Films Cafe

Special thanks to Films Cafe for extending this food review invitation.

Films Cafe is an eatery at the corner of Victoria Street (Lebuh Victoria) and Gat Lebuh Melayu in George Town. The proprietors have been operating a film production studio on the upper floor for several years. As the studio frequently collaborates with university faculties, the lower floor was converted to be a café where interns can hang out and work on assignments. This is how Films Cafe came into existence.
The menu at Films Cafe revolves around Western dishes such as pasta, waffles and sandwiches. The theme of the dining section varies according to current movie trends. For example, Star Wars is the main topic today. There is a live band to lighten the mood on Friday and Saturday evenings. From time to time, Films Cafe hosts talks conducted by local movie producers in hopes of inspiring local talent.
The portion of Spaghetti Aglio Olio (RM23.90) is large and contains three plump shrimps, justifying the price tag with quantity and quality. Seasoning primarily relies on garlic and olive oil, while red chili peppers play a smaller role. Upon request, this pasta dish can be made spicier. Overall, the taste is pretty balanced but I think the amount of oil should be reduced.
Pork Burger With Wedges (RM19.90) is served in a basket. The patty packs 200 grams of genuine ground pork, making this a heavenly treat for staunchest pork burger fans. I feel that the patty can use some seasoning to draw better pork flavors. The whopping burger also includes delectable ingredients like bacon strips, pickled gherkin, cheddar cheese, sautéed portobello mushrooms and onion.
The next dish is Grilled Chicken Stuff With Shrimp (RM28.90). Deboned chicken thigh is seasoned thoroughly, then rolled with shrimps. The braciola is baked (not grilled as the name implies) to retain its moisture. The chicken should be consumed while it is still warm, otherwise it becomes dry and tougher than ideal.
Meanwhile, the white sauce is infused with Sauvignon blanc wine for the aromatic appeal. As for plating, the chicken is served with diced cucumber, roasted potato and sautéed onion.

There are a number of fruit juices in the drinks menu. For example, Going My Way (RM15.00) is a mixture of carrot, orange and tomato juices. Juices are derived from actual fruits. Apart from natural sweetness, no sugar is added.
As for coffee, the shot of Espresso (RM6.00) has decent aroma but its bitterness and sourness do not appeal to my palate.
Flower Tea is prepared from a teabag. Its floral scent is soothing the mind. The tea also flows smoothly between the lips, resulting in pleasant warmth in the chest.
Name: Films Cafe
Address: 56, Lebuh Victoria, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-251-9569
Business hours: 11:00am-11:00pm (Sunday-Friday), 11:00am-1:00am (Saturday), closed on Mondays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/films.cafe.penang
Coordinates: 5.41168 N, 100.33630 E
Directions: Films Cafe is located at the intersection of Victoria Street (Lebuh Victoria) and Gat Lebuh Melayu, just a short distance from Ice Estate. There are several parking spaces in front of the restaurant for its customers. In addition, there are more parking spaces along Victoria Street and Gat Lebuh Melayu.

Penang Old Wong Chicken Rice

Special thanks to Penang Old Wong Chicken Rice for extending this food review invitation.

