Café Muscolo

Special thanks to Café Muscolo for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Is it possible to enjoy food while remaining physically fit? Café Muscolo is here to prove that it is possible!
Located at Kampong Malabar, Café Muscolo is a fitness-themed eatery with emphasis on healthy diet.
The menu here consists of a handful of entrées such as meats and pasta. At the beverage section, there energy-boosting smoothies specially formulated to be consumed before or after workout sessions.
The proprietor behind Café Muscolo is a professional fitness trainer. It is not difficult to guess based on his physique.
We commenced our meal with some Pumpkin Soup (RM6.90), which contains several pieces of bread in lieu of croutons. The taste is reasonably good; I like the starchy and fibrous sensation of pumpkin pulp.
The Green Crush (RM12.90) is a dish of garden salad made from romaine lettuce, onions and cherry tomatoes. The dressing is made from yogurt and balsamic vinegar. No cheese is used for this salad.
Moving on to the mainstream entrées, the Salmon With Muscolo Dip (RM28.90) does not fail to impress. Grilled to perfection, the salmon fillet remains juicy and delectable. The skin also has a lovely crisp with each bite.
However, I feel that the superstar in this dish is the signature dipping sauce. Called Muscolo Dip, this sauce is made from ebiko (roe) and mayonnaise. The consistency is creamy and yolky. This makes this salmon dish very highly recommended.
For a protein-rich meal, one can opt for the Dumbbell Beef Ball (RM18.90), another signature dish here at Café Muscolo.
Each of the two beef balls packs 100 grams of lean meat and tendons. The beef balls are joined together using a lemongrass stalk, making its appearance similar to an actual dumbbell. The beef balls are well-flavored and quite springy in terms of texture.
On the side of the "dumbbell" are fried potato strips and Japanese seaweed (海苔).
If poultry is your favorite, try the Twin Flex Chicken (RM21.90). These deboned chicken breasts (500 grams in total) are marinated with Cajun seasoning, then grilled and baked to seal in the natural juices. The breasts are served with honey mustard sauce.
Still in the poultry department, Chic 'N' Roll (RM18.90) is another interesting dish. This entrée consists of a piece of meat roll made from chicken breast, spinach and cream cheese. The meat roll is flavored by cream cheese and garnished with chopped thyme.
Creativity in fusion cooking culminated in the Flaming Aglio Olio (RM14.90). Instead of dried chili flakes as used in traditional Italian recipes, Café Muscolo uses bird's eye chili (cili padi) instead!
Other ingredients in this pasta dish are mushrooms, black olives, cherry tomatoes, baby corn and bell peppers. Although no meat is used, the dish is appealing thanks to effective use of mushrooms and vegetables.

If you prefer old-school steaks, the Beef Addiction (RM24.90) is the closest match. This steak is made from beef tenderloin, but I personally feel that the meat is tougher than comfort. Black pepper sauce is used to lend some spicy appeal to the beef.
One unassuming but impressive dish here at Café Muscolo is Bali Risotto (RM14.90). While traditional risotto is made from rice, Café Muscolo uses barley instead. Barley is a staple crop in Europe, but it has yet to gain widespread acceptance here.
A poached egg is added on top the risotto. Spinach, herbs and spices are used to make this a delightful dish to enjoy. Certainly highly recommended if you are comfortable to move out of your comfort zone.

As for smoothies, the Pre-Quickie (RM12.90) is specially formulated to ignite your biological combustion engine before a workout session. Espresso serves to boost secretion of adrenaline into the blood stream, making carbohydrates easier to metabolize.
Next, the Choco Nana (RM12.90) is a crowd favorite beverage. As the name implies, this drink is made by blending bananas with chocolate.
The Hulk (RM10.90) serves as an ideal thirst quencher, thanks to its acidic ingredients: lemon, green apples and mint. The drink has a mixture of sour and slightly bitter aftertaste.
Café Muscolo will be rolling out an extended menu soon, which includes more "mainstream" food (such as burgers) for "mainstream" Malaysians.
In addition, Café Muscolo is setting up a small gym upstairs. When ready, Café Muscolo may offer fitness program packages which include the cost of food. The gym is estimated to be ready in March 2015.
Finally before leaving, you can choose to purchase a cup for decoration for RM15.00. Marker pens are provided for you to express your latent artistic talents on the cup. The cup can be left on the wire mesh against the wall to commemorate your visit to Café Muscolo.
Name: Café Muscolo
Address: 4, Kampong Malabar, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-261-2163
Business hours: 12:00pm-12:00am, closed on Mondays
Coordinates: 5.41881 N, 100.33364 E
Directions: From Penang Road (Jalan Penang), turn right to Kampong Malabar. Café Muscolo is approximately 200 meters ahead on the left. Street parking is available on Kampong Malabar, Cintra Street (Lebuh Cintra) and Chulia Street (Lebuh Chulia).

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