D'Chef Fusion Delight

Special thanks to D'Chef Fusion Delight for extending this food review invitation.

D'Chef Fusion Delight is a local eatery at Pusat Perniagaan Maju Utama in Bukit Mertajam. Prior to its opening, the proprietor used to operate a hawker stall near Taman Sentosa until 1.5 years ago. Due to its family-oriented menu and affordable pricing, many customers from those days are still regulars till now.
The restaurant's menu consists of Western food and, to a lesser extent, Asian dishes. A chef by profession, the proprietor takes literary license in creating many fusion dishes. Many of his signature dishes are developed based on customer feedback over the years. In fact, even the elderly in the Chinese-dominated neighborhood have come to accept the Western meals here.
Mushroom Soup (RM5.50) is one of the popular appetizers among regular customers. Instead of using cream, the kitchen opts for milk instead. This results in smoother consistency which is not as viscous as the typical mushroom soup. Three types of mushrooms are used as ingredients: button mushrooms, dried mushrooms and wild mushrooms. The bowl of soup is served with garlic bread but I find it to be slightly dry and hard.
Hainanese Chicken Chop (RM11.00) is the signature dish here since the hawker days. Like most main dishes on the menu, the chicken chop comes with salad and garlic bread. It is the proprietor's belief that a proper meal should have a good balance of nutrients.
The large piece of deboned chicken thigh is flavored with sweet-savory Hainanese sauce. This lovely gravy delights the sense of smell as well as taste. The chicken chop is also topped with a generous amount of fries and onions, making this dish a satisfying meal indeed.
If you prefer red meal, Sizzling Pork Chop (RM19.00) is another recommended item on the menu. The slab of pork is kept sizzling on a hot plate. It is advisable to consume this dish while it is still warm because the pork becomes drier and tougher after a while. BBQ sauce works best with this dish. Besides salad, also included is a baked potato topped with mayonnaise. Sour cream is not used because the local palate prefers sweetness over tanginess.
Combining pasta with grilled seafood culminated in a fusion dish called Pasta With Fish Fillet (RM11.00). Linguine is used instead of the common spaghetti because the former provides better mouthfeel. Meanwhile, patin (catfish) is the choice of fish for the fillet because its delicate flesh takes advantage of the accompanying sauce. Onion sauce is the best choice here. Should customer prefer to go without meat, Capsicum Pasta With Italian Herb (RM8.90) is a sound choice too.
In Western culinary art, the sauce is a vital aspect that determines whether a dish makes or breaks. In fact, the sauce recipe allows the chef to differentiate himself from others. To this end, D'Chef offers 5 different sauces every day. Besides the 3 types introduced earlier, there are also black pepper sauce and mushroom sauce. The proprietor personally prepares all sauces to maintain consistent quality.
Moving on to Hot & Spicy Chicken Maryland (RM13.00), this dish is similar to Taiwanese fried chicken. The large piece of boneless chicken has crispy breading and is sprinkled with paprika and other spices. The result is mint-like chilling effect on the tongue.
To cater customers who still have an affinity for local food, there is a one-page section of the menu to serve their needs. Nasi Lemak With Crispy Chicken (RM9.90) benefits from the sweet and spicy sambal (chili paste), which is a fusion of Malay and Chinese recipes. Half-size fried chicken is provided because the nasi lemak dish is quite large already.
As for juices and smoothies, the proprietor insists on using fresh fruits and vegetables as ingredients. Popular drinks are Cucumber + Carrot + Celery (RM7.00) and Chocolate Banana Milk Shake (RM7.50). The latter has fairly strong cocoa flavor that makes it quite satisfying to my palate.
Upon request, D'Chef Fusion Delight also provides catering service in nearby areas. Customers are welcomed to customize the menu from scratch. The restaurant itself can also be reserved for private parties. At the moment, D'Chef Fusion Delight is a beef-free restaurant.
Name: D'Chef Fusion Delight
Address: 3185-G, Jalan Maju, Pusat Perniagaan Maju Utama, 14000 Bukit Mertajam, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-530-2970
Business hours: 12:00pm-4:00pm, 5:00pm-10:30pm, closed on Mondays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/dchef.fusion.delight
Coordinates: 5.35193 N, 100.47106 E
Directions: D'Chef Fusion Delight is located at the commercial area of Pusat Perniagaan Maju Utama in Bukit Mertajam. The restaurant is several shops away from CIMB bank. Street parking is available.

Frad Coffee

Special thanks to Frad Coffee for extending this product review invitation.

