Saturday, November 27, 2010

Photo Spam: Safari trip at Nairobi National Park

If you're ever in Kenya for work, play, holiday, whatever, do make sure you keep at least two days free for Safari at the Masai Mara national park. Unfortunately I only had one day free, so I had to go to the infinitely less awesome nearby Nairobi National Park.

The park is right next to Nairobi, so you can actually see the city in the background! Click here for a bigger version of this picture ~

Anyway, on safari you go in these vans that have the roof cut off so you can stand up and have a 360degree view of the surroundings.

Random shot of the trails.

Dodo? No idea what bird this is, haha.

Buffalo! Yeah I know, 'never see buffalo before meh??' XD

Only saw these two lions the entire trip. And even finding them took almost an hour of stalking and searching.

Zebra ...

More zebras and a kind of animal whose name I don't remember ...

Giraffe. Didn't see many of these either, probably 5 or so.

I remember specifically asking the guide what this animal was ... but I can't remember what he told me :(

More Zebras!

Safari to Nairobi National Park, David Sheldrick's Elephant Orphanage, and detour to Masai handicraft place cost me 11,000 Sh - roughly MYR 430. Was a tad bit expensive cos I went alone - going in a group brings down the per-pax cost considerably.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

L'Atelier Dumont - Cybercity, Ebene, Mauritius.

The place where I'm currently stationed in Mauritius is in Cybercity, in a small township called Ebene. It's kind of like a mini version of Cyberjaya, in that it's all office buildings and nothing else, so food is a big problem - from the building I'm in, I've got a grand total of 2 options for lunch: a cafeteria in another building (10 minute walk), and a food court in a commercial centre (20 minute walk).

So I was pretty surprised when I found out about L'Atelier Dumont, which is a pretty fancy dining restaurant also in CyberCity. It's newly-opened; presumably to cater for all the CEOs in the companies stationed here to entertain guests.

Initial impressions are that it's cozy and nicely decorated - which is perhaps a bit out of place from its' surroundings.

I also have to say that outdoor/open air dining in Mauritius is much more enjoyable in Mauritius, thanks to the weather - it's never higher than 25deg at night.

Starting off with the complementary breads, we're again a tad bit disappointed. Perhaps we've been spoiled by the bread we get from restaurants back in KL, but there's nothing interesting about the rolls we have here. Even the butter is hard, and difficult to spread.

Starter - Heart of Palm salad with Shrimp in Wasabi Mayonnaise (Rs 320). A nice touch is that the waitress pre-split a single helping into two plates for both myself and the darling because we were sharing. A nice touch that all restaurants should adopt.

Never heard of heart of palm? Me neither. According to wikipedia it's expensive and an 'upper-class' kind of food, though to be honest I didn't quite enjoy its' taste/texture.

On the (very polite) waitress'es recommendation I try the Tuna Steak with mashed potatoes (Rs 660). The steak is awesome, perfectly seasoned and cooked. Mashed potatoes were of the chunky rather than creamy variety, and the addition of mint leaves gave it quite an interesting taste.

The darling has Leg of Lamb (Rs 590), with grilled vegetables. Again, great tasting dish - with a tasty peppery gravy that complements the lamb well. Sadly the vegetables were a bit of a miss, due in part to the fact that neither of us eat brinjal/zucchini, hehe.

After two cokes (75 Rs each) and 15% VAT, the bill came up to 1,970 Rs (RM 203.90). All things considered I think it was a bit on the pricey side - especially after factoring in tips (as there is no service charge on the bill).

L'Atelier Dumont is located on the lowest floor of 1 Cybercity, Ebene, Mauritius. Reservations are probably not needed as there aren't that many people there.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

180deg - buffet restaurant in Le Meridien Ile Maurice, Mauritius

Quickie update!

I'm working in Mauritius on a project, and the cut-over date was over last weekend - meaning I'm approaching my 10th day (in a row) of 12-13 hours at the office, with hardly time to even go to the toilet. Much less any time to blog :) Things are settling down now, though, so I'll steal some time away to post a quick review of the 180˚ restaurant in Le Meridien.

180˚ is the buffet restaurant of the hotel. It's buffet breakfast by day, and by night it has a combined Indian cuisine buffet, and a rotating nationality dinner (japanese -> chinese -> french -> etc). Pic of the buffet area:

We're here for breakfast, and we're seated outside overlooking the swimming pool and the beach/sea further on - it's great. Breakfast starts off with salads and some cold cuts - roast beef with mustard, ham, smoked tuna and smoked marlin ...

... followed by croissants, green tea bread, and some assorted pastries. Delicious! After all, Mauritius being an ex-French colony (and who cater to tons of French tourists), it's probably a given that the pastries are above average (at least).

Next up on the menu, some hot foods - omelette, and assorted sausages (pork, beef and lamb). Surprisingly, the sausages are terrible, which is a stark contrast to the quality level for the rest of the food.

Another closer view of the buffet area - this table holds all the assorted jams and bread.

We also had a buffet dinner here, for which I sort of forgot to take pictures cos I was too hungry, ha ha. Did manage to at least get a shot of some of the great desserts before eating them.

So that was that! Didn't get the price of the breakfast or dinner, but that would be pointless anyway as I'm pretty certain that the only people eating here are those on half-board or all-inclusive packages with the resort.

Overall, other than the breads and pastries which were top notch, the taste, quality and variety of the food was still below a top-tier buffet joint in Kay-El such as Latest Recipe.

And just before ending this post, I've received my first ads payment from FoodBuzz! It's a whole USD 0.01 yo! Thanks for all your support! :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Photo Spam: Mauritius Diary (Post #4, Day 36)

Interrupting the restaurant reviews to bring you my 4th Mauritius Diary Photo spam post! First off - three photos of some random beach on the South-West area of the island.

Welcome drink from a resort we stayed in over the weekend - Le Meridien Ile Maurice.

Some shots of the beach at the resort ~

Different beach - this one is Grand Bay, which is pretty much the most 'commercialized'/touristy beach on the island.

Finally - a random shot of a fisherman. Can't remember which beach this was on, though :)

Stay tuned for the next set of photos!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

La Rougaille Creole - Grand Baie, Mauritius

Continuing my Mauritius journey, the darling and I, after an hour-long search in vain for another restaurant, find ourselves seated in La Rougaille Creole in Grand Baie (north-west corner of the island). It's a pretty cozy restaurant by the roadside, with an extremely friendly waiter.

Appetizer (free) is some sort of deep-fried eggplant, served with a chili dip. The chili is delicious, has a very unique taste to it - but it's also pretty hot. Shame that neither of us are big eggplant fans, though.

We open up with Seafood Gratin, which is chunks of calamari, octopus, fish and prawn in a thick cream-based sauce, topped off with biscuit crumbs. Heavenly!

For mains, we restrict ourselves to the "Creole" section of the menu, of which I pick out Beef Curry. It's a bit of a disappointment - while the curry is spicy (flavorful), it is also not at all spicy (hot). I'm not a chili fanatic, but I prefer my curries to have some "kick" to them. Beef was a bit tough, too.

The darling's Calamari in Creole sauce was similarly unimpressive. Hardly tasted any different from just a tomato sauce. Calamari itself was nice and fresh, though.

Unfortunately we come away rather disappointed. Seeing as Grand Baie is essentially a tourist area, it's possible the cooking wasn't authentic Mauritian Creole cuisine. That, and the somewhat expensive price - lunch for the two of us was about a thousand rupees - about rm100.