CRIZ BON APPETITE

Savoring The Best All Over Town…

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Have you tried the Olive’s Ramadhan Buffet at Sukkah Coffee House @ Olive Tree Hotel, Penang, during the holy month of breaking fast? The buffet has an array of appetizing yet authentic Malay and Middle Eastern dishes coupled with other international selections. The promotion would be from 6 June 2016 until 5 July 2016 from 6.30pm to 10.00pm. It’s priced at RM98+ (adult) and RM50+ (child), where diners could enjoy the delicious iftar dishes until their hearts’ contents. For reservation and enquiries, please contact Sukkah Coffee House at +604-637 7856 to make prior booking to avoid any disappointment.

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The Appetizers and Salads would include Individual Salad (Chicken Salad, Pasta Salad, Seafood Salad & Mushroom Salad), Gado-gado with Peanut Sauce, Ulam-ulaman with Sambal Belacan, Sambal Cincaluk, Sambal Mempelam, Sambal Udang Kering, Sambal Kelapa, Jelatah, Tau Kua, Acar Buah, Acar Rampai, Sambal Ikan Bilis, Ikan Masin, Telur Masin, Jeruk-jeruk, Keropok Lekor, Keropok Ikan, Keropok Udang, Papadum, Ketupat, Lemang with Serunding Ayam, Serunding Daging, Serunding Udang, Hummus, Babaganoush and Tabouleh.

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There would also be a section for Seafood on Ice which would consist of Shrimps, Snow Crab Legs and Fresh Oysters. For seafood lovers, these would be just some basics but it would still be enough to fill up your appetite.

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For Hot Dishes, you would expect to have dishes such as Sayur Campur, Kobis Goreng Kunyit, Ekor Lembu Masak Merah, Kambing Kerutuk Pantai Timur, Ayam Masak Madu, Burung Unta Goreng dengan Halia, Kari Kepala Ikan, Sotong Goreng, Udang Karang Berlada, Otak-Otak, Tandoori Wrap, Koay Teow Goreng, Nasi Hujan Panas and Nasi Puspa Wangi. For a change, it was great to have tried out their garlic stir fried ostrich meat (Burung Unta Goreng dengan Halia) which was indeed juicy and tender. The aromatic toasted and sambal fried dried cuttlefish (Sotong Goreng) was also another great dish to savor especially with fragrantly steamed rice.

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From the Action Stalls, some of the items would include Beef & Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce, Beef & Chicken Tandoori, Roti Prata with Dhal Curry, Murtabak with Pickled Onion, Pasembur with Condiments, Roasted Lamb, Sheesh Kebab (Mutton & Chicken), Sup Kambing, Koay Teow Soup with Condiments and Bubur Lambuk with Condiments. From my dining experiences savoring all the buffets amongst the hotels, Sukkah Coffee House indeed served the best Chicken Satay with big chunks of well marinated and juicy skews of grilled meat, just with the right flavors to my liking. Surprisingly, these delicious skews were skillet-grilled until perfection.

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For Desserts and Beverages, you would get items such as Ice Cream Potong, Crushed Ice & Tutti Fruiti with Condiments, Leng Chee Kang, Buah Kurma Madu, Local Seasonal Whole Fruits, Assorted Fruit Platter, Assorted French Pastries, Whole Cakes, Cream Caramel Pudding, Cream Brulee, Bubur Kacang, Linzer Torte, Durian Crepe, Fruit Pavlova, Local Kuih-Muih and beverages such as Air Bandung, Soya Milk with Cincau, Mata Kucing, Young Coconut, Teh Tarik and Kopi Tarik. We did try out their Apple Crumble and it was heavenly with just the right amount of added grounded cinnamon and sweetness to my personal liking. Moreover, the fresh pods made Vanilla Sauce had just the right creamily and consistency to boost up the flavors of the lovely dessert.

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Overall, the spreads for the Olive’s Ramadhan Buffet was up to its standard with some dishes outshone many other buffets out there. However, there are still rooms for improvements especially at the dessert section where the jellies were rather “plain” without much uniqueness to my personal liking. They could have come out with some crystal jellies, puddings, etc rather than having some large servings of konnyaku jellies.

More Ramadhan Mubarak Deal below:

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The Sukkah Coffee House @ Olive Tree Hotel Penang is located just opposite the Subterranean Penang International Conference & Exhibition Centre (SPICE – formerly known as PISA aka Penang International Sports Arena) along Jalan Mahsuri. If you are coming from Bukit Jambul via Jalan Tun Dr. Awang towards the Penang International Airport (PIA), turn left into Jalan Mahsuri at the traffic lights immediately after you have passed the SPICE. Keep right and drive up until the traffic lights and make a U-Turn. You can see the hotel on your left. Park your car and use the elevator or escalator to Level 2 and you can see the Sukkah Coffee House there.

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Name: SUKKAH COFFEE HOUSE @ OLIVE TREE HOTEL PENANG
Address: 76, Jalan Mahsuri, 11950 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +604-637 7856
Business Hours:
Breakfast: 6.00am-10.30am
Lunch (Monday to Friday): 12.00noon-2.30pm
Lunch (Saturday & Sunday): 12.00noon-3.00pm
Dinner: 6.30pm-11.00pm
GPS: 5.327101, 100.279070

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

About Olive Tree Hotel: Nestled along the industrial and corporate corridors of Penang, the Olive Tree Hotel is a Green Building Index (GBI) compliant hotel that boasts easy access to major landmarks and hosts a convenient and conducive environment for business and leisure travelers alike. A 25-storey statement of well profound architecture and hospitality with a choice of 228 rooms and 24 suites, guests can expect not only a functional space that is sure to give the utmost comfort, but also a memorable experience. The Olive Tree Hotel Penang is also built to cater to meetings, conventions, banquets and weddings. It houses a Grand Ballroom with a mezzanine gallery that that can comfortably accommodate up to 720 people and 7 function rooms with various dimensions for various events.

 

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The Eatery @ Four Points by Sheraton Penang has launched a specially designed Selera Warung Buffet Dinner from 13 June 2016 – 26 June 2016 (*Extension of promotion would be advised). The promotion would start from 6.30pm until 10.00pm daily. Diners would get to enjoy their over 30 selections of Malaysian themed enticing buffet spreads for only RM54nett (adult) and RM27nett (child from 4 to 11 years old). All Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG) members would be entitled to an exclusive discount on food. You can check out the dining offers at the hotel’s website. Terms and conditions apply. From the al fresco area until indoor, it would be like going food hunting from one stall to another in a food bazaar with items ranging from snacks, main dishes to desserts. Please call +604-371 8706 or email [email protected] to make your reservation today.

