It has been a while, finally I get to see and taste the new additions to the Rock & Roll Menu at Hard Rock Cafe Penang. I have been anticipating for the refurbished menu at Hard Rock Cafe since last year, therefore although we were in the midst of interviewing an eighty year old Peranakan chef for our ‘Food Conservation’ project on the same day, I had to take an earlier exit leaving Gill with the “hard-work” to make it almost on time for the invited event attended by a few Penang base food bloggers.
Last April, Hard Rock Cafe Penang had just launched their refurbished menu with 13 new items in its dining menu; 9 new main courses, 1 new salad, 1 new dessert and 2 new drinks/cocktails. In the lineup of new dishes, there are a few Asian influenced offerings, like their Ferringghi Ikan Bakar,’Tom Yam Seafood Linguine and Legendary Percik Burger, amongst their American styled South Carolina Smokehouse Sandwich, Texan Smokehouse Sandwich, BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich, Smokehouse Chopped Salad, etc. Though slightly late for the event, I was not the last to arrive that day. While waiting for the remaining entourage to arrive I was served with their Strawberry Basil Lemonade which is sold at RM26.00 per glass, or RM85 nett for a Pint Glass. The sour and sweet drink is made with zesty lemonade, sweet Agave nectar, sweet and tangy mashed fresh strawberries and fragrant basil; appetizing and thirst quenching.I am a straight vodka person, so their Blues Riff Lemonade (RM 45.00) was my favourite drink of the two. Made with SMIRNOFF Vodka, Blue Curacao, Ginger Liqueur and home-made lemonade filled with bubbling club soda. It was smooth, full of layers of taste and the lingering body of vodka; sweet and slightly lemony with an earthy aftertaste. Their salad addition to the dining menu was the Smokehouse Chopped Salad (RM 35.00), comprising of freshly chop mixed field greens, diced smoked chicken, turkey bacon, spiced pecans, cheddar cheese and avocado wedges tossed with pico de gallo (salsa fresca) and smoky citrus vinaigrette. It was fresh, juicy, nutty, sweet and tangy to taste.My favourite sandwich/burger of the day was their Legendary “PERCIK” Burger (RM 48.00 ), medium cooked juicy beef patty basted with a bouquet of Malaysian spices served with sliced crisp cucumber and tangy sweet tomatoes on a sweet fluffy toasted bun, and a side of chunky fries. A reorder of the 10oz burger at medium cooked was placed for a much needed fair experience of the “real” deal. The Malaysian taste infused burger was really juicy and moist, slightly spicy, and most importantly warm. Their BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich (RM 28.00), tender and juicy hand-pulled chicken meat that was in-house smoked then drizzled with Hickory Bar-B-Que sauce and topped off with sweet and creamy coleslaw and served on a toasted Ciabatta. The sweet and smoky sandwich was served with sides of ranch beans, coleslaw and seasoned fries. Their South Carolina (RM 30.00) was constructed from juicy strips of chicken dressed in homemade tangy South Carolina style mustard Bar-B-Que sauce topped with crisp fried onions and creamy slaw served on a toasted bun. Tangy, sweet smoky and creamy were presented in this main course. The Texan (RM 33.00), again strips of soft tender chicken drizzled with their spicy and smoky Chipotle and Hickory Bar-B-Que sauce and topped with hot crispy jalapenos and sweet crispy onions, cheddar cheese served on toasted bun. Up the size to a 10oz serving with an additional RM10.00, the bigger it comes the more the fun will be.
My favourite pasta from the list of new additions was their Seafood Spaghetti (RM 35.00). It was the al dente buttered spaghetti and sweet fresh home-made tomato coulis and assorted firm tender seafood that attracted my interest. There was a balance of savoriness, sweetness and tartness from the pureed tomatoes and herbs that stood out from an otherwise common plate of pasta. The accompanying garlic toast was crisp and fragrant, useful at the end for mopping up whatever left over flavours on the plate. Tom Yam Seafood Linguine (RM 30.00), wok-stir-fried linguine pasta in a spicy tom yam sauce with succulent seafood and fresh vegetables. The linguine was lightly tangy with a hint of spiciness; a little bit of Siamese influence of a western dish to bring some Asian flavours to the Hard Rock Cafe in Penang.Their Ferringhi Ikan Bakar (RM30.00) was baked Seabass filet with spicy Portuguese sauce in banana leaf served with Acar Rampai and steamed rice on the side. The Seabass filet was moist and tender with a slight hint of fishy taste, but the spicy Portuguese sauce was aromatic, strong and filled lots of heat to “kill”. It might be a challenge to those who are not acquainted to the heat synonym to Malaysian food. Dining with vegans no longer would be an inconvenience in Hard Rock Cafe Penang, apart from their vegetable salad selection, they now have a specially created Vegetarian Seasonal Vegetable (RM 25.00) main course. It is a plate filled with stir fried seasonal vegetables with garlic and vegetarian oyster sauce, fried vegetarian prawns, fried bean curd and a side steamed rice. Greens, protein and carbohydrates all in one plate.The new addition to their dessert list is their Mud Pie (RM 35.00), a compact crust base constructed from cookies and melted chocolate topped with smooth and rich Haagen Dazs coffee and chocolate ice cream sprinkled with luxurious amounts of almond flakes and drizzle with bittersweet hot fudge. The ice-cream and almond flakes were comforting and full of contrasting textures.
My personal most memorable dishes of them all the new additions to their Dining Menu would be their Legendary Percik Burger, Texan Smokehouse Sandwich, BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich, Seafood Spaghetti, Smokehouse Chopped Salad, Mud Pie and not forgetting the Blues Riff Lemonade. Try what tickles your taste buds and share it with us!Many thanks to Grace Chiam, their not so new MARCOM manager for inviting, to Chef Awie for taking some time off the grill to explain about their new food items and to the staff at Hard Rock Cafe Penang for serving us the tantalizing food.