Monday, 23 May 2016

Huckleberry After Dark, Plaza Damansara, Damansara Heights

Huckleberry Food & Fare is one of Klang Valley's more popular breakfast & brunch spots that is renowned for its artisanal bread and pastries. I've dropped by numerous times for brunch (read about my first visit to Huckleberry HERE) and it frustrate me that Huckleberry doesn't open for dinner until last month, Huckleberry (finally) extended their opening hour past midnight, introducing Huckleberry After Dark.

For parking, fret not as the building next to Huckleberry where Kita Kita is located offers ample parking spaces for patrons, and the rate is RM3 nett after 6pm!
Expect a completely different vibe at Huckleberry After Black, even though Huckleberry After Dark shares the exact same compound as Huckleberry Food & Fare. From 5.30pm onward, Huckleberry transforms from a warm & cozy cafe, into a speakeasy, laid-back pub-restaurant-bar.

Huckleberry After Dark has a completely different , attention-grabbing menu which was crafted meticulously by their After Dark team.
Desserts galore at Huckleberry. However, Huckleberry's breads and pastries are not available at After Dark (any leftover breads of the day are donated to Kechara Soup Kitchen after 5pm).

One of the main attraction at Huckleberry After Dark would be their vast choices of unique, intriguing cocktails.

Handcrafted Cocktail
Charlie's Fix RM31.90
Rum & Maple with coffee.
One of the stronger drink on the menu. A smooth drink with a unique twist and blend of flavours, 
Minion's Juice RM24.90
Homemade Banana Rum, Homemade Pandan Syrup, Coconut Water.
Why Minion? Because. "BANANA!". An exotic cocktail choice that is worth a shot!

Moscow Mule RM22.90
Vodka, Lime, Fresh Ginger and Ginger Beer

Spiked Milkshake
Ever since I had my first alcoholic milkshake in Glasgow, UK, I have been searching high and low for places in Malaysia that serves alcoholic milkshake. Thank you, Huckleberry After Dark for putting an end to my search.
Summertime RM23.90
Gin, Coconut Ice-Cream, Fresh Lime & Mint
Canna Butter Kisses (PB&J) RM23.90
Vodka, Frangelico, Peanut Butter, Strawberry Jam, Peanut Butter Biscuits.

The spiked milkshakes were definitely something out of the norm, similar to alcoholic ice-cream, with more frills, flavours & punch. A playful drink that I thought was well executed, not too sweet nor too cloying!

Crafted Beer
From Left: 5AM Brew Dog RM29 & PUNK IPA Brewdog RM29 (Scotland)
Mountain Goat, Corona, Heineken, Harviestoun....Just to name some of the crafted beer Huckleberry After Dark offers!

Pitchers/Batched Cocktails
Pimm's Jug RM59.90
Pimm's No.1, Lemon Juice, Homemade Basil & Mint Syrup, Cucumber, Strawberries, Lemonade
A fruity & refreshing cocktail. A pitcher of cocktail can serve up to six or seven pax, perfect for a crowd.

Besides alcohol, what makes a happy customer? That's right, Happy Hour!
Huckleberry's Happy Hour runs from 5.30pm-8pm DAILY. Patrons enjoy 10% off any alcoholic drink and free Onion Rings (as shown in Brewdog photo) during Happy Hour.

Non-Alcoholic Beverages
House Made Fresh Lemonade RM11.90
The Ultimate Slushie RM9.90
Fresh Lychee & Pineapple Juice, with a hint of Vanilla

Salted Caramel *Frill'd up* Milkshake RM15.90

Mind-blowned? Now let's dive in to After Dark's food.
Huckleberry After Dark menu features L.A. inspired street food, which are creatively & playfully named to blend in with the playful, speakeasy bar vibes.

Wholly Guacamole
The House Guac RM13.90
Huckleberry's in-house Nachos served with house-made Guacamole made with avocados, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, green chilies, jalepenos and lime juice. The colour of the House Guac gave away the ingredient with the highest proportion, avocado!

The House Guac gave us a crunchy+creamy start to our dining experience. The creamy guacamole, with a kick of spiciness, complements the house-made crispy nachos so perfectly. Perfect companion for a bottle of craft beer. Do check our their boards for Huckleberry's "Wholly Guacamole Special of the Week"!

