The Sony QX10 and QX100

Posted by Mark

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The new QX series cameras from Sony are part of their new range of mobile phone cameras.Sony realized that camera phones in general are pretty limited with the majority for example lacking any kind of optical zoom. Phone cameras also have really tiny sensors so the photos aren’t very sharp or detailed neither do they do so well in dimly lit situations. Thats why Sony came up with the idea to create a new line of cameras that would clip onto your current phone giving it a big boost. I picked up both the Sony QX10 and the slightly larger QX100 from the Sony dealer for this review.

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Both the QX10 and QX100 follow the same principle, they both don’t have any screens and other than the power, shoot and zoom buttons, both cameras don’t have any other controls. The Sony QX10 is the smaller and cheaper of the two, it has a sensor delivering 18MP and it has a 10x optical zoom. The QX100 on the other hand has a large size sensor that delivers 20MP as well as an added bonus of having a bright F/1.8 lens. On the downside, the QX100 has only 3.6x optical zoom, it’s double the size of the QX10 and it’s also a lot more expensive.

Lets get something out of the way. Both these cameras perform much better than your mobile phone cameras. Between the two cameras the QX100 was obviously and clearly the better of the two because of the larger sensor and better lens optics. Because of the fact both these cameras easily out perform camera phones I decided this post wouldn’t focus on the quality of the photos but instead I’m going to focus on the practicality of the cameras.

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Because these two cameras lack a screen you need to connect them to your phone. That’s a fairly easy process, you turn on the cameras and then you connect your phone to the cameras wifi. You then need to download the Sony app “PlayMemories” which will allow you to control the camera and take photos. Every time you want to use the camera, you launch the PlayMemories app and turn the camera on and wait for the two to connect. This is where I start having issues.

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When it comes to capturing a quick moment both cameras fail miserably. If the camera isn’t already on and connected to your phone then you’ll most likely miss your shot because turning it on and then connecting it to your phone is a process that can easily take over 10 seconds. By then whatever moment you were trying to capture is long gone.

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My biggest issue is that fact the cameras really aren’t that compact.Between the two the QX10 fits into my pocket but it’s still thick enough to create a bulge, a similar bulge to one I would have if I had a slim full featured point and shoot camera in my pocket. Actually the Sony DSC-TX30 is even slimmer so I would have less of a bulge with that. The QX100 on the other hand won’t even fit into my jeans pocket.

Now both these cameras do have one very cool feature that no regular point and shoot can compete with. The QX series cameras don’t have to be attached to your phone to work. If you’re at a concert you can hold the camera in your hand way above your head and while checking and taking photos from your phone at your eye level like a periscope. You can also set up the camera on a table in front of you and then use the phones screen to setup your selfie. You could even setup the camera in one room while taking photos from another and the reason you can do all this because the cameras work over WiFi. This I think is the coolest thing about these two cameras.

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Which brings me to a question, who would prefer these two cameras over Sony’s other cameras? I honestly don’t know, I guess it’s for people who would take advantage of the fact you don’t have to have the camera connected to your phone. Price wise, both cost nearly the same price as Amazon with the QX10 costing KD69.9 and the the QX100 KD147.9 at the Sony dealer. If I was to choose between the two I would go with the QX10, its cheaper, its smaller and it has the added benefit of a 10X optical zoom.


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Solo Tacos – Tijuana Style

Posted by Mark

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Solo Tacos is a new local restaurant that opened up just this past Saturday in Kuwait City right next to Solo Pizza. It’s owned by a few people including the owner of Solo Pizza as well as the two Mexican women who used to run the Mexican home catering service I previously posted about, Sahuaro.

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The restaurant is pretty small with a few tables inside and outside as well as a bar on both sides of the window to sit on. One wall is covered with photo frames while the other wall has a cabinet with some colorful Mexican wrestling masks on display. Their colorful menu located on the wall on top of the kitchen counter is very focused with just quesadillas, tacos, a bunch of sides and drinks.

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I originally ordered just the beef taco but found it so good that I ended up ordering the fish taco as well. Between the two I preferred the beef taco but next time I’ll also have to try the chicken. One of the Mexican partners was there and she told me about how they don’t fry anything and how they don’t even have salt on the tables because they’re trying to keep things as much on the healthy side as possible which I found comforting. On my way out I also got to sample two of their drinks, their Jamaica hibiscus juice (pronounced khamaica) and the Horchata (pronounced orchata) which smelled of beautiful spices and was the one I preferred from the two.

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I really liked the food and I’m definitely going back but I also do think it’s a bit on the pricey side. For more information including a map to the location you could visit their website [Here]

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The Toyota Dealer – My Review

Posted by Mark

I’ve had my Toyota FJ Cruiser for more than 3 years now and after just completing my 80,000KM service I think I’m in a good position to write a review about my experience with the dealer. My biggest concern when originally getting the FJ was the local dealers success. They sell a ton of cars everyday and I was worried I wouldn’t get any attention or be given any importance as a customer after the sale was completed. I was also concerned because of the amount of cars they sell, a simple oil change might be a very time consuming process. I got those concerns and more answered and they’re in my review below which I’ve divided into 4 parts; the buying experience, the quick service experience, the spare parts/service prices and finally the customer service.

The Buying Experience
This is by the far their weakest aspect. I purchased my FJ from their large showroom in Al-Rai, it’s not a pretty showroom and the cars are just lined up side by side like a supermarket shelf. They seem to have very few salesman and too many customers. I don’t think there is any other dealership in Kuwait that gets as crowded as the Toyota dealership. Not a good starting experience, but everything actually gets a lot better once you do buy a car.

Quick Service
If the buying experience was the weakest aspect, their quick service garages are their strongest. After buying my FJ I was given a list of quick service locations around Kuwait which I could go to to service my car. I found my preferred quick service location and started to pass by over the weekends to get my oil changed and the experience wasn’t that great since there would always be a long line. Then I found out that my quick service garage would actually stay open till 9PM and that’s when things became so much better. I just started passing by in the middle of the week during the evenings and the quick service garage would be completely empty. Actually, even if you pass by during the day in the middle of the week there would probably be just one car ahead of you, super convenient.

Spare Parts / Service Prices
I just performed my 80,000KM service which according to the service employee is the most expensive service for my car. I paid KD200 and that price included changing front and rear brake pads. A regular oil change also costs me I think like KD11 (my FJ takes 7 liters of oil). I had also purchased a discounted service package right after buying the car which lasted me till 60,000KM. Basically if the total amount of services was going to cost me say KD450 over the years, they offered me to pay around KD250 in advance and all my services would be covered till 60,000. They even offered me another discounted package when that had expired but I decided not to take it since I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep my FJ for another 3 years.

Customer Service
I love the customer service at Toyota from small things like getting a phone call to remind me about my car services to more complicated things like customer treatment. I actually had a really good experience with one of their employees just last week which is what actually led me to wanting to write this whole review. I won’t go into details because it’s a bit complicated to explain the whole scenario, but basically the service advisor called me and told me my car would be ready at 1PM the following day. I tried to push for the car to be done by 12PM since I had a meeting at 2PM and the service advisor said he would try his best. Next day I headed to Avenues which is near my service center to kill some time. 12:45PM the service advisor calls me to tell me my car is done but I would have to pass by after 2PM to pick it up because they have to wash it and the service center closes between 1 and 2PM for lunch. I got super pissed and told him how he had promised me to have the car done at 1PM even though I was pushing for 12. I also told him he should have told me they had a lunch break from 1 to 2PM since I could have been at the service center before 1PM to wait for my car to be ready. I told him I was at the Avenues now and would need more than 15 minutes to get to my car and then to get to the service center. He told me not to worry and that he wouldn’t go on his lunch break and I could come by between 1 and 2PM to pick up the car but that it wouldn’t be washed (which wasn’t an issue at all for me). So I got there around 1:15PM and the employee was extremely professional with me. Even though everyone else was on a lunch break, he got all my paperwork signed and walked me himself to the cashier and the collection point and then even brought up my car from the garages basement himself. I told him I was really impressed at how professional he was and loved how he managed to keep his composure while I was blowing up on him on the phone (I can be a dick when I’m pissed). I was really impressed and I don’t get impressed.

