CRIZ BON APPETITE

Savoring The Best All Over Town…

Sea Queen Restaurant at Straits Quay, Penang, has almost 3 decades of background history in providing the best seafood for your dining needs. Overlooking a splendid seafront, the restaurant pampers its diners with freshly caught seafood in its most authentic and delicious ways. The restaurant can accommodate up to 1800 patrons or 180 tables for both indoor and outdoor events including weddings, annual corporate dinners, anniversaries, birthdays or any private functions. To summarize all, the Event Hall can cater up to 50 tables, the Sea Queen Ballroom can cater up to 70 tables, the Straits Quay Convention Centre (SQCC) can cater up to 180 tables, while the Sea Queen Restaurant can easily accommodate up to 35 tables. Recently, the restaurant has launched its new Hong Kong Style Dim Sum Promotion to pamper its diners more from 7.30am until 2.30pm and from 6.00pm until 10.00pm.

The choices of dim sum can be quite extensive with the availability of a variety of dim sum, either steamed, fried or baked to congee, noodles, vegetables and more, starting from a price as low as RM8, excluding the applicable taxes. You can view the items in the ordering chits as below.

If you are there for your brunch at 11.00am or even during dinner time after 6.00pm, you also order some additional dishes to pamper your friends and family members even more. Some of the recommended dishes would include the Deep Fried Squirrel Fish with Special Sauce (RM150+), Braised Prawns in Special Sauce with Bread (RM100+), Hakka Style Pork Belly with Yam (RM50+), Chilled Lemongrass Jelly with Lime Ice Cream (RM8+ each), and more.

You could also check out their Wedding Package below.

It’s easy to locate the restaurant as it’s located within the Straits Quay Marina Mall premises. Drive all the way up Jalan Tanjung Tokong until you see Tesco Seri Tanjung Pinang on your right. At the traffic lights, turn right into Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang. Drive all the way until you see the colonial style mall building. Turn into the left of the building and drive straight until the end towards the beach area and you will see the restaurant.

Name: SEA QUEEN RESTAURANT
Address: G3 & 3A, Straits Quay, Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +6010-404 0299, +6010-405 0299
Website: www.seaqueen.my
Business Hours: 11.00am-2.30pm/6.00pm-10.30pm (Daily), 11.00am-11.00pm (Public Holidays), Dim Sum: 7.30am-2.30pm, 6.00pm-10.00pm (Daily)
GPS: 5.459273, 100.314161

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

 

US POTATO CULINARY FESTIVAL PENANG 2016

Posted by crizlai On April - 24 - 2016

With the successes of the US Potato Culinary Festival Kuala Lumpur in 2013 and 2015, the US Potato Festival Penang 2016 was finally held in the Pearl of the Orient, Penang, where the culinary scenes are well known to the world. Organized by the United States Potato Board of Malaysia with the support of the Penang Chefs Association, the month long festival would last from 1-31 May 2016 with 20 participating eateries showcasing the best they could offer with U.S. potatoes, either using fresh, frozen and/or dehydrated. Each eatery would feature some mouth-watering assortments of their creative delicacies from finger food, appetizers, entrées, soups, main courses to unique desserts, fully utilizing the versatility of the quality and nutritious U.S. potatoes. The launching of the festival was held at Straits Court @ Straits Quay, Penang recently on 23 April 2016.

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According to Eddie Saw from the United States Potato Board of Malaysia, the humble looking potatoes had faced many bad reputations for being one of the most fattening food items to consume. In fact, one medium size (5.3 oz) skin on U.S. potato merely contains 110 calories per serving, boosts more potassium (620g) than a banana, and provides almost half the value of Vitamin C (45%) and contains no fat, no sodium and no cholesterol at all. He could be right with the facts and figures as potatoes surely have their fans and foes depending on how you cook them. Some of the healthier ways might include baking, roasting, mashing, scalloping or even steaming rather than dunking them into a deep fryer and dressing them up with fatty and greasy toppings. Fat-free sour cream, salsa or even simple toss in extra virgin olive oil could be your best alternative. It’s about time we give these spuds the respect they deserve, considering that they do have many nutritional benefits as well~ 🙂

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Here were some of the interesting and unique dishes pepped up by the participating eateries during the launch as shown in the photos below.

A few of the dishes caught my attention. One of them was the Stuffed Egg with U.S. Potato from What The Duck Restaurant. It had slightly sweetened mashed potatoes wrapped around a quail egg, breadcrumbed, deep fried and drizzled with some mayonnaise. I could have mistaken them as dessert as the filling was almost mung beans like as you get from those in mooncakes. Anyway, it was quite a cheeky play on the usage of potatoes.

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Another dish that I was quite impressed with was the Rib Eye (120 days Grain Fed) served with Oxtail US Potato Cake, Buttered Spinach & Brandy Sauce by Healy Mac’s Irish Bar & Restaurant. The well grilled rib eye combined with the crispy yet creamy potato cake, dressed in the sauce was something I would go for when I visit the eatery soon.

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Hotel NEO+ Penang came out with a skillfully prepared Millefuille of Braised Lamb Shank infused with Herbs, accompanied with US Gratin Potato on Grilled Scallop Shell.

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Café 32 @ Segi College Penang also did impress me with their Deep Fried Cris Cut with Pandan Cream & Palm Sugar. It was something out from the norm.

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Georgetown City Hotel also came out with a creative dessert of Chocolate Brownie with US Potato Chunks. On top of the little nutty crunch within, you would get some soft and moist potato bites as well.

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Naughty Nuri’s Warung could be real cheeky as their name with their pub grub style Wicked US Potato Chips with Salted Egg Mayo. Be warned~ The dip could be real fiery with some hidden red bird’s eye chilies~ LOL~ 😛

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As for creativity, I would think that Evergreen Laurel Hotel excelled above the rest for its colorful yet tastefully plated arrays of dishes such as their Deep Fried Bird Nest US Potato with Sliced Herbed Potatoes, Grilled Cherry Tomatoes, Fruits Salsa & Baked Capsicum Sauce plus their US Potato Wrapped with Seaweed, Vegetables and Mash, accompanied with Waffle Potato in Balsamic Reduction Sauce.

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THE 20 PARTICIPATING OUTLETS:

1. Bayview Beach Resort
2. Bayview GeorgeTown Hotel
3. Black Kettle Café
4. Blue Reef Fish & Chips
5. Crazy Cowboy Bar & Grill
6. Evergreen Laurel Hotel
7. Gala House Café & Restaurant
8. Georgetown City Hotel
9. Hamburger Inc.
10. Harvest Time Café
11. Healy Mac’s Irish Bar & Restaurant
12. Moulmein Gourmet
13. Naughty Nuri’s Warung
14. Hotel NEO+ Penang
15. Rakkii Izakaya
16. Segi Café 32
17. Sunway Hotel Seberang Jaya
18. The Chambers Restaurant
19. Uncle Albert Fish & Chips
20. What the Duck Restaurant

 

At times, we would love to dine out at a restaurant with great ambience and good service, thus Sea Queen Restaurant at Straits Quay, Penang could be the ideal choice with great options for delicious seafood. Overlooking a splendid seafront, the restaurant pampers its diners with freshly caught seafood in its most authentic and delicious ways. Sea Queen Restaurant can accommodate up to 1800 patrons or 180 tables for both indoor and outdoor events including weddings, annual corporate dinners, anniversaries, birthdays or any private functions.

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To start the meal rolling, you could always choose one of their Signature Appetizers which would be the Deep Fried Soft-shelled Crabs with Salad and Mustard Sauce (RM30++). The crispy batter fried soft shelled crabs combined with the wasabi spiced up mayonnaise were heavenly palatable especially when you combine with some of the fresh greens.

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You may also want to try out their many varieties of quality enriched soup but we skipped that and went for their Signature Roasted Chicken in Thai Style (RM30++ for half bird). You may think that it would be just some roasted chicken in some Thai chili sauce but it was more than that. It was a 2-in-1 dish with some nicely roasted chicken with delicious crispy skin served alongside with some spicy Thai salad tossed with some chicken breast meat. It was a killer.

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The main dish for the meal was definitely the Deep Fried Crab with Rock Salt & Spices (market price at RM12/100g – estimated price for this meat crab dish (~600g x 2 crabs) was at RM140++). It was a remarkably prepared dish that caught all of us licking our fingers endlessly to savor any excess flavors~ LOL~ 😛 The size of those crabs and the unique way in the preparation would surely make me go back for more in the future. However, do not be stingy and do request for bigger sizes of crabs as smaller ones won’t be as fulfilling as bigger ones through my experiences dining there a few times.

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As for prawns, their Deep Fried Prawn “Tian Jin” Salad with Crispy Cheese (RM50++/ medium) was something great to indulge in. On top of being super fresh, each bite had the fragrance and flavors from the deep fried cheese crumbles.

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If you are into claypot dishes, their Braised Sliced Pork Belly with Salted Fish (RM20++/small) was a hit amongst us as the flavors were great to go with hot steaming rice.

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For more exotic flavors, you could always order their Braised Venison with Special Sauce in Stone Pot (RM20++/small). The dish was somewhat like the sweet and sour pork but with higher usages of pineapple slices and capsicums. Taste wise, it was fine except that I would have expected more tender venison slices for smoother bites. A light squeeze of grated ginger juice would have done that justice.

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There should always be at least a healthy dish to balance up our meal, thus we ordered a few meatless dishes to go with our meal. Firstly, it was the Braised Bean Curd with Bean Roots (RM12++/small). The dish practically consisted of some slices of deep fried homemade tofu, topped with some bean curd sticks and served with baby bok choy in flavorful gravy. We also tried out their Stir Fried Crispy Vegetables with Almond Flakes (RM15+/small). It was just a basic stir fry vegetables with added lotus roots topped with some deep fried almond flakes. To top up more vegetables, we also had their Stir Fried Angel Luffa with Shimeji Mushrooms and Black Fungus (RM15++/small). Again, it was just another basic vegetables dish, except this dish has additional sweetness from the added wolfberries.

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If you are not planning to have your dishes with steaming rice, you can always opt for other styles of stir fried rice and noodles. One of the recommended ones would be their Sea Queen Special Mixed Fried & Crispy Rice (RM12++/small). It was quite unique as it combined puffy yet crispy deep fried cooked rice, fried until perfection. You can also try out their Stir Fried Hor Fun with Seafood & Egg Sauce (RM12++/small). I quite like this dish as the added eggs were oozy and raw enough to my liking. On top of this, you can also try out their Signature Stir Fried Rice Vermicelli & Glass Noodles (RM12++/small). I loved the “wok hei” aka high heat cooking here as it had that extra burned taste to my liking. Moreover, the combination of rice vermicelli (bee hoon) and glass noodles (tang boon) were flavorful and great for my palate.

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To complete our meal, we had desserts and one of my recommended ones would be their Signature Chilled Lemongrass Jelly with Lime (RM5++ each). The dessert was great after a hearty meal of rich food as the sourness from the added lime sorbet surely did clear the excess oiliness in the mouth. It came with some added basil seeds for the extra texture on top of the smooth crystal jelly like lemongrass jelly. If you like a firmer texture of jelly, you can try out their Chilled Osmanthus Jelly (RM5++/6 pieces). The jelly had a significantly distinctive chrysanthemum flavor with added osmanthus petals and wolfberries. You can also try out their Chilled Gui Ling Gao with Longan (RM5++/bowl) served with honey. It had the distinctive herbal bitterness, not something palatable to anyone if they do not like having bitter herbal tea for cooling the body. For me, it was a quality bowl of almost konnyaku jelly like texture which was quite ideal for my body’s well-being as bitterness is one of the qualities beneficial to our body system to eliminate the toxic within.

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Overall, I quite like the spreads in their Ala Carte Menu, especially those fresh seafood items, namely the crabs. Moreover, they do have some unique desserts that would be quite ideal to end any meal either chilled or hot. Compared to many other restaurants of the same category, their pricing could be quite reasonable as they have their own fish farm to cater to their own supplies.

You can check out more on my reviews on their Set Lunch Promotion and Wedding Packages by clicking on the links.

It’s easy to locate the restaurant as it’s located within the Straits Quay Marina Mall premises. Drive all the way up Jalan Tanjung Tokong until you see Tesco Seri Tanjung Pinang on your right. At the traffic lights, turn right into Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang. Drive all the way until you see the colonial style mall building. Turn into the left of the building and drive straight until the end towards the beach area and you will see the restaurant. Parking is at RM1 per entry.

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Name: SEA QUEEN RESTAURANT
Address: G3 & 3A, Straits Quay, Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +6010-404 0299, +6010-405 0299
Website: www.seaqueen.my
Business Hours: 11.00am-2.30pm/6.00pm-10.30pm (Daily), 11.00am-11.00pm (Public Holidays)
GPS: 5.459273, 100.314161

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

 

If you or any of your relatives or friends would want to plan a wedding banquet, fret no more as Sea Queen Restaurant at Straits Quay, Penang, has the exact locations for your memorable occasion at one of the wedding venues, whether it’s indoor or outdoor. Sea Queen Restaurant has been boasted as one of the great wedding venues in Penang with a few venues within Strait Quay Marina Mall to cater to your wedding reception needs. You can have your wedding reception indoor with a capacity of up to 40 tables or you could also combine another 55 tables outdoor together with your garden wedding reception. Do check out with them on other facilities such as a cruise out to the sea on a chartered yacht for a minimal fee of RM500++ (8 pax). If you are looking for a bigger venue, they do have the Level 6 equipped with private kitchen to cater to up to 200 tables. Well, what about guests who required Halal dishes to be served? You’ll be in for a surprise as they have that thought of too as they do have another section at Level 4 which could cater to the Muslim crowds up to 100 tables. If you had a hard time finding a venue for your wedding reception, do check out with them as they are very accommodative to help you solve your worries.

