Gourmet Garden

Hunting For The Flavors & Texture Of Yesteryears'

Straits Quay

Spasso Milano, An Italian Experience in Straits Quay

Posted by Jason Wong On November - 23 - 20112 COMMENTS

This is not a review, but we would like to share something worth sharing! We were invited by Spasso Milano’s PR company to an individual food sampling session just after it open its doors for business somewhere in September 20111. What was suppose to be a simple quite diner ended up becoming a gathering of bloggers, Tasteiest & All About Penang Food, sharing good food with good service and company.

Spasso’s (Straits Quay) kitchen is currently being run by an Italian import who strives to keep the authentic flavours of Italian-Milan cooking alive in a foreign country where pleasing local flavour paradigms are still very much alive. Chef Felice Martinelli, a 42-year-old Milanese even goes to the extra mile by specially sourcing and importing ingredients and produce, such as hand-made artisan pasta and Italian savoury jams to delight diners with the experience of dining in Italy. When asked, Felice answered with a serious smile, “I will only cook authentic Italian fare, and will never mix elements of other cuisines, or compromise on the quality of ingredients, just to appeal to the mass crowd. When you follow time-honoured recipes, using the original ingredients, you get amazing dishes bursting with flavours” With that in mind, we were expecting something that will tantalizer our senses and not to be put off by “localised” Italian dishes.

We started off with their “Porcini Soup” (RM18.80) that is made with 100% Porcini mushroom and drizzled with White Truffle oil before serving. It had a strong earthy mushroom taste that ends with a light sweetness and a bit of sour sensation. We also ‘accidentally’ had “Asparagus Soup” (RM16.80) which was strong in asparagus taste profiles that were quite refreshing. Then we were served with “Smoked Duck Breast” (RM23.00), sliced home-smoked duck breast, avocado and salad greens dressed with Hazelnut oil. The smoky and tender duck breast and smooth buttery avocado produced a “ying yang” sort texture. And the Hazelnut oil lent some additional flavours which did not interfere with the main stars of the dish. Still on appetisers, we had their “Pan-fried Goose Liver & Porcini”. The goose liver was lightly fried with some caramelizing that added flavour and texture to the soft creamy texture. The nutty and mild bitterness of the rocket leafs with the sweet tangy grapes and balsamic reduction mellowed the richness of the fatty liver.

Then we also had the Tuna Tartar that was made with freshly diced tuna and tomatoes that was quite light to the palate. But to have it with other heavy flavoured dishes would defeat its light taste profiles.

After appetisers, we moved on to pizza made their Italian way with a fully imported domed in shape wood oven with terracotta base that will evenly transfer the heat and maintain a good temperature for cooking. “Trutti Di Mare” pizza with assorted seafood was ready just within a few minutes in the 400 Celsius hot oven fuelled by natural wood flames. The pizza was evenly baked with a crisp but yet fluffy base topped with good quality cheese that were not too oily and ingredients that were still juicy and tasty with a slight smoky taste.

Normally risotto is eaten as a primo or first course of the meal, that faithful day it was already the third or fourth course of the evening. The “Mushroom and Truffle Risotto” (RM28.00) was one of our favourites of the night. Made from Carnaroli rice, a medium-grained rice native to the Vercelli province of northern Italy, and cooked in their homemade broth with lots of mushrooms and shavings of black truffles. The texture of the risotto was fluffy with a starchy consistency; taste was earthy and sweet to every spoonful.

Pastas are a must in any Italian joint. Opting for a better grade of pastas, we had a go at their imported dehydrated handmade Durum wheat or Macaroni wheat pasta that was cooked al-dente. If one is not used to the firmer and rough texture of the durum wheat paste, you could still get the usual pastas that are available everywhere. Sauces we had with the pasta was a tomato base and a cream base which were both quite flavourful in their unique way.

The highlight of my night was Spasso’s Hearty Italian Wagyu Rib Eye Grill RM138 for a 250gm slab of fat fill piece of beefy meat cooked until medium. The well seasoned and charred Wagyu rib eye was juicy tender to very last cut and good on its owned, without any sauce of gravy.

