Hard Rock Cafe

Special thanks to Hard Rock Hotel for extending this food review invitation.

It is difficult not to talk about Batu Ferringhi without mentioning Hard Rock Hotel. In front the hotel lobby, the larger-than-life guitar statue itself makes it a popular photography spot. The hotel also houses several eateries such as Starz Diner and the Pizzeria.
The hotel is not the only attraction here. The adjoining Hard Rock Cafe is also a destination in its own right! In fact, Hard Rock Cafe started well before the hotel chain. Today's visit to the restaurant is to review the revised menu, which comprises of existing favorites as well as newly-added delicacies. Some of these dishes are exclusive to this outlet; they are not available elsewhere.
The most defining highlight of Hard Rock Cafe is its live musical performance every night, 365 days a year! Performance starts around 10:15pm or 10:30pm when the night-time crowd starts pick momentum. With the exception of Tuesdays, a band of international musicians light up the stage with its exhilarating dance numbers. If you are not able to visit the restaurant for some reason, the show can be viewed live at the comfort of your hotel room!
During lunch and dinner service before the live band starts, the ambience is more family-oriented. The warm lighting makes it a good choice for hot dates or merely to hang out with buddies. Children are allowed in Hard Rock Cafe, but are prohibited from entering after 10:00pm when the restaurant eases smoking restriction. There is no trace of tobacco during my visit to Hard Rock Cafe, thanks to its efficient ventilation system and the fact that it runs throughout the night when the restaurant had closed for the day.
Each outlet of Hard Rock Cafe also has a collection of musical artifacts, such as musical instruments and suits used by various artistes during their international concert tours. Each artifact is sealed à la museum manner, and is meant to take residence in its glass panel for 8 years before migrating to another restaurant.
The food menu at Hard Rock Cafe is varies subtly between outlets. While many signature dishes are featured globally, the company's policy dictates that each outlet needs to have a handful of unique dishes which reflect local delicacies. As far as food portion is concerned, the entrées are served in standard American size, which is larger than what most Malaysians are accustomed to.

Our dinner kicked off with a starter: Spinach Artichoke Dip (RM35.00). The creamy dipping paste is loaded with respectable amount of cheese, mashed spinach and artichoke pieces. Several pieces of flatbread are provided to be enjoyed with the dip. The flatbread itself is loaded with cheese, making this starter a dairy-intensive treat.
Next on the appetizer menu is the Balsamic Tomato Bruschetta (RM30.00). Several slices of freshly-toasted baguette is topped with juicy tomato salsa and grated Parmesan cheese. A light drizzle of basil oil lends fragrance to the bread.
For a party of 3 or more, the Jumbo Combo (RM58.00) is a good bet. This order comprises of several Hard Rock Cafe's popular finger snacks: Signature Wings, Tupelo Chicken Tenders, Balsamic Tomato Bruschetta, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Parmesan Flatbread and Onion Rings. Dipping sauces are honey mustard, hickory barbecue and blue cheese cream. In particular, the Buffalo-style wings are succulent down to the bare bones!
The Grilled Chicken Chop Salad (RM38.00) is a good way to enjoy some greens. The addition of grilled chicken, pecan nuts, Monterey Jack cheese, balsamic vinaigrette and barbecue sauce is irrefutable proof that salad can be flavorful on its own. I personally prefer more chicken though.
If "Carnivore" is your last name, you cannot go wrong with the Hickory Smoked Barbecue Beef Brisket (RM42.00). Smoked with hickory firewood for a good duration of 14 hours, the brisket is certain to strike a chord with avid beef lovers. Alongside the scrumptious briskets are fried onion straws, cowboy beans, French fries and coleslaw.
Another bestseller at Hard Rock Cafe is the impossible-to-resist Fiesta Burger (RM52.00). Within the toasted burger bun is a whopping 10-oz patty of premium-grade beef. The beef patty is grilled medium-well by default, but I personally prefer it to be cooked to medium.
As if beef goodness isn't gratifying enough, the burger is further enhanced by salsa fresco (chopped tomato, onion and cilantro), guacamole cream, Jack cheese and Jalapeño salsa. And if you do have leftover space in your stomach after devouring the burger (which most locals don't), a generous side of French fries is here to seal the deal.

