CRIZ BON APPETITE

Savoring The Best All Over Town…

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)

 

CHRISTMAS 2013 PROMOTIONS AT STARBUCKS® MALAYSIA

Posted by crizlai On November - 10 - 2013

I’m sure I need not have to mention much about Starbucks® in Malaysia as most of you would have known the brand throughout their 15 years of operations in Malaysia. It’s operated by Berjaya Starbucks® Coffee Company Sdn. Bhd., a joint-venture between Starbucks® Coffee International and Berjaya Group Berhad. With over 150 outlets and ‘drive-thru’s throughout Malaysia since their first store opening in Kuala Lumpur on 17 December 1998, Starbucks® promised to bring in more great deals during this Christmas 2013 (Promotion period: 6 November 2013 – 6 January 2014) based on the theme “Create Wonder and Share Joy with Favorite Seasonal Traditions”. We had a fun-filled briefing on the seasonal promotion at Starbucks® Drive-Thru, Tanjung Tokong, Penang recently.

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“Starbucks® Drive-Thru Tanjung Tokong is the most profitable drive-thru outlets amongst all six throughout Malaysia. It’s also the outlet with the most completed merchandises in Penang,” stated Sdyney Quays, Managing Director of Berjaya Starbucks® Coffee Company.

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Amongst the once-a-year favorites would be their freshly brewed Starbucks® Seasonal Favorite Coffees (RM40 for 250g coffee beans pack or RM33 for 12 sachets of ready brew packs), the perfect salute for each season. These are the Starbucks® Christmas Blend (Whole Beans or VIA Ready Brew Christmas Blend), a dark roasted coffee with a blend of lively Latin American coffees and smooth Asia Pacific coffees, including rare, aged Indonesian beans; full bodied, medium acidity with soothing sweet, spicy plus herbal aromas and Starbucks® Christmas Blend Espresso Roast, a darker espresso roast with sweeter and dense flavors to the mellow smoothness of the Asia Pacific beans.

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There are also 3 new flavors of delicious cakes introduced this year. All cakes would be priced at RM10.90/slice. The most notably one would be their Trio Forest, a rich moist chocolate cake, stuffed with juicy caramelized dark cherries, topped with a layer of chocolate ganache and beautifully presented with a generous amount of shaved chocolate flakes. The Mango Tango which had mango slices stuffed between layers of light sponge cake would be ideal to go with the Starbucks® Christmas Blend. The Midori on the other hand was also unique by itself. The trio layered sponge cake had a topping of cream cheese with slathered pistachio dressing.

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Christmas is a time to create wonder and share joy with family and friends over stories, memories and delicious Starbucks® food and beverages. Again this year, Starbucks® is bringing back their Christmas beverages with a bit of twist from last year’s. You can now enjoy their enhanced versions of Toffee Nut Latte, Toffee Nut Frappuccino® blended beverage, Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino® blended beverage and Cranberry White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino® blended beverage.

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Toffee Nut Latte Frappuccino® is a flavorful holiday beverage. It has the rich, buttery flavor of sweet toffee combined with toasted nuts, blended with their smooth espresso and velvety steamed milk. Topped with whipped cream and toffee-flavored sprinkles, it’s no surprise that this warm, heavenly beverage is sure to put you in the mood for Christmas.

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The Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino® is another great beverage for peppermint lovers. It has a combination of espresso, steamed milk, bittersweet chocolate and peppermint flavor in this seasonal favorite. Topped with classic whipped cream and a light sprinkles of Christmas cane candies, the Peppermint Mocha is brimming with Christmas cheer that is sure to please.

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Back by popular demand, the Cranberry White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino® is the perfect sweet treat to sip during this season. Starbucks® signature espresso is combined with freshly steamed milk and luscious white chocolate, then topped with whipped cream, a tart cranberry drizzle and crystallized cranberry sugar.

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Another gifting option or even as collectible items would definitely be the Starbucks® Card. This year, Starbucks® had added another new card design named “Merry Christmas”. You would have the options to choose from the 3 distinctive designs, namely “Merry Christmas”, “Snowman” and “Christmas Tree”. Do grab either one of the limited edition designs or maybe all if you are into collecting them. Each card required a minimum activation fee of RM30.

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Also available this year would be their limited edition Starbucks® Planner 2014 which has a special compartment to store your iPad. Priced at RM159 each, this planner could also be redeemed FOC via certain termed purchases by mode of your Starbucks® Card. The requirement of purchases would be any 3 purchases of the Christmas beverages plus 15 purchases of “Grande sized” beverages. Terms & conditions apply.

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Planning to set the Christmas moods with more giving and sharing? There are more than 60 items at each Starbucks® outlet, ranging from Starbucks® Seasonal Favorite coffees, Starbucks® Card, Starbucks® Planner 2014, Starbucks® soft toys, Starbucks® mugs, Starbucks® tumblers, Starbucks® Christmas ornaments and more for you to choose.

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The most notable one would be the Swarovski crystal studded Starbucks® Christmas ornament priced at RM185.

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Thanks to Starbucks® for the invitation as well as the lovely bring home gifts~ 🙂

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Name: STARBUCKS® DRIVE-THRU @ TANJUNG TOKONG, PENANG
Address: 4-G, Jalan Pantai Molek, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-890 6008
Business Hours: 6.30am-1.00am (Sun-Thurs), 24 hours (Fri & Sat)
Website: http://www.starbucks.com.my/
GPS: 5.446571, 100.305556

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Located within one of Penang’s newest premium food and beverage hub venues, Precinct 10, along Jalan Tanjung Tokong, Penang, is a little bistro by the name of BeerBQ Bistro. A large percentage of their dishes are cooked with bee. It had such a German concept of dining where they would pair different type of beer with selected dishes. The thing that the bistro did best was to watch out for the usage of over hoppy beers that would sometimes emit unpleasant bitterness in dishes. Thus, the dishes served here would be mild enough for the consumption of any age group of diners.

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The first thing that caught our eyes was the special of the day which was the BeerBQ Pork Burger (RM21.90++) as it was rather hard to get great pork burgers in Penang. The approximately 250gms pork patty was superb as it has the right proportion of meat and fat with the right thickness and flavors. The juicy patty went well with the slightly crisp toasted sesame bun with fresh greens and fries. The BBQ sauce dressing was awesome as it had that rich, tangy and thick liquid hickory smoke flavors that complemented the grilled patty real well. I wondered if the kitchen did add in some beer in the sauce as it was not distinctive at all. If you see this dish on their special of the day, do not hesitate to order one. You sure won’t regret even though the pricing might be a bit high.

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The beer pairing session started when we started off our appetizer meal with Roast Pork (RM16.90++) paired with Belgium’s pale lager, Stella Artois (RM22++/bottle). The dish had some crispy and crackling pieces of herb roasted pork belly. No doubt it was a flavorful plate of heavenly meat but the pieces were somehow a bit dry. It could be due to the lack of some fatty layers or the pre-roasted was exposed too long in the air. I guessed they would have to find a way to prevent the meat from drying off or it would turn away many roasted pork lovers.

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The next appetizer was the Smoked Salmon Salad (RM19.90++) paired with USA’s pale lager, Budweiser. The smoked salmon was wrapped around a small stalk of skinned celery and served with some homemade cheese sauce and Mesclun lettuce with their special dressing. I personally felt that the celery stalks were rather obsolete as they looked clumsy in the whole presentation. It would be better if some juicy cucumber strips were used instead. The smoked salmon went well with the cheese sauce which had a light hint of bleu cheese. The dressing for the salad was unique as it had sweet and fruity vinaigrette flavors from some grapes used.

