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While Earth Day will fall on 22 April each year, “Every day is Earth Day in the Shangri-La’s Kitchen,” said Suleiman Tunku Abdul Rahman, Director of Communications, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa and Golden Sands Resort, Penang. With the theme “Rooted in Nature”, Shangri-La Group of Hotels and Resorts worldwide support sustainable food produces from its local agriculture and aquaculture sectors. It’s an initiative to raise awareness on consuming freshly farmed food which had gone through strict international standard requirements without harming the environment. Not only will this campaign support the livelihood of its local farmers and fishermen, it will also enable diners to have fresher and healthier choice of diet without worrying about the presence of pesticide, hormone or antibiotic in their food. Moreover, dishes on offer will include produce and herbs grown on hotel grounds, locally sourced organic vegetables and fruits, line-caught fish, free-range poultry and beef, honey from a hotel’s own beehive, etc. According to Peter Finnegan, Shangri-La’s Group Director of Food and Beverages, “Our goal is to serve 75% more sustainable sourced food on the menus by year 2020.”

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While engaging local partners such as the GST Group (seafood) and Ayamplus Food Corporation Sdn. Bhd. (poultry) in their “Rooted in Nature” campaign, we were fortunate to be given the opportunity to attend a food source trail at GST Group Fish Farm located offshore of Pulau Jerejak, Penang. GST Group is also the only European Union compliant fish farm in Malaysia, with two other fish farms in Pulau Aman and Pulau Pangkor plus a retail shop located in Simpang Ampat, Penang. The initial GST actually came from the founder’s name, Goh Siong Tee, 90 years old, decades ago and not to be confused with the recently implemented GST (Goods & Services Tax). “The name did draw a lot of attentions but in a good way too as it helps us to promote our business better,” jokingly stated by Joey Ong, Senior Business Development Executive. After having some breakfast sponsored by the hotels, we embarked on our journey via 3 fishing boats towards our destination. Anyway, we did not spot any mermaids or mermen on the way~ LOL~ 😛

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We were briefed by En, Mohd Addin Aazif, Senior Aquacultural Technician, as well as by Mr. Goh Chin Twan, GST Group Marketing Manager, on the ecologically and ethically farmed fishes which ranged from species such as red (crimson) snapper (ikan merah pucat/ang sai/紅雞), golden snapper (ikan jenahak/ang cho/紅鰽), giant (goliath) grouper (ikan kertang/long dan/龍膽), pearl grouper (kerapu mutiara/long hu ban/龍虎斑 – a 2006 hybrid species between giant grouper and tiger grouper), cobia (ikan haruan tasik/hai lay/海鱺 – sashimi species), giant trevelly (ikan gerepuh/gu kang cheoh/牛港鰺 – commonly known as GT) and more.

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Of course, the chefs from both Golden Sands Resort (Chinese Chef, Chef Danny Tan) and Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa (Executive Chef, Chef Lim Soon Leong & Chef de Cuisine, Chef Matthias Tretbar) could not resist camwhoring with some “edible fishes”, especially with the juvenile 17kg Giant Grouper (Ikan Kertang/Long Dan/龍膽). The Giant Grouper can reach to a maximum size of 2.5m and weigh more than 350kg.

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After a fun-filled and knowledgeable expedition, we continued our journey up Batu Ferringhi towards the two participating Penang hotels – Golden Sands Resort and Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa. Each hotel has two participating eateries. Diners can identify the Rooted in Nature dishes by spotting a “pea shoot” logo printed alongside the dish description. It’s to ensure that the fresh ingredients used strictly follow at least one of the 5 guidelines, which are local produces, pesticide-free products, free-range livestock & poultry, sustainably sourced food and organic & fair trade products. You can check out the “pea shoot” logo as printed on the hot beverage below.

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At Golden Sands Resort, we were led to Sigi’s Bar & Grill (the other Rooted in Nature participating eatery is their Garden Café). At the venue, we had the opportunity to try out some of the chefs’ skillfully prepared dishes from their “Rooted in Nature” menu from Grilled Sea Bass, Grilled Free Range Chicken & Organic Tofu to SIGI’s signature dessert of Double Scope Yam and Coconut Ice Cream with Fresh Whipped Cream.

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On the other hand, Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa’s Spice Market (the other Rooted in Nature participating eatery is their Feringgi Grill) indeed do serve an extensive varieties of fishes, namely the Pearl Groupers and Red Snappers, cooked in a few unique flavors. These dishes will be available amongst the buffet spread from time to time.

We actually started the meal off with a bowl of Double-Broiled Free-Range Chicken Herbal Soup. Wow! I was impressed by the flavorful and nourishing herbal soup. It was indeed a great bowl of soup to replenish all the sweat and energy lost under the scorching sun during our field trip earlier. In fact, it was one of the best soups I’ve tasted with the usage of quality herbs, combined with the rich flavors from the hormone-free and antibiotic-free range chicken.

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Amongst the many fish dishes served on the day, we were presented first with the non-spicy Chinese Style Steamed Pearl Grouper with Superior Sauce. It was just a commonly prepared banquet style dish but you could ascertain that it was at its freshest. How would you judge a fresh and mud-free fish from any restaurant? It’s in the basic ingredients used to pep up the flavors without the presence of julienned ginger.

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We were also served with the Indian Style Red Snapper Curry. It may be another commonly available dish at most Indian and Mamak restaurants but again Spice Market lived up to its name by infusing quality herbs and spices into the dish. Moreover, the added sliced tomatoes and lady’s fingers were great complements. Can I have more steamed rice with this dish?

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We then had the Malay Style Ikan Merah Masak Tiga Rasa (Malay Style 3-Flavors Red Snapper). I guessed each restaurant has its own style of presenting this dish. Most of the time, it was just batter fried fish in sweet and sour sauce with added bird eye chilies (cili padi). However, the chef here presented the dish with their own concocted gravy. It was indeed a dish favorable to my taste bud.

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Somehow, the next dish which was the Nyonya Style Steamed Pearl Grouper had me indulged sinfully with more steamed rice. It was heavenly. Most the distinctive flavors from the usage of fresh ingredients used in Nyonya cooking were present with the additional refreshing flavor from the added mint leaves. However, I found the gravy to be too finely presented as in the herbs and spices being too finely blended. It would be great if the kitchen would coarsely blend them to give that little bit of bites. A little bit more of added ginger flower (bunga kantan) would surely pep up the dish further too.

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The last of the fish dish was the humongous sized Italian Style Baked Pearl Grouper Parmigiana. If my guess were to be right, it could be around 5kg or more. It was like having pizza but with fish instead of dough as base. Though it was real presentable as a whole fish, it would be better to work with fish fillet instead. The whole dish was delicious but somehow the thick slab of flesh did not absorb the flavors from the ingredients used. This could be my personal preference dealing with meaty fish but I can assure you that the fish was extremely fresh without any trace of muddy after taste.

