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Friday, November 2, 2018

Hard Rock Hotel - Desaru Coast

Being an avid Hard Rock Fan for many years, it was my first experience staying in Hard Rock Hotel. If not for my anniversary, perhaps this chance of getting a stay in the newly launch hotel may not had happened.

Hard Rock Hotel
We reached there an hour or 2 before the formal check in timing and our rooms were not ready. Thus we loitered around the hotel and try to get familiar with the place ourselves.

Stand
The reception area is an opened space and looking out of the area, we got to see enjoyable moments in the Adventure Park.

Lobby Area
While exploring around, we saw that there were shuttle buses coming in. However we asked around and realized that those buses were catered for their staff.

Hard Rock Hotel
As the place was relatively new, quite a portion of the hotel were not really in operation, like the coffee lounge and we can see some parts of the rooms were still under renovation. Even the surroundings, its hard to get around without transport.

Adventure Park Behind Check In Counter
We sat around the Lobby and Bar Area, people watching while sipping some coolers waiting for time to pass by. The area was breezy and bright.

Waiting 
We checked a few rounds with the counter and finally our room was ready for check-in.

Waiting at the Lounge
A slight disappointment we had received as the hotel rooms facing the water theme park were all fully occupied thus we were told that we will get hotel facing the sea. However things are still under construction and do not expect the usual sea view we had in mind.

Hotel Facing Sea - My View from the Balcony :(
The lift level were confusing. Lift number doesn't tally the actual level indicated.

Colorful shades while waiting for Lift
We had the Deluxe King Room which is about 42 sq metres / 452 sqft with an attached balcony. As this is their soft launch period, facilities and hotel interior are still very new. The crew that showed us to the room was friendly and explained the usage of the room.

Into the Room
We were welcomed by the pair of Swans on the king bed (pre-arranged with the hotel staff). The room as well as the bed was spacious.

Swans on Bed
Love the comfort level in the hotel room, with such environment, it just make us felt relax and not stepping out of the room. Moreover it was a gloomy and cold weather. Awww... even the firmness of the bed felt so right at the correct moment.

Pillow Case with Guitar
I love the part on their entertainment system in the hotel room. With their flat screen TV and On-demand movies, I guess I can be a couch potato. Not to mention about the free Wi-Fi provided too. There is sound woofer system too. Connections like HDMI, RGB, VGA and USB were all provided.

Plugs
They have this function that if the balcony sliding door is open, the air conditioning will be automatically switched off.

Door to Balcony

Balcony
It was a good move by the hotel to go in line with the Recycling Practice. Instead of serving plastic bottles of complimentary mineral water, they had water coolers at every level for us to refill. These bottles were sanitized and each come with a carrier for convenient.

Reuse Refill Return
The Water Filling Station dispenses the water automatically when you placed your bottle at the indicated area and there is a number counter to indicate how many bottles have been saved.

Water Filling Station
Another worthy part to mention will be their mini bar, their snacks and tibits are all free of charge. Not sure if its just for its soft launch.

Mini Bar Area
Thanks to the crews that took efforts in presenting macaroons at our doorsteps instead of Cake and flowers as requested earlier. They did call up before approaching our room and if it was supposed to be a surprise to me, just too bad that I have picked up the call and they had revealed this little token from them.

From the Hotel
Breakfast at the Sessions. It looks quite empty to us as the seats were not fully occupied.

Sessions

Dining Area at the Sessions
We were not every early for breakfast and not many people there. A good point was that we did not have to squeeze with others and queue for food.

Food Counters
Varieties of food were relatively enough with Western, Chinese, Indian and Malay Breakfast. A staple dish that won't go missing from every hotel's breakfast in Malaysia would be their Nasi Lemak.

Breakfast Area
The egg station looked a little different to me from all the hotels I had visited. They had built a shelving in between and created a "barrier" between the cook and the diners. It brought a little inconvenience that we need to raise ourselves up to collect the eggs. In normal hotel, it would have been "barrier" free. 

Where we get our eggs served
Food items were well organised and kept warm in individual pots. 

Buffet Breakfast
The pots were of quality and popular brand. Some strength will be required while lifting the pots cover up.

Beef Sausages

My Breakfast
We were also free to choose our seating and I love the round table seat.

Seating in the Sessions
Overall, I would comment that their service and hospitality is really great. The only regret I had is that the weather were not too good and we miss out the free entrance into the adventure park. 

Hard Rock hotel
It will be great to return again once the area have been developed with a few launch of hotel. Perhaps another 1 to 2 years time.

Still developing
Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast
Location: Jalan Pantai 3, Desaru Coast, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Naked Finn

As a first timer in The Naked Finn, we are recommended to take the set. There are 2 sets to choose from with difference of $20. The set meal is priced per pax and the rule is that everybody on the same table must order the same set. We went ahead for the $68 per pax meal which consist of 6 dishes.

The Naked Fin
After we took our order, we were given a saucer where by there are 3 types of Asian Sauce that gave a good taste to the dishes we had.

Condiments
As we gave our main focus to the food in The Naked Finn, we had only ordered 2 bottles of sparkling water throughout our dining session.

Sparkling Water
Water Spinach aka Kang Kong was our first dish. It was a sharing portion served chilled, blanched and tossed in kalamansi juice. It gave a different dimension to the usual Kang Kong we had. It was succulent, also crunchy and flavorfully served in dried shrimp and fried shallot oil.

Water Spinach
We ordered additional Lobster bisque and asked them to divide equally between 2 bowls. The American Lobster bisque was available during then while European lobster was unavailable. The taste from the bisque was out of my expectation for it wasn't the creamy kind that we had from the day to day Western Cuisine. Instead it was more towards the Style of Chinese Prawn Mee Soup but don't get me wrong saying that it's not of quality. The bisque was made up of roasted lobster (head & roe), skate stock, tomato puree and brandy.

