Monday, October 15, 2012

Invited Review: Sesame + Soy Restaurant, G Hotel

It has been a busy quarter for me, and I have been rushing for meetings and business trips for the past two months now. My calendar still continues to be booked for the next month; in fact it even looks packed and work is probably the only thing that is on my mind these days.
Writing has taken a back seat for a short while, and it saddens me (even bothers me!) that I could not update my blogs with the limited time I have left after responding to work emails, attending meetings and finding time to sleep!

I was surprised with two invitations this month; and I was quite excited about it as I always viewed it as an honor to be invited to any launch/review event although I had no choice but to turn down one of them due to a clash with my schedule.
However, I was delighted that I was able to make it to the other invitation and I responded immediately!

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It was a pleasant experience interacting with the PR from G Hotel, and I must say I was impressed with their attentiveness and thoughtfulness in arranging the event with us bloggers. In fact, it was superb and every minute detail was taken into consideration prior to the lunch review; including accommodating to our special dietary needs!
(This did not come from the sponsor and it is based on my personal experience/impression).

Moving onto the review:

Sesame + Soy Restaurant is one of the very first Chinese restaurants in Penang offering fine Pan Asian Chinese cuisines served with a twist of fusion style to redefine the classic menu one can find in a typical Chinese restaurant.
Taking a bold step in this, Sesame + Soy promises something different for the adventurous and yet at the same time, maintain the authentic flavors of much loved Chinese dishes.

Warm hospitality and the inviting ambience made us settle comfortably while engaging in a lively banter with each other as we await the promising dishes from the kitchen.

We selected a variety of drinks from their beverages menu prior to the meal; to try out a few of their signature drinks.

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For starters, we had the Sesame's treasure combination with smoked duck breast, baked mashed sweet potato and fresh scallop skewer.
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The first thing that caught my eye was the style of presentation; for the dish, though designed with an Oriental theme in mind was presented in a distinguished pattern which one would usually associate with Western fine dining.
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The treasure combination was rather an exotic notion; throwing the zesty flavours of fruits along with tiny chunks of smoked duck breast in one concoction.

Image Hosted by PicturePush - Photo Sharing Since scallop is one of my favorite, I need not elaborate much.
The baked mashed sweet potato, however, I must comment; as frankly, if you have been following my blog, you know I am never fond of potatoes in any form. I was skeptical to take a bite but honestly, had I not read the menu beforehand, I would not have guessed that this was mashed potato.
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It was pleasant and smooth to taste and retained the original flavours (not to mention goodness) of the sweet potato.

I was told that the new Chef Chiam particularly dotes on the presentation of his dishes, and would spend time to ensure that each dish is decorated to his liking; using themes of flowers and fruits.

The next dish won my vote for the best presentation of a dish; and a soup dish nevertheless.

Image Hosted by PicturePush - Photo Sharing Braised Golden Superior Broth with Seafood Dumpling was definitely a golden dish; in my opinion as the vibrant colors of the broth just caught everyone's attention.
However, the placing of the seafood dumpling right in the middle of the golden broth made it look like it was themed with the sun in mind, don't you think?

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I had expected the seafood dumpling to be crispy with the fried wanton skin; but no, to my surprise, it was actually made of soft egg crepe!
That was definitely an unexpected surprise, and shows that looks can be deceiving!

This dish did not disappoint and I found myself enjoying the rich flavors from the soup seeping into the stuffed dumpling; which was filled with crab meat and sea treasures.

The next dish; Pan-seared Chicken with Xi Shi Sauce and Asparagus in cream sauce with baby carrot and edible flower
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Grilled Blue River Prawn in Korean Spice accompanied by Marmite Sauce

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Wok Fried Diced Salmon with Brown Bean Sauce with Crispy Corn Cake
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I must comment on this dish, because it is my favorite dish from the whole menu.
Image Hosted by PicturePush - Photo Sharing Well, of course, seeing that I am a big fan of salmon (or fish in general), I was quite hooked onto the style of dicing the salmon then wok frying it before serving it with such a enticing sauce.
It gave a whole new flavorful perspective to the salmon; which many would perceive as an oily or fishy type of fish but seriously, if you were to take a bite of this, it would be one of the most relishing taste of salmon and it is really addictive, I tell you.

