Sunday, April 25, 2010

Good Japanese Lunch on Weekends at Kuala Lumpur (My Opinions!)

Whenever hubby and I try to narrow down which restaurant type to go to on weekends, he knows that I will only have 1 answer in mind : Japanese! Sometimes he says I am very "makulit" (that's a Tagalog word, if you translate into English I think you can say I am redundant or always repeating the same thing)

I can't help it but I really love Japanese food. Even back in Manila.

Anyway, this entry is all about my latest Japanese escapades for the month of April 2010. I will make it brief and direct... no beating around the bush on food reviews !

1. Kirishima Japanese Restaurant
Their lunch bento box are so worth it! The quality of food is good and service is great. I would highly recommend to Japanese lovers. I discovered this place only lately thanks to my expat friend Tram. The prices are also very reasonable for the quality of food. Do make sure to visit during lunch time where prices are cheaper than dinner time. Their bento box selection is very, very impressive!

Kirishima Location and Details:
Lot 1.2, First Floor, Dua Annexe, 211 Jln Tun Razak
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2162 8127

Of course, when we visited I didn't have time to take photos. Baby Alex was with us, and we had lunch with our friends. We really enjoyed the speedy and attentive service. Easy to get parking at that location and very easy to bring little baby with us. I would definitely go back.
2. Xenri D'Garden Terrace
We tried their buffet lunch on a Sunday. First of all, you will need to book reservations due to the popularity of their buffet which was offered at RM 55++ per person. First impression: the venue was nice because of the greens around. It was surprising especially as it was located inside a building at the heart of KL.

Food: I wouldn't say it was top notch but quality was okay for that price. They had good refill timing for shrimp tempura so that means you don't need to wait forever before you can grab your share. They also had good steak and yakitori as part of the buffet. Downside: the sukiyaki guy manning the booth gave me such a small bowl and not enough soup.. maybe he was under pressure with the number of people?

Downside: the place is very tight if you want to bring a small baby with stroller. I would say that the place is bordering on "cramped" becuase you would literally come face-to-face with some customers or waiters as you stroll through the buffet spread. Also, after we had our meal we were too stuffed and full. Hubby and I will not go back for the buffet anymore... it's very bad for the health! I think we over-ate, and we admit it's purely our fault. Anyway... from this point forward we will favor sit-down Japanese meals than buffet!

Service: it was good, they had a lady waiter who was attentive to our needs. They also allowed me to order ala carte for my maid who tagged along to help take care of baby.

Xenri D'Garden Terrace details:
Lot 2.04, Second Floor The Podium Menara Hap Seng Jalan P Ramlee Kuala Lumpur Tel: 03-2078 6688
3. Rakuzen Plaza Damas
Because this Japanese restaurant is very accessible from Mont Kiara, we would go to visit often. One thing I learned over the months is to book a reservation because they are popular and they are always full! That is what I would usually do to avoid disappointment. Many locals told me about Rakuzen's popularity and they have been riding the success over the past few years. Lately some of my friends told me about the detriorating food and service quality. And now I believe them. When my family came to visit from Manila I brought them to Rakuzen. The ambience was still nice. Service was bad, you had to literally get the attention of the waiter just to get green tea refills. And the worst of all, we had to eat our food one bento box at a time... meaning the food didn't arrive all at the same time. The timing gap was too long. I told the waitress about their bad service, which she said she would tell the manager.... though it didn't seem sincere. I guess they don't really care because they have so many customers! Plus during my last visit, they delivered the last bento box without the chawan mushi. The waiter said it would follow. And we eventually had to follow up (after successfully catching a waiter's attention), and when it came it was really too late already.
Well... despite having visited that joint at least 20 times already since we lived in Malaysia... I think that will be our last visit. Service was bad. Food quality declining. I will just have to look for other alternatives for my Japanese craving.

Lot P17 Plaza Ground Floor, Hartamas Shopping Centre,
60 Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: (03) 6201 2060 (03) 6201 5060

4. Sugimoto
The lunch box at this place really impressed me during my last few visit. Simply because the price was so, so affordable! You could also build your own bento box selection, which was great because you had the freedom of choice. But during the last visit this April, well, sad to say the quality has declined. Imagine, they even told my husband he couldn't have sushi in his choice bento because they were running out of fish and can only serve it for the sushi orders ala carte. That fact aside, we still stayed to eat and unfortunately I think their quality has gone down... or could my taste have changed after the pregnancy? I asked hubby if he agreed and he said yes.
It was also a pain to bring baby there as you need to take a small elevator to go up to the restaurant. The place is a bit old. Service is okay. There used to be a very attentive lady waiter and I didn't see her anymore. Maybe she left?
Sugimoto is located at 36-1 & 38-1, Jalan 27/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, KL.

