CRIZ BON APPETITE

Savoring The Best All Over Town…

Archive for January, 2014

Apart from their spread of dishes inspired by their international acclaimed Chinese chefs, this year Dragon-i Group of Restaurants again would introduce their Spring Festival Special Treasure Pot, a symbol of love and affection during this festive reunion. A few of us recently managed to pay a visit to one of their branches here at Queensbay Mall, Penang, headed by seasoned Chinese cuisine chef, Chef Chau Sze Lun (周泗麟) from China. Dragon-i has a variety of delicious spread of cuisine from China especially from the regions of Shanghai, Szechuan, Beijing and Lanzhou to cater to the increasing demands of locals as well as tourists in Penang.

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During this Chinese New Year 2014, the Dragon-i Group of Restaurants is giving all Malaysians the chance to enjoy the Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot, either to dine-in or takeaway to be enjoyed in the comfort of your home. The promotion is from 1 December 2013 until 28 February 2014. There will be two options available this season such as the Signature Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot (RM688++) and the Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot (RM388++). (Please click on the photo below for a clearer picture)

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The takeaway package for both the Signature Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot and the Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot is rather unique. Each selection would have the ingredients frozen in a high quality steel pot, a bottle of the respective high stock, placed in a heat-insulated gift bag. Each bag would be able to sustain the cold ingredients up to 4-5 hours. Thus, you would be able to bring your Abalone Treasure Pot for a long journey at ease, prior to easy reheating before your meal. Please take note that the take away service on 30 January 2014 (Chinese New Year’s Eve) is before 3.00pm. A minimum of 4 days is required for pre-orders. Here’s how the whole takeaway package would look like.

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Dragon-i’s Signature Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot (RM688++ for 8-10 pax) is specially concocted for customers who want something even more supreme and exquisite. It is packed with 18 premium delicacies, namely Braised Premium Chilean Abalone (10 heads), Premium Sea Cucumber, Shark’s Fin, Japanese Dried Scallops, Japanese Dried Oysters, Fish Maw, Goose Web, Roasted Chicken, Braised Pork Belly, Pork Balls, Premium Mushrooms, Brazilian Matsutake Mushrooms, Shaggy Mane Mushrooms, Black Moss, Dried Beancurd Skin, Deep-fried Bean Curd Skin and Bamboo Piths in their Special Broth. It weighs a total of 9 lbs.

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What we tried that night was the Prosperity Treasure Pot (RM388++ for 6-8 pax). The Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot was packed with 18 delicacies as well such as Braised Premium Chilean Abalone (12 heads), Sea Cucumber, Japanese Dried Scallops, Japanese Dried Oysters, Premium Mushrooms, “Pantai Remis” Fresh Sea Prawns, Roasted Chicken, Braised Pork Belly, Golden Money Bags, Pork Balls, Dried Bean Curd Skin, Yam, Black Moss, Chinese Cabbage, Broccoli, Deep-fried Bean Curd Skin and Radish, all cooked in a superior Pork Bone Stock. It weighs a total of 9 lbs.

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Special Discount: For Dragon-i Card and Hong Leong Credit & Debit Card holders, the Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot is now available at an amazing price of RM338++ (original price RM388++).

What amazed me more was the superior Pork Bone Stock, a simple clear soup base with rich bone flavors compared to the Poon Choi I had at Zi Zai Restaurant which had rather concentrated and complicated flavors from the flavored ingredients such as fermented beans and fermented bean curd. Overall, both eateries had their own unique soup concoction for this blessed dish.

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On top of that, they also do have Chinese New Year Set Meals at Dragon-i and Canton-i. You can check out the different packages here. This year, Dragon-i Group of Restaurants is also launching their “Blissful Combo” deal for takeaways. It would include seven delicious dishes, namely the two main dishes – Fried Glutinous Rice with Waxed Meats @ RM48++ and Lao Sheng (Raw Salmon Fish with Jelly Fish Yu Sheng @ RM48++/RM68++ or Australian Abalone with Raw Salmon Fish Yu Sheng @ RM98++/RM138++). The other five dishes would include Braised Pork Knuckle Shanghainese Style (RM68++), Braised Chicken with Sea Cucumber and Abalone (RM118++), Traditional Char-Roast Goose (RM118++/RM198++), Braised Sea Cucumber with Mushrooms (RM68++) and Sautéed Mushroom with Five Treasure Vegetables (RM48++). (Please click on the photo below for a clearer picture)

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I would say they have one of the best Lao Sheng (Yee Sang) I have tasted. Not only was the dish filled with colors of prosperity, the fresh raw salmon fish fillets blend in real well with their specially pepped up sauce. On top of that, it had just the right sweetness and moist to my liking.

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On the other hand, there was also the Fried Glutinous Rice with Waxed Meats. Each mouthful, you can practically taste out the premium-quality waxed meats, good grade mushrooms and fresh crunchy vegetables. The skillful “wok hei” frying sure did added in some bonus flavors to this delicious dish.

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We were also served with Braised Pork Knuckle Shanghainese Style. The dish also came with some added deep fried hardboiled eggs and vegetables. The tender and juicy prok knuckle would surely go well with some steamed rice.

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During this Chinese New Year, with every purchase of Dragon-i blissful products which include our Auspicious Glutinous Rice Cake, Radish Cake with Dried Scallops & Preserved Meats, and Water Chestnut Cake with Osmanthus, we will donate RM10 to World Vision Malaysia. The donation will be used to bring Gifts of Hope in the form of animals and agricultural aid to poor communities living in the Congo, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Do check out more on their website at www.dragon-i.com.my.

