pretty sure you won't notice it. People are pointing to the resurrection of a certain character in the movie and going "there... you see... a Christian reference". Well hardly, it's a fantasy story and resurrections are pretty common place. I mean even Gandalf was resurrected before wasn't he?

To summarise the story, it's about a group of four siblings referred to in the movie as two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve. It's probably more accurate if you called them two sons and two daughters of Adam and Eve but that really sounds a lot less cooler. The four children live London during what I think is the Second World War. They are sent off to live with some professor fella in a mansion and it is there where they stumble upon a wardrobe which acts as a portal to another world, namely the perpetually winter land of Narnia.

The winter is not natural. It is fact an effect of the land being ruled by its self proclaimed queen, Jadis the White Witch, a real ice cool queen who wears a crown of ice stalactites. She's played by Tilda Swinton and she's the only character in the whole movie who's worth watching. Anyway there's a prophesy going around that four human children will enter the world of Narnia and release it from the rule of the White Witch. Up till this point your imagination would run wild thinking of how four wee kids will be able to stand up to the queen and her army of minotaurs, cyclopses, wolfs, polar bears, etc...

Well the thing is the four children are basically useless. After going through the movie you can't quite figure out they actually helped anyone to defeat the queen. Basically the only one who does any work in the movie is the rightful ruler of Narnia, the Lion King Aslan who is voiced by Niam Leeson. Sure Liam has a commanding voice. Pity that the lion is animated awfully. The lion basically looks out of place in every scene he's in. He's a constant blur of flur. The only time I felt the lion looking realistic was when he was given the Gillette treatment (i.e. without his mane).

Of the four children the eldest one is seen leading the army into the final battle but we never see him making any strategic decisions. It's like they just went into the battle without any planning at all. He basically rides around in his unicorn and swings his sword around. The younger boy basically stands atop a cliff and commands the archers to fire... once. Of the two girls, one is an archer and the younger one carries a knife. The archer shoots her arrows twice in the movie while the little girl does nothing with her weapon. You see they hardly do any killing and they don't even provide any kind of leadership. The movie basically could do without the kids. Don't even get me started with who kills the White Witch in the end... nope it's not one of the kids. Like I said, they're useless.

Another thing that really bugged me was the music. It's awfully out of place especially during the earlier parts of the movie. It's hard to describe what's wrong but basically the music is a little too contemporary. There's also an awkward appearance by Santa Claus who acts as an arms dealer to the kids.

Now if you're still planning to watch the movie, stay for the credits. There's a little bit more story there.

posted by wyejon at Monday, December 12, 2005 (permalink) | 6 comments | trackbacks

An afternoon in Sentul West

Sentul West is a beautiful place. I mentioned in my previous blog entry that Sentul West is a high class residential property development by YTL Group. Well at least that's what I think it is... cause I didn't see any homes when I went it. Maybe they're not up yet. Regardless what's already there is the KL Performing Arts Center, Sentul Park (with it's own little lake), a Koi farm and Yuritei Japanese Restaurant.

It's worth going in just to pose for a few photos. In fact when me and ST were there that day almost everyone we saw there had a camera :)

There are a few ponds in the vicinity... great thing is that they're all well maintained. Look at that huge filter thingamajig at the back.

These are big ass carps. I bet they cost thousands of ringgit each. I've got a feeling that KY fella might have a good time here.

This samurai armour is located inside a Japanese hut which I guess the people who sell the carps use as an office. It wasn't open that day so I took this picture through a window hence the flash reflection you see on the right.

They have some Zen rock garden thing going on too. What's missing are the raked lines. Maybe they didn't have enough money to hire a Buddhist monk ;)

Playing around with the macro zoom to capture an image of ants hard at work. What's that they're carrying?

Not sure if you can make that out but that's a sofa made of steel wires.

And here are sofas made of stone!

Here's KLPAC. I like the wines that creep downwards from the building.

The entrance to KLPAC.

They have a few abandoned/ruined factories in the area. Worthy of some photography if you're interested. This one here is undergoing some restoration work. Not sure what they plan to do with it.

posted by wyejon at Monday, December 12, 2005 (permalink) | 4 comments | trackbacks

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Yuritei Japanese Restaurant, Sentul West

ST and I first noticed this restaurant when we saw a sign in front of Lot 10's entrance advertising a Japanese restaurant with food that costs about RM15 per person which is not uncommon for Japanese dining in Malaysia. Funny thing was that the restaurant was located nowhere near the Bukit Bintang area.