36-1 & 38-1, Jalan 27/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas,50480, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03- 2300 1102 or 03-2300 1202
That sums up my April Japanese restaurant adventures... just my honest opinion. Hope this helps out some people who are looking for japanese food! In case you have great places to share, do leave a comment so I can check it out next time :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Picture Company in Kuala Lumpur

Last Feb 2010 my baby turned 3 months old and of course being the mommy that I am -- I wanted to capture that moment forever. New moms are probably like me -- going through a stage where you just want to take photos and videos of every moment, change and development of your little one!

While strolling at 1 Utama shopping mall, I discovered that they launched a new store called The Picture Company at the new wing, very near Baby Gap store and Parkson. I was delighted and quickly went in to check out the shop!

What is the Picture Company? Well, since I was originally from Manila, I immediately knew what it was. It's a company started by a Filipino who specializes on photography for babies and children. There may be many photographers around nowadays, especially with the affordable prices of digital SLRs... but believe me, without the proper lighting in a studio, the pictures just don't come out the same. Also, one of  the reasons you may want to check out this place is because they are baby-friendly. They have tons of "props" -- like costumes, hats, toys, etc which can enhance the "captured moment" you are trying to achieve.

Maybe there are many parents like me out there: we have 2 digital cameras and 1 Canon SLR. I love taking photos and I believe I have mastered the art of taking great photos. I have tried gazillions of photo shoot with baby at home, in every part of the apartment. The challenges I faced were: not enough lighting at certain parts of the apartment, no nice backdrop, and of course trying to keep baby steady to get a nice shot. To top it off, it is impossible at this point to try to have a beautiful family photo even with the timer options in digital cameras. I have tried all sort of ways to take a family picture: using the Canon Ixus with timer, using my Canon SLR with timer, asking my mom to take several shots hopefully to get lucky with 1 nice shot, and even training my maid on how to use my digital camera to take some shots when we are out and about hoping to capture 1 nice family photo. We did get some nice shots, but never one which is good enough that  can capture the oozing happiness we have with our new little baby. We needed a perfect photo -- something that will transcend through time. Something I can treasure when I look back at the early years of baby.

And so, I reviewed the rates of the Picture Company, decided to try some test shots that day. On the 1st day I visited we didn't print any of the photos. We simply had a photo shoot and I decided to come back again a few days after -- this time with dad in tow. So in the end, we had dad-baby-mommy photo and we were happy with the results. Here I attached a photo of my little baby when she was 3 months old. Believe me, it takes extra work to be able to get a little baby to look at the camera, smile and pose at the same time.

For some people they may find the rates exorbitant. For some they will think like me -- capturing such moments are priceless. It may be pricey but all you need is a few really, really good photos to keep over the years. Of course, it also makes a nice gift to grandparents who are all so excited about your little one.

Overall I think it's an activity worth checking out for parents... it makes a nice activity for the family on a weekend. And especially on important occassions! We went back for a photo shoot last month when my mother and sister were in KL visiting us. So we had a nice group photo will little one. Now the picture is framed out and proudly sitting in grandma's apartment back in Manila. Indeed, a nice gift which is priceless!

They are currently at 1 Utama but I think they will open another branch soon in Gardens Mall.

For those who may find this interesting, check out:

Good bread at KL: Levain Boulangerie

My expat friend (Tram) told me about this new bread place at the heart of KL. Her hubby is French and he was all praises about this bakery's baguette. You know how the French love their bread so if he says it's good, it must be good. So on Saturday morning hubby and I decided to give it a try. The place was easy to find (thanks to the gps, ha ha)

Levain is a nice big bakery. Very different from the french bakery I am used to which is at Sri Hartamas. It is a big bungalow which they turned into a bakery, which means ample parking space and seating capacity. We were greeted by a chinese cashier who is a bit so-so (they should look into putting someone more cheerful in the morning!) The first impression of the bakery is that it was filled with all sorts of bread so I took my time to look around. We ordered different type of bread and all were good quality. The coffee was average and it's a shame they don't offer decaf (for breast- feeding mothers like me !) anyway we enjoyed the bread we ordered as we sat on the sofa couch seats tucked away at the corner of the bakeshop. I saw some corner seats which had power plugs which means people who want to surf the net or work long can hang out here for a long time.
The croissant almond or croissant d'amando in french... It was yummy! The rest were of good quality as well...we tried croissant turkey ham, custard creme donuts, and butter roll. There is surely a wide selection of bread to choose from!

Shame that it's a bit of a drive from Mont Kiara to this place, else we would frequent it for breakfast.

Levain is located at No. 7 Jalan Delima off Jalan Imbi KL
Phone no: 21426611

Another nice place for weekend morning breakfast!

Sent from my Windows® phone.
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