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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sri Ananda Bahwan Restaurant - Penang

Sounds similar to Ananda Bhavan, but apparently this is a completely different establishment. It certainly brightened my day seeing a vegetarian Indian place located in the centre of Georgetown, and upon venturing inside, it was pleasing it see it was bustling and extremely popular, tourists seem to be keeping well away from it though. A wide variety of North and South Indian dishes are available, with a vast menu. This restaurants origins will primarily be South Indian, thus I expected the South Indian food quality to be much higher, let's find out if it was...

Sri Ananda Bahwan Restaurant
Location: 66 Penang Street, Georgetown, Penang
Contact: (04)2644204
Opening Hours: Unknown

Here are some of the selections available, which you can get presumably with rice. All of them looked very delicious, and there is a wide variety of different fascinating dishes!

A dish I'm always eager to order at any Indian establishment is a thali. This is the North Indian Thali Meal. Price wise it seemed very affordable to me. Thali is basically a bit of everything all on one tray. There are various curries, desserts, breads, sauces all together. The curries in this thali were deliciously creamy, and I was surprised to see mock meats inside also. The bread on offer is a chapati, while I would have opted for a naan, the chapati was cooked well. This dish is good for beginners to Indian food, who want to sample a bit of all the dishes. Good overall.

Price: RM6.00. 8/10

Next up, to continue with the theme of North Indian food we got a Plain Naan. What was so unusual about this dish was the dipping sauce that accompanied it. The striking yellow sauce at the back was in fact, cheese sauce. I've never seen naan come with a sauce like this. While it is hardly textbook cooking, being a lover of cheese, I secretly found myself liking it. The naan was cooked so-so. It was a little flat and lacking the right flavours. But I've had worse naan's overall, and for the price they were generous with the amount given.

Price: RM2.00. 7/10

Finally, we have the most eye-catching of all the dishes, which is the Tandoori Vegetarian Chicken. I absolutely adore tandoor cooked food, with its sensational smokey flavour that oozes from the food. Was this the same? Not quite. Comparing to some that I've tried in Singapore, I found that the mock meat was not as burnt and didn't have that fragrant tandoor flavour trapped in the texture. Also, the 'meat' was a little too chewy. But I did like the look of it, and overall I wasn't too disappointed.

Price: RM6.00. 6/10

Conclusion - I was meaning to try more of their South Indian offerings, but sadly I was just too full to try anymore. For the dishes I did sample though, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the North Indian dishes, and while there is some room for improvement, overall I think they did a very commendable job. In particular, I thought the North Indian thali was quite delightful, and those heading to this eatery, I would say that's a pretty good introduction dish. Hope you enjoy!

Overall Rating
Food - 7/10
Ambiance- 8/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 8/10

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Good...So Good Vegetarian - Raffles Place

Discovered this place by trawling through the vegetarian society website. Upon arriving to this food court, which is only a few minutes walk from exit D of Raffle's Place MRT, it struck me as a simple looking vegetarian stall. Further inspection however, showed that it does have some interesting, and dare I say unique dishes, which did ignite my curiosity. Eggs can be found in a lot of these dishes, therefore this place is only really for vegetarians. The name of this place always brought a smile to my face, so let's find out just how good this food is...

CLOSED DOWN - As of 13/01/2013

Good...So Good Vegetarian
Location: 50 Market Street #01-32, Golden Shoe Car Park, May Hua food court
Contact: 83737602
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11.00am--9.00pm, Sunday closed.

Shanghai Ricecakes was the first dish sampled from this humble eatery. Overall I thought this was generally quite a tasty dish, that did have a lot of flavour packed into it. Where this dish falls short is the presentation and visual look of the dish. I don't expect restaurant quality plating at simple stalls, but it was so scruffy that it made me not want to eat it. Another slight problem was the ricecakes were too soft, I would have preferred them to be more chewy. Overall a pretty reasonable dish, but I wouldn't say that it warranted the price tag.

Price: $5.00. 5/10

Next time, a quite unusual dish, that I've never really seen at vegetarian establishments before. This is the Orange Peel Chicken. The main two components of this dish are the mock chicken and the orange peel that are both marinated in a sweet sauce. The concept of the orange peel is great and I think it goes very well with the mock chicken. However, only when eating the peel do I taste the zesty orange flavour. I would have like to have seen the sauce also be infused with orange. The salad is quite dismal, it consists of only lettuce leaves, which were browning. What would have been better is a fresh salad with orange rind sprinkled on top, something simple like that would have really lifted this dish. Good concept.

Price: $6.00. 7/10

Finally, we have the Hotplate Venison. Venison is deer meat, for those unaware. I always adore dishes arriving on a hotplate, but this one somehow didn't capture the flavours of the hotplate. The deer meat was derived from mushroom stems, which is arguably the best mock meat derivative. But the dish in general needed some flavours that would leap out at slap me in the face, instead, I didn't really feel anything profound from this meal. It wasn't bad, just lacking in some areas.

Price: $6.50. 6/10

Conclusion - The lady working here is really friendly, and what I like is the menu is quite daring and has some unique dishes that one would not see regularly in most vegetarian eateries. However, all the dishes that I tried did seem to fall short slightly, which is a shame. Those that are in the CBD area, and are looking for a vegetarian place, I would definitely encourage you to take a look at this place. While the food is nothing exceptional, it's still a valiant effort.

Overall Rating
Food - 6/10
Ambiance- 6/10
Service - 8/10
Value - 7/10

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Yuan Xiang Vegetarian Food - Bugis

My colleagues actually picked this place out as a new vegetarian place to venture to. With it being in the Bugis area I was surprised to discover that I had not previously tried this place out. The location of this food centre is directly opposite the National Library, around a 6-7 minute walk from Bugis Station. They have a quite extensive menu with many selections of mock meats, vegetables and soups. Many of the dishes contain egg, therefore vegans, you may struggle to find suitable dishes from here. I ate here as part of a big group, so luckily I managed to sample a lot of the dishes, let's see how it went...

Yuan Xiang Vegetarian Food
Location: 143 Victoria Street
Contact: 63368892 Opening Hours: Mon–Fri: 10.30am – 3.30pm, 5pm – 11.15pm. Weekends & PH: 12noon – 11.15pm

CLOSED DOWN! (27/03/2011)

Frankly I am not a fan of ordering vegetable dishes, mainly because they are the same price as mock meat dishes and I don't feel as if I'm getting my moneys worth. For this banquet, we did give a couple a try though. Firstly, this is the Fried Baby Cabbage. Yes, this is also known as bok choy, it's other name (in this instance) is from Chinese cabbage. The vegetables were not too oily, but honestly, I am not a fan of bok choy at all. What I did love in this dish, however, was those scrunched up mushrooms. When you pop them in your mouth they ooze juice and are just packed with flavour. I was picking them off the plate with frantic ferociousness!

Price: $6.00 (S) $9.00 (M) $12.00 (L). 7/10

This was a specialty dish that they were offering on that day. Those looking for this dish will not be able to find it on the menu. The name I am only able to name as Lionhead. I am sure this is not the complete name, but in the midst of the franticness of this meal, I was not able to note down the full name nor pricing for this particular dish. This dish has ginormous round balls of mock meat in a fairly clear soup with vegetables. These comet sized meat balls were not a hit with me. Inside they were incredibly doughy.


Mock meats galore in this banquet, and here is another one. This is the Black Pepper Spare Rib. The thick and rich black pepper sauce was a real hit with me. The green and red capsicum were cooked well. Although the mock ribs would really tick any boxes in regards to authenticy, it is still very well textured and has nice taste. A dish that was well above average overall, perhaps a little bit more of that scrumptious sauce on the plate and it would be a home run!

Price: $8.00 (S) $12.00 (M) $16.00 (L). 8/10

This is the Sliced Fish With Egg Chili. An unusual dish, which I don't believe I have ever seen available in other vegetarian eateries. This egg chili is similar to the sauce that can be found in chili crab, but taste wise is slightly different. The whisked egg in the sauce gives the liquid a new textural dimension. Making it thicker primarily. The sauce has little spice, and if anything, is slightly sweet. They were generous with the sauce. The fish had good flavour, but was fried a little too much. A really nice and fun dish though, and I enjoyed it a lot!
Price: $8.00 (S) $12.00 (M) $16.00 (L). 8/10

Another vegetable dish greets us, this is the Sambal Chili Kang Kong. The vegetable were actually cooked very nicely in this dish, still having that crunch to them, without being raw. Unfortunately what is very common with most vegetable dishes in vegetarian eateries is the high amounts of oil. For this dish, I found that to be true. Nevertheless, for someone who doesn't particularly enjoy vegetables, I liked this dish.

Price: $6.00 (S) $9.00 (M) $12.00 (L). 7/10

This thick soup dish is a twist of shark's fin soup, this time it is going by the name Hot & Sour Soup. All the components (sliced mock meat, vegetables etc), along with the texture and taste of the soup are exactly what one would come to expect from a shark's fin soup. The only real difference here (as the name would suggest) is that there is a little more bite from (presumably) chili powder that was added, and a subtle sour taste. For those that find shark's fin soup a little bland, this may appeal to you. For me, I liked this soup quite a lot, but still prefer the more traditional shark's fin.

Price: $7.00 (S) $10.00 (M) $14.00 (L). 7/10

Next up we have the Sweet & Sour Meat. This is a play on the traditional sweet & sour pork, but this time the mock meat is meant to represent chicken. I found that the mock meat in this dish was very nice. It was chewy and had a lot of flavour packed inside. The other ingredients included pineapple and cucumber. What I thought could have been better about this dish was the sauce. A traditional sweet & sour sauce should be...Well...Sweet and sour. This sauce didn't have any striking tang or juicy sweetness, and really left the dish feeling flat, to me.

Price: $7.00 (S) $10.00 (M) $14.00 (L). 6/10

Last but not least, we have the Salad Prawns. A few of my colleagues had actually tried this dish before, and were apparently very impressed with it. With a build up like that, I was certainly eager to try for myself. Starting with the negatives - The sauce was quite confusing to me. It tasted like a sweet and sugary sauce with an almost gluey consistency. The sugary sauce didn't really match well with the prawns, in my opinion. The mock prawns were nice and had good authentic texture, but I thought they were buried under too much of the batter. I would have preferred the outside to me thinner, so that the texture of the prawn could have been better appreciated by the eater.

Price: $8.00 (S) $12.00 (M) $16.00 (L). 5/10

Conclusion - Being in a popular tourist and local spot, every stall in this food centre have slightly inflated pricing, especially with the high amounts of ang mo that frequent there. To my relief, the quality of the food here is actually very good, and does just about justify the pricing. Food lovers going to Bugis are really spoilt for choice, but I would rank this place as one of the best vegetarian eateries in the area. Those looking for a more quiet and air-conned place may prefer Fortune Centre, but if you can handle the humidity and bustle of an outdoor Singapore food centre, then give this place a go!

Overall Rating
Food - 8/10
Ambiance- 5/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 7/10

Friday, October 22, 2010

Nalan Restaurant Purely Vegetarian - Farrer Park

I've heard some talk about this place on the vegetarian society, so decided to sprint down and explore. This place is located very conveniently close to the Farrer Park MRT, as well as the brand new 'eco' mall City Square. Unfortunately, everytime I have strolled past this restaurant it seems very empty, is the lack of customers simply back luck? Or are the food standards not to peoples liking? Of course to answer these critically important questions, there is but one solution - Let's check it out!