Today's visit to Butterworth brings me to Penang Old Wong Chicken Rice (槟城老黄滑鸡饭) in front of Taman Mesra Permai. This air-conditioned restaurant occupies two units at the end of a new row of shops.
Penang Old Wong Chicken Rice opened in July 2016. Its signature dish, Hainanese Steamed Chicken, follows a recipe inherited from the proprietor's father. The patriarch used to operate a hawker stall many years ago.
Hainanese Steamed Chicken (白滑鸡) is available in different sizes, ranging from RM4.50 for individual portion to RM36.00 for the whole chicken. Shown here is half chicken for RM19.00. The soft chicken skin provides interesting mouthfeel. Steamed chicken is often eaten with Bean Sprouts (芽菜, RM4.50), which needs to be ordered separately.
The next dish is half-bird portion of Roasted Chicken (特色烧鸡). Unlike its steamed counterpart, the roasted version carries interesting texture especially on its skin. As the flesh is not as juicy as the previous dish, it requires heavier seasoning from soy sauce. Between the steamed and roasted versions, it is just a matter of individual preference on which is the better one.
Barbecued Pork (回味叉烧, RM6.80) is reasonably tender and carries pleasant sweetness. I find the pork very delectable.
Roasted Pork (回味烧肉, RM8.80) is scrumptious too, thanks to the crispy skin and tender flesh underneath.
Another signature item of this restaurant is Plum Sauce Pork (梅子酱炸香肉, RM6.80), which is made from deep-fried pork chop. Glazed with sweet-tangy plum sauce, this dish is great in drawing appetite.
Mixed Soup (老火菜尾汤, RM3.80) is traditionally made from leftover meats and vegetables, using heavy seasoning to suppress blandness of stale food. Nowadays, this dish has evolved as a delicacy in its own right. I like the combination of sour and pungent flavors of the soup. Also available are Boiled Chicken Feet (卤味凤爪, RM5.80), which are stewed in savory gravy made from soy sauce and oyster sauce.
Chicken rice is usually paired with a watery type of chili sauce. Besides being spicy, the sauce also presents moderate degree of citrus-like sourness. Of course, Chicken Rice (香油饭, RM1.80) is also an integral aspect of a chicken rice restaurant. The oily rice is infused with ginger and lemongrass for lovely fragrance.
Other condiments that are often associated to chicken rice are ginger sauce, sambal (ground chili paste) and thick soy sauce.
Just recently, the restaurant also introduced an assortment of 10 claypot dishes (十全煲). Each of these dishes is cooked in an individual claypot, which helps to impart aromatic toastiness. The dishes can be ordered in portions as affordable as RM3.80 each, allowing customers to order several claypots for a complete meal. Regular-sized servings (for 3 or 4 persons) are also available, ranging from RM7.00 to RM15.00 per claypot.
One of my favorite claypot options is Salty Cream Sauce With Crispy Pork Claypot (咸香奶油炸香肉煲, RM5.80). I like the balanced, creamy taste of the buttery sauce. Curry leaves serve to improve aroma. This dish should be eaten while it is warm, otherwise the gravy thickens and the pork becomes too dry.
Salted Fish With Pork Belly Claypot (咸鱼花腩煲, RM5.80) is cooked in thick, savory gravy. Dried chili peppers and garlic chives are included to enhance flavor.
Curry Pork Claypot (咖喱五花肉煲, RM4.80) releases lovely aroma as soon as it arrives the dining table. Its fiery flavor should strike a chord with people who enjoy spiciness. The only downside is that the curry is too oily.
Kam Heong Pork Claypot (甘香五花肉煲, RM4.80) uses local Chinese stir-frying style which is known for its distinctive aroma. Incorporating ingredients like curry leaves, bird's eye chili (cili padi) and dried shrimps, the pork belly pieces are scrumptious indeed.
Spicy Roast Pork Claypot (香辣烧肉煲, RM7.80) is not as spicy as I expected, but I think the dish is still reasonably well-cooked. Besides roasted pork, the claypot also contains okra (ladies' fingers), onion and garlic chives.
Kung Bao Chicken Claypot (宫保香鸡煲, RM4.80) uses sweet-savory gravy with mild spiciness of dried chili peppers and peppercorn. Diced chicken is also flavored with onion and garlic chives.
One of my personal favorites is Crispy Fried Chicken Marmite Claypot (香脆妈蜜鸡煲, RM4.80). The sauce is based on Marmite, a British brand of savory paste made from yeast extract. Besides honey-like sweetness, pieces of chicken are also peppered with sesame seeds. Again, this dish should be consumed while it is still warm before the gravy emulsifies.
For something not as meat-centric, Stir Fry Tofu Claypot (酱爆豆腐煲, RM3.80) is a sound choice. The thick gravy also contains ground meat, egg, carrots and garlic chives.
Moving on, Golden Egg Foo Young Claypot (金黄芙蓉蛋煲, RM3.80) is stuffed with Chinese sausage (腊肠), onion, carrot and scallion. I find this egg dish quite delectable. Finally, Sautéed Stewed Vegetables Claypot (清炒菜胆煲, RM3.80) uses milder flavor to act as counterbalance to other meat-heavy dishes.
For drinks, Old Wong White Coffee (老黄香浓白咖啡, RM3.80) and Old Wong Mixed Milk Tea (老黄鸳鸯奶茶, RM3.80) are popular choices.
If caffeine does not appeal to you, there are also juices such as Yakult Apple (苹果+乳酸菌, RM6.80) and Yakult Orange (鲜橙+乳酸菌, RM6.80). The drink is quite sweet; I think this is due to sugar content in cultured milk.
Meanwhile for Apple Lemongrass (青苹果+香茅, RM5.80), refreshing aftertaste is attributed to the presence of lemongrass. As for Soya Bean (香浓豆奶, RM3.50), its pulpy consistency is a nice change compared to "smooth-flowing" ones that are more commonly encountered in other restaurants.
On weekdays, Penang Old Wong Chicken Rice offers 4-item set meal at an affordable price of RM8.80. The meal includes a choice of meat, rice, soup and drink. There are also special discounts for students and senior citizens. This is great because Chung Ling Butterworth High School is located just around the corner.
Name: Penang Old Wong Chicken Rice (槟城老黄滑鸡饭)
Address: 2A, Lorong Mesra Permai 4, Taman Mesra Permai, 13400 Butterworth, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 019-421-3331
Business hours: 11:00am-10:00pm, closed on Mondays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/penangoldwong
Coordinates: 5.43051 N, 100.39320 E
Directions: Penang Old Wong Chicken Rice is located in Taman Mesra Permai, Butterworth. The restaurant is adjacent to Tiffin Cottage and faces Jalan Ong Yi How. Street parking is available in front of the restaurant.

llaollao

Special thanks to llaollao for extending this food review invitation.

