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WESTERN CUISINE AT EL CASA WINE & DINE RESTAURANT

Posted by crizlai On June - 30 - 2011

Many outsiders might not notice that within the suburbs of the Georgetown is a little cozy restaurant by the name of El Casa Wine & Dine Restaurant, which serves freshly home cooked pork-free dishes without the usage of monosodium glutamate (MSG). The name itself is self explanatory as this is a place to dine with wine or simply to chill out with partner or friends over a few glasses of wine. A corner lot along the colonial days’ row of residential houses, this restaurant promised a dimly blue lighted ambience with some impressive mini chandelier-like ceiling lamps and a romantic outdoor dining area for those who love dining under the glittering of the stars during dinner time (but do mind those pesky night blood suckers, ok?).

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As for starter, there would always be the Daily Chef’s Homemade Special Western Cream Soup (RM6.90) or Homemade Puree of Forest Mushroom Soup (RM6.90), respectively served with a slice of garlic bread. The daily chef’s homemade soup can vary from tomato, cauliflower, watercress and carrot soups. The Soup of the Day happened to be Tomato Soup which had fresh tomatoes, celeries, onions and so on, all blended and cooked into a smooth paste, with a drizzle of black pepper. Not too bad for the taste but I would prefer to have some cream added on to give it an extra boost of creaminess and that impressive flowery presentation as you would have on your latte. The Homemade Puree of Forest Mushroom Soup on the other hand had the creaminess from some sautéed potatoes blended in with wild mushrooms with a touch of thymes, mixed herbs and olive oil. It was a great chance from those powdered one which you could easily get from those street western food stalls. There was also the El Casa Salad (RM11.90) which in my opinion was rather a small portion to justify against the price. It came with just a few leaves of red leaf lettuce, green apple slices and topped with their homemade honey mustard dressing and some bread crumbs. Although the taste was acceptable, it lacked those crunchy bites from the croutons which they were to have as in their menu description. Moreover, they omitted the sundried tomatoes, which were not suitable for our consumption on that night without any replacements. They could have used some fresh tomatoes or even substitute with raisins or finely sliced carrots to boost up the bulk and colors. What happened to the creativity of the chef?

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Their first signature dish that filled the room with cheesy aroma was their Homemade Chicken Au Gratin (RM17.90). It had layers of creamy cheese made out of a combination of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, topped on some mushroom slices plus chicken drumstick cuts and baked to golden perfection. It comes together with some sautéed garden vegetables, fries and a bowl of spicy tapioca chips. It’s rich in flavors and would surely fit any ages of diners.

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The next dish was their signature Pan Roasted Fillet of Norwegian Salmon (RM27.90) which came with a mixed herb lemon butter sauce and served with mixed herb mashed potato and sautéed garden vegetables plus a bowl of freshly cooked buttered corn kernels. The fillet was well marinated exteriorly but with a bit too much of salt applied. Luckily, the interior part still maintained that moist to justify the whole combination. It blended in quite well with the butter lemon sauce which had a strong citrus sourness. I personally felt that a more buttery and salty brand of butter (such as Butter Cup) with just a light twist of lemon juice would taste better. At least they can just pan roast the salmon without much marinates to maintain its original taste. Their mashed potatoes side dish was lovely.

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For steak lovers, the next dish which was the Sirloin Steak (180 gm – RM28.90) served with some sautéed garden vegetables, potato wedges, and a bowl of freshly cooked buttered corn kernel, topped with black pepper sauce would be the ideal choice for your visit. The medium-rare slab of well marinated grilled beef with some sprinkles of black peppers was just right in taste even without the accompanied black pepper sauce. The only hiccup was the fatty parts which was a bit too tough to my liking. Overall, it was a great dish.

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In between those meaty dishes, we had the Spaghetti Seafood Carbonara (RM18.90), which had pieces of tilapia fillet, squids and prawns cooked in their special creamy white sauce and garnished some grated parmesan cheese and served with a baguette toast. Taste wise, it was not bad but I would prefer my sauce to be a bit creamier or thicker, not drowned in so much sauce and with more sprinkles of mixed herbs. The spaghetti had the required al dente for each bite.

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Next was the Charcoal Grilled Hawaii Chicken (RM13.90) which was served with their homemade tropical barbeque sauce, accompanied by some fries, sautéed garden vegetable, slightly grilled sweetened pineapple and a bowl of freshly cooked buttered corn kernels. This was just a normal tasting grilled chicken with the basic marinates. It lacked some hammer pounding to tenderize the meat through the grilling process, thus certain parts with veins could be rather hard to consume. The tropical barbeque sauce was quite unique with some citrus sweetness.

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The last of the main courses was the Pan Roasted Seabass Fillet with Arrabbiata Sauce (RM19.90), served with some sautéed garden vegetables, potato wedges, and a bowl of freshly cooked buttered corn kernel, topped with Arrabbiata sauce. The sauce was somewhat spicy with some traces of tomatoes, garlic, chilies, herbs and olive oil. The texture and moist within the fillet was just nice to savor the fresh flavors from the fish. It was a unique concoction but somehow it killed the original taste of the fish with an overpowering sauce. A simple sauce of just chopped garlic and butter with a fresh twist of lemon juice would suit the dish more.

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Finally, it was time for some delicious Home Desserts (RM5.90). We had Lemon Mousse with Chocolate Topping for the night. Although this was a nice and light palate-cleansing dessert to end a meal after such heavy main courses, it somehow did not go well with the chocolate topping. It tasted rather weird for many. It would be better if the chef just keep the dessert simple with just a spray of whipped cream with some sprinkles of lemon zest. Alternatively, truffles, mixed fruit yoghurt or just a simple scoop of ice cream with some fresh fruit cubes would end a meal better.

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The best part of dining here other than sipping in wine and other beverages would be having some hot brewing flower teas in their fine China wares. They have a few options here such as the Organic Green (RM6.90) which would help in lowering the cholesterol and blood pressure, strengthening the immune system and fighting against aging, Pink Rose (RM6.90) which would help to regulate blood circulation, purifying, cleansing and detoxifying and to have a glowing and youthful appearances on the skin, Jasmine (RM5.90) which would help to cool the body, refresh mind, help catharsis, and to regulate aging and constipation, Red Tea (RM5.90 – sometimes also known as the Long Life Tea) which is an anti-oxidant-rich, caffeine free tea suitable for people with busy lifestyles and Chrysanthemum (RM5.90) which would help against cough, expectorant, anti-oxidation, enhance immunity, inhibition of blood cholesterol and high blood pressure.

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El Casa Wine & Dine Restaurant would not be visible by the main road. If you are from town towards Pulau Tikus along Jalan Burma, keep to your right after passing the Giant Supermarket (Penang Plaza) at the junction of Jalan Burma/Jalan Larut. Keep driving until you have passed Him Heang, a church, Jemputee (junction of Jalan Burma/Jalan Chow Thye), a vegetarian food court and Malaysian Chin Woo Association on your right. Turn right into Jalan Servis (between Chin Woo Association and Malaysian Buddhists’ Association) and drive all the way in until your see a right junction (Jalan Irrawadi). The restaurant is at the corner lot of Jalan Servis/Jalan Irrawadi. It would be easier to find parking spaces here during dinner time after the working hours of the surrounding offices.

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Name: EL CASA WINE & DINE RESTAURANT
Address: No. 2, Jalan Irrawaddi, 10500 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 04-229 9223, 012-979 3318 (James), 017-572 9988 (Colin)
Business Hours: 11.00am-3.00pm, 6.00pm-10.00pm
GPS: 5.426246, 100.320678

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)

MUD CRABS FEASTING AT PANG HAINAN SEAFOOD

Posted by crizlai On June - 28 - 2011

Mud crabs which are found in the estuaries and mangroves of Africa, Australia and Asia, are often sought after as a seafood delicacy, mostly in the South Asian countries. They can grow up to a few kilograms with lots of meat to savor. With a large crab sanctuary through its mangrove reserves especially in the east Malaysia, Pang (Hainan) Restaurant had decided to import such mud crab for the huge appetite of the Penangites on top of other seafood such as the grouper, mantis prawns, lobsters and so on. Presently, the mud crabs available in this restaurant are priced at RM58/kilo with a minimum order of two crabs (approximately 1.2 kilograms) with a choice of 6 flavors such as Baked Crab, Sweet & Sour Crab, Black Pepper Crab, Steamed Crab, Chili Crab and their latest addition of Kam Heong Crab.

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We took the opportunity to try out 3 of the 6 options. The first was the Black Pepper Crab. The crabs were stir fried with a generous amount of black pepper, onions, capsicum and curry leaves. Although the crabs were fresh, the taste was somehow overpowered by the over usage of sliced onions and capsicum which subdued the spiciness from the black pepper. Thus, it lacked the required fragrance to pep up the overall taste of the crabs. Sometimes, I do think that simplicity such as the usage of just some plain butter, curry leaves and black pepper would do more justice to a more flavorful bite.

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The Sweet & Sour Crab on the other hand was more flavorful compared to the former except that it had that strong and sweet chili sauce after taste. The restaurant again tried to create their own recipe by implementing lots of sliced onions with some traces of bird eye chilies (cili padi), stir fried with some beaten eggs. It was basically quite dry without much gravy. Moreover, the gravy lacked a slight sprinkle of vinegar for those wonderful sweet and sour flavors to boost up the appetite.

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The next version was the Kam Heong Crab. The name itself spelled out that the dish should be spicy and fragrant. Although the traces of sliced onions had reduced substantially, the usage of curry leaves and traceable dried shrimps somehow did not provide that flavorful “kick”. One reason could be that the dried shrimps they were using were rather big and thus did not omit that fragrance as required. The next reason was that the dish was not sautéed dry enough to get the flavorful “wok hei” (high heat cooking).

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You can also order some Mantou (80sen each) to dip in the gravy. They would normally come deep fried to have that crisp on the surface with a soft bun-like texture within.

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Other than just crabs, there are other side seafood dishes that you can order here. One of the dishes would be the Assam Prawns (RM11/100gms – 5 prawns ~ 200gms). I wonder if that was the intention of the restaurant to serve the prawns as a whole without slitting the back for the flavors to seep right into the flesh. Somehow, the usage of tamarind plus some sugar and salt did not marinate the prawns at all. The flesh was rather bland in taste. Moreover, the prawns were not fried as dry and tasty as the Nyonya Assam Prawns.

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You can also order some Deep Fried Squids (RM11/RM17/RM25). This was a lovely dish, considering that every single cut were evenly covered with batter and maintained that crispiness. The only thing I would prefer would be the slight touch of spiciness from either turmeric powder or chili flakes to pep up the flavor.

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It does not mean that you would need to have just seafood as your meal as there are also rice, noodles and porridge dishes for you to order. We tried out the Fried Rice (RM9/RM14/RM19). Well, it was just normal without the “wok hei” I preferred but with lots of small prawns and chicken cubes in it.

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Overall, the seafood dishes served here are no doubt fresh but the firmness of the crab meat would depend on the season. As for taste wise, the restaurant has their own recipe with a touch of fusion which might not be the traditional way of preparation as per your preferences. Anyway, the whole meal was still a hearty one for the few of us, considering that everything served was super fresh.

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Drive all the way up to Tanjung Bungah. Immediately after the curve at the UDA flat traffic lights, keep to your left. Drive on until you see Viva Café then Chinese Swimming Club on your right, slow down and watch out for the Pang Seafood neon signboard on your left right after the Thong Sin Building.

PANGSEAFOODMAP

Name: PANG (HAINAN) SEAFOOD
Address: 501-K&L, Jalan Tanjung Bungah, 11200 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-899 4863, 017-452 4863
Business Hours: 11.30am-2.30pm, 6.00pm-10.00pm
GPS: 5.462728, 100.303191

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

SIGI’S BAR & GRILL ON THE BEACH ARABIAN NIGHT 2011

Posted by crizlai On June - 27 - 2011

Sigi’s Bar & Grill on the Beach (SBG) held its Arabian Night Beach Party on 25 June 2011 for a second time after receiving tremendous responses in 2010. It was indeed a more successful one this year with more delicious Middle Eastern dishes and a unique setup in line with the exotic theme of Arabian nights. The entrance had an arch depicting a mosque like structure with lacey curtains. Walking through the passageway, there were tents scattered everywhere on the beach side garden with low tables and low cushioned stools, bean bags, banquet tables with beautiful ribbon tied on the chairs and an ejected stage by the sandy beach to entertain the guests. Some street vendors can be seen displaying their unique looking items as well. At RM158++ per pax, it included Arabian themed buffet, live action cooking stations, MYO (make your own) stations, free flow soft drinks, wine and beer plus loads of activities, fun and games.

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Classic Arabian music with mix of modern ones can be heard playing on the stage with acts by the band, fire jugglers, snake charmers and belly dancers, wooing the guests with their great performances. One of the main attractions would be the snake charming act. Would you be interested to kiss a king cobra live on stage? Well, I won’t but the snake charmer did. Catch some glimpses of his act here in the video below.

Classic Arabian music with mix of modern ones can be heard playing on the stage with acts by the band, fire jugglers, snake charmers and belly dancers, wooing the guests with their great performances. One of the main attractions would be the snake charming act. Would you be interested to kiss a king cobra live on stage? Well, I won’t but the snake charmer did. Catch some glimpses of his act here in the video below.

The belly dancers also did a great job in entertaining the guests. In one of the performances, you can practically see every part of the belly dancer moved energetically with hardly any pauses. Maybe I should learn some moves like hers to trim down my waistline. LOL! Anyway, let’s have a look on how she moved that body~ 🙂

Varieties of exotic and modern food were served at many scattered stations in food market styles starting with dinner rolls with Lentil Soup. It tasted like a thick an Indian dhal-like curry with strong hints of thyme and bay leaves. The next few stations consisted of salads and mezze (a selection of small dishes served in the Mediterranean and Middle East as dinner or lunch). On one table was the MYO Caesar Salad station while the other had Lavash, Panzenella Salad, Marinated Olives, Marinated Feta, Marinated Mushrooms and Sundried Tomato. I loved the Lavash (commonly known as cracker bread), a crunchy flatbread topped with some poppy seeds. This went well with the rest of the condiments, especially with the lovely marinated feta in herbs and olive oil.

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The next station consisted of Fattoush, Tabbouleh, Stuffed Vine Leaves, Falafel, Hummus, Baba Ghanoush and SBG Slovaski Pizza. The Fattoush was practically some Arabian salad with fresh greens, mixed with some lemon juice and olive oil. The Tabbouleh on the other hand looked like our local Nasi Ulam but the ingredients were very different. Instead of rice, it had bulgur, a wheat processed cereal-like food, combined with chopped parsley, tomatoes, onions, mint, etc, with lemon juice and olive oil. It had a very unique sour herby taste. The Lebanese Stuffed Vine Leaves somewhat had that overpowering sour and salty taste. The stuffing tasted almost similar to the Tabbouleh but with a stronger sourness. Next was the Falafel. To me, it tasted almost like our Indian street food, the Parippu Vada, with traces of cumin being used. This went well with the Hummus, a spread made from blending cooked chickpeas with grounded sesame paste (tahini), olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It had some cooked chickpeas and kalamata (black olives) as decoration. Another spread which went well with the pita bread was the classic, slightly pungent Middle Eastern Baba Ghanoush. This is a healthy spread with mashed roasted aubergine (eggplant) mixed in with some chopped garlic, parsley, cumin, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and garnished with some chopped tomatoes and parsley.

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At the main grill station, we had the Grilled Morrocan Prawns and Seafood Kebabs. The Seafood Kebabs was lovely as it had well marinated prawns, calamari, fish and capsicum skewed and grilled to perfection. The next station was the Pita Bread Pocket Station with Spit Roasted Lamb and Chicken Shawerma.

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There were also the Chicken Briyani Rice, Eggplant Rice to go with Moussaka and Lamb Meat Balls. The casserole dish of Moussaka, made by layering eggplant with a spiced meat filling, topped with a creamy bechamel sauce with hints of Parmesan cheese and baked to golden brown was the perfect dish to go with the rice. The Lamb Meat Balls were also marvelous as it got me going for more. Next to this was the beverage station with free flow soft drinks, wine and beer for everyone.

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The dessert section was places within the passageway near to the entrance with many delicacies such as Baklava, Muhalabia, Bassboussa, Rosewater Crème Brule, Warm Apple Crumble Vanilla Anglaise, Chocolate Brownie, Mini Fruit Tartlets, Baked Cheese, Lemon Delicious and Cream Caramel.

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This beach party was one of the uniquely planned ones by SBG and of course it was a memorable one which I would remember for some time with the great taste and party moods. Chef John Brock, the Executive Sous Chef of SBG sure did a great job in pepping up great dishes for this party.

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

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Name: SIGI’S BAR & GRILL ON THE BEACH @ GOLDEN SANDS RESORT
Address: Batu Ferringhi Beach, 11100 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-886 1852 (Direct Restaurant Line)
Business Hours:
11.00am-6.00pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm (Bar: 11.00am-11.45pm)
GPS: 5.477405, 100.251657

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

If you remembered the beautiful chill out place formerly call Sunset Bistro up at Bayu Senja, Batu Ferringhi area which was burnt down due to the so-called arson attack in late January 2011, you would surely not miss out the reincarnation of such cool bistro which now carries the name of Bora Bora By Sunset. A brainchild of Ms. Melynda Soon, the bistro was opened towards the end of May this year at a new location. It’s located just a shop lot away just before the Tarbush Lebanese Restaurant, hidden right behind some night market stalls along the famous Batu Ferringhi stretch. It has a better ambiance compared to the former with more cozy and dimly lighted corners for romantic couples. The bistro covers a long stretch of cemented pathways up to the edge of the beach, with an ejected wooden platform in between, to watch the beautiful sunset over the horizon of the Andaman Sea. Comfortable and uncomplicated, this snazzy bistro is actually a reminiscent of those smaller water holes by the beaches of some South East Asian countries. With an open rainforest concept, you are assured of cheap beers, reasonable priced beverages and a decent spread of cuisine, done in the simplest way to tempt any taste bud.

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An uprising star on the night scene in Penang, Bora Bora By Sunset without fail has attracted a steady stream of regulars amongst the locals, tourists and expatriates. Even the workers there were all well trained to make the best out of your visit. Occasionally, there could be some well-heeled guests swinging and twisting out from nowhere. Are you sporting enough to put on your best dancing shoes and join in the crowd? After all, this would be the best opportunity to let your hair down and mingle with everyone.

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Do check out how fun-filled the crowd can be even on weekdays. 🙂

There would never be an ending to the choices of cuisine available here, ranging from light snacks, sandwiches, local food fares, spaghettis, pizzas to western cuisine and desserts. The Special Fried Rice (RM8.90nett) had a twist of everything Malaysian. The rice had a mild spiciness with chunks of chicken meat and prawns. The only thing that it lacked was that “wok hei” (high heat cooking) that the locals would love to have but the tourists just loved the way it was presented. It came with an Indian papadam, two big skews of succulent Malay satay, a sunny side up omelette and an assortment of fresh greens. Everything tasted well except that the kitchen should take note of the excess oil from the satay gravy. It made the rice a bit oily.

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The newly introduced Pan Grill Lemon Citrus Butter Beef (RM31.90nett) had a touch of Mediterranean flavors. It had side dishes such as sautéed potatoes and fresh greens. The slight smoky flavor from the pan grilled beef, combined with the citrus butter with a touch of black pepper and herbs blended in well with the freshly handpicked greens. Although the dish was quite appetizing, in my opinion, this concoction would suit seafood better, preferably fish. Another thing that the kitchen should take note of would be the species of potatoes used. Certain potatoes imports such as those Australian or China ones are more suitable for deep frying or boil cook rather than being sautéed. Indian potatoes would be the ideal ones as they have that nice soft texture. Diners’ choice of meat should also be considered here as some might not like their meat to be so well done. It should be a norm when ordering but somehow the waiter kind of forgotten about the importance of the diners’ preferences.

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Pizzas… I always love thin crust pizzas or those wood fire ones. We ordered The Bora Bora Special Pizza (6” – RM12.90nett or 8” – RM13.90nett) which has turkey ham, pineapple, button mushrooms and olives. Compared to the dough for the pizza base from the former outlet, this one would need more experimenting. The base was rather compact and did not provide that mild crunchiness. Moreover, the pizza base sauce was rather thinly spread and did not have that distinctive tomato taste. On top of that, fresh pineapple cuts were used instead of the sweetened canned ones. There’s nothing wrong with that except that the kitchen should have chosen a riper pineapple and got rid of the harder parts. It did not flow smoothly with each bite.

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The best part was the dessert time. We ordered the Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream (RM7.90nett). It was simply marvelous after a hearty meal. The slightly oven burned taste for the almond bits and raisin filled brownie went well with the scoop of vanilla ice cream. I just wished the scoop would be larger… haha! 😛

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As for beverages, you can get just anything from coffee, tea, soda, fruit juices, lassi, milkshake, punch, cocktail, beers to any of your preferred hard liquor. Beer lovers would surely love this bistro as they have Skol (RM8nett per bottle), Anchor (RM9nett per bottle), Tiger (RM10nett per bottle), Carlsberg (RM10nett per bottle), Guinness Stout (RM12nett per bottle), Heinekken (RM13nett per bottle) or Corona (RM19nett per bottle) which ranges from as low as RM38nett per bucket to RM93nett per bucket. Paulaner is at RM26nett per bottle. Well, we just got ourselves Iced Peach Tea (RM5.90nett) and Mango Lassi (RM8.90nett).

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With such a relaxing and stress-free environment combined with the ever friendly and fun-filled staff, it would be a great hangout place for just any ages. Moreover, all the items are at nett price. As for the food, there are still rooms for improvement since the newly appointed chief, Chef Mady Ahmad, just came in barely a week ago to revamp the whole kitchen. I guessed I may have to comment more on their food during my next visit.

It might be a bit hard for foreigners to find this bistro as it would not be visible from the main road. But no worries as I’m going to show you some landmarks that would lead you directly to their door step. Just drive all the way up to Batu Ferringhi until you reach the traffic lights with Petronas petrol station at the junction. Further up would be Lone Pine Hotel on your right. Drive slowly and watch out for the tall Tarbush Lebanese Restaurant neon signboard on your right. Just before the restaurant is the Beach Corner Seafood Restaurant (Happy Mart Mini Market is just across the road). Park inside the car park (RM3 per entrance) and you would see a green gate on the right. Walk through that gate, turn left and you would see the bistro there waiting to greet you with open arms.

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Note: The entrance to Bora Bora By Sunset is actually opposite the Desire Reflexology Centre and Fish Spa (left side of Jalan Batu Ferringhi) but quite unnoticeable with a small signboard in yellow neon lights with a beach view background. As parking spaces would be very limited inside there, it would be a better idea to park your car next door (Beach Corner Seafood Restaurant) with ample parking spaces.

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Name: BORA BORA BY SUNSET
Address: Lot 415, Jalan Batu Ferringhi, 11100 Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours:
12.00noon-1.00am (Sunday to Thursday)
12.00noon until 3.00am (Friday, Saturday and Eve of Public Holiday)
4.00pm-7.00pm (Happy Hours)
Contact: 012-553 1313 (Ms. Melynda Soon)
GPS: 5.474476, 100.248114

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: 7.5/10 (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)

 

Unless you are a hard knocked angler, you might not even be aware that such a seafood restaurant as the Gertak Sanggul Fishing Stage existed at the far south-east end of the Penang island. A paradise amongst anglers who prefer to relax under the shady areas next to the man-made fishing pond rather than heading up the hilly path of the Gertak Sanggul’s secondary jungle to the jackpot angling destination, this place would always be their favorite fishing spot. You can try your angling luck by paying RM40 for 3 hours of hooking up fishes such as the red snapper (ang cho), sea bass (siakap) or mangrove jack (ang ka tia). Presently, there’s an ongoing jackpot of over RM3,000 for whomever that can capture the sole goliath grouper (long tan). An additional RM200 would be given for the return of the prize fish. Business hours would be from 9.00am until 1.00am.

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The setting up of the restaurant is simple with just a few tables by the pond and a few more along the patio area. It was amazing that you can’t find any menu here as they would just cook up anything upon your request, even with the fish that you had just landed. Dishes could include any fried rice or noodles, ala carte dishes to preordered course dinner with cold plate (RM80) as starter.

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As the few of us just dropped by impromptu, we tried out their ala carte dishes with rice. The first dish that arrived was their Steamed Thai Style Red Snapper (RM28). The fish was barely 500gms, thus we did not get much meat on this skinny fellow. Fortunately, the gravy with traces of onions, chopped garlic, button mushrooms, green pepper, tomatoes, tamarind and lemongrass was quite appetizing. It had the mild sourness and saltiness that could be just as good as the Wong Chau Jun sour fish vermicelli noodles down at Jalan Rangoon, Penang.

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The next dish that was presented was the Marmite Chicken (RM10). All the crispy meat pieces were from a drumstick. The yeast extract, a by-product of beer brewing, combined with some sprinkle of sugar, caramelized and stir fried with some chopped onions and curry leaves blended in real well with the deep fried chicken pieces. They were rather tasty except that I would prefer to have deboned ones instead.

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Frankly speaking, the next dish which was the Kung Po Mantis Prawns (RM10), tasted quite similar to the Marmite Chicken as it also had some sugar added in rather than having the savory flavors as I had expected it to be. The dish had some chopped onions and dried chilies added in but there was not much spiciness in it as it lacked the more usage of dried chilies. Overall, the dish tasted quite nice with the crispiness from the batter infused mantis prawns but somehow this process drained the juiciness within the mantis prawns. I would recommend that you order either the former or the latter but not both due to the close similarity in taste.

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You should try out the Sambal Asparagus (RM10). It was palatable as the dish had that nice fragrance from some toasted prawn paste (belacan). Not only was the dish less oily, the crunch from the asparagus and the freshness from the prawns were just right. I only wished the portion was a bit bigger.

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The main highlight of the night was the Spicy Salted Egg Crabs (RM48). We had two huge and really fresh meat crabs stir fried in some curry based concoction together with salted duck eggs. The added curry leaves made the flavors from the dish even more irresistible. It had all the nice flavors but I found something missing from the dish. It was the significant amount of salted egg yolk bits. I guessed the chef would have used his bowl of pre-prepared salted eggs instead of providing one whole duck egg. What a joke! Moreover, the price of the dish had increased tremendously over a few months. It used to be around RM36 sometime last year. I actually don’t mind paying that amount if the crabs were filled with delicious but high cholesterol egg yolk~ 😛

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Overall, this restaurant could be quite nice for a family outing after an evening stroll along the beautiful beaches of Gertak Sanggul. Price wise, it could be a bit high considering that I can get quite similar quality dishes nearer to the town area without driving all the way through the dark corners of the beach stretches. Moreover, the brewed beverages here were too diluted for my liking.

If you are coming from the Bayan Lepas FTZ area along Jalan Bayan Lepas towards the Penang International Airport, drive over the overhead bridge towards Teluk Kumbar. Drive on for around 6-7km and watch out for a big “Hai Boey Seafood” direction signboard on your left at a junction. Turn left into the junction which would also lead you towards Gertak Sanggul. Drive on until you see the “Hai Boey Seafood” signboard on your left. Drive all the way until the end of the road and watch out for the old signboard (Pusat Makanan Laut dan Memancing Ikan Gertak Sanggul Fishing Stage) on your right which is just before to a bus stop (Bus Route #308). Turn right into the sandy road and you would see the restaurant on the left. Make sure you visit this restaurant as early as possible (as at 6.00pm) or you might have to drive back under quite dimly lighted stretch of road home.

GSFSMAP

Name: GERTAK SANGGUL FISHING STAGE
Address: 388, MK 8, Gertak Sanggul, Teluk Kumbar, 11910 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours: 6.00pm-12.00am (Closed Wednesday)
Contact: 604-649 1812, 012-494 7322, 012-470 8989, 016-480 9109
GPS: 5.283129, 100.191296

RATING:
Ambience: 6/10 (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)

A trip up Teluk Kumbar today proved fruitful for Chef Chen Hong (陳鴻) and his entourage as they finally get to visit the durian orchard that had named one of their native durians (土榴蓮) as 鴻榴槤/Hong Durian. Even before the chef’s arrival, this species of durians which has been in existence for over 2 decades and was nicknamed as “crocodile skin durian” were already selling like hotcakes amongst the locals.

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It was amazing how the owner knew how to differentiate the dozens species of native durians here. One thing for sure, they chose the ideal one to name it after Chef Chen Hong. The dark yellow colored flesh of this durian has that smooth custard creamy sweetness with a hint of fermented wine after taste. The fruit was almost all meaty with small seed. The quality can be compared to the second hottest selling durian, Hor Lor (Calabash/葫蘆), just right after the hottest selling Ang Hae (Red Prawn/紅蝦). What an honor for Chef Chen Hong to have that fruit under his name. This durian would surely do well if exported to Taiwan.

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An expert in his culinary skills as always, Chef Chen Hong opened up a durian with ease. He charmingly remarked that the durians should be sold overseas not as a fruit but something exotic and unique that can be created in many forms of delicacies. He had even thought up of a few recipes which durian would be the main ingredient impromptu. They don’t address him as the Culinary Prince (美食王子) in Taiwan for no reasons, right? 🙂

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Chef Park (from Korea) and Chef Billy Ng (runner-up of 8TV’s Hot Chef Season One) also had their try outs in opening durians. I wonder if the owner was serious enough to name their two durians as “Korea” and “Billy Boy”. Chef Park who was not a lover for durians eventually took to a liking for them.

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The up the hill durian orchard was still untarnished with man-made pollution. The stream was so clean that you can still drink from it. Many fishes and prawns were sighted swimming about happily without the intrusion of human kind. The atmosphere was fresh and clean with abundant flora and fauna blossoming everywhere. Even a rare species of butterfly flew over and landed on my hand. What a beautiful sight that was. The orchard which spanned from Teluk Kumbar to Tanjung Asam (“chui cheang” where angling trips to the nearby Pulau Kendi was often planned) had many other famous branded durians such as the Ang Hae (Red Prawn/紅蝦), Hor Lor (Calabash/葫蘆), XO, Kapili Susu, Lipan, D2, D24, 604, Ooi Keong Ong (Turmeric King/Kunyit King/黄姜王), Xiao Hong (Small Red/小紅), Ganja (Cannabis), Chneh Poay Kia (Green Skin Boy/青皮仔), Bakuli (Marbles), Phua Cincu (Half Pearl) and many more. Other local fruits such as rambutans, mangosteens, cempedak, etc are also available here.

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The evening event was also attended by the entourage of Chef Chen Hong, Chef Park, Chef Billy Ng, Food Digest crew members, FoodTok, family members and friends of the owner, food bloggers and reporters. It was indeed a fun-filled outing for everyone after some hectic weeks of planning, organizing and food hunting for the best food in Penang.

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If you are coming from the Bayan Lepas FTZ area along Jalan Bayan Lepas towards the Penang International Airport, drive over the overhead bridge towards Teluk Kumbar. Drive on for around 6-7km and watch out for a big “Hai Boey Seafood” direction signboard on your left at a junction. Turn left into the junction which would also lead you towards Gertak Sanggul. Drive on until you see the “Hai Boey Seafood” signboard on your left. Slow down. Drive on for another 400m and watch out for a small slope on your right (GPS: 5.283556, 100.209471). Drive up the slope and you would see a small temple on your right. Just follow the sign boards available and you would reach your destination within 5 minutes.

