Saturday, 19 January 2008

London Friday night out

If you think the Friday bug is strong in Malaysia, think again. My first Friday working experience has been quite amazing. I have been told that the people here leave right on the dot on a Friday and this is relatively true. I managed to leave at about 5.15pm, but that’s probably because I already completed what I needed to do. That’s one thing here I like more… if you’ve finished your work, you’re free to go.

I already made arrangement with 2 of my buddies, KT and KK to have dinner and hang around town for the night. After changing to more comfortable clothes at my apartment, off I go on the famous London underground…

We decided to go for dinner at the infamous “Wong Kee” in Chinatown. This place is famous for its appalling customer service, sometimes outright rude. But then again, hordes and hordes of people will flock to this place to have a meal. Reason…? This place is one of the best if you want value for money.

A quick look at the menu and I think it has not changed since I last came 7 years ago! Anyway, we ordered the following dishes…

Stir fried ‘choy sum’ - £4.
Fried ‘tofu’ with minced pork - £3.50.
Roasted duck with assorted vegetables - £8.

The food is not too bad; certainly edible. For this price, you can't complain. Check out the price. Imagine if you earn £ here, don’t you think the food is cheap?

We walked around Leicester Square f.k.a. Chinatown after dinner. The place was bustling with activities yesterday, just like how it was 7 years ago. I guess Chinese are also populating this place at an incredible rate. There was a long queue in front of a particular restaurant. It is one which I will pay a visit when Jules arrive… the duck specialist… Four Seasons; who opened a branch in Leicester Square.

Those who have been in London will know this place offers arguably the best duck in the world. The second best, to me at least, is Sunrise in Sea Park, Petaling Jaya.

We walk around Leicester Square and Covent Garden. Walking around brought back a lot of memories. The feeling of hey-I-have-been-here before was quite apparent.

I noticed something when walking around...that a lot of people crowding around outside bars instead of inside. KT said that bars in London are smoke-free so all the smokers have to go out to smoke. Smoke… Free… Bar!!! This is so cool.
After a while, we decided to find a place for a drink and to continue our conversation. KT brought us to this place called Meza Bar. It’s a more up class kind of bar, with people from the professional world making up the crowd.

This place is famous for cocktails. After me and KT had a beer, we decided to try some cocktails. Noticed the bar tender kept making this particular drink. A quick check with him and found out that the hottest drink of the night was ‘Mojito’ (pronounced mo-hi-to). I gave that a try and KT ordered something called ‘Old Fashioned’.
Verdict: Mojito was very nice and Old Fashioned was very… strong!

The conversation revealed that there are easily 30-40 people whom I know who are currently working in London. From the way I see it; plenty have decided to return to Malaysia... NOT! Why? Cause some of them have actually bought properties here. Yeah, propertIES. I guess the brain drain problem in Malaysia is really worsening by the minute. And honestly, I am very happy to contribute to that. Can't wait to be more accurate.

The crowd began to come in at about 11pm but we decided to leave as we do not want to miss the last tube. We made our ways to the nearest tube station and went our separate ways. I was greeted by a busker in one of the inter-change station. The air in the underground is as filthy as ever but it’s the most efficient way of travel so… can't complain.
Will be heading to Hillsong Church which has a branch here in London this Sunday. Exciting!

43 comments:

constant_drama said...

Envy, eeennnvyyyyyy. I feel envy for you. I wanna live in London too and live this lovely country run by ridiculously stooopid people.

Manal said...

How about talking about rezeki next time instead of brain-drain. Some may not have make it that big in london and left home yet many also have gained a lot of benefits, and life becomes so much better. A lot of english have also migrated and move to places in europe, asia, australia , USA, even to middle east like dubai and so on, mostly for the similar reasons like lifestyle upgrading, better weather, better money, new environment, less tax deductions and new ambiance.

Did u mean "duck" instead of best "fuck" at 4-seasons? I've been to a few chinese restaurants at chinatown too. But i usually hang out at Misato,jap resto.


Try Pitcher and Piano next time, near busaba-thai, down Wardour st for another round of cocktail. But if u have extra time out, go to havana club (hanover square) near oxford circus where they offer both alcoholic n non-alcoholic cocktails in a hot salsa atmosphere.


If u missed nasi lemak, get off at edgware road circle-district line stn and head to Mawar. Or walk up a bit down sussex garden all the way to spring st,there's nahar cafe there. The Paddington stn is very close by.


Or, for malaysian-chinese ambiance, head to south kensington. There's this oriental kitchen very close to the south-ken tube stn, where they also serve nasi lemak apart from other chinese food and the owner is a msian chinese fella.

U can also go to zone 4 norh, to colindale. There's big Wing Yip grocery store there and plenty of other restos at a place called The Oriental City.

Chinese new year is closing in, so dont forget to make your reservation at the chinese resto of your choice.


Get urself a london A-Z, essential guide around london.