Rather it was in Sentul or to be specific in Sentul West, one of YTL group's high-class residential projects. If you're familiar with the area around Jalan Ipoh, you can't miss the entrance (you'll know when you see it). Anyways just drive in past the guard house and follow the signs leading to the KL Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC). Once you reach KLPAC you can see the restaurant right at the end. There's also a Koi farm there with loads of Japanese carps.

The restaurant is uniquely housed in a Japanese hut.

Another shot of the restaurant.

The restaurant serves noodles (ramen) and some varieties of rice with a limited selection of sushi and temaki. Expect to spend about RM20 per person. Food will be about RM15 while drinks are at an overpriced RM5 average. Why overpriced, you ask? How many other places charge you RM5 for a cup of Green Tea?

Orange juice, RM6 each. I think they came from a Sunkist orange pack ;)

Here be the chilli powder people usually add to their ramen. The white powder is pepper.

Kimchi Ramen. The kimchi taste could have been better but the ingredients they put with the ramen is good. Besides from kimchi there was seaweed, prawns, egg and even bamboo shoots. The prawns weren't fresh but it was a very filling bowl of noodles.

Something that I can't help ordering... gyoza. The filling tastes good. There's a veggie in there that most other places will not put. Not sure what it's called in English but in Cantonese it's called 'Gau Choi Far'.

Garlic Fried Rice with Fried Chicken. Best thing about this dish was actually the Miso Soup... where you can find some carrots, radishes and bamboo shoots.

Drop in to Sentul West some time to take a look and if it's lunch time go try out Yuritei. It's a little expensive but the food is worth it if only because they do things a little better than most Japanese Restaurants out there.

More about Sentul West in my next post.

posted by wyejon at Sunday, December 11, 2005 (permalink) | 7 comments | trackbacks

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Bleach #60 dropped the bomb!

Holy Flying Spaghetti Monster... if you've been following Bleach as I have episode #60 drops a major BOMB!!! If you've ever wondered who the tok dalang (which in this context can be translated as the orchestrator) behind the whole save Rukia story arc is then you owe it to yourself to catch this episode NOW! Go go watch it... man... it was shocking! Think Ichimaru Gin is really evil? Well he is but are things as simple as they seem? Episode #60 explains quite a bit and you'll definitely want Episode #61 immediately... only problem is that it doesn't come out till next week. Damn.

Bleach is the best Naruto replacement there is... what with Naruto going into an endless cycle of crappy fillers. I'm sleeping through my Naruto episodes and not even bothering to rewatch the episodes I slept through. Unfortunately I'm hearing rumours that Bleach is going into the filler cycle as well... probably after this story arc is done and over with. Oh well... Bleach fillers tend to be quirky one off affairs. I do love the Don Kanonji fillers but the rumour indicates 20 plus filler episodes and well that's just distressing news :_(

But hey... don't be discouraged. Bleach is a great anime. The animation is great... the music is great and the world of the Shinmigami (Death Gods) is fascinating. Unfortunately the anime starts off really slow but picks up steam from Episode #20+ onwards and doesn't let go. Go give it a try.

posted by wyejon at Wednesday, December 07, 2005 (permalink) | 5 comments | trackbacks

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Delifrance, Sungei Wang

Delifrance is undergoing another change in concept. The queue up sandwich bars are gone. Instead now you get to sit down, order the food and have it served to you... well not exactly. You see what happens is you sit down, peruse the menu and fill up an order form. What you do next is you bring the order form to the cashier, make your payments and sit your ass down till the food comes. If you opt for plain water instead of the overpriced drinks they have on the menu, expect to kindly remind the waiters a few times to get your lemon laced plain water :)

I think the change in concept is being implemented in stages. The Sungei Wang store has been upgraded and currently the Delifrance in One Utama is being renovated. Basically what they've done is to cut down on the amount and variety of bread that you can buy off counter opting instead for a more dine-in feel. Unfortunately the kaya and garlic butter french loaf which I really liked seems to be gone. However the menu they have now is quite impressive. Do check it out if you have the time.

They have some daily pasta sets which gives you a pasta (either spaghetti or fettucine) with a choice of either one of two choices for the day plus a soup of the day. Sandwich sets are also available which is great because I love my Delifrance egg croissant.

Fettucine with Thai Green Curry Chicken

Yummy egg croissant

ayez un bon repas

posted by wyejon at Tuesday, December 06, 2005 (permalink) | 7 comments | trackbacks

Monday, December 05, 2005

Taiping Lang Restaurant, Puchong Jaya

Taiping Lang is an oddly named, newly opened restaurant located in one of the recently completed shophouses in Puchong Jaya. To me the food seems like it's Peranakan (baba and nonya) style. I didn't ask the waiters because they seemed to only speak Mandarin which I'm really bad at. The great thing about this place is that they have 4 different sets catering for up to 4 persons to make your life easier. Another nice thing is that they keep asking to refill your rice bowl which is cool because they don't charge extra. But how's the food you ask? Well the taste is nothing out of the ordinary but the restaurant did surprise us a little. Read on to find out more.