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From Starters and Appetizers, you would get a mix and match of local and Western items such as Pasembur Pulau Mutiara with Spiced Sweet Potato Dips, Ayam Daun Pandan, Masala Ubi Bengala Samosa, Loh Bak Ayam, Kerabu Daging dan Tang Hoon Ala Thai, Kerabu Sotong Limau Bali, Pucuk Paku dan Udang Kapas, Kupang Degang Kerisik, Kacang Botol Dengan Dada Ayam Carik, Kerabu Manga Muda dan Udang Kering, Kerabu Taugeh dengan Kerang, Ulam-Ulaman Kampung (with condiments such as acar buah, sambal belacan, air asam, sambal belacan, kicap bercili, kuah kacang, chutney manga, acar rampai, telur masin & ikan masin), crackers (ikan parang, papadum, lekor, udang & binjau), squid & orange with shaved fennel salad, tuna & potato with green bean salad, Greek salad with Spanish feta & olive and mixed garden salad (with dressings such as thousand island, Caesar dressing, herbs vinaigrette, lemon vinaigrette, balsamic dressing, stuffed olive, shaved parmesans & capers).

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As for soup, you would be served with Sup Ekor Berempah, served with Roti Bengali and Roti Perancis.

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Out from “Mum’s Food Diary” would be some notable home-style main dishes such as Daging Batang Pinang Goreng Halia Muda, Kupang Goreng Cabai Kering, Sambal Tumis Udang, Ayam Masak Merah, Ikan Bawal Hitam Goreng Bercili, Rendang Daging Pahalawan “Temasik”, Kebab Ayam, Kupang Masak Cabai Kering served with steamed rice.

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From the Action Sections, you would be served with some nostalgic dishes such as their Kaki Kambing Bakar Rempah Ratus, Ayam Tandoori, Nasi Briyani, Bombay Onion Pickled, Cucumber Raita, Dhal Tadka, Penang Char Koay Teow and Salmon Laksa. You should not miss out the Salmon Laksa as it was one of the best around as the creamy flavors was just out of this world.

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From fruit cuts, local desserts to cakes and pastries, there would surely some hidden gems for you to savor such as the Penang Rojak (jicama, guava, pineapple, cucumber, water apple, young mango and green apple with rojak sauce), preserved fruits (kedongdong, cermai, betik, api-api, manga, ceri merah & hijau), fresh tropical fruits and whole fruits (watermelon, honey dew, pineapple, papaya & jackfruit, orange & green apple), Assorted Malay Kuih, Lempok Pandan, Creme Caramel, Pudding Jagung, Pudding Manga, Sago Gula Melaka, Pandan Custard Cake, Chocolate & Walnut Brownies, Apple Crumble Tart, Buah Kurma, Pengat Pisang, Bubur Cha Cha, Pengat Labu, Ais Kacang & Chendol with assorted Ice Cream and Ice Cream Potong. Beverages wise was rather unique as they were served chilled in water jars soaked in crushed ice. These include Air Bandung, Jus Kurma, Jus Cincau, Jus Oren and Jus Manga.

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Overall, the Malaysian dishes served here had many delicious options compared to their buffet spreads I had tried earlier throughout the last few years. It was indeed a great value-for-money deal you should not miss out.

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

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Name: THE EATERY @ FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON PENANG
Address: 505 Jalan Tanjung Bungah, 11200 Tanjung Bungah, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-371 8888 (General), 604-371 8706 (The Eatery)
Business Hours: 6.30am-11.00pm (Daily), Sunday Brunch: 12.00pm-3.00pm
GPS: 5.463681, 100.301836

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

About Four Points: Four Points is travel reinvented. With over 200 hotels in nearly 40 countries, Four Points meets the needs of the everyday traveler and offers guests exactly what they need on the road. Four Points combines timeless style and comfort and an authentic sense of the local as well as genuine, always-approachable service, all around the world. To learn more, visit www.fourpoints.com/experience. Stay connected to Four Points on facebook.com/fourpoints.
About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 1,200 properties in some 100 countries and over 180,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, element® and the recently introduced Tribute Portfolio™. The Company boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG®), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood recently announced plans to spin off its Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc. business, a premier provider of world-class vacation experiences through villa-style resorts and privileged access to Starwood brands, into a standalone public company by the end of 2015. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.

 

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The Lemongrass Restaurant @ Hotel Neo+ Penang by Aston is currently having its Sajian Selera Nusantara Ramadan Buffet Dinner from 9 June 2016 until 3 July 2016 during the holy month. The promotion would be priced at RM55nett (adult) and RM32nett (child) from 7.00pm until 10.00pm. Diners would get to savor the many types of kampung-style cuisine with a twist of Indonesian cuisine. The highlight of the buffet dinner would be Chef Faizal’s well marinated roasted whole lamb.

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The menus would be on daily rotation basis starting from the Salads and Appetizers Section with items such as Ulam-Ulam Melayu (Tomato,Timun, Petai, Ulam Raja, Daun Selom, Pucuk Paku, Kacang Botol, Terung, Bendi), Kerabu Pucuk Paku, Kerabu Manga Ala Thai, Acar Rampai, Telur Masin, Ikan Masin, Bergedil Ubi, Potato Salad, Sambal Belacan, Sambal Tempoyak, Sambal Budu, Cincaluk,Sambal Mangga, Sambal Kicap, Air Asam, Sambal Bawang. Chips, Pickles and Nuts were also available such as Keropok Ikan, Keropok Udang, Papadam, Keropok Sayur, Jeruk Mangga, Jeruk Papaya, Jeruk Kelubi, Asam Boi, Kerepek Ubi,Kerepek Pisang,Tempeyek Kacang,Kuih Siput,Maruku,Kacang Hijau Bersalut Tepung, Acar Limau and Jelatah.

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As for Soup, they served Indonesia Soto Ayam with Condiments which was a unique combination with a tad of spiciness compared to the ones I’ve tried or even cooked before. The soup had some lemongrass and chili peppers added in which was notably quite Indonesian style.

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As for the Main Dishes, we tried out their Nasi Putih, Nasi Goreng Thai, Mee Mamak, Nasi Arab, Gulai Ayam Ubi Kentang, Sotong Masak Kicap, Mutton Varuval, Udang Masak Lemak, Tofu In Egg Sauce, Sayur Goreng Istimewa, Opor Ayam and Sambal Goreng Kentang. Bubur Lambuk with Condiments was also served daily.

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At the Action Counter, we had many kinds of grilled items such as Ikan Bakar (Pari, Kembung, Talapia, & Sardine Cicah Bersama Air Asam), Chicken and Beef Satay with Condiments, Otak-Otak Ala Johor plus Penang Laksa with Condiments.

