Sri Tanjung Cafe

Special thanks to Royale Chulan Penang for extending this food review invitation.

Sri Tanjung Cafe is an all-day dining restaurant in Royale Chulan Penang. It is located at the ground floor of the historic Boustead Building. Although the restaurant is offering festive buffets during the upcoming Chinese New Year season, this is not the reason that I am visiting today.
Starting this month, Sri Tanjung Cafe is serving Saturday Seafood Buffet from 6:30pm to 10:00pm every Saturday. This replaces the Saturday Night Hawkers Delights that was in place since 2016. Meanwhile, the Friday Night Poolside BBQ and Sunday High Tea are still ongoing as scheduled.
The most eye-catching aspect of the Saturday Seafood Buffet is the seafood on ice. Spanner crabs and flower crabs are served this evening. Meanwhile, the large grouper at the center is meant for display purpose only.
Other chilled shellfishes include Australian yabbies, New Zealand mussels and bay mussels. Chilled seafood is often paired with creamy condiments like cocktail sauce and lemon vinaigrette.
Meanwhile from the wok, Chili Crab is the recommended choice. The flower crabs are stir-fried with sweet and spicy chili sauce, which makes them finger licking good. The crabs are best consumed while they are hot.
The charcoal grill outside the restaurant produces an endless flow of stingrays, seafood pot luck, chicken and beef satay, lok lok skewers and prawns & vegetable skewers. My personal favorite item is the seafood pot luck where seasoned fish, squid and shrimps are cooked in aluminium foil.
Steamed Fish Fillet is one of the signature dishes this evening. The red lion fish is cooked with chili and ginger sauce to accentuate its natural freshness. The fish is garnished with coriander and sliced upfront to be served more easily.
Gulai Udang Nenas is a curry dish that takes advantage of sweet-tangy pineapple juice. The gravy has a rather heavy taste, so it is best consumed with rice. Meanwhile, chopped chili peppers and onions enhance the dish's flavor.
Another signature dish that the chef recommended is Ikan Patin Masak Gulai Tempoyak. The fish is called shark catfish, but it is not related to actual sharks. This freshwater fish is notorious for having an "earthy" odor, so it relies on heavy seasoning to mask its unpleasant smell. This explains the use of tempoyak, a strong condiment made from fermented durians.
Western-style seafood is represented by Grilled Salmon Fish. The fish is cooked in creamy butter sauce, while dill serves to improve their aroma and flavor.
Fish & Chips is an English comfort food. Dory fish is the fish of choice, which is quite common due to its affordable cost and acceptable texture. The fillets are battered and fried to scrumptious crispiness. Fish & Chips is typically eaten with tartar sauce.
Ocean View Lasagna consists of several layers of pasta with tomato sauce and cheese between individual layers. I think the lasagna can use more cheese.
The salad bar offers ready-made salads such as fruit cocktail salad, three bean salad, tomato & mozzarella salad and Asian coleslaw. Diners can also mix their own salads using ingredients like mesclun, radicchio, capsicum, red cabbage and cherry tomatoes.
Moving to the pastry section, the Red Velvet Cake is sweeter that what I expected. I think it is better to reduce the amount of sugar to allow cream cheese to take the center stage. Surrounding the Red Velvet Cake is a colorful assortment of petits fours.
Chocolate Mousse and Mini Crème Caramel are meant to delight one's sweet tooth, but I am more impressed by their captivating decorations.
I particularly like Mango Pudding due to its cooling sensation on the tongue. Other similar desserts this evening are Fruit Jelly and Sago Gula Melaka. The latter is sweetened with coconut milk and gula melaka (palm sugar).
Raisin Bread & Butter Pudding is a popular dessert in Britain. The pudding comprises of bread slices baked in egg custard. As per tradition, the pudding is served with vanilla sauce. The fragrance of chocolate chips on top is extremely captivating.
Pengat Pisang Sago is the hotel's signature dessert. Suspended in the creamy soup are slices of banana and sago pearls. The level of sweetness is just about right. This warm dessert is the perfect finale of this evening's dinner.
The Saturday Seafood Buffet is priced at RM88.00 net per adult. Child and senior citizens enjoy half price, while in-house guests get 20% discount. Also for every 4 paying adults, the 5th person dines for free. Only one offer is applicable per bill, and applies to the adult price only.

