Xuan Xin Restaurant at Gurney Plaza| Penang

Who would think that there's actually a decent chinese restaurant in a shopping mall? Well, I have stereotyped food in a mall to be less delicious as they are usually for hungry shoppers to fill up their tummy. So I was actually pleasantly surprise at the quality of food at Xuan Xin Restaurant. It is a very bright and spacious restaurant situated on the third floor of Gurney Plaza's new wing. The food is flavourful and has a rather prompt service. They have incorporated the wireless calling system whereby you press buttons on the table to call for a staff or for your bill. Although this system is useful for such a big restaurant, it has actually reduced the staff alertness.
Service buttons | The TrishawPress the button for attention, bill or water.

Fried Lotus Roots | The Trishaw
Stir fry lotus root with french beans was well cooked. The lotus roots were thinly sliced and cooked to perfection, still with a good crunch to it.

Herbal black chicken soup | The Trishaw

Black chicken herbal soup

I am sure you must be wondering what 'black chicken' is. It is a different species of chicken named 'Silkie' which has black skin, darkened bones and grey flesh. It got its name from the soft feathers. This gamy free range chicken is usually used in Asian cooking. In Malaysian Chinese cooking, we believe this species has curative effect and are usually used to cook soup. Click here to read the article on NYTimes about silkie.

Salted egg deep fried tofu | The Trishaw

This deep fried beancurd with salted egg is a must try. I think it is a dish that will convert any tofu haters.

Salted fish & pork belly in claypot | The Trishaw

Claypot pork belly with salted fish and dried chilli; salty, spicy, sweet and aromatic.

Mango chicken | The Trishaw

Mango chicken

Mango chicken has always been one of my favourite chicken dish. I've not seen this dish anywhere else except in Malaysia. The only restaurant outside Malaysia that has this dish so far is Maximini in London, near Lancaster Gate.

Steamed eggs | The Trishaw

The steam egg is so smooth and has the right ratio of eggs and water.

Stir fry spring onion fish | The Trishaw

I would definitely recommend this restaurant for a good dinner after a tiring day of shopping. It's well worth it.

XUAN XIN RESTAURANT


Gurney Plaza, 3rd floor
170-03-86, Plaza Gurney, Persiaran Gurney
Goergetown 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: +604-229 7882
Business Hours: Open Daily, 11am - 10pm

There are other branches as well and address is on their website.

Seafood by the beach, a blissful evening I miss

Ask what a girl who grew up on an island misses, it will not even take her a second to tell you it is seafood and beach. My recent encounter with a few people who do not like crab nor prawns or even mussels, left me thinking. Why don't they like them? Is it the taste or is it because they were not exposed to seafood where they are from? I grew up eating seafood and was even nicknamed the queen of fish cause I will completely dismantle the fish down to the bones and head. Nothing's left! Well, except the bones and eyes of course. As for crab, the second on my favourite seafood list, I was told it looks ugly and no one should eat them. They have claws!! Well, who ever said this is wrong. A fresh crab need only to be baked, the shell actually keeps the flesh moist and juicy. It is so sweet, it tastes absolutely heavenly on its own. I remember watching the Great British Food Revival on TV one night a long while ago where Angela Hartnett, a michelin starred chef tries to revive crab to the British public who does not appreciate them at all. Most British crabs are exported to neighbouring countries like France.

Since I have not been home for more than a year, it is making me miss seafood by the beach in tropical weather. Lucky for me, I will be back on the beautiful island I grew up in, really soon so I would like to share with you what Penang has to offer. I remember the first time I came to this seafood restaurant. I was greeted by the smell and smoke of barbecued satay and a lovely view of the horizon. Not only was there a little wooden stand with barbecued satay, there was also an open air seafood restaurant. I was delighted to be brought here for dinner. One by one, the food were served not long after we arrived. We did not have to wait long as we ordered on our way there. The benefits of mobile phones.
Wooden satay stand

Wooden satay stand


The beach view in front of the restaurant

Chilli Crab
Chilli crab

Baked crab

Baked crab is a perfect way to cook crab as you can taste the juicy sweetness of the crab

Sauceless satay

Smokey and tender sauceless satay

kangkung belacan

Kangkung belacan (Fried morning glory with shrimp paste)


Kam heong style kappa

Steamed fish teochew style

Steamed fish teochew style

Sunset at Teluk Kumbar

Sunset at Teluk Kumbar

Sitting by the beach while the sun sets, accompanied by the calming sound of waves is the perfect way to enjoy fresh and well cooked seafood.