There is a Caltex gas station at Jalan Song Ban Kheng of Bukit Mertajam. Occupying the same building as the station is Frad Coffee. Its sales office is adjacent to the dining section of NH Coffee, a café formerly known as Northern Hill Coffee. The name "Frad" is an acronym for "Freshly Roasted And Delivered".
Frad Coffee's primary business is the distribution of freshly roasted coffee beans to café customers throughout Penang Island and Seberang Perai. Its signature blend is a mixed blend of 100% Arabica beans, typically roasted to medium. Upon request, Frad Coffee also roasts single origin beans from Ethiopia, Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia.
Besides coffee, Frad Coffee also supplies new and reconditioned espresso machines. There is a range of single and double group machines from several brands. Espresso machines are also available for short-term rental. Maintenance and repair services are also provided.
As manual brewing of coffee is gaining popularity, Frad Coffee also supplies vacuum pots for siphon brewing. Other barista tools and accessories include coffee grinders, coffee tampers, pitchers and shot glasses.
For aspiring baristas, Frad Coffee offers barista training courses at the premises. In each 4-hour session, participants are exposed to key aspects of manning a café. The course is sufficient for participants to start practicing on their own pace. Under normal circumstances, Frad Coffee takes up to 2 participants per session.
Frad Coffee is also a supplier of premium matcha (抹茶) from Niko Neko Matcha. Besides matcha latte, matcha powder is also used as flavoring for cakes and ice cream. The best matcha comes from Uji, Japan.
Matcha differs from typical green tea in two key aspects. Firstly, tea leaves for matcha are shaded from sunlight for 3 weeks before harvest. This alters the chemical compounds in the leaves. Secondly, the stems and veins of matcha leaves are removed before being ground into fine powder. This produces matcha with more concentrated leafy aroma and flavor. Houjicha (ほうじ茶), the roasted equivalent of matcha, is also available.
Frad Coffee stocks a variety of coffee syrups and fruit concentrate from Shott. These products are essential for making coffee, smoothies and other drinks in cafés. Produced in New Zealand, Shott's products do not contain artificial coloring and flavoring.
Soda Xpress is a popular brand of soda maker for home and commercial use. Using a pressurized canister, the machine injects carbon dioxide which dissolves in any drink. The resulting fizziness and slight acidity accentuate the intrinsic taste of the respective drink - juice, cocktail, wine or coffee. However, soda coffee has yet to enter mainstream popularity.

Name: Frad Coffee
Address: 2551, Jalan Song Ban Kheng, 14000 Bukit Mertajam, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 012-527-8168
Business hours: By appointment only
Website: https://www.facebook.com/fradcoffee
Coordinates: 5.35081 N, 100.45370 E
Directions: There is a Caltex gas station at Jalan Song Ban Kheng, just beside the main road between Pusat Perniagaan Maju Utama and Pusat Perniagaan Gemilang. Sharing the same premises as NH Coffee, Frad Coffee is located inside the Caltex building. There are plenty of parking spaces at the Caltex station.

Utterly Ice Cream

Special thanks to Utterly Ice Cream for extending this food review invitation.

There are several food-related retail kiosks at Level LG of Gurney Paragon. Located beside the escalator near Daiso Japan, Utterly Ice Cream specializes in handcrafted ice cream. The word "utterly" means "wholly" or "completely". This is also a subtle reference to "udder" (cow breast), emphasizing on the proprietors' commitment to use only fresh milk in preparing ice cream.
The ice cream here is quite dense because it has low overrun (air content). The proprietors also insist on using premium ingredients. For example, top grade matcha powder is taken from Uji, while the best vanilla is sourced from Madagascar. Despite vibrant colors of ice cream, only natural ingredients are used. The food at Utterly Ice Cream is suitable for ovo-lacto vegetarians.
There are around 20 different ice cream flavors on a given day. Popular choices are D24 Durian, Cempedak, 62% Dark Chocolate, Uji Matcha, Salted Caramel, Roasted White Chocolate, Peanut Butter With Chocolate and Mint Chip. There are also seasonal flavors like Wasabi, Buttered Almond Brittle, Kumquat and Salted Egg Yolk. Like Baskin-Robbins, Utterly Ice Cream provides free samples before customers make their choices.

