Finger Sushi – 24 Hour Sushi in Kuwait

Post by Mark

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A couple of days back I had just finished having lunch at Salhiya and as I was leaving the area by car I spotted the Finger Sushi sign on one of the buildings. I hadn’t noticed the sign before and since I was driving I made my friend note down Finger Sushi on my phone so I could check it out later once I got back home. That same evening around 1AM while watching the movie Non-Stop, I came across the note Finger Sushi on my phone and decided to see if they had a website or instagram account I could check out. I ended up finding both and right away what caught my attention was the fact that they’re open 24 hours a day. Me and my friends always have a hard time finding a place that isn’t McDonalds that is open after midnight and a 24 hour sushi place is exactly what we’d want late at night. So I paused the movie and gave them a call just to confirm that their dine-in is open 24 hours and not just the delivery and the guy on the other end of the line said I could come by any time of day and eat. So I decided once the movie was over I would head to Finger Sushi and try it out.

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It was just after 2AM when I left my house and headed into the city. I put some Chet Baker on and took the scenic route arriving at the restaurant around 2:20AM and obviously, I was the only one there. There menu is very basic with just 7 makis, some salads and a handful of side dishes. By 7 makis I actually mean one kind of maki but you get to choose if you want it salmon, crab, shrimp, tuna, chicken, meat or vegetable. I decided to go with the salmon maki and asked them to make it spicy, the chef recommended I choose the red colored rice if I wanted it spicy but I decided to stick with white for the salmon and ordered another spicy crab maki with the red rice. I asked the chef what the sweet salmon salad was and he told me it was similar to the popular salmon avocado salad except with a different sauce. I ended up going with that as well and a side order of edamame. The cashier asked me if I wanted chopsticks which I replied yes to and he then asked me if I wanted soya sauce which I also said yes to. Turns out both are chargeable items costing 100fils each.

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While waiting for my order to get ready I took some photos of the place trying my best to make it look cooler than it actually is and while I was admiring my handiwork, the waiter calls me up and hands me over a tray with my order. All the items I had ordered were nicely packaged so I took a group photo and then opened the packages for one more round of photos before I proceeded to munch away on the food.

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I started off with the edamame which is impossible to go wrong with and once I was done with the edamame I started on the sweet salmon salad. This honestly was the worst thing I ordered and I have no idea why the chef would even compare it to a salmon avocado salad at other restaurants since its nothing like it. The salad was mostly lettuce with four or five small cooked and dry pieces of salmon covered with Lays chips. Not even the sauce could rescue the salad from disaster so save yourself the disappointment and skip the salads all together. Once I put the salad aside I started on the makis.

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According to the chef all their makis plates come as six pieces with each two pieces having a different sauce on top. I’m sure you could stick to one sauce if you want to but for your first time you’d probably want to have the three different sauces so you could get an idea of what they all taste like. The makis also all come covered with crispy tempura. I personally wanted to order my maki without the sauces and the crispy tempura but since I was going to write about the place I decided to keep everything as it was. All three sauces tasted fairly similar and they were strong enough to overpower the flavor of the whole maki. It didn’t matter if there was crab or salmon inside I couldn’t tell the difference. On the other hand the red rice gave it an interesting flavor since its prepared using rose water.

Overall it was pretty much what I was expecting from a 24 hour fast food sushi place along with a bill that fit the experience:

6 Piece Salmon Maki – KD1.200
6 Piece Crab Maki – KD1.200
Sweet Salmon Salad – KD1.000
Edamame – KD0.750
Soya Sauce – KD0.100
Chopsticks – KD0.100

Total: KD4.350

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It’s the perfect place for late night munchies and I would go back again with my friends when every other place is closed. But, I would save my money and avoid the salad next time as well as having the makis without the crispy tempura or the sauces. Finger Sushi is located in the same building as Opera Cakes and Sahara Hotel which is on your left hand side once you leave the Salhiya area [Map]. They’ve been open for just over a week now and you can find them on instagram @fingersushi or online at fingersushi.com.