TELUK KUMBAR SEAFOOD

84, Mk 9, Teluk Kumbar
11920 Penang
Malaysia

+604 649 1403

Cod with sweet potato slices and sauce vierge

Sauce vierge!! It's French and it sounds complicated! I don't know about you, but for me, anything food related with a french name either makes it sound more sophisticated or complicated. Well, it is actually as easy as 1-2-3 and it takes that long to make it. There is barely cooking in this sauce, and you don't even have to warm up the oil if you prefer but I personally think that warming up the oil slightly with the ingredients will infuse it with more taste.

Copd sweet potato sauce vierge | The Trishaw

COD WITH SWEET POTATO & SAUCE VIERGE RECIPE


Ingredients:

  • 2 cod fillets

  • 2 sweet potatoes

  • 50g butter (25g for cod, 25g for sweet potatoes)


  • 2 tomatoes (peeled, de-seeded, chopped)

  • 1½ tbs chopped basil

  • 1 tbs chopped coriander

  • 70ml extra virgin olive oil

  • Juice of ½ lemon

  • Freshly ground black pepper & sea salt to taste

Method:

  1. Make a cross cut on the bottom of the tomatoes and place in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove and rinse with cold water. This will enable the skin to peel off easily.

  2. Peel the sweet potatoes and slice them into about 5mm thick.

  3. Place the sweet potato slices in a sauce pan and pour hot water over it, enough to cover them. Add salt and 25g butter.

  4. Boil the sweet potatoes for about 10 minutes or until just cooked through to keep the shape intact. Make sure to not over cook until too soft as the slices will fall apart.

  5. Heat a non-stick pan with olive oil and place the cod fillets on it to crisp up the skin.

  6. Add the knob of butter and spoon the hot butter and oil over the top of the fish until just cooked through.

  7. Remove fish from pan and let rest on a kitchen towel to soak up the oil.

  8. While the cod is cooking, warm the olive oil on a very low heat, be careful not to boil it.

  9. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, basil, coriander leaves, freshly ground black pepper and salt in the warm oil for about 1 minute.

  10. Remove from heat and squeeze in lemon juice. Sauce vierge, done. Place this aside for plating later.

  11. To plate, use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the sweet potatoes. Place each slice gently on the plate to create a flower shape.

  12. Position the fish in the middle and spoon the sauce vierge around the cod and a little of the liquid on top of the fish.

Cod sweet potato sauce vierge 2| The Trishaw

Salida del Sol, Patnem Beach | South Goa

For some reason, we did not venture north of Patnem beach on our first few days. On our last night on the way back from our search for Harmonic, we found this beautiful and atmospheric restaurant, Salida del Sol. It was love at first sight.
Salida Del Sol Night | The Trishaw

The exterior and setting of this place was what attracted us in the first place. It was so romantically lit, with very interesting hand drawn paper lanterns. The seatings were very cosy and intimate, everyone there seem to be very relaxed and having a good time.

Salida Del Sol Bar | The TrishawThe bar

Salida Del Sol Interior | The Trishaw

The floor space of this restaurant was filled with sand and each individual hut had a wooden platform with which we had to take off our shoes and seat barefoot on the cushioned seats. We felt very at ease here, as if dining at our holiday home by the beach. The giant, soft, fluffy pillow made it a lot more comfortable and cosy. We could lie there all day, drinking our masala chai, eating, reading and listening to the amazing music that were very suited for the mood we were in.

Christmas decor | The TrishawThe pretty Christmas decoration with a touch of the beach, with dried coconut shell.

Masala Chai| The TrishawMasala tea (spiced tea)

Chicken Tikka Acharis | The Trishaw

We ordered the Chicken Tikka Acharis, which was chicken marinated in fresh lemon sauce with local pickles and curd, grilled in tandoori oven. It came served with salad and naan bread. Who knew chicken could taste so vibrant and fragrant with spice. We also ordered the vegetable biryani (seen in the background) which was very delicious indeed; packed full of flavour, moist and well cooked rice.

Salida Del Sol Food | The TrishawLots of food for the both of us, but we finished everything. It was too scrumptious to waste any food.

Salida Del Sol Interior 2 | The TrishawThe happy me, well fed and ready to order dessert. 

Flambeed Pineapple | The TrishawVery boozy flambeed pineapples

Wooden Bill box | The TrishawThis pretty wooden box came with the bill which was then filled good tips for the fantastic, friendly service.


Day Salida del Sol | The Trishaw


On our last day, I had to come here one last time to soak up the daytime vibe. Daytime at Salida del Sol was as magical as it was at night. It was less romantic but still very intimate, chilled out and cosy. I had freshly squeezed watermelon juice before our quick kayak session which we squeezed in before the cab arrived at our beach hut for our airport drop off.

