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WHO’S BRYAN @ ALL SEASONS PLACE FARLIM PENANG

Posted by crizlai On April - 6 - 2013

If you are driving into Farlim, Penang, via Lebuhraya Thean Teik, you would notice that there’s a premier lifestyle destination known as the All Seasons Place built by Belleview Group, where they promised that the whole family would get to enjoy the best shopping, dining and entertainment experiences all year round. I would say there are quite a number of eateries over there ranging from fruit tea, desserts to many overseas franchised cafes and restaurants. What caught my attention was the café named Who’s Bryan, which has another two outlets in Butterworth as well as in the heart of George Town, Penang. Food choices would range from breakfast/brunch, afternoon tea (1 pax: RM21+, 2 pax: RM38+ with 8 different types of cakes & snacks), salad, soup, chicken, fish, red meat, sandwiches, burger, croissant, tortilla wrap, pasta cheese bake, pizza, pasta, local cuisine and light bites.

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To start off the meal, we had Pumpkin Cappuccino Soup (RM8.90+). Who said we can’t have pumpkin soup the cappuccino style? Of course, surely there won’t be any espresso added into the soup but it’s the frothing of the added milk as in cappuccino that had the soup named this way. The serving came with a deep fried mantou rather than croutons as shown in their menu. Frankly speaking, I would rather have some croutons in my soup than a quite dry and chewy mantou. Moreover, it would be great if they had garnished the soup with some chopped spring onions and/or toasted pumpkin seeds or pine nuts. Overall, the soup was reasonably nice to my liking.

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Next we had their much recommended Who’s Crumbly Chicken. It was a piece of well marinated boneless chicken drumstick plus thigh coated with some batter and lots of cornflakes prior to deep frying. It came served with some fries, fresh greens salad and mushroom gravy. Taste wise, it was fine except that I personally felt that they used too thick a batter in order to get such a thick coat of cornflakes. Moreover, the cornflakes were a bit too hard to munch. They should consider another brand with thinner flakes.

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They also do serve pasta. We tried out their Carbonara Seafood (4 choices: Vegetables–RM13.90+, Turkey Ham–RM15.90+, Chicken–RM15.90+, Beef Bacon–RM15.90+ and Seafood – RM16.90+). I guessed I made the right choice as they dish was remarkably delicious for the price paid. It was creamy and the seafood (scallop, mussel, fish, squids & octopus tentacles) was rather fresh and there was a large amount of added Parmesan cheese. Yummy! However, they only use carrots, onions and celery to sweeten the sauce. I would have expected some sprinkles of mixed herbs on the dish.

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For lighter bites, you could always order their Mushroom Chicken Bruchetta (RM10+). The dish would come with 5 thin slices of toasted baguette, some fresh greens salad and a container of mushrooms and chicken chunks in cheesy sauce. I quite like the flavor of cheese. However, I found the sauce to be a bit too salty to my liking. Moreover, the sauce lacked the flavors from some black pepper and herbs.

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Finally, it was dessert time. Currently, they have a promotion for two pieces of cakes from their chiller at only RM13+. The Green Tea Marble Cheese Cake (RM9.90+) looked impressive but it was one of the most disappointing cakes I ever had. How could they use sponge cake as the base? With such a heavy based cream cheese, the cake would have been squashed flat. Moreover, the moist within the cream was drained by the sponge cake until it was so dry and thus having the sandy texture from the green tea powder used. Whoever produced this cake was a total failure. The cake was not fit for consumption at all.

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The second cake which I ordered was the Chocolate Banana Cake (RM10.90+). This was again another miserable product. I did not expect the banana used to be so limited and filled with sap taste from what I suspected to be unripe banana being used. On top of that, the cream was filled with an overpowering taste from added banana essence. The ganache was still fine but the decorated macaron was really soiled. This is another flopped dessert.

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As for beverages, we had an Iced Peach Tea (RM6.50+) which was a bit overpriced for a sachet made version. However, I should give compliment to their Bee’s Latte (RM8.90+). It had added honey and the espresso flavor was really distinctive. It came served with a slice of biscotti which was just average tasting.

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Overall, this café would still be a great place to hang out over some cups of coffee and some light snacks. They do have some in-house bands to entertain you but the music could be quite loud to the ears at times. However, from my point of view, the desserts were totally not presentable and not up to par if you are looking for something to tempt your sweet tooth. They were rather cheap looking but would come with a high price tag.

Who’s Bryan is located at the center span of All Seasons Place, Farlim, Penang. If you are coming from Penang Bridge along Jalan Mesjid Negeri, keep a look out for the traffic lights at the flyover next to Convent Green Lane. Turn left into Lorong Batu Lanchang and drive on while keeping left until you reach another traffic lights T-junction. Turn left into Lebuhraya Thean Teik and drive on for about 600m and you would see the mall on your left. The entrance to the mall would be near the Giant Supermarket. There would be ample parking space there, provided it’s not a weekend when shoppers would do their weekly groceries intake.

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Name: WHO’S BRYAN @ ALL SEASONS PLACE
Address: 6H-1-1, All Seasons Place, Lebuhraya Thean Teik, 11500 Farlim, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-826 9951
Business Hours: 11.00am-11.00pm (Weekdays), 10.00am-11.00pm (Weekends)
GPS: 5.397044, 100.290785

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: 6/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 7/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

If you are in for an exotic spread of spicy, sweet and sour dishes from the regions of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, you should check out the Golden Triangle Promotion at Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, for the month of April 2013 (1-30 April 2013). This promotion would be under the skillful hands of the Executive Sous Chef, Chef Daniel Tan and Guest Chef, Chef Tan Kian Seng (陳湕勝), who has over 2 decades of culinary experiences in various local hotels, specializing in Chinese and Thai cuisine.

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To start off the meal, we had a Laotian appetizer called Larb Ped (老撾辣鴨沙拉). This salad is also quite popular in Thailand until some diners would have the thoughts that it was originated from there. The preparations between both regions were in fact quite similar except that the Laotian had a milder spiciness from the strong usage of bird eye chilies. I quite like this Laotian version though it lacked the burning sensation of the Thai’s “Larb/meat salad” version such as the Spicy Minced Pork Salad (Lab Moo Sub/ลาบหมู) which contained a secret ingredient – coarsely blended toasted raw rice grains.

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Another appetizer that I quite like was the Yum Talay (Thai Spicy Mixed Seafood Salad/泰式香辣海鮮沙拉/ยำทะเล). The dish had a seafood combination of cooked prawns, and mussels, together with some big onions, cucumber, tomatoes, red chilies, coriander, and spring onions, all tossed in a spicy, sweet and sour dressing. Though nice, I personally felt that it needed a little more pepping up of fish sauce (nam pla/น้ำปลา) to bring out the authentic Thai flavors.

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Of course, we also had the ranked #4 dish in the Readers’ Choice: Top 50 Most Delicious Food by CNNGoTom Yam Goong (Thailand’s Spicy Prawn Soup with Lemongrass & Chili/泰式香茅鮮蝦東炎湯/ต้มยำกุ้ง) which has the unique unity of the 4S tastes – spicy, sour, sweet and salty. However, we had a bonus too as the soup also came with some mixed seafood of fish, squids and mussels. I guessed they should have named it Tom Yam Ruam Mit Talay (Thai Spicy Mixed Seafood Tom Yam/泰式酸辣海鮮東炎湯/ตมยามรวมมีดทะเล) instead. Do consume this soup while it’s hot or it may have a heavier salty aftertaste.