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Four Seasons Hotel – Cairo at Nile Plaza

Post by Mark

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A couple of weeks ago I went to Cairo for a friends wedding and since the wedding was taking place at the Four Seasons, me and my friends all ended up staying at the same hotel as well. I hadn’t been to Cairo since back in 2008 when I went down to film the Wataniya Airways launch commercial and back then I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Hotel which I really didn’t like. The Four Seasons is literally across the street from where I stayed last time but the experience this time around was worlds apart.

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The last time I was in Cairo the city was full of tourists but this time there were barely any. Even when we went to touristic places like Khan Al-Khalili and the Pyramids we barely saw any tourists and the hotels are obviously affected by this. When we were at Four Seasons the hotel was mostly occupied by people attending our wedding and people attending another wedding that was also taking place there and from what a friend told me, the prices the hotel was charging for the rooms was around 40% less than they used to charge when the city was bustling with tourists. I ended up staying in the Diplomatic Suite which turned out to be a lot larger than I was expecting it to be. When you first walk into the room you have a small hallway with a guest bathroom and a small closet. Right after the hallway is the main living space with a large LCD screen, a couch which unfolds into a sofa bed, a work area and a large terrace overlooking the Nile. At the far end of the room is a doorway that leads you into the bedroom where theres a second large LCD screen, a huge walk-in closet and a large marble clad bathroom with two sinks. I think this was pretty much the largest room I had ever stayed in at a hotel.

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The hotel as a whole felt a lot like a cruise ship and some of my friends treated it that way by not leaving the hotel the whole weekend we were there. Other than the restaurants and the pool, the hotel also had a bar, a club and a department store all located on premises. The pool area is where we spent all our mornings tanning and recovering from the night before by relaxing on their really comfortable lounges. The only downside to the pool area and actually one of the only issues I had with the hotel is the fact by 12:30PM the sun ends up behind the hotel casting a shadow over the pool area and basically putting a stop to any tanning that was taking place.

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On the plus side I didn’t get any food poisoning while I was there. Before leaving to Cairo everyone was warning me about how easy it was to get food poisoned and not to have any salads or drinks with ice so by the time I got to Cairo I was planning on not eating for the whole trip. In the end hunger won and I spent most of the weekend having the hotel burger for brunch and then mixing it up with dinner either by eating at the hotel or somewhere around Cairo. The location of the hotel was pretty great since it was right on the Nile which meant the view from my room was spectacular. The staff were all really friendly and professional and you really don’t feel like you’re in Egypt when you’re inside the hotel. A good example on how good the staff is, on the last day after checking out we were waiting outside the hotel for our rides when the doorman noticed one of the girls with us was holding a pair of shoes in her hand. Without her asking he went and got her a paper bag and placed the shoes inside for her. That earned the hotel a lot of points in my book.

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Overall I had a great weekend in Cairo and the hotel was part of the reason why. This is the third or fourth Four Seasons Hotel I’ve stayed in and so far they’ve all turned out to be pretty great. There are two Four Seasons in Cairo, the one I stayed in was the Nile Plaza one (not the one with the casino) and you can check out their website [Here]


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Review: Urban Cafe

Post by Patrick

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Post by Patrick

I’ve been wanting to try out Urban Cafe ever since I found their Instagram account which has a lot of good looking photos of the food they serve. I finally passed by earlier in the week to try it out and had a fairly pleasant experience. I went in the evening with a friend and the place was fairly packed. The weather was pleasant so there weren’t any places to sit outside and so we ended up inside. Sitting inside wasn’t a bad thing because the place is bright and seating is comfortable although I did find the music to be a bit too loud.

Urban Food

We ended up ordering the Baked Portobello and the Quinoa Salad for starters and the Wild Mushroom & Truffle Pizza and Basil Pesto Fusilli for our main course. What I found disappointing about the menu itself was that there aren’t many choices if you don’t want a sandwich. The Quinoa Salad arrived first and I thought it was okay. I found it weird that they mixed in large pieces of lettuce since this made the salad slightly awkward to eat but I did think the addition of rocca leaves was a nice touch. The Baked Portobello which comes stuffed with mozzarella cheese and mushroom was pretty good and flavorful and once we were done with the starters the pizza and pasta both arrived around the same time. The pizza looked and smelled really good and it tasted similar to the mushroom pizza at OFK which I also like. On the other-hand the pesto fusilli was a bit too creamy and a little boring. There was an option to add grilled chicken to it, so maybe that would have made some difference.

Bread Pudding

After we were done with our main course we decided to try out the bread pudding with Nutella for dessert. It took long for the bread pudding to come out and when I finally asked for it, it was obvious they had forgotten that we ordered any dessert. The waiters were pretty apologetic about it and the bread pudding got to our table pretty quick after that. I didn’t think the bread pudding was that good, and I’m a big fan of Nutella. There was just too much Nutella and it ended up feeling too heavy on the stomach. On the other hand, my friend really enjoyed it and said they would order it again. Urban Cafe isn’t short on desserts though and they had quite a few cakes on display besides the various dessert items available in the menu.

Even though I wasn’t a big fan of the pasta or the dessert I would be interested in trying the other items on the menu like the Barbequed Beef Brisket and their breakfast which they serve until 2PM. I found their prices to be pretty reasonable, the mushroom & truffle pizza was KD3 while the pesto fusilli was KD2.500. One thing that might be an issue is parking. When I went in the evening I was able to find a spot behind the cafe in a small sandlot, but I would imagine that during the day time it might be difficult to find parking in the area. If you’re interested in Urban Cafe they’re located in Sharq, you can find their location on Google Maps.

Post by Patrick


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Review: Udupi Indian Vegetarian Restaurant

Post by Mark

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Udupi is a popular Indian restaurant with a few branches located around Kuwait. I recently found out there was one that was fairly close to my home in Salmiya so I ended up passing by there with a friend for dinner. Even though we went mid week the place was packed and we had to wait for a table to free up. It’s a hole in the wall place with two different seating areas, you have the main area where the entrance is and which also has a large window overlooking the busy kitchen, and then another seating area in the back which I personally think is claustrophobic since there are no windows.

The menu is vegetarian based and and made up mostly of South Indian dishes like Vada, Upma, Dosas and Thalis along with a few rice dishes. We ended up ordering a bunch of things including the Thali (which is unlimited refill) but what had to stick out the most for me was the Gobi Manchurian, a fried cauliflower dish which tasted more Chinese than Indian. It was delicious and I’m not even a cauliflower fan.

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The waiters don’t really speak English and the menu is just a list of items with their prices so your best bet when ordering is:

1) to go there with someone who knows what everything is
2) use google to try and figure out what everything is
3) order by looking around the restaurant and point at peoples dishes
4) Russian roulette, just choose items off the menu without knowing what you’re ordering

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One thing I’m curious about and maybe someone here can answer has to do with the tea. The tea comes in a steel cup with a steel bowl and everybody at the place was using the two to drink the tea. They would pour the tea from the cup into the bowl and then back into the cup and they kept doing that over and over as they were drinking. I figured this was either to keep mixing the tea or it was a way to cool it down.

The place if very affordable with the most expensive dish on the menu being a special Thali which is only available on Fridays and costs KD1.5. In comparison, a regular Thali is just KD1 while the Vada is 300fils, Gobi Manchurian 900fils and a plain Dosa just 550fils. Other than the Gobi Manchurian, everything else I had I thought Saravanaa Bhavan did better. But Udupi is a lot cheaper and it’s also basically walking distance from my house which makes it much more convenient for me. The Udupi I went to was in Salmiya [Map] but as I mentioned earlier they have a bunch of locations around Kuwait and you can check out the full list [Here]. Definitely worth checking out.


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The Ferrari 458 Spider

Post by Mark

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First I need to make a confession, I haven’t been in a Ferrari since my dad had one back in the mid 80s. It was a gorgeous silver Ferrari 308 but I was too young to appreciate the car back then, I just remember it was loud and it looked like the one on Magnum P.I. Strangely I hadn’t been in a Ferrari ever since which is weird because Ferraris are pretty common in Kuwait. A few months ago when I went to test drive the Jaguar F-Type I found out the same dealer (Zayani) had a Ferrari 458 Spider to test drive as well. I started harassing them to loan me the car for the weekend to test drive until last week I finally got the phone call telling me I could pass by and pick up the car but I would have it only from 10AM to 5PM. After a bit of negotiation I was able to extend that from 9AM to 7PM. It wasn’t the weekend I had wanted, but a full day with the Spider was still going to be a great day.

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Sunday morning I got up early and headed to the dealership where after giving me a short tour of the showroom I was taken to the car which was waiting for me in a large pristine white room. The car was in silver blue (Grigio Alloy) fitted with a custom two tone leather and suede interior. I got in the car and the salesman showed me where everything was and how to work them. It’s not complicated to say, it’s just that majority of the options are not in their usual place (spoiler: they’re all on the steering wheel). For example, the turn signals are located on the steering wheel as well as the wipers, high beam switch, the cars start/stop button, the “bumpy road” button, the horn and most importantly the Manettino dial which allows you to control the cars settings with a flick of a switch. I’m not sure why they haven’t adapted this idea to all cars yet but after spending a day with the 458 I started wishing all my FJ’s controls were on the steering wheel, it just makes a lot more sense than having all these nobs spread out behind it.

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Once he was done showing me all the controls we drove out of the dealership for a ride around the block just so I could get a feel for the car before heading out. I then dropped him back off to the dealership and headed out on my own… without a chaperon. There I was sitting in a brand new Ferrari 458 Spider all on my own, free to do with it whatever I pleased. First thing I did was send the mandatory snapchat to my friends and then I decided to head out to the desert where I had previously shot the Porsche Cayman. I figured the roads would be empty there and I wanted to get rid of the photography so I could enjoy the car the rest of the day.

Driving the car was a lot easier than I was expecting it to be even though the car produces 570hp out of its mid-mounted naturally-aspirated 4.5l V8 engine. I spent the first 20 minutes of the drive keeping my eye out on the speedometer since the car just wanted to speed and in the end I couldn’t resist the urge not to and just gave up and started keeping my eye out for cops and speed traps instead. When I finally got to my destination I realized it might not have been the best day to be out in the open desert since there was a pretty nasty dusty storm. But since it took me 40 minutes to get there I was not going to turn back now and kept on going even though at some points I could barely see the road because it was covered with sand. Finally I arrived to the location and got out of the car to snap my photos. It was really windy and I ended up getting sand in every crevice of my body but I also ended up with two fantastic photos especially once I converted them to black and white. I packed up my gear and headed back to the city but not before making a quick stop at home to shower and change.

As I mentioned the car is really easy to drive and can actually be very civil if you keep it in sport mode (Ferrari’s version of “comfort”) and aren’t heavy on the peddle. On the other hand if you’re a hooligan you’re also gonna love this car. Once I was back in the city I realized I could still have a lot of fun without breaking any laws (kinda) just by accelerating at full speed out of traffic lights, drifting slightly around corners and roundabouts and down shifting to second gear when going under bridges. Actually by switching the cars gearbox from auto to manual made a world of a difference because I could keep the gears low and have the car scream its beautiful loud Ferrari tones without even trying. But the car isn’t loud unless you want it to be and the interior can be pretty quiet while cruising at normal speeds. Speaking of the interior I was pretty surprised at how spacious it was. I LOVE the center console layout, it’s basically non existent with just AC controls and nothing else. In an age where center consoles are filled with large screens and buttons beyond buttons, it was great to see they kept the interior to a bare minimum.

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What differentiates the Ferrari 458 Spider from the regular Ferrari 458 is the fact it’s a hard top convertible. With just a press of the button the roof folds away into the trunk and thats what I did once the sun started setting. Driving the car with the roof down is a whole different experiencing, if you really want to hear the engine sound that’s the best way of experiencing it. As the sun set I knew I would have to drive the car back to the dealer and I think it was the first time where I was both happy and sad to return a car. I was sad because I was obviously returning the Ferrari but also happy because at the end of the day I was driving an KD80,000 Ferrari and I was just relieved to be handing it back in one piece.

