Swez Brasserie

This article is part of my Ramadan 2018 compilation.

Special thanks to Eastin Hotel Penang for extending this food review invitation.

Eastin Hotel Penang is a 4-star hotel next to Queensbay Mall. This evening, the hotel offers a sneak peek of its upcoming Ramadan promotion. An iftar buffet will be served at Swez Brasserie every evening from 18 May 2018 to 14 June 2018. Titled "Ramadhan Warna-Warni Ala Kampung", the menu features a number of traditional Malay dishes that are more prevalent at the countryside.
Bubur Lambuk is an essential appetizer when breaking fast in the evening. Rice is cooked until the grains have mostly disintegrated into the thick porridge. Spices are used as seasoning, while chopped scallions and fried shallots help to enhance the congee's aromatic appeal.
Another notable highlight of the Ramadan menu is Kambing Golek. Marinated with various spices, the goat is gently roasted in rotisserie style to golden perfection. Served alongside the juicy mutton are briyani rice, grilled vegetables and potato wedges. I think rosemary sauce goes best with the mutton.
Sup Gear Box is an excellent way to build one's appetite. The rich soup contains chunks of the goat's femur. Besides collagen-rich flesh around the bones, this delicacy is also prized for the savory bone marrow. The soup is named "gear box" because the femur resembles a gear stick.
Next, Kari Kepala Ikan Salmon is cooked in a large wok called "kawah". To retain its crispiness, fried salmon head is dressed with thick curry just prior to serving. The fish head curry also contains okra (lady's fingers), tomatoes, onions and chili peppers. Although the fish does not offer much meat, it takes advantage of the flavorful curry.
Ketam Masak Cili Ala Temasik, more commonly known as Chili Crab, is a delicacy from Singapore. In this dish, blue crabs are stir-fried with an eggy sauce of moderate spiciness. In fact, I feel that the seasoning is sweeter than it is spicy. Blue crabs do not offer much meat, so this dish is more of a palate teaser.
As for Kambing Panggang, grilled mutton is served with capsicum sauce. The creamy dressing presents a mild degree of sweetness. To balance the meaty flavors, mutton slices are paired with juicy vegetables like broccoli and tomatoes.
Another interesting red meat dish is Daging Kuzi. For this dish, scrumptious chunks of beef are stir-fried with okra, tomatoes, onions and raisins. The overall taste is simply gratifying, making this dish one of my favorites so far.
Moving on, Pajeri Mangga contains chunks of mango dressed in thick gravy. Since unripe mango is used, it presents a lovely level of crunchiness. Nevertheless, the mango's tanginess is largely dominated by the spicy gravy itself.
The buffet also includes several Western dishes like Chicken Pomodoro. For this dish, chicken cutlets are baked with cheese and are served with tomato-based gravy. The overall appearance is similar to Chicken Parmigiana. By the way, "pomodoro" is the Italian word for "tomato".
Examples of Ulam-Ulaman are pucuk gajus (cashew leaves), daun selom (selom leaves) and kacang botol (winged beans). These raw vegetables are typically eaten with condiments like sambal belacan (spicy shrimp paste), budu (fermented fish sauce) and cincalok (salty shrimp paste).
Meanwhile, Malay salads include Kerabu Betik (papaya salad), Kerabu Mangga (mango salad), Kerabu Udang (shrimp salad with rice vermicelli), Kerabu Sotong (squid salad),  Kerabu Ikan Bilis (anchovy salad) and Kerabu Kaki Ayam (chicken feet salad). Also provided are rice snacks like Lemang and Ketupat, which are often eaten with serunding (meat floss).

