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Saturday, December 08, 2012

halo Assassins

Although planned slightly, it was still so random. I didn’t know the exact release date, but it couldn’t have been better. I walked into the store back in early November asking if I could pre-order it and they said I could, so I did. After putting in my deposit, the shopkeeper told me that I’d receive a text message on the day of release so I could come collect it.

Unknowingly, I thought that meant I’d only be able to get it much later because I was only in KL for a short while, the next time I’d come would be around December. Then, I looked at one of the posters and saw the global release date, 6th November. Absolutely perfect, the last day I’d be in KL.

Hence, please welcome to my family of Xbox 360 titles, Halo 4.

I’ve only just played it a little, but there’s no doubt this one’s a real jewel. An Xbox exclusive and the first Halo game under 343 Industries, its been much anticipated and I’ve got a feeling when I play it, it’ll be much appreciated.

That’s not all I got however, while browsing through the displays, I found another title I’d been considering a long time ago and finally went for it. 

There are two reasons I got the third installation of the game I’ve never played before. One, Assassin’s Creed is a largely successful franchise and secondly, I wanted a role playing game that would last me longer than Modern Warfare 3 did on campaign.

It was something that took me quite a while to finish. Its divided into about 12 sequences, the chapters you complete to find out the ending of the story. While like any other game, you’d probably be able to finish it within a week or two (assuming you’re someone with nothing else to do for the 15 hours of each day you’re probably awake), like any good RPG, there’s a lot to explore and optional tasks or missions to do that prolong the game longevity. The only grouse I have about the game is that there are one or two instances it wasn’t really clear about what you had to do during a particular task, so much so I referred to online walkthrough videos.

Still, overall its a good game and its a little funny because while I was looking forward to HALO 4 more than Assassins Creed III, I got hooked on the latter and I haven’t touched HALO 4 in quite a while.

Having said that, what I’ve played of the new HALO game, I like and I guess I’ll enjoy it more in the weeks to come. The detailed graphics and great environmental landscape that is always accustom to HALO games is ever present. The only thing I need to get used to are the controls, since its different from what I’m used to in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. I forget I can’t aim down my sights in this game and end up throwing a grenade instead, haha.

Anyhow, I also got a pretty neat accessory for my Xbox 360, something I think is more of a necessity than convenience. It’s the Xbox 360 play and charge kit.

As every Xbox 360 comes with a wireless controller, it only makes sense to get this after a while, unless you don’t mind forgetting to buy batteries and discovering you can’t use your controller while in the middle of a crucial point in a game. When the low battery indicator comes on screen, the controller just needs to be plugged into the cable connected to the console by USB. It charges just like a phone, so you can still use the controller while it’s charging. To use this, you have to replace the original battery casing that houses two AA batteries with the rechargeable battery pack from the kit. I got it at a slightly discounted price of RM 85, normal retail price is about RM 100, or even more if you’re buying it from an upmarket IT store.

All in all, this is probably my favourite purchase of the year. That said, I wonder if I’ll consider getting the Surface RT 64GB version from iPmart, but that’s another story for another time.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

malaccan Windsor

While I haven’t updated this blog with any food entries in a while, it doesn’t mean I haven’t had any good food. However, there was one place that I thought should get a place on this blog as soon as possible. It’s one of those not-so-commercial hidden places that serves up a pretty good meal.

Thanks to a friend living in Malacca, I got to know of this knew small restaurant in Ayer Keroh. It’s a small unassuming placed located next to the corner lot of a small row of shop lots that sits just at the entrance to Jalan Tun Hamzah if you turn in from Jalan Gapam. It doesn’t have the most flashy signboard and most would miss it, but those that don’t and give it a try would agree that to some extent its like finding a hidden treasure where most would never bother to look.

1. Windsor Dining

By the Malay wording on the signboard, you’d probably guess that they don’t serve pork and you’d be right. However, don’t let that put you off, what they have is plenty fine. That being said, I don’t know if this is a halal place per-se but I’ve had a Malay lady wait on me plus there’s a Malay family eating right in front of me so I think its safe to say all Malaysians should feel free to come here.

Once you walk in, you’ll see its a very cosy and unassuming place. It has a cafe like setting and I wasn’t expecting the food to be of a very high standard when my friend walked me through the door, but she said, “It may not look like much, but don’t underestimate this place.”

3. Interior of Windsor Dining, Melaka

She was right.