So what didn’t I like about the car? Not a lot honestly. The trunk is practically non existent if you opt to have a spare tire, like you might be able to fit one or two grocery bags there and thats it. The sound system also wouldn’t let me stream music over bluetooth which sucks although it did have iPod connectivity via USB. Finally I thought the gas pedal was too close to the brake pedal and so my sneakers kept getting clipped every time I was moving from one pedal to the other to the point I thought my sneakers might get ruined. But by the end of the day I got used to it and just shifted my foot far right so that wouldn’t keep happening. Even though I wasn’t expecting the car to be a disappointment it did surprise me in a lot of ways. I wasn’t expecting it to be such a drivable car and one which could be so civil. I didn’t even have issues going over speed bumps or parallel parking (thank you rear view camera) so I could totally drive this car every day if Ferrari agree on that 90% discount I asked for (pretty please).

The Ferrari 458 Spider starts at KD81,900 and is available at the dealers Zayani.


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Review: The Sony RX1

Post by Mark

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A few months back I started looking for a new digital camera to replace my aging Panasonic GX1. I had been using the GX1 constantly since 2012 and it was by far one of my favorite cameras I had ever owned. But, on one trip to London last year I carried my much larger and heavier full sensor D800 camera with me and I just loved the results. I realized the much larger sensor on the D800 allowed me to capture shots I wouldn’t be able to with my GX1, mostly very high ISO shots in very dim light. Because of the size though the D800 isn’t a very practical take everywhere camera and so I started doing my research trying to find a replacement for my GX1. Some of the cameras I considered were:

Fujifilm X-T1
Fujifilm X100s
Leica X2
Olympus OM-D E-M1
Olympus OM-D E-M10
Panasonic GX7
Ricoh GR
Sony Alpha 7R
Sony Alpha 7
Sony RX1
Sony RX1R

From the list above the only ones that ended up grabbing my attention were the Sonys since they were the only cameras on the list that had full framed sensors. Having a full frame sensor would mean I’d be able to capture a lot more detail, have shallower depth of field in my shots and most importantly have better dim light capabilities. In the end I opted for the Sony RX1 because of the size. One of the things I loved about my GX1 camera was the size and the RX1 was practically the exact same size except the lens on the RX1 made it slightly thicker (check the GX1/RX1 overlay visual below). The newer Sony A7 was tempting but since I already had a main camera (the D800), I needed a secondary camera, something small and inconspicuous to take with me on my restaurant reviews and when I traveled. The A7 was a lot more bulkier especially once you added the lenses.

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I’ve had the RX1 now for around 2 months and I’ve already traveled with it a number of times and used it in various situations and I really really love it. It’s by far the best compact camera I’ve had. The camera has a full metal body and feels very solid, we’re talking Leica M series quality here without the Leica price tag. The lens is a really bright 35mm F2 Carl Zeiss, its fixed which means I can’t zoom in or out but that isn’t an issue since I was only using the 20mm lens (40mm equivalent) on my GX1 anyway.

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The RX1 has allowed me to take a ton of great shots and I’ve been carrying it with me everywhere I go. It has a lot of physical controls as well as customizable buttons so I always have quick access to my most used options. I love the way the camera looks and feels in my hand, it has a slightly retro look but it’s really understated which is how I love my cameras. Another great feature about the camera is the fact that the shutter is silent. When I turn off all the sounds I can take a photo in a quiet room and no one would be able to hear me take photos. It’s how I was able to take the photo of the guy sleeping on the car below without having to worry about waking him up. Finally the ISO capability on this camera is nearly as good as my D800. I’m so confident about the capabilities of the camera I have it set on Auto ISO with the max limit at 12,800. That’s how good the noise at high ISO is, I can shoot up to 12,800 and not have to worry about noise. Combine that with the bright F2 lens and there really isn’t a condition anymore where I would have trouble shooting in.

