Mr. Shawerma

Special thanks to Mr. Shawerma for extending this food review invitation.

Mr. Shawerma is a chain of Middle Eastern eateries in Penang. There is an outlet next to Hotel Hong Ping at Chulia Street (Lebuh Chulia), George Town. Mr. Shawerma specializes in Syrian and Turkish cuisines.
The indoor section of Mr. Shawerma is air-conditioned. Arabesques (Arabian motifs) appear prominently throughout the restaurant. Meanwhile, customers who prefer fresh air can opt for al fresco dining.
The titular dish, Shawerma, is a popular street food in the Middle East. Slices of marinated chicken are stacked on a vertical spit, which is turned continuously so that the meat is heated evenly. As the outer layer is cooked, thin slices of chicken are shaved off the stack.
The most popular way to enjoy Shawerma is to wrap sliced meat in pita bread. This is exactly what Arabica Shawerma (RM16.00) is all about. The dish is also served with crinkle-cut fries, toum (garlic sauce), muhammara (red capsicum dip), pickled gherkins and sliced tomato.
Falafel is a deep-fried snack from Egypt. The doughnut-shaped croquettes are made of ground chickpeas and spices. The taste and texture of these fritters are similar to those of Indian vadas.
The Falafel Platter (RM26.00) comes with tahini (sesame seed paste), hummus (chickpea dip), baba ghanoush (eggplant dip), muhammara and pita bread. Arab salad is provided too.
Next, Lamb Sanieh (RM27.00) is a patty of oven-baked minced lamb served in thick sauce. There are three sauces to choose from: cooked yogurt, melted cheese or tomato salsa. I opted for cooked yogurt.
Lamb Sanieh is on the salty side because it is meant to go with mandi rice. Originating in Yemen, this mouthwatering rice dish is cooked with stock and a blend of spices called hawaij. Long-grain basmati rice is used.
As for customers who prefer a meatier dish, the Mandi Lamb (RM29.00) is a good choice. The lamb is stewed with a flavorful spice mix for several hours, resulting in savory flavors that go well with mandi rice.
Mr. Shawerma has more outlets in Gurney Paragon, Queensbay Mall, Cubopark and Plaza Ivory. The restaurant also caters for vegetarians with meatless dishes like Falafel and Baba Ghanoush.
Name: Mr. Shawerma
Address: 273A, Lebuh Chulia, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-251-9590
Business hours: 11:00am-2:30am
Coordinates: 5.41788 N, 100.33679 E
Directions: Mr. Shawerma is located near the intersection of Chulia Street (Lebuh Chulia) and Lorong Seck Chuan in George Town. The restaurant is right next to Hotel Hong Ping. There is street parking along nearby roads.

Jazz Feast

Special thanks to Jazz Hotel Penang for extending this food review invitation.

Jazz Feast is the all-day dining restaurant of Jazz Hotel Penang. Like the rest of the hotel, Jazz Feast is decorated with music-related ornaments. For example, the restaurant has electric guitars and laser discs on the wall.
Jazz Feast serves Kochabi Delights Buffet Dinner on Fridays. The buffet menu covers many classic Hainanese and Nyonya (Peranakan) dishes. To assure customers that the recipes are authentic, Jazz Hotel has invited veteran Chef Bob out of retirement to share his culinary expertise every Friday evening.
Hainanese Chicken Chop is one of the most popular dishes in Hainanese cookbooks. Chicken is fried to golden perfection, and then served with baked potatoes and Worcestershire-based sauce.
Hailam Chun Piah are filled with jicama (sengkuang) and other savory ingredients. The spring rolls are deep-fried so that they become crispy. Jiu Hu Char, made of dried cuttlefish and jicama, is served too.
Other delectable snacks are Lok Bak and Egg Rolls. The latter contains century eggs, which is a delicacy in Chinese cuisine. Sweet chili sauce is provided.
Pie Tee is prepared in edible cups made of pastry. The snack is typically topped with jicama, carrots and eggs. Spring onions and fried shallots can be added for better taste.
Foo Yong Hai is a signature Chinese-Indonesian dish. The omelette is prepared from beaten eggs, mushrooms and vegetables. I cannot recommend this dish highly enough.
As for seafood, Assam Pedas Fish is seasoned with spices like tamarind and chili peppers. The fish is softer than I expected; I prefer a firmer texture.
Char Har Lok is a dish of stir-fried prawns with sweet-tangy sauce. Colorful bell peppers serve as garnish.
Moving on, Slow Braised Lamb goes particularly well with rice. The dish also contains juicy okra (lady's fingers), whose texture complements the savory lamb.
The salad bar has acar rampai, cucumber tzatziki, roasted pumpkin salad and mango kerabu salad. Diners can also mix their own salads using fresh vegetables and dressings.
Moving to soupy desserts, Leng Chee Kang is typically served with ginkgo nuts, snow fungus, basil seeds, sago and sweet potatoes.
Be sure to check out the chiller because there are more desserts like French pastries, crème brûlée, sago gula melaka, jellies and assorted mochi.
As for drinks, Jazz Feast has a "ko cha bi" (nostalgic) kopitiam stall that prepares classic drinks like kopi tarik. In addition, fruit punch and Skol beer are provided as part of the buffet.
The buffet price is RM88.00 net per person. For every 3 paying adults, the 4th person dines for free! Children (10-15 years old) and senior citizens (55-75 years old) are charged RM68.00 only. In addition, children below 10 and senior citizens above 75 enjoy additional 50% discount!

