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/

July 12, 2009

Hameediyah Restaurant @ Campbell Street

Hameediyah restaurant holds a very strong place within the 'Wee' family - it's one of my dad's favourite places to makan and since young my dad used to bring us here for dinner, and we'd have Murtabak with Curry Kapitan Chicken and their signature bawang (onions); ais manis - and there's our meal.

My uncle Hooi and cousin Dennis never miss this place whenever they come to visit - so just imagine how far up the scale this place is within us :)

The place will forever be packed with people and securing a seat had never been an easy chore. Back then, there used to be one shoplot only with a very long table downstairs and upstairs where there is air-conditioning. But we'd always sit downstairs - probably for the 'authentic' feel of it :)

I remember I used to be mesmerised by the murtabak-maker on his speedy-and-super-efficient-hands from oiling the pan, spreading the dough, breaking eggs, scraping the ingredients off containers, mixing them up in a cup, pouring them onto the pan, frying the murtabak up to cutting them up before placing them onto plates. Very impressive.

Fast-forward 10-odd years and Hameediyah has now occupied 3 shoplots - one being an extension of the old one; and another located 2-3 shoplots away - the Tandoori House

We initially wanted to have the beef soup noodle opposite the Fire Station but being a Penang holiday, it was not open. KW suddenly thought of Hameediyah and so off we went to Campbell Street!

The last time we patronised this place - we had Murtabak and something else that's not on their menu - Kambing Goreng (my friend Amir highly recommended) and it was pretty good to my standards.

This round, we had...

Murtabak Mutton

My must-order - murtabak kambing! It never disappoints - just one complaint on the murtabak skin being slightly too thick this round


Nobody, I repeat, NOBODY should take their Hameediyah Murtabak without its signature onions ok! It's just so WRONGGGGG... coz their bawangs are damn good!

Nasi Briyani

Nasi Briyani was not oily at all and was very fragrant with herbs and spices - no wonder it's on every table and every take-away!

Chicken Briyani

I've learnt over the years that the Curry Kapitan Chicken's kuah is always oilier and thicker; and the distinct difference lies in the chicken - the chicken is fairly hard especially on the skin as they're being fried prior to cooking in the curry.

As for Chicken Briyani, it is extremely tender and juicy; and the kuah being much more dilute yet not so oily - that's why our family too have kinda 'switched' to opting for this type whenever we take-away.

Mutton - 2 pieces

Though the meat was tender, the kuah was just ordinary - maybe because I never specified which particular type of 'kambing' I wanted - I should have ordered Kurma instead since I like it cooked that way. Well, definitely no match compared to Kambing Goreng of course.


Very nice and crunchy papadums to complement our meal

Half-way through our meal, KW suddenly asked 'do they have papadums?' So I said 'they should have, all mamaks do what' And off he went to ask for some - and came back with more than a handful of 'em! I was like 'Why'd you ask so much for?' 'It's ok - we can finish - and did you know how huge the tin can is? It's filled with papadums - there were pleeennntyyyyyyyyyyyy!'

Our meal cost us RM 19.60 (inslusive of drinks) - well..... to us, it's not too expensive and we wouldn't say it's cheap either. For a satisfying meal as such we still thought it was OK :D

July 10, 2009

Famous Penang Beef Soup Kuey Teow @ Sri Weld Food Court

It's been a while since I stepped foot at Sri Weld Food Court.

Someone craved for the beef soup kuey teow here as he had lapsed it for a long time.

So off we went for lunch and we were both very satisfied indeed.

I always had my beef noodle with only the meat and the meatballs, nothing else. But he had it 'all-in'.

As we were very hungry, I spared him the irony of having to wait for me to snap a pic of his bowl, so, no pic yeah :P

This was my bowl of
Beef Soup Kuey Teow (RM 6)

What can I say? The kuey teow was smooth, the meat and meatballs springy, soup base was just awesome and flavourful.

One thing I felt that the one near Fire Station beat them was the taste of the meatballs. I must go back and try properly for better comparison :P

Crepe Cottage @ Gurney Drive

Instead of having a drink with the rest, PChoon and I went and pigged out some more at Crepe Cottage after our primary school gathering @ The Sire

There were so many patrons that night that many ingredients ran out, and so we ended up with:-

PChoon's Almond Chicken Crepe (Savory)

The chicken was actually pretty good - the crust was crunchy yet the meat within juicy.

My 'Traffic Lights' (Sweet)

This was supposed to be made up of Strawberry, Kiwi and Mango but they ran out of mango so banana was used as a substitute instead.

Drenched in maple syrup, the crepe was pleasant to the tongue as it was not made too thick but the banana was not exactly ripe which kinda spoilt the entire crepe.

Will try out their other crepes in time to come, as this is still one of the places I like to visit for its awesome variety of sweet and savory crepes :)

July 9, 2009

Haven Delights @ Penang Times Square

Thanks Kel for the awesome pics :D

Kel and I went for a very ad hoc and impulsive dinner one Saturday night as I was sick of staying home with no one but me and my work laptop (was on call what)

We (actually it was me) made a right decision to pig out at the newly established Haven Delights at the very new Penang Times Sqaure.

I've read many of the invited reviews from other food bloggers alike on this place and decided to check it out since the food all looked so tantalizing (albeit the ala carte prices being a little too steep for me)!

* but I didn't knew that they had the 'eat-all-you-can' concept just like Tao's though *

When we reached the restaurant, we were seated right in front of the Sashimi/Sushi bar (we're not complaining though) and the waitress explained to us that we can either opt for ala carte or buffet. We couldn't decide at first but after browsing through its menu we found that it'd be more 'value-for-money' to go for the buffet :P

Apart from the abundance of varieties in the ala carte menu to indulge in, we were also reminded of the basic hot items as well as drinks/fruits spread.

If my memory served me right - there were 3 options of refillable drinks to choose from, and it is on a self service basis from the drinks/fruit spread.

The hot items area housed items such as steamed buns, porridge and soup, spicy fish cake, to name a few.

Our drinks : Green Tea and

Items that I took from the hot items buffet spread (gently reminded by Kel not to take too many for fear we couldn't finish them)

Clockwise from top : Pandan Chicken, Fried Mantou, Squid Salad

The Fried Mantou was pretty special as it had cheese strings on them, but because it was cold, I did not find out particularly tasty. Pandan Chicken was just mediocre and we both find it to be a tad hard and too oily. But I liked the Squid Salad a lot though! The taste was light and just right to fire up our appetites!

Order time from the buffet menu! :D :D

Cold Cuts..........

Unagi Tofu

This was actually recommended by the waitress and all I can say is they do put effort in the presentation itself. The ingredients e.g. sesame seed, Unagi, bonito flakes were not sparingly used as well which is always a plus factor for me. Tasty indeed as I like Unagi a lot

Hotzzz Abalone

This was also another recommended dish by the waitress and though Kel did not quite fancy spicy stuff, I find it very unique as I rarely come across spicy abalone - home made spicy paste was spread on top of the abalone slices topped with fragrant garlic flakes

Unagi Sushi

The rice was packed, portion was right, and the sesame seeds complemented the unagi well - nicely drenched Unagi - again, we like!

Baby Crabs

This was something new to us - also recommended by the waitress, but when it landed on the table, both of us looked at each other and I bet we were thinking the same thing : 'this huge portion is definitely not looking good for us!'

Anyway, we munched on it and it was pretty hard and lack of crunchiness. The shells though edible, they were pretty hard and not tongue nor teeth-friendly. We actually had a tough time finishing this one in the end.

Lamb Teriyaki

This was pretty good actually, grilled just right - not too hard, not too soft. The only feedback we had was that there were quite a fair bit of the oily portion and cutting this baby up was not easy at all as I had to hold my saliva from dripping! :P

Butter Fish

This doesn't look anywhere near appetizing does it? Looks simple right? Wrong... both Kel and I were soooooooooo into this butter fish as the taste was just out of this world-ly. Firstly, the fish did not smell fishy, the butter smelt frangrant and the taste was a mixture of sweetness - i guess from the fish and butter. The grilling was done perfectly as well since it was fully cooked yet not burnt

Tempura set

The set came with 2 fairly decent-sized prawns, carrot, broccoli and yam

Sashimi set

When we ordered this the first round, we were served
Octopus, Salmon and White Tuna, but our second order came in Red Tuna instead :-

I guess they interchange the Red/White Tuna though we felt that the red tuna did not taste as good as the white.

Motoyaki Scallop

This looks very similar to the ones we had at Tao but trust me, the taste is much better! Both Kel and I love our scallops (it's pretty obvious since we had so many of 'em) but Kel eats it by first scraping off the spicy mayo sauce while I wallop the whole thing, not leaving any trace of sauce behind :D

I simply love the sauce! Don't ask me why, but I'm always up for strong tastes

Teriyaki Salmon

We did not fancy this too much - maybe because I could smell the fishy smell of salmon (I'm only a big fan of either smoked or raw salmon)


I can't really recall the exact name of this dish but it was recommended by (yes, the) waitress (again) - we're not complaining at all since this is good service. The only reason we ordered this was because it was recommended and we were told that they are tiny.

The texture was kinda like black marshmallows actually - and the taste was pretty bland

Finally, how could we miss out on the dessert?

There were 3 ice cream flavors for us to choose from - so I opted for Chocolate +
Raspberrywhile Kel went for Vanilla and Raspberry - we are such a good balance :P

Ice Cream - Vanilla, Chocolate, Raspberry

Total damage : RM 49.90 ++ (much more worth it compared to Tao)

Actually, a small 'drama' went on in the middle of our meal - we actually signalled '3' when we ordered the Sashimi and also the scallops because we wanted to make sure that we were served 1 portion of 3 pieces only and nothing more than that. And they ended up serving us 9 pieces of Salmon, 9 pieces of Octopus and 9 pieces of Tuna for the Sashimi; as well as 9 pieces of Scallops!

Imagine our horrified faces! :S :S :S

When we told the serving waitress that we only ordered 1 set = 3 pieces, she said that was not what was recorded in the order sheet, and we actually asked that if we could 'return' 2 out of the 3 'sets' served. After the waitress checked with the chef and then with the boss, the boss finally gave the green light. My face literally turned pale thinking how on earth can we finish all the food if they refused? Luckily the owner Mr. Ng agreed. We wouldn't want to waste food anyway.

Thanks so much!!! And this is what I call Customer Orientation :D

More shots of the interior....


Both Kel and myself were pretty much DELIGHTed with the food we ordered (and finished mind you), just for the exception of the baby crabs and Teriyaki Salmon.

We will definitely be coming back for more - We'll Be Back! :D

Haven Delights
77-L1-34 Jalan Dato Keramat
Penang Times Square
10150 Pulau Pinang

Tel: 04 2108855 & 04 2108856