Sunday, April 30, 2006
Yauatcha Restuarant in London – The best of both worlds
East meets West in this amazing convergence aquarium. Yauatcha is the latest creation of Alan Yau, who was the man behind Wagamama, who earned the first star in Guide Michelin for Dim Sum in London with Hakkasan. Yauatcha also has a star. Yauatcha is a fantastic restaurant is set in the hearth of Soho on Broadwick Street 15, in an old post office. It is in two floors with a café and restaurant upstairs and bar restaurant downstairs. I always sit upstairs if I can.
It is seldom you see as good attention to detail in a restaurant as you will find at Yauatcha. Everything has been designed from the ground up by Ken Winch. There are four things that make this restaurant totally unique and amazing. First: I find the design fantastic. The feeling on ground level is light, on two walls you are surrounded by aquariums in one fish swim around in the other the pastry chefs prepare the most beautiful cakes I have ever seen. The cakes are created in front of the customer, but behind a milky glass making the cake theatre seem surreal. The cakes alone are the second reason, amazing culinary sculptures at £4.00 a piece, a steal deal. The third reason is the prawn and date dumpling wrapped in nori and deep fried. Simply a great culinary sensation. The fourth reason is the drinks. They do some amazing cocktails, and fused with the dim sum, the cakes it all becomes culinary convergence.
The food is Chinese, but very authentic. They fly in their chefs from Shanghai, and the restaurant manager said they often do not speak English making communication a challenge. Their specialty is dim sum. I was not really a big fan of dim sum before, but now I love it. I am sure it will be the next sushi- a global trend of cuisine spreading in the west. It is fresh beautiful and often quite light. It is pretty to look at and is easy to wary into different colours and shapes, textures and most importantly tastes.
I have had other dishes at Yauatcha, but now I focus primarily on the dim sum. Another thing making this so great is I find that this for being a one star restaurant in the hearth of London is quite decently priced. I have several data points where I have paid £40 for a meal including a bit of drinks.
Yauatcha and Hakkasan is under the same ownership, I have visited both, but was very disappointed at Hakkasan. Lots of small mistakes and food was not up to the standard of a one star restaurant and it was more expensive than Yauatcha.
It took two years to renovate Yauatcha. The chairs were custom built; the glasses and plates are custom plates. The uniforms were designed by Tim Yip, the man who won an Oscar for art direction in Grouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (according to Frommers review) It is that attention to detail I really love at the place also demonstrated by the staff serving the food.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
London's greenest taxi.
We stuffed the taxi full with plants. The height of a black cab is ideal for moving plants like this palm tree.
We decided to do a bit of back yard decoration with some plants. A excursion to the local Homebase took care of it. Going good we realised we were maybe riding the greenest taxi ever in London. Taxi driver was amused. Karen and I had a blast.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Say Hello to the transformer 2 the Nokia N93
Nokia introduced a new version of the transformer, the N93 today in Berlin. It is a major step forward. There are solid improvements in camera resolution, optics, radio interface, storage capacity. It shows a new trend of technology creation where the mobile device is a fusion of several technologies all having competitive roadmaps serving the user with product improvement, when fused together it becomes nothing less than a leap. The evolution in this category is much bigger than the evolution I experience in the computer which I replace roughly every year or 18 months. I see no reason why we next year on April 25th would see a similar leap forward. The N93 is becoming a Video optimized devices, what I like is that Nokia had the courage to keep the size level of N90 and evolve it and the result is stunning, unfortunately many will still think is a clunky phone, but as I have said before those who think of it as a phone do not get it. The N93 provide single button mode usage between image and video which is crucial for the serious life recorder. I also really like the little contextual menu allowing the user to do one of several actions after the image is captured.
I cannot wait for taking a device in use ;-) Conratulation guys, this is awesome!
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Mobile trends 2006 - My predictions
Mobile trends 2006 In the past years the mobile phone business has worked so that all the cards get laid on the table during Cebit, now it is really spread out over 3 key shows, 3GSM, Cebit and CTIA. This week is CTIA, so I thought it would be interesting to make a small analysis of what I have seen at those tradeshow and then predict some key trend driving 2006. For reason of doubt these are really my own opinion, not those of my employer Yahoo!
