With Chinese New Year 2014 coming up real soon, what would be the best thing to do to usher in the Year of the Wood Horse? Of course, we would feast with family and friends at reunion dinners. Where’s the latest place in town to get great ambience and great food to celebrate this auspicious celebration? Straits Café & Lounge @ Ixora Hotel, Bandar Perai Jaya, Penang, would be an ideal choice. The Chinese New Year Promotion would be available from 30 January 2014 until 1 February 2014, 6.00pm-10.00pm. Thanks to the hard work, dedication and sacrifices of Executive Chef, Chef Aikaun Beh and his team, you would get to try out his skillful and tasty “pork free” dishes this coming Chinese New Year.
To usher in the Year of the Wood Horse, do check out Straits Café & Lounge @ Ixora Hote’s Chinese New Year Prosperous Reunion 8-course Dinner packages. There would be 2 options for the RM698++ and RM888++ packages. Check out the menu below:
A few of us managed to try out a few dishes from both the packages. As starter, all packages would be having the Ixora Rainbow Yee Sang Platter. Also commonly known as “Prosperity Toss”, the word Yee Sang has a play on Chinese homonyms with carries the meaning of “increase in abundance”, a symbol of “prosperity in abundance”. The salad is traditionally served on Ren Ri (人日/Human Day), the seventh day of Chinese New Year. The dish would consist of thin slices of raw fish (commonly salmon compared to the traditional way of using the limited supply of snakehead/ikan haruan), julienned vegetable pickles, various spices and condiments, tossed as high as possible by diners, another symbol of longevity.
Another of the mouth slurping dish would be the Double Boiled Chicken Soup with Fish Maw, Black Mushrooms and Ginseng (from the RM888+ package). Each mouthful had the presence of richness with the extracts from the added ginseng for extra energy and alertness. The soup was extremely good.
There would also be the Traditional Shark’s Fin Soup with Dried Scallops (from the RM698+ package). The usages of dried scallops and high broth stock used, with some crabmeat and fish maw, ensured a bowlful of rich indulgence. This was another great bowl of soup.
Another impressive dish would be their Deep Fried Boneless Chicken with Kerabu Mango Sauce (from the RM698+ package). The crispiness of the finely marinated chicken pieces combined with the ginger bulb flower infused mango sauce was very appetizing.
We also had the Wok Fried Oatmeal Butter Prawns (from the RM698+ package). It was nothing fanciful for this dish except that the freshness of the prawn species used by the kitchen scored above the rest in the same industry. The prawns were juicy and succulent with the added fragrance from the butter and oatmeal.
When I saw the Braised Broccoli with Bailing Mushrooms, Pacific Clams and Sea Asparagus (from the RM698+ package), I had the perception that it was going to be the normal starch filled banquet dish. I was wrong. The flavors were remarkably perfect for my palate. It had hints of garlic and abalone sauce usages, a more premium taste than the common used oyster sauce.
The Steamed Red Lion Fish with Hot and Spicy Szechuan Sauce (from the RM698+ package) was another perfect dish. The freshness of the fish with a texture of a cross between red snapper and sea bass went well with the sweet and mild sour sauce, garnished with lots of julienned spring onions, red chilies and deep fried young ginger.
Surely there would be some long noodles to symbolize longevity in such a reunion dinner, namely the Stir Fried Empire Noodles with Seafood and Vegetables (from the RM888+ package). The flavorful and high wok heat filled noodles (皇帝面/Emperor’s Noodles) had some added prawns and batter fried fish fillet. It was delicious.
Every Chinese dinner would normally end with a sweet dessert to archive our sweet memories for any event. Slow Boiled White Fungus with Ginkgo Nuts Red Dates, Dried Longan & Lotus Seeds (from the RM888+ package) was served.
On top of the Chinese New Year Prosperous Reunion 8-Course Dinner above, you can also check out their Prosperous Shou Gong Dinner packages, available from 1-29 January 2014, from 12.00pm-10.00pm. There are also 2 options available on the menu for 2 packages – RM698++ and RM798++. Each package can accommodate 10 pax. Do check out the menu below for a clearer view of the dishes available.
You can also check out their Chinese Style Wok Fried Cuisine Promotion (1 January 2014-28 February 2014, 12.00pm-10.00pm). Portions would come in 2 sizes – Regular or Large with prices starting from RM10.00++/dish onwards. Won’t it be nice to have such a cozy and comfortable place to dine away from the torment of the unpredictable weather? You can click on the menu below for a clear picture of what the kitchen would be offering.
Here are some of the dishes we had tried earlier. We started off with Fish Ball Seaweed Soup. The flavorful soup with curative properties would be great to start off a meal.
All of us were impressed by the next dish which was the Crispy Mint Sauce Chicken, a fusion of East and West. The crispy chicken slices went well with the mint and mayonnaise combination of sauce.
The Stir Fried Fish Fillet with Bean Paste Sauce was also one of my favorites. The fish was juicy within the crusted batter fritters and the sweet salty sauce complemented each other real well.
We also tried out their signature Deep Fried Prawns with Five Spices. This was another impressive dish with the aromatic spice flavors on the succulent fresh prawns.
As for dessert, we had some Chinese Herbal Pudding with Honey. The mild bitter herb pudding went well with the sweet honey. However, I personally find that the texture was not as firm and springy as I would have expected.
Last but not least, we also tried out the Taiwan Chinese Tong Yuen. The dessert had some big sugared sesame seeds filled and small plain tong yuen (glutinous rice balls) in a mildly sweetened syrup soup. Well, I was expecting something more unique for this dessert such as the tong yuen being served with red bean soup, soya milk or even in floral osmanthus concoctions. It would be great if the kitchen can come out with some more unique flavors.
Overall, the dishes served here in the café can be remarkably interesting and flavorful. Thanks to the chef’s team for excelling in Chinese cuisine with a twist of Western fine dining presentation. For more information, please check out www.ixorahotel.com
Getting to the Straits Café & Lounge @ Ixora Hotel won’t be hard as it’s just located next to the Megamall Shopping Complex at Bandar Perai Jaya. If you are coming from the island via the 1st Penang Bridge, just look out for the second exit on your left upon reaching the mainland. Drive all the way via Jalan Baru until you reach the 1st traffic lights. Turn left into Jalan Perai Jaya 1 and you can see Ixora Hotel at the junction of Jalan Baru/Jalan Perai Jaya 1. Drive straight for about 10m and you can see the basement car park on your left. Park your car and go up Level 1 and you can see the café & lounge there.
Name: STRAITS CAFÉ & LOUNGE @ IXORA HOTEL
Address: Jalan Baru, Bandar Perai Jaya, 13600 Perai, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-382 8888
Business Hours: 6.00am-10.00am (breakfast), 12.00pm-2.30pm (Lunch), 6.00pm-10.00pm (Dinner)
GPS: 5.378357, 100.398322
Ambience: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 8.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)