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WALKING DOWN MEMORY LANE AT LITTLE COTTAGE CAFÉ 2

Posted by crizlai On November - 25 - 2010

Walking into this restaurant reminded me of the good old childhood days when I had regular meals with my family in such a comfortable and family-oriented ambiance. A branch out from the Little Cottage Café (LCC1) located along the busy street of Jalan Burma, this restaurant within the premises of Hotel Waterfall carries the name of Little Cottage Café 2 (LCC2). Established somewhere at the end of 2006, LCC2 has been serving Western and Italian meals as its successor, LCC1. On top of its Ala Carte dishes, their set meals and Sunday Buffet Lunch remains the two top choices of the public.

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A few of us managed to pay a visit to LCC2 prior to my hectic office relocation some time back. It was a totally different experience altogether as the Sunday Buffet Lunch (RM25.90+ adult/RM13.90+ child) crowd was there. Set Lunch (from RM9.90+) and Set Dinner (from RM25.90+) were also available for the day. We started off with some signature cocktails and mocktails – Red and White Wine Cooler (RM9.90/glass), Little Cottage Mocktail (RM7.90), Little Cottage Fruit Shake (RM12.90) and Homemade Sparking Golden Lime Juice (RM6.90). The Little Cottage Fruit Shake remained the favorite of many.

Some of the house specialties were introduced to us. The Clam Chowder in Bread Bowl (RM19.90) came first. It had this thick and creamy soup, served within a local bun called “Penggali” bread (later mispronounced by many and commonly called Benggali bread today). The taste of the chowder was fine but there were just too much potato cubes which overshadowed the already minute-sized local softshell clams (lala). I would also prefer the bun/bun slices to be slightly toasted for that extra flavor. It’s a bit pricey though.

The next dish was the Cream of Mushroom (RM6.90) which had a varieties of fresh mushroom blended. It tasted not bad except that I would like mine to be a bit thicker with some crème added in.

The “Ossu Buccu de Angelo” aka Lamb Shank (RM29.90) got all of us yearning for more. In fact, I would say this was my favorite dish of the day. It had finely stewed, juicy and tender lamb shank served with some fragrant Italian mushroom rice and grilled/fresh vegetables. I can have this dish the whole day! Most recommended! 🙂

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The next on the list was the Seafood “Olio” Spaghetti (RM28.90) which you can have an option for spicy or non spicy (children). The spaghetti came with a combination of prawns, half-shelled mussels and squids in special white sauce. Taste wise, it wasn’t that bad provided you love the fresh fishy taste of seafood. Well, it wasn’t as spicy as I would have expected. Some paprika please~

There was also the Chicken Sausages and Turkey Ham Combo (RM29.90) which would suit kids more but it came with a hefty sum to pay, though the amount of food would be enough to two kids or an adult. It had a combination of chicken sausages, turkey ham streak, baked potato and fresh vegetables, served with house sauce and tartar sauce. The house sauce was really mild.

LCC2 has some impressive set lunches from as low as RM9.90. You would have an option to choose from the 15 items available daily. Each set would come with a butter roll, soup of the day, main choice of set meal, dessert and coffee/tea. For a healthy start, you can order the Garlic Lingguine (RM9.90). It had flat pasta cooked with some chopped onions, chillies, black olives and fried garlic in extra virgin olive oil. Since I’m a garlic lover, I have no problem with this dish although it might not be enough for a big guy like me. This dish would be more suitable for ladies who are rather conscious about their waistline.

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If you think you would like to have something a bit heavier but not too meaty, one ideal set lunch choice would be the Grilled Almond Fish (RM15.90). This dish would come with a grilled fish fillet topped with a generous amount of almond flakes and served with baked potato, boiled vegetables, fresh greens and tartar sauce. This was not a bad dish either except I would prefer some dressings on my fresh greens. Overall, it was kind of “dry”.

Not meaty enough for your set lunch? You may want to try out their Lamb Shoulder (in Black Pepper Sauce) – RM19.90. The dish came with two large slices of lamb shoulders in black pepper sauce and served with baked potato, boiled vegetables and fresh greens. Well, make sure you did state your choice of cooking method here. We should have ordered medium rare instead of getting the well done as it was rather tough with certain bite.

As for set dinner, there would be 10 choices daily from as low as RM25.90. Each set would come with a butter roll, soup of the day, main choice of set meal, dessert and coffee/tea. You would also have the option to add on a piece of Tiramisu Cake (RM4.90) or a change of soup to Clam Chowder Soup (RM5.90 – Friday to Sunday only). What we had was the most expensive item on the list – the Lobster Combo Special (RM49.90). It had a cheesy baked lobster thermidor with a choice of fish, chicken, lamb, steak or mussels. We opted for chicken. Although the lobster was nice, I felt that the price was a bit too high, considering it was just a baby-sized lobster. Moreover, there was nothing so special about the grilled chicken topped with a funny combination of black pepper and house sauce.

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If you intend to have a more romantic meal, LCC1, which has been in operation since 2003, would also be a better choice as it caters food on both floors with a dimmer setting and romantic corners. Do watch out for some of their promotions during off peak days (Monday to Thursday), festive seasons and special occasions.

Getting yourself there won’t be hard as LCC2 is located within the premises of Hotel Waterfall right at the end of T-junction between Jalan Gottlieb and Jalan Kebun Bunga/Jalan Utama. If you are coming from Jalan Burma, turn left into Jalan Jalan Gottlieb/Jalan Bagan Jermal traffic lights. Drive all the way until the end until you see Jalan Ayer Rajah on your left. You can see a big cake house and Hope Children Hospital there. Slow down and watch out for a small service road on your left. Turn left into the service road and turn right. You can easily see the Hotel Waterfall sign there. There should be ample car parks there during non peak period.

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Name: LITTLE COTTAGE CAFÉ 2 @ WATERFALL HOTEL
Address: 31 Jalan Gottlieb, 10450 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-228 1128
Opening Hours: 11.00am-3.00pm, 6.00pm-10.00pm
GPS: 5.430484, 100.299531

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

THE LATEST RESTAURANT FOR BANQUET AT TIANYI RESTAURANT

Posted by crizlai On October - 19 - 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RATING:
Ambience: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 6/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 8.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 7.5/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

THE BEST CHICKEN NASI LEMAK IN TOWN AT RESTORAN SEVEN STAR

Posted by crizlai On October - 10 - 2010

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

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

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

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

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

RATING:
Ambience: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 8.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 6.5/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

QUEUING UP FOR LATE DINNER AT NASI KANDAR BERATUR

Posted by crizlai On October - 5 - 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

MY REGULAR VISIT TO OLD TRAFFORD AT CHULIA STREET

Posted by crizlai On September - 22 - 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PENANG HERITAGE FINE DINING AT SUFFOLK HOUSE RESTAURANT

Posted by crizlai On September - 20 - 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SET DINNER AT MAA ROY THAI SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

Posted by crizlai On September - 15 - 2010

สวัสดีครับ. Sa wat dee krap! Welcome to another Thai food adventure within the month. LOL! Ever since the day I set foot on Tree Monkey @ Tropical Spice Garden, Terrace Bay Restaurant (Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang), here I was at another Thai restaurant outlet at Krystal Point, Penang – Maa Roy Thai Seafood Restaurant. The outlet is managed by another partner from the existing Maa Roy Thai Food Restaurant (6A, Lorong Abu Siti, 10400 Penang. Tel: 604-227 8616), Ms. Patricia Phannluck Lim. The halal-certified restaurant served up to almost 50 types of authentic Thai dishes daily.

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Since the restaurant is located within the vicinity of many offices and factories, you would expect to see a few interesting set meals for lunch and dinner. You can have a single pax lunch meal on weekday at RM6.90+. There would be 8 sets to choose from with a free ice lemon tea. There would also be the 2 pax lunch set meal (with different set dishes daily), which would come with 3 dishes, 2 rice and 2 lemongrass drinks (weekdays: RM25.90+, weekends: RM29.90+). As for dinner, there would be 2 different family set meals available – Set A: 3 dishes + 2 rice + 2 Chinese tea (RM37.00+) and Set B: 4 dishes + 4 rice (RM55.00+).

As there were only two of us, I tried out the RM37.00+ set which came with Green Curry, Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables and Deep Fried Chicken with Lemongrass, 2 rice and 2 Chinese Tea. The Green Curry with chunks of chicken slices was good. The dish was flavorfully prepared with a strong hint of Thai basil and red chili slices as garnish. The color may look mild for many but it did give a good punch of spiciness. The Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables (other than the other option of Thai Kangkung which my friend would not take) tasted normal in some light gravy but there were lots of abalone mushroom slices added in. The Deep Fried Chicken with Lemongrass was normal too as it was a bit dry to my liking. Slices of mildly marinated and deep fried batter coated chicken were stirred together with some deep fried batter coated lemongrass slices. Somehow, the fragrance from the lemongrass did not seep into the meat. It tasted just like plain batter coated chicken slices. I would rather have some lemongrass slices stir fried in some butter and then mixed with the chicken slices to get the moist in the dish and the necessary flavors. Luckily, there was the Thai chili sauce to save the day. The Chinese Tea might taste foreign to some as there was a strong hint of screwpine leaves (pandan) added in.

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As we have two guys here with big appetite, we also ordered some additional dishes. The Pineapple Fried Rice (RM7.00+) which came in the shape of a heart was rather mild. It came with turmeric flavored rice fried with some prawns, mixed vegetables, pineapple, chicken and egg. As for taste wise, it was fine, except that I would prefer a spicier version with more signs of riper pineapple cubes. Next was the Pandan Chicken (RM7.50+ for 3 pcs). The spices used on the chunky pieces of chicken meat and the pandan emitted fragrance were just nice except that it was a bit too salty to be taken alone. I suspected that too much salt has been added into the coconut milk used in the preparation. Lastly, we had Tub Tim Krob (RM3.90+) as dessert. We had two bowls with lesser ice, served with red jelly coated water chestnut cubes, jackfruits in creamy coconut milk. Although the chef was careless enough to miss out the syrup, the sweetness from the water chestnuts and jackfruits blended in well with the creamy coconut milk.

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There would be a 5% service tax included in all orders. Psss… That was not the end of the story. I had more craving for Thai food. The following day, I had visited Lang Sae Lee Thai Restaurant at Tan Jetty, Weld Quay, Penang, which had gone through a beautiful facelift with more than 15 tables now, more choice of dishes and more friendly service staff to handle the increasing multi-national patrons. The Thai dishes here are still as delicious, cheap and traditionally cooked as ever even with a bit of price increase.

If you are driving from town towards Bayan Lepas, upon seeing Queensbay Mall, keep to your left and go over the flyover leading to Bayan Baru (Lebuhraya Sungai Nibong). Drive until you reach the traffic lights at the roundabout and make a U-turn back to the other side of Lebuhraya Sungai Nibong. Turn left into the first junction you see and drive a bit further and you would see the restaurant on your right, between TCE Tackles Sdn. Bhd., a vacant lot and Chin Dental Surgery.

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Name: MAA ROY THAI SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Address:
B303-1-27, Krystal Point, Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-643 0752
Opening Hours: 11.00am– 3.00pm, 6.00pm-10.00pm
GPS: 5.331544, 100.297069

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

For more information, please visit <http://www.tourdirections.com.my/directory/>. Planning your Penang food tour? TourDirections Penang helps you discover Penang cafes and restaurants, Penang hawker food, Penang budget hotel and Penang homestay at TourDirections.com.my.

THAI FOOD PROMOTION AT TERRACE BAY RESTAURANT

Posted by crizlai On September - 7 - 2010

After a hilly Thai food experience just barely two weeks ago, there was another feasting last weekend. This time we ate until our hearts’ contents at Terrace Bay Restaurant, Copthorne Orchid Hotel, Penang. The restaurant is currently promoting their August/September weekend Thai Food Buffet. With great responses from the public, the management would be extending this promotion until further notice. It’s only RM30nett per pax, RM20nett per Senior Citizens (55 years old & above) and RM18nett per child. With such an attractive pricing, who would want to miss out this wonderful promotion?

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As the menu for the promotion would change for both buffets, let me brief you roughly on what to expect for each meal. Let’s start with the salad bar/appetizer section. There would be at least 5 type of premixed salad for you as well as those DIY vegetables to top either with thousand island sauce, ranch dressing, vinaigrette, sambal belacan or sambal cincaluk.

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At the main course section, there would be at least 8 dishes which would comprise of meat, seafood, vegetables, eggs, rice and soup.

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There are more at the al fresco area by the swimming pool. This would be where you can get all those easily accessible Thai hawker food, specially cooked for you out from the wok, pot or pan.

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Desserts would be abundant here ranging from fresh fruit cuts, traditional Thai desserts, cakes to crushed ice desserts.

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It’s not hard to locate the restaurant as it’s within the premises of Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang. Drive all the way up towards Batu Ferringhi. As you see the Toy Museum on your right, keep to your right and make a U-turn at a junction further up. The hotel is just behind the Toy Museum. There would be ample car parks and the ground level of the hotel as well as the basement.

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Name: TERRACE BAY RESTAURANT @ COPTHORNE ORCHID HOTEL PENANG.
Address: Jalan Tanjung Bungah, 11200 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-892 3333
Opening Hours:
Saturday Buffet Dinner: 7.00pm – 10.00pm
Sunday Buffet Lunch: 12.00 noon – 2.30pm
GPS: 5.463599, 100.229199

RATING:
Ambience: 8/10 (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: 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)

ATTENDEES:
Criz Lai – http://crizfood.com/
Eunice, Siew Ying & Kelvin Tan – http://foodpromotions.com.my/
Carrie Soon & hubby – http://www.cariso.net/
Alan Choong & Amanda Teoh – http://allaboutpenangfood.blogspot.com/
Steven Goh & Tan Kim Penag – http://www.stevengoh.com/
Chan Chee Wah (Waco) – http://www.noweating.com/
Jason Wong & Gill Giam – http://www.gourmetgarden.com.my/

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Thanks the food promotion gang for the invites, Steven Goh for the group photo, Ms. Sally Lai (PR Manager of Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang) and Mr. Sivalingam (F&B Manager of Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang) for the wonderful hospitality.

Hidden amongst the leafy hilltop of Teluk Bahang, lies a natural gem that Penang would sure be proud of. Built high at the edge of the hill adjoining the Tropical Spice Garden on an elevated almost nail-less constructed wooden platform, emerged a beautiful back to nature Thai restaurant with attap leaves covered gazebo and mini bar. The restaurant, Tree Monkey, was thus born on 30 July 2010, which name was prompted by the nearby free roaming dusky leaf monkeys. Thanks to the management of the restaurant as well as the liaison expertise of Warren Tan and CK Lam that a group of us Penang bloggers and floggers managed to gain the experience of jungle dining.

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The strategically built al fresco structure promised a panoramic view of activities along the Andaman Sea. It gets even better towards late evening as one can be mesmerized by the beauty of the sunset on the horizon and also the lighted up of the whole place with lamps and candles. This would indeed be a nice place to hang out for romantic couples and families.

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As the Tropical Spice Garden would also supply the herbs and spices required by the restaurant, you can be assured of freshly cooked dishes by their North East Thailand chefs. There would also be many varieties of dry herbs and spices that you can purchased at their jointly shared shop within the premises.

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What would be more ideal to start the evening off other than to enjoy their limited edition of mocktail – the Sunset Paradise (RM10)? The concoction of orange juice, pineapple juice and grenadine tasted great and this special would only available between 6.00pm and 7.00pm.

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There are many items in the ala carte menu that would include items ranging from appetizers, snacks, salads, soups, curries, stir fried dishes, vegetables, seafood, bean curds, eggs, desserts and alcohol. If you are adventurous in trying out Thai food but indecisive on which dish to choose from as a large plate each would be too much for just the few of you, why not try out their tapas sets? Each tapas set would consist a little bit of a few dishes as stated in the menu. The tapas menu dishes might change from time to time.

To start off with appetizers, you can opt for the Thai Tapas (8pcs@RM30, 12 pcs@RM45 or 16 pcs@RM60). There are 12 options on menu such as Thai Toast, Money Bag, Herbs Chicken, Spring Roll, Pandan Chicken, Otak-otak, Mussels Salsa, Lemongrass Stick, Prawn Sarong, Prawn Sabai, Thai Fish Cake and Darling Crab. You can try all of the dishes or select any of the items you think would suit your taste bud (a maximum order of 4 pieces on each item).

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If you are still indecisive, let me brief you more on the individual taste of each item. The OTAK-OTAK which was actually a banana leaf wrapped steamed spiced egg paste with seafood would be mild enough for anyone although I personally like it to be a bit spicier. The MUSSEL SALSA, a half shelled mussel steamed with chili lime salsa plus chopped garlic is a must have. Although a bit pungent for some, the right combination of sour sweet taste was perfect. The THAI FISH CAKE, a deep fried curried fish paste mixed with sliced kaffir lime leaves had the right texture and moist. The LEMONGRASS STICK which had crumbed minced seafood and wrapped around a lemongrass stalk was normal except that it did have the strong flavor of the lemongrass. The THAI TOAST, a crispy toast with minced chicken and topped with sesame seeds was quite normal. I actually preferred to have minced prawns instead. The MONEY BAG with minced chicken and frozen mixed vegetables wrapped in spring roll skin did not impress me much. It lacked the sweetness from some freshly chopped carrots, onions and coriander. The PRAWN SARONG which was a deep fried prawn wrapped with crispy rice noodles was normal, just like those you would get from the dim sum shop. The SPRING ROLL wrapped with shredded vegetables was nothing spectacular either. The PRAWN SABAI was another version of the Prawn Sarong but wrapped with spring roll skin. The PANDAN CHICKEN with turmeric and kaffir lime leaves marinated chicken wrapped in screw pine leaves was tasty but it would be better to if they have a bird eye chili added in for that extra flavor. The HERBS CHICKEN was a chicken drumlet coated in lemongrass batter. Not bad but a longer marinate period would be better as the meat was a bit bland. I can’t comment on the Darling Crab as the half shelled crab stuffed with mixed seafood was not available at that time.

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As for main meal you can go for their Asian Tapas (8 dishes@RM60 or 12 dishes@RM90 served with 2 sets of turmeric rice). There are 12 options on menu such as Mango Salad, Satay, Nam Tok, Crispy Herbs Fish, Chili Paste Prawn, Sweet Bean Curd, Kangkung Belacan, Son-In-Law Egg, Masaman Curry, Panaeng Curry, Tomyum Soup & Tomkha Soup (a maximum order of 4 dishes on each item)

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We had CHILI PASTE PRAWNS, prawns stir fried in chili paste. Nice. Next on the set was the CRISPY HERBS FISH where two pieces of batter fried seabass fillets were topped with deep fried curry leaves, shallots and ginger slices. The freshness of the fish combined with the fragrant from the herbs and spices was indeed delicious. The KANGKUNG BELACAN where stalks of morning glory were stir fried in nice aromatic flavor of shrimp paste (belacan) was refreshing and it had some deep fried garlic as garnish. The SWEET BEAN CURD where cubes of deep fried bean curd were topped with Thai sweet chili sauce, fresh onions and chopped spring onion were normal. I wished they could have served a smoother textured bean curd.

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The next dish on the set was the PANAENG CURRY. It had beef slices stir fried in red curry with chilies, Thai eggplant, long beans and sliced kaffir lime leaves. The taste was nice except that the beef might need some ginger juice as tenderizer. There was also the HOT STIR FRIED BEEF WITH THAI BASIL (supposed to be NAM TOK, a beef salad as proposed in the menu), a stir fried beef dish with chopped garlic, onions, chillies and Thai basil leaves. This dish was lovely with rice. The MASAMAN CURRY was actually chicken slices stir fried with potatoes in red curry and garnished with cashew nuts. Not bad. We also had three sticks of SATAY as one of the dishes. The chicken meat was well marinated in turmeric and chopped kaffir lime leave. Well, these looked deep fried than the normal grilling to me but the meat was still tender.

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On the same set was also the MANGO SALAD. The shredded green mango, carrots, onions and chopped dried shrimps, were well tossed in some chili lime juice. There was a hint of fish sauce added in too. The SON-IN LAW EGG got most of the ladies giggling. What a name! We had two deep fried hard boiled eggs, topped with some chili and tamarind sauce and garnish with some fried shallots. These were normal but appetizing. Lastly, we had two soups. The TOMKHA SOUP had chicken slices slowly simmered with galangal and abalone mushroom with a touch of evaporated milk for that additional creaminess. On the other hand, the TOMYUM SOUP was more likeable by many as it had the nice fragrant of some chili paste, lemongrass, kaffir lime leave, tomatoes and a touch of lime juice. The spicy and sour soup came with a variety of seafood.

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As for dessert, we had the Thai Coconut Ice Cream (RM8.80 – topped with jackfruit and attap palm seeds with a dash of evaporated milk). It was a nice dessert as a change to those served in Songkhla where cubed bread, attap seeds and roasted peanuts were used instead.

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The memorable meet up evening with the bloggers ended with Spiced Tea and Coffee with Condensed Milk (RM8 each – hot or cold) being served. Most of us preferred the Spiced Coffee more as it did not have such a thick spiced flavor. The tea on the other hand has a stronger presence of cinnamon, cloves and cardamon.

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Overall, this place would be a nice and serene venue for couples and small groups. The menu is pork free. Vegetarian dishes can be arranged. It has WIFI facility and can cater up to 80 people at one time. I have to thanks the management, namely, Mr. PattKhor and his beautiful assistant, Ms Wisakha for the lovely evening.

Getting to the restaurant would not be hard as it’s located just next to the Tropical Spice Garden. Just drive all the way up to Teluk Bahang but do watch out for some nooks and corners as you might just miss the restaurant especially during late evening. I have drafted out a simple map with photos to lead you to your destination. Upon seeing Hard Rock Café (Map A), drive pass Bayview Beach Resort until you see a housing estate on your left (Map B). Drive further on and round a corner, you would see a hilltop Chinese cemetery (Map C) on your left. Before you reach the next corner (Map D), slow down as the restaurant is barely 50m away on your left (Map E). There would be ample parking space in front and opposite the restaurant. You can also park your car along the hawker area diagonally opposite the restaurant (Map F). Do click on the map for a clearer view.

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Due to the steepness of the tar trail and many steps involved in getting to the restaurant, those elderly, handicapped or those with knee problems may have some difficulty in dining there. Let’s hope the management might consider having a buggy car to transport these people. After all, they also should have the privilege to enjoy the food and scenic view up there.

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Name: TREE MONKEY @ TROPICAL SPICE GARDEN
Address: Lone Craig Villa, Lot 595, Mukim 2, Jalan Teluk Bahang, 11100 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-881 3494
Opening Hours: 9.00am – 11.00pm (Sun – Thurs), until midnight (Fri & Sat)
GPS: 5.463599, 100.229199

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

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ATTENDEES:

1. William Tan – http://www.genesissix.com/
2. Warren Tan – http://www.genesissix.com/
3. CK Lam – http://www.what2seeonline.com/
4. Criz Lai – http://crizfood.com/
5. Carrie Soon – http://www.cariso.net/
6. Lingzie – http://www.lingzie.com/
7. Alan Choong – http://allaboutpenangfood.blogspot.com/
8. Amanda Teoh – http://allaboutpenangfood.blogspot.com/
9. Steven Goh – http://www.stevengoh.com/
10. Mary Teo – http://reginatravel-foodparadise.blogspot.com/
11. Cheah BH (Bee) – http://buzzingbee.blogsome.com/
12. Patrick Soon – http://studiomoonspell.blogspot.com/
13. Tiffany Thor – http://sexydracula.blogspot.com/
14. Yeap Jian Ming – http://cokeworldcitizen.blogspot.com/
15. Chan Chee Wah (Waco) – http://www.noweating.com/
16. Nel Ng – http://bearyinformative.blogspot.com/
17. Emily Chong – http://www.millymin.com/
18. Xherlyn Chong – http://hysteric-elegance.blogspot.com
19. Calvyn Lee – http://www.icalvyn.com/
20. Sherming Chua – http://www.sherming.com/
21. David Lee – http://www.limpek.com/
22. Joanne Chong – http://www.joannechong.com/
23. Danny Ooi – http://www.joannechong.com/

A CASUAL DINING EXPERIENCE AT CAFFE STRADA

Posted by crizlai On August - 31 - 2010

NOTE: This restaurant has ceased its operation in 2011.