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As for the main course, you would have the Gaeng Keaw Wan Gai (Thai Green Curry Chicken/泰式青咖哩雞/แกงเขียวหวานไก่). Thai Green Curry Chicken has always been my favorite as I always love the fresh taste Thai basil leaves, kaffir lime leaves and Thai eggplant. However, I detested the bright green coloring on the chicken pieces though they have been marinated naturally overnight with the fresh juices of capsicums and parsley. I rather have them in their natural state.

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Another of the main courses would be the Mohinga (Burmese Fish Noodles/Burmese Laksa/緬甸魚面). I’m a frequent consumer of the Mohinga, cooked the traditional way by actual Burmese and I found the ones served here to lack the volume and balance in ingredients. Basically, it was just fish gravy on rice vermicelli (the local version instead of the actual version where gram flour/chickpea flour/chana dahl is used) with Thai basil and red chilies as garnishes. Though the fish gravy had the standard flavors but the whole dish lacked the crunch, creaminess and spiciness. They should have added in some sliced raw snake beans, hard boiled eggs, fried split chickpea fritters, fish cakes and sliced coriander leaves with a separate serving of chili flakes for that extra spiciness. At least, by doing so, it would not be so astray from the traditional recipe.

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You would also get to try out the Or Lam (Laos Green Vegetables Stew/老撾燜蔬菜). There is actually no fixed recipe for Or Lam as you can practically put in whatever you have in small quantities, may it be vegetables, meat or fish (sometimes can be known as Or Ro). What we had here basically consisted of morning glory, mushrooms and eggplant stewed together in a mildly spicy and thick meat broth with a mild hint of lemongrass being used. The dish was nothing fanciful but was good enough for those who love mushrooms a lot.

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You might also get Khao Mok Gai (Laos Steamed Chicken Rice/老撾雞飯). This dish is almost similar to the Malaysian Style Nasi Briyani, except this hybrid Laos/Thai version had a milder or non usage of turmeric or saffron. The taste of the Laos version had some slight differences in fragrance as it was not as aromatic as the Malaysian’s without the usage of ghee or butter.

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This Laos steamed rice may come with a deep fried chicken as one of the options during semi-buffet.

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Another option for the semi-buffet would be the Pad Thai (Thai Style Stir Fry Flat Noodles/泰式炒粿條/ผัดไทย), ranked #5 in the revamped list of Readers’ Choice: Top 50 Most Delicious Food by CNNGo. I’m sure you would like this stir fried flat noodles with eggs, fish sauce, tamarind juice, deep fried bean curd, chives and prawns with some condiments of crushed peanuts, sugar, chili flakes, lime and more.

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As for dessert, we had Khao Neaw Mamuang (Mango Sticky Rice/香芒椰漿糯米/ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง). The coconut milk steamed glutinous rice was served with some slices of hybrid local mangoes and some slightly salted coconut cream. Taste wise, it was normal as I prefer those with fresh coconut cream instead. Moreover, it lacked some extra flavors from some deep fried mung beans or toasted sesame seeds as garnish.

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Another dessert we had was the Tub Tim Krob (Jellied Water Chestnut Rubies with Jackfruit in Coconut Milk/泰式馬蹄椰漿露/ทับทิมกรอบ). Frankly speaking, I do not quite like this dessert here. Firstly, it was the boxed coconut milk being used. Secondly, it was the jellied water chestnut rubies was diced too fine and lost their crunch. Thirdly, they can forget about adding the cendul in there as the frozen texture of the “pandan noodles” was totally out. I guessed the kitchen ought to revamp the whole dessert properly before serving its diners.

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Overall, some of the dishes served here still have rooms for improvements as the taste and flavors were rather localized. Somehow, the recipes for the dishes were a bit way too out in flavors compared to those traditional ones and did not attract much of my attention anyway. Let’s hope they will come out with more authentic flavored dishes for this promotion.

Here’s the summary of the Golden Triangle Promotion.

GOLDEN TRIANGLE PROMOTION (1-30 APRIL 2013)
Lunch (12.00 noon – 2.30pm): Monday – Friday
RM48++ (adult), RM24++ (child)
Hi-Tea (12.00 noon – 3.00pm): Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays
Normal weekend: RM55++ (adult), RM28++ (child)
Festive Occasion: RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)
Semi Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Monday – Thursday
RM48++ per pax

For MAYBANKARD, Standard Chartered Bank, OCBC Bank, CIMB Bank and CITIBANK card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Golden Triangle Semi Buffet Dinner (Monday to Thursday) and Weekend Buffet Dinner (Friday to Sunday) 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: 7/10 (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)

 

SPECIAL PROMOTION FOR MY READERS: Just print this banner by showing my blog URL (http://www.crizfood.com/2283/chef-petrs-catch-seafood-buffet-sarkies-eastern-oriental-hotel-penang/) and make an early reservation with the hotel (604-222 2000 ext 3601/3602) before 24 April 2013 and you are entitle to dine in with a discounted rate of RM80++/pax (adult) and RM38++/pax (child). Offer only limited to the first 80 early reservations. One printout is for one pax only. Terms & Conditions apply.

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If you are in for a seafood buffet of a different kind, do check out Chef Petr’s Catch at Sarkies @ E&O Hotel, Penang. Priced at RM110++/pax (adult) and RM48++/pax (child), you’ll get to savor quite a variety of imported seafood such as Alaskan Snow Crab Claws, Boiled River Cray Fish, Duo of Gravlax, Fresh Oysters on Ice, Marinated Cuttlefish, Seasoned Squid, Deep Fried Snow Crab Claws, Poached Black Mussels, Oyster Omelette and many more on a rotation basis. The seafood promotion which would be held on every Wednesday of the month would last until the end of April 2013. The seafood promotion would be headed by Chef Petr Feher, Executive Chef of E&O Hotel.

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There were a few sections for this seafood buffet, starting with the Salad Section, Appetizer Section, On Ice Section, Baked, Grilled, Fried & Roasted Section, Hot Dishes Section, Action Counters, Fresh Fruit Cuts Section, Sweet Dessert Section to Hot Beverages Station. Let’s start the meal healthy with the Salad Section. This section practically has a variety of items such as frisee, rocket, romaine lettuce, purple cabbage, red & green corals, iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, olives, onion rings, pickles, dried fruits, croutons, pine nuts, sauteed mushrooms & garlic, capers and more with a selection of 8 dressings. On top of that, there was also a section where you can have some crackers to go with a variety of cheese such as Cheddar, Emmenthaler, Limberger, Camembert and more plus vegetable sticks for your crudités.

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As for the Appetizer Section, there are many choices ranging from raw to cooked items. Some of the dishes included Salmon Sashimi, Assorted Sushi/Maki, Chuka Wakame, Chuka Idaho, Duo of Gravlax, Gado Gado, Grilled Vegetables, Canapes, Assorted Ready Made Salads, Smoked Mackerel (Tenggiri), Pan Seared Tuna and more.