Finally, the dessert; Crunchy Jack Fruit Kataifi Roll with Honey and Chinese Herbal Jelly with Jamoca Almond Fudge Ice Cream

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I must say though the dessert seemed like nothing unusual; I beg to differ with my own interpretation of the dessert which revealed the yin yang theory infused with the concepts from both east and west.
For instance, the crunchy jack fruit kataifi roll was deep fried but had the concept of 'hot' but it was balanced with the chinese herbal jelly which was perceived as 'cool'. The Jamoca Almond Fudge ice cream and also the honey was rather in-between or towards the cool element.
Now, isn't that an interesting concept, mixing and matching the heat and cool elements from both east and west?

The chef himself, after an exhausting stint in the kitchen; whipping up meals for two reviewer groups at the same time!
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While many may have the perception that Sesame + Soy is a fine dining Chinese restaurant, and therefore must be highly priced, you will be surprised to learn that is not truly the case.
Image Hosted by PicturePush - Photo Sharing For daily business set lunches, prices start from MYR30++ per pax, which includes a soup of the day, a main course and dessert. Please kindly refer to the G Hotel website for more details.
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For those interested in organizing business functions/events or even intimate wedding dinners, Sesame + Soy can accommodate up to a total of 50+ pax in its conducive environment..

For more details, do visit G Hotel's official website:
G Hotel Sdn Bhd is located at 168A Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: 604-238 0000  Fax: 604-238 0088

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dim Sum spread at Restoran Koo Hiong

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The Chinese name translates to family recipes (Ka Heong), or something which was familiar to their local neighbourhood but Koo Hiong is one of the local dim sum haunts found in the bustling community of Sg Long, especially on weekends.
Well, that is also pretty much the case with most of the dim sum restaurants anyway where business booms on weekends due to the more laid-back and leisure mood for most families after a week of hard work.

This is probably my second or third visit to this place, and it is one of the choice for dim sum with my family whenever I am back for the weekend or just in the mood for a nice and enjoyable breakfast while chatting away with my family whom I see once in a while:-)

Service here is pretty good and fast, and the boss is quite friendly and accommodating to the customers as well; stopping once in a while to check on your satisfaction level and also to attend to any of your needs, besides making small chats with us.

The variety here is also pretty standard; ranging from the usual steamed items to the fried, deep fried and even porridges, buns, noodles and pastries.

Braised Spare ribs

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Steamed shrimp dumplings (Har Kau)

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Steamed minced meat dumplings (Siew Mai)

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Steamed Fishballs

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Dumplings in Soup (Sui Kow)

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Unique: Fish paste rolled with seaweed, carrot and celery sticks

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Another variant of seaweed rolls; with minced meat. It is quite similar to Siew Mai, so we shall call it Seaweed Siew Mai with fish roe?

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Crystal steamed shrimp dumplings

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Fish paste rolls with dried beancurd sheets

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Despite the fill with the plates of dim sum, we still could not resist to order a plate of fried pastries for dessert especially when this was a common favorite in the family and is something that mum especially adore.

Deep fried flaky pastry with lotus paste filling (also known as Woh Peng in Cantonese)

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This is a pastry typically served in birthday or wedding parties organized in Chinese restaurants and is often accompanied by a bowl of thick red bean paste or peanut paste soup.

This version is a little more flaky than the usual, but it was less oily compared to the other pastries tried before which is a good thing too, for health reasons.
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The total bill came to about MYR40++ for approximately 5 pax; of course, a little pricey than the usual simple breakfast fare but for once a in a while and the quality time, it's not too bad.

