April 2, 2015

Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Soup @ Gurney Paragon

With Wan Thun Mee being my 2nd favorite hawker's food, I couldn't miss any chance of trying out new establishments, so I persuaded hubby to try out this One Star Michelin restaurant that originated from Hong Kong.

We ordered what we thought was either their famous or what Hong Kong is famous for - namely Wan Thun noodle and Roasted Pork Belly. As hubby liked pork intestines, he ordered a Pork Intestine Congee. 

When we arrived there were just a few tables being occupied since it was still barely dinner time yet. Not long after our order was taken, we were informed by the staff that they had run out of Pork Intestine Congee - much to my hubby's shock and disappointment. How can a newly established restaurant run out of an item? So hubby settled for Salted Lean Pork and Preserved Egg Congee instead.

10 minutes later, nothing reached our table, including our order of 2 plain water :-| 

After our plain waters finally reached, the Salted Lean Pork and Preserved Egg Congee (RM 15.80) was served.

The portion of the congee was small but the congee tasted good - though the ingredients can be further 'enhanced' (read : increased).

After a little more while later, our Roasted Pork Belly (RM 20.80) came:-

We could barely believe our eyes when this plate landed - they looked super dry and hard, and could not even match up to any roasted pork belly that can be found in Penang. They did not just look dry, they tasted dry and the texture was like chewing on tree barks. This was definitely something of a sub-standard quality, let alone One Star Michelin. We had to finish this plate by dipping the meat with the mustard sauce that came with it.

By this time we were a bit pissed because my House Specialty Wan Thun Noodle (RM 16.80) was not here yet, after some follow ups, finally it was served:-

The bowl of Wan Than noodle was the smallest I have ever seen - even smaller than of hawker stall's. It looked just plain to me - oh wait, where are my Wan Thun's? After searching within the small bowl - finally I found all 4 of my Wan Thuns underneath the noodles (I was told by a friend later on that this was the way Hong Kong Wan Thun noodles are being served).

How does a One Star Michelin Wan Thun noodle taste like? Chewy and normal if you ask me. A sip of the soup didn't manage to woo me either. There must've been something good here, right? Finally I found it - its Wan Thun! The Wan Thun's were springy, the fillings flavorful and you can really taste the prawns and meat within. Anyhow, it does not live up to the standards of Hong Kong Wan Thun noodle or One Star Michelin, given the hefty price tag too!

Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop 正斗粥麵專家
Level 5 Gurney Paragon Mall, Persiaran Gurney 10250 Penang
Business Hours: 11am – 9.30pm daily

Macallum Connoisseurs Coffee Co. @ Gat Lebuh Macallum

Out of an impromptu Sunday, I told hubby that I wanted to try out someplace new for a change, so we searched for this place called Macallum Connoisseurs that was highly recommended by my friend Terry.

We drove around Gat Lebuh Macallum towards the area where the flats where but it was nowhere to be found, later on to discover that it's located right at the traffic light junction (d'uh).

Anyway, when we reached this place, we could see that the car park lots surrounding the cafe were already taken up, some even resorted to random parking. All I can say is, the parking is limited given the fact that the place is fairly huge and can easily house a lot of people but at the same time could not accommodate the amount of cars that came with it.

When I stepped into Macallum Connoisseurs, I was surprised to find it to be HUGE - this used to be a warehouse of some sort that they have converted into a roastery/cafe/academy. I would imagine this to be a great place for face-to-face social networking (yeah not the ones you do online); gossiping; sales-doing, etc etc. 

Just where we were seated, we could see a bunch of 10 uni-goers having gathering and playing cards.

As we were not very hungry, we just ordered some light items and also something that our daughter could (or should I say would) eat.