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We also had the BeerBQ Pork Ribs (RM38.90++) paired with Germany’s dark lager, Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier Dunkel. The chargrilled pork ribs were tender and filled with flavors from their special BBQ sauce. However, I personally felt that the sauce was not enough as it did not cover every part of the pork ribs thoroughly. This was served with some crispy potatoes wedges and fresh greens with their special dressing.

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One of the recommended dishes here would be their BeerBQ Seafood Platter (RM40.90++) paired with Germany’s light lager, Lowenbrau (RM22++/bottle). It had quite a number of BBQ large prawns, scallops, squids and mussels cooked with their signature BeerBQ sauce and served on a big bed of mashed potatoes. This dish came with some greens. The sauce blended in real well with the seafood and mashed potatoes. The setback would be that it could be a bit too filling for a person’s portion.

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We also tried out their Fish and Chips (RM21.90++) paired with Belgium’s witbieren (white beers), Hoegaarden White (RM20++ for 1/2 pint, RM30++ for 1 pint) since it had crispy beer battered fish fillet. The dish came with some fries, greens, tartar sauce and malt vinegar. Somehow, the crispiness did not maintain long as I presumed that the batter lacked some baking powder, self rising flour or even cornmeal flour? Moreover, frozen dory fish was used in this dish and that did not give the freshness that I would have expected. It would be great if options would be given for other species of fish such as seabass, grouper, mahi mahi, cod, etc would be served too. Of course, those would come with a different price range.

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Since there were pastas being served here too, we decided to try out their Spaghetti Vongole (RM18.90++). The al dente of the spaghetti was just right together with the freshness from the local clams. The clams were cooked with chopped garlic, chili flakes, mixed herbs, salt and pepper in olive oil with a very mild dash of white wine. Somehow, the dish lacked the fresh herbs flavors from either flat leaf parsley or chives. Moreover, the soup was not thick in flavors as I expected since clams do not have that distinctive seafood richness. They could have thought out of the box by adding in some baby anchovies, baby shrimps or even the seasonal baby crabs to pep up the extra seafood flavors.

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As dessert, there were not many choices as there was only one alcohol boosted cake available which was the Stout Chocolate Cake (RM12.90++). However, this was one flavorful dessert as the warm stout chocolate cake, topped with melting chocolate sauce with a light touch of whipped cream was heaven.

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Here’s a chart where you would find out more on which type of beer would pair well with which type of food, cheese and dessert. Please click to have a larger view of the chart below:

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There are two types of beer cocktails that attracted quite many drinkers. One would be the Blue Ocean Beer (RM22.90++), a concoction of lager beer, blue curacao with a slice of lemon and also the Chili Beer (RM22.90++) which had a concoction of lager beer, bird’s eye chili (cili padi), black pepper, and a dash or two of Tabasco sauce.

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For those non-alcoholic drinkers, there would always be the mocktail to quench your thirst. You can try out the BeerBQ Triple (RM9.90++) which had a combination of orange, apple and pineapple juices.

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Overall, the food served here can be a bit too mild for those who prefer to have stronger hop flavors. Fortunately, they are still quite good at pairing the beers with food based on the basic 3 rules: matching beer strength with food strength, food harmony and balancing of the bitterness (hops), sweetness (malt), bubbles (carbonation), spiciness (hot peppers) and richness of the beers with the dishes. A 10% Service Tax and 6 % Government Tax would be imposed on all orders.

Precinct 10 is just next to the Island Plaza along Jalan Tanjung Tokong. If you are coming from town area towards Batu Ferringghi, just take note of the second traffic light (Jalan Tanjung Tokong/ Jalan Fettes/ Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang). Island Plaza is on your right. Make a U-Turn at the traffic lights and you will see Precinct 10 right after Island Plaza on the left. There are ample parking spaces at the premises. Parking fees would be around RM1/hour. You can visibly see BeerBQ Bistro at the far left corner next to SOHO.

