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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ko-Fu Loft

My Ratings: 3 Stars

Cuisine: Chinese
Location: 170-04-59, Gurney Plaza Penang, Tel: 04-2295011
Non Halal
RM20-30 per person

Just opened about a week ago. This is where Food Loft before (first barcode pay as u eat concept). The first impression is that it kinda look like Food Loft and sound like Food Loft because little have changed in term of the layout/theme/furnishing and unfortunately the Lofty name too. However, I noticed they added in another cooking area for Dim Sum as if there is not enough kitchen space and they also added some VIP/private dining area/rooms. They also made some attempts to "orientalized" the restaurant by having giant bamboos as part of the new decor.

Very spacious. Not many dinner crowd. Maybe not much publicity yet on its opening except a advert in The Star newspaper. As we arrived, we were seated at a window table. Great view of Gurney Drive bay and the Tanjung Tokong dwellings. The menu offers chinese appetisers, mains, desserts, beverages and dim sum. However, at that time dim sum was not available. I found out from the waiter that dim sim is offered daily from 9am - 5pm and on weekends it is extended until 8pm.
We ordered Ma Poh Tofu (Bean Curd), Kam Heong (Frangrant) Fried Fish and Basil Fried Chicken. The dishes came out without much wait. The portion is small. The taste of the dishes are OK but I prefer the taste of similar dishes at Xuan Xin just a couple for floors down. Xuan Xin's Ma Poh Tofu and Fried Chicken with Basil is much more frangrant and tasty. Ko-Fu's Ma Poh Tofu gravy is less thick and thus after a while the moisture from the tofu diluted the gravy even more.

The pricing of the dishes are expected of a restaurant of such operation but the chinese tea is very expensive. They go by per pax at RM3 per person. So for the two of us, the tea costs us RM6. Imagine if I was hosting a table of 10 person. It would then RM30. For that I can pay for another hearty dish. And get this, tap water is RM0.50 per glass.

However, during the opening promotion, they are offering free chinese dessert for diners. Great! Customer get to choose between Bean Curd sheets soup dessert or Sago Coconut Soup dessert. So Amanda and I chose one of each so that we can try both. I got the Bean Curd sheet soup while she had the Sago Coconut. The Sago coconut is served cool. Taste nice, not so sweet but my Bean Curd sheet soup dessert is served warm and it tasted awful. It had a burnt aftertaste. I informed the waiter and he told me that the soup warmer had dried out of the water base and the heat then became too strong and burnt (overcook) the bean curd sheet soup....because the last time they checked the water level was in the morning and it was already 8pm when we had dinner. So that mean the dessert was from the morning.

The service can be improved....maybe they are all new. We (2 pax) were seat at a table for 4 but the waiter did not clear the other two settings. Just left it there at the table as it is. The kitchen is at the other far end and I wanted to get extra rice, the poor waiter had to key in the request into the CPU at one end of the restaurant and go get the bowl of rice at the other end and we were seated in the middle of the restaurant. There are more tables at the other end. So imagine the waiter has to walk the entire width of Gurney Plaza for a bowl of rice and that takes time. Also, they waiter spilled over hot tea while pouring for us.

I find the restaurant has too many kitchen/F&B preparation area. I think half of the restaurant is dedicated to food preparation and the other half to table seatings. Does not make an effective operation sense. Food Loft was a buffet styled concept and Ko-Fu is not. Kitchen/Area of operation cost money, seatings makes money!

Overall, the dining experience was just OK (not memorable). The crowd was not there. Maybe it was a Monday night coupled with the fact it is just newly opened. I think the opening of this restaurant came a little late with a competitor just a couple of floors down with 1/3 of the floor space in the new wing and that have extablished itself as a good chinese restaurant much earlier when the new wing opened.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


My Ratings: 4 Stars

Cuisine: Chinese
Location: Blk11A-G-01, Gottlieb Road, Bagan Jermal. 04-2287226
(New Bob building/opp. Penang Chinese Girls School)
Non Halal
RM15-25 per person

Newly opened about 4 months ago. Previous businesses in the same lot did not last long. This restaurant is still operating, so something good is being served there. Anyway, my brother recommends this place. So we decided to try out this restaurant.

