Gourmet Garden

Hunting For The Flavors & Texture Of Yesteryears'


Weekend Sausage Sizzle By G Pool Bar At G Hotel Penang

Posted by Jason Wong On April - 7 - 20143 COMMENTS

A few weeks ago in March 2014, G Hotel launched its “Saturday Sunday Sausage Sizzle” offering a variety of specially crafted hotdogs at its own G Pool Bar. Set in an urban rooftop pool setting, the Saturday Sunday Sausage Sizzle encourages hotel guests, Penangites, shoppers from the adjacent Gurney Plaza and Gurney Paragon to step out into the sunny weekend afternoon to soak up the sun while enjoying cook to order jumbo hotdogs and a glasses of ice cold beer or an interesting cocktail mixed and shaken by their in-house bartender.

Two weekends (23 March 2014) ago we were invited by G Hotel’s MARCOM and F&B department for a sampling of their Saturday Sunday Sausage Sizzle. There were plenty of varieties to choose from their current menu offering in addition to the choice of either a beef or chicken sausages. Currently in season are their “G Town Sizzle”, “Chillin’ Sizzle”, “Guac-A-Sizzle”, “Sloppy Slaw Sizzle” and “Sunshine Sizzle”. Each sausage sizzle ordered at RM25++ comes with accompanying sides of a light salad and a choice of chips from potato chips, spiced cassava chips or nachos. The order also comes with a free glass of cold soda, but if sodas do not quench your thirst, upgrade to a beer or milkshake for just an additional RM10.

G Town Sizzle, a jumbo sausage smothered in G Hotel’s house pickled sweet relish, tomato & gherkin slices laid on a bed of iceberg lettuce and topped cheddar cheese in a toasted sesame bun. All condiments harmonizes each other perfectly, savory, sweet and tangy with some richness.

Chillin’ Sizzle, the jumbo sausage is crowned with pickled jalapenos, diced onion, Dijon mustard and lollo rossa lettuce. The flavours are brighten up by the tangy and spicy pickled jalapenos, sweet diced raw onion and sharp house-made Dijon mustard squiggles that give the Chillin’ Sizzle its zing.

Guac-A-Sizzle, open flame grilled jumbo sausage topped with a gorgeous mosaic of avocado chunks, tomatoes, diced onion, green cilantro leaves and dill cucumber salsa. It is a rich and refreshing combination.

Sloppy Slaw Sizzle, the jumbo hotdog is topped with apple-horseradish slaw, whole grain mustard and gruyere cheese. An unusual combination but once tasted, the flavours do jive together.

Sunshine Sizzle, cream cheese, mayonnaise, pickled red onions and fresh dill relish makes up the toppings for this light yet refreshingly tasteful hotdog.

If hotdogs are not your cup of tea, there are options like G Club Sandwich, Steak Sandwich, Southwestern Slider, Fish Fillet Burger and Pizzas. If milkshakes, draft beers or sodas do not water down your thirst, G Pool bar also serves their signature Slush which comes with strawberry or mango flavours. Even their cocktails are also good enough to kill the heat.

Apart from enjoying an ice cold drink, a good hotdog or whatever you favor on a sunny weekend afternoon, patrons will be able to enjoy a dip in their stunning infinity swimming pool, chill out with your family and loved ones at the comfy poolside couches. Their poolside staffs will also be ever ready to assist and pamper you, up to a point to even help you clean your sunglasses.

For reservations, please call 04-238 0000 or email food.beverage@ghotel.com.my

G Hotel
Address: 168A Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang
Grilling hours starts from 12pm till 6pm.
* Thanks to the gracious invitation by G Hotel and appreciate the company and explanation given by their Marcom and F&B staffs.

Edo Ichi & Friends, A Salon of Artisans

Posted by Jason Wong On November - 4 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

Edo Ichi Japanese Restaurant got its name from the period when Japan was under the rule of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Edo period 江戸時代, from 1603 to 1868. The Edo period was a period characterized with economic growth, strict social order, isolationist foreign policies, environmental protection policies and the exponential growth in the appreciation for the arts and culture. Edo literally means estuary or bay entrance and is the former name of Tokyo, which is also the seat of power for the Tokugawa shogunate.

Established in the year 2001, twelve years down, with 16 individual restaurants and 5 different brand names, the Edo Ichi group’s success owes much to their insistence on upholding traditional Japanese dining cultures developed since the Edo period, practicing old and new food preparation methods and using fresh and good quality ingredients for their dishes.

Having been involved in the restaurant business that highly emphasizes on the importance of traditional dining cultures and the appreciation of the art of dining, Edo Ichi had in July 2013 through a simple dinner cum media conference at their Island Plaza (Penang) outlet, launched their “Edo Ichi & Friends” campaign to bring together personalities and craftsmen that share the same aspirations and appreciations for culture and arts and innovative thinking. The campaign aims at inviting and bringing in people that still practices ancient traditional craftsmanship, artists, creative thinkers and innovative creators to share and impart their knowledge and experience through various activities and programmes.

The first craftsman to join the campaign or movement was Martin Pauli, a contemporary master in handcrafted watch making from Switzerland. Martin founded Angular Momentum of Switzerland in 1995 with the vision to create and manufacture beautiful handmade timepieces, manufactured under inclusion of old technologies and traditional craft with the premise that no single part is made by CNC machines, not depending to suppliers and all working steps done through his personal hands.