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On Ice Section was where all the imported seafood attractions were located. We have the famed Alaskan Crab Claws, River Cray Fish, Prawns, Black Mussels and Fresh Oysters.

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Along this stretch would be the Baked, Grilled, Fried & Roasted Section where you can savor the famed E&O Roasted Duck. It was indeed one of the best in town. On top of that, you can have some Cheese Baked Oysters, Oyster Omelette, Herbs Roasted Beef & Lamb, Grilled Meat (Beef, Lamb, Satay & Sausages), Grilled Seafood (Salmon & Scallop), Deep Fried Prawns, Spring Rolls, Samosa & Pandan Wrapped Chicken.

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While waiting for your grilled items, you could always pay a visit to the Hot Dishes Section. Of course, there would be the Soup Station here where we had Onion Soup plus Tomyam Soup served with some bread and dinner rolls. On top of that, there would also be some Steamed Rice to be taken with a variety of hot dishes such as Masak Kicap Kambing (Dark Sauce Lamb), Roasted Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce, Sweet & Sour Fish (Deep Fried Sea Bass), Stir Fried Fish with Dried Chilies, Prawns in Coconut Paste, Thai Style Beef in Yellow Curry, Baked Potatoes and Chinese Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables.

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There was also the Action Counters where you can order your choice of Fried Noodles plus Stir Fried Seafood.

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As for the Dessert Section, there would be two stations. One station would have a variety of fresh fruit cuts while the other would serve all the sweet temptations such as cakes, pastries and ice cream. You could also gather some sweet treats at the so called “Dessert Tree” in the middle of the dining room.

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Scattered around the dining area would be two Hot Beverages Stations. There would be some Brewed Coffee & Tea and a machine for you to make your choice of coffee. You can be creative here too just like how I made my Affogato with 2 scoops of Vanilla ice cream plus double shots espresso. 😛

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Overall, the quality of the seafood is there with quite a number of imported seafood. However, since it’s a seafood theme with such an amount charged, the combination of seafood ought to be improved further with more options rather than using the same few seafood species and preparing them differently. Moreover, the combination of dishes is 3:2 for seafood versus meat. Ideally, it should be 7:3 or 4:1 combinations. For example, preparations of oysters have 3 types, namely fresh, cheese baked and omelette. Prawns also have 3 styles, boiled, fried and curry. The usage of salmon is definitely in abundance from sashimi, sushi, canapés, gravlax or even grills. Personally, I felt that the kitchen should infuse more local seafood with Asian flavors into the theme to make it more interesting. I’m sure both locals and tourists would love to try out our Banana Leaves Grilled Stingray, Sambal Stuffed Hardtail Mackerel or even various Portugese Seafood Grills, right? Even without the usages of the local seafood, the seafood theme should be more international. It could just be with the addition of the Spanish’s Gambas Al Ajillo or Stuffed Grilled Squids or the French’s way of Simple Baked Fish with herbs, salt & pepper. On top of that, some of the dishes served tend to be on the salty side while others were under flavors. The desserts may be attractively colorful and abundant but somehow they consisted mostly of different versions of cupcakes and macarons or a mix & match of both, a bit lack in unique choices.

Current Promotions by E&O Hotel can be viewed clearer by clicking and downloading the photo below:

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Sarkies is located at the new wing of Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang (next to Penang Bowl) along Lebuh Farquhar. If you are coming from Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah towards Weld Quay, keep to your left immediately after passing by CitiBank. When you see the Penang Bowl building on your left (UMW Toyota opposite), please slow down. Turn left immediately after the Penang Bowl entrance. The E&O Hotel car park is situated just inside the building. Parking charges would be a maximum of RM6 (weekdays: Monday-Thursday) and RM12 (weekends: Friday- Sunday)

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Name: SARKIES @ EASTERN & ORIENTAL HOTEL
Address: 10 Lebuh Farquhar, 10200 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-222 2000
Business Hours: 7.00pm-10.30pm (Chef Petr’s Catch on Wednesday only)
GPS: 5.423624, 100.334988

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: 9/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

If you love someone, whether if that person is your girl friend, wife, mother, daughter, etc, let them know how much you appreciate them in your life by showering them with more love during this coming Valentine’s Day. Let the dedicated staff of Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel Penang, provide you with the memorable Valentine’s Day Set Dinner at RM238++ per couple, inclusive of 2 glasses of house wine or mocktail and a surprise gift. This dinner would be under the skillful hands of the Executive Sous Chef, Chef Daniel Tan Chia Yang.

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As for Appetizer, you would be served with Duck Confit Lasagna with Lily Pulp, Spinach & Sun Dried Tomato Essence. The award winning entry by Chef Daniel Tan in Bangkok, was indeed something unique in flavors and had the perfect combination to start a meal. The 3 layers of round shaped pastas had some well braised duck meat, young spinach and lily pulps stuffed in between them and topped with a slice of sun dried tomato and some alfalfa. Just a taste of the gravy and you would know that the duck had undergone long hours of braising to extract that flavorful taste. The young spinach wasn’t fibrous at all and the lily pulps added some extra crunches. Thumbs up! This appetizer was indeed of top class.

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As for Soup, there would be the Seafood Consommé with Pearl Vegetables and Egg Custard. Compared to last year’s soup option, this year’s soup was of a clearer version. It was light and without distinctive seafood taste. The consommé came with some colorful Parisian cut carrots, green and yellow cucumber, on top of a slice of egg custard, a tiger prawn, topped with some monk fish black caviars and garnished with some chopped spring onions.

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As for the Main Course, it was either a fish or a chicken dish. The first option would be the Oven Roasted Sea Bass rolled with Lobster Mousse served with Spicy Sauce. No doubt this dish would be quite unique on its own but the sauce could be a bit too spicy sweet for many. Unless you favor dishes like Thai style sweet & sour fish, you might want to consider having the next option.

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The next main course option was the Grilled Chicken Supreme rolled with Asparagus & Cheese served with Morels Cream Sauce. The grilled chicken was almost similar to how you would stuff a chicken cordon bleu with ham and cheese. Instead, the choice chicken meat was stuffed with asparagus and cheese instead. What excelled in this dish was the morel cream sauce which was heavenly delicious. The creamy and flavorful sauce had a high usage of morels (also known as Morchella, a wavy shaped edible mushroom species) and the earthly flavor combined with the usage of heavy cream with some herbs was a perfect match for the grilled chicken.

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As for dessert, a combination of Spicy Mango Cheese Cake, deep Fried Iced Chocolate & Praline was served.

