December 22, 2011

Mindless Choping

I recently called into McDonalds at Harbourfront Singapore and despite the outlet being less than half full I noticed people leaving their bags on seats to reserve them.
This strange practice is common place in Singapore and is known as chopping.

Considering that the place was pretty empty I cannot fathom out why these people are compelled to do this.

Some people here seem to lack real common sense here because Singapore maybe pretty safe but there is no way I’d leave my bags, phone or other valuables laying around.

Is it any wonder that that some people are easy targets when they travel overseas if they like to leave their items laying around unattended.

The cheapest Guinness in Malaysia…. sort of!

I recently came across this and it make me laugh. I’m not sure where it originated from but anybody who isn't a fan of the Air Asia extra charges should read this……

Spare a thought for Uncle Tony F, Chief Executive of ‘Cheapo Carrier Asia…….

Arriving in a hotel in KL Sentral he went to the bar and asked for a pint of draught Guinness. The barman nodded and said, “That will be one Ringgit please, Uncle Tony.”

Somewhat taken aback, Uncle Tony replied, “That’s very cheap,” and quickly handed over his money. “Well, we try to stay ahead of the competition”, said the barman. “And we are serving free pints every Wednesday evening from 6 until 8. We have the cheapest draught in Asia”

“That is remarkable value” Uncle Tony comments.
“I see you don’t seem to have a glass, so you’ll probably need one of ours. That will be three Ringgit please”.

Uncle Tony scowled, but paid up.

He took his drink and walked towards a seat. “Ah, you want to sit down?” said the barman. “That’ll be an extra two Ringgit You could have pre-book the seat, and it would have only cost you a Ringgit” “I think you may to be too big for the seat sir, can I ask you to sit in this frame please”

Uncle Tony attempts to sit down but the frame is too small and when he can’t squeeze in he complains “Nobody would fit in that little frame”.

“I’m afraid if you can’t fit in the frame you’ll have to pay an extra surcharge of four Ringgit for your seat sir” Tony swore to himself, but paid up.

“I see that you have brought your laptop with you” added the barman. “And since that wasn’t pre-booked either, that will be another three Ringgit” Uncle Tony was so annoyed that he walked back to the bar, slammed his drink on the counter, and yelled, “This is ridiculous, I want to speak to the manager”.

“Ah, I see you want to use the counter,” says the barman, “that will be two Ringgit please.”

Uncle’s face was red with rage. “Do you know who I am?”

“Of course I do Mr F”, quips the barman with glee.

“I’ve had enough, What sort of Hotel is this? I come in for a quiet drink and you treat me like this. I insist on speaking to a manager!” said Tony F, raising his voice.

“Here is his email address, or if you wish, you can contact him between 9 and 9.10 every morning, Monday to Tuesday at this free phone number. Calls are free, until they are answered, then there is a talking charge of only 10 sen per second provided you use Toon Talk using other mobile carriers would incur our normal charges of 30 Sen per second”, the barman answered coyly

“I will never use this bar again!”, exclaim the award winning CEO.

“OK Uncle , but remember, we are the only bar in Asia selling pints for one Ringgit…so that Now everyone can drink!”.

November 7, 2011

Airport Lounge Access with Priority Pass

Access to airport business lounges is typically only gained if you are an airline CIP (commercially important passenger) however throughout world there are some shared lounges which you either pay on the door, book a visit using one of the many holiday add companies or join a lounge membership scheme such as Priority Pass.

Being a regular air traveller I try to keep my time at the airport to the absolute minimum and often grab a quick snack/drink on the way though. I'm fortunate that my weekly commute is between Singapore (Changi) and Kuala Lumpur which are two very good airports.

During my usual routine which involves a quick stop here and there followed by a snack (sandwich/burger meal) which costs SGD 7-10 and if there is a queue its very rushed pitstop.

Following my recent protracted delay at Changi I started thinking that things things would be easier if I can get lounge access so that I can just sit down, relax and nibble on some snacks.

In some previous roles I was fortunate to travel business class on a regular basis and become accustomed to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse and the Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge however those privileges have long since passed.

After some research I found that the Priority Pass Membership scheme looked good and offered several membership plans based around usage including an unlimited visit plan. Some further searching led me to some discount codes which gave USD 80 discount on the first year as well as renewal making the total cost per year at USD 319.

Whilst this is no small sum I estimate that I will use the lounges 65+ times per year which equates to around USD 5 per visit.

Not all of the lounges offer alcohol however the Plaza Premium lounge has a beer tap and when a pint of beer in the bar opposite will cost around USD 10+ the Priority Pass membership starts look very good value.