He developed a fundamentally new system of time display, Revolving Disk (RDS), which has successfully replaced the classic watches with three-hands. Martin Pauli’s specialty is in decorating his hand crafted watches with art, age old traditional craft infused with newly developed methods; reverse painting on glass, gilding on glass, engraving on silver, gold, pearl, porcelain, etc. He is a mechanic, artisan, miniaturist, engraver, goldsmith and enamellist.

After the scrumptious Japanese dinner, we had an after-dinner-session over a bottle of warm sake, and here is an abstract from the informal Q&A we had with Edo Ichi’s PR representative founder of La Bibliotheque Du Temps, Mr. T.F. Chong:

Jason: Why did you invite Martin Pauli to join the “Edo Ichi & Friends” campaign?
PR: It was the timing; coincidentally Martin and I are planning to set-up a “Salon Metiers d’Art – La Bibliotheque Du Temps” in Malaysia. It will be a library cum gathering point for watch enthusiasts that will showcase handcrafted watches and a whole load of information and history related to watch making.

Jason: Why did Martin agree to join the campaign or movement?
PR: He shares a similar appreciation and admiration for the meticulous methods of preparation, art and culture behind the Japanese cuisine as that of Edo Ichi’s.

Jason: What will be the form of collaboration between Martin and Edo Ichi?
PR: Martin will allow Edo Ichi to use his images/art work and philosophy in the campaign to cross promote each other’s ideas, concept and aspirations.

Jason: Would these craftsmen and friends impart or share their skills to create new dishes for Edo Ichi?
PR: Depending on the possibilities as not all will be skilled in the culinary arts, but they will be sharing their ideas, concepts, philosophy and work ethics with Edo Ichi to improve in other areas as well.

Jason: Would Edo Ichi create a special dish or menu to introduce and celebrate the joining of new “friends” to the campaign?
PR: May be yes for future collaborations, but definitely not for now as time does not allow us to do so.

Jason: Would Edo Ichi create a Master Class for the public or its loyal customers to attend if the “friends” are from the culinary industry?
PR: It would be a good idea if time permits it.

Here is a glimpse of the dishes that were served to the media representatives that showcased some of Edo Ichi’s hand picked favourites and signatures:

Clockwise from top left corner: Soft Kani Karaage To Shake Kawa Sarada, Sashimi Moriawase (Assorted Raw Fish Platter), Zenzai (Appertizer), Matsuzaka Gyu To Eriingi Butteryaki, and Kinmedai To Yasai Takiawase.

Clockwise from bottom left: Kaki Furai, Kurumaebi Ninniku Yaki, Kinoko Miso Shiru and Momo To Matcha Ice Cream.

 The Dinner Menu

Zenzai (Appertizer)
Hotate Aburiyaki (Seared Fresh Scallop)
Unagi Dashimaki Tamago (Japanese Omelette Stuffed With Grilled Eel)
Shake Mizuna Maki (Salmon Rolled With Japanese Watercress)

Sashimi Moriawase (Assorted Raw Fish Platter)
Mekajiki Toro (Swordfish Belly)
Botan Ebi (Humpback Shrimp)
Kanpachi (Greater Amberjack)
Uni (Sea Urchin)

Soft Kani Karaage To Shake Kawa Sarada (Mini Salad Topped With Crispy Soft Shell Crab & Salmon Skin Served With Signature Sesame Dressing)

Age Mono
Kaki Furai (Deep Fried Breaded Oyster Served With Tonkatsu Sauce)

Kinmedai To Yasai Takiawase (Braised Splendid Alfonsino Fish & Assorted Vegetables With Soy Sauce)

Matsuzaka Gyu To Eriingi Butteryaki (Panfried A5 Matsuzaka Beef & Apricot Mushroom With Special Garlic Butter Sauce)
Kurumaebi Ninniku Yaki (Grilled Tiger Prawn With Garlic Mayonnaise)

Kinoko Miso Shiru (Bean Paste Soup With Assorted Mushroom)

Momo To Matcha Ice Cream (Japanese Peach & Green Tea Ice Cream)

This interview/article was published in Vouch free magazine in November 2013.


That Little Wine Bar

In the search for inspiration to create new dishes for their That Little Wine Bar menu Chef Tommes was in France recently (April & May 2013), travelling, eating, tasting and rekindling with the rustic world of  French cuisine.

Through his travels, he found that many small-town and countryside restaurants in France, which are manned by a husband and wife team, have returned to the basic rustic French cooking, stripping away all the luxury costs to wade out the current slump in the French economy.

These regional restaurants are now serving very regionalised rustic French food from as far back as the 1980’s and beyond, dishes that the locals grew up with and knows how they should taste and look like.

Eating his way through his tour of France, Tommes brought some of the dishes that he knew but have long forgotten to That Little Wine Bar. But the dishes found in his restaurant are prepared with a twist or two of modernization, but still retaining the old world taste and textures, and of course don’t forget the amazing and never finishing wine tasting.

Starting off with the show he came with a few bottles of wine, each different from the other, each process of the wines were mention for more personal appreciation and for everyone to try to perceived the flavors, aromas and the special characteristics of the wine. Then it comes the recognition stage, were you determined the appearance, the aroma, the flavor sensation and finish with the aftertaste. 

