Monday, November 30, 2015

Eataliano @ Burmah Road, Pulau Tikus, Penang.

With a name like Eataliano, one can expect to see an Italian-inspired menu; Eataliano is one of the newest Italian-influenced cafe on the scene but their menu is small... featuring a range of Italian standards in the Pasta, Panini (Sandwich) and some Antipasti categories. The decor is casual but modern with traits of urban industrial design, even more inviting with the earth tones and natural lights flooding in from the large glasses allowing diners to have a clear view on the bustling Burmah Road. If you prefer your dining space to be more outdoorsy, take the flight of stairs to the second floor; there are a few tables available at the balcony which offers a better city view facing Gurney Drive/ Cantonment Road. The place is simple but the menu is seriously worth a look. Find Eataliano aturmah Road, a prominent corner lot at the junction of Burmah Road and Cantonment Road, Pulau Tikus.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Yin's Sourdough Pizza @ Wisma Yeap Chor Ee, Georgetown, Penang.

One of the State Government's most anticipated projects... to marry technology with old town heritage building; in the recent project of revamping Wisma Yeap Chor Ee, a 100 year old heritage building in the heartland of Georgetown. The idea to kick start the tech start up scene in Penang and the heritage building is designed to provide such a space for the start ups. The ground floor of the building on the other hand, is dedicated to construct a Science cafe, a project led by the Penang Science Cluster. 

On the actual "cafe", one of my favorite bakeries- Yin's Sourdough is invited to operate in this refurbished space; not just pure expansion of business but introducing another innovative product of theirs... Sourdough Pizza. Su Yin, the owner of Yin's Sourdough, is deadly serious about her Pizza that she imports a Valoriani Brick Oven (fueled by Gas) to bake her Pizzas. Yin's Sourdough Pizza is not entirely a Pizzeria, it does offer the regulars' favorite classic Sandwiches and rustic Loaves from her main branch at Pesara Claimant. There really is not much about the interior decor (but fully air-conditioned with high ceiling... neither stuffy nor intimidate), after all, it occupies a corner of the Science Cafe, sub-leased from Penang Science Cluster but there are ample seating space available; more than suffice to be considered as a comfortable and casual dining space. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Daily Buffet Dinner @ 59 Sixty, KOMTAR, Georgetown, Penang.

Relish an exquisite dining experience at 59 Sixty, a relaxed urban restaurant perched dramatically above the iconic building of Penang- KOMTAR (Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak) in the heart of the city. Enjoy your meal amidst the scenic view and stunning vistas of the isle of Penang; take in flavors of local specialties and a vast selection of Japanese, Middle Eastern, Nyonya, Western and Hong Kong-influenced dishes showcasing through the extensive buffet stations. Diners can also walk around the restaurant scouting for their pick as well as to enjoy the 360 degree panoramic city views. There are different themes as to the decorations of the seating- some with simple and unnecessary frills; some meant for couples in love while some are for family occasions. 

While 59 Sixty has been receiving unfavorable comments since its opening earlier this year, many changes have been made, including a new management team headed by executive Chef, Chef Jason H. The culinary team consists of a vast background of Chefs that specializes in churning out different International dishes; expect to see more than 100 dishes available in their buffet spread. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Milkcow Soft Serve Ice Cream @ Automall, Karpal Singh Drive, Penang.

An unprecedented wave of new shops serving artisan Ice Cream arriving in town but it should expected in a town with year-round sunshine. The people from South should not be new to Milkcow, the Korean Soft Serve has stormed KL and Ipoh; the branch at Automall is the state's first outlet that serves the brand's creamy goods. The addictive Soft Serve boasts about its smoothness and creaminess, brilliant paired with their carefully sourced toppings such as Honey Comb, Macarons with some items carrying the organic status. The location's a little odd though, occupying a corner lot (1st floor) of Auto Mall at Karpal Singh Drive, opposite to Starbucks and facing the sea view. Al-fresco dining is adopted in lieu of a comfortable air-conditioned enclosed space (the heat intolerant might not be impressed); it may be ideal to enjoy the evening sea breeze but it may get a little stuffy and warm in sultry afternoons. We were there on an afternoon and it appeared that our Soft Serves melted faster than usual... also, we need not wait for our queue as there was not even one. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Water Front Food Court @ Karpal Singh Drive, Georgetown, Penang.