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I heard that they used to have this outlet in Taman Connaught; not sure whether they are still there but this one is not too easy to miss as it is strategically located near the Sg Long main market.

What do you usually like for breakfast with the family on weekends?

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Halibut and scallops at Monte's, BSC

Dining options are everywhere when you are in the metropolitan city of KL, and price ranges from low to high, as you please.
There are just so many places we can enjoy good food and environment that it became such a norm, and yet, it's not unusual to still hear the city dwellers complaining of having a tough time to decide what to eat.

Whenever I am back in town and catch up with my good ol' friends or colleagues, we always come to the part to decide where to eat and it is ridiculous, given the wide variety staring at us right back in the face!
Well, perhaps it was due to the fact that we are spoilt for the choices that we just feel nothing is good enough? I don't know, but usually, I leave it to them to decide...hehe :-P

Sometimes we end up in shopping malls where there is a whole list of restaurants to choose from; it makes the selection easier.
Bangsar Shopping Center is a place that I pop in once in a while, and a few of my friends seem to think highly of the restaurants here.

We were hoping to try out WIP, but unfortunately most of the tables were reserved and I did not think that highly of eating at the bar counters which led us to Monte's Restaurant and Wine Bar located on Level 1; right above WIP.

I liked the environment; unfortunately no photos, as we were busy talking and it is even a wonder that I remembered to snap photos of the food!;)

Our Appetizer is something that I love; fat and juicy scallops!!:)

Baked Scallops with herb sauce (1/2 Dozen) (MYR33.00)

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Scallops need no testament to how delicious; and I liked how Monte's kept them fresh and juicy to the core despite it being baked.
Did I mention Fat and juicy too?
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The mains we ordered:

Grilled Halibut (MYR38.00)
Imported seafish served with aubergine and potato salad

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It has been a while since I've seen this fish appearing on the menu; and I enjoyed the way the fish maintained its freshness and sweetness despite being grilled.
A delectable fishy treat for me; and my reunion with halibut! :-)

Spaghetti Aglio E Olio (MYR23.00)
With garlic, red chillies, parsley, black pepper & olive oil

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Overall, I enjoyed the food and the nice ambiance that I am inclined to think of visiting this place again someday when I am in town, along with my family and hubby? :-)

TGIF peeps and have an awesome weekend, I look forward to your recommendations ;-)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Healthy and tasty dishes at Purple Cane Tea Restaurant, The Gardens

After a month of being idle from my food blog (I was away on business and picking up new things at work), I am finally back with photos and posts from places I have tried while I was on my business trip :-)

One interesting restaurant which I was introduced to was this Purple Cane Tea Restaurant located at the lower ground floor of The Gardens.
Now, honestly, when I first heard of this restaurant, I was like, isn't Purple Cane famous for its tea merchandise? Are you sure they serve cuisines for dinner, instead of finger food to go with their tea?
I was assured that they definitely do serve more than just tea and thus began my first visit to this enchanting restaurant.
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The interior was tastefully furnished with simple finishings of wood and shelves to store their main merchandise; tea which they proudly displayed in most of the sections of the restaurant.

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The cuisines prepared from their menu claimed that they were concocted using their own brand of tea; and incorporated to shape that unique taste in their food.
That definitely got my attention immediately!

Even their rice is specially made with tea; and there is no white rice available but rather, Green Tea rice (MYR1.30) to go with your dishes.
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The taste of the rice was nothing exotic nor exceptionally unusual, and I must say it was distinctly pleasant in its own flavor. The light taste of the green tea did lend a rather unique and exquisite taste to the usual white rice we have at home.
Something which is new yet interesting, and I must say that they have definitely revolutionized the concept of white rice :)
The rice came served in metal bowls like these.
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Now on to the dishes we ordered:

Steamed sliced fish mashed Ginger in tea sauce (MYR22.00)

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This got my vote for one of the most tantalizing dish to my taste buds. It was nothing short of simple; although it did sounded like our usual homecooked dish.
I love the strong combination of the mashed ginger which was served rather generously; and the slices of fish were steamed with the tea sauce which just created a wonderful match.