Ice cream is served in disposable cups in either Single Scoop (RM6.80) or Double Scoop (RM12.50) sizes. Several flavors are marked as "premium" and cost RM1.50 extra per scoop. For RM2.50, customers can upgrade the ice cream to XL Charcoal Hand-Rolled Waffle Cone. Made from batter mixed with bamboo charcoal, the waffle cone is cooked in a waffle iron. It is good that the cone remains crispy even after making contact with ice cream.
I think it is worth the RM2.50 upgrade for the cone. Meanwhile for ice cream, my personal favorites are D24 Durian, 62% Dark Chocolate, Uji Matcha and Kumquat. Besides selling by the scoop, Utterly Ice Cream also offers ice cream in bulk. Tubs come in sizes of 400 millilitres (RM19.50) and 1.3 liters (RM59.00). There is an additional RM4.00 for premium flavors. If you are buying in large quantities, take advantage of the special offer for ice cream tubs.
The kiosk also has a several freshly baked Utterly Cakes that are sold by the slice. Like ice cream, the cakes are made from natural ingredients only. Cake choices today are Peanut Butter Chocolate (RM7.90), Uji Matcha (RM7.90), Chocolate Ganache (RM6.90), Black Forest (RM7.90), Cookies & Cream Chocolate Moist (RM7.90) and Hummingbird Walnut (RM7.90). Customers who wish to purchase the whole cake (10 slices) are advised to give 1-day notice so that the shop can prepare a fresh batch from the oven.
Name: Utterly Ice Cream
Address: LG.P5A, Gurney Paragon Mall, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 012-502-0331
Business hours: 11:00am-10:00pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/utterlyicecream
Coordinates: 5.43534 N, 100.31100 E
Directions: Utterly Ice Cream is located at Level LG of Gurney Paragon Mall. It is next to an escalator near Daiso Japan. Gurney Paragon has a multi-storey parking garage.

Xin Man Yi Zhu

Special thanks to Xin Man Yi Zhu for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Xin Man Yi Zhu Porridge & Rice Restaurant (心满意粥饭) is a popular eatery at Perak Road (Jalan Perak). The restaurant is located at Harmony Square, a row of shops between Jalan Pasar hawker center and Restoran Joo Huat (裕发美食中心). This place has been operating for around 1.5 years now.
The primary business at Xin Man Yi Zhu is mixed rice (杂菜饭). This is a good idea because the local residents are generally sensitive to pricing. Compared to other restaurants, Xin Man Yi Zhu has an unusually large number of dishes for an eatery of its size. There are at least 80 dishes on any given day. Popular dishes are prepared daily, while others are served on rotation basis.
Chicken and pork are the primary meats at Xin Man Yi Zhu. Beef is notably absent from the menu because a significant proportion of the restaurant's clientele does not consume beef. Examples of popular meat dishes here are Marmite Chicken (妈蜜鸡), Fried Roasted Pork (三宝炒烧猪肉) and Nan Ru Pork (南乳猪肉).
There is also a section dedicated to seafood. Recommended dishes in this category are Sweet & Spicy Fish (酸辣鱼片), Ray Curry (咖喱魔鬼鱼), Asparagus & Prawns (芦笋炒虾仁) and Fried Squid (爆炒鱿鱼).
As for vegetables, the bestselling ones are Dried Tofu & Chinese Celery (豆干炒芹菜), Fried Pickled Mustard & Minced Pork (榨菜炒肉碎) and Seasoned Cucumber (酸甜青瓜).
There are around 6 types of soup on any given day. Soup is kept warm in a steamer. Get help from the staff as the soup bowls are very hot.
Customers have a choice of either porridge or white rice. The porridge served at Xin Man Yi Zhu is of Teochew style (潮州粥). For this type of porridge, rice grains are largely intact as opposed to being disintegrated into the liquid. To take advantage of flavorful dishes, the porridge is unflavored except for a small amount of sweet potato cubes.
Xin Man Yi Zhu has 3 outlets in total. Besides this Perak Road outlet, there are also smaller shops at Macalister Road (Jalan Macalister) and in Tanjung Tokong. To maintain consistent quality, food served at all 3 outlets is prepared at the central kitchen just behind the main restaurant. As for pricing, a typical meal here costs less than RM10.00, but this also depends on the type and amount dishes selected.

Name: Xin Man Yi Zhu Porridge & Rice Restaurant (心满意粥饭)
Address: 332E, Jalan Perak, 11600 Jelutong, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 017-477-6717
Business hours: 8:00am-10:30pm, closed on Fridays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/chi6717
Coordinates: 5.39894 N, 100.31469 E
Directions: Driving northbound along Perak Road (Jalan Perak), Harmony Square is a row of shops on the left immediately after the junction with Lintang Slim. Xin Man Yi Zhu is one of the restaurants facing the main road. Street parking is available in front of the restaurant. There are also private parking spaces at the back section of Harmony Square.

