TSS Cafe & Restaurant

Special thanks to TSS Cafe & Restaurant for extending this food review invitation.

Located near Bukit Tambun's highway exit is TSS Cafe & Restaurant. The acronym "TSS" refers to the founder "Teoh Soon San", who has operated a traditional coffee shop here for several decades. Until today, its curry rice (咖哩饭) is popular among locals and highway travelers. The place packed with customers from the morning till late noon.
In the afternoon and evening, the indoor air-conditioned section of this building features an Italian restaurant. The menu consists of pasta, pizzas, meats, light snacks, coffee and cakes. Relaxing ambience, cozy couches and light jazz music at the background make this place a great place for a nice cup of coffee too.
One of the owners hails from Genoa, Italy. Like all good Italian family-run restaurants, TSS Cafe & Restaurant makes most ingredients from scratch. For example, tomato sauce for pizzas and pasta dishes are made from fresh tomatoes. Bread for burgers and soup is also baked fresh in the kitchen.
One of the most popular dishes here is Pizzette With Bacon (RM15.90). The thin crust is topped with freshly made tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and an infusion of Mediterranean herbs. The dough is tossed by hand in the kitchen, which explains its delightful mouthfeel which represents a fine balance between chewy and crispy extremes.
The main appeal of this pizza is the unique choice for bacon. Unlike the smoked version often preferred in the name of convenience, TSS Cafe & Restaurant uses freshly grilled pork slices instead. While some people may not like the bold aroma of fresh pork, I find it to be rather delectable. As the pork is made fresh, its tender and juicy sensation works well with the crust. This pizza is most certainly recommended for first-time customers.
The next dish is Spaghetti Carbonara (RM17.90). The pasta is cooked al dente as preferred by most Italians. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. The pasta is seasoned with light cream sauce, grated mozzarella cheese and pork bacon. Like the pizza, pork bacon imparts savory goodness to make this dish quite appetizing.
Whereas many restaurants tend to use excessive amount of cream sauce for carbonara, TSS Cafe & Restaurant takes a different stance. The amount of sauce is modest as it is only meant to impart flavor, not to make this dish surfeiting. Made from egg whites, the yellowish sauce manifests itself as a yolky emulsion which works well with the spaghetti.
For drinks, Caramel Macchiato (RM9.50) scores points off the bat through lovely aroma of caramel. This caffeinated drink has smooth milky consistency, making it quite pleasing to my palate. As fresh milk is used, the drink is naturally sweet. Therefore, it is quite unnecessary to use any sugar.
Cakes are sourced from a local home-based bakery. Today's choice is Raspberry Crêpe (RM12.90), which consists of alternating layers of thin pastry sheets and flavored cream. Raspberry jam is used within intermediate layers as well as a thin layer on top.
Although curry rice has been reputable here, the Italian aspect of TSS Cafe & Restaurant has been flying under the radar for several months. With creative menu items and insistence of being different from others, this eatery is worthwhile to visit when visiting this part of Bukit Tambun.
Name: TSS Cafe & Restaurant
Address: 1574, Jalan Simpang Ampat, 14200 Bukit Tambun, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 012-571-2582
Business hours: 5:00pm-11:00pm (Tuesday-Friday), 1:00pm-11:00pm (Saturday-Sunday), closed on Mondays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/tss.cafe96
Coordinates: 5.27527 N, 100.45841 E
Directions: Traveling southbound along North-South Expressway (Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan), take exit 158 towards Bukit Tambun. After the toll plaza, TSS Cafe & Restaurant is located on the left side of the next crossroad. Parking is available along the dirt road in front of this shop, or in front of the new block of shops immediately beside this eatery.

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