Iconic Hotel

Special thanks to Iconic Hotel for extending this food review invitation.

Durian season has started, so it is time to indulge in the king of fruits! In this spirit, Iconic Hotel has erected an iconic (pun intended) durian shack outside the hotel. The fruits are sourced from Iconic Group's own plantation in Balik Pulau.
Many durian cultivars are displayed at the shack; Musang King is perhaps the most popular one. Its flesh is sweet and creamy, and has a mild bitter aftertaste. Meanwhile, the seeds are relatively small.
Tian Sang (天送) literally means "heavenly gift". This durian cultivar is not so well known but is cherished nevertheless. The durian's flesh is orange in color.
D604 (六零四) is a local cultivar in Balik Pulau. This durian is often referred to by its name in Hokkien dialect, "lak kong si". Like Musang King, D604 has somewhat small seeds.
Penang M5 (红肉仔) is another local favorite. Known locally as "ang bak kia", this durian has a soothing aroma reminiscent of flowers.
Kampung (土种), or generic cultivar, is the most common type of durians sold by roadside stalls. Do not underestimate these durians because they can sometimes bring unexpected surprises.
The mangosteens here are also harvested from the same plantation in Balik Pulau. More often than not, mangosteens are eaten with durians because both fruits turn ripe around the same time. Moreover, mangosteen juice is believed to negate the "heatiness" of durians.
Iconic Hotel allows customers to eat-in or takeaway. Fitted with proper ventilation, the durian shack offers a unique way to enjoy the fruit. While dining, customers can help themselves with complimentary nutmeg juice.
Iconic Hotel's durian promotion runs from 12 June 2019 to 12 July 2019 or while stocks last. The shack operates between 12:00pm and 10:00pm daily. Durian cultivars are subject to availability.
As for durian lovers who prefer to sample a variety of cultivars, Iconic Hotel offers all-you-can-eat durians for only RM45.00 per person. Each session has a limited number of slots, so it is advisable make a reservation ahead of time.
Name: Iconic Hotel
Address: 71, Jalan Icon City, 14000 Bukit Mertajam, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-505-9988
Business hours: 12:00pm-10:00pm
Website: https://www.iconichotel.com.my
Coordinates: 5.34177 N, 100.43292 E
Directions: From the North-South Expressway, take the Bukit Mertajam exit and head east. Turn left just before Petron gas station, then turn right to the front entrance of the 15-floor Iconic Hotel. The durian shack is just in front of the hotel. The hotel provides multistorey parking.


Special thanks to Iconic Hotel for extending this food review invitation.

Special offer: Mention "PFFT_FHBD" before making payment to get 15% discount off the regular price.