In this place you can find a range of flavors, from red wines such as the Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir, white wines like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Gris. One surprising thing is the special type of wine that comes with the same fermentation process or non alcoholic wine you might say. Nowadays with modern technology, some could argue that today’s non alcoholic wine range, is tasting more and more similar to real red wine and becoming more popular along the way.


After this amazing tasting you can see the preview of a dish that is only served on Fridays and Saturdays, the Gascony influenced Peckish Platter for 2 consist of Smoked Salmon with Homemade Sour Cream and Caviar, Mini Vol-Au-Vent with Foie Gras Mousse, 3-Salmon Tartare, Homemade Hoummus, Chicken Liver Pate, Spanish Sardines on Croustillade, Marinated Duck Breast Slices, Portuguese style Octopus Ceviche, Spanish Olives, Spanish Anchovies with Grana Parmesan. Gascony is an area in the southwest of France, sandwiched between Spain and France. This area is famous for its ducks, geese, foie gras and Armagnac brandy.

Mini Vol-Au-Vent with Foie Gras Mousse, puffed pastry filled with a fluffy light mousse made from foie gras and heavy cream. It would have been splendid to have had the experience to taste this little creation.

Smoked Salmon with Homemade Sour Cream and Caviar, the smoked salmon accentuates a savoury and smoky flavour which was equalised with the slightly tart and creamy taste of freeze sour cream. The most pungent and most expensive of this dish would be the crowning caviar, salty with a very firm texture that pops in your mouth.

3-Salmon Tartare consist of poached salmon, smoked salmon and marinated chopped and served with fresh egg mayonnaise and herbs and spices. The combination of cooked, smoked and raw salmon helps rookies to tartare an alternative experience and ease of acceptance to a dish which is otherwise made of raw meat or fish.

Spanish Sardines on Croustillade came in pairs, the sardines in oil were meaty sweet and savoury to taste with a firm and woody texture (akin to a tender meat jerky) served on a bed of tomato concasse with olives and oregano on piece of crispy fried sourdough bread.

Portuguese style Octopus Ceviche, raw octopus marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and chopped parsley. The thinly sliced octopus pieces are “cooked” by the acidity from the lemon have a firm and chewy texture, and a tangy fruity taste that when paired with red wines are complementary to each other.  It also offers an antidote to the alcohol effects of wines.

Marinated Duck Breast, a very Gascony cold cut dish that is either taken straight or seasoned with a pinch of salt and black pepper to enhance its flavours. The duck pieces were firm with sweet and pleasant flavours minus the gamey taste.

Spanish Anchovies with Grana Parmesan, a simple yet delicately balanced dish of salty fragrant Spanish anchovies served on a bed of smoky and spicy sweet char grilled pimiento (a.k.a. Cherry Pepper) and topped with shavings of rich and savoury Parmesan. Again, it is best eaten straight as it is, but chunks of baguettes also offer an alternative experience and cuts the strong salty taste.

There was also a Chicken Liver Pate in the Peckish Platter, which was less oily and irony due to the sweet citrus taste of the introduction of orange. It goes well with bread, but for me toasted bread would have been my choice. Not to forget too, were the savoury pickled olives.

Another new dish to the menu is their White Asparagus Cream Soup with croutons on the side. The soup had a delicate flavour which was further enriched with cream thus producing a creamy taste of spring. The croutons on the side gave the soup dish with a bit of bite and crunch, rather than the usual soaked through lumps of croutons. White Asparagus are usually not served in wine bars as it will irritate the palate, thus causing a metallic kind of aftertaste. And traditionally in Germany (Europe), they are usually prepared and cooked before noon to preserve their delicate flavours and texture from oxidising after harvest.

Their  Middle Eastern Platter has influences from the Algerian and Morrocan migrants living in France. The platter consists of Baba ghanoush, Hummous, Artichoke Hearts in Oil, Feta Cheese and Dolmades ( a Greek styled glutinous rice rolled in grapevine leaf). The baba ghanoush had an earthy and light smoky  flavour with chunky texture, artichoke hearts were tart with a fibrous texture,  feta cheese was salty and rich, and the Dolmades were sourish with a firm tender texture. Personally, the artichoke hearts and Dolmades were overly tart for our preference.

A rustic and filling dish , Baked Camembert. At That Little Wine Bar, Chef Tommes modified this old “friend” of his by substituting Camembert with Brie; the 125g of breaded cheese was oven baked to a golden brown and served with cranberry jelly cubes and a side salad. For a full blown experience, start digging in while the cheese is still hot from the oven, and it would give you a cheese fondue like experience with a bit crunch here and there.

A 1960’s era southwest France dish, Marinated Duck Breast. The tender cut of duck breast was marinated overnight with rosemary, garlic, juniper berry, black pepper and honey, then pan fried until ‘a pointe’ or pink in the middle and served with seared mash potato, string beans and carrots francaise. The duck breast was sweet, spicy and meaty without that gamey taste, and the mash was fluffy and creamy.

Their revamped Beef Tenderloin with Merlot wine reduction sauce comes with shimeji mushrooms, nutmeg seasoned spinach, potato and carrot mash and caramelised onions. The beef tenderloin was tender, juicy and well seasoned, and the wine reduction sauce was full of body with a light hint of pepperiness and a sweet aftertaste.

