Friday, March 16, 2012

Breakfast: Antipodean, Bangsar

When Jon was visiting, we looked around for a good western breakfast place. We've often had Asian breakfasts and had yet to find that quaint, unpretentious cafe that served simple, no nonsense breakfast. Oh plenty of places do eggs and toast but I wanted a place with more variety to their breakfast menu and one that didn't skimp on quality ingredients. And that's when we found Antipodean.

The menu is written on the chalkboard wall in the background. 

The café is situated on Jalan Telawi 2 and that's just further down the street from Papparich. It's small but it wasn't that packed when we arrived- around 9am-ish. The interior is very nicely done, you can opt to sit on the banquettes facing the chalkboard menu or sit around the center between the banquettes and the menu.

There was a good variety of breakfast foods. Breakfast platters, omelettes with different fillings, open-faced sandwiches and yogurt/ fruit/muesli combos. Breakfast is until 11am if I'm not mistaken and 11am onwards you may order from the lunch/ dinner menu. The drinks were a little on the pricey side but servings were a good size and they serve a good variety of coffee. Their coffee beans are imported from Indonesia and the country is apparently the fourth-largest coffee producer in the world and coffee beans can have a distinct taste and aroma depending on the country it is produced in. I'm no coffee aficionado but if you are, you might want to check out this café.

Smoked salmon omelette w/ side salad dressed in balsamic vinegar. RM18.

 I had the smoked salmon omelette. The serving was very big. Knowing that you need at least 2-3 small/ medium-sized eggs to make a decent sized one-person serving of omelette, Antipodean's must have had at least 6 eggs. Now, is RM18 pricey for an omelette? Perhaps. But this wasn't your run-of-the-mill omelette. It was filled with smoked salmon (maybe too much, even) and I didn't need to salt the dish as the smoked salmon did that for me. The side salad was alright. The balsamic dressing may be an acquired taste for some. It was just pure balsamic vinegar. I think the greens complimented the omelette though. The acidity of the balsamic helped cut the saltiness of the smoked salmon. The radicchio was bitter (the red leaf) and it's naturally like that so if you don't like it, don't let it spoil your experience of this dish.

Fruit salad, yogurt, honey and fresh mint. RM12.
The fruit salad was also mine. It's a huge bowl so it can probably be shared among 2-3 people as a side. Cut honeydew melon, strawberries, apples, plums and the occasional blackberry or blueberry. The yogurt was creamy and tart while the honey and mint provided the needed sweetness and taste. Fruits were fresh and chilled. I was thrilled to find this on the menu because I was craving fruit and yogurt that morning.

Cafe Latte. RM8.

The latte was smooth and nice. Coffee was aromatic and strong. You can't go wrong with a latte. Well, maybe you can at some places but not here. 

Big Breakfast platter. RM18. Extra order of eggs (not on menu). RM5. 

Jon had the breakfast platter. Now, I've come across reviews complaining that RM18 was overpriced for such a small portion. Well some may agree but I'm afraid I'm not them. In the platter you get: Scrambled eggs, a toast, a hash brown, panfried mushrooms, and a choice of chicken/beef/pork sausage or some bacon (the real kind that's made of pork and not the beef/ turkey versions). So yes, this place is non-halal. 

I find the size of this platter just right if you're an average eater. The serving size is just right for one person and Jon was stuffed by the time he was done (he had two extra sunny side ups but the platter alone was 90% filling). The mushrooms were probably brown button mushrooms and were panfried with enough garlic, oil, balsamic and heat to make them sweat just right. 

The hash brown was smaller than its average fried counterpart but it was delicious. It was seasoned perfectly and possibly has some cream mixed into the mash. Now, if you're gonna diss this hash brown (I've seen some reviews do that) and say the mass-produced fried excuse of a potato patty tastes better; I'm gonna flip a table. Some have said that the hash browns they get at McDonalds'are bigger and taste better. Uh, yeah, sure...if your palate is very, very unrefined. Two of these babies would've sealed the deal though or maybe a slightly bigger one. 

Moving on to the sausage, Jon had a pork sausage and it was delicious. The skin was firm and crunchy and the filling was tasty and perfectly seasoned. I'll admit, two sausages would've hit it up a notch. Nevertheless the platter was good: filling, had a decent variety of ingredients, hearty and delicious. 

Tolaga Bay Sunrise: I think this was apple, orange and ginger. RM12.