BEERBQBISTROMAP

Name: BEERBQ BISTRO @ PRECINCT 10
Address: 10-B-06, Precinct 10, Jalan Tanjung Tokong, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-890 5157
Business Hours:
12.00pm-3.00pm, 6.00pm-11.00pm (Monday-Wednesday)
12.00pm-3.00pm, 6.00pm-12.00am (Friday-Sunday)
GPS: 5.448970, 100.306020

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

 

A TOUCH OF CONTEMPORARY DINING AT CHEZ WENG @ PRECINCT 10 PENANG

Posted by crizlai On January - 18 - 2012

NOTE: THIS RESTAURANT HAS CEASED ITS OPERATION IN LATE 2012

One of Penang’s newest premium food and beverage hub venues would be at Precinct 10, just next to Island Plaza along Jalan Tanjung Tokong, Penang. A contemporary restaurant named Chez Weng, another brainchild outlet of Chef Weng, has opened up for business with the same concept and essence as its predecessor, Cassis, at Bellisa Row, Penang. The name Chez Weng actually has an in-depth meaning in French. It depicts that of the home or business place of Weng, thus the little heaven of the down-to-earth Chef Weng. The restaurant promised a simple, spacious and yet sophisticated ambience to soothe all moods from having a casual dining experience to indulging some drinks with the companies of family and friends. There would also be a band playing on occasional nights.

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Set lunch (RM38++ to RM58++) and set dinner (RM48++ to RM88++) would also be available daily. Both meals would have either a salad or a soup, a main course of your preference, a dessert and coffee or tea. As for the Ala Carte menu, you can start off with cold or hot appetizers, soups, salads, pastas, pizzas, mains, steaks (with an option for 2 side dishes and a sauce of your choice), kid’s menu and desserts. Beverages would range from coffees, teas, juices, a few brands of mineral water, beers and wines.

We started the meal with Fresh Bread and Dukkah (RM16++). The fresh bread looked quite similar to that of the pita flat bread but was herbs induced. It was served with a mini bowls of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Dukkah, a Middle Eastern nuts and spice blend. We had a fun time peeling the bread, dipping into the olive oil and then into the Dukkah for a new nutty experience. It was indeed nice but my preference would still be bread with Hummus like the one I had during Sigi’s Arabian Night 2011. At least, this combination would be more smooth flowing to the mouth and suitable for those elderly diners.

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We also had some appetizers such as the Serrano Hams (RM22++). The paper thin sliced Spanish pride pork ham which has been cured for at least a year was served with thinly sliced fresh pear, manchego cheese, young watercress leaves and with a dash of black pepper. To me, the ham slices was a bit dry and combined with the sheep’s milk made Spanish manchego cheese, it had that waxy after taste. I would surely prefer some goat’s milk made feta cheese soaked in olive oil for this combination.

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The next appetizer was the Prosciutto (RM22++). The Italian version of dry cured ham slices, Prosciutto or sometimes known as Parma Ham were saltier and had more moisture than the former. It came with rock melon slices, parmesan cheese, rocket salad, a dash of extra virgin olive oil and black pepper. This combination surely fair better in my opinion compared to the former appetizer.

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We also had some pizzas made from all the freshest ingredients available on homemade pizza dough. The first that came out was the Portobello Mushroom, Garlic Confit, Truffle Oil Pizza (RM35++). The earthly flavors from the mushroom, combined with a tad of saltiness from the sliced garlic confit, generous sprinkles of fresh herbs and grated parmesan cheese was pizza perfect. Even the homemade tomato puree spread complemented each ingredient well. I would say this was one of my favorites.

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The next pizza was the Pepperoni & Cheese Pizza (RM35++). You can never go wrong with beef pepperoni and cheese. It was simple and yet fulfilling.

