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PRE FLOGGERS GATHERING AT 75 CELSIUS RESTAURANT & BAR

Posted by crizlai On August - 21 - 2009

NOTE: This restaurant has ceased its operation.

Prior to our 4th Penang Floggers Gathering scheduled to be held later in the evening, we were given a treat at 75 Celsius Restaurant & Bar, located along the promenade of the beautiful Gurney Drive last Saturday. Thanks to Ken and William for giving us this privilege to savor almost all that they have in the menu.

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Although I did pass through the Gurney Drive stretch quite often, little did I know that the little hidden treasure could provide such a wide range of western cuisine to please my forever craving appetite. Let’s start with what they have in their menu. Initially, they were 3 types of soup being served here. The Creamy Mushroom Soup (RM6.90) came with 3 freshly mixed mushrooms stewed to perfection, garnished with some cream, herbs and served with a slice of garlic bread. The taste was great compared to others except that it would be better if they cut down a bit on the level of saltiness. The Creamy Tomato & Bacon (RM6.90) was my favorite as it was mild enough for my liking and the sautéed beef bacon chips did add in that extra flavorful taste. This was served with a slice of garlic bread as well. The Oxtail Soup (RM8.50) was good too as it had the right amount of herbs and spices usage and the oxtail was tender and superb. This soup was also accompanied with a slice of garlic bread.

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Next on the menu were the salads. The Crispy Chicken Salad (RM12.90) came with some pieces of golden fried bread crumbed chicken, sliced and laid on a bed of mix greens, dressed by some mayonnaise like oriental dressing. Except for the meat slices which were a bit dry to my liking, the whole combination justified each other well. The next salad which was the Chef’s Salad (RM11.90) was normal except that it had additional tuna flakes and crab filament stick slices added in, topped with Thousand Island dressing.

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For those who would like to have some light meal with loads of greens, you should check out the Sandwiches section in the menu. The Turkey Fresco (RM11.90) was indeed lovely with a slightly butter toasted croissant filled with turkey ham, greens and oozing dressing. The Hamburger Delight (RM16.90) was our favorite as the beef patty was firm and tasty. The Cheezy Beef Roll (RM15.90) did not impress me much as it was just some marinated beef slices baked with cheese. The Tuna Supreme (RM12.90) was just another common tuna filled croissant but it was delicious as the filling was rather moist. All the above sandwiches would be presented with some green salads and French fries.

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If you like to have something even lighter, you could always look into their Snacks sections. You could try out their Cheezy Garlic Bread (RM6.90), Tempura Prawns (RM9.90), Tempura Calamari (RM8.50), Fish Cocktail (RM8.50), Mushroom Bruschetta (RM7.90) and Lamb Bruschetta (RM8.90). All snack meals would come with some green salad. Except for the Fish Cocktail which had some blended fish, prawns and squids being a bit too soft for my liking, I loved the Lamb Bruschetta a lot. The lamb slices was stewed perfectly in their own secret recipe until the meat were tender. The only problem I had was the understanding on bruschettas. All along I thought they would be served with filling on top of the bread slices. Instead I had 5 slices of garlic bread served with a bowl of lamb stew. I guessed that would be their way to avoid the bread being soiled by the lamb gravy.

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There would also be pasta dishes available here to tempt your appetite for Italian cuisine. We had the Aglio Olio (RM15.90). This dish was kind of fusion as it had some aubergine (eggplant/brinjal), ham slices and tiger prawns added in on top of the usual garlic, herbs, chili flakes and olive oil. Overall, the taste was still superb as it was just right for my level of spiciness. The Alla Carbonara (RM10.90) was also good with the right amount of creaminess but I would prefer a bit more sauce. It would be even better if only the beef bacons were not chopped so fine and linguini pasta be used instead of spaghetti pasta. My preference would still be the one I had at QEII. The next two pasta dishes which were the Alla Marinara (RM16.90) and Baked Cheezy Seafood Pasta (RM16.90) was a bit disappointment for most of us as both dishes lacked the special unique taste of some white wine and cognac. Moreover, I’m still pondering which item in the ingredients caused the overpowering fishy taste.

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Now, let’s look at the colorful Main Course dishes. The Tagarashi Salmon (RM17.90) was uniquely presented. It had Nori (seaweed) rolled into salmon fillet, mildly grilled and topped with some spicy curry cream sauce. This was served with ratatouille on mashed potatoes and green salad. Each flake of the salmon with the sauce was delicious, so was the ratatouille with the mashed potatoes.

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The Lemon Butter Fish (RM12.90) was next. It had some French fries laid on a pool of buttered lemon cream sauce, topped with a battered fried fish fillet and some shredded carrot strips as garnish. The tangy flavored white sauce blended in well with the whole presentation.

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The Jacuzzi Beef (RM16.90) was presented on a bed of fresh lettuce and was served on a hot plate. It had some paprika sprinkled French fries and black pepper sauce as gravy. Everything on the hot plate was good except that I found the gravy to be a bit mild for my taste bud. This dish would be mild enough for a kid’s consumption.

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For those Ribeye Steak (RM17.90) lovers, the next dish would be a great bargain. The accompanied simple yet fragrantly sautéed potato slices with onions itself was a kill. The steak was cooked medium and the pepper mushroom sauce clicked well.

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The Spice Lamb Leg (RM18.90) was presented on some sautéed potatoes with rosemary. The meat was grilled fragrantly and served with some Pineapple Jack Daniels (JD) sauce. Except for the meat which was a bit dry, that was a great way to have lamb minus the mint sauce.

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There was also the Lamb Cutlet (RM20.90) served with ratatouille on mashed potatoes and mint yogurt sauce. The mint yogurt sauce was something new to me and it was delicious with the grilled cutlets. The ratatouille was as tasty as before. Now, that made me missed Remy from Walt Disney’s Ratatouille more and more. 😛

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Teriyaki Chicken (RM15.90) was served next. Except for the beautiful presentation, everything tasted quite normal. I would suggest to the chef that the chicken be marinated longer to get the best out of the teriyaki taste.

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The Roasted Chicken Drumstick (RM15.90) looked great with the sautéed potatoes with rosemary and orange ginger sauce. The combination might be unique for many but my preference would still be the classic gravy where some chicken broth are to be pan cooked with some remain juices from the roasting, some flour, salt and black pepper to taste. A dash of dry white wine would surely boost up the taste further.

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Everybody was complimenting on the Chicken Chop (RM10.90). It may be the most common item in any Western food menu but the one served here was rather unique. Maybe it was our luck that day but the chicken drumstick fillet was indeed thick and juicy. The outer crust was still crispy after being exposed so long for our photo shooting and the oriental sauce on it was delicious. It’s a great bargain here!

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The last of the main course we had was the Black Pepper Mushroom Chicken (RM10.90). It looked as if the drumstick had shrunk compared to the chicken chop earlier. It surely had something to do with the frying flour as this was grilled. Overall the taste was still fine. This would suit me better if the gravy was a bit spicier for my taste bud.

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Hmm… I had just realized something here. They do not have any desserts in their menu. I think they should consider on having some for those for visiting families with kids. Nevertheless, they do have a wide selection for beverages, ranging from coffee, ice coffee, coffee with liquor, chocolate, blended, milkshake, juice, tea, special, sodas, cocktails, liquor and beer. Here are some of the non-alcoholic drinks some of us had ordered (except for Caffe Baileys which contained some Baileys Irish Whisky Cream). They are Cappuccino (RM5.00), Hazelnut Cappuccino (RM5.50), Ice Expresso (RM7.00), Caffe Baileys (RM8.00), Ice Blended Green Tea Special (RM9.50), Ice Blended Chocolate (RM9.50), Ice Blended Wildfruit (RM9.50), Vanilla Milkshake (RM8.00), Strawberry Milkshake (RM8.00), Lemon Temptation (RM7.00), Philadelphia (RM7.50) and Dawn of The Beauty (RM7.00).

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As for the alcoholic section, I found something interesting. Don’t you think some of the names given were rather kinky? LOL!

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There are over 30 types of cocktails, hard liquor and beers for you to choose here. Some of the alcoholic drinks ordered by us included Michael Jackson (RM10), Lemon Drop (RM10), AK47 (RM18.00), Tequila Sunrise (RM13.00) and Screwdriver (RM13.00).

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Dining here can be rather humid during sunny afternoon as the place is open air. I would advise you to dress casually or dine during late evening. Please take note that all prices would be subjected with a 10% service charge.