There's an unexplained relationship of food courts and Penangites; it excites us like a child when we get to know there is a new food court opening (especially a big one!). At the new township of Karpal Singh Drive, there is a new food court that has opened its doors to the public recently. There are ample parking lots available with myriad of hawker stalls housed within the food court. Expect to see a wide range of not only local must-eats like Hokkien Prawn Mee, Char Koay Teow, Curry Mee but international cuisine like Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese food either. Prices are standard-average but what the place really offers is the vast selection of street food, everyone of different age group will eventually find something that suits his/her palate. To find this new food court, drive from Automall towards McDonald's at Karpal Singh Drive, keep driving (after McDonald's) and you will find it on your left within a few seconds. 

Milkissimo Hokkaido Gelato @ Gurney Plaza, Penang.

Finding a way to fight the sultry hot weather? Reward yourself with a sweet icy treat at Milkissimo, a brand that carries innovative and uncommon Ice Cream flavors using Hokkaido Milk. The Gelato kiosk is new and occupies a space on 1st floor of Gurney Plaza's new wing. It has a huge display fridge showcasing more than 20 flavors; some notable ones are Pumpkin, Banana Yogurt, Japanese Matcha, Hascup, Edamame, Sweet Corn, Purple Sweet Potatoes, Pistachio etc. If you are an indecisive person or having a hard time to make your call on which flavor, you may ask for a tasting portion and the staff will happily accommodate. If I may, I thought this would be more for novelty experience... probably to try some funky flavors that one could only fantasize. A cool way to beat the heat nevertheless. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Cool N2 Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream @ Elit Avenue, Bayan Lepas, Penang.

Brought to you by a group of Ice Cream devotees, Cool N2 is a sciency ice creamery dedicated to delicious, home-crafted Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream originated from Taiwan; the brand is well-established for more than 2 years and has branches in Taiwan and China. The newly opened branch here marks the first in Penang as well as Malaysia. You may wonder... what's so special about Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream? Cool N2 boasts about their good whack of meticulously invented flavors and premium quality. Most ingredients are imported from Taiwan with a few exceptions (likely toppings). Just like any modern Ice Cream parlors, though the simple and minimalist-decorated space does provide a few comfortable seating corners but the set up was more to takeaways instead of a suitable place to chill. Cool N2 stresses that their recipes are carefully crafted with real Ice Cream ingredients but not Sorbet/ Fruit Juice-influenced products. 

Cool N2 is in its soft launch state and will swing its doors open to the public at 11 am tomorrow (22 November 2015). Opening promotion includes a 50% discount for "Winnie The Pooh" with every purchase; the promotion is expected to run until end of the month (November 2015). As for now, there are only 6 flavors available (each serving weighs 210 grams):
  1. Winnie The Pooh/ 小熊维尼 (Rm 16.90)- Honey, Corn Flakes and Nestum. 
  2. Sunny Day Beach/ 夏日沙滩 (Rm 16.90)- Hershey and Lotus Biscuits.
  3. Black Bomber/ 黑色轰炸机 (Rm 16.90)- Oreo-inspired.
  4. Genmaicha Matcha/ 玄米抹茶 (Rm 16.90)
  5. Make Up Whisky/ 浓妆威士忌 (Rm 19.90)- Johnie Walker Double Black Whisky and Chocolate Hershey.
  6. Cupid/ 微醺丘比特 (Rm 19.90)- Irish Cream Baileys and Caramel Hershey.

Many Thanks to Cool N2 for inviting us for the exclusive preview.

Hou Mei Wo Steamboat (好味锅) @ Elit Avenue, Bayan Lepas, Penang.

