He who eats alone chokes alone. ~Proverb

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Never Again - Chocolate Lava Cake @ Spasso Milano

This is going to be a quick review. We popped into Spasso Milano at Straits Quay to try out the place, and decided on a Chocolate Lava Cake for dessert.

Well, that's one dish I'm never going to order again.

Ridiculous pricing - RM18.80++ (RM21.80 in total)

Tiny portion - take a look at the pics below

Compare the size of the fork and you'll see how small this cake is. You can also see that there is hardly any chocolate in the cake itself. Where's the river of chocolate that should be flowing out?

Very dry - Chocolate cakes should be moist and soft, this one was dry and hard, just look at the following picture.

You can see the dryness of the cake here.

Not enough chocolate - a Chocolate Lava Cake should be practically bursting at the seams with rich, dark, molten chocolate. This cake had a pathetic amount of chocolate that didnt taste particularly rich or special.

Cat gives 4 thumbs down!

BEAR: It's really not often that Bear can see Cat this agitated over a cake. Then again, I think this may be the first. 

I suppose Cat had high hopes on this restaurant only to be bitterly disappointed. I must admit though that I rather walk a few steps and right into Delicious for desserts instead.

The Chocolate Lava cake was nothing to scream about and the only time you'll scream is over the size. Maybe some might argue, all good things comes in small packages. They just may be right. This Chocolate Lava cake is about the size of a Tiffany & Co. box and probably taste about the same. Haha, just kidding.

It was a real disappointment, the cake was small, dry, not enough chocolate filling and worst had a weird garlic-y after taste. Seriously.

For the life of us, we couldn't figure out what it was, Cat suggested that it was some herb since it's a little spicy but to me, it was garlic-y. Then again, Bear is no expert on herbs other than to bathe in them.

Well, this might get Cat's 4 thumbs down but we will be back to try out the other dishes and give a thorough review then. Fingers crossed that it'll be much much better than tonight's.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Best in town for: Chicken Tikka Makhani, Aloo Palak, Naan, Kulcha etc etc
Worst in town for: nothing

Opening Times:

Monday to Sunday
11.00am - 4.00pm
7.00pm - 11.00pm

Frontal view of the restaurant

View of Market Street, with the MPPP multi-storey carpark in background

From the official website:

Deep in the south of India's southernmost state, Tamil Nadu, the Land of the Tamils, is Chettinad, the land of the Nattukottai Chettiars. Karaikudi is its chief town. Karaikudi is about 425km from Madras (chennai), the capital of Tamil Nadu and the gateway to South India. Karaikudi derives its name from the famous plant "Kara" which abounds in the area. Chettinad's parched terrain may be some of the most inhospitable land in India, but man is at his most hospitable here.

Chettiar hospitality is legendary. A stranger is welcomed, a guest is fussed over and any occasion is reason enough for a feast to which he is invited. A feast is an occasion for a wide veriety of daily fare and an open-hearted hospitality. Perhaps the tastiness of the food has something to do with the traditional way in which it is prepared. Chettinad cuisine is spicy and full of flavours. South Indian restaurants the world over offer Chettinad dishes. Chettiar hospitality is legendary, hence our motto "our privilege to serve".

Here at Karaikudi Restaurant, we present you with the best of North and South Indian cuisine in a brilliant blend of flavours, seasonings, nutritional balance, fragrance, taste and visual appeal.

CAT: Karaikudi, is in my opinion, the best, and the most underrated Indian restaurant in Penang. It really is a shame that so few people have heard of this wonderful, wonderful restaurant. Located on Market Street on the outskirts of Little India, this shabby restaurant serves some of the most amazing Indian cuisine.

If you have never visited Karaikudi before, just follow the simple steps below and you won't go wrong!

Step 1: For each person, order a bread, either Naan, Kulcha or Pratha.