The shop is strategically located along the sea front of the famous Gurney Drive (right before Coffee Island and Crepe Cottage). If you are coming from town into Jalan Kelawei, turn right at the first junction (Jalan Lim Chin Guan) where Gurney Tower is. Drive towards the end and turn left. You would pass through Evergreen Laurel Hotel and a stretch of hawker centers on your left. Slow down as 75 Celsius is immediately after the last hawker center (Song River Café). I would advise you to park your car in the Jalan Birch Car Park (the road after Song River Café) and walk up to the restaurant cum bar, especially during weekends.

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Name: 75 CELSIUS RESTAURANT & BAR
Address: 75, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-227 3775
Business Hours: 11.00am-2.00am
GPS: 5.433140, 100.316246

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

WHERE TO EAT? NO EYE DEER!

Posted by crizlai On August - 10 - 2009

I can still remember vividly more than a year ago when I was asking my friends what they would want to drink in a restaurant and they would reply “Anything” or “Whatever”. Those were what Out Of The Box Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) and Tongee (KL) Sdn. Bhd. stormed the market with in early 2008. One consisted of different flavored tea whereas the other consisted of different flavored fizzy drinks. The thrill lies in what you would get in the can. You would have to open up a can of “Anything” or “Whatever” to find out the flavor yourself. This is a genius way to promote a product right? Well, the same goes for our dinners after years of having the same type of food in Penang. Where to eat? No idea! Hey! That’s a great place to dine now – No Eye Deer! Let’s go! 🙂

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Since you now know you can only get your “Anything” or “Whatever” in any of the 7-Eleven outlets, why not head up to the first floor of Prima Tanjung to get your “No Eye Deer”? The restaurant has been there for many years serving a nice array of unique fusion meals that would tempt and spoil anyone’s desires to have a great dining experience. With a cozy ambience, soft background music and great artistic displays of the proprietor, Ken Low, this restaurant would be ideal for those who love to dine in style.

So, what’s cooking in the kitchen of No Eye Deer? What came out on our dining table was a surprise as all the time many of us had perceived that this was a total Western cuisine restaurant. We were served Beef and Chicken Laotian Laksa (RM12.80+/bowl). These two were their signature dishes. Each bowl would come with springy firmed rice noodles, richly flavored in the stock from the respective meat choices and topped with bean sprouts and basils. Of the two options, I loved the beef dish better as the tender beef slices gave the spicy and piquant soup base a richer taste. Thumbs up!

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This was followed by the Soup of the Day – Pumpkin Soup (RM7.80+). This was something unique as the sweetness of the blended pumpkin, herbs and cream, garnished with some croutons was good.

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The next dish which was the Pan Grilled Sea Bass with White Sauce (RM19.80+) was presented with tangy white sauce and served with fresh crisp salad and mashed potatoes. The fish was done perfectly as it had a bit of charred taste while maintaining its juiciness. The white sauce was wonderfully prepared too as it had just the right creaminess and blended in real well with the double scoops of homemade mash potatoes which were marvelous.

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We then had the Jumbo Vienna Sausage (RM15.80+) which consisted of two smoked cheddar stuffed chicken sausage served with mash potatoes and salad. The gravy for this dish was just right as it was not so salty when taken with the slightly salty cheese filled sausages.

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Chicken Parmigiana (RM18.80+) was next. This Italian styled chicken fillet was served with freshly stewed tomato and Mozarella cheese. It had mash potatoes and salad as side dressing. I would advise you to consume this chef’s recommended dish soonest possible as the moist from the stewed tomatoes would eventually soil it swiftly. With so many of us taking photos, it did turn soggy but the taste was still great for those who love the sweetness of fresh tomatoes.

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No Eye Deer has many surprises for its patrons daily as the Special of the Day was the Meaty Beef Pie (RM16.80+) which was served with golden French fries, fresh crisp lettuces and a cup of their specially prepared gravy. The crust was nicely baked and the gravy was delicious with the tender beef chunks. My only complain was that the ingredients used were a bit too strong and it overpowered the natural taste of the beef chunks within. Maybe the restaurant should consider looking into this by having the meat more towards the savory taste than being so sweet.

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Their Traditional Grilled Steak (RM29.80+) which had char-grilled tender beef steak, served with traditional rich brown gravy, homemade mashed potato, broccoli and carrots, looked so burned and was drowned in a pool of gravy but the look can be deceiving. It was darn delicious as the meat was tender and juicy. The only comment I had was that there were too much of diluted gravy on the meat. I hope the chef would thicken the gravy more as it tasted quite normal and it did kill the fragrance of the char-grilled steak a bit.

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I thought those were all since I was not the one who ordered the dishes when a gigantic Caveman Platter (RM68.00+) was presented right in front of me. Gosh! It was meant to serve 3-5 persons! The dish had a mixed platter of char-grilled lamb, chicken kebabs, chicken sausages, chicken wings and pepper lamb sausages. Although served with some gravy, I found most of the items rather dry to my liking. Maybe I’m not a fan of barbeque stuff. But the pepper lamb sausages kept me eating more. They were unique as I had not seen them being served anywhere around town before. Anyway, this dish would be great for those who love lots of meat in their diet.

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The meal finally ended with a dessert – Coffee Jelly (RM5.80+). This dessert was voted as the Best Jelly in Malaysia by readers of ‘The Star’ Newspaper dated 23rd March 2008. The Japanese jelly was mildly flavored with coffee and was served chilled in some mixture of fresh cream and syrup with some sprinkles of cocoa powder. It was remarkably wonderful for coffee lovers like me.

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The restaurant also had a unique way to serve scoopful of ice creams in a cone – the Upside Down Ice Cream (RM4.80+). It had two scoopful of Vanilla ice creams served on a plate with a cone upside down and sprinkled with a generous amount of chopped roasted peanuts and glazed with some melted chocolate. This dessert would surely be great amongst kids.

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Choosing your beverages here can be real interesting as the beverage would come in many unique names. We had Drama Queen (RM8.80+) – glamarous smoothie of pink guava and pineapple with sour plum, Wacky Wizard (RM8.80+) – delicious & wacky smoothie of mango yoghurt and pineapple and also Chunky Monkey (RM8.80+) – rich and delicious banana smoothie with ice cream and chunky peanuts. All the beverages had their own specific uniqueness in taste and presentation.

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Please take note that all prices would be subjected with a 10% service charge. The restaurant would be easy to spot as it’s located at level one above the 7-Eleven Prima Tanjung outlet, facing the direction of Island Plaza along Jalan Tanjung Tokong. There would be ample parking space surrounding the multi-level shop houses.

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Name: NO EYE DEER RESTAURANT
Address: 98-1-26, Prima Tanjung, Jalan Fettes, Tanjung Tokong, 11200 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-899 0488
Business Hours:
6.00pm-11.00pm (weekdays), 12.00noon-11.00pm (weekends), (Closed Tuesdays)
GPS: 5.450906, 100.305169

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

HEARTY DISHES AT YOUNG HEART RESTAURANT

Posted by crizlai On July - 31 - 2009

BONUS: 10% DISCOUNT VOUCHER AVAILABLE FOR MY READERS AT THE END OF POST!

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I have been thrown this question many times by my readers and friends on where would be the ideal place for dining if they would want to stay healthy without having their worries over their cholesterol, triglycerides, fat or even glucose levels. As we know, Penang is the food paradise of Malaysia and dining healthily would be almost impossible unless we cook our own food at home. This would be quite a hassle for most modern families as most of them are working individuals. Ever since my first visit to Young Heart Restaurant (养心殿) earlier this year, I knew that this would be the ideal restaurant for those people around town who would yearn for some home cooked food but without having the time to cook in. Most of the ingredients used here are fresh from the nearby wet market and they use rock sugar instead in their beverages. Some of the dishes are even traditionally prepared with the usage of charcoal.

So, what’s new in the recently revamped menu as well as the facilities? It actually had some of the items from the earlier menu with some newly created items added in to make the menu a more complete one for all ages such as Junior Meal and Vegetarian Meal. On top of that, they had set up a cozy and air-conditioned dining room upstairs with a DVD player and TV for the comfort and relaxation of a small private event of up to 12 persons. Booking has to be made in advance.

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A group of us managed to relax ourselves prior to the food feasting with some hot beverages. To start off, we had Ginseng Oolong Tea (人參烏龍茶-RM15.00 for 1-2pax with unlimited refills). The bulb shaped oolong tea leaves mixed with some powdered ginseng was indeed refreshing. It surely booted out the tiredness in me after weeks of endless projects.