Name: Jazz Feast
Address: 1, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, 10470 Tanjung Tokong, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-375-3333
Business hours: 6:30am-11:00pm
Coordinates: 5.45798 N, 100.30955 E
Directions: Jazz Hotel Penang is directly across the road from Tesco Tanjung Pinang. Jazz Feast is located on Level 2 of the building. The hotel provides multi-storey parking. There are also parking spaces in front of the hotel.

Platform 9 3/4

Special thanks to Platform 9 3/4 Fine Dining & Cellar for extending this food review invitation.

Platform 9 3/4 Fine Dining & Cellar is named after the hidden railway station platform in Harry Potter lore. In fact, it is not easy to find the restaurant because there are absolutely no sign boards at the front. But you will know once you arrive; the dining hall resembles the Great Hall of Hogwarts!
Platform 9 3/4 serves French cuisine in a fine dining setting. Since my previous visit, the restaurant has revised its 6-course Chef Tasting Menu in order to take advantage of seasonal ingredients. Today's menu features several delicacies with earthy flavors through liberal use of truffles and mushrooms.
Sliced bread is served soon after we are seated. Fresh from the oven, the bread has a chewy texture that goes well with herb and sour cream butter.
It is nice to start with an apéritif to stimulate the palate. Deconstructed Gin & Tonic is a molecular cocktail created by Master Of Spirits 61, the restaurant's sister outlet. Enclosed in spherical shells, gin is infused with butterfly-pea flower to assume a deep blue color.
Today's Amuse-Bouche is a crispy crêpe topped with ikura (salmon roe) and salmon purée. The canapé is presented over a bed of roasted coffee beans for better aroma. This dish is meant to be eaten in one bite.
There are two choices for the next course. Cut into halves, Seared Hokkaido Scallop is served with black garlic aioli, apple strips and crispy chestnuts. The dish is garnished with microgreens too.
If you prefer something more refreshing, the Hokkaido Scallop Carpaccio is a better choice. The scallop is served chilled with sake granita, which is essentially shaved ice infused with Japanese sake. Meanwhile, poached pears and green apples provide some fruity sweetness.
Foie Gras is seared to perfection, giving it a distinctive buttery texture that naturally melts in the mouth. The delicacy is served with port wine reduction. Also worth mentioning is apple caviar, another product of molecular gastronomy. The dish also comes with lime meringue and green apples. A daisy flower improves the aesthetics.
Beef Cheek is braised au jus until it becomes delightfully tender. Truffle oil and roasted sesame make the beef even more appealing. On the side is a succulent raviolo filled with mushrooms. Also present are crispy beef bacon, truffle aioli and baby spinach.
Like the previous dish, the Mushroom Espuma enjoys lovely aroma of truffle oil. Dehydrated shiitake mushrooms are added too. As expected, this dish has strong earthy flavors.
There are four options for the main course. One of these choices, Duck Confit, has a scrumptious crisp that delights my palate. The duck is flavored with port wine emulsion, black garlic aioli and a hint of truffle oil. Pickled cucumber, broccoli and potato cream are served on the side.
Diners who prefer spicy flavors can opt for the Salmon. Rubbed with masala, the fish is seared with its delicate skin intact. The Salmon comes with the chef's signature butter yogurt and curry aioli. When combined, they produce a tantalizing blend of sour and spicy flavors. Ikura, potato cream, okra (lady's fingers) and an edible flower are involved in the plating.
Philadelphia Mousse features a slice of baked lemon cheesecake made of Philadelphia cream cheese. Like crème brûlée, the cheesecake is glazed with caramelized sugar. The dessert dish comes with microwave sponge cake, red velvet crumble, fresh strawberries and blueberries. Meringue serves as icing on the cake.
If you still have room in your stomach, Chocolate Martini serves as the finale. The cocktail is concocted from vodka and chocolate-flavored liqueur. Extra chocolate sauce on the glass' rim gives it a "dirty" appearance. Meanwhile, marshmallows can be dipped into Chocolate Martini as a fondue.
Platform 9 3/4 has a reasonably large collection of wines; there are tens of labels to choose from. The wines are stored in a room-size cellar, which is interestingly positioned at the lightwell. By design, the room has a living tree that provides some shade from sunlight.
Besides the 6-course Chef Tasting Menu, Platform 9 3/4 also offers Omakase Bespoke Experiences where dishes are specially crafted to suit customers' taste buds. In fact, the restaurant has a small private room for diners to enjoy such exclusive dining experiences.
Name: Platform 9 3/4 Fine Dining & Cellar
Address: 61, Jalan Magazine, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 017-414-5945
Business hours: 6:00pm-11:00pm, closed on Tuesdays
Website: Click here
Coordinates: 5.41221 N, 100.33206 E
Directions: Platform 9 3/4 is located at Magazine Road (Jalan Magazine), approximately 200 meters from the junction with Jalan C.Y. Choy. The restaurant is located on the left side of this one-way street. There is an outdoor parking space on the opposite side of Magazine Road. The parking fee here is RM3.00 per entry.