At first I thought I would email the dealer my feedback on my experience but then I was like you know what, it’s been three years of great service and people generally tend to write about stuff when things go wrong (like me with my bank last week). So I figured I would take the time and write up a review about my positive experience with a company in Kuwait. If you’re considering getting a car from Toyota, you should know you’re also probably getting the best after sales service as well.


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The Playstation 4 Review

Posted by Patrick

The Playstation 4 was released in North America on the 15th of November and sold a million units in 24 hours. We’ve had to wait until earlier this week to see the PS4 officially released in Kuwait and the Gulf and as of this post, it’s pretty much sold out with supposedly no new shipments arriving until early January. So what’s the noise all about? Do you need to own the PS4 now? Are the launch games worth it? These are some of the questions I’m going to be answering in this post.

The PS4 itself is designed nicely, it’s as small as the slim Playstation 3 (maybe even a bit smaller) and it’s pretty light. Complete opposite of the first iteration of the Playstation 3 which was huge, bulky and ugly.

The second thing I’m going to talk about is the new controller, the Dualshock 4. I wasn’t a big fan of the Dualshock 3 and preferred the 360 and Wii U controllers over it. The Dualshock 3 felt light, cheap and didn’t fit well in my hands. I also wasn’t a big fan of the design as it was difficult to clean due to the dirt getting caught on all the edges. The Dualshock 4 changes all of that – the design is nice, sleek and clean, it fits comfortably in my hands and it doesn’t feel cheap. The small touchpad on the face of the controller works well and isn’t overly sensitive to touch (unlike the Sony Vita’s rear touchpad). The controller also features a mono speaker that plays some sounds as you’re playing games. It takes a few minutes to get used to the fact that the controller doesn’t feature a “START” and “SELECT” button like the majority of controllers have had throughout the years, those buttons have been merged into one “Options” button. One of the new additions that’s been making some headlines is the “SHARE” button. When you press it, the PS4 will create a screenshot of the moment and a video clip of the last 15 minutes of gameplay. You then decide where you want to upload them to Facebook or Twitter. If you also feel like broadcasting what you’re playing to the rest of the world, you can also do that through the services of Twitch or USTREAM. All this is done seamlessly and I was surprised to see how Sony have simplified the process.

One thing I dislike about the controller is the light bar which is located on the back of the controller. The light bar displays different colors to alert you on things like low health (it’ll glow red), but it’s kind of a useless feature unless you’re looking at your controller as you’re playing. If you sit directly in front of your television as you’re playing, the controller creates an annoying reflection on your TV when the games you play feature dark levels or segments – it just breaks the immersion. Hopefully there’ll be an update in the future that’ll allow us to choose whether we want to keep the light on or not.

The next thing I want to bring up is the Playstation 4’s user interface. This is another feature that I think could be improved. I’ve never been a huge fan of Sony’s user interfaces, whether it’s the Playstation 3’s menu or the Vita’s terrible use of bubble icons. The Playstation 4’s user interface has three sections. The first is the main menu; icons for your games, the browser, music, video, etc are all accessed from there. The second section (when you press down on your D-pad) is specific to the application or game you’ve selected. So for example, if you press down when Killzone: Shadow Fall is selected, a menu will appear that shows your recent activity, a shortcut to the community, multiplayer modes, and the game manual. If you press up on the main menu, the third section of the menu system appears and this is where you can access the Playstation Store, Friends List, Trophies, Settings and a few other options. I just don’t find this system to be intuitive at all. Why is the Playstation Store icon not located in the main menu and instead hidden in the upper section? Why aren’t the menus customizable? Nintendo and Microsoft both offer menus that are somewhat customizable, so why can’t Sony?