Iconic Hotel has a new theme for its buffet dinner: Fisherman's Hook Seafood Buffet. Held at Mezza9 on the Mezzanine Floor, the buffet is served every Friday and Saturday evening from now till 31 August 2019. As the name suggests, the buffet menu focuses on fresh seafood. In fact, many seafood ingredients are sourced from local fish farms.
Today's dinner begins with chilled seafood such as spanner crabs, flower crabs, tiger prawns and black mussels. Accompanying condiments are lemon wedges, Tabasco sauce, cocktail sauce, mignonette sauce and more. Meanwhile, diners who love Japanese food can help themselves with sashimi like salmon, tuna, butterfish and octopus.
Another major highlight this evening is Bamboo Steamed Fish. Exquisite fish choices include leopard coral grouper, pearl grouper and red snapper. Their freshness is accentuated by the Executive Chef's signature Nyonya sauce. I cannot overstate the lovely taste of this sauce.
I am also impressed by the Baked Butterfish. The fillet is gratinated with a layer of bread crumbs, almonds and basil. The crust keeps the fish moist as if it were steamed. Black pepper sauce helps to enhance the fish's gastronomic appeal.
There are a dozen types of chafing dishes this evening. For instance, Wok-Fried Squid is cooked in "kam heong" style. The sauce is fairly spicy but does not overwhelm the palate at all! The aroma is also very tantalizing. I think the squid is softer than ideal; I would like it to have a springy texture.
Another popular delicacy this evening is Salted Egg Prawns. Large tiger prawns are coated with a paste made of salted egg yolks. The prawns are stir-fried with curry leaves for better aroma. Although I enjoy salted egg paste, I feel that its savoriness is not able to penetrate the shrimps' thick shells. It would be great if mantis shrimps were used instead.
Spaghetti Vongole is a popular Italian dish where spaghetti is sautéed al dente with clams. Live clams are preferred because they release a savory liquid when cooked. Similar to aglio olio, the pasta is sautéed with garlic and olive oil.
The live action counter is where Oyster Omelette is prepared. This popular snack of Teochew origin is prepared from fresh oysters, eggs and potato starch. Chili sauce can be added for a spicier taste. Kudos to the chef for cooking such a tasty dish!
If you enjoy Thai cuisine, Seafood Tomyam should appeal to your palate. Diners can choose ingredients like fried fish fillets, fish balls, squid balls, crab sticks, vegetables and noodles. After blanching in hot water, the ingredients are served with hot and sour soup that is rich with seafood flavors.
Dim sum is kept warm in steamer baskets. There are two types of siew mai and three types of baozi. For the latter, fillings are char siew, red bean paste and pandan paste. It would be great if there is a wider variety of dim sum.
Moving on, the chocolate fountain can be enjoyed with skewered food items like savoiardi, cakes, marshmallows and fruits. Other desserts include bread & butter pudding, carrot cakes, chocolate opera cakes, lemon tarts, macarons, profiteroles, panna cotta and chocolate mousse.
As for hot soupy desserts, Snow Fungus Soup and Red Bean Soup are prepared this evening. The former contains snow fungus, longan, red dates and wolfberries. Towards the end of your meal, cleanse your palate with fresh fruits like pitaya (dragon fruit), cantaloupe, honeydew, oranges and watermelon.
The Fisherman's Hook Seafood Buffet is a good choice if you enjoy fresh seafood. The price is RM98.00+ per person. Children and senior citizens get 50% discount. And if you visit on your birthday, Iconic Hotel gives 50% discount and a complimentary birthday cake!
Name: Mezza9
Address: Iconic Hotel, 71, Jalan Icon City, 14000 Bukit Mertajam, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-505-9988
Business hours: 6:00am-11:00pm
Website: https://www.iconichotel.com.my/dining
Coordinates: 5.34206 N, 100.43287 E
Directions: From the North-South Expressway, take the Bukit Mertajam exit and head east. Turn left just before Petron gas station, then turn right to the front entrance of the 15-floor Iconic Hotel. Mezza9 is located on the Mezzanine Level of the hotel. The hotel provides multistorey parking.

Fei Brew Cafe

Special thanks to Fei Brew Cafe for extending this food review invitation.

Fei Brew Cafe (啡) is a new café at Bayan Point, situated directly behind the former premises of Alora Hotel. The small eatery is under the same management as Xiang Yun Vegetarian House several doors away.
Occupying the first floor of the building, Fei Brew Cafe presents a relaxing atmosphere through the use of live plants and warm lamps. Besides proper dining tables, there are also a cozy couch and a counter next to the window. Overall, the café is a great place to hang out with friends while enjoying a cup of joe.
Coffee is the focal point of this café. My meal kicks off with Mocha (RM13.00), which comprises of espresso, milk and chocolate syrup. At Fei Brew Cafe, espresso coffee is extracted from a blend of Costa Rica beans.
Fei Brew Cafe offers filtered coffee too. Customers can choose between hand-dripped and siphon brewing techniques. Two vessels are used for siphon brewing: the upper vessel contains ground coffee, while the lower one contains water. As water boils, vapor pressure forces it up to the upper vessel. Once extraction is complete, heat is removed so that brewed coffee is pulled back to the lower vessel.
Single-origin coffee is generally preferred for filtered coffee. Popular choices are Ethiopia Washed Yirgacheffe and Sumatra Gayo Full Natural; I opted for the former. The light bodied coffee carries berry undertones amid fragrant aroma reminiscent of flowers.
Besides coffee, the café also has non-caffeinated beverages like fruit juices, smoothies and floral teas. For instance, Pink Perfection (RM12.00) is concocted from watermelon, orange, strawberries and blueberries. Blended from actual fruits, the pink-colored juice does a great job in quenching thirst.
As for food, Fei Brew Cafe serves a handful of vegetarian dishes too. Soup With Puff Pastry (RM9.00) is the perfect starter. Prepared from vegetables and hericium mushrooms, the soup has a creamy and mushy consistency. Croissant-like puff pastry on top helps to keep the soup warm.
If you prefer something more filling, Authentic Peranakan Ulam Rice (RM14.00) is highly recommended. This rice dish combines basmati rice with shredded herbs like wild betel leaves, basil, torch ginger, kaffir lime leaves and mint. Side items are acar awak (pickled cucumber and carrots), vegetarian anchovies, hard-boiled eggs and chili paste.
Sambal Petai Mini Burgers (RM14.00) come in three pieces per set. The sambal petai "patty" strikes a balance between sweet and spicy flavors. Vegetarian meat imitates the texture and savory taste of dried shrimps. The burgers also contain romaine lettuce and hard-boiled eggs.
Moving on to desserts, Mango Grapefruit Sago (RM10.00) is essentially mango-flavored yogurt with chunks of mango, grapefruit and translucent sago pearls. The gentle sweetness of this chilled dessert is punctuated by the grapefruit's piquant taste.
Fei Brew Cafe offers homemade cakes like Lemon Poppyseed Cake (RM12.00). I enjoy the refreshing scent of lemons as the cake makes its way to my mouth. The cake's crumbly texture makes every morsel scrumptious indeed.
Combining great taste with reasonable prices, Fei Brew Cafe is a great eatery for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. The food menu is somewhat limited as the café is barely open for 2 months. However, more dishes will be introduced in due time.

