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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Food Review - Genji (Hilton PJ)

Genji, PJ Hilton

Japanese (Halal)
2, Jalan Barat, PJ (one of the major T-junctions along the Federal Highway)

Getting There
The hotel is located prominently at one of the major T-Junctions along the Federal Highway, and is one of the major landmarks locals use to giver directions. You can't really miss it.

There are many parking choices for you either at the hotel itself or in the vicinity.

As it is buffet, a different yardstick has to be used. The service would mainly be from the food counter staff and they are indeed friendly. Some of them are a big enough sport to even pose for your photos!

The rustic decor, made from natural materials like wood and stone, conveys an air of repute & experience to the place. It brings a sense of history and diners will feel that this place has made a name for itself and you know it will be a good dining experience, but so well kept that it could contend with the latest Japanese fine-dining outlets.
You get practically the everything you would expect from a fine Japanese restaurant here. The variety includes:
- Sushi & Handrolls
- Sashimi
- Teppanyaki
- Tempura (Deep fried goodies =) )
- Soba, Udon & other noodles
- Green Tea Ice Cream, among other flavours
- Agedashi, Chawan-Mushi
- Okonomiyaki (Japanese Pancake/Pizza)
- Unagi (Eel)
- Grilled Salmon Head (Sake Kabuto Shioyaki)
- Grilled Pregnant Fish (Shishamo)
The sashimi and oysters are of course flown-in fresh. However, I do find myself preferring the pickled ginger from Sakae Sushi better than the ones I found here.

I especially liked the Chawan Mushi and Age Dashi there. Presented in dainty little porcelain bowls kept warm in the chaffing dishes.

I was pleasantly surprised that the Sashimi also included Sea-Bass, not commonly found in buffets, among the other usual line-up of Cod, Tuna & Salmon.

The only complaint was that during the day of my visit, they didn't have any soft-shell crabs =(.

Most of the Japanese restaurants of this or similar class/grade would have their buffets priced at about this range. In fact, some places, including Genji, have timed buffets. In Genji, the timed-buffet applies to their dinner buffet. Diners, pay a price and are given a fixed time to enjoy the food.

At RM89++, it is a little pricey. However, most Japanese buffets today are priced at this level. Besides, they offer the highest quality food there and diners know what to expect when they dine here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Movie Review - Letters to God

Movie Title
Letters to God

Drama, Family

This family drama follows the true story of a young boy whose life is put on the line when he is diagnosed with cancer. Through his letters to God about the confusion and faith that come with his situation, he soon becomes a surprising source of hope and inspiration for those in his neighborhood -- including a substitute mailman, whose life becomes surprisingly mixed up in the ordeal

Tanner Maguire as Tyler Doherty, a young boy with cancer is remarkably brilliant for an actor at such a young age. He plays his role convincingly and his cheerful mood despite being sick always brings a smile to the people around him including the viewers. The way he portrays such a fragile yet strong character is believable and his childlike faith is almost too real to ebe ignored. Robyn Lively who acts as Tyler's mum also carries her role well with her occasional breakdowns and push to remain strong. Another supporting actor who needs to be commended is Jeffrey S.S. Johnson who plays the substitute mailman. His transformation from a messed up, wasted person to one who now cherishes faith and finds new meaning in life is amazing. Alot of lesser known movies, especially those with barely known actors often tend to produce stale and stiff performances but this movie is an exception.

Although the movie has religious themes (prayer, Christian faith), it is not preachy. So for those who hold other religious beliefs, this movie is just about a boy who has faith and how his faith inspires those around him. Whatever one's background may be, it is hard not to be touched (in some way or another) by watching this movie. Simply put, it is thought-provoking and possibly life changing. It will cause you to question how you respond to difficult situations and how your response affects others. And the fact that this movie is based on a true story makes it all the more believable. The soundtrack is also really great, I'm waiting for the chance to get my hands on them. Definitely a must-watch. Compared to all those commercialized trash (yes, most of the mainstream movies are just the same and have no impact whatsoever) this movie is something!

8/10 (Guest Reviewer: Serene Chua)

Movie Review - Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Movie Title
Rise of the Planet of the Apes

This is a prequel to the famed 43-year-old Planet of the Apes franchise.

Sys-Gen Corporation biological design scientist Will Rodman (James Franco)'s dad, Charles (John Lithgow), suffers from Alzheimer's Disease and is slowly wasting away.

Will's project, ALZ-112, is a virus intended to stimulate the human brain to grow new cells. The test chimp, Bright Eyes, apparently turns violent as a result of the tests but we later learn that she was only protecting her baby - Caesar.