Lord of the Wings
K-Pop Frenzy RM19.90 for 6 pieces, RM37.90 for 12 pieces
Korean chicken wings with spicy Gochujang sauce
Ahhhh fried chicken. I could never resists fried chicken. With a sweet and spicy sticky Korean sauce that gives it a punch, be prepared to get your hands messy with this bucket of finger-licking goodness.
Let's Ta-Co 'Bout It
Chuck Norris RM21.90
Beef Barbacoa tacos, served with BBQ Root Beer sauce, pico de gallo, fresh corainder and sour cream
Drop The Bass RM19.90
Battered Sea Bass Taco with house slaw, jalepenos & pico de gallo

Being a fan of beef, I personally preferred the Chuck Norris over Drop The Bass. The savoury BBQ Root Beer sauce to me, was the "hit" of Chuck Norris. Smoky savoury taste with a hint of sweetness yum! The tacos can be shared as an fun, bite-size appetizer, or eaten as a main.
The Bird Waffle RM24.90
House made waffle with Buttermilk-Fried Chicken Thigh, served with house made hot honey sauce.
The waffles were crazily crispy outside, fluffy inside! Pair it with the thick & juicy slab of chicken thigh, and slather with em' sweet honey, and you get a perfect marriage between sweet and savoury. Being a big fan of sweet and savoury combo, this would definitely be ,y favourite dish for the night.

Burgers She Wrote
Beast Mode RM26.90
A meaty burrger emcompass of Beef Patty, Barbacoa Pulled Beef, Duck Bacon, house made BBQ sauce, lettuce and fresh tomato. All burgers are served with Huckleberry's house made Brioche Bun & a side of fries. If you're in the mood for something with chuck loads of meat or you're feeling ravenous, go with the Beast Mode. Juicy, flavourful and best of all, meaty!

A Whole Lotta Dough
Missed Steak RM25.90
Spicy Magherita pizza served with homemade vegan sambal."Authentic LA-Style pizza", what customers who visited LA before claims about Huckleberry's pizza. What makes Huckleberry After Dark's pizza so special? Their sourdough pizza base! The pizza dough was crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside - A fresh respite from the usual crispy thin crust pizza.

The Mad Batter RM19.90
Skillet Chocolate Pudding, Chocolate Fondant, House Made Marshallows, Cookie Crumbs and Butter Cookies
Oh please just order this. Or you'll regret it. No words can describe the choco-gasm I felt when I dug into this masterpiece. Period. Make sure to dig in while it is still warm!

Dining in Huckleberry After Dark felt as if I was dining at a pub overseas. Personal recommendation would be the Cocktails (be adventurous and try something out of the norm!), The Bird Waffle and The Mad Batter (absolute must-order!)

Huckleberry After Dark
2G and 4G Medan Setia 2,
Plaza Damansara, Damansara Heights,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Business Hours:
Closed on Mondays
Tuesdays - Sundays 5.30pm - 12am

Instagram: @huckleberryafterdark

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

FAQ on Hiking @ Mt Rinjani, Lombok, Indonesia

My friends and I recently embarked on a 3 days 2 night hiking trip up Mount Rinjani @ Lombok, Indonesia and I've been bombarded with questions from friends and family who are keen on taking up the challenge to scale Rinjani. Here's a list of FAQ I've receive & deemed useful for those of you who are interested in hiking Rinjnai!

Was it a leisure hike?

If you are a super hardcore hiker and have a godlike fitness level (like those Rinjani porters and guides), then yes.
Photo Credit: @amirulashrafpj
The hike up Mt Rinjani was challenging but accessible for those moderately fit. The elevation of Mt Rinhani is 3,726m at the peak.
Photo Credit: @amirulashrafpj
Please do undergo proper training before scaling Rinjani. My friends and I hiked Rinjani without much proper training but we all managed made it to the peak (we all live a moderately active lifestyle and we do sports at least two or three times a week), but oh boy, it was a mentally and physically challenging hike.
#TeamPowerpuffGirls | Photo Credit: @amirulashrafpj

Hmm, is it possible to do a hike with a shorter/longer duration?

Sure! Most guided tour offer hiking package from 2~4 days (and some even up to a week!)

I would recommend the 4 days 3 nights package to those who are moderately fit, and the 3 days 2 night if you're above moderately fit.
The route we took
We did not complete the 3 days 2 night hike entirely (even though we reached the peak) as we descended from the peak tad too late (we had to reach our camp site @ Sembalun Crater Rim before 9am to proceed our journey to the lake) and most of us were exhausted so we unanimously agreed to descend the same way we ascended - basically taking the same route as the 2 days 1 night hike but at a more leisurely pace.

You can refer to this page for the different routes available at Rinjani.

What to expect from the hike?