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The next pot was from one of our selections in the Natural Flower Tea list – Rosehip, Hibiscus and Green Apple Tea (雙花蘋果茶-RM9.00). The tea tasted somewhat like a rosy flavored blackcurrant drink but with the sour but fragrant taste from the green apple slices. Some of us preferred to add in some rock sugar syrup to sweeten up the sourness but I like it the way it is – natural. Rosehip has been used for generations to strengthen the body’s resistance to infection, reinforces digestive function, combats all kinds of illnesses with fever, flushes out the kidneys and urinary tract and relieves mild rheumatic pain. The fleshy red sepals of the Hibiscus flowers (Malaysian National Flower) have been used as traditional remedies against cough, dyspepsia, fever and hypertension. With the combination of vitamin rich green apples, this beverage sure would help in a person’s general health. Do check out with Ms Ann on Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni or commonly known as Stevia aka Sweet Leaf, the FDA approved natural substitute for sugar. They do have the dried leaves form here for your tea.

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The meal started off with a bowl of carefully monitored charcoal boiled Soup of the Day – Lotus Roots & Peanuts Soup (蓮藕花生湯-RM6.00(M)/RM9.00(L)) as starter. It was exactly how Grandma would cook it. The collagen filled soup had many ingredients and herbs that constituted to its richness in taste. Prominently you would see some lotus root slices, fresh peanuts, dried cuttle fish, chicken feet with the rich taste coming from the red dates (紅棗), Angelica sinensis (Dong Quai-當歸), dried Ophiopogon japonicus tuber (Mai Dong-麥冬) and dried Codonopsis pilosula (Dang Shen-黨參). The soup was so rich that I’m sure I can form gelatin if chilled properly. This is a must have for soup lovers.

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Deep Fried Prawn Dumpling (蝦仁炸餃-RM6.00/4pcs) was served next as appetizers. The golden colored mixed minced meat and prawn filled dumplings alone were impressive with some tails sticking out. The exterior remained its crunchiness while the interior had the required moisture in it. These would be great to be taken with some Thai chili sauce.

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Although I had many encounters with a chayote fruit (佛手瓜) in fresh and preserved ways before, the next dish came as a surprise as I had not seen a live version of the shoots (龍鬚菜) except from some Taiwanese TV channels. The Stir Fry Chayote Leaves with Roasted Duck Meat (RM5.00(M)+RM4.00(Duck Meat)/RM8.00(L)-龍鬚菜炒燒鴨肉) was awesome with the fragrantly roasted duck meat. The gravy of the dish was mildly flavored with some basic seasoning.

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Some might want their vegetables added with some meat or seafood but I love mine to be plain. In fact, I found that I love the plain Stir Fry Chayote (清炒龍鬚菜) tasted better, considering that I can have the actual bite of these fibrous vegetable in their natural state. Moreover, too much of duck meat would not be good for health as they are high in fat and uric acid, leading to gout, kidney stone, diabetes type 2 and many other diseases. On the other hand, the fruits and leaves of a chayote plant have diuretic, cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory properties. Even the leaves that had been made into tea had been practiced in the treatment of arteriosclerosis, hypertension and to dissolve kidney stones. Maybe for this case, the combination of duck meat and chayote leaves might not be so bad after all.

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The next few orders consisted rice and noodles. Some came from the handmade noodles, rice and personal meal sections. Each dish in the Personal Meal section would come with some meat, a vegetable of the day plus a bowl of white rice. In case you prefer their handmade noodles instead of white rice, just pay an additional RM1.00 to the price. On top of that, another RM1.00 extra would make you eligible for a drink of the day (if you dine between 12noon and 2.00pm).

The first rice dish made me broke a heart. LOL! The Hearty Pumpkin Fried Rice (愛心金瓜炒飯-RM7.80) indeed came in the shape of a heart and I was quite reluctant to be the first one to break it apart. Hmm… I forgot who did that first! Haha! Anyway, the fried rice had the required Wok Hei (high heated cooking) as each grain of rice was well fragranced with the minimal seasoning and yet providing the fresh taste of the small pumpkin cubes and shredded carrots within. The fried rice came garnished with some fried shallots, cucumber slices, a set of specially and freshly seasoned wings and a dish of vegetable of the day. The chicken wings were delicious and were just as good as the Kaffir leaves enhanced chicken wings we had earlier this year.

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The next rice dish was the Lotus Roots & Wax Sausage Fried Rice (莲藕腊肠炒饭-RM8.80). Since fresh lotus roots are bland in taste, the combination of chopped wax sausages and some shredded carrots added that special touch to boost up the overall taste of the “wok hei” filled fried rice. This dish tasted saltier compared to the sweeter pumpkin fried rice and I love this more. The order also came with a separated plate of the vegetable of the day.

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What? 3+1 Cup Chicken Noodle (3+1杯雞麵-RM8.80)? I thought the recipe was to be a cup each of sesame oil, soy sauce and Shao Xing/Hua Tiao wine (花雕酒)? That was my first impression when I saw the name in the menu. The “+1” appeared to be a mixture of red chilies and bird’s eye chilies. In fact, the chef had their own combination of this dish, thus the sauce for the noodles tend to look lighter in color but still delicious with the pungent taste from the added “little bombs”. The thick and springy handmade noodles were superb. Each mouthful was smooth flowing. Aiks! Some more please! 😛

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For those spicy food lovers, you would love the next handmade noodles as well. Fiery Hot Noodles (紅油拌麵-RM8.80) was the name of the noodles I had ordered but it was not as fiery hot as I had expected. One sauce dish of some dried shrimp enhanced chili paste in red hot oil was kid’s stuff to me. The next full dish had my tongue burning and ears having steams. I just could not believe how anyone could gobble down such hot stuff? Anyway, I survived the ordeal as I was not in tears as my dinner the night before. That hotness was Level 5! LOL! It’s actually up to us to adjust our own chili intake but I was a bit too adventurous. The noodles came with some minced meat, a semi cooked omelette, fried anchovies and garnished with lots of chopped spring onions and lettuce. This was in fact my most loved noodles so far in this restaurant. I simply love the taste!

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A seafood dish was next – Pan Fried Salmon Head (豉油王煎三文魚頭-RM15.00/half head). The salmon fish head was grilled in a specially prepared sweet soy sauce. Although I do not fancy fish head a lot, I found the fish to be real “fresh” amongst those frozen ones I had tried before. LOL! It was indeed well prepared with its juices still maintained within. Well, my preference would still be on sashimi and sushi over this spiky teethed fish.

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“OMG! What a pathetic fella! Who asked you to stuff yourself with so much pickled cabbage until you end up on the table?” Haha! The Pickled Cabbage Stuffed Chicken (梅菜雞 (須預定)-RM28.00/whole bird (pre-booking needed)) really had that miserable look on its face after so many hours of steaming. Overall, the taste was just normal and the pickled cabbage was rather sweet to my liking. Anyhow the management had rectified the problem as the brand of pickled cabbage used that night was sweeter than others. Moreover, the bird was a bit too large for the fragrance from the pickled cabbage to seep right into the meat. Let’s hope it would be better during my next visit. Well, this bird can feed 4-6 persons and the price for so much meat was way much cheaper than the “one person share” salted chicken I bought from Ipoh, Perak which cost me RM16 per bird. A bowl of hot steaming rice would be good with this dish.

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Braised Duck with Special Bean Paste (狗仔鸭(須預定)- RM20.00/half bird or RM38.00/whole bird (pre-booking needed)) was served next. The English name might sound normal but this was supposed to be a very strong herbs and spices recipe for “woof woof” during the olden China. Instead, duck has been used as both have the extra strong scent in the meat. Specially selected galangal ginger (南薑), star aniseed (八角), fermented bean sauce and chopped red chilies had been used in the preparation of this juicy and tender duck dish.

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We also tried out their Braised Sweet & Sour Black Trotter (炭煮猪手醋-RM9.00(M)/RM16.00(L)). Although the meat served were healthily lean minus the fat, it somehow made the whole piece of meat rather hard. I would suggest that the fat be kept to maintain the tenderness of the meat. We could always get rid of them if we felt that they were bad for our health. Tenderizing the meat with grated ginger juice prior to cooking might help too. Moreover, the black vinegar used was a bit too overpowering as it was too sweet for our liking. The dish also lacked in the gingery taste from crushed old ginger. Young ginger would not be strong enough to boost up the taste. Since this was a precooked dish, heating up might be to be blamed as slow steaming and microwave would give a different meat texture. Let’s hope they would improve on this aspect of customer feedback for this dish soon.