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We also had the Tomato, Basil & Mozarella Cheese Pizza (RM35++). If you love more sweetness from tomatoes, this would definitely be one pizza to look out for. Since cherry tomatoes were in season, and to have these cute little fruits on the pizza was awesome. Each bite truly gave me a squirt and juicy sensation in the mouth. I love this pizza a lot too.

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Last but not least, the Prosciutto, Pear, Rocket Salad and Parmesan Cheese Pizza (RM35++) was presented to us. The saltiness for the Prosciutto hams, the fruity flavor from the sliced pears, the freshness from the garnished rocket Salad and the cheesiness for the parmesan cheese blended in real well, except that I would surely prefer my fruit toppings to be a bit juicier.

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We had quite some great options for main course. We started off with Duck Confit (RM38++). The chef did a great job in roasting the duck drumstick to perfection. Not only was the golden brown crisp on the skin beautifully done, the meat itself was tender and juicy with some mild seasonings. The smoked sausage was also delicious. The meat was served on some mashed potatoes and some blanched broccoli. The combination of the remaining duck juices and orange juice gave that unique tanginess to the overall flavors. The only setback was that the mashed potatoes was done too fine compared to the more coarsely done ones I preferred.

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The Atlantic Salmon (RM38++) was presented quite uniquely too. The salmon fillet was well pan grilled to maintain the freshness and moist within. The fillet was then topped on a mixture of mashed potatoes with chives and garnished with some stir fried spinach. These were served with beurre blanc or white butter which had some twists of lemon juice and white wine. At some point, the combination of taste had some “laksa” aftertaste. It was a totally different experience for all.

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Pork Belly (RM38++) was served next. This dish got me curious as I was quite amazed at how the chef managed to get rid of the porky scent and at the same time managed to keep the meat so tender and juicy. Initially, I thought it was cooked the pressurized method until I clarified with the chef. The meat has gone through a process called sous-vide, where the meat has been vacuum plastic packed and cooked in low temperature heated water for more than 48 hours. Wow! That was one method I had not applied in my own cooking. It was genius! The meat had the skin removed and seared to brown the fat and to keep the juice within. It was presented in thick slices on mashed potatoes and served with stir fried spinach with raisins and red wine syrup.

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Another awesome dish would be the Australian Rack of Lamb (RM68++), served medium rare. The portion was just right and the meat was tender as it should be. The flavors were great with some hints from rosemary and anchovy juice. The rack was served with some sautéed zucchini and coarsely grated potato cake. Beautiful!

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We also tried out the US Black Angus Tenderloin (RM88++ – 200gms), served medium rare as well. It was served on some mashed potatoes, blanched broccoli and red wine syrup. The flavorful marinates combined with the tender and juicy meat made this dish, the dish to yearn for just for anyone. It was perfect!

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The next dish was one dish that I had heard about a lot through some of the foreign food channels but did not have the opportunity to try it out. It was the Squid Ink Aglio Olio with Seafood (RM38++). The usage of fresh herbs, garlic and chili flakes in extra virgin olive oil with the al dente of the pasta made this dish a must try. Combined with the flavors of the seafood, it was another delicious dish. Somehow there was this distinctive fragrant and salty taste that pepped up the overall flavors. I could be wrong but it tasted like there were some pickled salted garlic cloves added in. Moreover, there was one mystery to be solved here. Why the squid ink spaghetti tasted just like any other pasta without the distinctive flavors from the squids? After much clarification from the chef, the mystery was solved. Although the chef has the Spain imported thick and sticky squid ink available, the rich sea brine tasting sauce was not suitable for the status of corporate diners. I tried out just one drop of the sauce and it got my tongue stained for more than 3 hours! Can you imagine having black lips, black teeth and black tongue if you were to attend a meeting after having a plateful of the delicious pasta with squid ink? That would be a joke for all~ LOL!

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We ended up the dinner with what they have on their dessert section on the menu. Firstly, it was the Orange Vanilla Crème Brulee (RM16++). The tangy with a tint of vanilla flavors on the crème brulee was perfect to end a meal. It had a thin layer of torch burned caramelized candy on the surface.