John Dory with Moroccan-style rice, pan seared dory fillet and scallop served with a lemon half on the side and melted butter  on a bed of flavoured Moroccan-styled rice (with raisins, orange cubes and almonds) and complemented with carrots and string beans. The fish fillet was succulent and tender, and the rice slightly spicy and sweet.

The traditionally French styled  Seared Scallops and cauliflower are refined at That Little wine bar. The scallops pan seared with a pinch of cayenne pepper and seasoned with just salt and pepper, then served with a re-boiled cauliflower mash, capers and raisin emulsion, and topped with nutmeg dusting and finely chopped parsley. The capers and raisin emulsion had a bold and full body flavour that combines the sharp tanginess of capers and the sweet mellow taste of raisins that enhanced the taste and texture of the scallops and cauliflower mash.

The preview at That Little Wine Bar gave us further insight into Chef Tommes’ passion and knowledge in the culinary arts. The revival of old rustic food, in this case French food, also denotes that trend or cycle of the return to the basic recipes and food that people grew up with. It is this type of food that has filled our tummies when were young and will comfort us during hard times. The dishes showcased during the preview where simple food that requires not a lot of luxurious ingredients, but simple inexpensive components with a bit of knowledge in the cooking techniques and an understanding in the characteristics of the ingredients.    

On average, our overall experience:

  • 4.0/5 (Good)
  • Our personal likes were their Beef Tenderloin, Baked Camembert, Seared Scallops, Marinated Duck White Asparagus Soup and some of the items on the Peckish Platter.
  • The Baked Camembert (Brie) was not too greasy nor to taxing on the palate.
  • Although I liked the full body of the Merlot wine reduction, it was slightly sweeter for my preference.
  • The Dolmades and Artichoke Hearts were overly tart for us.
  • 4.0/5 (Good)
  • The majority of the dishes presented were served with our desired doneness, but there were one or two items that we personally did not like.
  • The beef tenderloin, duck breast, fish fillet and scallops were tender and  succulent.
  • The vegetables and mash were equally well prepared.
  • N/A
  • 4.0/5 (Good)
  • Well maintained dining area.
  • 3.0/5 (Average)
  • Dimly lit dining area that is great for causal dining, chit chatting and wine appreciating.
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • N/A

Address: 54, Jalan Chow Thye, Georgetown, 10050 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
Phone:+60 4-226 8182
Business Hours: Monday to Thursday  5:00 pm – 12:00 am & Friday to Saturday 5:00 pm – 1:00 am. Sunday Closed


Buka Puasa (Breaking Fast) At Hard Rock Hotel Penang

Posted by Jason Wong On July - 13 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

Time flies fast when you least expected! Just last year in July we were at Hard Rock Hotel to sample their “Buka Puasa Buffet” and with a blink of an eye we are now tasting their 2013 Ramadhan offerings. Muslims around the world will abstain from eating and drinking from dawn until dusk during the Ramadhan month, and it is also the time when an abundance of traditional Malay cuisine and newly assimilated Halal dishes are on displays in daily street markets, restaurant and hotels.

This year, Hard Rock Hotel Penang has come up a few interesting specials to celebrate the holy month of Ramadhan:

  1. The Relax & Feast Package – RM399++ per room per night for 2 pax, inclusive of breakfast and dinner.
  2. The Early Bird Mini Breakfast Buffet – breakfast buffet served from 4:30 am to 5:30 am RM25++ per adult and  RM12.59 per child (4 to 12 years of age).
  3. The Bintang Rock Dinner Buffet – Rm68++ per adult and RM34++ per child, available from 6:30 pm onwards.
  4. The Rock Platter by Hard Rock Cafe Penang – RM120++ per platter for 2 persons, available from 11:30 am to 10:30 pm.

To our surprise, the Bintang Rock Dinner Buffet had a very Malay cuisine theme spread of dishes that impress us at first sight. It is filled with a variety of traditional and new Malay dishes that are very representative of the Malay culture food heritage, but there are some signature dishes that stands out as their specialty and should not be missed. The only down side of the buffet menu is that these signature dishes are distributed into 3 menus that will be rotated weekly (please refer to the menu available at the end of this article).

  1. Bubur Lambuk or Lambut / Soft Rice Congee,
  2. Udang Masak Hijau Putik Pisang / Green Curry Prawns with Young Banana,
  3. Daging Masak Kicap / Spiced Soy Beef,
  4. Ketam Masak Kicap / Braised Blue Crab in Turmeric, Coconut and Pineapple,
  5. Pari Assam Pedas / Hot & Sour Stingray with Chili, Okra & Eggplant,
  6. Assam Laksa Johor / Johor Tamarind (sour) Laksa,
  7. Laksa Penang / Penang Assam Laksa,
  8. Sambal Tumis Udang & Petai / Sauteed Prawn with Sambal and Parkia Speciosa Beans,
  9. Gulai Kambing Serai / Lemongrass Mutton Curry,
  10. Gulai Ayam / Curry Chicken,
  11. Ayam Percik / Grilled Chicken with Spicy Sauce.

To begin the buffet spread, there are a variety of Ulam (Malay raw salads) and Kerabu (cooked salads), Rojak (fruit salad) and the common mixed vegetable section.