Secondi Wagyu Rib Eye Aromatica (RM138) is a meal on its own. The herb crusted Rib Eye was tender and moist with multi-layers of taste coming from the crust and also from the Wagyu beef. Though the herbs overwhelms the natural flavours of the Wagyu rib eye, it presents layers of taste profile with a crusty mouth feel that would be fitting people who are looking for some interesting flavours. The side dishes of roasted rosemary baby potato and Sicilian caponata blended well with heavy tasting rib eye. After all the heavy savoury stuff it was time for desserts, we had Tiramisu, Chocolate Lava Cake and Panna Cotta. Each and every dessert had its own characters and specialty, but what I personally like the most was the Tiramisu.  At RM18.80 per serving, the espresso soaked Savoiardi biscuit was the base for the rich Mascarpone cream topped with bitter sweet coco powder. Though there hints of liquor taste in the Tiramisu, we were told none was used. It is the process and method that produces that “alcoholic” sensation.

“Chocolate Lava Cake” (RM18.80) was freshly baked warm chocolate cake filled with rich dark liquid gold served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The strong bitter sweet taste of the melted chocolate filling and the soft spongy cake and cold ice-cream was sinfully satisfying after a great meal.The Panna Cotta (RM14.80) is made from fresh cream solidify with gelatine served chilled with mixed berry coulis. The sweet tangy berry sauce cut through the rich creamy pudding to balance taste and mouth feel that close the evening meal in an even note. 

Taste 4.5/5 (Must Try) Liked the natural and authentic Italian flavours.
Texture 4.5/5 (Must Try) Great texture in the risotto, pasta, Wagyu and deserts.
Service 4.0/5 (Good) The senior staffs are well verse with dishes and ingredients and are able to give suggestions and advice. Friendly and polite too.
Cleanliness 4.5/5 (Very Good) Clean and neat dining area and kitchen area.
Atmosphere 4.0/5 (Good) Relaxing, cooling and cosy ambiance.
Price 3.5/5 (Good) Some of the items are on the high side due to the quality provided.
Portion 3.5/5 (Good) Depending on dishes, on average it is quite fulfilling.
Value 4.0/5 (Good) Prices won’t be cheap but quality of ingredients, techniques, presentation, service, atmosphere and location can cover for it.
Consistency 4.0/5 (Good) Have been back a few times; service and food are well maintained.

Add: 3C-G-2, Block C, Ground Floor, Straits Quay, Penang
Tel: +604-8912888
GPS Coordinates: N5 27.556 E100 18.800

 

P.S: Many thanks to http://tasteiest.blogspot.com for the photos that he has allowed me to use. Regret not bringing my DSLR on that day.

Share

Weissbräu Hosts Luncheon

Posted by Jason Wong On March - 11 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

End of last month, RoundU ( a company that bridges business owners to consumers through new media) had organised a luncheon with one of the directors of Weissbräu German Bistro & Bar situated at Quay North of Straits Quay. Wayne Yoon has over 20 years of experience in the F&B line in various parts of the world, holding different responsibilities throughout the years. And 15 months ago he decided to establish Weissbräu in Malaysia with its first outlet in Kuala Lumpur, then 3 months ago he and his partner(s) committed their resources to setup a branch in Penang. With that Weissbräu Straits Quay was born.

Weissbräu Penang German Bistro & Bar seats around 70 people indoor and 100 people at Alfresco, and opens at 12:00 NN daily to 1:00 AM (open till 2:00 AM on Friday & Saturday). Reservation is recommended especially for dinner hour and weekends.  “Happy Hour” is throughout the day till 9:00 PM, and all day on Sundays.

The initial Weissbräu menu was compiled by Master Chef Pascal Schnyder from Luzern, Switzerland.  It is divided into 2 distinctive sections, one for the light eaters and the other for the hearty eaters. The lighter section of the menu contains items like salad, sandwiches, wide ranges of home-made and imported sausages and cold cuts that are quite suitable for lunch or over the counter for quick a take-away. For the hearty meal section, there are their signature Crispy Pork Knuckle, Pork Ribs, Giant Wiener Schnitzel and lots more to pacify the hunger and satisfy the sinful desires. All their main courses are complimented with 2 of their home-made side dishes which you can choose from; buttered market vegetables, Sauerkraut (Shredded Cabbage in white wine vinegar), German Potato Salad, Garlic Mash, lightly pan-fried Spaetzli (home-made egg noodles) or roesti.