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The unique one amongst the 3-in-1 palate of dessert would be the Spicy Mango Cheese Cake. It was the chef’s special creation to depict love. It would be quite a complicated dessert for many couples but once you start the first mouthful, you would get to accept its hidden meaning. Love is not so complicated after all. 😛 Here’s how I would interpret the overall dessert presented for the night. “LOVE sparks when there are lots of NATURAL SWEETNESS (SWEET strawberry, dragon fruit & apple). Though, some would experience some SOURNESS (SOUR strawberry, dragon fruit & apple). At the base, it’s filled with lots of UNCERTAINTIES & BOUNCINESS (sponge cake). Then, slight HARDSHIP (nutmeg bits) seeps in when you began to linger in the CREAMY RELATIONSHIP (cream cheese – some love it & some detest it). As the relationship becomes FIRMER with some SPICINESS (mango gelatin with bits of chili paddy and red chili), more HARDSHIP might set it (cream cheese with nutmeg bits) when you tried to stay on with what might not be yours. If you are strong to overcome the relationship with more STRENGTH & SPICINESS (top mango gelatin with bits of chili paddy and red chili) plus a bit more of BITTERNESS (accompanied deep fried iced chocolate & dark chocolate praline), you would feel that there’s a TRUE SWEETNESS hidden at the end of your feast when you gobble all down at once. That’s LOVE~ COMPLICATED as it may sound but SWEET if you know how to appreciate it right from the beginning.” Quoted by Criz Lai~ 🙂

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Here’s a peep at how the dinner setting would be.

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As for the surprise gift, it would be a set of teddy bears as shown below.

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Overall, the quality for the Valentine’s Day Dinner was better than the previous year. On top of that, Eastin Hotel Penang would also be throwing in a special stay over room rate of RM120++/night for only dine-in couples. This offer is only valid on Valentine’s Day.

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
Business Hours: 6.30pm-10.00pm (Valentine’s Day only)
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: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

Many people would have passed through the stretch of Jalan Kelawei without noticing that there’s this little cozy yet simple setting restaurant just two doors away from Meijiya, a Japanese products crockery store. Named Eighty Eight Restaurant, after the birth year of the chef-cum-owner, Chef Danny Ng (center in photo below), the restaurant has proven to be one of the best of the best in Penang. Trained at the reputable At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy in Singapore, Chef Danny Ng has brought home many international style of cooking techniques that not many restaurants in Penang are executing as it involved humongous investment and is rather time consuming. To the chef, getting a dish done perfectly in taste and texture to the fulfillment of a diner is what he’s passionate about and time is another matter. Sous-vide, a vacuum cooking technique, is regularly practiced in this restaurant. We were glad to be invited to try out their ala carte dinner menu for the month. Set lunch would also be available at RM30+ daily, except for their off day on Tuesday.

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As the meal starter, we were served with hot Muffin Bread with Burned Butter. The clean sliced homemade muffin bread had the texture which I like as it has a bit chewy consistency. It went well with the chef’s burned butter, a browning process of unsalted butter until the required almost nutty flavor. Everyone was pleased with this starter and was eagerly waiting for the chef’s next surprise.

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The chef’s version of Caesar Salad (RM20+) was served. Though simple as it may look, the cold starter was indeed a master piece by itself. It had sliced crispy baby romaine lettuce, confit cherry tomatoes, anchovies, shredded egg white and yolk, dressed in their homemade caesar dressing, garnished with a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano and some thinly sliced muffin bread crouton. It was perfect for any occasion.

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In case you might want to try a different cold starter, I would strongly recommend the Jamón Ibérico (RM30+). The cold starter came with some paper thin slices of Spanish Cured (Black Iberian Pig) Ham, drizzled with balsamic reduction, Spain imported extra virgin olive oil, garnished with some leafy baby rockets and served with their homemade fried dough, Gnocco Fritto, little pillows as they have been known.

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The crispy surface of the fried dough, wrapped with a slice of the cured ham, combined with a leaf of baby rocket was amazing. I could have this starter all night long without any main course~ LOL~ 😛

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As for hot starter, we tried out their Saute Clams (RM20+). It was a totally new experience at all compared to the Vongole in White Wine Sauce I had tried elsewhere. The clams here were cooked differently as in prawn stock, fresh tomatoes, oven dried tomatoes, basil and parsley with a light touch of brandy. The light bitter sweetness sauce was heavenly. How I wished I could dip some toasted bread in it and drained up any remaining of the sauce. Of course, the clams were super fresh and cooked with just the right texture.

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We were also served with bowls of Prawn Bisque (RM26+), a soup that was milder than the Lobster Bisque I had in another restaurant. Though it had a quite intrusive roasted white prawn shells flavor which some might not be used to, I found the soup to be quite interesting. It had chunks of squids and clam meats added in on top of halved big prawn, some diced tomatoes and chopped parsley plus sprinkles of grounded black pepper with a light pep up in taste from some parsley oil. The whole concoction was very flavorful, though I quite like it to have some additional white wine and cognac flavors in it for some extra boosts~ 😛

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The restaurant was kind enough to compliment us with their homemade Strawberry Sorbet (normal price for a larger scoop is RM8+) for clearing off the lingering seafood after taste. The sorbet had some light sprinkles of fleur de sel, a hand harvested and expensive salt to pep up the flavors.

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We also had their signature Seafood Linguine (RM45+) next. Instead of the usual pasta which consisted of basically tomato puree, the version here had the pure flavors from the fish broth used. The ala-minute pasta came with some sundried tomatoes, black olives, cherry tomatoes, capers, clams and prawns with a mild touch of fresh herbs. Though it was a bit pricey for most of us, the contentment was until the extreme. It was the best pasta I had tasted for ages and every bite was worth the value paid.

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As for main, we were served with a fish dish of the month – France imported Whole Baked Sea Bream (RM75+), which was air-flown directly from France with the best care to ensure its freshness. The fish was marinated simple with just some chopped parsley, salt and lemon zest, to ensure that we get the best natural sweetness from the fish. The oven-roasted fish was served with some mashed potatoes, white wine sauce and rocket salad. The texture of the fish was lean and coarse-grained, almost similar to that of the sea bass but thinner. I personally find the price for the barely 400g sea bream to be rather costly. Even though the chef was rather selective in his fish choices, there are still options for other fish species in the local market for self caught fish other than those reared ones. At least, it would enable more diners to savor his skills in preparing his fish dish.

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Another great main dish would be their Oven Roasted Baby Lamb Rumps (RM68+). The Australian imported lamb rumps had gone through many stages of herbs infused pan searing to seal in the flavors prior to being oven roasted until perfection. I would say this dish was the best ever with my experiences in consuming lamb dishes. The tenderness of the lamb pieces were just right without the oozing blood as you would get from most restaurant. The evenly coated charcoal powder added some smoke flavors which complemented the meat real well. The skillfully prepared lamb rumps came served with some Japanese pumpkin pureé, mint jus and baby rocket.

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Finally, desserts were served. We were served one of their signature desserts which was their “Chocolate & Banana” 2012 (RM22+). The dessert had a combination of some frozen Varlhona chocolate mousse with some banana mousse, sprinkled with some chocolate & coffee crumbles and served with their homemade banana ice cream. This was so far one of the most luxurious desserts I have taken, considering that the Varlhona brand is a high-grade luxury chocolate marketed and this choice had 50% dark chocolate content.

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Another of my award winning choice would be their Gratin Sabayone (RM18+). I would anytime choose this dessert over Crème Brulee as the flavors were spectacularly undeniable over the latter. It had some fresh strawberry cuts, dressed with some fortified Marsala wine infused egg based custard prior to being torch burned. This dessert was served with their homemade and non-stabilizer used vanilla ice cream. Be sure to consume the ice cream as it would melt fast.

