TGI Friday's

TGI Friday's is a U.S. franchise restaurant. Although it has been around for several years in the Klang Valley, its presence in Penang is relatively new. The outlet that we visited for lunch is at the ground level of Queensbay Mall.

The restaurant's front is decorated with its iconic red-and-white stripes. There are plenty of seats available, but we were surprised that there were few diners. In many cases, this is usually not a good sign.
We ordered a serving of Fried Mozzarella as appetizer. It comes with a serving of celery and dipping sauce. Unfortunately, we didn't enjoy it that much because the cheese was not melted.
One of the main dish that we ordered was the Salmon Pasta. It comes with 2 pieces of grilled salmon. Either the salmon was not fresh, or it was overcooked. Either way, the taste was ruined.
Up next on the dining table was the Cajun Chicken. The quarter-chicken was garnished in herbs and accompanied by a side of fried sweet potatoes. This dish is reasonably good to the taste buds.
For drinks, we had Hot Coffee with whipped cream. As for dessert, we had a couple of Parfait: caramel and Oreo. The taste is reasonable.
Overall, I wouldn't say it was an extraordinary restaurant, but probably something lower down your list if you have no better place to dine.

Ole-Ole Bali

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

The location of choice today is Ole-Ole Bali in Solaris Mont Kiara. It’s in the middle of the affluent business/residential area, so this is not one of the places to find affordable food.
I must say that I am very impressed with the décor that Ole-Ole Bali has to offer. They must have invested substantially to give the whole place an authentic Balinese atmosphere. Even the piped music sounds exotic, making you feel that you have just been teleported to Bali.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. This raises the question why anyone would even bother to order burgers or pasta from the menu (which they do offer anyway). Without much hesitation, we immediately flipped the menu to the page where it says “Best of the East”.
The Bali Trio is an obvious choice. It comes with BBQ chicken wings, satay lilit and fried squid. All three were great to the taste buds! Be sure to try out the sauces that come with it. They go well with the respective dishes.
Next on the line is Nasi Campur. This consists of grilled lemongrass prawns, fried squid, grilled fish and chicken or beef rendang (we picked chicken). Merely by taste alone, we knew that the seafood is very fresh!
Moving on, we also ordered Siap Bumbu, which features a generous piece of chicken thigh with marinated with lemongrass, roasted till golden brown. This dish is served with yellow kunyit rice. This dish is among my favorite, as the marinating really blends well with the chicken.
Last but not least, Cumi Metumis was on the table. This dish features a serving of stir-fried squid with several types of spices and peppers. Personally, I feel that the squid is a little too oily, although still falls within what I consider acceptable.
Most dishes are served with a piece of rempeyek, which is deep-fried anchovy cracker. It is preferable to consume it while it is warm and still crispy, something that we failed to realize. Another special side dish for most dishes is the bean salad, or lawar kacang as the menu says. I didn’t know that beans can make an impressive side, but Ole-Ole Bali proved me wrong.

Overall, the dining experience in Ole-Ole Bali is excellent and satisfactory. It costs around RM30 to RM40 for a dish, so the bill added up to over RM150 for a table of 4. This is one of the few places that I will visit again soon to try other dishes, but not so often because of the damage it just made to my wallet!

San Francisco Coffee

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

There is nothing more relaxing than a nice cup of coffee during a Saturday afternoon, which is exactly what San Francisco Coffee has to offer.

This cafe is located at Ampang Point Shopping Centre, somewhere near the main entrance. The ambiance of the cafe is welcoming - not too crowded, and a relaxing background music to start with.

My entire family came along along, so we started off with drinks for each of us. Whenever you enter a store that says San Francisco Coffee, it is a sin not to order one! Not willing to make an exception here, we had our caffeine ordered: Iced Americano, Iced Mocha and Iced Latte.
Since we skipped lunch, we ordered several servings of food. A cup of tomato soup sounded appetizing, and we were not sorry that we ordered one. It was reasonably good, and comes with a small piece of chocolate cake. Sweet!
How about a fix of Hispanic food? The Tex Mex Chicken Wrap looked appealing! The tortilla bread was soft and warm, while the chicken chunks did justice to the taste buds!
The Tuna Mayo Sandwich was right up! Well, it was just mediocre, but still acceptable.
Venturing into the pasta department, we had a serving of Chicken Linguine Bolognese. We were surprised with the generous portion, probably 50% more than what we usually expect in a typical restaurant! The bolognese sauce was rich and thick, perfect for the dish!
Last but not least, Fettucine Carbonara was on the table. It was nicely done, not too dry nor too oily. It also appeared that the chef did not hold back on the good portion of turkey bacon strips!
All in all, we had a pretty good meal without burning a large hole in the pocket. We will be visiting again one day!