Ice Lemon Tea

5. Ice Blended Passion   Yogurt
Ice Blended Passion + Yogurt

First off, the drinks I’ve had weren’t bad at all. While iced lemon tea is commonplace, how it tastes usually gives a slight indicator of the quality of the food that will come after. My ice-blended drink was a fairly nice treat, sweet and refreshing. Like I said before, simple and unassuming, but just nice.

What I ordered, based on recommendation from my friend firmly cemented my liking for this place, the grilled salmon.

8. Grilled Salmon @ Windsor Dining, Melaka

9. Potato Salad served with Grilled Salmon @ Windsor Dining, Melaka

The salmon was fresh, the flesh was juicy and the skin was crispy. How much more could I have asked for? While I don’t eat salmon at restaurants often (since it’s often expensive and not as tasty as it should be), Windsor seems to have got it down just right. All the qualities I mentioned, plus the savoury topping certainly gave bang for the buck.

I should also mention that the potatoes served with it were excellent! Now, as far as potato salad goes, it usually tastes quite the same everywhere. It’s the same comment that usually goes for coleslaw, let it be KFC or a hotel restaurant. Here at Windsor however, I don’t know how, but its just different. I can’t really describe what the difference is, its not exactly more savoury or tangy, but there’s just a different taste that just makes it unique and that’s a plus point without a doubt. The price for this dish is RM 20.90 which is a little steep but this is salmon we’re talking about so I think its justified certainly.

Now, I may have skipped the appetizers this place serves up. I’ve tried two, one that’s become a personal favourite of mine, and the other something that apparently is a favourite of Windsor’s patrons.

According to the lady who waited on me tonight, the chicken nachos are a crowd favourite so I ordered that and this is what came:

It’s something you’d expect out of a place like Chilli’s perhaps. Nacho chips with cheese, mayonnaise, the usual condiments and chicken make up the dish. As its a starter, its probably good for about 3-5 people and it’ll set you back RM 12.90 which seems normal. While its touted as a crowd favourite and perhaps because it can be shared by plenty, it didn’t leave me wanting for more, at least not as much as what I’m about to reveal next.

On the menu, this is listed as the Hot Mexican Buffalo Wings. While maybe not worthy of the title ‘hot’, a salsa-like taste on fried chicken wings had me really contented. A slight sweet sour-ish yet savoury form of chicken wings was right up my alley, something different from the honey barbeque chicken wings we may all be familiar with. It’s definitely a favourite of mine at Windsor. The serving is a total of 3 wings and 3 mini-drumsticks for RM 9.80. For me, I think its better having this than the nachos.

The place also serves up dishes like lamp chops and steak (both of which I’ve yet to try) and burgers as well. I had a bite out of my friend’s Hawaiian Beef Burger, that had a big slice of melted cheese and a pineapple ring to match. I enjoyed that so the the next time I went I got myself another burger, the Beef BBQ burger.

Now, at a price of RM 16.90, I get a big burger, curly fries and a sizeable salad that’s not skimpy (which is a turn from the norm of the even slightly more premium places like Ben’s and Delicious). It was definitely worth it, and I have a feeling that burgers are probably one of the most value for money buys at Windsor although so far I haven’t been disappointed by anything here. If you’re wondering, yes that is your larger than average beef patty, which is probably at least three times bigger than the ones you find in a fast food cheeseburger.

Now, having been to this place only twice, hence only having tried two side-dishes and two mains, I’ve already made up my mind that this place deserves a spot on my blog as a recommendation to anyone who wants a good place for Western treats in Malacca. While I may update this post from time to time once I try other dishes, I can say outright that Windsor place is way better than Wok & Pan that seems to have grown a little too comfortable with its established reputation. Bear in mind, that’s a lot for me to say knowing that Wok & Pan has an ‘advantage’ in the sense it serves pork chops and pork ribs.

My conclusion about Windsor is just the same as the way I introduced it. Simple and unassuming, Windsor surprises with its good food quality and its customer service reps are definitely more welcoming than the brash people down at Wok & Pan. If you’re looking for a decent eatery to visit, I think Windsor probably deserves a spot on your top 10 list.

Just for your information, business hours are from 12.00 noon to 10.00 p.m. and they close on Wednesdays. The place is small, but it can probably fit about just under 50 people. If you want more information or how to get there, here’s their business card: