Gourmet Garden

Hunting For The Flavors & Texture Of Yesteryears'

By Invitation

Are visits or review that were prearranged by other bloggers or by the business proprietor or chef. Invitation by PR companies are not likely to be considered in the review area. PR invitations are more of a introduction purpose.

Change is inevitable in this fast moving market. Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts’ Traders Hotel chain is going through a rebranding exercise worldwide to cater to the new ‘Jeneration’ of independent minded business and leisure travellers. And thus, Hotel Jen was born. Hotel Jen Penang’s transformation came on November the 4th 2014.

Now as part of their continuous effort to excel beyond, Hotel Jen Penang unveils a new a la carte menu at ‘The Islander’. Almost 80% dishes are still maintained, they showcase the authentic local street food culture, famed international delicacies and delightful desserts.

The new a la carte menu have included some flare of Hotel Jen Penang’s new but not foreign Executive Chef, Chef B. Sivasegaran, whose specialty is in Italian cuisine apart from being acquainted with Malaysian, Northern Indian , Asian, Chinese and European cooking styles.

Herewith, is the sampling of some of Chef Siva’s specialty that will be found in the new menu.

Bruschetta (RN17 nett), lightly charred crisp rye bread made with the best bread machines from www.Village-Bakery.com, this with red and yellow cherry tomatoes all dressed up in fine olive oil, cracked black pepper and finely chopped basil. Sweet fresh flavours, slightly tangy and rich was the taste. It’s a quick bite to be shared amongst good company and enjoyed with a glass of white wine.

JWLK2571 (HOTEL JEN-Bruschetta)

Bruschetta

Arugula Salad with Honey Sesame Dressing (RM16 nett), raw arugula leaves, alfalfa shouts, red cherry tomatoes and croutons served with homemade honey sesame base dressing. Sweet, sharp, nutty with a bitter after taste was the profile the salad.

JWLK2573 (HOTEL JEN-ArugulaSalad)

Arugula Salad with Honey Sesame Dressing

Grilled Burger with Vegetarian Patty (RM20 nett),  melted cheese over couscous and potato patty seasoned with cajun flavours served on toasted buns with garden greens, coleslaw and golden fries. Moist and lightly spiced was its flavour. I would  prefer a grilled portobello mushroom with 2 types of melted cheese to give it more dimension of taste and texture instead.

JWLK2574 (HOTEL JEN-Vegetarian Burger)

Grilled Burger with Vegetarian Patty

Pan Fried Stuff Aubergine (RM45 nett), pan fried aubergine halves topped with cheese and Provencal herbs slow baked in oven, then served with smoked tomato Napoli sauce. Light earthy flavours with a smoky and tangy taste pairing.

JWLK2583 (HOTEL JEN-PanFried Stuff Aubergine)

Pan Fried Stuff Aubergine

Chicken Rosmarino (RM53 nett), golden brown rosemary oil marinated spring chicken served with balsamic pepper jus. Savoury, sweet, peppery and a dash of acidity in taste was the chicken and sauce.

JWLK2589 (HOTEL JEN-Chicken Rosmarino)

Chicken Rosmarino

Lamb Osso Buco (RM58 nett), 400gm veal shanks braised in broth with vegetables and balsamic vinegar till tender then served with homemade mash potato instead of Polenta. This Milanese specialty was meaty sweet, zesty and rich in flavour. Polenta would have been the best compliment, but the smooth creamy mash did quite well too.

JWLK2613 (HOTEL JEN-Lamb Osso Buco)

Lamb Osso Buco

Baked Trapia (RM48nett), baked in aluminium pouched, the fish is steamed in its own juices with tomato coulis, fresh herbs, onion, olives and capers. Tangy, savoury with hint of sweetness were the flavours. Though farmed for its sustainability, the trapia had great texture and taste.

JWLK2571 (HOTEL JEN-Baked Trapia)

Baked Trapia

Tiramisu Pancake (RM20 nett), layers of fluffy pancakes and an espresso, mascarpone, egg and cream concoction, served with espresso butterscotch sauce, dusting of cocoa powder and brandy snap. Smooth and cooling the texture with creamy rich and bitter sweet taste.

JWLK2634 (HOTEL JEN-Tiramisu Pancake)

Tiramisu Pancake

Jen’s Signature (RM18 nett), ice-cream, chocolate and caramel sauce served with pickled fruits. Sweet dark taste balanced with sharp tangy fruity taste.

JWLK2639 (HOTEL JEN-Jens Signature)

Jen’s Signature

Hotel Jen Penang
Address: Magazine Road, George Town, 10300 Penang.
Tel: 04 2622622
Business Hours: 6.30am – 11pm.

P.S: Thanks to Hotel Jen Penang for extending this invitation.

Share

SELAMAT HARI RAYA to all Muslim friends!

Not much action since I joined a company and responsible for opening up new international markets. The brain is tired from all those country and market research plus business visit arrangements. The weekend and Raya holidays gave me the opportunity to prepare and author a recent and 1 or 2 outstanding posts that I have place a mental note to get done.

Two weeks ago we were invited by Hard Rock Hotel Penang to review their annual “Bintang Rock Buffet” designed to cater to the Muslim Fasting Month (bulan puasa). This year is the third consecutive year of being hosted by their Starz Diner and Hard Rock Cafe to taste their customized buffet line that showcases and adopts the many local cuisines that makes Malaysian food unique. Year on year their dishes and variety keep getting better, and this year they have made the buffet dish selection a true Malaysian potpourri; the buffet line up includes the exotic Malay salads (kerabus and ulams), Indian Masala to Chinese fried noodles crafted by their well skilled chefs.

The Bintang Rock Buffet at Starz Diner for this year (2014) was a limited time offer theme buffet  from the 29th June to 29th July 2014, with 4 individually unique selection of drinks and dishes menus to satisfy the desire for variety during the holy fasting month. The buffet would have only set you back RM70++ per adult and RM35++ per child of 6 to 12years old.

