CRIZ BON APPETITE

Savoring The Best All Over Town…

THE ALL NEW LA FRANCE CAFÉ & RESTAURANT IN PENANG

Posted by crizlai On September - 11 - 2011

If you are a frequent diner at the Northern Beach Café situated along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah in Penang, you would notice that there was this little stall selling great French food by the name of La France. Well, that was history! Today, that former little stall by the beach cafe, manned by the loving couple, Frenchman Nathan (who lives near to the border of Germany) and his lovely wife, Ginny, has moved into a cozy mansion of their own, right in the heart of the beautiful George Town, Penang. The all new La France Café & Restaurant now promises a more unique and fresh home cooked French cuisine with a little touch of German. Merveilleux! Wonderful!

LAFRANCE201

There are two type of menus available here, namely the Menu Dejeuner (lunch from 12.00 noon onwards) and Menu Diner (dinner from 6.00pm onwards). The latter has a few additional items added in for a more fulfilling dinner. Let’s start with the entrees (starter). One of the dishes which I tried out was the Potage du Jour (Soup of the Day – RM5.90) which happened to be Mushroom Soup. It would be served fresh from the kitchen with some sprinkles of black pepper. The soup had a distinctive earthly taste from the finely chopped Shitake mushroom within (most restaurant would just blend all in). It had this sweet but not too creamy taste which was quite different from elsewhere. Instead of the normal usage of flour to create that broth like soup version, the chef applied a healthier method by substituting flour with some freshly mashed potatoes and a mild touch of chopped parsley. Simply healthy and delicious! The soup would not come with any bread or bun, so you might want to order some Pain d’ail (garlic bread – RM3 for 5pcs ciabatta slices).

LAFRANCE202

There was also the Croques Monsieur (Oven baked Ciabatta) – Croc’ Ham & Cheese (Pork Ham – RM9.80) served with some sautéed potatoes and fresh greens. The whole dish was heaven! The half-sliced ciabatta had just the right crisp on the surface while maintaining the softness within. The bread has some light spread of butter, chopped parsley, pork ham and cheese, prior to being oven baked to perfection. The taste of the cheese was rather different as Mozarella cheese alone would not have that sharp salty cheesy taste. Some crumbles of bleu cheese were used too. The other two side dishes needed some compliments as well. The sautéed potatoes were awesome with a nice aromatic taste from some added herbs. The fresh greens may look normal but when you mix them together with the special dressing created by the chef, it was totally another response. The slightly mustard spiced dressing with some butter-flour roux béchamel sauce and herbs was superb for any salad.

LAFRANCE203

Another dish that you should not miss out for any meal would be the savory croissants. The Croissant Poulet (Yoghurt Chicken – RM10.90) which was crispy, flavorful yet healthy was another dish to remember. The stuffed chicken meat mixed with some yoghurt and fresh herbs, topped with some cheese and baked to perfection was a perfect lunch for me. It also came with two delicious side dishes as above. You can also try out their Croissant Jambon (Pork Ham – RM10.90), Croissant au Thon (Tuna – RM10.90) or Croissant Saumon Fume (Smoked Salmon & Egg – RM14.90)

LAFRANCE204

As for pasta, they would use the twirl like fusilli pasta. I tried out the Aglio Olio with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (RM9.00). This version was totally different compared to others. I guessed different restaurant prepared this dish differently. Basically, Aglio e Olio means garlic and oil. The pasta came with some cut dried chili pepper, cut black olives, chopped parsley, sliced garlic, some sprinkles of black pepper, mixed with some extra virgin olive oil and garnished with some parmesan cheese. Overall, it may look rather dry for some but each mouthful gave a totally different cheesy experience. Finally, the whole dish was cleared. Personally, I felt that it may need just a bit more dashes of olive oil, a more fragrant sautéed garlic slices and some available chili flakes for those who love the dish to be a bit more spicy.

LAFRANCE205

There was also the Crepes de Bleu (Savory French pancakes) section to try out in the menu but I opted for other dishes as it basically consisted of fillings such as eggs, chicken, tuna and smoked salmon but there was this dish that caught my attention. It was the Oven Baked Crepes Beef Bolognese (RM13.90) with cheesy toppings. Well, I had too much of meat and cheese for a day, so I leave it for another day. Instead, I headed for the Dessert Maison section. I had the Crepes Suzette (RM5.90). It was a hot and cold dessert with two folded hot crepes, topped with slightly sweetened fresh orange juice and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The tangy taste of the juice on the crepes combined with the creaminess from the ice cream was simply refreshing.

LAFRANCE206

The next dessert which was the Crepe Compote (Apple & Banana – RM6.80) was another great dessert. The crepes were rolled up with some fruit compote, sprinkled with some icing sugar and garnished with some hot chocolate sauce. This was another superb dessert for all. The natural sweetened compote had a bit of wine after taste due to the cooking reaction by the combination of the two fruits. It had some raisins and a bit of grounded cinnamon added in for that flavorful taste.

LAFRANCE207

As I had mentioned earlier, the menu had some additional dishes added in. Let me share with you what you would expect from here. There’s the Omelettes Soufflees (Fluffy) with choices such as the Omelette Champignon (Fresh Mushroom – RM9.90) Omelette Fromage (Cheese – RM9.50), Omelette Jambon Fromage (Ham & Cheese – RM10.50) and Omelette Forestiere (Mushroom, Ham & Cheese – RM12.90). I had decided to go for the Omelette Jambon Fromage (Ham & Cheese – RM10.50) which had chopped hams, onions, chopped parsley, black pepper and cheese. It was cheesy and flavorful. The dish also came with some Pomme Frite (French Fries) and greens. This was another marvelous dish by the restaurant.

LAFRANCE208

There are two additional dishes for dinner in the Les Regionales (French Local Specialties) section. Other than the Quiche Alsacienne with Bacon & Cheese (RM9.50) and Bratwurst with Sauteed Potatoes (RM11.80) available for both meals, I tried out the Kartoffelpuffer (Alsacien Potato Pancakes – RM10.90). It was a thin fried savory pancake originated from Europe which consisted of grated potatoes, flour, eggs, onions, chopped parsley, topped with sautéed mushrooms in bechamel sauce and served with greens. It tasted quite normal to me as it was but when combined with the sauce, the creaminess and buttery taste of the evenly coated pancake was awesome. The slightly burned edges of the potato pancake gave it that extra flavor. The dish also came with some fresh greens.

LAFRANCE209

Another of the dinner dish would be the Schnitzel (Grilled Chicken Cutlet – RM14.90). The grilled chicken with a flavorful layer of pork ham and served with white sauce was very tasty. It had some nice crisps at the edges while keeping the moist with the tender meat. This came with some sauteed potatoes and greens.

LAFRANCE210

La France Café & Restaurant is not just a place for your meals but also a great place for meet ups. You can have some nice desserts during tea time or supper over some hot and cold beverages. On top of that, they do serve imported lager such as the Kronenbourg 1664 (RM16.90), which was reported symbolized the French art of pleasure, exquisite in every details and universally desirable.

LAFRANCE211

Overall, the dishes served here are delicious, provided you are a lover of cheese and healthy food, as all the food served here are made fresh from selected quality ingredient and does not contain any monosodium glutamate (MSG). The portion may look rather fine and small in some dishes but it’s the standard size as served in France. It would be more than enough to fill up your appetite… unless you are an extremely big eater. Some of the cheese based dishes may contain some crumbles of blue (bleu) cheese which would give the dish a unique, sharp and a bit salty flavor. All dishes are fairly charged with a nett price tag.

La France Cafe & Restaurant would not be visible by the main road. If you are from town towards Pulau Tikus along Jalan Burma, keep to your right after passing the Giant Supermarket (Penang Plaza) at the junction of Jalan Burma/Jalan Larut. Keep driving until you have passed Him Heang, a church, Jemputee (junction of Jalan Burma/Jalan Chow Thye), a vegetarian food court and Malaysian Chin Woo Association on your right. Turn right into Jalan Servis (between Chin Woo Association and Malaysian Buddhists’ Association) and drive all the way in until your see a right junction (Jalan Irrawadi). At the corner lot, you would see the El Case Wine & Dine Restaurant. La France Café & Restaurant is just opposite the café in a state-of-the art mansion. You won’t miss it at all.

