Category / KL City
Whenever we think of vacations, we often think about sandy white sand, far-away foreign cities, beautiful old temples, or at a waterfall nested within a pristine jungle. Those are “traditional” and in a sense, more ideal vacations, but at the same time they also require a lot more planning, time, and often incur higher expenses.
Enter the recent trend of “staycation”, pick a nice hotel somewhere not far away and spend a couple nights enjoying the facilities, good food, while having someone else make sure everything is clean and tidy.
We spent an awesome 3 day 2 night stay at Aloft Kuala Lumpur doing just that a couple weeks ago for a much welcomed de-stressing session. At the end of this post, you’ll find out how to win the same 3D2N de-stress getaway (for 3 winners.)
Aloft KL, lobby and quirky art
The decoration within Aloft KL is one that is pretty atypical. Lobby is a mixture of industrial presence dotted with quirky art works everywhere.
Right behind the check-in counter is a re:fuel counter that offers ready-to-eat foods such as sandwiches, salads, drinks, coffee, instant noodles, and many other snacks. If you want to have a quick bite, this is a good one-stop center.
To the far right of the lobby, you’ll find the W XYZ bar that offers a selection of draught beer, cocktails, juices, and more. There’re also live bands performing at the area. Have a drink, shoot some pools, enjoy the music.
Mai Bar and Re:Charge gym
On the top floor there’s a more “serious” bar with a great view of the city.
At night, MAI Bar is lit up by colorful LED lights and offers a full range of drinks and great live performances as well as DJs spinning latest tunes. This is a place to go to shake your booty.
For those who loves to sweat, Re:Charge gymnasium is well-stock with modern equipment. While isn’t exactly big gym by any stretch of imagination, it is well sufficient.
infinity pool on the top floor
Then there’s my favorite part of the hotel – the infinity pool on the top floor, right next to Mai Bar.
The pool is some 25-30 meters in length and sufficiently wide enough to accomodate some 8-10 swimmers at the same time if they’re all doing laps. Furthermore, opening my eyes underwater did not sting, I suspect that this is probably due to the fact that they might be using salt water treatment instead of the more traditional chlorine.
In either case, this is a great place to chill.
our room for the weekends at Aloft KL
All guest rooms are equipped with comfortable platform beds, iron, ironing board, bathrobes, coffee maker, 42″ flat screen TV, a sofa, mini fridge, safe, oversized shower, and a workstation. I also particularly like the floor to ceiling windows that takes up the entire wall for an uninterrupted view of the city.
Since we have Haze’s siblings staying with us over one of the nights, we also got the hotel to provide us with extra beds that came in a form of cute little tent thing and a bed with cute bed sheet.
On top of every headboard is also a piece of quirky art work, another nice touch.
breakfast buffet spread at Nook
The big restaurant at Aloft KL is Nook, and this is where most foods are served.
Breakfast comes in the form of buffet with pretty decent spread (complimentary for room guests). There’s salad, cold cuts, juices, cereal, espresso coffee, and many local dishes. My favorite was the laksa Sarawak, which had the same soup base with the high end version that was offered during MIGF at Nook.
evening buffet spread at Nook
At night, the buffet spread at Nook gets an upgrade. There’s good selection of seafood such as mussels, prawns, smokes almon, and even scallops. There’s also roast chicken, delicious salted beef that is served with kimchi, salad, soup, cheese, desserts, and many other local and Western dishes.
Nook provides a good selection of ala carte menu too
Apart from buffet, there is a pretty decent selection on the ala carte menu as well, though you might have to wait a little bit before the food is served.
There’s mushroom soup, steak, cod fish, sandwiches, spaghetti, yee mee with tiger prawns, and many more dishes. These were mostly pretty delicious, though our experience with the steak wasn’t as good as other choices.
kids at play, Aloft KL
Over all, it was a very nice and relaxing stay over at Aloft KL. This whole “staycation” thing is something I can get used to, and hopefully will be doing more.
OK now here’s a few steps you can do to stand a chance to win a 3D2N stay at Aloft Kuala Lumpur
- like MyStarJob Facebook page www.facebook.com/MyStarJob
- go to MyStarJob Facebook app Ultimate De-stress Getaway Contest
- take a photo of how you de-stress in the office
- Fill in your details and upload your own Ultimate De-stress Photo in office
- Share and get your friends and family to vote for your photo
- Vote for your photo. Participants can vote once per photo per day
how do you de-stress at work?
3 pictures with highest votes will win a 3-days-2-nights stay at Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral, so start doing it and hopefully you’ll be the one who wins this “staycation” package! Contest ends on 15th January 2014, be quick!
Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral,
5, Jalan Stesen Sentral,
50470 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2723 1188
GPS: 3.13295, 101.68619
The eating culture in Malaysia is so rich that even after some 9 years of writing about it, there are still many famous and well established eateries within Klang Valley I’ve yet to explore.
Kedai Kopi dan Makan Sin Ban Fatt, also known as Ngau Kei
A few days ago after another routine invisalign appointment with the good people at My Dentist, I was invited to join them for lunch at a nearby restaurant by the name of Kedai Kopi dan Makan Sin Ban Fatt, or more commonly known as Ngau Kei on Jalan Ipoh.
The proprietor of My Dentist, a massive foodie in his own right, explained that Ngau Kei have been in business for almost 6 decades at the exact same location, and is still a favorite among locals.
salted steamed kampung chicken
Parking situation around this old shop isn’t the most ideal, hence getting there before the peak of lunch time is recommended. Waiting time too can be rather long as it is almost always packed, this is not a place to visit if you’re in a hurry.
For the four of us we ordered only three dishes for sharing.
Our first dish was their signature salted steamed kampung chicken. I’m usually not a fan of kampung chicken due to it’s much tougher texture, but this version at Ngau Kei was absolutely delightful. It was tender while not fatty, and carries that flavor of kampung chicken which I really enjoy.
vegetable, deep fried garupa with sweet and sour sauce
For fish, they usually serve it either steamed or deep fried. We tried the deep fried garupa with sweet and sour sauce. The seafood was fresh, and deep fried to perfection with the outer layer and fins crispy but the meat still steamy hot and tender. The sweet and sour sauce pairs well with the fish and was a great with steamed rice.
The simple fried vegetable with garlic dish dish was our last dish, and while not exciting, it certainly did not disappoint.
a plate of fruits is served at the end of meal
There’s also a plate of fresh fruits at the conclusion of the meal. I’ll certainly be back to try their other famous dishes such as fried fish fillet with salted vegetable, steamed eggs, prawns with dark soya sauce, and fried binjal.
Kedai Kopi Dan Makanan Sin Ban Fatt
647, 4th Miles,
GPS: 3.195444, 101.679899
Tel: 03-6258 2839
A few weeks ago I had a couple hours and a hungry stomach to kill before a futsal session at Ampang Sports Planet. Since Dato’ Keramat is sort of a half way point between where I was and where I need to be, I thought I’d explore the area a little bit and see what I can feed myself.
Malay roti canai/roti arab stall at Dato’ Keramat market
My initial plan was to have the ikan bakar (grilled fish) for dinner, unfortunately at almost 6pm in the evening, the stall has already closed for business (even though it says until 6:30pm).
Walking about the market and around the area, I spotted this roti telur/roti arab stall by the makeshift food court/restaurant opposite the LRT station .
the roti is a quite unique, puffed up and slightly sweet
After a brief description by the friendly waitress on what exactly this roti arab is about, I ordered a portion to load up some carb before exercise. Like roti canai, you can have it with curry, and I think it will also go very well with some condensed milk.
The ingredients of roti arab is pretty similar to normal bread, with the addition of butter on top of yeast, flour, and some sugar. The dough is then pan fried instead of baked.
I think it tastes great with some fish curry
I find myself enjoying roti arab quite a bit. It is easy to eat, almost like in between roti canai and normal bread. Dip it wet with fish curry and viola, instant carb loading that cost less than RM 3 including a glass of teh-o-ais. Perfect afternoon in-between meals.
I hope more places started serving this.
Dato’ Keramat Market
Opposite Dato’ Keramat LRT
Jalan Dato’ Keramat
GPS: 3.165396, 101.73118
Over the years, from business traveling, meeting with friends, and invited reviews, I’ve seen quite a few buffet spreads. Hence, for the most parts, buffet offerings don’t excite me very much.
Then again, the Bubblier Sparkalite 4Cs Sunday Brunch at Intercontinental KL’s Serena Brasserie isn’t just any buffet spread.
Serena Brasserie, at ground floor Intercontinental KL
Heading the kitchen is executive chef Darrell O’Neill, originally from Australia and has since left a trail of presence across the globe in countries such as New Zealand, UK, France, Hong Kong, Dubai, India, Maldives, and now, Malaysia. During his time at restaurant Al Mahara t the Burj Al Arab Hotel Dubai, the restaurant was awarded Best Seafood Restaurant by Time Out Dubai.
this is what we came here for, the Alaskan King Crab
The concept of the Sunday buffet brunch at Intercontinental KL centeres around 4Cs – Crustaceans, Carvery, Chocolate, and Candy.