Now when my wife (The Lady in Seat 12B) found out the conversation went along the lines of, you have bought what? why do you need this because the trip is only short? makan why do you need to makan at the airport, why do you  etc etc  etc......

The conversation carried on until I made it clear that any more complaints and the treasury would be carrying out an audit on expenditure at Watsons, Guardian and all the other beauty places frequented over the past 24 months following which a reluctant approval was given... sweet!

October 7, 2011

Good Service @ Hup Hoe Electrical, KL

My apartment was completed in 2008 and I needed to get some lights, in fact it was lots of lights for the multiple rooms I have. There are many lighting shops in KL so where do I start as an Englishman because it’s easy to end up paying inflated prices.

The contractor I was using at the time recommended a small simple place called Hup Hoe Electrical in Jalan Ipoh, KL and in addition this there are a couple of other electrical shops nearby so its handy location. I have to say that was initially sceptical when I walked in because it’s just a simple traditional shop but I found the service and prices good so no complaints what so ever.

Fast forward to 2011 we are having some renovation done and needed a few more lights of a similar kind to those purchased from Hup Hoe before. When I visited a few weeks ago nothing had really changed in the shop since 2008 and it was good to be recognised by their staff as a previous customer and then offered several discounts without having to ask.

In Malaysia I sometimes find that the service really sucks but at this shop was its really refreshing to find that I was both recognised and the discount was applied without asking.

Kudus to the team at Hup Hoe Electrical……

October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

So today was the day that Steve Jobs sadly passed away and world lost a great leader of innovation in technology.

Whilst I’m not an owner of any Apple products and to an extent I fail to understand the hype around them I cannot dispute that that Apple have some fine products in their portfolio.

Having been born in ’72 I’ve been lucky enough to witness the birth of home computing and to an extent I’ve been an early adopter in some cases thanks to my wonderful parents. In many instances Apple have been a leader in innovation and seem to be able to deliver what people either want or will want when they see it. I also remember the years when Apple struggled somewhat and its good see them recover.

Today the mainstream media has provided almost blanket coverage to the passing of Steve and its interesting to look back at the early products as well as see a reply of the Iphone and Ipad launches and who would have predicted a phenomenal success that followed those launches. 

But there is one thing there that both disturbs and annoys me immensely about the reaction to Steve’s death. On CNN tonight they are showing articles on the worldwide reaction which included people are leaving flowers outside Apple shops and people who have downloaded apps to show a candle. In addition people were interviewed who seem to have been brainwashed into buying everything Apple and made comments about how Apple has changed their lives etc etc.

My Facebook wall is inundated with messages commenting on the sad news but I can’t help feeling that it’s a massive over reaction.


Steve Jobs was a fantastic innovator and successful businessman but what else? Why is it that he has been elevated to some kind of super hero status?

As per press reports Steve has not donated anywhere near as much money to charitable causes as some other prominent businessmen and Apple has been criticized over its green tech polices as well as questionable ethical issues over the choice of factories and their labour polices in Asia. 

Yes the passing of Steve Job’s is a very sad event but get a grip because there are far bigger more important issues in the world that you should be concerned about.

Whilst I’m a fan of social networking I can’t help feel uncomfortable with the way that everybody seems share their grief on Facebook and Twitter without even thinking about what they are saying or doing.

Now I know I said Im not a big fan of Apple products but I’m thinking about getting a tab at some point , Ipad 2, Galaxy or wait for Ipad 3? At the moment I’m learning to the former when it comes out.
I’m guess I’m beginning to warm to the products a little but I'm more than happy with my Blackberry phone………

October 4, 2011

House Frankfurt @ Bangsar

My first week in Malaysia back in September 2000 was somewhat what of a whirlwind. Coupled with the excitement of exploring the nightlife in my new home and my London colleagues travelling on a business trip to KL at the same time it was a absolutely manic. One of the first places we visited was House Frankfurt in Bangsar Baru and I still remember my lack of enthusiasm as a brit having to visit a German restaurant and bar in Malaysia.

I remember that I enjoyed the food and atmosphere and subsequently returned several times over the following years and was never disappointed.

Bangsar has gone through many changes over the years and despite the nightlife scene effectively ending in 2003/4 there are still some good places to eat and drink and House Frankfurt is one of them still going strong.


I often walk past in the afternoon and see Peter (the owner) give me a wave and feel somewhat guilty that we don’t visit anywhere near as often as we should.

We recently found ourselves in Bangsar early one Saturday evening and decided to call in. A warm welcome was received from Peter and decided to sit at the bar


The drinks selection is not as extensive as some other speciality bars and restaurants although there was no complaints from myself.