Name: Sri Tanjung Cafe
Address: 1 & 2, Pengkalan Weld, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-259-8888
Business hours: 7:00am-10:30pm
Website: http://www.royalechulan-penang.com/dining
Coordinates: 5.41700 N, 100.34401 E
Directions: From the ferry terminal at George Town, turn right and drive along Weld Quay (Pengkalan Weld). Royale Chulan Penang is located shortly on the left, at the same block as Via Pre and Made in Penang Interactive 3D Museum. There is a small lane right after the hotel, which leads to the main entrance and multi-level car park. Guests who dine in Sri Tanjung Cafe can get their parking tickets validated for a flat rate of RM5.00 per entry.

The Table

Special thanks to Golden Sands Resort for extending this event invitation.

Golden Sands Resort is one of the three properties in Penang under Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts. This beach resort has 2 proper restaurants: Garden Cafe and Sigi's Bar & Grill.
Just recently, the resort renovated the Garden Cafe in order to increase its capacity. The new section, known as The Terrace, can accommodate an additional 100 diners in a normal restaurant setting. The Terrace features a glass ceiling which allows natural sunlight to illuminate the area.
Golden Circle is Shangri-La's loyalty program where members collect points when staying at any of its 116 properties worldwide. This includes the group's renowned brands including Shangri-La, Kerry Hotels, Traders Hotels and Hotel Jen.
Just last week, the hotel chain started to allow Golden Circle members to book and check in any of its hotels through the Golden Circle mobile app.
Today, Golden Sands Resort celebrates the corporate-wide launching of The Table from Golden Circle. Golden Circle members may now accumulate points and redeem free meals at any of Shangri-La's 500 plus restaurants and bars worldwide. For members' convenience, the eateries are categorized into 5 "moods": Intimate, Elegant, Upbeat, Adventurous and Chill.
To celebrate the launching of The Table, Golden Sands Resort is hosting a 5-course dinner this evening. The meal takes us on a gastronomical journey through all 5 moods. Before dinner is served, guests are provided some brown bread with herb butter and paprika butter as bread spreads.
Dinner begins with Pan Seared Scallop to represent "Intimate". The first morsel is a slice of smoked salmon that is wrapped around ricotta cheese and topped with lumpfish caviar. Across the plate is a piece of premium Hokkaido scallop topped with basil leaf. Both delicacies are succulent indeed. The appetizer's plating also involves semi-dried tomatoes, avocado purée and honey coriander dressing.
The next dish, Lobster Bisque, stands for "Elegant". The rich soup is saturated with intense flavors of lobsters, making it a truly elegant experience. The bisque also includes a slice of baguette, which is topped with baby lobster and crispy nuts.
This is followed by Lemongrass Citrus Sorbet for "Upbeat". The tantalizing piquancy of lemons is balanced by moderating effect of lemongrass. Served with apple and pitaya (dragon fruit) relish, the sorbet is presented over a solid block of ice.
The main course this evening, Australian Beef Rossini, illustrates "Adventurous". This French recipe combines pan-fried beef tenderloin with duck liver and morel mushrooms. The steak is flanked by potato purée and asparagus, while the gravy is morel sauce. I really love the buttery aroma of liver; it is reminiscent of foie gras.
The fifth course, Chocolate Fudge, is meant to symbolize "Chill". The fudge is dense and rich, much to my palate's gratification. The center of the plate is filled with cookie crumble, mascarpone cream and assorted fruits. Last but not least, the plate is decorated with edible gold paint in the likeness of Golden Circle's logo.
Last but not least, guests are treated to an assortment of pralines and cookies. The former has white chocolate and dark chocolate varieties. Served on a wooden board, the sugar confections conclude this evening's meal on a sweet note.
The Table is fully integrated with the Golden Circle loyalty program and is free to join. To start, download and install the Golden Circle's mobile app and start earning points automatically. Accumulated points do not expire and can be redeemed for rooms, meals and spa treatments. Redemption can be done through the app itself; no prior booking is required.
Name: The Table
Address: N/A
Contact: N/A
Business hours: N/A
Website: http://www.golden-circle.com/thetable
Coordinates: N/A
Directions: N/A

Vistana

This article is part of my Chinese New Year 2018 compilation.

Special thanks to Vistana Penang Bukit Jambul for extending this food review invitation.

