The Barn

Special thanks to The Barn for extending this food review invitation.

The Barn is one of the several eateries at the exterior section of Gurney Plaza. It is a combination of a wine bar and a grillhouse. While The Barn has several restaurants in Klang Valley, this is the sole outlet in Penang.
The dining section presents a comfortable ambience for casual dining. The place feels welcoming even for families with children. Meanwhile, the back section uses dimmer lighting to present a more secluded setting. As for customers who prefer al fresco dining, there are also several dining tables outside the restaurant.
The Barn is renowned for its fine range of wines, boasting over 200 labels from around the world. Although most wines are sold by the bottle, house wines are also poured by the glass. The Barn aims to make wines more affordable to the general clientele.
For a limited time, The Barn is having the Meat Indulgence promotion. This seasonal menu features 3 exquisite beef dishes: Porterhouse Steak, Prime Ribs and Little Joe's Tomahawk Steak. Using premium Australian beef, each dish comes in a humongous portion and is ideal for sharing among 4 or 5 people.
For instance, the Prime Ribs (RM429.00) packs 1,000 grams of scrumptious meat. The beef is first baked in a preheated oven for over an hour, and then gently grilled over fire so that it retains most of its juiciness. The meat near the rib bone is exceptionally delectable.
Served on a large wooden steak board, the Prime Ribs are gradually oozing natural juices from within. Meanwhile, the accompanying meat sauce has a rich, savory taste that is extremely gratifying. Other side dishes are grilled vegetables and baked chat potatoes. A rosemary sprig serves as a garnish.

The Porterhouse Steak (RM169.00) is another interesting choice. Also known as T-bone, the porterhouse has a distinctive T-shaped bone at the center. Compared to the ribs, this beef cut has a denser texture as it contains more lean meat. The recommended doneness is medium.
The Porterhouse Steak is flavored with truffle butter to impart an earthy aroma. On the side, there are grilled pumpkins, eggplants, cherry tomatoes and baby potatoes.

As for diners who do not take beef, the BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs is a recommended alternative. The pork ribs are flambéed just before they are served. In addition to the awesome spectacle, this tableside presentation also gives the pork a touch of toastiness. The lovely pork ribs are basted with sweet-tangy barbecue sauce, making them succulent to the last morsel.
Red meats are customarily paired with red wines. The Barn pours house wines by the glass for as low as RM19.00. Today's choice of red wine is Copperstone Creek Shiraz from Australia. The berry-like sweetness of the wine keeps the palate attuned to the flavors of beef.
The Meat Indulgence menu was originally meant to run for a month, but due to overwhelming response, the promotion has been extended through November 2018. Because it takes over an hour to prepare and cook the steaks, advance ordering is highly recommended. I urge the devoutest carnivores of the land to visit The Barn and savor the fine Australian beef here.

Name: The Barn
Address: 170-G-43, Plaza Gurney, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-229-0763
Business hours: 11:00am-12:00am
Website: http://www.thebarn.com.my
Coordinates: 5.43751 N, 100.30977 E
Directions: The Barn is located at Gurney Plaza's outdoor piazza, directly facing G Hotel. Gurney Plaza has basement and multi-level parking garages.

Cha Yen

Special thanks to Cha Yen for extending this food review invitation.

