October 25, 2015

Bill’s Bar & Burger, New York City…it’s non monumental, lacks a wow-factor

Given the limited choices for food within a short walk on a cold, windy and rainy New York winter night, this place was okay. Not something I can rave about. It’s not bad, but it was pretty average.

I got the “famous” CNN-rated Fat-Cat burger (2013 CNN top 10 burger award) – caramelised onion, American cheese, English muffin, LTP. Thought it was tasty, it lacked a wow-factor. It definitely should not have made anyone’s top burger list. The buffalo chicken wrap – lettuce and tomato, blue cheese, spinach, tortilla – was an okay wrap. It was tasty and the ingredients were well seasoned and it was a decent sized portion. While their new England clam chowder has a nice stick-to-your-stomach creaminess about it, it was a tad thin when compared to your typical chowder.

Certainly did not surpass Smashburger or In-N-Out. It’s non monumental. It’s fine for what it is. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

bill's bar ny

October 18, 2015

Beyond the Barricade, Singapore…Only after the interval was I looking on the bright side of life

“Beyond The Barricade”…when I read those words, the first thing that comes to my mind is… Les Miserables. When I got tickets to see Beyond The Barricade I honestly didn’t know what to expect apart from the fact it has something do with Les Mis.

The show stars past principal performers from Les Miserables. I was distanced by the opening numbers, taken from Miss Saigon. I’ve never seen the musical so it didn’t really have enough substance to draw me into the performance. The following choices, the secondary selections from the immortal Phantom of the Opera, was equally nonchalant. The compilation of Juke box musical numbers from We will rock you, Jersey Boys and Mamma Mia were trivial and forgettable. It was not until after the interval when the show really began for me, leaving me happily toe-tapping along. Stands out included the adorable showmanship displayed by Andy Reiss on “Suddenly Seymour” and “Master of the House”, David Fawcett and Rebecca Vere’s humorous and funny rendition of “Song that goes like this” from Spamalot, Katie Leeming’s phenomenal and passionate version of “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”, Andy Reiss soulful and emotive take on “‘Jesus Christ Superstar” and Rebecca Vere’s gorgeous and melodious performance of “I Dreamed A Dream”. That said, I was truly disappointed in David Fawcett who had been an understudy/cover for Jean Valjean. His introductions to each set of songs were brief yet informative with just the right touch humour but he was also the weakest link of the night with the poorest expression, unstable vocals and singing technique.

This show is a mixed bag that lurches from the sublime to the ridiculous with some uncomfortable moments that mask the genuine talent of the performers. Personally as a seasoned musical theatre-goer I would like to hear these incredible performers sing a better selection of songs. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…


October 17, 2015

Sevva, Hong Kong…I rather get cheaper, better food down on the street

Rooftops on Hong Kong island are prime real-estate. To me, this place is not the best place for being scenic, but sit under the illuminated canopy at twilight and you can drink in unparalleled views across Hong Kong along with your cocktail, bourbon or bottled beer.

Generally, the wait staff were very friendly and attentive. I just wasn’t Wowed by the creativity or the taste of their dishes. Don’t get me wrong, the food is good but not great. I was expecting flavors I haven’t tried before but it was all the same to me.

Sevva  offers sanctuary away from the Hong Kong Street rush but I rather get cheaper, better food down on the street. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

sevva hk

October 4, 2015

2nd Phase Design, Singapore…The good, the bad and the downright ugly of 2nd Phase Design

My attempted home improvement became a couple of months of health destruction (ie stress levels at an all time high) as I placed my hopes and dreams in the hands of a self-proclaimed professional, but seemingly amateurish designer, who lacked any sensitivity to people’s aesthetic tastes.

In the end we ended up liking a fair amount of the changes we got in and the overall result was fine- meaning we were okay with how our apartment ended up looking but the process could have been a lot better.

Eview wasn’t hard to work with;  he was patient and listens well. His design recommendations were ok, but they didn’t seem to fit what we were looking for. We went as far as doing our own online research to explain the type of aesthetic we were looking for with examples of coloring, furniture products, and feature walls. Yet, he kept coming back to these designs that were so off and seemed much more about him than us.

His team (with the exception of the carpentry) particularly the electrician was pretty incompetent. Things were wired wrongly, misaligned and at one point it caused a short circuit. Quality of workmanship of the wiring and paint job leaves a lot to be desired. Our existing furniture and floor were not properly protected.

And the downright ugly? Three follies – foolery, fluff and fuzziness. Playing with his words, he’d given us the perception that we needed an additional telephone line which costs $120, when upon checking with the telco, we didn’t. He’d said at the onset that he has an IT specialist who can help boost our internet connectivity and strength. All the while his mastery of the obvious, buzzwords and generalities are substituted for substance. Nearing the date of installation, his “expert” solution was to install a modem and a power point on the ceiling of the passageway to the bedroom for $550. I sought my company’s IT folks’ advice and fixed the problem at no additional cost whatsoever and without having an unsightly modem and power switch hanging upside down in full view in the middle of the passageway. Eview’s greatest sin is treating this job as a transactional sale but not as one which would result in a mutually beneficial business relationship. A long-term relationship requires thinking ahead and reasoning back. There is a big difference between a coordinated series of steps to accomplish a well-defined goal and a disconnected set of things to do – one is clear; the other is fuzzy. He is ultra defensive when confronted with issues and questions, even though his team was the one who’d made a mistake which resulted in the issue. Only after some robust conversations, did he investigate, realised the error and rectified it.

Overall it was a frustrating experience. I would say if you are looking for a designer, get in your due diligence. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…


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