*And I am still learning more n more on KL. While i have enjoyed many friday nite outings in london, my night life in KL is within the finger counts.

Bee Ean said...

A lot of Chinese restaurants overseas tried to position themselves as cheap and money worth. I'm not sure in doing this they sacrifice the quality. For example in France, Chinese food have very bad reputation. They are cheap, but sometimes you get chicken that don't taste like chicken. I had never been to any Malaysian restaurants in France, they only exist in Paris.

missironic said...

wow..looks like u had a nice friday nite out wif lots of down-the-memory-lane situations. Lolz...isnt it nice to leave work rite on the dot? and yes, if u r earning pounds there the food that u ordered are relatively cheap!

so not too bad working n living in london, ya? i've many frens who went to overseas to study n each time when its their time to head back to msia..they alwiz say tat they dun feel like coming bck...lolz..isnt it telling tat msia is simply not an ideal place to live in? lolz...

Melly said...

Another Hillsong goer in the making! My friend attends Hillsong in Australia. Looks like you're having a good time there! Good on you.

giddy tigress said...

The mojito cocktail looks as good as it sounds! And pray tell about the Hillsong church experience!

Sam said...

Wow! Gosh that sounds exciting compared to the mundane night/day life here in Kch!!!
[Finals tomorrow!!!]

zewt said...

constant_drama - you mean you wanna 'leave' your country.. :)

manal - thanks for all the tips. i know about colindale... cos i used to stay there :) yeah, it's best duck, i thought i rectified that already :) as for moving... everyone is moving, ppl will go to better places who are willing to take them. as such, malaysia is taking a lot of indons and banglas.

Bee Ean - well, i am certainly not going to try malaysian food in a foreign land. that is just so...

missironic - conclusion is... malaysia, though being our home... sucks... big time.

Melly - well... i have yet to be there... will see how tomm.

diggy tigress - certainly will.

Sam - hahaha... well, pros and cons la...

rinnah said...

London life certainly is treating you good, eh? I can't wait to hear about your Hillsong adventures!

gina said...

I had a mojito back here in Malaysia. I don't understand why they wanna put the mint INSIDE the drink and not merely as decoration. I ended up having mints leaves in my mouth.

svllee said...

Hi Zewt, did the waiters in Wong Kei shout and swear at you?! Ha Ha. How come there's a sort of shiny glaze in all the dishes you've ordered!

By the way, Hi Manal, Mawar is now closed, due to falling hygiene standards rumour was.

Hey Zewt, when's it my turn to take you out!

angeles said...

Eh? No fish & chips? Bangers & mash? *grins*

drumsticks said...

hey your post really really ignited on my desire to travel... but guess it must wait till the next couple of years.. :(

Those food looks delicious.. authentic.. probably nicer than many Chinese food you find here in M'sia?

haha.. smoke-less bar... they should have it here... but i'm not putting hopes on that..

How was your visit to Hillsong Church? I don't really know anything about Hillsongs Church except for their P&W songs which i love listening to.. I know Charismatic, Mormon, Anglican.. but Hillsongs? Is it one of the denominations?

Freethinker said...

Eat la Yong Cheng dude.. dun go WOng Kei...

Jed Yoong said...

ah, london. miss it. hope to be back soon.

seokthong said...

The chinese food is super cheap! Here at my place, a dish(meat with vegetables) with rice costs about 7 to 8€ but quite big portion. It can feed 2 people. I consider it cheap too..

Most bars and restaurants here are smoke free too and it's a very good thing..

Lynnwei said...

wah...superb!! hope i have enuff time to go around london.....another week til my trip!!
til then, need to finish my exams!

enjoy Hillsongs Church!! do comment abt it..if it's not tat fun..mayb i can skip tat..aha....

suituapui said...

Hey! The saxaphonist is still there at the London underground! Or maybe it's a different one! Been almost 14 years... At that time, it was only RM3.50 to one pound! Gosh...the prices! Multily that by almost 7!!! I've heard of the infamous Wong Kee; was saying that they should change the name to "Mon key"! Love ur London photos...! Miss all that so much!!! More coming, I hope!

cibol said...

ay caramba .. el mojito es muy dificil to resist la! ;) Looks nice. Do they have that here in our place?

Siew said...

ah... nostalgia. the last time i was in wong kei was... i think... more than 10 years ago. ya, i am getting old. but you are right, the only thing i remember about them is their very famous 'hospitality'.

ooo... your working trip seems great. how long will you be in london? or are you there permanently now?

kat said...

£20 for 3 ppl is quite cheap hor, considering if you have western meal it will come up to £10-15 per person.

Mmm.. I like mojitos. Ever since I was first introduced to it in CSI Miami. Plenty of mint available here, can reproduce a non-alcoholic one.. *grin*

You say msians are buying property in London city itself?? Phew.. rich ppl then!! So have you decided which grass is greener ah? ;)

stocktube said...

there's nothing wrong to be part of the "brain drain" party if you could find a better alternative, in this case uk ... so scout around and see if it's possible to settle down there :)

more photos zewt ... cheers and enjoy yourself to the fullest ...

missironic said...

yea..is true wat u said..sighs..

