Bo Eight Tea

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Bo Eight Tea is a small restaurant on Jalan Gottlieb, facing the Penang Chinese Girls' Primary School. From the front, it looks like a typical Taiwanese milk tea kiosk.
However, Bo Eight Tea has a proper dining area inside and also serves regular Chinese dishes. There are also board and card games for customers' entertainment, presumably catering to students who drop by for drinks after school hours.
We ordered some Chinese dishes for dinner today. It did not come to our mind that a well-concealed restaurant serves such tasty dishes!

Starting with the Jindu Style Pork Loin (京都猪排块), the meat is quite tender because the cuttings are thin enough. The tangy sauce also added flavor to the pork, making this a nice dish overall.
The Salad Fish Fillet (沙拉鱼片) is our favorite dish tonight. The deep-fried fish fillet is coated with a delightful concoction of salad cream and sesame meat. The fish itself is tender and smooth to the mouth. We truly love how this dish turned out.
Next up is the Stir Fried Cabbage (清炒蚝油蒜茸菜心). This Chinese cabbage is cooked just right without using too much oil. The stems still retain freshness through brief but intense deep-frying with garlic and oyster sauce.
As for the Sautéed Chicken With Dried Chili (宫保鸡丁), the fiery wok taste is clearly demonstrated here. There is not much chicken to go around, but the think onion cuttings are also sweet and tasty by themselves.
Last but not least, the Seaweed, Bean Curd And Seafood Soup (紫菜豆腐海鲜汤) also deserves a fair share of commendation. The ingredients in the soup are plentiful while the soup itself is rich and appetizing.
For drinks, we ordered Mochaccino Smoothie (摩卡冰沙, RM6.50) and Matcha Red Bean Smoothie (宇治红豆冰沙, RM6.90). The amount of sugar in the drinks can be customized upon request. There is not much to comment about the drinks, as we find them rather similar to other Taiwanese milk tea kiosks.
Overall, the cooking at Bo Eight Tea is highly recommended. The staff here is also very friendly and attentive to our needs. Perhaps the only flip side is that the food portions are rather small compared to the price.

New York Burger Time

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Located at the former Tea Garden's location at Lebuh Union, New York Burger Time is the third outlet of this locally-operated burger joint. The store is also known as New York Pizza, since this business opened its doors as a pizza parlor initially.
The dining area cannot resemble any closer to a typical burger place in New York City: long shoulder-height tables with tall stools. Quite a nice place to hang out, actually.
The menu is rather illustrative. There are sections for burgers, pizzas and side orders. The pricing is similar to other burger establishments in Penang. For today, we opted for the burgers as they look very tempting indeed.
The Brooklyn Brawl (RM15.90) consists of a beef patty and a chicken patty sandwiched between charcoal buns. Between those mouth-watering layers are a slide of molten cheddar cheese and some minced chili beef sauce.
Unlike burgers in some other places, the beef in New York Burger Time is not defiled with unknown fillings, therefore it tastes very rich and satisfying to our palate. The grilling is also done to perfection and retains the natural juices from the meat.
The Big Apple (RM14.90) is also another noteworthy selection. This is the ultimate choice of a true chicken-lover (the flesh, not the bird, mind you). The charcoal buns hold an arsenal of dual chicken patties, dual chicken bacon slides and dual layers of cheese. Yeah, everything in twos. On top of it, cheesy sauce is added to make it a holy grail.
Once again, I cannot emphasize enough how juicy the chicken really is. Using lean, deboned chicken cuttings instead minced chicken meat (the latter can be mixed with mystery meat, the worst kind of atrocity involving a burger), it is grilled carefully to retain the tenderness.
Each order of New York Burger Time's delicious burgers comes with a reasonable helping of fries. For drinks, we had some Iced Lemon Tea (RM2.00 each) to wash down our throats after a gratifying meal.
The pricing at New York Burger Time may be intimidating for some, but I feel that its food portion and quality do good justice to the price tag. The food preparation is slow, but you really have to give credit to the chef for making such wonderful grills!

We will be back soon to try something on the pizza menus. I wonder how charcoal pizzas taste like...

Nona Bali

Nona Bali is a Balinese restaurant at Promenade 28, facing the scenic Penang Strait and Seberang Prai mainland. Its location avoids customers from dealing with traffic congestion and limited parking in downtown areas. It has opened its door for several months already, but we did not have a chance to visit it until today.
Unlike most provinces in Indonesia, the people of Bali island is predominantly Hindu. Therefore it is not surprising that Balinese cuisine tends to be somewhat unique within the rich diversity of Indonesian cuisine. A particular distinction is that beef is absent in Balinese cooking. Although pork is sometimes used, Nona Bali does not serve pork because it is halal certified.

The store facade of Nona Bali stands out differently compared to the other shops in the "ghost town" Promenade 28. Actually, only a small handful of shop units in Promenade 28 has ever been occupied since it was built.
The interior decor is well thought-out. While you cannot expect the same degree of experience as sunset dinner on a beautiful Balinese beach, Nona Bali provide a serene atmosphere for a nice, peaceful dining experience. The furniture, fixtures, artwork and even tableware are sourced from Bali. According to our host, some artwork is also available for sale.
Some outdoor seating is also available, but we wanted to experience the aromatic spice incense inside. Normally, such fragrance is only available in Balinese massage centers.

Our table is furnished with an interesting-looking salt shaker and pepper shaker. Instead of giving numerals to each dining table, a piece of carved wood is used. The wood has a unique name to represent a different place in Bali.
Our host of the day is very friendly indeed. Besides patiently taking our orders, he also gave an introduction to the food selections, including the dinner menu. A word of "Matur suksma!" or "Thank you!" in Balinese is well in order.
Set lunch is available for around RM20.00. It comes with a choice of drink, either Iced Peach Tea or Iced Lime Drink.
Our first selection is the Nasi Goreng Nona Bali (RM18.90). Like typical Balinese food, this dish comes with a variety of side dishes, and tends to use less gravy compared to Javanese or local Malay cuisine.
A conical heap of fried rice takes the center stage. The rice is seasoned with spices, giving it a yellowish color and nice smooth taste.
The Sate Be Siap (chicken skewer) is also delightful to our palate. The chicken is mostly lean meat grilled carefully to perfection.

As for the fried chicken, it is rather normal and unsatisfying. It tastes similar to deep-fried chicken sold in night markets. Perhaps the taste can be improved if there is more flavoring to it.

Other side dishes include fried egg rolls, crackers, fried anchovies and the ever-essential sambal (chili pepper paste). Second helpings of sambal is available upon request, and our host is more than happy to accommodate.
The Nasi Campur Be Siap (RM19.90) is the next dish on the table. "Nasi campur" in Balinese refers to rice with assorted side dishes, while "be siap" refers to chicken.
Unlike dinner where quarter chicken is served, the meat serving during lunch is much smaller. In this case, it is a bowl of chicken yellow curry. The taste still has room for improvement, but still decent nevertheless.
Other side dishes include Sate Be Siap, boiled egg, crackers, and several types of vegetable such as long beans and bean sprouts. White rice is served in a conical heap at the center of the plate.
The set meal comes with a serving of Kolak, a sweet cold dessert made of coconut milk and sago. Refreshing and delightful, the dessert serves as an ideal finale of our meal today.
Overall, the food at Nona Bali is reasonably gratifying, but still pales in comparison with other established Balinese restaurants such as Ole-Ole Bali. The ambiance of the restaurant makes it ideal for a nice business meal or romantic date. The table service is highly professional; an experience usually associated to fine dining.

The food portion is quite sufficient for lunch, but the pricing is skewed to the high-end of spectrum. No doubt, its upscale atmosphere can command higher price, but Promenade 28 is not the best location for this niche market. It would have been better if the restaurant were to operate in a shopping mall, such as Gurney Paragon.

Regardless, we will be back shortly to what Nona Bali has to offer on its dinner menu.

Ini Kari Lah

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Ini Kari Lah is a restaurant within the grounds of The Cerebral Palsy (Spastic) Children's Association Of Penang. The name is a play on a political catchphrase used during the 2013 general elections. In addition, the restaurant's name reflects its signature dishes: curries.
The chef of Ini Kari Lah has over 40 years of culinary experience under his belt. His specialties are creamy curry and dry curry. Focusing on homemade recipes, the menu is a combination of Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes. Ini Kari Lah is a halal-certified restaurant and also caters food for the center.
Shortly after being seated, a plate of Murukku (RM1.50) is served. We did not actually order any starters, but I guess it is a matter of courtesy to accept what's served on the table.
Norwegian salmon is used to prepare Curry Fish Head (咖喱鱼头, RM38.00). Served in a claypot, the curry also contains vegetables like tomato, onion and mint leaves. In terms of flavor, I prefer the curry's spiciness to be more intense.
The dish of Home Stew Chicken & Bean Curd (秘制李卤味, RM12.00) is reasonably good. I think the key contributing factor is the gravy itself.
Curry Fish Ball (咖喱鱼旦, RM15.00) uses the same curry base as salmon. Again, I think I prefer spicier curry.
Lychee Sweet & Sour Fish Fillet (荔枝甜酸鱼片, RM15.00) is an interesting dish. Both the gravy and fillet are nicely done. However, I think the influence of lychee is somewhat deficient.
The final dish is Daily Vegetables With Chicken Floss (鸡丝蚝油时菜, RM8.00), which I think is reasonable in terms of taste.
Sago Ice Cream (西米露雪糕, RM5.50) is served as dessert. The ice cream has consistency at the midpoint between gelato and sorbet. This dessert is refreshing and I enjoy it very much.
As for drinks, Stevia White Coffee (咖啡甜菊叶, RM4.50) uses stevia leaf extract as a sugar substitute. Gram to gram, stevia has lower calorie content compared to cane sugar.
We also ordered a glass of hot Homemade Loh Han Guo (罗汉果, RM2.50) and iced Honey Lemon Juice (蜜糖柠檬, RM3.50).