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Desserts were wonderful as we had something unique. Firstly, it was the Old School Pan Fried Water Chestnut Cake (花香馬蹄糕-RM5.00/4pcs). The sweetness from the mixture of osmanthus (桂花) and chamomile (洋菊) brew, combined with some water chestnut flour, water chestnut slices plus a touch of rock sugar to make this jelly-like delicacy perfect. Each piece would be pan fried carefully to have that extra crispiness on the surface. This dessert was delicious although I personally felt that the texture should be a bit firmer by adding more water chestnut flour.

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Yellow petals with a tint of white stamens and purple anthers were what I saw in the next dessert. It has the beautiful colors of an attractive flower. The dessert was actually chilled Mango Puree and Sago Pudding (芒果花園-RM4.50/bowl) garnished with some diced red dragon fruit. It was awesome in every part of presentation and taste. The sago was soft and mildly sweetened with some rock sugar syrup and combined with the mango puree, some fresh young coconut meat slices and juice plus the colorful red dragon fruit made this dessert the gem of the night. Perfect!

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If you happened to have the urge to grab something light for tea (between 3.00pm and 6.00pm), do look out for their coming soon promotion which would be their tea time deal for two at RM19.90. You could even grab some light snacks and finger food ranging from bean curds, dumplings, chicken wings or even their Crispy Bean Curd Puff (RM5.00/5pcs) with stuffed meat.

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Beverage wise, there are more iced, chilled, fresh, blended or beer for you to choose from. We had the Honey Lemon Sea Coconut (蜂蜜檸檬海椰-RM6.00). It would be best to consume this drink while there are still ice cubes as a warmer version would have the sour reaction of the lemon affecting the taste to be rather fermented. Anyway, it was nice that way too. The Pumpkin Soy Bean Milk (黃金豆漿-RM6.00) was my favorite as it was mildly sweetened with rock sugar syrup and it had that unique fresh taste from the blended ripe pumpkin. The Banana, Black Sesame & Soy Bean Milk (無間道-RM6.80) was another unique combination as it had the rich creamy taste of blended bananas combined with the fragrant fro the roasted black sesame seeds. For the juniors, the would surely like the Ice Blended Mixed Berry Vanilla drink (香草綜合莓果-RM6.00) – sweet but lovely.

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For those who are interested to know the full range of the latest menu, you can click and save the YOUNG HEART MENU here. Now here’s the Discount eVoucher, especially for my readers as promised. You can print it (color or black & white) and present it to the restaurant management (prior to billing) to enjoy the privilege from 31 July 2009 until 31 August 2009. Have a great and healthy dining then! 🙂

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Reaching the restaurant would be easy if you are coming from Jalan Burmah into Jalan Cantonment. Just drive along Jalan Cantonment until you reach the first left junction (Pulau Tikus Market – Jalan Pasar). Just go further up after this junction and you will see Wisma Kota Kembar – Pulau Pinang-Medan Information and Promotion Centre on the corner lot. The restaurant is just next to this centre. There would be a 5% service charge for the food ordered here.

YOUNGHEARTMAP

Name: YOUNG HEART RESTAURANT
Address: 44A, Jalan Cantonment, 10350 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 12.00noon-10.00pm (Closed Monday)
Contact: 604-228 8084, 016-410 8098 (Ms. Ann Kee)
GPS: 5.430508, 100.311350

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

RELOCATION OF YAW’S ROAST AND GRILL

Posted by crizlai On July - 28 - 2009

Note: Due to parking problems, Yaw’s Roast & Grill has shifted their business back to their previous premises (1, Gerbang Midlands, 10350 Penang, Malaysia) as at March 2010.

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Aww… I really missed this western food corner previously located somewhere in the residence area of Pulau Tikus. It was a dimly lighted, cozy and romantic place to be in for some quiet moments. If not for the local municipal council’s pressure to shut down the place, it would be indeed a love nest for couples. Anyway, the little homely restaurant had recently relocated to a brighter and more spacious venue along Jalan Transfer, just next to the Caltex petrol kiosk. The menu had remained the same but the pricing had increased a bit since my last visit there. After all, it was not exorbitant as we have to understand that the price of ingredients had increased quite a lot recently. Moreover, the price of food ordered here are net priced.

As usual, garlic toasts were given complimentary from the kitchen, slightly toasted to perfection with yummy garlic butter and herbs. A piece each was not really enough for two persons but what would a person expect when they are free right? Anyway, you can always order more but I did not find out how much they would cost.

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Since it was their opening day, there were no special dishes of the day. I ordered the Cream of Mushroom Soup (RM4.50) as starter. The soup was creamy with chunks of finely chopped mushroom. It was normal for me as what you would get from any of those economical western food stalls around town. Somehow, I felt that what I had at Louis Café, just a block away, tasted better. Again, you can’t compare a RM10 (excluding tax) bowl of Italianese Wild Mushroom Soup with something less than half the price here, right?

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The main meals were served quite promptly. It was my favorite Black Pepper Chicken Chop (RM8.00). The chicken was finely fried with the chef’s special breaded flour and it was crunchy indeed. As usual, I would request for a separate but additional amount of black pepper sauce for me to dip in my fries. The gravy was as thick as ever but mild in hotness as this place was also the western food venue for a lot of families with children.

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The next meal was the Spaghetti in White Mushroom Sauce (RM8.50). The amount served was quite reasonable with 6 large meatballs garnished on top. The dish had some sliced mushroom, chopped coriander and sprinkled with some mixed herbs. The texture for the spaghetti was softer than the ones I had at QEII, which was based on the Italian’s choice of springiness. The mushroom gravy was just normal with not much distinctive flavors, except for the taste of the herb garnishing. The fried meatballs tasted great with the right amount of flavoring. They had a hint of some cheese like substance inside. The only drawback was that they could have added in more corn flour to make them a bit softer.

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Since the waitress did mention that they have some local dishes served as well, I ordered their famous Hainanese Fried Noodles (RM4.50). It was in fact Hokkien Char. The serving was a bit small for an individual but the amount of ingredients such as meat slices, large prawns and a generous amount of Chinese cabbage (choy sum) justified the price well. The dish was indeed quite tasty.

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They do also have beverages of all kinds, from iced tea, coffee, beers and brew of the day. I had their special Iced Winter Melon (RM3.00). It was a perfect beverage for such a humid weather. Fresh as well as sugared winter melon slices were brewed with red dates to come out with this refreshing drink. I would recommend this drink to everyone (upon availability). It would even better if they brew the beverage with some dried longan meats. 🙂

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It’s so much easier to locate this newly relocated restaurant compared to the earlier one. If you are coming from Jalan Penang into Jalan Burmah, keep to your right and turn into Jalan Transfer. You can see a used car shop just at the junction. Just drive until the traffic light. After the traffic light, keep to your right and drive until you see the Caltex petrol kiosk. The restaurant is just located right before the petrol kiosk under the name Dim Dim Yuen (serving dim sum and chicken rice in the morning).

YAWS2MAP

Name: YAW’S ROAST & GRILL
Address: 25 & 27, Jalan Transfer, 10050 Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: 012-412 9957 (Telephone order), 012- 484 8178 (Mr. Yaw)
Opening Hours: 5.30pm – 11.00pm (Closed Monday)
GPS: 5.421095, 100.330811

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

The experience there was like gazing through the horizon of the Straits of Malacca as the orange orb danced with the blueness of the sky, waving one last ray before slipping itself behind the hills of a scenic Penang. The soft, breezy cold wind and the view of the sailboats and moving ferries being thrown into silhouettes indeed made QEII an ideal place for romantic couples to dine in. Tourists of all nationalities arriving from visiting international cruisers, berthed at the nearby Frank Swettenham Pier, can be seen flowing into the bar and grill for some early celebrations.

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By the year 2012, you would see more changes along the Weld Quay stretch with the ongoing RM500 million “The Pier at Weld Quay” projects, where there would be the “old meet new” restoration and construction of a boutique hotel (The RiceMiller), commercial plaza (Straits Capital Plaza), tourism school (Georgetown College – Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Studies), retail podium (Pier Market), apartment suites (The RiceMiller Residences) and townhouses (Heritage Suites). Upon completion, this urban landmark, facing the present Tanjung City Marina, will not only enhance the skyline, but rank Penang alongside other renowned port-cities of the world.

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Located at one of Penang’s heritage piers named Church Street Pier, Tanjung City Marina, QEII Restaurant claimed to serve the best of the best in terms of quality food with equal finesse to make each meal a memorable one, whether within the bar area or al fresco. Moreover, they are also providing a great place for people to chill out with many unique styles of lounges. From my first time experience there, they had indeed proven their worthiness with what they had promised.