Going on to the main courses, it is a composition of Malay dishes ranging from Gulai (curries), Rendang (thick curries) to Satay, and a variety of Chinese and other Asian dishes that have been assimilated to suit the needs to be Halal.

There are also live action stations that are setup to provide local favourites like Roti Canai (Roti Pratha), Laksa, Mee Udang (Spicy Prawn Noodles) and more.

After the mains, desserts are definitely on the buffet line; it is a fusion of Malay kuih (sweet cakes), ice-kacang (shaved ice), bubur manis (sweet porridge) and some western cakes and puddings.

Compare to previous year’s Ramadhan themed buffet spread, I would say this Bintang Rock Buffet is more representative of the Malay food culture and eating habits. Some of our favourites from the Bintang Rock Buffet week 1 menu are:

  1. Bubur Lambuk or Lambut – soft texture with a balanced sweet savoury taste.
  2. Beef Rendang – rich and spicy with not a lot of heat and the meat tender.
  3. Serunding (meat floss) – sweet tasting with a slight spicy aftertaste.

Bubur Lambuk or Lambut

Beef Rendang

Serunding (meat floss)

Overall experience for Starz Diner’s Bintang Rock Buffet week 1 menu:

  • 3.5/5 (Averagely Good)
  • There were some interesting flavours in play in some of the dishes on the buffet line, but there were some that were slightly over seasoned with salt.
  • Our personal favourites for week 1 were the Bubur Lambuk, Beef Rendang, Udang Masak Hijau Putik Pisang and Pear Almond Tart.
  • 3.0/5 (Average)
  • Any food left on the bain-marie over a period of time would ultimately overcook the meat or vegetables. The tip is to have them fresh.
  • N/A as it is an invited review event, but the staffs at hand were quite attentive, friendly and helpful.
  • 4.5/5 (Very Good)
  • The dining area was neat and clean.
  • 3.5/5 (Averagely Good)
  • Comfortable seats and bright dining area.
  • 3.5/5 (Averagely Good)
  • It is comparatively similar to the buffets being offered elsewhere.
  • N/A as it is a dinner buffet.
  • N/A as it is a dinner buffet but we would like to see in the future a further expansion on the main course diversity if possible.
  • 4.0/5 (Good)
  • By comparing to the previous year’s Ramadhan buffet line up, there is a mark improvement in the variety of dishes that are representative to the Malay food culture and eating habits.

Moving to Hard Rock Cafe’s Rock Platter 2013 for 2 persons, this festive puasa season sees them creating again a limited time platter combination that is hearty and flavourful. Apart from offering the cafe’s favourites like onion rings, potato skins, Santa Fe Spring Rolls, Hickory-smoked Bar-B-Que Beef Ribs, Mini Apple Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream and Mini Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream, this year’s platter have included more Malay influenced dishes like Mini Rendang Pulled Chicken Sandwich, Red Cooked Chicken, Mini Pulled Lamb Sandwich and Chicken Rendang.

 Overall experience for Hard Rock Cafe’s Rock Platter menu A:

  • 4.0/5 (Good)
  • Our personal favourites from Rock Platter A were the Grilled Mini Beef Quesadilla, Red Cooked Chicken and Hickory-Smoked Bar-B-Que Chicken.
  • 3.5/5 (Average Good)
  • The chicken was tender and flavourful.
  • The beef was medium-well with still some pink in them.
  • N/A as it is an invited review event, but the staffs at hand were quite attentive, friendly and helpful.
  • 4.5/5 (Very Good)
  • The dining area was neat and clean.
  • 3.5/5 (Averagely Good)
  • Comfortable seats and bright dining area.
  • 3.0/5 (Average)
  • It is more or less on the dear side, but it is dining in the famous Hard Rock Cafe.
  • 4.0/5 (Good)
  • Although the platter is meant for 2 people, it could feed up 3 averagely hungry mouths.
  • N/A as it is a dinner buffet but we would like to see in the future a further expansion on the main course diversity if possible.
  • 4.0/5 (Good)
  • Comparing to the previous year’s Puasa month Eat’s Platter, it has increased the representation of Malay influenced dishes in the food platter composition. And is nearer to the Ramadhan month’s theme.

The above mentioned offers are from now until the 6th, 7th and 9th of August 2013 respectively. For details or reservations, please call Hard Rock Hotel Penang at +604-8811711 or email them at info.penang@hardrockhotels.net .

<<Bintang Rock Dinner Buffet Menus>>




We aren’t dessert persons, especially those that are over sweet and have a monotonous taste which do not excite our palates. So, when we were invited by Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa to sample their new pastry chef’s, Chef Dino Wan, cheesecakes,  we were quite foreign to him.  From the press release and interview, he has made quite a name for himself in the pastry and dessert industry. Chef Dino has won a string of awards, a silver medal in 1989 and gold medals in 1991, 1993 and 1995 in his forays in the Penang International Salon Gastronomique organised by Chefs Association of Malaysia, Penang Chapter. His international award includes a bronze medal in 1996 at the International Food & Hospitality Show (IFHS) in Thailand. Chef Dino will be heading Rasa Sayang’s pastry kitchen to churn out more exciting desserts for their F&B outlets.

Starting from July Rasa Sayang will be pushing out their new cheese cake sextet; Signature Cheese Cake, Butterscotch Mascarpone Cheese Cake, Marble Cheese Cake, Coconut Pandan Cheese Cake Green Tea Cheese Cake and Red Velvet Cheese Cake.