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We ended up with a sweet treat created by their skillful pastry chef. It was the Lemongrass Crème Brulee with Coconut & Pandan Sauce. It had a smooth texture with a mild spiced up flavor from the lemongrass. The dessert went well with the condiment of coconut and pandan sauce.

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Somehow, something got the sweet tooth out of me on that day which was never a norm for me. I could not have enough of desserts! LOL~ In the end, I adjourned to the FIP (Fun, Interactive & Play) Lounge next door and ordered the first thing that caught my attention. It was the Black Forest Chocolate Pizza served with Fresh Vanilla Pods Ice Cream. It was a decision I would never regret as the pizza had just the right ratio of bitterness against sweetness, from the base, shaved chocolate, black forest right up to the ice cream. By then, I was already up Cloud 9, indulging in the heavenly dessert. By the way, you could always check out FIP’s Weekend Coffee & Cakes Buffet at RM47nett/adult and RM24nett/child, serving from 3.00pm until 6.00pm (Saturday & Sunday).

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Overall, from my previous dining experiences at both Golden Sands Resort’s Sigi’s Bar & Grill and Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa’s Spice Market, compared to now, the quality of dishes always gets better, with their assurance on the usage of the freshest ingredients plus high quality herbs and spices. Do support them on their mission to accomplish the best out of their Rooted in Nature campaign. It’s not only a WIN-WIN working relationship between the hotels and local suppliers but a WIN-WIN-WIN scenario for us diners as we are served with healthier and sustainable sourced food.

Name: GOLDEN SANDS RESORT
Address: Batu Feringgi Beach, 11100 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-886 1911
GPS: 5.476330, 100.251440

Name: RASA SAYANG RESORT & SPA
Address: Batu Feringgi Beach, 11100 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-888 8888
GPS: 5.478365, 100.253709

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: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

Are you aware that ZEST Bar Café @ GLOW by Zinc, a cool and comfortable café within a modern and chic hotel, located right in the heart of George Town, is currently having their Thai food promotions? With 4 others Glow hotels in Thailand, namely Koh Yao Yai, Pratunam, Trinity Silom and Sukhumvit, I won’t be surprise that Thai cuisine remains their main theme. Whether it’s for individual serving or with a group of family members and friends, there will always be something for everyone. Moreover, it’s also a great time to pay them a visit and play with their latest props for their Most Creative Selfie Competition to be eligible to win free night stays at one of their leading Thailand hotels. More information is available here.

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Do check out their Thai Set Lunch Menu and Ala Carte Menu as shown below. The meals will be available from 11.30am until 5.00pm daily. Click on the menu below for a better view.

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Let’s have a look at their Ala Carte Menu to check out some of the great dishes for your lunch. To start off the meal, you can always order their Miang Kam (เมี่ยงคำ – RM8+) or commonly known as “one biteful” in Thai cuisine. The dish will consist of wild betel leaves, toasted grated coconut, dried shrimps, shallots, peanuts, mini ginger cubes with a punch of bird’s eyes chili, served with their own concoction of sweet oozy like palm sugar based sauce.

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Alternatively, you can also try out their Som Tam (ส้มตำ – RM10+), a lime zesty and pungently spiced up young papaya salad with dried shrimps, cabbages, long beans, tomatoes, garlic, toasted peanuts, bird’s eyes chilies, fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar. It’s a great appetizer in most Thai food servings.

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If you are not a fan of papayas, then you can try out their Yam Woon Sen (ยำวุ้นเส้น – RM12+), a glass noodles appetizer filled with punches from the vegetables, herbs and added steamed prawns. The dish had all the 5 main flavors (wan, kem, brieow, ped & kom/ หวาน, เค็ม, เปรี้ยว, เผ็ด & ขม) in Thai cuisine, mainly a balance of sweetness, saltiness, sourness, spiciness and bitterness (from the added cilantro and mint leaves).

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The eatery also does serve various soups. One of them being the Tom Kha Gai (ต้มข่าไก่ – RM12+), a thick herbs and spices packed chicken soup with hints of galangal and lemongrass. However, I personally felt that the broth was slightly too thick for me, thus felt rather surfeit after just a few mouthful. I have the feeling that box coconut milk, which was much thicker than freshly squeezed ones, was used in the recipe. Moreover, it lacked the fragrance and flavors from the herbs used. In Thai cuisine, you can’t be slicing everything so delicately. Ingredients such as galangal, lemongrass or even chilies have to be smashed prior to cooking to obtain the optimum flavors. More kaffir lime leaves should be added in too for that distinctive zesty flavor. I hope the kitchen is aware of the proper cooking methods in Thai cuisine.

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Another soup option will be their Tom Yam Goong (ต้มยำกุ้ง – RM18+). Unlike the Tom Kha Gai, this soup is pepped up with various flavors, especially from the freshness of the king prawns. However, it still lacked something important – the fragrance from the used herbs and spices. It was again the cooking methods all gone wrong again. I hope they rectify this basic rule in Thai cooking.

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As for main dishes, there’s a mix & match of Thai dishes as well as some Western for those who can’t consume too spicy food. You can start with just Pad Thai (ผัดไทย – RM15+), the Thai version of flat noodles wok fried with prawns, bean curds and served with some raw bean sprouts, Chinese chives, crushed peanuts, chili flakes, sugar plus a slice of lime. The version served here was with an additional egg wrap. Notably, a great Pad Thai would consist of a balance of yin and yang flavors from the usage of fish sauce, tamarind paste and lime juice. Of course, there’s the need of the perfect “wok hei” aka high heat stir frying from a super hot wok.

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There will be quite a variety of “one dish – one rice” options here starting with the Kaeng Phet (แกงเผ็ด – RM18+). This is basically the authentic Thai version of spicy coconut milk based red curry recipe, with the option to have the dish pepped up with either prawns or chicken. We had this dish cooked with prawns. However, my personal preference would still be with chicken as it would be more harmonious with the texture.

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Another version would be the Gaeng Keow Wan (แกงเขียวหวาน – RM18+), an all-time signature Thai green curry dish loved by many food critics. It had an immaculate blend of green curry paste combined with coconut cream with your preference of either prawns or chicken to create that delicious thick curry that would complement your hot steaming rice well. We had boneless chicken cuts for this option. Though the dish may look tame by its color, it could be somewhat spicy for some. As for taste wise, the dish was fine except that I wondered why was broccoli being added instead of the commonly use eggplant. Somehow, the bite sensation and texture were somewhat different.

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Next on the list was a dish loved by all of us. It was the Pad Kra Prao (ผัดกะเพรา – RM18+), a minced meat dish stir fried with Thai basil leaves, served with rice and an omelette. Here you have an option of either minced chicken or beef. We chose minced chicken instead. This complete street food meal deal can be quite abundant in Thailand. The simple salty sweet flavors from the added garlic, chilies and Thai basils, combined with soy sauce, oyster sauce and a dash of dark soy sauce would make you crave for more.

