Monday, August 25, 2014

Milagro Spanish Restaurant @ Orchard Central

Located at Level 8 of Orchard Central. It's at the opposite end of Kiseki. Milagro was one of those places that caught my attention soon after it opened for business. Had waited for quite a while, and thought it was now a ripe time to visit.

weekend lunch specials menu
dining area

nice decor

For weekend brunch, they have shakshuka. However, that's Tunisian-styled. Plenty of pasta on its weekend menu too. Too bad there isn't any small portion of paella to try.

Started with some cold drinks. Beer and sangria. Tried Estrella Damm, touted as the best selling lager from Barcelona. Golden coloured, tasted refreshing at first but had a slight bitter aftertaste.

Estrella Damm @$11
golden in colour

Sangria is more my kind of drink. When the glass was brought to the table, was thinking that it had too much fruit inside. Indeed. It had grapefruit, lemon and apple slices. Drink has a pleasant fruity fragrance but personally, I'd prefer it to be sweeter.

Milagro Sangria @$10 (Happy Hour price, usual $12)

Too much to drink, and none to eat? Let's rectify that. Spicy buffalo wings with Valdeón cheese dip. Yes, buffalo wings sounds pretty American, but the blue cheese is Spanish, from León. Liked the flavourful wings. Tasted of deep fried, well-coated with sweet, tangy sauce with just a hint of spiciness. A bite of chicken, a swig of beer equates to enjoyment.

Buffalo Wings with Valdeón Cheese (Spicy) @$13
four wings served piping hot, garnish with olives, pine nuts and chopped tomatoes
Valdeón cheese dip
Blue cheese dip always had this smokey, pungent taste and likewise for this Spanish blue cheese. But, the dip has a sweet aftertaste and was quite likeable when eaten with the tasty wings. Too bad there weren't any crudités to go along with it.

For main course, had the Australian wagyu steak done medium rare. The plate was pretty looking with all the colours! Meat was rump part, and those nearest to the fats were the best bits. Sundried cherry tomatoes gave bursts of sweetness with its intense concentration of flavour. However, the taste of the sauce was lost as the truffle oil from the mash was a tad too overpowering. Mash potato on its own was tasty and smooth. Liked the mushrooms too. A nicely presented, tasty dish that's value for money.

wagyu steak @$25
truffle mash, rump steak, sundried cherry tomatoes, sauteed peppers
medium rare

And, of course one ought to try Spanish desserts. Fried milk sounds interesting, so got one of that. Also had a cup of lungo. Served in a tiny cup, along with housemade biscotti. The biscotti can also be purchased @$1 a piece.

Lungo @$4

The Spanish fried milk fritters or Leche Frita, looked like churros actually. Though not as skinny. Dusted with tiny bit of icing sugar and cinnamon. The orange whipped cream was really light and refreshing. Paired well with the hot crispy fried milk fritters. Sweetness level was just right.

Leche Frita @$6
crispy outer, soft white milky center

Overall, we liked the food and the dining experience at Milagro Spanish Restaurant. Relaxed, casual and reasonable prices.

A 3-course meal shared by two pax with an alcoholic drink each costs about $35 per pax. There's no GST nor service charge, but please feel free to leave a tip. Currently, they have UOB credit card promo where diners get 10% off the bill (not to be used in conjunction with other promo).

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Purrfect Cat Cafe @ Georgetown Penang

This cat cafe has been included as one of the itinerary items during my Penang visit early this month. Moreover, there's one wall mural that's at Jalan Muntri. So it ties in well with the plan. Explore, explore!

store sign

Was there on a Saturday noon. As you walk into the shop, you'll see a display of cakes. Rainbow cake, crepes and more. Upstairs is where you'll find the cats. Downstairs sells merchandise such as tshirts, mugs, pens, cushion covers, soft toys etc that's related to the feline or Penang's famous wall murals.

There's no cover charge to see the cats, but one does need to order something from the cafe before going upstairs. Got myself a sparkling peach drink @RM13+ after GST.

Then, you'll be required to wash your hands and take off shoes before heading upstairs, with the receipt/order chit.

narrow, narrow steps

Once upstairs, slide open the glass door and pass the chit to the staff. There are two dining sections, outer and inner. Inner section is where the cats are. If you have ordered lots of food and doesn't want the cats to 'kacau' or disturb you while eating, then choose the outer area first.

