Thursday, April 28, 2016

Franco @ Alora Hotel, Bukit Jambul, Penang.

Many would associate Miam Miam with Franco, an established franchise brand in Malaysia... but that is inevitable. The menu shows some form of similarities. With that being said, the first restaurant named under the brand- Franco has finally opened its doors to the public few days ago. The restaurant is housed within Alora Hotel (previously B-suite Hotel) at Bukit Jambul (right next to i-Avenue). The setting's cool and hipstery... with organized hanging light bulbs and comforting couches dedicated for group diners. The service on the other hand, was off-putting. Not only that we had to wait for an hour before the orders were served (there were only 2 tables on our visit), the cantankerous server rudely confiscated the menu after seeing me photographing some of the pages. Servers were confused and not well-trained, orders were wrongly submitted and many items were not available on our visit. On the taste, we were not quite impressed either. We wondered if the meal did not go well because we did not order the right dishes or the fact that most of the items there were not up to par. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Richard Rivalee's Cafe @ Bangkok Lane, Pulau Tikus, Penang.

Update: Richard Rivalee's Cafe has moved to M Mall 020 at Penang Times Square (Ground Floor)

How often do you get to eat great home-cooked food served by famous Fashion Designer? Now you get to do so at Richard Rivalee's Couture House, Bangkok Lane. Richard does it for fun. Advocated by some of his regular customers, Richard is determined to cook a few of his most-loved dishes in small scale and serve them in his office. A part of his office (couture house) is transformed into a cafe; though small, it is brilliantly spaced and arranged. Diners get to know more about Richard's stories by looking at the photos (taken with some celebrities in town) hanging on the walls and occasionally, when Richard's available, he'd like to engage with his diners and exchange opinions... not only about culinary or fashion but life as well. The menu is small... probably featuring 3 types of mains and a type of dessert (subject to availability). Richard cooks his food in small scale... probably around 20 servings (each type of main) so if you are keen, do give him a call before visiting his cafe. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Magazine Road's Char Bee Hoon @ Noordin Street, Georgetown, Penang.

With the surge in living costs, Malaysians become more cautious about their spending habits and if you are one of the budget watchers that grapple to make ends meet, this is the place for you... for a simple, hearty but satisfying  meal. It once ran its business at the narrow alley of Magazine Road (right beside Kimnovak/ 金露华)  and due to the urban development happening in the vicinity, it was forced to relocate. The new location is at Noordin Street, a stone's throw distance away from Cititel Express. Those in the know would be familiar about their Char Bee Hoon, Toh Tau Th'ng, Loh Bak and Prawn Fritters; at the present location, dining in is more comfortable than before. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Ah Kok Hokkien Prawn Mee (阿国福建面) @ Raja Uda, Butterworth, Penang.

It's not easy to survive for many years in the food business; Ah Kok, the Hokkien Prawn Mee specialist has made it despite of the ubiquitous Hokkien Mee stalls in the vicinity. This Hokkien Mee specialist at Raja Uda is well-established and has been receiving positive responses from the neighborhood. Ah Kok has a simple setup and the menu is straight-forward; only two products are sold here: Hokkien Prawn Mee and Loh Mee. No frills needed, the pull factor is perhaps, the sweet and addictive Seafood broth as well as the wide variety of add-ons. It is inexpensive and most comforting, a type of food that one can eat on a regular basis. If you always have an appetite for Hokkien Prawn Noodles and happen to be around, do drop by and check out Ah Kok's signature Hokkien Prawn Noodles.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Thonglor @ Icon City, Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

Thonglor, one of the most hipstery and vibrant places at Bangkok, Thailand; a restaurant with similar name has recently opened in Icon City, Bukit Mertajam. It did not surprise us when it was revealed to be Thai restaurant. Thonglor has a fantastic options for Thai cuisine, featuring a wide selection of quintessential Thai eats (the usual Tom Yum, Thai Salad, Thai Stir Fry dishes etc). The interior decor is cozy and the brilliantly spaced; the cement tables were huge and accommodating, there are large tables that could easily fit in more than 10 diners. Prices are wallet-friendly so you need not worrying the cost of the meal would burst your wallet. While not all dishes we had were outstanding, we were keen to check out some other Thai dishes they can offer. When you are in the mood for some saliva-stimulating Thai food, be sure to check the place out. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

De Sweet Love Cafe @ Lembah Permai, Tanjung Bungah, Penang.

No gimmicks needed here... just skills and flavors. De Sweet Love Cafe is one of the newly joined tenants at Lembah Permai (Permai Village), Tanjung Bungah; unlike those hipstery cafes in town, De Sweet Love Cafe takes on a different approach. The cafe is not hipstery decorated nor with elegant English setting but a cozy and comfortable setting indifferent to a cafe in the neighborhood. So what can one expect to see in such a cafe? Fresh, home-made pastries and cakes. Step in the cafe and you will be welcomed with a huge front counter that is cramped with myriad of home-made Cakes and pastries; no, not the usual flavors that you can see but expect to see some real exotic ones. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Launching of Plan B @ Gurney Paragon Mall, Penang.