LAFRANCE2MAP

Name: LA FRANCE CAFÉ & RESTAURANT
Address: 3B, Jalan Irrawaddi, 10050 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 012-412 7355 (Ginny), 012-491 3360 (Nathan)
Business Hours: 12.00pm-10.00pm (Closed Tuesday – Dinner 6.00pm onwards)
GPS: 5.42628, 100.320936

RATING:
Ambience: 8/10 (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: 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)

 

During the recent Penang Food Hunting Trip 2011, organized by Food Digest Magazine, Malaysia’s No. 1 food and lifestyle magazine, Taiwanese Celebrity Chef Chen Hong (陳鴻), together with renowned Chef Park Tae Yeong (from Korea) and Chef Billy Ng Yih Lee (runner-up of 8TV’s Hot Chef Season One) were bought to a little Chinese restaurant down town in the heart of Georgetown, Penang. The restaurant by the name of Chin Bee Tea Restaurant, coincidentally, was also my most recommended restaurant in 2009 as well as in 2010. The chefs were glad that they had the privileges to meet up with the last remaining of the top few Chinese cuisine chefs in Penang, Sifu Malai Chong, 68 years old. With over 5 decades of cooking experiences locally and internationally, the Sifu managed to capture the chefs’ hearts with his creative culinary skills and dishes.

CHINBEE301

Three signature dishes from the old chef’s own creation were presented namely the Stuffed Pork Trotter with Eight Treasures (八寳豬手 – RM80nett), Dry Fry Grouper Head (生炒石斑魚頭 – RM30nett) and Five Continents Under the Moonlight (月光照五洲 – RM30nett). All the chefs were impressed with the “Stuffed Pork Trotter with Eight Treasures” as it was rich in flavors and without the strong pork smell, evidently stated by Chef Chen Hong during his audio interview with the bloggers. He even tried to survey more on the ingredients used in the dish. I’ll brief more on the ingredients and preparations in our recent interview with the Sifu below. The “Dry Fry Grouper Head”, on the other hand, was specially marinated in the chef’s secret sauce and dry fried in the fish’s own juice, WITHOUT ANY DROP OF WATER. It had some vegetables such as carrots, onions, snow peas and the pungent taste from the added chilies. The “Five Continents Under the Moonlight” was actually the chef’s smooth and silky steamed egg with five different types of toppings, namely mussels, prawns, grouper fillets, squids and century eggs.

CHINBEE302

Other than the three main dishes, Chef Chen Hong was also introduced to two of their signature noodle dishes such as the Hong Tu Mien (鴻圖面) which had Ee Foo Noodles (伊麵), in a sharksfin soup like broth with chopped prawns, chicken slices and eggs, served with black vinegar and the Gui Hua Mien (桂花麵) which also had Ee Foo Noodles but stir fried with a generous amount of crab meat, scallops, prawns and egg, garnished with lots of sliced lettuce, served with the chef’s own concocted fragrantly fried chili paste (sambal).

CHINBEE303

In a recent interview with Sifu Malai Chong, we had the Stuffed Pork Trotter with Eight Treasures (八寳豬手 – RM80nett) recreated to check out what made Chef Chen Hong so impressed with this dish. I would say I was as equally impressed as the chef with the rich taste and quality of the ingredients within the stuffed pork trotter.

CHINBEE304

The Sifu had really put in all his time, effort and passion into this dish and at RM80nett, this is super cheap. To get rid of the normal strong pork smell, the pork trotter was soaked and washed many times. After ridding of the excess water, a layer of seasoning was applied to the trotter and then deep fried to perfection. When cool down, the Sifu carefully deboned the trotter, while reserving the meaty parts to be added back into the dish. The stuffing actually consisted of a combination of stir fried meat cubes from the trotter (豬手肉) plus eight other treasures such as scallops (乾貝), sea cucumber (海参), mushrooms (花冬菇), Chinese water chestnuts (馬蹄), Chinese chestnuts (栗子), lotus seeds (蓮子), carrots (紅蘿卜) and glutinous rice (糯米). These stir fried ingredients were then stuffed back into the deboned trotter, sewn up and steamed up to 6 hours. The remaining juice from the steamed trotter together with some corn flour, dashes of Shao Xing wine would then be used to make the gravy with some additional pre-marinated steamed scallops. The taste of the filling was like the Chinese savory dumpling, rich and delicious. You would need to order this dish in advance to avoid disappointment.

CHINBEE305

You can have a look at how many bones there were left on trotter. There was only one left and the rest are just cartilages, full of collagen, a protein that is commonly found in the body of mammals. It’s believed to slow down the aging processes and keep you young although there’s no proven medical research that it would really help. It’s just a trend, especially amongst the ladies who would want to try out anything just to be wrinkle free. Anyway, collagen is harmless as it would just break down into amino acid just like any other protein.

CHINBEE306

Here’s a short video on the interview with Sifu Malai Chong by our podcaster, Mr. Willy Wah. It’s in Cantonese and is up in Mobile Radio Hong Kong now.

The chef also came out with two more of his self created dishes. One of them was the funny named Granny Asking Direction (婆婆問路 – RM20nett) which I had introduced last year. It’s a poor man’s way of having an expensive sea cucumber dish. The Sifu steamed the fuzzy melon/squash (毛瓜/mo kua) in thick broth (上湯) and seasoning to make the melon looked just like sea cucumbers and the dish had some seafood, vegetables, mushrooms, scallops and sliced chicken sausages. The whole presentation was rather exclusive. This dish would suit the elderly too as the “sea cucumber” aka melon would not be as tough as the real one. Moreover, the thick gravy matched well with the rest of the ingredients.

CHINBEE307

The next dish also had a bombastic name – the Iron Net Golden Dragon (鐵網金龍 – RM3.50nett/pcs, Min order 2 pieces). It’s even cheaper than most of the Thai items I had tried before. As for this dish, there was again the hardship in getting the dish out as it was not as simple as it looked to get that shape. Each piece would be molded into a pear-like shape with a “dragon” aka prawn wrapped with salted duck egg and “gold nugget” (金錢肉) as the ones I normally get from Choo Choo Heng during Chinese New Year. This shaped item would then be rolled into some frying flour, wrapped in the chef’s secret “iron net” and then rolled again into frying flour prior to being deep fried. The secret “iron net” which is actually a pig’s caul fat netting (猪油網), a very thin lacy membrane that surrounds the viscera of a pig, is a traditional Chinese way of containing a loose product prior to deep frying. It shaped the product when the fat melts away, leaving that extra fragrant that would be simply delicious. The end products were sliced into halves and served with some coriander, chopped pickled ginger (調味醋姜片), pickled Rakkyo bulbs (酸甜蕎頭) and Thai chili sauce.

CHINBEE308

If you are coming from Trader’s Hotel along Jalan Magazine, keep to your left and drive on until you have reach the second traffic light. Turn into the first road on your left (Jalan Gurdwara – left of the Gama Supermarket) and then the first left turning into Lebuh Noordin. The shop is just somewhere in the middle on your right within a row of heritage houses. In fact, this shop is just two houses away from another recommended confectionery manufacturer by the name of Hock Lok Siew Biscuit Trading. Please make sure you call up for reservation as this place could be packed during lunch or dinner hours.

CHINBEEMAP

Name: CHIN BEE TEA CAFE
Address: 124, Lebuh Noordin, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-261 1761, 012-499 9972 (Mr. Ong)
Opening Hours:
12noon – 3.00pm, 6.00pm-9.30pm (Closed Alternate Wednesday)
GPS: 5.412361, 100.329541

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

 

SPECIAL MALAY CUISINE AT D’DAPOR EXPRESS

Posted by crizlai On May - 29 - 2011

After a disastrous meal at Bahtera Santai Seafood & Ikan Bakar, finally there’s a nice and cozy Malay restaurant with some heritage feels down in the heart of George Town. At least I can have a proper venue to enjoy authentic Malay flavors in a more comfortable environment without the disturbance from some pesky insects. D’Dapor Express is a sophisticated Malay restaurant, located within one of the shop lots in the newly restored 140 years old pre-war building named Logan Building, along the banking district of Lebuh Pantai. Today, the building has been renamed as Logan Heritage and housed an arcade of food & beverage outlets and other retail outlets.