Good 'ol Bagel - Cream Cheese (RM 7)

I find the bagel just to be average, so was the cream cheese; but we were happy because our daughter ate it :)

Meatball Bolognese - Pork (RM 16)

When this was served - I just stared at it wondering why the ratio of pasta vs. meatball was so far off? There were a total of 5 meatballs only, but plenty of pasta to stuff you no worries. The pasta looked alright but tasted weird - maybe due to too much cheese, I could easily cook a better one myself. But the meatballs were relatively good though (but there were only 5 of them, remember???)

Let's move on to our drinks - hubby's Choc Chip Frappe (RM 15). Given its Starbucks price, I guess this passed? I still think it's too expensive though it tasted good nonetheless.

As I had cough that time, I ordered Hot Chocolate (RM 10) - seriously? 10 bucks for hot chocolate? Now this one's a total rip off - totally not worth the price as the hot chocolate was just so-so.

A few things to note about this place is, it is self-service - meaning you have to order and pay at the counter but they will have your food and drinks served to you (hence no service tax charged on their receipt).

Another thing is, mosquitoes are quite active within the cafe due to its location so those who are bringing infants or toddlers will need to take note. Even adults need to be aware of this.

All in all, it is not likely that I will make a return anytime soon, unless it is to try out their signature Smoked Duck which everyone is raving about.

Macallum Connoisseurs
1 Gat Lebuh Macallum, 10300 George Town, Penang
Business Hours : 9:00am - 12:00am daily

TWG Tea Lunch @ Gurney Paragon

Had a splurging lunch with my 'boss' at TWG (The Wellness Group) recently and it was very intricate indeed....

After browsing through both their set lunch and ála carte menu, my boss decided on their 3 course set lunch C (RM 45) while I opted for the Aviator set (RM 68) from their Brunch menu.

* Brunch set consists of
    • TWG Tea* from our extensive tea list.    
    • Freshly squeezed orange or apple juice.    
    • Aviator Salad      
      A grand classic with grilled chicken supreme, Romaine lettuce, garlic croutons, fresh   
      parmesan shavings topped with a poached egg and a touch of • seaweed tossed in a lightly 
      spiced sauce infused with Comptoir des Indes Tea.    
   • Choice of 2 freshly baked muffins or scones served with TWG Tea jelly and whipped cream.
   • Choice of a TWG Tea Patisserie from our selection.

Dining at TWG reminds me of Titanic - maybe owing to their shiny brass ware and exquisite colonial feel similar to the one Rose and Jack dined in lolx..

First up - our tea was served:-

My boss' Ceylon Leo tea

My Rose Bowdo tea

I wasn't able to decide on which tea to choose and the staff actually brought the tea leaves out for me to smell and see which one I fancy - not bad..

Next came my Orange Juice which was freshly squeezed and neat with no traces of ice. What an authentic OJ - it was fresh with a sourish hint which can only indicate that no sugary concoction was added.

My boss' Pumpkin Soup served with bun:-

The only comment I got from him was that this is a 'healthy' soup :P

I chose 1 muffin and 1 scone each because I really loved their scone, but this time I was disappointed to learn that their scones had become too hard :( Their chocolate muffin still tastes rich - just the way I like it. 

As usual, their TWG Tea Jelly and Whipped Cream are perfect complements of their pastry creations.

Our mains arrived, my boss' Linguini Imperial:-

After his first taste, he immediately asked for salt and pepper :P Probably this was too 'healthy' of a dish for a person who is used to strong flavors? Nonetheless I tried some of it and find it acceptable (of course not daily haha)

My main - Aviator Salad 

According to its description, this was supposed to be:-
A grand classic with grilled chicken supreme, Romaine lettuce, garlic croutons, fresh       parmesan shavings topped with a poached egg and a touch of • seaweed tossed in a lightly spiced sauce infused with Comptoir des Indes Tea.