Moving on to launch games. I was given two games to try out by Sony that were launched exclusively for the Playstation 4, Knack (a 3D platformer adventure game) and Killzone: Shadow Fall (a first person shooter). Knack was developed and designed by SCE Japan Studio and Mark Cerny, both have an impressive repertoire of games and so I was surprised to see the below average reviews for this game. An hour into the game and you could see why it’s been getting poor review scores. First off, all the characters (especially Knack) are bland. Think of all the great characters in 3D platformers that we’ve seen in the past; Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot, Banjo-Kazooie, Ratchet & Clank, Jak and Daxter, These games featured a whole cast of colorful, interesting characters and most importantly, the main characters were memorable. Knack’s design is forgetful and pretty ugly. He’s made up of all these tiny pieces and shapes and as you progress through the levels you start to grow as you gain more of these pieces until you’re huge and you’re able to do massive amounts of damage. The combat in this game is just “X, X, X” repeated, until you fill up your special power gauge and then you can perform a special move. The level designs are incredibly linear and lack any sort of inspiration. How linear are they? Well, there’s only one path through the level – no little deviations, no hidden paths, no shortcuts. There are “secrets” behind walls that have very large cracks to visually tell you that the wall can be smashed. Those are placed along the paths so they’re not even really hidden. There’s literally no sense of exploration and the platforming segments aren’t even challenging. Very young kids (younger than 10) might enjoy it, but I recommend most of you to skip this game if possible.

Onto Killzone: Shadow Fall. Before playing this game I had only ever played and beaten Killzone 2 which I thought was fun with very intense firefight, but also had a forgettable story with forgettable characters. The characters were beautiful and had fluid animation but the level layouts (which were well designed) were visually boring to look at. Everything seemed to be just a variation of grey with some brown tacked on. Shadow Fall seems to continue the trend of having forgettable characters and horrid writing but has much more beautiful and varied level layouts. The first level you play is vivid and colorful (there’s a bit too much lens flare for my taste though), the second level is the opposite, it’s dark, gloomy and kind of freaky. The shooting and firefights are really fun. Graphics? Not a massive leap from the PS3 but for a launch game it looks really good. You’ll enjoy this game if you go in expecting a straight up first-person shooter with a fun single player experience and multiplayer modes. But, you’ll be disappointed if you’re looking for a FPS that has an interesting plot with memorable characters.

Now the important question, is it worth buying the Playstation 4 now, or should you wait? The controller has been improved, the console is designed nicely, it isn’t heavy, it isn’t bulky and it has a promising line-up of upcoming new games. There’s no doubting the potential of the console, just one look at Killzone: Shadow Fall will tell you that. 2014 will be a good year for gaming with titles like Tom Clancy’s The Division, Witcher 3 and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes coming out. My issues with the PS4 are minor. The light bar on the controller, the menu system and the lack of a media server wont affect my enjoyment that I’ll get from playing games on the machine. Still though, I’ll wait a few months before purchasing one. None of the exclusive launch games interest me and the ones that aren’t exclusive I’ve already played on my 360/PS3/Wii U. If you can’t wait and want to pick one up now, the games I recommend are Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Killzone: Shadow Fall, FIFA 14, Battlefield 4, and Lego Marvel Superheroes.

Posted by Patrick


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Margherita now open in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

Yesterday I was invited to pass by and try the newly opened Margherita pizzeria at the Arabella project. It’s a Lebanese franchise that I had already tried a few years back in Lebanon for the first time so it wasn’t really new to me. I ended up going with two of my friends who love my food reviews (not really) and whom I love taking with me when I’m going to review food (also not really). Even though they’re very difficult to please we all ended up leaving the place with the same impression, that we would definitely go back again.