DDAPOR01

Presently, D’Dapor Express is promoting its Set Lunch and Set Dinner with Kari Kepala Ikan D’Dapor (D’Dapor Curry Fish Head), Taugeh Tumis Ikan Masin Salted Fish Bean Sprouts), Telur Bawang (Onion Omelette), Ulam-ulaman (Raw Herbs with Sambal) and steamed rice at RM39.90++ (for 2-3 pax) or Kari Kepala Ikan D’Dapor (D’Dapor Curry Fish Head), Ayam Kelasan Malindo (Indonesian Fried Chicken), Taugeh Tumis Ikan Masin (Salted Fish Bean Sprouts), Telur Bawang (Onion Omelette), Ulam-ulaman (Raw Herbs with Sambal) and steamed rice at RM65.90++ (for 4-6 pax).

One of the new sets (RM39.90++ per set) we had tried out inclusive the Kari Kepala Ikan D’Dapor (D’Dapor Curry Fish Head – normal price at RM38++), an all-time favorite amongst the locals. A freshly chosen fish head was carefully prepared with curry spices, chilies, onions, tamarind juice with some dashes of coconut milk, served with sliced eggplants, ladies fingers and tomatoes, with some touches of spring onions and fresh mint leaves as garnishes. This dish was quite similar to the Nyonya style fish curry, without the strong traces of sweet basil (daun kesum) but with the usage of coconut milk. This was quite a reasonably good dish, especially when the dish was served piping hot. Well, the Telur Bawang (Onion Omelette – normal price at RM6.50++) and Kailan Masak Cendawan (Stir Fry Kailan with Mushrooms – normal price at RM8.80++/RM19.80++) were two common dishes you would get anywhere.

The next new set inclusive the Udang Buluh Perindu (Spicy Prawns served in bamboo which in this case it came on a plate – normal price at RM18++/RM27++). The dish came with four juicy prawns cooked in sweet and spicy gravy. The gravy tasted like the Oriental style sweet and sour crab minus the presence of vinegar. There was a strong hint of chili sauce being used in the dish. The Ayam Pandan Berbungkus (Screw Pine Leaves Wrapped Chicken – normal price at RM12.80++/RM22.80++) had some Thai influence with the usage of turmeric powder, ginger, onions and garlic as marinates to the chicken meat chunks, prior to being wrapped in pandan leaves and deep fried. Unfortunately, the marinate time was not enough to let the flavors seeped into the meat. Moreover, the size was rather small for reasonable bites. The Kari Ketam (Flower Crab Curry – normal price at RM25++) was a new addon in the menu. The cooking style again was so much like the Nyonya Masak Lemak Nenas, a spicy and pineapple fruity sweetness curry where seafood such as either some prawns, fish or squids were used as the main ingredient. This dish was rather tasty, considering that the sweetness from the crab has gone right into the gravy.

DDAPOR02

Instead of going for the set meals, you can also try out some of the items in their ala carte menu. The Kari Ayam Kampung Melayu (Traditional Malay Chicken Curry – RM12.80++/RM22.80++) was quite tasty. The dish has thick gravy somewhat like the Nyonya Curry Kapitan Chicken minus the strong taste of Kaffir lime leaves. Another dish that would be quite a good appetizer would be the Kerabu Mempelam Tiga Serantai (Mango Salad Trio – RM8.80++/16.50++). The dish used finely sliced raw mango, onions, lemon grass and chilies with a light squeeze of lime juice to pep up the taste. It has a generous amount of crispy satay ikan bilis (deep fried spicy anchovies) and bunga kantan (ginger flower bulb) as garnishes.

DDAPOR03

On top of this, there would also be a Buffet High Tea available on weekdays (Monday thru Friday from 3.00pm to 6.00pm). All you need to do is to indulge in any beverages more than RM5+ and you would get to enjoy a free flow of local delicacies. There would also be some quick set lunches on weekdays (with drink) as per shown below:

Monday (RM9.90++):
Set Kari Ayam / Set Ikan Berlada (Fillet) / Set Sotong Kapitan
Tuesday (RM11.90++):
Set Udang Berlada / Set Ikan Berkicap (Fillet) / Set Ikan Asam Pedas
Wednesday (RM12.90++):
Set Ikan Masak Lemak / Set Nasi Lemak D’Dapor / Set Seafood Kapitan
Thursday (RM13.90++):
Set Kari Ketam / Set Sapi Rendang / Set Ayam Berkicap
Friday (RM13.90++):
Set Briyani with Ayam Masak Merah / Ayam Rendang

To get there, just drive all the way along Lebuh Light until you see a roundabout where you would see an stainless steel betel nut structure being displayed there (or Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower) and turn 3’o clock into Lebuh Pantai. Just a few meters away, you would see the Standard Chartered Bank on your right. Turn right into Lebuh Union and you would see the restaurant on your left, right before Maybank Union Street Branch. Unfortunately, they do not have a prominent signage on their entrance yet but you won’t miss it. Parking spaces would be quite ample during off-peak period. If not, you can park in the multi-storey car park after Maybank or the Sri Weld Food Court car park (slightly after Hongkong Bank) along Lebuh Pantai during lunch hours.

DDAPORMAP

Name: D’DAPOR EXPRESS @ LOGAN HERITAGE BUILDING
Address: 7 Lebuh Union, 10200 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-262 9323
Business Hours:
12.00noon – 3.00pm (Lunch)
3.00pm – 6.00pm (Buffet Hi-Tea on weekdays)
6.00pm -10.00pm (Dinner)
GPS: 5.418615, 100.342871

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: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

DINE AND WINE PROMOTION AT SOMMERZ HERITAGE BISTRO PENANG

Posted by crizlai On May - 2 - 2011

Note: Surprisingly with such good business, this outlet has ceased its operation. All that was left is the Heritage Coffee.

Many of you might not be aware the along the heritage stretch of Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah (previously known as Northam Road) lies a cozy colonial building which houses two restaurants with pork dishes. The heritage building which was named as Hardwicke House would provide diners with two concepts of dining. On the ground floor there is the Heritage Coffee which offers a wide range of local, Chinese and Western fare for an informal lunch or dinner. The place caters to the younger crowds who enjoy the “chill-out” atmosphere. On the upper floor for this building is a smart and casual bistro called Sommerz Heritage Bistro with a wonderful heritage ambience, perfect for an inexpensive dinner over a glass of imported wine (starting from just RM55++ per bottle) or beers (Hoegaarden, Paulaner, Victoria Bitter, Erdinger, Corona, etc).

SOMMERZ01

Sommerz Heritage Bistro is currently having their “Free Flow Wine” 4-course dinners at only RM50++ (10% ST+6%GT) on every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with a live band singing jazz, evergreens, oldies and popular songs. The place can cater for parties and functions up to 120 persons. The 4-course Set Dinner with Free Flow of Wine Promotion Menu is as below:

Cream of Mushroom
+
Mixed Salad
+
BBQ Baby Pork Ribs (half slab) served with sauteed onions, wedges and coleslaw
or
White Wine Grilled Salmon in Hollandaise mustard sauce, served with mixed vegetables and wedges
or
Grilled Lamb Chop in black pepper sauce, served with mixed vegetables and wedges
or
Oven Roasted Chicken with Bacon Strip in red wine sauce, served with salad and mashed potatoes
+
A scoop of ice cream with colorful dots
+
Free Flow of Wine or Iced Lemon Tea

We also did try out some of their exclusive dishes from the Sommerz’s ala carte menu such as the Sommerz Caesar Salad (RM12++). The salad has fresh romaine greens, mixed in their own Caesar sauce and garnished with real pork bacon bits and croutons and topped with a poached egg. The whole combination was perfect to start the meal off. The next was our favorite – BBQ Baby Pork Ribs (Half Slab – RM26.90++ or Full Slab – RM44.90++). This dish has been the top seller at Sommerz. The Texan recipe pork ribs had imported special ribs (not as oily as our local ones), carefully marinated and cooked until tender for that delicious taste. It came with sautéed onions, wedges and coleslaw. Next on the list was the Sommerz Rice Set (RM23.90++). This dish looked like a classier version of our local Nasi Lemak (Steamed Coconut Rice) but this version came served with Devil Pork Curry, Chicken Rendang, half a hard-boiled egg and Acar (pickled salad). I simply loved the creativity in this unique combination. Even the Acar complimented well with the dishes. The next dish which was the Devil Curry (Roasted Pork or Chicken – RM12.90++) is a popular spicy dish amongst the local Portuguese community. It had the touch of a family taste. It went well with some fresh buns and some beer or white wine. If you feel that these dishes are a bit heavy, you can even their Seafood Bisque in Bread Bowl (RM13++) or even some of their general dishes from Heritage Coffee downstairs.