Kek Pandan Kukus is a steamed cake with pandan flavoring. The cake's texture is soft and fluffy. Meanwhile, Kek Batik is a non-baked cake that combines Marie biscuits with chocolate sauce. Other sweet treats include Sago Gula Melaka (sago pearls with palm sugar and coconut milk) and Kek Ladu Oren Coklat (rice flour cake dripped in orange and chocolate sauces).
The variety of Malay kuih is somewhat modest. Crowd favorites this evening are kuih loyang (honeycomb cookies), kuih cakar ayam (sweet potato crackers), biskut badam (almond cookies), bahulu (Malay madeleines), ketayap and dodol (durian candy).
Should diners prefer something fruity, Kek Nangka Manis is a good choice too. The cake is covered with jackfruit cubes, which I originally mistook as mango. The jackfruit cake contains lots of sweet cream but it does not really appeal to my palate.
The confectionery section has several types of French pastries, each having a different icing. Another interesting dessert that delights my taste buds is Bubur Durian Istimewa (durian porridge). The taste is so heavenly that I cannot recommend the porridge highly enough.
Eastin Hotel's Ramadhan Warna-Warni Ala Kampung is priced at RM120.00 net for adults. Children aged between 6 and 11 years enjoy 50% discount, while senior citizens pay RM69.00 net only. For a limited time, Eastin Hotel is offering early bird vouchers for RM100.00.

Name: Swez Brasserie
Address: 1, Solok Bayan Indah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-612-1111
Business hours: 6:00am-12:00am
Website: http://www.eastin.com/penang/dining
Coordinates: 5.33629 N, 100.30632 E
Directions: Eastin Hotel Penang is located along Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu) and is conveniently next to Queensbay Mall. Swez Brasserie an eatery next to the hotel lobby. There are parking spaces at the basement levels of the hotel.

Spice Brasserie

This article is part of my Ramadan 2018 compilation.

Special thanks to The Light Hotel for extending this food review invitation.

The Light Hotel is the only 5-star hotel at Seberang Perai. Today, the hotel hosts a preview session for its upcoming Mutiarasa Ramadan Buffet Dinner. Held at Spice Brasserie, the buffet features over 140 dishes that cover a wide range of cuisines.
Kambing Golek Warisan Tok Wan is the main highlight this evening. Marinated with Middle Eastern spices, the entire goat is cooked in rotisserie style. Black pepper and mushroom sauces serve as condiments. In addition, there are also large platters of briyani rice to go with mutton.
Gulai Tetel Pisang is cooked in a large wok called "kawah". Kawah is a common kitchen utensil in Malay villages because food is often cooked in a communal setting. The curry contains actual bananas.
Chicken Shawarma hails from the Middle East and is a familiar street food from the region. Stacked on a vertical spit, the meat is rotated continuously so that it is heated evenly. Once cooked, the chicken is shaved off the block and then wrapped in pita bread. Optional ingredients include diced tomatoes, chopped shallots, bird's eye chili (cili padi) and hummus.
Gear Box Kambing Beach Street is another interesting delicacy this evening. The phrase "gear box" refers to the goat's femur. The sweet-tangy flavor of tomato really helps to build appetite. Another appealing aspect of this dish is the savory marrow inside the bone. On the other hand, diners who prefer something lighter can try the Kanji Lambuk Masjid Sembilang. The thick congee is elegantly flavored with spices.
