Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Konkan Abu Dhabi - Possibly the finest Indian restaurant in town!

Located: Behind Emirates Plaza Hotel
Area: TCA / Tourist Club Area
Tel: +971 2 676 0588

Konkan originates from the state of Karnataka in India, in Mangalore.

Mmmmh .. what a great start. Masala Popadoms ;-)

We shared ... Goan curry Fish (Excellent!), Tikka Masala Crab (Really good too!), and I loved the Curry Mushroom. Excellent Mangalorean cuisine!

This about sums up the restaurant ... brilliant customer service, nice quiet ambience, clean, damn good food, and excellent value (Eg. the large basket of mixed naans below was only 8 AED or RM$6!). The Vegetable Briyani was even more delicious!

This meal came up to about 30AED or RM25 per head. Gooood value!

Besides the TERRIBLE PARKING situation in the area, I would strongly recommend this place as would MD and JT ;-) Take a taxi, you won't regret it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Jones the Grocer at Abu Dhabi has been refurbished!

Another good meal at Jones the Grocer (Near Al Nahyan Camp / Asteco Properties), late one evening with some friends who had just moved to Abu Dhabi and two makan buddies. Was surprised to see the extension / refurbishment completed at Jones, there is now a bigger sandwich bar and more seating :-)

Hot Chocolate, and not Cappucino (the best in Abu Dhabi!) for a change ... it was late, and I wanted to make sure I could sleep! Really rich and yummy ... 20 AED.

MD had the grilled salmon, served with a fancy Baba Ghanoush dip ;-) The salmon was perfectly cooked!

Ahh ... bliss, my Wagyu burger with Olive oil fries. Nice!

Fancy artistic flair to the ketchup too ;-) New chef?

ps - They even serve fancy Venezuelan choccies here!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Tanqueray Ten v Bombay Sapphire - Gin & Tonic!

Some like Tanqueray (I like "Ten"!), and some like ... Bombay.

A generous helping of Tanqueray with half a can of Tonic water ... bliss, the perfect after work drink!

Added a dash of lime too ... Perfect.

Brahims - Malaysian Spicy Tomato sauce to the rescue

One tip for ANYONE (especially Malaysians!) moving to Abu Dhabi or the UAE ... do your own cooking ;-)

I brought along Brahim's Kuah Masak Merah (Spicy Tomato Sauce) from my last trip home ... heaven-sent :-)

Not very many minutes later (Well, 35 minutes to be precise) ... Chunky-cut onions sauteed in a wok, throw in some chicken and sliced button mushrooms ... and pour the sauce over and simmer for 20-odd minutes, and voila ... delicious! A meal for three :-) , Me + Myself + I.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Cho Gao, Crowne Plaza - Asian fusion at Abu Dhabi

Would you believe ... this venue is in ... Abu Dhabi :-)

Hotel: Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi

Tel: +971 2 616 6149

Opening hours: 12-4pm , 7-11pm

Located along: Hamdan Street

The Asian / chinese-y style theme continues when you walk to your desk, and when you are presented with the menu.

I did think that the items on the menu looked rather interesting, but I was starting to worry ... would this place be style over substance?

Whilst we were waiting for our food ... I had a draught Tiger beer. Magnifique! Good value at 24 AED, or about RM 20 too :-)

Kwai-loh style food ... This was supposed to be Pad Thai. The noodles were decent, but it was hardly pad thai except for the small sprinkling of crushed peanuts!

The overcooked ... My kicap-manis (Sweet soya sauce) steak, which was definitely not done "medium". More like well done :-( And the Ahi-Tuna. Overly firm :-( and again over-cooked too!

The decent ... Thai style young-mango salad, with tempura crab :-)

The poor! Uh ... the over cooked theme continued with the prawns, which I found to be rather poor!

Met new friends this evening, JT and J ... Cheers guys. And no, J, you can't eat a steak with your chopsticks however hard you try!

The damage? Using two Entertainer vouchers, we paid about 90 AED per head for the food and drinks. Reasonable by Abu Dhabi hotel standards, but I will only ever return for drinks (Tiger!) in the future ...

The conclusion ... Yes, style over substance :-(

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Prego pasta sauce - Good stuff!

Hmmm ... I wonder what it says on the jar :-)

Yes ... when one is not bothered to make his own pasta sauce ... there's only one choice, bottled pasta sauce. Prego is one of my fave's :-) Its made by the Campbell Soup company, but I dunno what "Heart Smart" means! Ha!

Two quick shots before I devoured it all ... served on a bed of fusilli and a small slice of Carrefour baguette on the side :-)

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Monster iCable - Connecting an iPod to my Rotel RA-1520 amp

Dealer: Plug-ins
Location: Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi (Opposite the entrance to IKEA)

I was wondering how I should connect my iPod to my new amp ... Hmmm.

Features -
  • Stylish, high-quality stereo analog interconnect (3.5mm minijack to left/right RCA connectors)
  • Straight-cut turbine RCA and split-tip pin for superior contact pressure
  • 24k gold contacts for high signal integrity; twisted-pair XLN technology offers superior noise rejection
  • Includes handy carry pouch; 7-foot cable length
  • Universal accessory for all digital audio players compatible with 3.5mm mini-jack

Now all I have to do ... is press play :-)
For the price you pay for this cable, as well as the convenience of not having to purchase a separate D/A converter, its not a bad solution really. My iPod never sounded so good ... to think, my Rotel Amp and B&W 683s was initially born from wanting a B&W Zeppelin. Ha!