Cha Yen (ชาเย็น) used to run a stall at Armenian Street several years ago. Today, it operates an air-conditioned shop at i-Avenue. The restaurant specializes in popular beverages from Thailand including the titular drink, Cha Yen. In addition, Cha Yen also serves a modest variety of Thai dishes.
There are not many dining tables in Cha Yen, so the place is reasonably spacious and comfortable. Towards the back of the dining hall is a drinks counter where customers place their orders. As for customers who prefer outdoor dining, there are also several tables just outside the restaurant.
The bestselling drinks here are Cha Yen (ชาเย็น, iced milk tea, RM5.90), Kafae Yen (กาแฟเย็น, iced coffee, RM6.90), Cha Keao Yen (ชาเขียวเย็น, iced green tea, RM5.90) and Coco Yen (โกโก้เย็น, iced chocolate, RM5.90). To keep the drinks as authentic as possible, key ingredients such as tea leaves, coffee beans and evaporated milk are imported from Thailand.
Kaeng Som Pla (แกงส้มปลา, RM23.80) is served with a fish curry that is immensely spicy. You will likely need a jug of iced drink to go with this dish. This curry is similar to Kaeng Som Gong (แกงส้มกุ้ง) that I tasted during my previous visit, except that shrimps have been substituted with fried fish. This particular variant of kaeng som (แกงส้ม) is more popular in southern Thailand.
Next, Gai Yang Namjim (ไก่ย่างน้ำจิ้มแจ่ว, RM14.90) is highly recommended due to an excellent sauce called nam chim chaeo (น้ำจิ้มแจ่ว). Prepared from roasted glutinous rice, the condiment accentuates the delectable juiciness of the grilled chicken. In addition, I also enjoy the intense sourness that the sauce imparts on my tongue.
For customers who prefer something light to go with drinks, Cha Yen has a snacks menu too. The Chicken Popcorn (ไก่ป๊อป, RM7.90) comes in a basket and is ideal for sharing. Coated with crispy and spicy batter, the chicken chunks go well with sweet chili sauce.
Nam Pla Wan (น้ำปลาหวาน) is a new snack that has not been included on the regular menu yet. The condiment is made from fermented fish sauce (น้ำปลา), palm sugar (น้ำตาลปี๊บ) and chili peppers. This gives the snack a unique combination of salty, sweet and spicy flavors. Nam Pla Wan is often eaten with unripe mangoes (มะม่วง).
As for dessert, Cha Yen offers several flavors of homemade ice cream (RM7.90). Four types are shown here: black sesame, Thai tea, egg yolk and strawberry. The ice cream is made using premium ingredients such as black sesame seeds from Hokkaido. I also love the intense tanginess of the strawberry ice cream. Each scoop of ice cream comes with a wafer stick and a miniature shovel as the spoon.
Considering the fact that most ingredients are imported from Thailand, Cha Yen offers one of the most affordable yet authentic Thai drinks in Penang. As for customers from Seberang Perai, the proprietor has hinted an expansion in Butterworth in the near future.
Name: Cha Yen (ชาเย็น)
Address: 1-1-53, Medan Kampung Relau 1, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 017-441-0041
Business hours: 10:00am-10:00pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/chayencafemy
Coordinates: 5.33332 N, 100.29368 E
Directions: Cha Yen is located at i-Avenue, just several shops away from Mr & Mrs Fruit. Street parking is available in front of the shop.

Kim's

Special thanks to Kim's BBQ for extending this food review invitation.

