Saturday, October 15, 2016

Omakase Dining @ 绊 Kizuna, Penang Times Square

Little do we all know that 绊 Kizuna Japanese restaurant is one of the best Japanese restaurants in Penang. Comparing its quality of food, ambience, services and price, 绊 Kizuna definitely worth every ringgit you spend at the restaurant. 

绊 Kizuna opened their second outlet in Times Square Penang and it is also listed as the biggest Japanese Restaurant. It has taken over the previous restaurant 野 Yea and the place been renovated to become a much more gorgeous restaurant. We were told that the owner spent a lot of money in this outlet just to change it to a more decent restaurant.

This restaurant is beautifully decorated with numerous items imported from Japan that sure brings back memories if you have been to Japan. You will feel a warmth welcome by all their service staff the moment you step into the restaurant just like how polite the Japanese are. 

I've visited their very first outlet which was located at Bay Avenue near Queensbay, the food was really good with affordable menu and variety of choices, which justified why the outlet was pretty popular for lunch. That restaurant was much smaller than this, this place could definitely fit up to 1000 as it has 2 floors and the restaurant is really huge! They also have VIP rooms that can host big groups or small groups. It could be an ideal locations for companies who are looking for a venue to host their events too.

Anyway, I had the greatest Japanese style dining ever at 绊 Kizuna recently, Omakase
What is Omakase?
It is defined as "I'll leave it to you", which diners will leave the choices of dishes and ingredients to the chef, let the chef lead them to enjoy all the best they could prepare for the diners. 
Which means you do not get to choose what you eat, but you will be asked for your special diets or personal preferences and let the chefs surprise you with the best dishes they could offer.

Simple yet elegant table setting.

We were also served with this specially ordered Maxwell Sparkling Mead to go with our dining. This wine was specially and carefully selected by the chef that it is best to go with their Japanese food specially crafted by the chef. We were told that they are the only one that sells this wine so you can't find it anywhere else in Penang. It is priced at RM88 per bottle and I can guarantee you that it is worth for that price!
It was pretty refreshing with the Japanese cucumber and the lime that has added some twist to the wine itself. pretty smooth and blended well with the meal too.

Omakase is a very extraordinary dining experience and 绊 Kizuna is the only restaurant in Penang that is doing this. By ordering the Omakase meal, you are basically hiring your personal chef to serve you for the entire night. Every single dishes will be presented live to enhance the dining experience and you will get to see every single details and efforts paid by the chef on the food.
It would be best if you have time as this special dining experience may take up to 3 - 4 hours. If you were to make booking, 绊 Kizuna will serve Omakase in between 6pm to 8pm only, if you come later than that, the restaurant will not be able to serve you. 

Have you ever seen a fresh Wasabi? They only use this for their Omakase dining and not those ready made Wasabi. Everything will be grinded in front of you. Also you will be asked about your special dietary or your personal preferences too.

Chef in action! Carefully putting all the selected fresh ingredients together to form a delicious dish!

For starter, we tried this Kuroma Ebi Salsa
Tiger prawn, ikura, salsa sauce
This is a good starter as we all know that salsa sauce is kind playful in taste and it is very refreshing. The tiger prawn used were very generous in size, every bite was chewy and tender. The sweetness from the salmon roe just popped into your mouth and blended well with everything else.

We were presented to this very lovely piece of toro belly. From the texture you can tell that this piece of tuna belly is gonna bring you to heaven!

Everything is slowly and carefully prepared by the chef.

Our second appetizer is Maguro Otoro Tu Caviar
caviar, toto belly, tobiko
A specially crafted dish were presented in front of us. We were so amazed by the generocity by the restaurant to present such a high class dish for us. Omakase will definitely worth the price you pay for it as everything were carefully selected and specially crafted for you.
One spoonful of caviar, tobiko and toro belly is simply smooth, delicious and mind blowing. The fats in the toro belly is so creamy and blended well together with the tobiko and caviar. The lemon set at the bottom of this dish also gave it a hint of refreshing taste while keeping the tastiness of this dish. 

Chef Kevin in action! Carefully preparing our next course. 