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I really can’t think of anything negative to say or highlight about the camera but I will bring up issues I had read about online and answer them here. Battery life, it’s not that great but that’s an easy fix, the batteries are very cheap, I bought two more and now carry three batteries with me. In the two months I’ve had the camera I don’t think I’ve ever needed more than one battery a day so even though battery life isn’t that great it’s good enough to last you a day out. Some people have complained about the focusing being slow. I don’t think its slow and only faced an issue focusing once and that was because there was hardly any light. I just ended up shooting in manual focus mode and that solved the problem. Finally a lot of people online complained about the fact the screen isn’t tiltable or the fact the camera doesn’t have a built in view finder. Both are good points but Sony built the most compact full sensor camera in the world so I’m sure they had to cut some options to keep the size compact. Personally I’m glad they kept the size small and instead released the A7 with all the extra features they couldn’t fit into the RX1.

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I can’t recommend this camera enough, the sensor and lens combo is just unbeatable and I can’t believe how small this camera is. The price is the only reason why not everyone is walking around with this camera strapped to their necks. Amazon sell the camera for $2,800 which is pretty expensive when compared to all the other compact cameras in the market. But, I personally think the only real competition is the Sony A7 and the Leica M series. The Sony A7 costs $1800 without a lens and another $800 for the 35mm F2.8. That brings the total to $2,600 for a larger camera with a lens thats not as bright. The Leica M series on the other hand costs nearly $7,000 without a lens. So when you compare the RX1 to the two the price becomes pretty reasonable. If you can afford the RX1 then get it, you’ll have a hard time finding anything else as good with the same form factor.


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Salt Seafood Restaurant at the Messilah Beach Hotel

Post by Mark

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Last week I was invited to pass by the new seafood restaurant at the Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel called Salt. I personally think the hotel is the nicest one we have in Kuwait right now so I was pretty interested to try this new place out. One thing I really hate about the hotel though is you’ve got two options for parking, either (a) you give your car to valet or (b) you park in the sand lot across the street. Since I don’t trust valets with my car I have to use the sand lot and it’s never a great start to dinner when you have to spend the first few minutes cleaning the dust off my new fancy sneakers.

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If you’ve been to Messilah before then you probably know that most of their restaurants are located in the lower level of the main lobby. Salt is located there as well and they’ve taken up the whole left side area. Once we walked into the restaurant we could immediately tell that they wanted to be the most luxurious seafood restaurant in Kuwait and at the moment they probably are. The restaurant is long and not very wide with two kinds of seating areas, on one side they have curved couches going along the wall and it’s nicely lit. On the opposite side is a much brighter open floor layout with beautiful chandeliers. So far the experience was very fancy until the menu arrived and I opened it up to reveal bright yellow text on a dark blue background which looked really tacky layout (take a look). If I could change one thing in the place it would have to be the menu thats for sure.

Because this is a high end restaurant, everything has to be top notch especially the service which in this specific case I found difficult to judge for a number of reasons. First is the fact I was invited and so they knew who I was, and secondly they had barely been open for a week. Still, if I did compare it to other hotels and restaurants in Kuwait I would say the service was in the top 10 but not top 5. In other restaurants where the service is in the top 5, the staff have been working there long enough to see me grow old while Salt has just opened.

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Since we were two we ended up ordering the following items from the menu:

Acqua Morelli Sparking Water (x2) KD7.000
Baked Chermoula Prawns KD7.500
Pan Fried Scallops KD7.250
Lobster Bisque (x2) KD9.500
Whole Lobster (Medium) KD28.000
Whole Sea Bass KD15.000
Pearl of the Ocean drink KD3.350
Messilah Journey (mixed dessert) KD5.750

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From the two starters we ordered I was expecting the Baked Chermoula Prawns to be my favorite since it was prawns stuffed with scallops. But to my surprise I ended up preferring the Pan Fried Scallops instead. That’s because the scallops dish had so many different flavors from the scallops itself to the stuffed calamari, squid ink risotto and even the puree which were all delicious. Once we were done with the starters they brought over a soup plate which large chunks of lobster inside but no soup. I started thinking to myself maybe this was their interpretation of the lobster bisque? Just as I was thinking that the waiter came over and started pouring the soup over my large lobster chunks. Presentation was an easy 10/10 and from everything we ordered I would also have to say the Lobster Bisque was by far my favorite dish.

