Frank Laurent

Frank Laurent Coffee Roasters has two outlets in Penang: Udini Square and Gurney Plaza. The latter is located at Level 7, right in front of Go Noodle House. As a roastery, Frank Laurent also sources and roasts its own coffee beans.
I ordered a cup of Mocha (RM12.00), which is essentially a shot of espresso with steamed milk and chocolate syrup. In hindsight, I should have ordered Cappuccino or Caffe Latte instead as the chocolate's sweetness masks the coffee's flavor.
Several types of waffle are available at Frank Laurent. The Caramel Charcoal Waffle (RM19.00) is black in color because it is prepared from batter that contains bamboo charcoal. The waffle is topped with vanilla ice cream, strawberries, kiwifruits, bananas, almond flakes and caramel. In my personal opinion, I think the waffle is too dry to be enjoyed properly.
Address: 170-07-16, Plaza Gurney, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-370-2591
Business hours: 10:00am-10:00pm
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Squid Boy

Special thanks to Squid Boy for extending this food review invitation.

The basement level of Gurney Plaza has one of the highest concentrations of food outlets in Penang. Squid Boy is one of the numerous kiosks here. Opened late last year, this snacks joint is adjacent to Tori Tori.
As the name implies, Squid Boy sells squid-related snacks. These street snacks are highly popular in Taiwan. The signature choice is obviously the Giant Squid, which comes in 3 sizes: Mega King (RM15.50), Xtra Super (RM13.20) and Super XXL (RM11.20). Customers are able to customize the seasoning.
Since Mega King is not available today, I opted for Xtra Super. The Giant Squid is lightly battered and deep-fried until it becomes golden brown. It is then cut into bite-size pieces for customers' convenience. As recommended by the staff, I chose bonito flakes and mayonnaise as toppings. The bonito flakes wave gently while the Giant Squid is piping hot.
Crispy Squid (RM8.00) is a smaller type of squid. Only the squid's mantle (body) is used. Its texture is noticeably firmer but is still quite springy. If you enjoy spicy seasonings, I suggest that you ask for salt, pepper and Thai sweet chili. Like the Giant Squid, the Crispy Squid is also cut into smaller pieces for easier consumption.
There are several versions of Bento (RM11.20). I selected Crispy Chicken today. The chicken cutlet is flavored with wasabi and honey mustard. I am surprised that both seasonings blend with each other pretty well. The combined spiciness is mild; in fact, I prefer the wasabi's pungency to be stronger.
Squid Boy also serves Mee Sua (面线) but I have not tried the noodle dish yet. As for drinks, customers may add RM2.80 to any food item for a cup of passion fruit juice, calamansi juice or lemonade.

Name: Squid Boy
Address: 170-B1-K15, Plaza Gurney, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 012-454-0952
Business hours: 11:00am-10:00pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/TaiwanDongYingSnacks
Coordinates: 5.43785 N, 100.30960 E
Directions: Squid Boy is located at the Basement level of Gurney Plaza, next to Tori Tori. Gurney Plaza has basement and multi-level parking garages.

Pizza Station

Special thanks to Pizza Station for extending this food review invitation.

Pizza Station is located at the ground floor of Sunshine Farlim. Opened in 2009, the place is quite popular among local shoppers. Trusted for its consistent taste, Pizza Station has built a steady stream of regulars throughout the years.
At Pizza Station, there are more than 20 pizza toppings to choose from. Popular toppings are chicken, beef, seafood, mushrooms and more. Vegetarian pizzas are available too. Pizzas come in 3 sizes: Personal (4 slices), Regular (6 slices) and Large (8 slices).
For larger orders, take advantage of Pizza Station's Double Combo where customers can get twice the number of pizzas for just a few extra dollars. Meanwhile, the Super Value Meal combines pizzas, sides and drinks at discounted prices.
BBQ Meat Galore Pizza (RM28.80 for regular size) is one of the bestsellers here. The pizza is topped with chunky chicken, chicken rolls and sausages. Tangy barbecue sauce and mozzarella cheese enhance the overall taste. The pizza is served on a thin crust which has a light crisp.
Teriyaki Salmon Pizza is a new pizza on the menu. It contains salmon slices, mushrooms, pineapples, onions, green pepper, sesame seeds, teriyaki sauce and mozzarella cheese. The original crust is thicker so it feels doughier. This pizza goes especially well with Pizza Station's homemade hot sauce.
Besides pizzas, Pizza Station also serves pasta, mushroom soup, buffalo wings, ramen burgers, set meals and drinks like Iced Lemon Tea (RM4.00). Neither pork nor lard is used in food preparation. Virtually all pizza ingredients, including the dough and sauces, are made from scratch.
Pizza Station provides food delivery to selected places in Penang - as far as Tanjung Tokong and Relau. Delivery is free for orders above RM30.00. Customers may place their orders through the phone by calling (+60) 16-486 6168 or (+60) 12-568 6168.