Photo Credit: @amirulashrafpj
No proper shower (except for rain showers). Toilet "close to nature". About 20 hours of hike for the 3 days 2 night package. Beautiful night sky. Countless shooting stars. Cool & fresh mountainous air. Amazing sunrise. Narnia-like scenery. Friendly hikers. Lots of joker lying to you on how much longer till you reach the next campsite.
Sunrise on the way to the peak of Rinjani
Photo Credit: @amirulashrafpj

Whut. So...tell me about the toilets.

At the camp site the porter will dig a hole and set up a portable, make-shift toilet for our convenience. However,in the event of answering the call of nature during your hike, you will have to do so behind a bush/tree/rock.

There were cubicles at some of the rest stops but it was really badly maintained, unfortunately.

Where did you stayed the night?

Photo Credit: @amirulashrafpj
Our day one campsite at Sembalun Crater Rim.
Amazing view from my camp
At night the temperature drops to about 10 degree Celsius so do bring along warm clothing!

Tell me about your toughest moment throughout the hike!
The four hours hike up the peak from Sembalun Crater Rim. We had to wake up at 2am for our hike up the summit.
Photo Credit: @amirulashrafpj
At this particular stretch, for every two steps up , we would fall one step down due to the loose volcanic ashes terrain. It was really mentally challenging as I was having a flu and a stomachache at the same time. Whenever I feel like giving up I just look up to the beautiful night sky, take a 5 second breather, and move on, and repeat.

Tell me about your most memorable moment of the hike!

There were so many memorable moments but this is certainly my favourite. About 200 more meters to go to reach the peak, and I was completely battered. Our guide ran down from the peak (yes, he can run up and down effortlessly) and told me "20 minit lagi! Tapi kalau aku tarik, 10 minit jer!" (Another 20 more minutes of hike more to go! But if I drag you up, it'll only take us 10 minutes!)

The last 500m stretch to the peak | Photo Credit: @amirulashrafpj
So he just hold my hand and dragged me up the peak LOL.
Photo Credit: @chaaarlie94
Along the hike you'll meet many friendly porters, guides and hikers who would give words of encouragement which was really motivating :")

How much did you pay for your hike?

1.5 Million IDR. Which is approximately MYR450, or USD110.
Our rate was relatively cheap as most foreigners are charged around 2.5-3.5 million IDR (MYR750-1150) . We managed to secure this rate thanks to a friend who had visited Lombok three times & knew a reliable person that arranged the hike for us.

The more people you get to hike with you, the cheaper the price you can get. Here's the contact of the person who arranged our hike & transportation in Lombok: Rijal +62819-0749-3367

What is included for the price you pay?

We used Rinjani Tropis services for our hike and these are the stuffs that are included in the price we paid:

- Guide & Porters
- Entrance Fee to Rinjani
- Meals (2 Breakfast, 3 Lunches, 2 Dinners)
- Tent
- Sleeping Bag
- Hiking Sticks
- Water (With daily refill!)
- Coffee/Tea
- Snacks
- One night stay at Senaru the night prior to the hike
- Airport transfer to Senaru
- Transportation to Sengigi after our hike & to Bangsal jetty on the next day

I would really recommend Rinjani Tropis's services. Our guide, Mr Ijok was one of the friendliest and responsible guide around. He constantly cracked jokes throughout our hike, and he made sure each and every one of us were safe throughout the hike.
Photo Credit: @chaaarlie94
Mr Ijok and his porter also made sure they took all the rubbish down hill and not leave any garbage behind! Most campsites at Rinjani was at a dire state due to rubbish left behind by campers. Please do bring extra garbage bags, be responsible & bring your rubbish down the mountain if you're hiking Rinjani!
Photo Credit: @amirulashrafpj

What do I have to bring for the hike?

- Hiking Shoes
- Change of Clothes & Warm Clothing! (It gets quite chilly at night)
- Windbreaker
- Headlamp
- Sandals/Slippers (Optional)
- Sunblock, Cap (UV ray stronger at the top of the mountain!)
- Wet Wipes or Tissues (Really useful for answering the call of nature in the wild)
- Waterproof bag (weather is rather unpredictable up in the mountains)
- Counterpain / Ibuprofen (in case of muscle sore)
- Electrolyte (in case of muscle cramp)
- Extra snacks if you're a picky eater
- Camera
- Powerbank (don't expect to find a power socket in the wild)

If you're a photography enthusiast don't forget to bring your tripod up to shoot the beautiful night skies!

Bring only necessary stuffs to avoid lugging up extra load up Rinjani. Leave any unnecessary items at the base camp.

It is recommended to tip the porters and guides, after all, they are the ones preparing your meal, carrying your tents & sleeping bags, setting up your tents and making sure you're safe and sound throughout the hike. Try carrying their baskets (which weights more than 20kg!)! Most of the porters carry the weights just on one shoulder, and they hike with flip flops or barefooted!

