Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Taste of Wood Grill at Blackwood Cafe & Restaurant

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Blackwood Cafe and Restaurant is probably one of the new cafes in the town of Kulim; or perhaps on the other side of the town and it is also not that new anymore.
I have heard about this cafe restaurant from some of my friends who are working in the industrial zone and of course, even the hubs had had lunch at this place which he found would suit my tastes and that I might be just interested to try.
(It is just as well since we are running out of places to eat at, and wonder where to eat almost all the time. Am I the only one or does everyone faces that same predicament?)

Located on the row of shoplots along with the local CMart supermarket which faces the Giant hypermarket on the opposite side of the road, Blackwood is a new addition welcomed by the quiet town of Kulim (may not be that quiet anymore); especially the industrial zone workers who crave for a taste of variety and urban concept while enjoying the serenity of the green canvas of this town up north.
Kulim is a pretty much laid-back town compared to most of the major cities and the population was of course, smaller compared to all those dense cities in the country but it has this close to home environment and offers that tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of the cities.
The town grew in its popularity since the establishment of the industrial zone which witnessed a mass of people from the island of Penang, and parts of the Northern states and even other states traversing to the town and even around the town as they settle in their workplaces (mainly factories). Some have even settled down, calling Kulim their new homes as they migrated to the town residences out of convenience and nearer to the workplace.
Duty calls.

The growth in Kulim may not be on par with the capital city, of course, it is not even just in comparison due to the population but it has certainly enjoyed its balance between industrialization and its original placid identity.
A town which used to thrive on mostly homegrown brands and locally run businesses now is joined by some of the commercial names and nationwide chain brands making their way into Kulim's backyard.
It used to be the town without a McDonald's and today, even McCafe is available for 24 hours in the town, and one can also spot Old Town White Coffee, Secret Recipe, and the likes enlisted as the local residents of the town.

While chain restaurants and international brands (like McDonald's) have become part of Kulim's offerings, Blackwood Cafe and Restaurant is still very much a local business which boldly introduces the concept of urban style dining to the local community here.

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 The cafe was dimly lit and decorations were kept to the minimum; as in most of the contemporary cafes these days.
Blackwood also offers their own selection of cakes available at the main counter.


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Comfortable couches were also available for relaxation over a cup of coffee and cake, just like in your usual cafe style.

I was here for their main courses, rather than the desserts; which perhaps I could save for another time.

Their menu was done in a pretty simple manner; in that typical two sheets ala daily newspaper style.

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I prefer menus like these, for it is much easier on the hands and to flip rather than heavy and Huge cardboard menus which could be hard for me to grasp sometimes.
(That's just me, of course)
Heavy menus somehow just scream class and sophistication while paper menus can sometimes be flimsy and reflect on the economical style.
It is all about perception and impression.
That is what business is all about.

They do offer the lunch sets, even on weekends too.
The lunch set bundles the usual main course, along with a soup of the day and a drink.
No dessert though.

Golden Red Dory Fish Grill Lunch Set (MYR22.00)
(Ordered ala carte, the dory grill costs MYR18.00)


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It was quite a generously sized portion; with two thick slabs of dory fish fillets grilled to golden brown, and with that extra spank of crispy on the exterior served atop plump-sized fries and a side of fresh greens consisting of lettuce leaves, cherry tomatoes and broccolis with thousand island dressing.
The wood grilled golden brown dory fish fillets were then drizzled with a winning sauce which was just appetizing with its mild trio tastes of sweet, salty and lightly spicy before sprinkling fried ginger slices on top of the fillets. The sauce concoction gave that meaning to the red definition of the name, but it was quite addictive though it is advisable to take in moderation due to the sodium in it.