SOMMERZ02

Some of the dishes that you can get from Heritage Coffee would be their tasty Char Koay Teow (Regular with 2 prawns – RM8.90++ or Extra with 4 prawns – RM12.90++). It was quite equivalent to those hawker stalls with that extra “wok hei” (high heat cooking). For that extra “kick”, do ask for extra chili. Another street food they served was the Hokkien Mee (Regular – RM8.90++ or Extra Prawns in a Claypot – RM14.90++) or commonly known as prawn noodles in other states. Although the soup had the flavor of slowly simmered prawn shells, it was not the thickness I preferred. The soup might need a bit of toasted belacan (shrimp paste – trade secret) added in. The claypot version had additional large prawns, hard shelled clams and squids. Both would taste better if some specially prepared hot chili paste were to be mixed into the soup. There was also the “Dong Po” Pork (RM22.90++), served in a mini rice bucket. Pork belly meat would be wine marinated with a combination of spices, slightly fried and braised until the perfect tenderness. A piece of the meat in some gravy would then be served on steaming rice accompanied with some blanched vegetables and an omelette. I found the meat on that day was a bit too fatty and overcooked as there was hardly any meat on it and the fat just melted into the rice. The kitchen should take note on this. The Seafood in Claypot (RM33.90++ – for 2-3 pax) had a combination of fresh prawns, mussels, scallops, clams and squids in a spicy, sweet and sour soup. It has a strong hint of chopped lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, garlic and chilies. This dish would go well with rice. I find this Vietnamese-like dish a bit strong in the usage of sugar. I hope the chef would take note of this unhealthy over usage too. Their Seafood Aglio Olio (RM15++) had the right al dente for its pasta. I simply loved how they maintained the “wetness” by tossing enough of olive oil, chopped garlic, onions and bell pepper in it. The dish came with fresh mussels, prawns, squids and fish, garnished with some chopped coriander. Just a note here that you might get different seafood served based on their availability. Another of the hard-to-get in Penang dish was their signature Pork Burger (RM16++). The well flavored minced pork patty was cooked just right to maintain its juices within. This delicious cooked patty was presented on a fresh bun, laced with fresh lettuce, topped with an omelette, cheese and sautéed onions. The set came with some fresh greens and fries. They also have the Chicken Chop Burger (RM15++), served with some fresh greens and fries. The burger which has oozing mixture of tomato ketchup and chili sauce was just another way of having normal chicken chop. Other than that, you could also try out their Markpalia Chicken (RM18++). This quite similar to Cajun style prepared grilled chicken with praprika and herbs marinates, came with mashed potatoes and a mixture of blanched and sautéed vegetables. Somehow, I was over disappointed with strong recommendation as the whole dish tasted extremely salty. Moreover, the portion did not justify its price, considering that I was dining at the al fresco area. Their Roasted Pork Knuckle (RM53++ for 3-4 pax) was huge. You would need to wait at least 30 minutes for this dish to cook. The crispy skin and juicy pork knuckle came with two special dipping sauces and some fresh greens.

SOMMERZ03

They also serve Express Set Lunch as low as RM8.90 nett, inclusive of free flow soup (normally clear soup eg. Old Cucumber Soup, Watercress Soup, etc) and ice lemon tea. The set meal would only be available from 11.30am – 2.30pm on weekdays (Monday – Friday).

Current Express Set Lunch Menu:

1. Wok Fried Soy Sauce Chicken Rice (RM8.90nett)
2. Penang Char Koay Teow (RM8.90nett)
3. Baked Cheese Spaghetti Bolognaise (RM10.90nett)
4. Fresh Mushroom Chicken Steamed Rice (RM10.90nett)
5. Nasi Lemak with Rendang Chicken (RM10.90nett)
6. Baked Cheese Rice with Chicken Chop (RM10.90nett)

I would say the set lunch was worth it considering that I could have as much soup and drink as I wanted. The Penang Char Koay Teow (RM8.90nett) was great. So was the Nasi Lemak with Rendang Chicken (RM10.90nett). The worth mentioning dish of my choice would be the Baked Cheese Rice with Chicken Chop (RM10.90nett). Instead of having some plain rice baked with cheese as some fast food chain would normally provide, it came with fried rice with ham cubes. The chicken chop baked with cheese was amazingly tasty. You can even order some Caesar Salad (RM9++) to share out if you are there with a group. The only differences between the Sommerz Caesar Salad and this salad would be the omission of the poached egg. If you feel that you would need a dessert after your meal, you could always try out their variety of ice cream cakes. I loved their Cookies & Cream Ice Cream Cake (RM7.90++) as it was chilled enough and simply melted in my mouth. The cake came with some caramel and chocolate dressing which was perfect for my liking. As for beverages, there are many types of hot and cold beverages for you to choose from, ranging from coffee, tea, chocolate, juices, milkshakes, smoothies, soda, beer to wine. I tried out their Hazelnut Latte (RM5.90++) and Macademia Nut Café Latte (RM6.90++). Both came light and frothy but I had a problem identifying which was which as both had the same nutty taste.

SOMMERZ04

Overall, Sommerz Heritage Bistro can be quite a bargain for diners who love wine with their meals in a cozy ambience while listening to some nice music being played by a live band. Moreover, there’s the games room where you can have a game or two of pools and darting. The management would also be planning for a Sunday Champagne Brunch from as early as 11am soon. Do check up with them on any updates on the launch.

If you are coming from town along Jalan Burma, drive all the way until you see a “Y” junction. Left would lead you to Pulau Tikus. Right would lead you to Gurney Drive. Turn left into Jalan Pangkor (keep to your right). Immediately after you see Gleneagles Medical Centre on your right, slow down. Turn right into the service road and you would see a purplish building (Northam Tower). The restaurant is just in front of the building. You would not miss the colonial architectural building.

SOMMERZMAP

Name: SOMMERZ HERITAGE BISTRO / HERITAGE COFFEE
Address: 67 Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, 10050 Penang, West Malaysia.
Business Hours: 11.00am-1.00am (Heritage Coffee), 6.00pm-1.00am (Sommerz)
Contact: 017 – 474 7478 (Sommerz: Ms. Jacque), 604-227 3393, 604-229 3393 (Heritage Coffee)
GPS: 5.427643, 100.320806

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: 7.5/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

NOSTALGIC MOMENTS AT YENG KENG HERITAGE HOTEL

Posted by crizlai On April - 19 - 2011

Within the buffer zone of the George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site lies one of the oldest surviving intact buildings in the historic enclave of Chulia Street, Penang. Originally built in the 1800’s as a private residence to Shaik Eusoffe bin Shaik Latiff, an Indian Muslim family, the unique Anglo Indian bungalow had gone through many hands, such as the trustees of the Cantonese Club ‘Yin Han Pit Shu’ and the Straits Chinese British Association, before being leased out to Yeng Keng Hotel in the early 1900’s. One main feature that remained distinctive from the rest of the buildings along Chulia Street (Lebuh Chulia) today is the unique Chinese architectural gate entrance and the many artistic murals scattered all over the premises. Some of the artifacts dated as far back as tens of decades ago can still be found here in the mini museum set up by the present establishment.

YENGKENGHOTEL01

With the conservation and upgrading efforts by the present owner, Hoo Kim Properties Sdn. Bhd. since 2009, the new Yeng Keng Hotel was completely refurbished in mid 2010. The new establishment has a mix of the past and present state-of-the-art facelift, with heritage accommodations, swimming pool and an al fresco area for dine and wine. The hotel is now managed by Mr. Jacky Chung, Hotel Manager and Mr. Tan Jie Yong, a seasoned chef who had traveled throughout a few Asian countries, cooking as well as lecturing Hainanese cuisine, as its Executive Chef.

YENGKENGHOTEL02

There are 20 rooms in this heritage hotel. The suite of all suites would be the Yeng Keng Suite (RM600+, Present Promotion RM500+). There are also 2 units of the Chulia Suite (RM500+, Present Promotion RM400+), 2 units of Family Triple (RM440+, Present Promotion RM380+), a unit of Garden Suite (RM440+, Present Promotion RM350+) and 14 units of others such as the Courtyard Doubles, Mansion Doubles and Courtyard Twins (RM380+, Present Promotion RM300+). A 10% service charge would be applicable to all check-ins which would include a quantity of American Breakfasts set by the management. Check in would be from 2.00pm while check out would be at 12.00pm. Just call in to check out on their ongoing promotions.

YENGKENGHOTEL03

As for food, there would be a mix of Western and Hainanese cuisine served here, with a note that some of the Hainanese dishes might need to be preordered earlier. Breakfast would be served from 8.00am until 10.30am. Lunch and dinner would be from the ala carte menu as early as 11.00am until 10.00pm. Presently, there’s the Hi-Tea Promotion at only RM7.00+. You get to have free flow of coffee or tea with a cake-of-the-day (eg, Apple Strudel, etc). The bar would open all day long until late.

Here’s a peek at what are the dishes available in this hotel. Firstly, there’s the Hainanese Spring Rolls (RM12.00+ for 2pcs or RM24.00+ for 4pcs). Each piece of the spring roll has stir fried cabbages, carrots, onions, mushrooms, chicken meat and crab meat. Although the rolls tasted nice, it came in a form rather moist compared to the ones I have tasted elsewhere. This could be due to the fact the vegetables were cut in strips as in Cuttle Fish Strips Stir Fry Vegetables (Jiu Hoo Char) instead of being cubed as in Sole Fish Stir Fry Vegetables (Phnee Hoo Char). A bit of diced water chestnuts added in would also be great for that extra crunchiness. These rolls were served with a condiment of a mixture of tomato ketchup, LP Sauce, sliced onions and chilies, a combination more suitable for Western diners. I would prefer mine to be served in the traditional way of herbed soy sauce, mustard paste (somewhat like LP sauce) and sliced chilies. The Hainanese Mushroom Soup (RM10.00+ per pax or RM45.00+ for 10 pax) was something quite similar to the Japanese Miso Soup with the usage of some blended fermented black beans. Instead of using cubed tofu, the Hainanese version has sliced button mushrooms, glass noodles, chicken meat and chicken gizzards. This dish would be suitable for those who love internal organs in a much clearer soup.

YENGKENGHOTEL04

The Yeng Keng Chicken Chop (RM15.00+ per pax or RM30.00+ for 10 pax) was presented with crispy boneless chicken on a bed of shoestring chips and topped with mixed vegetables, cubed onions and sliced button mushrooms in some tomato base gravy. It tasted not bad but a bit too salty for my liking due to the over salty marinates. Moreover, frozen mixed vegetables were not my preferences due to the fact that they lacked the natural taste of fresh vegetables. The Grilled Fish with Butter Sauce (RM18.00+ per pax or RM36.00+ for 10 pax) was rather unique and tasty except it had a bit of marinate problem. Since it was served with salted caper pickles and butter sauce, the fish fillet should not have been marinated in salt. The outer batter coated part was fine except for the a bit salty fillet within. Maybe it was the hotel’s way of cost effectiveness, but I don’t quite fancy dory being used for this dish as it would not provide the juiciness as in other fishes such as the barramundi, mari mari or grouper. It would be great if the hotel would opt for these fishes (with different price tag of course). The sautéed sliced potatoes with onions went great with this dish. This is the type of originality that I love most when dining outside.

YENGKENGHOTEL05

The Braised Lamb Shank (RM35.00+ per pax or RM70.00+ for 10 pax) served with spaghetti, roasted potatoes and blanched vegetables was a great recommendation. The meat was tender and has the right ingredients used while braising. If only I could get them to add in a bit of red wine during the braising process for that extra flavor. 😛 There was also the Hainanese Style Chicken Pie (RM25.00+ for 3-5 pax or RM35.00+ for 10 pax with extra filling) which would require a pre-order of 24 hours. I always love dishes with butter brushed pastry. It had small chopped chicken pieces stewed with onions and shitake mushrooms (instead of button mushrooms), topped with mixed vegetables (again? sweat~) plus cut hardboiled eggs, prior to being laced with puffy pie pastry and baked to perfection. The dish was slightly different compared to the one I had in another Hainanese restaurant as it lacked the creaminess from some sliced potatoes and the sweetness from fresh carrots. The next dish was the Inchi Kabin (RM10.00+ per quarter chicken, RM16.00+ per half chicken or RM30.00+ per whole chicken), a common Hainanese household fried chicken served with crackers. Although the dish tasted not bad, it could be due to my spoiled habit of having mostly drumsticks in my meal as I found the chicken pieces a bit too dry for my liking. We were also served with Curry Tumis Tau Teh Fish (RM100.00 – RM120.00 based on market price). The Chinese Pomfret or commonly known locally as Tau Teh is one of the most expensive species in the pomfret family as it has thick, smooth and juicy flesh. The fish dish was nice but it was in a drier version due to the likings of the hotel’s guests in dipping with bread or served with rice. Unfortunately, it spoiled the quality of such an expensive fish as there were not enough liquid in the gravy to be absorbed into the fish. The flesh ended up a bit too dry. It would be better if black pomfret or even stingray (which can be arranged) be used for a lower price. This dish came with sliced lady’s fingers and tomatoes. The next dish which was the Braised Duck with Yam (Ar Or – RM50.00+ per half duck or RM85.00+ per whole duck) also came in thick gravy compared to norm. It has a strong taste of sliced ginger. As for this dry version, it would be ideal to be taken with rice. Normally, most Hainanese would have this dish as a sort of soup dish.

YENGKENGHOTEL06

On top of the above few dishes for a larger group of people, you could always order other individual dishes such as noodles and rice from their ala carte menu. Their Hainan Mee (RM10.00+) was quite big a portion and tasty. Somehow, it looked darker just like the local Hokkien Char with the usage of dark soy sauce. I wondered if the chef got it right as the gravy should be quite similar to that of the more pale looking Fried Oyster Yellow Noodles. The next noodle dish consisted of another version of flat rice was the wet Beef Hor Fun (RM15+). It was also big and delicious. I loved the well marinated beef slices as well as the beaten egg enhanced flavorful gravy.

YENGKENGHOTEL08

As for dessert, they have some simple ice cream desserts but I went for something that has been quite rare in the dessert scene nowadays – the Bomb Alaska (RM20.00+). The dessert has 4 scoops of vanilla ice cream topped with some mixed fruit cocktail and wrapped in a layer of butter cake slices. This wrapped cake would then be sprinkled with some rum and covered with a layer of airy and slightly sweet meringue. The following process would be to burn some brandy over the meringue to create the lightly burnt taste. I found the dessert to be delicious if I leave it a bit longer for the ice cream to moist the cake well. If you consume the cake immediately after the fire is out, you might find the cake to be a bit too dry. As an option, it would be better for the chef to firstly moist the cake with a mixture of the fruit cocktail juice and rum or just add some soda (such as 7-up or Sprite just as how you would do it for the base of a truffle) with rum. At least this would have a consistent moist for the whole dessert.