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On the other hand, the Carvery Station had Roasted Whole Lamb, served with black pepper and mint sauce.

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For Desserts & Fruits, you could always try out their ABC (Ais Batu Campur) and Cendol with shaved ice and assorted syrup plus condiments, Bubur Kacang Hijau, Bubur Cha Cha, Kuih Keria, Lepat Ubi, Kuih Seri Muka, Kuih Ketayap, Kuih Lapis, Crème Brulee, Black Forest Cake, White Lady Cake, Dates, Jelly & Puddings (Honeydew, Mango & Coconut), Pisang Goreng, Keledek Goreng, Ice Cream (at least 3 types) and Assorted Sliced Fruits.

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As for Beverages, they have Teh Tarik, Laici Asam Boi, Air Soya, Air Cincau, Air Chrysanthemum Tea and Coffee.

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Here’s the menu of what was served on that day.

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Overall, the dishes served here had a rather home cooked style with lovely traditional grills and condiments. Some of the dishes indeed had some different Indonesian flavors in them.

The Lemongrass Restaurant is located at Level 2 of the hotel. As you enter the hotel, walk towards the left side of the building and go a floor above and you can see the entrance to the restaurant.

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Name: LEMONGRASS RESTAURANT @ HOTEL NEO+ PENANG BY ASTON
Address: 68 Jalan Gurdwara, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-255 1000 (Ext. 1103)
Business Hours: 7.00pm-10.00pm
GPS: 5.479097, 100.254663

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: 7/10 (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)

About Hotel NEO: Hotel NEO+ Penang features 196 guest rooms and suites decorated in a modern-contemporary style that befits the new trends in hotel design. With uncluttered open spaces, the atmosphere is at once stylish and relaxed, topped off with twenty-first century conveniences such as complimentary high-speed WiFi, LED TVs and home entertainment systems. The new NEO concept aims to open doors to a world of wellbeing and sensual satisfaction. Designed in a stylish and contemporary style befitting the latest trends in hotel design, NEO Hotels offer uncluttered open spaces for an atmosphere of relaxation and tranquility within these chic yet reasonably priced new-build hotels and resorts. The brand has been described as “hip and new,” with aesthetics reminiscent of cutting-edge fashion designs. Customer Focus Groups have credited Archipelago International for “bringing sexy back”, thus hailing NEO Hotels as a brand fit for savvy young travelers and Generation Y parents alike. Images of NEO Hotels can be found at www.neohotels.com
About Archipelago International: Archipelago International is Indonesia’s largest hotel management chain with a portfolio of over 110 hotels and 15,000 rooms. It also continues to have the fastest growing brands with over 100 properties in the pipeline across Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia. Their 7 core brands include favehotel, NEO, Quest, Harper, Aston, Alana and Kamuela, ranging from ultra-luxurious villas to select-service, economy-class hotels to serviced apartment residences. You can view more at www.archipelagointernational.com

 

For those who enjoyed the scrumptious English Afternoon Tea or even the Ala Carte Dinner at 1885 @ Eastern & Oriental Hotel (E&O Hotel), you now have another option which would be the Yesterday’s Classic 3-Course Set Dinner. Available from 7.00pm until 10.30pm daily (except during certain festive dates), you would get to indulge in the best of the best fine dining experience for only RM120nett per pax. There’s nothing better than to relax and be pampered within the comfortable colonial style part of the heritage building.

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Here are the dishes available on the Yesterday’s Classic 3-Course Set Dinner Menu.

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At 1885 @ E&O Hotel, meals would always start with some lovely and warm dinner rolls, served with their creamy tomato butter, balsamic vinegar in olive oil and butter. The soft yet fluffy textured in-house made dinner rolls would get anyone’s appetite urging for more.

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To start the first course, you would have two options, either a salad or a soup.

The salad option would consist of Smoked Magret De Canard (Smoked Duck Breast) served baby gem (little gem/baby romaine lettuce) and shaved red radish, shaved cucumber, cherry tomatoes with aged balsamic vinegar dressing. It was simple yet fulfilling with the generous portion of thick slabs of smoked duck breast.

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The Bisque with lobster ragout, chives and cream was something so delicious that I could lick the plate clean if I were allowed to do so~ LOL~ 😛 The nicely stewed and well seasoned lobster meat plus the thick cream, combined with hot serving bisque (roasted shellfish extracted creamy soup) was extremely flavorful. The best part of the bisque was that it was so fresh that there was no trace of any fishy aftertaste. I would like to compliment the chef for a job well done~ 🙂

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As for the main, you would also have two options, either fish or beef.

The first option would be the Pan Fried Red Snapper Fillet, served with spring vegetables, squid ink bread slices and shellfish butter. Though being pan fried, the fish fillet still maintained its moisture and combined with the shellfish butter, it was a great dish for fish lovers.

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The next option would be Grilled Grass Fed Filet Mignon, served with mousseline potatoes (baked mashed potatoes), baby vegetables and your choice of gravy (shallot glaze or crushed pepper with thyme jus). I had the tender beef fillet done medium-rare (though medium-done was recommended) and served with crushed pepper with thyme jus. The sensation of having the meat melted in the mouth was so divine. Combined with the aromatic herbal and yet fresh peppery taste of the gravy, I really wished I could have a bigger cut. I was at Cloud 9 with the perfect dish.

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As for dessert, we had the Berries Summer Pudding “Bavarois” served with wild berries compote. It may look like a blob of chocolate pudding but within lied a bundle of hidden wild berry gems. Combined with the lovely fruity yet mildly sweetened wild berries compote, it was a great dessert to end the meal.

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You would also have an option for beverage. You could either choose their Freshly Brewed Coffee or Selection of Gourmet Tea with pralines.

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Overall, I like the concept of course set meals as it would be less hassle to think through what to order and faster to get the food served on your table. Moreover, the ingredients used in the Yesterday’s Classic 3-Course Set Dinner Menu were of high quality and flavors. Be it for a date, business appointment or even family gathering, I would highly recommend this venue. It’s indeed a great deal for all.

Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang (next to Penang Bowl) is located 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 Victory Annexe building. Parking charges would be a maximum of RM6 (weekdays: Monday-Thursday) and RM12 (weekends: Friday- Sunday). 1885 @ Eastern & Oriental Hotel (E&O Hotel) is located within the old wing of the hotel just next to Sarkies Corner.

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Name: 1885 @ Eastern & Oriental Hotel (E&O Hotel)
Address: 10 Lebuh Farquhar, 10200 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-222 2000
Business Hours: 7.00pm until 10.30pm
GPS: 5.423624, 100.334988

RATING:
Ambience: 8.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 6/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 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)

 

With the festive seasons of Christmas and New Year just around the corner, Hard Rock Hotel Penang will be having a few promotions to pamper its guests and diners with an extensive spread of delectable dishes under the expertise of the hotel’s kitchen team [From left to right: Rizal bin Hashim (Sous Chef), Abdul Rahim Bin Mohammad (Sous Chef), Mohd Nazir Bin Aziz (Chef De Cuisine), Zulkanai Bin Md Elias (Kitchen Manager) and Wan Mohd Shahrul Bin Wan Mohd Saad (Sous Chef)]. Do enjoy the 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 [email protected] to book earlier to avoid disappointment.

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For both Christmas and New Eve dinners, you would get to indulge in their maki platters (Abuni Salmon Maki, Cheese Maki, Unagi Maki, Rainbow Maki, etc) plus bread and rolls (Grissini, Olive Bread, Multi Grains, Baguette, etc). Their Grissini (breadsticks) were one of the best I’ve tasted.

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On the eve of Christmas, Starz Diner will be offering a Christmas Eve Rock ‘n’ Roll Buffet Dinner at RM186nett/pax, inclusive of a complimentary party pack and lucky draw.

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Some of the dishes to look out for would be their Prawn Tikka with Mango Melon Salsa, Asparagus with Crab Meat Salad, Shellfish Bisque, Roasted Turkey with Giblet Gravy & Cranberries Citrus Sauce, Cajun Spice Red Snapper with Shrimp and Mussel Salsa, Miniature Berry Gingerbread Cakes and Chocolate and Cherry Yule Logs.

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The highlight of any Christmas meal would be their Roasted Turkey with Giblet Gravy & Cranberries Citrus Sauce, Glazed Nuts Stuffing, Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables. It was the perfect dish to start off the festive season. Ooo.. I always enjoyed my turkey with their sauces. Those condiments were some of the best ones around.

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Their Chocolate & Cherry Yule Logs was one of the good ones around, considering that the cake was moist and fluffy without being too sweet.

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Of course, there would 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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For those who would fancy a set dinner instead of a buffet dinner may opt for Hard Rock Café Penang’s 4-course Christmas Eve Dinner at RM185nett/pax. The dinner offers a starter – Mini Citrus Salad and a Cream of Lobster and Crab soup. For the choice of mains, the café will be serving a choice of Roasted Five Spiced Lamb Rack, Roasted Turkey Breast and Pan-fried Atlantic Salmon. For dessert, diners will feast on a delicious Strawberry Meringue with Berry Compote and Wild Berry Macadamia Gelato. Dinner would include two selected drinks and a complimentary party pack.

If you are not into set or buffet dinners but wanted something fulfilling to celebrate with a group of family members or friends, you could always try out their December promotion at Pizzeria with Chef Joe’s specially concocted Santarina Turkey Pizza (RM40nett), from 11.30am until 10.30pm daily. This pizza is oven-baked to perfection with grilled turkey breast with mushroom glaze, tomato salsa, spinach and cranberry sauce.

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At the Hard Rock Café Penang, satisfy your taste buds with a Holiday Rock Platter, available for 2 persons at RM160nett or 3 persons at RM240nett. Serving until 23 December 2015, this platter is big enough to share and guaranteed to rock your palate. This platter comes with a choice of starter – House Salad or Soup of the Day. For the main course, diners will indulge in a sharing platter consisting of Potato Skins, Onion Rings, BBQ Beef Ribs, Spaghetti with Prawn Paste, Mini Beef Burgers with Satay Sauce, Chicken Wings with Chipotle BBQ Sauce, Ferringhi Ikan Bakar with Portuguese Sauce and Pulled Lamb Sandwich with Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce. Homemade Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream would be served for dessert.

On New Year’s Eve, Starz Diner will be serving a New Year’s Eve Buffet Dinner at RM199nett/pax inclusive of a complimentary party pack and lucky draw.

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Some of the highlights to look out for are the Homemade Salmon Gravlax and Marinated Prawn with Condiments, Chilled Shooters (pumpkin, beetroot, green pea & basil tomato), Roasted Chicken served glazed baby carrot and citrus tapenade, Coffee Crusted Beef Fillet with Pumpkin Puree and Shallots Gravy, Mix Berries Financier with Mascarpone Cream and Mango Crème Brûlée.

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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’s New Year’s Eve Seafood Buffet Dinner at RM199nett/pax which would include a variety of Cold Platters, Chilled Seafood, Salad, Antipasto, Cheese Platters, Soups, Hot Dishes, BBQ Seafood, Pasta & Carving Station, Pizzas and Desserts. The promotion would also include a complimentary party pack and lucky draw. On the other hand, Hard Rock Café Penang will be offering a 4-course New Year’s Eve Dinner at RM195nett/pax. The Starter would include a Mini Chicken Chop Salad, Creamy Leek and Fennel plus Potato Soup. The options for the Main Courses would be either a choice of Grilled Marinated Angus Strip Loin & Pacific Scallop, Baked Sesame Cod Fish & Grilled Sambal King Prawn or Oven Baked Lamb Rack & Tandoori Salmon. Diners would be served a delightful Tiramisu Mascarpone Mousse with Pistachio Biscotti and Coffee Gelato to end the meal.

Overall, the specially crafted dishes were palatable for all who love to savor some traditional as well as fusion items during these coming festive seasons. Of course, the Roasted Turkey and Stuffing would be the main highlight during this Christmas promotion and that Coffee Crusted Beef Fillet with Pumpkin Puree & Shallot Gravy would be something new to savor during this New Year Eve.

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: 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)

RESERVATIONS:

Starz Diner/Pizzeria: Call +604-886 6057 or email [email protected]
Hard Rock Café Penang: Call +604-886 8050 or email [email protected]
More information: Hard Rock Hotel Penang’s F&B Promotions

Hard Rock International:
With a total of 204 venues in 64 countries, including 157 cafes, 22 hotels and 11 casinos, Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognized companies. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise, Hard Rock Live performance venues and an award-winning website. HRI owns the global trademark for all Hard Rock brands. The company owns, operates and franchises Cafes in iconic cities including London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Dubai. HRI also owns, licenses and/or manages hotel/casino properties worldwide. Destinations include the company’s two most successful Hotel and Casino properties in Tampa and Hollywood, Fl., both owned and operated by HRI parent company The Seminole Tribe of Florida, as well as other exciting locations including Bali, Chicago, Cancun, Ibiza, Las Vegas, Macau and San Diego. Upcoming new Hard Rock Cafe locations include San Juan, Lagos and Gran Canaria, Spain. New Hard Rock Hotel projects include Daytona Beach, Dubai, Los Cabos, Tenerife, Abu Dhabi, and Shenzhen and Haikou in China. For more information on Hard Rock International, visit www.hardrock.com.