You can also add in some of their signature dishes such as their Xiao Long Bao (Shanghainese Steamed Meat Dumplings/小籠包 – RM10.30++) while waiting for the treasure pot to be heated up or even order their Water Chestnut Cream with Sea Coconut (清潤海底椰焞馬蹄露 – RM8.00++) as after meal dessert.

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Name: DRAGON-i @ QUEENSBAY MALL
Address:
2F-115, 2F-116, 2F-117 & 2F-118, Queensbay Mall, Persiaran Bayan Indah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, West Malaysia.
Contact: 604-646 6888
Business Hours: 11.00am-10.00pm, 10.30am-10.00pm (Sat, Sun & Public Holidays)
GPS: 5.333482, 100.306757
Website: www.dragon-i.com.my

RATING:
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: 8/10 (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)

 

To further celebrate the Chinese New Year 2014, Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, would be having its Chinese Odyssey Promotion for the month of February 2014 (2-28 February 2014). The promotion would be under the skillful hands of the Asian Kitchen Chef, Chef Chan Teik Onn. You would be able to savor the many varieties of authentic and fusion Oriental cuisine during this month.

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Some of the dishes that would be highlighted in the Chinese Odyssey Promotion in February 2014 would included dishes such as the Roasted Duck Roll with Spring Roll Skin (烤鴨春卷). Some fragrantly roasted duck slices would be wrapped together with some julienned vegetables such as cucumber and carrots in the traditional poh piah skin (spring roll skin) and served with their specially pepped up sauce.

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You would also get to savor the herbal soup – Braised Black Chicken with Snow Pear Soup (上禮雪梨烏雞湯). Black chicken or sometimes known as silkie, is a superfood that has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. It contains an antioxidant known as carnosine which is beneficial to slow down the oxidation of other chemicals in the human body. Snow pear on the other hand is a great immune booster. It also has some cooling effect to lower the inner heat within the human body.

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Another good dish to try out would be their Wok Fried Prawn with Mayonnaise and Nutmeg (豆蔻蝦). You would sure be impressed with how our local nutmeg would infuse a unique flavor into the dish.

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The Chinese New Year festive would not be complete with the symbolic Fatt Choy (sea moss) which carries the meaning of abundance in wealth. Thus, you would get to savor the Braised Trio Mushroom and Fatt Choy with Garden Green (發菜好旺市).

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Of course, you would also get to try out their XO Fried Rice (頂级XO飯), created with their special XO sauce.

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Since Malaysian is a tropical country with lots of local fruits, you would also get to taste their Double Boiled Papaya with Fresh Milk (木瓜燉奶). Papaya is a delicious tropical fruit which has a great taste, mouthwatering flavor and great health benefits. Some of its benefits include preventing constipation, lowering blood cholesterol, anti-aging, promoting weight loss.

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Overall, the choices of dishes served here have the balance of yin and yang for general wellness. The kitchen are also quite creative this time round to make full use of the local ingredients to pep up the flavors of their dishes more. Great work!

Here’s the summary of all the promotions throughout the year.

SWEZ BRASSERIE PROMOTION 2014 (JANUARY-DECEMBER 2014)
Lunch (12.00 noon – 2.30pm): Monday – Friday
RM50++ (adult), RM25++ (child)
Hi-Tea (12.00 noon – 4.00pm): Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays
Normal weekend: RM58++ (adult), RM29++ (child)
Festive Occasion: RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)
Weekend Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Friday & Saturday
Friday (Free Flow Friday with Wine): RM128++ (adult), RM48++ (child)
Saturday (Pirate Seafood Night): RM80++ (adult), RM48++ (child)
Semi Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm):
Sunday – Tuesday & Thursday:
RM50++ per pax

Wednesday (Wine & Dine): RM95++ per pax

For Standard Chartered Bank, CIMB Bank, Citibank and MasterCard Worldwide card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Semi Buffet Dinner (Sunday to Thursday, excluding Wednesday) and Weekend Buffet Dinner (Friday & Saturday) from 6.30pm – 10.00pm.

The Swez Brasserie is located at the ring wing of Eastin Hotel, Penang (next to Queensbay Mall). If you are coming from Georgetown towards Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone via Bayan Lepas Expressway, do watch out for the Pulau Jerejak signboard (leading to Pulau Jerejak jetty). Ignore the turning and drive on to the next left junction. Turn left into Jalan Aziz Ibrahim and drive on until you a roundabout. Turn 3 o’ clock and drive on until you see a big Eastin Hotel signboard at the first right junction. Turn right and drive on. Park your car at the basement car park. Take a lift to the first floor lobby and you would see the restaurant there.

EASTINHOTELMAP

Name: SWEZ BRASSERIE @ EASTIN HOTEL
Address: 1 Solok Bayan Indah, Queens Bay, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-612 1128, 604-612 1138
Business Hours: 12.00pm-2.30pm (Lunch), 6.30pm-10.00pm (Dinner)
GPS: 5.33643, 100.306345

RATING:
Ambience: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 7/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 7.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang is offering their Chinese New Year 2014 8-course meal this year at RM888++ per table, from the eve of Chinese New Year (30 January 2014) until the 15th day of the Chinese Lunar calendar (14 February 2014/Valentine’s Day). The scrumptious meals would be specially prepared by the hotel’s Chinese Chef, Chef Cheah Teik Huat and his team. Prior reservation is required for the lunch or dinner table bookings.

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Here’s the menu for the CNY 2014 8-course meal.

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We started off the meal with Prosperity Yee Sang Salmon Fish (鴻運七彩魚生). It was great moments to be with closed friends to “lou sang”. The Yee Sang had abundance of fresh salmon slices.

