Bars&Brunches: Antipodean, Bangsar

A little while ago, I was casually sipping coffee at a local coffee shop and an idea for a new mini-series hit me; since I frequent cafés and bars on the weekends, why not document the experience and share it with everyone? Who made us, and where should I eat next remain as two of the universe’s longest unanswered questions; so spare your worries – Bars&Brunches is here, as your one-stop destination for reviews of KL’s hot and hidden outlets to satisfy your weekend’s need for either a perfect smashed avocados on bread, or for great drinks.

Antipodean, Bangsar would be the first featured café for Bars&Brunches‘ debut, being one of my top favorite places to visit for my weekend brunch’s cravings. Located in Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar Baru, it is no stranger to frequent patrons of Bangsar’s wide selection for cafés and restaurants. 

Photo courtesy of shellahkei @ shellahkei.wordpress.com

The staffs quickly recognized me and greeted me even when I was 10 steps away from the premise; a reflection of one of their great customer service trainings – welcoming and friendly.

I sat down at one of the tables outdoors, made myself comfortable and was immediately attended to. They brought me a bottle of cold water and a glass of ice to help me settle down. I ordered my usual latte, one of my favorite coffee drinks.

To be fair in all my future reviews, I’ll stick to ordering lattes as a simple way to gauge a café’s standards for coffee.

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It took them around 5 minutes to prepare my latte, and presentation was top-notch, as always. I admire the vibrant ceramic saucer that came with my latte. Antipodean’s lattes are easily one of my favorites in the area – medium bodied accompanied by distinct earthy tones with a delicate aroma. After a sip of my latte, I ordered the smashed avocado on toast, another personal go-to brunch meal and of course, a glass of the house white wine. 

The food and wine arrived about 10 minutes later, and as previously mentioned – Antipodean does not skimp its presentation, ever. My smashed avocados on bread came with grilled pork bacon (I was given the option to choose between pork or beef bacon) and a generous portion of roasted tomatoes. 


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I have no qualms whatsoever regarding the food and wine – the portion was appropriate for a brunch-time meal, enough to fuel me for the remainder of the afternoon. I am fully aware of the fact that it is definitely difficult to obtain high quality avocados in Malaysia, hence I was not putting my hopes too high, taste-wise. However, I was pleasantly satisfied that the dish turned out well. The avocados were however slightly on the unripened end,  but the garnish and salt masked it very well. 

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The grilled pork bacon and tomatoes complemented the avocados very well. They did not overpowered the taste of the avocado, which can easily happen when you add a grilled, cured meat to vegetables. The acidity from the tomatoes helped to balance out the heavy earthy flavors coming from the pork bacon, avocados and bread – a winning combination. 

It would not be complete without a huge glass of red sangria wine to ease everything down. Plus, it was a hot and humid day in Bangsar on Sunday so the chilled sangria really helped.

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Overall, my experience in Antipodean, Bangsar was pleasant – just like the many times I have been to the restaurant before. The food was satisfying, the ambiance was relaxing, and the staff were helpful and friendly. One of the main reasons why I keep coming back to Antipodean is due to their excellent customer service. 

I will definitely be coming back in the future. 

Stay hydrated,
Peter.

All photos taken on iPhone X.

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Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class Review ( Kuala Lumpur – Brisbane )

On my recent trip to Brisbane last month, I had the opportunity to try out Malaysia Airlines reinvigorated business class seats, debuting their fully-flat beds on all their A330 fleet from Kuala Lumpur to Australia. I was on MH135 en route to Brisbane from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and MH134 on the return flight back to Malaysia.

On both legs of the journey, I selected seat 5D which had direct aisle access. Seats 2K, 4K & 7K do not have direct aisle access, so do keep that in mind if you’re thinking of flying on their A330 Business Class fleet.

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Seats

Seat 5D, with my trusted Herschel travel backpack !

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Direct aisle access from my seat, 5D.

Ample leg room to shift around in your seat. The seat fully reclines into a flat-bed, conjoining with an ottoman that’s situated right under the in-flight-entertainment screen. The seat can be adjusted with a simple control setting on the side panel, and including buttons to control the mood lighting & massage feature.

On the same side area, you’re able to find a USB power outlets, in flight entertainment remote, and a small pocket for storage – enough to fit a standard sized smart phone.


Food & Beverages

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On the flight to Brisbane, I selected the fruits meal and a glass of smoothie as it was a morning flight, and I knew beforehand I was going to have a big breakfast in the Malaysia Airlines First Class Lounge so I was not going to gorge on more food on board the flight. Fruits were fresh and had enough variety to keep me happy and satisfied.

My kind flight attendant even offered to give me an extra plate as he thought growing teens need to eat more fruits these days. I happily obliged, and my tummy sang in unison.

I was served a generous amount of Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2005 throughout the whole flight, although I did not take any pictures of me partaking in hedonistic pleasures – rest assured, I was very happy and amused.

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Of course, it would not be a complete flight without the legendary Malaysia Airlines chicken & beef satay, downed with another glass of champagne. I unashamedly asked for refills, twice. 


Amenity Kit & Entertainment

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The amenity kit came in with basic toiletries from Aigner, eyeshade & a pair of stockings. No pajamas, though – which I found lacking for a long haul flight from Kuala Lumpur to Brisbane. The Aigner bag itself was sturdy & minimalistic; fitting my current aesthetic.

The Good Place
The Good Place on Netflix.

