Lemongrass Restaurant

Special thanks to Hotel NEO+ for extending this food review invitation.

Hotel NEO+ is located at the corner of Jalan Gurdwara and Lebuh Presgrave, just within a stone's throw from Hin Bus Depot. Managed by Archipelago International, this 3-star hotel is known for its hipster-style hospitality. At the front desk, male staff members wear black trilby hats while their female counterparts don their iconic silver wigs.
There are 2 restaurants in the hotel, namely Art & Soul Cafe and Lemongrass Restaurant. The latter is where in-house guests are served buffet breakfast. From 19 May 2018 to 10 June 2018, Lemongrass Restaurant is hosting a Malay-style dinner themed "Mustika Rasa Buffet Dinner".
Starting at the carvery, the Roasted Lamb is seasoned reasonably well. Mint sauce and raita (yogurt sauce) are prepared as condiments. In addition, fried potato wedges are served on the side.
Nasi Beriani Kambing is flavored with mutton stock and various spices, making the rice dish quite appetizing. I also love the fluffy texture that the rice presents. The dish is garnished with tomato and orange slices along its circumference.
Meanwhile, Fried Noodle uses a type of egg noodle called yi mein (伊面). The noodle has a chewy texture which I find most appealing. It is cooked with vegetables. Next to it is a poultry dish, Ayam Masak Kurma.
As for Ikan Tiga Rasa, fish fillets are fried with a coating of flour batter, and then dressed in sweet and sour sauce. I feel that the fish's texture is not as delicate as I hoped it should be. Should diners prefer, Ikan Bakar (grilled fish) is also available at the action counter.
Gulai Daging Ubi contains beef slices and potato chunks in red curry. The curry is rich in coconut milk, making it creamy and rather appetizing. On the other hand, I feel that the beef slices are too tough for me.
Hotel NEO+'s Bubur Lambuk gives a good balance between savory, salty and sweet tastes. I feel that the rice porridge is appetizing down to the last morsel. As for soups, Sup Ayam (chicken soup) and Chicken Tom Yam Soup are prepared today.
Chicken and beef satay are marinated with spices such as turmeric. Satay is typically served with shallots and sweet-and-spicy peanut sauce. While the chicken satay is quite appealing, I feel that the beef version ought to be tenderer.
Pasembur is a mixture of cucur udang (prawn fritters), hard-boiled eggs, tofu, sengkuang (jicama) and cucumber. This local salad is dressed with sweet-and-spicy peanut sauce.
The pastry section provides a modest choice of butter cakes, chocolate cakes, red velvet cakes and cheesecakes. There are also several types of flavored jelly.
Malay kuih includes karipap (curry puffs), seri muka (glutinous rice with pandan custard), kuih ketayap (pandan crêpes rolled with coconut butter), kuih lapis (layered cake) and kuih keria (glazed doughnuts).
Chilled drinks like air soya (soy milk), air jagung (corn juice) and teh bunga kekwa (chrysanthemum tea) are served in dispensers. Instant coffee and tea are provided too. Upon request, Cendol is also available.
The Mustika Rasa Buffet Dinner is priced at RM58.00 net per adult. Children and senior citizens enjoy discounted prices of RM28.00 and RM38.00 respectively.
Name: Lemongrass Restaurant
Address: 68, Jalan Gurdwara, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-255-1000
Business hours: 6:30pm-10:30pm
Website: Click here
Coordinates: 5.41226 N, 100.32853 E
Directions: Hotel NEO+ is located at the junction of Jalan Gurdwara and Lebuh Presgrave of George Town. Lemongrass Restaurant is located on Level 1, just above three flights of stairs from the lobby. Multi-level parking is available. Guests of the restaurant can get their parking tickets validated at the front desk for flat rate of RM6.00 per entry.

Hai Boey Seafood

Hai Boey Seafood (海尾海鲜) is one of the more popular seafood restaurants in Penang. Located at Teluk Kumbar, "Hai Boey" literally means "end of the sea". Indeed, the restaurant is right on the beach and enjoys the cooling breeze from the sea.
Hai Boey Seafood serves Chinese-style stir-fried (煮炒) dishes with greater emphasis on seafood. At the entrance of the restaurant are fish tanks with live tilapia, grouper, crabs, lobsters, mantis shrimps, clams and geoduck and many more marine creatures.
Each type of seafood can be prepared in one of many cooking styles. For instance, Sweet & Sour Crabs (酸甜花蟹) use an appetizing sauce made from vinegar. Bite-size pieces of mantou (馒头) are provided so that diners can mop up any remaining sauce.
Kam Heong Prawns (甘香明虾) are fried with savory sauce and curry leaves. This dish is moderately spicy by Malaysian standards. Tucked inside the shells is the shrimps' crunchy flesh. This dish is certainly worth trying.
The Steamed Stingray (清蒸魔鬼鱼) is cooked with coriander (香菜) and garlic, resulting in a milder taste that accentuates the fish's natural flavor. Stingray is known for its firm flesh that is easily separated from the bones. Avoid biting on any cili padi (bird's eye chili) as it can be very pungent.
Next, Stir-Fried Chinese Cabbage (清炒奶白) serves to "balance out" other heavier dishes. The vegetable is cooked with minimal sauce as most liquid comes from its juicy stems.
Moving on, Seafood Fried Rice (海鲜炒饭) is cooked with chopped shrimps, eggs and vegetables. The rice grains are firm and waxy, resulting in a satisfying texture. The aroma is lovely too!
Fried Bee Hoon (炒米粉) is one of the restaurant's signature dishes. The ingredients are pretty similar to Seafood Fried Rice. This noodle dish is best enjoyed while it is still hot from the wok.
As for dessert, Lemongrass Jelly (香茅冻) contains basil seeds that resemble frog eggs. In addition, the sweet jelly also contains lychee, lemon and mint. This makes a nice finale for today's meal.
Hai Boey Seafood operates in the evening only. The food here is quite good; the restaurant certainly lives up to its reputation. Despite its remote location, Hai Boey Seafood is very popular especially on Friday and weekends.
Address: 29, Mukim 9, Pasir Belanda, Teluk Kumbar, 11920 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-649-3746
Business hours: 5:30pm-11:00pm