Our most preferred variety was Chef Dino’s Signature Cheese Cake, a non-baked cheesecake made with yogurt and cheese that results in a lighter richness and a smoother texture. The base was made from a mixture of cream crackers and digestive biscuits that gave it a fluffier texture that absorbs much moisture.

Butterscotch Mascarpone Cheese Cake,  made from a balance mix of Mascarpone, cream cheese and butterscotch for that subtle creaminess and un-overpowering buttery sweet caramel taste.

Marble Cheese Cake, made by combining cream, Philadelphia cream cheese and chocolate with gelatine to produce a firm yet tender springy texture. The rich dairy taste is balanced off with the tartness of fresh strawberry and a cup of good quality dark coffee minus sugar.

Coconut Pandan Cheese Cake is made with a dash of Asian flavours, coconut milk (santan), screwpine leaf (daun pandan) extract  and cream cheese. The result is a cheesecake with the savoury taste of coconut and richness of the cheese with the refreshing fragrance of the screwpine leaf. The taste profile is reminiscent to the local Nyonya Kuih Bengka, a sweet cake made from sweet potato, coconut milk and screwpine leaves.

Another Asian influenced cake is Chef Dino’s Green Tea Cheese Cake, made with real green tea powder, cream cheese  and constructed with gelatine for that sandy and supple pudding texture. The cake has a sweet and subtle green tea flavour which is light on the tongue.

Last but not least was his Red Velvet Cheese Cake creation, a combination of cream cheese, red dye and a cocoa powder and Oreo cookie base. It had a light, fluffy and velvety  cheese filling supported by the sweet dark flavour of cocoa and the bittersweet tasting Oreos crust. Neither too sweet nor too rich for the taste buds.

These cheesecakes are sold by per 1 kg cake starting from RM80+ at the hotel’s Rasa Deli situated in the Garden Wing of Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa.  The cakes are made to order to lock in the freshness, therefore it requires a 48-hours pre-order time before pick-up.

The Rasa Deli offers enchanting treats for kids and young-at-heart adults, product range from fresh baked artisan bread, hearty yet healthy sandwiches, dainty petit fours, pralines, rainbow-coloured macaroons, tempting cakes, eclairs, muffins and generous-sized cookies. And now with the addition of house made cheesecakes serve by friendly and helpful deli staffs.

Rasa Deli (at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, Garden Wing)

Business Hours:  11:00 am to 6.30 pm daily.

Tel No.:  04- 888 8788.


Five27 New Nordic Cuisine At Penang’s Straits Quay

Posted by Jason Wong On April - 3 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

Last month we were invited yet again to a newly establish restaurant in Straits Quay. Taking over from Agua, Five 27 serves Nordic cuisines that are prepared by Executive Chef cum General Manager, Nizar Achmad. Chef Nizar has spent 14 years of his live establishing and mastering his culinary skills in Sweden, where it was said that he has cooked for a list of high-profile patrons which includes the likes of stars, royalty, and Nobel Prize winners.

It is an unusual name Five27 is! The named was conjured from the precise latitude coordinate of the restaurant. Established in January 2013 and officially launched in March, Five27 is publicized as the first New Nordic concept restaurant in Malaysia that offers fine and refreshing selection of healthy seasonal food, prepared using the freshest ingredients possible, and put together with groundbreaking and sometimes provocative techniques that exemplify the true spirit of the New Nordic cuisine.

Nordic refers to the North-Western European countries of Scandinavia that consist of mainly Denmark, Norway, Sweden and as well as Iceland and Finland. Thus, Nordic cuisine encompasses the traditional eating cultures, cooking practices and ingredients from the Scandinavian countries. The new Nordic cuisine was created in an attempt to promote natural produce as a basis for new dishes both in restaurants and in the home.

Apart from serving wholesome food minus the MSG, located on the ground floor of Penang’s Straits Quay that overlooks the breathtaking view of the Andaman Sea beyond the private yacht dock, Five27 was conceptualized with comfort and uncompromising service that sets the mood for fun casual dining, and harnesses the spirit of sharing and togetherness for quality time with their friends and family.

During the simple launch event, we were given a sample taste of what Five 27 and Chef Nizar was capable of. In the buffet line up, they put onto plate some of their signatures which were quite intriguing. To start off was their creamy and earthy ‘Chanterelle soup’ which has generous amounts of chopped and whole mushrooms. Then there was their ‘Nordic Salad’ which a balance of tartness and sweetness, and a wonderful selection of crisp and fresh mixed greens and root vegetables.

The ‘Home-made Traditional Swedish Meat Balls’ where juicy tender and chunky, well complimented by its equally flavourful brown sauce that did not overwhelm the gentle flavours of the beefy meat balls.

The ‘Lightly Cured Salmon in Traditional Swedish Marinate’ were firm and tender with a dash spice and caramel sweetness that were easy going to the palate. The fresh dill gave the dish a hint of freshness and herby aroma.

The ‘Slow Cooked Lamb’ (bottom 1st) and ‘Braised Beef Ribs’ (botom 2nd) were both juicy and fall-off the bone tender with a sweet savoury taste that went well with their paired side dishes and garnishes.