Lobster Bisque - $22
I'm not really a fan of such baby squids but it had thrown me a surprise as they were delectable. They were grilled on cast iron griddle with grapeseed oil. Simply love its smoky flavours from the grill, moreover they were not oily and were chewy. I would say that the freshness of the squid was apparent.

Wild-caught 'baby' Indian squid
Never know "Bee Hoon" can be prepared in a nice way like this. Totally remarkable! They were blanched, tossed in special sauces and topped with eye catching Sakura Ebi in contrast of the white strands of vermicelli. Flavours could be enhanced with the citrus juice from the lime.

Piquant vermicelli
Each of us was served 4 pieces of flambeed in white wine. I think I have a soft spot for these. They were awesomely prepared , drizzled with fish sauce and fried shallot oil. Fragrant!

Wild-caught New Zealand littleneck
Fillet was pan fried in grapeseed oil, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil. Cant imagine that its skin was crispy while the meat was moist tender and smooth.

Locally-farmed barramundi
Total of 6 pieces of Giant Prawns were served to us. They were grilled with sea salt on cast iron grill.

Farmed Giant Tiger Prawn
Slices of Iberico Pork were yummy. They were service with sea salt and dried sole fish.

Secreto Iberico Pork - 180g - $30
As a whole, I think I'm spoilt. I'm please with every dishes served. Love the fact that they are understated and never failed leaving a good impression to us. It really illustrated the effect of  having less is more. From their dishes, I had also understood that simplest preparation of food with minimal use of sauce can taste great too.

Interior
Environment is good and most importantly, food was satisfying. Glad that I had make a good choice dining in this laid back vibe for a birthday dinner.

Seating

Rating:
4 / 5

The Naked Finn
Location: 39 Malan Road, Gillman Barracks, 109442

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Yong He Noodle

Drove from the West to the East to satisfy our curiosity on Yong He Noodle and had it for breakfast. They are just located in a coffeeshop near by the Hawker Centre in front of Temasek Junior Colleage.

Yong He
The noodle was tossed in chilli sauce served with fresh clams, prawns, abalone, minced meat, mushrooms and vegetables. "Mee Kia" aka the thin noodle was slightly broader than the usual ones I had.

Signature Noodle - $5
 Making the bowl of noodle outstanding, Yong He added braised sauce and special broth, and together with the fried pork lard, everything tasted perfect. The style of preparation reminded me of Ah Guan Noodle, come to think of it, their taste are familiar too.

Ingredients
Luckily, we were there earlier as the queue went rather snaky after we got our food. Considering the portion and quality, I would say my trip down and money is well spent here. Through some articles online, we learnt that the man behind Yong He Noodle is the uncle of Ah Guan's Noodle and brother of Ah Lam Abalone Noodle. To think of it, no wonder the taste was pretty similar! 

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Yong He Noodle
Location: 18 Bedok South Road, Singapore 460018

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Super Lobster Restaurant 龍皇海鲜樓

Weeks back, my colleague was still mentioning to me about another place to explore in Malaysia will be Pengerang for their lobsters. Never did I realize that I will be here as this seems to be the nearest recommended place from our Hotel in Desaru as others were closed.

Super Lobster Restaurant 
The restaurant was not any typical run down eating place that we seen in Johor. It is renovated and well ventilated with fans and ventilators around.

Interior
With ample of parking space in front of the restaurant, one do not have to worry.

Parkign Space

Calamansi, Pure Lime Plum Juice & Ice Jelly - RM 3 Each
Tasted nice but the style was not my preferred choice of Salted Egg as texture tends to be a little powdery and lumpy.  However, I would comment that it still will not lose out to an average plate of fried squid flavoured with salted egg.

Squid Fried with Salted Egg 咸蛋蘇东 - RM 26 (Small) 
I'm quite impressed with their lobster menu and would say that I'm convinced on the varieties they are serving. Besides the cook ones like Special Soup, they also can do it with butter, salted egg, black pepper, ginger egg, red wine and even Sashimi. These "special soup" wording on the menu had caught my attention and we decided to order 1 lobster and share between us. Price of the dish is seasonal base on the crustaceans weight.

How can I resist such plump lobster served in front of me? It's almost impossible. Served fresh with good quality, even the special soup tasted heavenly. Special soup is not watery but a little thicker packed full of herbal taste. Recommended!

Lobster with Special Soup 上汤龙虾 - RM 

Never regretted coming here, for their seafood are fresh and tasty.

Steam Fish with Hong Kong Style 港式蒸鱼 (顺风鱼) - RM 78

Yummy
This dish had make the disadvantage of ordering the sizzling hotplate dish so prominent with the black sauce splattering all over the table. If we get too close to it during the first few minutest when it was served, we may get scalded by the pipping hot sauce. If I know that the hot plate venison was prepared in black pepper sauce, I might skip it as I'm not really a fan of the sauce. However, to average out, it was rather tasty and not too peppery. 

Hot Plate Venison - RM 26 (Small)
We were not so exaggerating as our table consist of other dishes unlike the table next to us. They had ordered lobster in every dish, lobster with fried noodles, lobster fried with salted egg etc. As this is quite a distance from Singapore Woodlands Check Point, I foresee that I will not be back any sooner. However, if you are lobster lover and don't mind travelling, Super Lobster Restaurant might be a consideration that you may want to splurge your Ringgits on. Afterall with the exchange rate of 1:3, given the quality of food, its still cheaper than what we have in Singapore.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Super Lobster Restaurant
Location: 7, Jalan Jenahak, Kampung Sungai Rengit, 81600 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia