Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

One of our recent discoveries is a little French café right in the heart of bustling Georgetown, Penang. Heritage house? Check. Homey, unpretentious décor? Check. Excellent desserts that blow your socks off? Ohhhh yes. What’s not to love?

La Boheme is a quiet French café at Sri Bahari Road (opposite Feng Wei restaurant) and so discreet that you might not even notice it if not for the small wooden sign “42 La Boheme” hanging from the front gate.

When you first go in, you might actually take a few steps back wondering if you’ve accidentally entered into someone’s house as there aren’t many tables set up inside, maybe just 4 or 5 on the sides and they’re such an eclectic mix, it looks very cosy and unassuming. There’re a spread of magazines and newspapers provided which makes it a nice place to pleasantly  while away long, hot afternoons. As with most heritage housing cafes, don’t expect air conditioning but the inside of the café is airy. The original floor tiles are untouched and are still the attractive green geometric pattern that can only be found in heritage cafes.

You get a good choice of teas in the drinks menu – we were surprised to see even Chinese teas like Ti KuanYing on the list. There’s also coffee, chocolate, apple or orange juices (which were listed on the chalkboard), bottled water and also if you ask nicely, you get good old sky juice too. Mains are chalked out on the board but as we just had lunch, we skipped it. Some of the mains spotted were quiches, ham croissants and chicken salad. We were there strictly on a mission: desserts only! The croissants and desserts are all made by themselves. Croissants are kept on the counter and desserts in a mini fridge.

We showed restraint by limiting our choice of desserts to just 4 though it was really tempting to point and pick all of the yummy-licious options in the fridge.

The chocolate croissant was a bit of a let down as we had really high hopes for croissants in a French patisserie. It was buttery and flaky but unfortunately, tasted a little stale. The chocolate filling however was quite good and reminded me of Nutella.

This was definitely a winner! I didn’t manage to get the name but it’s a lovely caramel custard that had us fighting for more. Unlike most caramel based desserts, this wasn’t overly sweet but had the right balance between that caramel smokiness and delicate sweetness.

We adore a good creme brulee so we had to try this one out and it didn’t disappoint us. It was slightly too charred on top but the custard base was creamy, smooth and utterly delectable. I’d rank this as 1 of the best crème brulees in Penang, on par with that of Ecco Café.

Ok, when I pointed at the fancy doughnut-like dessert in the fridge and asked the friendly wait staff what it was, I was confused when I was told it’s a Paris Brest (get your mind out of the gutter, people, LOL). It’s a delicious choux pastry filled with praline cream and created to commemorate the Paris – Brest – Paris bicycle race.

The verdict? La Boheme gets a huge thumbs up from us and also baby Hayden  – check out his puffy baby cheeks munching on the croissant. Prices are reasonable for the authentic French pastries and we’re huge fans of how pre war houses are being maintained.

(Hayden enjoying the afternoon tea with us…)

La Boheme 42, Jalan Sri Bahari, 10500 Penang.  Tel 017 9762153   Tues – Sun: 10:00   –  19:00

After reading My Food Fetish’s post about Soul Kitchen, we knew we’d to go try it out to compare the pasta against the best that we’ve had in Penang so far: Ecco Cafe.

Soul Kitchen is located at Muntri Street, one of the last few heritage building-lined streets left in Penang. On a quiet Saturday afternoon, parking is relatively easy to find around the area and you can catch glimpses of tourists clutching maps and cameras wandering about.If you’re curious about a Malaysian-German couple serving really darn good Italian food within a prewar building in Penang, you have to check out this place.

The interior of the trattoria has that casual, chic look that is both hip and cozy at the same time. Wooden tables and chairs are scattered across inside with a mixture of funky looking fabric reupholstered chairs. Tiny touches of eco friendly decor are evident here: from seashells used as paperweights, plants growing in tin containers, a bicycle parked at the back door. Being a huge Ikea fan, Andrea had fun spotting which items were from Ikea (the curtain rail used to hang postcards on the wall!). Even though it was a hot, sweltering day outside, it was nice and breezy indoors without air-conditioning.

Since we’d skipped breakfast, we promptly ordered up a storm.

The Banana Apple Orange Smoothie was a very refreshing drink plus a pleasant way to wait as our mains were cooked. It’s interesting to note that all dishes are only cooked on the spot, ensuring that every dish fresh and piping hot.

We’d really high expectations for the Tramezzini (Italian sandwich) and it definitely lived up to its hype! Given a few choices for the filling: we picked turkey ham with roasted balsamic garlic sauce and the flavors were intense, especially with the oozing cheese. Our only wish was that it came in a few more slices so we could enjoy more of it!

The owner was nice enough to explain through the different pasta dishes and which were the people pleasers so we decided on the Pasta with Herb Sausage. We also loved the fact that she offered to make the sauce spicy and even brought out a small dish full of potently spicy dried chilli flakes. The tomato based sauce was very fresh and went perfectly well with the sausage that definitely doesn’t taste like it was mass produced. When asked if the sausage was home made, she smiled and said that they’ve someone making the sausage specially for them.

If you thought we were full after that – the answer is no! We had to have more of Soul Kitchen‘s wonderful food and ordered the Salami Pizza. It’s a thin crust, flat pizza that has a very light tomato sauce sprinkled with pieces of salami. I thought it was a bit too mild but still made a nice snack to chew on.

After all the mains have been brought out, Andrea requested for dessert of the day which was Chocolate Mint Cake. I personally hate mint, especially in desserts as I feel like I’m eating toothpaste but Andrea quite liked this version and devoured it.

We loved the food here and would really revisit again. Portions were a bit on the small side but lunch was reasonably priced at RM52 for two. Free wi-fi is available here.

Soul Kitchen
102 Lebuh Muntri
10200 Georgetown, Penang
Tel: 04-2613118 / 012-5943522
http://soulkitchencafe.blogspot.com

Enjoying the last few weeks of our weekends together before the little one arrives.

Friday night dinner at Tsuruya E Gate

Good food, great company with close friends is the best way to kick start a weekend. The star of the night was little Nat boy who got along with just about anyone and nearly followed the waitress home!

JoJo at starbuckAlex with his new toy. A gift from Adelene

Adelene with her new toy!! A gift from Alex… what a lovely couple.

my lovely wife -Andrea.

Saturday afternoon visiting Mary Ann who had just given birth to a handsome little baby boy.

The hilarious part was each time I took a photo of him, even with the flash off, he’d automatically turn his head to where the camera was. It got to the point where I was standing at an awkward angle behind him that Choon Siew told me to have pity the poor baby and just take the photo right in front of him so he didn’t have to strain his neck!

Sunday afternoon playing with my new toys (full review to follow soon).

Someone once said men are just boys with bigger toys …

After reading CK’s post about the Air Itam char koay kak, we were inspired to head towards Air Itam at night just to try it but then Cindy and Alvin told us that the the char koay kak in front of Union Primary School was much better, we were in a food dilemma. Which one to try? Oh well, when in doubt, just try both then!

So on a Friday evening, we drove up to Union Primary School where the char koay kak stall was already in the midst of  brisk business. They had a few tables at the side and also canned drinks for customers that want to eat on the spot. Even though there were customers patronizing the stall non stop, it only took a few minutes for them to get our order ready. We decided on tah pau (takeaway) as we wanted to compare the char koay kak side by side with the Air Itam one. A large packet with egg costs RM3.50.

After braving the daily jam at Air Itam, we spotted the stall right in front of the Hai O store. If you thought trying to find a “creative” parking spot in front of the Union Primary School is bad enough, it’s much more worse at Air Itam. Again, it was jam packed with customers placing orders even though it only offers takeaways in a banana leaf wrapped cone. What’s unique about the stall is that it also offers duck eggs for customers too. A large packet (though a bit smaller as compared to the Union Primary School one) with chicken egg is priced at RM2.70.

The drive home was agonizing with the aroma of not just one, but two packets of char koay kak wafting in the air. To make matters worse, there was a huge jam and it took us longer than usual to reach home. By the time we unlocked the front door, we were both ravenous and tore open both packets.

The Air Itam char koay kak was delicious and didn’t disappoint. It had the wok hei factor and you could taste the smokiness of the wok mingled together with the crunchiness of the beansprouts and saltiness of the preserved raddish. It wasn’t really greasy either and had a milder taste.

However, when compared side by side, it was clear that the Union Primary School char koay kak was definitely the best!  The flavor was intense with every single bit of the koay kak bursting with sensational taste! Sure, it’s more oily and spicier but  it had a hell of kick to it. For the char koay kak challenge, this wins hands down.

Yen mentioned that a friend told her that the assam laksa at Farlim is fantastic and this was more than enough to get Andrea immediately intrigued so she insisted that we drive there to try it.

The Farlim Shell Station Laksa is located further ahead of the new Farlim Sunshine Square, in the older commercial district where Bandar Baru, KFC and Pizza hut are. The coffee shop is instantly recognizable as there’s a bright red sign in front of the shop.

Andrea, being the laksa purist, was immediately wary the moment the bowls of laksa came topped with pieces of fishball as she keeps insisting that this is something hawkers do for tourists. She looked suspiciously at the steaming bowl of laksa and said the color and scent wasn’t particularly attractive either.

All these changed and she’d to swallow back her words the moment she took a bite of the laksa noodles and soup. Her eyes widened and she started slurping more greedily. I tried mine – the word fantastic doesn’t even begin to describe it how good the laksa was!

The soup is sweet with the strong scent of kembung fish (mackerel) but what made the laksa stand out was the generous chunks of fresh kembung scattered all over the soup which were amazingly fresh.

Another highlight of the stall is that it serves a treat which is unique to Penang assam laksa: deep fried spring rolls cut into bite sized pieces to dip into your soup before savoring them. Usually at other stalls where I’ve been to, the spring rolls are usually done as an afterthought, they’re either really small, stale or worse, over fried to the point where it’s too hard. The spring rolls at this stall were perfect and good enough to eat on its own.