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Before I go into details on one of their wedding packages, let’s have a look at their standard Wedding Menu. There are all together 5 menus (Pearl, Emerald, Ruby, Sapphire and Diamond), ranging from RM488++ until RM1188++ per table. The dishes may look as though they had been fixed but the restaurant does allow some of the items to be changed to suit your needs.

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We did try out their Emerald Wedding Package (RM668++) which came with 9 items instead of the usual 8-dishes package. We started off with the Five Hot & Cold Combination Platter. The platter came with four hot dishes and one cold dish which consisted of Crab & Minced Meat Rolls, Curry Potatoes in Glutinous Rice “Pear”, Ham & Nori Meat Rolls, Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables with Seafood and Chilled Spicy Jelly Fish with Smoked Duck. I quite like the Crab & Minced Meat Rolls and Chilled Spicy Jelly Fish with Smoked Duck. However, the rest of the item on the platter would need some improvements. The Ham & Nori Meat Rolls tasted too “fake” to my liking. I would prefer this item to be replaced with grilled bacon with minced prawns, something simple yet delectable. Steamed stuffed Shitake mushroom in some eggy sauce would also be nice. The Curry Potatoes in Glutinous Rice “Pear” may look unique but texture and bite wise, it was almost dessert-like to my liking. I would prefer the filling to be more savory base with fillings such as minced meat with spring onions/chives for that extra bite.

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Next on the list was the Braised Seafood Soup with Crab Meat. Taste wise, it was proven to be pepped up with rich stock and fresh crab meat. However, I sensed that something was missing from the soup to give it a bit more flavors and texture. I would suggest the kitchen to garnish the soup with some deep fried scallops to justify the quality of the soup.

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The Stewed Chicken with Chinese Herbs Wrapped in Aluminum Foil was somehow too mild for me. It lacked the distinctive herbal flavors as I would have expected. I would think Steamed Stuffed Roasted Chicken or commonly known as 8-Jewels Chicken/Pat Po Chicken would be a better choice as a replacement.

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We were also served with Steamed Snapper with Siamese Sauce. No doubt the fish was extremely fresh but the sauce somehow did not taste Siamese as I would have expected. It tasted more towards Indian curry with a dash of lime juice. I won’t mind having the dish in other Thai-style cooking method such as the Pla Phat Phet, a galangal and coconut milk enriched spicy curry base or even the Pra Nung Ma-Naew, a lemon juice and chopped red chilies based appetizing gravy. Even a simple plum, salted vegetables and tofu way of steaming would do more justice to this fish dish.

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The Pan Fried Sea Prawns was something simple and yet flavorful to my liking. The sauce had just the right aromatic flavors to capture my attention. How I wished I had a plain bowl of rice at that time to savor this delicious dish.

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There was also a common dish you’ll see served in most banquets which was the Trio Mushrooms with Bean Curd Roots & Bean Curd Puff. I did find the dish to be most appropriate to be served after a long list of cholesterol-rich dishes. However, it would be great if the kitchen were to tone down on the rich usage of sauce as we were not dining with plain rice.

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As usual, the last dish prior to dessert would be a starch based dish, namely Steamed Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf. Somehow having rice in replacement for glutinous rice in this dish was not to my palate. It did not bring out the flavors in the generously added ingredients. There are many signature styles of fried rice available in the restaurant and I hope the kitchen would replace this rice dish with something more unique. Maybe the kitchen can think out of the box and come out with something as simple as Pumpkin Fried Rice, Wax Meat Fried Rice, Crab Meat/Seafood Fried Rice, etc.

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The restaurant does have some unique desserts to end the course meals. We ended our meal with Chilled Longan with Syrup and Sweet Fancy Double Delights. The former was something quite common and nothing much to shout about but the latter was something I would love to give them credit for their hard work. We were served with hot mini steamed buns filled with lovely oozy yet buttery custard. On top of that, we were also served a chilled mocha-like dessert filled with fragrant pandan (screwpine) custard. What a great way to end the dinner.

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Overall, the spreads for their Emerald Wedding Package (RM668++) was quite standard in any wedding banquet. There are still rooms for improvements compared to the ala carte dishes I had earlier. Though their pricing could be quite competitive on the market, I would love to see more variance in their dishes compared to other wedding menus out there.

You can check out more on my reviews on their Set Lunch Promotion and Ala Carte Dishes by clicking on the links.

It’s easy to locate the restaurant as it’s located within the Straits Quay Marina Mall premises. Drive all the way up Jalan Tanjung Tokong until you see Tesco Seri Tanjung Pinang on your right. At the traffic lights, turn right into Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang. Drive all the way until you see the colonial style mall building. Turn into the left of the building and drive straight until the end towards the beach area and you will see the restaurant. Parking is at RM1 per entry.