Kim's BBQ (킴스) is a Korean restaurant at Straits Garden, spanning the length of two shops. Kim's was previously operating at Arena Curve and just moved here 10 days ago. It is operated by ethnic Koreans, so you can expect the recipes here to be as authentic as they can be.
The dining section is rather spacious and presents a family-friendly atmosphere. Wood is featured heavily, as evidenced by timber floor and furnishings. Built into each table is the most cutting-edge stone grill from Korea. Compared to an iron plate, a stone grill retains heat better and allows food to be cooked more thoroughly.
Kim's is no longer serving buffet, but is instead focusing on à la carte dishes. Korean barbecue (고기구이) continues to be Kim's forte. There are several set meals to choose from. Like in many Korean restaurants, pork and beef are the most popular choices of meat.
The Pork Lover Set (돌판돼지고기바비큐) comes with sliced pork, scallops, shrimps, mushrooms (eryngii and enoki), sausages and Korean rice cakes (떡). Vegetables include fried kimchi (김치볶음), onions, bean sprouts, broccoli, pumpkin and potato. Cheese corn and egg are cooked separately. The Pork Lover Set is ideal for 2 (RM69.00) or 3 (RM98.00) persons. For larger parties, go for the BBQ Family Set instead.
The 2-person Pork Lover Set includes 2 servings of pork of customer's choice. We opted for Garlic Pork Belly (마늘삼겹살) and Spicy Pork Belly (고추장삼겹살). The latter is marinated with spicy gochujang (고추장) and suits my palate better. A popular way to enjoy Korean barbecue is by wrapping a bite-size portion of meat, garlic and ssamjang (쌈장) in lettuce. Another way to savor the meal is by dipping cooked pork into a cheese fondue (치즈퐁듀, RM7.90).
Next, Kimchi-Jeongol (김치전골, RM49.00) is a sour-spicy stew in a large iron pot. The stew contains numerous ingredients like kimchi (김치), pork slices, dumplings (만두), fish cakes (어묵), crab sticks (게맛살), Korean rice cakes, enoki mushrooms, tofu, leek and ramyeon (라면). Jeongol (전골) is similar to jjigae (찌개) except the fact that the former contains more ingredients.
Cheese Dak-Gangjeong (치즈닭강정, RM35.00) consists of fried chicken chunks and rice cakes. The chicken is glazed with sugar and spicy sauce. Crushed peanuts and sesame seeds are sprinkled on top. I love the chewy texture of the rice cakes. Molten mozzarella cheese on the side serves as a dipping sauce.
Jap-Chae (잡채, RM28.00) uses a translucent, springy glass noodle that is made from sweet potato starch. As per tradition, it is stir-fried with pork, assorted vegetables and soy sauce. The dish is sweet and savory, much to my palate's delight. Regarded as a symbol of longevity, Jap-Chae is typically served during auspicious occasions like birthdays and weddings.
Moving on, Haemul Pajeon (해물파전, RM28.00) is a pan-fried seafood pancake that is made from wheat flour and eggs. The pancake is topped with shrimps, scallions, and chili peppers. Spicy soy sauce serves as the condiment. Haemul Pajeon is usually consumed as an appetizer or a snack. The pancake is also popular as an anju (안주), i.e. food that is consumed with alcohol.
Banchan (반찬) refers to small plates of food that go with main dishes. The number of banchan dishes varies from restaurant to restaurant. The five that are served today are pickled napa cabbage (배추김치), pickled cucumber (오이무침), mashed potato, water spinach and sausages. At Kim's, banchan is complimentary and refills are free of charge.
After finishing the main dishes, it is popular among Koreans to order Pan-Fried Rice (돌판볶음밥, RM9.90) to conclude the meal. Using the stone grill, cooked rice is pan-fried with seaweed (김) and grated cheese (RM3.00) with a small amount of oil. Koreans like their fried rice to be slightly browned and crispy.
As for beverages, Ginseng Tea (인삼차, RM7.00) is highly recommended due to its pleasant bitterness which soothes the throat. Other hot drinks are Maesil-Cha (매실차, RM5.00) and Yuja-Cha (유자차, RM5.00); the teas are prepared from plum and yuzu respectively.
Kim's has several popular brands of canned drinks from Korea. For instance, Podo Bondbong (포도봉봉, RM5.00) contains chunks of white grapes. This sweet, fruity drink is irresistible to children!
Should customers prefer private dining, the restaurant has three small rooms with sliding doors. Each room can accommodate 8 people. Individual rooms can be combined to form a larger one.
Besides mouthwatering Korean barbecue, Kim's also excels in serving authentic Korean dishes. The staff's attention to detail is exemplary. This restaurant is definitely a great choice if you seek a true taste of Korean cuisine. Last but not least, Kim's has a sister outlet at Jalan Tavoy, George Town.

Name: Kim's BBQ (킴스)
Address: 349-01-07, Straits Garden, Jalan Jelutong, 11600 Jelutong, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-296-4058
Business hours: 11:30am-3:00pm, 5:30pm-10:00pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/hotstonebbq
Coordinates: 5.39517 N, 100.31743 E
Directions: Straits Garden Suites is a building along Jalan Jelutong. Kim's is one of the shops at the front. There are several parking spaces in front of the restaurant. Alternatively, customers can also park at the multistorey parking garage and enter the restaurant from its back door at Level L1. Kim's reimburses customers for their parking expenses.

Sakurajima

Sakurajima Japanese & Chinese Restaurant (桜島) is located inside Penang Golf Club (PGC). It is a little known fact that the eatery is open to the public. Besides serving Japanese and Chinese cuisine, Sakurajima also serves pastries and high tea.
The dining hall of Sakurajima is quite spacious. Timber walls, pillars and beams give the place a rustic appearance. In addition, there are also several private dining rooms. Today's visit is to savor the Sunday Brunch Buffet.
The weekly buffet mainly features cooked dishes that Malaysians are familiar with. Shown here are Rendang Chicken, Fried Winged Beans and Char Koay Teow (炒粿条). The Rendang Chicken is reasonably good; its spicy gravy is rich in coconut milk.
My next helping consists of Salted Egg Mantis Prawns, Fried Fish Fillets and Oriental Fried Rice. I enjoy the savoriness of Salted Egg Mantis Prawns.
There are several poultry dishes: Roasted Chicken, Grilled Chicken and Fried Chicken. They are all acceptable in terms of taste.
Curry Mee is available at the à la minute counter. Unfortunately, the curry is not as rich as I hoped it to be; more coconut milk is preferred. On the other hand, I think the boiled cuttlefish, tofu puffs and chili paste are commendable.
Ais Kacang is essentially shaved ice flavored with gula melaka (palm sugar), rose syrup and evaporated milk. The dessert also contains other ingredients like red beans, sweet corn, grass jelly and green jelly noodle.
Sakurajima's buffet covers a modest variety of pastries like croissants and cupcakes. My personal favorite is chocolate grissini.
The Sunday Brunch Buffet is served from 11:00am and 2:30pm. The meal is priced at RM38.00++ for adults, RM25.00++ for senior citizens and RM19.00++ for children (ages 6-12). PGC members enjoy 15% discount. The food here is entirely pork-free.

Address: 2, Jalan Bukit Jambul, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-644-2255
Business hours: 11:00am-10:00pm
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Morganfield's

Special thanks to Morganfield's for extending this food review invitation.

Morganfield's is best known for its signature Sticky Bones, which is slang for Hickory Smoked Spare Ribs. This American-style grillhouse has only one outlet in Penang: Queensbay Mall.
The restaurant is easily recognized by its red brick walls and old-fashioned wooden tables. There is also an outdoor section to cater customers who prefer al fresco dining. Overall, Morganfield's presents a rustic ambience that is typical of the American Midwest.
For a limited time, Morganfield's is promoting the Baby Back Ribs (RM69.90) using Ibérico pork that is specially sourced from Spain. The ribs are slow cooked in the oven until they become tender, and then grilled over fire to produce a smoky aroma. Each full rack comes with two sides of customer's choice.
There are 3 available flavors for Baby Back Ribs. The Jim Beam BBQ Baby Back is probably the most aesthetically appealing one. As expected, the pork is delightfully tender and peels off the bones with ease. Meanwhile, the Jim Beam barbecue sauce delivers a combination of sweet and savory tastes. The side dishes are French fries and mac and cheese.
However, my personal preference goes to the Jack Daniels Glazed Baby Back. This time, the ribs are basted with mouthwatering Jack Daniel's barbecue sauce. Besides being sweet, the sauce has a tantalizing hint of Cajun spices too. This lovely dish comes with garden veggies and flat chips.
The most peculiar version among the trio is Citrus Mojito Baby Back, whose recipe is inspired by the titular cocktail. Flavored with tangy apple syrup, the ribs are topped with diced green apples, lime and mint leaves. The crunchy toppings seem to complement harmoniously with the ribs. Served on the side are coleslaw and onion rings.
As for drinks, Morganfield's recommends Somersby Elderflower Lime to go with Baby Back Ribs. The cider is sold by the bottle for as low as RM9.90 each. In addition, the bartender has concocted 2 new cocktails using the cider: Garden Of Eden (RM18.90) that contains frozen chunks of Blue Curaçao, and Señor Elderflower (RM16.90) that has chili flakes and salt on the glass' rim.
The Ibérico pork Baby Back Ribs and Somersby Elderflower Lime are only available for 2 months: September and October 2018. Having enjoyed Morganfield's Spare Ribs for a while, it is nice to savor some Baby Back Ribs for a change. Who knows, the latter's meatier texture may suit your palate better!

Name: Morganfield's
Address: GF-121, Queensbay Mall, Persiaran Bayan Indah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-643-5049
Business hours: 11:00am-1:00am
Website: http://www.morganfields.com
Coordinates: 5.33421 N, 100.30668 E
Directions: Morganfield's is located on the Ground Floor of Queensbay Mall, right next to Starbucks Coffee. Queensbay Mall has a multilevel parking garage and several outdoor parking spaces.