Ok Seab

Special thanks to Ok Seab for extending this food review invitation.

Restaurant Ok Seab is a new Thai restaurant near Queensbay Mall. The eatery occupies an intermediate shop at the same road as J-Garden.
Ok Seab has a family-style dining area with air conditioning. Thai pop songs in the background give this place a homely feel. Since both the owner and the chef are ethnic Thais, OK Seab's food recipes are as authentic as the ones in Thailand.
Nam Tok Mu (น้ำตกหมู, RM18.00) is a meat-based salad from northeastern Thailand. Influenced by Laotian cuisine, the dish is made of minced pork, pork liver, ground roasted rice, lime juice, fish sauce, shallots, mint leaves and chili peppers. "Nam tok" means "waterfall" in Thai. This is because the dish appears dripping in meat juice.
Red Tomyam Soup (ต้มยำแดง, RM18.00) is probably the most popular Thai dish in the world. The sour and spicy soup is infused with pungent spices and herbs. Also included is seafood like prawns and squids.
Like Malaysians, Thai people are very fond of petai (stink beans). This fact is exemplified by the next dish, Petai Fried Rice (ข้าวผัดสะตอ, RM12.90), where petai plays a unique role in terms of aroma and mouthfeel. The dish also contains chicken and prawns.
If your prefer something non-spicy, Pineapple Fried Rice (ข้าวผัดสับปะรด, RM12.90) is the right choice for you. Fragrant jasmine rice is cooked with pineapple chunks, carrots, raisins and eggs. The dish is best enjoyed while it is hot.
Pad Ped Gai (ผัดเผ็ดไก่, RM18.00) is a stir-fried chicken dish. Two types of eggplant are used: makhuea suai (มะเขือเสวย) and makhuea phuang (มะเขือพวง). The egg-sized makhuea suai is commonly used in Thai cuisine. Meanwhile, makhuea phuang resembles green peas and is slightly bitter in taste.
The key ingredient in Somtam (ส้มตำ, RM15.00) is papaya, which has a crunchy texture and tastes tangy when unripe. Other ingredients are cucumber, yardlong bean, red chili, bird's eye chili, fish sauce, palm sugar, lime and more. This classic dish combines sour, spicy, sweet, savory and salty elements to create a harmonious finish.
Moving on, Thai Pork Leg Rice (ข้าวขาหมู, RM7.90) was introduced by the Thai Chinese community in Bangkok. Stewed pig's trotter is served with pork rind (skin), soy egg and blanched vegetable. The rice dish also comes with a bowl of soup.
As for drinks, Cha Yen (ชาเย็น, RM6.90) is Thai black tea sweetened with condensed milk. Meanwhile, Nom Yen (นมเย็น, RM6.90) is made from salak syrup, condensed milk and brown sugar. There is a honeydew version too. These iced drinks are hugely popular in Thailand and are often sold by street vendors.
Besides the à la carte menu, Ok Seab also serves set meals for large groups. For instance, a 5-course meal for 7 to 8 people only costs RM99.00 (including rice and drinks). Furthermore, the proprietor of Ok Seab also owns a Thai food stall in Sungai Ara Food Court.

Name: Restaurant Ok Seab
Address: 40-G, Persiaran Bayan Indah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-688-6300
Business hours: 11:30am-12:00am
Coordinates: 5.33612 N, 100.30708 E
Directions: Ok Seab is located next to Queensbay Mall and behind Eastin Hotel. There are parking spaces in front of the shop. Alternatively, you can also park at Queensbay Mall's multistorey car park.