Friday, May 20, 2016

Classic Teddy Cafe @ 1st Avenue Mall, Georgetown, Penang.

Show some love to the cuddly London Teddy Bear at Classic Teddy Cafe, 1st Avenue Mall Penang. The newly opened Classic Teddy Cafe is home to the cute and fluffy London Teddy Bear; the place is appropriately decorated to the theme (arguably). Step in the cafe and you will be enveloped in a cute atmosphere... start with the famous London Red Telephone Box, coupled with two big Teddy Bears. Walk straight in the cafe and you will find many Union Jack on the furniture, or at least the color combination that works along the line. While the cafe is named as Classic Teddy Cafe, we were surprised that there were not much Teddy Bears in the cafe- 2 near the entrance, 6 on the wall and some near the counter only; customers were not given some to play with. The menu is small and has little or no connection to the cuties; we thought the offering is weak either (the standard boring cafe menu).

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Breakfast at Pek Kong Cheng (大山脚伯公埕) @ Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

You may raise your eyebrow when someone tells you that there are a handful of delicious local delicacies surrounding a historical Chinese temple. Those who are in the know will tell you where to find good hawker food; in the heartland of Bukit Mertajam town, Pek Kong temple has become one of the important local landmarks. The area is often packed with cars and is especially busy in the mornings, you will find traders pushing their carts crossing the streets and parking space is especially scarce in the vicinity. However, the wait is worth-while and if you come here too late in the day, you will miss the opportunity to savor some of the best local delicacies. Below are some of the items that you should not miss:

1) Pek Kong Cheng's Famous Duck Meat Koay Chiap (伯公埕驰名鸭肉粿汁)
Business Hours: The Duck Meat Koay Chip is closed on every Monday. Opens from 6:30 am to 11 am.

Hong Kong : The Shining Gem of Asia

Monday, May 16, 2016

Arashi Shabu-Shabu @ Gurney Plaza, Penang.

Warm your body up in this rainy season by enjoying Hot Pot at the newly opened Arashi Shabu Shabu, Gurney Plaza. The Hot Pot chain is well-established in southern Malaysia but this is their first branch in Penang. Their concept is simple- one Hot Pot per diner (you may opt for sharing nevertheless) but the real pull factor is probably the unique Japanese-influenced broth; from sweet to savory, Sukiyaki to Kelp or Curries. Each Hot Pot package is carefully thought of, to cater both carnivores and herbivores but unfortunately, they come with hefty price tags too. The relentless queue over the weekend was horrible but lucky for us, we had to queue for 10 minutes only (we were told that some had to queue for more than half an hour). 

Mix Pork and Beef Combo (Rm 28.90) with Hot & Spicy Milk Broth (additional Rm 2)

Grilled Beef Bibimbap (Rm 22.90)

Amongst the ten broths available, we opted for the most exclusive type- Hot & Spicy Milk Broth. It may sound unusual at first but the flavors are familiar. We had a sip and it instantly reminded us of White Curry Mee. The Mix Pork and Beef combo carried the quintessential meat slices and some Meat Balls with crunchy Greens, Glass Noodles, Crabsticks, Mushrooms and crispy Beancurd Sheets. We thought they could be more generous with the meat, we only got a few thinly sliced Beef and Pork. The note-worthy requisite sauce- Arashi Shabu Shabu's home-made signature Spicy sauce was a beautiful complement to the meat. Though it was lip-numbingly hot, the acidic-element in the sauce makes it addictive and especially refreshing to be used a dip for the meat.

Arashi Shabu Shabu's Bibimbap is probably modified to suit the local palate. The Korean-origin dish has many crunchy greens but Arashi's rendition had some julienned Black Fungus, Bak Choy, Kim Chi and some Grilled Beef; doused over a sweet-savory Japanese sauce. The concoction was delicious but they may have overdone with the sauce. As a result of that, the Bibimbap was overly moist and the crispy crust could not be formed at the bottom of the Stone Pot. I would not say the Beef was entirely tender but it was  brilliantly marinated to the right dot. We added in some of their sweat-inducing signature hot sauce and boy, it was brilliant. Our only possible criticism is the price, which does not justify the portion. 

Chawan Mushi (Rm 6.90)

Taste: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Price: 6/10 (1-3 expensive, 4-7 average, 8-10 cheap)
Service: 6.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Parking: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Ambiance: 6.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service Charge: Yes 10%
Government Tax: Yes 6%

Additional Information:
Address: 170-03-85, Gurney Plaza, Persiaran Gurney, 10250, Georgetown, Penang.
Business Hours: 10:30 am to 10 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: 604- 229 8688

Sebaidee Thai Restaurant @ Batu Lanchang, Greenlane, Penang.

Sebaidee Thai Restaurants sits in the middle of a housing district, safely tucked away from Batu Lanchang. The seductive secret is well-kept by those who are in the know, it is not hipstery nor posh but a simple corner house within the neighborhood that serves authentic, home-styled Thai delicacies. The ambiance and setting are less-exclusive, more like a home-styled restaurant with simple setting but the plus is, the restaurant is fully air-conditioned so it's a great relief for the heat-intolerant. They have an extensive menu to offer but the only downside is the dishes are priced slightly higher than normal price point. Nevertheless, the place is especially worth-a-go for those who favor Thai food. To find Sebaidee, drive from Jalan Batu Lanchang and turn into the junction opposite KFC of Batu Lanchang. Drive along and you will find a playground on your right, Sebaidee is opposite the playground. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

[Year 2016] Food Hunting- of Cafes/ Must-Eats @ Ipoh, Perak.

The fast-changing food scene at Ipoh is especially attractive for foodies like us, especially with more and more exciting cafes mushrooming in the district. On our 2 Day 1 Night trip this year, we have managed to visit a good mix of both cafes and classic local eats. 

1) Nam Chau Coffee Shop (南洲白咖啡)
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: 54, Jalan Bandar Timah, 30000, Ipoh, Perak.
Business Hours: 7:30 am to 3:30 pm. Closed om Wednesdays.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Fizzy Cafe Mee Udang- Ketam @ Bayan Lepas, Penang.

Serving food on the table seems to be one of the coolest things to do for now; after the successful launch of Crab & Lobster at Straits Quay, the folks at the South-West district of Penang Island welcome another Seafood-eatery that serves Seafood with the similar style. Fizzy Cafe is manned by a Malay family, the place is well-known for serving on-the-table Seafood but Fizzy serves no imported Seafood and we are not surprised. The strategic location of Fizzy at Bayan Lepas grants easy access to Fishing Villages in Penang (ie: Teluk Kumbar) so sourcing fresh local produce is not a big concern for them. 

To find Fizzy Cafe, drive from Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah and head straight. You will find a T-junction after passing by Cargas Nasi Kandar shortly. Take the right turn into Taman Sri Bayu flats (along Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim). Follow the path and you will find Fizzy Cafe on your right.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Grand Opening of The BAR°N @ Gurney Plaza, Penang.

The BAR°N is not an ostentatious bar- it's a restaurant and a bar, the name with an apostrophe suggests the place is more than just a bar (ie: BAR°N more). It somehow portraits a more upscale-bar kind of image and aims to be one of the best wine-drinking places in town. After months of anticipation, the BAR°N has finally swung its doors open to the public. The flagship outlet at Gurney Plaza is the first outlet outside of KL and first in Penang, the BAR°N is also welcoming the third branch at Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur this July. Step in the bar cum restaurant, you will notice the Bar-counter is nicely tucked aside with a few Beer taps; to the left, there's a corner where they display all the Wine labels available. Walk straight into the non-smoking zone and you will the family-friendly dining space where comfortable couches are set aside for you to chill and enjoy the food. There will be a few selected brands of Beers available, as well as some premium labels for Wines; and in more exciting news, the kitchen has an array of Porkilicious menu to offer (and other plenty of meat options to offer). For the party-goers, Ladies Nite falls on Wednesdays while Gents Nite falls on Thursdays, and of course, there will be plenty of enjoyments to be rolled out to customers as well.

Many Thanks to The BAR°N for hosting us that evening.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Two Seven Coffee @ Icon City, Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

The first thing that hits you when you step into Two Seven Coffee is the bright and spacious interior, though the facade suggests little impression about the cafe. The interior is a mix of rustic-industrial vibe, the whole combination was comforting. The choice of color seems to be comfortable and the tables are well-spaced out. The cafe serves a standard Western-menu with some familiar dishes such as Aglio Olio, Grilled Chicken, Sandwiches etc but priced on the higher side. As far as the food quality is concerned, there are plenty of rooms for improvements.

Tapas (Rm 25.70)

Two Seven Coffee's Tapas are certainly inflected forms of Crostini. To our dismay, the "Tapas" were served on dry and stale Baguettes with weird and exotic combinations. From left to right- Stir Fried Button Mushrooms with Onions and served with home-made Yogurt, fresh Cherry Tomatoes topped with Basil and served with home-made Yogurt, fresh Japanese Cucumber slices served with Goma/ Japanese Sesame Salad Dressing, Grilled Chicken Breast topped with Basil and served with Yogurt and Smoked Salmon with Chili-Ginger Sauce. We did not seem to enjoy any of the Tapas and thought that they were overpriced for the petite portion and below-par quality. 

Arrabiata Spaghetti (Rm 18.70)

Two Seven's rendition of Arrabiata was alright but some fine-tuning is still required. The Tomato-based sauce with a gentle heat was expertly crafted with the right thickness and consistency but the pasta was overcooked. Not slightly overcooked but a slouchy, soft mess. We could not agree on the texture, though the flavors were well thought out. The Chicken pieces were equally disappointing as well, a tad too dry and hard to the bite. For the premium that we have paid, we'd certainly expect more from them. 

Black Forest (Rm 12.70)

We ended the meal with a serving of beautifully presented Black Forest. The Cake was moist and delicately sweetened but the Cherry-filling was limited in which we were left underwhelmed. There could be more given that price tag but if you are just looking for fair piece of Cake without much Black Forest-element, Two Seven's fine. 

Taste: 6.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service: 7.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Price: 6/10 (1-3 expensive, 4-7 average, 8-10 cheap)
Parking: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Ambiance: 7.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No

Additional Information:
Address: 27, Jalan Icon City, Icon City, 14000, Bukit Mertajam, Penang.
Business Hours: 12 pm to 12 am. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: 604- 506 2772 

Moon Shop- Lunabar @ Penang Bowl, Georgetown, Penang.

Lunabar is a space with dual characteristics, the Coffee Bar is further juxtaposed with bottles and jars of greens (terrarium concept). The entire shop is divided into two parts- a terrarium laboratory (named Moon Shop) and and Coffee corner. The space is snug and could only fit in one table but it adopts the open dialogue concept where by guests can sit at the front and discuss their area of interest with the owners; manned by a couple (whether plants/ terrarium or coffee). The entire concept emerged from a impractical question- "if you were to bring ONE thing to the Moon, what would you bring?". For him, it's plants and for her, it's coffee. On the cafe, they have a very small menu that offers a few types of blend (coffee beans) and a sweet treat (Chocolate Lava). It's not hard to locate Lunabar/ Moon Shop, turn your car into the parking space of Penang Bowl (right next to Eastern & Oriental Hotel) and you will find the place (facing the hotel). 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Leisure Forest (从林缘休闲餐馆) @ Sungai Lembu, Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

On certain weekends, you just feel an overwhelming urge to drive out somewhere far from your house (but not too far) and to venture out of the norm and if you are as adventurous as I am, make sure Leisure Forest is on the list. The location's a little tricky though, it's somewhere between the border of Penang and Kedah. While the distance is a little further than usual, it's a good opportunity to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city by enjoying a delicious meal in a serene neighborhood. Leisure Forest is well-hidden in a forest-village and its accessible from Jalan Kulim. Navigate your way through the greens and narrow, labyrinth road and you will find yourself arriving in a man-made paradise with a tranquil scene. The restaurant serves a Chinese menu with some Asian-Fusion dishes; most of them are reasonably priced and the budget watchers need not worry about putting a dent on the wallet. 

Directions: From St. Anne's Church opposite Taman Tenang, go straight on Jalan Kulim. Drive for another 10 minutes (after entrance to Machang Bubuk). Continue to go straight for a couple of minutes and you will reach a Traffic Light (with a huge sign board indicating Nirvana Group's Memorial Park).Turn in and drive straight for another 5 minutes. You will notice a sign board indicating Leisure Forest on your left and follow the road. You will reach the destination shortly (though you have to go through a narrow but long road to reach there).

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Wine Pairing Dinner with Luis Felipe Edwards @ The View, Equatorial Hotel Penang.

One of the most sold Chilean wine-labels in Malaysia- Luis Felipe Edwards (LFE) organized its inaugural wine-pairing event at The View, Equatorial Hotel Penang few days ago. The aforesaid event was hosted by The View (a French fine-dining restaurant housed within Equatorial Hotel Penang), in collaboration with Luis Felipe Edwards and The Wine Shop. The 5-course dinner costs Rm 288 nett per person and diners were treated with extravagant dinner, perfectly paired with some of the finest Chilean Wines (handpicked by LFE's wine ambassador Mr. Nick Tullet).

Note: This is a one-off event and if you are keen on participating on such events in the future, do follow their Facebook page.

Many Thanks to Equatorial Hotel Penang for hosting us that evening.