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We also had a try out on their Vanilla Panna Cotta (RM20+). This Italian style pudding had the natural usage of fresh Vanilla pods as you can clearly see the seed at the base of the pudding. The taste of the Vanilla Panna Cotta served here was way more superior in quality than those served elsewhere with the usage of Vanilla Essence. It was served with mixed berries compote which gave the dessert an extra fruity flavor.

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Overall, I personally felt that this is one of the best fine food restaurants in Penang, considering that all the dishes served here were of fresh ingredients and homemade with the strictest possible discipline to ensure that diners get the best in freshness, taste and presentation. No doubt some of the dishes may look rather simple, you could sense that each dish had the heart of the chef in it, ensuring that every single detail in the dish has the right balance in taste right from the basic stock alone. The creativity of the young chef is beyond his age through his knowledge and experiences throughout his overseas culinary journey. In short, he knows his stuff all too well~ 🙂

If you are coming from George Town towards Tanjung Bungah/Batu Ferringhi along Jalan Kelawei, just watch out for a tall orange flat (Pulau Tikus UDA Flats) at the junction of Jalan Jones/Jalan Kelawei on your left. Slow down and switch on your left indicator, Eighty Eight Restaurant is just right after Kitchen Shop on your left. There would be ample parking spaces right in front of the restaurant.

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Name: THE EIGHTY EIGHT RESTAURANT
Address: 49-A Jalan Kelawei, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-226 2821
Business Hours: 12.00noon-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10.00pm (Closed Tuesday)
GPS: 5.431671, 100.314493

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: 9/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 7/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

HAO SHIANG HOUSE OF NASI LEMAK @ GREEN LANE PENANG

Posted by crizlai On January - 24 - 2013

Recently, more and more restaurants and cafes had opened up in Penang with bombastic names that would attract the curiosities of diners. One such restaurant would be the Hao Shiang – House of Nasi Lemak in the vicinity of Green Lane, Penang. Sophisticated as the name may suggest, it was just another restaurant that is targeting the school children opposite its shop. The menu was simple with not only nasi lemak being served but other breakfast meals.

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To show the Nasi Lemak options available here, I went for a Basic Nasi Lemak Set A (RM2.90). The dish came with a bowl of rice, topped with two spicy sauces, some deep fried anchovies, halved hard boiled egg, pieces of deep fried sardine fish and a slice of cucumber. The rice came cold when I expected it to be at least warm, coming from a shop rather than a roadside stall with prepacked ones. Taste wise, it was rather hard and did not have those fragrant flavors from the usage of coconut milk with some help from some bunches of pandan (screwpine) leaves. The anchovies were barely cleaned well with a strong fishy taste. Moreover, they were rather hard for those with dentures. The halved hard boiled egg was like it was prepared too early as it was rather tough. Though the spicy sauces were reasonably prepared, they did not have that properly sauteed fragrance.

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There was also an addon of Dry Chicken Curry (RM2.50) available of which was not stated in the menu or I being informed by the waitress. It was not bad and the price was reasonable for such a huge piece. There was an offer of RM4.80 for this piece of chicken combined with the Basic Nasi Lemak Set A, a saving of RM0.60.

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Another set named Nasi Lemak “Yuan Yang” (RM5.90), came with a combination two types of flavored coconut milk infused rice. One would be the plain one and the other would be infused with pandan extracts. This set has a different side sides which consisted of some deep fried anchovies, a whole deep fried sardine fish, 2 large tamarind prawns, halved hard boiled egg and 2 slices of cucumber. Again, both there rice were rather cold and hard plus did not have the fragrance required for nasi lemak. The same problem with the hard deep fried anchovies, the fish tasted like salted fish with that overpowering saltiness. The tamarind prawns were fresh but were like marinated in soy sauce and sugar only. The egg was like overnight egg texture. Another failed nasi lemak to me.

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Other than just nasi lemak as the name suggested, they do have breakfast sets to cater to the school children. One such set would be their Breakfast Set B (RM4.90). It came with a set of buttered toasted bread, an omelette, a ham, two sausages and some gigantic baked beans. The only thing I enjoyed here was the baked beans which were superb. The sausages were rather tough to my liking and were not even pan grilled properly.

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You would know how experienced the chef is by just trying out how they prepare their Half Boiled Eggs (RM1.40). The yolk was overcooked and barely oozy as it should be. It should be called three quarter done egg instead.

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There are many selections of hot and cold beverages available here. I managed to try out 2 of the most unique ones in the menu. One of it was the Iced Blended Yam Oreo (RM3.50). Cheap as it may sound, it was definitely not my type of flavors. Combination wise was rather bland with chunks of ice not properly blended. On the other hand, the Iced Orange Coconut Jelly Green Tea (RM3.00) was also quite disappointing. It would be great for kids to quench their thirst with a small amount of coconut jelly but the taste just did not appeal to my liking as it was rather diluted.

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Overall, the food here can be quite mediocre. The food served here would suit school children and elderly more than diners who are looking for a nice hot steaming plate of meal. Though they have been in operation for barely a week, the quality of service could be rather bad, considering that mostly elderly people are handling the kitchen while the waitress barely have knowledge of entertaining all sorts of diners. Please ensure that they repeat what you have ordered as I had my orders missed twice in one dining. All prices are nett here.

Hao Shiang – House of Nasi Lemak is located at a corner unit of a row of shop houses just opposite SMJK Chung Hwa Confucian School along Tingkat Tembaga. You won’t miss it but parking can be quite limited during school/work days.

HAOSHIANGMAP

Name: HAO SHIANG – HOUSE OF NASI LEMAK
Address: 2 Tingkat Tembaga, 11600 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 016-491 2820, 017-771 4218 (Irene Lee)
Business Hours: 6.30am-4.00pm (Closed Sunday)
GPS: 5.391164, 100.301431

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

 

THE SOFT OPENING OF KAMPAI RESTAURANT AT E-GATE PENANG

Posted by crizlai On January - 19 - 2013

NOTE: THIS RESTAURANT HAS CEASED OPERATION.

If you are a frequent diner at Tao Authentic Asian Cuisine at E-Gate Penang, you would have realized that they have been undergoing renovation works for some time since early December 2012. Now the restaurant was opened on 19 January 2013 and has been renamed as Kampai. The restaurant has been refurbished to a simple Taiwanese ambience concept with low stools and open space dining areas, serving Pan Asian cuisine ranging mostly of Taiwanese cuisine with a light selection of cuisines from China, Japan, Korea and more. This new concept is another brainchild of the Managing Director, Mr. Jack Suen (孫有恒) who has brought in the new Taiwanese “quick stir fry” dining concept to Malaysia. About 95 dishes would be available from the order menu, of which 70% would consist of dishes priced at RM9.90++ each. The balance dishes from the order menu ranges between RM6.90++ to RM29.90++ per serving.

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On top of the fixed menu, there would also be live seafood available based on market price as shown on the tag displayed. Some of the choices might be Red Lion, Siakap, Tiger Prawn, Kappa, Crab, Lala and more.

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Other fresh seafood would also be available based on the price displayed on the tags. Options might be octopus, cod fish, oyster, white promfret, scallop, prawn, balitung, bamboo clam, salmon head, sea urchin, trichiurus fish, flower crabs and more.

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We started off with some cold cuts such as the Sashimi Moriawase (盛盒刺身 – RM29.90++), an assortment of raw fish which consisted of salmon, tuna, snapper and mackerel cuts.