1. Mobile e-mail will be the key theme in mobility for 2006
All the key manufacturers now have launched a ‘berry’ and it is fair to say that the ‘berry’, meaning a wide monoblock with qwerty below the screen. Of the berries I still think the Blackberry is the best. The others just have as innovative e-mail clients on them. I am utterly amazed that Nokia did not redesign the Messages app for this device. The UI is still the same as on all other Series 60 devices. I am also sure we see lots of activity on mobile consumer e-mail from the likes of Yahoo, Google and MSN. The bottomline is e-mail in most cases is text based and hence the cellular networks work very well for delivering it and the devices ar great tools for deleting, filing and sending short text messages back.
2. The cameraphone is being perfected during 2006
The new Ericsson “Cybershot” with 3.2M pixel, autofocus and Xenon flash and dedicated shutterbutton and landscape photography is in my mind a dominant design and really good enough to replace the digital camera. I cannot see any reason why one would buy a consumer camera. There are only three arguments left for the separate camera: 1. 3x optical zoom, More megapixels and faster take photo speed. Having the camera always with you grossly outweights these benefist. I am also of the opinion that the Cybershot style monoblock will become a dominant design. The design language of the landscape camera front is such a strong visual cue to the consumer that it just makes sense. I am really surprised if others are not following.
3. I think mobile search will be a big topic in 2006
Mobile search is one of the services which seems to have least contention in the value chain and it provides very good value for end users. I suspect we will see lots of innovation both from start ups and incumbents in this area. Having looked into the topic it is a facinating topic and there is simply so much room for innovation. What makes it so cool is that mobility really creates a need to innovate.
4. Mobile Music is going to be a huge topic in 2006
This is a great topic where we will learn a lot. With the launch of Apple’s Nano I really feel the bar went up massively for the integrated solution. I cannot make up my mind whether music is a product, a physical feature (primarely a SW feature, but with control buttons and headset jack) or just a feature, an app in the device. Nokia claims that they are the biggest producer of MP3 players, but what does that mean. On the topic of music I am a divergence guy. I think music is a product not a feature. The Nokia 3250 which just started shipping, priced agressively will be the product to watch, the benchmark is the Nano. I have played with the music player in S60 and the fact that they made the first screen in the app the music controls rather navigating playlists is a big mistake. I would have designed it to scroll playlist, search tracks with numberkeys and then broke the S60 style guide to put a 3rd SK to be Play/Stop and used up and down for scrolling the tracks in the list being played, highlighting the currently playing song visually with some cool graphics. That way one could do the key use cases of music with one keypress: Navigate list of songs, play/stop, control volume, get to fancy options and get to playlist and get to search. But that would mean that one would have to trash the UI guidelines of S60 and that was not something my former collagues did not have the guts to do, and hence I do not think Nokia can be successful at beating Apple at the game, with their ‘Music as Feauture strategy’
5. Waiting for killer transformers
Those of you who know me knows I love the Nokia N90 Transformer. Several times a week I get that look from people I meet, Christian, you have no style. Why do you insist on carrying that big clonker. I have to admit I also get another look when in video mode, gee what a tiny video camera. But to those have have clonker thoughts I think for myself; this is the future of mobility, you don’t get it. The only way to create usable convergence is throug device transformation. I want to use the most uncompromised mobile convergence device and that is what a Transformer is. It is compact when in the pocket and powerful and usable when in action. I also see that a transformer is the only good way to get to a device which works well for carrying, using with one hand, visual recording and visual watching. So until I see a new cool Transformer I will stick to my N90.
6. Mobile VOIP is still hype in 2006
The debates and discussions around mobile VOIP in 2006 is still hype. What I think people miss in the VOIP discussion is: The important think is not free calls the important thing is the social transformation of communication moving into multi-modal communication. This is a total revolution and 10 years from now we will look back at VOIP, IM and Video call fusion and see gee that really changed everything and I cannot imaginge a time when I was stuck in one mode of comminication. Free will just help to accelerate uptake, the convenience and utility is what drives the revolution. The fact that we now live in London awayfrom our family has made video a crucial part of the way we stay in touch with our family in Finland. My 4 year old daugther is completely proficient in video communication and the 1.5 year old also get it! They call my brother and grandpa on a daily basis. Any time there is technology which brings generations together my alarmbells goes of and I see a killer app. Video+voice+text fusion is just that.