Naan comes in Butter/Garlic/Cheese flavours, while Kulcha comes in Onion/Masala flavours. The Cheese Naan, Onion Kulcha and Stuffed Pratha are all highly recommended

Cheese Naan

Step 2: Order some meat dishes.

My favorite dish here is the Chicken Tikka Makhani. Unbelievably tender Chicken Breast cooked with lots of butter in a rich curry sauce, this is a must try dish. The Prawn Masala is another favorite, with fresh, chewy prawns in a spicy Masala curry. We have to apologise for the poor quality of the pictures, it's hard to take appetising pictures when the lighting is poor and everything looks like goo.

Chicken Tikka Makhani

Prawn Masala

Step 3: Order some vegetarian dishes.

Being a carnivore, cats aren't big fans of vegetables. However, the curries in Karaikudi taste so good that even a meat-loving cat like myself can fall in love with their vegetarian dishes. Our favorites are the Aloo Palak (Potato in Spinach curry) and Mushroom and Peas Masala.

Aloo Palak (yes we know it looks like vomit, but it tastes amazing)

Mushroom and Peas Masala

Step 4: Eat like greedy bears.

BEAR: ... *growls*. I'm going to ignore that. Bear will find other ways to get back at Cat for that. anyway to me

Worst in town for: nothing Parking. People walking on the street like they own the damned road.

Ladies Finger Masala

Bear orders nothing but the Cheese Naan everytime we go there. It's delicious! The cheese naan doesn't have as much cheese as the one I once had in KL but that also means it doesn't smell like old socks cause the one in KL definitely smells of old socks after a while.

Kashmiri Naan with (from left) Butter Chicken Makhani,
Ladies Finger Masala, Aloo Palak, Prawn Masala

Bear's favourite dish of all time has to be the Prawn Masala. I can eat just that with the Cheese Naan and still be a very happy bear. Beside that, the Mushroom and Peas Masala is a must. It's really strange considering that I dislike button mushrooms and I hate hate hate peas but love the Mushroom and Peas Masala. Weird.

Peas are one thing where I could spit out each and every individual pea from a dish or spend the next 10 minutes sorting out the peas from my fried rice etc. but with the mushroom and peas masala, I'm always happy to get a second helping.

Onion Kulcha (delicious!)

We unfortunately never tried the desserts there considering Cat has a tendency to over eat about 99.99% of the time there and complains of tummy ache. So there's never any room for desserts with him around.

While the pictures looks like bowls and bowls or goo of baby food, Bear can give you her personal guarantee that it tastes better than goo.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Cheers Restaurant and Bierhaus

Best in town for:  Pork Knuckle
Worst in town for: Nothing

Opening Times:
Monday to Sunday: 3.00pm to 1.00am

*EDIT* 29/01/12
The Citrus Smoked Duck Breast appears to have changed. It is no longer as tasty as it used to be. However, it might just be a poor batch of duck. The Pork Knuckle is excellent.

CAT: An uncle of mine mentioned to me that a new Bierhaus had opened up in Tanjung Tokong, and that the Chef had migrated there from Berlin Bierhaus (in Straits Quay). Having been impressed by the food at Berlin, we decided to try out this new place, Cheers Restaurant & Bierhaus.

First impression: the staff seem rather blur. Most of them have a poor command of English and take a while to process whatever you say, kinda like Google Translate on a laggy connection.

Anyway, my uncle had strongly recommended the Imported Smoked Duck, so that was a given. For our second dish, we ordered the Steamed Pork Belly with Mantou and Mashed Potatoes, which sounds like a really odd combination but hey, it sounds interesting and unique.

Braised Pork Belly with Mantou (RM27.80)

The dishes arrived quite promptly, and we were not disappointed. The Smoked Duck had the most amazingly sweet and tasty skin; I can't really describe it well, but imagine honeyed bacon / pork crackling and you sorta get the idea. The meat was tender and juicy and was perfectly complemented by the orange reduction sauce. A really amazing dish and a must try for anyone. Even Bear who's not a big fan of duck loved it.

Citrus Smoked Duck Breast (RM35.80)

The Pork Belly was decent, nice fatty chunks of Pork Belly served with fluffy Mantou and Mashed Sweet Potato make a tasty and interesting combination, but unfortunately it's overshadowed by the Smoked Duck.

The only disappointing dish was the Cheesy Bacon Bread, which sounds really good, but is let down by poor quality bread (tastes like the cheap baguettes from Gardenia or something)

BEAR: Hmph, a lot CAT seems to know about Bear. Bear is actually a fan of ducks. It just so happen that ducks are expensive and Bear is poor. On our first visit to Cheers, we were greeted in Mandarin. Not something I am accustomed to especially since I’m not exactly in a Chinese Restaurant but thankfully service was good.

We headed upstairs for dinner and as usual greedy Cat did all the ordering. He ordered the Smoked Duck and also the Pork Belly with Mantou and mashed potatoes.

So la dee da, the food arrived and it smelt like bacon. I looked all around but there was only the Smoked Duck. One bite later, I can vouch that the Smoked Duck was amazing. It tasted a bit like bacon too but it was so good it was a little indescribable. I was never a big fan of sauces to be truthful so I didn’t really care if they gave me the orange reduction sauce, soy sauce or whatever. The meat was so good and that was all that mattered to me.

Look at the fat on the skin!

The Pork Belly was pretty good too but it wasn’t as amazing as the Smoked Duck. I enjoyed the mantou though..

The prices are reasonable but judging by the menu, the appetizers were on the expensive side with side orders like spicy potato wedges going for RM9

Overall, the food is good, service is good and waiting times does not include you falling asleep drooling onto the menu.
A big thumbs up from me. Oh wait, does Bears have thumbs?

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sri Malaya Heritage Restaurant

Best in town for: reasonably-priced set lunches, coffee
Worst in town for: lack of parking space

Opening times:
11.45 am - 3.00pm
6.00pm - 10.30pm

Closed Tuesdays

CAT: I love Nasi Lemak. In fact, I would pay RM17++ for a Nasi Lemak set lunch, but only at Sri Malaya. That's because Sri Malaya serves reasonably priced set lunches that have huge portions and great taste. You might call me crazy for paying RM17++ for a Nasi Lemak, but it's worth it!

The set lunches come with a dessert and your choice of drink, and we recommend that you choose the Illy coffee instead of the juices, as you can get juice anywhere but few places serve coffee as good as Sri Malaya's.

Illy Milk Coffee

The Nasi Lemak here is served with a big piece of chicken in Thai curry, which is rather different from the usual rendang sauce, giving it a unique flavour. The shredded Poppadums sprinkled on the dish is crunchy and tasty, but very very oily.

Nasi Lemak (RM17)

Dessert is a slice of chocolate cake with chocolate sauce drizzled on it. Taste is just right, not too sweet, not too rich, but it can be a struggle to finish even this small slice after the humongous meal.

Chocolate Cake

BEAR: There is a bit of a waiting time but they have free wi-fi so you can entertain yourself on the ipad or something. I usually order the Nasi Lemak as well but this time, I opted for something different. I got the Chicken Teriyaki Burger. It came surrounded by an army of chips that we couldn't finish.

It is extremely rare to see that the filling between the burger is actually bigger than the burger itself. Besides the huge piece of chicken, there was a little mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato. By the time I was done, Cat could just roll me out of the door. My dessert ended up packed for later - much later.

Teriyaki Chicken Burger (RM17)

I super love the Illy coffee that they serve. Priced at RM6 per cup or included in your set lunch, it is fantastic. I've always been a coffee addict and Illy coffee ranks high in my list of favourites. In my personal opinion, it tastes better than Starbucks' Cafe Latte - the drink I order a good 98% of the time I'm there. My only advice, drink it while hot. It's delicious!

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Ocean Green Seafood Restaurant

Best in town for: Cheese Baked Crab, Spring Chicken, Claypot Cod Fillet, Spring Rolls.
Worst in town for: Occasional dodgy service.

CAT: Sorry for the long break between updates. It's been raining really heavily these past few weeks and the cool weather makes Bear go into hibernation mode, so it's all her fault!

Anyway, today's review is regarding our favorite seafood restaurant in Penang, Ocean Green. Unfortunately, since we are always broke, we always end up ordering non-seafood dishes. Luckily, Ocean Green has a good selection of these...


We usually order the same dishes every time we come here, because there are usually a few months in between each visit and we get cravings for our favorites, which are Satay, Spring Chicken, Spring Rolls, Cheese Baked Crab and Fried Tang Hoon.

Spring Rolls

Special mention must be made of the Cheese Baked Crab, which is one of the most sinful dishes you can find. Chopped crab meat is mixed with a generous amount of cheese and the whole lot is baked in a crab shell until the cheese is slightly burnt. Delicious!

Cheese Baked Crab

On special occasions we'll order the Claypot Cod Fillet which is also excellent but unfortunately rather expensive.

BEAR: I’ve always known that CAT was delusional. His brain was placed a little wonky. Also, for the record, Ocean Green is one of my favourite seafood restaurants, not my favourite. I would know best, coming from a famous line of Crab Eating Bears *cough*

Truthfully, I didn’t have a good first impression of Ocean Green. I found the food mediocre and expensive. Later I found out it was only because a friend of ours didn't know what the heck he was ordering.

Thankfully, despite his wonky brains, CAT does know what is good to eat. The spring chicken is a favourite. The small-sized spring chicken (often mistaken for pigeon) is delicious. Cooked just right and the meat is soft yet springy at the same time. It comes chopped in half. I get just half a chicken but it’s so delicious I have no doubt I can whack at least 3 chickens and probably 5 if no one is looking.

Note that the spring chicken is about 1/3 or a quarter the size of an average chicken. I may be greedy but I ain’t crazy.

Spring Chicken

The cheese baked crab (RM10 each) is a must order. The crab shell is turned upside down and used as a small ‘bowl’ filled with chopped crab meat and cheese. Note that crab shells are actually pretty small *sniff sniff*

Cheese Baked Crab

Crab is fresh and delicious!

My eyes light up like the lights on a christmas tree every time the Claypot Cod Fish is ordered which is seldom because of the portion and price (mostly the price). The codfish is a favourite because it does not have an overwhelmingly fishy smell and the meat tastes buttery and just melts in your mouth.


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Monday, October 17, 2011

Dim Sum @ Zhong Hua Chinese Restaurant

Best in town for: Char Siew Pao, Egg Tarts, Roast Duck
Worst in town for: The overpriced appetisers that they try to sneak into your bill.

Char Siew Pao

CAT: Did you know that cats love Char Siew Pao? It's true, we really do. I could eat 3 Char Siew Pao + other Dim Sum and still have space for Egg Tarts. And the best place to eat yummy Char Siew Pao and Egg Tarts is Zhong Hua in 1Stop Midlands.

Egg Tarts

1Stop may be on the verge of dying but there's still plenty of life in Zhong Hua, with almost every table occupied with customers scoffing down Char Siew Paos like greedy bears (cats do not scoff, we eat daintily and with exquisite manners). Interestingly, Zhong Hua always has a 50% discount on Dim Sum, though this is more of a marketing gimmick since the Dim Sum would be ridiculously expensive without the discount.

Har Kau

We ordered the usual favorites: Char Siew Pao, Dan Tart, Har Kau, Siew Mai, and a dish that's slightly more unusual: Yao Char Gwai Cheong Fun. For those who don't understand Cantonese, Yao Char Gwai Cheong Fun is fried You Tiao wrapped in Rice Noodle Roll. It's a Cantonese dish, and is not usually found in Penang.

Yao Char Gwai Cheong Fun

Another dish that Zhong Hua does really well is the Roast Duck (most of the time). It can be a little inconsistent, but most of the time, it's really really good, possibly the best in Penang.

1/2 Roast Duck

BEAR: *sputters* Greedy bears?! This is coming from a cat who admitted that he could stuff himself with 3 Char Siew Paus and still have rooms for others. Worst still, cat is forever having assorted sauces on his face after every meal and he dares say I scoff my food?!
There is no justice!

Ahem, moving on. Let's see.. What do I know about Dim Sum? Other that Hong Kong's Peninsular Hotel serving some of the best Dim Sum I've ever eaten, I could as easily name you some of the lousiest places to eat Dim Sum in Penang.

Siew Mai

Thankfully, Zhong Hua is not on 'Bear's lousiest Dim Sum places' list. To me, Zhong Hua serves good Har Kau, Siew Mai and Dan Tart (Egg Tart). It's been a long time since I last ate the Duck so I don't quite remember it. Har Kau has always been my favorite Dim Sum, and Zhong Hua does it just the way I like it. The skin is soft yet supple unlike some that tears easily and crumbles on a touch. The Siew Mai comes with fresh prawns topped with a little prawn roe and the meat is a little salty - the way I love it.

The Egg Tarts are really small though. I could easily eat like 6 or more of them by myself in one sitting. My advice is to go early as the place fills up fast.

If you are looking for parking spaces, you can either park outside along the front of 1stop (if you're bloody lucky) that runs by meter or head for the basement car park. The first car park you come across charges by the hour (RM1 for every 45 minutes) while the basement car park closes to Zhong Hua is RM3 per entry. I have no idea how much the open air car park at the end of 1stop cost though.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

SOHO Free House

Best in town for: Shepherds Pie, Steak and Tiger Pie
Worst in town for: Residual smell of cigarette smoke, Lamb Shank (so tough it's more like Dead Mutton Shank)

Opening times: 12 noon till 12am

CAT: When SOHO is mentioned, most people think "beer!" What few people know is that they actually serve decent food at reasonable prices. 5 dishes are priced at RM7.80 nett during Happy Hour. However, in SOHO, every hour every day is Happy Hour! (it's a happy place). These 5 dishes are Herb Roasted Chicken, Shepherds Pie, Beef Burger, Bangers & Mash, and Spaghetti.

We arrived at 12 noon and the place was deserted. I chose the Roasted Herb Chicken while BEAR chose the Shepherd's Pie, and the food came almost immediately.

The Roasted Herb Chicken was pretty decent. You get a whole leg quarter and a side of mashed potatoes. The chicken skin is crispy and tasty, and overall I would say it's better than Dave's Delis. However, I would not recommend this dish over the Shepherd's Pie or the Beef Burger.

BEAR: Before discovering that SOHO actually serves decent food, it was not somewhere I frequented. I admit I was unsure of how the food would turn out to be considering the place and price but one mouthful later and I was hooked.

I'm pleased to announce that the food came pretty fast. No falling asleep at the table wondering if the waiter should have given you an arrival date so that you can come back then .

I ordered the Shepherd's Pie just to try their Happy Hour menu. As to whether it's edible or not, I'm happy to announce that it's delicious! The side dish of the measly carrot and purple cabbages salad minus any dressing and green pies were a little less appetizing but I'll still order this in the future.

It came steaming hot and after digging into the thick crust of mash ( a little tiny bit thicker than I would have liked), I found the mince lamb to be juicy, sweet and drenched in flavourful gravy.

One of the things that I did not like was the smell of the place. It's not something anyone can do anything with, I mean, after years of cigarette smoke seeping into every nook and corner of the place even if you douse the place with Gucci Envy, I doubt it'll help.

Its just a minor complaint though, the smell is still bearable. So not to worry.

Coming up soon: Homemade Beef Burger and Steak & Tiger Pie (the beer, not the animal!), one of the best pies I've had in a long while.

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