Who does not like to fish for treasure in a steaming pot of bubbling soup with all sorts of delicious items especially on a chilly rainy evening? Hou Mei Wo Steamboat welcomed a huge crowd of courageous food explorers during the first few days when it first swung opened the doors few months back. The queue has subsided since then. The interior decor is simple with minimalist funky touches, with ample seating space and each table is set with an induction cooker. Do not be overwhelmed by the extensive list, a safe bet would be to go with their Super Value Set, which has more than sufficient to offer. We like the environment but the service was awful. All the servers were foreign workers and could not understand basic English. We had a hard time communicating with them... to the extent that we had to refill our own steamboat broth. The only Chinese was the cashier, when footing the bill, I was shown the total amount while he was busy to charge my credit card. In the meantime, I have found a mistake on the receipt (we were double-charged for an item) and we asked him to re-issue the bill. Instead of solving the problem, he turned to me and questioned why we did not check thoroughly before handing our credit card. Furthermore, he told us there was no way he could refund to us. We threw the white flag (the amount of less than Rm 10) and did not want to talk to him. One of the the worst restaurant services ever.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Arang Coffee @ Bayan Lepas, Penang.

As the year end holiday approaches, there is no better time to cafe hop. The neighborhood of Relau/ Bayan Baru continues to grow; the new development right beside sPICE and Olive Tree Hotel is now ready, Arang Coffee is amongst the first few tenants moved in. We'd probably expect a few food-focused shops opening and within a walkable family-dense residential population (Ideal and Elit Avenue); this place is definitely one of the interesting places to visit in this growing neighborhood. While Arang Coffee is presently in their soft-launch state, their menu is not quite ready yet. On our visit, there were only three options available: Garden Salad (Rm 9), Grilled Chicken and Cheese Sandwich (Rm 18) and Seafood Aglio Olio (Rm 26). The airy and pleasant interior decor is industrial-influenced with a playful element- caged charcoal hanging in the air... but I guess that fits in... for their name "Arang" (which literally means Charcoal in Malay). To find the place, follow the route exactly to Olive Tree Hotel, you should be able to see it while turning into the main entrance of the hotel. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Real Food (真食) @ Straits Quay, Tanjung Tokong, Penang.

Holding on the belief of eat clean, live healthy; the team behind Real Food hopes to establish an amiable, community-based vegetarian hub that seeks to introduce meatless dishes using culinary techniques around the globe utilizing local organic and sustainable produce, carefully sourced from local farmers. Organic produces are uncommon and expensive to source, especially in Penang but the very passionate restaurateurs of Real Food managed to find a few good ones in Penang... to reduce carbon footprints, they have been working hard find local Penang suppliers but due to scarcity, they had to source from other states in Malaysia; all in all, more than 80% of their raw ingredients are sourced locally (Malaysia). They believe in eating "real" food- real and slowly cooked food but not processed fast food. On the menu, Real Food has a vast variety to offer that spans both Asia's and Western's Vegetarian offerings, featuring plenty of meat-less delicate dishes; vegan options are available too (kindly inform the server before placing your orders).

The homey ambiance of this lovely and intimate space should not be forsaken too, though the seating might not be as comfortable as some cafes- all decked out in a wooden beam with some colorful elements and bathed in warm-yellow overhead lighting. Prices may be a little steep but they commensurate with top-notch quality and freshest organic produce. Find Real Food at a prominent corner of Ground Floor, Straits Quay (beside the concierge). 

Many Thanks to Real Food for hosting us that afternoon.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

JJ Fish Head Noodle Station @ Relau, Penang.