YENGKENGHOTEL07

Unless you are there just for the Bomb Alaska, I would advise you to get at least 3-4 diners to share out this big dessert. Here’s the burning process video of the dessert.

Overall, Yeng Keng Hotel is a nice place for couples and families. Not only are the rooms modernly equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, it also offers great heritage living experiences in a romantic and tranquil environment. Let’s hope the new restaurant would be constructed fast enough to draw in more crowds, thus having more choices as well as a higher standard in food quality.

Finding the hotel won’t be hard as it’s the only hotel along Chulia Street with a beautifully constructed Chinese arch right at the entrance. If you are coming down from Cititel along Penang Road, just turn into the second lane on your left which is Chulia Street. Drive further for another 300m and you would see the hotel entrance on your left. Next to it is a guard house where you can get permission to park your car at the back of the hotel. There are limited parking spaces here. If you can’t get any car park within the hotel, just drive a bit further up and you would see a no through road next to Sky Hotel. You might find some parking spaces here.

YENGKENGHOTELMAP

Name: YENG KENG HOTEL
Address: 362 Chulia Street, World Heritage City of Georgetown, 10200 Penang, Malaysia
Contact: 604-262 2177
Business Hours: 8.00am-10.30am (breakfast), 11.00am-10.00pm (lunch & dinner)
GPS: 5.419162, 100.334959

RATING:
Ambience: 9/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 7.5/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 7.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 8.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 9/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

THE LATEST RESTAURANT FOR BANQUET AT TIANYI RESTAURANT

Posted by crizlai On October - 19 - 2010

Despite so many restaurants around Penang that can cater for ala carte menus as well as to hold banquet functions, there emerged another one right in the heart of Georgetown, Penang. Barely in business for two months and located within the compound of the Loh Si Tong Chong Seah, is a newly opened restaurant by the name of Tianyi Restaurant. The heritage style building can cater up to 50 tables (about 500 pax) at one time. On top of the 8-course meal (RM388 nett, RM438 nett and RM588 nett) and the ala carte menus, you can even order a simple meal of fried rice, noodles or roasted chicken/pork rice (RM10 and above from the stall at the entrance).

TIANYI01

Since it was a birthday function with a few dozens of celebrators, we opted for the most expensive of the 8-course lunch meal at RM588 nett. Let’s judge how long this new establishment would excel in catering to the needs and taste of its patrons. The first dish that arrived was as usual the starter as what any wedding banquet would have or many more. It was the Five Hot & Cold Combination (五福喜臨門). It had a cold salad and four hot dishes. There was the Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables with Fresh Scallops & Chinese Crullers (油條/youtiao). This was rather nice as there was the freshness of the scallops and the slight crunch from the water chestnuts and Chinese crullers. The next dish was the Deep Fried Sea Cucumber with Black Pepper. It had the right combination of flavor except that it would not be suitable for children with the overpowering black pepper usage. I was hoping that the Cold Jelly Fish Salad would not fall short to my expectation but indeed it was the only item left on most of the plates on each table as majority of the senior citizens detested the hotness and sourness of the dish. The Prawn Dumplings has the beauty of Snow White but the taste of flavored water. They were totally bland. Even the gravy was almost colorless. Luckily the Breaded Meat Balls saved the day as it had the nice crisp from the rolled bread cubes over the juicy meatballs.

TIANYI02

The next course was the Shark’s Fin Soup with Special Eight Treasures (八珍燴生翅). For one thing, I don’t think real sharks fin would be used nowadays due to the strong protest worldwide against the killing of sharks for their fins. Anyway, those served here did not taste real. The soup was done quite well considering that it had a strong hint of Angelica sinensis (當歸/dong quai) in rich stock. The only problem I had was to identify the 8 treasures. Out of the 3 bowls I had taken to hunt for the “treasures”, I could only manage to detect a strong trace of dried scallops, crab meat, prawns, mushrooms and of course the mock sharks fin. Although the taste was superb, this dish lacked the value as the one I had taken from Starview Restaurant which was fully filled with ingredients.

We also had the Roasted Whole Suckling Pig (出骨南乳豬). The piglet was not really well prepared as the skin could really be tough for weaker teeth and the meat was not as tender and flavorful as I would have expected. Starview Restaurant still remains my best choice for this dish after numerous try out at other restaurants.

Steamed Chinese Pomfret Fish in Hong Kong Style (港式蒸斗底) was served next. You would never go wrong with steamed fishes unless your over steamed it. Fortunately, the restaurant did a great job in getting the right texture for the priced fish. The only few preferences that I like would be the addition of some deep fried chopped garlic and a dash of Shaoxing wine. Sliced young ginger is quite irrelevant if you have fresh fish such as at my most recommended restaurant in Penang, Chin Bee Tea Café. Moreover, you can really taste the differences in the quality of soy sauce used at Chin Bee compared to the one used in this restaurant.

TIANYI03

As usual, there would be a braised dish in every restaurant’s 8-course menu. We had the Stewed Vegetables with Sea Cucumber & “Bai Ling” Mushrooms (海參白靈菇). Bai Ling Mushroom or scientifically known as Bai-ling Pleurotus Ferulse Lanze is a rare species of valuable edible mushroom which originates from the desert of northwest China. When these sliced mushrooms are being used in dishes, they resemble abalone slices. What we had was some broiled broccoli, sea cucumber, bai ling mushroom slices with added shitake mushrooms. The gravy was rather bland and the shitake mushroom had too much sugar added in the marinating process. What a waste indeed.

The Pan Fried Prawns with Nutmeg Sauce (豆蔻爆大蝦) was quite tasty but some had that sandy texture, meaning that these prawns were not thawed properly prior to cooking. Moreover, the back of the prawns were not sliced at all, leaving us hell of a time trying to peel them with chopsticks. LOL!

The Fried Seafood Ee-Fu Noodles was a laugh. It had barely a few strands of Chinese chives flowers (ku chai hua). Where are the rest of the vegetables? On top of that, it had some prawns and squid stir fried in minimal gravy and poured over the over soaked Ee-Fu noodles, with some deep fried onions garnished at the side. I won’t be serving this lazy way of cooking to my customers if I were to be the chef. The chef should have done something unique such as my ever favorite Gui Hua Mien (桂花麵).

One thing you have to admit is that the restaurant sure has a unique recipe for dessert – Chef’s Specialty Dessert aka Blended Sweet Peach with Ice Cream (蜜桃冰淇淋). When everyone thought that it was the usual honeydew with sago dessert, but it turned out to be something different. In fact, the color was yellowish instead of greenish. The dessert had scoops of vanilla ice cream, blended sweet peach, sago with a light squeeze of lemon juice. Truly unique!

TIANYI04

Overall, I did not think that the dishes served here is valued for money, considering that I could have better quality and tastier dishes served elsewhere by paying only tens of ringgit more. Maybe they are still new and needed more time to accustom to the taste buds of the public. Let me try them out a few months from now to see if my verdict was wrong all the way.

If you are coming from Komtar/Prangin Mall area through Jalan Burma towards Gurney Drive, drive until the Jalan Anson/Jalan Burma traffic lights (Giant Supermarket is on your right). Turn left into Jalan Anson, keep to your right and drive all the way up to the second right T-junction (Methodist Girls’ School is at the junction). Turn right into Jalan Logan and drive all the way to almost the end of the road and you would see the restaurant on your right within the compound of Loh Si Tong Chong Seah Clan House. The Specialists Centre (formerly known as Loh Guan Lye Hospital) is diagonally opposite the restaurant. Please also note that this restaurant is managed by the former major shareholder of Tian Tian Restaurant at Red Rock Hotel.