What turned up on my table was romaine lettuce served with grilled chicken with a poached egg, missing the garlic croutons, fresh parmesan shavings as well as seaweed tossed in a lightly spiced sauce infused with tea. Hmmmm..... something not right here but I only realize this as I'm writing this post :(

My take on the salad? I could have just made it myself and it would taste better I reckon (poached egg may take me a bit more researching). The salad was too bland and the only thing I find slightly appealing was the poached egg.

For the last course of our meal, we get to choose a TWG Patisserie from their selection.

My boss' choice : Apple Crumble (ordered without thinking at all)

My choice : Raspberry Phughuri (my final decision after changing my mind once)

The apple crumble was tasty - the base not overly sweet; but I had a mixed rating for the Raspberry Phughuri though - the tart was fragrant with infused tea but the portion is too big considering the richness of the tart.

Our final verdict? While the ambiance is nice, the food quality needs to be uphold and improved to live up to the standard of TWG, consumers do pay the TWG price after all and hence expects to enjoy delicacies to the TWG standard.

TWG Tea Salon & Boutique
G10, Gurney Paragon Mall, Pesiaran Gurney, 10250, Penang.
Business Hours: 11am to 10pm. Opens Daily.

Soul Cafe @ Jalan Kek Chuan

We chose Soul Cafe as a new place to celebrate my dear God Sister's birthday and it was a pleasant experience indeed.

As we brought our daughter along, it did not turn out to be the usual dine-in-pleasure kind of ordeal, but instead it turned out to be pretty chaotic.... (more about that later).

I fancied the ambiance and feel that Soul Cafe strives to achieve - modern yet contemporary, and pretty cozy too I must say.

As it was our first visit, we sought after the opinion of the staff, and was recommended their Today's Special - Chicken Parmigiana as well as some of their signatures Grilled Lamb Rack and Croque Madame - for my daughter.

They have a pretty unique menu - consisting of a photo-book-like collage which I absolutely adore! It is such a brilliant idea for restaurants to have a photo of each of their menu items isn't it? So I had an even more brilliant idea to put the actual picture of the dish alongside with its photo counterpart (just for fun, anyway); but it turned out that the dishes served looked 80% alike to those showcased in the menu. This, to me, says a lot about the standard of this cafe - serving as per 'advertised'

Let's dig in to their dishes - shall we?

First up - Chicken Parmigiana (RM 16.90) that both my God Sis and hubby ordered:- 

This was pretty good - although the chicken was bread-crumbed, it was not overly thick and it allowed the chicken's flavor to shine. Topped with cheese and served with grilled asparagus with generous side of salad, this dish really stood out.

Next up was my Grilled Rack of Lamb with Rosemary Cream Sauce (RM 34.90):-

Being a huge fan or grilled lamb, this dish did not impress me by the looks, but I was glad that the taste proved me wrong. The lamb did not have any hint of smell which most people shun upon; yet it was grilled to the right texture and intensely infused with the flavors of herbs. What do you get when this is topped with Rosemary cream sauce? A simply outstanding lamb rack. 

Another thing that is worth mentioning is the side salad - I love the vinaigrette dressing that they served the salads with - it is refreshing and not overly sour - just right to my palate.

Last but not least, my daughter's Croque Madame (RM 15):-

This tasted fine but the English Muffin and streaky bacon were both a bit too hard to our liking. It would have been better if the muffin were to be softer and the bacon cooked just right. Having said that, I got to give credit to the poached egg which was done to perfection - runny yolk in all its glory.

I would have enjoyed the remaining of this dish if my daughter had not vomited half way through our meal :P Thanks to the kind staff, they efficiently cleaned up and kept telling us it's alright when we apologized profusely.  

In all, we enjoyed the ambience, the food quality and portion plus the friendly staffs. I would definitely come back for more. Parking is a bit tricky here considering that there are no available car park unless we park further and walk to the cafe.

Soul Cafe
12, Jalan Kek Chuan, Georgetown, Penang.
Opening hours: 11am-11pm Mon-Sat (CLOSED ON SUNDAYS)
04-226 8200