For dinner I ordered a bruschetta as an appetiser and a chicken schnitzel as the main course.



The bruschetta was a little plain being serviced on sliced bread but schnitzel and the accompanying potatoes were tasty.



My wife ordered the beef goulash for the appetiser and seafood spaghetti as the main course and found the food tasty. I helped finish the appetiser and concur that it was delicious.

Overall I enjoyed my visit and will return again, hopefully on a more frequent basis

Food/Beverage 8
Ambiance 8.5
Value 8
Service 9

12, Jalan Telawi 5
Bangsar Baru
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel.: +60 (3) 2284 16
Note: Non Halal

September 27, 2011

Laptop Chairs @ Changi Airport

In many airports around the world trying to find a working internet connection is a massive task on its own let alone finding a free connection that actually works.

Changi Airport is undoubtedly one of the top airports in the world and due to its efficiency many travellers arrive check in fairly late and bypass many of its great facilities. As a frequent traveller I fall into this category and from time to time I take notice of the new facilities for travellers.

Free Wifi is available throughout Changi and it actually works well. In addition to this there are several internet points with PC and laptop docking desks available in the quieter corners of the departure lounge. Now if this isn't enough some of the gate lounges also have laptop chairs which contain a power point a a retractable LAN cable.

On one of my recent trips I arrived early at the gate and thought I'd try out the laptop chair and I’m pleased to say that its works well.


Not to be outdone KLIA has finally fixed its free Wifi and it seems to work consistently albeit slowly.

September 23, 2011

Jom Makan @ Westfield, Shepherds Bush, London

People often ask me if I miss the food in the UK and the question usually provokes some deep thought. Whilst I enjoy some of the food especially of the home cooked variety I’m so used to food with full flavours and spices that after a few days back in the UK I feel that something is missing.

After a couple of days back in the UK last March we finally got around to visiting the Westfield mall at Shepherds Bush and I have to confess I wasn’t disappointed. In and around KL we seem to be spoilt with the ever increasing number of mega malls which start to remember integrated cities and usually contain an entrainment centre along with amenities such as valet parking and concierge.

Now finally London has a decent mall it can be proud of and many aspects of Westfield made it feel like I was back home in Singapore or KL especially the huge number or Asian tourists who visit.

As lunch time approached we started looking at what we could eat and my eyes lit up when I found Jom Makan which is a Malaysian restaurant. After a quick scan of the menu I was happy that some of my favourite dishes listed.

Jom Makan  has a sister branch at Pall Mall and I understand that its owned by a malaysian business man however I didn't any remotely Malaysian staff at the restaurant.

The restaurant was very quiet however the interior was pleasant with artistic pictures of Malaysia on the walls and table mats.

IMG_1377_640x480 IMG_1375_360x480 IMG_1372_640x480

I ordered a kari kambing lamb curry) and a roti canai and my wife went for the nasi lamak to be washed down by a teh tarik (hot milky tea
IMG_1355_360x480 IMG_1356_640x480

Kari Kambing
IMG_1364_640x480 IMG_1365_640x480 IMG_1367_640x480

Nasi Lemak

So how was the food?

Whilst I enjoyed my lunch I have to confess that the food was far from perfect. The lamb was very tender and lean however the sauce tasted like it had come from a packet and seemed to be missing some real flavour.

The roti canai was disappointing and I believe that a frozen quick cook product was used which is very poor.

The teh tarik was also a let down and tasted that that made from a packet as opposed to real 1m high teh tarik.

My wife said the nasi lemak was good and that that the quality was generally better than most places in KL.

Whilst I’m critical I have to say that overall it was ok and would probably return but with different expectations and perhaps some things such as the roti I wouldn't order again.

The service was ok although not particularly friendly or engaging which was a shame.

I may return next time I’m in London if I need a food fix but the problem is I’m used to the real kampung food and this doesn’t live up to that and I'm sure that there is better malaysian food in London.

Food/Beverage 6.5
Ambiance 6
Value 6
Service 6.5

Jom Makan (Westfield) Restaurant.
Southern Terrace,
Westfield Shopping Centre,
London W12 7GA
Tel: 020 8735 5870

September 22, 2011

Dinner at NZ Curry House @ Wangsa Maju

One of the great things about the 24hr mamak restaurants is the fact that you could go there for breakfast , lunch and dinner if needed.

For us its not unusual at weekends to call by our local for breakfast and then grab a snack in the evening. My favourite is the large NZ restaurant in Wangsa Maju near Carrefour which I've previously blogged about.

Last Sunday I called in quickly before leaving for the airport and had one of my favourite meals at NZ which is nasi goreng daging merah + telur mata. Translated into english its friend beef rice in a dark red gravy topped with a fried egg.

Of course no mamak meal is complete with a frothy teh tarek.



The food was served promptly and was tasty and the taste is something magic when you break open the egg and it covers the friend rice.

Whilst prices are creeping up in Malaysia these places are still one of the most affordable options to eat out with the food costing RM8 and teh tarik costing a ringgit or so more.

September 18, 2011

Touch n Go Reload Machines

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while and when I saw the issue had been mentioned in the timeout KL’s blog I thought I’d better get this finished.

Like many people in KL I have a Touch n Go card and often despair at how crap the card and associated systems are.

Some of my key frustrations are as follows:
  • No discount on public transport unlike many other countries
  • When using it to pay for other services such as car parking the vendors often add a fee on top so things actually cost more using TnG
  • Unless you top up at a toll or the LRT you incur a service charge
  • The top up system often seems to be offline
  • Top up is only available at LRT stations between certain hours
  • A top up fee is charged when auto reload is used

Rapid KL recently introduced some rather poorly design top up machines at many stations and I thought for a moment that a step forward was being taken. After a very protracted installation I find that the machines are always broken or just displaying Tiada servis’ (no service).

In the rare event that I do find a machine working there is never a queue to use it because most people have given up looking to see if they work and secondly the machines confuse the hell out of most poeple.

If Rapid KL really wants to improve it should fire the people who decided buy these crap machines and hire some people from a place which knows how to run a public transport and smart card system. The Man In Seat 12A has a good suggestion which is to look 330km southeast to a small island called Singapore!

Now finally I think the Timeout KL blog entry really sums up this issue well.

September 14, 2011

Breakfast @ Alexis, Great Eastern Mall, KL

Of the 3 recommended meals per day breakfast is typically my favourite meal even if I do have to wake up relatively early to take it.

Having lived in Malaysia and Singapore for many years I’m as partial to a roti telur + teh tarik as I am to a full English fry up in the morning.

I’m always on the lookout for the ultimate western breakfast but so far I’ve yet to find it. For me the lack of pork isn’t an issue so it's a case of finding a balance between quality vs quantity. Many hotel buffets offer a good breakfast but for the purpose my breakfast reviews on this blog I'll treat them as separate.

Some of the so called expat favourites and not high on my list for several reasons reason, either they are very oily and/or the portions are small and the price is high.

Over the coming weeks I'll try ad review as many places as possible then produce a summary. If anybody wants to recommend a place then free to leave a comment.

One of the places I frequent from time to time which is close to my home is Alexis Bistro at Great Eastern Mall. The Alexis Bistro & Bar has been around for some time and is a popular Jazz club and restaurant is the evenings.


IMG-20110911-00181_640x480 IMG-20110911-00174_640x480

At the weekend the breakfast menu is served from 10:00 – 15:00 and I’ve frequented a few times over the past year or so. During the breakfast hours the restaurant is pretty quiet but dont let this put you off.

IMG-20110911-00175_640x480 IMG-20110911-00176_640x480

During my visit I chose the hearty set with a side order of roasted potatoes


My wife ordered the scrambled egg, bacon, toasted brioche, caramelised fig with wild rocket and seemed to enjoy it.I

I enjoyed the breakfast (as usual) but it did miss the wow factor. The service generally good and food tasty so no complaints. The ambiance is ok however at night when the live acts are on the place really comes alive with great atmosphere.

Food/Beverage 7.5
Ambiance 7
Value 7.5
Service 8

Alexis Ampang
Lot 10 & 11 Great Eastern Mall 303
Jalan Ampang 50450
Kuala Lumpur Tel:
603 4260 2288

September 12, 2011

Some thoughts on 10 years ago

I have trouble remembering what I did yesterday yet my memory of 11th September 2001 is still very clear. It was a day the world changed for the worse and day so many lives were shattered. I was on a home leave trip back in the UK as the attack happened and will never forget feeling when I first saw the planes hitting the WTC.

A few days later I flew back to Malaysia on a very tense flight with hardly a smile from anybody. Apart from increased security in some areas KL was completely normal, which was in stark contrast to the hysteria in the UK press about what life as westerner would be like in a muslim majority country after 9/11.

A lot has happened over the last 10 years in the world and the legacy of 9/11 was felt tonight when I had to go through the usual hassle of the airport security check.

Sitting on my short flight home tonight it was a moment to remember all those lost 10 years ago - RIP.