Vistana Penang Bukit Jambul is a 4-star hotel near Bukit Jambul. The hotel was most recently renovated in 2014. This is one of the three Vistana properties under YTL Hotels; the others are located in Kuala Lumpur and Kuantan.
Vistana is offering Chinese New Year Yee Sang Banquet from 26 January 2018 to 2 March 2018. There are 3 menus to choose from. Depending on the number of tables ordered, the course meals will be served in the Grand Ballroom or one of the smaller function rooms.
During today's preview, the 9-course menu (RM1,088++) is served. The first dish is the Vistana Salmon Yee Sang (旺犬报年齐捞生). Yee sang has become an essential element when celebrating Lunar New Year. The dish contains raw salmon slices. Fish is considered auspicious because the Chinese name for "fish" (鱼) is a homonym of "abundance" (余). As per tradition, diners gather around the round table and toss the ingredients in the air with chopsticks.
The second course is a soup: Double-Boiled Chicken Herb (祝君壮力健). After simmering with spring chicken for hours, the soup attains very rich taste. The clear soup also contains bamboo pith (竹荪), red dates (红枣) and wolfberries (枸杞).
Roasted Duck Hong Kong Style (飞雁传喜讯) is dressed in sweet and sour plum sauce. The duck's flesh is fairly tasty. This poultry dish comes with fried mantou (炸馒头) on the side. Mantou is meant to be eaten with duck, but I personally prefer to consume them separately.
Switching gears to seafood, Steamed Red Lion Fish (年年庆有余) is served with superior soy sauce to accentuate the refined flavor of fish. The red lion fish is also garnished with coriander for the refreshing aroma.
The next dish is Braised Black Mushrooms (金钱满载归). Besides shiitake mushrooms (香菇), the dish also comprises of bean curd rolls, broccoli and macadamia nuts. Flavored with thick gravy, this vegetarian dish is quite satisfying.
Wok-Fried Magnolia Prawn (喜气乐洋洋) comes with sweet and sour dressing. For aesthetic purpose, the dish is garnished with capsicum and a "nest" made from crispy rice vermicelli. I think the presentation is better if the shrimp heads were still attached to their bodies.
On the other hand, I am impressed by how the Lotus Leaf Wrapped Sticky Rice (金枝贵玉叶) is presented. Individual servings of glutinous rice are wrapped in lotus leaf, and then topped with shrimp roe and dried fish strips. The rice is very tasty too, making it among of my favorite dishes this evening.
Moving on to sweet desserts, Double-Boiled Honey Sea Coconut (和气报吉祥) has noticeably bitter aftertaste due to a substantial amount of American ginseng tails (洋参须). Also included are snow fungus (雪耳) and red dates. I appreciate the fact that the dessert has strong herbal taste as opposed to being outright sweet.
Accompanying the cold dessert is Crispy Chinese Rice Cake With Yam (黄金年糕步步高). Filled with red bean paste, the sweet rice balls conclude the meal on a sweet note.
Just like the previous years, YTL Hotels flew in Master Chef Ng Wing Lam (吴永霖) from Hong Kong to oversee Vistana's Chinese New Year menu. A veteran in this line, Chef Ng has 40 years of culinary experience to speak from. By the way, Vistana's kitchen has halal certification, so the banquet meals are suitable for corporate lunches or dinners too.
Name: Vistana Penang Bukit Jambul
Address: 213, Jalan Bukit Gambir, 11950 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-646-8000
Business hours: 11:00am-3:00pm, 6:00pm-10:00pm
Website: http://www.vistanahotels.com/penang
Coordinates: 5.33634 N, 100.29170 E
Directions: Driving southbound on Jalan Bukit Gambir, turn left just before Vistana and drive up to the lobby entrance. Basement parking is available from the back of the hotel. The parking fee is RM3.00 per entry for banquet guests.

Main Street Cafe

This article is part of my Chinese New Year 2018 compilation.

Special thanks to Cititel Penang for extending this food review invitation.

