He who eats alone chokes alone. ~Proverb

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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Friday, October 7, 2011

Oh Sushi Japanese Restaurant

Best in town for: Ambience, location, Salmon Sashimi Bento, Salmon Sushi Maki Bento.
Worst in town for: Katsu Nabe Set (soggy Katsu just doesn't work).

Opening times:
11.30 am - 10.00pm (Weekdays)
11.30 am - 10.30pm (Weekends)

Open all week.

CAT: Most people who visit Straits Quay will end up looking for someplace to dine, and I expect that a lot of these people take one look at Oh Sushi and ignore it, in the belief that Japanese food in a place like Straits Quay will have cutthroat prices. We're quite happy to report that Oh Sushi is actually one of the more affordable eating places in Straits Quay (as long as you dont order their ridiculously expensive Special Sashimi Platter, which clocks in at RM178++!!).

Salmon Sashimi Bento (RM28)

My favorite dish here is the Salmon Sashimi Bento, which is very reasonably priced at RM28. You get a considerable amount of food for your cash: 5 slices of Salmon Sashimi (very fresh!), a California handroll (not as good as Shinjutei), a small serving of Tempura (crispy), salad, Chawan-mushi, Miso Soup, and a bowl of Garlic Fried Rice (AWESOME!!). All in all, it's a pretty good deal. Special mention must be made for the Garlic Fried Rice, which is very well done. Not too oily and packed with enough garlic to give a vampire a heart attack, its super yummy!

One thing I always try out when I visit Japanese restaurants is their Tamago-maki. I love Tamago-maki and to me, it's a real test of the quality of a Japanese restaurant, as it's one of the simplest things on the menu. If a restaurant somehow manages to screw up a simple dish like Tamago-maki, it doesn't bode well for the rest of the food. I can say that Oh! Sushi passes Cat's Tamago Test (tm)


BEAR: To be truthful, I thought Oh Sushi! looked like a really expensive Japanese restaurant considering the fact it IS in Straits Quay. Surprise surprise, it didn't turn out that bad. The set meals are affordable and you won't need to eat grass for a month just so you can pay for the meal.

Instead of my usual set, I decided to order an ala Carte this time. I ordered the Ebi Don which is three prawns dipped in tempura batter fried with rice and Teriyaki sauce topped with a semi fried egg.

Ebi-don (RM 18??)

I found it a little big but still I managed to polish everything off. The prawns were a little soggy and not crispy as I would have expected but it was still good. There is room for improvement on the soggy prawns but its's definitely something I would order again. CAT mentioned that perhaps its soggy because of the egg.

If you don't like egg (or if you don't want soggy prawns) then you could order the Ten-don, which is tempura prawns and vegetables on a bowl of rice.

Ten-don (RM18)

CAT: The Ten-don is the other of my favorite dishes in Oh Sushi. I'm a big fan of Tempura, and Oh Sushi does theirs well. The Ten-don comes with 2 fat prawns and assorted tempura vegetables, and is a really good deal at RM18. It may not be as good as Miraku's tempura, but that's not surprising as Miraku is still one of the best Japanese restaurants in town.

BEAR: As a final note, the service is pretty good but make sure you speak CLEARLY, LOUDLY and SLOWLY when ordering from the foreign waiters. Not that they are bad or anything, they will just miss your orders if you don't do the above.

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