 

Buon appetito~ Let’s enjoy some great Italian cuisine with the newly launched Viva Italiano Promotion at the Garden Cafe @ Golden Sands Resort, Penang. The promotion is available from 7.00pm until 10.00pm on every Wednesdays until the end of October 2015. Priced at RM78nett (Adult) and RM39nett (child from 6-11 years old), diners would get to savor the best of what the Italians could offer in their culinary spreads. Do enjoy the serenading music from the resident house band.

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To start off the meal, let’s dip into their Appetizer & Fresh Salad Bar. You would expect to get at least six kinds of imported and local fresh vegetables with their house dressing/vinaigrette and condiments such as French, Italian, Tartar, Thousands Island, Herbs Vinaigrette, Paw-paw Dressing, Garlic Crouton, Gherkin, Black and Stuffed Olive, Jalapeno Pepper, Red Pimentos, Onion Rings, lemon Wedges and Silver Cocktail Onion. On top of that they do have the Caprese Salad (tomato slices with fresh buffalo milk made mozzarella with drizzle of olive oil and some sprinkles of salt. Where are the sweet basils? :P), Caesar Salad, DIY Bruschetta, Assorted Cold Cut, Poached Half Shell Mussel with Vegetable Emulsion, Grilled Trio Color Pepper with drizzle pesto, Chilly Oil and sprinkle with Parmigiana Italian Pasta salad.

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As for Soup, they have two options such as the Minestrone Casalinga and Crème de Pomodoro, served with freshly baked Breads, Rolls, Crisini (bread sticks) with Salted, Unsalted Butter and Margarine. I fell in love with the Crème de Pomodoro as it had the sweetness of all the added carrots, celery, onions, garlic, tomatoes with a light hint of oregano and sour cream. Instead of having it with bread rolls or crisini, I had some garlic croutons on the soup and it was heavenly delicious. As for the Minestrone Casalinga, I found it to be a bit lack in flavors compared to my home cooked Russian Borsche Soup. I would think bay leaves did play a high role in pepping up the flavors of tomato based soup which the Minestrone Casalinga had none.

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Moving towards the Hot Items Section, we had the Risi e Bisi (Rice & Peas), Pasticio (Layered Pasta with Tomato Sauce), Milanese Style Osso Bocco, Baked Pesto Chicken, Pan Fried Fish with Dill Cream Sauce, Potatoes Gnocchi with Green Peas served with Cream Sauce, Grilled Lamb Cutlet with Thyme Garlic Gravy, Sautéed Broccoli and Carrot and Grilled Prawn with Parmigiana Paprika Cream Sauce. The Risi e Bisi was practically buttered risotto with boiled peas. It went well with the juicy and yet tenderly prepared Milanese Style Osso Bosso beef chunks. Basically, everything on the hot item spread had its own unique flavors with the Potatoes Gnocchi with Green Peas served with Cream Sauce as my all-time favorite. Somehow, the texture of the gnocchi had that chewy yet flavorful potato sweetness that got me quite addicted to the dish.

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As for the Carving Section, the highlight of the night was their Roasted Beef with Caramelize Onion Brown Sauce. Everything was just perfect as the beef had just the right texture and was not overly done. At the Heating Element Section, they were serving Fristo Misto Di Mare. Every culture has its own unique fried items and the kitchen did really well by serving the Deep Fried Calamari and Deep Fried Prawns at their freshest state. I simply love the crisp on the well marinated seafood.

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They also do have a Pasta Stall serving a variety of pasta such as vegetable fusilli, penne and spaghetti plus various condiments. As for the sauce, you would have options such as Napolitana, Carbonara, Bolognese and Marinara. Amongst the 4 sauces, my recommendation would be the Bolognese sauce as it has more texture and bites from the minced meat. However, I wondered why they have the “boil & dress the sauce” version unlike most restaurants as it was too “instant” to my liking. It’s advisable to request for the pan-stir version which would thicken up the sauce and make the pasta dish more palatable.

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To wind up the meal, we had our sweet indulgence in their Dessert Section with mostly cakes. Those that we had on the evening included Assorted Tropical Fresh Fruits, Strawberry Pudding, Apple Pie, Morello Cherry Cake, Panna Cotta, Orange Zesty Cake, Fruits & Nut Cake, Orange Cream Caramel, Tiramisu, Peach Cobbler, Creme de Menthe Cake, Warm Chocolate Pudding and more. It was indeed a dessert paradise for many sweet-tooth diners. However, to my personal preference, I would have expected the pastry chef to come out with more unique Italian pastries rather than just having lots of “quite standard” types of cakes. The only dessert that stood out to be rather Italian was their Tiramisu Cake. Though lacked the authenticity of having the delish with savoiardi (lad fingers), it was still a delicious mascarpone cream based dessert. I was actually looking forward to a good mix and match of Italian pastries and cakes that stood out from other buffet spreads but not many were present. The pastry chef should look into producing more pastry items such as cannoli, brioche, cream horns, eclairs, appolini and more to give the diners more options into Italian pastry treats.

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Overall, I quite like the concept of having a themed buffet dinner once weekly as you would not get bored with the spreads if you were to be an in-house guest. At the same time, it would give the kitchen ample time to plan and pep up more goodies. I would say their first introduction to the Italian dishes for the night to be quite impressive, considering that the kitchen staff took the effort to ascertain that the dishes served were at their freshest state.

Do check out the hotel’s other promotions by clicking the poster below for a clearer view.

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The restaurant is just located within the premises of Golden Sands Resort. Drive all the way up towards Batu Ferringhi. When you see the Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa on your right, slow down and watch out for the Golden Sands Resort entrance which is right after the Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa. Park your car at the ample car park there and walk into the main lobby of the resort. Head towards the left side of the lobby and you would see the Garden Café there.

SIGIMAP

Name: GARDEN CAFE @ GOLDEN SANDS RESORT
Address: Batu Ferringhi Beach, 11100 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-886 1911 (Direct Restaurant Line)
Business Hours: 7.00pm-10.00pm (Ala Carte: 6.30am-11.00pm)
GPS: 5.477405, 100.251657

RATING:
Ambience: 9/10 (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)

Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts currently owns and/or manages 90 hotels under the Shangri-La brand with a room inventory of over 37,000. Shangri-La hotels are five-star deluxe properties featuring extensive luxury facilities and services. Shangri-La hotels are located in Australia, Canada, mainland China, Fiji, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. The group has a substantial development pipeline with upcoming projects in mainland China, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka. For more information and reservations, please contact a travel professional or access the website at www.shangri-la.com.