The Big Group is making a come back at Gurney Paragon Mall, the previous location where Ben's was located is now taken over by Plan B... the second Plan B outlet in the state. The menu is exciting, with many new Western-Fusion dishes added but their desserts are the main pull factor. Not only they were attractively colorful, they were beautifully presented as well. Below were some of the dishes sampled during the launching party on 12 April evening....

Many Thanks to The Big Group for hosting us that evening. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Abalone Koay Teow Th'ng @ Chang Senr Coffee House, Pulau Tikus, Penang.

Penangites' all time favorite- Koay Teow Th'ng just got an upgrade. Proudly introduced by two gentlemen, this particular stall manned by the duo at Chang Senr Coffee House (opposite to CIMB Bank Pulau Tikus) sells their Koay Teow Th'ng with an attitude... luxurious condiments can be added to your Koay Teow Th'ng. Diners can opt to have Abalone or fresh Scallops to be added while expecting to pay around Rm 20.50 to Rm 40 for a bowl of Koay Teow Th'ng. Was it worth it? It was a fun experience but we did not think it was a wise choice for fork out Rm 20 for such a miniature Abalone to go with the bowl of Koay Teow Th'ng.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Huey & Wah @ Belissa Row, Pulau Tikus, Penang.

There is no fancy brunch at Huey & Wah, just some simple and straight-forward regulars' favorite brunch items. They main strength is their artisan Marshmallows but their brunch items are worth a look too... especially if you are on a tight budget. Huey & Wah is not new and it has been a few years since they moved to the present location (Belissa Row) from Straits Quay Marina Mall. They are well known for their Marshmallow-Coffee combination; not being a fan of Marshmallows, I'm reluctant to pay a visit. After knowing they offer Brunch items, I went ahead and checked it out. My experience at Huey & Wah was positive and was deeply impressed with the quality. I'm certainly looking forward to another visit again. Huey & Wah has expanded recently, opening a new branch at Armenian Street Heritage Hotel... but only Sandwiches and beverages are served. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Métisser Pâtisserie & Tea Room @ Ropewalk Piazza, Georgetown, Penang.

In the midst of caffeine-dominant era, Metisser Patisserie is taking the unconventional way to run a cafe; instead of serving caffeinated Coffee, they have decided to go all out to serve premium quality Tea. The art of high tea is not just about indulgence and tea-drinking but spending some quality time in a relaxed space with classy and sophisticated setting. The entire experience comes in a package and should be inseparable. The interior decor is simple... not the usual cottage style or with a romantic touch. White color is heavily used... perhaps to portray a clean and sincere image but we like the overall tone; it was certainly a very relaxing and comfortable space for a quiet Afternoon Tea session. Patrons can take their choice of the assortment of dainty handcrafted desserts, traditional bakes with a cup of carefully selected Tea. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Projek Nasi Lemak @ Dato Keramat, Georgetown, Penang.

Nasi Lemak, the proud Malaysian dish... certainly undergone some evolution in the recent years; it can be clearly seen from the mushrooming of Nasi Lemak specialists in town, offering luxurious add-ons specifically for those with deep pockets. Arguably one of the most talked Nasi Lemak specialists in town (the Nasi Lemak connoisseurs could relate!), Projek Nasi Lemak boasts over a wide variety of add-ons (though most of them are deep fried stuff) as well as their home-made Sambal. The owners run the business with an attitude- odd business hours from 12 pm to 2:30 pm and 6:30 pm to 11 pm; as though these are the best times to have Nasi Lemak. The interior is not worth mentioning... nothing other than a usual-average coffee house and it gets stuffy in hot afternoons, especially with no air-conditioners around and the lip-burning Sambal... the dining experience can be sweat-inducing. If you are serious about your Nasi Lemak, make sure to reach there early (at 6:30 pm)... the queue gets longer at 7 pm or so. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Bella Marino Ristorante e Pizzeria @ Pulau Tikus, Penang.

The alley just right next to Bibis Fashion & Bakery Cafe is a small alley named Leandros Lane in which you will find a seemingly curious Italian restaurant- Bella Marino. Those who are in the know would not be new to the name; previously located at Straits Quay Marina Mall, Bella Marino Ristorante e Pizzeria has since relocated to the present location. It is not particularly a romantic spot... the distance between tables is near and it may be a little awkward to speak loud but the quality of the food make up for it. There are plenty of heavy Italian ornaments adorning the walls but we did not find them particularly charming. The menu is slightly confusing as there are too many to choose from but expect the quintessential Pasta and Pizza dishes are available; though some do come with hefty price tags. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Mushroom Chicken Hor Fun @ Tuck Sai Coffee House, Georgetown, Penang.