To breakfast after a day of abstaining from drinking and eating, it is advisable to start slow and light, the best choice is to have a hot drink and some nutrition packed dates.  We did not need to warm up our digestive system, thus we headed straight to their appetizers and salads were section to sample some of the not usually available dishes in hotels or local restaurants. There were (clockwise from top right) ‘keropok lekor’ or fish crackers, pickled mix fruits/vegetables, variety of ‘Cincaluk’ or preserved shrimps and ‘nasi ulam’ or mixed vegetable rice and ‘serunding’ or meat floss. In the centre we have a plate filled with the appetizers ready to go.

This year’s salad selection were seasoned raw fish salad, chicken and young jackfruit salad, cuttlefish salad, tomato salad, ‘kerabu kacang campur’ or mixed bean salad and ‘kerabu udang’ or prawn salad.

In their line up, they also had ‘Bubur Lambuk’ or mixed vegetable congee (on the left) and ‘Sup Kambing ala Mydin’ or lamb soup (on the right). This year’s bubur lambuk was a much creamier and spiced as compared to previous years, it had more ‘santan’ or coconut milk and heavier touch of spices, more flavourful and tasty.

Moving to the main courses, (clockwise from top right) there were ‘Gulai Ikan Tenggiri Bendi’ or Mackerel Curry with Ladies Fingers,  ‘Sambal Tumis Udang & Petai’ or Sambal Prawns with Bitter/Stink Beans, Steamed Patin Fish with Ginger Soy and ‘Ketam Masak Lemak Nenas’ or Braised Blue Crab in Turmeric & Coconut Gravy.

(Clockwise from top right) ‘Gulai Ayam’ or Chicken Curry, ‘Kari Daging Kentang ‘ or Beef & Potato Curry and Mutton Kheema.

(Clockwise from top right) Fried E Foo Mee with Chicken, Chicken & Lamb Satay, Chicken Masala, Lamb Shawarma and Roast Strip Loin with Grilled Vegetables.

After finishing with the appetizers and main courses, there were the traditional Malaysian sweet cakes or ‘Kuih-Muih’.

Apart from the traditional, there were also Continental desserts like White Chocolate Creme Caramel, Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Coffee Walnut Mousse, Strawberry Streusel, and more.

Before we could finish the Bintang Rock Buffet, Hard Rock Cafe sent in their “The Rock Platter” for this year’s Puasa month. The platter was priced at RM140++ for 2 persons’ and RM210++ for 3 persons’ 3 Course Meal with Drinks! It was monstrous platter for us Asians and we definitely had dig in deep to try to finish it, especially we had already gone through the buffet line.

For the Rock Platter, there were two separate menus to choose from, we had menu ‘A’  which had Onion Rings, Chicken Briyani, Spaghetti Marinara, Chicken Portuguese, Vegetable Spring Roll, Grilled Mini Shrimp Quesadilla, Hickory-Smoked BBQ Beef Ribs and Mini Beef Burgers with Rendang Sauce.

Overall experience for Starz Diner’s Bintang Rock Buffet and Hard Rock Cafe’s Rock Platter:

Taste
  • 4.0/5 (Good)
  • On average the dishes served were on the bland side due to the reduction of salt and pepper in their cooking after their guests’ feedbacks on health concerns, but they have prepared individual bottles of salt and pepper to add taste.
  • They were not stingy on the spices and herbs used in their recipes, though.
Texture
  • 3.5/5 (Averagely Good)
  • Anything served and consumed at the appropriate time is always the best in terms of texture and taste.
  • The Rock Platter’s Chicken Portuguese, beef rib and burger patty were all tender and moist although it was sitting idle for a short while before we began to dig in.
Service
  • N/A as it is an invited review event, but the staffs at hand were quite attentive, friendly and helpful.
Cleanliness
  • 4.5/5 (Very Good)
  • The dining area was neat and clean.
Atmosphere
  • 3.5/5 (Averagely Good)
  • Comfortable seats, bright dining area and clean cutlery and plates.
Price
  • 3.5/5 (Averagely Good)
  • If compared to last year’s prices, there weren’t much increase for the Bintang Rock Buffet, but there was a slight increase for the Rock platter.
Portion
  • N/A for Bintang Rock Buffet.
  • It was a monstrosity for the Rock Platter, 2 persons would have some difficulty to finish the whole platter set.
Value
  • 3.5/5 (Averagely Good)
  • There were more variety of choices, more mixture of local cuisines and showcase of traditional dishes.
  • The qualities of ingredients were improved, e.g. the Blue Crab was fresh and still had their distinctive sweetness.
  • There was also quantity in the condiments and raw material utilised for preparing their dishes, e.g. their Spicy Prawn noodles had also used crab for the making of their soup base.
Consistency
  • 4.5/5 (Very Good)
  • After having been hosted for their buka puasa buffet and rock platter for 3 consecutive years, we could see their changes and improvements.

For enquiry, call 04-886 8057 or email to fb.penang@hardrockhotels.net.

Many  thanks to Hard Rock Hotel Penang for extending the invitation and hosting our visit.

 

Share

7 Wonders of Pizza Promotion By Italiannies

Posted by Jason Wong On October - 16 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

It was in June 2013 that we first cross path with Italiannies in Gurney Paragon when we were invited to sample their “Festa della Pasta Promotion“, this time round our paths meet again for their “7 Wonder of Pizza Promotion”.  Available for a limited time, until 31st October 2013 the end of the year (2013),  the pizza promotion aims at introducing 7 new varieties of unique pizzas that is said to give foodies, especially pizza fans, an opportunity to try  and taste some interesting and uncommon pizza topping combinations and flavours.

The 7 Wonders of Pizza promotion hopes to excite pizza lovers nationwide by introducing the new and exciting Specialty pizzas, variety is the spice of life. The new pizza dishes feature rich toppings harmoniously prepared together with other fresh ingredients on Italiannies’ traditional artisan thin pizza crust. “It is with effort and strive, Italianies hopes to be food lovers’ choice place for the best pizza in town,” said Andrea Rossi, Regional Manager for Italiannies.

