Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Ice Drip Coffee @ Full of Beans, Straits Quay, Penang

Being a dull and rainy day since morning, I felt my energy level totally drained out as we could not head to the beach as promised (Yes, I was sulking along with my nephew too :P).  So, right after lunch at Penang's first and only seafront retail marina, Straits Quay, I just needed some coffee to brighten my day.

Finding Full Of Beans, a cafe that serves handcrafted specialty coffee, was definitely a coincidence when we were checking out this new marina mall.  As I walked up the escalator to the first floor, a beautiful aroma of caffeine greeted me and like an insect attracted to light, I find myself being lured towards the cafe.

After going through the long list of the various coffee on the menu, I finally decided to order the Ice Drip Coffee (RM 18), a coffee made through a unique 8-hour process using only pure ice water and drip coffee, giving a unique flavour unlike any regular brewed coffee.  I opted without milk, but with sugar, since the barista suggested that the original flavours will be better if standalone, which I totally agree.

The cold black coffee was full in body yet light on the texture - a bit citrus and a subtle acidic taste.  It has a very nice aftertaste that stays in your mouth for hours.  Even with a large cube of ice added, the coffee was not very diluted as with any normal iced, brewed coffee.

The cafe was very cosy with soft, dim lights and I would have definitely sat on one of the couches while sipping coffee and enjoying the cakes if it was not for us having to go back to the hotel for the kids to rest.  When I was there, there seemed to be a coffee appreciation class going on, so various coffee distiller were out for some demonstration.  Looks serious.

Full Of Beans
Unit 3A-1-6, Block A
First Floor,Straits Quay
Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang
10470 Penang

GPS: 5.458768, 100.313255

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Breakfast @ Swiss Oven Bakery & Cafe, Menara MIDF

I was initially on leave for study but a last minute meeting forced me to be back to the office.  Since there was still some time to waste before the meeting, I decided to have a proper breakfast at this newly-discovered cafe hidden inside Menara MIDF @ Jalan Raja Chulan called the Swiss Oven Bakery & Cafe.

KS had tried this place (another branch at Sentral KL) numerous time before and claimed that its croissants were very good.  Unfortunately, when I went there, the croissants were already sold out and I had no choice but to settle with another breakfast set, which has sausage, sunny side up egg, beef bacon with a slice of toasted bread (RM 6.90).

It is a simple but delicious breakfast at an affordable price.  Everything is fine except the egg was a bit too oily while the cucumber slice was overly huge.  Other than that, a pretty decent and filling breakfast.

To go with the breakfast set is a complimentary black coffee or teh tarik.  To add milk, that is an additional RM0.50.  However, as it was nearing mid-day, I wanted to cut down on the caffeine and hence, decided to order a Caffe Mocha (RM 6.00).  Unfortunately, they didn't let me upgrade for a nominal fee.

Anyway, it was a pretty decent, large mug of mocha.  The mocha was lacking in a lot of ways - coffee didn't taste very strong or aromatic and it was way too milky.  Still, for the price paid, it was reasonable. 

Despite with almost no one during the time I was there and preparing this breakfast set was supposedly not something very complicated, the service was a bit slow.  If you are in a hurry, definitely not a place you want go to, but the place is indeed a nice place to unwind and relax.  The place is brightly lit, especially with the natural sunlight, and well-conditioned.

Swiss Oven Bakery & Cafe
Ground Floor, Menara MIDF
82, Jalan Raja Chulan
50200 Kuala Lumpur

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Dinner @ Tasty Porridge, Taipan USJ10

Weather has been scorching hot and stuffy last Saturday as compared to the gloomy and rainy days for the days before.  With such weather, it came as no surprise that I barely had much appetite for anything heavy or complicated.  That's why I suggested to have some light porridge for dinner at Tasty Porridge @ Taipan USJ10,  Subang Jaya.

Knowing that I liked the crispy, fried intestines, KS insisted to order the Authentic Pork Mix Porridge (RM 6).  The porridge is smooth and has enough flavour, i.e. not bland.  However, I felt the porridge is not watery enough and it gets quite starchy when it cools.  The fried intestines were indeed nice and crispy, and without too much saltiness in it.   On top of that, there are a lot of meat in the porridge.

To go with the porridge, we definitely cannot leave out the Deep Fried Dough Stick (RM 1.30) or yau char kwai.  The yau char kwai is quite fresh, not oily and very crispy.  Goes very well with the porridge.  Sorry, no pictures of the yau char kwai as I couldn't wait to dip into the porridge :P

We also ordered the Claypot Kung Po Pork Belly Slices (RM 13) as KS wanted to have rice instead.  The flavours were quite intense with the hotness from not only the dried chillies but also the cut chillies.  However, despite being a kung-po dish, it tasted nowhere near because it is lacking the acidity of the vinegar.  Also, the dish is pretty salty but should be fine as long as it goes with rice.  Nevertheless, the dish is still reasonable as the pork slices were not too fatty and are quite tender.

Finally is the Chinese lettuce (RM 6).  A pretty standard plate of nicely-cooked vegetables.  For this price, it was quite big portion.

On any hot day, a good cup of herbal tea would be the best antidote to cool down the body.  For that, we ordered the chrysanthemum tea (RM 2.30) which has a nice flowery taste and the right level of sweetness.  Tasted like how we would prepare at home - not too diluted.

Overall, the food and the price it charged is quite reasonable.  Service was very fast and so, you don't have to wait very long.   Place is clean and well-conditioned.  However, getting a carpark in Taipan is, as expected, pretty difficult but there's always the multi-storey carpark building opposite Tasty Porridge as an alternative.

Tasty Porridge
19-G, Jalan USJ 10/1C
47600 Subang Jaya

GPS:  3.048385,101.584821

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Nasi Lemak @ Brilliant Nasi Lemak House, Kota Damansara

It was a holiday and we were planning to head to IKEA for some furnishing ideas.  But before that, we circled into Kota Damansara (near Sunway Giza) to search for somewhere decent for lunch.  And then, it caught my attention - Brilliant Nasi Lemak House.  Since it has been a while I had a good nasi lemak meal, I suggested to try this place.

This is one non-halal place with the usual nasi lemak but with a Chinese feel to it.  As with any good nasi lemak, every component of the dish plays an important role for it to meet the mark and in my humble opinion, I think Brilliant Nasi Lemak House made it.

The sambal was nicely prepared with a balanced flavour of sweet and spicy.  The sambal alone did a good job to flavour the nasi lemak.  In terms of the level of hotness, it was just slightly above average.  The rice, unfortunately, was lacking some santan  aroma but it was still a decent serving of rice - not too soggy or dry.  A plus point is the huge portion of the rice.

For me, I ordered the Nasi Lemak with Deep Fried Chicken (RM 8.20) since I was in the mood for some fried stuff (despite the hot weather).  The fried chicken drumstick was very juicy and yet, the skin on the outside was crispy and seasoned nicely.  The flavour is not too intense such that it blends well with the sambal.  I loved it.  I only wished they had given me more of the sambal.

KS ordered the Nasi Lemak with Rendang Pork (RM 8.20) as he felt it is pretty rare to find pork to go along with nasi lemak.  Instead of the traditional beef rendang, this was made up of tender pork pieces.  The flavours of the rendang was a bit mild, i.e. the spices are not as intense as the usual rendang and has a closer resemblance to pork curry instead.  Still, the meat was beautifully cooked with the right level of moisture.

As the weather was pretty hot, we ordered the Red Bean & Cendol Dessert (RM 4.80) to cool.  I love the mashed red beans as they were sweet and did much to flavour the ice.  However, aside from the cendol jellies, the ice barely tasted like cendol dessert.

They have a variety of nasi lemak dishes with the Brilliant's Nasi Lemak (Deep Fried Chicken Drumstick, Sambal Prawns & Sambal Stuffed Squid) and Dessert Set (RM 17.80) being one of their main highlights.  But we were not up to it since it looked a bit too heavy for lunch.  Maybe next time.  If you are not up for nasi lemak, the menu also offers other dishes such as wan tan mee, noodles, chicken rice and various snacks and desserts.

As we were leaving to take a picture of the shop, there was a sign placed right outside the shop with a tagline "The Best Nasi Lemak in Kota Damansara awaits you here!"  Not sure if it is really the best in town, but it was definitely good enough for me to come back another time.

Brilliant Nasi Lemak House
25, Jalan PJU 5/10
Dataran Sunway
47810 Kota Damansara
Tel:  03-6150 6998

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Thai Dinner @ Seeri Authentic Thai Restaurant, SS2

Having read some good reviews of this Thai restaurant in SS2, I wanted to try it out.  But with all the classes and gatherings already planned out in the last few months, there was barely any slots available to try out Seeri Authentic Thai Restaurant @ SS2.  Finally, the chance finally came when we went there for dinner.

Going to a Thai restaurant means the tom yam soup definitely has to be on the order list.  They have a variety of tom yam soups but we selected the Tom Yam Kai (RM 20 - small) or Chicken Tom Yam instead.

Served in an old-school steamboat with burning charcoal, the smell was very aromatic.  The soup was fantastic, with a lovely tangy and sweet taste.  The balance of sourness and sweet was just nice.  Although the pot is filled with a lot of cut chillies, the level of hotness is still manageable (at least, in my opinion).  The soup is really addictive and I just couldn't stop sipping the soup had not for me feeling too bloated with water.

The only complain is that there was not enough chicken and mushrooms in it.  It seemed as though the soup was the main character and the rest are just accompanying it.  I barely had any chicken slices or the mushrooms.  If they had added in slightly more meat or mushrooms, I would say this dish is totally perfect.

Another dish we ordered  is none other than the vegetables - Stir-fry Kailan with garlic (RM 12).  The kailan or Chinese brocolli was crunchy, but overall, a standard plate of vegetables.  The gravy was flavourful but just not garlicky enough.

The Jasmine Rice were charged at RM 2.50 per plate, which is a bit expensive as the portion is quite small.

For drinks, we had the Iced Lemongrass drink (RM 3.50).  It was pretty sweet, I must say, but luckily we ordered the iced version that seems to dilute the sweetness after a while.

When we were there, it was almost full-house and some even had to wait for tables.  Despite that, the acoustic was pretty good and not too noisy.  However, service can be a little slow, so do expect to wait a while before the food comes.  For us, I think we waited slightly past 30 minutes.

Overall, the restaurant has a simple layout but it was comfortable.  I guess the most important is that it tasted good although we do find the price slightly on the higher side. Would I come back again?  Well, maybe the tom yam soup will still be worth a second chance.

Seeri Authentic Thai Restaurant
No.26 Jalan SS2/10,
47300 Petaling Jaya
(Same row as Kayu Nasi Kandar)
Close on Thursday

Monday, 1 April 2013

Asian Fusion meal @ Henry Cook, SS2 Mall

It was a rainy weekend and practically difficult to go far without being stuck in some meaningless traffic jam.  With that, we decided to go somewhere near and ended up in SSTwo Mall.  Having read some good reviews of the chef behind this family-run business, Henry Cook which features a variety of western food with a touch of Peranakan flavours, we decided to give it a try.

I ordered the Crispy Fish Batter with Baked Herb Potatoes, which looked pretty appetizing from the menu.  The fried Dory fish was served a bed of salad and topped with some with sambal and lime, along with their Signature Power Chilli.  It also came with acar, which I find was just so-so since it lack some flavours, only acidic.  But for the fish, I enjoyed as it was really juicy and the coating was nicely seasoned.  Eaten together with the sambal and some squueezed lime juice, it was very nice and not too overpowering.  The baked potatoes were okay although I would have preferred if they had been cooked a bit longer.  The brown sauce, unfortunately, was a bit tasteless.

For KS, he had the Beef stew with Yellow Fragrant Rice - large chunks of tender beef stewed with mixed vegetables served with a refreshing cucumber salad.  Compared to the fish dish, I preferred the beef stew as the taste is more intense and wholesome.  The beef was cooked until very tender and almost melts in every bite.  Despite being a bit diluted, the sauce was delicious, with a lovely balance of sweet and sour and goes very well with the mildly flavoured rice.

As for their Signature Power Chilli, it is really no joke.  Even with just a very small intake of it, it is so hot that it can make you choke from it.  I think it better paired with the rice than the baked potatoes as the chilli has a more Asian take to it.  For me, I didn't really enjoy the chilli very much as, in my opinion, all it has was just the hotness, and nothing else.

We also ordered the soup of the day, which is Cream of Mushroom Soup topped with croutons.  The croutons were my favourite and adds so much texture and flavour to an ordinary cream soup.  Although very similar to an out-of-can soup, it has added large bits of mushrooms and meat.  It would have been better if the soup was hotter.

To quench our thirst, we ordered the Homemade Chrysanthemum, which I find was a bit too sweet for my liking, and a refreshing Barley with Lemon drink.  Nothing out of the ordinary.

Overall, the experience was good.  Service was indeed quite fast and prices were pretty reasonable given the portion.  The ambiance is quite laid-back and relaxing, but I do realize it was not very packed even on a Saturday night (could be the location?).

Henry Cook
Lot LG-54, SSTwo Mall
Jalan SS2/72 
42400 Petaling Jaya

Dinner @ Noble Mansion Restaurant, PJ

Next to the Jaya 33 is a newly-built office building called the The Plaza @ Jaya 33, which houses the latest   concept restaurant of the famous The Oriental Group of Restaurants - the Noble Mansion.  Housing 4 different sections - The Lantern, The Bamboo Courtyard, The Terracotta Rooms and The Grand Hall - Noble Mansion is created with a modern interpretation of a Chinese traditional mansion in mind.

Thinking of checking out this new Chinese restaurant, I brought my parents for dinner.  As we were pretty early, the restaurant is pretty quiet except for the busy wait-staffs setting up the tables.

For starters, I ordered the Vegetarian Spring Roll (RM 8).  This light snack looks very adorable and beautifully presented.  It is very refreshing as it is cold and juicy with a lot of vegetables wrapped in a thin fried beancurd skin and topped with a slice of cherry tomato.  Simple but very flavourful and appetizing.

My mum insisted to order the Claypot Eggplant with egg and crabmeat (RM 28).  Visually, it looked a bit bland but thankfully, the actual taste was more appealing.  With a raw egg dropped into a sizzling hot claypot, it gives a nice smooth texture to the gravy.  On top of that, there were plenty of fat, chunky crabmeat among the soft, sweet eggplants.

We then have the Sizzling Fried Rice with Chicken Cubes (RM 28) - not really the exact name as I forgotten to jot down the name.  The flavours were quite balanced and the rice has a nice wok-hei, especially the nice fragrant and crispy burnt rice at the bottom, which my mum adores very much.  Eaten together with their special dried chilli sauce, it was lovely.  The portion, on the other hand, was shockingly huge - one portion size can feed around 4-5 person.

Next is the Braised Ee-fu Noodles with Prawn Roe (RM 20).  The ee-fu noodles were springy and has a nice chewy texture. The flavourful noodles were sprinkled with some paprika-like dried prawn roe.  In my opinion, I didn't feel as though the prawn roe contributed much to the taste.  Nevertheless, I still love this noodle dish as it was not too dry.  However, this dish is slightly oily towards the end.

The food were indeed delicious and worth every cent paid.  It lived up to my expectations.  Service was very good and attentive but I hope it was not because we were one of the few early diners for the evening.  As we were seated at the Grand Hall by the windows, we had a very nice of the PJ neighbourhood.

The main hall can accommodate about 31 tables, but there are various small rooms available which can fit small gatherings of about 1 - 5 tables.

Noble Mansion
Unit P1-01, 1st Floor
The Plaza @ Jaya 33
No. 1, Jalan Semangat
Seksyen 13
46100 Petaling Jaya
Tel:  03-79569288