Braised beancurd and golden pumpkin in tea sauce (MYR15.00)

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The dish arrived in a striking hue of golden yellow; a clear indication of the golden pumpkin used along with the braised beancurd served with diced mushrooms and ham and green peas.
Taste wise, it was just as impeccable as it looked, and the pumpkin just lent its natural sweetness to enhance the overall taste of the dish.
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Braised broccoli with mushrooms in tea sauce (MYR15.00)
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Yes, another dish which used their signature tea sauce in the making.
As you can see, there are even traces of the black/roasted tea leaves sitting on top of the mushrooms.
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Fried Chicken with honey and tea (MYR18.00)
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There was still room for dessert, or everyone was just excited to try their offerings on the menu and so, this was ordered:
Rice Balls with peanut (MYR5.00) (4 pieces)

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The sticky peanut paste inside.
Is it me, or this looks more like sesame paste??

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Total bill came up to about MYR82.15, for 4-5 pax, which was on the higher end of the price and I must say that the prices here do lean towards the higher side based on the portions and sizing of the dishes.
However, the dishes here do earn that extra credit for their healthy factor and also less oily, and unique ingredient in using tea in their preparation of their cuisines.
Perhaps that is the factor to the higher prices?

I am not sure, but I can say that I did enjoy the food here and also the quiet environment.
Service wise, it could be improved in terms of the attentiveness to the customer, in my own personal experience, that is, not sure about others :)
Overall, I would not say that I won't be back, because the healthy factor is an attraction and my parents did enjoy the food as well ;)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lunch with Udon and Salmon at Sakae Sushi

What defines your simplest Japanese meal just yet?
Are you an ardent fan of sushi or maki, or bento that you must have even when you want a no-frills Japanese meal?

To me, a simple Japanese meal would consist of that one or two things that I adore, and along with my hubby who is my best dining partner, I would include his favourite as well.
We did not plan to have Japanese while figuring out what to have for lunch one day, but we wound up at the Sakae Sushi restaurant in the Gurney Plaza shopping mall, and since it has been a while since our last visit to this Japanese fast food chain restaurant, we popped in to have what we call a simple meal.
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So, what is our definition of simple?
Well, for starters, there must be the Curry Udon (MYR12.90)

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The Japanese curry is a little different from our local version of curry and tends to be thicker in its broth and less spicy; along with its scent of curry powder.
The perfect noodle to go with this thick version of curry would be none other than the thick flour textured udon; which absorbs and complements the aromatic flavor of the Japanese curry and is an interesting choice for curry or noodle lovers.

Another must-have is the Salmon Teriyaki (MYR12.90)
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One of my favourite fish, grilled salmon glazed with the sweet and condensed teriyaki sauce makes a perfect dish; provided the salmon ought to be well-grilled.

I tend to get disappointed at times; as the salmon could be overcooked at times; thus hardening the texture of the fish rich in essential fatty oils.

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Now, I add one more to my list of favourites when I dine Japanese; the Chuka Hotate or Seasoned Scallops (MYR5.90), which I first encountered during my visit to Sushi Zanmai.
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Surprisingly, despite my earlier visits to Sakae Sushi which began way before Sushi Zanmai, I had never tried this dish here. After trying this at Zanmai, I was hooked and now, I enjoy it whenever I go for Japanese meal and of course, at specific Japanese restaurants which offer this on their menu.

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It is chewy and extremely addictive (in my own tastes and opinion, of course!)
Somehow, I still prefer the version at Sushi Zanmai :-P

Of course, Green tea just completes a simple Japanese meal, in our definition.
The above is the simplest we would look for when going for a no-frills Japanese meal, what about you?

Do you have your list of must-haves too?

Have an awesome weekend, folks!:-)