D' Pirate Mansion

Special thanks to D' Pirate Mansion for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

The former location of Perfetto Mansion has been taken up a new management team. Like before, D' Pirate Mansion Western Restaurant features the fantasy world of One Piece (ワンピース), a popular Japanese manga (漫画) and anime (アニメ) which the proprietors are fans of. This explains the pirate theme in the restaurant's design as well as menu creation.
As the name implies, the restaurant's menu features Western cuisine primarily. There are also a handful of Asian dishes to adapt to the local niche. According to the staff, popular dishes are Sea Beast Royal Squid Curry, Robin Special Hawaiian Chicken, Tony Chopper Rumble Chicken Meat Ball and Grand Line Bread Of Lasagna Chicken. The food here is entirely pork-free.
Each month, the chef introduces several special dishes with a unique theme. For the month of March 2017, the theme is Japanese curry (カレー). One such dish is Tori Katsu Curry Rice (とりカツカレーライス, RM12.90), where Japanese curry is poured over a cutlet of deep-fried chicken. It is nice that the breading does not feel greasy at all.
This dish comes with a heap of garlic fried rice and shredded vegetable salad. Two eggs have been used in this serving of fried rice. This explains the rice's appealing aroma and grainy mouthfeel. While the presence of eggs is delighting, I feel that the fried rice can be enhanced by using more garlic.

Should customers prefer noodles, Tori Katsu Curry Udon (とりカツカレーうどん, RM12.90) is also available throughout March 2017. Like the previous dish, the main highlight is the piece of breaded chicken fillet with Japanese curry. But instead of using fried rice, udon (うどん) serves as the staple ingredient. Also included are boiled shimeji mushrooms (占地).
The udon is quite springy and integrates pretty well with the curry. I also love the crunchy texture of shimeji mushrooms. Among all three Japanese curry dishes this evening, I find the udon version to be the most appealing.
As for something more Western, Tori Katsu Hamburger (とりカツハンバーガー, RM12.90) is the burger version of the trio. This time, the chicken cutlet serves as patty for the burger. There are also crinkle-cut fries and salad on the side. Japanese curry is provided in a separate bowl. I think the curry serves as dipping sauce for fries more than it flavors the burger.
The chicken cutlet is sandwiched between two halves of a sesame bun. The bun's purple color is due to the presence of yam. Occasionally, D' Pirate Mansion also uses buns of different colors. For example, red bun is made by dyeing with strawberry purée.
There are many characters in the fictional world of One Piece. On occasion, D' Pirate Mansion features a special dish to celebrate the birthday of a major character. The dish will be available throughout the entire month which the character's birthday falls on.

There are two birthdays for the month of March. The "Black Leg" Sanji Demon Windy Legs (RM25.90) pays tribute to Vinsmoke Sanji (ヴィンスモーク・サンジ), the cook in Monkey D. Luffy's crew of pirates. This dish features a piece of pan-fried leg quarter with curry gravy.
The curry in this dish resembles local curry more than Japanese curry. It is salty when tasted directly, but is fine when eaten with chicken. Personally, I still prefer the Japanese curry over this version.
Salad is served on the side. For the actual plating, curly fries will be replaced with garlic fried rice instead. This meal also comes with a complimentary glass of one of the following drinks.

Sanji Fire Mango Shoot (RM8.90) is a fruity drink made from mango, orange and yogurt. Most importantly, red chili peppers (including their seeds) are also blended into the emulsion. The resulting taste is very pungent and therefore this drink is best consumed in small sips. If you are not sure whether you can handle this level of spiciness, ask for a milder version when placing your order.
Franky Passion Soda (RM8.90) is inspired by Franky (フランキー), the cyborg shipwright and crewmember of Luffy's Straw Hat Pirates. Imitating Franky's blue hair and red Hawaiian shirt, this carbonated drink consists of two distinct colors - as you have expected - blue and red. The colors are attributed to Blue Curaçao and strawberry purée respectively.
D' Pirate Mansion has a lunch menu to cater for office workers. Lunch set is offered at an affordable price of RM8.90 onwards. For a complete meal, there are also 4-item set meals for RM30.00 each. Birthday packages are also available for groups between 30 and 45 people.
The upper floor of D' Pirate Mansion serves as the main dining area as well as venue for private events. Customers can take advantage of the mock pirate ship - Thousand Sunny (サウザンドサニー号) - to take group photos. There is also a trick artwork at a corner. D' Pirate Mansion also lends pirate-theme costumes if you want to get into character.
Name: D' Pirate Mansion Western Restaurant
Address: 211, Lebuh Melaka, 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-228-2016
Business hours: 11:00am-3:00pm, 6:00pm-10:00pm (Monday-Friday), 11:00am-10:00pm (Saturday-Sunday), closed on Wednesdays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/DPirateMansionRestaurant
Coordinates: 5.41574 N, 100.32066 E
Directions: D' Pirate Mansion is located at the intersection between Lebuh Melaka and Anson Road (Jalan Anson). It is within a short walking distance from Siam Road Char Koay Teow. Street parking is available along Lebuh Melaka.