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The next dessert was the Banana Strudel with Peanut Butter Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce (RM16++). I love the way they rolled up the phyllo pastry just like how you would get for a mini spring roll. It tasted nice with the accompanied ice cream.

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Chocolate Mousse with Marinated Strawberry, Cookies Crumbles & Brandy Sauce (RM16++) was served next. One tiny scoop of the mousse in your mouth and you would know that the cocoa powder used in the dessert was of an imported brand as it was filled with rich chocolate flavor. Taken in together with the cookie crumbles and brandy sauce, it was just heavenly.

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Apple pie has always been my favorite as it has that nice cinnamon flavor in it and the next course which was the Apple Pie with Cinnamon Ice Cream & Caramel Sauce (RM16++) was one dessert I would not get sick of. It was wrapped just like the strudel and presented with some sandy caramel sauce. Wonderful!

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The last dessert on the menu was the Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries and Chocolate Sauce (RM16++). To me, this was just another of those milk, cream and sugar concocted jelly served with fruits and sauce. It was nothing fanciful but one thing for sure was that the kitchen has made it to the firmness and texture that I would love to have.

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Overall, the food served here can be real satisfying if you are a diner who prefers to have your food served right at its original taste. Leave it to expertise of Chef Weng, who had over a decade of culinary skills acquired during his rendezvous years in San Francisco and Western Australia. I quite like the food here as chef did a great job in preparing the dishes with different methods of cooking, thus maintaining the juiciness of the meat dishes while using the most basic and freshest ingredients to pep up the flavors. It was a job well done indeed. Prices of food are still within the acceptance of the public, though a 10% Service Tax and 6 % Government Tax would be imposed on all orders. Thanks to yourfoodreview.com in coalition with myooo.my and the management of Chez Weng for providing me the opportunity to experience such a wonderful restaurant.

Precinct 10 is just next to the Island Plaza along Jalan Tanjung Tokong. If you are coming from town area towards Batu Ferringghi, just take note of the second traffic light (Jalan Tanjung Tokong/ Jalan Fettes/ Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang). Island Plaza is on your right. Make a U-Turn at the traffic lights and you will see Precinct 10 right after Island Plaza on the left. There are ample parking spaces at the premises. Parking fees would be around RM1/hour. You can visibly see Chez Weng sandwiched in between Oldtown and Snow House on your right.

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Name: CHEZ WENG @ PRECINCT 10
Address: 10-C-18 & 19, Precinct 10, Jalan Tanjung Tokong, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-899 9878
Business Hours: 11.30am – 11.00pm (Closed Monday)
GPS: 5.448970, 100.306020

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


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)

MADE TO ORDER DIM SUM AT VIVA DIM SUM DELIGHT

Posted by crizlai On August - 14 - 2010

If you think that made to order dim sum would only be available in hotel-class restaurants, you would be in for a surprise. One of Penang’s newest food court, Viva Local Food Haven (formerly Golden Horse Food Court) has just launched its newest dim sum kitchen, Viva Dim Sum Delight (東城點心) on 10 August 2010. The main objective of the outlet opening is to provide more quality and affordable priced dim sum within the reach of the public. In fact, most of their ingredients were Hong Kong based imports.

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Let’s have a look at how reasonable those delicacies are from the menu. There would be over 30 variety of items for you to choose from, ranging from steamed, deep fried to stir fried food. Click on the photo below for a larger view.

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To start the fiesta, we had the Traditional Steamed Glutinous Rice (古法糯米雞-RM3.80). There was a strong hint that the glutinous rice was flavorfully stir fried prior to steaming with precooked chunks of chicken, Chinese sausage and BBQ pork (char siew). The whole combination was quite fine except I still prefer mine to have a few Chinese mushrooms and wrapped in lotus leaves for that extra flavor.

