July 26, 2009

Invited Review - Ivy's Kitchen @ Chow Thye Road

It is yet another pleasure to have been invited for my 2nd invited review from Criz – this round for Ivy’s Kitchen, courtesy of owner Mr. Tan and his wife Ivy.

I personally visited this place once and Mr. Tan was generous enough to offer me and my friends 10% discount as well as a complimentary red bean soup dessert for our enjoyment upon knowing that I was a food blogger :)

After knowing that I’d be reviewing this place, I thought I’d combine all both of my visits in this post for easier reference so here goes!

Ivy’s Kitchen had started operations for about 2 years now – mainly offering a variety of homey cookings, most of them Nyonya style. This is a Pork-Free establishment hence Muslims can definitely enjoy home-style cooking here.

The simplicity of the establishment itself offers coziness and coincides with the warmth of the food prepared by none other than Mr. Tan’s wife – Ivy, hence the name Ivy’s Kitchen.

The surroundings of the restaurant

Criz was kind enough to share with us the 普洱茶 (Pu Erh tea) that he brought – thanks!

All the 7 of us were seated within the inner area of the restaurant where air-conditioning had just been recently installed – definitely a plus point especially during afternoon up until early evening where the weather is still fairly warm.

First up – we were asked the drinks we’d like to have but since we’re OK with anything, a variety of fruit juices were prepared for us.

Anti clock-wise from bottom : Carrot with Milk; Apple with Lime; Orange Juice; Cucumber Mint; Watermelon Juice; Ampala Sour Plum; Honey Dew Juice

All fruit juices are priced at RM 2.20 each – they were all equally refreshing indeed

Our first dish was up even before we realized!

Sweet & Sour Flower Crab (RM 30 per 600gms)

Apart from the actual crab, the sauce is always the main ingredient that defines crab dishes as such – although I personally felt that it can be spicier, but we have to bear in mind that generally not everyone can accept too high level of spiciness. And this is, afterall sweet & sour and not chilli crabs!

I personally liked the paste so much so that I scooped up a lot of it to go with my rice :) and the flower crabs were fresh too!

Next up – Joo Hoo Char (RM 10) with Sang Choy

This is a very authentic Nyonya dish which I personally have very high expectations of, for the simple reason of both my grandma and my mom being able to deliver a mouth-watering version liked by all my family members every Chinese New Year.

Being pork free, chicken was used instead. Taste-wise, I like it to be more flavorful and preferably if it’s not too dry. Texture-wise, however, it is every bit as crunchy as I liked it to be – as it will then go very well with the sang choy and the sambal that is home-made.

Criz demonstrates the proper way of enjoying joo hoo char :)

Chicken Lor Bak (RM 6) was served afterwhich

This is one solid lor bak – notice how much fillings were wrapped up nicely within the skin then fried. The skin was fragrant and goes well with the chilli sauce.

Assam Prawns (RM 4-5 per pax) were up next!

Again, this is another dish in which I have high expectations of – as my grandma makes a very good version of it – she fries it till it gets a bit burnt and it’s a dry version – yummy!

When this dish was served – I couldn’t help but admire how the prawns were neatly arranged for our ‘shooting’ pleasures :P nice touch there

By the time I got to the prawn, it started to get a bit cold, nevertheless, the marinated taste infused within the prawns were undeniably good – it’s not too sour yet not too sweet – the taste was just right! I have to admit that it can compete with my grandma’s version (don’t tell her k)

Actually it’s my first time really consuming the prawn head as I normally give it away to my grandma or my mom or KW – and no way I’m gonna give these ones away though, they’re just too flavorful! The freshness of the prawns make this the perfect Assam Prawns

Gulai Tumis Ikan (RM 9 per 100 gms)

Most of us liked this a lot! The Black Promphet was very fresh and not being a fish lover myself, I normally don’t take fish if I don’t have anyone with me who will choose the portions without bones for me – as I have fish bone phobia. But this time, I took and consumed one piece of this fish all by myself! :)

The gulai was simply too good – it’s thick, spicy, sour and just very appetizing indeed – I’m gulai crazy actually, and I’d normally drink gulai just like that – and this pot definitely did not escape my mouth :P

Sambal Kailan [RM 8 (S), RM 10 (M), RM 14 (L)]

I never tasted Kailan with sambal before, and this is definitely a first! Kailan was stir-fried with Ivy Kitchen’s home-made sambal together with kick-ass big prawns. This is one hell of a spicy Kailan I must say – and most of us also loved this dish because of the spiciness.

The sambal is definitely the secret at Ivy’s Kitchen as it can be used with many dishes yet it tastes right in all of them – nice!

Mr. Tan was nice enough to serve us an additional Beef Rendang on top of all the good food we were already having :)

I’ve always had a soft spot for rendang – and the rendang base did not disappoint – relatively thick, fragrant and spicy. The beef itself was a bit too tough though, and the texture would be even greater if it was softer.

Seaweed & Tofu Soup [RM 8 (S), RM 10 (M), RM 14 (L)]

Although this is a relatively normal seaweed soup, I felt that it is very hearty indeed. It was topped with fried garlic onion and it tastes just like mom’s cooking. A lot of ingredients were used in the soup – and when I served I remember not having enough soup to go around but plenty of ‘liao’ still present.

There were fishballs, chicken meatballs, vegetables, seaweed, prawns and tofu. I liked it as the soup did not smell weird with the seaweed and it wasn’t too salty either. All the ingredients were fresh and the chicken meatballs were nice and chewy too!

Last but not least, we had dessert – Red Bean Soup (RM 2) a.k.a. ang tau sar

Compared to my first visit, the red bean soup had definitely stepped up a notch. The soup base itself is now thicker, red beans are softer and the whole texture and flavor is really coming into place this round. I loved how the ingredients were mixed within the red bean soup – dried longans, sago and red bean – which makes the dessert’s sweetness not so much from the sugar but from the ingredients themselves.

There is a promotion going on where diners can collect 1 stamp for every RM 5 spent at Ivy’s Kitchen. With every 10 stamps collected, diners are entitled to a free set meal; or an RM 7.50 discount off the total bill. A maximum of 2 cards can be used for each visit for discount off the total bill.

The set meals (that comes with fresh fruit juice and jelly) available are:-

Chicken Rendang

Beef Rendang

Fried Fish Meal
Nasi Lemak with Curry Lemak Fish

Nasi Lemak with Curry Assam Fish
Nasi Lemak with Curry Lemak Prawn

Ivy’s Kitchen also offers a variety of noodles and porridges, laksa, toasts, side dishes e.g. Poh Piah Chee, mix pickles, and its signature dish is definitely Cincaru Sambal Fish fried to perfection and stuffed with their home-made sambal – a Must Try!

Cincaru Sambal Fish

Nasi Lemak with Curry Lemak Prawn set

Watermelon juice

Longan Jelly

Beef Rendang Nasi Lemak


Poh Piah Chee

Would really like to thank Mr. Tan who had been nothing but a good host - not only during this invited review but also during my personal visit. His passion in the restaurant and the food shows from his attentiveness as well as the conversations he exchanged with us. Not forgetting Ivy for dishing out all the yummy dishes for us too!

Ivy’s Kicthen
58, Jalan Chow Thye, 10250 Penang

Business Hours :
Mon – Fri, Sun 9am – 9pm; Saturdays 12noon– 9pm

Mr. Tan 013-433 7878

Ivy 016-433 7130

List of bloggers who attended:-

Criz Lai - http://crizfood.com/

Jane - http://duckies-food-blog.blogspot.com/

Mary - http://reginatravel-foodparadise.blogspot.com/

Allen - http://yummy-station.com/

Chee Wah - http://www.noweating.com/

Cynthia (NKOTB) - http://mylovemyfood.blogspot.com/


  1. wow you're fast!!! the first to post!!!

  2. Ah... can't wait to try the cincaru. ^-^ Nice review!

  3. Your posting speed is as fast as bringing your own laptop and blogging in the restaurant. Left hand hold camera, right hand hold crab. Geng!

    You got chance to snap Mr. Tan.... I hope I can snap Ms. Ivy :p

  4. I'd love to try out the sambal kailan :)
    Nice review :)

  5. Thanks you all so much for the support! :D
    The pics in the second half of the post were taken during my first visit

    The reason I posted so fast was because I knew if I don't do it when I'm free (Sun nite), it's gonna take me forever to get around to it :P

  6. What caught my eye is its new business card.

  7. Wah cucumber mint is served there as one of the menu item already. XD

  8. cariso : Yups - you know it's colourful signature belonging to? :P

    email2me : Yeah.. though I didn't quite like the taste heh!