Patnem beach | The Trishaw

Salida del sol was so close to the beautiful beach, it adds to the beauty of it all. Both M and I agree that this is our favourite place to be during out entire trip. If we were ever back in Patnem, we will be sure to spend a lot of time here and probably stay in the beach hut too.

Salida de Sol


Patnem Beach
Goa, India
Tel: +44 (0)207 290 7600

Come to Cosmoba for its Tiramisu

Hidden on an alley off Southampton Row, lies this cosy little Italian restaurant. The staffs were very friendly and could not stop making us laugh. Very funny men indeed.

[gallery type="rectangular" ids="2358,2357,2359"]

We were hoping for some authentic Italian food as it seems like the place that does kick ass food with no fuss. We ordered the bruschetta, mushroom soup and arancini to start. The bruschetta and arancini were average. The mushroom soup on the other hand, was pretty good. It was packed full of earthy, nutty mushroom flavour the way I like it; light with no cream.

Lobster Spaghetti | Cosmoba

Lobster on its own is already so flavoursome, it is difficult make a bad lobster dish. Luckily, they did not disappoint. The lobster spaghetti was delish, tasted like sea and its natural sweetness.

Sea bream | Cosmoba

I am a seabass lover and this was really disappointing. Although big portion, it did not deliver the taste of fish. A fish should taste like fish and it didn't!! You could not imagine my frustration. I really did not care about the portion, all I wanted was a piece of fresh fish, simply well cooked. So I got a little grumpy. Yes, all it takes to turn my smile upside down is tasteless food. At least the carbonara my friend ordered was decent.
Tiramisu

The night ended pretty well as we were lucky enough to be served a not so pretty looking but fantastic dessert, the tiramisu! They claimed it is the best tiramisu in London. I can't say it is the best I've tried but it is up there.

"Come here for their tiramisu."


Smile..


Very good service, friendly staff and fantastic tiramisu.

Frown..


The food is hit and miss. As long as you know what to order, you should have a good time.

Will I return?


Will definitely be back for the tiramisu, not so much for the food.

COSMOBA


9 Cosmo Place, Southampton Row,
London WC1N 3AP
Tel: +44 (0)207 837 0904

Closest station: Russell Square (Picadilly), Holborn (Central)

Cosmoba on Urbanspoon

Ricotta Crostini, a quick and fresh snack

Some easy to make appetizers or snacks that look and taste fresh. The only cooking involved is to toast the bread. The rest is down to the good quality and fresh ingredients, and your dainty hands to make them look pretty.


I made these for a light breakfast one Saturday morning and M was not happy. He expected our usual yummy breakfast that involves eggs and probably ham and vegetables. Vegetarian breakfast is not his thing. Although he finished the healthy crostini and agreeing that it tasted nice, he was still left slightly unsatisfied. I can't blame him cause I expected the reaction I got. So if like me, you have a meat eater partner or family member, please don't make the same mistake. Feed him the ham or salmon he so badly needs in the morning. You can always replace the vegetables with ham, cooked chicken, prawns or smoked salmon and dill. A smile is all we need to start the day.

Ricotta Crostini 4 | The Trishaw

In actual fact, I made these as they are beautiful in pictures, risking a baby frown from my grown man. He knew what I was up to :p

Ricotta Crostini


Ingredients:


  • 1/2 baguette
  • butter to spread
  • 120g ricotta
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tbs orange juice
  • 1/2 cucumber (sliced)
  • 3 large Pecorino tomatoes (or any tomato)
  • Handful of toasted hazelnuts
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Honey
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:


  1. Preheat oven at 180 on grill setting.
  2. Slice up the baguette and spread some butter. Place them on a baking tray and toast for about 7 minutes or until slightly crisp.
  3. Place ricotta in bowl, add orange zest, orange juice and a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper, and mix well.
  4. Spread them on the toasted baguettes.
  5. Neatly place some sliced cucumber and mint on slices of toasted baguette.
  6. For the tomato crostini, place a few drops of balsamic vinegar on a toast with ricotta spread and top with basil and tomato.
  7. For the hazelnut crostini, spoon some honey on top of the ricotta and top with hazelnuts.
  8. Sprinkle some sea salt over the crostinis and serve.

Tips:


  • The key to good crostini is to let the ingredients speak for themselves so use good quality and fresh ingredients.
  • You can use salmon with dill or any other ingredients you prefer. Be creative.