Do a food review for the food served during the hike!

Mr Ijok was a chef in Bali so the food he cooked was really tasty!
Toast and Fried Biscuits

Vegetable Curry

Do I really need a guide to hike up Rinjani?

"IF you are experienced, well-prepared, very fit, and fully-equipped " 
Source : Lonely Planet
Yes, it is possible to trek without a guide service. However bear in mind you will have to carry your own tents, sleeping bag and food supply etc. Almost everyone we saw was with a guide and porters. Our hiking trip was quite a luxurious and pampered one thanks to the guides and porters. The route up Rinjani is relatively straightforward, however, there have been cases where hikers got lost.

A porter, carrying loads weighting more than 20kg | Photo Credit: @amirulashrafpj

When is the best time to hike Rinjani?

April to November, which is the dry season. Rinjani National Park is off-limit to visitors during wet season (December to March)

Was the hike worth it?
Photo Credit: @amirulashrafpj


Photo Credit: @amirulashrafpj

Any tips/advice for me to hike Rinjani?

If you're planning to slide down Rinjani on your bottom, make sure your pants is thick enough to withstand the friction or you'll end up with a pair of "holey" pants like me. Or at least bring an extra pants in case this happens. #truestory
Sunrise @ The Peak | Photo Credit: @amirulashrafpj
Try to reach the peak before sunrise as it will get really demotivating once the sun is up and you can see how much distance you have to cover before making it to the top....gulp.

If you have any more questions regarding the hike, drop me a comment or an email @ :)

For more information, visit

which contains many useful information to prepare your hike for Rinjani :D

Saturday, 14 May 2016

OKONOMI, Publika Solaris Dutamas

OKONOMI! A Japanese fusion restaurant located at Publika that is well known for its customizable make-your-own sushi rolls! In case you have not heard of it before, read my friend's pancake blog post  about Okonomi!
I've once dropped by Okonomi with a friend and I certainly had fun mixing and matching all sort of ingredients for my sushi roll! Strawberry with avocado and shrimps....Chicken and cheese with mango sauce...the list goes on. Unfortunately, I did not blog about my previous dining experience at Okonomi. It was a fun and pleasant dining experience - I was elated when I was invited to Okonomi  to try out their new menu. 

This time round, I went for their ala-carte instead of having fun mixing and matching the ingredients! 
Chicken Gratin RM18.90
Deep-fried chicken katsu thigh cutlet served with creamy mushroom sauce and a side of rice.
The chicken cutlet was tender and juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside - really well executed. I love the creamy mushroom sauce accompanying the chicken, it goes really well even on its own. I would recommend one to share this dish though as it might get a little too cloying to finish this whole dish on your own.
Mango Prawn Salad RM20.90
A sweet & tangy salad featuring a combination of succulent prawns, mentaiko mayo and mango dressing. A refreshing start to our meal!
Tamago Mentaiyaki RM12.90
Fresh Tamago cubes topped with flamed mentaiko and ebikko. 
Soft Shell Crab RM28.90
Deep-fried soft shell crab. I love the ratio of the meat to the flour coating - not too thick on the batter and really meaty.
Complementary Spicy Mentaiko Pasta
Complementary pasta from the chef. A simple Asian-fusion spicy pasta that will give your taste buds a spicy kick! Warning: Super spicy!
Kani Fumi Harumaki RM12.90
Hokkaido crab meat, Japanese cucumber and salad leaves rolled in Vietnamese rice paper served with sesame sauce.
Baked Lobster Avocado RM18.90
Oven baked avocado and marinated lobster served on rice with minced mushroom, grated parmesan, tobikko and togarashi. One of my favourite here at Okonomi! Creamy and rich in flavour, with generous amount of cheese!
Can't remember what sushi roll was this , but I'm guessing it was a customized sushi roll crafted by Okonomi chef himself. Topped with ebikko, seaweed, spicy mentaiko sauce encasing a deep fried ebi, the ingredients came together so well with a medley of flavours and texture. You'll be delighted to see the list of ingredients available to customize your own sushi roll - from the typical shrimp, cucumber, salmon, soft shell crab, to the more unconventional ingredient such as mango, strawberry, croutons and much more!

Okonomi really offer more than your typical Japanese food - personal recommendation would be the DIY sushi roll (go as crazy as possible! Don't be afraid to try something new), Baked Lobster Avocado, Mango Prawn Salad and Chicken Gratin.


A4-G2-02 Solaris Dutamas,
No.1 Jalan Dutamas,
Publika KL.
Business Hours:
10am - 11pm Daily.
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