If you need a casual dining place or even for a business meet up place, where would you go? You can start with Caffe Strada, a nice pork free restaurant at Krystal Point, Bayan Baru, where all your indoor and al fresco dining needs would always be served well. Upon entering, the simple yet sophisticated setup would give you that homely feel. Thanks to Alan Choong, a group of the Penang bloggers managed to pay this restaurant a visit.

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We started with some appetizers, namely the Green Garden Salad (RM8.90). It was a refreshing start as the dish had all the crunchy vegetables such as iceberg lettuce, onion rings, capsicum and glazed with some smoked chicken slices and eggs, followed by a garnish of sunflower seeds and croutons and some of their in-house special salad dressing. This was indeed a healthy dish.

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The next appetizer was the Seafood Chowder in Bread Bowl (RM15.90). The presentation was unique. There were hints of seafood chunks such as prawns, squids and fish combined with the sweetness from the mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, onions, celery, heavy cream and a touch of butter. Maybe it was just my preference, but I would rather have more bites in the soup. A touch of evaporated milk might make the soup a bit creamier. The bread was also a bit on the hard side as it tasted more like biscuit than bread. I guessed the chef would need to lessen the baking time in future.

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As for the main, we started with the Asian Delights section, where rice and noodles ruled. We had 3 rice dishes served with rice, omelette, greens and crackers. First was the Kung Pao Chicken (RM9.90) where chicken chunks were stir fried with onions, dried chilies, spring onion in kung pao sauce and garnished with some cashew nuts. This was quite a nice set. It would be even better if only the chef were to put in more high heat cooking style (wok hei) as I could not find the pungent taste from the dried chilies. Next on the list was the Kam Heong Seafood Combo (RM8.90) with prawns and squid rings in kam heong sauce. This again lacked the fragrance from the curry leaves. I hope the chef would look into this as the leaves had to be slightly fried in oil to get that unique fragrance prior to adding in the rest of the ingredients. Salted Fish with Chicken Fried Rice (RM8.90) was served next with a honey coated roasted chicken wing. Not bad but it still lacked the “wok hei” required. On top of the deep fried salted fish bits, maybe the chef might want to consider adding in some deep fried rice for that extra crunch.

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We were then served with Bao Zhiang Mien (RM11.90), a combination of deep fried wonton noodles, garnished with shredded carrots, cucumber and purple cabbage and topped with their special minced chicken gravy. I would advise diners to consume this soonest possible as the moisture from the vegetable might just kill the crispiness of the noodles. The dish tasted just like the one I had at Restoran Esquire Kitchen at The Mines Shopping Fair in Selangor but the portion here can be a bit too big for my consumption.

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Next on the list was the Tomyam Seafood (RM8.90) with a choice of either rice vermicelli (bee hoon) or instant noodles. Well, this did not taste like any Thai style tomyam at all but rather Malay style where it had more tomato taste rather than the usual Thai style spiciness. I would still prefer the Thai style here.

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Before proceeding to the next set of dishes, we had a try out on the beverages. The management sure did invest quite well in this section as the beverages were quite uniquely presented except that some could be rather sweet to my liking. We were served with Fluffy Hot Chocolate (RM6.90) which came in many decorations, Strawberry Kiss Frappes (RM8.90), Choco Banana Frappes (RM8.90) and Chocolate Chip Frappes (RM8.90). I kind of like the Choco Banana Frappes as it was the least sweet amongst the rest and it had the unique creamy blended bananas that I love most.

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The next round of beverages included Mango Frappes (RM8.90), Orange Jewel Milk Shake (RM7.90), Ice Bear (RM6.90) and Italian Lime Soda Float (RM6.90).

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We then continued with some lighter Western Delights such as the Spaghetti Bolognese (RM9.90) with minced chicken sauce served with a slice of garlic bread. Although the al dente of the pasta was just right but the sauce was a bit too sweet to my liking. The sauce should be tame with just the natural sweetness from the tomatoes, garlic and herbs with hardly any sugar added just like the one I had at Kafe Soul Kitchen Trattoria.

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If you prefer bread instead, you can try out their Club Sandwich (RM12.90). It had toasted bread slices stuffed with smoked chicken breast meat, cheese and vegetable. This would be served with fries and salad.

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The next few dishes were chicken based. We were served with Caffe Strada Roast Chicken (RM13.90) complimented with mashed potatoes, corn and vegetables. The skin of the roast was perfect with the right flavors and the mashed potatoes was marvelous considering that it was made fresh with bits of potatoes remained. The only setback was the meat. It should either be marinated for a longer period (fork some holes into the meat would be ideal) or roasted with some stuffing. It was rather bland. Next was the Mongolian Chicken (RM15.90), served with mashed potatoes and coleslaw. This was good. The sweet and spicy sauce complimented well with the chicken and both the side dishes were gorgeous. Cheezy Grilled Chicken (RM17.90) was next in line. The melted cheese on the chicken with a dash of paprika did give that punch.

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Grilled Butter Fish (RM19.90) was served next with steamed vegetables, corn and mash potatoes. I believed that salmon was used in this dish but it was a bit overcooked as the flesh was dry. The chef might have to take note on lowering the heat when grilling this to maintain the moist within.

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At least the next dish which was the common Fish & Chips (RM8.90) did please me. The crispy batter coated fish was great while maintaining the juiciness of the flesh inside. The side dishes of coleslaw and fries with tartar sauce complimented each other real well.

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You can also try out their Grilled Lamb Shoulder (RM19.90). Although it was well done, the taste with hints of butter and mints as marinates was great, especially the fatty parts. 😛 It went well with the mint sauce.

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With such a great investment by the management, you can be assured that your next cup of coffee would be great. We were treated with Cappucino (RM6.90), Espresso (RM4.90) and Caffe Latte (RM6.90).

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What amazed me most was the Iced Coffee Slush (RM9.90). It really brought back many fond childhood memories when I started having that concoction. It was just plain Espresso combined with a scope of Vanilla ice-cream. Each mouth was a different bitter sweet sensation. Nice!

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What would be better to end a dinner with a cup of coffee and some nice cakes? We were also treated with 3 types of cakes, namely Marble Cheese Cake, Oreo Chillied Cheese Cake and Chocolate Mint Cake (RM6.90 each). They were mild as I liked it and delicious indeed.

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If you think that all you need would be some snacks with your group of companies, then you should try out the Caffe Strada BBQ Chicken Wings (2pcs RM5.90, 4pcs RM9.90), served with house chicken wing sauce. Each wing was nicely marinated with the right texture for bites. The accompanied spicy sauce complimented real well.

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Overall, this is a nice place to hang out with friends for a drink. As for food, some of the dishes can be quite appetizing and filling. If you are driving from town towards Bayan Lepas, upon seeing Queensbay Mall, keep to your left and go over the flyover leading to Bayan Baru (Lebuhraya Sungai Nibong). Drive until you reach the traffic lights at the roundabout and make a U-turn back to the other side of Lebuhraya Sungai Nibong. On your left now would be Krystal Point 1. Ignore the first turning and drive further up to the second left turning to Krystal Point 2. Turn left and left in Lebuh Bukit Kecil 6 and you would see the 3 shoplots restaurant on your right.

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Name: CAFFE STRADA
Address:
Block 1-01-12, 13 & 14, Krystal Point Corp Park, Lebuh Bukit Kecil 6,
Krystal Point II, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-643 6643
Opening Hours: 12.00 noon – 12.00 midnight (9pm onward happy hour)
GPS: 5.331159, 100.298164

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: 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)

 

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