Arabella is a fairly new project, it’s been open for a few months now but the majority of the restaurants there are not open yet. Currently the biggest two are Red Lobster and Olive Garden but there are a whole bunch of Alshaya restaurants opening there soon including Texas Roadhouse and The Cheesecake Factory. Margherita is located on the ground floor of the project and has a beautiful wooden façade that wouldn’t look out of place on a street somewhere in Europe. Once you walk into the restaurant you have the pizza kitchen on the right hand side and the dinning area on the left. We ended up sitting next to the window overlooking the inside of the still quiet and vacant Arabella project.

Since we were three people we ended up ordering a whole bunch of things inclduing:

Minestrone soup
Burrata cheese with cherry tomatoes
Grilled calamari with a side salad
Prosciutto E Funghi pizza (Tomato sauce, mozzarella, turkey ham, mushrooms and basil)
Diavola pizza (Tomato sauce, mozzarella, spicy beef pepperoni and basil)
Homemade oven baked beef lasagna
Grilled beef “Tagliata” with sautéed spinach and mashed potatoes
Classic Italian Tiramisu
Lemon crème brûlée
Hazelnut chocolate fondant with ice cream

I think from everything we had the only thing we didn’t like was the Lemon crème brûlée. I really enjoyed my minestrone soup especially since it was freezing cold outside, the grilled calamari was a great healthy starter and the burrata cheese was delicious although I don’t think I’d be willing to pay KD8 for it (or any starter for that matter). The pizzas followed quickly right after. While we were on our way to Margherita I was telling my friends that the only issue I had with the pizzas in their Lebanese branches was the fact their sauce was a bit too strongly flavored. Thankfully that wasn’t the case here and I made sure I told the chef that I preferred his tomato sauce at Margherita Kuwait more than the one at Margherita in Lebanon.

We also shared a lasagna which although it was good I’d probably always choose a pizza over it. Finally our last main course arrived which was the grilled beef “Tagliata”. We had asked for it medium rare but our steak arrived partially medium rare and partially just medium which wasn’t an issue as soon as we started eating it since the beef was really really tender. The desserts turned out to be the biggest surprise of our lunch. If you put aside the Lemon crème brûlée which neither of us liked, the tiramisu and the chocolate fondant were ridiculously good. My favorite was the chocolate fondant which I was having alone mostly since my friends were attacking the tiramisu which according to one of them is the best tiramisu he’s had in Kuwait. To quote him, “this isn’t a classic Italian tiramisu, this is better than classic”.

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For those of you who used to frequent Al-Forno in the Avenues when they first opened and up until three years ago will recognize the chef, Marcello Piazza. I used to see him the whole time while I was dinning there so I recognized him when I spotted him in the restaurant. Turns out he left Al-Forno three years back and moved to England, but now is back in Kuwait and working at Margherita.

Anyway, the food was great and when I go back next time I’d probably just have the soup (if it’s cold outside), one of the pizzas and the chocolate fondant. To give you a general idea about the price, the pizza’s were around KD5, the lasagna KD4, and the steak KD9. I’d definitely recommend the place. Here is a link to their [Website]

Update: I went back to Margherita on a Saturday for lunch and the place was packed and the service was horrible. Although the food was good the experience made me really dislike the place and if I was to ever go back it would not be on a weekend.


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The Mercedes G63 AMG

Posted by Mark

From all the cars I’ve ever driven and reviewed I don’t think I’ve ever had so much mixed emotions about a car over a three day period as I did with the G63. When I first picked up the car I remember sitting in it and trying to adjust the seating position and getting really pissed off since I couldn’t find my perfect position. I could barely see out of the rear window, the steering was really heavy and overall I was so disappointed because I had hyped up the car in my head for such a long time that when I finally sat in it I was like really? This is it? Oh but how quickly my feelings changed over the following days.

The first day after I drove the car out of the dealership lot I really didn’t like it. Yes I thought it looked gorgeous and the interior was crammed with S-Class features like electronically folding out tables for the back seats but the G63 felt heavy and cramped. By the second day the car started growing on me and by the third day I didn’t want to give it back. When I finally did return it to the dealership and I got back into my SUV did I really start to appreciate the G63 for what it is. A beast.