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Of course, there will be the world’s #1 dish in the menu. Do try out their Gaeng Massaman (แกงมัสมั่น – RM18+), a Southern Thai dish with Indian influence. Compared to the red, green, yellow curries of Thailand, you can find the usage of many dry spices such as cardamom, cinnamon or even nutmeg being used in the recipe. With a long list of needed ingredients, the flavors of Massaman Curry can be quite complicated and yet delish to the palate of anyone. You can have the option of chicken or beef for this dish. The dish would come with added potatoes and toasted peanuts.

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Who would miss the many mouth-watering Thai desserts? This dessert would surely tempt those sweet tooth diners. Firstly, we have the Sang Kaya Fak Tong (สังขยาฟักทอง – RM7+), sometimes also known as the Thai Pumpkin Custard. It’s a unique dessert with eggy sweet coconut cream custard steamed in a whole kabocha squash (Japanese mini pumpkin). The slice of dessert was served with added coconut cream and toasted sesame seeds syrup.

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You would get to try out of the street desserts such as the Khanom Khao Mao (ขนมขาวเมา- RM7+), a sinfully sugary ripe banana wrapped in grated coconut and sticky rice, deep fried to perfect crispiness and served with extra coconut cream. Though sinful for your diet, it’s the ultimate dessert to end your meal.

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Overall, some of the dishes served here can be real fulfilling though they have been tweaked to suit the taste buds of the diners in this region. I’m sure most of us can’t really consume the 100% authentic ones as they can be quite overpowering in terms of spiciness, sourness and sweetness. Anyway, Zest Bar can still be the perfect place to relax and dine while admiring the scenic view of George Town.

ZEST Bar Cafe @ GLOW by Zinc is located at the 1st floor of the hotel along Jalan Macalister just opposite Red Rock Hotel. There are about 20 car park spaces in this hotel with 10 spaces available right in front of the hotel and another 10 spaces behind the hotel via Jalan Naning (opposite Sum Sum Motors). There are also many coupon based parking spaces available surrounding the hotel. Please make sure you have your parking coupons ready as you would need to pay between 9.00am and 5.00pm. However, effective 1 July 2014, valet services would be available for your convenience.

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Name: ZEST BAR CAFÉ @ GLOW BY ZINC
Address: 101 Jalan Macalister, 10400 George Town, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-226 0084
Business Hours: 11.30am-5.00pm (lunch), 6.00pm-10.30pm (dinner by booking)
GPS: 5.416638, 100.322952

RATING:
Ambience: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 7.5/10 (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: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

CHRISTMAS FEASTS 2014 TO REMEMBER AT G CAFE @ G HOTEL PENANG

Posted by crizlai On December - 11 - 2014

It’s time to celebrate the festive seasons of 2014 with some traditions be under the culinary skills of Sous Chef, Chef Harmizi and Award Winning Pastry Chef, Chef Tan. Get spoilt with a scrumptious buffet at G Café @ G Hotel Penang featuring festive specialties, international & local selection of soups, appetizers, main courses and desserts, a perfect venue for the whole family and friends to dine in together.

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Here’s a summary of what G Café @ G Hotel Penang will be offering:

Christmas Eve Dinner on 24 Dec 2014 / 6.30pm – 11.00pm
Priced at RM 148++ per adult & RM 68 per child (7-12 years)
Free flow of soft drinks & Juices
A glass of traditional glue wine on arrival
Add RM 99++ for free flow of house beer or wine

Christmas Day Sparkling Brunch on 25 Dec 2014 / 12pm – 3pm
Priced at RM 138++ per adult & RM 68++ per child (7-12 years)
Free flow of soft drinks & Juices
A glass of sparkling wine on arrival
Add RM 99++ for free flow of house beer or wine

Boxing Day Buffet Lunch on 26 Dec 2014 / 12pm – 3pm
Priced at RM 98++ per adult & RM 50 per child (7-12 years)
Free flow of soft drinks & Juices
Add RM 99++ for free flow of house beer or wine

New Year’s Eve Dinner Buffet on 31 Dec 2014
7pm – 11pm (Buffet) / 11pm – 3pm (Party)
Priced at RM 168++ per adult & RM 88++ per Child
Free flow of soft drinks & Juices
A glass of champagne on arrival

New Year’s Day Brunch on 1 Jan 2015 / 12pm – 3pm
Priced at RM 138++ and RM 68++ per child
Free flow of soft drinks & Juices
A glass of sparkling wine on arrival
Add RM 99++ for free flow of house beer or wine

For reservations and enquiries, kindly please contact +604-238 0000 or email to food.beverage@ghotel.com.my

Let’s have a little preview on what food you would expect for the Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner 2014.

APPERTIZERS: Seafood Cocktail in Martini Glass, Smoked Duck Breast with Fruit Chutney Platter, Marinated Capsicum Salad with Fennel & Olive Dressing, Roasted Chicken Salad with Bean Sprout, Christmas Coleslaw with Apples and Raisins, Assorted Cold Cut with Pickled Vegetables and Sweet Relish, Spicy Pasta Salad, Tomatoes, Avocado & Cheese with Raspberry Dressing, Drunken Chicken Platter, Smoked Salmon & Tenggiri Fish with Horseradish, Assorted Chinese Cold Cut, Cheese Platter with Nuts, Dried Fruits & Pickled Fruits, Vegetables Antipasto.

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VEGETABLES FROM THE SALADS BAR: Ice Berg Lettuce, Romaine, Red Chicory, Cucumber, Cherry Tomatoes, Carrot, Baby Corn, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Red Cabbage, Lollo Rossa & Bionda, Green & Red Capsicum.

DRESSINGS & CONDIMENTS: Thousand Island, French, Italian, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Cocktail Honey Mustard, Mint, Raspberry Vinaigrette, Whole Grain Mustard, Dijon Mustard, Yoghurt, Parmesan Cheese, Black and Green Olive, Sweet Relish, Capers, Gherkin and Pickled Onions.

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FRESH SEAFOOD ON ICE: Flower Crab, yabis, Prawns, Mussels & Scallops with lemon wedge, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Kikkoman soy, gari & wasabi Japanese sushi bar, California hand rolls, sashimi, tuna, salmon and butterfish.

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SHOW KITCHEN LIVE COOKING: The SMP pizza, Marguerite Pizza, Salmon Fantasy Pizza, Surf N Turf Quesadilla, Pasta Station – Penne, Spaghetti, Linguine, Napolitana, Carbonara and Bolognaise.

SOUPS: Cream of Pumpkin with Smoked Chicken, Braised Dried Scallop and Crab Meat Soup

CARVERY: Roasted Turkey with Apple Cranberry Sauce & Giblet Gravy with Traditional Stuffing, Roasted Beef with Green Pepper Corn Sauce, Garlic Sauce, Mint Sauce and Condiments.