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Dinner was simple and yet elegant as my intention of going there was for their much acclaimed pizzas. Somehow, there were just too many choices in their carefully selected menu that tempted me to order more. The Lobster Bisque (RM16) was rather special. It was creamy rich with smooth flowing lobster puree stirred in white cream with a touch of white wine and cognac. The soup had a very distinctive shellfish flavor with chunks of fresh lobster meat, garnished with some chopped coriander. It could be rather intruding for those who are not in favor of strong shellfish taste but I was fine with it.

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Carbonara pasta has always been my favorite and thus I tried out their Linguini Carbonara (RM23). The serving was large. The dish had a generous amount of sautéed beef bacon and egg in white cream sauce. The usage of fresh and dried herbs together with some smashed garlic and sliced mushroom was just right. This was one of the best carbonara I had so far from any of my visits elsewhere. Although the linguini pasta was as bit hard for the Asian’s preference (but that’s how the Italians loved it), the whole combination blended in perfectly.

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While enjoying our starters, the aroma of freshly baked pizza began to drift into our nostrils. The pizza we ordered which was nicknamed as The Godfather (8”-RM26, 12”-RM32) was presented not long after that. It had freshly made dough, rolled thinly and spread with freshly made tomato puree, sautéed spicy clams (lala), dried chili, sweet & spicy sauce and topped with lots of Mozzarella cheese and cilantro, baked to perfection in a wood fire oven. With the first bite, I could not stop eating. The crust was well baked without any sign of flimsiness as none of the toppings fell down on my plate. 😛 It was truly the work of an experience chef as this sort of pizza required quite a tedious time shifting and rotating in high heat within the wood fire oven.

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For those who love to have a simpler topping, you can always opt for Soho (8”-RM39, 12”-RM45). On top of the crispy thin crust, the pizza had a generous amount of pepperoni, fresh pears, onions, pine nuts, topped with 3 different types of cheese such as Cheddar, Mozzarella and Gorgonzola, garnished with field greens. The taste was remarkably unique and tasty.

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If you are in a creativity mood, you can always combine your own in the Pizza La Vostra (8”-RM34, 12”-RM40). Just select 5 ingredients from the following ingredients such as grilled chicken, chicken ham, turkey bacon, tuna, egg, beef salami and pepperoni, red and green pepper, artichoke, mushroom, roma tomatoes, Kalamata olives, Virgin green olive, capers, mozzarella, gorgonzola, cheddar or feta cheese. Here the 12” order with grilled chicken, chicken ham, pepperoni, mushroom and mozzarella cheese. It was extremely filling.

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One of the most ordered pizza here would be the Penang Hot (8”-RM30, 12”-RM36). The pizza would have lots of fresh prawns in spicy sauce, topped with onions, garlic, chopped basil and mozzarella cheese. Who do you think was behind all the passionate baking of these delicious pizzas? It was none other than the experience Chef Joe who had worked alongside with Chef Emmanuel Stroobant (Chef In Black) when he was working in Meritus Hotel, Singapore. Unfortunately, Chef Joe had now left QEII but do not be sad as he would now be overseeing the Italian restaurant at Hard Rock Hotel, Penang, which would be officially launched on 19 September 2009.

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The dinner ended with some beautifully presented desserts. One of them was the Chocolate Volcano (RM12). Instead of a piece of rich chocolate moist cake as per menu, they gave me a piece of warm and moist butter cake with layered white chocolate mousse. I did not mind too as the cake was light and fluffy and truly delicious. It was dressed with oozing melted chocolate, one fresh strawberry, some chopped walnuts and presented with some sweet and tasty raspberries in jam sauce. It was heaven!

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The next was the Pear Crumble (RM8). The warm grounded cinnamon cooked pears had the right sweetness for my taste bud. Although I would prefer a crunchier oat and hazelnut crust, the whole combination with white Anglaise cream, strawberry and raspberries in jam sauce did not disappoint me at all.

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If you are coming from Lebuh Light, you will see a roundabout with a stainless steel betel nut structure (Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower is just beside it). Drive straight after the roundabout and you will be right in Pengkalan Weld (Weld Quay). Just follow the road and you will see the Frank Swettenham Pier on your left. Drive a bit further and you will see the Church Street Pier on your left. QII Penang is just right at the end of the pier, just before Hai Nan Town Restaurant within the Tanjung City Marina. The ferry terminal is just after that.

QEIIMAP

Name: QEII PENANG
Address: Tanjung City Marina, Church Street Pier, 8A Pengkalan Weld, 10300 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-261 2126
Business Hours: 12.00noon-12.00am (Dining), 12.00noon-3.00am (Entertainment)
GPS: 5.415150, 100.343764

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

BEACH VIEW DINING AT KO-FU-LOFT

Posted by crizlai On June - 26 - 2009

Note: This restaurant has ceased its operation in early March 2010.

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This restaurant with a nice view of the Gurney Drive promenade reminded me of the day when our local internet advertiser, Nuffnang, had its first community event titled “The Orient’s Voice” for the Penang bloggers at the then named Foodloft. Gosh! That was about two years’ ago. Today, the restaurant had been revamped under a different management and renamed as Ko-Fu-Loft. The new restaurant now serves dim sum as well as some Chinese cuisine with a touch of Mamak style beverages. Not long ago, more than 20 floggers from Penang (many oldies and newbies) and one mummy flogger from Singapore were given the privilege to try out the food there. Thanks to Jian for extending the invite to all of us.

The meal started with Ko Fu Sesame Seed Ball (口福芝麻球 – RM10.90). The presentation was rather simple but impressive with the sesame balls laid on some spoons. With some many ingredients added into the minced meat, somehow the appetizer lacked the moisture within. It was rather dry for many of us and the outer lacked the fragrance from the sesame seeds. By adding a bit of chopped onions, some corn flour, a few drops of sesame oil and some sprinkles of pepper would have made them better.

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The next appetizer was the Crystal Spring Roll Skin Stuffed with Vegetables & Chicken Meat (公主水晶卷 – RM6.90). The skin was perfectly done as the name itself as it was almost crystal clear but the filling was not as compactly rolled as it was supposed to be. Moreover, I personally felt that the vegetables and chicken meat were left exposed to the atmosphere for too long and had lost their moisture and sweetness. The sugar content within the accompanied sauce was also too overwhelming for most of us. There would still much room for improvement for this healthy meal and hopefully it could be as good as the ones I had at Metro Café.

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The following were some of the selected dim sum from the restaurant. Both the Steamed Fresh Prawn Dumpling – Har Kau (鲜明虾饺 – RM5.50) and Pork Dumpling with Fish Roes – Siew Mai (鱼子烧卖皇 – RM5.50) had the standard presentation. The prawns within the dumpling were indeed fresh and steamed just right to melt in the mouth.

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As for the pork dumpling, I found too much of fat been added in thus it has the slightly rough bite. Overall, it was still a fine dish.

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The Minced Squid with Crab Claw Meat (百花酿蚧蚶 – RM6.90) which was next was very well presented. The squids were well minced until one would think that it was fish ball instead. It was soft and juicy combined with the freshness of the crab claws. The accompanied gravy was mild enough for us to taste out the true beauty of the fresh seafood.

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The hot and fluffy Signature Steamed Custard Creamy Bun (美味流砂奶黄包 – RM5.50) was next. The texture for the steamed bun could be improved further as it was not as finely textured as it should. Although the custard within suited my taste bud well, the skin somehow was a bit too thick for my preference. Moreover, there were signs of some crystallized parts that made each bite not so smooth flowing.

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The next dim sum which was the Deep Fried Yam Paste with Minced Pork (蜂巢炸芋角 – RM4.50) has always been my favorite in any dim sum restaurant. The crispy outer layer with the smoothly blended yam paste filled with juicy sweetened pork slices (char siew) was good. It could have been even better if some toasted sesame seeds and chopped coriander were to be added to pep up the taste.

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After all the savory dim sum presented, we were served with Deep Fried Pandan Lotus Paste Dumpling (翡翠煎堆仔 – RM4.50). Somehow, I felt that the glutinous rice used was rather thick. Even the screwpine leaves (pandan) flavored lotus paste tasted too artificial. They should have used those freshly squeezed flavoring instead.

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I was looking forward to trying out their Szechuan Aromatic Duck (四川香酥鸭 – RM18.90) as I had from many other restaurants but somehow the restaurant got everything wrong. The crepe like egg wrapper was too dry. It even got torn even before I could wrap anything in it. Even the duck meat slices were tough and coated with some sort of batter. I wondered if this was the right way to serve this dish as what I had before as in Claypot Restaurant was the shredded duck meat version where each mouthful does not require much chewing into the tough meat. Maybe the restaurant would need to look into ways to tenderize the duck meat if they were to present it in this way.