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Though this was more of a Western style kind of dish, the sauce and serving of the ginger slices just seemed more of an Asian inspiration which just injects that unique fusion combination into this dish.
I was anticipating the usual lightweight slices of the dory fish fillets, but Blackwood serves the dory in the thick versions (note the word slabs; are more like it).
The stocky fillets were also pulpy, and satisfying to every bite and you just must take it along with that sauce which just gives the triumphant edge to this dish.
It invoked that long buried love I had for dory; and while most dory fish fillets served in most places seem deprived of nutrition in general, Blackwood made up and clarified that dory are not all malnourished and even took that extra step in ensuring that their diners enjoy the most of the succulent fillets by serving two; instead of one.
You will not feel inadequate with the pleasing tastes of the juicy fillets and most probably you will leave with that longing for dory fish fillets lingering in your mind.
This dish surprised and impressed me at the same time; especially when this is a lunch set portion.
Now, that's again part of the perception which we have been conditioned with due to the bundled and more cost-friendly prices which would be justified by the portions served, ain't that true?


The set comes with the soup of the day; Creamy Mushroom Soup (ala carte price: MYR7.00)

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Again, the concept of the set is not compromised in the portion and the quality of the soup served.
True to its name, the soup was densely packed with the creamy goodness and bites of mushrooms can be found in it too.

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Lemon coke (ala carte: MYR6.90) was also served with the set and is one of the more popular drinks in the cafe.

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The whole set was probably worth more than its set price, if you were to add the ala carte prices up (though it could be a strategic illusion; it is after all business), but the portions do make up for all its worth?

Baked Honey Mustard Salmon (MYR26.00) is not offered on the set lunch menu, and this is ordered ala carte.

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Anything with salmon would have caught my attention; and while I was contemplating between ordering the King Salmon versus this normal salmon, the Honey Mustard thrown in just made the decision for me.
It sounds like an interesting combination though the fascination lies further than the name as this was served in a breakfast style; you know, the typical big American breakfast kind of presentation.
Lightly roasted chunks of potatoes and stir fry thinly sliced mushrooms lined that base of the plate; with that additional companion in the form of the greens of lettuce.


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The salmon; just like the dory, were also served in pairs (I guess Blackwood just wants to feed us really well and walk away satisfied). The fillets were seated upon the combination which make up the breakfast team and dribbled with the alluring honey mustard dressing.
The light dressing was compensated with that extra serving of the sauce on the side, for cases of immediate addiction (you just might, trust me!)

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I am generally a big fan of salmon, but the salmon was slightly more than a little well done; giving it that dry and flaky taste though the outer crispy layer did do its part in seducing the taste buds in that brief tango moment but I felt it could be slightly better. There were some parts of the salmon which seemed to have hit the nail on the head, but the key is consistency when it comes to the taste.
It was not too bad, and I am not an expert to comment much on the way they chef bakes it anyway, though I just have my own preference when it comes to salmon which is, by the way, one of my favorite fish.
(I think that needs no introduction or further justification, just take a look at my salmon-infestation around the blog and you will get the idea).

I was not really disappointed with my overall experience; though I was quite surprised that the dory won my heart over salmon this round.
Blackwood is known to use that wood grill to grill and prepare most of the food which gives it that extra edge, and of course that identity to the conception of its branding.

Prices are certainly a little steep for the neighborhood in general; and while it compensates and justifies in its offerings and portions, it will take some time for the local to get used to such pricing.
Furthermore the population would take some time to grow in numbers; though Blackwood would see the welcoming trend of adventurous patrons comprising of the modern generation and also the industrial population flocking to its turf on a daily working day basis to sustain their efforts.

It is a good start though; and being one who used to work in this same town for a while, I am happy to see this new addition and Blackwood has certainly started on the right foot with its overall contemporary concept and the quality of their offerings.
Besides, no one would turn away a specialized cafe and that wholesome tastes from wood grill and passionate culinary skills, right?


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Address:
No. 342C, Tingkat Bawah, Jalan Seraya Indah 1& 2, Taman Seraya Indah 1 and 2, Kulim 09000 

(Also known as Blackwood Coffee & Chocolate)


Disclaimer: 
All the experiences are based on my personal tastes and are in no way representing the general.
This is not a sponsored post by the restaurant, and is purely based on my personal opinions.


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