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FROM BARBEQUE GRILLER: Salmon, Cat Fish, Squid, King Prawn, Steak, Slipper Lobster, Lamb Chop, Chicken Chop, Beef Steak, Chorizo & Bratwurst Sausage, Grilled Vegetables, Corn on Cob & Baked Potatoes with 6 Types of Sauce and Condiments.

HOT FROM THE CHAFING DISH: Turkey Piccata Milanese, Sautéed Farmer New Potatoes, Grilled Fish Fillet with Dill Cream Sauce, Oyster al Gratin, Minced Chicken and Mushroom Pie, Roasted Duck with Apricot Glazed, Crispy Chicken with Mango Sauce, Buttered Baby Young Corn, Brussels Sprout, Carrot, Fennel and Cauliflower, Lamb Osso buco with creamy polenta shitake mushrooms, Wok Fried Beef with Capsicum, Almond Butter Rice, Udon Noodle with Bean Sprout and Seafood.

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DESSERTS: Warm Christmas Puddings with Vanilla Sauce, Chocolate Banana Cake, Tiramisu in Glass, Assorted Christmas Cookies, Pumpkin Pie, Assorted French Pastries, Christmas Yule Log Cake, New York Cheese cake, Christmas Fruit Cake, Christstollen, Raspberry Panna Cotta in Glass, Macaroons, Cinnamon Banana Bread Pudding, Strawberry Chocolate Mousse, Mini Fruit Tartlets, 8 Types of Fresh Tropical Fruit, Rojak with Condiments & Paste, Dark & White Chocolate Fountain, Ice Cream, Ice Kacang and Waffles with Condiments. There will also be a selections of Coffee & Tea.

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For takeaways, Christmas goodies are available at the Gingerbread House and the bakery gifts are a lovely way of sending warm holiday wishes to everyone. Choose from a variety of tasty and freshly baked Assorted Christmas Cookies, Assorted Macaroon, Christmas Fruit Cake, Christmas Log Cake, Christmas Minced Pie and many more sweet delicacies.

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The G Cafe is located at the ground floor of G Hotel. If you walk in through the front entrance along Persiaran Gurney, just head towards the end of the reception counter and you will see the café on your left. The café has an al fresco area too.

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Name: G CAFE @ G HOTEL
Address: 168-A Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-238 0000
Business Hours: 7.00pm-10.30am
GPS: 5.437637, 100.310567

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)

 

Hard Rock Hotel Penang will be having a few promotions this festive season to pamper rock star wannabes in Penang under the expertise of the hotel’s Executive Chef, Chef Zul, whom also bagged “The Best Western Chef “ Award in this year’s 7th Gastronomique Penang. Do enjoy his delightful holiday treats this Christmas & New Year eves at Starz Diner @ Hard Rock Hotel Penang from 6.30pm until 10.30pm. Please call +604-886 8057 or email fb.penang@hardrockhotels.net to book earlier to avoid disappointment.

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The Christmas Eve Rock ‘n’ Roll Buffet Dinner is priced at RM 160++ per person. You will be expecting a wide selection from the sushi bar, salad bar, platters, hot dishes, action station, carving station, desserts and more.

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Let’s have a peep onto the highlights for the joyous evening as below:

First, we’ll have Tiger Prawns with Mango and Avocado Salad as appetizer. Fresh prawns with cool salad dressing will always be the best to start off a meal.

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If you are not a fan of seafood, there’ll always be the Seared Rare Beef with Roasted Pumpkin and Pesto. Not a bad combination though but I would prefer some beef jus added to add in more flavors.

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The highlight of any Christmas meal will always be the roasted turkey, what more it’s organically fed without added antibiotic or hormone. We were treated with Roasted Turkey with Giblet Gravy with Cranberry Sauce, Glazed Nuts Stuffing, Sweet Potatoes & Seasonal Vegetables. Oh My… This is the best turkey I ever had and the meat was juicy and tender unlike others. Combined with the condiments of gravy and sauce plus the stuffing, it was a perfect meal for the whole season.

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The next dish which was the Hawaiian Crab Cakes with Green Pea Puree and Grilled Pineapple was awesome. Soft in the inside will the juiciness of the seafood combined with the crusty outer layer was perfect for any party.

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Christmas will not be Christmas without the Chocolate & Cherry Yule Logs. This was one of the good ones around.

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Of course, there’ll be the English Fruit Cake with Glazed Fruits. Sweet as it is, it’s a great dessert to end the dinner over a cup of hot tea.

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On the other hand, the New Eve Buffet Dinner is priced at RM 172++ per person. You would be served with a wide variety of fresh oysters from the Shucked Oyster Bar, chilled seafood, appetizers, Asian corner, shawarma station and many more.

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Some of the recommendations would include Tuna Fish Nicose with Palm Shoyu Dressing, Scallops & Beetroot Salad with Vinaigrette, Chicken Galantine with Berry Relish, Roasted Pumpkin with Tomato Basil Brea & Grissini – Pesto, Pan Seared Salmon with Prawn Capers Salsa, Wok Fried Slipper Lobsters with Dried Chili Flakes & Garlic, Apricot & Vanilla Panna Cottas and Miniature Pandan Cherry Cheese Cake

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On top of that, there’ll be two more promotions for New Year Eve at Pizzeria and Hard Rock Café. Pizzeria will be having its Seafood Buffet Dinner featuring a charcuterie bar, BBQ seafood, pizzas, carving station and more while Hard Rock Café is offering a 4-course dinner at RM 170++ per person featuring a starter, soup, a choice of main course and dessert.

Overall, the dishes are specially crafted for the festive seasons and can be quite palatable for those who love to savor those once a year delicacies, especially that yummy and memorable flavors of the Roasted Turkey and Stuffing that still lingers in my mouth.

The Starz Diner is located at the left wing of Hard Rock Hotel Penang. Upon entering, just head to the left side and you will see a little glass door leading to the eatery.

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Name: STARZ DINER @ HARD ROCK HOTEL PENANG
Address: Batu Ferringhi Beach, 11100 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-881 1711
Business Hours: 6.30am-11.00am, 5.30pm-11.00pm
GPS: 5.467568, 100.241382

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)

 

GURNEY PARAGON MALL’S MID-AUTUMN CELEBRATION 2014

Posted by crizlai On August - 28 - 2014

The Mid Autumn Festival is traditionally celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunisolar month and this year it would fall on 8 September 2014. It’s the 2nd most important festival after the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) to the Chinese as family members and friends from all over the world would gather once again to celebrate this auspicious day over some goodies, while admiring the brightest and fullest moon of the month. It’s also a day associated with reunions, mooncakes, fruits, children, lanterns, Chinese opera, fire dragon dance and more. This year, Gurney Paragon Mall made the tradition even more livelier by not only showcasing exquisite selections of mooncakes in baked skin and snow skin from their in-house restaurants and shops but also from many other external brands, located at St. Jo (Level 1) and “Penang On 6” (Level 6). The promotion will be ongoing from 16 August 2014 until 8 September 2014. Shoppers with a minimum spending of RM 200 and above, in a single receipt, at any of their shopping outlets, can redeem a complimentary Leong Yin pastry’s mooncake (only valid from 5-7 September 2014).