Cititel Penang is a 4-star hotel at Penang Road (Jalan Penang). It is the sister property of The Wembley and Cititel Express, which are also located in George Town. In the festive spirit of Chinese New Year, the lobby area of Cititel Penang is decorated with a cherry blossom tree with red envelopes hanging from its branches.
Main Street Cafe is the hotel's all-day dining restaurant. Today, the restaurant is giving an introduction of the Chinese New Year buffet which will be held next month.
Starting with appetizers, the Asian tapas platter presents deep-fried snacks like curry puffs, pandan chicken, fishcake and fish balls. Tomato sauce, chili sauce and mayonnaise serve as condiments.
XO Fried Rice is cooked with beaten eggs, mixed vegetables and chopped scallions. The rice is mildly flavored with XO sauce, which is not too heavy that it overwhelms the palate. Nevertheless, sambal belacan (spicy shrimp paste) is provided should diners prefer heavier taste. One thing that I appreciate in this dish is the generous amount of shrimps!
Resting over a bed of crispy rice noodles, the Chicken Chop is served with cherry tomatoes and parsley. Sweet-tangy Oriental sauce is prepared as the dressing. This is one of my favorite dishes this evening.
Chicken Fricassée is another poultry dish that deserves special mention. The chicken is first cooked by sautéing, and then simmering with white sauce. Other ingredients that make up this dish are shiitake mushrooms, broccoli, celery, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and onions.
Beef Stroganoff originated in Russia, but the recipe has since spread throughout the world with many variations. One recurring theme is the use of sour cream. Potatoes, carrots, broccoli and onions are added to serve as counterbalance to this meat-heavy dish.
As for seafood, the Fried Prawns are coated with rolled oats, and then garnished with capsicum, chili peppers and curry leaves. The shrimps are presented on "nest" of squid ink pasta for visual appeal.
Main Street Cafe uses salmon for sushi and sashimi. Therefore, serving Salmon Head Curry is one way for the restaurant to avoid wastage of the fish's head. The gravy is moderately spicy and can be enjoyed without rice. Other ingredients in the tasty curry are okra (lady's fingers), tomatoes, onions, red chili peppers and peppermint.
Braised Sea Cucumber is often served in Chinese banquets. Sea cucumber is almost tasteless on its own, but it readily absorbs the rich flavors of mushrooms. Two types of mushrooms are used here: shiitake mushrooms and button mushrooms.
Moving on to Western cuisine, Beef Wellington is probably the most prominent choice today. Beef Wellington consists of a fillet steak coated with liver pâté and duxelles (sautéed mushrooms), and then baked in puff pastry. Mushroom sauce and fried potato wedges are served on the side.
The grilling station churns out a steady flow of grilled beef, chicken sausages and corn on the cob. Local flavors are represented by beef and chicken satay. Marinated with turmeric (kunyit), the skewered meats are succulent indeed.
The buffet also provides an assortment of seafood on ice. Marine delicacies include spanner crabs, oysters, mussels, scallops and shrimps. Lemon wedges are provided to suppress the strong smell of seafood.
The sashimi (刺身) section presents fresh slices of salmon (サーモン), butterfish (イボダイ) and octopus (タコ). There are also various types of sushi (寿司), mostly of maki (巻き), nigiri (握り) and gunkan (軍艦) varieties. Should diners fancy seasoned seaweed (中華ワカメ) and seasoned octopus (中華イイダコ), these exquisite treats are present too.
At the salad section, diners can mix their own salads using fresh ingredients like Romaine lettuce, black olives and cherry tomatoes. Salad dressings like Thousand Island, Italian and vinaigrette are available. For something more local, diners can also prepare some Penang Rojak with the help of a mixing bowl.
Moving on to desserts, the Red Bean Soup contains glutinous rice balls called "tangyuan" (汤圆). These rice balls are filled with sweet black sesame paste. As per tradition, Red Bean Soup is paired with Chinese Pancakes.
Omochi (お餅), or more specifically daifuku (大福), is a Japanese rice cake made from glutinous rice flour. Each piece contains a different type of filling. My favorite type is the one with red bean paste.
Mango Pudding is served chilled and is topped with diced pitaya (dragon fruit). However, it is the fruity sweetness of strawberry sauce that strikes a chord with my palate.
Coconut Jelly may not be as sweet as the Mango Pudding, but it is enjoyable nevertheless. As for traditional Chinese New Year cookies, the buffet provides jars of all-time favorites like kuih bangkit (番婆饼) and kuih kapit (娘惹鸡蛋饼).
Cititel Penang's Chinese New Year buffet runs from 8 to 21 February 2018, except on 14 February 2018 in order to make way for Valentine's Day. Children and senior citizens enjoy special prices on selected days. In addition, complimentary Salmon Yee Sang is served at every table.
Name: Main Street Cafe
Address: 66, Jalan Penang, 10000 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-291-1128
Business hours: 24 hours
Website: http://www.cititelpenang.com/dining-en.html
Coordinates: 5.42156 N, 100.33247 E
Directions: Cititel Penang is a 16-floor building at Penang Road (Jalan Penang). Main Street Cafe is located at the far end from the main entrance. To park, drive past the lobby and up the ramp to Level 2. Parking is charged at RM4.00 per entry.