16 07, 2015

The 248AM Awards Winners List – 2015

2015-07-25T21:53:01+03:00Jul 16, 2015|16 Comments

Now that we’ve completed the awards, below is a round up of all the winners from this year:

Best Coffee Shop – VOL.1
Best Local Store – Good Game
Best Shopping Mall – The Avenues
Best Bank – Nobody
Best Online Store – Talabat
Best Gym – Circuit+
Best Movie Theater – Cinemagics
Best Leisure Activity (Children) – Kuwait Little League
Best Leisure Activity (Adults) – The Secret Garden
Best Restaurant – EDO Shaab
Best Restaurant (Casual Dining) – GIA
Best Internet Provider – WIMD
Best Customer Care – OSN & Al-Sayer

Just out of curiosity, I ran a survey under the most interesting categories and I asked you readers to vote on who you thought was the best. Below is the result of those surveys, we’ll call them the people’s choice:

Best Restaurant
1- OFK
2- EDO Shaab

Best Restaurant – Casual Dining
1- Solo Pizza
2- GIA

Best Coffee Shop
1- Starbucks
2- Caribou Coffee

Best Internet Provider
1- Zain

Best Gym
1- Al Corniche Club
2- Platinum

Best Local Store
1- AAB World
2- X-Cite

Best Online Store
2- Blink

Best Shopping Mall
1- The Avenues
2- 360 Mall

Best Bank
1- NBK
2- KFH

16 07, 2015

Best Customer Care in Kuwait 2015

2015-07-16T12:18:27+03:00Jul 16, 2015|7 Comments




Winner: OSN
A few months ago, I received a phone call from OSN. And I thought, “OSN…OSN…why does that sound familiar…oh yeah! The satellite thing…holy shit I’m still paying that?” Evidently I wasn’t; my credit card expired. Hence the call from their customer service. The lady was exceedingly polite and very accommodating. I could just change my card number right then and there with her on the phone. No transfers to different departments or website or god forbid, an office thats open from “I’m too busy to drive there” to “I cannot be bothered right now.”

It had literally been months since I last turned on my OSN receiver. But the convenience, and the cost make it hard to decline. And their customer service as always been top notch with me. I’ve never had major issues and when I have had minor ones, they’ve dealt with it in the most professional manner you can imagine. I briefly played with the idea of cancelling the subscription and seeing how long before my wife would notice, as she insists on keeping it. But at the time, the wife was pregnant, and the vision of her reaction to my little social experiment was more than enough to sway me back to just giving up my new card details.

Happy wife, happy life everyone.

Note: The above incident was several months ago, and OSN has yet to be watched. I will be diligently updating you all every 150 days. Stay tuned.

Runner up: Al-Sayer
When you buy a car in Kuwait, you don’t buy a car. You buy into a relationship with your dealer. Whereas in most other places I’ve lived, you could go to Kingsway Honda if the guys at Carter Honda are total Oakley-wearing douchebags high-fiving each other and patting each other on the butt. Here, your love for a car and insistence on buying it is weighed against future irritation you will experience if you buy it. That’s why certain brands with cats on them have such a bad rap. Brands like that should only be for people who have a crush on their service representative. You’re not buying the car, you’re buying the service. And in most cases, service is enfuriating.

At a certain level, I’m sure the people selling Toyota and Lexus know their cars are not exactly known for their personality or looks. They simply make good good cars. But that’s not enough and they know it. That’s why they bend over backwards to give the best possible service they can. In the same week I had flat tires on two cars, a Lexus and a german brand of which Hitler was particularly fond of. Lexus, replaced the tires and rims and did a full service on the car the same day I brought the car in, before I could even schedule an appointment for the other car. They even towed the car and waived the charge. Bunch of sweeties over at Sayer.


Winner: Al-Sayer
For this category there are two winners because I personally love Al-Sayer and think they should be number 1. I’ve had my Toyota going into 5 years now and my experience with the dealer has been great, so great that I actually took the time to write about how great they are on my blog [Here]. Everything I wrote in that post still stands true today and I can’t think of any other company better deserving of this award.

Runner up: McDonalds
McDonalds in Kuwait has by far the best customer service of any fast food joint anywhere in the world. Seriously.