 The juice was refreshing albeit a little pricey for its size. I won't order this again as it is a pretty common mix of ingredients. You're better off getting a Boost juice. If you don't fancy juices, coffee or other drinks on their menu, just ask for water. The waitstaff should bring you a big glass bottle and small glasses, foc.

White chocolate and macadamia cookie. RM5.
 Jon had the cookie. They are displayed in cookie jars by the coffee bar and also on the menu. This cookie was big, about 90% the size of my hand. It was crumbly, a little soft. Didn't taste the white chocolate or see any for that matter. The overall taste was like your average baked cookie.

Antipodean is worth visiting if you enjoy an easy-going morning/ afternoon with kids, family or friends. They have a play room for kids and there's a TV playing cartoons as well. Toy Story was on when we were there. It's non-smoking indoors but you can choose to sit outside if you require a puff.

Price: Moderate-High. Breakfast food (RM12-RM20 on the menu/ not on menu: RM5 for 2 eggs done any style).
Food: Healthy ingredients, fresh, western breakfasts. Some dishes on their all day dining menu are asian influenced.

Ambience: Casual, relaxed, cosy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Update: New Phone + Phone Case

I bought my first BlackBerry in February 2011 and it was the "latest" Bold 9780 then. I've always found clamshell phones attractive but I caved in to trying the BlackBerry "smartphone". Before making the switch, I asked around for advice and I had to choose between an iPhone, Android smartphone or a BlackBerry. But because I knew some people who were already on BlackBerrys, the Bold it was.

Fast-forward a year, here I am with a brand new iPhone 4S. What happened, really?

The retired year-old BlackBerry, back in its box

Truth be told, it was my boyfriend, who had bought me the iPhone. I guess he felt obliged to considering that he himself switched from BlackBerry to iPhone 4S and one of the main reasons why I considered a BlackBerry was because he had one. So naturally I was a little upset that he made the switch to iPhone and I was left with a BlackBerry...

I used to have that anti-Apple mindset and naturally, I owned no Apple products back then. The disdain I had for Apple products was fueled by the thought that they were overpriced and overrated. I didn't trash talk the products but just never really fancied giving them a go, you know?

Then it all changed when I got to play some games on my boyfriend's iPhone...

I know right, GAMES! When I had the BlackBerry I thought it was already so cool to download games from the "App World" but boy was I missing out. I was happy playing Bubble Burst, Sudoku and other fun-limited games. You should've seen how hooked I was playing Fruit Ninja on the iPhone! 

So Games-wise; Apple 1 - BlackBerry 0

After making the switch, I was surprised at how easy it was to use the iPhone's touch screen interface. There was worry at the start that I might miss the BlackBerry's QWERTY keypad and well, I do miss it to be honest. But the iPhone is so easy to use, so no problems here. I miss the BlackBerry's tiny size but the iPhone's sleek design makes up for it. I got my 4S in black and it really does look chic. 

The headache began when I had to look for cases for the iPhone. 

One word: Overpriced. 

Sure, you can get $1 silicone cases on e-Bay but I wasn't willing to give up on design! The cases sold by Apple resellers are overpriced and the thin hard plastic ones with horrid designs are abundant. I was searching for a black silicone case with/ without a pattern on the back: very simple but SO hard to find! 

So I had to resort to looking online and I was ready to punch in those credit card digits but either shipping was ridiculously expensive or they didn't ship to Malaysia. I searched some sites and found the perfect case on Nordstrom. I had a few choices but this one was slightly cheaper and was made of silicone. It was this Marc by Marc Jacobs "Mademoiselle Danger" case. It retailed for USD34 but shipping was horrendous. 

I was lucky enough though, to find this case at the local Marc by Marc store at Pavilion and I think it was one of the last cases left. It retailed for RM180 and it may seem overpriced when compared to the USD34 but if I ordered online and paid extra for shipping and customs duties, it would have been equal to or above RM180. So why not get it here and now while its in stock? 

I don't think its too much considering the thickness of the case and of course, the lovely design. Some may buy those RM40-RM60 hard plastic "shells" or cases from Apple resellers but once you drop a case like that, the plastic would most probably crack or chip or have an ugly scratch. That is why I prefer silicone/ rubber cases in general. They kinda absorb the shock from the fall so not much is damaged. And me paying that much for a case is justified by my being a sucker for unique designs and brand names, well somewhat. I definitely won't be spending any money on iPhone cases for a while now!