SONGHAIDURIANMAP

Name: SONG HAI’S DURIAN ORCHARD
Address: Teluk Kumbar until Tanjung Asam, 11910, Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours: To call up
Contact: 016-467 5233 (Mr. Tang Song Hai)
GPS: 5.292088, 100.211914
Sales Office: 26 Lintang Merak, Sg. Dua, 11700 Gelugor, Penang, Malaysia. (Opp. Tesco Extra)
FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Song-Hais-Durian/129590123727593

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

THE BEST DEALS ARE BACK AT SOHO PENANG

Posted by crizlai On June - 10 - 2011

If you are not aware where to get to the best dining and entertainment scenes in Penang, you should take a more serious note now on the SOHO Group’s outlets. For over a decade, the Group has provided Penangites with 6 great venues from vibrant restaurants to club scenes, namely SOHO Free House, SOHO Penthouse, SOHO Country House (Auto City), QEII, Chin’s Stylish Chinese Cuisine and Chin-Chin Bar. The settings at all the outlets are unique by itself, from a British-style pub with great beer, a relaxing upstairs dining area with colonial style ambience, an old English manor setting with high ceiling, a sea front restaurant overseeing the city’s only inland marina, an award winning fine dining Chinese restaurant to a sophisticated bar right next to the Chin’s. Recently, the best deals in town are back due to popular demand by the public at 3 of the outlets, mainly SOHO Free House, SOHO Penthouse and SOHO Country House. One main dish would only cost RM7.80nett, with the option to choose from 5 main dishes.

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The first option would be the Roasted Herbed Chicken which would be served with mashed potatoes and mixed greens. The taste was quite similar to the one I had at Dave’s Deli. You can practically taste the herbs being well seeped into the tender chicken drumstick and the skin still has that little crisp from the roasting. Combined with the brown sauce, the whole dish was quite tasty. The only exception was the mash potatoes as it was a bit too fine to my liking. I would prefer those with some coarse potatoes bits in them.

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The next option would be the Traditional Shepherd’s Pie. You can have either chicken or beef. I tried out the chicken version and found out that the filling was a bit too little compared to the level of the mashed potatoes (which again was too fine). Although the taste had all the necessary fragrance, somehow minced beef would be a better choice as it would be juicier than minced chicken. This dish was served with some peas and greens.

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The SOHO Spaghetti as just average as the sauce was a bit too sweet to my liking. I prefer those with fresher ingredients just like the Italian way of preparation. Moreover, minced chicken was used which gave it a more sandy and dry sensation. Alternatively, some added minced pork or a total minced beef would do the dish more justice. Some parmesan cheese granules were served with the dish.

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Banger ‘n’ Mash is basically a pub grub, something easy to cook yet tasty to go along with any beer. Well, it was one large sausage compared to the Bratwurst sausage I had elsewhere. This traditional English dish blended in real well with the gravy which I suspected was some rich onion gravy with some sprinkles of herbs. It came with some mashed potatoes and peas. The chef did a great job of not over grilling the sausage while maintaining the juice within.

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The last option would be the Beef Burger. You can either have it with chicken or vegetarian patty. I had tried the Chicken Burger through one of the takeaway but find it to be a bit dry and bland in taste, even with all the ketchup and chili sauce added. Fortunately, the Beef Burger was awesome. There were some hints of black pepper, LP sauce and some herbs being used in the marinating process and the usage of breadcrumbs was just right. Moreover, the amount of fat used was just right to maintain the moisture of the burger. The burger was served with some fries and greens.

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With the concept of being a pub and a bistro, there would never be a shortage of beverages here, regardless of whether it would be a plain glass of juice, beers of any imports and various wines. Currently, they have a 1/2 pint glass draught promotion for Tiger and Carlsberg at RM8.50nett per glass all day long. On top of that, with every RM120 or more of any draught beer purchases on a single receipt, you’ll get to redeem a cute mini glass of either Kilkenny, Heineken, Tiger or Guiness as collectible items while stocks last.

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If you are driving down from Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah from City Bayview Hotel, turn left into Jalan Penang after the traffic lights. Drive a bit further and you would the Red Garden Café parking lot. Park your car inside the car park. SOHO Free House & Penthouse is just opposite the car park next to Peking Hotel. Please take note that the car park fees can be quite expensive as it’s located near all the night entertainment area. Alternatively, you can drive further up and turn left into Lebuh Muntri to find some empty car parks.

SOHOMAP

Name: SOHO FREE HOUSE & SOHO PENTHOUSE
Address: 50 (Ground & Upper Floor), Jalan Penang, 10000 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-263 3331, 604-507 0079 (SOHO Country House, Auto City)
Business Hours: 12.00pm – 12.00am, Beer Hours: until late
GPS: 5.421829, 100.333806

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: 7.5/10 (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 HUMBLE CURRY MEE AUNTIE ALONG JALAN DELIMA

Posted by crizlai On June - 6 - 2011

If you are a Curry Mee lover, you would have noticed that the price for a good bowl of the noodles can be rather costly now. Even with an average price of RM3.50 per bowl, you can hardly get substantial ingredients in it. If you were to add in more “fresh toppings”, a bowl might cost you more than RM5. Do you always face this problem while dining out? With the increasing cost of living in Penang, most of us would seek the next cheapest alternative which might not be to our likings. Well, you should pay this humble Curry Mee auntie along Jalan Delima a visit as she’s doing the business not for profit but to pass time and she has been doing this for almost a decade. A normal bowl of her Curry Mee with lots of ingredients would cost you only RM2.80 and her portion would be based on your body size WITHOUT additional charges. Amazing! You can always add on more ingredients as per your liking but just wait until you see her large bowl of Curry Mee at only RM3.20. The bowl would come with FIVE FRESH PRAWNS plus lots of seafood. This bowl would at least cost you RM5-RM6 elsewhere.