We hear that there's a mysterious stall (behind the former Federal Cinema) housed under the Sri Pelangi Apartment that sells decent Mushroom Chicken Hor Fun. Out of curiosity, we decided to explore. The owner runs the business with an attitude... that he is never punctual for his business operations; depending on your luck, you might need to wait for a while before your bowl of Hor Fun is served. Finding a place to park is an issue, especially on weekends. To find Tuck Sai Coffee House, drive from KOMTAR to Dato Keramat and turn left before Starview Restaurant (formerly known as Federal Cinema). Follow the road and turn right once you hit the T-junction. Once your right, the first apartment is Sri Pelangi Apartment. 


[Dry] Mushroom Chicken Hor Fun (Rm 4.50/ small)


[Soup] Mushroom Chicken Hor Fun (Rm 5/ medium)

Regulars start to flood in the place once the clock ticks 7 pm. Empty tables were beginning to be occupied with patrons anxiously waiting for their bowl of soup-licious Hor Fun. We had both Dry and Soup versions, the former one had a slightly bolder flavor than the latter one. We believe the pull factor of this stall is their home-made Mushroom Chicken that lightens up the entire Hor Fun dish. To my dismay, it was exactly as delicious as we would have hoped. The meat was rough and the Mushrooms were thinly sliced. We thought it was just average.


Seafood Porridge (Rm 15.20)


Deep Fried Black Pomfret (Rm 6/ 5 pieces)

To add in variety to your dinner, walk up to this humble stall behind to see what they can offer for the day. On our visit, we were lucky that their Deep Fried Black Pomfret was available. Every single piece of the Black Pomfret was deep fried till perfection... so crispy that the entire fish was edible. For a refreshing touch to the fish, we added a dash of Lime Juice to counter-balance the greasiness. 

If you are in the mood for some Seafood, try their Seafood Porridge or Noodles. Diners are to pick their preferred Seafood at the display counter; some of the fresh catch on our visit- Prawns, Squids, Fish Fillet, Flower Crabs and Frogs. The broth was brimming with Seafood sweetness and a nary of oil was seen. It would be even better if they could provide the mushy-watery Cantonese Porridge in lieu of Hokkien Rice-Porridge.


Ratings:
Taste: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Price: 7/10 (1-3 expensive, 4-7 average, 8-10 cheap)
Parking: 5.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Ambiance: 6.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Non-Halal
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No

Additional Information:
Address: Sri Pelangi Apartment, Jalan Bukom, 10150, Georgetown, Penang. 
Business Hours: [Mushroom Chicken Hor Fun] 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
[Seafood Noodles] 5 pm to 12 am. Closed on Mondays. 
Contact Number: N/A

Le Périgord @ Burmah Road, Pulau Tikus, Penang.

When the invitation came in, it took me a while to figure out when could it possibly be? Le Périgord is hardly noticed from far but if you were to pay close attention, you will find it tucked within the quiet building of Wisma Soon (same row as Burmahtel), Burmah Road. The signage is in black and white shades so the color combination might not stand out from far. Inside, the things are warm and cozy, with a standard set up of a classy restaurant... and a touch of industrial vibe. It should not be an issue if the restaurant is stuffed with diners as tables are well-spaced out. Dining in can be comfortable. On the menu, it features a classic variety of Western dishes with a unique touch from the Chef. Prices are of middle-upper range but their Set Lunch featuring a Soup, Main and a glass of Drink is especially affordable (Rm 19.90 nett). 

Many Thanks to Le Périgord for hosting us that afternoon. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Barista Haus @ Ropewalk Piazza, Jalan Pintal Tali, Georgetown, Penang.

If you think you know your coffee well and would love to showcase the talent and artist in you, make a trip to Barista Haus at the new Ropewalk Piazza at Jalan Pintal Tali. This particular cafe takes the humble cup to new heights of fun and especially appealing to both coffee nerds and casual caffeine seekers. Customers are encouraged to DIY their own Latte Arts (at a discounted rate, you need not pay full price for your cup of Latte) and in a way, you are attending a barista class (they will show and guide you how to make Latte Art)! On the menu, Barista Haus is a dessert-focused cafe with specialization in Belgium Waffles (hefty prices though). The interior decor is clean and the whole space is covered in shades of white, a decent place to grab a quick cup of Joe. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Garage Nine G9 Cafe @ Kampung Baru, Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

Garage Nine Cafe is a new hidden gem tucked away from the bustling street of Kampung Baru at Bukit Mertajam, the fact that it is located in a small alley makes it obscure and unseen to the public. It has a limited brunch window but don't let that deter you from trying its belly-filling Western dishes (like Pasta, Lamb Shank or Steak) and some of the locals' favorites (Nasi Lemak etc). The exterior of Garage Nine Cafe is not promising but push the doors open and you will be welcomed with a rustic, funky but cool interior with a touch of industrial vibe- hanging light bulbs attached to metal pipe, playful metal sculpture, old-fashioned window blinds and damaged red brick on the walls. While the interior decor does possess a "wow" factor, we were not quite pleased with the cold, unwelcoming service... which we thought the servers could be more friendly and accommodating. Not every dish we had was good but the menu has items that are fun and creative; do check it out if you happen to be in the vicinity.