Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Furusato Japanese Restaurant (故乡日本料理) @ Pulau Tikus, Penang.

***This place has ceased its operation since then.***

Finding Japanese restaurants has never been tough in Penang, I can actually name a few restaurants in Pulau Tikus area; Furusato, Nippon Yataimura, Inaka, Isaribi Tei, Kuchi etc....Coincidentally, I was craving for Japanese food earlier ago today, so we decided to try our luck on this Furusato Japanese Restaurant located at Burmah Road, opposite Belissa Row and same row as Maybank and Nippon Yataimura Pulau Tikus. The restaurant might not be too appealing from the outside, but its the quality of the food that counts. There were quite a lot of choices offered, from the usual sashimi, bento to the rarely seen Sea Urchin (Uni,海胆). One is advisable to ask/call for reservation first if you wish to try the Sea Urchin out as the stock will be rather limited. Food quality wise, was decent and the ingredients were very fresh, the only drawback was  the service charge and government tax. Parking would not be easy especially during peak hours, but its definitely worth for your visit if you are a big fan of Japanese food.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mongolian Barbecue Buffet @ G Cafe (G Hotel), Penang.

Flipped through Star newspaper a couple weeks ago, the buffet promotion in G Hotel caught my attention. During the month of November and December, they are having Buy-1-Free-1 promotion for their Monday Mongolian BBQ buffet and Wednesday Roast and Grill buffet. No doubt, its a very good opportunity for one to savor one of the finest and best buffet in town, especially during these festive seasons around. The buffet is priced at Rm88++ per person, but since its a Buy-1-Free-1, one needs to pay approximately Rm51.04 only ! We chose the theme of Mongolian BBQ which falls on Monday, however, we were quite disappointed to see that there were not much barbecue thing around. Surprisingly, there were quite an amount of food served which I found interesting and worth the money, namely oysters, prawns that come in huge sizes, Baskin Robbins ice cream etc....Moreover, every customer will be served a glass of fruit punch instead of the usual "sky juice". Overall, I find the buffet promotion worth the money and would definitely coming back and try for the Roast and Grill buffet again !

Starting with the appetizers, the fresh greens from the wide variety of selection, arugula, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, olives, fennel etc... As for the dressings, they have a lot to offer as well, from the usual thousand island sauce and mayonnaise to the rarely seen chili lime, yogurt dressing etc....

The miso soup was decent but it was more to the salty side in my opinion. It is always recommended to have a bowl of hot soup before you get your hands on the icy cold oysters/sashimi/seafood.

Aside from the soup and fresh green salad, there were 8 types of appetizers as well; prawns salad, chicken sausages, fried fish cutlets, mango salad in Thai style, fried fish cake, otak-otak (dried version), cauliflower salad etc....Other than the fried fish cutlet, all the appetizers failed badly in my opinions, they were either tasteless or the taste was not right. I was very disappointed.

The seafood bar was rather impressive. It was way beyond my expectations to find fresh oysters here, due to the inexpensive price of the buffet. The mussels and the oysters were just okay in my opinion. The oysters were not that fresh, but considering the price for the buffet, I would give them a pass. However, compliments must be given to the prawns. They were gigantic in size and were very very fresh indeed. I can't seem to control myself but to engulf more than 2 big plates of the prawns.

Since the buffet was themed as Mongolian Barbecue Buffet, meat is obviously one of the main characters of the night. Although there were not too much barbecue meat, but they do have some other choices of meat out there, for instance, braised lamb in brown sauce, grilled beef with mushroom sauce and the barbecue beef. The chef will slice the beef for you upon request at the Teppanyaki Counter. Most of the meat were quite raw (probably medium rare) so they were very juicy and tender in texture. 

I will briefly introduce the main course offered. There were Sauteed Vegetables, Bolognese Pasta, Fish Curry, Braised Duck Meat, Braised Lamb, Grilled Beef with Mushroom Sauce, Stir Fried Rice Noodles, White Rice, Chicken Pie etc.....

One will need to pick their own desired ingredients (vegetables) near the counter before bringing them for the chef to cook. The chef will either stir fry the vegetables with beef or seafood or both, together with some sweet sauce. Capsicum, fresh onions and spring onions are always on my list when it comes to stir frying. They are definitely the best combination and the most ideal ingredients to go with meat and seafood as they enhance and bring the natural sweetness within themselves, to blend/mix well with the meat.

You might want to pay attention to this if you are a cheese lover. They have a cheese counter too, there were 3 types of cheeses offered, I am pretty sure that one of them was Cheddar Cheese. I have no idea on others. Anyway, there were some crackers provided to go with the cheeses, so does some walnuts, apricots, almonds, sugar coated nuts etc.

Indian Naan with Chicken Curry. The Naan was very crispy to my liking and it complemented well with the curry. The sufficiently flavored curry has successfully carried the curry flavor out with just a simple dip of the Naan into the curry. Lovely. There was a counter offering Prawn Noodles too, obviously I would not go for it as Prawn Noodles are very common here, which makes me thought that it was meant for foreigners.

Freshly cut fruits came next right after all the filling main course. There were quite a lot of fruits as well, Watermelon, Honeydew, Guava, Oranges, Wax Apple etc.....

Other than the usual fruits, Rojak (Traditional Malaysian and Singaporean Fruit Salad) was offered as well. Rojak sauce was provided right beside all those fruits, together with Chinese Crullers (油条) and some peanuts. Truly refreshing after a heavy meal.