The interior is new, clean and well air-conditioned. We decided to order the house specialties (specialty menu pictured) as recommended by the waitress. It was a group of ten so we ordered fish, prawns, 3 vege dishes and my favourite pork knuckles.

The dishes were served in no time. We ordered as picture down..... Stewed Pork Trotter with sea cucumber, Fried Aubergine with Dried Shrimps, Mayonaise Prawns, Kana vege with Sole Fish Chips, Steamed Fish (garoupa) Nyonya Style and Sizzling Bean Curd.

All of the dishes are tasty. Well prepard and good presentation. In particular, I really like the Steam Fish Nyonya Style and Fired Aubergine. I think these two dishes is unique to Reunion. The Nyonya style has a balanced of sour and sweet and very aromatic. I think the sour comes from lime and the sweetness comes from the fish meat and a little sugar while the aromatic comes from the Khaffir lime leaves used in the dish. I love it so much I can't stop drinking the soup from the dish.

The fried aubergine is really tasty and this is the first time I tasted fired aubergine. The batter from the fried aubergine has soaked up all the goodness from the gravy and hence each bit of the fried aubergine is really tasty.

Overall, the restaurant serves delicious dishes with not too expensive pricing for the standard items. Ambience is good, well lit and air-conditioned and clean.

As usual, say no to the peanuts (RM2 per plate) and cold towels as these are unnecessary costs. Parking is limited depending on what time you arrive at the restaurant. If you arrive before 7pm on school days, it is almost next to impossible to find a empty parking bay as parents of PCGS are waiting in cars to pick up their daughters and actually occupying the parking bay. Inconsiderate! Road is wide enough to double park!After 7pm..parking should be no problem.

Close on Thursdays. Call 04-2287226 for reservations.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Yin Siang@127

My Ratings: 3 Stars

Cuisine: Taiwanese
Location: 127 Hawker Center, 127 Burmah Road, Penang
Non Halal
RM5-10 per person

I totally enjoyed my previous dining experience with my chicken wrapped with bacon from the Funky Monkey stall at 127 hawker center, I decided to return to taste the other street food dishes there.

I noticed that there is a new stall opened since my previous (first) visit. It is a Taiwanese noodle stall. Named "Yin Siang" which has a fragrant meaning to it. The stall has basically 3 types of noodles with 3 types of gravy, so practically you will have 9 different combinations. The noodles are infused with vegetable flavour namely spinach and carrot, giving it its distinctive green and orange colour and the third noodle type is Dan Dan. The owner reassured that the noodles are all naturally flavoured and coloured from the green of spinach and the orange of the carrot.

The 3 gravies are braised duck, prawn and pork knuckles. I ordered the pork knuckles with spinach noodle because pork is my favourite meat. Run by two sisters and had just recently started the business in early May. The dish was served in no time. At RM4.50 per plate, the portion is sufficient. The pork knuckle is delicious with a right balance of saltiness and the meat is tender. It complements well with the spinach noodle. I am looking forward to trying the other combinations in my future visits.

I was still feeling hungry so I ordered the Chicken Teriyaki. At RM7.80 per serving, I found it to be a little expensive given the taste is just OK. I was expecting a different Chicken Teriyaki. Normally teriyaki sauce is sweet stir fried with meat of choice from beef or chicken or seafood. However, the chicken teriyaki I ordered was different. The chicken was deep dried in batter first and served with a topping of shaved bonito flakes. The bonito flakes is delicious but I don't quite like the fried with batter first approach. I just simply like the meat marinated in teriyaki and slowly cooked until the teriyaki sauce is caramelised on the hot pan. Furthermore, the salad is served on the same plate as the meat. This is a no-no. The salad at the end tasted both sweet and savoury from all the terryaki meat juices mixed together with thousand island dressing. In my opinion, the salad should be served seperately.

Amanda had a plate of Emperor's noodles from the same seller of the Arab Fried Rice. I forgot to taste it first but Amanda said the taste is OK and less expensive than the Arab Fried Rice price.

Ample parking inside and behind the food court center

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