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Review: Anjappar Indian Restaurant

Post by Mark

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Back in February I asked for recommendations on Indian restaurants and I now have probably 50 places try out. The first place I decided to go to was Anjappar in Farwaniya (they have a Fahaheel branch as well). I used google maps to help me find the location although google knows it as Anjappar Hotel for some reason.

The restaurant is located on the 2nd floor of the building right across from Metro Complex. The interior wasn’t anything fancy and a friendly waiter seated us right after we walked in. We ended up ordering a bunch of things including:

Mutton Sukka Masala KD2.100
Butter Chicken Masala KD1.750
Anjappar Chicken B/L Masala KD1.600
Steamed Basmati KD0.750
Butter Naan KD0.250
Chicken Kheema Appam KD0.650
Masala Dosai KD0.500
Mango Lassi KD1.000

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The food overall was good, I hadn’t had the Chicken Kheema Appam before and loved it. We ordered three main dishes recommended by the waiter and was the Butter Chicken even though the chicken was a bit dry. My biggest issue with the place was actually with the service, and not the waiters who were very friendly but the kitchen who were just too slow. Our rice came out more than 5 minutes after the main courses and then the Mango Lassi and Butter Naan arrived 5 minutes after that. The table next to us were complaining as well since they were there before us but hadn’t received any of their dishes.

The prices were very reasonable and you can actually check out their whole menu online [Here] for a better idea. I’d probably only go back there if I wanted to show someone Farwaniya but other than that I don’t think it’s worth the trip unless you’ve never been there before and want to try something new. Here is their location on [Google Maps]


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Atlantis, The Palm

Post by Mark

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Last week while in Dubai I ended up staying at the Atlantis hotel. Since it’s launch I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about the place and I now understand why, it’s not meant for everyone, me included.

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When I first arrived at the hotel which is located on the artificial island The Palm, I thought I was walking into a shopping mall. There were a lot of people outside the entrance of the hotel and even more people inside the gigantic lobby. It was super busy like no other hotel I’ve ever walked into. It felt like a mall but then I realized it also felt like a Disney resort. My room was their standard room and it looked really generic but had a beautiful view and was pretty large in size. What makes Atlantis so special is the activities they have ranging from swimming with the dolphins to their large Aquaventure Waterpark.

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They even have a huge aquarium right inside the hotel thats a lot bigger and nicer than the one we have at the Scientific Center. The hotel also has 21 restaurants, bars and lounges including the very popular Nobu, they have a ton of stores to shop at and they also have a very impressive gym. I actually thought the gym was the trendiest looking place in the whole hotel, it’s very nicely designed, one of the best looking gyms I’ve ever seen.

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While at the hotel we were given a tour of the most expensive hotel room in the Middle East, the Royal Bridge Suite. It costs around KD10,000 a night and it’s huge. You check check out the pictures below. And yes I said KD10,000 a night, that’s not an extra zero there by accident.

Personally I didn’t like the hotel. Not that where was anything wrong with it on the contrary, I actually found the hotel really fascinating. I remember watching a documentary once on Harrods and it was mostly a behind the scenes documentary on how the store handles all the traffic and what it takes to keep the place running, I would be very very interested to watch a similar documentary on Atlantis. The hotel is ginormous with over 1,500 rooms and so much foot traffic but yet they still manage to provide great service. In the three days I was there I never felt like I was just another guest. But still, the hotel just wasn’t for me, I prefer my rooms to be trendier looking, I also like my hotels to be a lot smaller and more importantly on this trip I wasn’t interested in any of their activities and thats really what Atlantis is about. On the other hand this is definitely a great place to stay at with children for the weekend. You would never have to leave the hotel and the children would never get bored with all the things to do. Check out their website [Here]


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The Porsche Cayman S

Post by Mark

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I’ve had my eye on the new Porsche Cayman S ever since it got released last year. Along with the Jaguar F-Type Coupe it’s one of the two cars I’ve recently been considering for myself. I’ve actually been building my own Cayman on the Porsche website for the past few months, choosing all the different extra options I wanted, deciding on the exterior color and wheels, a very fun process. They even have the KD265,000 918 Spyder available to customize online. I finally decided I’d take the car for a test drive, that way I could have content for my blog as well as decide if the Cayman S is the car for me.