Name: Fei Brew Cafe (啡)
Address: 17-1-29, Medan Kampung Relau, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 016-496-8085
Business hours: 11:00am-9:30pm, closed on Tuesdays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/FeiBrewCafe
Coordinates: 5.33317 N, 100.29434 E
Directions: From Jalan Kampung Relau, drive along the front of Alora Hotel, then turn around to the next row immediately behind the hotel. Fei Brew Cafe is located on the left side of this road. Private parking spaces are available along both sides of the road.

Mama Kim

Mama Kim Sauna Mee Cafe has an outlet in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur. The restaurant occupies a small building between Chong Hwa Primary School and Wisma Hrih Lotus. The food menu here revolves around healthy cooking. Mama Kim shares the premises with Herbaline Facial Spa, which is also under the same management.
Fish Meat Sauna Mee (鱼肉桑拿面, RM15.00) is the signature dish here. It is served sizzling hot in a preheated stone bowl. Simmered for several hours, the soup is quite rich in taste. It comes with mushroom rice noodles (other choices are pumpkin noodles or brown rice), fish slices, tofu skin (腐竹), mushrooms and vegetables. Condiments are fried garlic and sambal (chili paste).
Mama Kim also offers Vegetarian Sauna Mee (素食桑拿面, RM15.00), where fish is replaced with sweet potatoes and taro. Despite the fact that meat is not used, the soup is still pretty good. Nevertheless, I prefer the fish version if I were given a choice.
Baked Cheesy Mushroom Rice (野菌焗饭, RM13.00) uses brown rice, which is a healthier choice compared to white rice. Covered with gratinated cheese, the rice comes with assorted vegetables like broccoli, cauliflowers, carrots and potatoes. All in all, the taste is reasonably good.
As for Western dishes, Cheesy Chicken Chop (香草芝士鸡扒, RM17.00) comprises of cheese-baked chicken cutlet with enoki mushrooms, mixed vegetables, bread roll and garden salad. In terms of taste, it pales in comparison with Sauna Mee. Perhaps Western food is not the restaurant's forte.
Homemade Passion Fruit Juice (秘制百香果汁, RM11.00) is served in a glass teapot and is kept warm by a candle below. The passion fruit juice is also infused with natural sweetness of apples. The teapot is meant for up to 4 people. Hot water refills are complimentary.
In summary, the dishes at Mama Kim (especially Sauna Mee) are generally delectable. It is also evident that the restaurant places emphasis on balanced nutrition. As for people in Penang, Mama Kim has another outlet in Tanjung Tokong.

Address: 276, Jalan Pahang, 53000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 03-4021-0928
Business hours: 8:00am-10:00pm

De Palma Hotel

This article is part of my Ramadan 2019 compilation.

Special thanks to De Palma Hotel Ampang for extending this food review invitation.

De Palma Hotel Ampang is a hotel next to Ampang Point Shopping Centre. It is one of three hotel properties under De Palma Group Of Hotels & Resort; the other two are located in Shah Alam and Kuala Selangor. De Palma Hotel is the first Muslim-friendly hotel in Malaysia.
From 6 May 2019 to 2 June 2019, De Palma Hotel Ampang serves Warisan Selera Kampung buffet dinner for iftar. As the name implies, the menu focuses on traditional Malay recipes from the countryside. Dinner is held in the hotel's ballroom on Level 1, which has been elaborately decorated to present a festive atmosphere.
In Malay villages, food is frequently served in a communal setting. To reflect this fact, De Palma Hotel serves a number of dishes in large kawah (Malay pots). Popular hot dishes include Ayam Berlada (spicy fried chicken), Gulai Siput Sedut (sea snail curry), Kangkung Goreng (fried water spinach), Ayam Masak Merah (chicken in tomato sauce), Kari Kepala Ikan (fish head curry), Gulai Ketam (crab curry) and more.
In addition to chafing dishes, there are many live action stalls at the foyer area. Several chefs prepare Mee Mamak, Char Koay Teow and Char Koay Kak tirelessly in order to feed the hungry crowd.
Diners should not overlook Kambing Panggang (barbecued goat) too. The whole goat is marinated with spices for several hours, and then roasted to golden perfection. The mutton is served with grilled vegetables and fried potato wedges.
One of the popular stalls prepares pisang goreng (fried banana), ubi keledek goreng (fried sweet potato) and ubi keladi goreng (fried taro). Other live action stalls serve ayam golek (rotisserie chicken), ikan bakar (grilled fish), ikan goreng (fried fish), roti canai (Indian flatbread), roti boom (bomb bread), roti jala (lace pancake) and lempeng kelapa (coconut pancakes).
Ampang is famous for Yong Tau Foo, so it is only fair to have a dedicated stall for this iconic dish. Food items such as tofu, bitter gourd and red chili are stuffed with fish paste. Yong Tau Foo is cooked by briefly blanching in hot water. Sweet bean sauce is the most common condiment for Yong Tau Foo.
Middle Eastern cuisine is represented by Chicken Shawarma. Marinated chicken is cooked on a vertical spit next to a heating element. As the outer layer is cooked, chicken is shaved off the stack and stuffed into pita flatbreads. Condiments for Chicken Shawarma include hummus, tahini, tomato sauce and mayonnaise.
Roti John is a popular street food. To prepare this dish, minced beef, eggs and onions are cooked on a griddle. Once cooked, the ingredients are sandwiched in an oblong bread. Vegetables are also added to provide a juicy crunch.
As for light snacks, diners can help themselves with keropok udang (prawn crackers), keropok ikan (fish crackers), keropok belinjau (belinjo nut crackers) and papadum (black gram crackers). Ulam-ulaman (raw vegetables), ikan masin (salted fish) and telur masin (salted egg) are presented too.
I am impressed by the colorful assortment of Malay kuih like kuih ketayap (rolled pandan crêpes), kuih lapis (layered cake), kek gula hangus (caramelized sugar cake), kuih cara manis (sweet madeleines), kuih cara berlauk (savory madeleines), lepat pisang (steamed banana parcels), cucur keria (sweet potato donuts), karipap (curry puffs) and much more.
Meanwhile, Western pastries include cupcakes, cheesecake, chocolate cakes, marble butter cakes, Swiss rolls, egg tarts and fruit jelly. Should diners prefer hot desserts, there are also Serawa Durian (durian & coconut milk soup), Pengat Pisang (banana & coconut milk soup), Pengat Nangka (durian & coconut milk soup), Bubur Jagung (sweet corn porridge) and Bubur Kacang Hijau (mung bean soup).
Diners may quench their thirst with iced drinks like air keladi (taro juice), Milo ais (iced Milo), sirap limau selasih (calamansi juice with basil seeds), air kacang soya (soy milk), jus oren (orange juice) and minuman buah longan (longan juice). On the other hand, teh tarik (pulled tea) and Nescafe tarik (pulled coffee) serve as hot drinks.
Throughout the evening, the crowd is entertained with live music performed by Ayu & Sri Mawar 4. The lead vocalist, Ayu Damit, was the winner of the second season of Malaysian singing competition, One In A Million. In between songs, diners stand a chance to win fabulous prizes by answering simple questions about De Palma Hotel.
Name: De Palma Hotel Ampang
Address: Jalan Selaman 1/2, Palm Square, Jalan Ampang, 68000 Ampang, Selangor
Contact: 03-4270-7070
Business hours: 7:00pm-10:00pm
Website: http://www.depalmahotel.com/ampang
Coordinates: 3.15707 N, 101.75242 E
Directions: De Palma Hotel is located at the intersection of Jalan Ampang and Jalan Memanda 1 in Ampang, Selangor. The hotel is within walking distance of Ampang Point Shopping Centre. Dinner is served in the hotel's ballroom on Level 1. There are parking spaces in front of the hotel. Diners can get their parking tickets validated to enjoy a flat rate of RM7.00 per entry.