The last appetizer was this perfect looking Salmon Avocado Tu Caviar
salmon chunk, caviar, avocado, raw japanese cucumber, radish & caviar oil
All the ingredients were put together to form this marvellous starter. The moment you chew on the salmon trunk and the caviar popped out on your mouth, together with the fragrant of that caviar oil made everything tasted so well and mind blowing.

Then we moved on to all the fresh sashimi. All were sliced and presented live by the chef to us. From there we can see the skills and techniques of the chef preparing every single dishes.

Sake Toro (salmon belly)
Pretty smooth and great to taste, the layer of fat just melted in your mouth and even better to finish it with a sip of Maxwell Sparkling Mead.

Aka Ebi is naturally red in colour even in the sea, even without cooking it would look great in its nature colour. Serving it as sashimi shows how great the chef is in selecting ingredients.
We were taught how to savour this delicious prawn sashimi by the chef and the best part would be the head and the prawn paste is a bomb! 

Hamachi is a very common fish on the sashimi fish. The key to a great piece of Hamachi sashimi is a great judgement by the chef while selecting the fish. The chef in 绊 Kizuna  is definitely experienced enough to serve this thick piece of Hamachi that was smooth and on point.

Maguro is my favourite sashimi among all. What I like is the layering of the Maguro itself and the texture of that could let you taste the freshness in the flesh. I like how this big piece of Maguro were presented and every layer just melted in my mouth. 

Many couldn't really accept Hokkigai, a type of shell fish that commonly used as sushi topping. But what they didn't know is Hokkigai is actually a rather premium ingredient in Japanese food as it must be fresh and well handled to taste great. 

I really like the chewy and tender flesh of Hokkigai and it went well with some sauce applied by the chef. Perfect without the need of soy sauce too!

A less favourable sushi would be the Ika Sushi that most people do not like the squid raw. From preparing Ika sushi, it shows how skillful a chef is in delivering the food and handling this thin ingredient especially on the cutting skill. We had a lovely piece of Ika sushi here and everybite was just chewy and smooth.

Next we were presented with 2 very generous size of Hotate (fresh scallop)
They were made into sushi and the chef burn the surface to make it fragrant and taste greater.

Hotate sushi is presented in a very generous portion that sure worth what you paying for Omakase. The flesh was quite tender and every bite was full of the freshness from scallop. You would be very happy and satisfy with the ingredients provided by Kizuna. 

After some cold food, we moved on to some heart warming food and we started with some Kisu Tempura that was thinly coasted with the tempura powder. They were crispy and served hot with a bowl of tempura sauce. I was really happy to see this as tempura is also one of my favourite Japanese food. Have to say that it is really good especially the fish served was really fresh! 

Also we were served with Unagi Mushimono, a type of soup with some glass noodle, tofu and a large piece of Unagi. The soup was slowly boiled to perfection and it tasted great. Only it was a little bit to the salty side to me.
Look at the size of that piece of Unagi! I can guarantee you won't regret for your decision.

Last but not least, we were served Foie Gras to end our lovely meal. That piece of foie gras was just generous enough for one person and it was presented with chips and some thinly sliced onions. I never thought that they all could blend well when you eat it together and Kizuna just made this dish rather special by combining them.

To end our lovely meal, we were served with this plate of beautifully looking dessert that I was looking forward to try since long long time ago.
This dessert is called Warabi Mochi 水玄信饼 or people just gave it a nick as Raindrop 雨滴.

I saw this dessert on the website since a while ago and I have always wonder how it taste and now I finally get to taste it. I was really happy to see how it was presented and it was like a jelly kind of texture, you can still try to shake it and see how it bounce on the plate, pretty fun I shall say.
绊 Kizuna uses crushed peanuts and brown sugar. They blended well together and I like to chew it together with some crunchy crushed peanuts and finished it off with the smooth and slight sweet brown sugar. Just perfect!
á la carte option is also available on the menu, so if you want to try this delicious treat in Penang, now you know where to find them!