The G-Class has pretty much looked the same since the 70s, it is to Mercedes what the Defender is to Land Rover except in the case of Mercedes, the engineers worked overtime to cram as much technological features into it as they could. You could really tell the designers struggled to keep up with the engineers since the front screen looked like it was mounted on the dashboard after the car was completed and the same with the two screens behind the front seats. But really other than the screens they somehow managed to cram all the other features into the car without them looking out of place. It’s really an impressive feat because the G-Class isn’t as big a car as you think it is. The car isn’t that wide and it’s also not that long with just two rows of seats and a nice but not over sized booth. The dashboard is one of the slimmest I’ve encountered which again makes me appreciate the work the engineers and the designers put into the car and how they were able maximize the small space they had to work with.

Before picking up cars to review I usually start brainstorming in my head where and how I would shoot the car. The reason I don’t review that many cars is that it’s not easy to think of new locations and new styles for the shots so I tend to review only the cars I really want to drive. With the G63 I started brainstorming ideas but only once I started driving it and I stepped on the gas did I realize what I wanted to do with the shots. The G63 to me is like Walter White, a normal and boring school teacher on the outside but a dark and sinister meth lord on the inside which is why I went with this dark black and white style for the photos. The G63 looks like a brick but comes with a 544hp V8 engine that grunts like an American muscle car that just ate the white Corolla that was in front of you a minute ago.

The power the car has is over the top, you don’t really need a 544hp engine in the G-Class. Usually I’m pro more power but in this case I was thinking I have all this power but I don’t think I could ever use it since I didn’t feel confident enough to do so. But as I started getting used to the car and gaining more confidence in its handling and braking abilities I didn’t want less power I actually wanted more (and that comes in the form of the G65 V12). The G63 is just incredible at overtaking and the sound it makes just catches all the drivers around me off guard. The G63’s brakes are some of the best I’ve ever experienced in an SUV and the steering which felt heavy at first started feeling a lot better at high speeds. I still think the steering is too heavy for day to day city use but once you’re out on the highway the feel is completely different.

I dropped off the car and got back into mine and right away I realized how much I was going to miss the G63. With all the issues I had with the car they were ones I was easily able to get used to or cast aside. The only issue I probably wouldn’t be able to get over is the price point. The G63 starts at KD46,000 with the model I drove costing KD51,000. At that price point your options are pretty much wide open and that leaves the G63 in a pretty difficult position. On the other hand what this price point allows the G63 to be is exclusive and in Kuwait, where every other person seems to have a Porsche thats not an easy thing to achieve.

For more information on the G63 check out this [Link]


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Review: Sigma Lens 24-70mm f/2.8

Posted by Mark

When I travel I don’t usually take my DSLR but instead either take my compact Panasonic GX1 or no camera at all and just use my iPhone which honestly is more than enough 95% of the time. But, since I was going to be in Europe over Eid for 20 days I figured I might as well take my Nikon D800 and make good use of it while I was there. Problem is I have 3 lenses, a 24mm, 50mm and a 80-200mm. I didn’t have one lens that was versatile enough to carry around. Since I had a great experience with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 previously, I decided to email my contact at AAB World (the Sigma dealers) and see what other full frame lenses they had which I could borrow and review for the blog and I was given the following options:

Sigma Lens 50MM F1.4
Sigma Lens 70-200MM F2.8
Sigma Lens 70MM 2.8 MACRO
Sigma Lens 85MM F1.4
Sigma Lens 8MM F3.5
Sigma Lens 12-24MM F4.5-5.6 MACRO
Sigma Lens 24-70MM 2.8

I decided to go with the 24-70mm since it was basically a combination of my 24mm and 50mm lens in addition to going further up to 70mm. It was also a bright lens at f/2.8 which meant I’d be able to use it in low light situations or blur out the background in portrait shots.