For those who are into Vietnamese cuisine but have no opportunity to travel out to the country at the moment to experience the authentic gastronomic adventures, you can now visit Nada Lama @ Hotel Equatorial, Penang, to savor their “Lively Vietnam” Buffet Promotion. For a short and limited period of 18-24 August 2015, 6.30pm until 10.00pm, you can now try out the most diverse healthy gastronomies in the world with its lively, fresh flavors and artfully composed meals under the expertise of Chef Tran Kim Hoang Trong and his team. The buffet is priced at RM148nett (adult) and RM74nett (child) with different menus on a rotation basis.

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Let’s jump into the simple and yet enchantingly sophisticated cuisine, starting from the Salads, Starters and Soup Sections. You would find spreads such as the Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls with Beef Slices, Duck with Cabbages & Banana Blossom Salad, Watercress with Beef Salad, Steamed Rice Cake with Dried Shrimps, Green Papaya Salad with Prawns, Pea Sprouts with Tuna Salad and Salted Vegetables with Chicken Soup. Wow! It was an impressive spread of dishes that caught my attention. Practically everything here suited my palate real well. However, I should think that the kitchen had forgotten to sprinkle the rice cakes with dried shrimps~ LOL~ 😛

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As for the Hot Buffet Section, you would get to try out their Vietnamese Style Stewed Beef, Vietnamese Stewed Chicken in Ginger, Stir Fried Angle Beans in Hot Garlic Sauce, Wok Fried Squid in Sweet & Sour Sauce, Deep Fried Eel in Tamarind Sauce, Fish Paste Stuffed Fried Tofu in Tomato Sauce, Stewed Prawns in Caramelized Fish Sauce, Grilled Duck Legs with Red Fermented Bean Curd, Stewed Red Snapper with Black Beans, served with White Rice and Chicken & Egg Fried Rice. I immediately fell in love with the Vietnamese Style Stewed Beef as each bite of the juicy and tender meat was pepped up with simple and yet flavorful texture. The Fish Paste Stuffed Fried Tofu in Tomato Sauce may look simple but each of the silky soft deep fried tofu with smooth fish paste was remarkably addictive. On the other hand, the Stewed Red Snapper with Black Beans complemented real well with the Chicken & Egg Fried Rice. Thumbs up!

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At the Live Cooking Sections, you would get to savor their Chicken & Dried Bamboo Glass Noodles and Skillet Fried Beef with Rice Noodles. Somehow the soup base for the noodles had some hidden added herbs infused in it, somewhat like the flavor of ginseng but milder. The whole concoction was delicious. I was totally impressed by how the Vietnamese team marinated the beef slices unlike those I have tried elsewhere which were rather bland. With the combination of rice noodles, fresh greens and some pickled carrots, it was indeed a comfort dish. The only thing was that I had wished to have some added fried chili flakes in oil to spice up the dish a bit more. Now I’m yearning for more of the Bún Bò Xào~ 😛

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We also had our mouth sweetened up at their Dessert Section. You get to savor their Baked Cassava (Tapioca) Cake, Jelly & Pomegranate Seeds in Sweet Syrup, Green Beans & Seaweed in Syrup, Mung Beans in Coconut Milk and Stewed Lotus Seeds with White Fungus.

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On top of all the robustly flavored dishes, there were also some sections for those international spreads such as the DIY Salad Section, the Fruit Cuts & Fruit Cocktail Section and the International/Local Dessert Section.

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Overall, I would say this was one of the best buffets I have had on Vietnemase cuisine for a super long time. At least you could taste the authentic flavors of Vietnam with their imported fresh greens and herbs. Thanks to Chef Tran Kim Hoang Trong and his team for taking their efforts in looking into such details. Vietnamese cuisine would contain lots of fresh greens, beef and duck, thus some of you might think that the cuisine would not be suitable for you. Well, there are also other spreads of seafood and chicken which would be palatable to most diners. A set of menus will be on rotation basis to enable diners to experience the best of what Vietnam has to offer.

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If you are coming from Bayan Baru area towards Jalan Tun Dr Awang, make a right turn into Persiaran Bukit Jambul at the second traffic lights. Drive all the way up the sloppy road until you see INTI International College on your left. Drive about another 150m onwards and turn right into Jalan Bukit Jambul at the first junction you see. You will see the hotel on your left. The easiest way to get there would be by parking your car on the right side of the building as your enter the hotel’s car park. Take the nearest stairway up a level and you will see the restaurant on your left. Nada Lama is just opposite the Kampachi Japanese Restaurant by the pool side.

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Name: NADA LAMA @ HOTEL EQUATORIAL
Address: Jalan Bukit Jambul, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-632 7073
Business Hours: 6.30pm-10.00pm
GPS: 5.337122, 100.285308345

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)

 

When you want to live and feast like rock stars, you have to pay a visit to Malaysia’s sole rock & roll concept themed hotel – Hard Rock Hotel, Penang. Do be quick in wearing your rocking shoes with your family and friends to experience their Bintang Rock Buffet Dinner at Starz Diner @ Hard Rock Hotel Penang. The buffet has started since 18 June 2015 and will continue to tempt your palate until 16 July 2015 from 6.30pm until 10.30pm. The seasonal buffet dinner is priced at RM88nett (adult) and RM48nett (child aged 6-12 years old). Please call +604-886 8057 or email [email protected] to book earlier to avoid disappointment.

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Bintang Rock Buffet Dinner would offer a wide selection of freshly prepared dishes from local starters to meat grills, hawker fares, and desserts to cater to the taste buds of diners. Other than the commonly available ready-made salads, I did find something unique that I have yet to come across in patronizing the many buffet spreads out there. They have a special counter set up to cater to those who love having salads – the Malaysian style. It was not about having Ulam-ulaman (wild herbs and vegetable) served with the usual sambal condiments but a DIY counter for your favorite Kerabu (Malaysian salad). Gosh! Can you imagine how heavenly it was to have Kerabu of your preference made freshly right in front of you? This is truly one of it kinds I have encountered throughout my food writing career.

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On top of that, I did also find this section to be full of surprises as those little glasses of appetizers were not there just for display but were packed with small bites that were amazingly appetizing. I quite like the Tandoori Marinated Chicken Cubes that were hidden amongst the food treasures.

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Coming to the Starters Section with items of the day such as Bubur Lambuk and Minestrone Soup served with an assortment of bread rolls, the dishes were flavorfully packed with ingredients. I did find the Minestrone Soup to be tasty as it was filled with a variety of vegetables, meat and seafood to give its rich flavors.