Kopi Tiam

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

While Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang served Thai dishes for its Ramadan buffet dinner last year, the hotel is serving Malay food this round. This year's theme is "Selera Ceria Kampung". Held at Kopi Tiam, the buffet features several signature dishes that are inspired by famous recipes around Penang and throughout Malaysia.
Kambing Kampung Panggang is served at the carvery. The mutton is grilled well as its natural juices are kept intact. The Chicken Meatloaf is pretty appetizing too. Grilled vegetables and black pepper sauce are provided. Other delicacies from the grilling station are Satay Ayam (skewered chicken) and Satay Seafood (skewered seafood).
Today's noodle station serves Chef Sahool Mee Rebus. This dish uses yellow noodle with sweet and sour gravy. Other ingredients for Mee Rebus are cucur udang (prawn fritters), hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, tofu, lettuce, bean sprouts and red chili peppers. Should diners prefer something spicier, Tom Yam Kung (ต้มยำกุ้ง, Thai-style prawn curry) is also prepared today.
Gurney Drive Sotong Kangkung is another appealing delicacy today. The salad comprises of cuttlefish, water spinach, crab sticks and sweet-savory dressing. Ground peanuts and sesame seeds are sprinkled on top. Other delectable local favorites are Rojak Padang Kota Lama and Padang Kota Baru Mua Chee.
Ulam-ulaman consists of assorted vegetables like kacang botol (winged beans), daun selom (selom leaves), tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce. The raw vegetables are usually consumed with condiments like sambal belacan (spicy shrimp paste), sambal kicap (spicy soy sauce), cincalok (fermented shrimps) and sos cili Thai (Thai chili sauce).
Other dishes worth trying are Kerabu Taugeh Dengan Sotong (squid and bean sprout salad), Acar Mentah Mat Gebu (pickled cucumber, carrot and onion salad), Salad Telur Dengan Epal Ala Thai (Thai-style omelette with apples), Cucur Udang Dengan Kuah Kacang (prawn fritters with peanut sauce), Nasi Impit Dengan Serunding Daging Lembu (pressed rice with beef floss) and Timun Raita (cucumber with yogurt dressing).
Bayview Nasi Ayam Briyani is the hotel's signature rice dish. Unlike many restaurants, Kopi Tiam prepares it by cooking the rice with chicken broth and chicken chunks. This results in a lovely aroma that induces appetite. The rice tastes good too. I also enjoy intermittent sweetness from raisins.
As for Daging Merah Ala Paprik, the beef slices are cooked with flavorful spices. As the beef is quite pungent, it pairs well with briyani rice. The dish's red color comes from red chili peppers. Another equally spicy dish is Gulai Nangka Muda Dengan Nenas Kuala Muda (jackfruit curry with pineapples).
Dalca Sayur Lorong Madrasah is one of my favorite dishes here. The vegetable curry is loaded with carrots, potatoes, cabbage and other vegetables. As the spiciness level is relatively mild, the curry can be can be eaten directly even without rice. Another vegetarian dish is Sayur Goreng Broccoli Dengan Tofu Dan Cendawan Brinchang (fried broccoli with tofu and mushrooms).
Moving on to poultry, Ayam Kampung Goreng Ala Sarawak Dan Sambal is served today. The fried chicken has browned skin with white flesh underneath. Since the chicken's taste is quite bland, it is served with spicy chili paste.
If you like the tender texture of catfish, Ikan Keli Goreng Bersambal Jalan Kedah should appeal to your palate. The fish is dressed with sweet and spicy sauce. Other seafood dishes include Ikan Cencaru Sumbat Sambal Tanjung Tokong (fried mackerel stuffed with chili paste), Udang Goreng Dengan Telur Masin Dan Daun Kari (fried prawns with salted eggs and curry leaves) and Siput Mussel Masak Tumis Bercili (mussels with chili paste).
Seafood Wanton is one of the deep-fried items on today's menu. The deep-fried dough skin contains minced seafood and seasonings. Satay Wanton is also prepared today. There are 3 pieces per skewer.
Hailing from Terengganu, Cucur Lekor is made from ground fish and sago flour. The deep-fried snack has a chewy texture and is usually eaten with sweet chili sauce. Other delectable crackers are Keropok Udang (prawn crackers), Papadom (black gram crackers) and Merinjau (belinjo nut crackers).
Kopi Tiam's desserts section contains several types of Kuih Muih Melayu. Shown here are Kuih Cara Berlauk (spicy cupcakes), Kuih Talam Gula Merah (brown sugar layered cake), Karipap (curry puffs) and Onde-Onde (glutinous rice balls with palm sugar syrup). Buah kurma (palm date) is ideal for satiating hunger after fasting for more than 14 hours. In addition, Bubur Kacang Hijau (mung bean soup) is also perfect for breaking fast.
As for Western pastries, the pastry chef has prepared the signature Carrot Cake, Red Velvet Cake and Orange Butter Cake. Other desserts to satisfy everyone's sweet tooth are Crème Caramel, Mango Custard, Red Bean Pudding and Agar-Agar.
Last but not least, Lebuh Keng Kwee Cendol is inspired by a popular stall near Penang Road (Jalan Penang). The shaved ice is flavored with jelly noodle, kidney beans, gula melaka (palm sugar) and coconut milk.
Bayview Hotel serves Ramadan buffet dinner from 21 May 2018 to 12 June 2018. There are 3 menus on daily rotation. Nearly all dishes are changed every day. The buffet is priced at RM70.75 net for adults, RM43.50 net for children (ages 6 to 12) and RM56.60 net for senior citizens (ages 60 and above).

Name: Kopi Tiam
Address: Bayview Hotel, 25-A, Lebuh Farquhar, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-263-3161
Business hours: 6:30am-1:00am
Website: https://bhgp.bayviewhotels.com/dining-drinks/kopitiam
Coordinates: 5.42192 N, 100.33588 E
Directions: Bayview Hotel is located at Leith Street (Lebuh Leith), between Lebuh Farquhar and Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah. Kopi Tiam is located on the Ground Floor and next to the lobby. The hotel's multi-storey parking garage is accessible from Lebuh Farquhar. Street parking is also available in front of the hotel.

Restaurant House Of Food

Special thanks to Restaurant House Of Food for extending this food review invitation.

Restaurant House Of Food (好口福美食中心) is a modest hawker center at Taman Bandaraya, Bukit Mertajam. It is within a short distance from St. Anne's Church. There are around 10 stalls serving various hawker fare. It is not uncommon to see the place packed with customers on weekends.
Marcellus Famous Chicken Rice (麦思乐著名传统烧腊饭) is the flagship stall here. In lieu of rice, customers can order homemade egg noodle (手工全蛋面) instead. The noodle is of premium quality as it contains high egg content. In fact, the springy noodle does not have any unpleasant taste of lye water (碱水).
At Marcellus, the choices of meat include char siew (叉烧), roast pork (烧肉), roast chicken (烧鸡) and chicken feet (凤爪). The noodle also comes with a bowl of soup. The type of soup varies daily; today it is carrot and onion soup. Meanwhile, the stall's chili sauce is homemade and is based on Marcellus' own formula.
Speaking of homemade food, the Lor Bak (卤肉) uses pork slices (肉片) as opposed to minced pork (肉碎). As a result, the snack feels quite dense. Lor Bak is seasoned with five-spice powder (五香粉), wrapped with tofu skin (豆腐皮), and then deep-fried to golden crispiness.
Another stall here serves Hokkien Mee (福建面). The broth is prepared from pork bones and shrimps. Also included in the spicy broth are shrimps, sliced pork, hard-boiled egg, water spinach and fried shallots. Chili paste is provided separately in a spoon. The same stall also serves Dry Hokkien Mee (福建面干) and Loh Mee (卤面).
Kee Mei Siew Pow (奇美烧包) is a famous Cantonese pastry shop in Seremban. Restaurant House Of Food is one its distributors here in Penang. There are two types of siew pow (烧包): chicken and pork. As soon as the buns leave the oven, their fragrance is simply mouthwatering.
As for Mummy Fish Head Soup (妈咪鱼头汤), the fish is supplied by the proprietor's relatives who are fishermen in Kuala Kurau, Perak. The choices of fish are leather jack (鸡肉鱼), silver pomfret (白鲳), barramundi (金目鲈) and more. Deep-fried fish is also available. The fish's freshness is guaranteed. If it falls short of customer's expectation, the proprietor is willing to replace it with a new bowl.
Mummy Fish Head Soup is prepared from fish head and meat stock. No chicken is used. Despite its rich taste, the soup is pretty soothing to the palate. The soup is meant to go with white rice. Alternatively, the stall also offers porridge and rice vermicelli (米粉) versions.
Koay Teow Soup (粿条汤) is essentially flat rice noodle (粿条) in pork-based soup. The springy fish balls are made from whitefin wolf herring (西刀鱼). Other ingredients are minced pork and fishcakes. The dry version of this dish is also available.
Prepacked Nasi Lemak is prepared too but is often sold out early in the day. Wrapped in banana leaf, the savory rice retains its moisture and absorbs some aroma from the leaf. Essential ingredients for Nasi Lemak are sambal (chili paste), ikan bilis (anchovies) and hard-boiled egg.
Should customers prefer more dishes, Nasi Lemak is also available à la carte. Today's dishes include curry chicken, chili prawns, fried fish and fried okra (lady's fingers).
At Restaurant House Of Food, Nutmeg Juice (豆蔻) is sourced from Balik Pulau. Red nutmeg juice is prepared by boiling nutmeg seeds, while white nutmeg comes from blended nutmeg. The drink's unique taste gives it superb thirst-quenching properties.
In addition, Restaurant House Of Food also serves Char Koay Teow (炒粿条), Hong Kong Dim Sum (港式点心) and Pau (包点). The above-mentioned dishes are generally available until 4:00pm. In the evening, the restaurant serves Chinese stir-fried dishes (煮炒). Some of the signature dishes are Braised Pork Knuckles (红烧猪脚筋), Indonesian Curry Prawns With Bread (面包印尼虾) and Nyonya Steamed Fish (娘惹蒸鱼).

Name: Restaurant House Of Food (好口福美食中心)
Address: 2, Lorong Sepakat 1, Taman Sepakat, 14000 Bukit Mertajam, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 012-408-1866
Business hours: 7:00am-11:00pm, closed on alternate Wednesdays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/marcellusfamouschickenrice
Coordinates: 5.34963 N, 100.47947 E
Directions: From Taman Sentosa, drive west on Jalan Kulim towards Kulim. After passing St. Anne's Church on the left, turn right at the next traffic lights. Restaurant House Of Food is the first shop around the corner.