The Cafe

Special thanks to Georgetown City Hotel for extending this food review invitation.

Georgetown City Hotel is located at Midlands 1-Stop business and entertainment complex. Formerly known as Berjaya Penang Hotel, this 4-star hotel is conveniently located near the Gurney Drive commercial district. It is also strategically near George Town's renown medical facilities, such as Penang Adventist Hospital, Gleneagles Penang, Island Hospital and Loh Guan Lye Specialist Centre.
Located next to the hotel's main entrance is The Cafe, the hotel's only eatery. Besides serving breakfast to in-house guests, The Cafe also caters buffet lunch and dinner. The buffet theme varies depending on the day of the week.
Theme of the tonight's buffet is International Buffet Dinner, which is served from 7:00pm to 10:00pm. The theme of this buffet is a balanced mixture of local and Western dishes, grills, pasta, plus a respectful assortment of desserts. The menu rotates on daily basis, so you may see a different set of dishes every day.
The dishes in tonight's buffet are quite diverse. For starters, expand your appetite with several sips of hot, hearty soup: Thai Spicy Chicken Soup In Coconut Cream. The soup is pleasantly sour and has moderate level of spiciness.
For warm dishes, local cuisine is represented by Beef Rendang. These nicely-marinated chunks of beef are saturated with savory goodness. Certainly highly recommended.
As for poultry, the Honey Mustard Baked Chicken is an interesting choice. This dish comprises of deboned chicken chunks baked with baby corn, carrots and potatoes. I love the sweet-tangy flavor of the gravy. I prefer chicken to be cut to smaller chunks so that the nice gravy is applied more evenly to the protein.
Next on the buffet line is Braised Duck With Mushrooms. I personally prefer roast duck over braised duck, but this dish still fares reasonably well.
As for seafood, Fish Curry With Lady Finger is available tonight. The curry packs a respectable load of rich curry flavor. Certainly a wise choice if you love to spice things up!
The Black Pepper Squid is quite delectable, although I feel that it somewhat lacks the fiery black pepper flavor. The squid is served with bells peppers, onion and scallion for aesthetic appeal.
As for the Stir-Fried Mussel With Nyonya Sauce, I am awed by the clever use of chopped vegetables as garnish. Besides providing visual appeal, the colorful vegetables also serve to counterbalance the strongly-flavored mussels.
Moving on to something vegetarian, the Seasonal Vegetables tonight consists of greens of various colors: broccoli, cauliflower, baby corn, carrots; plus several types of mushrooms: black mushrooms, button mushrooms and straw mushrooms. Going vegetarian does not need to be boring!
At the grilling station, indulge yourself with the colorful assortment of meats at the display counter. I am most impressed by the garnishing effort to make the ingredients so visually attractive.
Of course, you cannot start a grilling station without beef. I am not sure which cutting the beef comes from, but I usually preferred the tenderloins.
Succulent grilled chicken is also available. Request for less fatty cuts if you prefer lean meat. Grilled chicken goes better with black pepper gravy.
There is also lamb kebab on skewers. This is quite delectable too. Try not to pass this off.
As for seafood, one may also savor in grilled fish. The fish has been marinated with spices, so enjoy the mouthful of delightful flavors.
Grilled squid is also a splendid choice. It goes particularly well with mushroom gravy.
While patiently waiting for your food to be grilled, grab some deep-fried items such as Squid Balls and Spring Rolls.
At the pasta counter, the staff is delighted to prepare your personal choice of pasta: penne, spaghetti or macaroni.
Fresh ingredients for pasta are bell peppers, onions and mushrooms. Sauces available are Napoletana, creamy vegetarian and beef bolognaise.
Pasta is cooked al dente (slightly undercooked) for the slightly tougher texture. Olive oil is used for, which explains the fragrance of this dish.
The array of cold cuts is not something to be trifled with. Right off the bat, The Cafe scores early points in terms of presentation.
If you take beef, try several slices of savory Beef Pastrami. This dish is meant to tantalize your taste buds.
While you are here, try some Smoked Salmon too. Unlike sashimi, smoked salmon is salted and cooked.
Alternatively, Tuna Fish Carpaccio is also quite palatable. It is cooked to medium-done, so the center is slightly pink and tender.
For something more exotic, Marinated Octopus is an interesting dish. These seasoned baby octopuses are coated with sesame seeds for the delightful mouthfeel. Overall, it is very similar to the Japanese Chuka Idako (中華イイダコ).
For salad, my personal favorite is Shanghai Chicken Salad. Bite-sized chunks of chicken are tossed with sweet pineapple pieces and creamy salad dressing. I am not sure how the Shanghainese aspect came about, but this dish is absolutely remarkable.
As for fruitier flavor, try some Fruit Salad which is made from papaya, honeydew and cucumber.
This Potato Salad looks rather peculiar. It resembles nothing of salad, but more like deep-fried potato paste in bean curd skin.
Moving on the desserts, the Semolina Pudding deserves the most attention. Semolina is milled from wheat. Its texture is coarser than wheat flour but finer than oat.
For cakes, there is Pandan Cheesecake with chocolate chips on the side and sweet cherries on top.
Chilled Raspberry Cheesecake is also available at the dessert station. The thin layer of jelly is simply asking for a bite!
If chilled cheesecakes are not your cup of tea, indulge in Baked Cheesecake instead. I like the overall presentation of this lovely cake.
For a dose of caffeine, help yourself to some soft Tiramisu Cake.
Cocoa-lovers should love the Chocolate Sponge Cake with cashew nuts and chocolate syrup as topping.
How about a mouthful of rich Chocolate Balls? Nothing beats a dessert so densely packed with chocolate!
Corn Pudding is also available tonight. Why not give it a try?
Should you prefer custards in individual cups, they are also served tonight.
As for fruits, cut pieces of papaya, watermelon, pineapple and honeydew are available for our enjoyment.
Fancy some Ice Kacang before you conclude your meal? Don't worry, the staff here is eager to operate the ice shaver for you!
All you need is to select the ingredients for your Ice Kacang. Choices are red bean, jelly noodle, sweet corn, nutmeg, attap chee (fruit of nipa palm), roasted peanuts, crushed nut and raisins. Optionally, top off your Ice Kacang with a scoop of ice cream.
As for beverage, freshly brewed coffee and tea are available.
The International Buffet Dinner of The Cafe is priced at RM39.00 per adult and RM29.00 per child. The restaurant is halal-certified, so it is suitable for business lunch. Overall, the food quality and sheer variety of dishes at The Cafe certainly commensurate the price tag.

Name: The Cafe
Address: Georgetown City Hotel, 1-Stop Midlands Park, Jalan Burma, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-220-7373
Business hours: 7:00pm-10:00pm
Coordinates: 5.43301 N, 100.30679 E
Directions: Georgetown City Hotel is adjacent to Midlands 1-Stop. The Cafe is located towards the right from the main entrance. There are ample of parking spaces at the basement. Diners at The Cafe can get their parking ticket validated for flat parking rate of RM3.00 for 3 hours.

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