Saturday, November 29, 2014

Quality Food & Bread @ B-Lab, Mont Kiara

B-Lab is a relatively new restaurant opened quite recently at Mount Kiara. The people behind the restaurant are definitely not new though, I recognised some of them straight away and later found out, indeed they are previously from Bonjour Garden!
The entire settings of the restaurant is pretty modern but neat and comfortable. You get to order hot food and drinks from the menu, which is at the moment with quite limited choices, as well as pick your own bread from the bread section.
Anyway, been there twice and here are what we had the first time with Deardo's family for dinner, only few days after their official opening.
Garlic & Chili Prawn, RM29.
Pancetta & Mushrooms Ragout, RM27.
Short Rib, RM38.
Pressed Pork Belly, RM35.
Out of all the dishes, my personal favourite would be the Garlic & Chili Prawn Pasta. While it may sound and look like an ordinary seafood Aglio Olio, the flavour I get from the pasta was undeniably unique. It really does feel like there are seafood broth used in the pasta and that makes whole loads of difference! I really just love that dish! The Short Rib, which is braised with red wine was pretty awesome too. Very tender and flavourful, definitely one of their must-trys. The Pressed Pork belly wasn't too impressive though I won't say it's all that bad either, but the herb gnocchi were really yummy I couldn't stop eating it!
Smoked Duck & Brie Pizza, RM30.
The Smoked Duck & Brie Pizza was something different and it certainly got the approval from me! Crusty base, I'm assuming homemade tomato paste and very yummy cheese! Big love for that pizza!
Fresh Orange Juice.
Some Lime & Mint Mojito.

And a proof that Lil' Jolie knows how to pose better than her 'Kau Fu'! :p
We had three drinks and a piece of bread for Jolie, together with service charges, all came up to slightly over RM200 for the meal. It is slightly on the pricey side, but I wouldn't say it is the most expensive one yet!

I went there again with Yve Vonn for lunch and we had some breads, as well as a pizza...
My favourite! Black Sesame Bun!
Cream Cheese & Raisin and the Pain Au Chocolat. 
This time around, I must highlight how good their breads are! I mean, it could be because the breads just came out of the oven when we were there, but they were really awesome! The Black Sesame Bun not only has the nice fragrant from the black sesame, but also has a savoury twist in the ham and cheese! Oh so yummy! The Cream Cheese and Raisin Bun (some Japanese bun I forgot the name) is another item I'm so in love with. The bread is soft and the cream cheese just melt in your mouth! Love it! 
We had a Spicy Hungarian Sausage Pizza and damn that was awesome! I mean, I always love sausages but I've never tried this Spicy Hungarian Sausage which turned out to be so delicious! Just a little spicy, but nice, chewy texture, and again with those tomato paste and cheese... Yumzzz... I think I'll have to say this: You can't go wrong with their pizzas at B-Lab!
On both visits, I did find a very serious flaw in their service, and that is being very slow. And by that, I mean EXTREMELY SUPER SLOW... It's not that there aren't enough staff as well, it's just maybe some organisations in the kitchen aren't that ready for customers yet? It took us forever to get our final dish on our first visit as the rest of us finished our own meals, while on my second visit I almost peed the shit out of myself waiting for the pizza to arrive cos I was already out for lunch for more than 2 hours! So yes, good food, but the restaurant would be almost perfect if they can up their service! :)

G-3A, Level G,
VERVE Shops Mont‘ Kiara,
No.8, Jalan Kiara 5,
Mont Kiara

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Making Greece our Home for 7 Nights

This is going to be the very last entry on our trip to Greece (phew~ finally~), or to be exact, the city of Athens and the island of Santorini.

Knowing both Deardo and I have had bad experience either during childhood or teenage period with following a packaged tour, we knew from the beginning we are definitely doing this on our own, regardless of language barrier shit. Most Greeks we encountered speak perfect English anyway, although with their own accent.

So one of the biggest headaches for people like us who travel on our own would be finding the perfect place to stay. I'm not gonna lie, it took me a lot of time doing research on accommodations. Most hotels in Athens are said to be noisy with bad sound proof, dodgy alleys and all, while Santorini's headache was that it was still peak season so good ones were taken way before I had a chance to book anything!

Of course we eventually settled with some stays and I'm here to share with you our experience and hopefully this post will help if you are travelling to Greece soon!

