I Ate Jimmy Cricket! @ El Topo Mexican Restaurant, Bondi Junction, Sydney

Date of Visit:  September 13, 2015

So I’m back in Sydney again – this time for around 2 weeks.  The trip from Borneo to Sydney was truly an expedition in itself, taking me a-day-and-a-half!   I transited for around 9 hours in Kuala Lumpur International Airport.  I had the privilege of using the Golden Lounge, but unfortunately, MAS being a near bankrupt airline is undergoing cost-cutting measures: alcohols are served in tiny Barbie-doll play-sized goblets, and I had to trek to Burger King for my Diet Cokes…with no temptations in sight, I’m on track with my ‘diet’ *win!* 🙌  (Although I did gorged 5 bread rolls to dull my hunger pangs! 😂)

Perhaps, the stars were not aligned for my red-eye flight.  After boarding, there was a delay meaning that we were made to sit on the plane for over an hour…when we finally arrived Sydney, we were 45 minutes delayed…meaning that I only had time to drop my bags at home, then drive to Bondi Junction for lunch with the Ladies.

Ever so efficient, the Ladies had already ordered, I happily await for the food to arrive…

The complimentary Roasted Crickets really made our day!  Oohs and Aahs all round with phones out a-clicking.  The Chapulines: Roasted crickets in chilli, garlic and lime are popular Mexican street snacks.  Sour-spicy-salty, I preferred the accompanying garlic chips instead of the crickets themselves!  The crickets were bland and tasteless…similar to eating charred leaves?

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Chapulines: Roasted crickets

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Chapulines: Roasted crickets

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Up and personal with Jimmy The Cricket 😋

Prawns were so-so…forgettable…

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School of deep-fried Prawns

Scallop ceviche with cucumber, charred corn, tomato, chilli and lime juice in a pot with fried crisps was nice.

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Scallop ceviche

We each ordered a Tacos.  I had the Gemfish Tacos which was good…

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Soft-shell crab Taco

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Gemfish Taco

Quesadillas were another typical Mexican fare… I had a forgettable taste of each.

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Mexican Truffles and Mushrooms Quesadillas

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Zucchini flower, Quinoa Cheesy Quesadillas

The 12-hours beef short ribs with pickled cabbage and baby onions was amazing!  Tender soft meat in overly tasty BBQ sauce, hence my favourite of the day was the pickled baby onions.

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12-hours beef short ribs with pickled cabbage and baby onions

We also had the tasty Whole grilled Spatchcock with back beans and corn.

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Whole grilled Spatchcock with back beans and corn

For dessert, we ordered the Buńuelos Con Chocolate:  Mexican doughnuts & chocolate sauce.  The Ladies all loved the fluffy doughnut balls…

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Mexican doughnuts & chocolate sauce.

It was a beautifully perfect afternoon lunching with the Ladies on the terrace under the blue skies, talking about lipsticks!  While in KLIA, to kill time, I did MAC true-red lipstick runs – Ruby Woo to be specific!  A devaluation of the Ringgit meant that RM74 is equivalent to A$25 – a substantial price difference of A$11!  *Bargain*

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Blue Skies

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Colourful drinks…

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Rooftop terrace

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Murals along the wall

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Muncha Gratias

The Royal Touch Bakery Café by Carolyn Robb @ Ocean Terminal, Hong Kong

Date of Visit:  July 19 2015

I had a good Sunday lunch today – which was a surprise – considering, it’s a small unassuming ‘restaurant’ (if you can call it that) in a mall, with a prominent display case of cakes and pastries!  It’s tiny with only 30 seats!  (Psst… here’s its digits for reservations: +852 3188 8086 ☺️)

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The Royal Touch is a brand created by Carolyn Robb, former executive chef to Prince Charles and Lady Diana, so without doubt, this cafe features some royal dishes! Those following the Royal Family will know that Ms Robb is also famous for being  the creator of Prince William’s Chocolate Biscuit Groom’s Cake!

Without further ado…

We had the Set Lunch Menu – simple British fare but really special!

APPETISER

Seasonal Fresh Fruit Salad with Raspberry & Passion Fruit Dressing

or 

Avocado & Papaya Salad with Papaya Dressing

I had the Avocado Papaya Salad which was very different to the salads I have had.  The combination is unusual – papaya and avocado (?), but very flavourful – slightly tart and not overly sweet.

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Avocado & Papaya Salad with Papaya Dressing

SOUP

Asparagus and New Potato Soup

or

Soup of the Day

I opted for Carrot Cream Soup was the Soup of The Day.  Normally, soups featuring carrots in Hong Kong is sweet, Ms Robb’s carrot soup is creamy and savoury.

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Carrot Cream Soup

MAINS

We decided on different items for our Mains.  The price of the Set Lunch is dependent on the Main course one chooses:

My bro got Corned Beef Potato Cake with Black Truffle Scrambled Eggs (HK$218).  The creamy eggs with truffles were highly recommended.

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Corned Beef Potato Cake with Black Truffle Scrambled Eggs

I had the Slow Cooked UK Dingley Dell Pork Collar with Wild Berry Jam (HK$288).  I ordered it medium, but parts of it was a little bit undercooked, but nevertheless not bloody and tasted good. What I especially liked was the cute Romanesco Brocoli or Buzzy Broc, the potato mash with truffles was divine!

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Slow Cooked UK Dingley Dell Pork Collar with Wild Berry Jam

My mom had the Royal Classic Cod Fish Pie (HK$228).  it arrived piping hot, but not enough fish she said…😏

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Royal Classic Cod Fish Pie

The mains are heavy in potatoes and all used campari tomatoes as garnish.

DESSERT

Dessert was chocolate cupcake with different butter cream frosting – I had the Earl Grey frosting, the others were Blueberry and Pistachio…

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Chocolate Cupcake

COFFEE OR TEA

I also have to mention that the coffee (included in the Set Lunch) is very good – strong, not bitter – definitly better than those from the speciality coffee bars around… seriously!

A look at their menu says that we shall be back for their afternoon tea set!  The waiters are very polite and attentive, and the price very reasonable, so pinkies up, everybody! ☕️👌🏻 Next time, Royal Afternoon Tea!
Where is The Royal Touch Bakery Café by Carolyn Robb?

Shop G02, G/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Thumbs Up For Ramen @Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, Pavilion KL

Date of Visit:  May 3 2015

I (or rather, my mom) had finally found the best ramen in Pavilion! 😄

The joint is on Level 6, in the Tokyo Street Precinct. I would say it is pricey (price for a regular sized bowl starts at RM32, add an extra RM4 to upgrade to large) but the quality is well worth it.  First, the broth did not leave an after taste – proving that no MSG was added.  The bone broth was cooked  and simmered away for ages to a milky creamy consistency as shown in Exhibit A below.

Note:  Eat the preserved plum first to get your saliva glands working.  The puckering sourness will heighten the sweetness of the bone broth! 

Exhibit A: Creamy Miso Ramen

Exhibit B: Spicy Miso Ramen

Exhibit B was spicy but not too spicy for me. I did find the broth on the salty side, but that is because I am that person who never season food with salt (thus a low sodium reading in my blood test). I should concur then, the saltiness is within reasonable standard for the normal mortals!
There are set meals available including cold ramen, sushi and rice sets.  No doubt a revisit is in order with a longer post forthcoming!

Name of the joint is: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, find it on FB here

Burrr….gers @Fat Boys, Avenue K, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit: June 6 2014

Everybody loves a burger, right?  Greasy, greasy…totally bad for your heart, but yet so satisfying!

There’s been write-ups in mags of the many new restaurants in Avenue K, so off I went to suss out the place since I was nearby in KLCC.  The last time I was at Avenue K, the place was jacked-up in total shambles, so I was expecting to see a new-look mall.  *Horrors!* 😱  What lies beneath million-$$ apartments are ‘flea-markets’!

Word.  Many restaurants alright, but I am suspicious of East-Meets-West type of innovative cuisines… there’s a couple of South American types of eateries, Japanese fusion, Taiwanese fusion…etc.  Finally settled on an American diner with cartoons on the walls advertising burgers and milkshake, clear and simple.

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Pretty crowded joint

I was surprised to find that pork is served – got my thumb-up here – because everybody knows lard and cholesterol go hand-in-hand!

The menu is very comprehensive about the burgers, milkshakes and specials.

Fat Basterd:  Double-patties, bacon, cheddar cheese, fried egg on sesame bun

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Fat Basterd RM29

Bushtucker:  Beef patty, bacon melted cheese, wild arugula on whole wheat bun

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Bushtucker RM20

Perhaps I should have ordered a burger as well.  My pork and beef meatballs were very tough.  I don’t like food drenched in gravy… but the mashed potatoes and coleslaw were pleasing.

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Mighty, Mighty Meatballs RM20

What I liked about the place was the free-flow soda drinks – and that includes Diet Pepsi!

So, aptly named – ‘Fat Boys’, but I don’t want to be part of the family!  Perhaps, FaceBook Warriors?

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💪 💪 💪

 

Scouting for Protein @ O’Galito Bar & Grill and Carlos Mexican Canteena, Pavilion KL

Date of Visit: January 11, 12, 13 2014

Ever since my trip to Kuala Lumpur in January, a month ago, I had not managed to make any progress in losing body fat.  Extremely annoying and frustrating especially since that I was making good progress prior to my trip.  Moreover, on my return to Hong Kong, I sprained my foot and had to take time off running in the park. As we all know, dieting while on travel is a real bummer!  Although I try to plan for all contingencies – and even went ahead to pre-book a fruit platter for my meal onboard.  It was very tough staying mindful of what I should and should not eat, especially when there is a free-flow alcohol involved.

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My healthy fruit-platter lunch on-board flight CX725 from HKG to KUL

To make matters right, never despair… as they say: “Start your day right  with breakfast!”  Thank goodness there’s a GNC store downstairs in Pavilion Mall where I bought EAS low-carb protein ready-to-drink packs (RM12.90) for breakfast.  Only 100 calories to bind me over to the assorted calorie-laddened ‘nasi*’ for lunch! 😰

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My Saviour!

RIGHTO!  In this post, I’m gonna tell you my search for  protein to fulfil my bodybuilding requirements!

The plaza outside the Pavilion Mall called ‘Connection’, a very ‘happening’ loud, boozy and smoky place.

  • Loud = cacophony of music blaring from the assortment of eateries, bars, the huge TV screen and people all around.
  • Boozy =  Although predominantly a Muslim country, alcoholic drinks are legal and readily available for purchase, as long as one is over the age of 18 and a non-Muslim.  Prices for cocktails are pretty standard, around RM27-29 – cheaper than a glass of wine.
  • Smoky = Don’t get me started here!  (But I will nonetheless… 😈 )  The plaza is definitely not a smoke-free zone, a non-smoker can literally be overcame by smoke and keel over – no kidding.  On any given Monday morning, one can see the cigarette receptacles  filled to the brimmed with cigarette butts.  Not sure whether it is the culture there, but I see women in stilettos puffing away early in the morning whenever I grab my morning my cup of joe from Starbucks.  Not cool – not sophisticated – and you are shortening my lifespan!
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Connection @ Pavilion Mall, KL

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The ‘famous’ Crystal Bowl Fountain

O’Galito  was the first restaurant where we had dinner.  I couldn’t figure out what type of restaurant it was – whether Italian, Spanish or French from the menu, but after searching on line, I found out that it is a ‘Mediterannean restaurant’.   Hmm, figures with the generous of tomatoes, olives and herbs.  I should also have known that it is Portugese from the bacalo and piri piri ingredients – and from the sparse but clean (this is the cleanest restaurant I’ve came across in the Connection) decorum of the restaurant hinted at Portugal with patterned ceramic tiles on the wall harkening to eateries in Macau! The waitress was very polite and was curious to know whether I am Japanese or Korean.  Err… neither!

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Interior

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Bar

I refrained from ordering any drinks because I had downed at least 1 bottle of liquor on my way to KL.  I stuck to my Soda Water… so here’s what the gang had…

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Mojito served with generous dash of rum and plenty of mint

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Frozen Margarita

Food was served rather quickly and came out piping hot.  I noticed that the chef is an expat aka balding rotund white guy.

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Bacalao (RM48):
Cod fish fillet, braised onion, cherry tomatoes and olives

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File de File (RM72):
Beef tenderloin served with baked red skin potatoes and grilled vegetables

I had the chicken.  Tender, moist and delicious.  I’m happy to get some protein for the day – and I love rockets!

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Piri Piri Chicken (RM37):
Chicken piri piri on a bed of roasted vegetables

While enjoying our dinner, we were given 2 slices of dark rye bread but not sure who they were for – perhaps they were accompaniments for the beef tenderloin as it is the most expensive on the menu.

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Rye bread

I’m happy with our choice of restaurant.  This is my new go-to place for protein!  👍

****

Date of Visit:  January 12 2014

The next night, we tried another restaurant at Connection called ‘Carlos’, which we mistook for an Eygptian restaurant due to the shisha stand in front.  Again, we were misinformed with the cuisine served here, nevertheless, we wandered in.  It was only when we were settled that we realised that this is a Mexican restaurant properly called Carlos Mexican Canteena!  So, let’s blame the poor signage design and the shisha stand! 😝

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Carlos Mexican Canteena

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Shisha stand

The restaurant is dim, dank and down-right grubby with an irritating loop of Jennifer Lopez’s ‘On the Dance Floor‘ playing-over-and-over-and-over-again! Each table is given a portable ‘service button’ to call the waiters.  Ergonomically, the seats were very low and tables overly high, making us look like kiddies sitting at an adult’s table!   What’s more I couldn’t stop sneezing and was wondering why until I saw that smoking is actually allowed in the restaurant!  I mean, shisha is smoke, right?  I read from ‘The Guardian’ here that some experts say “a single shisha session is the same as smoking 200 cigarettes”!!  Help, my lungs! Tolong*! Tolong*!

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An ‘Arabeque-looking’ interior for a Mexican Canteena, further perplexed us

The first to arrive at our table was the rib – a humongous rib!  Couldn’t help that we had over ordered.  Are Malaysians big-eaters or the waiters are trained to up-sell?  In Hong Kong, the waiters are all trained to estimate the patrons orders and will stop them from over-ordering.  The current phrase here now is ‘Waste no Food’ campaign.  In any regards, the ribs were perfectly cooked, very tasty and juicy and fall off the bone easily.  The mashed potatoes were very creamy with lots of butter and cream.

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Mexicana Canteena Tender Beef-ribs (RM68++), served with mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables

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Mexicana Canteena Tender Beef-ribs

Our carb-attack was potato skins.  Tasty as well, with a side of salsa.

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Mexican Potato Skins (RM18++)
3 pieces of oven baked potato skins stuffed with beef covered with melted cheese

Our fajitas were terrific too.

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Fajitas (RM29++):
Grilled chicken on bed of sautéed bell peppers and onions served with fajitas sauce, cheese and tortillas.

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Chicken Fajitas

Unfortunately, for Carlos, I don’t see myself coming back anytime soon.  Too much fat and carbs.  No good for building a healthy body!

*Tolong means ‘Help’ in Malay

*Nasi means ‘Rice’ in Malay

A British Affair @ Harrods Restaurant, Suria KLCC, Malaysia

Date of Visit:  Numerous times

Fancy a good solid Brit fare in Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC)? Well, do I have a recommendation for you!

Harrods is a fine dining establishment in Suria KLCC or the shopping mall under the famous Twin Towers. I first dined there when it opened in 2009 and saw that there was a chef from Harrods HQ in London and another expat manager.  A fair guess would be that the menus and fit-outs were all under the HQ’s specs, and the waiters all underwent silver-service training.

In the front is a retail section with a range of Harrods branded merchandises including dry foods, teas, coffees and the signature Harrods shopping bags and teddy bears.  There is also an impressive bar area for drinks. Since then, the store has added a bakery section selling cakes, pastries and macarons – business must be good, with Harrods expanding into Harrods Cafe on the ground floor, which I had done a review here.  

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Iconic Harrods Teddy standing guard outside Harrods in Suria KLCC

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The Harrods Bear attracts a lot of attention with people posing with it. The placard says: “Please do not touch me, I am at work” Funny!

The restaurant is at the back, modelled after the famous Georgian Restaurant in Harrods London.  It is very comfortable and relaxing i.e quiet and far from the maddening crowds in the mall.  The toilet is nice too.  Scented Harrods liquid soap, moisturiser and towels are provided.

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Interior shot of restaurant #1

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Interior shot of restaurant #2

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Fresh flowers

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Starched linen table-clothes and fresh flowers

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The walls of the salon are adorned with framed memories and iconic images from Harrods illustrious history.

Harrods serves traditional British fares.

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Leather-bound Menu

For lunch on weekdays, they serve Set Menu (Choice of Salad or Soup, Main and a Drink) which works out to be more cost-effective (cheaper).  Here is a sample:

Complimentary Bread and Butter

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Plain Butter and Sundried Tomato Butter – presented in traditional silverwares

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Soft Pretzel Roll

Drinks: Harrods do not serve water, they only serve bottled waters, that means you have to pay!

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Mango Slushy

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Carrot Slushy

Appetiser:  Soup of the Day

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Purple potato soup

Mains:  There are a couple to choose from which rotates daily

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Chicken Schnitzel

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Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding – Highly Recommended!!

A la Carte Includes:

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Steak Sandwich with sides of chips and pickles

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Chicken Caesar

Harrods also offers a British High Tea Set in the afternoons.  I have not tried it, perhaps you have and do let me know what you think!

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Views out to KLCC Park and the water fountain

A Local KL Breakfast @ Restoran Win Heng Seng, KLCC

Date of Visit:  Numerous – my local KL breakfast place

This post is for my friend who will be visiting KL next month with her family. She asked me about good local eats in KL, so I am recommending Restoran Win Heng Seng at the junction of Jalan Barat and Jalan Imbi, near Bukit Bintang in KLCC.  It is close to the majors hotels e.g. Westin, JW Marriott, Ritz Carlton as well as Pavilion where I stay. This is also where I go for my local breakfast when I am in KL – total spend of under RM5 for a bowl of wonton noodles and a drink!  Cheap!

How do one get there from Pavilion Mall…

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Liuligongfang crystal bowl fountain

Cross Jalan Bukit Bintang and walk into the street between the Sephora and Uniglo.

I am perplexed as how this funky deconstructive building received its development approval seeing that one of the sharp corners of the building pokes out into the pedestrian pavement.  A wee bit dangerous, one would think, nevertheless,  I am unperturbed since I like Sephora because they stock  some niche make-up brands including Stella, Too Faced, Urban Decay, Kit, etc…

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A Daniel Libeskind copy

Keep walking until you reach the end of the street.

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Star Hill Mall on the right – where Debenhams department store is located

You will have arrived at Jalan Imbi when you see a green coloured corner lot in front of you. This is the restaurant. Take care to cross the busy road (the pedestrian lights do not work)

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Restoran Win Heng Seng in green

This cafe is as local as it can get – one can mingle with the taxi drivers, office workers, families alike.

There are many stalls selling a myriad of hawker foodstuffs from fried noodles, soup noodles, tofu, rice (including nasi lemak – Malay rice delicacy) and pastries.  The local tea and coffees are very nice.  I always order Kopi-C Kosong Ais – Iced coffee with evaporated milk, no sugar.  Take care if you order Teh-tarikMalay pulled milk tea which is extremely sweet!

I recommend sitting alfresco if you are early, before the sun gets too hot (around 7:30am – 8:30am) because it can get a bit stuffy and smoky from the woks inside the restaurant. You will be hassled by beggars, hawkers selling lottery tickets and charitable organisations seeking for donation – please check the charity workers’ ID tags since it is compulsory that they carry it!

I always have fish-skin wonton noodles soup. The wonton skins are made from fish paste and filled with minced pork. The soup base has ikan billis (anchovies), parsleys and bean sprouts – and a LOT of MSG!  Very delicious, but still,  don’t drink the broth! 

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Fish-skin wonton noodles soup

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Accompaniment to the noodles: Light soy with green chilies for extra kick!

There is also a  stall selling mini pastries baked fresh on the premises – egg tarts (or princeling tarts), siew bao (pastry ball stuffed with BBQ meat), pineapple tarts, apple tarts, tuna pies, etc. This stall is apparently very popular among the locals.  (Psst…they misused 1 Chinese character, since when is a tart=tower?)

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Mini Egg Tarts fresh from the oven (about $0.70 each?)

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Princeling tarts, apple tarts and pineapple tarts

After breakfast, it’s back to Pavilion Mall for window-shopping. The mall only opens at 10am though.

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Entrance to Pavilion Mall: The LINE android app mascot saying ‘Hi’!

I reckon the Christmas decoration in Pavilion Mall is the best in KL! There are lots of activities, meaning it is very noisy which drives me KRAZY!

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Christmas Bazaar in the atrium inside Pavilion Mall

More furry friends on the top floor.  Let’s be naughty – let’s give ’em a good rub to turn them black!  OK, because we are adults, we say it’s for Good Luck then!  😝

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Larger-than-life furry friends