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The next dish was the Double Boiled Village Chicken with Dried Scallops, Shark’s Fin & Ginseng (大展鴻圖翅). The herbal richness of the stock combined with the sweetness from the dried scallops plus some springy bites from the shark’s fins was awesome.

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The chef also did well with a new creation of the Duo of Chicken: Crispy Golden Pa Fa & Wok Fried Chicken with Strawberry Sauce (金雞來報喜). The Pa Fa Chicken slices had the texture of almost similar to roasted pork (Swez Brasserie is pork free) with the crunchiness coming from some added almond flakes. On the other hand, the wok fried chicken with strawberry sauce was a new experience for me. The savory pieces of chicken meat, combined with the fresh and mild sourness from the added strawberry dish was cool.

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The Braised Sea Cucumber with Dried Oyster, Sea Moss, Flower Mushrooms & Broccoli (好事定發財) may look like just another banquet dish of mushrooms and broccoli. However, when you dig into the dish, you would find more treasures from the sea. There was also some braised sea cucumber, dried oyster and sea moss added it. The overall dish was filled with unique flavors.

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To further extend my excitement, Stir Fried King Prawn Balls with Macadamia Nuts (彩龍喜迎春) was served. Wow! The chef sure knew how to use rich ingredients to stir up balls of pearl like treasures. It’s another thumbs up for the effort in taste and creativity here.

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We were also served with the Steamed Grouper with Chinese Herbs & Vegetables (年年慶有餘). This would be one dish that would symbolize the abundance in wealth. I love the fresh texture of the fish plus the sweetness from the added mushroom slices and wolfberries.

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The chef also did a special dish for us – Chef’s Special Yam Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaves (八仙齊報喜). The lotus leaves infused flavor onto the rice plus some added deep fried yam dices and some added dried ingredients was amazing flavorful to my liking.

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To end the meal with some sweet memories of the occasion, we were served with the Double Boiled Dried Longan & Red Dates with Glutinous Rice Balls (家家慶團圓). The black sesame filled tang yuan (glutinous rice balls) complemented well with the sweetness form the double boiled dried longan and red dates.

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Overall, the spread of dishes served here were way above the standards I was expecting. The choice of ingredients used surely excelled over many other eateries who are promoting CNY meals during this festive season.

Do also check out Eastin Hotel’s other special festive promotions for this coming Chinese New Year from 30 January 2014 until 1 February 2014 as below:

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Here’s the summary of all the promotions throughout the year.

SWEZ BRASSERIE PROMOTION 2014 (JANUARY-DECEMBER 2014)
Lunch (12.00 noon – 2.30pm): Monday – Friday
RM50++ (adult), RM25++ (child)
Hi-Tea (12.00 noon – 4.00pm): Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays
Normal weekend: RM58++ (adult), RM29++ (child)
Festive Occasion: RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)
Weekend Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Friday & Saturday
Friday (Free Flow Friday with Wine): RM128++ (adult), RM48++ (child)
Saturday (Pirate Seafood Night): RM80++ (adult), RM48++ (child)
Semi Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm):
Sunday – Tuesday & Thursday:
RM50++ per pax

Wednesday (Wine & Dine): RM95++ per pax

For Standard Chartered Bank, CIMB Bank, Citibank and MasterCard Worldwide card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Semi Buffet Dinner (Sunday to Thursday, excluding Wednesday) and Weekend Buffet Dinner (Friday & Saturday) from 6.30pm – 10.00pm.

The Swez Brasserie is located at the ring wing of Eastin Hotel, Penang (next to Queensbay Mall). If you are coming from Georgetown towards Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone via Bayan Lepas Expressway, do watch out for the Pulau Jerejak signboard (leading to Pulau Jerejak jetty). Ignore the turning and drive on to the next left junction. Turn left into Jalan Aziz Ibrahim and drive on until you a roundabout. Turn 3 o’ clock and drive on until you see a big Eastin Hotel signboard at the first right junction. Turn right and drive on. Park your car at the basement car park. Take a lift to the first floor lobby and you would see the restaurant there.

EASTINHOTELMAP

Name: SWEZ BRASSERIE @ EASTIN HOTEL
Address: 1 Solok Bayan Indah, Queens Bay, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-612 1128, 604-612 1138
Business Hours: 12.00pm-2.30pm (Lunch), 6.30pm-10.00pm (Dinner)
GPS: 5.33643, 100.306345

RATING:
Ambience: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 7/10 (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)

 

2014 marked the first year The Eatery @ Four Points by Sheraton Penang would be promoting their Chinese New Year festive dining packages since their official opening on 30 October 2013. The promotion this year would be managed by Chef Wong who had many years of culinary experiences. You may book a table for 10 for Lunch or Dinner at RM850+ or just join in the Chinese New Year Buffet Dinner at RM88+ per person. Prosperous Yee Sang Platter would be served in every meal. Price is exclusive of a 6% government tax.

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A few of us managed to try out the dishes for the Menu B for 10 persons. Of course, we started off the Chinese New Year dining with the Prosperous Yee Sang Platter with Salmon (風生水起-三文魚生), a symbol of good fortune. Takeaways are also available.

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Next in the list was the Braised Superior Soup with Crab meat and Dry Scallop (財通四海-干貝蟹肉羹). There was a generous amount of crab meat and dried scallop added in the rich flavored stock. However, I personally find the soup to be a bit starchy minus the fragrance from a bit of added deep fried scallops as garnishing.

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The Roasted Chicken with Plum Sauce (風凰報喜-梅醬燒雞) was superb with juicy and tender pieces of meat and crispy skin. I personally find the serving with plum sauce was a bit too common. The kitchen should have thought of other options such as spiced salt or other unique condiment for this dish.

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On the other hand, we were served with Steamed Sea Bass Fish in Superior Soya Sauce (年年有餘-清蒸石甲魚). Thought the fish was super fresh, I found the flavors to be lacking in something aromatic and fragrant to boost up the overall serving. I guessed some deep fried julienned young ginger plus some garlic oil would be great to pep up the dish more.

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We also had some Braised Black Mushrooms and Gluten with Garden Green (萬事如意-冬菇,豆根,時蔬). Flavor wise, it was just another common banquet style dish.

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The Stir-fried Tiger Prawn with Chef Special Sauce (笑口常開-特式炒蝦) was indeed fresh. It tasted almost similar a milder flavored Szechuan Prawns.

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As for the New Year Fried Rice with Silver Anchovies (遍地黄金-新年炒飯), I personally found the dish to be a bit over stressed as scattered gold. It was just Yong Chow Fried Rice garnished with some deep fried baby anchovies. I would prefer the presentation to be more distinctive with more rich filled ingredients added on top such as deep fried scallops, prawns and fish fillet. Items that could be deep fired until golden to symbolize the wealth abundance.

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Lastly, it was the Warm Sea Coconut and White Fungus in Honey Syrup (新年快樂-蜜汁雪耳海底椰). Somehow, there was the slight sour aftertaste in this warm dessert. There could be 2 errors in the cooking process. One would be the overused of red dates which occasional would have slight sourness. The other would be the quality of the honey used as some brands of honey would turn sour upon mixing/cooking in certain boiling temperature. I hope the kitchen would rectify this minor hiccup and alternatively maybe they could consider using just plain rock sugar or lo han guo as sweetener for this dessert.

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Overall, the dishes served are just like how you would get from a normal banquet serving during weddings except that the first course would be replaced with Prosperous Yee Sang Platter. There are still rooms for more improvements.

Here’s the summary of the Chinese New Year Promotion:

Chinese New Year Buffet
Date: 30 January-1 February 2014
Time: 6.00pm-10.00pm
Price: RM88.00+ per person
Reservations:
+604-371 8888 (General)
+604-371 8707 (The Eatery)

Chinese New Year Set Lunch/Dinner
With a minimum of 10 persons, select your choice of menu and enjoy a private Chinese New Year lunch or dinner with your loved ones!
Date: 30 January-13 February 2014
Price: RM850.00+ per table
Reservations:
+604-371 8888 (General)
+604-371 8833 (Low Ee Ling, Catering Manager)
+604-371 8834 (Phang Sue Ann, Catering Sales Executive)

Please click the photo below for a clearer view of the 2 options:

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Yee Sang Takeaways
Prosperous Yee Sang Platter with Salmon
Price: MYR58+
Servings: 10 pax
Reservations:-
+604-371 8888 (General)
+604-371 8707 (The Eatery)

The Eatery @ Four Points By Sheraton is located along the main road of Jalan Tanjung Bunga. To get there, just use the road going towards the beaches of Batu Ferringhi. As you reach a curving part of the road, keep to your right after the first traffic lights (Chinese Swimming Club on your right). At the second traffic lights, turn right into the hotel’s premises to find a car park. Walk straight into the lobby and you can find The Eatery located at the ring wing of the hotel.

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Name: THE EATERY @ FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON PENANG
Address: 505 Jalan Tanjung Bungah, 11200 Tanjung Bungah, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-371 8888 (General), 604-371 8707 (The Eatery)
Business Hours: 6.30am-11.00pm (Daily)
GPS: 5.463681, 100.301836
Please refer to: The Eatery Menu

RATING:
Ambience: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 7/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 6.5/10 (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)

 

Let’s eat like the pirates at Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang with their themed buffet Pirates Seafood Night on every Saturday throughout the year 2014. There will be an array of delectable international seafood cuisine for everyone ranging from Canadian lobster, snow crab leg, lobster bisque, grilled lobster, grilled king prawns with cilantro salsa, wok fried mantis prawns with salted eggs and more to tempt your urge for fresh seafood dishes. The promotion is priced at RM80++ (adult) and RM48++ (child) with different menus rotation each week. You can also get more discounts with credit cards mentioned below.

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Let’s start at the Salad Bar, Salads & Cold Dishes Section where you would expect to get items such as Tomato, Carrot, Cucumber, Corn Kennel, Onion Ring, Lettuce, Thousand Dressing, French dressing and Italian Dressing with condiments, Pickled Garlic, Pickled Mushrooms, Pickled Cherry Tomato, Pickled Zucchini, Seafood on Ice (Fresh Oyster, Mussels, Prawn, Slipper Lobster, Canadian Lobster and snow crab leg with condiments), Individual Salad in Shooter Glass (4 types), Japanese Baby Octopus Salad, German Potato Salad, Thai Egg Salad, Grilled Chicken Salad, Shrimp and Fruits Salad, Seafood Terrine, Chicken Ham, Beef Salami, Smoked Salmon Platter, Smoked Mackerel Platter, Assorted Sushi & Sashimi (6 types each) with Condiments.

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As for the Soup Section, you would get items such as Italian Seafood Tomato Soup, Sichuan Hot and Spicy Soup with Crab Meat and Assorted Bread Roll & Butter.