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Name: SEA QUEEN RESTAURANT
Address: G3 & 3A, Straits Quay, Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +6010-404 0299, +6010-405 0299
Website: www.seaqueen.my
Business Hours: 11.00am-2.30pm/6.00pm-10.30pm (Daily), 11.00am-11.00pm (Public Holidays)
GPS: 5.459273, 100.314161

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

 

For those who would like to have fuss-free meals in a less crowded place with great ambience and good service, you could consider paying Sea Queen Restaurant at Straits Quay, Penang. Currently, they do provide quick lunch set meals during weekdays (11.00am until 2.30pm, excluding public holidays) at RM7.90++ per set – a bowl of rice with your choice of dish, on top of a complimentary bowl of their home-cooked soup-of-the-day plus free-flow of tea/water. One thing for sure, you won’t get bored as there’s a total combination of 32 options for your lunch, namely 4 meat options (chicken, fish fillet, mantis shrimps & pork), cooked to your preferred style, namely with dried chilies sauce, dried shrimps sauce, spring onions & ginger sauce, sweet & sour sauce, marmite sauce, wheat flakes, lemon sauce or mixed vegetables.

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During one of our visits to Straits Quay Marina Mall, we paid the restaurant a visit and tried out their set lunch. To get a better experience, we ordered chicken with marmite sauce, thus Marmite Chicken. The set came with a bowl of hot steaming rice, some generous amount of chicken slices in sweet based marmite sauce plus some side greens. We were served Pork Tripe Soup for the day and it was quite rich in flavors, especially from pepper corns. Overall, it was one of our preferred choices.

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We also tried out their Fish Fillet in Lemon Sauce. Flavor wise, it was appetizing. However, it would be better if the kitchen were to cook the fish in bigger slices instead of cutting them into strips to maintain the moist within.

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Lastly, we ordered their mantis shrimps in dried shrimp sauce. Locally, we called this dish Kam Heong Mantis Shrimps which has a bit of curry powder, stir fried with dried shrimps and curry leaves. No doubt this was another dish in demand. However, I personally would prefer the batter coated mantis shrimps to be crispier with less sauce. It was a bit overwhelming to go with the rice.

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Overall, I do find the set meals here to be fuss-free and yet affordable. We could resist dining in an air-conditioned restaurant and paying only RM7.90++ for a meal and to be served like a king or a queen? Moreover, there are 32 combinations of set meals you can choose from and the soup provided would be of good quality. Please do take note that the set lunch is only available on weekdays.

You can check out more on my reviews on their Ala Carte Dishes and Wedding Packages by clicking on the links.

It’s easy to locate the restaurant as it’s located within the Straits Quay Marina Mall premises. Drive all the way up Jalan Tanjung Tokong until you see Tesco Seri Tanjung Pinang on your right. At the traffic lights, turn right into Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang. Drive all the way until you see the colonial style mall building. Turn into the left of the building and drive straight until the end towards the beach area and you will see the restaurant. Parking is at RM1 per entry.

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Name: SEA QUEEN RESTAURANT
Address: G3 & 3A, Straits Quay, Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: +6010-404 0299, +6010-405 0299
Website: www.seaqueen.my
Business Hours: 11.00am-2.30pm/6.00pm-10.30pm (Daily), 11.00am-11.00pm (Public Holidays)
GPS: 5.459273, 100.314161

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

 

I was honored to be invited to grace the launching of Time Out Penang, The Insider’s Guide to Penang 2011/2012 yesterday, together with the honorable Chief Minister of Penang, YAB Lim Guan Eng at Aseana Café & Bar, Straits Quay, Penang. This guidebook is published by Mongoose Publishing (M) Sdn Bhd, and showcased the wonderful state of Penang, from the historic architecture and the unique street food culture to the world class hotels and resorts. “Here’s a guidebook which captured the spirit of Penang. I felt like I was being shown around Penang by a proud Penangite,” said YAB Lim Guan Eng.

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Time Out Penang, The Insider’s Guide to Penang 2011/ 2012 is a 150 pages, A4 sized, glossy magazine-guide, presenting a typically comprehensive, honest and trustworthy account of Penang’s travel hotspots for the high-end tourists, business travelers, expatriates, and huge affluent local readership who enjoy and act upon what they were told by Time Out. This annual publication is distributed to relevant countries across the region and key international destinations around the world. This well-traveled audience is eager to explore more of the world and cannot wait to read and see more about the breathtaking sights and sounds of Penang, from the historic architecture and the unique street food culture to the world class hotels and resorts.

