San Francisco Coffee

Special thanks to San Francisco Coffee for extending this food review invitation.

San Francisco Coffee has several outlets in Klang Valley, but currently has only one café in Penang. Located at the exterior section of Gurney Plaza, this outlet is sandwiched between Starbucks Coffee and Hoshino Coffee.
Stepping into San Francisco Coffee, the most prominent feature inside is a large, painted mural. Meanwhile, dining tables are placed sparsely from one another, giving the café a spacious appearance. There are also outdoor tables for customers who prefer al fresco dining.
The bestselling beverage here is the Golden Gate (RM12.30). Named after the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the drink is concocted from espresso, milk, chocolate and orange. On the other hand, Bay Bridge Sunrise (RM14.20) is served iced and carries substantial notes of citrus. Its name refers to another bridge in San Francisco which connects it to Oakland.
San Francisco Coffee has a collection of merchandise on sale. Shown here are special edition tumblers designed by Marty Woods, a local Malaysian artist. Customers who use a San Francisco Coffee tumbler enjoy RM2.00 discount for every handcrafted drink.
As for food, San Francisco Coffee serves sandwiches, pastries and breakfast. Unfortunately, I am not able to sample these food items yet. As for coffee addicts from Seberang Perai, the staff has hinted that San Francisco Coffee will be opening another outlet in Auto-City soon.

Name: San Francisco Coffee
Address: 170-G-40, Plaza Gurney, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: N/A
Business hours: 8:00am-12:00pm
Coordinates: 5.43780 N, 100.31001 E
Directions: San Francisco Coffee is located at Gurney Plaza's outdoor piazza, directly facing G Hotel. Gurney Plaza has basement and multi-level parking garages.

Coffee House

Special thanks to The Northam All Suite Hotel for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Coffee House is the main restaurant of The Northam All Suite Hotel. Located next to the hotel lobby, Coffee House is also where in-house guests are served breakfast.
Coffee House serves Nasi Campur from 12:00pm to 2:00pm every day except on Sundays. The promotion features several of the chef's signature dishes. Meals are charged based on the number of dishes taken. In general, there are more dishes on weekdays in order to accommodate larger crowds.
Key to Malaysian mixed rice is obviously rice itself. Two types of rice are provided: Nasi Minyak and Steamed White Rice. The former is cooked with ghee and spices, resulting in lovely fragrance that pleases the nose.
The main highlight today is Lamb Kurma, which I enjoy very much. The savory gravy does a great job in masking the smell of mutton. Meanwhile for Daging Rendang, beef is cooked with coconut milk and spices for several hours until most liquid has boiled away.
Ayam Panggang is the poultry dish today. Unfortunately, I feel that the grilled chicken is not as flavorful as mutton or beef. I think the chicken needs more seasoning.
Other notable dishes today are Steamed Egg, Stir Fried Bean Sprout With Tofu, Fried Petola With Vermicelli and Siew Pak Choy. The actual dishes varies from day to day.
The "Ulam" section presents raw vegetables such as okra (lady's fingers), winged beans, tomatoes and cabbages. The vegetables are often eaten with condiments such as sambal belacan (spicy shrimp paste), air asam (tamarind sauce) and sambal kicap (spicy soy sauce).
Egg salad and sausage salad are served today. As for sweet desserts, enjoy a warm bowl of Bubur Kacang Merah.
All customers enjoy complimentary soup and drinks. The Northam has certainly read the minds of most people!
In lieu of Nasi Campur, diners can opt for Nasi Lemak instead. Nasi Lemak's rice is infused with coconut milk and pandan extract. The rice's oily texture makes it quite appealing. Another key ingredient for Nasi Lemak is sambal bawang. The spicy condiment is one of The Northam's strongest suits!
Nasi Lemak also comes with chicken rendang, roasted peanuts, fried anchovies, cucumber slices and hard-boiled egg. If the basic Nasi Lemak (RM8.00) is insufficient, customers can supplement the meals with dishes from the Nasi Campur section.
There are also several à la carte dishes to choose from. For example, Fish Head Claypot (RM10.00) presents a satisfying curry that is not too spicy. Besides fish head, the claypot also contains okra and eggplants (brinjals).
Next, Sotong Goreng Kunyit (RM8.00) contains fried squid in turmeric-based gravy. I appreciate the springy texture of squid. As for Udang Masak Lemak (RM8.00), the shrimps are cooked in a gravy that is rich in coconut milk.
The à la minute action stall serves Char Koay Teow (RM8.00). This Malay-style noodle dish is not as dry as its Chinese counterpart. Other key ingredients are fish balls, fishcake, egg, bean sprouts, garlic chives, fried shallots, chili paste, soy sauce and garlic. Customers can always customize the level of spiciness.
The Grab & Go stall at Coffee House's entrance offers a cup of coffee or tea plus two pieces of pastries for only RM8.00. This promotion is available daily from 7:00am to 5:00pm. This is perfect for customers who prefer a lighter meal or need to hit the road.
Pastry choices for Grab & Go are croissants, muffins and Danish pastries. Customers can also opt for nasi lemak in lieu of pastries.
The food pricing at Coffee House is very affordable; a proper lunch can cost as low as RM6.00 only. To stretch the dollar further, take advantage of The Northam's loyalty program. For every 10 meals here, the next one is on the house!

