Wednesday, April 6, 2016

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

Many Thanks to Le Périgord for hosting us that afternoon. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

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

Friday, April 1, 2016

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

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

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A new kid in town- Up and Above European Cuisine has secretly opened a couple weeks back. The name "Up and Above" surely did not give us much hints, little did we know that our visit signs us up for an extraordinary gastronomic journey, though the interior decor suggests otherwise. Housed in one of the shop houses along Cantonment Road, the classy-sophisticated setting is surely misleading, stepping into the restaurant makes you think that you are actually walking into a fine-dining restaurant with hefty prices but in actual fact, Up and Above European Cuisine targets upper-middle price range... affordable luxury-kind of quality and experience. The restaurant even introduces Set Lunch at unbeatable price... from a bargain price of Rm 17. If you like being stuffed with mostly good things at a romantic-joint without putting a dent on the wallet, this is your venue.

Many Thanks to Up and Above European Cuisine for hosting us that evening. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

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The famous Balik Pulau Laksa that sits within the wooden, heritage house at the junction from the new market towards the main road is now relocated to a new space. Kim Seng Kopitiam can be found within the new Botanica development area; not only Laksa but Pasembur and Char Koay Teow are now available either. The operators discontinued the business due to personal reasons but has since resumed and running their own right now. The location is a little far but finding a place to park requires less effort right now. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

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The Peranakan specialties are of acquired taste and only those with trained palate would know how to appreciate them. One may still find a handful of decent restaurants that serve Nyonya food in Penang but it would not be easy to find that cuts through the novelties and get down to the solid perennial favorites that would not go out of fashion. Hai Nan Town that sits in between the bustling Ferry Terminal and Port Swettenham, the restaurant is about to celebrate its 11th anniversary and has been the de facto restaurant in town, especially for Nyonya cuisine. The restaurant knocks out an extensive range of home styled Nyonya staples- Curries, Kerabu, Stir Fries and desserts; it has always been the popular choice for Penang companies hosting events and staff  gatherings (due to Pork-Free status). There are only one private room available (that houses two tables) so the heat-intolerant visiting in a large group may call in a few days earlier for advance reservation while the others would have to settle for the tables at the outdoor terrace... but be rewarded with a breath-taking sea view overlooking the ferry terminal. 

Many Thanks to Hai Nan Town for hosting us that afternoon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

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Unassuming is the best word to describe J'aime Le Cafe at Jalan Permai... it's tucked away at the residential area of Jalan Permai and there are chances you will drive past without noticing its presence if you are not paying attention. Small but cozy and cutely furnished with knick-knacks such as miniature Eiffel Tower, Coffee Bean Pot etc. There's even a couch for those who wish to chill at a more relaxed pace. The menu is well-thought of, though very likely designed to suit the local palates and for the residents staying in the vicinity. Some notable dishes are Curry Laksa Spaghetti, Squid Ink Aglio Olio but with unbeatable price tags. It may not have a very sturdy and attractive menu (to some), but if you wish to skip the traffic and beat the crowd, add J'aime Le Cafe to your cafe-hopping list. To find the cafe, drive from Jalan Yap Chor Ee until the junction to turn into Jalan Permai, go straight for another minute and J'aime Le Cafe is on your left (housed under the affordable housing project- Centrio Avenue. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

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Housed in an iconic building along Jalan Sungai Ujong, Auction Rooms is Kimberley Hotel's in-house restaurant. You may not be convinced by its exterior but stepping in the restaurant will change your mind. It has the traditional English elegance with a touch of the modern industrial vibe. It links to Kimberley Hotel, though the restaurant is housed in a heritage house along the same road. On the menu, it has a nice blend of Western elements with an Oriental touch; but prices are far-affordable than those established hotels in town. Auction Rooms can be a picturesque place, the vintage furniture aids in fostering the atmosphere. Kimberley Hotel is just opposite to the famous Yong Pin Dim Sum at Jalan Sungai Ujong.

Friday, March 18, 2016

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Arriving late for lunch at Icon City might get you into trouble as most restaurants are closed after 2:30 pm, though they will reopen for dinner at 6 pm. Rakkii Izakaya seems deceivingly quiet from outside, had we not entered the place to check it out, we would not know that they serve Set Lunch.  The name "Izakaya" gives an impression that the place opens in the evening and serves light snacks to go with the alcohols; in fact, Rakkii Izakaya is a Japanese-Fusion restaurant that serves full-fledged menu covering Appetizers, Ramen, Mains (Japanese Rice dishes) and even desserts. The setting is spacious and the decors are Japanese-influenced with a huge bar counter displaying various Japanese-Sake bottles. The menu may put you off with hefty prices but as far as quality is concerned, they are quite good at it. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

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Far deep inside Balik Pulau (approximately 10 min-drive), you will find a new piece of development area... named Botanic CT, the Mansion perches at one the hills over there... also in the vicinity is Prince of Wales Island International School. It is a beautifully restored mansion (it was there since decades ago) with a charming garden overlooking the greens at Balik Pulau, there are Gym and Pool facilities too... for the Botanica residents. There's an in-house restaurant that caters to the needs of the nearby schools and residents. It has the classic English setting... elegant, sophisticated yet modern in its own way. The restaurant has a small menu... featuring a blend of Malaysian cuisine and English-styled dishes.The historic villa reminds me of those classy ones at Cameron Highlands; for the ambiance and sense of heritage... their Afternoon Tea Package (Rm 52.90 nett for 2 pax) is especially popular and well-received. The servers were young but we were assured of the seamless and attentive care. 

Directions: From Balik Pulau Market, drive straight until you hit the small roundabout that divides that road into two. Follow the path on your right and keep driving for another 10 minutes, you will find the Botanica CT area on your right, make a right turn in it. Go straight until the very end, Botanica Mansion is right in front of you.

Monday, March 14, 2016

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It is not often you find authentic traditional Malay delicacies in cafes... especially in Penang. Should you find yourself stranded in Georgetown and yearning for Malay-Indonesian food... make your way to Cafe Legenda. Opened for less than half a year, Cafe Lagenda is housed within one of the old shops along Campbell Street. It has an interesting menu that features traditional Malay-eats or Western-Fusion dishes with a touch of Oriental. The waiting time could be long... as the Chef insists on using fresh ingredients so you could really taste the powerful punch of those Herbs and Spices. The place is simple but cozily decorated, though we would prefer the air-conditioners to work better. The atmosphere is generally quite relaxed, probably due to the large space and high ceiling. Their effort in making the dishes more presentable is most commendable.

Friday, March 11, 2016

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Previously Kaffa... the prominent corner lot is now taken up by Hygge, a cafe cum restaurant that serves promising and mouth-watering Western-Fusion dishes. We did not expect Hygge to churn out some lip smacking dishes, probably the exterior did not seem as encouraging as it used to be- dull and not as vibrant as before (a contradiction to the name Hygge- pronounced as Hoo-Gah, which literally means cozy in Danish). They probably need to do something to brighten it up a little; never mind on that, we were more than happy with the quality of food. Prices are most affordable and wallet-friendly; their 20% opening promotion (applicable to all items) is especially note-worthy, which slashes the prices by 1/5. We had a good, thick slab of Steak for Rm 24 nett (original price- Rm 30). There are also a variety of brunch items... that seem conventional but Hygge has certainly added some interesting twists to them. The opening promotion is valid until further notice.

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