Naturally, I'd sit with the cats. Quietly slides open another door and choose a spot.

where the cats roam
There weren't many cats let loose that day. Only about 6 and all were napping. Cutest things ever, so took pictures of sleeping cats.

all curled up
cute paws
my bro said this looks like garfield
just forty winks

There's only another couple in there, we're just like waiting for the cats to wake up and hopefully, to play with.

grouchy cat: I'm awake, now what?
look into my eyes

The gray cat looks fierce but actually quite amiable, allowing humans to pet its body. It was only mildly curious at us humans.

grooming in progress

There's actually another enclosed area where there are some cats quarantined in there. One managed to climb out of it and started leaping from shelf to shelf. Quite interesting.

assessing the distance
looks like a small leopard
taking picture of someone else taking picture
looking for me?

90% of the cats there aren't interested in humans. They're more curious about things that we brought into their territory.

cat burglar in action: Ooh, smartphone in backpocket? I'll take it
postcard worthy
why so cute?

All in all, it was a fun experience getting up close with the various cats. Nice way to rest the feet after half-a-day of walking, searching for wall murals.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kedai Kopi Ho Ping @ Georgetown Penang

Had passed by Kheng Pin Kafe but unfortunately, it was too late for lunch and the stalls were actually clearining up. Didnt get to try the loh bak there. Then, stumbled upon this Ho Ping coffeeshop and decided to give it a try.

Ordered assam laksa and an ambra sour plum drink.

assam laksa @RM4 and ambra juice @RM2.50

The assam laksa was very nice. Definitely one of the better eats. Thick gravy that's sourish sweet, tasty and flavoursome. Only grouse, was that the cucumber and onions were not julienned into smaller strips. Instead, it's quite slipshod knife-cut into a size that's rather big for assam laksa.

yummy soup, with thicker than usual laksa noodles

Ambra juice was refreshing but abit diluted here. Saw plenty of people eating loh bak from this coffeeshop. Wondered if it's any better than the one at New Lane.

This coffeeshop is pretty near the CAT free shuttle bus stop #8.

CAT shuttle bus stop

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hansang Korean Family Restaurant @ Novena Square 2 Part II

Lunch time at Novena Square 2. Lunch promotion ranges from $9.90++ to $16++. Too bad it wasn't Thursday, or else I'd try Gom Tang 곰탕 (beef bone soup).

daily lunch promo menu

Tried the jajangmyun on previous visit, so ordered half ginseng chicken soup for this time round. The set priced at $16++ comes non-refillable side dish, one rice, a drink (coffee/tea) and a 'dessert' (which turned out to be cookies). For samgyetang 삼계탕, one could only choose white rice or mixed grain. If ordering from ala-carte menu, one could have the option of stone pot rice.

Shared a small order of pancake of the day, which was really assorted fried stuff coated with pancake flour.

pancake of the day (small) @$15++

The assorted pancakes had zucchini, mushroom, pancake, prawns and pumpkin. Dainty dish.

half samgyetang (ginseng chicken) @$16++
mixed grain rice

Ginseng chicken soup was flavourful on its own. The salt was meant more for the chicken flesh. Found a small slice of ginseng inside and a gingko nut. Quite tasty, the ginseng. Comforting to eat rice and soup. It was a very filling meal.

However, coffee was forgotten and had to remind the staff twice before it appeared. Coffee was quite likeable and 'dessert' was just crunchy cookies.


Payment at cashier was slow, as the service staff seemed to be more focused on doing something else.

For visit #1, you may wish to click on this link.

Red Prawn Durian @ Penang

Was walking back to the hotel from town centre and passed by this durian stall. Weather was scorching hot that day. A truck has just came in and men were unloading baskets and baskets of durians. Was just watching them when the lady manning the stall asked if I'd like to eat durians. Remembering that one of Penang specialty durian is Red Prawn, I requested for that.

red prawn durian @RM30 for this size
closer view

Its flesh was feather soft with slight bitter-sweet taste. Seeds were small. This stall is after New Lane, and before Glow Hotel. It's operating off a cart with makeshift tables and chairs at the road junction.

boss of the durian stall

Boss was very friendly, and whenever I passed by that few days, he'd asked if I'd like more durians, or just have a pack of water.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Penny Char Koay Teow @ Macalister Road Georgetown Penang

Thought I'd get to try the famous Lorong Selamat char koay teow since the place that I was staying at, was just 2-3 minutes away. Destination was Kafe Heng Huat, home to the stall of the 'Goggles Lady'.

Was thinking of having a late lunch to avoid the lunch crowds. Hmm, guessed 'lunch' has no fixed timing for tourists who came to try a bite of famous foods.
overflowing queues at 3+pm

Surveyed the grounds and the whole coffeeshop was filled to the brim with eagerly waiting patrons. Mostly were tourists. There were two woks firing away the orders. One by the goggles lady wearing the red beret and the other fried by a man. Spied the ingredients, and indeed there were large prawns all awaiting to be thrown onto the hot woks. Both chefs were frowning as they were frying away. Mood seemed foul.

Asked the assistant if I could take-away a packet. Answer was negative. No take-aways allowed. Ok. Then asked if I could order a plate. She frowned even more and stated that current waiting time is more than an hour. Her boss could be heard shouting away in the background barking out orders. And so, the quest to taste this famous char koay teow ended there and then. Didn't want to wait more than an hour in a hot stuffy coffeeshop.

Ended up at the Yi Garden Kafe, the coffeeshop next to the main road and had Penny Char Koay Teow instead. The ckt stall had a sign that proclaimed it as the winner of 'The Battle of Penang Hawker Masters 2012'. Prices starts from RM5.50, add 50cents for duck egg and for extra ingredients (加料), that'll be extra ++. Mindful of cholestrol, I asked for regular chicken eggs fried and 'geh liao' for the extra prawns.

Penny Char Koay Teow
char koay teow with added ingredients @RM8

Got my late lunch in a short while. The secret ingredient to that plate of char koay teow, was lots of deep fried crispy lard. And, truly quite a lot! Prawns were big but unfortunately, overfried.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Glow Hotel @ Macalister Street Georgetown Penang

Stayed at Glow Hotel for two nights, during the recently concluded Penang trip. Nice little boutique hotel that's nearer to town. Taxi fare from Evergreen Laurel Hotel, Gurney Drive to this area costs RM17.

Was greeted immediately by the bellman once he sees the guests walking into the lobby. Bags taken, welcome drink presented while waiting for the frontdesk to process the check-in.

refreshing glass of nutmeg drink

Stayed at the 7th floor, and near the fire exit. Noise from outside, for example, closing of doors could be heard clearly from within the room. Floor was abit dusty.

super single
open wardrobe area

view from window
bathroom and shower area

Room was minimalistic, and there's no toothbrush nor toothpaste provided so remember to bring your own. Other than that, it has the basic necessities.

Found a lollipop on the bed with a handwritten note, as a welcome gesture by the hotel. Nice.


Breakfast was included, and I had the expectation of simple toast bread served with bread/jams, but Glow Hotel provided more than that.

bread counter with butter, jams and kaya
fried pasta, sausages and sambal for nasi lemak

cut fruits (watermelon, honey dew), hard boiled eggs, bread butter pudding, baked beans and porridge
nasi lemak section

It was nice having a bowl of comforting salted egg porridge in the morning. There was only one staff manning the breakfast buffet area and when he is not busy, he'll even bring your coffee/tea to your table. 

salted egg porridge with fried anchovies and topped with spring onions

Glow Hotel is about 2-3 minutes to Lorong Selamat, less than 10 minutes walk to New Lane (Lorong Baru) eating area and about 15 minutes walk to Chowrasta Market.

Next to the hotel, is a coffeeshop that opens day and night. In the morning/noon, there are stalls selling koay teow soup, char kway teow, breakfast set etc while during the night, one could get bak kut teh.

Opposite road of the hotel (right side), one could find a shop selling tau sar piah and other pastries. The pastries were quite good. There's also a nasi kandar shop but didn't try. One could also get to the famed Ghee Hiang head office at Macalister Road, by turning left from the hotel. However, it was quite tricky to cross the busy roads.

If one would like to travel further, you can request the hotel to get a cab for you. There are private car drivers sitting at the coffeeshop, so exercise your own caution and judgement if you choose this alternative. A ride to Armenian Street cost about RM15 per trip. Otherwise, the nearest free CAT shuttle is at Chowrasta Market (bus stop #12) or Komtar (bus stop #9).

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