Nalan RestaurantLocation: 412 Serangoon Road
Contact: 62936404
Opening Hours: Mon to Sun: 8.00am -11.00 pm

CLOSED DOWN - Take note that Nalan at Farrer Park has closed down.  However, they have another outlet located at Capitol Plaza #‎B2‬-54, 13 Stamford Road

First thing we ordered was the Samosa Chaat. Presentation wise I think samosa chaat's always look very nice, and this one is no different. The flavour of the dish is a blend of sweetness from the chili sauce and a biting spice. The dish contains nice fresh raw onions, which always goes beautifully with Indian cuisine. The other ingredients include tomatoes, chick peas and of course the samosa itself. These are all seasoned with corriander. Low points to this dish were only one samosa was included in the dish, for the price, I believe they could/should have added one more. Also comparing to this same dish at Gokul, I found that Nalan's was not as refreshing, and a tad too spice heavy.

Price: $3.00. 6/10

Being a decicated lover of North Indian cuisine, the temptation of getting this North Indian Thali was too great for me to resist. What was dissatisfactory about this dish was how it looked. To me this looks like airplane food. The food is all jammed into this plastic container, and brings back horrid past memories I've had about plane food, it puts me off. I found that the mushroom curry was quite nice and the rice was grainy and well flavoured. The inclusion of the pickle and the 'yoghurt'/curd made for welcome additions...But...It's airplane food! I don't expect this from what visually looks to be a mid-range restaurant.

Price: $6.50. 5/10
Sticking with the thali spirit, we also ordered the South Indian Thali. Overall, this was a much more improved and impressive thali, which arrives on the traditional banana leaf, instead of a tacky plastic container. The different components to this dish were all quite delicious, but some of the sambal and daals were recklessly spiced, rendering me gagging for water a lot of the time. Another problem (particularly with the dry curries) was the salt levels. I know Indian food is synonymous for high salt levels, but these dry curries really took it to a new stratum. Good dish, but a better understand of the fundaments of these curries would have made it an even better dish.

Price: $7.00. 7/10

Conclusion - The main reason why Nalan has been unsuccessful in attracting customers is that it can't seem to decide what it wants to be. Visually this looks very much like a mid-range Indian restaurant, such as the like of Raj or Sagar Ratna. The pricing would also suggest the aforementioned. However, when looking at the menu, the style of the restaurant, this seems more like a typical South Indian fast food eatery ala Ananda Bhavan or Komala's. Sheer confusion. I think this eatery needs to establish a clearer strategy of what it wants to be, then I'm sure business will pick up.
Overall Rating
Food - 6/10
Ambiance- 4/10
Service - 5/10
Value - 6/10

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kwan Imm Vegetarian Food - Aljunied

I return to one of the areas most synonymous for vegetarian food in Singapore - Geylang. Although the streets may be a little rough and ragged, this place does indeed produce some of the best meat-free places. This time around, we checked out Kwan Inn. This place has had a somewhat steady reputation for serving unbelievably cheap food, which is also good quality.

Kwan Imm Vegetarian FoodLocation: Blk 134 Geylang East Avenue 1, #01-229 Kim San Leng Food Centre
Contact: UnknownOpening Hours: Daily: 7am – 10pm. Closed on alternate Mondays.

First dish up was the Hokkien Mee. For the price, the portion size here was really commendable. Taste wise, I found the dish to have a number of flaws. Firstly, I would have loved there to have been a slice of lime on the side, to squirt on the dish. This would have brought out the other flavours in the dish much more handsomely. The dish overall didn't have many profound flavours, and seemed to be too ginger heavy for my liking. The ingredients used were quite nice, but I found the tofu a little too greasy. Not bad overall though.

Price: $2.50. 6/10
One of my favourite Singapore dishes is certainly the Chicken Rice. The mock chicken in this dish (made from beancurd sheets) was quite nice. I particularly enjoyed the chewing outer 'skin' layer. The rice was infused with pandan flavour, which gives the whole dish an interesting flavour. But unfortunately I found that the rice was a little too mushy. A component that was clearly missing was the orange chili that usually accompanies chicken rice. While some people may not want it on their dish, due to its extreme spice, I would like to have seen it. Whilst it is not the best chicken rice that I've sampled, it is certainly a reputable attempt.