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Time Out is an international, multimedia publisher of cultural experiences that provides inspiration to city dwellers around the world. Currently operating regular magazines in 40 cities around the world and guidebooks in several more, the Time Out brand is instantly recognized and trusted by residents from the world’s top cities. “Time Out Penang is no exception as it derives deep into Penang and presents the best that this beautiful state has to offer, as recommended by insiders who know the best,” said Graham Paling, Group Managing Director of Mongoose Publishing. We are glad to have CK Lam, one of the best food writers around Penang to be part of the Time Out Penang team.

The invited guests were served with some refreshments during the Time Out Penang 2011/2012 launch by Aseana Café & Bar, Straits Quay, Penang at their sophisticated yet cozy restaurant. Some of their finger food could be quite impressive in terms of presentation and taste.

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On top of that, there were numerous ongoing programs that kept the Straits Quay visitors occupied. Amongst them were the weekend flea market and promotional booths that had interesting items up for sales, ranging from natural soap, herbs and spices, cakes, magazines and books, toys, costume jewelries, hotel promotions, tea & wine and more.

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Many fun-filled activities were held throughout the day such as dance performance by the Burlesque troupe from SuperStar Libra, traditional Nyonya dance, fashion show by the Bran et Daguet boutique, Straits Quay, which specializes in elegantly cut couture and ready-to-wear cocktail dresses and occasion wear with international appeal and local bands.

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I guessed the highlight from the one-day event would be the belly dancing from the SuperStar Libra’s Burlesque troupe that caught most of the ladies there putting on their best pair of binoculars to stare at the handsome and hunky European dancers. On top of that, the guys were not excluded as I saw some jaws dropping with eyes fixed on the belly dancer from Ukraine. Well, here’s the video on the dance performance in case you missed it~ LOL! 😛

If you would love to get your hand on a copy of the newly launched Time Out Penang 2011/2012 or the soon to release Time Out Malaysia 2011/2012, do check out your nearest newsstands or any leading bookstores. Each book would cost you RM38. You could also buy direct and get a 10% discount if you purchase online through their website. Those who would like to enquire more about their coming issues, whether it’s Time Out KL, Time Out Malaysia, Esquire, Expatriate Lifestyle, Gold Vacations, RSGC’s The Circular, Al Musafir, Essential Education or the newly launched Time Out Penang, can do so by filling up their contact form or call up +603-2166 6650.


The 13th Penang International Salon Gastronomique or commonly known as the “Battle of the Chefs (BOTC)” is currently held at Straits Quay Penang from 3rd June 2011 until 5th June 2011. Ever since the inaugural event was held in July 1988 at the Shangri-La Hotel, Penang with only 60 chefs from major hotels in Penang, today it had attracted more than 750 participants from over 20 countries. Organized by the Malaysian Association of Hotels Penang chapter (MAH) and the Chef Association of Malaysia Penang chapter, this event has seen more and more promising talents walk away with many prestigious awards. The event was officiated by Tuan Haji Abdul Malik Kassim, Penang State Executive Councillor, in charge of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Committee, on behalf of the Chief Minister, YB Mr. Lim Guan Eng. The organizing of the event is led by Chef William Thong, Organizing Chairman for BOTC 2011, who is also the Executive Chef of Holiday Inn Resort Penang and Chef Marco Battistotti, Organizing Chairman for the 1st MAH Penang Chapter Hospitality Challenge 2011.

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There are many awards up for grab by the hotels, associations, organizations, institutions or competitors such as the most prestigious Penang Governor’s Challenge Trophy, Nestle Overall Best Chef Award, Most Outstanding Patissier, Most Outstanding Apprentice and more.

There were all together 3 sites for the competition participants to show off their culinary skills. There were over hundreds of dishes prepared on the first day and I would share with you some of those rather nicely presented ones here.

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As for the exhibition sections, there were many categories to be challenged. Firstly, there were sections on Bread Showpiece, Dummy Wedding Cake, Chocolate Work, Butter Sculpture, Roselle Supreme Dress The Cake (2-tier) as well as Fruit & Vegetable Carving (Theme: Fairy Tale). Let’s have a peep at those attractive ones here.