SysGen pulls the plug on the ALZ-112 project and all the test chimps were culled except for baby Caesar who was then adopted by Will, who's decided to quit Sys-Gen and continue to work on his project on his own.

Caesar soon becomes too large and dangerous to live in Will's suburban San Francisco home. Caesar is then put into San Bruno Primate Sanctuary, run by John Landon (Brian Cox from X-Men 2),

On the surface, it appears to be a caring place but In reality it is more like a prison where the primates are abused, mainly by the supervising keeper called Dodge (Tom Felton, Malfoy from Harry Potter)

Caesar soon becomes the head honcho for the apes and before long, they break free from the Sanctuary to establish their own sovereignty with humans caught in the middle.

Most memorable moment
When Caesar shouts "No" to his tormentor, Felton, in the Sanctuary
Andy Serkis who gave life to Gollum in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and the main character in yet another Peter Jackson film - King Kong is the maestro behind Caesar. There is no artist that good to convey the kind of emotion that Serkis does under all that CGI work.

He is so good in fleshing out CGI characters he is just plain scary! In some of the scenes, the intensity Caesar demonstrates through his eyes are so real they simultaneously penetrate with seething rage and yet restraint and a tinge of melancholy.

James Franco however, does little for me personally, despite his commendable performance in 127 Hours (I still haven't caught it yet).
I know that many people are kind of tired of the franchise after the dismal performance of the 2001 Tim Burton version with Mark Wahlberg & Tim Roth in the lead roles. BUT,...this one may really change the game for the franchise and rumours have it that there may already be 2 sequels (making it a trilogy) in the works due to its success at the box office.

Rating: 7.5/10

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Movie Review (NOT) - Avengers Teaser Posters

Monday, August 8, 2011

Movie Review (NOT) - Dark Knight Rises Teasers

Here are several sizzling hot images of Anne purr Hathaway as Catwoman!
Fanboys - enjoy!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Food Review - Decanter

Decanter Food
Fusion (Halal) Location/Address
7, Jalan Setiakasih 5, Bukit Damansara, KL
Getting there
It can get a little confusing as there is another Decanter located just about 2 km away. Both Decanter outlets are corner lots.
As they are located along a short row of shoplots, albeit a single row, the parking spaces are rather limited but if you are going there only for dinner, especially on a weekend, then the parking spaces would suffice as the other shops are all closed.

They provide very attentive service staff who are not only friendly but also seem to genuinely enjoy their work, as their smiles seem to come from their hearts.
The BBQ food wasn't marinated, so diners had to rely on the sauces for flavor. They had several sauces for diners to have for the food including:
- Mushroom Sauce
- Black Pepper Sauce
- Garlic Sauce
- Thai & Normal Chilli Sauce
- Tomato sauce

AS for the other food on the buffet line, there was nothing exceptional or noteworthy and I recall that most of the items, including the fried stuff (Onion Rings, Fish sticks, Chicken Tenders) were all cold when they were brought out.

Of all the BBQ items, my favorite was the chicken wings. They were juicy and done just right. I'll have to say that we really enjoyed the Lychee Mocktail and the ABC. The ice for the ABC was really fine and I guess that's waht made it so good (despite it not having one of my favorite ingredients - Attap Chee).

When I saw that more than half of the dining tables were located outside (ie: non-air cond), I was ok with it as the place was clean and nicely decorated with party tents and lights. However, my thoughts soon changed once I saw the number of flies hovering around the buffet line. Despite having a number of fans in the buffet area, they flies were enough to take away from the ambience of the place.
In terms of the number of different items available, they did well as there were quite a few, including Salad, Fried Onion Rings, Fish Sticks, Samosas, Rice, Fried Vermicelli, mashed potatoes, Chinese Friod brocolli & cauliflower, Assam Laksa, ABC, fresh fruits, jellies & cakes for dessert. However, we ended up not eating many of the buffet items as we didn't feel comfortable whether the food items have been contaminated by the flies.

Of course, the main reason for our being there - the BBQ! They had scallops, stingray, cockles, squid, crabs, prawns (not sure whether they were Tiger prawn though.), chicken wings, beef & lamb cutlets.

Value For Money
On paper (or screen), it does seem like it has good value but somehow, something didn't sit right with us and the whole dining experience was not as good as we had anticipated despite having free-flow Tiger Beer & Lychee Mocktail.

It was a different experience and our dear friend Tun Dr Ling (Yes THE PKFZ Scandal guy) was actually seated at the next table with his entire family, including his wife, kids & grand kids. This made the dinner something that we'd probably remember for quite some time (or until he gets acquitted). Not bad to bring that special someone for a memorable evening but be prepared to part with close to RM100 a person.