Name: Coffee House
Address: 55, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-370-1111
Business hours: 6:30am-10:30pm
Coordinates: 5.42728 N, 100.32127 E
Directions: The Northam is located on Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, right after VOUK Hotel Suites. Coffee House is right next to the lobby. There is a multilevel parking garage in the hotel.

Peranakan Passion

Special thanks to Peranakan Passion Nyonya Restaurant for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Today's dinner brings me to Peranakan Passion Nyonya Restaurant (娘惹餐厅) at D'Piazza Mall. The Peranakan (Nyonya) community primarily comprises of descendants of Chinese immigrants who settled Southeast Asia between the 15th and 17th centuries. In addition, there are also smaller Peranakan communities of Indian, Arab and Eurasian lineage.
Peranakan Passion is operated by a Peranakan family from Malacca. The family-owned restaurant features the portrait of the matriarch, from whom many of the recipes are derived from. To present a homely Nyonya atmosphere, the dining area is decorated with classic Nyonya ornaments such as traditional attire, porcelain ware and tiffin carriers.
Peranakan Passion specializes in authentic, home-style Peranakan cuisine. Like many traditional Nyonya households, the recipes were inherited from generation to generation. Peranakan Passion's food menu combines signature Nyonya dishes from Malacca, Penang, Singapore and Indonesia.
The restaurant's bestselling dish is Assam Pedas Tau Teh, a renowned delicacy from Malacca. The curry strikes a delicate balance between sour and spicy flavors. The choice of fish is Chinese silver pomfret (斗鲳), a premium choice that is sought-after in seafood restaurants. The dish is also garnished with tomatoes, shallots, mint and bunga kantan (torch ginger).
Fried Rempah Squid is also delectable to the last morsel. In this dish, bite-size squid is stir-fried with a special blend of herbs and spices, giving it a touch of spiciness that tantalizes the palate. The squid is remarkably fresh as evidenced by its delightful springiness.
Another recommended seafood dish is Assam Sauce Prawns. The white shrimps are marinated with savory tamarind sauce for several hours, allowing the sauce to soften the shells and penetrate the crunchy flesh underneath. The prawns may be eaten entirely to savor the true tanginess of tamarind.
Moving on to poultry, Chicken Pongteh (RM20.00) is a popular choice for children and the elderly due to its pleasant taste. Stewed with a rich gravy, the chicken dish contains potatoes, shiitake mushrooms and fermented soybeans. Chicken Pongteh carries a hint of sweet aftertaste due to the presence of gula melaka (palm sugar).
Itik Tim (RM20.00) is a rich soup that contains duck, pickled mustard greens and sour plum. The soup becomes substantially saltier as it cools down, so it should be consumed while it is piping hot.
Despite its simplicity, the appeal of Chincalok Omelette (RM10.00) should not be discounted. Hailing from Malacca, cincalok is made by fermenting a type of shrimp called udang geragau with rice and salt. Pink in its uncooked form, cincalok is extremely pungent and salty. This makes it go particularly well with the eggs.
Meanwhile, Ju Hu Char (RM18.00) is an appetizer of Penang origin. The salad is a combination of shredded jicama (sengkuang), carrots, mushrooms and dried cuttlefish. The cuttlefish is responsible for the dish's characteristic savoriness. Ju Hu Char is usually wrapped in lettuce and eaten by hand. A small amount of chili paste helps to enhance flavor.
Nasi Bakar (RM10.00) is a relatively recent invention from the Indonesian Peranakan community. Although there are over a hundred different variants, Nasi Bakar typically consists of cooked rice that is wrapped in a banana leaf and then grilled over fire. This allows the banana leaf to impart fragrant aroma to the rice.
Peranakan Passion uses premium jasmine rice for Nasi Bakar. The blue coloring is a natural extract of butterfly-pea flowers (bunga telang). Unlike most restaurants, Peranakan Passion uses lots of flowers in order to produce the deep blue color. The flowers are nearly tasteless on their own, so the rice is infused with a variety of herbs to produce the desired aroma and flavor. Also included with Nasi Bakar are omelette and sambal (chili paste).
As for drinks, Peranakan Passion uses honey in lieu of refined sugar. The subtle sweetness of honey delights the taste buds without the surfeiting sensation on the tongue. Shown here are Blue Pea Lemon (RM6.00) and Lemongrass Lime (RM7.00). Both drinks are prepared from genuine ingredients such as butterfly-pea flower, lemongrass, lemon and lime.
Peranakan Passion has extra dining space upstairs for hosting private events. Catering service is also available. To remain faithful to its Nyonya roots, the restaurant does not cut corners when it comes to the authenticity and freshness of ingredients. MSG is notably absent in the food here. It is also important to note that Peranakan Passion is a pork-free restaurant.

Name: Peranakan Passion Nyonya Restaurant (娘惹餐厅)
Address: 70-1-19, D'Piazza Mall, Jalan Mahsuri, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 018-462-5608
Business hours: 11:30am-3:00pm, 6:00pm-9:30pm (Tuesday-Friday), 5:00pm-10:00pm (Saturday-Sunday), closed on Mondays
Coordinates: 5.32661 N, 100.28311 E
Directions: Peranakan Passion is located at D'Piazza in Bayan Baru. The restaurant is several shops after Sweet-i. Outdoor parking and basement parking are available at D'Piazza.

Burgers & Bites

Special thanks to Century Bay Private Residence for extending this food review invitation.

Burgers & Bites is the sole restaurant inside Century Bay Private Residence. It is located at Level 2, adjacent to the koi pond. This eatery is also where in-house guests are served breakfast in the morning.
Burgers & Bites has a modest menu which covers burgers, hot dogs and other finger foods. Drinks include espresso coffee and hot chocolate. Meanwhile, bottled beer and draft beer only cost RM12.00 each for the entire day.
The gas-fueled barbecue grill is where most of the action takes place. The Salmon Burger (RM20.00) consists of a salmon fillet sandwiched in a burger bun. Also included are lettuce, cheese, mayonnaise and ketchup. Side dishes are rocket salad and French fries.
Each serving of Grill Chicken Wings (RM12.00) contains three pieces. The wings are basted with tangy-and-spicy sauce, and then barbecued until they turn golden brown. This snack goes particularly well with beer.
As for drinks, the Iced Chocolate (RM7.00) gives a strong taste of cocoa. Make sure that you stir well before drinking!
Burgers & Bites is open to walk-in customers. Pork is not served in the restaurant.

Name: Burgers & Bites
Address: Century Bay Private Residence, 5, Lintang Pantai Jerjak, 11700 Gelugor, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-659-1515
Business hours: 12:00pm-10:30pm
Coordinates: 5.34515 N, 100.30534 E
Directions: Driving southbound on Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, turn left at Persiaran Batu Uban. After 300 meters, turn right at the crossroads and drive another 300 meters. Century Bay is located on the right. Burgers & Bites is located on Level 2. Century Bay provides complimentary parking for customers.

Century Bay

Special thanks to Century Bay Private Residence for extending this hotel review invitation.

Century Bay Private Residence is a serviced apartment at Sungai Nibong. The property is conveniently located within a short driving distance from Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone, Penang Bridge, Penang International Airport, Sungai Nibong Express Bus Terminal and Queensbay Mall.
Century Bay has several categories of apartment units, ranging from one- to three-bedroom suites. Penthouse and studio apartments are available too. The unit that I am staying covers 1,100 square feet and has 3 bedrooms. It can comfortably accommodate 5 guests.
Each apartment is fully furnished with elegant, stylish decor. In-room amenities include flat-panel television with satellite channels and high-speed Wi-Fi connection. There is air conditioning in every room, so smoking is strictly prohibited in the apartment.
The apartment's kitchen is equipped with a stove, refrigerator, rice cooker, microwave oven, electric boiler, coffee maker, toaster and other kitchen appliances. Cooking utensils and tableware are provided too. Meanwhile, the laundry area contains a washing machine and a drying rack.
The master bedroom has a king-size bed, a large wardrobe and another television set. The room also has an ensuite bathroom.
Meanwhile, the second bedroom is furnished with a queen-size bed, a wardrobe and a dressing table which also doubles as a reading desk.
Third bedroom is the smallest one of all. It contains a single bed, a wardrobe and a dressing table. This room is just the right size for one occupant.
My apartment unit has 2 bathrooms: one is attached to the master bedroom, the other is shared. The former has a bathtub too - not something that I often see nowadays. Heated water is available in both bathrooms.
The common areas of Century Bay are beautifully landscaped. An artificial stream flows through the building's lower levels, culminating in a small waterfall which splashes near the main entrance. Fish feed is provided for guests to wish to feed koi fish in the ponds.
Meanwhile, the swimming pool at Level 2 is surrounded by palm trees, sunloungers and canopies. There is also a smaller children's pool for kids to wade in. Clean towels are provided for the convenience of guests.
Next to the main swimming pool is a playground to keep the young ones occupied during their stay.
Sports facilities at Century Bay include badminton and basketball courts. In addition, a table tennis table is located indoors. As for guests who wish to explore the surrounding neighborhood, bicycles can be borrowed from the management at no extra charge.
Century Bay's fitness center is equipped with a dozen pieces of exercise equipment. Meanwhile, guests who prefer the easier way to sweat may take advantage of sauna and steambath facilities here.
As for entertainment, there is an area where guests can enjoy movies and video games. Several computer terminals are available for guests to browse the Internet. Furthermore with board games and reading materials at every corner of the common area, there is no shortage of things to do to pass the time.
Be sure to check out the pool tables at Chill Lounge. This is the perfect opportunity for one to show off one's precision shots. Why not enjoy a round of beer during the game? A glass of draft beer or bottled beer only costs RM12.00 at Chill Lounge.
Burgers & Bites is Century Bay's in-house eatery. It serves burgers, hot dogs, finger foods, coffee and other drinks. The menu is entirely pork-free. Burgers & Bites is open from 12:00pm to 10:30pm.
Throughout the day, guests may help themselves to complimentary snacks and drinks. There are usually cookies, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and squashes.
Breakfast is served at Burgers & Bites between 7:00am and 11:00am. In most cases, breakfast has been included in the price of the room. Otherwise, breakfast vouchers can be purchased on the spot for RM12.00 each. There are 3 choices for the breakfast platter; I opted for the Full Breakfast.
Burgers & Bites also serves semi-buffet breakfast. The buffet counter presents other breakfast items such as toast, breakfast cereals, noodles, cakes, fruits and drinks.
Thanks to its strategic location and comprehensive amenities, Century Bay is a popular choice for expatriates and business travelers, especially those who are with their families or staying for an extended duration. Room reservations can be made through Century Bay's official website.
Name: Century Bay Private Residence
Address: 5, Lintang Pantai Jerjak, 11700 Gelugor, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 016-416-0515
Business hours: 24 hours
Coordinates: 5.34505 N, 100.30533 E
Directions: Driving southbound on Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, turn left at Persiaran Batu Uban. After 300 meters, turn right at the crossroads and drive another 300 meters. Century Bay is located on the right. Century Bay provides complimentary parking for guests.