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The Nasi Kandar Section were simple and yet fulfilling for those who love this Penang favorite. It had some rice options with a few varieties of local spiced up dishes such as Fish Molee, Ayam Masam Mamak, Daging Masak Congo and more. Beside these dishes were some local and international hot dishes that might interest you as well such as Sauteed Vegetables, Seafood Thermidor, Green Curry Chicken and more.

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You should not miss out the Arabian section for their nicely pepped up Arabic Roasted Lamb Leg in Dome served with Arabic rice, cous cous, pita bread, alongside with chutney and yoghurt as condiments. Each mouthful of the fragrantly cooked rice with the tender pieces of the roasted lamb was above cloud 9. I must compliment Chef Joe Elias for a job well done.

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The Hot Dishes and Grill Section would stretch from indoor until outdoor and I found it to be rather interesting. Other than Chicken Shawarma Wrap, I did also find my usual Mamak Roti John there. Again, this was something that caught my attention. Moving along the line of many individually banana leaves wrapped grilled fishes and shellfish was something quite rare on any buffet spread. It was the Pahang originated Pais Ikan Sambal or quite commonly known as Balinese Style Pesan Be Pasih aka Grilled Fillet of Fish in Banana Leaf. It looked quite similar to the herbs and spices packed Nyonya style Otak Otak, but had more distinctive flavors from added lemon basil, bay leaves and lemongrass minus the usage of egg. Wow! That was a bonus! Following the buffet line were Char Koay Teow, Chicken Wings and an assortment of Satays.

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If all those interesting dishes did not tempt you, you can always lay back and enjoy their cool Dessert Section with a selection of free-flowing Beverages of the Day. I would say their desserts which consisted of international standards of cakes and pastries plus some add-ons of local kuih-muih were plentiful enough to ease the craving of those sweet tooth diners. Ais Kacang, Chinese Pancake with Lotus Paste/Red Bean Paste served with Hot Caramel Sauce, Ice Cream, Sago Gula Melaka were some of the desserts to look out for. However, the winners would go to their rich Spiced Cardamon Bread & Butter Pudding, Hot Chocolate Pudding and Crème Brulee. I just wished I had the stomach space for more as these desserts were amazingly saliva dripping.

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We had Menu 5 for the day and it was impressively presented. I’m sure the rest of the menus will be just as great as well. Let’s have a peep onto the menus which would be on a rotation basis for the whole promotion. Do click to enlarge for a better view.

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Overall, from the Menu 5 which we had tasted, I did find the dishes to be rather attractive and out of the norm from the usual dishes served at the rest of the buffets out there. Dining here was like being a nomad trekking his way from continent to continent into Europe, then into Middle East before landing on the shore of Asia for more herbs and spices spiked up cuisine. As for the desserts, they sure know how to tempt those sweet tooth diners with their amazingly concocted selections of good quality pastries and cakes.

For those who are not ardent fans of buffets, you can always opt for their gigantic serving of Rock Platters at Hard Rock Café instead. The promotion is from 18 June until 16 July 2015 (11.30am-10.30pm) at RM160nett (for 2 pax) and RM240nett (for 3 pax). For reservations, please contact the Hard Rock Cafe admin at +604-886 8054.

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As for their Relax & Feast Package Promotion (18 June until 16 July 2015), a specially designed package to cater to your need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, the rates will start from RM420++ per room per night inclusive of buffet breakfast for two adults and two children. Enjoy a choice of daily Early Bite Breakfast (4.00am-5.30am) or Buffet Breakfast (6.30am-11.00am). They have got your dinner covered too with option to try out their Bintang Rock Buffet in Starz Diner or savor the Rock Platter at Hard Rock Cafe Penang. For more info, please visit www.penang.hardrockhotels.net.

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: 8.5/10 (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)

About Hard Rock International: With a total of 200 venues in 64 countries, including 154 cafes, 21 hotels and 10 casinos, Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognized companies. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise, Hard Rock Live performance venues and an award-winning website. HRI owns the global trademark for all Hard Rock brands. The company owns, operates and franchises Cafes in iconic cities including London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Dubai. HRI also owns, licenses and/or manages hotel/casino properties worldwide. Destinations include the company’s two most successful Hotel and Casino properties in Tampa and Hollywood, Fl., both owned and operated by HRI parent company The Seminole Tribe of Florida, as well as other exciting locations including Bali, Chicago, Cancun, Ibiza, Las Vegas, Macau and San Diego. Upcoming new Hard Rock Cafe locations include San Juan, Lagos and Busan, South Korea. New Hard Rock Hotel projects include Daytona Beach, Dubai, Los Cabos, Tenerife, Abu Dhabi, and Shenzhen and Haikou in China. For more information on Hard Rock International, visit www.hardrock.com.

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)

 

If you are an adventurous diner looking for exotic dishes from other Asian countries, you would realize that Vietnamese restaurants no longer exist in Penang as far as some years back. For the month of March 2012, it’s great to have Swez Brasserie @ Eastin Hotel, Penang, to come out with such a promotion named Vivacious Vietnam. A large number of Vietnamese dishes would be added in their daily buffet spread. Here’s the summary of the promotion.

VIVACIOUS VIETNAM (1-31 MARCH 2012)
Lunch (12.00 noon – 2.30pm): Monday – Friday
RM48++ (adult), RM24++ (child)
Hi-Tea (12.00 noon – 3.00pm): Saturday & Sunday
Normal weekend: RM55++ (adult), RM28++ (child)
Festive Occasion: RM68++ (adult), RM34++ (child)
Semi Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Sunday – Thursday
RM48++ per pax
Seafood Supreme Themed Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Friday
RM80++ (adult), RM40++ (child)
Mongolian Grill Themed Buffet Dinner (6.30pm – 10.00pm): Saturday
RM80++ (adult), RM40++ (child)

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Let’s start from the Soup and Salad Bar Sections. The Soup Section basically consisted of two types of soup such as the Vietnamese Pineapple Chicken Soup which had traces of chicken cubes, bamboo shoots, pineapple and tomatoes. It was mild and nothing special at all as it lacked the strong flavor from the bamboo shoots. At least the second soup which was the Crab Meat Soup with Asparagus had a richer seafood taste that suited me well. There were two “Make Your Own Salad” stations. One station had coral red lettuce, iceberg lettuce, frisee, boiled kidney bean, alfalfa sprouts, corn kernel, cherry tomatoes, pea sprouts, croutons, raisins, pickled olive, pickled onions, pickled zucchini, red pepper in oil, pickled black olive, pickled capers and cheese powder, to be topped with either vinaigrette dressing, French dressing, pesto dressing, thousand island dressing or Italian dressing. The other station had a more meaty selections such as roasted chicken slices, deep fried hams, coral red lettuce, frisee, black olive, cheese cube, carrots, cherry tomatoes, red & green capsicums, cucumber and onions, to be dressed with a citrus tasting green salad dressing and ranch salad dressing. There were also some bread rolls and loaves available with butter and margarine spreads.