When I picked up the lens my biggest worry was that it would be large in size. The reason I am a fan of my 24mm and 50mm lenses is because they’re really compact and light which helps keep the weight down and also allows me to shove my camera into any one of my small messenger bags. A big lens would mean I needed to carry a larger bag which I didn’t want to. Luckily the Sigma 24-70mm turned out to be compact albeit a bit heavy since it’s a very solid lens with a full metal body and large glass. I really used to not like Sigma lenses since I always associated them with being poor build and of low quality but this is the second time I take out one of their new lenses and I’m really falling in love with them.

Using the lens was very practical and the zoom range with the fixed f/2.8 aperture didn’t make me miss my lighter prime lenses. The lens was fast to focus and near silent when doing so and I was able to use it for landscape shots as well as portrait ones because of the zoom range. My only wish because I’m greedy like that is if it was able to zoom even more like up to 120mm. But of course I want that while keeping the lens the same size and still keep the f/2.8 aperture which wouldn’t be possible.

The lens is available for both Canon and Nikon and AAB World are selling it for KD265 which is around KD30 higher than Amazon. For the size and the lens aperture You can check out their website for store locations [Here].


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Katsuya by Starck

Posted by Mark

I had lunch earlier today at Katsuya, the new Japanese fusion restaurant that was brought to Kuwait from Los Angeles by Alshaya. The restaurant isn’t open yet but I was lucky enough to get invited for a sneak peek so I headed there with a few friends of mine to try it out.

What originally got me interested in Katsuya is the partnership with product and interior designer Philippe Starck. I’m a huge fan of his work and was actually hoping he would be coming to Kuwait for the opening but that’s sadly not happening. Katsuya is currently only open in California and Florida and their first international branch is opening up here in Kuwait followed shortly by Dubai. According to the Vice President of Katsuya who I had the pleasure of meeting, Philippe Starck had to reinvent the interior design for the Middle East. Their US locations use feminine beauty in the design, mostly the eyes and lips so for the Middle East they wanted something more appropriate and fitting with the local culture so Philippe Starck went back to the drawing board and reworked the brand with the future in mind. The result is a fusion of Japanese samurais and art resulting in a design full of colors and movement.

We sat down and ordered their cocktails first. I originally ordered the Strawberry Fields but after trying my friends drink called Burning Mandarin I decided to swap mine for that. It’s a bit spicy but worked really well with the starters. For our dishes we let the waitress make most of the choices for us while me and my friends chose a few dishes we were interested in trying. The result? We ended up with a ton of food, so much that I actually made them email me the list since I wasn’t able to track everything. This is what we had:

– Sautéed Shishito Peppers
– Edamame Humus
– Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeño
– Spicy Albacore Sashimi with Crispy Onion
– Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna
– Stuffed Eggplant
– Creamy Rock Shrimp
– Wagyu Filet with Foie Gras
– Miso-Marinated Black Cod
– Japanese Mushroom BOP
– Sashimi Sampler
– Special Katsuya Roll
– Kiwi Scallops
– Double Chocolate Lava Cake
– Mochi
– Espresso Brownie Bar

I found the food style very similar to Zuma and Australasia which is great since there isn’t anything similar to that here in Kuwait. From the items I tried the ones I would highly recommend are:

– Edamame Humus
– Stuffed Eggplant
– Miso-Marinated Black Cod
– Japanese Mushroom BOP

If there is one dish you NEED to try its the Stuffed Eggplant. I know I know it doesn’t sound like much and I honestly HATE eggplant, I can’t stand it but this is so different. The eggplant is stuffed with tuna and almonds covered in a sweet miso glaze. It’s actually not a top seller in the States but my guess is it’s going to be a big hit here.

The dishes aren’t that expensive. We didn’t pay for our meal but I do have a PDF of the menu which you can download at the end of this post and really most of the dishes are priced pretty fairly. The black cod dish is around KD14 but it was also the largest piece of black cod I had ever been served. I actually asked the waitress if this was their regular serving size or a large portion just for us, that’s how big it was. The Edamame Humus (genius idea btw) is KD2.950, the Stuffed Eggplant KD3.950 and the Mushroom BOP which is a fairly large portion is priced at KD5.450.