Throughout the promotion period, Italiannies will also be offering one of a classic Italian dessert, Panna Cotta, and Mountain Dew Pitch Black with citrus grape flavour, to complement this pizza extravaganza. Customers will receive a complimentary glass of Mountain Dew Pitch Black with any order of the 7 Wonder pizzas, after which you could purchase a second glass bottomless at RM5++.

Seafood Pesto Pizza (RM39.90), Cajun spiced prawns with a pesto base topped with tomatoes, chopped yellow and red capsicum, mozzarella cheese and arugula. It’s crust had a nice fluffy yet crisp texture and the topping had a hint of tingling spiciness, but the prawns were slightly over salty for our liking.
Sicilian Pizza (RM24.90), Romaine lettuce with Sicilian dressing topped with grilled chicken, anchovies and Parmesan cheese. The crust was fragrant and crisp. The saltiness of the anchovies and creaminess from the alfredo sauce were well balanced with the juicy, light and refreshing Romaine lettuce. And ending with an inkling of spiciness from the garlic. It was one of our two favourites.Spicy Smoked Duck Pizza with Buffalo Mozzarella (RM39.90), sliced smoked duck breast, Buffalo Mozzarella cheese, fresh red chillies/chilli padi, arugula and Pomodoro sauce. The second out of our two favourites, the chilli padi (birds eye chilli) though delivers a punch but is not too hot, with the nutty (pine nut like) and bittersweet taste of arugula compliments well with the tangy Pomodoro or tomato sauce.Barbeque Smoked Duck Pizza (RM35.90), smoked duck breast with a barbeque base topped with peaches, onions, chilli flakes, mozzarella cheese and arugula. It had very Asian flavours, heat and mustard taste, but the sweetness of the peaches cuts through the smokiness of the smoked duck.Roasted Chicken with Hot Sauce Pizza (RM39.90), shredded roasted chicken with hot sauce, marinated black beans, tomatoes, arugula and topped with Buffalo Mozzarella cheese. It has Mediterranean influences flavours; earthy creamy beans, smoky chicken and spicy hot sauce to combine the flavours with arugula for the hint of bittersweetness and Mozzarella for a lighter touch of taste.Baby Shrimps Pizza (RM34.90), sauteed baby shrimps, arugula and lemon wedges. With only salt and pepper, the baby shrimps were sautéed to al-dente texture. The arugula and lemon wedges add additional flavour to the otherwise light tasting pizza, the lemony tartness penetrates through the hints of fishiness and bittersweet and nutty arugula adds a layer of flavour.Roman Vegetarian Pizza (RM31.90), fresh spinach, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, fresh garlic topped with Mozzarella cheese with Alfredo sauce base. Though light in taste, it was not a boring piece. It had unique layers of texture with earthy, salty, tangy and sweet flavours held up with the creamy Alfredo base.

 
Participating outlets:
• The Curve, Mutiara Damansara
• The Gardens Mall, Mid Valley City
• Empire Shopping Gallery, Subang Jaya
• Paradigm Mall, Petaling Jaya
• Gurney Paragon, Penang

For more information, please visit www.italiannies.com.my.

Our overall experience:
Taste
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • We especially like the Sicilian  Pizza and Spicy Smoked Duck Pizza.
  • The pizza crust was fragrant and different, I guess it was the semolina.
  • Baby Shrimp Pizza was not as attractive as the other six were to us, two . 
Texture
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • The pizza crust had good texture, crisp and not hard nor dry.
Service
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • This time round their staff were basically more attentive.
Cleanliness
  • 4.0/5 (Good)
  • The dining area was neat and clean.
Atmosphere
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • Cosy and homely with alfresco seatings.
Price
  • 3.0/5 (Average)
  • The pasta prices are more or less on the average with other Italian or specialty pasta restaurants.
Portion
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • Portion wise is that the toppings were generous, and the pizza size is most suitable for 2 person sharing with some additional side orders to perk up the meal..
Value
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • Good quality toppings, we especially like the arugula on all the varieties, smoked duck breast and roasted chicken.
Consistency
  • N/A.
Share

–Please proceed to bottom for updates–

“A’more di merrier” is Italiannies’ shared presentation menu concept, great food and good times are meant to be shared amongst the company of family and friends. Their dishes are designed for sharing, and their large portions allows you to sample many different tastes while enjoying the family style dining of Italy.

Boast for serving authentic Italian dishes with great complementing wines, Italiannies is at this moment introducing eight new pasta dishes in its ‘Festa della Pasta’ promotion. The new pasta dishes provide local pasta lovers the chance to savour a selection of authentic pasta recipes originating from the various regions of Italy. The promotion runs from now until the end of June 2013, but if the demand is overwhelming it might be extended.

A recent media launch held at Italiannies in Gurney Paragon Mall, Penang gave us an opportunity to understand the flavours and textures behind the selection of pasta for the promotion, and a first hand look at handmade pastas that are used for their dishes.

The ‘abbondanza’ or sharing portion and free flow of specially paired wines gave us the chance to try 5 out of the 8 pastas offered for this month long pasta promotion.

Starting the food tasting in motion was their ‘Mediterranean Salad’, moist and tender grilled chicken breast, black olives, tomatoes, onions, rocket leaves and romaine lettuce served with a generous amount of their Italian dressing. The salad was refreshing, sweet with hint tanginess and richness.

Another appetiser was their ‘Gamberi Con Aglio’, firm and tender shrimps cooked with dried red chillies, black olives and tomatoes served with garlic bread on the side to mop up the spicy and lemony sauce.