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At the same time, do check out their Mid Autumn Festival Celebration to be held on Saturday, 6 September 2014 at “Penang On 6” from 2.00pm until 9.30pm. Bask in the glow of Mid Autumn atmosphere when “Penang On 6” would be transformed into a realm of celebration with heartwarming lightings and colorful lanterns. Family and friends are invited to enjoy a fun-filled day at Gurney Paragon Mall. Highlights would include Lantern DIY workshop, guessing Chinese riddles session, Photo session with Chinese Opera characters, interactive story-telling session, Chinese diablo, Chinese orchestra, wushu & acrobatic, traditional drum performance, singing performance, cultural dance and many more. The night would end with a Mid Autumn Lantern Walk. So, bring along your own lanterns and enjoy a walk under the moonlight with your family members and friends. In case, you do not have a lantern for your child, you can always purchase one at St. Jo at Level 1. You can also redeem a complimentary pot of tea from Jing-Si Books and Café (Level 6) when you spend RM50 and above in a single receipt at “Penang on 6” or Wei Shiang (Level 6) on 6 September 2014.

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Here are some of the brands of mooncakes available in starting with some from their in-house restaurants and shops.

Dragon-I: http://www.dragon-i.com.my/promotion.asp
Recommended: Frosty Durian Musang King (RM28 for 2 pcs) & Organic Charcoal Skin with Coffee Paste (RM20/pc)
Note: If you are a durian lover, the Frosty Durian Musang King is a MUST HAVE mooncake. You can also dine in the group of restaurants serving wondrous Chinese cuisine – Dragon-I and Canton-I.

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Purple Cane: http://www.purplecane.my/en/31-tea-mooncake
Recommended: Puer, Dang Gui, Chinese Wolfberry & Assorted Nuts Paste (RM11.30/pc), White Tea Purple Potato Lotus Paste (RM9.80/pc) & “No added Sugar” Date Paste (RM8.90/pc)
Note: HALAL & VEGETARIAN. If you are into a healthier diet with the taste for herbal fused flavors, the Puer, Dang Gui, Chinese Wolfberry & Assorted Nuts Paste is a MUST TRY mooncake. Other than that, you can purchase many varieties of tea leaves, flower tea or even green tea powder from all their outlets throughout Malaysia. Packaging can come in a box for one piece, 4 pieces and 6 pieces.

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Some of the external brands of mooncakes available would include:

Casahana: http://www.hytfood.com/casahana/about.php
Recommended: Crimson Opera (RM18.90/pc)
Note: Beetroot juice infused baked crust with cheese and creamy white chocolate lotuis paste filling.

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Fai Fong: http://www.faifong.com.my/
Recommended: Bamboo Charcoal Lotus Paste (RM14.50/pc) and Assorted Fruits, Nuts & Ham (RM16/pc)
Note: Simple as it may be but the Bamboo Charcoal Lotus Paste is filled with flavors.

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Foh San: http://fohsan.com.my/
Recommended: Cappuccino Mooncake (RM14.60/pc) & Purple Rain Mooncake (RM14.60/pc)
Note: Foh San is no longer a new kid on the block as they have been in the food industry for decades, especially with the new premises in Ipoh, Perak, serving various types of delectable dim sum.

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Kam Lun Tai: http://www.klt.com.my/welcome/
Recommended: Shanghai 1 Yolk (RM17.20/pc)
Note: HALAL. The flakiness of the pastry, combined with the smoothness of the lotus paste and saltiness of the duck egg yolk, made this mooncake perfect in every bite.

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Leong Yin: http://www.leongyinpastry.com/
Recommended: Lunar Delight (RM17.50/pc), Intense Wheatgrass Jujubes Splendor (RM17.20/pc) & Ballad of the Moon (RM17.20/pc)
Note: HALAL & VEGETARIAN. All the 3 mooncakes mentioned above have its own unique flavors, especially the Lunar Delight which has a combination of aromatic white coffee and softness of durian cake.

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Mei Xin: http://www.facebook.com/meixinmooncake
Recommended: Egg Custard Mooncake (RM50 for 4 pcs or RM98 for 8 pcs)
Note: From inside to outside, it’s savory and creamy with a delicate mind precious moments to remember. It tasted almost like the custardy steamed buns version but a bit more sandy in texture.

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The Baker’s Cottage: http://www.thebakerscottage.com.my/mooncake.asp
Recommended: Avocado Mango Tango (RM16.80/pc)
Note: The Baker’s Cottage has been one of the main influencers in the food industry for being creative and innovative. You can check out more of their products at their website. As for the Avocado Mango Tango, you can taste the coconut buttery pastry skin with milky avocado lotus paste, mung beans and dried mango bits.

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For more information, please visit Gurney Paragon Mall’s FaceBook Page.

 

* Published in HungryGoWhere Malaysia Food Guide: THE EASTERN & ORIENTAL HOTEL @ Penang

To celebrate Merdeka month, let’s look at 1885 @ Eastern & Oriental Hotel (E&O Hotel) that had existed since pre-independence and is still thrilling diners even until today. The Eastern & Oriental Hotel (E&O Hotel) started in the late 1800s when the renowned Armenian Sarkies brothers, Martin and Tigran, settled down in Penang and established the Eastern Hotel in 1884. With its success, they opened another hotel in 1885, the Oriental, on an adjacent piece of land facing the sea. Both combined, these two hotels became the largest hotel in Penang. In 1891, another Sarkies brother, Arshak, joined the business and a large ballroom in 1903. Thus, the E&O became the centre of the social life and gaiety of Penang and its surroundings. In 1922, Arshak secured a large plot of land for the hotel which extended its already impressive sea frontage. The land now housed the magnificent Victory Annexe with more rooms, making the property larger with 842-foot seafront, the longest of any hotel in the world.

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Today, E&O Hotel still treasures its heritage by retaining its charm and weathered the passage of time with character and grace. Hence, they do have a posh yet affordable eatery named 1885, serving Traditional Afternoon Tea daily at RM56++ per pax. You will get the experience of having tea time snacks with nice crockery tea set and silverware just like how it was during the colonial days. The custom of having afternoon tea was the creation of Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, one of HM Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting, in the late 1700s. The experience was so delightful that it became the tradition of every English household, especially the upper echelon of the English Society.

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For each 1885 Traditional Afternoon Tea set, you would have the option to choose the tea of your choice from 16 types of tea, namely Assam Mokalbarie, Morgentau, Vanilla Roibosh, Raspberry Royal and more. There will be sugar cubes and fresh milk to tweak to your liking.

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Each set will also come with a selection of Finger Sandwiches, Cakes & Tea Pastries and Scones. As for Finger Sandwiches, you would get Smoked Beef Brisket on Village Bread, Cucumber with Sour Cream on Marble Toast, Cheesy Sausage Roll, Smoked Salmon on Poppy Seed Roll, Egg Mayonnaise on Mini Croissant, Marinated Chicken with Horseradish Cream in Mini Vol Au Vent and Marinated Tuna Flakes on Whole Meal Loaf. As for Cakes and Tea Pastries, you would expect to see at least 5 types of dessert of the day. For Scones, you would get one each of Plain and Raisins, served with their homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you would expect for two persons. The shot for the two sets of the tea of your choice is not shown here.

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Overall, their Finger Sandwiches were great as all the bread and rolls were made fresh from their own in-house bakery daily. Three of my favourites were the Cucumber with Sour Cream on Marble Toast (a must have item for English Tea Time), Smoked Salmon on Poppy Seed Roll and Egg Mayonnaise on Mini Croissant. As for Cakes and Tea Pastries, their Cheese Cake is a die for – soft, creamy and cheesy with a light hint of citrus lemon zest. As for Scones, whether it’s a plain one or with raisins, they were heavenly the best ones in town, reputable for that too. With a fragrant outer crust and a warm plus fluffy inner, each mouthful with a light spread of their homemade strawberry jam or clotted cream, will leave you yearning for more. These scones are superbly the best.

You can also check out their National Day Hi-Tea at Sarkies @ E&O Hotel on 31 August 2014 from 12.00noon until 2.30pm, priced at RM78++ (adult) and RM39++ (child). The Hi-Tea will also cover most of their signature dishes such as Roasted Duck, Sushi & Sashimi, Char Koay Teow and more.

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1885 @ E&O Hotel, Penang | Address: 10 Lebuh Farquhar, 10200, Malaysia. | Tel: 604-222 2000 | Opening hours: 2.00pm-5.00pm (Daily) | GPS Coordinates: 5.423311, 100.335874 | Halal

 

Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang will be having its Magnificent Malaysia Promotion for August 2014 (1-31 August 2014), skillfully handled by Jr. Sous Chefs, Chef Ong Chin Hock and Chef Mohd Fauzi. You would be treated with flavorsome Malaysian delicacies that reflect the tradition of its multi-cultural cuisine of Malays, Chinese, Indian and Eurasian specialties.

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To start off, you might get to savor some Malaysian hawker fare dishes such as the Chicken Satay with Condiments (沙爹雞肉串), Pasembur with Peanut Sauce (印度鮮魚配花生醬) or Sup Ekor (牛尾湯). Skews of succulent and well marinated chicken chunks, an assorted of fritters with thick and creamy spicy peanut sauce plus herbs and spices pepped up oxtail soup are some of the Malaysians’ favorites.

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As for main dishes, you would expect to find Daging Rendang Tok (仁當牛肉), Ikan Panggang (烤魚), Assam Prawns (亞參蝦), Ayam Percik (香料烤雞), Kambing Masala (馬薩拉羊), Tempe Masak Sambal (叁巴炒天貝), served with some nicely spiced up Nasi Briyani (印度香飯). I so fell in love with their Ayam Percik as it had just the right combination of spices combined with the fragrant flavors from the added coconut milk.

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For desserts, you would expect to have the Ice Kacang (紅豆冰), Assorted Malay Kuih (馬來糕點) or Banana Fritters (煎香蕉). Their Ice Kacang was one of the best I have tasted. So was the Banana Fritters.

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Overall, the dishes served in the Magnificent Malaysia Promotion 2014 would suit tourists with the knack for Malaysian cuisine which would also include hawker fares right under the same roof.

Here’s the summary of the promotion.

MAGNIFICENT MALAYSIA PROMOTION 2014 (1-31 AUGUST 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: RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)
Festive Occasion: RM78++ (adult), RM39++ (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), RM40++ (child)
Semi Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm):
Sunday – Thursday
RM50++ per pax

For American Express, CIMB Bank, Citibank, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, MasterCard Worldwide, Maybank and UOB Bank card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Semi Buffet Dinner (Sunday to Thursday) and Weekend Buffet Dinner (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
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)

 

Who would say that no one could ever prosper in local product businesses in Penang? One great example would be Gartien(小田佳園), a local manufacturer of pineapple cakes, which obtained their raw pineapples from nearby plantations throughout the southern part of mainland Penang. The Penang Hokkiens would depict pineapples as “Ong Lai! Ong Lai!”, which would translate as “Endless Flow of Prosperity!” in simple English – a great omen to start any business, especially with pineapple products. Within a short two years, Gartien had expanded from a humble heritage unit to double multi-storey units, with more state-of-the-art equipments to cater to the ever increasing demands of its customer. It was indeed an honor for me to be invited to be present at the grand opening of the new Gartien on 20 July 2014. Gartien – a confectionery company set up by a Penang boy, using Penang’s own natural resources to make Penang’s own pride product to promote to the rest of the world – Gartien Pineapple Cakes. Thumbs up!

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The grand opening of Gartien was officiated by YB Dr. Afif bin Bahardin, Pengerusi Pertanian & Industri Asas Tani, Pembangunan Luar Bandar dan Kesihatan, witnessed by Joseph Tan, Gartien’s Pastry Chef, YB Teh Lai Heng, State Assemblyman of KOMTAR, Tuan Haji Ahmad, Pengarah Pertanian Pulau Pinang, Dato Dr. Kenny Ong, Group Executive Chairman of MTT Group of Companies and Mr. Lee See Hai, main supplier/partner.

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(Left to Right) Tuan Haji Ahmad, YB Teh Lai Heng, YB Dr. Afif bin Bahardin, Joseph Tan, Mr. Lee See Hai & Dato Dr. Kenny Ong

The guests-of-honors also unveiled the new Gartien Mid Autumn edition of the pineapple cakes with vibrant and attractive packaging.

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GARfield, the long distance relative of GARtien, also came all the way to witness the grand occasion~ LOL~ 😛

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The grand opening was witnessed by dignitaries, media, bloggers and invited guests. Finger food items catered by Bamboo Catering were also provided during the occasion.

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What makes Gartien Pineapple Cakes so in demand by its loyal fans? Firstly, each delectable piece of the pineapple cakes is filled with strict quality controlled fresh homegrown pineapples cubes minus the preservative and artificial colorings. Thus, you would have pure bites instead of puree. Secondly, it took the pastry chef months of painstaking research and development (R&D) to come out with the perfect ratio for the perfect bite. Each piece of the pineapple cakes is affectionately handcrafted to ensure the right combination of shortbread pastry and filling based on its strict standard operation procedures (SOP). The end product would be an aromatic, crumbly, buttery shortbread pastry with a healthy level of sweetness from the freshly simmered brunoised pineapples. Each guilt-free piece of the pineapple treats would best to go with a cup of hot and unsweetened tea such as Oolong (烏龍茶), Jasmine (茉莉花茶), Ginseng Tie Guan Yin (人參鐵觀音), Earl Grey with a slice of lemon and more.

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Alternatively, these yummy snacks would also go well with unsweetened flower teas such as Rose, Lavender, Butterfly Pea, Chrysanthemum and more.

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PROMOTION FOR MID AUTUMN 2014:

BY 4 AUGUST 2014:
In order to get your FREE BOX of Gartien 小田佳园 Pineapple Cakes with EVERY 5 BOXES purchased, please submit your pre-order form by 4 August 2014 at http://gartien.com/shop/

5 AUGUST 2014 onwards:
In order to get your FREE BOX of Gartien 小田佳园 Pineapple Cakes with EVERY 10 BOXES purchased, please submit your pre-order form at http://gartien.com/shop/

Note: Each box is fixed price throughout the year. The selling price per box with 10 pieces of pineapple cakes is RM45 (self collect only). A fix courier charge of RM10 & RM40 will be applicable to all deliveries within Peninsular Malaysia & East Malaysia respectively.

So, what did Garfield think about Gartien’s pineapple cakes? Well… He would forgo his favorite lasagna for awhile~ LOL~ 😛

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Overall, I find the pineapple cake to be awesome, not only through its freshness and real pineapple texture but also due to its versatility to be served during any occasion. After all, pineapples are low in fat and cholesterol and contain calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, Vitamin B1, B6 & C and dietary fiber, which are rich in nutrients for the body.

Finding the bakery won’t be hard as it is situated right in the heart of George Town, Penang. If you are coming from KOMTAR along Jalan Penang via Jalan Magazine, you would see the outlet just next to the famous Kek Seng Coffee Shop (格成茶室). Parking can be quite limited since it’s a main road. However, the good news is that Gartien had recently worked out a deal with the management of Hotel Central. You can now park your car at their car park via Lorong Bertam and Gartien can stamp your parking ticket for free parking. How convenient it is now, right? 🙂

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Name: GARTIEN @ 小田佳園
Address: 380, Jalan Penang, 10000 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-229 0068
Website: www.gartien.com
Email: info@gartien.com
FaceBook: www.fb.gartien.com/
Business Hours: 9.00am-6.00pm
GPS: 5.416298, 100.329380

RATING:
Ambience: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 4/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 8/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 9/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

NOTE: The July Buffet Promotion has been cancelled until further notice. The management is sorry for any inconveniences.

For the month of July 2014, ZEST Bar Café @ GLOW by Zinc, would be having its July Weekend Buffet Dinner (4-27 July 2014), within its modern and chic hotel, located right in the heart of George Town. The timely arranged buffet dinner would also be in line with the holy month of Ramadhan where diners would get to savor their specially handcrafted Malay cuisine in the confort of the café. The promotion would be priced at RM45+ (adults)/RM25.50+ (children) from 7.00pm until 10.00pm, only of Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Special arrangements can be made for groups of 30 pax and above. Do call +604-226 0084 now to make your reservation.

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Basically, the spread would include starters and appetizers such as dates, assorted pickles, assorted crackers, assorted fresh greens with dressings, assorted local (herbs & vegetables) ulam-ulaman with dressings such as sambal belacan, budu and cincalok, Gado Gado with Peanut Sauce, Kerabu Ayam, Kerabu Manga Muda, Acar Jelatah Acar Awak, assorted salted fish and salted duck eggs.

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As for main dishes, you could expect to have Chicken Tomyam Soup, Vegetables Dalcha, Grilled Lamb with Rosemary Sauce, Udang Masak Lemak Cili Padi, Grilled Dory with Cheese Sauce, Rendang Daging, Sotong Goreng Kunyit, Ayam Masak Merah, to be served wiyh Nasi Briyani with Raisins or plain white rice. I rather like the Rendang (Beef Rendang) as the beef slices were tender and juicy to my liking. Flavor wise, it was like a crossed between Rendang Tok Perak and Opor Daging Pahang. Another dish which was packed with flavors would be the Ayam Masak Merah.

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For desserts and drink, you could savor some assorted fresh tropical fruit cuts, cakes, jellies, puddings, bubur kacang, local Malay kuih and free flow of jus kurma and sirap bandung.

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Overall, I find the dishes served here lacked of options and to my preferred quality compared to the price charged. Some of the dishes such as the Gado Gado, Vegetables Dalcha and Chicken Tomyan Soup had gone over the border of fusion or lacking of some major ingredients, thus losing their authentic flavors. For example, though the peanut sauce was great, the Gado Gado lacked of potatoes and “melinjo nuts” emping crackers. The Vegetables Dalcha on the other hand had too many unnecessary vegetables such as celery, tomatoes, yardlong beans when simple usages of just lentils, carrots, potatoes and eggplants would just be sufficient to go with the spiced rice. The Chicken Tomyam Soup was also a disappointment as it tasted like a sweetened chicken soup with vegetables with some added chili oil. I also wondered what had happened to the basic five flavors (sweetness, saltiness, sourness, spiciness and herb aroma) for the famous dish. One top of the lacking in saltiness to balance up the sweetness in any dish, the soup tend to lack the sourness from some lime juice, the spiciness from some added cili padi and the fragrance from the usages of abundant lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Moreover, the desserts were too normal and lacked of choices. In fact, all of them were towards sweetness. Malay kuih would also consist of savory items such as popiah goreng with chili sauce, cucur badak, karipap, cucur udang and more. With the Pasar Ramadhan available throughout the month, I can’t see why they couldn’t get in more options. Frankly speaking, I would rather have those set dinner meal for the weekend buffet as what they did for Fathers’ Day at a lesser price rather than seeing them serving these common spread of dishes at such pricing. At least the kitchen would be more manageable and thus would also be able to cut down on food wastages.

ZEST Bar Cafe @ GLOW by Zinc is located at the 1st floor of the hotel along Jalan Macalister just opposite Red Rock Hotel. There are about 20 car park spaces in this hotel with 10 spaces available right in front of the hotel and another 10 spaces behind the hotel via Jalan Naning (opposite Sum Sum Motors). There are also many coupon based parking spaces available surrounding the hotel. Please make sure you have your parking coupons ready as you would need to pay between 9.00am and 5.00pm. However, effective 1 July 2014, valet services would be available for your convenience.