15 07, 2015

Best Internet Provider in Kuwait 2015

2015-07-16T12:43:07+03:00Jul 15, 2015|30 Comments



Winner: WIMD (kinda)
Every summer I would go back to Canada. And in terms of mobile telecommunications, it would be like travelling to the 90s. The few people who had cell phones, had flip-phones. With antennas (remember antennas?). No one had any idea what the hell a SIM card was. The one company that had SIM cards wouldn’t give you one without you signing a plan for at least one year. Meanwhile at Heathrow airport, you could get a temporary SIM card from a vending machine. Total bush league. My point, in case you’re missing out, is that regardless of how ‘first-world’ a country is, it’s not above being completely backwards due to greedy complacent big business interests and/or excessive government bureaucracy.

Which brings me to internet in Kuwait. Over the years, I’ve had Fastelco, Qualitynet, WIMD. The internet in most parts of Kuwait is capped due to the ancient copper cables that connect everyone together. Unless you live in Salwa or South Surra, you’re going to be limited by your internet company. Now this brings us to an interesting point. Back in day, you didn’t need high-speed, since all you would do is pretend to be a girl on mIRC and talk to other men pretending to be girls on mIRC. But now, content providers are trying to go fully cloud-based, and when that’s the case, 4Mb isn’t going to cut it. Based on Mark’s results from WIMD, I decided to give those cats a try, and the results were much better. I get 14 now.

But even WIMD is limited in that all they really do is bypass the copper cables that go point to point nationally. You’re still using Qualitynet or Fastelco or United or whatever. When they go down because a fucking whale in Egypt took a huge shit on the undersea cables, you go down too.

The gripe is that for the amount of money people pay to internet companies is not proportional to the quality of service we get. Still, when it comes down to it, unless something changes dramatically with the technology or the government locally or regionally, WIMD is still the best, despite the technical issues that pop up from time to time. They’ve been kinda enough to reimburse me for my lost days of access. I appreciate that. When it works, it works and it’s the best.

All of this, is specifically for home users. If you’re a ‘corporate user’ you’ll get gouged by the OUTRAGEOUS prices you will be quoted. In the eyes of the internet companies in Kuwait, no matter how small your company is, you NBK to them, fat and rich. It’s criminal.

Runner up: LTE
I was one of the last one of my friends to switch from 3G to LTE. I held onto my shitass iphone 4 for years past the point I probably should have. Near the end of its long life, I was charging it literally constantly. During phone calls the battery life would countdown in real time and I would panic like it was a timebomb in a Bond movie. It would literally burn my ear from how hot it would get. Now that I have a sexy new phone with LTE, I am surprised by how incredibly fast it is sometimes. And with the personal hotspot, I always have a decent backup plan. Also, it’s what most smaller companies use now rather than get abused (please don’t write comments about me belittling abuse until you see the prices they charge and then gfy).


Winner: WIMD
When I first signed up to internet at my apartment, I had DSL and I was getting 1Mbps since that was the fastest my line could handle. Then a couple of years later for some reason my line started handling 2Mbps, it was amazing since it was twice as fast. Out of the blue a couple of years later, something happened and my connection speed dropped, my line could no longer handle 2Mbps and I was back on 1Mbps. It was horrible. Then Mada came along offering 10Mbps and I jumped onboard. It was super fast… until everyone discovered it was super fast and then it became super slow. Luckily I found out about WIMD and I signed up to their 10Mbps plan and I’ve been using them ever since.

It’s been three years now and really the only major issue I had with them is when a residential building got constructed down the street blocking my line of sight with their tower. But that was an easy fix, we just moved my receiver to the far end of the building. They’re really the best solution for people who have shitty phone lines. At KD350 a year for 10Mbps they’re more than double the price of DSL providers but when your alternative is 1Mbps, KD350 is actually an incredible deal.

Runner up: Mobile Internet
Although Nima focused on LTE I am just grateful with have decent mobile internet and at reasonable prices and it doesn’t matter from which telecom provider. LTE or 3G I don’t care, they’re both great since they allow me to stream music in my car. I also love the fact we get such high download limits including unlimited options.

When I went to get a prepaid sim card in LA, they were like how much bandwidth do you want a month, 1GB, 2GB or 4GB? That’s like the norm over there, only T-Mobile had a higher option which was unlimited so I ended up signing with them. If I didn’t have WIMD at home I would have definitely signed up to one of the telecoms for internet. They’re a great alternative to DSL since they’re so much more easier to setup and most of the time faster than DSL.

14 07, 2015

Best Restaurant in Kuwait 2015 (Less Casual Dining)

2015-07-16T12:43:29+03:00Jul 14, 2015|6 Comments



Winner: GIA
I remember when I moved back to Kuwait after university. People were getting rather health crazy, doing Atkin’s diet and going paleo, freaking out about salt and trans fats and the like.

But in Kuwait, Burger King had unveiled the “Mozza Double Whopper”; two patties of beef with a patty of mozzarella cheese in between. My friends at the gahwa were ordering shish taouk because they wanted to eat grilled chicken instead of fried, but it would come smothered in garlic may and wrapped in buri (friend bread).

Things have changed since. People are jumping on boxes and waving ropes and swinging cannonballs with handles. Maybe GIA is the response to Kuwait’s recent health craze. A healthy place that doesn’t takes like cardboard dog food. It’s the perfect place for a quick healthy substantial lunch or the inevitable compromise your obnoxiously indecisive friends will agree on for dinner. It probably singlehandedly revitalised Al Khalid square. Not that success in Kuwait is a measure of quality, but they had to expand within the first year they opened. We usually over-order for the next day when we get it. Great dining, take-away, or delivery.

Runner up: Street
Street opened up to much fanfare. They have a limited number of seats and limited items on the menu. Rather than having an encyclopedia of mediocrity, they’ve focused and refined their menu. That shows that the chef, Faisal Al Nashmi has confidence in his menu. Respect. There’s nothing I hate more than a place with something for one. The surrounding chaos of garbage and parked cars disappears beneath you as you walk up the staircase to be confronted by a small, glass-enclosed, art space. Go there. Get some buns before they become the next big thing in Kuwait to be ruined by the scale economics!


Winner: GIA
GIA is one of those places you hope people would copy instead of opening another burger place. Although I completely hate the fact they reheat their food in the microwave, if you stick to their salads or their sandwiches which they freshly make then you can’t go wrong. What they’ve been able to accomplish over the past year is just extraordinary, not only have they made healthy food a fad, but they’ve single handedly transformed the dead complex they’re located in, to a trendy place where markets are being held. The fact I know what quinoa is and the reason I started liking quinoa was because of GIA and I think it’s the same for a lot of people.

Runner up: Healthy Feast
The way I describe Healthy Feast to friends is the kind of food GIA should have started making after they expanded. After having the same quinoa salads over and over I just can’t have it anymore without wanting to puke. So Healthy Feast was a breath of fresh air, great healthy food that is freshly prepared and doesn’t involve quinoa (unless you want it to). I’m now usually there at least once a week.

14 07, 2015

Best Restaurant in Kuwait 2015 (Casual Dining)

2015-07-16T12:43:48+03:00Jul 14, 2015|13 Comments



Winner: EDO – Shaab (RIP)
This may play out more like a eulogy, but this icon of Kuwait Restaurant culture needs to be memorialised. EDO Shaab was a beautiful modernist Villa from the 1950s beside Villa Fayrouz. It was the best example of how a small villa could be repurposed as opposed to torn down and rebuilt like the monstrous, soulless apartment buildings surrounding it. The beautiful stone garden and its koi pond, small as it was, was unlike anything and wonderful. Nothing could compare to being there on a cool winter day, knowing just on the other side of the wall was a narrow road clogged like the arteries of this fast-food generation.

It was serene. Inside in small villa was a surprisedly spacious, tastefully designed sushi bar. The building’s previous life as a house made for all sorts of nooks and crannies. Every table was simultaneously private and yet easy to get attention from the well-trained waitstaff. Having lived in a sushi haven through university, sushi in Kuwait (without deep-fried mayonnaise) is a challenge to pull off. But without hesitation, upon being asked where the best sushi in Kuwait is, consistently as they would operate, I would say EDO. Sure there’s a new EDO at Sahara, but at this point in my life, that’s like telling me they’ve rebooted Thundercats.