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The next was the Crispy Dragon Roll (香脆升龍卷-RM3.80). This is indeed the gigantic version of the usual prawn roll, with larger prawns too. It was served on a bed of the chef’s specially created mayo sauce with a hint of mustard added. It was a nice combo deal.

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When I thought I could only get the Shanghainese Meat Dumpling (小籠包-RM4.80) from posh restaurants, I was surprised by the next presentation. What? 3 Xiao Long Bao at that price when others are double or triple fold that pricing? The soup within each dumpling was indeed abundant and tasty. When combined with the provided ginger strips in black vinegar, it was heaven! The only fallback was the amount of meat inside. One can’t complain for the price paid right?

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There was also a manual showing the right way to consume the dumpling without spilling all over your body. Cute!

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What would be dim sum without some beautifully created and tasty buns? The chefs sure know how to tempt the taste buds of their patrons with their delicious sweet and savory buns. One such product would be their recommended Steamed Bun with Butter Cream & Egg Yolk (特制流沙包-RM4.80). Indeed it was the best bun I had in ages. Even the texture of the bun was remarkably smooth and fine. A small nibble at the side saw a large flow of golden egg yolk colored cream oozing out furiously. Well, there’s a skill in consuming this bun as well without drowning your fingers in sweetness. The method of eating is just like the Xiao Long Bao stated above.

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There was such a term as “sweetness will come in pairs”. The next bun which was Steamed Bun with Premium Lotus Paste and Egg Yolk (蛋皇蓮蓉包-RM3.80) was a double happiness. It had a lot of finely ground lotus paste and a big salted egg yolk. A bit sweet for my liking but having 3 buns as a set would surely please those sweet lovers.

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Next was the Steamed Bun with Supreme Barbequed Pork (蜜汁叉燒包-RM3.80). The overall taste was nice except that it was a bit too dry to my liking. I prefer to have mine with some added toasted sesame seeds mixed with the ingredients too.

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The next set of buns got all the “wives” rolling their eyes at their “husbands”. How dare you touch these Shanghainese “Mistress” Bun (上海二奶包-RM4.80)? Just look at that shape! Don’t you think they do resemble something? LOL! Anyway, these buns have some nice custard-like buttery cream within.

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You could also get some savory type of buns with some sweet crust on the surface – Baked Hong Kong Style Polo Bun (香港菠蘿包-RM3.80). Each bun would be filled with some barbeque pork slices.

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Do also check out with the staff there on their weekend specials. One of the specials we had was the Scallop and Fish Roe Dumpling (鳳眼帶子餃). I would say this was one of the great fusion combinations as the dumpling was filled with large prawns, topped with fresh scallop and garnished with fish roe, spring onion stalk and a leaf of coriander.

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Another of the weekend specials was the Dragon Whiskers Roll (龍鬚卷). Sweet indeed and it had a rather unique combination of filling. The deep fried delicacy was filled with blended avocado, custard cream, butter and wrapped with a type of rice noodles. Those sweet tooth lovers would surely love this crispy product.

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If you are driving from town towards Batu Ferringhi beach area, you would pass by Island Plaza shopping mall on your right. Drive all the way until you meet with a curve. You would see a traffic light (UDA Flats on your right). The food court is actually a bit further up on your right but you need to make a U-turn to reach the venue. So, drive on and keep to your right until you see the next traffic lights (Tanjung Bungah Beach Hotel on your right). Make a U-turn until you see the Chinese Swimming Club on your left. Immediately after the building you would see a lane on your left (Jalan C M Hashim leading to Naza Hotel). Turn left and you would the food court on your right with ample parking space behind.

VIVADIMSUMMAP >

Name: VIVA DIM SUM DELIGHT (东城点心)
Address: Lot 303, Jalan Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 6.00am-2.00pm
Contact: 604-890 2549
GPS: 5.462813, 100.305056

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

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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!

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