Ricotta Crostini 5 | The Trishaw

Dolphin watch at Palolem | Goa

Boatman | The Trishaw

The reason we decided to stay at the South of Goa was for a relaxing time and also to see Dolphins. It was amazing knowing that Dolphins were just in the sea a few metres from where we swam. The reception at our beach hut arranged a Dolphin watch boat trip for us. We had to leave at 7am to make sure we see the dolphins swim amongst us. 7am is nothing when you get a chance to see dolphins.
Boatman 2 | The TrishawOur boatman keeping a lookout for us. He got sharp eyes, like an eagle.

Dolphin boat watch | The TrishawOther early risers on the same mission as us.

Everyone was very eager, looking around the boat, hoping the dolphins will pop their head next to the boat for us to pat. Of course, that didn't happen.  They swam above the waters only very briefly, then diving in and out again. It was more like a gentle say hello rather than a big scene of flicking themselves out of the water and making a toss spin, like we imagined it to be. It was not like in the movies.

Dolphin | The TrishawThe only dolphin picture I have that is visible enough.

I was busy looking out for dolphins and experience it first hand instead of looking through my camera lens so I apologise for not being able to share some more decent photos of this beautiful mammal. I love dolphins as they look friendly and happy all the time.

Rocks & Beach | The TrishawWhen we were done with our dolphin watch, the boatsmen were nice enough to take us to other beaches further away for sightseeing. We went to Honeymoon beach and Butterfly beach. Butterfly beach was named so for a reason. It was filled with lots of  colourful butterflies flying amongst us.

Rocks | The TrishawSome rocks off Honeymoon beach.

Sparkly water | The TrishawLove this photo of the sparkling sea as the sun rises slowly above us.

Getting out of the boat | The TrishawEveryone trying to get out of the boat.

Casa Fiesta | The TrishawBack to Casa Fiesta for breakfast.

Banana Pancake | The TrishawBanana pancake with freshly squeezed pineapple juice for breakfast, after a great start to the day.

Casa Fiesta View| The TrishawThis is the fantastic morning view while having our breakfast. Time to read a book, have a chat and relax.

My upcoming holiday will have to top this; to swim with dolphins! That will be a dream come true. I am still envious of my friend who swam with dolphins while in Mexico. Anyone of you who knows where to do the same, please let me know. Who knows, I might be able to swim with these beautiful mammals more than once. We shall see about that and I will definitely let you know when I do that.

Sunday lunch at Village East

Bermondsey is becoming the new chic area with many restaurants and cafe popping up. Many of them have good reviews. One fine cold but sunny Sunday, we went to Village East for brunch. At least that was the plan initially but plans sometimes change for the better.

Villaage East Entrance | The TrishawEntrance to Village East

After a long walk from the station, we finally arrived! The restaurant was already buzzing with people who had woken up from their possibly amazing saturday night out or in, now well dressed and pretty. Everyone looked happy and fresh, some came from exhibition at Tate Modern in their stylish frocks.

Villaage East Bar | The TrishawThe bar filled with all sorts of fruit juices you can imagine. If you please, early cocktails are served too. It's Sunday after all.

Miso Skate with ricwe | The TrishawBaked skate wing with miso glaze, pak choy and rice.

Like I told you, we planned to have brunch but it was already lunch time and oh well, lunch menu looked too tempting to have eggs Benedict. And because the menu was so good, I was torn between two fish dishes. I could not decide which fish was better but the girl taking my order had a look in her eyes when she said the skate wing tasted much better. I trusted her and was not disappointed at all.

Halibut | The Trishaw

My friend ordered pan fried hake fillet with saffron, clam and squid orzo with bouillabaisse sauce which I was about to order. The hake was well cooked and delicious but frankly speaking, the skate wing was a winner.
Fresh Juice | The TrishawJuice overload

Later, M joined us after his lunch meeting with his mates at Pizarro, just across the road from us. They couldn't get a table at Village East cause they were being men, and not made reservation. Hah!! The staff happily moved us from our table for two to the more spacious lounge area as there were no more tables available. We were happy sitting at the lounge area. It was a stylishly arranged space with comfortable couch. They even had my favourite Sori Yanagi Butterfly stool! Tick.
Smile..

Love it that they have almost any kind of fresh fruit juice at the bar. Good service, good food, great ambience. Particularly like the lounge area.
Frown..

A slightly long walk from either station but it was worth it. Also, there is a possibility of being turned away without a reservation as it gets really busy on weekends so book ahead. It's nice to walk all the way knowing there is a table waiting for you.
Will I return?

Definitely.

Village East


171-173 Bermondsey Street
London SE1 3UW

Tel: +44 (0)20 7357 6082

Nearest station: London bridge (jubilee/northern), Borough (northern), Bermondsey (jubilee)

Village East on Urbanspoon