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You can either choose yellow noodles, bee hoon (rice vermicelli) or a mix of both for your Curry Mee. Each bowl would come with bean sprouts, prawns, cuttlefish, cockles, pig’s blood jelly, tofu puff (tau hoo pok), garnished with fresh mint leaves and served with a spoonful of sautéed shallots chili paste. The chili paste here would not be as spicy hot as most stalls she did not add in dried chilies.

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Overall, the Curry Mee served here was quite nice to my liking as it did not have that much coconut milk usage. The dish is more towards the clear soup version with a slight salty sweet taste. What attracted me most was the size and freshness of the prawns as she would only cook them when necessary. Now you know why I rather order a large bowl of the Curry Mee? It’s because I love fresh seafood~ Haha! There is one important note to those who wishes to dine in her humble little place. PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN BEVERAGE as the old auntie here DOES NOT SERVE any drinks. Most of her patrons are workers and housewives, thus barely anyone would dine at her place. Another thing would be the operating hours. Most of the time, her Curry Mee would be sold out by 9.30am. So do try to go as early as possible. I’m sorry I can’t provide her contact here as she had requested for some privacy.

It’s not that hard to locate the place as the stall within a row of houses is just towards the end of Jalan Delima, leading to Jalan Yeap Chor Ee. If you are driving towards the Penang Bridge along Jalan Mesjid Negeri, keep to your right and watch out for the second traffic lights right after Lam Wah Ee Hospital. Turn right into Jalan Delima. You can see the former N.G. Lighting shop (on the left) and a car seller shop (on the right) of the junction. Drive all the way up until you have passed two large fields. Immediately after Field 2, slow down and keep to your left. The stall, within the compound of a house with BLUE awnings, is just 10 houses away from the second left junction.

AUNTIECURRYMEEMAP

Name: AUNTIE’S CURRY MEE
Address: 9B Jalan Delima, Island Glades, 11700 Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours: 7.30am – 10.00am
GPS: 5.380291, 100.301852

RATING:
Ambience: 5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 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: 3/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 9/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

SPECIAL MALAY CUISINE AT D’DAPOR EXPRESS

Posted by crizlai On May - 29 - 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DDAPORMAP

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

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

BAHTERA SANTAI SEAFOOD BY THE BEACH

Posted by crizlai On May - 28 - 2011

With the success of Hammer Bay Seafood next to the Gold Coast Resort Condominium, Bayan Lepas, Penang, more and more of such beachside seafood sheds wannabes have started to mushroom along the coastal highway nearby the inhabited beach areas of Bayan Mutiara near to the jetty to Pulau Jerejak, Penang. How successful are those “I donno if it’s legal to set up there” stalls? One such place would be the Bahtera Santai Seafood & Ikan Bakar stall, with romantic settings, dim lights and under the canopy type of dining ambience with a panoramic view of the Penang Bridge.

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The stall would serve lots of fresh seafood obtained from fresh daily catches of the local fishermen.

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Now come to the part of taste, price and attitude of the staff. I have been quite lenient and frank about food quality of the Penang’s food industry, regardless of whichever type of cuisine, but whatever being served here were way beyond my expectation. On top of that, the serving system was rather chaotic with our second order of drinks never came at all. Let’s just have a look at the Mee Hailam (RM4.00). As for price wise, it was at normal market rate. As for taste wise, I would advise you to get some health insurance, just in case you have kidney problem resulting from too much of the food here. The “lye water” enriched yellow noodles with some vegetables combined with the barely traceable small chunks of chicken meat were practically swimming in a pool of fishy stench salt water. What pondered me was the presence of the fishy taste when there were not even any traces of seafood inside the dish. The Fried Salted Fish Rice (RM4.00) was another disastrous dish. They were using the cheapest salted fish (mackerel/ikan kembong), without even deep frying the flesh. The whole plate of fried rice was overpowered by the salty and fishy salted fish chunks. The Deep Fried Squids in Batter (RM23) tasted quite fine although they were a bit “over-battered”. Well, you’ll never get them wrong with the easily available “KFC frying flour” and Thai chili sauce. However, I was fumed over the price! How could 3 six inches squids cost as much as RM23? Even those famous Malay seafood places, such as the Hammer Bay Seafood is charging merely RM5 per plate. Are they trying to slash our throat just because we were not locals there? I did asked the cashier if the price charged was for the whole list of items ordered and she just ignored me and continuing calculating the bill. What an attitude! After passing me the bill, I kept asking at least 3 times if the amount charged was right and she nodded. Well, all the proof of the squid sizes and bills are displayed below. Do I need to say more?

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It would be easier to reach the restaurant if use the Jelutong/Bayan Lepas Expressway. Just follow the direction towards Queensbay Mall. Drive on until you see an overhead pass when nearing the mall. Watch out for a signboard (as shown below) to Pulau Jererak Resort & Spa. Turn left into the road and drive until the T-junction. Just turn left and drive a bit more and you will see the beach stall on your right.

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Name: BAHTERA SANTAI SEAFOOD & IKAN BAKAR
Address: Bayan Mutiara, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Business Hours: 5.30pm – 1.00am
GPS: 5.344851, 100.312126

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

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