Monthly Archives: November 2011

Rosmarino Italian Restaurant

photo of front of Rosmarino Italian Restaurant in Johore Bahru
Rosmarino Italian Restaurant, near Plaza Pelangi in Johor Bahru

Rosmarino Italian restaurant is another very good Restaurant in downtown Johor Bahru. It is located a block from Plaza Pelangi. Expats will enjoy a taste of home and others can get a nice example of Italian cooking. The food I have had has been excellent. The restaurant is nicely appointed and has a outdoor seating (though I don’t really see it as a great location – they do have plants but still you are just on the sidewalk facing the parking lot).

photo of pea soup at Rosmarino's
Pea soup (very good). You can also see the apricot juice, which I like, though it is RM 9 for a small bottle, which is expensive.

The set price lunches are really one of the great bargains I have found so far. For just RM 15 you get a nice soup and an entree. The food is excellent and I have been 3 times and enjoyed new dishes each time. The regular prices are quite steep, especially for Johor Bahru. It seems like RM 50 for a dinner would be on the cheap side and easily it could run RM 100 for a drink and meal.

I highly recommend the lunch deals. And for those with plenty of money the dinners (or just ordering off the normal menu at lunch) I am sure would be excellent. The service I would say is good even very good. Still it isn’t quite as warm or somehow seems something is not quite there for the best fine dining. Overall, I like it and think it provides another great option for fine dining in Johor Bahru.

Related: Chez Papa French BistroVillage Briyani Cafe, Indian RestaurantJumbo Seafood Restaurant in Singapore

photo of Steak with salad and mashed potatoes entree
Steak with salad and mashed potatoes set lunch (along with the soup above). The food was very good, as it has been every time I visited. All photos by John Hunter.

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Danga View and Adamai Condos: RM 2,000 to RM 4,000 per month

Adamai condo is a new mid-rise condo in JB town with only 47 units in the building. Danga View condos are located in the Danga Bay area and provide smaller units.

The Johor Bahru market continues to favor renters. If you are looking to rent feel free to take your time and compare what options you have. And feel free to bargain for what is most important to you (if you want some improvements made to the unit or furnishings, or a reduced price or whatever).

Most all condos expats are looking at come fully furnished. A few are partially furnished. You should always check, but normally the listing will make it very clear if it isn’t at least, largely furnished.

See our overview of the Adamai condo.

  • Multiple units available with your choice of 1389; 1410; 1485; or 1528 square feet, 3 (+1) bedrooms, 3 baths, partially furnished for RM 3,200 per month, fully furnished starting at RM 4,000 per month.

See our overview of the Danga View condo. Units available now include:

Chez Papa French Bistro, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Chez Papa is an institution in downtown Johor Bahru. The French restaurant is an expat favorite and attracts many from Singapore as it is a quick trip over the causeway for fine food at a great price.

photo of Chez Papa dining room
Main Chez Papa dining room

The downtown location (near Plaza Pelangi) is very convenient to those living in JB town, as well as visitors from Singapore. As you enter the restaurant your step into an oasis of calm and feel you have entered a small restaurant in rural france. The service is also remisent of rural France (rather than the brusk service found in Paris). Though the stereotype of difficult service in France, is quite overblow, in my opinion.

Chez Papa French Bistro is an excellent fine dining restaurant and a great bargin when compared to other fine dining options. It has a cozy, warm atmosphere which provides a nice respite from the bustle of daily life.

photo of bar and second dining room for Chez Papa
Bar, as well as a second dining room for Chez Papa

The menu at Chez Papa offers plenty of options to chose from. I have twice ordred the Salade Nicoise which was excellent each time. I am not someone that orders salads normally. But, I have noticed, one of the things that the best restaurants offer is great salads. They use great ingredients and know the importance of doing the relatively simple things well. A good salad is often an indication of a well run kitchen.

photo of my wonderful steak dinner at Chez Papa
Wonderful steak dinner at Chez Papa

On my first visit, my main course, the Lamb Stew, was excellent. It was hot and scrumptious with large pieces of lamb and vegetables that we just right (not overcooked, which is so easy to do) and just the right amount of seasoning. It was also huge: I could finish it. The other time I ordered the salad I couldn’t finish the mean either as it was too much. I can’t remember what it was, but I remember it was great. The photo, above, shows my 3rd meal, steak, which again was excellent.

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Datin Halima and Sri Mulia Condos from RM 1,600 – RM 3,000 per Month

Datin Halimah condo and Sri Mulia Condo and are two of the less expensive condos in downtown Johor Bahur that are suitable for expats. Many of the condo units that are available to rent in Johor Bahru are not shown online, but Propnet and iProperty are two good sources to see online listings for rental unit in Johor Bahru.

Johor Bahru is growing, and the planned investments in Iskandar will boost that growth dramatically in the next few years, if everything goes as planned. An increasing number of Singaporeans are buying property in Johor Bahru to live in and to rent as an investment. Hundreds of thousands of jobs could be added in Johor in the next ten years. If that happens their will be a large demand for housing of all types, including more high end condos.

See our overview of the Datin Halimah Condo. Units available now include:

See our overview of the Sri Mulia Condo. Units available now include:

  • 2,400 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, RM 3,000 per month – also for sale at RM 650,000

Related: Indah Samudra and Lagenda Tasek Condos for Rent: RM 2,000 to RM 3,500/monthMolek Pine Condos RM 2,500 to RM 4,000 a month

The Investment Potential for Iskandar is Attracting Interest from Great Britain

Article from the Telegraph (UK) on British investors interested in Iskandar real estate: British expats and investors drawn to Malaysian metropolis

A huge development three times the size of Singapore is taking shape across the border in Malaysia, bringing with it hundreds of thousands of jobs, new homes and international schools.

Foreign investors are not just being encouraged but expat families and students too. Along with Marlborough College, Raffles American School, Newcastle University and the University of Southampton will all open campuses.
It is expected that when Iskandar Malaysia reaches maturity in 2025, the region will employ 1.4 million people. This involves the creation of 800,000 new jobs.

Both the [Legoland] theme park and Marlborough College are due to open in the autumn of 2012.

The article is certainly written like a publicity piece, talking about all the possibilities without any questioning of potentially issues. I do agree the potential is great. On the ground in Johor Bahru the key I feel is new jobs. Currently there are many real estate resources that are greatly underutilized: malls with many empty stores or completely shut down, condos with high vacancy rates, skyscrapers downtown that are just empty shells. The potential is great.

Care has to be taken to develop that potential into real success. Brining in jobs that will then create income to spend at malls, renting higher end condos, paying for more services which in turn create more jobs is the key. The critical jobs it seems to me are office jobs (economically these are high paying and can be added quickly without too much difficulty). And many of those can most easily be created quickly by providing support for businesses in Singapore. So the second key is continuing to build the cooperative relationship with Singapore.

Health care and education are good industries to target for Iskandar and that seems to be part of the plan.

There are, of course, many other important factors. Qualified people are needed to fill the jobs created. There is a need to continue to improve the safety in JB and reduce crime. There is a need to build the infrastructure toward world standards (better public transportation, more walkable areas [improved sidewalks], intelligent land use planning… Getting the residence pass for talented expats so that it can be used by those that are not yet in Malaysia. The program is meant to attract foreign talent yet 6 months after they started the process by accepting only applications from those that have been in Malaysia for 3 years on a work visa the program still only accepts applications for this small group of people.

Related: Penang’s Economic SuccessPenang Condo MarketMalaysian Residence Pass for Skilled ProfessionalsHow Walkable is Your Prospective Neighborhood