Pauline Yap said...

:D
smoke-free place, rocks! ;)

mh said...

memories indeed. but, wongkei's prices are the exception rather than the norm wei! ;)

Twisted Heels said...

All my friends are Hillsong goers. London is not that bad, to be honest. Hey, when Jules come, bring her to the theatre! I watched Phantom of the Opera yesterday :) Don't think I spotted anyone that looks like you, lol.

zewt said...

rinnah - will be blogging about it in 2 hours time. :)

gina - the mint is good wei... i like it. that's what made it mojito :)

svllee - wow...so you wanna take me out too... pai seh la... :) hahaha... maybe next week see how.

angeles - hahaha... nope... not yet.

drumsticks - i think malaysia and london chinese food, both have got their own unique-ness. it is one of the church name from Australia. I believe they are protestant... under Charismatic. Will be blogging about it in a minute.

freethinker - mana tu la?

zewt said...

Jed Yoong - haha... i am sure u will have your chance. i wouldnt bet against it.

seokthong - cheap if you earn the local currency, not when you bring RM, so i dont convert. Yeah, love the smoke free bars!

Lynnwei - trust me... it's good.

suituapui - hhah... i am sure it's a different one. 3.50 to a pound? wow... that was really loooooooooooooong time ago :)

cibol - i think they have. someone commented they tried it in malaysia.

siew - yeah, wong kei is really famous!! i am here for only 2 months so i gotta make the most out of it.

zewt said...

kat - the bill came to about 24 pounds after adding the rice and drinks, but it was still cheap i guess. i think mojito, must have alcohol la... hehehhehe.... ppl buy property cos they dont want to go back. grass is certainly greener, no doubt about it.

stocktube - my long term plan is not UK but aussie so... i will just enjoy the trip.

missironic - :)... right!

pauline yap - indeed... i came out without feeling any tobacco smell...cool-ness!

mh - yeah, a visit to 4 seasons and i am sure the price is a killer.

twisted heels - hahahahahahah.... cos i didnt go! that's why. i think i will be really surprise if someone came up to me asking if i am zewt here in ... LONDON! hahahahah....

lingzie said...

oooooooo jealous la me!! i remember my trip to london a few years back. went to chinatown and had the roast duck because it smelled so good...! it was very very delicious!
and i hardly ever eat duck here at home!
looking forward to more tales of london... :)

Huei said...

if u earn £, then it'll be cheap

but i earn RM..so it's damnnnn expensif!! hehehehe =P

yea..n i heard friday's boozing day in Uk..rite?? my bosses in uk always go for drinks..lunch..dinner..whenever!! =P

melbie said...

mojito looks good ... and good to know that you're having a blast there, zewt :) I hope I can use these pointers of places to eat in London someday.. hehe

Supergirlfriend said...

wow..the way you describe it makes me wanna book an airplane now and head over to London! Arhhhhh!!! Haha...so far so good eh, zewt. Hope to hear more tales.. :p

Supergirlfriend said...

wow..the way you describe it makes me wanna book an airplane now and head over to London! Arhhhhh!!! Haha...so far so good eh, zewt. Hope to hear more tales.. :p

bongkersz said...

wah!! syok dude syok :D at last heh dude? leave office on th DOT! how cool is that. for now, my new job also most of time leave on the DOT. haha~~! happy....

melbie said...

oh, leaving the office on the dot is cool? So I've been taking it for granted all these years eh? Most of the time I'm all ready to go 5-10 minutes before it's time for us to leave hehe ..

zewt said...

lingzie - how come u dont eat duck at home. try the one in sunrise... definitely worth a try.

huei - hahaha... yeah, friday... everyone holds a beer after offce.

melbie - i am sure u will certainly make it here one day. woooaaah.. u work for govt ka?

supergirlfriend - book book... come! haha...

bongkersz - maybe soon... u will lose that privilege... hehehe...

Dangerous Variable said...

Wong Kee is so cool. The moment you step in there it is like organised chaos.

I hope to see you in London when I am there in May!

zewt said...

dangerous variable - organised chaos hahahahaha! well, i will only be here till march ler.

Alvin Lim said...

the four seasons in bayswater is the original branch. nicer i must say. the duck not so fat. ahahah. somehow. or maybe jz my imagination. =_=

zewt said...

alvin lim - well... i will go there and confirm it... hehehehe....

sharlydia said...

glad to know that u'r having great time in London...

How sad...I missed the duck in Four Seasons when we were in London, but I guess I'm happy with Sunrise!

zewt said...

sharlydia - hahahahaha... i think the one in sunrise is even better than some in HK... but i will taste 4 seasons and let u know hehehehe...