Due to Hard Rock Cafe's strong branding, the restaurant menu in each outlet must follow the same framework. However for restaurants in the Asia Pacific region, the menu also includes a "Rock The Wok" section to cater to local palate.

Here in the Penang outlet, its ambassadorial dish is the Tg Bungah Ayam Percik (RM30.00). This quarter-chicken grilled to lovely perfection and is bursting with savory flavors, thanks to the perfect marinate of Oriental spices.
According to Hard Rock Cafe, the naming of this dish after Tanjung Bungah is just arbitrary and nonsensical. There is another "Batu Ferringhi" dish on the menu previously, so using the same name would have resulted in confusion among foreign guests.
Also from the "Rock The Wok" section, the Black Pepper Beef (RM35.00) is a Chinese-inspired dish of stir-fried short loin in black pepper sauce and bell peppers. Steamed rice is provided on the side for enjoyment.
As for desserts, the Cheesecake Made With Oreo Cookie Pieces (RM25.00) serves to satisfy our sweet tooth. This slice of cake is loaded with cheese essence, making it very satisfying to cheese lovers. A piece of Oreo cookie on top adds an entirely new dimension to its enjoyment. I just love how the cookie crumbles as I sink my teeth into it.
Hard Rock Cafe is an extensive selection of beverages including cocktails, wines, spirits, beers and smoothies. It is also worthwhile to mention that every Wednesday is Ladies' Nite; all cocktails are knocked 50% off specially for the fairer sex.

The Red Berry Press (RM60.00) is a lemonade cocktail mixed with orange vodka, strawberry, raspberry and lemon juices.
This drink is pressed table-side and is ideal for sharing among buddies. Sharing is great, isn't it?
To sample several signature margaritas in a single session, try the Air Mexico (RM75.00). The flavors are Monin Elderflower, Blue Curaçao and Monin Raspberry. Tortilla chips and salsa are provided on the side to reset your taste buds between different margarita flavors.
Finally, the Magical Mystery Mojito (RM45.00) is made from gin, Monin Elderflower, Monin Cucumber, lime juice and a hint of fresh mint. I think I revealed the magic and mystery a little too soon!
While a meal at Hard Rock Cafe appears pricey at the cursory glance, one should also consider the fact that the meals there are generally enormous by Malaysian standards. In addition, mere food is not the entirety here; the cozy ambience and live musical performance also contribute to the memorable dining experience here.

By convention, each Hard Rock Cafe has its own gift shop. So does the hotel itself. As if this isn't good enough, the Penang property has a disjoint building to house the third gift shop, namely the Rock Shop. Merchandise ranges from hats and T-shirts, keychains to lanyards. Some of these memorabilia are exclusive to the respective outlet, so this is the only place where you can acquire Hard Rock souvenirs which say "Penang".
Name: Hard Rock Cafe
Address: Hard Rock Hotel Penang, 11000 Batu Ferringhi, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-886-8050
Business hours: 11:30am-2:00am (Sunday-Thursday), 11:30am-2:30am (Friday-Saturday)
Website: http://penang.hardrockhotels.net/dining-nightlife/hard-rock-cafe-penang
Coordinates: 5.46747 N, 100.24171 E
Directions: From Tanjung Bungah, travel west towards Batu Ferringhi. Hard Rock Hotel is approximately 6 kilometers from Tanjung Bungah's floating mosque, located on the right of the road. Hard Rock Cafe is located on the Ground Floor, with a separate entrance to the right of the hotel lobby. There are parking spaces in front of the hotel.

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