Friday, September 03, 2010

B&W 683 - Bowers & Wilkins floorstander speakers

Hefty beasts :-) have arrived ... 34kg for each of the boxes!!

Dealer: Archimedia - Bu Ameem Building, Umm Hurair Road, off Al Maktoum Bridge, Dubai.

Bowers + Wilkins' B&W 683
Type: 3 way floor-standing speaker
Dimensions: 985mm height (not including plinth or feet) x 198mm width x 340mm depth
Net Weight: 26kg
Finishes: Black Ash, Red Cherry (Wenge and Light Oak may not be available any more) ... I chose red cherry.

The B&Ws came beautifully packaged, and there were constant reminders via pictures on the box on what to do. For example, one basically had to un-do the staples/fastenings/tape on both ends, and then slide the box over the top to unveil the speaker which had corner-protection pieces and foam-type sleeve over it. Nice!

There were even little protection cards on the edge of each of the mesh-grills, which you can easily remove before completing the set-up of your speakers.

There was even an accessory pack ... I couldn't believe how much there was to do to set up a pair of speakers. I had thought that all I had to do was plug in the ... wires! Ha!

Flip the speakers over (Do it carefully, they are 26 kg each and you would not want to damage the wood finish nor the speaker mesh grill, and definitely not the precious bits in the front!) ... and put on the base / plinth! I chose to use the spikes, but it also comes with rubber feet, if you prefer to use them.

10 minutes later ... the plinth and spikes were on.
One day I plan to change the black wooden plinth to something like marble or granite :-)

The detailing and finish of the B&W defies its budget (relatively!) price range ... Bi-wiring can be done quite easily, but that isn't for me for now!

I was initially thinking, uh ... how do I get the banana plugs into the speaker left-right sockets? Thanks to a B&W forum, all it took was a little knife to pry the red and black caps off, and voila ... the banana plugs were a snug push-fit in the sockets!

Banana plugs are a small but worthy investment, makes life so much easier!
My choice of integrated amp and CD player was from the B&W Group, a brand called Rotel.

In fact, I was originally very worried that the 60W output of the RA1520 would be insufficient, but boy was I wrong. In a living room of 5m x 7m, I struggle to turn up the volume to over 15%, without the neighbours calling the police! Its a beautiful partnership, B&W and Rotel :-)

Speaker wires - Straight Wire SuperQuad
Interconnects - Straight Wire Musicable II

Key features:
  • Nautilus Tweeter
  • Kevlar FST Midrange
  • Aluminium/Paper/Kevlar cone bass
  • Flowport Technology
  • 1st Order HF Filter
  • Edge wound HF voicecoil

More specs!
  • 1 x 25mm ∅ (1”) tube-loaded aluminium dome high-frequency
  • 1 x 150mm ∅ (6”) Kevlar® brand fibre FST midrange
  • 2 x 165mm ∅ (6.5”) Aluminium/ Paper/ Kevlar® cone bass
  • Sensitivity: 90dB spl (2.83v/1 metre)
  • Frequency Response: 38Hz - 22kHz ±3dB on reference axis
  • Frequency Range: -6dB @ 30Hz and 50kHz
  • Crossover Frequency: 350Hz, 4kHz
  • Nominal Impedance: 8 ohms (minimum 3.0)
  • Recommended Amplifier: 25W - 200W into 8 ohm on unclipped programme

Done! Now all I have to do is ... press play :-)

It looks better with the grills off, but I shall keep them on for protective reasons :-)
Check out the ...
  • Nautilus™ tube loaded aluminium dome tweeter (That's the one right at the top with the embossed Bowers & Wilkins badge)
  • Kevlar® brand fibre cone FST™ midrange (Can't miss it ... bright yellow, and a unique selling point of the B&W range)
  • Aluminium/paper/Kevlar® cone bass driver (I assume these are the 2 silver discs below!)
  • Flowport (That's the "hole" right at the bottom, with the dimples)

What does B&W say ...

The imposing 683 is the genuine three-way speaker of the 600 Series, with a line-up of technologies and a level of performance that defies its entry-level place in the market. For large rooms, two 683s make a formidable partnership, either for stereo hi-fi or fronting a home theatre installation.

Deep, dynamic, bottom-end power is delivered by a pair of aluminium/paper/Kevlar® composite cone bass drive units. The 150mm Kevlar® midrange handles middle frequencies with its characteristic clarity and tunefulness, but, for the first time in a 600 Series speaker, includes FST cone surround technology for extra detail and resolution. The Nautilus™ tube-loaded, aluminium dome tweeter, featuring a new surround material to improve spaciousness and imaging, adds needle-sharp top end all the way to 50kHz and beyond.

The improvements to the drive units in the new 600 Series make it possible, for the first time, to introduce a minimalist crossover to the range. The use of components that are fewer in number but higher in quality – hand-picked in exhaustive listening tests – reduces the degradation of the signal significantly. So, whether you’re enjoying hi-fi or home cinema, what you hear is that much closer to what was recorded.

Visually, a refreshed, contemporary design language and a widened choice of wood finishes allows the 683 to fit in effortlessly with any interior.