NOTE: This restaurant has ceased its operation in 2011.
If you need a casual dining place or even for a business meet up place, where would you go? You can start with Caffe Strada, a nice pork free restaurant at Krystal Point, Bayan Baru, where all your indoor and al fresco dining needs would always be served well. Upon entering, the simple yet sophisticated setup would give you that homely feel. Thanks to Alan Choong, a group of the Penang bloggers managed to pay this restaurant a visit.
We started with some appetizers, namely the Green Garden Salad (RM8.90). It was a refreshing start as the dish had all the crunchy vegetables such as iceberg lettuce, onion rings, capsicum and glazed with some smoked chicken slices and eggs, followed by a garnish of sunflower seeds and croutons and some of their in-house special salad dressing. This was indeed a healthy dish.
The next appetizer was the Seafood Chowder in Bread Bowl (RM15.90). The presentation was unique. There were hints of seafood chunks such as prawns, squids and fish combined with the sweetness from the mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, onions, celery, heavy cream and a touch of butter. Maybe it was just my preference, but I would rather have more bites in the soup. A touch of evaporated milk might make the soup a bit creamier. The bread was also a bit on the hard side as it tasted more like biscuit than bread. I guessed the chef would need to lessen the baking time in future.
As for the main, we started with the Asian Delights section, where rice and noodles ruled. We had 3 rice dishes served with rice, omelette, greens and crackers. First was the Kung Pao Chicken (RM9.90) where chicken chunks were stir fried with onions, dried chilies, spring onion in kung pao sauce and garnished with some cashew nuts. This was quite a nice set. It would be even better if only the chef were to put in more high heat cooking style (wok hei) as I could not find the pungent taste from the dried chilies. Next on the list was the Kam Heong Seafood Combo (RM8.90) with prawns and squid rings in kam heong sauce. This again lacked the fragrance from the curry leaves. I hope the chef would look into this as the leaves had to be slightly fried in oil to get that unique fragrance prior to adding in the rest of the ingredients. Salted Fish with Chicken Fried Rice (RM8.90) was served next with a honey coated roasted chicken wing. Not bad but it still lacked the “wok hei” required. On top of the deep fried salted fish bits, maybe the chef might want to consider adding in some deep fried rice for that extra crunch.
We were then served with Bao Zhiang Mien (RM11.90), a combination of deep fried wonton noodles, garnished with shredded carrots, cucumber and purple cabbage and topped with their special minced chicken gravy. I would advise diners to consume this soonest possible as the moisture from the vegetable might just kill the crispiness of the noodles. The dish tasted just like the one I had at Restoran Esquire Kitchen at The Mines Shopping Fair in Selangor but the portion here can be a bit too big for my consumption.
Next on the list was the Tomyam Seafood (RM8.90) with a choice of either rice vermicelli (bee hoon) or instant noodles. Well, this did not taste like any Thai style tomyam at all but rather Malay style where it had more tomato taste rather than the usual Thai style spiciness. I would still prefer the Thai style here.
Before proceeding to the next set of dishes, we had a try out on the beverages. The management sure did invest quite well in this section as the beverages were quite uniquely presented except that some could be rather sweet to my liking. We were served with Fluffy Hot Chocolate (RM6.90) which came in many decorations, Strawberry Kiss Frappes (RM8.90), Choco Banana Frappes (RM8.90) and Chocolate Chip Frappes (RM8.90). I kind of like the Choco Banana Frappes as it was the least sweet amongst the rest and it had the unique creamy blended bananas that I love most.
The next round of beverages included Mango Frappes (RM8.90), Orange Jewel Milk Shake (RM7.90), Ice Bear (RM6.90) and Italian Lime Soda Float (RM6.90).
We then continued with some lighter Western Delights such as the Spaghetti Bolognese (RM9.90) with minced chicken sauce served with a slice of garlic bread. Although the al dente of the pasta was just right but the sauce was a bit too sweet to my liking. The sauce should be tame with just the natural sweetness from the tomatoes, garlic and herbs with hardly any sugar added just like the one I had at Kafe Soul Kitchen Trattoria.
If you prefer bread instead, you can try out their Club Sandwich (RM12.90). It had toasted bread slices stuffed with smoked chicken breast meat, cheese and vegetable. This would be served with fries and salad.
The next few dishes were chicken based. We were served with Caffe Strada Roast Chicken (RM13.90) complimented with mashed potatoes, corn and vegetables. The skin of the roast was perfect with the right flavors and the mashed potatoes was marvelous considering that it was made fresh with bits of potatoes remained. The only setback was the meat. It should either be marinated for a longer period (fork some holes into the meat would be ideal) or roasted with some stuffing. It was rather bland. Next was the Mongolian Chicken (RM15.90), served with mashed potatoes and coleslaw. This was good. The sweet and spicy sauce complimented well with the chicken and both the side dishes were gorgeous. Cheezy Grilled Chicken (RM17.90) was next in line. The melted cheese on the chicken with a dash of paprika did give that punch.
Grilled Butter Fish (RM19.90) was served next with steamed vegetables, corn and mash potatoes. I believed that salmon was used in this dish but it was a bit overcooked as the flesh was dry. The chef might have to take note on lowering the heat when grilling this to maintain the moist within.
At least the next dish which was the common Fish & Chips (RM8.90) did please me. The crispy batter coated fish was great while maintaining the juiciness of the flesh inside. The side dishes of coleslaw and fries with tartar sauce complimented each other real well.
You can also try out their Grilled Lamb Shoulder (RM19.90). Although it was well done, the taste with hints of butter and mints as marinates was great, especially the fatty parts. 😛 It went well with the mint sauce.
With such a great investment by the management, you can be assured that your next cup of coffee would be great. We were treated with Cappucino (RM6.90), Espresso (RM4.90) and Caffe Latte (RM6.90).
What amazed me most was the Iced Coffee Slush (RM9.90). It really brought back many fond childhood memories when I started having that concoction. It was just plain Espresso combined with a scope of Vanilla ice-cream. Each mouth was a different bitter sweet sensation. Nice!
What would be better to end a dinner with a cup of coffee and some nice cakes? We were also treated with 3 types of cakes, namely Marble Cheese Cake, Oreo Chillied Cheese Cake and Chocolate Mint Cake (RM6.90 each). They were mild as I liked it and delicious indeed.
If you think that all you need would be some snacks with your group of companies, then you should try out the Caffe Strada BBQ Chicken Wings (2pcs RM5.90, 4pcs RM9.90), served with house chicken wing sauce. Each wing was nicely marinated with the right texture for bites. The accompanied spicy sauce complimented real well.
Overall, this is a nice place to hang out with friends for a drink. As for food, some of the dishes can be quite appetizing and filling. If you are driving from town towards Bayan Lepas, upon seeing Queensbay Mall, keep to your left and go over the flyover leading to Bayan Baru (Lebuhraya Sungai Nibong). Drive until you reach the traffic lights at the roundabout and make a U-turn back to the other side of Lebuhraya Sungai Nibong. On your left now would be Krystal Point 1. Ignore the first turning and drive further up to the second left turning to Krystal Point 2. Turn left and left in Lebuh Bukit Kecil 6 and you would see the 3 shoplots restaurant on your right.
Name: CAFFE STRADA
Block 1-01-12, 13 & 14, Krystal Point Corp Park, Lebuh Bukit Kecil 6,
Krystal Point II, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-643 6643
Opening Hours: 12.00 noon – 12.00 midnight (9pm onward happy hour)
GPS: 5.331159, 100.298164
Ambience: 9/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 9/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 7.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 9/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)