Price: $2.00. 7/10 (price now $2.50 as of 04/08/11)
Conclusion - It's increasingly rare in Singapore to find stalls/shops/hawkers that sell food at these low prices. Therefore, in terms of value it is really impossible to fault this place. A few years back this place underwent a significant renovation, but thank goodness the food has stayed as cheap as before. In regards to food quality - I have definitely eaten better laksa, chicken rice and hokkien mee. But, these still work as good 'quick fix' quality meals. Those living nearby this eatery can consider themselves very lucky!

Overall Rating
Food - 7/10
Ambiance- 7/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 10/10

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ee Beng Vegetarian Food Hawker - Penang

Having sampled the high quality food at the Ee Beng Restaurnt a few days prior, I was interested to see if the hawker style eatery that sits next to the restaurant (under the same name) also had the same wonderful standards, which I enjoyed from the restaurant. Of course, the food will not be as glamorous, what I was hoping to enjoy was good quality and affordable food, cooked simply and deliciously...Did I get what I was hoping for? Let's find out!

Ee Beng Vegetarian Food Hawker
Location: 20 Lebuh Dickens, Georgetown, Penang

Contact: (04)2629161

Opening Hours: 6.30am-9.30pm. Closed on Sunday

This lady, positioned on the outside of the establishment is in charge of the wan tan mee, hokkien mee and other such dishes. It is great ordering and getting to watch her assembling and cooking the dish. She is very efficient and methodical!

Although Wan Tan Mee would appear on the surface to be a relatively simple dish, there are many elements that can not be cooked well, and ultimately lead to the downfall of the dish. The expectional component in this dish was the noodles. They were firm and some of the most springy noodles that I've tried. This springy texture is achieved by immediately drenching the noodles in cold water immediately after they are cooked. The wan tans contained minced vegetables inside, and overall were not too bad. In summary, a flavourful and satisfying dish.

Price: RM2.50. 7/10

Usually when overseas I am aprehencious of ordering the typical Rice Plus Dishes selections. Not due to hygiene standards, as one might suspect, but I always get a niggling feeling they see an ang mo and decide to charge much more. So I usually stick to dishes with a fixed price. I made an expection to that rule at Ee Beng as the dishes they had on offer just looked so scrumptious. I was pleasently surprised they quoted me a very affordable price also. Ladyfingers are fast becoming my favourite vegetable, and they were flavoured well in this dish. The pumpkin dish was good, but the pumpkin itself was a little too raw. The white rice was nice and grainy. Great food overall!

Price: RM3.50. 8/10

This da bao style Nasi Lemak comes in a cute little take away packet, which is quite endearing. The dish comes with the typical components one would come to expect from a nasi lemak - Such as cucumber, mock fish, nuts and rice. One problem with this dish is there is too much chili paste, resulting in the ingredients being drowned by it, and makes the overall flavour one dimensional. The mock fish is nice, and had a subtle lemongrass twang to it, which I am in favour of. A common theme in all the dishes we tried was the impecibally cooked white rice, a major plus point in this dish also.

Price: RM2.00. 7/10

Conclusion - I was pleased to see that the Ee Beng brand did not let me down with their hawker style eatery that sits next to the restaurant. The food is superb value and the quality was as good, if not better than what I taste in Singapore. Ee Beng (restaurant and hawker) was the real standout from our trip to Penang, with none of the other places we sampled coming remotely close to it. I would recommend sampling the rice and dishes if you go to the hawker portion. But whatever you chose to try, I am sure you won't be disappointed.

Overall Rating
Food - 8/10
Ambiance- 8/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 9/10

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lily's Vegetarian Kitchen - Penang

Here we have another meatless offering from the trip to Penang recently. Again this may be consider a bit of a walk from the main city centre, but luckily for us our hotel was located quite near by this eatery. This place sells a mixture of popular Chinese dishes, as well as a heady section of Western delights too.

Lily's Vegetarian Kitchen
Location: 98 Noble House, Madras Lane, Georgetown, Penang
Contact: (04)2263810
Opening Hours: 9.00am-9.00pm

A closer look at some of the food that is on offer here at Lily's Kitchen. Most of the dishes on offer are quite affordable, and they have some more extravagant dishes that are slightly more pricey. Let's take a look at the food that I sampled.

As soon as I saw burgers were on offer here, of course I had to give one a try. Here we have the Chix Burger & Cheese. First of all, the size of this burger was quite impressive, considerably bigger than Vegan Burg back in Singapore. The pattie inside I have no complaints about - It was very delicious! The other ingredients included carrots, lettuce, mayo and cheese. The cheese could have done with being melted inside the burger a little more, to give that gooey texture. Overall a very enjoyable burger, which I have almost zero criticisms for.

Price: RM4.00. 8/10

Unfortunately after the burger, the dishes gradually took a turn for the worse. Next up we have the Char Kwey Kak. Upon ordering this dish, we originally thought we would be getting kwey teow. Unfortunately this is in fact carrot cake. This represents name problems on the menu, that needs changing. This carrot cake didn't appeal to me at all, the main reason being is because it was very tasteless. There was none of those powerful flavours sweating out of the dish, and overall it felt very flat.

Price: RM5.00. 5/10

Next up was the Curry Mee. This dish actually got a number of recommendations from various websites, so I was somewhat curious to see how good it actually was. My conclusion was this was quite a sluggish dish. Overall, to me, it just tasted like weak laksa. It didn't bring any of the popping flavours that one would typically come to expect from curry mee. Two types of noodles were inside this dish, the typical thick yellow noodles along with bee hoon. An affordable price, but a forgettable dish.

Price: RM3.50. 5/10

Conclusion - A nice little place overall, but the food doesn't quite cut it. In the end, we found ourselves fighting over the burger, and not really being interested in the other dishes that we ordered. A good restaurant/establishment must have a consistently good menu, and unfortunately the food that we ordered from Lily's Kitchen fluctuated far too much.

Overall Rating
Food - 6/10
Ambiance- 7/10
Service - 6/10
Value - 7/10

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sri Lukshmi Naarasimhan Vegetarian Restaurant - Farrer Park

Just when I thought I had tried almost everywhere in the Little India area, a little bit more sourcing and research and I found a few more 100% vegetarian places to go down and sample. This one is another purely South Indian eatery, so expects lots of the typical South Indian snack food! I was quite surprised that I had not noticed this place before, as it is only a couple of minutes walking distance from Farrer Park MRT. This restaurant is famed for andhra cuisine. Andhra cuisine emanates from the Andhra Pradesh state in India, so I was eager to see what was so unique about this variety of Indian cuisine.

Sri Lukshmi Naarasimhan Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: 438 Serangoon Road
Contact: 62927740
Opening Hours: 7.00am-3.00pm & 5.00pm-10.00pm. Closed on Wednesday

Here we can take a peak at the menu at Sri Lukshmi. There are no attempts at making any North Indian cuisine, this is purely South Indian. No problems with that, if South Indian food is what they do best, then there are no need for any other cuisines. The dishes as you can see have quite inflated prices. For me to be paying this much for South Indian food then it has to be of a very high quality, lets find out if it was...

The signature dish from this eatery is a specific type of dosai. This is the Hot & Spicy Andhra Masala Dosa. Before we get into the inner contents of this dosai, the outer crust was not up to scratch. It was too soggy. I have positive things to say about the inside though. The masala was creamy and moreish. What distinguishes this from a regular masala dosai is the unusual andhra paste that was smeared generously inside. This was a biting and hot, yet delicate and smooth paste, which magnified all the other flavours. The other hero of this dish was the luscious daal, it was thick, creamy and one of the nicest daal's I've tried. But was it worth this steep price? I would say, not quite.

Price: $5.90. 7/10

Next up was the South Indian Meal (Thali). As you can see, the presentational affect is great, and looks very luxurious. But how was the taste? I had mixed feelings overall about this meal, with some components working and others not. The daal and sambar were both credible, although some may find the salt levels too high. The yellow daal style curry on the right hand side was a little disjointed, and seemed to be a mismatch of ingredients that didn't form well together. The dry yam (I believe) powdery section on the left hand side didn't hit the right buttons for me either. The gulab desert was always a pleasure though. A mixture of pro's and con's for this meal overall.

Price: $6.80. 6/10

We decided that to further understand and immerse ourselves in the cuisine of andhra, we would get the Andhra Meal (Thali) as well. This was a perplexing disappointment. The only components that was different compared with the previous dish was this smooth paste and dry powder, which you can see in the picture. This definitely doesn't warrant the price increment of $1.20. The paste itself was slightly burning, and smooth. The powder I was slightly confused how exactly it fitted into the meal (perhaps someone can enlighten me). I was happy that all the dishes were served on the banana leaf, which enhances the spices and flavours. But overall I wasn't too impressed with this dish, especially considering the price.

Price: $8.00. 5/10
Conclusion - A slightly underwhelming place in my eyes, which just didn't hit the right buttons in the end. First of all, the restaurant itself has a quite morose feel to it, which doesn't create any dining enjoyment at all. The staff never presented us a menu for a good few minutes and when they did, it was only one menu, for two people. Why not just give two? The food did have some highlights which I did enjoy, but overall I didn't feel like I was getting the quality, which the high price would suggest. There are better South Indian eateries that can be found in the area. But perhaps those wanting to experience the spices and flavours of andhra then you may want to consider this place.

Overall Rating
Food - 6/10
Ambiance- 5/10
Service - 6/10
Value - 5/10

Annalakshmi Temple of Fine Arts - Penang

This restaurant is under the same brand/name as the Annalakshmi that can be found in Chinatown, Singapore. However, this one is no where near as capricious as that restaurant. This is a modest eatery located on the outskirts of Georgetown. It can be a pain to get to, and is extremely far from the tourist frequented areas. But hidden gems exist everywhere, and some great eateries can be worth walking miles for! The concept of this buffet that we attended is 'pay as much as you feel', hence there will no pricing for any of the dishes, but I will give my usual ranking out of 10!

Annalakshmi Temple of Fine Arts
Location: 1 Babington Avenue, Georgetown, Penang
Contact: (04)2288575
Opening Hours: Buffet - Wednesday & Saturday starting at 6:00pm

We opted for some unique Indian beverages to accompany our buffet. First of all, on the right hand side is the Mango Lassi, this was a sweet and thick yogurt based drink, which is very refreshing to drink with curries and the typical hot Indian food. Next to it, we have the Salty Lassi. The mixture of salt and the yogurt give this drink a subtle cheese flavour to it, which I love. Some people might not be able to take the sourness of the yogurt in the drink, but as with the mango lassi, it is a great drink to accompany Indian cuisine.

I really like how they label the different items with warning signs on the ingredients that are inside. In this case, with the rice that is available they let the customer know which contain onions. Overall the rice was nice and had good flavour.

There were a lot of vegetable based dry curry dishes, along with the wetter thick creamy curries. The curry in particular that had me constantly going back for more was a Pumpkin Curry which had that element of sweetness which married well with the Indian spices.

On offer in this picture was a version of Indian Rojak. Rojak is not a dish that I would usually order, but I assembled my own rojak with these ingredients. There are bread style ingredients at the back, with finely sliced onions and cucumber also. The sauce that you glue all these ingredients together with is a sweet peanut sauce, which was quite tasty.

Here shows a conglomeration of my favourite food from the buffet on a plate! All the different curries, sauces and rices worked wonderfully well together, and affirmed my belief that Indian food is truly the best cuisine in the world. In regards to bread to accompany the meal - There is options for Idli and Chapati. Idli is certainly not one of my favourite things, the chapati was floury and worked well with the curries.

Those curious to know how much I paid...In total I gave RM40.00. As I deemed this buffet to be of a very good standard, not only that, the workers seemed friendly.

Conclusion -I really enjoyed my experience at the Penang Annalakshmi. Although the core principle of this establishment mirrors the one found in Singapore - The workers are volunteers, you pay as much as you want etc. I feel that this branch is more honest and homely than the Chinatown, Singapore branch. It has not morphed into a franchise, and still sticks to its fundamental principles well. The food is delicious, and the buffet is very generous (way more elaborate than what I expected). For a restaurant stationed in the middle of nowhere practically, buried among residential houses, my expectations were exceeded. Deliciously spiced curries, well cooked chapati, good rice - Superb place! It's a trek to get there, but certainly worth it.

Overall Rating
Food - 8/10
Ambiance- 7/10
Service - 8/10
Value - N/A

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Life Style Veggie - Penang

The motto of this restaurant is 'We serve all the special and best vegetarian food...'. Sounds good to me. We actually stumbled upon this place by accident when we were roaming the streets of Georgetown. What's more exciting, this place was only opened a few days before we visited it. I love the energy and excitement that comes with a newly opened establishment, so I had to check this place out. Located pretty much in the centre of Georgetown, where the bulk of the tourists stay. Therefore, no one should have any problems finding this place. Let's check out the food...

Life Style Veggie
Location: 50 Jalan Macalister, Georgetown, Penang
Contact: (04)0165559054
Opening Hours: Daily 9.00am-3.00pm, 5.00pm-10.00pm

CLOSED DOWN - As of 26/11/2014

Another restaurant that is adopting this write your orders on the paper method. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I really adore this new system, and hopefully more restaurants adopt this in the future. Feel free to expand this picture also, to see a full range of the dishes on offer. There was also more selections on the reverse side of the paper.

We start of with what unfortunately what the most disappointing dish sampled from Life Style Veggie. This is the Life Style Creamy Vegetarian Chicken. The main issue here is with the name, the Chinese characters that are next to the English name is actually referring to frog meat, not chicken. Therefore there is information lost in translation here, which will leave the customers quite confused. For the price, the portion is too small. Again I must go back to the name, calling a dish 'creamy' when it is completely bone dry is quite careless. The frog/chicken mock meat was not too bad, it was not overly crispy. But quite an ordinary dish, and one which is advertised completely incorrectly.

Price: RM8.80. 3/10

Thankfully after that catastrophe, things did become more positive. This shift began with the Fried Kwey Teow. The kwey teow noodles were very well cooked. They were soft, yet still held firm, along with having that light and smooth texture in the mouth. The hard substance sprinkled on top of the dish is actually dried tofu, it is attempting to replicate lard. The dish had a wonderful burnt taste and smell, which is the key element which makes a successful fried kwey teow. Included inside was also mock prawns, char siew and beansprouts. Good dish overall and a very affordable price.

Price: RM4.00. 8/10

Last but not least was the Nasi Lemak. Although for such a simple dish the price appeared to be quite high, when it actually arrived, it became quite clear it was worth the price. The nasi lemak has many different components - Including two curries, one a typical Malay style curry, the second being a lemongrass curry. The dish also has ladyfingers, nuts, mock fish, mock mutton and a poppadom. The rice texture was nice and grainy. I particularly like the mutton curry, which was beautifully creamy. Perhaps the dish on a whole had too much curry though, and it caused the rest of the components to be overwhelmed by this brazen curry.

Price: RM6.00. 7/10

Conclusion - Overall my review and summary for Life Style Veggie will be positive. The staff that were working there were very welcoming and friendly, and I really admire a new vegetarian establishment like this opening up, so I wish them all the success. If only I didn't order that creamy chicken dish, then my perception of the food would have been much higher, if only. But I can't ignore it, the creamy chicken was an awful dish, absolutely terrible. But the other two dishes made up for it. Hopefully the restaurant revises this creamy chicken dish, as of course, a new restaurant has teething problems at the start. If I ever go back to Penang, then I will be sure to pay this place a visit again!

Overall Rating
Food - 6/10
Ambiance- 8/10
Service - 9/10
Value - 7/10
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