TIANYIMAP

Name: TIANYI RESTAURANT
Address: 34 Jalan Logan, 10400 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-229 8828
Opening Hours: 11.30am-2.30pm, 6.00pm-10.30pm
GPS: 5.421056, 100.318497

RATING:
Ambience: 7.5/10 (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: 8.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 7.5/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

THE BEST CHICKEN NASI LEMAK IN TOWN AT RESTORAN SEVEN STAR

Posted by crizlai On October - 10 - 2010

I had written earlier on Nasi Kandar Beratur in the heart of Georgetown, Penang, which got many people grumbling impatiently just to wait for their turn to get their plate of curry rice. Alternatively, out of the many Nasi Kandar shops scattered all over Penang island, I found one that has the same quality, if not better, that would cut down on your waiting time. It’s also located within the heart of Georgetown, Penang, with ample sitting places. It’s called Restoran Seven Star with only another branch in Changlun, Kedah. Just to compare the price of the food served here with Nasi Kandar Beratur (NKB), I ordered the same items. I had a plate of rice (RM1 – a bit more than NKB) with onion omelette (RM1), a chicken thigh (RM3 – NKB cheaper with a full drumstick at only RM4.50), a piece of beef (RM1.50) and 2 steamed lady fingers (60sen) which cost RM7.10 a plate. Although the price here can be considered a bit higher than NKB in term of the chicken pieces, the beef slices served here were indeed bigger, thicker and awesomely more flavorful. On top of that, there were more options here (flower crabs, fish egg, squid eggs, different style of mutton and fish curries. I personally felt that the combination of different curries on the rice here was indeed more heavenly than NKB. You should not miss out their Indian Onion Fried Chicken (RM3 per piece) as it’s extremely tasty with the rich flavors from the deep fried onions and spices.

SEVENSTAR01

What attracted me more to pay them an almost weekly visit was not the Nasi Kandar but their delicious Nasi Lemak Ayam. This restaurant served the best Fried Chicken Nasi Lemak I had tried so far. Every single piece of your choice chicken piece would be fried only upon ordering, while maintaining the juiciness within the meat and the crispiness on the outer layer. Even the normal set of Nasi Lemak (RM2.20), served with peanuts, deep fried anchovies (ikan bilis) and their special sambal sauce would be very tasty. Their hot steaming coconut milk rice (nasi lemak) had the right texture, fragrant and taste. The little chopped ginger that you can find within the rice gave it that extra flavor, which you don’t see in many other nasi lemak stalls. The sambal was just right without being overly spicy. What would be more perfect than having a nice and hot plate of normal Nasi Lemak, topped with a piece of delicious fried chicken (RM3) and an omelette/hard boiled egg (80sen)? It would surely be a fulfilling meal at RM6.00 nett. 🙂

SEVENSTAR02

Finding the restaurant is rather easy as it is situated just at the corner of some new shop houses along Gat Lebuh Macallum, leading to the wholesale dry market and Harbour Trade Centre. If you are coming from the ferry terminal along Pengkalan Weld (Weld Quay) towards Jelutong Expressway, just take note of three yellow colored medium cost apartments on your left (Sri Saujana 42A, 42B & 42C). Turn left into Gat Lebuh Macallum just before the traffic lights (Gat Lebuh Macallum/Pengkalan Weld). You can see the corner restaurant at the left side service road. WIFI would be available here and this is a nice place to hang out with friends, provided the weather is fine.

SEVENSTARMAP

Name: RESTORAN SEVEN STAR
Address: 40 Gat Lebuh Macallum, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-263 2580
Opening Hours: 24 hours, 6.00pm-4.00am (Nasi Lemak)
GPS: 5.407748, 100.332871

Kedah Branch:
Address: 4-A-Aked MDKP, Pekan Baru Changlun, 06100 Changlun, Kedah, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-924 1318

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: 8.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 6.5/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

QUEUING UP FOR LATE DINNER AT NASI KANDAR BERATUR

Posted by crizlai On October - 5 - 2010

I had thrown this question to many of my friends on how to find great food in Penang. Towards the end of the day, the most frequent answer would be, “If you see a long waiting line or a crowded eatery, you can be assured of the best food.” Well, that would not be true always as there are many different types of patrons with different urges, needs and budget. Let’s have a study on one of the more famous eateries in Penang – the Nasi Kandar Beratur who has been operating at the present premises since 1943. Do you have the patience to queue up for hours just to have your plate of rice with your selected curry dishes? Do you consider them as one of the best in Penang in terms of taste and price?

NASIKANDARBERATUR01

With more than 6 decades of experiences and a claim of having the most original taste amongst the rest of the Nasi Kandar restaurants in Penang, indeed the ingredients used were freshly grinded and tasteful. As for price wise, it was quite standard in Penang, nevertheless cheaper than those from other states. Just for comparison, a plate of rice (RM1) with onion omelette (RM1), a full drumstick (RM4.50), a piece of beef (RM1.50) and 2 steamed lady fingers (60sen) would cost you RM8.60. On the other hand, a plate of rice (RM1), 3 pieces of beef (RM4.50), onion omelette (RM1) plus 2 steamed lady fingers (60sen) would come up to RM7.10. The beverages available here were quite standard in terms of price. You can check the price list for the dishes here.

NASIKANDARBERATUR02

I’m sure you would like to know my verdict here. Due to the food server’s experience and skill in combining the right curries for your plate of Nasi Kandar, the overall taste was good. The onion omelette was very tasty and flavorful just like what you would get in a murtabak. The beef slices were tender but was a rather small cut. Somehow, I felt that the beef was either imported frozen ones or over simmered during the process of cooking. It lacked the beefy taste and was rather bland to my liking. The taste for the Ayam Ros was good too but unfortunately my meat was rather over fried, thus loosing the juiciness within the meat. Unless I have a lot of time to spare, I find queuing up for such a long time was a waste of precious time, especially when one has to bear with a growling tummy. I wondered why after so many decades, they still have only one person to serve you food? They could have many servers just like the rest, thus shortening the waiting time. Is it because of maintaining the name of “Queuing Nasi Kandar”? I won’t know for sure. What would your verdict be then?

Finding the stall won’t be hard as it is situated just next to the heritage Masjid Kapitan Keling along Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling (formerly Pitt Street). You sure won’t miss it as there would be a long queue slightly before the start of their business at 10.00pm. Parking could be quite tough here as it’s located along a heavy trafficked road.

NASIKANDARBERATURMAP

Name: NASI KANDAR BERATUR @ RESTORAN LIYAQAT ALI
Address:
98 Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, 10200 Penang, Malaysia. (next to Kapitan Keling Mosque)
Opening Hours: 10.00pm-9.00am
GPS: 5.416815, 100.337582

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

MY REGULAR VISIT TO OLD TRAFFORD AT CHULIA STREET

Posted by crizlai On September - 22 - 2010

If you think I’m that crazy enough to drop by the Old Trafford, an all-seater football stadium in the Trafford borough of Greater Manchester, England and the home of Premier League Club Manchester United, you are not all wrong! I really did visit the place quite regularly not for the football game but for the burger. Haha! In fact, Old Trafford is just a burger stall in Penang and it served the best burger amongst the rest that I had tried on the island.

OLDTRAFFORD01

What really made the Old Trafford Burger Stall so unique compared to the rest of the burger stalls (even McDonald’s) you can find abundantly scattered all over the island? You may say that the burger patties available here are the same as from other local burger stalls but there are some distinctive differences in the way the burgers here were prepared. It all lies within the skills of Encik Halim in providing the right crispiness on the patty, crunchiness from the vegetables, moist of some sauces and overall taste of each end product. Most of the cook would just fry whole chicken or beef patties in a pool of lard. Encik Halim on the other hand would slowly grill the patties with some butter instead, gradually cutting each patty into halves while grilling the inner part for that extra crispiness with some sprinkles of Lea & Perrins sauce. As for my favorite Double Burger Cheese Burger Special (only RM5.80nett), the patty would be topped with a slice of Kraft cheddar cheese, some thick mayonnaise, some black pepper sauce and a dash of black pepper prior to laying another patty on top before being wrapped in an egg. This would then be laid on a slightly butter toasted bun with a generous amount of vegetables such as cucumber, tomatoes, mixed cabbages with some dashes of chili sauce and tomato ketchup.