I skimmed through their in-flight entertainment, and it was updated with recently released films & up to date shows, however I came in prepared with my own entertainment – my iPad with pre-downloaded shows on Netflix. The display was responsive, although not as responsive as the ones on the A380 & A350. However, the screen size made up for the lack in receptivity which made my brief experience in the IFE satisfying. Most of the times, I used the IFE to check our plane’s current status in the air.

My next door neighbor seemed to enjoy his in flight entertainment service – I can’t help but laugh myself when I heard him laugh from watching a show on the IFE.

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Overall

I had a great & memorable experience.

All in all, my experience was memorable and comfortable. The service I was given the moment I checked in at the counter, to the times when I was chilling in the Malaysia Airlines First Class Lounge until I disembarked from the plane 8 hours later, was  indeed pleasant and enjoyable.

The Malaysia Airlines Business Class experience that I had, left a nice imprint in me and it signified an improvement in the direction it is heading, albeit a few improvements could be added for a better overall experience for business travelers.

I am a leisure traveler, hence my experience was gauged and assessed mostly in terms of comfort and flexibility.

Stay hydrated & blessed !
Peter.

All photos were shot on iPhone X.

When I Was 7 Days in Down Under

Spoiler alert : the wildlife in Australia are not upside down, much to my disappointment.

I have yet to get over the post-holiday blues from my recent getaway in Brisbane during late spring this year. Fun fact; for the people living in the Northern Hemisphere, did you know that the seasons are switched for those in the Southern Hemisphere ?

I could have not visited Brisbane at a better time, for I had 6 out of 7 days where the Sun was blessing us with warmth and shine, pure bliss for a boy who has difficulties acclimatizing to cold temperatures. 7 days were not enough to truly bask in the wonders and marvels this city has to offer, so I made the most out of this reasonably short trip and here’s what I did:


Kookaburra Showboat Lunch Cruise

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The lunch cruise I went on was the highlight of my first day in Brisbane. I believe the ticket price was $AU60, per adult. I was delighted by the service of my French waitress, who managed to keep my glass of prosecco full at all times.

Their food menu was great and they even cater to people with specific dietary requirements. My favorite was definitely the braised pork belly & the potato salad. The ambiance on board this wooden boat was truly unique. If you are into rustic, antique & aesthetically-pleasing interior designing, don’t miss out on this cruise! They even had a jazz trio on board, serenading the passengers with some heartwarming classics.

The view along the Brisbane River was remarkable. Contemporary and classic Victorian houses dot the riverbank and hillside, contrasting well against the city’s modern skyline. The cruise lasted for 4 hours and by the time we got back to the jetty – the sky was clear and the air was crisp.


Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

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Visiting Brisbane would not be complete if you did not scoot over to catch some koalas and kangaroos frolicking around. I took the Miramar Cruise from the Cultural Pontoon and the journey took about 2 hours before we arrived at Lone Pine. The skipper gave us some insight on a little bit of the city’s history during the cruise and it made the 2 hour ride interesting.

I spent about 2 hours in the sanctuary, walking around at my own pace seeing and admiring the endemic Australian wildlife. I patted a kangaroo on its head and I never knew they were so docile (but I heard they could get quite aggressive when taunted). I had the opportunity to see living koala bears too, and that was scratched off of my bucket  list. I was not brave enough to cuddle one, although you can because I heard you could catch chlamydia from them. Yikes!


Moreton Island Day Trip

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While planning my Brisbane itinerary, I stumbled upon a video in my recommendation list in YouTube (Google Ads analytic does work hard) and it was about Moreton Island. At first, for a boy who has lived 99% of his life on a tropical island; non-tropical islands hardly ever impress me. Why? The waters are usually too cold for me to even dip my foot in it.

I am glad I did the exact opposite and booked a cruise to Moreton Island because I was in awe the whole time. I spent my morning drinking wine and had a decent lunch in one of the restaurants, then for the rest of the day I just laid down on the sand and soaked in the sun. Occasionally, I would sit in the water just along the coast, because the seawater was still too cold to my liking but apart from that – it was truly paradise.


Surfers’ Paradise, Gold Coast

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Surfers’ Paradise

On my second last day, I took a 2 hour train ride from Roma St. Station, which was just in front of my hotel in Brisbane, all the way down to Gold Coast.

I have to admit, Gold Coast was a beautiful city but it is very much designed to cater to tourists and the busyness of the city was too much for me to bear. I decided to lodge in a bar just along the avenue and spent the next few hours, drinking and people watching.


I had an amazing week in Brisbane, and met a lot of interesting individuals for coffee, sharing our travel & life experiences. Traveling at the age of 21 can be daunting and intimidating because it is true. You are basing your expectations off of reviews and experiences you managed to find on the net, so it is natural that we all have our worries and doubts.

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But trust me, one of the best things you could do in your 20s is to actually get out there and experience the world, first hand. I have a tight-knit circle of friends who are currently doing the same, and they are telling me the same thing – traveling changes your perspective. You see things differently as you experience different cultures.

You do it your way, be it budget-friendly or ludicrously luxurious – it is up to you ! I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a little bit more for extra comfort during my travels but that does not mean you get to skimp on yours just because you are on a budget.

Just remember, never cut back on the planning process. Better plans lead to better times, no matter how spontaneous your trips are.

Stay hydrated and blessed !
Peter.

All photos shot on iPhone X.