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We were then served with Jingdo Pork Ribs (京都排骨 – RM14.90). I’m normally not a fan of pork ribs, except the ones I had at Chin Bee Tea Cafe, as most of the time I had bad experiences with tough bites. Surprisingly, the ones served here was not as bad as I thought except that a bit too much of black pepper had been added that made the dish a bit too spicy for many. It would be better if this dish were to be taken with steamed rice.

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Although the Deep Fried Five Spices Calamari (五香盐炸墨门 – RM13.90) looked like any fritters, it has the unique taste of some five spice powder and salt that made it appetizing and the calamari was tender and juicy. However, it was just another version of tempura coated calamari.

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We also did try out their Deep Fried Homemade Bean Curd (香炸黄金豆腐 – RM12.90). Although the bean curd was smooth, it lacked the taste of soy bean in it. Moreover, it was also rather bland in taste. To me, it was nothing special except some batter coated bean curd slices. If only they could consider adding some spring onions, finely slices wood ear fungus and so on that would add a little more texture in the dish and make the bean curd taste better.

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The All in 1 Roasted Meat with Vegetables (盆菜 – RM19.90) served here is actually an economical version of “Poon Choy”. The authentic version from other restaurants could cost anything between RM300 – RM600. The restaurants used the basic ingredients here with some stewed cabbage as base, topped with some roasted pork, chicken, duck, broccoli, mushrooms, deep fried prawns and few slices of abalone. The dish would be quite a bargain as it would come with some pickles, stir fry greens and a bowl of rice. However, when you have 4 pots served, you might get different taste as what we had experienced. There were a bit of inconsistency detected here during our review as each has their own unique taste. We had stronger oyster sauce flavored, cabbage flavored, meaty flavored and another one with the right combination of the other three. That’s the suspense you might get when ordering this dish.

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The Fried Seafood Emperor Noodle (香炒海鲜王帝面 – RM12.90) served was not as impressive as the name. Somehow, everything was rather mild in taste. The noodles were rather dry and it lacked the wok hei (high heat cooking). There were not even any obvious hints of sesame oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce or even pepper in the dish. Moreover, some gravy on top of the suggested sauces on such noodles would be nice for the overall taste and presentation.

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Lastly, the dessert of the day was Water Chestnut and Sago in Coconut Milk (热马蹄西米椰酱汤 – RM3.50). The dessert did not get many of us interested as the color and aroma from it did not get many of our attention. The water chestnut practically has been boiled for hours and lacked the sweetness in taste. The sago was a bit too soft and the combination of coconut milk served with these two ingredients just did not match well. Moreover, the coconut milk has the strong “packet” taste in it. I guessed the restaurant would have to seek other alternatives to this dessert.

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Overall, the restaurant has a milder way to cook up food for its patrons. It might be good for those with a healthy diet in mind but it might not be such ideal for the Penangites who have stronger taste buds. It would be great if the restaurant would revamp their existing menu to suit both parties.

If you are familiar with the roads in Penang, it would be easy to find the restaurant as it is located within the premises of Gurney Plaza, facing the beach front of Gurney Drive. Once you have parked your car in the complex car park, just move up to level 4 and you can see the restaurant at the far end of the complex.

KOFULOFTMAP

Name: KO-FU-LOFT
Branch Address: 170-04-59, Level 4, Plaza Gurney, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-229 5011
Business Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm (weekdays), 9.00am-10.00pm (weekends)
GPS: 5.438375, 100.308784

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

Invited Reviewers:
Allie
Buzzing Bee
Cariso
Criz
Food4tots
Nutty Eve
Food Paradise
Food Promotions
Gourmet Garden
Now Eating
Penang Tua Pui
Steven Goh
What2SeeOnline
Yummy Station
Yum Yum Bites
Chef Khoon from KDU

AUTHENTIC HOKKIEN DISHES IN PENANG?

Posted by crizlai On June - 20 - 2009

Before I elaborate more on the following dishes I had for lunch few days back, let’s have a look at the dishes and you tell me what would be the first thing that would come into your mind? Here was the meal which consisted of a meat dish, a seafood dish, a vegetable dish and a soup served with two bowls of rice. These dishes would be the ideal balance meal right? To any typical Chinese staying in Malaysia, you would also realize that during certain period of the year you would get dishes like this quite abundantly in most households, especially after some “praying”.

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To be frank, I was not so impressed at all with the dishes served and they were not even cooked by anyone in my household but from a new restaurant right in the heart of Georgetown. Those dishes were exactly like those served in tour trips to China where most of the dishes contained fatty meat and floated in pool of oil. This was the Chef’s Special Set Meal (RM10 per pax – minimum order two pax) that was recommended for my lunch. For those who know how to read in Chinese, please tell me what do you understand with “粗糧細做套餐” compared to the English name? It literally meant rough dishes made fine set meal. The English name was rather deceiving.

Although the set meal was served quite promptly, the dishes got both our eyes staring at each other for minutes with mouth widely opened. “Huh? Everything’s so plain? Not even any added ingredients?” was our silent exclamation! There was just a piece of fried fish fillet to be shared between the two of us. No doubt it was fresh, thick and non-fishy taste but it was served just like that minus any presentation.

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The next was just a few pieces of chopped roasted pork and two pieces of chicken meat served with chili sauce. This dish was barely enough for our consumptions.

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Fried baby cabbage with some irregular sized prawns was also in the set menu. It had nothing more than some oyster sauce and sliced chilies. The amount of oil used was unhealthy and it did look as though the oil had been used for frying something yellow.

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The soup which was Chop Suey (Kiam Cai Boey) was a complete laugh. It was just some leftover meat boiled with some mustard plants and salt. There were no signs of dried chilies, tamarind and lemon grass to pep up the fragrance and taste of this reputable dish. It was a disastrous bowl of soup. I could barely find pieces of meat in there as all of them had been cooked until floss like. Moreover, I was also trying to avoid the thick layer of oil floating on the soup. Something ought to be done by the kitchen to improve on this dish.

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Since the staff also claimed to have one of the best vegetarian dishes around, I tried out two of their vegetarian “pork rolls” which were so small and cost me RM2 each. Each roll had some yam paste and some vague bites of jicama and carrot. The fillings were not so generous after all. Moreover, the serving was cold.

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As for dessert, there were none. We only had a glass of herbal tea (RM1.50) and a glass of passion fruit cordial drink (RM2.50) to wash down our food.

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Overall, I found the restaurant barely has any dishes in the menu, except for different types of tea, hot and cold beverages, fizzy soda, beers, some over priced hawker food (RM7.50 –RM12) and some normal rice sets and vegetarian dishes. I did order a bowl of the pork ribs prawn noodles which was not served (although I did tick in their order chit) but I overheard from the next table that it was just average. Let’s hope this would be just their temporary menu until they have their official launch sometime next week. I sincerely hope that they would seriously look into their food section as it would be a huge disaster on top of the large amount of money spent on the refurbishment of such a beautiful building.

Can you guess the name of the restaurant? It’s the subsidiary company of the joss stick manufacturer, Bee Chin Heong – Old House Cafe.

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If you are driving from Jalan Penang into Jalan Dr. Lim Chwee Leong, turn left into Jalan Sungai Ujong upon seeing Komtar Walk on your right. The restaurant is located at the junction of Lebuh Kimberley and Jalan Sungai Ujong. Parking can be quite a headache here during peak hours as Lebuh Kimberley and the surrounding Lebuh Cintra areas are popular with their hawker food.

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Name: OLD HOUSE CAFE
Branch Address: 145-153 Lebuh Kimberley, 10100 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-262 2113
Business Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.416478, 100.332298

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

Most people will have the preset thinking that dining in a Japanese restaurant could be real expensive, especially when the restaurant is within a hotel. I was one of them too until I stepped foot in Miraku Japanese Restaurant located within the premises of G Hotel which was located along the promenade of our Gurney Drive beach front in Penang. Miraku is actually part of the Texchem Group with another sister company by the name of Sushi King. The restaurant is totally a different entity to management of the hotel.

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Thanks to the company of the 3 angels (Eunice, Siew Ying & Iris), their “Charlie” aka Jimmy and my god brother on different visits that I was able to come out with a more detailed coverage on the restaurant. To set the mood and get pampered to the max, a warm towel would be given to each diner to freshen up prior to indulging in the wonderful spread of the Japanese cuisine.

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Instead of the normal peanuts or crackers as provided by most Chinese restaurants, a small plate of stewed soy beans would be given to each diner while waiting for their meals to be served. Why soy beans? It’s because soy beans remained the vital source of protein to the Japanese for generations. The soy beans were stewed in a slightly sweet salty soy sauce and had nice bites.

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Biting into the soy beans reminded us of how much fun Crayon Shin-chan (蠟筆小新) had while playing with the fermented version of the soy beans. We did try out the so called Natto (納豆 – RM12) and Eunice had a fun time mixing them into the rice to create as many spider web strings as she could. It sounded like the making of the next comic character? Hmm… maybe so – the Malaysian version. LOL! The Natto had a very ammoniacal smell and had that cheesy but bean-like taste and might not be so acceptable by most locals but they do taste a bit like vegemite with its acquired taste.

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The actual meal started with the Miraku Salad (RM18 – small) which would normally be served with all the set and bento meals. The freshness of the greens such as romaine lettuce, cucumber and tomato slices, combined with freshly sliced salmon, octopus and crab meat and served with tomato dressing was simply remarkable. The secret was in the sauce which had a simple combination of blended tomatoes and mayonnaise. I could not stop myself from salvaging the whole bowl of salad until the last drop.

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Next was the Sashimi Moriawase (Take) which was a medium sized assorted sashimi for 3 persons (RM130 per set). What you get on each visit might not be the same as the restaurant would provide only the freshest they have at that time. There would normally be an assortment of at least 6 types depending on availability. What we had consisted of salmon, tuna, amber jack, white fish, octopus and crayfish.

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Cold noodles or Zaru Udon has always remained one of my must order dishes in any Japanese restaurants on top of the usual hot Kake Udon in soup. At Miraku, there was no exception. I tried out their Sanuki Udon (RM35 per set) which was supposed to be the most recommended and sought after udon made with flour from Kagawa. The plain udon came with the usual cold soup, radish, spring onions and wasabi. There was not much to brag about as the taste was almost just like any other cold noodles I had tasted before. In fact, I was expecting more springy bites. Maybe I should have ordered the buckwheat noodles instead for my next visit.

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Trying out the restaurant’s sushi spread is also a must during any visits and we did try out the Mamakari Sushi (RM6/pc). Most people would mistakenly call this fish as silver fish due to it’s shininess on the body. The name has been reserved for an insect instead. This fish is actually sardines, marinated deeply in vinegar before being used in sushi making. You won’t get the texture to be as soft as in those canned tomato based sardines. The texture for this fish would be firmer with a hint of fishy and strong vinegar after taste. It would go well with wasabi and soy sauce.

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The next sushi presentation which was the Dragon Roll (RM28) caught most of our attention as it was very attractive and it really looked like a dragon. The dish a deep fried prawn, wrapped with layers of sushi rice, avocado paste and garnished with some mayonnaise and prawn roes. It was colorful and tasty as well.

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Instead of having the usual Unagi Kabayaki which has been sweet soy sauce grilled, we tried out the freshly grilled Unagi Shirayaki (RM38). No doubt I could taste out the distinguished freshness of the grilled eel, I still prefer the sweet soy sauce grilled version.

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The Japanese loved Nabemono (hot clay pot) so were we when we were served the Miraku Kami Nabe (Petite Paper Hot Pot – RM36). Kami Nabe are pots made of strong washi (Japanese Paper) with an extremely dense texture. It’s normally durable to water and heat and is used mostly for stewing purposes. We had ours stewed in rich broth with lovely vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, chicken, salmon and clams. As the heat got more intense, the broth which has a thicker miso soup based taste got more flavorful with the sweetness of the salmon and chicken submerging distinctively. It was a perfect dish for a colder weather. I wonder if they would produce Hoshoyaki during my next visit since they are into using washi in their cooking method. I’m sure their paper-wrapped roasted fish would taste great as well.

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As most of us were not so keen in having fugu (pufferfish or blowfish) which was also available at Miraku, we had something even more exotic – Gyutan Touban Yaki (RM28). These were thinly sliced ham-like beef tongues, well marinated in their special sauce with a squeeze of lemon juice and grilled to our own preference on a provided hot pot. Well, it was not bad as the dish was tasty enough for us to savor more of the rubbery-like pieces.

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If you feel that ordering the ala carte dishes would be too heavy for you, you could always try out the bento and set meals. One of the most ordered ones would be the Miraku Lunch Box (RM36). The bento set would surely fill you up well with bits of everything you would get from the menu such as pickled radish, salad, mixed vegetables (sato imo – Japanese yam, konnyaku – yam jelly cake, carrot, mushroom and snow peas in special soy sauce), sashimi (tuna & amber jack), grilled fish (gindara – grilled cod fish), tempura moriawase (assorted seafood and vegetables tempura), rice, chawan mushi (steamed egg with chicken, mushroom, ginkgo nut and kamaboko fish cake), miso soup and dessert of the day (red bean jelly and ice cream). This was indeed a great bargain meal and I find the combination well balanced.

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Another set meal you might be interested in might sound like a simple meal but it was a real filling one. The Katsu Ju Set (RM24) had the same standard side dishes such as pickled radish, salad, chawan mushi, miso soup and dessert of the day (black sesame jelly and ice cream). This set came in a bento box filled to the brim with layers of steamed Japanese rice, panko (Japanese bread crumbed) chicken and finally topped with some scrambled eggs cooked with onions gravy and garnished with nori (seaweed) strips. The whole dish combination was simple but yet perfecto as in taste. Each mouthful was filled with the awesome creaminess and cheesiness of the egg and crispy chicken slices together with the perfect grains of the Japanese steamed rice. I could take this for every meal too.

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For those beef lovers, you could go for the Yakiniku Zen (RM28) which would also come with the standard side dishes as above. The dish was basically simple with thinly sliced Australian beef (similar to the shabu-shabu thickness) fried with some sliced onions, scallion (spring onion) and bean sprouts in yakiniku sauce. It was a waste that by the time I had finished with my shots, the bean sprouts had gone translucent. If not, I could have imagine the crunchiness of the slightly cook sprouts with the juicy beef slices churning amazingly in my mouth. The gravy was tasty with a hint of some fruity sweetness and quality soy sauce. This was served with hot steaming Japanese rice.

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As for dessert, the Tempura Ice Cream (RM12) caught me yearning for more. The preparation for the dessert was totally different compared to the one I had at Haven Delights at Penang Times Square. It was truly yummilicious! A large scoop of Vanilla flavored ice cream was rolled into crushed digestive biscuits (just like those cheese cake base) and coated with tempura flour and deep fried to a golden ball like. This would then cut into four quarters and topped with sweetened azuki bean paste (red bean paste). The creaminess of the ice cream, the crunchiness of the biscuits, the crispiness of the tempura and the just nice sweetness of the azuki bean paste made this dessert something to crave for during my next visit.

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For those who would want to entertain your guests in large groups or in privacy, there are many dining areas and rooms available in this restaurant. In fact they have two large rooms with tall tables and six smaller ones with lower Japanese style dining experience on first come first serve basis.

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I’m sure no one would want to dine in this small room. From the layout itself, it could well be solely for smokers who needed a quick puff. The restaurant even has such a facility. Think of the extent of how a Japanese restaurant would sacrifice such a place just for its customers. That’s what I would call great service.

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When you have the guests, the quiet and cozy ambience and the food, something else is missing here. Where’s the alcohol? Miraku has them all from beer, wine, whisky, cocktail to sake (日本酒) and shouchu (燒酎). You do not have to worry about not finishing them as the restaurant has the facility to temporary “house” the leftovers up to 3 months. Here’s some of the alcohol you might expect to get here.

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We had the privilege to try out one of the limited edition of sake in Miraku – the Manzai Raku Hakusan (萬歳楽・白山 – RM475 per 720ml bottle), a specially brewed sake from the flowing water of the Hakusan Mountain in Japan. The sake was smooth flowing and was rather mild for everyone. Although the sake was 20% in alcohol content, no one was drunk and dancing on the table ok? LOL!

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There are still many other ala carte and set meals available for everyone’s budget from the restaurant. Presently, in conjunction with their 3rd Anniversary celebration, they have Eat-All-You-Can Sushi at RM50++ per pax on Tuesday and Sunday until end of June 2009. On top of that, you can try out their set lunch meals (lunch only) and assorted sushi-sashimi (dinner only) at 30% off the normal price. These two promotions will also be valid until this month end.

If you are familiar with the roads in Penang, it would be easy to find the restaurant as it is located within the premises of G Hotel, right between the Regency and Gurney Plaza, and facing the beach front of Gurney Drive. Moving into the long lobby of G Hotel, you might have problem locating the restaurant as it’s hidden on the first floor to the building. There are a few stairways and ample signages to lead you there but the simplest would be by using the guests’ elevator to first floor. Parking in G Hotel can be quite expensive for many. I would suggest that you drive further up and park your car at the basement car park of Gurney Plaza or find some along the beach front of Gurney Drive.