Crustaceans is what excites us the most, there were Alaskan King Crab, slippery lobster, tiger prawns, and cray fish. Under this “C” also includes catch of the days such as fresh white fish, marinated tuna steaks, oysters, mussels, scallops, salmon, and more.
yeap, bubbly too, and a host of seafood ready to eat
If you haven’t had a chance to sample king crab due to the price, this buffet offers one of the best values. The seafood were fresh, tasty, and most importantly, plentiful. I think I had close to 10 oysters, a departure from norm as I usually don’t get more than a couple, they tasted so good!
cold cuts and little appetizer in shot glasses
The next C stands for Carvery – which basically means cooked meat that are freshly sliced. Here you’ll find roasted whole ribs, prime ribs, roast chicken/duck, and more. Trimmings such as Yokshire pudding, roast vegetable, and baked potato accompany these dishes well.
roast chicken & duck, local delights, and prime ribs too
For those who wants to sample some local delights, they are available too. A good selection of traditional Malay, Chinese, and Indian dishes are available for your picking.
BBQ meat & sausage, tandoori chicken, smoked salmon
They’ve also set up a BBQ area right outside the air-conditioned dine in section. Here you get freshly grilled lamb rack, chicken tandoori, sausage, baby chicken, satay, and even freshly smoked salmon and “DIY” burger stand with mini-Augus beef sliders and mini-chicken satay sliders.
fruits, a variety of cheese, desserts, and cakes
The third C stands for Chocolate, and of course, that includes a host of other desserts as well. There are Australian lamingtons, chocolate fudge brownies and rocky road, mini Pavlovas, mini fruit trifles, banana and caramel sticky puddings, and more.
I can’t get enough of the Alaskan King Crab and slipper lobsters
Finally, last but not least is Candy. This actually refers to the Sparkalite Kid’s Corner, a section within the restaurant set up to keep kids busy learning the sweet art of making lamingtons and be entertained by the clown. This is a particularly great feature for parents with kids who actually want to have some food in peace.
with Umei, Josen, Haze, Evelyn, Dennis, and Damian
The Sparkalite ’4Cs’ Sunday Brunch at Serena Brasserie is available every Sunday from noon to 3pm. Brunch is priced at RM 120++ per person, and if you want the free flow sparkling, white & red wine and beer, it’ll be RM 198++. Kids from 6-12 is charged RM 60++ per head.
For the spread that you get, I think the price is more than reasonable, now excuse me while I go get myself more King crabs.
165 Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.159767, 101.718045
Tel: 03-2161 1111
Ampang Park is said to be the oldest shopping mall of such set up in the country. First opened its door in 1973, this place has been in existence since our current Prime Minister’s father was in office as the Prime Minster.
Recently, my office moved to Intermark, which is located just right across the road from Ampang Park, so naturally I went to check out some of the lunch options at this place since the two buildings are connected by a skybridge.
food court at Ampang Park, the oldest shopping mall in Malaysia
As it turns out, the oldest mall also has one of the oldest food courts at the top floor. There are a variety of hawker stalls at the area, but two that caught my eyes were the Korean and the Vietnamese food outlets.
Both of these places are pork free, and offers exceptional value.
Vietnamese beef, chicken or fish noodle at RM 5.00 to RM 6.00
The Vietnamese dishes are typically made from the same soup base, you can get beef noodle, beef stew noodle, beef ball noodle, chicken noodle, and like the example above, fish noodle for the price of RM 4.50 to RM 6.00.
There’s mint leaves, fish sauce, and a soup base that’s undoubtedly Vietnamese, but don’t expect great cut of beef or beef tendons in them. A pair of spring rolls here goes for RM 2.50 and they are rather decent too.
The Vietnamese lady who operate this place doesn’t speak much English, but can converse in Malay, and of course in Vietnamese.
kimchi soup ramen for RM 7.00
If you fancy some cheap Korean food, just look at the busiest stall in this food court.
The menu here includes Korean glass noodle with soup (RM 6.50), seafood noodle soup (RM 6.50), mixed vegetable rice (RM 6.50), kimchi rice roll (RM 6.50), bibimbap (RM 7), kimchi pancake (RM 6.50), kimchi soup rice (RM 7), kimchi fried rice (RM 6.50), and more.
Most of these dishes come with side dishes that includes kimchi, vegetable, bean sprout, and an omelette lookalike thingy.
the ramen noodle comes with a side dish of 4 too
My favourite dishes from the Korean food stall is the kimchi ramen noodle that also comes with side dishes that goes for RM 7. The soup isn’t very intense, but for the price you can’t really ask for more. There’s plenty of kimchi and overall taste is rather decent.
The only complain I have is that the portion is perhaps overly huge though.
If you work or happen to around the area and want something cheap and decent for lunch, here’s a food court to check out.
Ampang Park Food Court
Ampang Park Shopping Centre
Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.16054, 101.71947
Hours: weekday lunch