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Tuesday, April 28, 2009


My Ratings: 4 Stars

Cuisine: Japanese
Location: 1A, Jalan Tanjung Bungah (opposite Copthone Hotel), Penang
Non Halal
RM10 - 35 per person

This restaurant is just newly opened in April 2009. Concepted as a Japanese Garden Restaurant and the front facade of the restaurant is landscaped like a zen garden complete with a Japanese arch. Run by a sweet young lady named Evelyn Loo with another person as her partner, the restaurant is quickly gaining recognition as a authentic Japanese restaurant as the food there has a lot of variety from bento boxes, sushi to ramen and it has a dedicated set lunch menu and the all essential sushi bar. The food quality is fresh, taste nice with pleasing food presentations. As a matter of fact I was introduced to the restaurant by my Japanese friend and he says food is oishi!

We went there for lunch. Our table ordered a few spicy ramen sets, a shoba set, a bento box and a deep fried pork cutlet with egg and rice. The food is good and beautifully presented. The service from Evelyn is great. Very polite, sweet and just as accomodating. For example, I ordered the shoba set named "Tenzaru Shoba". The set comes with buckwheat shoba and prawn & vegetable tempura but I am not a great fan of Mr. Buck Wheat. I saw on the ala-carte menu that they serve Green Tea Shoba called "Cha Shoba", so I asked Evelyn is I could substitute buckwheat with green tea.....she totaly fine with that. How nice. We also swaped some other ramen in the set with other types. No problem. I am not suggesting that every customer swap and I think it is not fair to the chef but I think it is good that they are open to that option if the menu compilation does not meet a certain customers taste to fully enjoy the dining experience. This shows that the establishment places customer service as top priority. One of the ramen set comes with 4 gozen (fried dumplings) - delicious!

The price on the menu is fair. Not too expensive. No government tax. Great! and they do not charge for green tea. Double great! (10% service charge do apply)

The ambience in the restaurant is nice and clean with portraits of japanese art and sumo. There are still some areas outside the restaurant is still being done up (renovated) but I can feel that the final product will be pleasing. Diners can expect privacy as the areas are partition by bamboo decor and everyone have a great view of the sushi chef hard at work dishing out his creations.

A few comments I have is that there is a sight glare from the outside on a bright sunny day from where I was sitting. I would have been better if there is some Japanese fabric prints on the glass windows to soften the glare. Evelyn's service is great, however there are a few even younger waitress does not know the dish and we were left to guess for ourselves to sort out the confusion of who gets what. No big problem. I guess the staff is just new and need time to familirize since it is just opened less thatn 2 weeks. Another one is that one of the air-conditioner unit above the sushi bar counter must have been defective as it was making a rattling noise throughout the dining experience. Once and if they get that fixed, the dining experience would have been perfect.

Overall, this place has good ambience, quality food, a decent variety and great service and pricing. Can't wait for all the reno to be done. I am visualizing a couple of cool beeers in the garden with sounds of Japenese guitar strumming in the background. What would have been cooler if the waitress is dressed in kimonos! Hey! I can fantasize....can't I? Ample parking at the back road and easily enter through the back entrance.

Call the restaurant +604-8998415 or Evelyn +6012-5447722 for reservation and special dining request. Closed every Thursday.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Uncle Lawrence Crab Meat Shark Fin Soup

My Ratings: 4 Stars

Cuisine: Chinese
Location: Northam Beach Cafe, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah (opp. Northam Hotel)
Non Halal
RM6 per person

Last night I ordered a bowl of shark fin's soup. What the heck, no need to wait to get invited to a wedding dinner to have shark fins soup right?

This stall belongs to my friend's father. I heard him saying his dad's soup is larger portion than other sellers. Hey, I am for anything that is value for money especially suring this hard ecomonic situation

It is value for money! For RM6, I got a medium sized bowl of delicatedly prepared shark fin's soup which portion's can really satisfy every hungry man's hunger pangs. The soup is thick and delicious. More delicious than some restaurant prepared soups. The ingredients is very fresh. the crab meat is also larger in portion, chunky bite size and very sweet meat. The shark fin is soft yet has texture - generously topped on the soup. Served with black vineger on the side. You can ask for pickled green chillies if like have your soup slightly spicy. And Uncle Lawrence tops off the soup with a pinch of sweet golden crab roe. Yummy!

Burp! What a satisfying delicious soup to the last drop! Thank god there is still honest people serving delicious food with responsible pricing where you will know that your money is well spent on good quality food.

Closed on Wednesdays.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Stall 31's Special Mini Rojak

My Ratings: 5 Stars

Cuisine: Dessert
Location: Stall No. 31, Gurney Drive Hawker Center (near Main round about), Penang

I am a rojak fan. I have tried many stalls and this stall is my favourite. What can you say when the stall boldly advertises its rojak as "special mini rojak". Let me tell you why I like the taste of this stall so much.....

First, the prawn paste taste fresh and sweet. I think this is the first basic rule to making the best rojak, Evrything must be fresh. Then the paste is thick. I find this improtant coz if the paste is not thick enough, once you add the paste to the fruits cutlets, it will become watery from all the juices/moisture seeping out from the fruits from the process of osmosis...... see I knew the science subject I learnt in secondary scool did not go to waste.

Second, the stall needs to be clean. Nothing puts me off than to see messy unhygenic stalls or cooks, especially when it come to rojak making when the prawn paste tends to attract flies. This stall is a role model for cleanliness, not only for rojak sellers but all hawkers. This show the pride the cook has in its service or products. She's friendly too.

Third, they must be all the special ingredients that making so special from others. And this stall (no. 31) is no exception...... First, you may not notice her putting it but she puts in little rinds of lime skins as she happily scrapes them in while she is mixing it all up. I tell you, this lime rind give the rojak that special "kick" and made it so refreshing. Then her fried tofu is fried in mini pieces of cubes so this make it extra crunchy and has more surface to coat the rojak gravy. She also adds dough fitters (Yu Char Koay) to soak all the gravy in. To compliment the lime, she adds honey to make the gravy sweet and to finish her wonderfully fruity creations, she sprinkles fried dried shrimps (Heh Bee) together with frshly roasted crushed peanuts to give it a crunchy and fragrant "kick". That's what I call a true special rojak with mini tofu cubes.

The stall is easy to find. The number is "31" and it is situated near the main round about. Closed on Wednesdays. It you have trouble finding the stall or order big, call her (the rojak seller) on 012-5724697

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