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It was also a privilege to be invited by Mr. Thomas See, PR Manager/Exhibition Booth Liaison, BOTC 2011, to be one of the judges for their Modern Western Cuisine Restaurant (3 chefs, 1 waiter & 1 bartender) Competition. There were 4 tables and each table was handled by a different hotel/institution. I had the opportunity to try out the Renaissance Melaka Hotel’s fine Western course dinner by judging them on presentation, taste, ingenuity and innovation. We were first served with Malacca Moon Rise, a mocktail with a concoction of orange juice, pineapple juice and grenadine, blended with ice cubes and served with cincau (herbal jelly), There was not much of a distinctive flavor here as the beverage tasted just like a normal glass of mixed fruit juice. It lacked that little touch of sourness to boost up the appetite on any meal. The starter was the Cold Medley, with Tuna on Cauliflower Mousse, Beetroot with Roasted Pumpkin Salad and Duck Broccoli Stack. This dish was rather unique as the cauliflower mousse was wonderfully prepared and the broccoli stack was just right with some mild seasoning. Unfortunately, the beetroot lacked in flavor although the combination was truly special. The Ocean Consomme was just right without the overpowering fishy taste. It had a crispy deep fried prawn with saffron with a hint of mild turmeric being used in the broth. The Chicken Roulade which had spinach and goat cheese (feta cheese) stuffed within a chicken fillet, actually blended in real well with the fruity persimmon reduction. Somehow, the chef did not provide the moist within the dish and a bit too much of herbs were used on the outer later. I wondered if they are aware that a bit of pumpkin paste added in would solve the problem of dryness. The next dish had lots of praises as the Rosemary Lamb served with garlic lemon vegetables was almost perfect if not for the slightly undercooked vegetables. The baby lamb racks had the texture, tenderness and taste just right for everyone. The Classic Chocolate Fondant with Crème Anglaise tasted great. If not for the malfunction of the oven, the chocolate fondant would be in a better shape rather than in a big clump. The crème anglaise would blend in better if it was not as concentrated as served. Overall, it was a pleasant dinner for all of us judges. Due to the problem with the Chicken Roulade, the hotel only secured a Diploma. The rest of the 3 competitors, namely Thailand Culinary Academy (Table 1), Sandy Bay Beach Resort (Table 2) and Eastin Hotel (Table 4) all secured Silver medals.

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There would be many stalls, scattered at the Straits Quay entrance, on the lower level as well as within the inside and outside of the conference hall for you to patronize. Some of them would be selling items while others would be given out free food samples.

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For your information, those who had not heard of Foodsion, a bilingual food and lifestyle magazine, you can now get a set of 5 recent issues, 5 mini recipe books, Heritage Coffee 10% discount cards, Raiya toothpaste, Penang White Coffee and Nyonya fish curry paste, all in a recycle bag for just RM25. Normal price is RM12 per book.

FOODSION

DINING IN KAFFA KAFE AT STRAITS QUAY

Posted by crizlai On January - 6 - 2011

Some of you might not be aware of the latest attraction in Penang where life can become so breezy and exciting throughout the year. With spectacular views of the Andaman Sea and the historical skyline of George Town, Straits Quay, developed and run by Eastern & Oriental Berhad, is the first retail marina enclave within the fast development area of Seri Tanjung Pinang in Penang. The new destination for locals and tourist alike, promised strings of international food outlets, bistros, bars, boutiques, bakery to performing arts and learning centers. Presently, there are just a handful of shops in business but these would be enough to set the crowds in thrills with nice sea front restaurants and bistros everywhere. It’s also a great spot for photography with such great colonial style architecture. Other than visiting the place by car, Rapid Penang buses would also be available (No. 101 & 103). Water limousine service would be available soon via E&O Hotel Pier to enable you to explore the panoramic view of the beautiful island.

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While paying a visit to this newly established Straits Quay some time back, I came across a restaurant by the name of Kaffa Kafe. The place has great ambience with cozy corners and al fresco area for diners to get their best experiences dining by the sea.

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So how was my dining experience here? Well, let you judge for yourself on what I have to share here. First there was the Fresh Wild Mushroom Soup (RM12.90) which had a combination of shitake, enoki, portbello and swiss button mushrooms, supposedly served with toasted garlic bread. Instead, I had some crudely sliced croutons, floating soggily on my soup. The gross dark colored soup had that sour taste which I don’t quite like. Enoki mushrooms are delicate mushrooms that if you do not know how to keep them well refrigerated, they would have that sour fermented taste. At times, they would even spoil the whole taste of any soup base. The restaurant should have replaced enoki with crimini or even oyster mushroom for that extra earthy flavor. This was so far the worst fresh wild mushroom soup I had ever tasted and with a high usage of black pepper in it.

Next was one of the recommended Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken (RM16.90), served with steamed Basmati rice. My next question was whether they double grilled that chicken or even microwave the meat? From the look of such a basic kitchen, I guessed the latter answered me clearly. There was no moisture left in the meat. Neither was there much gravy left. The meat only has the basic taste of lemongrass and nothing else. It was truly bland. The chopped chilies were for decoration only and did not add in any flavors at all. What’s the use of serving the much reputable fragrant enriched Basmati grains but not knowing how to cook the rice well? It was simply tasteless and dry. Buttered Basmati rice would be a more ideal choice. That was not the worst of it yet. In fact for all the accompanying dishes, the vegetables were overcooked with some withered and pale yellowish green French beans. Moreover, the vegetables tasted like they have been blanched in the same pot of water continuously without ever changing the water. A pinch of salt and some olive oil would have given them a better taste too.