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MIRAKUMAP

Name: MIRAKU JAPANESE RESTAURANT
Branch Address: 1st Floor, G Hotel, 168A Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-229 8702
Business Hours: 12.00-2.30pm, 6.00pm-10.30pm
GPS: 5.438233, 100.310631

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

THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF AROI THAI RESTAURANT

Posted by crizlai On June - 2 - 2009

Note: The restaurant has shifted to a bigger and more comfortable corner shoplot a few shops away.

For the past two weeks or so, we had quite many restaurants/cafes opening in Penang starting with OldTown White Coffee at Penang Times Square in mid May to Palm Village Café on Sunday. The latest would be Aroi Thai Restaurant yesterday in Pulau Tikus, Penang. The restaurant had a simple layout without much fuss over having too many authentic Thai displays within the premises. It’s simple and yet comfortable for your dining experience with their cooks all the way from Thailand.

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Basically, the food choices here were not as spicy and hot as the ones you would get from Thailand. Since it was just their first day of operation, I would think that they were still adjusting their ingredients usage to cater to the general taste buds of the locals. Let me share with you my experiences in this restaurant so that you could judge them with your own verdict.

As usual, I would start with the most basic dish in any restaurants just to know them better. The first dish that came was the Thod Man Pla (Thai Fish Cake – RM3.50 each). These were quite nice combined with the Thai chili sauce and plum sauce that were served except that I felt they should have added in some chopped long beans for that extra bite.

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The next dish was the Gai Hor Bai Tuey (Spicy Chicken Wrapped in Screwpine Leaves). The chicken meat maintained the moisture within and was almost perfect with the fragrance coming out from the screwpine leaves (pandan). The spices used were just nice but why the almost perfect judgment? Well, it was delicious but it lacked something that would boost up the fragrance – bird’s eye chili (cili padi). A piece of that tiny and yet fury chili per wrap would surely make the dish taste better.

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The Geang Keaw Wan Gai (Green Curry Chicken – RM10.90) would always be my favorite in any Thai restaurant and the dish here indeed tasted great. Although I did ask for a milder version without too much of hotness and lesser Thai basil, the dish came out as my favorite. It was obvious that the ingredients used were freshly blended and the chicken slices added were real tender. Moreover, the chef did a good job in getting the long beans and makhuea pra (Thai aubergine) simmered to the right texture. They were soft enough compared to those harder ones I normally get from other Thai restaurants. This is surely a great dish to be taken with steaming hot rice.

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The Goong Si-Da (Steamed Prawns with Spicy Salad – RM17.90) had so many freshly steamed prawns that I could barely remember how many I took. LOL! Actually, the dish had 11 medium sized prawns (I wondered why they did not make it to a dozen. :P). Each prawn had a mixture of some chopped fresh garlic and chilies, accompanied with some fresh greens slices such as carrots and cabbages, glazed above a bed of fresh lettuce. The sauce itself had some hint of fish sauce and lime juice. Although the prawns were fresh and the whole dish were pungent (due to the hidden hotness from chopped garlic and chilies), the sauce was rather sour. Maybe a pinch of brown Castrol sugar with some added sliced kaffir lime leaves would give the dish a better boost. To me, the salad did not look or taste much like anything from Thai at all. Moreover, I think the cook forgot to garnish some mint leaves on the salad as in their menu. That would have brought out some extra flavor for the dish.

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Instead of ordering the normal Thai fried rice, I did try out their Phad Thai Kia Hor Goong (Fried Thai Rice Noodles with Prawns – RM9.90). The noodles were fried with some bean spouts, bean curd cubes, onions and prawns. It came with some side dishes such as fresh bean sprouts, Chinese chives (ku chai), crushed peanuts, chili powder and a slice of lime with a beaten egg served above the noodles. Somehow I found the dish lacked the wok hei (high heat cooking) and the cook made a mistake of adding too much sugar in the noodles. Normally, I would get some sugar served beside the noodles in most restaurants. I hope the restaurant would look into this minor hiccup for those who do not like to have over sweet stuff.

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A Thai meal would not be complete without trying out their Tub Tim Krob (Jellied Water Chestnut with Coconut Milk – RM4.50) as dessert. To my disappointment, it came with almond jelly cubes instead of the normal jackfruit slices I had expected. The water chestnuts were harshly cut and the coconut milk was rather diluted. The whole combination of ingredients was rather inappropriate as I felt that it was rather bland without the unique fragrance from the supposed-to-be-given jackfruits.

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Other than the ala carte dishes, you can even try out their set lunch meals from as low as RM9.90 which would come with fresh fruit and free drinks. Click to enlarge the menu below.

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If you are coming from Jalan Burma into Pulau Tikus district, you would see a police station on your right. Drive on until you have reached the Jalan Cantonment/Jalan Burma traffic light. After the traffic light, you would see a row of shop houses on your left. The restaurant is just along this row of shop houses, between Soon Huat fruit and praying material shop and a nasi kandar shop. Parking can be quite limited during office hours and weekends. You can either try finding some behind the restaurant or opposite along Belissa Row. If not you can try finding some parking opposite the restaurant at Lintang Burma (between Bee Chin Hiang and Kassim Mustafa). The worst alternative would be within the Bandar Baru Supermarket car park along Jalan Cantonment and walk back to the restaurant.

AROIMAP

Name: AROI THAI RESTAURANT
Branch Address: 387, Jalan Burma, 10350 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604- 227 6771
Business Hours: 11.00am-3.00pm, 6.00pm – 10.00pm
GPS: 5.431860, 100.311928

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

 

Note: Palm Village Cafe has relocated to Ivory Plaza, Jalan Bukit Gambier, Penang, under another name – AB Cafe. This relocated restaurant has also ceased its operation in 2010.

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A few of us were invited to the official opening of one of Penang’s newest restaurants named Palm Village Cafe located in the upcoming Lembah Permai business area of Tanjung Bungah this morning. The whole concept behind the restaurant would be that of a homely cooked food with a casual dining experience surrounded with paintings of the various lifestyles through time.

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Who do you think would qualify to show beautiful paintings to get the right feel of those nostalgic moments? It’s none other than that of our own local artist, Choh Kiat Siong? Mr. Choh, voted as the top 15 most outstanding youth in Kedah, is a seasoned watercolor artist who had spent all his life time painting the past and present of our local scenes. He had received many awards and recognition locally and was much loved in the republic of China for his uniqueness to bring out the lifestyles of the Malaysians in paintings. I would think the restaurant had the greatest privilege to get his signature signed live on the scene.

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Are you curious to find out the type of food you would get from this restaurant? It is basically a place to hang out for families, friends, workers and students from the surrounding area. They have food ranging from simple and light breakfast meals such as toasts and soup, ala carte poultry, seafood and vegetable dishes to go with rice for groups, rice and noodles, finger food, ice cream and cakes to pamper your craving for some delicious homemade tea time snacks. On top of these wonderful meals at an economical price for everyone, there are also some combo meals available. There are also family combo meals from as low as RM10. The best part would be by adding an extra RM2.80, you could get an additional drink and a dessert per each combo meal ordered.

Some of the unique and recommended food here would be their Palm Village Curry Chicken, Fried Fermented Bean Curd Chicken, Asam Pedas Rice/Noodles, Curry Chicken Wan Than Mee, Chinese Cruller Salad, Tiramisu Cake and many more. I would try them out another day in full review and elaborate more on the food details as well as to provide photographs at a later date.

If you know where the Penang TAR College is, if would be easier to find the restaurant. If not, try finding your way from Jalan Burma and drive all the way up using Jalan Mount Erskine until you see a Hindu temple on your left. It’s almost near to the Jalan Fettes traffic light. Drive straight on and you would see a Y junction. The right lane would lead you to Pepper Estate. Keep to your left and use the winding road up towards Vale of Tempe. Towards the end of the winding road, you would see houses on both sides of the road. Drive on until you see the first junction on your left (Lebuh Lembah Permai 1). Turn left and drive all the way up until your see some shop houses on your right. Turn right into the service road (Lebuh Lembah Permai 4) and drive to the other side of the shop houses and you would see the restaurant located prominently on your right. Blue Reef Restaurant and Annabelle’s Place are just a few shop houses away from the restaurant.

PALMVILLAGECAFEMAP

Name: PALM VILLAGE CAFE
Branch Address: 28, Lebuh Lembah Permai 4, 11200 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-890 0320
Opening Hours: 11.00am-10.00pm
GPS: 5.454192, 100.290298

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