Name: Pizza Station
Address: Sunshine Farlim, 294, Jalan Thean Teik, 11500 Ayer Itam, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 016-486-6168, 012-568-6168
Business hours: 12:00pm-10:00pm (Monday-Thursday), 11:00am-10:00pm (Friday-Sunday)
Website: https://www.facebook.com/pizzastationmalaysia
Coordinates: 5.39606 N, 100.28648 E
Directions: Pizza Station is located near the front entrance of Sunshine Farlim. There are free parking spaces around the mall.

Pony Tale

Special thanks to Pony Tale De' Cafe for extending this food review invitation.

Pony Tale De' Cafe is a restaurant-cum-café at SPICE Canopy, sandwiched between Sushi-B'rito and Bread History. Like its neighbors, Pony Tale has an elevated platform above its kitchen to provide additional dining space.
In effort to position itself towards corporate clientele, Pony Tale will be undergoing a rebranding exercise over the next few months. Most of its signature dishes and drinks will remain, while new ones will be introduced to suit the new theme. Today's event is meant to give a preview of the upcoming menu.
The event commences with Chunky Spicy Mexicana Soup (RM16.80), a tomato-based stew that contains chicken and mushrooms. Flavored with herbs, the soup is moderately spicy and is quite appetizing. Also included is a slice of garlic bread. I like how this dish is presented.
Pony Wild Wild Mushroom Soup (RM16.80) delights the palate with its pulpy consistency. Added to the delicacy are shimeji mushrooms and cream. The soup also comes with garlic bread.
Amazing Thai Salad With French Smoked Duck (RM23.80) comprises of leafy vegetables such as Romaine lettuce, arugula and red cabbage. Nevertheless, the main highlight is the five pieces of smoked duck. Tangy Thai-style dressing brings all ingredients together.
Sicilian Seafood Pumpkin Pot (RM38.80) is Pony Tale's most acclaimed dish. This seafood stew was inspired by a traditional recipe in Sicily, Italy. Seafood and tomato-based gravy are served in a hollowed-out pumpkin, which not only enhances the food's visual appeal, but also improves the soup's taste with its sweet flesh.
Making its debut today is Seafood Pasta De Pumpkin (RM35.80). Also served in a pumpkin bowl, this dish takes a creamier approach to delight the palate. The spaghetti is served with a thick sauce made from cream and pumpkin purée. Meanwhile, marine creatures like mussels, calamari and shrimps impart their rich flavors.
Pony Tale's forte in seafood is also highlighted in another pasta dish called Seafood Aglio Olio Angels Hair Spaghetti (RM29.80). The squid ink pasta is sautéed with olive oil and is cooked al dente, culminating in the perfect level of springiness. The dish comes with squids, shrimps, mussels and sun-dried tomatoes. As for presentation, a pair of chopsticks provides an Oriental touch.
The Pony House Beef Stew (RM35.00) is cooked to a point where the beef chunks have become sufficiently tender. Accompanying the savory chunks of beef are mashed potatoes (pomme purée), garden salad and garlic bread.
Still on the subject of red meats, the Lamb Loin (RM36.80) is seasoned with black pepper sauce. Side items are assorted vegetables, green mashed potatoes and pea sprouts. However, the aroma of pea sprouts is overpowering and may draw attention away from the lamb. In lieu of pea sprouts, I think asparagus is a safer bet.
Tunisian cuisine is represented by Grilled Baharat Chicken (RM26.80). The chicken is seasoned with harissa, a North African spice mix with considerably strong taste that should not to be trifled with. Side dishes are French fries and water spinach. Meanwhile, a rosemary sprig lends its lovely fragrance.
Mediterranean Sultana Chicken (RM24.80) takes advantage of the natural sweetness of raisins. The grilled chicken cutlet comes with French fries and mixed vegetables on the side. Given so many savory dishes so far, having a sweet one for a change is quite welcoming.
Seafood Pescatore (RM29.80) features a thick slab of sea bass. The fish has mild flavor of its own, hence it relies on the tangy taste of the Italian-style tomato-based sauce. As for texture, the fillet is gently grilled to retain its delectable juiciness.
Meanwhile for salmon lovers, the Norwegian Salmon With Classic French Dressing (RM32.80) is a sound choice. Lemon butter sauce and almond flakes are employed. Also served is a generous amount of fried potato wedges and garden salad.
As for finger foods, the Pony Seafood Basket (RM25.80) is ideal for sharing among 2 or 3 people. Battered seafood items are fish fingers, tempura prawns and squid rings. The snack contains French fries, salad and a dipping sauce too.
Moving on to dessert, Japanese Cotton Donut (RM12.80) is topped with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream. I love the ice cream's slushy consistency. Although the doughnut has a soft texture, I feel that its taste is somewhat mild. The doughnut comes with a complimentary cup of Americano.
As for drinks, Chococado Espresso (RM22.80) is Pony Tale's most iconic beverage. The drink is meant to be enjoyed in 3 phases: creaminess of avocado, sweetness of ice cream and bitterness of espresso.
The Virgin Scottish Butter Beer (RM12.80) draws inspiration from a fictional beverage in the Harry Potter universe. Meanwhile, the Greenish Pony (RM15.80) is a testament that healthy drinks can taste good too.
Speaking of healthy drinks, Fruity Purple (RM18.80) is blended from purple carrots and ice. A scoop of vanilla ice cream provides the ideal level of sweetness.
Last but not least, Moo On The Rocks (RM18.80) is a milkshake with an infusion of fruits. A pair of frozen espresso cubes provides a mild bitter aftertaste. I prefer the milkshake to be less sweet in order to let the coffee stand out more prominently.
As Pony Tale's rebranding project is still under way, the final menu line-up is still up in the air. It is interesting to see how the restaurant looks like once rebranding is complete.