But recently I had a lovely little dinner with my lovely wife at a lovely little place called Ora…maybe you’ve heard of it? No? Well you maybe should…

Runner up: ORA
There’s a new three-lettered sushi place in my life…and it’s called Ora, in Arabella. The place is kinda expensive but anything good should be, like a little treat. I suggest going with a bunch of friends and getting a bunch of small plates. This place is no joke, literally one of the best new restaurants to open. I’m a sucker for nigiri with a thin slice of fresh jalapeño and some light ponzu sauce.


Winner: EDO – Shaab (RIP)
I’m a late comer to the EDO fan club. When everyone was boasting about how great it was, I was too busy enjoying my Sushi at Kei when they were open at Marina Crescent. Then they closed down that location, and then they sent my sushi chef to their Bahrain branch and I just stopped eating sushi for awhile.

I only really got properly introduced to EDO by a friend a couple of years ago and thats when I really started falling in love with the place, it’s one of those restaurants that must have seen everything from proposals to breakups. There was and still is nothing like it in Kuwait, and the fact that it’s gone now is sad.

Even though EDO opened at Sahara, it just doesn’t have the same warmth and coziness of their old Shaab location. We should really consider turning old villas into restaurants instead of demolishing them. There are actually a bunch of old villas at the end of Baghdad Street in Salmiya, imagine if all those were renovated and turned into restaurants.. They would have so much more personality than the generic restaurant complexes that are popping up every few blocks.

Runner up: Open Flame Kitchen
My runner up should actually be this small Korean place hole in the wall I frequent often. It’s a place I haven’t posted about before and won’t on the blog since I like to keep it my little secret. So instead, for my runner up I’m going to go with OFK. It’s one of those places I can go when I want to cheat or when I want to eat healthy. They have the best burgers in Kuwait (order any of the 8oz burgers medium), my favorite pizza in Kuwait (Funghi Con Panna) and my favorite dessert (Chocolate Brownie Pudding). The place also feels like some restaurant pub with its dark ambiance and loud music and the service is always great. The only thing I will complain about is how they’re always out of their Haute Ripper hot dog which is deep fried in duck fat. Absolutely delicious but sadly they’ve been out of it for maybe a year now.

13 07, 2015

Best Leisure Activity in Kuwait 2015 (Adults)

2015-07-13T23:41:52+03:00Jul 13, 2015|15 Comments



Winner: The Secret Garden
A common refrain you hear from people here, expats and locals alike (no fighting, children), is that “there’s nothing to do here.”

Common Mack! Sure there is!

Why, you could perhaps go to the airport and GTFO AND GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM! Or you know…take a vacation. I personally love Kuwait’s locale. You could literally go anywhere from here. Go somewhere new! Try the local food! And in general, you could be less of a bitch. We have more holidays a year than anyone and centrality to use it to experience something new.

But what do you do when you’re between vacations?

The Secret Garden Project.
The instagram account @mimikuwait is how I found out about these entertaining events. She’s a force of good, tenacious and talented. The project hosts weekly events a few times a year during the cooler months when people stop bitching about how hot or dusty it is, and start bitching about how cold and dusty it is during those few minutes between being inside a severely over-air conditioned building and a severely over-air conditioned car. The mini-market is located at a tiny park off Baghdad street. Lots of good food, like the gentlemen who re-karaked chai karak and the merchant prince of smoked ribs, Roc. It’s a swell place to take your spouse or the girl who somehow responded positively to you yelling at her from you car (please don’t have children). It’s also a good place place to bring the kiddies for some fun activities that don’t require them rubbing their disgusting fingers all over the phone you put next to your face 20 times a day. It’s the kind of place women walk around repeatedly saying the word ‘cute’ incessantly. kinda like…

Runner up: Qout Market
For personal reasons, I couldn’t make most of the early Qout Markets this year (I had nothing to wear). But the ones I visited had the same elements it did last year: great atmosphere, great food, and lots of random small stands selling everything from jams to t-shirts. My only reservation is how people going to Qout overdress. Last time I felt compelled, as I often do, to make a statement by overdressing just. that. little. bit. more. Some of you may have seen me in the final Qout Market of the year.

Photo by Hind Al-Awadi

The gauntlet has been thrown ladies and gentlemen, do you accept the challenge?