Fish Head Noodles see a gain in popularity in recent months with so many Fish Head Noodle specialists mushrooming in town and the newly introduced Milky variant seems to be well-received by Penangites either (it was not common earlier ago). JJ Fish Head Noodle Station seems to be catering well for the free industrial zone workers, especially during lunch hours; it occupies a corner lot of the newly built shop houses behind PISA Corner (an area right next to Golden Triangle). There are ample parking space available in the vicinity but the fact that they place does not come with any air-conditioners may frustrate the heat-intolerant. They have a vast selection of Fish Head Noodle-inspired dishes (noodles are not the only option here) but we thought the prices are not as wallet-friendly as we would have hoped. After trying a few of dishes of theirs, we thought they were indifferent to those hawker stalls selling Fish Head Noodles in the neighborhood and a trip dedicated to the place is unnecessary. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

[Travel/ Food Guide] Itinerary to Medan/ Lake Toba, Indonesia (棉兰, 印度尼西亚).

One of the most-visited and nearest international destinations to Penang would be Medan at our neighboring country- Indonesia. It does not take a long haul flight to reach Medan... in fact, it takes approximately 50 minutes to reach the town. The metropolis in North Sumatera has a bad reputation- pollution, poverty, tourist scams etc but it is undeniably, the perfect place for experience the local Indonesian culture. The food scene, on the other hand, is interesting enough to explore. While it does preserve the traditional Indonesian eats, international delicacies can be easily found in most prestigious shopping malls. Our 3 Day- 2 Night trip was a little hectic... which comprises of a night stay at Medan city and another at Tuk Tuk, Samosir (most known as Lake Toba). Also, if you must know... we flew with Air Asia (direct flight from Penang International Airport) and it was an eye-opener to testify against Tony Fernandes' saying "My Indonesian passengers bring their house and their neighbor's house with them when they travel". 

Getting Out of Kualanamu (KNO) International Airport:
We would recommend taking a cab to the city but not all Cabs are reliable. Our local friend- Tim, recommended us to take "Bluebird's" cab. The metered cab is reliable and can be easily found across the city. The ride will take approximately one hour with a price tag of around 200,000 Rupiah. We took multiple rides of cab (via Bluebird) to explore the city as well, the fares were inexpensive and reasonable for the 4 of us. In case you are wondering, we stayed at Hotel Polonia, 5 minutes drive away from Sun Plaza.

1) Bihun Bebek Kumango
Address: Jalan Kumango
Business Hours: 6:30 am to 12 pm. Closed on Sundays.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Magstore Mini Supermarket @ Gurney Paragon Mall, Penang.

Originated from Hong Kong, Magstore is an upscale supermarket that carries many international brands, particularly tidbits and snacks from Japan and Korea. It is the perfect place for those with deep pockets to shop; fanciful flavors of Pretz, Pocky can also be found there but at a premium price tag. In Magstore (Gurney Paragon Mall), there are two sections worth exploring- Takoyaki/ Grilled Squid Corner and the Ice Cream Parlor. The setting is cramped with limited tables and chairs; one will find it difficult to maneuver around the area if full. On our visit, the place was packed to the brim; it was a complete chaos with no clear signage displayed. Visitors walked in and joined the queue not knowing that they were required to pay before queuing for the food. More like a grab and go place and not meant for hipsters to chill... good novelty experience nevertheless.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Rabbit Teeth Gourmet @ Hillside, Tanjung Bungah, Penang.

If you are looking for a casual weekend brunch joint, where the meals are toothsome and menu is versatile... make a point to drop by Rabbit Teeth Gourmet. The name might not be new to the folks working nearby Church Street, Rabbit Teeth Gourmet was previously there and has since relocated to Hillside. The space is simple and straight-forward without unnecessary frills but some might find it overly simple and dull. It has a homey setting with a few seemingly funky yet frightening Rabbit murals on the wall. Rabbit Teeth Gourmet serves Western-inspired offerings with a couple types of fresh bakes like Sourdough. While the space does not provide cozy and sophisticated setting that may up the dining ante or to entice patrons, the main pull factor is the delicious and inexpensive offerings. Rabbit Teeth Gourmet is two doors away from Grumpiez Green Pepper.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Thai Food @ Fong Garden, Terengganu Road, Georgetown, Penang.