Loft in Psirri II, Athens Centre
Booked this apartment through Airbnb because it is walking distance to the Acropolis (supposedly the only place we wanted to visit during our short stay in Athens) and it is reasonably priced. I think the best thing is that the communication with Yannis on Airbnb was super immediate even when we changed our check-in time last minute because stupid Air France canceled out flight!
The view outside the apartment.
We had a rough start when the taxi driver who brought us there from the airport told us about the place being dodgy, with some drug addicts around (which I've read from the reviews but they said they will do no harm to you) and Chinese people around (oh yea the taxi driver hate Chinese in Athens). When we arrived, no doubt the place with all the graffiti around, looks a bit dodgy from the outside and yes there was an homeless guy sleeping across the street and Chinese working on their stocks just next door, but during our two nights there, no drugs addicts identified!
Clean and modern-looking! 
Yannis's assistant, George was super nice and friendly too. showed us around the apartment and called us a taxi right away for the day we were leaving for the airport so we need not worry about traveling to the airport early morning at all! :)
Bathroom is small but with washing machine in it! 
Super spacious room! 
And the apartment is awesome!!! It's exactly as shown in their photos in the website! Very spacious (this is why sometimes apartments are way better than hotels), modern and clean! I'm most impressed that it actually comes with a washing machine, hair dryer, kitchen with all the utilities needed! It is a pretty quiet area so we got really good sleep throughout the two nights! Good Wi-fi connection included too!
Superb night view from the rooftop!
The apartment is walking distance to a lot of the places I went to mentioned here and loads of food mentioned here too! And and and! Go to their rooftop and you will see the Acropolis just there!!!
But yes, every night when we walk home, the street is very quiet and dark (with a homeless man sleeping on the street too) so it can be a little scary.

Paid: 126 Euro/ 2 Nights (including Airbnb service fee)
Verdict: 3.5/5
Contact Yannis: Airbnb

Aspa Villa, Oia, Santorini
Because I decided we should have different experiences of staying in apartment and a villa/hotel, our first stop in Santorini was a villa. I made all the reservations on their website and we were greeted by Nikoleta, the very friendly (perhaps overly friendly) owner of the villa. I love her, she just tells you so many things that some of them are redundant but you'll feel bad stopping her! LOL!
Supermarket and cafe just a few steps away, making sure we get food easily!
The common area we hang-out at a lot... Just relax, feel the breeze/sun while looking at the amazing view.
The place is conveniently located - few steps away from supermarkets, a nice cafe and of course their super gorgeous common area where you can hang out all you want! Even the common area has wi-fi!
I can assure you Aspa Villa is one of the villas that are very affordable in Oia. I wanted to stay in their cave house room but I was too late and could only stay in their Superior Studio.
The stairs going up to our room!
And here's a panoramic view of our room!
The room is relatively smaller compared to an apartment and has a classic design and old school furniture but still pretty comfortable. When the wind is strong you can leave the window open and it's super nice!!! They have a small sharing pool too!

Paid: 345 Euro (paid 300 Euro only as it was an offer if you pay cash) for 3 nights
Verdict: 4/5
Contact: Aspa Villas' website

Thea Studio Apartment, Fira, Santorini
As we moved to the town of Fira, we check-into this apartment which I also booked through Airbnb. Since I read a lot about how noisy it could be if you stay in the town centre itself, I decided to pick Thea because it is about 15-20 minutes walk away from the town.
The walk isn't too long before you can get to the town, but at night it can be quite scary because the road back to the apartment is damn quiet, although in some ways we still feel pretty safe. I reckon that is why a lot of the people who stay at the apartment are renting cars, motorbikes, etc to go around town. The friendly people at the apartment can help you to arrange for all the rentals too! 
It's amazing how almost every part of Santorini can look so pretty, even somewhere out of town! 
The view from our room! Crazy beautiful isn't it?
One for the album!
The apartment is pretty from the outside, with a location overlooking the sea and has a nice swimming pool that it was a waste it was too cold for us to use.
The room is probably the best one we have stayed in the entire trip. So spacious, neat, clean, and even the bathroom is big! And for an apartment I was amazed they have daily cleaning service too! They also provide simple breakfast everyday which is another plus point! 
So apart from maybe not so much of communication with Dimitris on Airbnb, slightly scary walk at night (doesn't apply if you are renting automobile there) and not-so-strong Wi-fi in the room (better outside the room), I really love the apartment a lot, especially with the fact that it was pretty economic to stay in too! :)

Paid: 112 Euro/2 nights (including Airbnb servic fee)
Verdict: 4/5
Contact Dimitris: Airbnb

So here's the end of entries on our trip to Greece, which was mainly our honeymoon, but also a getaway and a 30th birthday trip for me. I think besides the fact that it was a little tough on food for a pregnant woman like me, we really enjoyed the trip a lot. A lot of sight-seeing, yet enough time to relax and even take afternoon naps almost everyday! Ahhhh... That was really a few days in heaven man!

Would I recommend you to travel to Athens and Santorini? Sure, but choose your travel dates properly cos it's really quite annoying when it is peak season! I personally think it is also quite economical to travel to Greece too - food, accommodations and transportation are still relatively acceptable compared to other bigger cities in Europe like Paris. We spent less than RM15k (two persons) for the entire trip of 7 nights, everything included and came home with great memories of superb scenery and I cannot highlight this enough - friendly people (majority of them of course, but it was way better than what we have heard about the Greeks before leaving for the country)! 

So, time to plan for your next holiday?

My entries on Athens here.
My entries on Santorini here.

Monday, November 24, 2014

We Found out the Gender of our Baby!

As you may or not know, I've announced earlier in this blog that I've been knocked up and Deardo and I are expecting a baby next year. :)

Now, even before I got pregnant we have talked about whether we want a boy or a girl and we both had a mutual answer, but definitely because of different reasons, which may sound funny to many. We both wanted a boy because 1) Deardo can have fun playing and have someone to inherit his car stuff and 2) I do not want to spend double of my fashion loot on my girl because girl's dresses and accessories are way too cute to resist sometimes I feel like just buying them to keep! 

Of course when we found out I'm pregnant, all we wanted is a healthy baby. Deardo especially made it clear that even if it's a girl he will love her just like how he is enjoying his time with his niece, Jolie. I still secretly hope it's a boy though cos I really hope if we have a second child, the second child will have a 'koko' (big brother), something I have always wanted as a teenage girl cos big brothers are normally more loving towards their younger siblings, especially a girl! Aye?

The odds are pretty low though. The Tan family has only girls, all three girls! As for his family, it's very balance so you can't tell. In fact both MIL and SIL had girls as their first child. It's almost certain, it's going to be a girl for us too...

So just a few days ago we went to our monthly check-up. At 16 week, we were just excited to see our little baby again through the ultrasound because I heard you might not be able to see the gender of your baby as expected because the baby might cover his/her important part. Hehe... Well luckily for us, our little one was showing of his 'asset'! Yup, we are having a boy!!! 
A picture of our little one from the bottom up. 
I was in doubt at first because I've heard stories about things change the next month and all that so I had to reconfirm with the doctor? At first she went: 90%, then on further scanning she went:"Aiya, it's a boy lar!"

I held on to my excitement until Deardo and I were in the lift alone down in the hospital to go lie on him and said:"YAY! We are having a boy!" with a biggest smile on my face, or at least I could imagine.

We haven't really started buying anything for the baby but I'm very excited to start soon! Haha! But, before that, comes the battle of NAMING OUR BOY!!! Me being the more creative and adventurous one VS the more conservative Deardo will battle it out in this battle to name our boy a perfect name! 

Don't stay tune. It's going to be messy. LOL!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Awesome Udon @ Kodawari Menya, 1 Mont Kiara

Udon noodles is my least favourite noodle compared to the likes of Soba or Ramen, but thanks to some generous Japanese who decided to bring their handmade Udon over to KL, I have found love in Udon in Sanuki Udon and Manmaru Homemade Udon, with the latter being the one that I frequent quite a lot until they changed their concept to non-self-service and a price hike in all items.
Fortunately, Kodawari Menya came to the rescue! The originally Japanese chain Udon outlet located in 1 Mont Kiara runs on a self-service basis, choose your Udon flavour and size, then proceed to pick your favourite side of Tempura, pay  and dig in! Of course, if you are a civilised or follow-the-rules person, you would return the tray and all bowls and cutlery to them after your meal.
Kimuchi Udon (small), RM12.90.
Niku Udon (Regular), RM16.90.
Their Udon flavours aren't that extensive yet and so far we have only tried the Niku (beef) and Kimuchi flavours. The Kimuchi flavours comes in a light soup with a little spiciness in the Kimuchi that comes with it. It's a very satisfying vegetarian bowl of Udon. But I think the real star is really the beef Udon! If you are a fan of the fishy smell from beef and lamb, you will love the taste and smell of the nicely cooked thin sliced beef dip into the soup. Oh so smelly yet so good!!! 
The Udon here doesn't have the springy texture I was hoping for but they are very soft and nice to chew with, which I would say still pretty delicious! 
Tempura we had: 2 Ebi (RM8), 1 Chicken (RM3.50), 1 Ika (RM3.50) and 1 Shitake (RM2). 
While the Tempura aren't very impressive, they are still a must just in case you need something extra to fill you stomach with. I would recommend the Ebi Tempura.
Japanese Udon FTW!!!
Together with a refillable green tea, we paid RM48.80 for a meal there which was quite acceptable. It is to me personally, a very nice and cozy place to enjoy some awesome handmade Udon noodle!

Kodawari Menya
L1-21A, 1st Floor,
1 Mont Kiara,
No.1 Jalan Kiara,
Mont Kiara,
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-6206 1669