If you’re interested in trying the place out, Katsuya is officially opening this coming Wednesday from 12 noon at Avenues Phase III near Cheesecake Factory. You can download and check out their menu below and make sure you try the Stuffed Eggplant, that’s the dish that’s going to make me keep going back.

Katsuya Dinner Menu
Katsuya Drinks and Desserts Menu


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Review: The Peacock

Posted by Mark

I’m going to start my review by saying I don’t have any pretty food pictures to go with this post. I didn’t have my camera with me because I wasn’t planning to write a review and even though I had my phone I couldn’t use it to take pictures during dinner. Since everyone is usually anti-socially glued to their phones during lunch or dinner, me and my friends have this thing we do where we pile our phones facedown on top of each other on one side of the table and no one is allowed to check their phone until the bill comes. If you touch your phone before the bill arrives then you get to pay the whole bill yourself. Not something you want to do, especially when you’re at a pricy restaurant like The Peacock.

I don’t want to talk about the food anyway which was delicious (as expected). Most of you already know Peacock from before they closed down and their menu is basically 99% the same as it was before. For those of you who’ve never been to Peacock then it’s basically one of the best Chinese restaurants in Kuwait and also probably one of the best restaurants in Kuwait overall. It’s definitely in my top 3.

Now the reason I changed my mind and decided to review the place was because of the service. Hands down I think Peacock have the best dining service in Kuwait. It’s just ridiculous the amount of waiters that appear out of no where to service you. No one is hovering and you don’t notice them but when you need a waiter they’re there before you even call them. A friend arrived late to dinner and when he sat down at the table I just watched as four different waiters surrounded him to take care of him as he was being seated. One had hot towels, the other filled his glass with sparkling water, a third poured jasmine tea and the fourth handed him the menu. It’s like being pampered at a spa.

Another great thing is how well the waiters know the menu. One of my friends is allergic to wheat so she asked a waiter about various dishes and he knew the exact ingredients. He was able to tell her if one dish contained corn starch or if another used wheat or not. They know their stuff. Also, all the items on the menu are numbered and the waiter knew what each number corresponded to which dish on the menu. And the menu his huge with like 80 or so dishes yet I somehow can barely memorize my phone number.

The only negative really is that with the reopening they’ve also increased the prices of their dishes. That was to be expected because of inflation and so the prawns dishes for example are around KD9 now. Other than that we had an amazing dinner and I’m so glad they haven’t changed much about the place.

The Peacock is located at the newly renovated Radisson Blu Hotel. If you’re interested in passing by you need to reserve by calling them on 25673000.

Interior shot taken from the Radisson Blu [Facebook Page]


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Sabaidee Thai Cuisine Restaurant

Posted by Mark

Sabaidee is a Thai place that has been open for some time now only I started passing by quite recently. They have three locations around Kuwait but the one nearest to me is in Salmiya behind Villa Fayrouz on Baghdad Street. I knew there was a Sabaidee in Salmiya I just didn’t expect it to be so close to my place and I was surprised when I found out it was located in a small street perpendicular to one I always drove on.

The restaurant is small but nicely decorated. It has large windows on one side which lets in a lot of light during the day although in the summer it can be a bit annoying since there are no blinds. From what I can tell, the restaurant just has just two employees (I think), one serves the guests while the other one works in the kitchen. Service can be a tad slow especially since the waitress is always in the kitchen but I’ve learned that if I needed anything I just go up to the kitchen door and ask for it, saves a lot of time that way.

The menu is pretty big with lots of dishes to choose from and they all have their pictures alongside their descriptions. My favorite two things to order are the Gai Satay which is grilled chicken marinated in peanut sauce and the Beef Pa Naeng which is a peanut sauce curry. The prices at Sabaidee are very reasonable with both dishes for example costing KD1.750 each.

If you haven’t tried Sabaidee yet you should, it’s a great casual place for lunch or dinner. Here is their location on [Google Maps] and here’s a link to their [Facebook Page]


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