At Weissbräu you would find some items or dishes that have influences from their bordering countries like France, Switzerland and Belgium.  Pissaladière, it is a popular pizza from Southern France that has a thin crust dough topped with sour cream, roasted onion, anchovies and olives. Roesti, a Swedish favourite of shredded potato strips pan-fried in clarified butter and can be served as it is, or top-up with bacon, egg, onion, cheese or anything you fancy to create your individually unique dish. Moule Mariniere or ‘Seamen’s style Mussel is a Belgium version of mussels in a pot with white wine and fresh vegetables.

Classic Ceasar Salad RM16.80++, crisp Romanian lettuce, tomatoes, and croutons topped with home-made mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese & bacon bits. To add an extra punch to the light dish, you could include either lightly curried chicken for RM6.00++ or smoked salmon for RM8.00++.

Buttered Swiss Roesti with onion, bacon, cheese & eggs RM24.00++.

Italian Touch Pizza with Mushroom Topping RM28++, thin crusted pizza with sour cream, homemade tomato paste, mozzarella cheese an d your choice toppings (here we have mushroom).

Crispy German Pork Knuckle RM48.00++, pork knuckle boiled then pickled for 2 days then deep fried before serving. It comes with 2 side dishes of your choice and beef stock base red wine sauce.

Giant Weinerschnitzel RM34++, skilfully cut and hand pounded pork fillet breaded and pan fried till golden in colour then served with 2 side dishes of your choice (Spaetzli and Buttered market vegetables).

Schublig RM42++, lightly smoked giant pork sausage mixed with their own special blend of spices and served with your choice of 2 side dishes (over here is Garlic mashed potato and Buttered market vegetables).

Homemade Sausages (Chili Pork Sausage, Herbs Pork Sausage and Garlic Peppercorn Pork Sausage), are special Homemade Pork sausages encased in lamb casing and seasoned with their respective flavours (natural herbs and spices), then smoked for 4 hours to infuse the smoky aroma & taste. This item is new to the menu and may be off the menu for now but is available by request.

  • Smoked Herb Pork Sausage RM 34++
  • Smoked Garlic Peppercorn Sausage RM 32++
  • Smoked Chili Pork Sausage RM 34++

And when the kitchen is not busy, you may ask for a 2+2 sausages, but with respective charges. Please do inquire for further details.

For those who like to have something sweet at the end of the meal to cleanse the palate, you may want to  op for their desserts that are home-made as much as possible to keep the principle of making food the way it used to. At one point, Wayne jokingly pointed out that the only thing they don’t do is grow their own vegetables and rise their own cattle and swine!

Apple Strudel served with Vanilla Ice-Cream, an envelope of filo pastry stuffed with green apple cube prepared with nutmeg, white raisin and sugar syrup and top with crunchy sugar granules.

Chocolate Mousse top with Pear, bitter sweet chocolate mousse blended with VSOP for richness and served with chilled poach pears.

During the luncheon, food and lifestyle bloggers were treated not only to their selected dishes of the day but also some the beers that they have in their bar. The list of beers available at Weissbräu  goes on and on but just to name few,Carlsberg, Erdinger,  Hoegaarden, Franziskaner and Leffe Blonde are available on tap while imported bottled beer such as Warsteiner, Stella Artois, Lowenbrau, Becks, Konig Ludwig, Hoegaarden, Leffe Blonde, Franziskaner, Corona, Royal Stout, and Grolsch are served chilled.
To summaries Weissbräu,
It is a place to enjoy good wholesome self-made food in a cosy atmosphere with a nice view of the marina and seafront.
I like the concept of making food the way it is supposed to, from the basic peeling of potatoes, pickling their own Sauerkraut to making their own sausages. These are some things that are hard to come by in a commercially run restaurant, especially when the cost per square feet of retail space is not cheap. After our last 2 visits and the current invited luncheon, I guess I would be returning to this outlet to try more of what they are able present in terms of flavours, textures and imagination.
In conjunction of their 100 days of operation in Straits Quay, Weissbräu would want to share their blessings and thank their loyal customers for their support by presenting a “Hoegaarden Promotion” from 5th of March 2011 onwards until a date that they have not decided.
  • 1/2 Pint        RM 14++
  • 1 Pint            RM 26++
  • Tower            RM 125++
Share