Ulam-Ulaman comprises of assorted vegetables like jantung pisang (banana flower), ulam raja (king's salad), daun selom (selom leaves) and daun pegaga (Asiatic pennywort leaves). As the vegetables are eaten raw, they are typically paired with powerful condiments like sambal belacan, sambal mempelam, ayaq asam and budu. Other Malay appetizers include ikan masin (salted fish), kerabu (Malay salad) and tauhu sumbat (stuffed tofu).
Moving on to hot dishes, Ikan Goreng Achak-Achak is fried fish fillets topped with pickled cucumber, carrot and pineapple. The pickles are quite similar to acar awak.
As for Telur Lemak Cili Api Belimbing Buluh, eggs are cooked in thick yellow gravy based on coconut milk and turmeric. The spiciness level is moderate. This egg dish also contains a tropical fruit called bilimbi.
D'light Nasi Kandar is the hotel's strong suit. The buffet line features a number of popular Indian-Muslim dishes like Kambing Hitam Manis (mutton in sweet dark sauce). Served with sweet sauce, the mutton also produces mild spiciness on the tongue.
Kari Kepala Ikan is another staple dish in nasi kandar restaurants. The fish head curry comes with okra (lady's fingers), tomatoes and onions. The main appeal of this dish is not so much the fish, but the rich curry itself.
Other interesting nasi kandar dishes are Gulai Ketam (crab curry), Gulai Udang (shrimp curry), Ayam Bawang (chicken curry with onions) and Dalca Telur (egg curry). A popular way to enjoy nasi kandar is to "banjir", i.e. to drench the rice with all available curries.
There are several flavors of roasted chicken at the Chinese section. I particularly I love the version with sweet glaze. Chinese chicken rice is also prepared today.
After savoring several meat dishes, it is nice to have Sayur Goreng as a counterbalance. The assortment of sautéed vegetables includes oyster mushrooms, baby corn, carrots, cauliflowers and broccoli. Light oyster sauce is used.
Beef Bourguignon is a traditional French recipe and is named after the Burgundy region in France. To prepare this dish, beef cubes are braised with beef broth and then served with red onions.
Hasselback Potato Cheese Gratin is essentially baked potatoes topped with a browned crust. Despite its simplicity, I enjoy the earthy taste of potatoes. The potatoes are also quite firm and not too mushy.
As for Italian cooking, lasagna is one of the better-known dishes. The Light Hotel's Vegetable Lasagna has alternating layers of pasta, tomato sauce and vegetables.
Pizza lovers will be rejoiced to find pizzas with seafood or vegetable toppings. Calzone is also prepared this evening. As for Indian flatbreads, there are roti canai and murtabak just to name a few.
Ramadan meals will not be complete without traditional Malay kuih. The plethora of sweet treats covers kuih talam, kuih cara, kuih bingka ubi, ketayap, bahulu, onde-onde and more.
Kuih lapis is quite similar in appearance to mille crêpe. Like its Western counterpart, the cake needs to be prepared layer by layer.
The is also no shortage of Western pastries this evening. Today's buffet spread has Black Forest Cake, Marble Cheesecake, Bread & Butter Pudding and assorted petits fours.
Towards the end of the meal, diners may cleanse their palates with tropical fruits such as pineapple, honeydew, papaya and watermelon. Those who fancy Fruit Rojak can also take advantage of the thick rojak sauce. As for me, I love to indulge in The Light Hotel's specialty dessert, Pengat Durian.
The Mutiarasa Ramadan Buffet Dinner is served from 18 May 2018 to 14 June 2018. The price is RM110.00 net per adult. Children and senior citizens enjoy discounted price of RM90.00. Until 30 April 2018, the hotel offers early bird vouchers at RM88.00 net each. In lieu of buffet, diners can also opt for rice platters instead.