September 11, 2011

Singapore to KL on MAS and what a disaster it was!

The Man in Seat 12A is back!

As regular traveller I’m well used to flight delays and even the odd cancellation with some of the less well run airlines such as Tiger Airways.

Following a long break from Malaysia Airlines mainly due to cost issues I managed to secure a reasonably priced SIN-KUL return ticket oleaving on the Friday 18:15 flight (MH608). After arranging an early finish I was feeling chuffed because would be home in time supper and I managed to get my usual seat.

Boarding Pass 12a
Upon arriving at the gate despite the screens showing on time I found out that the nice new shiny b737-800 had a delay of 20+ mins.

New Plane

1st delay

Things then took a turn for the worse when the take off was aborted whilst speeding down the runway due to a technical problem.

After parking up for a while we moved to another gate where were kept on the plane for a further 1 hour and occasionally told that they were trouble shooting a technical problem before they decided to offload us.

On the positive side I had lots of legroom in the emergency exit row


I couldn't help look at the SQ/Silk air flights leaving and wish I had travelled on them like I usually do.

Nobody thought to stop the delayed 19:15 flight or even move people to the silk Air fight at 20:00 and to make matters worse the 21:15 flight was almost full so people with MAS connections were prioritised over others.

When I challenged one of the cabin steward's I received as to why we were not updated and the other flight held etc I received a rather condescending response which was met with some comments I’m not proud off.

Upon being dumped back in the terminal a complete lack of information from the ground ensured that the situation was a complete shambles. The ground staff at the gate didn’t want to make an announcement and seemed completely clueless.
Pissed off people
Unhappy passengers

Some people were being rebooked on the 21:15 flight others were told that the flight is going at 22:00 and some were given food and beverage vouchers. After a period of time we were all asked to just go to the food court and show our boarding pass to get a brink and a sandwich.

Again chaos occurred because they don’t sell sandwiches and many people were asking can I have this or can I that

With budget airlines you almost expect a poor service but with a full service carrier such as Malaysia Airlines I expect better.

Fortunately the late night inbound flight which stays in Singapore was used to take us back to KL at approx. 00:40 and the men with spanners were due to work on the broken plane overnight.

Upon boarding the old 737-400 I realised that Seat 12A exist and the cabin crew said that the ground crew should have move my seat.  Fortunately for me that even with the crew of the original flight travelling as passengers there were spare seats for me to take.

So after leaving leaving my office at 16:55 I arrived back home in KL at 02:45 due to a 6:40h delay.

On Saturday I curiously checked the Changi website and found that the early morning flight from SIN-KUL was cancelled. I guess there the plane wasn’t fixed and/or there wasn’t a crew available.

Well done MAS you screwed up my evening as well as a plane full of people on Saturday morning.

September 7, 2011

Still Here

Fear not I’m still arrive and kicking.

Firstly my humble apologies for the break in service. I really can’t believe how time goes and after stopping for a initially for a few weeks to concentrate on a new job I then found myself busy helping the JMC (residents association) for my place in KL and generally falling out of habit of updating this blog.

After a difficult Q2 this year I’m now back and ready to commence my ramblings.

May 8, 2011

Cheese Massage?

I noticed a few of these signs appearing around Wangsa Maju (KL) at the end of last year. It would appear that the idiots who work for the vice syndicates have reached a new low with their standard of english.

Then again perhaps people really do like to be massaged by a block of cheese................

May 6, 2011

The return to the Market Hall restaurant @ The Pavilion, KL

Following my previous article on the Market Hall I’ve been meaning to return for some time however up until recently certain events seemed to have conspired against me. When the restaurant opened there was a fair amount of buzz and although I no longer hear so many people talking about it, my previous review is one of the most popular pages on this site judging by the number of hits that it receives.

Finally on the 2nd May we managed to return for dinner. Due to it being a public holiday the restaurant was pretty quiet and were promptly shown to our table.


I had been looking forward to trying the lamb balti pie and several minutes after the order was taken the waiter returned to inform me that it had finished. To say that I was disappointed was an understatement and I fail to understand why sufficient pie’s can’t be made.

After some deliberation the daily special was recommended which was basically a lamb stew in a tomato based sauce with a poached egg in the middle. My wife ordered the winter risotto and we had an appetiser of cheese filled spring rolls and side orders of herb roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli.

menu  - starter
The service was prompt and the issues highlighted in the previous review didn’t occur which is pleasing.

Complementary bread with dips is served.


A little while after ordering our food I noticed a blackboard containing fish dishes which we hadn’t seen due it being partly obscured by a light fitting. There is no mention of this is the menu , no prompting by the staff so I wonder how the majority of customers notice this.

The starter was an interesting concoction of spring rolls filled with ricotta and gorgonzola cheese and for me it seemed to work well and certainly made a change from the more common style of spring role.


Our main courses arrived together with the side orders which is a rare occurrence in restaurants in this part of the world and is something I prefer when eating western food.

I have to say that I’ve never seen a lamb stew like this one. The sauce was very red and the egg in the middle was most unusual. So how did it taste?


The sauce tasted like a bowl of tomato puree or perhaps a jar of pasta sauce and had a very strong tomato taste. This was overpowering and rather too strong with no real taste of any herbs or spices. The lamb was fairly tender and very lean but couldn’t really be tasted due to the over powering sauce.

The egg seemed to go ok however I could imagine that some people maybe put off my this. The dish to me was a complete let-down and although I had no problem finishing it I would not order it again.

I'm not a risotto fan so it would be a little unfair for me to fully judge this dish. To my wife and I it looked a little uninspiring and the taste was not quite what she was expecting.


The vegetable side orders were simple and tasty and made a nice accompaniment to my bowl of tomato sauce (lamb stew).

Although we like the setting we felt that the food was a let-down this time especially after the good food served the first time we visited. Perhaps we chose the wrong dishes but I’m not so sure.  

I will visit again at some point however with so many restaurants in the Klang Valley it may be a while before I’m back.

Food/Beverage 6
Ambiance 8
Value 7.5
Service 8.5


Market Hall & Bedroom
Lot 6.01.03 & 6.01.04
Level 6 Pavilion KL Shopping Mall
No. 168, Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur

Delicious – Bangsar Village II

A few years ago we seemed to be forever visiting Delicious for breakfast, lunch or tea with the Bangsar Village outlet being our preferred venue of choice. With so many places to eat in the Klang Valley and with places such as Delicious having a queue at peak times its easy to end up skipping a place for several months.


Last weekend after a long absence we returned and had a rather mixed experience at the Bangsar Village outlet. I had no intention of blogging my visit but the experience left me so disappointed that I changed by mind.

After being left standing at the front for a few minutes whilst ignored by several members of staff we were finally called through and shown to one of the small tables adjacent to the glass wall separating the outside smoking section.

The issue of being ignored continued with the staff passing by our table completly oblivious to the fact that we would like to order our food and drinks. The strange thing about this was that we were sat near a small ordering station but the staff operating that area seemed completely spaced out and in their own little world.

Finally I called somebody over to order the food and drinks.

I ordered a lamb shank pie which was a mini lamb shank in a pie dish with a potato top plus a side dish of garlic potatoes and my wife ordered a classic Rueben.


I’m rather partial to a lamb shank and this pie was pretty tasty. From previous visits I know that the garlic/herb fried potatoes are nice and the side order complimented the pie well.

My apologies for no pics of the Ruben however the feedback was that it was pretty tasty.

Whilst eating I finished my fruit juice but did anybody see fit to ask if we are ok or would we like another drink or even some iced water which some other customers had in a different section? Nope they just drifted around adjusting tables and continuing to be in their own little world.

In many restaurants within this region I believe that they must have a shortage of plates because as soon as you finish your food you are likely to have your plate snatched by the staff. Delicious during this visit were no exception and bizarrely the space cadets (staff) took my empty plate whilst I’m still chewing the food and then after I picked up the last potato from the side dish they grabbed the bowl before I even had time to put the potato on my mouth.

It was only when I saw my the expression on my wife’s face when I realised that it wasn’t a bad dream.

After the meal I was still a little thirsty but the glass was still empty however the plate snatchers seemed oblivious to this.

I decided to write a note on a napkin stating something along the lines of “I’m an empty watermelon juice glass and everybody ignores me. Please nice waiter will you refill me” and then placed the note at the top of the glass.

Now to test whether the plate snatchers were really awake I moved the glass near the edge of the table and as if by magic the glass is snatched. No comment is made and before you can say one more drink please the glass had gone and was heading for the dishwasher.

After a moment the staff returned to their station and we sat wondering what would happen next. Well the answer was absolutely nothing and nobody bothered to ask us if we wanted desert, water or even the bill and the staff just kept on passing by.

Finally I stopped somebody and requested the bill and the formalities were promptly dealt with.

The food was pretty good (as usual) but the service leaves a lot to be desired. I wish now that I started filming it and perhaps the next time that this kind of thing happens I will place it on YouTube for all to see.

Food/Beverage: 4
Ambiance: 7.5
Value: 7
Service: 1.5

Lot GF-1, Ground Floor, Bangsar Village 2,
Jalan Telawi, 59100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 603 2287 1554

May 1, 2011

Two different trips to London

After a long absence I recently made two flights to London within a few weeks of each other but on different airlines. Both of these flights were booked at short notice and I thought I’d share some comparisons.

The first trip I took was on Singapore Airlines from KL-Singapore-London and the second was on Emirates from Singapore-Dubai-London.

Both airlines use similar aircraft for the long haul sectors (A380 & B777-300ER) so it's easy to make a comparison between them.

EK 777

Singapore Airlines website is easy to use and no issues were encountered booking the flight from Kuala Lumpur to London via Singapore.

Due to Singapore Airlines handing over the operation of many flights between KL And Singapore to its regional subsidiary our flight on the short sector was operated by Silk Air.

Emirates has a number of flight options and careful attention need to be made to minimise transit time as well as avoiding the flight which stops in Colombo on its way to Dubai. I found the site a little clunky and the flight option I wanted didn’t seem to be offered unless I selected display by schedule as opposed to price. Once the booking is confirmed a copy of the conditions is emailed which is not the case with SQ.

Singapore airlines: 4/5
Emirates: 3.5/5

Check In
Singapore Airlines allow you to reserve a seat as well as select a seat when checking in on line which opens 48 hours before the flight. For flights operated by Silk air you can only reserve aisle or window however for check in you can select your required seat. On both the outbound and return flights the selection of available seats on the KL-Singapore sector were located at the rear of the aircraft and despite requesting a change at check in we were told that no other seats were available. On both flights seats located further forward were seen so I’m wondering its due to us being on a code share ticket.

For the long haul sector the initial seats we wanted were not available so as soon as the check in opened I found that some suitable seats were available. Based on experience the cause of this is either a cancellation or more likely that there is only a limited number of pre reserved seats available.

The check in staff in KL were pleasant and efficient however the staff at Heathrow seemed to have a bit of an attitude issue.

Emirates have a simple to use online check in system and I checked in online 24 hrs before and printed out my boarding pass. When I went to drop my bags the home printed pass was examined and then two conventional passes were issued. I queried this and was informed that not every airport allows home printed passes. Whilst I like the idea of home check in, other than allowing seat selection it doesn’t seem provide any other tangible benefits when the bag drop takes a while to complete and conventional boarding passes are issued.

Due to myself needing to make an itinerary change for the return sector and having to pay a small fee, online check in was not available. For some reason I was unable to also reserve a seat however upon contacting the call centre I was informed that the pre-allocated seats had all been used up however they there are some still available for Skywards members. The call centre staff were very good and signed me up to Skywards over the phone as well as reserving the required seats for me.

Singapore Airlines: 4.5/5
Emirates: 4/5

Boarding and Transit
Of all the airports in the world Singapore’s Changi Airport is probably the best and it’s transit facilities are extremely good. Terminals 1-3 are connected airside via an automated train with the journey time between them being just a few minutes.

The last time I visited Dubai was in 2005 so I was looking forward to visiting the new Emirates terminal. The sector from Singapore was slightly delayed so by the time I was passed through the transit security check it was 50 minutes before the flight so I guessed that it was soon time to board.

At Dubai the holding area was very full with a woefully inadequate number of seats to cater for the super large A380. As boarding time neared there appeared to be a delay and after a while the flight was re-timed although from where I was sitting I couldn’t see the screen or hear the announcement.

Having rushed off one flight I was rather thirsty and decided to try and buy a drink. When attempting to leave the boarding gate, myself and several other passengers were stopped and told we couldn’t leave. One particular passenger questioned the supervisor and asked to speak to his manager and the situation started to turn ugly.

In all my time flying I’ve never seen a more rude and aggressive member of airline staff and this particular man almost physically pushed the passenger back and then shouted at him to sit down. After several requests for water it took around 15 minutes for them to bring some which is extremely poor. With so many disgruntled passengers the staff simply locked the door so stop people trying to leave.

I was also told that its only the economy passengers who were not allowed to leave. Whilst this is possibly an isolated incident the poor behaviour by the Emirates ground staff left me very disappointed.

Emirates have boarding zone system rather than by row. This is quite a good idea but the implementation fails because the PA announcements are poor (was it B or D??) and the staff don’t check the boarding passes so a free for all occurs.

The return sector from London to Dubai stopped at a remote gate so disembarkation was slow. Considering that the terminal in Dubai is new and empty air bridges were observed it’s rather poor that the steps and bus at to be used.

Singapore Changi: 5/5
Dubai: 2.5/5


Singapore Airlines 
Singapore Airlines split the economy cabin over the lower and rear of the upper deck on their A380 aircraft. Due to the curvature of the aircraft the upper deck is slight smaller and seems quieter. The seating is laid out 2-4-2 and most of the window seats have a small storage bin next to them under the window.

The seats are slightly wider than Emirates and the leg room seems to be a touch better although the foot rest seems to get in the way. The Kris World entertainment system is very good however the Emirates offering outshines it by far.

SQ SeatIMG-20110417-00207
Singapore Airlines A380 seat
Emirates B777-300ER Seat
The food is generally good and menu cards are offered on both airlines. The only criticism I would have with the food is there are sometimes too many pork dishes offered. For example on one flight two of the three choices contained pork. Considering that Singapore is squeezed between Malaysia and Indonesia I’m surprised that SQ serve more than one pork based dish.

The SQ crews are always good although sometimes they can be a little robotic and perhaps less personal. On both of my sectors the crew were very good with somebody doing a water/juice round every 30-45 mins for the passengers not sleeping. Due to the cramped nature of the economy cabin coupled with darkness sometimes aisle seat passengers get knocked by the crew but I find this to be minimal with the SQ crew.

The flights from KL to Singapore were operated by Silk Air and due to it being a very short flight only a soft drink is served. The crew were pleasant and friendly and no issues were encountered.

Emirates have demonstrated rapid growth over the past few years to become a major player especially in the London to Asia market. On my last flight with them in 2005 I wasn’t particularly impressed with the offering with the exception of the AVOD system which is known as ICE.

Emirates and few other airlines have decided to fit 10 seats across in their 777’s compared to 9 in other airlines such as Singapore. The main effect of this is that the seats and narrower and although the actual space between the arm rests was ok I felt much closer to the person adjacent to me which wasn’t so pleasant.

Another effect this high density layout has is to make the aisles extremely narrow which results in everybody knocking you and the clumsy cabin crew knocking you with their trolley on a regular basis. On the outward sectors I sat firstly on the flight side then after Dubai on the left side and encountered full on strikes to my kneecap which caused me to eventually scold the crew!

I found most of crew generally rather clumsy and ungracious compared to the Singapore crew with frequent collisions between the trolley and aisle seat passengers as well as the crew also knocking into them seeming to be the norm and only cementing my opinion.

The Emirates A380 is a little more spacious than their 777’s with the economy class section being located on the entire lower deck.

An aspect of the crew which Emirates are proud of their diversity which has many as 8 or 9 different nationalities being present. Of the 4 sectors I travelled the crew varied from bad to ok. To elaborate a little more I found them rather inattentive, condescending and they didn’t seem to act as team when compared to other airlines.

On my first sector approximately 1 hour from touchdown we were told to put the seats upright, tables stowed and window shades opened. When I questioned the cabin crew why this was so I received a rather curt reply that its better for everybody if the cabin is secured early - right!!!

On most flights I’ve taken which are greater than 6 hours the cabin lights are usually dimmed after the meal to assist people trying to sleep. On the two sectors to London this didn’t happen and passengers were exposed to coloured lighting. The bright cabin also encouraged a lot of people to walk about which caused further disturbance for those trying to rest.

The food was average and the portions seemed a little small but no real complaints here. On the return Dubai - Singapore flight we were offered a chicken tikka wrap as a snack and when I asked for an apple as well I was told that I'm only allowed one item however if there were any spares then I'll get one.

The entertainment system was extremely good with a very comprehensive selection of music and films for viewing. One nice feature of the ICE system is the outside camera’s which allow you to watch the takeoff and landings from several locations.

Perhaps my issue is that having been a regular over the past 10 years with both Malaysia and Singapore Airlines bench mark has been set high and Emirates crew currently don’t come anywhere near it.

Singapore Airlines: 5/5
Emirates: 3.5/5

Other points to note
Most airlines don’t allow you to use your phone on board once the doors are closed. Emirates have a similar policy except upon landing as took as soon as you clear the runway an announcement is made that phones can now be used.

The luggage allowances are 20kg for SQ and 30kg for Emirates. Whilst you can usually go a little over there is no way that SQ will allow 30kg so kudos to Emirates for their generous allowance.

Only when you fly another airline do you sometimes appreciate how good Singapore Airlines are. If I have a choice and find a ticket for a reasonable price then I’ll fly SQ. Don’t get me wrong Emirates are not a bad airline however the points mentioned above and the fact that SQ has set the bar so high makes it difficult for others to match the product.

Singapore Airlines 5
Emirates 3.5