There is another German Bistro in Straits Quay that goes by the name of BERLIN’S BIER HOUZ(BBH). This is their second outlet in the whole of Malaysia as I was told. Their first flagship outlet was established in May 2010 in Ipoh’s infamous Green Town area. Berlin’s concept is to provide proper sit in dining for German and European food at an affordable price with an extensive range of beers to compliment their available dishes. We were told that they currently have about 43 types or brands of beer that are available by the bottle and or by the tap. The price of the beers are slightly cheaper compared to price offered by some of the F&B outlets that are also housed in Straits Quay. Another plus point for having a few drinks at Berlin’s is the night view of the Gurney Drive cove and that of the container yard on the opposite site of the island.

As it is mentioned, BBH serves dishes that have origins from Germany and Europe. The food list is not very extensive but at least it can provide some variety of choices with quite a budget price tag. The food list starts with light bites or snack that goes quite well with the many types of beer that they have to offer, then there are the mains that comes in to fill the hunger and it ends with desserts.

First up we had the “German Sausage Platter” that is priced at RM25.80.  The platter comes with a mixture 3 different sausage (if not mistaken Emmentaler Cheese, Garlic & Black-pepper). This platter could suffice the urge for gourmet sausages at a budget price with an average or acceptable taste profile. But texture wise, I prefer firmer sausages with more crunch or crisp skin. Thus, it would be better if the sausage were not sliced open before serving to keep the crisp feeling when we slice into it, and also to maintain the juices are intact.

Next was their version of “German Pork Knuckle” that is prices at RM25 for a half portion and RM43 for a full portion(whole). The price was very tempting although we already had a light dinner before we went to BBH. For RM25, the portion of the knuckle was quite luscious. The crackling was very crisp with every bite, but the meat was slightly dehydrated and over firmed. With the knuckle we found the simplicity of taste, just the flavours of pork and some savouriness.

Then we had their “Pork Burger with Cheese” that is stated RM16.80 per order. The patty is made with full 100% minced pork pan-grilled until well done, then slab on a bed of juicy sliced tomatoes and shredded lettuce and sandwiched between 2 halves of a toasted fluffy bun. The patty was flavourful and moist and goes quite well with a pint of cold beer. The only down side of the burger was that it was a bit sloppy.

Overall experience:

Taste 2.5/5 (Average)
Texture 2.5/5 (Average)
Service 4.0/5(Friendly & Helpful)
Cleanliness 4.0/5 (Good)
Atmosphere 3.5/5 (Average)
Price 4.0/5 (Good) Total Damage RM99.30
Portion 3.5/5 (Good)
Value 3.0/5 (Above Average)

BERLIN’S BIER HOUZ

3E-G-3B Straits Quay Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang Tanjung Tokong 10470 Pulau Pinang.

Share

Weissbräu German Cuisine at Straits Quay

Posted by Jason Wong On December - 13 - 20106 COMMENTS

This our first adventure to Straits Quay in Tanjong Tokong. Previously we had our fears that the place might not be sustainable but with the many major brands from KL setting shop there, it would be a place to be seen for the many rich and famous of Penang. This was a working visits as we were there to have a business discussion with partners, but of cause it was also an excuse scout around for new places to dine in the newly opened up and coming commercial/retail location.