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Next was the Smoked Duck (煙燻鴨 – RM9.90++) which came in quite a large portion.

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We also fried out the Taiwanese Spicy Chicken (台式椒痲雞 – RM9.90++) which was quite good as the meat was juicy and tender. However, it lacked a bit more chili flakes for my liking.

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The Garlic Pork (蒜泥白肉 – RM9.90++) on the other hand was quite nice with a special sauce. It was one of the Taiwanese’s favorite dishes.

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As for Clams with Ginger Soup (蛤蜊薑絲湯- RM9.90++), the soup was quite nice except for the overpowering taste of added grounded pepper.

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The Garlic Water Frog Soup (蒜味田雞湯- RM19.90++) was just normal to be with a strong hint of garlic minus the fragrant aroma. I would rather have this in my porridge.

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The Taiwanese Roasted Pork (烤鹽豬肉- RM9.90++) on the other hand was quite dry and was rather salty to my liking. Somehow it did not have that sort of nice roasted flavors as on our local version of roasted pork.

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The BBQ Lamb (醬燒羊排 – RM15.90++) was rather tough for me. It was grilled with some quite nicely flavored BBQ sauce but somehow the meat was mot marinated well enough for flavors.

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There was also the Grilled Lemongrass Lamb (香茅羊肉串 – RM15.90++) which to me tasted almost similar to the BBQ Lamb. There was no distinctive lemongrass flavor and was not marinated well enough as the above.

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Again the Grilled Beef Ribs (鹽燒牛小排 – RM19.90++) was quite normal to me. It did not have any special sauce given except for some spices pepped salt for dipping. At least the meat was nicely marinated.

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Next was the Grilled Squid in Sea Urchin Sauce (花枝雲丹燒 – RM15.90++). Nothing special to me and the portion was rather small for us.

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As for stir fry items, we had Kung Bao Chicken (宮保雞丁 – RM9.90++). This was another common dish for me and somehow I felt that it lacked the “wok hei” I was expecting.

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At least, the Stir Fry Leek Chicken (蒜苗鹽豬肉 – RM9.90++) was reasonably flavored to go with a nice hot bowl of steamed Japanese rice (free-flow).

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Lastly, it was the Stir Fried Tiger Prawns (乾燒虎蝦 – RM9.90++). This is so typical Taiwanese style with lots added onions and capsicum in sweet and sour sauce.

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The beverages from this restaurant would basically be canned drinks and beers. Some of the recommended beers would be the Taiwan Beer (RM12++ each) and Taiwan Fruit Beer (RM12++ each). The Taiwan Fruit Beer has 4 flavour such as Lychee, White Grapes, Mango and Pineapple. Other beer brands available would be Budweiser (RM13++), Carlsberg (RM14++), Carlsberg Gold (RM15++) and Asahi (RM17++). For children, there would only be mineral water (RM2++ each) and canned drinks (RM2.50++ each) such as 100Plus, Coke, Sprite, F&N Strawberry, F&N Grape, Iced Lemon Tea, Chrysanthemum, Soya Bean and Grass Jelly.

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You can click below to view a larger photo of the menu available in Kampai Restaurant. The live seafood in the tanks and fresh seafood on ice would be based on market rate and would be charged separately per 100 grams as displayed at site.

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Overall, I personally felt that the dishes served here lacked the authenticity from the actual Taiwanese food I have tried. Though the Taiwanese cuisine we have tried in Malaysia were mostly from the Taiwanese street food scenes, somehow the so called “quick stir fry” dishes served here did not provide me with the type of identity I was expecting to get. 90% of dishes from the menu may consist of name of dishes from the region but they still taste almost similar as what I would get from those stir fry (chu char/大炒) stalls widely scattered all over the country. The only advantage I can see would be its availability to serve late night food hunters up to 2.00am daily with quick food to pair with beers. Another few items not available would be desserts and those milk tea easily available in Taiwan. Anyway, the sitting capacity would only be up to a maximum of 80 pax.

The Kampai restaurant is located within the E-Gate building just next to Subway Sandwiches & Salads facing the main road (Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu Expressway). If you know how to go to Tesco E-Gate, you won’t have problem at all locating the restaurant.

KAMPAIMAP

Name: KAMPAI RESTAURANT @ EGATE PENANG
Address:
1-01-05 & 1-01-06, Ground Floor, E-Gate, Lebuh Tunku Kudin 2,
Gelugor, 11700 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-658 7826
Business Hours: 12.00noon-2.30pm, 5.30pm-2.00am (Daily)
GPS: 5.375828, 100.315405

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

 

AFORDABLE JAPANESE CUISINE AT JAPIN RESTAURANT 1ST AVENUE PENANG

Posted by crizlai On January - 16 - 2013

For the last few years, more and more Japanese restaurants are popping up in Penang. Some of these restaurants are charging quite an exorbitant pricing for their cuisine and did not quite suit the budget of many locals. However, one restaurant with quite a few branches has always been receiving endless streams of loyal diners. The name is Japin Restaurant.

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We managed to pay a visit to one of the branches at 1st Avenue recently. This outlet’s kitchen is managed by Chef Wong Wai Ming.

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For ramen lovers, you would not regret ordering their signature Kakuni Japin Ramen (Stewed Pork in Rich Soup Noodles/滷肉絕品拉面 – RM16.80+). You can practically taste the thick flavors in the broth which had been carefully simmered for more than 72 hours. The noodles were served together with some succulent and tender pieces of pork belly meat, wood ear fungus, a runny Ajitama soft boiled egg plus some chopped spring onions and toasted sesame seeds as garnishes.

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Instead of the thick broth type of ramen, you can also try out their Kara Ramen (Spicy Soup with Noodle/香辣拉面 – RM13.80+) with has a light strength of soup with some kicks of spiciness. The noodles were served with some slices of specially prepared pork, some vegetables plus some chopped spring onions and toasted sesame seeds as garnishes. You can request for the spiciness to be adjusted based on your preference.

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There would also be some udon dishes available such as their recommended Kaisen Kimuchi Udon (Seafood & Kimchi Soup with Udon Noodle/海鮮泡菜烏冬面- RM20.30+). The soup base was almost similar to the Korean’s Haemultang (해물탕), a spicy hot seafood stew. It was like having a chili boasted rich bowl of seafood stock with a nice al dente bite from the udon noodles. The dish had some scallops, prawns and squids, wood ear fungus, kimchi with some chopped spring onions and toasted sesame seeds as garnishes.

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Somehow, I always like to order rice dishes such as the Tori Katsudon (Fried Chicken Chop & Egg with Rice/炸雞扒盖飯 – RM12.80+) as it’s more filling for me. Each bowl of sweet sauce boosted Japanese rice would be topped with a piece of chicken chop carefully folded in with some egg and onions. The dish here was not overly drenched in sweet sauce as those I had tasted before. This version had some nori (seaweed) as garnish.

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A set meal would never go wrong in any visit to a Japanese restaurant. I was impressed with the pricing for their Tori Teriyaki Tei (Teriyaki Chicken Set/蜜汁雞套餐 – RM17.80+). On top of the nicely prepared succulent piece of chicken, there was also the hot steaming rice, salad with their own special dressing, miso soup and a few fruit cuts. It was a value for money set deal.