Their ‘Shiitake Mushroom Lasagne’ was equally sexy in the sense that cheese combination reminded us of the unique taste of the Swedish cheese fondue that we greatly enjoy and long for.

Their simple ‘Potato Mash with Truffle Oil’ was exquisite in the sense that they have included the richness of Swedish cheese and the sweet earthy flavours of truffle oil. Simple and yet comforting at times of need.

As for dessert we were served a  rich chocolate flavoured cake that kept me going for more and a carrot cake that was filled with fine julienne of “real” carrot and aromatic spices.

All in all, the experience at Five27 was casual and well attended to, and the food was equally simple and comforting. Therefore it is a place that warrants a revisit to properly figure out and judge what are their real “products” that would persuade diners to return for more experience.

Addres: 3AG18-19 Straits Quay, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, 10470Tanjung Tokong, Penang.
Phone No.: +604-8900435
Website: http://five27.asia/
Business Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11am-11pm & Friday-Saturday 11am – 12pm.
GPS Coordinates: E5.457777, N100.313405


Sushi Tei, Sunway Carnival

Posted by Jason Wong On December - 10 - 20121 COMMENT

Since setting foot in Penang with its initial outlet in Gurney Plaza some months back, Sushi Tei has carved a name for itself in the Japanese food scene and gathered a line of loyal clientele. With the confidence built up, they have ventured into the Province Wellesley market with their recently opened outlet in Sunway Carnival in Seberang Jaya.

Since its debut in 1994, Sushi Tei has spread their wings to over 5 countries; from Singapore to Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Australia. Their menu features contemporary Japanese offerings to innovative dishes influenced by Asian flavours. Its menu begins with a revolving selection of appetizers, sashimi, sushi, tempura, to a variety of nabe, ramen, udon, soba, etc. There is also a modest and unassuming Kaiten (conveyor belt) encircling an open-kitchen that allows dinners to be entertained by the culinary activities of the restaurants’ chefs while waiting to be served.

As with many Japanese restaurants, Sushi Tei also provides for seasonal themed menus apart from the staple favourites and signatures that they are known for. The seasonal offerings coincide with Japan’s seasons of change and the ingredients that comes with it, Salmon harvesting season, Autumn’s special the coldest season, Aburi Spring season special, etc.

During the closed door food sampling event which we sat in for the magazine that we usually write for, we asked for dishes from their ala carte menu that are hard to go wrong with and that sets them apart from other chain restaurants.

Shiretoko(RM88.80), an assortment of thickly sliced fish sashimi and a heap of sea bream.  The yellow-tail and butterfish sashimi were firm and tender with light undertone sweetness, the salmon creamy, and the tuna belly marbleised and rich. The sea bream pieces were creamy with a strong sweet taste.

Aburi Sushi Mariawase (RM26.80), a combination of 6 types of half broiled fish and scallop on a bed of gluttonised rice rolls. The pieces of selected juicy cuts had a smoky flavour that differentiates them from the usual sushi offerings.

Nama Kaki Aburi Wafuu Carpaccio (RM10.80), 2 pieces of succulent Japanese styled half broiled oyster Carpaccio served with a handful of raw sprouts, chopped spring onion and chopped tomatoes. It was slightly sweet, slightly earthy with hints of acidity, but the bitterness of the sprouts might not go well with some individual taste preferences though it brings a contrast of colours and an opposite texture spectrum with the smooth oysters.

Duck Aburi, 7 slices of smoked gamey duck breast served their tangy, savoury Carpaccio dressing and lightly bitter sprouts.

Gyu Misoki (RM15.80), sliced raw beef lightly marinated with a miso base sauce that comes with its own portable grill-pan. The sweet, nutty fermented aroma is immediately released when the beef slices are grilled over the red hot grill pan.

Kaisen Tan Tan Ramen (RM22.80), firm and springy ramen noodles served in a lightly spiced, sweet and creamy sesame base soup with succulent prawns, sweet scallops and savoury, sweet squid tentacles. The piping hot and comforting bowl of noodle was one of our favourites and is also one of Sushi Tei’s best seller noodles.

Although Sushi Tei is a pork-free Japanese chain restaurant, it does carry a list of beers and sakes that is very often a good companion to the flavourful contemporary Japanese dishes and Asian taste influenced offerings that their chefs create from their open kitchen.

All in all, Sushi Tei is one out of the many Japanese restaurant chains that we have visited and would not mind returning a good bowl of piping hot ramen, some quick snacks or chatting up with some all friends over some drinks in a private corner.

Sushi Tei Sunway Carnival
Add: Sunway Carnival Mall : LG-02&03, Sunway Carnival Mall, Penang. Tel +604 390 6014
Website: http://www.sushitei.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sushiteimalaysia
These are some of the dishes that we have had in the past to their Gurney Plaza outlet:


The Norwegian Norway, In A Class Of Its Own

Posted by Jason Wong On November - 22 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

A recently held Norwegian Consumer Goods Exhibition held at Gurney Plaza that we were invited to for their launch was organized by the Royal Norwegian Embassy from Kuala Lumpur. The exhibition held from 1st November 2012 to the 4th in Penang, was a virgin showcase of some of the range of products and brands that have set foot in Malaysia. Alongside the exhibition, the Norwegian embassy also brought with them the Norwegian life and landscapes captured through the lenses of their photographers in their “Norway at a glance” photo exhibition.

The exhibition was formally officiated by H.E. Hans Ola Urstad, Ambassador of Norway and YAB Tuan Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang. The launch event also saw a simple gift presentation ceremony to the Children’s Protection Society and its representatives.

Before introducing the brands that were on showcase at the exhibition, lets get to know a little bit about Norway. Norway is one of the founding members of United Nation, NATO and European Free Trade Area. Its capital city is Oslo. Norway has a total area of 385,252 square kilometres and a population of approximately 5.01 million, and it is the second least densely populated country in Europe. Norway shares borders with Sweden, Finland, Russia and Denmark across the Skagerrak Strait.

Norway is richly endowed with natural resources in area’s petroleum, hydropower, fishery, forestry, and minerals. Large oil and gas reserves discovered in the 1960s led to their economic boom and are still one of their major revenue generators at current. Approximately 28% of their state revenue is generated from the oil and gas industry. And from the revenue generated from oil and gas industry, a Sovereign Wealth Fund (Government Pension Fund) was established in 1995 as a hedge/cushion against Norways aging population and to prevent an overheating of their economy from oil revenues. As of March 2011, Norway’s Government Pension Fund controlled assets valued are approximately US$570 billion or equal to US$114,000 per capita. How much are we Malaysian’s worth with all the abundant natural resources that our land has?

This Northern European country that got their independence from Sweden in 1905 has distinctive four seasons, spring, summer, autumn and winter. Spring is the time to see Greylag geese approaching in v-formation over the spring horizon, and a time to smell the scent of apple blossom in Hardanger. Summer is the season to hear the crashing waves in the south, to feel the southerly winds blowing across their famous fjords and to see herds of reindeers grazing under the Midnight Sun. Summer is also the time to explore Norway’s great outdoors by foot, bicycle and to go fishing.

Autumn is when the golden-red landscape welcomes the harvest of wild Chanterelles or plump Cloudberries near a secluded mountain lake, and when rivers become the hosting ground for large quality fishes ready to be snagged. Winter is a season for dog-sledding, ice-fishing and a time for stories of legends past around a fireplace in a “lavvu”.

With the skilled livestock husbandry and unspoiled and good natural conditions produces quality ingredients like their famous Norwegian lamb, smoked salmon, Stockfish, cheeses, etc. Long light nights also blossoms into tastier fruits and berries. No wonder Norway is house to 4 Michelin Starred restaurants:

  1. Maaemo, a two star restaurant in the Michelin Guide, which they received right after 14 months of their opening. Their seasonal menu is based on 100% organic local ingredients, including rare Norwegian herbs and berries, and complimented with an exciting wine list.
  2. Bagatelle, a one star restaurant which first opened its doors in 1932. It serves Norwegian-French cuisine with an emphasis on Norwegian ingredients like herring, cod, halibut, king crab and so on.
  3. Statholdergaarden, manned by chefs Bent Stiansen and Torbjørn Forster that creates dishes from the best ingredients that Norway has to offer with best European food traditions and a touch of world inspirations.
  4. Restaurant Oscarsgate, a 20pax capacity dining room that represents one of Oslo’s most innovative and competent kitchens, presenting an à la carte menu featuring a daily fish or meat special alongside a five- or eight-course menu.

With the exhibition, the Norwegian embassy brought with them brands like Jarlsberg, Trapia, Jotun and Jordon. Jarlsberg cheeses are the product of Norway’s quality milk that comes from the favourable living conditions for their cows and goats, cold climate, vast grazing pastures and good animal husbandry. Tine Norway has been exporting Jarlsberg cheeses since 1961, and is one of the best selling brands in US, Europe and Australia. There were a few varieties of cheeses brought in for sampling and the one that caught our attention was their Gudbransdalen cheese. This brown coloured cheese was first invented in the 1860s by a farmer’s wife , Anne Hov, who took whey and boiled it for long hours together with goat’s milk, cow’s milk and cream. Thus, producing a brown fudge like cheese with a sweet taste of caramel  and  a clean and slightly sour taste of goat’s milk.

Traceable Tilapia or Trapia, in short, is an eco-friendly fish farming operation located in the pristine rainforest-fed freshwater Tememnggor Lake. It produces a unique strain of GenoMar Supreme Tilapia fish from egg-to-plate process that is said to be verifiable, traceable, high quality, healthy and most importantly sustainable. The harvests are mainly exported to countries where safe  and and sustainable fish stock is required, about 80% is exported.

Jotun, a brand that we thought was a local brand turns out to be a Norwegian paint, coating and powder coating manufacturer that has been operating in Sandefjord, Norway since 1926. Jotun’s paints can be seen and felt on the exclusive Burj Khailfa and the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Queen Mary 2, largest luxury liner in the world. Since 1983, Jotun has established its South East Asia R&B centre for development of new products for Asia. On display at the exhibition were their Majestic Ecohealth, New Strax Easy Clean, New Woodshield and New Jotasheild with AntiFade Colours range of paints.

Another brand that was display was the Jordan brand of tooth brushes. Established since 1837, it has since become one of the world’s leading preventive oral care brands producing quality toothbrushes, dental floss and dental sticks. Besides being well known for their oral hygiene products, they have also established themselves in the painting tools and household cleaning products sector.

* The invitation was extended by Ms. Marian Eu from Scribe Media Link.

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