Fong Garden appears to be just an ordinary hawker centre in the neighborhood but what hidden inside the place is extraordinary. Firstly, there's this Chu Char corner- New Anson Park Seafood (not to be featured in this blog post) moved from Anson Park which dishes out lip-smacking dishes and we particularly recommend their Curry Fish Head but if Chu Char is not on your list, watch out for this humble stall selling Thai delicacies. While there are plenty of interesting eats inside, there is nothing worth-mentioning about the interior decor. If you are coming from Heng Ee High School towards Jalan Air Hitam/ Han Chiang Schools, Fong Garden is on your left, right next to a Chinese Temple on the same road. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Shinise/ Sekeping Pinang @ Lebuh Melayu, Georgetown, Penang.

In a charming historic building along Lebuh Melayu, heartland of Georgetown is a new member to the Sekeping group... Similarly to other members under the same group, it is designed as a lodging house that seeks to exude the sense of nostalgia and to allow its lodgers to have a taste to stay in one of these pre-war heritage houses in Penang. We visited the in-house cafe named The Shinise; still at its soft-launch state, the cafe does not have much to offer but the customary Cup of Joe and some cakes/ sandwiches. The setting is uncharacteristically cozy with classic and familiar aspects; one good example would be grandma's favorite rattan chairs that provide unexplained level of comfortness. The place has no air-conditioners at all, making it uncomfortable for the heat-intolerant to visit in a sultry hot afternoon. Sekeping Pinang is not easy to notice, it can be seen right opposite to the newly opened Ghost Museum on the same road. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Afternoon Tea Set @ Macalister Mansion, Penang.

Prepare to pour and pick up those dainty savories and sweets while relaxing yourself in a refined cozy ambiance. Macalister Mansion, a luxury colonial mansion in the bustling heart of Georgetown; has turned into an iconic boutique hotel in Penang since it first swung the doors opened 3 years back. The English Mansion has a comfortable space dedicated to serve a range of delicate sweet, savory and the downright tasty; one can opt to go for their Afternoon Tea Set or simply pick their preferred choices at the display fridge. Furnished with sophisticated Western artworks and elements, that sets an elegant tone to the patrons. It may be the perfect spot for Afternoon Tea if the place is not fully occupied, it may be a little cramped otherwise. The timeless Afternoon Tea Set comprises of beautifully crafted Quiches and Bagels served on a wooden tray, accompanied with mouth-watering sweet treats and a fine-selection of TWG Tea.

Crispy Chocolate Fondue Doughnut and Tiramisu Lolipop

Monday, November 2, 2015

La Maison Blanche Cafe @ Alma, Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

La Maison Blanche Cafe is advantageous over its competitors at Alma, Bukit Mertajam; the cafe runs its business in the serene neighborhood of Alma, though the location may be a little obscure but it does not seem to stop the regular patrons to continue thronging the place. Our possible assumption would be their eye-catchy exterior design... the entire cafe was transformed into a small cottage, exuding a relaxed and calm ambiance. On the menu... it has the usual cafe fare with some simple Western dishes but most visited the place to try on their Affogato (which we did not). Fun place with comfortable interior decor but not a place that I would want to frequent. 

Den Local Japanese Food @ Lembah Permai, Tanjung Bungah, Penang.

Far deep in the F&B park of Lembah Permai is a food court consists of local hawker fare as well as international cuisine. One particular corner stall sees a steady regular patrons hovering the common area right in front of the stall would be Den Local Japanese Food- a humble and unpretentious eatery manned by a young couple with Japanese speaking-accent (which I presumed they are Japanese or at least, either one of them is). It does not take a long time to read the menu, which is clearly written on a wall-mounted blackboard with prices illustrated next to the names of the dishes. There are only a few Rice dishes available as well as two sides. Taco Rice and Japanese Curry (with Pork Cutlet) are some of the regulars' favorites; the young couple runs the business with Japanese attitude- all dishes must be brilliantly presented in an artsy manner and the way of serving the dish is also meticulously thought of. No sophisticated setting (just like an ordinary hawker place), Den Local Japanese Food encourages the return of diners by carefully pricing their dishes (with most dishes priced under the Rm 15 mark) and serving the best they could.