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Also at the Salad Bar were two types of Western Cold Platters being served such as the Beef Salami and Smoked Duck Breast cold cuts. The Smoked Duck Breast excelled better in terms of smoky flavor, taste and cuts. Some ready-made salads were also available such as the Bamboo Shoot Salad, Ground Meat & Crab Meat with Grapefruit Salad, Mixed Celery & Sea Bass Fillet Salad, Grilled Eggplant Salad with Vietnamese Dressing, Asparagus Salad, Grilled Paprika Chicken Salad, Fresh Crystal Spring Rolls with Beef and a selection of canapés.

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Three items were served at the Action & Noodle Counter. Firstly, it was the Shrimp on Sugar Cane. As for texture and taste, it was quite fine but on a saltier side. Luckily, the condiment of a lightly fresh greens sweet sauce saved the dish from being too disastrous.

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The Egg Pancake with Prawns was one of my favorite since it was done fresh. The fragrantly cooked prawns with some capsicum slices cooked in some sweet chili sauce blended in real well with some sliced iceberg lettuce, wrapped in an egg pancake.

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The Beef Noodles Soup did not suit my taste bud at all. It lacked the sweetness from some marrow or knuckle bones as it tasted more like chicken stock being used instead. Moreover, local “koay teow” flat noodles were used instead of the Vietnamese bahn pho or Thai chantaboon rice sticks, thus the noodles became too soggy if left alone for a long period of time. On top of the beef slices, fresh bean sprouts, red chili slices, cilantro, spring onions and chili paste being added in, the whole dish lacked the spicy and herb filled punch. I guessed the kitchen has to look more into some additional usage of ginger, clove, cinnamon stick, star anise and fish sauce to push up the flavors for this noodle soup.

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The Hot Dishes Section mainly consisted of a mix and match dishes not only from Vietnam but also from other countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Germany, France, Italy and India. The spread included Nasi Tomato, Rendang Ayam, Goreng Sayur Campur, Stuffed Crabs, Sauteed Cauliflower with Prawns, Sliced Beef with Lemongrass, Fried Shrimp with Coconut Sauce, Stewed Sea Bass in Claypot, Stir Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts, Stir Fried Bitter Gourd with Egg, Stir Fried Rice Vermicelli with Assorted Meat, Sauteed Vegetables with Almonds, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Grilled Lamb Chop, Steamed Rice, Spring Rolls, Vegetarian Fried Rice, Long Bean Sambal and Aloo Gobi.

Personally, I quite like some of the dishes from the hot dishes section. The Nasi Tomato was full of fragrance from some of the nicely added spices. The Rendang Chicken cut was rather large and went perfectly well with the tomato rice. The Goreng Sayur was common just like those served at the Nasi Kandar stalls with added turmeric powder. The Stuffed Crab was just average as the stuffing had the texture of fish balls and tasted just like spiced fish balls without some added crab meat. The Sauteed Cauliflower with Prawns was also common. The Sliced Beef with Lemongrass had tender beef slices but lacked the spicy flavors. The Fried Shrimp with Coconut Sauce practically had the taste of frozen prawns without flavors. The back of the prawns should have some slits to allow flavors to seep in the flesh. The Stewed Sea Bass in Claypot tasted quite fine and it had chunks of fresh fish being used. The Stir Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts was nice. The chicken cuts were juicy and tender. With the nutty flavors from the cashew nuts, the whole combination was perfect. The Stir Fried Bitter Gourd with Egg was simple but it had a nice fragrance from the added chili oil. The Stir Fried Rice Vermicelli with Assorted Meat was just average. The Sauteed Vegetables with Almonds no doubt was a simple dish but the roasted almond flakes sure pepped up the flavors. The Roasted Sweet Potatoes was just another simple stir fried dishes with added capsicums and onions. The Grilled Lamb Chop somehow was under marinated and a bit too tough. The chops had a strong lamb taste. Steamed Rice was just steamed rice. The Spring Rolls was normal. The Vegetarian Fried Rice basically was not my type of fried rice dish as it lacked flavors. The Long Bean Sambal which had some added deep fried bean curd was just nice. The Aloo Gobi which had cauliflower stir fried with some turmeric powder and cumin was totally out from the ones I had elsewhere. The dish was rather dry and lacked the taste from more spices and cilantro as garnishing. I saw only gobi (cauliflower) but where were the aloo (potatoes) then?

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The Dessert Section had 6 flavors of Nestle Ice Cream with different types of toppings, Assorted Fruit Platters, Assorted Cakes and Pastries, Jelly, Pudding, Green Bean Soup, Assorted Local Nyonya Kuih and a few choices of Vietnamese delicacies.

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Basically, there were a few of the Vietnamese desserts that caught my attention. One of them was the Banana in Rich Coconut Sauce. It had cooked banana with young coconut meat in slightly sweetened fresh coconut milk. It was perfect to end the meal. Without the availability of shaved iced, I added in some Vanilla ice cream for that extra creaminess. Slurps~ 😛

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Another great dessert was the Glutinous Rice Ball in Gingered Brown Syrup (Che Troi Nouc). The soft glutinous rice ball with either red bean paste or pandan kaya paste went well with the gingered syrup.

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There was also the Vietnamese Rice Cake. The filling tasted like out Malaysian ketupat but with green bean powder sprinkled on those small piece of rice cakes. There was nothing special about this dessert as it was not sweetened at all.

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Another of the dessert that caught my curiosity was the Vietnamese Potato Cake. It looked just like apple pie with sprinkled grounded cinnamon but the taste was not up to my expectation. I was surprised that normal French fries potatoes were used instead of sweet potatoes. Somehow the taste did not blend in real well as a sweet dessert.

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Overall, the spread served here were more towards international dishes with at least half of the dishes consisted of Vietnamese cuisine. No doubt it was a well balanced mix and match dishes that would suit just anyone but I personally found that the taste and flavors for the Vietnamese dishes were too mild to my liking. The dishes somehow did not have much of the authentic Vietnamese cuisine. The kitchen should have looked into dishes with a much heavier usage of fish sauce, shrimp paste, fermented beans, spices and herbs.

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)

 

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