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 the fried rice 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
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.

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