Besides Gurney Plaza, llaollao (pronounced "yao yao") has another outlet in Queensbay Mall. The kiosk is located at Queens Hall on Level 3, directly opposite of Magstore (香港松坂库). This Spanish brand of frozen yogurt is made from skimmed milk at the back of the kiosk.
Frozen yogurt is available in several sizes: Large (RM18.90), Medium (RM14.90), Small (RM10.90) and Petitllao (RM4.90). Each size differs in the amount of yogurt and number of toppings.
For something fruitier, one can opt for Sanum (RM17.90), which I have introduced during my previous visit to the Gurney Plaza outlet.
Toppings are divided into 3 categories: fruits, crunch and sauces. Each category has around 10 types from which customers can select from. Each extra topping costs RM1.50 each.
My Medium-sized cup of frozen yogurt today is topped with Chocorock White Sauce, Lotus Caramelized Biscuit and fresh strawberries. According to llaollao, Lotus Caramelized Biscuit is one of the most popular toppings. I erroneously thought that it is peanut butter but it is actually made from caramel.
Wellnesday Deal is a special offer every Wednesday from 1:00pm to 7:00pm. For each week, frozen yogurt is offered at a discount which ranges from 11% to 33%. This offer is applicable for Medium, Large and Sanum sizes only. More details on Wellnesday Deal are available on llaollao's Facebook page.
Name: llaollao
Address: 3F-22C, Queensbay Mall, 100, Persiaran Bayan Indah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: N/A
Business hours: 10:00am-10:00pm
Website: http://www.llaollaoweb.com/int/llaollao-my
Coordinates: 5.33328 N, 100.30668 E
Directions: llaollao is located on the Level 3 of Queensbay Mall, right next to Queens Hall and opposite of Magstore. Queensbay Mall has a multilevel parking garage and several outdoor parking spaces.

Sukkah

Special thanks to Olive Tree Hotel for extending this food review invitation.

Olive Tree Hotel is hosting Christmas-themed buffet sessions during the upcoming Christmas season. In addition to traditional dishes such as meatloaves and stuffed turkey, the yuletide-themed menu also includes salads, soup, carvery, cold cuts, cooked dishes and desserts. Today's preview event at Sukkah Coffee House serves to showcase several signature dishes from the full menu.

Making meatloaf is a tradition in several European countries. To prepare this delicacy, ground meat like beef or lamb is mixed with seasoning. The mixture is baked in a loaf pan so that it takes the shape of a loaf. Similar dishes are Chicken Terrine and Honey-Glazed Turkey Squares. Meanwhile, Chicken Roulade is made by rolling chicken slices with chestnut stuffing.
Another vital dish during Christmas is Roasted Whole Turkey, which is stuffed with raisins and chestnuts. Cranberry and giblet (chicken innards) sauces are used as condiments. Roasted Lamb and Roasted Beef Striploin are other delicacies at the carvery. Meanwhile, non-meat items include Herb-Roasted Potatoes and buttered vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and squash.
Christmas season will be incomplete if not for the presence of Gingerbread House. The model house is assembled from pieces of gingerbread, then intricately glazed with icing sugar of different colors to produce finer details such as doors, windows and roof tiles.
Yule Log (bûche de Noël) is another Christmas-related pastry. As the name implies, the pastry is shaped to resemble an actual Yule log. The main section consists of sponge cake that has been rolled into a roulade. Meanwhile, the frosted surface is "scratched" by a fork to replicate the rough texture of tree bark.
Mixed Fruit Cake is dotted with cranberries, blueberries, raisins, apricots and other types of candied fruits and nuts. Rum is traditionally added to the cake to extend its shelf life and accentuate its sweet taste. However because Sukkah is a halal-compliant restaurant, alcohol is not used in this case.
Gingerbread Man is commonly prepared in conjunction with festive seasons like Christmas. The gingerbread cookie cut into humanoid form, while finer details like facial features are fashioned through clever use of icing sugar. Other bite-size treats during Christmas include fruit tarts, checkerboard cookies, marbled chocolate cookies and chocolate drop cookies.
For something richer in cocoa, the Chocolate Cake is a sound choice. The cake is covered with chocolate fudge and chocolate sprinkles on the side.
Last but not least, the raspberry-flavored Panna Cotta is served in petite glasses. At the top of each dessert is an edible figurine of Santa Claus or Frosty the Snowman.
Sukkah is offering 4 buffet sessions during this upcoming Christmas season:
- Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner (24 December 2016, 6:30pm-10:00pm)
- Christmas Buffet Luncheon (25 December 2016, 12:00pm-3:00pm)
- New Year's Eve Buffet Dinner (31 December 2016, 6:30pm-10:00pm)
- New Year's Buffet Luncheon (1 January 2017, 12:00pm-3:00pm)
For dinner sessions, each adult is served with a complimentary glass of red wine. Guests who prefer non-alcoholic beverages can opt for mocktail instead. Furthermore, each adult guests may top up an additional RM50.00 to enjoy free flow of beer or a bottle of house wine.