Next on the desserts, there were quite a lot of desserts offered, just look at all these delectable mouth-watering desserts. The uniquely prepared desserts were quite good to my liking but I found that a few of them, were actually quite sweet.

Can you actually believe that they are serving Baskin Robbin's Ice Cream ? Unfortunately, there were just 4 types of flavor to let you choose upon. How great if they can provide at least 10 types of flavor......Anyway, the ice cream was very smooth and flavorful as expected. The 4 flavors include the signature ice cream of Baskin Robbins, Very Berry Strawberry, Green Tea, Rainbow Sherbet and Mint Chocolate Chip. I would not mind to have at least 3 bowls of ice cream if I still had the capacity.....

Upon finishing the meal, one can opt for their freshly brewed coffee as well. Heavy cream will be provided as well. Personally I think this was very good as it provides the flexibility to their customers. 

Price: 8.5/10 (1-3 expensive, 4-7 average, 8-10 cheap) **Based on the Buy-1-Free-1 Promotion**
Taste: 8/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service: 8.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Parking: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service Charge: Yes 10%
Government Tax: Yes 6%

Additional Information:
Address: 168A, Pesiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang. (G Cafe @ G Hotel, Penang; right beside Gurney Plaza)
Business Hour: 6:30 pm to 10:00pm (Monday and Wednesday) ** Based on the Buy-1-Free-1 Promotion**
Contact Number: 604- 238 0000

Friday, November 25, 2011

SOHO Free House @ Penang Road, Penang.

If you are a night owl that went out for clubs or pubs a lot, then SOHO Free House should not be too new to you. SOHO Free House is a well-known pub located in the heart of Georgetown, Penang. SOHO group has a few outlets in Penang and the outlet at Penang road consists of two, namely the SOHO Free House and SOHO Penthouse while other outlets are SOHO Country House (Autocity, Juru), QE II (Weld Quay), Chin Chin Bar (Weld Quay) and Chin's Stylish Chinese Cuisine (Weld Quay). It might be a pub for alcohols during late night but many do not know that they are actually operating the restaurant during day time too. Drinks/Beverages can be very pricey here, for instance, a cup of coca-cola will costs you Rm7 while a bottle of draught beer costs Rm8.50 only, obviously beer lovers will opt for the beer. Please note that there will be an additional of 10% service charge and 6% government tax added to your bill unless stated.

They are having a very attractive promotion on main course at a very affordable price. With just Rm7.80 nett, you get to choose ONE from five delectable and mouth-watering main course. We attempted three of the main course that day, namely SOHO Beef Burger, Chicken Shepherd Pie and Roasted Herb Chicken.

SOHO Beef Burger (Rm7.80 nett). The burger comes in two choices, you can either pick Chicken or Beef. We went for the beef instead. The bread was lightly pan fried with butter to gain the buttery aroma and fortunately, the bread was not oily at all. As for the beef, the texture was well kept, the meat was just as juicy as I thought it would be. Reasonably flavored, together with some herbs, the burger works well even without any sauce to complement it. There were some fries given as well. I find the portion quite big too.

Traditional Chicken Shepherd Pie (Rm7.80) is definitely one of my favorites of the day ! Never looked down on this dish as the saying goes by, "never judged a book by its cover". Just like any other Shepherd Pie, its a dish with some meat and topped with mashed potato. The flavorful minced chicken complemented well with the smooth and aromatic mashed potato topping. As for the side dishes, green peas were added in too, I am not a big fan of green peas so I will definitely prefer something else, but it was okay if you are eating together with the Shepherd Pie. Highly recommended.

Roasted Herb-ed Chicken (Rm7.80). The well-marinated chicken thigh possessed a very fragrant aroma, topped with some home-made pepper brown sauce. The wonderfully flavored chicken was very tender and juicy. Although the chicken was very good and impressive, but I find it pretty common as it does not possess any distinctive taste to my liking. The mashed potato was decent to me, the best part was some brown sauce was topped to maximize the flavor too. Smooth and creamy texture were what I was expecting from a mashed potato and they have it there for me.

Other than the main course, we had some side orders as well. This was their Soup Of The Day -- Spinach Soup (Rm4.50 ++). Every set of the soup comes with a slice of garlic bread. The garlic bread was toasted to perfection and has the right crispiness and aroma to my liking. The baguette was extremely crispy even though we have let it set aside for a couple of minutes. The spinach soup was just okay in my opinion, I do not really adore vegetable soup especially when its mixed with cream. 

Baked Potatoes With Sour Cream and Bacon (Rm6 ++ for both). There are a few options available too, for instance, to be baked with Cheddar Cheese. I did not try the bacon version, the sour cream was pretty weird for me. I would definitely prefer the Cheddar Cheese version.

SOHO Free House has a pool table and a soccer game too. Good for those who loves to play a round of pool or two with friends. Can be a very good place to spend your afternoon with your closer ones either.

Price: 9/10 --Based on their Rm7.80 nett promotion (1-3 expensive, 4-7 average, 8-10 cheap)
Taste: 8/10 --Overall (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Parking: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service Charge: Yes 10%
Government Tax: Yes 6%

Additional Information:
Address: 50, Ground & Upper Floor, Penang Road, 10000, Penang. (Directly opposite to Red Garden Car Park).
Business Hour: 12pm to 12am, Daily (For restaurant).
Contact Number: 604- 263 5146