Winner: The Secret Garden
During the cooler seasons if you ever want to know where to find me on a Saturday morning, it’s usually at The Secret Garden. The Secret Garden is a small park right off Baghdad Street in Salmiya that was turned into a community garden by the talented chef Mimi. Every so often she invites a bunch of other talented chefs and together they hold a brunch or dinner at the park. It’s a very chill atmosphere with picnic tables spread all about, good music playing and a lot of interesting people all around. It’s a great social event and a great way to spend Saturday mornings. If you haven’t been to a brunch or dinner yet at the park then make sure you do, whenever there is one taking place I tend to post it with the “Things to do this Weekend” list so keep an eye out for it or just follow Mimi [Here]

Runner up: Madeenah Tour
The Madeenah Tour is another activity that takes place during the cooler months of the year since it usually involves a lot of out door walking. Once a week Madeenah takes a group of people on an educational and informative tour around a specific area with historical or current significance. They tend to stay off the beaten path so you’re always bound to discover something new. Like with The Secret Garden, whenever there is a tour taking place I list it under the weekly weekend activities list but you could also follow them yourself and find out directly from [Here]

13 07, 2015

Best Leisure Activity in Kuwait 2015 (Children)

2015-07-14T08:43:49+03:00Jul 13, 2015|1 Comment




Winner: Kuwait Little League
When I first moved back here, 20 seasons of The Simpsons ago, someone recommended to my mother that she put us in the Kuwait Little League. Back then, everything was on sandlots. But the movie, The Sandlot, had come out the year before and therefore, I was unfazed. The league, to my ten-year-old perception, was very well organized. We had organised teams with practice and jerseys and coaches and the whole thing. I loved every minute of it and can’t thank enough the school nurse for suggesting it to my mother.

I was reminiscing out loud with Mark and the KLL came up. He showed me pictures of the fields they use now, which somehow, despite the sun’s continually murderous efforts, were green. Perhaps they’re artificial grass, I don’t know, but nonetheless, it’s all very Chenna mo bel Kuwait. Look them up for online registrations if you want to give your kids something outdoors to do in the delightful months of the year.

Runner Up: Kidzania
The winner was something I had done as a child in Kuwait that is still around and even better that before; The runner-up is something so enticing, that I rue the day I grew into a towering oak of a man. Kidzania is off at the edge of the Avenues. You might have had to double-take as I had when you see a goddamn Qatar Airways desk inexplicably in a mall. Well that’s where the kids take their pretend passport, to check into Kidzania. I have a real goddamn passport and I’m gold member with Qatar Airways, but sadly, I’m too tall for this ride…


Winner: Kuwait Little League
I passed by the Kuwait Little Leagues a few months back by accident. Well not really by accident, I was going to a yard sale and I knew it was a KLL Yard Sale, I just didn’t think they would be actually playing baseball games as well. So when I got there I was in total shock and awe. They had 4 green grass diamond baseball fields (real grass btw) and there were all these kids dressed in baseball gear on the fields playing while their parents were sitting in the stands watching. The fields were surrounded by high green trees and the sky was blue so you literally felt like you were at some school game taking place in the US. Unlike Nima, I spent my childhood playing football in sand lots but if I had know about KLL I would have begged my parents to sign me up to it. If you want to know more about KLL they do have a website but it looks like it was designed back in the 1800s and doesn’t seem to be functioning properly as of this post [Link]. They’re also on [Facebook]

Runner up: K Camp & Q8 Books
It was difficult to choose one runner up so I’m choosing two. Last year I passed by K Camp for the first time since I had a friend working there and was overwhelmed by how much fun the kids were having. The kids were split up into various teams based on their ages and numbers and through out the day they would all have different activities to do. What probably surprised me the most is how great the various young volunteers were with the children, many of who were previous K Campers themselves. Sadly this activity takes place only a few weeks a year, check out their website for more details [Here]

The other runner up is Q8 Books, through out the year they have various reading events for children where they invite guests to come and read for the kids. They even somehow convinced Monstariam to come read wearing a rabbit costume. It’s all really cute and it takes place inside the bookshop so your kids will probably also want to pick up a few books on their way out which is always a good thing. Follow them on instagram to find out when the next one takes place [Link]

11 07, 2015

Best Movie Theater in Kuwait

2015-07-14T10:23:14+03:00Jul 11, 2015|23 Comments



This is going to be a long one.

I watched Van Helsing a few years ago. It’s a shitty movie with Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale. Early in the movie, Van Helsing goes to Kate Beckinsale’s village, only to be attacked by 3 sexy flying vampire women. Because the flying sexy vampires are sexy, anytime there was a closeup of one of them, the frames were cut. The Flying Sexies would just die off one at a time. I remember this because at one point, the last remaining Sexie was outside flying around and screaming then suddenly CUTCUTCUT she’s inside already turned to ash around a crossbow bolt to her now visible chest. The editing was so jarring that I literally felt sick, like being in strobe lights for too long. I got up and walked out of the Cinema in Kuwait for the last time.

So why do we censor such things but not violence? Think about this, if a movie showed a woman getting her arm taken off, not a problem. Shirt taken off, problem. A horde of zombies grab someone and bite their goddamn face off, no problem. Someone kisses their wife for good luck before embarking on some death-defying last-ditch effort against all odds. That’s a fucking problem. “Tsk. Why are you kissing? Ha? Who told you to kiss? Tsk. Shino hatha? There’s a camera here and we can all see you. Tsk. Respect yourselves.”

They also censor blasphemy. When the bad guy says, “I will be a god” or something like that, I know it’s wrong. He’s an asshole. What do you expect? That’s why we’re all paying money. To sit here silently in the dark and watch someone kick his ass. Why do I need that part of his asshole behaviour to be kept from me? Doesn’t context matter?

Whether they censor a brief kiss from the movie or cut a movie into spastic chaos, it doesn’t matter to me. The result is the same; I am ripped away from the movie and put into a movie theatre sitting next to the sonofabitch friend that convinced me to give this shit another chance. (You lied to me Mohi, you lied right to my face.)

So now people are reduced to looking up the running time of the film from the cinema companies here and comparing them with the actual running time of the film to see how much of the movie is cut. Some friends of mine went to watch Rush Hour 2 or 3. It was literally an hour long. Allegedly, films are watched by a panel of men. The men have a button each. They press the button when something is worth censoring. It doesn’t take a consensus, just one to be offended. The process is then repeated through a panel of women. Allegedly. But I believe it just because of how ridiculous it sounds.

Now think about this, and this is what drives me to rage, a group of people, that have never met you, watch something uncut, on your behalf, to mark the things that you would not be able to handle, and remove them from your experience. We are treated as children. Undeveloped enough to be able to comprehend reality from film. The whole thing is institutionally condescending. And honestly, what’s the point of censoring movies when everyone has OSN at home and the internet everywhere else they go? At this point is it little more than a empty gesture of righteousness?

I won’t go to the cinemas here or anywhere films are censored. Even if it’s just a kiss. Even if it’s a kids movie. Because they censored the lion king. The Lion King.

Runner up: Cinemagics
I was the man with the plan behind the Game of Thrones private cinema night that Mark wrote about. I loved that place. What a fun night. And is there anything more enjoyable than watching a movie on a rooftop in Old Salmiya on a cool winter night? Fantastic movies and beautiful viewing areas, I can’t recommend Cinemagics enough. If you’ve never experienced it, do yourselves a favour and check them out.


I’ve been posting about the Cinemagics rooftop movies for years now and every year they keep making it better. This year for example they replaced the previously uncomfortable chairs with super comfy air sofas. They also added a live food station and their movie choices are also unmatched. Best part is you can watch their movies for free and thats because Cinemagics is trying to contribute to the development of an internationally competitive Kuwaiti audio-visual production industry, partly by bringing the filmmakers and audiences together and by increasing the public’s interest in – and appreciation for – the art of film-making. And to top it all off, they’re located down the street from where I live. An easy winner here.

Runner up: Cinescape 360 Mall
I have to agree with Nima regarding the censorship issue, I stopped watching movies for a long time in Kuwait because I got pissed off after going to watch The Simpsons and realizing it was censored. But I’ve recently started going back to the movies again but now I make sure whatever I watch isn’t censored, or at least minor censorship, like I wouldn’t mind one kissing scene being chopped. That said, the movie theater I frequent the most, or should I say the only theater I actually go to now is the Cinescape one at 360 Mall. Its aesthetically pleasing and their IMAX 3D theater is the best one in Kuwait from what I’m aware of (let me know if there is a better one cuz I’d love to check it out). Note to Cinescape, just buy cinescape.com already, it’s what I always type before realizing I need to go to kncc.com instead.