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There are two versions of the Cayman, the regular Cayman and the Cayman S. The biggest difference between the two is the regular Cayman has 275HP while the S has 325HP. I picked up the car on Thursday once I got back from Dubai but was really too tired that day to do much driving. Instead I went to sleep early and woke up Friday morning and headed out to the middle of nowhere. Around 5 or 6 years ago while looking for the “Tank Graveyard” I remembered driving on a two lane paved road in the middle of the desert. I figured it would be a great place to take photos and the drive was far enough to allow me to get a chance to properly drive the car. So I headed out from Salmiya north towards the desert and around 50 minutes later ended up at the road I had been on years ago only now it no longer was a two lane road but a six lane highway. I was disappointed since I had driven all the way with a shot visualized in my head and now I wouldn’t be able to do it. I decided to keep on driving in hopes of finding a new location which I did. After another 15 minutes on that road I found an exit which wasn’t marked on the cars navigation nor on Google Maps and I decided to take it and drive and drive. The weather was great, the sky was beautiful and I finally found a spot that I liked and took all the photos I needed.

The car was a lot of fun to drive and I ended up covering more than 200KM that morning. It made me feel a bit guilty since when I had picked up the car from the dealer it only had around 200KM mileage and here in just one morning I doubled it for them. The engine is mid mounted meaning it’s located behind the drivers seat and in front of the rear wheels. It’s basically the best place to put an engine in the car if you want terrific handling. Because the weight is right behind you its as if the weight is where your body is and so you kinda become one with the car if that makes sense. I think that’s the best way of describing it. The car is pretty compact, there are no rear seats just the driver and passenger seat so driving the car feels like driving a go kart which is why it’s so fun. It’s not intimidating at all and right from the get-go you’ll feel very confident in the drivers seat making it a fairly easy car to drive. The car felt a bit stiff and the steering a bit heavy during normal city driving but once I was out in the open and I was able to step on it, the car felt right at home.

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Whenever I used to customize my Cayman S on the Porsche website I’d make sure I would add all the cool sounding sports features like active suspension management (PASM) and torque vectoring (PTV) or say the sports exhaust system. What I realized after driving the test drive model which didn’t have any of those features is that I don’t really need them. The stock exhaust for example sounds pretty quiet when driving around normally but as soon as you give it a kick down it starts screaming. It sounds beautiful the way it is so I don’t think I want to pay an extra KD590 for the sport exhaust system. The car I drove had a horrible red interior, I mean I don’t mind red leather seats if say the rest of the interior is all black to calm it down but the model I drove had red leather everything, seats, doors dashboard, steering just red leather everywhere. Which brings me to another expensive add-on you don’t need, a full blown leather interior, just stick to the leather seats. One feature I would highly recommend is an upgraded sound system. The model I drove had the stock sound system but for most of my music it just sounded too boomy. Luckily Porsche offer two different sound system upgrades, for an extra KD160 you get a slightly better BOSE sound system or do what I would do and splurge and get the Burmester high end system for an extra KD910. Expensive yes but it’s not like you can get a better sound system down the line if you’re not happy with what it originally came with.

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I don’t think there was anything I didn’t like about the car. Other than the ugly interior color and the sound system, both of which are easily fixed when building your own car, I think the only other issue I had with the car was storage space. I couldn’t find a place where I could put my phone and have easy access to it. There’s space in the door but then you can’t charge it or you can charge it in the arm rest compartment but then if you get a call or you need your phone you have to open the compartment awkwardly and take out the phone. The car also doesn’t have enough space for a single piece of luggage, the front trunk is too small to fit a full sized bag and so is the rear trunk. The only kind of bag you could fit into the car is a carry on and that’s it.

I’m personally still undecided if I’d get the car or not, I’d have to test drive the F-Type Coupe once it launches in May to decide. But, in this price range the Cayman S and F-Type are still my two favorite choices. The regular Cayman starts at KD16,200 while the S version starts at KD18,300. With all the options I want the car ends up costing like KD24,000. If you want to try building your own Cayman (or any other Porsche for that matter) click [Here]


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