Name: Sukkah Coffee House
Address: 76, Jalan Mahsuri, 11950 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-637-7856
Business hours: 6:00am-10:30am, 12:00pm-2:30pm, 6:30pm-11:00pm (Monday-Friday), 6:00am-10:30am, 12:00pm-3:00pm, 6:30pm-11:00pm (Saturday-Sunday)
Website: http://olivetreehotel.com.my/dining/sukkah
Coordinates: 5.32695 N, 100.27927 E
Directions: Olive Tree Hotel is located at Bayan Baru, just across the street from SPICE Arena. Sukkah is located at Level 1, just above a flight of elevator from the lobby. The hotel's multi-storey parking charges RM3.00 for the first hour, then RM1.00 for each subsequent hour. Parking is complimentary for hotel guests.

Go Noodle House

Special thanks to Go Noodle House for extending this food review invitation.

Go Noodle House (有间面馆), a popular restaurant chain in Klang Valley, has made landfall in Penang with its eighth outlet in Gurney Plaza. This new restaurant is located on Level 7, at the same floor as Golden Screen Cinemas. It occupies the former location of Burger King.
The dining section of Go Noodle House is furnished in the style of a traditional Chinese guesthouse, similar to stereotypical depictions in wuxia movies. Wood is the main theme of furniture, while large wine pots mark the entrance to this restaurant. Meanwhile, the menu is designed to look like a kungfu manual.
The signature recipe at Go Noodle House is Superior Soup (三鲜汤). According to legend, the soup was popularized by Emperor Kangxi (康熙) of Qing Dynasty in China, who liked the recipe so much that he decreed the soup to be an imperial delicacy. According to the staff of Go Noodle House, its soup is stewed from several types of fish bones. The recipe, obviously a trade secret, took several years of painstaking fine-tuning to formulate.
The Superior Soup contains a small amount of huadiao wine (花雕酒), a specialty of Zhejiang (浙江) Province, China. The aromatic nature of this rice wine helps to draw appetite and improve savoriness of the soup. Customers who wish to add more wine can purchase wine bottles from the restaurant. Vintage wines of 3, 5, 10 and 30 years are available. Unfinished bottles of wine can be kept at the restaurant for future visits.
My bowl of Grouper Fish Slice Superior Soup (石斑鱼片三鲜汤, RM16.00) is served with Mi Xian (米线, rice flour). Grouper flesh serves to enhance the flavor of the already-savory soup. I also requested for another specialty: Bursting Meat Balls (浆爆丸, RM3.50). When punctured, the meat balls release their juicy payload that was trapped inside. It is worthwhile to note that most ingredients used at Go Noodle House are produced at its central kitchen, not from third-party suppliers.
As for snacks, the Trio Platter (三品细味, RM15.30) provides three delicacies at a discount price. Pork Gold Coins (金钱肉干) are really addictive thanks to their honey-sweet appeal. Meanwhile, Pork Rolls (五香肉卷) are best eaten while warm, lest them being too salty. Last but not least, Crispy Fu Chok (脆香腐竹) features irresistible crispiness without being too oily.
As for drinks, the Herbal Tea (红枣枸杞茶, RM2.80) here is recommended. Its subtle sweetness is complemented by pleasant bitterness of herbs such as wolfberries (枸杞) and red dates (红枣).
Considering the long queue in front of the restaurant, it is evident that the food here is well-received by shoppers. In particular, I feel that the Superior Soup's recipe appeals to the mainstream palate. The pricing is considered reasonable when compared to other similar restaurants in Gurney Plaza.

Name: Go Noodle House (有间面馆)
Address: 170-07-02, Plaza Gurney, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-373-2343
Business hours: 11:00am-10:00pm (Monday-Friday), 10:30am-10:00pm (Saturday-Sunday)
Website: Click here
Coordinates: 5.43774 N, 100.30951 E
Directions: Go Noodle House is located at Level 7 of Gurney Plaza, next to Golden Screen Cinemas. Gurney Plaza has basement and multi-level parking garages.