We went there to celebrate mum's birthday which falls on the 29th of November. Regular readers might remember my birthday falling on 21st November. Incidentally my brother's birthday falls on 5th November. What a coincidence, eh?

My brother Joe, me, mum and dad.

And here's what came with the set we ordered. It cost about RM50 excluding drinks.

A bowl of rice and a bowl of (tasteless) soup for each person.

Some fried thingamajig. Nice meaty filling.

Curry chicken. A little bland.

And the surprise?

Cucumbers with ladies fingers (okra) with some kind of condiment.

As you can see the serving was hardly enough for 4 persons. Plus that last dish can hardly be qualified as a real dish. I left the restaurant full but only because I had 4 bowls of rice that day :) lol... Conclusion: Expensive place with small serving and so-so taste.

posted by wyejon at Monday, December 05, 2005 (permalink) | 12 comments | trackbacks

Sunday, December 04, 2005

SPL is easily the best Hong Kong movie of the year

Simon Yam, Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen.

"That guy's so badass that he knocked out the suspect with a single punch and left the man insane". That's basically how Donnie Yen's character is introduced in director Wilson Yip's SPL (Sha Po Lang in Mandarin). Donnie Yen is best known as Jet Li's nemesis in the Wong Fei Hong movie; Once Upon a Time in China II (Trivia: did you know that Donnie Yen is over 40 years old?).

Donnie Yen is the most criminally underused kung fu actor in the world although he's pretty successful these days. Like many Hong Kong actors he's had some work in Hollywood notably in Blade II and the Jackie Chan vehicle; Shanghai Knights. This guy has been around for quite some time but he's never had a starring role worth remembering... until now. Donnie Yen gets busy kicking ass but he's still got enough time to throw in a few of his trademarked smug poses.

The other surprise of the movie is Sammo Hung's excellent performance as a vengeful and unforgiving underworld kingpin who's a nice guy to his family and his family only. Sammo has been out of movies for so long I can't remember his last notable role. But watch him in SPL and the thing you're most likely to remember about him is that he's the most nimble fat man in the world! Oh and you don't ever wanna mess with him.

Lastly we have the ever dependable Simon Yam who can probably win awards for acting while he's sleepwalking (although he gets snubbed for awards pretty often). Simon Yam's a little out of place in the movie as he's the only main star in the movie who has no kung fu background. It's fine though because he's not required to fight in the movie. In fact the most fighting you see Simon Yam doing in the movie is to pickup a golf club and threatening to use it :)

Also worth mentioning is Jacky Wu Jing who's being touted by some as the next Jet Li but I'm not sure I agree. Jacky plays an assassin in Sammo Hung's employ. Jacky has a big fight scene with Donnie which is set in a alley. I read somewhere that this particular scene was not choreographed... which means both stars went at it for real. Pretty interesting fight but the best fight awards still belong to Donnie vs. Sammo's fisticuffs.

The great thing about SPL aside from the fights and the great acting is the story that glues all of them together. Our movie begins with a team of policemen led by Simon Yam escorting a star witness in order to proscecute Sammo Hung's character and put him behind bars indefinitely. Well things don't turn out well for the policemen and the witness is killed. Lacking evidence, Sammo is set free and Simon Yam finds out he's a terminal case due to cancer of the brain.

Three years later Simon Yam is one day from retiring from the force. The very next day he's supposed to hand over the reigns to Donnie Yen. But that's the least of his problems. Sammo Hung's still free and there's nothing Simon can do about it. Well if that was there is to the movie it would have been pretty boring.

Hell no... a chance pops up for Simon's team to proscecute Sammo only they have to twist the facts a little to make it work. Sammo's not too happy and retaliates. Donnie's not supposed to be involved with team affairs yet but he joins in anyway. Guns go off... bullets tear flesh... knifes get thrown... people die... tables break... chairs break... people die... kick kick... punch punch... people die... that's basically what SPL is about but it's a hell of a ride and I have renewed faith in the Hong Kong film industry.

Do yourself a favour and watch it in the cinemas. Some parts of the film were left on the editing room of our favourite Film Censorship Board but with the exception of one scene involving the deaths of two major characters the censorship is bearable.

posted by wyejon at Sunday, December 04, 2005 (permalink) | 10 comments | trackbacks

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