We also had their New Year offer of German Styled Chicken Bratwurst (RM20.90), served with mashed potatoes and assorted vegetables. Although the two foot sausages were tasty, both came rather cold within (didn’t microwave enough? LOL!). The potatoes were roughly mashed, not too bad for taste. The gravy was just average with a bit too much of salt in it. Just look at the color of the French beans and you would know my reasons for being pissed off. On top of that, I would think it was a bit too pricey for me for the amount served.

The Homemade Lamb Shank (RM26.90), served with mashed potatoes and assorted vegetables was a joke. I had better ones before. It looked like it was really cooked at home and brought to the outlet to be microwave to get rid of the juiciness. It was real obvious that the lamb shank was left exposed to air for a long period of time as the meat had changed color and was extremely dry. Now I know why AFC’s King of Grill, Robert Rainford, could be rather agitated when his diners were not on time to consume his grills within a stipulated time. The shank was bland too with only a hint of some wine based marinate. The texture of the meat was like 60% in the midst of meat floss preparation. The gravy tasted universal just like the rest of the dishes. I really hated those vegetables.

I just ordered the Crispy Calamari (RM13.90) to test out how well they did in their finger dishes. Well, you can never go wrong with most frozen packed stuff. The tempura coated rings were nice but the fries needed a bit more crispiness. The accompanied salad was normal with dressing neither salsa nor vinaigrette. The condiment was some sort of diluted Thai chili sauce which could hardly stick to my food. I would rather have some creamy mayonnaise to go with my dish.

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As for dessert and beverages, they fair much better than the food here. I tried out their Homebaked Apple Pie (RM8.90), served with a scoop of ice cream. It was supposed to be vanilla but I ended up having a miserable and almost melted scoop of strawberry ice cream, a cheap brand indeed. The Apple Pie crust was quite fine, although I would prefer it to be a bit more buttery in taste. The apple filling had the required tasted of grounded cinnamon but lacked in moisture. The Ice Kaffa Special (RM10.50) would be recommended as the overall combination was perfect. It had double shots of strong flavored coffee, double scoops of vanilla ice cream and topped with whipped cream. That made me wonder why I was not served vanilla ice cream for my Apple Pie. The Iced Lemongrass Tea (RM7.90) was fine, just nice for my liking. The Mocha Mocho Smoothie (RM9.90) was normal.

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Overall, the restaurant would be a nice place to relax over some drinks but not the food. The food quality needed to be revamped soon before they lose out more customers. The kitchen would need more dedicated staff as sloppiness and carelessness would not secure customers well. Price wise, it could be a bit pricey for most people. My total damage was RM141.55 (inclusive 10% service tax) in which I did not get my money worth of satisfaction. Moreover, two out of three of us had some mild stomach problems after the visit. What happened to the quality of food here? The photos and descriptions in the menu can be rather deceiving. For the price, customers ought to have what have been described in the menu and not any remains that they have left in their kitchen. Any restaurant should know that withered or gone bad items are not to be served to the customers. Lucky, none of us had serious food poisoning. As for the staff, they should be more discipline and educated in the happenings in the kitchen as well as dining etiquettes. Although it was great to have the table cleared before the next dish was served, but it was not so polite to ask for dish clearance when the food was not fully consumed. Standard kitchen orders must be briefed to all and not only to a handful of staff. Here I saw one staff turning down some clients while another asked us for the last order. Where’s the logic behind this? I usually don’t criticize business owner this way but it was rather saddening to encounter such bad experiences especially at a highly exclusive area like Straits Quay. There were too many flaws in the establishment.

The restaurant is just located within Straits Quay, the latest landmark in Tanjung Tokong area, Penang. If you are coming from town via Jalan Kelawai, just head towards Jalan Tanjung Tokong. There are two ways leading to Straits Quay but I’ll show you the easiest way as not to get lost within the maze. Drive all the way until you reach the Island Plaza traffic lights. You can turn right but it’s a long way to get to there. Alternatively, keep to your right and drive onwards to the second traffic lights after that and turn right into the road (Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang). You can see the almost completed Tesco building there. Drive on and a short distance away you can see straits Quay on your left. There will be ample parking areas all over.

KAFFACAFEMAP

Name: KAFFA KAFE @ STRAITS QUAY
Address: 3A-G-8, Straits Quay, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, 10470 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-890 5136
Opening Hours:
10.00am-1.00am (last order 10.30pm – extended hours during peak period)
GPS: 5.458264, 100.313233

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

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