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Name: ZEST BAR CAFÉ @ GLOW BY ZINC
Address: 101 Jalan Macalister, 10400 George Town, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-226 0084
Business Hours: 7.00pm-10.00pm (July Weekend Buffet: Friday-Sunday only)
GPS: 5.416638, 100.322952

RATING:
Ambience: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 6/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 6/10 (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)

 

During the month of Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims to break their fast or buka puasa, diners can enjoy scrumptious traditional Malay buffet spreads at all the Vistana brand name hotels nationwide. Under the theme “Tok Wan 101 Recipes”, the promotion which would start from 29 June 2014 until 27 July 2014, would be priced at RM48++ per adult and RM30++ per child (aged 4-12 years old). If you have a great appetite for great authentic Malay cuisine, this is one place you should not miss out for varieties and taste.

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Let’s have a look at all the sections catered just for this occasion. Please take note that some of the dishes might be replaced with another dish based on the local availability of raw ingredients or products. Firstly, you would have the outdoor area for grills. There would be Chicken Satay, Beef Satay, accompanied by condiments such as the fragrant satay peanut sauce, cucumber, onions, nasi impit (lontong/Malay rice cake) and Muar-style Otak Otak. Moreover, there would also be a Whole Roasted Lamb, served with black pepper sauce and mint yoghurt sauce. For Char Koay Teow lovers, you sure won’t want to miss out a try on Penang’s famous delicacy.

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As for the indoor area, let’s start with the basics. On the starter’s spread would be the Ulam-ulaman Tempatan (local raw salad herbs and vegetables) such as Ulam Raja (cosmos caudatus), Ulam Pegaga (asiatic pennywort), Daun Selom (water dropwort leaves), Cucumber, Yardlong beans, Kacang Botol (four-angled beans), Tomato, Cabbages and Daun Kaduk (wild betel leaves), together with condiments such as Sambal Belacan Asli, Sambal Belacan Mangga Kampung, Sambal Belacan Nenas Madu, Budu and Cincalok. There would also be a Western salad section with capsicum, onions, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, purple cabbage and carrots, accompanied by dressings such as thousand island, Italian, French and balsamic vinaigrette.

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You should also check out the appetizer’s section for dishes such as Kerabu Ulam (spicy mixed salad herbs), Kerabu Mangga (spicy mango salad), Acar Jelatah (cucumber, pineapple and carrot pickles), Tempe Ikan Bilis (anchovies tempe salad), Kerabu Sotong (spicy squid salad), Kerabu Ikan Tuna (spicy tuna salad), Kerabu Taugeh (spicy bean sprouts salad), Kerabu Ubut-ubur (spicy jelly fish salad), Kerabu Kaki Ayam (spicy chicken feet salad), Cucumber & Mint Raita and Cucumber Salad.

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On top of that, there would also be the Pasembur, Taukua Sumbat (stuffed bean curd), a variety of deep fried salted seawater and fresh water fish (Ikan Masin Goreng) such as Ikan Gelama (common jewfish), Ikan Sepat (gourami/trichopodus trichopterus) and Ikan Bulu Ayam (anchovy family/thryssa mystax/moustached thryssa).

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You can also check out the assortment of fruit pickles (pelbagai jeruk) and crackers (Keropok Ikan, Keropok Udang & Papadum) too.

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Before starting off with the main dishes, let’s have a look at the action counters for lighter palate of local fares. You would have the Murtabak Ayam, served with Chicken Curry and Dhaal Curry; the Bread & Rolls section with assorted soups such as Soto Ayam (Indonesian chicken soup), Sup Kambing Berempah (spiced mutton soup) & Sup Daging Utara (beef soup); and the Noodles section where you would have soup based such as prawn, chicken and curry.

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The Main Dishes section would be a spoil for options as you would have dishes ranging from Malay cuisine with a light mix of Chinese cuisine. Dishes to watch out would include Nasi Putih, Nasi Beriyani, Nasi Tomato Ayam Goreng Madu Berbijan, Daging Rendang Tok, Masak Lemak Ketam Bunga, Ikan Goreng Berempah & Daun Kari, Ayam Percik, Sotong Goreng Kunyit Berkuah, Gulai Itik Serati Kelantan, Kambing Kurma Ala India, Pajeri Terung, Sayur Kobis Goreng Kunyit, Kailan Masak Ikan Masin, Sambal Kangkung, Ayam Masak Rempah Hijau, Daging Masak Lada Hitam, Kepah Masak Cili Kering, Ikan Tilapia Masak Manis Masam, Kacang Panjang Goreng Sambal Udang Kering and Sayur Campur Ala Cina. There would also be an action counter serving your fresh fish in their signature Kari Ikan Dengan Bendi Ala Mamak.

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To end your meal, you can always start with the fruit sections. You would have the Rojak Buah (fruit rojak) with local tropical fruits options, served with thick and delicious rajak sauce, crushed peanuts and toasted sesame seeds. There would also be a fresh fruit cuts section where you could also savor some seasonal fruits such as the mangosteens. Coffee and Tea would also be available here with options such as Teh Tarik and Nescafe Tarik on top of the availability of Air Sirap Ros on each table.

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As for those with sweeter tooth, there would be 2 sections of Desserts areas serving you a mixture of Western and local delicacies. The varieties would include Bubur Kacang, Bubur Gandum, Bubur Pulut Hitam, Bubur Jagung, Chinese Pancake, Sesame Balls, Assortments of Puddings and Jellies, Tartlets, Pandan Layer Cake, Cheese Cake, Bread Pudding, Sago Gula Melaka, Floating Island, English Trifle, Crème Brulee and Herbal Jelly.

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Local delicacies would include the Malaysian Kuih-Muih such as Karipap, Popiah Goreng, Donut, Kuih Ketayap, Kuih Cara Manis, Kuih Keria, Kuih Puteri Ayu, Kuih Bingka Jagung, Kuih Lapis and more.

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There would also be a counter for your favorite Penang Ais Kacang, Cendul and a selection of Ice Cream flavors.

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Overall, the spread of dishes for the Ramadan promotion was indeed overwhelming, considering that its offered price is also very attractive. Moreover, there would also be prayer rooms to further cater to its Muslim guests celebrating this blessed month. The “Tok Wan 101 Recipes” Ramadan Buffet is priced at RM48++ per adult and RM30++ per child (aged 4-12 years old) from 29 June 2014 until 27 July 2014. The ballroom can only cater up to 500 pax at one time, so do call in +604-646 8000 to make your advance reservations to avoid any disappointment.

The ballroom is located at the left side as you enter the hotel lobby of Vistana Hotel Penang along Jalan Bukit Gambir. Just follow your nose and it would surely lead you to the aromatic section of the hotel. You can park your car in the basement which would require you to get a token from the receptionist to scan your way out.

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Name: GROUND FLOOR BALLROOM @ VISTANA HOTEL PENANG
Address: 213 Jalan Bukit Gambir, 11950 Bukit Jambul, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604- 646 8000
Business Hours: 6.30pm-9.30pm (Ramadan Buffet from 29 June 2014 until 27 July 2014)
GPS: 5.336334, 100.291527

RATING:
Ambience: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 9/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 8/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 6/10 (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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