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At the Hot Dishes Section, you would have the Grilled Lobster with Seafood Broth, Sauteed Mussels with Garlic and Herbs, Seafood Lasagna, Seafood Pie, Oyster Kilpatrick, Wok Fried Scallop Meat with Celery and Pine Nut, Sweet and Spicy Chili Flower Crab (Served with Man Tao), Braised Sea Cucumber with Broccoli & Mushrooms, Wok Fried Wanton Noodles with Scallop and Prawn, Wok Fried Mantis Prawn with Salted Egg, Curry Squid, Sambal Ketam Kampung Style, Portuguese Baked Seabass, Thai Style Steamed Tiger Prawns and Steamed White Rice.

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At the end of the hot dishes, you would have the Carving Station where you might expect to get Roasted Whole Fish with Spicy Mayo.

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There will also be the Action Counter where the Grill Station would have at least 20 seafood and meat choices for grilling with 12 sauces as condiments. There will also be the Pasta Station (Prawn Aglio Olio, Seafood Marinara, Pasta with Clam and Garlic with a selection of pasta choices such as Spaghetti, Fettuccini, Angel Hair and Penne). You will also get the Dessert Station serving Thai Classical Tub Tim Krob.

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At the Desserts Section, you would get 8 types of Tropical Fresh Fruits, Chocolate Fountain, Marshmallow Sticks, Dried Fruit Sticks, Fruit Jelly, Cream Caramel, Panna Cotta, Chocolate Mousse in Glass, Chocolate Brownies, Sherry Triffle, Baked Cheese Cake, Butter Cake, Blueberry Crumble with Vanilla Sauce, Assorted French Pastries and Nyonya Kuih.

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You would also find a Kid’s Corner with lots of candies plus brewed coffee and tea.

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Overall, you would surely be impressed with the varieties of seafood dishes served during the Saturday Themed Buffet and it’s really value for money on the options for international seafood species.

Here’s the summary of all the promotions throughout the year.

SWEZ BRASSERIE PROMOTION 2014 (JANUARY-DECEMBER 2014)
Lunch (12.00 noon – 2.30pm): Monday – Friday
RM50++ (adult), RM25++ (child)
Hi-Tea (12.00 noon – 4.00pm): Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays
Normal weekend: RM58++ (adult), RM29++ (child)
Festive Occasion: RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)
Weekend Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Friday & Saturday
Friday (Free Flow Friday with Wine): RM128++ (adult), RM48++ (child)
Saturday (Pirate Seafood Night): RM80++ (adult), RM48++ (child)
Semi Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm):
Sunday – Tuesday & Thursday:
RM50++ per pax

Wednesday (Wine & Dine): RM95++ per pax

For Standard Chartered Bank, CIMB Bank, Citibank and MasterCard Worldwide card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Semi Buffet Dinner (Sunday to Thursday, excluding Wednesday) and Weekend Buffet Dinner (Friday & Saturday) from 6.30pm – 10.00pm.

The Swez Brasserie is located at the ring wing of Eastin Hotel, Penang (next to Queensbay Mall). If you are coming from Georgetown towards Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone via Bayan Lepas Expressway, do watch out for the Pulau Jerejak signboard (leading to Pulau Jerejak jetty). Ignore the turning and drive on to the next left junction. Turn left into Jalan Aziz Ibrahim and drive on until you a roundabout. Turn 3 o’ clock and drive on until you see a big Eastin Hotel signboard at the first right junction. Turn right and drive on. Park your car at the basement car park. Take a lift to the first floor lobby and you would see the restaurant there.

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Name: SWEZ BRASSERIE @ EASTIN HOTEL
Address: 1 Solok Bayan Indah, Queens Bay, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-612 1128, 604-612 1138
Business Hours: 12.00pm-2.30pm (Lunch), 6.30pm-10.00pm (Dinner)
GPS: 5.33643, 100.306345

RATING:
Ambience: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8.5/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 8/10 (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)

 

VEGETARIAN EXPERIENCES AT COYA HEALTHY CUISINE PENANG

Posted by crizlai On January - 16 - 2014

On and off, it’s great to stay away from all the rich fatty food and go for a total meatless meal to detoxify the body. Penang may be the food paradise of this region. However, most Penangites are also health conscious in general with more and more healthy cuisine outlets opening up to jump onto the healthy lifestyle trend. One of the latest around town would be the Coya Healthy Cuisine (Vegetarian House). Now, let’s understand a bit more on the differences between vegans and vegetarians. Vegans would eliminate all animal products from their diet which is inclusive of eggs and dairy products. They would also avoid any products made from animals. In general, those following a vegan lifestyle would avoid any products made from animals. On the other hand, we have the Vegetarians who would not consume any meat, fish or poultry but some tend to consume dairy products and eggs. We have the Lacto-Vegetarians whom would consume dairy products but not eggs, the Ovo-Vegetarians whom would consume eggs but not dairy products and the Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarians whom would consume both eggs and dairy products. At Coya Healthy Cuisine, they would serve Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian dishes minus the usages of garlic, any bulb or leafy onions or gluten.

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The restaurant would serve ala carte dishes as well as set meals for some of the dishes. Here’s how the set meal would look like with a main dishes, a bowl of white rice/noodles, 2 side dishes of the day, one dessert and one glass of traditional drink. There’s also the option of additional RM1.00 to exchange the white rice/noodles with brown rice for any of the meal.

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One of their signature dishes would be the Hakka Style Smoked Pork Belly (客家燜腩肉 – RM9.90 for ala-carte/RM15.90 for set). You would be surprised at how real those pieces of pork belly were with the “fatty” layers. Those layers of “fat” were actually natural konjac flour (konnyaku/蒟蒻) while the “meaty” parts were actually soybean protein with added starch, grain spices, salt, etc. These pork belly pieces together with some Shitake mushrooms had been braised with soy sauce and spices to create that ideal earthly flavored pork belly stew which would be best taken with a hot bowl of steamed rice.

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For those who love the taste of ginger and sesame oil, the Salted Vampire (Ginger with Salted Fish/ 姜絲炒咸鱼 – RM9.90 for ala-carte/RM15.90 for set) would also be nice with a hot bowl of steamed rice. Those little pieces of soy protein made “salted fish” combined with lots of julienned young ginger in soy based gravy with distinctive usage of sesame oil, can be real appetizing, though it might be a bit salty if taken by itself.

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You can also try out their healthier version of Minced Meat Rice (素肉醬飯 – RM7.90 for ala-carte/RM12.90 for set). This dish has a bowl of hot steamed rice topped with protein rich “soya meat” cooked with their special sauce and garnished with a variety of fresh vegetables.

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Alternatively, you can also opt for their handmade noodles – Xiang Chun Mee (香椿面 – RM7.90 for ala-carte/RM12.90 for set). It had a rather earthly and powdery textured noodles stir with some dark soy sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil, topped with some vegetables and soya protein made “barbeque pork (char siew)”.

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I got curious when I spotted there was the Lion Heads (獅子頭 – RM9.90 for ala-carte/RM15.90 for set) in the menu. Lion Head or Lion’s Head as it’s normally known as originated from eastern China. It’s basically big “pork meatballs” cooked in many different styles. At Coya, the “meatballs” were stewed with napa cabbages (大白菜) in a flavorful soup stock made with napa cabbages, some salt and sugar to taste. Miraculously, those impromptu pepped up “meatballs” were delicious. Each deep fried “meatballs” contained frying flour, mashed bean curd, mushroom stems and soy protein. Since the usage of onions is prohibited in their cooking, the “meatballs” though delicious tend to lack a bit of sweetness. It would be great if some finely chopped water chestnuts or jicama be added in for that extra sweetness and crunch.

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One unique soup you should take note of is the Night Blooming Cereus Herbal Soup (霸王花炖湯 – RM12.90 for ala-carte/RM18.90 for set). Scientifically known as Epiphyllum or with a common name of Queen of the Night/Dragon Flower, this Dragon Fruit like cactus plant would bloom flowers only at night. According to the Chinese belief, it also symbolizes great fortune. With the right concoction of ingredients, the tasty soup would be great to strengthen the lungs against flu related symptoms. However, this soup is not advisable to be consumed by those with hypertension. This soup had some bean curds, bean curd sticks, Chinese almond and wolfberries.

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Another simple yet nourishing soup to have would be the Mint Leaves Egg Soup (薄荷蛋花湯 – RM9.90 for ala-carte/RM15.90 for set). Mint leaves are great alternative to treat respiratory disorders such as cold, cough and flu related headaches. The soup had some soy protein meatballs slices added in to enhance the flavor more.

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For side dishes, you should not miss out their delicious Deep Fried Mushroom (炸香菇 – RM9.90). I find this dish to be rather appetizing considering that the mushroom slices were only dried shitake mushrooms. The chef did a great job in getting the best out of the mushrooms in texture and flavors. The deep fried batter coated mushroom slices were mild crispy with some sweet and sour sauce plus a little sprinkles of toasted sesame seeds. They were awesomely addictive. 🙂

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Alternatively, there was also the Devil’s Eggs (魔鬼蛋 – RM4.90 for 3 eggs/RM7.90 for 6 eggs). The spicy curry with high hints of candlenuts, galangal and vinegar usages is from the Eurasian Kristang culinary tradition, a festive dish commonly found in Singapore and Malacca. If you need a hot and spicy punch in your palate of vegetarian dishes, this is one dish you should not miss out.

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As for beverages, there are quite a few unique concoctions such as the Olive Tea (橄欖茶 – RM3.90), Mango Lassi (芒果拉西 – RM9.90), CC Lemonade (RM9.90), Carrot Julius (RM9.90), Herbal Mint Tea (薄荷夏枯草 – RM3.90), Nangka (Jackfruit) Lassi (木波羅拉西 – RM10.90) and more. I personally like both the lassi as they have the natural sweetness from the blended fruits and just the right smoothness. On the other hand, the traditional drinks have some unique options. The Olive Tea has the flavors almost similar to dried sour plum and the Herbal Mint Tea was rather refreshing on a hot day.

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Overall, the dishes served here are more creative and flavorful than most of the healthy cuisine eateries on the market. The set meals can be real value for money. However, there are still some rooms for improvements for more options on less fried and less oily dishes. On top of that, it would be great if the restaurant could provide more spicy flavored dishes from other ethnic groups such as the Malays and Indians to pull in more diners. I guessed they might need to pick up one or two of my vegetarian dish recipes in my blog with a bit of tweaks to their liking~ 😛 Moreover, the restaurant also lacked the options for some desserts. It would be great if they have some Fruity Konnyaku Jelly or some home brewed bean soup to make the meal complete.

If you are coming from Komtar into Jalan Macalister, keep a look out for the fifth junction on your right. Turn right into Lorong Selamat. Drive on for another 400m and keep a look for the shop on your left. It’s just opposite the end of the Pangsapuri Jalan Zainal Abidin (with an open space padang) on your right nearing Jalan Burma. There would be at least 2 parking spaces in front of the premises.

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Name: COYA HEALTHY CUISINE (VEGETARIAN HOUSE)
Address: 4A Lorong Selamat, 10400 George Town, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-226 2357, 012-486 4127 (Summer)
Business Hours: 11.00am-3.00pm, 5.30pm-9.30pm (Closed on Monday)
GPS: 5.419108, 100.326188

RATING:
Ambience: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 7.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

RATING:
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)

 

NOSTALGIC MOMENTS AT LOKE THYE KEE RESTAURANT & BAR PENANG

Posted by crizlai On January - 11 - 2014

For those who had attended family functions such as matchmakings, weddings and birthdays at Loke Thye Kee Restaurant in the late 1920s, you can now rekindle those memories at the newly refurbished and renovated building after more than 8 decades. There will be a maximum seating capacity of 118 pax at the restaurant with an additional seating capacity of 80 pax at the rooftop terrace. Loke Thye Kee, which in Hainanese means “House of Happiness”, resembles the architecture structures of a Chinese “Love Boat”, traditionally served Hainanese Chinese and Western Cuisine. Today, Loke Thye Kee Restaurant serves Malaysian cuisine from the different ethnic origins, namely Malay, Chinese and Indian with an occasional twist of Hainanese and Western dishes. The pork-free restaurant would be managed by their appointed Malaysian chefs, led by Chef Azlin (Head Chef), Chef Lim (Hainanese cuisine), Chef Effendy (Pastry Chef). All their dishes are pork-free and they are in the process of applying for ‘Halal’ certification.

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The restaurant would have ala carte dishes and set menus for lunch and dinner daily except on Mondays. They would offer signature Malaysian dishes from the different ethnic origins such as Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisine, with a selection of Hainanese cuisine. You can check out their menu below.

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Some of those items in the ala carte/set dishes would include some Hainanese dishes such as the Hainanese Chicken Rice, Hainanese Chicken Chop, Macaroni Pie and more. The Hainanese Chicken Rice is one of the hot selling dishes in the restaurant as the preparation to get the dish served can be real tedious from the steps to prepare the fragrant fully flavored rice, getting tender meat until the concoction of the many condiments. Do check out this dish.

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On the other hand, they have the Hainanese Chicken Chop. Flavor and texture wise, it was a fine dish. However, it was not as authentic as I would have preferred. The chicken meat was over coated with batter instead of a mildly breadcrumbs coat and the gravy served was practically brown sauce, a far differences compared to the traditional sweet onion based gravy. The gravy should actually consist of rich chicken stock, a bit of tomato ketchup (optional), HP sauce, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and pepper to taste and thickened with some corn flour. Of course, there would be presence of onions, tomato slices and green peas added in to pep up more sweetness and some freshly cut deep fried potato wedges served. I do hope the kitchen would get the dish to be as authentic as it should be.

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The Macaroni Pie on the other hand was also not as authentic as it should be. Something seemed to be missing on the bi-colored crust. The white and yellow (egg white and egg yolk) crust somehow tasted rather eggy without some presence of vanilla essence to pep up some flavors. Moreover, the filling itself was “too instant”. It practically has some macaroni, chicken ham, button mushrooms, some diced onions, cream sauce and herbs. It tasted more Western than the Hainanese style which uses spices such as cinnamon bark, cloves and star anise instead. Again, this dish would need more tweaking from the kitchen.

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Loke Thye Kee Restaurant would also provide diners with a taste of Malaysia within the nostalgic surroundings with their weekend buffets. I would want to share with you how a typical Saturday Malaysian Buffet would look like. We would start with the cold dishes and salad section. You would find items such as mussels, prawns, cold cuts and some ready pepped up Nyonya/Malay salads (kerabu).

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On the hot/main dishes section, you would expect to try out items such as herbal soup, steamed rice, yong chow fried rice, crispy noodles, fried chicken, barbeque chicken, braised lamb, assam prawns, braised duck with yam (or ark), seafood thermidor, steamed fish, assorted vegetables and deep fried tempura vegetables.

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At the dessert section, you would expect some cakes, puddings, local kuih-muih, bubur kacang, ice cream and coffee.

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There will also be some hawker fares at the action counter such as ice kacang, hokkien mee and rojak.

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What most people are not aware of is that there’s a rooftop terrace with 360° view of George Town, most notably the 65-storey Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak (KOMTAR), constructed in 1974. Other than the option to dine on the rooftop, there’s also a bar up there serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, snacks and cakes from 11.00am until 11.00pm daily (except Monday). The rooftop area would be quite an ideal place to chill out with family and friends, have a small gathering party or even office function since it can fit up to 80 pax. It’s also a great place to watch football on TV.

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You can check out the Rooftop Terrace menu here:

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Overall, the dishes served here can be real value for money with so much different spread of seafood, meat, poultry, desserts and hawker dishes. However, there are still some rooms for improvements for more options on Malaysian cuisine throughout the whole nation.

Here’s the summary of the promotion and opening hours.

Tuesday-Sunday: 11.00am-11.00pm (Last call 10.30pm)
Ala Carte Menu/Set Lunch/Set Dinner
Saturday Malaysian Buffet Dinner: 6.30pm-10.30pm
RM60++ (adult)/RM30++ (child)
Sunday Buffet Brunch: 11.00am-3.00pm
RM28++ (adult)/RM14++ (child)
Rooftop Terrace Bar: 11.00pm-11.00pm daily (except Mondays)

Getting to Loke Thye Kee Restaurant & Bar is rather easy as it’s located just at the junction of Jalan Penang/Jalan Burma. There are ample parking spaces beside and behind the restaurant which can be accessed through a small lane via Jalan Transfer.

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Name: LOKE THYE KEE RESTAURANT & BAR
Address: 2 Jalan Burma, 10050 George Town, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-264 1919
Business Hours: 11.00am-11.00pm (Closed on Monday)
GPS: 5.416996, 100.329916

RATING:
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: 7/10 (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)

 

Howdy mate! Care for some sumptuous delicacies from Down Under? For the month of January 2014 (1-31 January 2014), Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, would be having its Aussie Tucker Promotion 2014, under the skillful hands of the Jr. Sous Chef, Chef Kelvin Cheong with the help of Chef Mohd Fauzi. The Australian cuisine has the influence of globalization from different nationalities, thus the food served may include just anything from sandwiches, rolls, wraps, salads, hot from the oven to snack treats.

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We started with some appetizers namely the Corn & Haloumi Fritters (酥炸奶酪玉米粒). The combination of corn kernels and haloumi, a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened brined milk product made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk and sometimes also cow’s milk, made into fritters were perfect. These were served with some sour cream and smoked salmon.

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Next was the Roasted Kumara Salad (烘烤紅番薯沙拉). There was nothing much to shout about except it was just another potato salad of a different species. Overall, it was still a great salad with a bit of earthly flavors.

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We also had some Aussie Roasted Carrots & Cumin Soup (澳洲烤胡蘿破和小茴香湯) which reminded me of the Indian dhal dish. The soup tasted a bit too strong of cumin which I would think won’t be much suitable for those who can’t take too much of spices. However, it was quite tasty for me as I’m quite fond of Indian spices.

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We also served with some Zucchini Bites (烘烤西葫蘆). The flesh of the squash was roasted, then blended before being mixed with some mayonnaise and herbs and piped into the rolled up skin. It was not a bad presentation but I did not find the dish as palatable to my liking as there were no bites at all as the name depicted.

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As for the main course, we had Tasmanian Mussels with Garlic Butter (蒜味塔斯馬尼亞貽貝). No doubt the pan butter grilled mussels were juicy but it lacked a tad of flavors such as added chopped garlic and red chilies/paprika to pep up the flavors more.

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There was also the Aussie Prawns (澳式大蝦). It was just some large prawn being sauteed with some butter, herbs and spices. Taste wise, it was still fine but I don’t quite like the hard shelled prawn species used in the kitchen as the prawns were rather hard to peel properly.

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The next dish caught my attention. It was the Macadamia Nuts Pesto (澳式堅果香草醬面). Anything to do with macadamia nuts is my favorite as the creaminess of these nuts would always be heavenly. Instead of the usual added pine nuts, the madadamia nuts indeed pepped up more nutty flavors in the pesto sauce. Tossed with the right al dente pasta, it was a great dish to watch out for. Do find some grilled meat or smoked salmon from the buffet spread to add onto your pasta as it would make this dish more perfect as your main dish.

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We ended up the main dishes with some Grilled Chicken Breast with Barbeque Glaze (澳式燒烤雞胸肉). It was the perfect meat dish to complement the pesto pasta.

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As for desserts, we had the Australia originated Lamington Cake (澳式傳統拉明頓蛋糕). This time around, the chef did something special. Instead of dipping the moist butter cake slices into some hot chocolate sauce before being tossed in desiccated coconut, the kitchen used double shot espresso as a replacement. It was indeed a nice bitter sweet punch in the mouth. Moreover, the cake was just nice in sweetness for my liking. Thumbs up chef!

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Another great Australian dessert would be the Fruits Pavlova (鮮果帕芙洛娃甜餅), a meringue dessert with a crisp crust and a light inner softness, filled with fresh fruits and custard. It was indeed something unique.

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Lastly, we were also served with some Chocolate Mousse Cake (巧克力奶油凍蛋糕). It was indeed heavenly with creamy mousse coated with thick chocolate ganache.

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Overall, the dishes served in the Aussie Tucker Promotion 2014 were somehow a mix and match of dishes in the Western and Tex-Mex cuisine scenes. The dishes quite common as you would get from the American cuisine spread.

Here’s the summary of the promotion.

AUSSIE TUCKER PROMOTION 2014 (1-31 JANUARY 2014)
Lunch (12.00 noon – 2.30pm): Monday – Friday (except 31 January 2014)
RM50++ (adult), RM25++ (child)
Hi-Tea (12.00 noon – 4.00pm): Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays
Normal weekend: RM58++ (adult), RM29++ (child)
Festive Occasion: RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)
Weekend Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Friday & Saturday
Friday (Free Flow Friday with Wine): RM128++ (adult), RM48++ (child)
Saturday (Pirate Seafood Night): RM80++ (adult), RM48++ (child)
Semi Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm):
Sunday – Tuesday & Thursday
RM50++ per pax
Wednesday (Wine & Dine)RM95++ per pax

For MAYBANKARD, Standard Chartered Bank, CIMB Bank, Citibank and MasterCard Worldwide card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Semi Buffet Dinner (Monday to Thursday) and Weekend Buffet Dinner (Friday & Saturday) from 6.30pm – 10.00pm.

The Swez Brasserie is located at the ring wing of Eastin Hotel, Penang (next to Queensbay Mall). If you are coming from Georgetown towards Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone via Bayan Lepas Expressway, do watch out for the Pulau Jerejak signboard (leading to Pulau Jerejak jetty). Ignore the turning and drive on to the next left junction. Turn left into Jalan Aziz Ibrahim and drive on until you a roundabout. Turn 3 o’ clock and drive on until you see a big Eastin Hotel signboard at the first right junction. Turn right and drive on. Park your car at the basement car park. Take a lift to the first floor lobby and you would see the restaurant there.

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Name: SWEZ BRASSERIE @ EASTIN HOTEL
Address: 1 Solok Bayan Indah, Queens Bay, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-612 1128, 604-612 1138
Business Hours: 12.00pm-2.30pm (Lunch), 6.30pm-10.00pm (Dinner)
GPS: 5.33643, 100.306345

RATING:
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: 7.5/10 (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)

 

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