15 October 2010

Hainanese Delights & Esplanade Rojak, Penang

As mentioned last week, I left earlier on the last day of the BlogFest.Asia conference because I was tired and wanted to rest before my dinner appointment that night. My appointment was to host a KL blogger (Jino) and his partner, along with The Pooh.

Earlier in the day I gave Jino 3 choices - hawker fare, Nyonya cuisine, or Hainan fusion cuisine. They are all uniquely Penang, and he chose Hainan fusion, so I brought him to Hainanese Delights at Hotel 1926. This was my 2nd visit there - my first was a farewell dinner for Ivan. Though pricier than standard Chinese restaurant, it has a unique style that is fast disappearing. Though to be frank, it has hits and misses, and I enjoyed my 1st visit more.

(There are more comprehensive reviews out there. I am just discussing the dishes we actually ate.)

Chinese tea - RM1/pax, Peanuts - RM1

Jino ordered the tea, which I have forgotten the name to. At any rate, it went well with our dinner.

Asparagus, long beans, and winged beans in sambal - RM12
We asked it to be kept to minimal spiciness and they did. It was perfectly balanced and crunchy. And I just learned that kacang botol is known as winged beans in English.

Steamed rice - RM1.20/bowl
OK, the first snag I hit. I am usually not picky about the quality of my rice, since it merely provides a buffer for the other dishes. But Dad is, and he demands a level of fluffiness and softness that only decent rice and cooking technique will provide. Unfortunately, the rice here barely hit the mark. It's edible, but it definitely didn't make me want to get an extra bowl.

NZ Lamb Stew - RM35
 You need to pre-order this since stews need time to... er, stew. We didn't and were thankful that they still had it. While delicious, let me brutally honest. RM35 for 6 bites of lamb (tender as they are) with potatoes does not actually equate good value. The first time I dined there I ordered the NZ Braised Lamb with Ladies Fingers, which was the same price but wayyyy superior to this. You should go for that instead of the stew. I know I should have.

Chicken Pie - RM28

Inside the chicken pie...
The Chicken Pie never disappoints! It's quite evident that the puff pastry is hand made, and the ingredients go very well together without being overly creamy. Chicken, diced vegetables, potato cubes, and egg all come together to make a delicious star.

The portions were just nice for the 4 of us and the total bill came up to RM93.28 with 5% service charge and 5% govt. tax. Speaking of service charge, the attention we received was exemplary. Our waitress made sure our tea pot was always filled without being too intrusive.

After dinner, we picked up The Pooh's "friend" and headed to Esplanade where we had another Penang classic - Rojak! Another confession - I'm not a big fan of Rojak. While I do not dislike it, I do not eat it unless someone else orders it. Perhaps I'm too cheapskate to pay RM8 for a plate of fruit laced with rojak sauce and crushed peanuts:

Esplanade Rojak - RM8

While eating the Rojak, we played 5 rounds of Monopoly Deal. Now, if you haven't heard of this card game I suggest you try it out soon. It's quick to pick up, quick to play, has layers of strategy, and you look really smart to blur onlookers.
Playing Monopoly Deal - priceless

Unfortunately the sea breeze was not forthcoming that night, and so we called it quits after 5 games. It was also past 11pm and since I was working the next day, I sent our guests back to Tune Hotels and called it a night...


Ivan said...

Just want to let you know that i do follow your blog. He he.

Zemien said...

Thanks Ivan :)

I guess I should try to read your website sometime too :P

Ultraman Jino said...

it's bou lei~ thanks for the night ^^
it's wonderful~

[Jino] - A man's not a man unless he knows how to shoot

Zemien said...

Jino: Thanks for the clarification and hope to visit you in KL next round.