Blackwood

Special thanks to Blackwood for extending this food review invitation.

Blackwood Coffee & Chocolate is a chain of restaurants in Perlis, Kedah and Penang. The chain started as a single café in Amanjaya Mall (Sungai Petani) back in 2012. Over time, the café has expanded with a full-fledged food menu that covers breakfast, Western food, pizza, pasta, burger and more. The Kulim outlet, which is my destination today, is located at the back of C Mart supermarket.
Blackwood is named after the Australian blackwood, a type of tree whose timber is prized for making fine ornament and furniture. The dining area is furnished with wooden and brick themes. With addition space in the adjacent room, Blackwood is able to host private events for up to 150 people.
The first dish today is De Pomodoro (RM8.00), a freshly made tomato soup with copious amount of croutons. Thanks to the use of fresh tomatoes, each sip of the rich flavored soup is satisfying to my palate. By the way, "pomodoro" is the Italian word for "tomato".
A popular salad dish is Roasted Tomato Salad & Crispy Mushroom (RM12.00), and it is easy to see why. Fresh mushrooms are battered with flour and then fried to golden perfection. Accompanying the addictive mushrooms are juicy tomatoes, garden rocket and balsamic vinegar dressing.
Customers who prefer finger food as light snacks can try the Crispy Pasta With Popcorn Chicken (RM10.00). The cup contains bite-size chicken nuggets as well as strands of deep-fried spaghetti pasta.
2 types of dipping sauces are provided. The creamy sauces are made from mayonnaise and mustard respectively. To ensure freshness, the sauces are prepared from scratch in the kitchen, not from ready-made bottles.
There are a handful of pizza choices on the menu. Roasted Chicken & Mushroom Pizza (RM18.00) is topped with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, chicken breast, portobello mushrooms, black olives and bell peppers. Chicken is marinated and roasted beforehand, which explains why it is so flavorful. I am also impressed with the excellent chewiness of pizza crust. Overall, the pizza is balanced in taste and does not appear to be overpowered by sauce or cheese.
As for pasta, Smoked Salmon Spaghetti (RM19.00) is dressed with creamy carbonara-esque sauce which feels pretty satisfying. As the sauce is not too salty, smoked salmon seems to blend well with pasta. The abundance of mushrooms is also a welcoming sight.
Hungry carnivores may satiate their craving with N.Z. Lamb Shank (RM34.00). To provide the best quality of meat possible, premium lamb is chilled and air-flown from New Zealand. Blackwood does not use frozen meat because freezing tends to ruin the fine texture of the lamb's flesh. For this dish, the lamb shank is served with black pepper sauce.
The most surprising aspect of this dish is the locally-inspired side dish that is made from eggplant. This side dish serves as counterbalance to the lamb shank. As a result, this dish is somewhat balanced between "heaty" and "cooling" elements. Also included with this dish is mashed potato and vegetable salad.
If red meat is not your cup of tea, the Pan Fried King Salmon (RM34.00) is a good alternative. King Salmon is one of the largest species of Pacific salmon. Nowadays, salmon is raised in aquaculture farms to ensure consistent supply. This salmon dish is served with potato wedges, rocket salad, tomato-based creamy sauce and lemon wedge.
Moving on to desserts, Chocolate Lover Waffle (RM18.00) is an ideal choice for cocoa lovers. The chocolate-flavored waffle is topped with Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream, which is very dense and creamy. Despite the softening effect of ice cream, the waffle remains reasonably crispy. On the side of the waffle are banana slices and chocolate syrup.
Blackwood produces its own supply of cakes at its central kitchen in Sungai Petani. Cakes are sold by the slice and in whole. Customers who crave chocolate may try the Oreo Crepe (RM9.50). This mille crêpe is made from individual layers of pastry with cream interleaved between layers. Crispy Oreo cookie crumbs are used as topping.
Tiramisu Crepe (RM9.50) is the coffee version of mille crêpe. Like the traditional tiramisu recipe, the mille crêpe is topped with fine cocoa powder.
Speaking of coffee, Blackwood uses a mixture of arabica beans and, to a lesser extent, robusta beans. Robusta is picked for its earthy flavor, but the refined flavor of coffee comes from arabica beans. Medium-dark roast is used to produce bolder espresso flavor. This glass of Aussie Latte (RM9.00) has natural sweetness from steamed milk, so there is no need to add more sugar.
Ice blended drinks are perfect remedies to cool the body down during a hot afternoon. The Freezy Bonsai Matcha (RM15.00) is blended with ground coffee to provide bitter aftertaste in a subtle manner. Meanwhile, Freezy Chockles Chocolate (RM15.00) is topped with chocolate balls and fine cocoa powder.
Another popular non-caffeinated beverage is Ice Lemongrass (RM9.00). Boiled from lemongrass stems, the drink has cooling freshness which is ideal for quenching thirst. This lemongrass drink also pairs well with meat-centric dishes such as beef and lamb.
For frequent customers to Blackwood, it is worthwhile to gain lifetime membership for RM10.00 only. The membership card is accepted across all outlets and entitles the cardholder to 15% discount on all items on the à la carte menu. On top of this, each outlet also offers seasonal discounts or special promotions from time to time.

Name: Blackwood Coffee & Chocolate
Address: 342C, Tingkat Bawah, Jalan Seraya Indah 1 & 2, Taman Seraya Indah, 09000 Kulim, Kedah
Contact: 04-490-5732
Business hours: 12:00pm-11:00pm
Website: http://blackwood.my
Coordinates: 5.38375 N, 100.54511 E
Directions: Blackwood is located on Jalan Perdagangan in Kulim, about 1 kilometer north of Selasih. The restaurant is somewhat opposite of McDonald's and within a short distance from Kulim Landmark Central. Parking is available in front of Blackwood.

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