The pasta tasting kicked off with their Cannelloni, tubular pastas stuffed with spinach and artichoke filling and served with homemade marinara sauce topped with melted Mozzarella cheese and béchamel sauce. The pasta is to be paired with Alois Lageder Riff Rosso Vigneti Dolomiti, a red wine with intense fruity flavours with mild acidity. The Cannelloni was created by Chef Nicola Federico in Sorrento Italy in 1907, and was originally called ‘strascinati’ and only gained popularity during World War II, when residents of Naples fled to Sorrento.

Paccheri con Ragú, large, hollow, tube-shaped pasta served with a traditional meat based sauce and Parmesan cheese. It is to be paired with, again,  Alois Lageder Riff Rosso Vigneti Dolomiti to compliment the ragú’s rich beefy taste and the sweetness of the tomato sauce. The shape of paccheri pasta is from Campania Italy and is similar in shape to the rigatoni, but paccheri are shorter and have a larger diameter. A Ragú is an Italian word for any meat-based sauce, derived from the French word ‘ragouter’,  which means to revive the taste.

Tagliatelle con Salvia, Funghi e Popettine, handmade tagliatelle pasta sauteed with lemon, shiitake mushrooms and homemade beef meatballs. The savoury and lemony with a hint spice is to be paired with Alois Lageder Riff Rosso Vigneti Dolomiti. Tagliatelle (from the Italian tagliare which means “to cut”) is a traditional type of pasta from Emilia-Romagna and Marche, regions of Italy. Individual pieces of tagliatelle should be long, flat ribbons that looks similar in shape to fettuccine and are typically about 6.5 mm to 10 mm in width.

Tagliatelle con Pesto al Pomodoro, handmade plain and spinach (straw & hay) tagliatelle pasta cooked with green pesto and served with sweet, firm choped tomatoes, grated Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts. The fresh, herby and nutty pasta is to be paired with Adesso Nero D’Avola IGT Sicilia, a red wine with pleasant notes of mulberry and plum.

Mussels & Clams Lombardi con Pappardelle, pappardelle pasta cooked with clams and mussels in a white wine sauce. The light tasting pasta was paired with Alois Lageder Riff Pinot Grigio Venezie, a white wine with fresh apple aromas and a delicate spiciness; fresh, flavorful and focused. Pappardelle are large and broad flat pasta noodles that looks like the the wide fettuccine. The fresh types are two to three centimetres wide and may have fluted edges and dried ones have straight sides, it is traditionally served with very rich, heavy sauces, especially sauces which include game such as wild boar.

At the end of the sampling, we were served with their “Italian Trifle”, made with layers of Mascarpone, Ladyfinger biscuits and topped with dark chocolate powder and chocolate chips. It was a light and easy dessert but my favourite of that particular night was their signature Tiramisu, an Italian pick-me-up, which was not in the list.

Italiannies’ Tiramisu was light, fluffy, well chilled and most importantly utilises Espresso instead of normal brewed coffee.

*We have yet to sample the remaining 3 pastas, Fileja con Pomodoro e Basilico, Tortellini con Salmone ed Aneto and Fusilli con Spinaci ed Alfredo sauce.

Our overall experience:
Taste
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • The dishes were mostly well prepared and well paired with wines that complement the flavour notes.
  • The Mediterranean Salad dressing was pleasant and flavourful, it brought out the sweetness of the greens and balanced the richness and saltiness of the goats cheese.
  • The only dish that we did not really appreciate was their Mussels & Clams Lombardi con Pappardelle, it lacked that seafood sweetness and flavour.
  • The pasta we most enjoyed would be the Paccheri con Ragú, Cannelloni and Tagliatelle con Salvia, Funghi e Popettine.
Texture
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • The pastas were al-dente, with good texture.
  • Mediterranean Salad’s greens were crisp and chicken cutlets tender, but one of the pieces were slightly too pinkish for my liking.
Service
  • N/A as it is an invited review event, but the staffs at hand were quite helpful.
Cleanliness
  • 4.0/5 (Good)
  • The dining area was neat and clean.
Atmosphere
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • Cosy and homely with alfresco seatings.
Price
  • N/A as the portions were sharing portion, thus it does not represent the actual serving.
Portion
  • N/A as the portions were sharing portion, thus it does not represent the actual serving.
Value
  • N/A as the portions were sharing portion, thus it does not represent the actual serving.
Consistency
  • N/A.

Add: Lot 1-31, Ground Floor, Gurney Paragon Mall, Penang
Tel : +604 228 9761

There is stiil time to check out their Festa Della Pasta promotion for lunch and dinner:
Lunch promotion
A lunch promotion from the Festa Della Pasta menu includes a top of up RM6 for a choice of pasta and a choice of either a salad (Insalata Verde), a dessert (chocolate brownie) or a glass of Pepsi that will be served from 11am till 3pm.

Dinner promotion
The dinner promotion from the same Festa Della Pasta menu includes a top up of RM16, for a choice of pasta, and a choice of an entrée (Gamberi con Aglio), a salad (Insalata Mediterranea) or a dessert (Italian Trifle), which is applicable for dinner service that commences 6pm onwards.

–Updates on 25th June 2013–

Just last week (Thursday the 20th of June) we were back at Italiannies Gurney Paragon Mall Penang to sample the last 3 pastas that we haven’t tried and to re-sample their Mussels & Clams Lombardi con Pappardelle, which we did not really feel justice was given to the dish during the previous visit. For this try, the Mussels & Clams Lombardi con Pappardelle were well executed, with sufficient sweetness and a savouriness to taste,  and the seafood was firm and tender to feel.

Fusilli con Spinaci ed Alfredo sauce (RM22.90), fusilli pasta sauteed with chicken breast in a light alfredo sauce and served with fried crisp spinach and chopped walnuts on top. The savoury pasta with hints of spice and nutty flavours are to be paired with Adesso Inzolia IGT Sicilia. Fusilli is a diminutive of fuso, the Italian word for “spindle”. It is traditionally the pasta is “spun” by pressing and rolling a small rod over each thin strip of pasta to wind them around it in a corkscrew shape.

Fileja con Pomodoro e Basilico (RM18.90), fileja pasta sauteed with fresh tomato puree and cherry tomato and served with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. The pasta dish was tart but at the same time sweet and fresh, accentuating from the basil and tomato combination. Remember to let the residual heat of the pasta to warm and wilt the basil leaves to release the aroma and taste. The dish is to be paired with Adesso Inzolia IGT Sicilia or Adesso Nero D’Avola IGT Sicilia. Fileja is traditionally from  Calabria in southern Italy, they are eggless pasta rolled by hand using a thin metal rod or skewer.

Tortellini con Salmone ed Aneto (RM26.90), spinach and ricotta filled tortellini pasta sauteed with smoked salmon, fresh dill and capers in an alfredo sauce served with with smoked salmon rosettes. The pasta was rich, creamy, smoky with hint of tartness from the capers, it is to be paired with Alois Lageder Riff Pinot Grigio Venezie. The “belly button” like Tortellini is originally from the Italian region of Emilia, in particular Bologna and Modena.

Our overall experience:
Taste
  • 4.0/5 (Good)
  • Their Mussels & Clams Lombardi con Pappardelle, was savoury sweet and the mussels were firm and tender.
  • The taste and ingredient were well complimented with the type of pasta to carry the flavours.
Texture
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • The pastas were al-dente, with good texture.
  • The Tortellini con Salmone ed Aneto filling may be slight sandy/powdery due to the cheese’s texture, but was considered normal.
  • The smoke salmon were fine and mussel were firm and tender.
Service
  • Not as attentive as it should be apart from the attention to detail by their manager, Jerry.
Cleanliness
  • 4.0/5 (Good)
  • The dining area was neat and clean.
Atmosphere
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • Cosy and homely with alfresco seatings.
Price
  • 3.0/5 (Average)
  • The pasta prices are more or less on the average with other Italian or specialty pasta restaurants.
Portion
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • The single serving portion will be filling depending on the type of pasta you order.
  • It would be good to increase the pasta portion for a more hearty meal.
Value
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • With a better pasta texture and flavours and accompanying ingredient quality, it should be considered value for the price.
Consistency
  • N/A.
Share

Hui Lau Shan (許留山) may be foreign to many here in Penang but it is not the case in Hong Kong. Hui Lau Shan was established in the early 1960’s as an herbal tea specialty shop that emphasizes on the originality and healthiness of their products. Armed with a continuous R&D initiative, they managed to reinvent Hui Lau Shan and assert its legacy and status as Hong Kong’s Fresh Fruit Dessert Pioneer in 1992 with its rolling out of its mango sago dessert without leaving their heritage behind.

We were recently asked to attend a media event at Hui Lau Shan’s fifth outlet in Malaysia since May 2012. As we were going in blind not knowing what to expect in their Gurney Plaza outlet, we had checked around for comments of the concept, product and quality to at least we know what we were getting into.

Hui Lau Shan’s specialty is in mango base and fruit desserts, but they are also well established for their Supreme Coconut Stewed Bird’s Nest with Harsmar, Ganoderma Herbal Jelly and savoury snacks that they have also brought in from Hong Kong with a bit tweaking to compliment Malaysian taste preference.

As mango is the key ingredient for a majority of their desserts, thus the quality of the mangoes will ultimately determine the taste and texture of the final products that they sell or present at their outlets. Therefore, in order ensure quality they have made it a point to import the Philippine mangoes and Thai mangoes, which is an uphill task as Malaysia is also a Mango producing country, by air freight on a regular basis to ensure that the mangoes are always fresh and ripe.

The Philippine mangoes have a strong fragrance, minor sweetness and medium tanginess with a fresher orangey appearance, Thai mangoes on the other hand is used for its predominantly sweet properties that have a mallow orange appearance and also as a contingency ingredient if there is any shortage of Philippine mangoes. The usual chemistry of Philippine and Thai mangoes are 80:20 for the optimum appearance, aromatic and sweetness. With that said, the colour and taste of their mango purée and juices are naturally formed without the use of additional artificial colourings and sugar. Mango toppings are usually from freshly cut Philippine mangoes due to its aromatic and appearance characteristics.

Super Signature Items (四大镇店之宝)

Mango Icy Sweetie Ball (多芒小丸子) @ RM11.90, silky smooth mango purée, firm tender mango cubes, and in-house made textured mango ice-cream served with firm glutinous rice balls. The mango ice cream has a texture of between a sorbet and a normal ice-cream when served with the purée delivers a contrast in mouth feel.

Fresh Mango Mochi (芒果糯米糍) @ RM4.90 for 3 pieces, soft springy mango flavoured mochi dough wrapped within a fresh firm whole Philippine mango cube. Each mochi is covered with crisp and moist desiccated coconut. The mochi is said to be made by hand which the reason for its soft, springy and chewy texture.

Supreme Coconut Stewed Bird’s Nest with Harsmar (燕窝椰皇炖雪蛤) hot / cold @ RM22.90, firm translucent strands of “nutritious” birds nest and harsmar stewed/boiled in savoury, creamy, rich coconut milk. Depending on the temperature it is served, hot or cold, both also have their individual uniqueness. When served hot the coconut milk aroma and sweetness is much more distinctive as compared to the cold version.

Ganoderma Herbal Jelly (灵芝龟苓膏) (hot/cold) @ RM7.90, tender and wobbly textured herbal jelly with a bitter sweet taste. This is one of their pioneering products that have been with Hui Lau Shan since the 1960s. The herbal jelly is recommended to be either taken straight for its unique bitter sweet taste or with sugar syrup to mask the bitter taste but the unique flavour of the jelly itself. Honey would be too strong, and thus masking its true flavours.

Double Delight Sweetie Ball (糖不甩) @ RM4.90 for five (5) pieces, firm and tender glutinous rice balls served with ground fragrant peanuts and sesame seeds sprinkled on top. Again there is a contrast in texture. It is similar to our “Mua Chea” minus the sugar.

Delicacy Snack Series (精选小食系列)

Signature Curry Combo (咖哩什锦) @ RM7.90, sweet juicy radish, fragrant dried bean curds, springy fishballs and tender cuttlefish served with a spiced and mildly hot curry gravy a-la Hong Kong style. The recipe is said to be similar with the one used in Hong Kong except that it is hotter with added chilli to suit the Malaysian “standard” for curries. Using radish instead of potatoes in the curry makes it juicier and naturally sweeter.
Spicy Swiss Sauce Chicken Wings (香辣瑞士鸡翼) @ RM4.90 for 4 pieces, Swiss herbs and spices marinated chicken wings (wing and drummet) braised until tender and filled with flavour. The moist and juicy chicken meat absorbs the spectrum of flavours from its braising fluids and marinates, thus making it savoury, sweet, and slightly spicy with a touch of sweet earthy taste. It would have gone very well with a bowl of steamy white rice!

Rejuvenation Dessert Series (滋润炖品系列)

Fresh Papaya with Harsmar and Coconut Milk (原只木瓜雪蛤膏) @ RM11.90, tender Harsmar in rich and creamy coconut milk served in a halved papaya. A unique combination that works; the savoury taste of the coconut milk balances the sweet taste of the ripen papaya flesh.

Mango Mania Series (招牌多芒系列)

Mango Romance (芒之恋) @ RM12.90 is actually a sampler or beginner’s platter that offers the same taste and experience although in a smaller portions of their  Mango Icy Sweetie Ball (多芒小丸子), Fresh Mango Mochi (芒果糯米糍) and Mango Icy Crystal Jeli (多芒亮晶晶).

Mango Feast (芒果小盛宴) @ RM12.90 is another sampler platter with a different combination of their specialty items. It has Mango Icy Coconut Noodle (多芒捞河), Mango Sweetie Ball (多芒小丸子) and Mango Cream “Cheese” Cake (冻饼). Coconut noodles are generally thin slices of firm, savoury coconut flesh cut to resemble Chinese flat rice noodles.

鲜果拼盘系列 Fruitties Combo Series

Fresh Fruitties Sweetie Ball with Double Juices (鲜果鸳鸯捞丸子) @ RM14.90, freshly extracted juices are ice-blended into a thick smooth icy “soup”  and served with a bowl of fresh fruits. We had the Mango and Water Melon combi which turn out surprisingly quite refreshing. You can choose two juices any of the following to concoct your favourite taste Mango, Coconut, Watermelon, Honeydew Melon, Cantaloupe and Papaya.

Fruitties Jeli Series (鲜果爽饮系列)

This Fruitties Jeli series is the best substitute to the current fad of artificially flavoured and sweeten bubble teas that are filled with black crystal balls. Within this range customers have the choice to mix and match the juices and the available selection of Jeli flavours,Honey, Mango, Pandan or Crystal, according to their preferences. With freshly extracted fruit juice and chewy Jeli, the price ranges from as low as RM6.90 for a regular order to RM8.90 for large ones.

Choice of Double Series (双层滋选系列) 

Last we had a try at their Choice of Double Series @ RM4.90 per set with a choice of one(1) of their famous puddings and a choice of one(1) of the either their signature Mango purée, purple glutinous rice pudding or just plain old fruit cubes. The packaging was sturdy and functional, thus it would be a great idea for takeaway, parties, or even as gifts.

Our overall experience:

Taste
  • 4.0/5 (Good)
  • Overall the products that we have tested had natural taste and flavours that are consistent with its concept and selling point.
  • Mangoes were fragrant, tangy and sweet.
  • Spicy Swiss Sauce Chicken Wings were succulent and had layers of taste is quite addictive.
  • Signature Curry Combo had a unique flavour especially the radish and curry combination which offered a refreshing experience.
Texture
  • 4.0/5 (Good)
  • Fruit purée and ice-blends were sufficiently smooth and with adequate texture.
  • Fresh Mango Mochi was soft yet firm with a springy texture.
  • Chicken wings were tender and almost off the bone.
  • Fishballs and cuttlefish were firm and tender with a bit bite.
  • We were not used to its pudding texture although it is quite soft yet sufficiently firm.
  • The glutinous balls (小丸子) were a bit too firm to our personal liking.
Service
  • It was an invited event, thus not rated for fairness.
Cleanliness
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • The dining area was neat and clean.
Atmosphere
  • 3.0/5 (Average)
  • Good place to chit chat but would not be nice to hog the table during peak hours.
Price
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • By looking at the freshness of ingredients, effort placed and health issue, it would be a great substitute for some current not so healthy food fads.
  • Certain items are considered not expensive.
Portion
  • 3.0/5 (Average)
  • Their portions are acceptable and quite satisfying, but we would not mind more.
Value
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • By comparing ingredient freshness, price, portion and personal satisfaction, then it is quite value for money.
  • Certain items are quite a deal.
  • Would like to see more items on the menu, especially in areas of savoury snacks.
Consistency
  •  N/A
 
许留山 Hui Lau Shan Address: Lot 03-68, 170-06-01, Plaza Gurney, Persiaran Gurney, 10250, Penang.
Tel: +604-227 8745. 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/huilaushanmalaysia
Business hours: 10:00am – 10:00pm (Daily)

Outlets in Malaysia:

  • Penang
  1. Gurney Plaza, Penang
  2. Sunway Carnival Mall (Coming soon in October)
  • Selangor & Kuala Lumpur
  1. One Utama
  2. Berjaya Times Square
  3. The Mines Shopping Mall
  4. Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
  5. Cheras Leisure Mall
  • Johor
  1. City Square, Johor (Coming soon in October)
Loading
Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit
Share

It has been weeks since our last publishing, reason being that we are currently preoccupied with a food research project. Therefore, in the recent months we have had to do without with most of the usual invited reviews to give way to our aspiration and passion of “real” food. With the limited time that we have in between appointments, interviews and reports, we try put them into good use like sampling new ideas, tantalizing our senses with new flavours and unwinding to release some stress. One of such occasions was the sampling of the newly introduced Pinang Thaipas at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa.

The “Pinang Thaipas” is their innovative version of the world famous Spanish Tapas and Chinese Dim Sum.  Served at their pool-side Pinang Restaurant and Bar, it provides a form of indulgence for light eaters to sample the variety of flavours and textures that Asian (Thai & Malaysian) dishes can produce, and also convenience for social events or gatherings.
The Thaipas menu offers a little bit of sweetness, sourness, bitterness and spice that comes in sets of four(4) individual servings per order. The range of dishes begins from soups to desserts, from Malaysian to Thai influenced flavours which are not too far apart in terms characteristics and tastes.

Pinang Laksa (RM16), Pinang Laksa is Penang’s version of noodles and soup. The smooth firm rice noodles and coarsely julienne vegetables served in a tart, spicy and sweet fish and tamarind base broth tends to stimulate the appetite with its hot and spicy yet richly sweet tastes. Tom Yam Goong (RM22), a mildly acidic hot and spicy Thai influenced soup served with a generously-sized king prawn and laced with few drops of the earthy truffle oil.Miang Kham (14), roasted rich desiccated coconut, savoury dried shrimp, sweet nutty cashew nuts, pungent chopped shallots and ginger and hot chilli dressed in a home-made sweet honey sauce parcelled in a musky wild pepper leaf (wild betel leaf). The bite size “food wrapped in a leaf” produces a bouquet of taste and texture with an aromatic smell when chewed.SOM TAM (RM14), julienne of firm crisp savoury green papaya, chunks of crunchy long beans, fragrant tart lime juice, chopped spicy chilli, salty fish sauce and sweet palm sugar make up this dish that was anointed one of top 50 must try food complied by CNNGo in year 2011. The ingredients are combined and pounded in a mortar then served with generous sprinkles of toasted cashew nut, thus Som Tam literally mean “sour pounded”.Tod Man Pla (RM18), mildly spiced Thai red curry marinated fish cakes deep fried till golden brown and served with a sweet cucumber relish. The dish played with our sweet,savory and spicy sense of taste, which was quite well balanced. From Thai, we moved on to some local dishes that we are much acquainted with. Chicken Pie Tee (RM14), crisp thin golden brown cups filled with braised julienned sweet juicy yam bean (jicama), salty cuttlefish strips and meaty minced chicken topped with sprinkles of chopped spring onions, fried shallots and a sweet chilli sauce.Deep Fried Spring Rolls (RM14), strips of tender moist mushrooms, yam bean, vegetable and sweet prawns seasoned with five spice parcelled in soft popiah skin (spring roll) and deep fried until crisp and crackling.Giving presence to our local deserts is their Sago Gula Melaka (RM16). Shooter glasses filled with sweet creamy rich palm sugar syrup, dainty pearls of sago pudding, herb jelly and topped of with a layer of savoury coconut cream and a mint leaf. Mango Rock & Roll (RM16), finely fried crisp spring rolls filled with tender sticky glutinous rice served in a glass of smooth sweet tangy mango coulis.Mainly playing with Thai and Malaysian favourite dishes and flavours, the Thaipas menu which was recently introduced to Pinang Bar provides a small sampling of what our local and Asian can achieve when some ingenuity and passion is put into old food items and transformed into something new that can be enjoyed anytime and anywhere.

The Pinang Bar is situated at Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa’s Garden Wing poolside, just a few steps away from Batu Feringgi’s beach front. Their opening hours are from 10:00am to 10:00pm daily. For more details you may contact 04-888 8788.

Share

The name “Cheers” reminds me of an American situation comedy television series that ran for 11 seasons from 1982 to 1993. The tag line “Everybody Knows Your Name” from the theme song is still deeply edged in my memories. I guess it would be great to go to a place for some chow and drinks, relax and be recognised for who you are!

Last weekend we were invited over to “Cheers Restaurant & Bierhous” situated off Jalan Tanjung Tokong, directly opposite of Caltex petrol pump. We have been there before on our own accord and didn’t give much thought of the place then but after the current visit, we did find that the kitchen have made some fine tuning and were able to present a better meal. It was an open invited review and attended by 10 and the food served had their portion increased to suit our numbers.

Let’s start with their “Homemade Mushroom Soup” (RM9.80) as an appetizer to warm the palates. The soup was thick and creamy with a sweet earthy taste. There were bits and pieces of mushroom blended into the soup to give it some texture.We were given 5 of their signature main courses to sample and review, starting with their “Cheers Fisherman Sensation” (RM29.80). On the plate were pan grilled sea-bass and dory fish fillets, prawns, cheese baked mussels and chuka idako (marinated baby octopus) dressed in a garlic butter sauce. There was contrast of texture from the well seasoned seafood items which were finished with a non-fail able sweet buttery garlic sauce.Continuing with the mains was their “Cheers Seafood Chicken” (RM31.80). A perfectly butterfly chicken thigh baked until tender with a layer of seafood mix and a rich and fragrant cheese jacket and served with fresh greens, creamy Japanese sweet potato mash and a sweet tangy mandarin sauce.  The chicken chop is an alternative to the usual chicken chops, but the price tag was slightly on the high side on our accounts though the combination was exotic and quite appealing. Then came their “Cheers Burger Special” (RM21.80), a double patty burger on a toasted bun and served with golden fries and coleslaw. The moist and tender pork patty was peppery, well seasoned and a good compliment to the earthy sweet and savoury seafood patty that contains salmon, scallop, mussels and prawns. The burger is worth every single cent “paid”!The fourth to be sent out from the kitchen were their “Cheers BBQ Ribs” (RM29.80), marinated with their special combination of herbs and spices overnight, then wrapped in foil and slow roasted in a conventional oven until tender and off the bone. The ribs were glazed with their BBQ sauce that had a sweeten end which was slightly over for us, but the texture well compensated.Lastly, we had their fusion “Cheers Knuckles for 1” (RM29.80). De-boned tender pork knuckle meat served with its crackling, spicy green mango salsa and malty beer reduction brown sauce. Though is not an original, the combination of German taste and Asian flavours did managed to peep out. The last time we had this item at Cheers; it was quite a disappointment with its dry and unappetizing meats.

Our overall experience:

Taste 3.0/5 (Average) They try to fusion Asian taste with some Western & European favourites. Some did hit the mark, but some had near misses.
Texture 3.0/5 (Average) There were combinations of texture in one dish.
Service NA/5 (N/A) Was an invited event.
Cleanliness 3.5/5 (Good) Clean dining area and tables.
Atmosphere 3.5/5 (Good) There is a pub feel to the area, plus a second floor specially catered for dining. Al-fresco seating are comfortable but have some hard working mosquitoes.
Price 3.0/5 (Average) Averagely priced.
Portion 3.0/5 (Average) Portions were on a average scale.
Value 3.0/5 (Average) Price, portion and food taste is acceptable.
Consistency 3.5/5 (Good) There was a mark improvement in some dishes.
Cheers Restaurant & Bierhaus
  • Add: 3X, Jalan Pantai Molek, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang, Malaysia
  • Tel:  +60 (4) 8999 757
  • Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cheers-Restaurant-Bierhaus/227503800646941
  • Business Hours: Monday –  Sunday 3.00pm – 1:00am
Share

Many people say that ‘food blogging’ is all fun & play, but I beg to differ. It is a lot of work, but we enjoy every calorie if it. It is more enjoyable when we are hosted by business or people are passionate about what they cook-up and are able accept criticism and suggestion when there is any.

Last week we were called in to sample and give constructive feedback by a 7 month old seafood restaurant in Bukit Tambun, Ho Ho Food World. Our last visit to Tambun, a famous point of interest for seafood in Seberang Perai Selatan, was roughly about 3 years ago. It has been quite a long time and there have been many changes ever since.

In the hosted dinner, we had about 9 different items that were quite tantalizing and have their individual characters. Ying Yang Sea-Starter (YamYeong Leong Mei) RM12 – 20, the blenched Octopus tentacles and body with garlic oil and spring onions were light on taste with a tender springy texture.

The ‘Whelks” or “海囖” were slow blenched or poached at low heat for about 30 minutes to maintain its crunchy texture and size of flesh. The taste of the flesh was slightly sweet with a bit of earthiness.

Then we had unique oyster dish, Oyster Braised Gravy (How suin-chiu) RM$ 5 per unit. They oyster was coated with flour then fried before stir fried in their specially concocted sauce which was sweet and savoury.

Another of their specialties that we tried was their Sea Mixed Spring Roll (Hai choon kuin) RM$ 12 – 20. Shelled succulent prawns wrapped in a nutty bean curd skin deep fried to golden brown and based with a sweet tangy sauce and fragrant sesame seeds. It was one of our personal favourites for the night.
We also had the infamous flower crab that many visitors to Bukit Tambun for seafood would not miss. Though crabs are not my favourite or must have, HoHo’s way of preparing their Sea Flower Crab – IndoStyle (Chit YanLi cha) RM$ 35 – 45 per kg was something that t must be mentioned. The crab is first steamed with Chinese wine before it is added into their English curry base gravy that was fragrant yet not overpowering or too spicy to taste. The crab meat itself was tender and moist, unlike the usual versions where the meat is dry and stringy. The usual method of preparing crab is by deep frying in hot oil or blenched in boiling water, this produces a dryer and stringy texture with a loss of the natural sweetness that live crab has.We were also introduced to their signature Claypot PrawnRice (Tsa-po HeiPui)RM$28 – 38. Due to the shortage of prawns, there were some shortfalls in the texture of the medium size prawns but the taste of the rice itself was good enough for a mention. The rice was moist, well flavoured and fragrant with hint of smoky charred taste.

Mantis Prawn Cantonese Steam (Hei-Ko chui) RM$3 – $8 – $16, were also one of our favourites for the evening. The flesh was firm, tender and yet smooth with a natural sweetness that went well with its soy and fragrant oil dressing. The ease of handling the mantis prawns were also a plus point, the legs were trimmed for easy access to the flesh hidden inside its exoskeleton.Kapar Lime Steamed (Kapar suinkam chui) RM$15 – 25, were equally unique with its tangy and pungent garlicky sauce. The clams themselves were also worth a notice as there were hints of natural sweetness and the taste of the sea .  

Also another one of our favourite dishes that we have sampled so far was their Yummy YamFishHead (Hu – Tao Orr) RM38 – 60. The yam has already broken down and has become part of the soup liquid. Thus, the soup is filled with the sandy texture and sweet creamy taste of the yam. The fish head was well prepared till tender and off the bones. It reminds me of the ‘Fish Head Noodles’ that we had in Jalan Kuchai Lam, rich in texture and taste of pumpkin.

Taste

3.5/5 (Good) The flavours were pleasant although the dishes have been infused with Asian tastes.

Texture

3.5/5 (Good) Basically the dishes we tried nicely prepared with good mouth feels.

Service

3.0/5 (Average)

Cleanliness

3.0/5 (Average) It is typical Tambun setting, but they are planning to do more up keeping in certain areas.

Atmosphere

3.0/5 (Average) Not much to look for as they are not theme or concept restaurants.

Price

3.0/5 (Average) Price are reasonable and are according to current market forces or prices.

Portion

3.5/5 (Good) The dishes that we had were quite standard in portion size.

Value

3.5/5 (Good) The food was flavourful and fresh (as in still alive).

Consistency

NA/5 stay updated.

HoHo Food World

Add: 1301, Bagan Bukit Tambun, 14110 Simpang Ampat, SPS, Pulau Pinang.

Tel: +6016 5205535

 

 

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Share
4ea2e1394f" />