The place that we had our discussion was Weissbräu, a German bistro and bar that serves pork specialties, sausages, pizzas, roesti, and imported draught & bottled beers. Weissbräu is the German word for white brew or white beer that is popular and common beer in Germany.

jw129750

jw119707

During the discussion session we had a few glasses of beer and also their “Sausage Combo” (RM48++). The combo comes with a choice of two(2) sausages and two(2) side dishes. And the items that I chose and matched were “Farmer’s Garlic Pork” sausage, “Nurnberger” sausage, sauerkraut and mash. The sausages were meaty, juicy, tenderly firm and very flavourful. As for the mash, it was quite rich and creamy with a fluffy texture. And the sauerkraut served was of mild acidity as they have noticed the taste preference of locals and other Asians a like that do not like the original sour taste of this German specialty.

Sauerkraut in the olden days, before refrigeration and produce importation, serves as the vital source of the vitamin Clactobacilli and other nutrients during the winter. It also contains increased levels of anti-cancer agents such as isothiocyanates.

jw119740

Before we left the place for another joint, we vowed that we will be back for their pork knuckle after spotted this item on their menu. The only German pork knuckle available in Penang was the Ingolf’s version, but now there is the Weissbrau version. Also available now in Straits Quay is the Irish version of pork knuckle at Finnegan‘s and the Bulgarian version in Vintage Bulgaria.

The “Crispy German Pork Knuckle” (RM48++) we had the next day at Weissbrau had a crispy layer of skin with minimal amounts of fats and chunks of tender moist meat. The flavours were closed to natural as we did not taste any residue of herbs or spices on and in the knuckle. Again like the day before, we had a choice of two (2) side dishes which I chose again the sauerkraut and something different, roesti. The roesti is actually a Swedish signature that has been included into the German eating culture due to the close proximity between the countries. Roesti is made from shredded potato formed into a flat pan-cake like shape and pan fried till golden brown. It was crisp on the surface and fluffy in the middle, quite nice to our palates.

jw129792

After the knuckle we had their “Alsatian Sauerkraut” (RM38++), which is a mixed plate of braised pork belly, loin, knuckle, Frankfurter and Nurnberger with one (1) choice of side dish. It is a healthy combination as the meaty items are either braised or boiled except for the Nurnberger. The meats were tender, flavourful and not salty at all, and the mash and sauerkraut were consistent in taste and texture.

jw129793_0

After the 2 recent back-to-back visits, we will definitely be back to try out other signatures or specials that they have to offer. Reason being there is consistency in taste and service. Another thing to look out for is the brown sauce that we found in two of the three dishes that we have tried so far, it is infused with wine and does not taste like the pre-mix type.

Overall experience:

Taste 4.0/5 (Consistent & Good)

  • Consistency in the mash, brown sauce with wine and sauerkraut.
  • Sausages are fine and juicy.
  • Naturally sweet mussel seamen with a hint of white wine after taste.
  • Pork Knuckles have flavours not only on the surface but within the meaty parts.
Texture 4.0/5 (Good)

  • Fluffy garlic mash.
  • Crisp and tender sausages with casings.
  • Smooth chocolate mousse with tender poached pears.
Service 4.0/5 (Good)

  • The greetings, smiling faces, attentiveness and most of all the courtesy to ask before they serve or collect the plates.
Cleanliness 4.0/5 (Good)

  • Clean and neat dining area and kitchen area.
Atmosphere 3.5/5 (Good)

  • Relaxing, cooling and cosy ambiance with a nice view of the seafront depending on location.
  • There are some mosquito problems in Straits Quay and the Weissbräu doing their best to solve their part.
Price 3.5/5 (Acceptable)

  • On the menu it looks pricey but quality speaks for itself.
Portion 4.0/5 (Good Portioning)

  • The restaurant is not stingy on the portioning; we are more concern on the ingredient quality and not quantity.
Value 4.5/5 (Very Good Value)

  • Includes the consideration of after promotion prices, quality of ingredients, presentation, location, affordability and experience.


    Address: Straits Quay, Lot 3C-G-1, Jalan Sri Tanjung Pinang, 10470 Tanjung Tokong, Penang.

    Tel: +60 (4) 8901808

    The Menu

    jw129754

    jw129751

    jw129759

    jw129757

    Loading
    Center map
    Traffic
    Bicycling
    Transit
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
    Share