Note: This restaurant has ceased its operation in early March 2010.
This restaurant with a nice view of the Gurney Drive promenade reminded me of the day when our local internet advertiser, Nuffnang, had its first community event titled “The Orient’s Voice” for the Penang bloggers at the then named Foodloft. Gosh! That was about two years’ ago. Today, the restaurant had been revamped under a different management and renamed as Ko-Fu-Loft. The new restaurant now serves dim sum as well as some Chinese cuisine with a touch of Mamak style beverages. Not long ago, more than 20 floggers from Penang (many oldies and newbies) and one mummy flogger from Singapore were given the privilege to try out the food there. Thanks to Jian for extending the invite to all of us.
The meal started with Ko Fu Sesame Seed Ball (口福芝麻球 – RM10.90). The presentation was rather simple but impressive with the sesame balls laid on some spoons. With some many ingredients added into the minced meat, somehow the appetizer lacked the moisture within. It was rather dry for many of us and the outer lacked the fragrance from the sesame seeds. By adding a bit of chopped onions, some corn flour, a few drops of sesame oil and some sprinkles of pepper would have made them better.
The next appetizer was the Crystal Spring Roll Skin Stuffed with Vegetables & Chicken Meat (公主水晶卷 – RM6.90). The skin was perfectly done as the name itself as it was almost crystal clear but the filling was not as compactly rolled as it was supposed to be. Moreover, I personally felt that the vegetables and chicken meat were left exposed to the atmosphere for too long and had lost their moisture and sweetness. The sugar content within the accompanied sauce was also too overwhelming for most of us. There would still much room for improvement for this healthy meal and hopefully it could be as good as the ones I had at Metro Café.
The following were some of the selected dim sum from the restaurant. Both the Steamed Fresh Prawn Dumpling – Har Kau (鲜明虾饺 – RM5.50) and Pork Dumpling with Fish Roes – Siew Mai (鱼子烧卖皇 – RM5.50) had the standard presentation. The prawns within the dumpling were indeed fresh and steamed just right to melt in the mouth.
As for the pork dumpling, I found too much of fat been added in thus it has the slightly rough bite. Overall, it was still a fine dish.
The Minced Squid with Crab Claw Meat (百花酿蚧蚶 – RM6.90) which was next was very well presented. The squids were well minced until one would think that it was fish ball instead. It was soft and juicy combined with the freshness of the crab claws. The accompanied gravy was mild enough for us to taste out the true beauty of the fresh seafood.
The hot and fluffy Signature Steamed Custard Creamy Bun (美味流砂奶黄包 – RM5.50) was next. The texture for the steamed bun could be improved further as it was not as finely textured as it should. Although the custard within suited my taste bud well, the skin somehow was a bit too thick for my preference. Moreover, there were signs of some crystallized parts that made each bite not so smooth flowing.
The next dim sum which was the Deep Fried Yam Paste with Minced Pork (蜂巢炸芋角 – RM4.50) has always been my favorite in any dim sum restaurant. The crispy outer layer with the smoothly blended yam paste filled with juicy sweetened pork slices (char siew) was good. It could have been even better if some toasted sesame seeds and chopped coriander were to be added to pep up the taste.
After all the savory dim sum presented, we were served with Deep Fried Pandan Lotus Paste Dumpling (翡翠煎堆仔 – RM4.50). Somehow, I felt that the glutinous rice used was rather thick. Even the screwpine leaves (pandan) flavored lotus paste tasted too artificial. They should have used those freshly squeezed flavoring instead.
I was looking forward to trying out their Szechuan Aromatic Duck (四川香酥鸭 – RM18.90) as I had from many other restaurants but somehow the restaurant got everything wrong. The crepe like egg wrapper was too dry. It even got torn even before I could wrap anything in it. Even the duck meat slices were tough and coated with some sort of batter. I wondered if this was the right way to serve this dish as what I had before as in Claypot Restaurant was the shredded duck meat version where each mouthful does not require much chewing into the tough meat. Maybe the restaurant would need to look into ways to tenderize the duck meat if they were to present it in this way.
We were then served with Jingdo Pork Ribs (京都排骨 – RM14.90). I’m normally not a fan of pork ribs, except the ones I had at Chin Bee Tea Cafe, as most of the time I had bad experiences with tough bites. Surprisingly, the ones served here was not as bad as I thought except that a bit too much of black pepper had been added that made the dish a bit too spicy for many. It would be better if this dish were to be taken with steamed rice.
Although the Deep Fried Five Spices Calamari (五香盐炸墨门 – RM13.90) looked like any fritters, it has the unique taste of some five spice powder and salt that made it appetizing and the calamari was tender and juicy. However, it was just another version of tempura coated calamari.
We also did try out their Deep Fried Homemade Bean Curd (香炸黄金豆腐 – RM12.90). Although the bean curd was smooth, it lacked the taste of soy bean in it. Moreover, it was also rather bland in taste. To me, it was nothing special except some batter coated bean curd slices. If only they could consider adding some spring onions, finely slices wood ear fungus and so on that would add a little more texture in the dish and make the bean curd taste better.
The All in 1 Roasted Meat with Vegetables (盆菜 – RM19.90) served here is actually an economical version of “Poon Choy”. The authentic version from other restaurants could cost anything between RM300 – RM600. The restaurants used the basic ingredients here with some stewed cabbage as base, topped with some roasted pork, chicken, duck, broccoli, mushrooms, deep fried prawns and few slices of abalone. The dish would be quite a bargain as it would come with some pickles, stir fry greens and a bowl of rice. However, when you have 4 pots served, you might get different taste as what we had experienced. There were a bit of inconsistency detected here during our review as each has their own unique taste. We had stronger oyster sauce flavored, cabbage flavored, meaty flavored and another one with the right combination of the other three. That’s the suspense you might get when ordering this dish.
The Fried Seafood Emperor Noodle (香炒海鲜王帝面 – RM12.90) served was not as impressive as the name. Somehow, everything was rather mild in taste. The noodles were rather dry and it lacked the wok hei (high heat cooking). There were not even any obvious hints of sesame oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce or even pepper in the dish. Moreover, some gravy on top of the suggested sauces on such noodles would be nice for the overall taste and presentation.
Lastly, the dessert of the day was Water Chestnut and Sago in Coconut Milk (热马蹄西米椰酱汤 – RM3.50). The dessert did not get many of us interested as the color and aroma from it did not get many of our attention. The water chestnut practically has been boiled for hours and lacked the sweetness in taste. The sago was a bit too soft and the combination of coconut milk served with these two ingredients just did not match well. Moreover, the coconut milk has the strong “packet” taste in it. I guessed the restaurant would have to seek other alternatives to this dessert.
Overall, the restaurant has a milder way to cook up food for its patrons. It might be good for those with a healthy diet in mind but it might not be such ideal for the Penangites who have stronger taste buds. It would be great if the restaurant would revamp their existing menu to suit both parties.
If you are familiar with the roads in Penang, it would be easy to find the restaurant as it is located within the premises of Gurney Plaza, facing the beach front of Gurney Drive. Once you have parked your car in the complex car park, just move up to level 4 and you can see the restaurant at the far end of the complex.
Branch Address: 170-04-59, Level 4, Plaza Gurney, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-229 5011
Business Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm (weekdays), 9.00am-10.00pm (weekends)
GPS: 5.438375, 100.308784
Ambience: 9/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 7/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 7/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
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