Name: Pony Tale De' Cafe
Address: 180-B-01-11, Setia SPICE Canopy, Jalan Tun Dr. Awang, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-611-1319
Business hours: 9:30am-10:00pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/PonyTale.my
Coordinates: 5.32889 N, 100.27897 E
Directions: Pony Tale is located at SPICE Canopy, facing Jalan Tun Dr. Awang and Pisa Corner Cafe. There are parking spaces in front of the restaurant.

Gohaniku

The people behind Spade's Burger have opened another restaurant near their i-Avenue outlet. The name of the new restaurant, Gohaniku, is a portmanteau of two Japanese words: "gohan" (ご飯) and "niku" (肉). They mean "rice" and "meat" respectively.
Gohaniku's menu covers rice bowls with various toppings like pork, salted egg, curry and more. Also included are skewered pork and bingsu (빙수). Gohaniku uses the self-service model; customers are asked to collect their food from the pick-up window when their numbers are called.
Umami Pork Bowl Plus (RM11.90) consists of sliced pork with sweet-savory seasoning, making the dish very appetizing indeed. On the other hand, the pork fillets are not quite as tasty. An onsen tamago (soft-boiled egg) is also served over the bowl of Japanese short-grain rice.
Address: 1-1-8, Medan Kampung Relau 1, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: N/A
Business hours: 11:00am-9:30pm
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The 9ine

Special thanks to The 9ine By Jackie Wong for extending this food review invitation.

The 9ine By Jackie Wong occupies an old shophouse along Jalan Kek Chuan. Like neighboring shops, the restaurant has a vintage storefront with wooden doors and windows. Stepping inside, The 9ine is illuminated by dim golden lighting, presenting a mesmerizing atmosphere for casual dining.
Drawing upon the expertise of Chef Jackie, The 9ine specializes in European cuisine with notable elements from Asia. There are à la carte menus for both brunch and dinner. Set lunch is also available on selected days. Today's preview focuses on the brunch menu, which is served between 10:00am and 5:00pm daily.
Sitting at the drinks counter is a manual espresso machine plated with brass. Besides coffee and tea, The 9ine also has a modest collection to wines and craft beers. Meanwhile, Kréma Gangster is the restaurant's in-house brand of cold brew coffee.
Clams & Mussels (RM23.00) is served for starters, which turns out to be my favorite dish today. Featuring plump clams and New Zealand green-lipped mussels, this delicacy is satisfying to the last morsel. The broth is infused with richness of coconut milk and a hint of spiciness from bird's eye chili.
Wild Forest Mushroom (RM18.00) is prepared from scratch in the kitchen. One can feel the soup's pulpy consistency as it passes through the lips. Included in the creamy soup are button mushrooms and scallions. Both elements provide a succulent degree of crunchiness.
Glazed Pork Chop (RM28.00) is prepared using sous-vide method followed by a light roasting finish. The slices of succulent pork are flavored by bulgogi sauce and crushed pistachio nuts. Serving as counterbalance are homemade pomme purée (potato purée) and grilled vegetables like capsicum, chili peppers and pineapples.
Barramundi & Risotto (RM28.00) is another recommended dish on the brunch menu. The barramundi is pan-seared such that its skin becomes crispy. The charred fillet is served over a delectable serving of risotto. Containing apples, pineapples, carrots and asparagus, the risotto is seasoned with a light hint of spiciness.
Today's special dish is Classic Duck Carbonara (RM25.00). The spaghetti is cooked al dente, which is the Italian's ideal degree of firmness. The pasta contains just the right amount of creamy sauce to do the job. Nevertheless, I feel that the medallions of smoked duck are still the main highlight of this dish.
The 9ine's house blend of coffee beans is supplied by Dimattina Coffee. Prepared from espresso and steamed milk, Caffè Cappuccino (RM13.00) presents a creamy sensation on the lips. An excellent cup of coffee indeed.
The 9ine offers fine dining dinners from time to time. Chef Jackie usually collaborates with other chefs to craft these limited-time menus. Although there are only a handful of tables at the ground floor, The 9ine has extra dining space upstairs. There is even a private room at the attic.
Name: The 9ine By Jackie Wong
Address: 9, Jalan Kek Chuan, 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 013-999-5532
Business hours: 10:00am-10:00pm, closed on Tuesdays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/the9inebyjackiewong
Coordinates: 5.41495 N, 100.32473 E
Directions: From Macalister Road (Jalan Macalister), turn to Jalan Kek Chuan opposite of Menara UMNO. The 9ine is one of the shops on the left. Street parking is available along Jalan Kek Chuan, Jalan Irving and Lorong Susu.