OLDTRAFFORD02

Now you know why I love the Old Trafford Burger more than any other. Just look at the layer by layer of the filling within the bun. The oozing sauces combined with the melted cheese made this burger perfect for any meal. It’s even cheaper and tastier than all the fast food chains in Malaysia with that size. If you are craving for more cheese on your burger, just order the Double Burger Double Cheese Special at RM6.20, a mere 40sen difference.

OLDTRAFFORD03

If you intend to call in to make a preorder or go for their other products such as hotdog, oblong burger, lamb burger or even rabbit burger, click on the Old Trafford Burger Menu & Price List to know the exact change to prepare.

Finding the stall won’t be hard as it is situated along Lebuh Chulia, the same stretch as the famous night Wan Than Mee and Curry Mee. Just try to locate the 7-11 at the junction of Lorong Love/Lebuh Chulia and you can see the stall along the road, directly opposite the convenient shop, just in front of a tattoo shop and in between two cafes cum guest houses.

OLDTRAFFORDMAP

Name: OLD TRAFFORD BURGER STALL
Address: Lebuh Chulia, 10200 Penang, Malaysia. (opposite 7-11 Lebuh Chulia)
Contact: 016-497 2591 (Encik Halim)
Opening Hours: 4.00pm-4.00am (daily)
GPS: 5.418386, 100.336138

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

PENANG HERITAGE FINE DINING AT SUFFOLK HOUSE RESTAURANT

Posted by crizlai On September - 20 - 2010

Being one of the heritage prides of George Town, Penang, Suffolk House has been the residence of our founder, Sir Francis Light and many subsequent governors of Penang and Straits Settlements during the 1800’s. It was later bought by Mr. Lim Cheng Teik, the youngest Municipal Commissioner in the history of Penang, and after that being sold to the Methodist Church of Malaya to house the Anglo-Chinese High School (currently the Methodist Boys’ School). The building was later abandoned by the school in 1975 due to rapid deterioration. With the determination of the Penang state government to preserve this piece of Penang’s heritage, a neighboring plot of land was exchange with Methodist Boys’ School in 2000. Restoration funded by the state government and a few private sectors through the many years thereafter managed to refit the mansion to its present state. Within the compound of the present mansion was a restaurant – the Suffolk House Restaurant. The restaurant brought back many fond memories of the yesteryears by serving colonial style fine dining for lunch, tea and dinner daily.

SUFFOLKHOUSE01

I managed to pay a visit to this fine heritage mansion one fine afternoon to try out their set lunch. Each set meal would come with a fresh homemade wholemeal roll and butter. For starter, we can have either salad which was the Watercress Salad with Citrus Poached Pears, Lettuce, Cherry Tomatoes, Walnut and Parmesan Cheese Shavings or a soup of the day which happened to be Potatoes & Leeks Soup. They could have put more dressing on the salad as it was a bit too raw and dry to my liking. The soup on the other hand was quite acceptable with some croutons and chopped spring onions as garnishes. I was hoping that it would be a bit creamier.

SUFFOLKHOUSE02

As for main course, we have an option to choose one of the 5 listed ones in the menu. The Chargrilled Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Mint Lamb Jus, Roasted Potatoes and Buttered Turned Vegetable (RM44+) has the necessary flavors. Unfortunately, they weren’t much meat on the lamb rack and accompanied radish, carrot and beetroot were rather tough for the teeth. The Beef Goulash with Timbale of Vegetables and Chunky Paprika Potatoes (RM42++) was rather tasty with hints of mixed herbs in the stew. The beef chunks were tender and juicy but lacked the flavors being seeped into the meat. Another option which I ordered was the Seafood Ravioli with White Wine Cream Sauce (RM36++). It tasted just like minced seafood wonton but had a Western approached of dressing the 5 pieces of ravioli with some tasty and creamy white sauce. Not a bad combination though.

SUFFOLKHOUSE03

As for Desserts of the Day, I had a bite size Chocolate Mousse Cake with half a strawberry on some orange juice and an option to choose between a cup of Nespresso Coffee or Tea.

SUFFOLKHOUSE04

The set lunch menu would change every few weeks so you would be expecting something different during your next visit. Other main courses (out of 5 choices) that were available during my visit included steamed red snapper with ginger soy sauce plus shallot rice pilaf, wilted kalian and cilantro leaves (RM40++) and roast chicken breast with feta cheese and spinach stuffing plus confit new potatoes and Persian style grilled vegetables (RM38++). As this is a fine dining concept, the portion served might not be enough for big eaters. So be prepared to order other items from their Ala Carte menu. English style tea time would be available at RM64++ per set, which would be enough for 2 persons. You can check out Steven Goh’s Tea Time Review. As for set dinner aka Table D’Hote Menu, there would be more items with main courses ranging from RM100++ to RM140++. You can check out CK Lam’s Dinner Review.

If you are into heritage buildings, you must not miss out the tour of this old Euro-Indian-Georgian mansion which went through a complete major restoration in March 2007. The wonders of the beautiful architecture and green gardens would surely amaze you further. It would cost you merely RM10 per adult on a self guided tour (free for children below 6 years old except on school excursions) or a guided tour of RM15 per pax for a group of ten persons or more. Tours would be available from 10.00am until 6.00pm (last admission at 5.30pm). You can contact Ms. Maiane at 604-228 1109 for further enquiries.

It could be quite a maze to locate the restaurant even if you are a Penangite as the place would not be visible by the main road but no worries as I have put it in a pictorial direction format to lead you there safely. 🙂 Please click on the map below for a larger view.

If you are coming from Penang Bridge through Jalan Mesjid Negeri, it would be quite easy. As you see the Penang State Mosque on your left, kept left and drive to the traffic lights below the flyover bridge. Turn right into Jalan Air Itam and do keep to your left. Immediately after the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Al-Manshoor Lelaki, keep a look out for a small lane on your left. Turn left and drive up to the T-junction. Turn right and do watch out for a smaller lane on your left. At this left junction, you would see sign boards showing you the way to Suffolk House, Malaysian German Society and Penang Japanese Association (Map D). Turn left into this junction and you would see another few signs leading you to Suffolk House (Map E). Drive further in and you can see a river/bridge on left with lots of parking spaces (Map F). Park your car there and walk into the compound.

For those coming from town, it would be a bit messier as there won’t be a U-turn for you to reach the restaurant. Just drive all the way the Padang Brown/Convent Dato’ Keramat traffic lights until you see the second traffic lights (Masjid Jamek Shaik Yusoff on your left before the traffic lights). Turn right into Jalan York and drive all the way until the end (Union High School on your right corner). Turn left into Jalan Scotland. Immediately after you see the Ramakrisna Orphanage on your left, slow down and keep to your left (Map A). Drive all the way and keep to the left of the flyover bridge (Map B). Turn left into the junction immediately after Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Agama Al-Manshoor (Lelaki). Drive all the way passed the school (Map C) until you reach a lane on your left (Map D). You would see sign boards showing you the way to Suffolk House, Malaysian German Society and Penang Japanese Association as mentioned earlier. Turn left into this junction and you would see another few signs leading you to Suffolk House (Map E). Drive further in and you can see a river/bridge on left with lots of parking spaces (Map F). Park your car there and walk into the compound.

SUFFOLKHOUSEMAP

Name: SUFFOLK HOUSE RESTAURANT @ SUFFOLK HOUSE
Address: 250 Jalan Air Itam, 10460 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-228 3930
Opening Hours: 12.00noon-2.30pm (lunch), 2.30pm-6.00pm (tea), 7.00pm-10.30pm (dinner)
GPS: 5.410361, 100.306183

RATING:
Ambience: 9/10 (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: 8.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

VIDEO

TAG CLOUD

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs

About Me

Howdy from the Isle of delicious Asian food and the UNESCO Heritage City of Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. Just call me Criz Lai and I am here to share with you on what’s the best food you can get in town as well as from many other parts of Malaysia.

By the way, you might not notice it but CRIZ BON APPETITE is iPhone/Mobile Compatible. Please do feel free to hop over to http://ip.crizfood.com to get the latest updates! If you want to contact me for any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at crizlai [at] hotmail [dot] com. Spamming would not be tolerated – you are being tracked here!

Photos

Twitter

    LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs