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.

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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
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Kari Kambing
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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.


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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.

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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.