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As for side orders, Gyoza (Fried Dumpling/日式餃子 – RM6.80+) was one dish that was simple and yet filled with a punch of goodness. There was a bit of crisp on the surface form a thin layer of batter used and the filling had that moisture just like when you have your Siu Long Bao. These dumplings would be best consumed when hot with a bit of the accompanied black vinegar. I won’t mind having some julienned young ginger added in the condiment as well.

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I was surprised that their Mikkusu Yakiniku (BBQ Sauce Fried Mixed Meat/日式醬燒 – RM13.80+) was categorized as part of their “Side Dishes”. It was a portion that might be even too much for a small diner. However, ever since my visit to Kannichikan (KNK) Yakiniku Restaurant not long ago, I’ve been longing for some nice meat. The mixed meat palate here was awesome with choices of beef, chicken and pork, in whatever combination suit you best.

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As for dessert, we had the Azuki-An-Nin (Almond Soup with Red Bean/甜豆杏仁 – RM6.80+). The named “soup” can be rather deceiving as what we had were some almond jelly cubes in mildly sweetened syrup topped with some sweetened red beans. No doubt it was simply refreshing for me, it might not be the type of dessert for those who detested the flavors of Chinese almonds. If you love it, this could be one of the nice desserts after a hefty meaty meal.

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Overall, Japin Restaurant does provide a substantial amount of good quality dishes that would please the appetite of major diners. On and off, they do also come out with impressive promotions that would be value for money.

Japin Restaurant is located at the basement of 1st Avenue, Penang. This outlet has been in operation since May 2012. To find the restaurant, just walk towards Kim Gary and you will see the restaurant just on the right side of the restaurant with quite a number of standing banners displayed outside the outlet.

JAPINMAP

Name: JAPIN RESTAURANT @ 1ST AVENUE PENANG
Address: LG-10, 1st Avenue, 182 Jalan Magazine, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-261 5098
Business Hours: 11.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.413188, 100.331342

Branches:
Japin Queensbay
2F-147, Queensbay Mall, 100 Persiaran Bayan Indah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-641 5098

Japin Desa Sri Hartamas
34, Ground Floor, Jalan 27/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Contact: 603-2857 0212

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

 

Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, would be having its Chinese New Year’s Buffet and Chinese Odyssey Promotion for the month of February 2013 (1-28 February 2013). This promotion would be under the skillful hands of the Jr. Sous Chef, Chef Ong Chin Hock and Chinese Chef, Chef Cheah Teik Huat. You would be offered a variety of Chinese cuisine such as roasted duck spring rolls, braised black chicken with snow pear soup, steamed sea bass with superior sauce and many more to tempt your appetite.

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Of course, each Chinese New Year it’s a must to have Yee Sang. Normally, Yee Sang is to be taken on the 7th day of Chinese New Year to celebrate Ren Ri (人日), the Day of Humankind, when according to the Chinese legend, Goddess Nu Wa created humanity on this day. But today, it’s taken just any day as the act of tossing the mixed ingredients in the air symbolizes “moving upwards” with the wish for our fortune to rise even more during the forthcoming year. The Fresh Salmon Yee Sang (鮮鮭魚撈魚生) would also available for take away from 4-23 February 2013 at RM68++ (4-6 persons) or RM88++ (8-10 persons).

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Another appetizer would be their Marinated Jellyfish with Shredded Chicken (海蜇凉拌雞絲). I quite like this dish as the jellyfish had that crunchiness, pepped up with a light spicy sweet sauce. However, the shredded chicken was a bit too dry to my liking due to the lack of dressing sauce. The dish would be better if a bit of coriander leaves being added in.

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The Roasted Duck with Mix Vegetables Spring Rolls (脆皮燒鴨春卷) was actually a disastrous dish for me. The usage of poh piah (spring roll) skin was just not right. The rolls tend to get rather soggy after awhile. I wondered why they did not use those egg crepes as served with Peking Duck.

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We were also served Double Boiled Black Chicken with Snow Pears Soup (雪梨燉黑雞湯). I must admit that the soup was filled with flavors with strong hints of sweetness from the pears and dates plus some usage of dong quai (當歸/Angelica sinensis).

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The Steamed Sea Bass with Superior Sauce (清蒸鱸魚配上等醬油) was simple but yet delicious. On top of the superior sauce being use, some slices of mushroom boosted up the flavor more. It would be great to have some sliced red dates added in too for some extra sweetness.

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The Braised Chinese Cabbage with Black Moss & Dried Oysters (燉白菜髮菜蠔乾) was somewhat different compared to how I would cook it. This dish has more gravy just like the banquet style of dishes. There were some added dried scallops. The dried oysters basically lost all the flavors into the gravy. It would be best if they were pan seared to lock in the flavors.

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Somehow the Stir Fried Tiger Prawns with Golden Pumpkin Sauce (南瓜醬炒大蝦) did not capture the appetite of most of us as the pumpkin sauce was too overpowering and hid the true flavors of the prawns. It would be better to just cook it the Kam Heong (Fragrant Fry) or Har Lok (Sweet Spicy) style where we get to taste the freshness of the prawns. Anyway, I don’t fancy tiger prawns being cooked this way too.

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As for dessert, we had Double Boiled Papaya with Fresh Milk (鮮牛奶燉木瓜). To some, it had a tad of bitterness but it was fine for me. However, I personally felt that the papaya used was rather too ripe. The whole concoction was like missing a bit of bites. Moreover, the dessert tasted rather mushy with traces of coagulated milk.

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Lastly, Baked Mandarin Orange Cheese Cake (烤橘子奶酪蛋糕) was served. Without knowing the name for the cake, I would have praised it heavenly for the balance in the usage of lemon zest was perfect. However, knowing that it was supposed to be mandarin orange flavor, I found it to lack that distinctive mandarin orange flavor. Moreover, only a small amount of orange flesh was noticeable.

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Overall, some of the dishes to be served during the Chinese New Year as well as during the Chinese Odyssey can be rather unique on its own. No doubt a bit of fusion can be quite good for a change but it defeated the purpose of celebrating the festive season with the taste of yesteryears since some of the dishes would only be cooked once a year during this season by many families. Other than that, it’s still a nice spread to welcome in the joyous Snake year.

Chinese New Year’s buffets and performances are listed as below:

Chinese New Year’s eve auspicious reunion buffet dinner with Yee Sang
9 Feb 2013, 6.30pm-10.00pm
RM98++ (adult), RM52++ (child)

Chinese New Year prosperity buffet dinner with Yee Sang
10 & 11 Feb 2013, 6.30pm-10.00pm
RM88++ (adult), RM44++ (child)

Chinese New Year special dynasty Hi-Tea with Yee Sang
10 & 11 Feb 2013, 12.00pm-3.00pm
RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)

Performances:
Meet & Greet the “Fok Lok Sau”: 9 Feb 2013, 8.00pm-9.00pm
Chinese Orchestra Performance: 9, 10 & 11 Feb 2013, 8.00pm-9.00pm
Meet & Greet the God of Prosperity: 10 & 11 Feb 2013, 12.30pm-1.30pm
Lion Dance performance: 11 Feb 2013, 10.00am

Fresh Salmon Yee Sang is also available for take away from 4-23 February 2013
Price: RM68++ (4-6 persons) or RM88++ (8-10 persons).