Name: Spice Brasserie
Address: The Light Hotel, Lebuh Tenggiri 2, Pusat Bandar Seberang Jaya, 13700 Seberang Jaya, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-382-1111
Business hours: 6:30am-11:00pm (Sunday-Thursday), 6:30am-1:00am (Friday-Saturday)
Website: http://thelighthotelpg.com/dining
Coordinates: 5.39422 N, 100.39872 E
Directions: From Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan (North-South Expressway), take the Seberang Jaya exit and head west. Turn left just before the pedestrian bridge and drive all the way to the end. When the road splits, keep right. The Light Hotel is the first building on the left. Spice Brasserie is located next to the lobby. There are parking spaces within the hotel's compound. The parking fee is RM4.00 per entry.


This article is part of my Ramadan 2018 compilation.

Special thanks to Lexis Suites Penang for extending this food review invitation.

Located at the Mezzanine Floor, Roselle Coffee House is one of the two restaurants in Lexis Suites Penang; the other is Umi Japanese Restaurant. This evening, the hotel offers a sneak peek of its upcoming Ramadan buffet dinner. The theme this year is "Sajian Laut, Selera Kampung Nelayan" (Seafood Dishes & Taste of the Fishing Village).
As per tradition, Lexis Suites spares no expense in celebrating the holy month. In this generous spirit, the hotel features Kambing Golek Beratur Panjang as the centerpiece of the buffet. The rotisserie goat, marinated thoroughly, is roasted on a spit to retain its natural juices. The mutton goes well with briyani rice. Should diners prefer white meat instead, Chicken Shawarma is also available.
The next dish is one that imparts fiery sensation on the tongue: Gulai Udang Karang Kawah Abang Hari. It is cooked and served in a gigantic wok called "kawah". Besides the spiny lobster which is so prominently displayed, the wok also contains crayfish and shrimps. The pungent aroma of the curry is tantalizing indeed.
Mee Kari Ketam has been popularized in Klang Valley by a food stall in Shah Alam. Blue crabs are used in this dish. The Penang-style curry is prepared from chicken stock, making its appearance and taste quite similar to Penang Curry Mee. Other ingredients used in this dish are yellow noodle (mee), rice vermicelli (bihun), tofu puffs, yardlong beans, bean sprouts, mint and chili paste.
Rendang is a Minangkabau delicacy that is prized for its immense savoriness. The dish is prepared by slow cooking beef with coconut milk and spices. The cooking process can take hours. The dish is done only when most liquid has boiled away. Lexis Suites' Beef Rendang Dendang Sayang is garnished with red chili peppers and cardamom.
Ikan Tenggiri Gulai Kampung is another cooking which illustrates the extensive use of spices in Malay cuisine. Amid pungent spiciness on the tongue, the fish curry also produces mild sourness of tamarind (asam). Besides mackerel, the dish also includes juicy pieces of okra (lady's fingers).
As for poultry, Negeri Sembilan Ayam Percik Serai Wangi is a sound choice this evening. The roasted chicken is dressed in a thick sauce that contains lemongrass. Meanwhile, fried shallots on top serve to enhance the chicken's aroma.
Sweet & Sour Fish comprises of fillets that are deep-fried to a golden crisp. The choice of fish is red snapper. While the fish is mild in flavor, it goes pretty well with sweet and sour sauce.
Ketam Masak Lemak is cooked in creamy yellow gravy. The yellow color comes from turmeric (kunyit). Blue crabs are used here. Most of the crabs' meat is hidden within their claws.
Sayur Lodeh is a vegetable soup that hails from Jawa. The soup is quite creamy, thanks to the abundance of coconut milk. Also included in it are lontong (compressed rice cakes), tofu, cauliflowers and carrots.
Ketupat Palas (rice dumplings), Pulut Kuning (yellow glutinous rice) and Nasi Impit (compressed rice) are all kept warm in steamers. These rice items are best enjoyed with serunding (meat floss) and satay (skewered meat).
Lekor is a popular finger food in Terengganu. Made from ground fish and sago flour, the snack is deep-fried to result in a chewy texture. Lekor can be enjoyed as it is, or dipped into sweet chili sauce. Other fried snacks in today's buffet include keropok udang (prawn crackers) and pisang goreng (banana fritters).
Ulaman is a collection of vegetables that are traditionally eaten raw. The raw vegetables are frequently paired with powerful condiments like sambal belacan (spicy shrimp paste). If raw vegetables do not appeal to your palate, try some kerabu (Malay salads) or jeruk (pickles) instead.
Traditional Malay kuih is a vital component of iftar meals. Kuih talam, kuih lapis, puteri ayu, pulut tai tai, ketayap and onde-onde are just some of the interesting choices this evening. Should diners prefer something crispier, there are several types of biskut raya (festive cookies) in airtight jars.
On the other hand, Western pastries include popular treats such as chocolate cake, carrot cake, almond orange cake, chocolate mousse log and petits fours. There is also a chocolate fondue with fresh fruits that can be used for dipping.
Finally, the desserts counter provides cut fruits like pineapples, papayas, honeydew and watermelon. Drinks include espresso coffee, English tea, ginger tea and lemonade. Should diners prefer something chilling on the tongue, check out the ice cream, ais krim batang (popsicles) and ais kacang.
Lexis Suites Penang's Ramadan buffet dinner is available from 17 May 2018 to 14 June 2018. The meal is priced at RM98.00, RM70.00 and RM50.00 for adults, senior citizens and children respectively. To incentivize early birds, the hotel is offering adult vouchers for as low as RM70.00 net.
Name: Roselle Coffee House
Address: 28, Jalan Teluk Kumbar, 11920 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-628-2888
Business hours: 6:30am-11:00pm
Website: https://www.lexissuitespenang.com/en/dining/overview/roselle-coffee-house
Coordinates: 5.28691 N, 100.23244 E
Directions: From Bayan Lepas, drive along Jalan Teluk Kumbar towards the intersection with Jalan Gertak Sanggul. Lexis Suites Penang is the tall building on the left just before the intersection. As the only building more than 3 floors in Teluk Kumbar, it is impossible to overlook this hotel. Roselle is located at the Mezzanine Floor, just above the lobby atrium.