Here’s the summary of the Chinese Odyssey Promotion.

CHINESE ODYSSEY PROMOTION (1-28 FEBRUARY 2013)
Lunch (12.00 noon – 2.30pm): Monday – Friday
RM48++ (adult), RM24++ (child)
Hi-Tea (12.00 noon – 3.00pm): Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays
Normal weekend: RM55++ (adult), RM28++ (child)
Festive Occasion: RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)
Semi Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Monday – ThursdayRM48++ per pax

For MAYBANKARD, Standard Chartered Bank and VISA card members, you can enjoy 15% discount for the Chinese Odyssey Semi Buffet Dinner (Monday to Thursday) and Weekend Buffet Dinner (Friday to Sunday) 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: 7/10 (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)

 

When you speak about BBQ on the table, the first thing that would come into your mind would most probably be the Bulgogi, the Korean style BBQ, the Asian style of BBQ Steamboat or maybe the Thai’s Mookata, BBQ Steamboat. How about the Japanese style of grilling meat called Yakiniku? What about a fusion between the Japanese and Korean style of BBQ? Would you love to try on that? For the last decade plus, Kannichikan Yakiniku Restaurant (KNK) has been providing this Japanese styled Korean BBQ concept to the Malaysians starting with its first branch in Penang as far back as August 2000 (more branches are stated below). They are the first to my knowledge to have imported Kuroge Wagyu (Japanese Black) and did the choice cuts themselves as well as providing those diners with acquired taste the options to savor the best of beef “spare parts” such as bowels, intestines, tongues, fardels/multipliers (omasum) and pillar tripes.

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I had the privilege to be invited not long ago to try out some of the dishes available at the pioneer branch located along the main road of Jalan Tanjung Tokong, Penang. This outlet’s kitchen is managed by a young, energetic and jovial chef named Chef Shelvin Tan Hock Pin, who had years of experience working for the husband and wife owners.

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KNK do provide some of the best meat cuts such as beef, pork, chicken and seafood for your grilling pleasures. Of course the best cuts would still be the Kuroge Wagyu Rosu (Blackmore Full Blood Wagyu Ribeye – RM108++). This high priced wagyu beef is known for its marbling characteristics and quality with a high percentage of oleaginous unsaturated fat. The grilled meat would flavorful by itself and just melts in your mouth.

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Another option would be the Wagyu Bara (Premium Wagyu Short Ribs – RM59++). The cuts were mildly marinated with the chef’s secret recipe. Though tender and juicy, you can’t compare the texture and bite with the former as they were of the top quality.

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Tokuzyo Rosu (Wagyu Ribeye – RM39++) would also be available for your selection. Same as the above, it was mildly marinated to bring out the best in its flavors.

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Other non-beef options would be the Buta (Pork – RM23++) and the Tori Momo (Chicken Thigh Meat – RM19++). Both the meat cuts came in two different marinates. One would be a simple marinate of sesame oil, salt and pepper while the other one would be with a special combination of sesame oil, chili flakes, sesame seeds, miso with a light touch of apple juice.

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KNK uses a Japan imported type of biomass briquettes which would sustain high heat for an hour plus and yet produce minimal sparks and little ash, though giving the meat some mild smoky flavors. These briquettes would be filled in a Shichirin, a Japanese barbecue grill with a custom made “netted” brazier that has been preheated at the right temperature to prevent meat from sticking on it. Just a reminder here to diners who have no experience in BBQ techniques. Please be informed that turning or poking at the meat too often would flare up the charcoal, thus making the meat scorched easily.

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For those who would love to have a try on the Yakiniku, there’s always the KNK Set for Two Pax (RM119++). The cuts given would include Zyo Tan (Prime Beef Tongue), Karubi (Bone-in Prime Short Ribs), Zyo Rosu (Prime Ribeye), Zyo Bara (Prime Short Rib), Harami (Skirt Flank), Kimuchi Moriawase (Kimchi Mix) and Chisya (Lettuce).

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Other than just items for grilling, KNK also do provide other precooked dishes such as the Butter Yaki Hotate & Salmon (Butter BBQ Scallop & Salmon – RM35++).

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For those who prefer some rice dishes, there’s always the Ishiyaki Bibinba (Stone Bowl Rice with Korean Vegetables – RM20++). This is the Japanese version of the Korean’s Bibimbap. There would be some Japanese steamed rice in a hot stone bowl topped with minced chicken, raw egg, spinach, shitake, bean sprouts, carrot, radish and gobo roots (Arctium lappa roots/burdock roots/牛蒡) which has great medicinal properties as blood purifier.

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For spicy lovers, Karubi Kubba (Spicy Short Ribs Soup with Rice – RM17++) would also be available. You can practically taste the rich stock flavors with a tad of spiciness. Each bowl would come with rice topped with a spicy soup base which consisted of squids, beef, shitake, spinach, bean sprouts, carrot and radish.

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For a lighter palate, you could order their Wakame Sarada (Seaweed Salad – RM12++). It has a light touch of wasabi dressing just mild enough for anyone.

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Lastly, I simply love how KNK prepared their Chichimi (Korean Chives Pan Cake – RM18++). It was not as starchy as I had tried elsewhere and with a nice crisp bite. It has basically egg, flour, chopped onions and chives in it. The dish went well with the condiment which has a slight sourness with a touch of fragrant sweetness from the added soy sauce and sesame oil.

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Overall, Kannichikan Yakiniku Restaurant has the right flavors for the BBQ items. Simplicity is always the best for tasting the original flavors from the chosen meat. Moreover, not many restaurants in Malaysia have the options for so many “spare parts” for grilling and KNK group of branches are the sole restaurants with such availabilities. Speaking of condiments, KNK is also the expert in providing their homemade sauce paired with the right choice of meat.

Kannichikan Yakiniku Restaurant has been in Penang since August 2000. Although it’s visible along the main road of Jalan Tanjung Tokong, it tends to be missed by many locals and visitors as it’s located on the 1st floor of Desa Tanjung. If you are coming up from Pulau Tikus/Bagan Jermal/Gurney Drive into Jalan Tanjung Tokong, drive on until you have reached the second traffic lights (Precinct 10 and Island Plaza will be on your right). At the traffic lights, turn right into Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang (leading to Straits Quay). Immediately turn right, keep slow and turn left into the service road. That’s where Desa Tanjung is. Find a parking space and walk up 1st floor and you would see the restaurant there. Parking can be quite scare during certain peak period of the day. It’s advisable to park your car at the Island Plaza car park and walk over to the restaurant.

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Name: KANNICHIKAN YAKINIKU RESTAURANT @ DESA TANJUNG
Address: 125-N&O, 1st Floor, Desa Tanjung, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-899 8208
Business Hours: 12.00 noon-2.30pm (Lunch), 6.00pm-10.30pm (Dinner) (Closed Tuesday)
GPS: 5.451526, 100.305993

Branches:
KNK Bay Avenue
D-25-1, Lorong Bayan Indah 2, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-641 2410

KNK Desa Sri Hartamas
42, Jalan 28/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Contact: 603-2300 8829

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

 

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