A lovely dinner with Chloe from at 绊 Kizuna

Here's Kevin, the person-in-charge of 绊 Kizuna that is very knowledgable and experienced in Japanese dining, and also Chef Kenny Yeoh, who has 27years of experiences in Japanese cuisine, he also worked in Japan for a few years and now he is back in Penang as an Executive Chef in 绊 Kizuna
Through Omakase, I've learned a lot from Kevin and Chef Kenny. I am really grateful to be here and glad to have them as our personal chefs. We enjoyed the night and had a great dinner here with their company and personally seen all their professions in serving great Japanese cuisine.

Bar dining area.

Selections of champagne and wines

Wine cellar 

All sorts of whiskeys.

Imported beers, wines and sake from Japan are also available.

绊 Kizuna @ Penang Times Square 
Address: 77-G-27, Penang Time Square, Jalan Dato Keramat, 10150 George Town, Malaysia.
Business hours: Daily 11:30am - 10:30pm 
Contact no: +604-3700268
GPS: 5.4122898,100.3253729

Google Street View

Friday, September 9, 2016

How To Spend 4D & 3N In Singapore

I just came back from a fruitful and very lovely trip from Singapore!
No doubt that Singapore is one of the best city in the world and I totally agree with any other articles that rated Singapore as one of the best country in the world.

The trip was decided a month ago, kinda last minute decision you can tell.
So I quickly made some research online to see what are the attractions that can attract me.
I always thought that Singapore is not my place of interest because of the exchange rate and also because it is a big city.
I'm kind of a boring person, what attracts me most are those ancient and exotic places like Cambodia, Chiang Mai and etc. I love to visit those temples, ancient ruins or museums to understand about the local culture and religion, to see how people live in the past and how was the country in the past.

Never I have thought that Singapore is so interesting and I got pretty excited after my visit. 
Below is my own journey that I planned for the 4days and 3nights, do enjoy reading and feel free to ask me any questions on the comment section, I will answer them if I know the answers. 

Day 1
I flew direct from Penang to Singapore (Changi Airport Terminal 2). I bought my flight at below RM100 only, I got this cheap deal during their promo period. You may book your flights direct from or you can also compare with Airasia( or Jetstar(

I arrived at Changi Airport Terminal 2 and took the MRT(Downtown Line) to Bugis station, the journey was $2.30.
You will be given a card that you can reload and reuse it, u can also get $0.10 discount for the 6th trip with MRT too. Alternatively, you can grab a piece of Ez-link Card at $12(with value of $7) and all your trips with public transports can be cheaper. (Note: Every minimum reload is $10)
The MRT & LRT System in Singapore is very systematic and all the trains are very punctual. The trains are clean, fast and secured as they are well equipped with CCTVs all around. Singapore is also one of the safest countries on earth that the crime rate is very low. 
(click to enlarge)

Once I arrived at Bugis MRT Station, which was the Bugis Junction Mall. Almost every MRT stations are linked to malls to make it easy for the locals. Pretty convenient I shall say. 

National Museum of Singapore
Entrance fee: $10(Adult) | $5(Child), FREE for PRs and Singaporeans.
Opens daily from 10:00am to 6:00pm
I'm the kind of person that loves to explore about the history, culture and blend into the locals wherever I visit. So first thing I will add into my itinerary would be those iconic museums and temples.
I'm really impressed by how well Singapore can take care of their museums. The moment I step into the museum I was welcomed by the receptionist and started to give me more information before I purchase the ticket.
There are even guided tours during certain hours but I've missed it. The building went through major renovation and reopened in year 2006 to showcase the history of Singapore all the way from 12th century until today.
The museum exhibits numerous antiques as well as well preserved artefacts. I'm amazed how well they were taken care of and how well they were protected under then hand of Singapore government. P/S: Photography is allowed without flash as it will destroy the artifacts and antiques. 
More info:
The museum is fully furnished with history, culture, religions and all the past stories that made Singapore so tough and strong today.  I'm also surprised to find many similarities in between Singapore and Malaysia. There museum is also very interactive and well furnished with some past videos, audios and many more. You will be surrounded by darkened areas that filled with many videos from the past or story telling videos that gives you a brief about all the Singapore history including the influences of Malay, Indian and Chinese community as well as the colonial era from British.
You can walk around the 3 storey buildings to visit all the different galleries with different theme.
More photos of National Museum of Singapore please refer to my Photobucket album below:

Tour around in Haji Lane

Haji Lane is located near Bugis area.
To get there you can get down from the Bugis station with MRT (Downtown Line) and walk from Bugis Junction for about 10 minutes to get there.
This place is pretty popular among tourists and locals as the whole area is full of art & craft stuff, fashion, cafes, restaurants and many more. Haji Lane is kinda art influenced as you can see a lot of streets arts around the area.

I've also sat down at a local cafe named Stateland Cafe that was apparently kinda popular among the locals. A decent cup of latte is only selling at only $5.00 and the waffle with additional scoop is at $16.00 + $4.00
S'mores Waffle
with home-made chocolate sorbet, liquid marshmallow and caramelized biscuit crumbs.

Then we also settled our dinner at Bugis Junction in Menya Musashi Takatora that is famous for their ramen. The price is normal restaurant price at about $18 - $25 depending on what you order. Look at the portion of the ramen and the size of the meats!
Yakibuta Ramen $19.90,

Day 2
It was a lovely day with lovely weather that I started my day with full itinerary.
I walked to Bugis Junction MRT[DT14] and took the Downtown Line to Chinatown[DT19]. It took me only about 10 minutes to get there and I really like MRT in Singapore, so punctual, so clean and very convenient, accessible to all areas.
It is near Mid Autumn Festival hence why there were beautiful set ups.

I got down from the station and walked to the Chinatown which was just right in front of the station. This place is kind of a touristy place with lots of stalls selling food, goodies and many more.

Try the Michelin Starred Hawker - Liao Fan
I took a quick around the area and headed straight to my destination, the Michelin Starred hawker in Chinatown, Liao Fan that is located at Chinatown Complex.

Too bad it was closed during my vist and I was greatly disappointed as the uncle went back to hometown for a week. I heard that the queue was crazily long so if you plan to visit, please be here at 8:00am to 9:00am just to queue up.

Anyway I've tried the Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Noodle from another stall(02-165) behind Liao Fan and find that it wasn't bad too. The chicken was really tender and juicy together with the delicious char siew. This plate of noodle is only at $4 and portion is quite big. Totally pocket-friendly.

See The Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic (佛牙)
Free Entrance, shorts & caps/hats are not allowed. 
Then I went visit the grand Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum which was located right in front of Chinatown Complex. Honestly this was one of the best temple and museum that I've ever visited.
More info:

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum is a 4-storey Tang Dynasty architectural style building that houses one of the  sacred Buddha tooth relics that was found in a collapse stupa in Myanmar in year 1800 then delivered all the way to Singapore in year 2007.
Every floor of this building exhibits different stuff from wax statues, artefacts, relics and many more.
There are also history about Buddha, the Buddhist religion itself, and also a relic gallery that exhibits different types of relics in this building. This place is well maintained and very beautiful I shall say.
More photos please refer to the below

I've also added Chinatown Heritage Centre into my itinerary but in the end I didn't go into that museum because I was running short of time and also I find that museum kinda similar to all the old houses in Penang that basically talks about Unesco Heritage Houses like those houses in Penang.
Also, the admission is not cheap, $15 for admission with Multimedia Guide and $20 for admission with guided tour, opens daily from 9:00am to 8:00pm(Closed on every 1st Monday of the month).
More info:
So in the end I gave up and proceeded with my next plan.

MUST VISIT: Gardens By The Bay Singapore
Entrance fee: $28.00(Adult) | $15.00(Child) [For 2 conservatories]
I've purchased my tickets from that my friend introduced to me, I got my tickets for 2 conservatories at only $17.00 and got my e-ticket on the same day I purchased the ticket.
When I was first planning my itinerary, the first thing I added to my list was Gardens By The Bay Singapore. I'm someone who is very much into gardening hence I would never want to miss visiting this kind of places. Gardens By The Bay Singapore has been added into my "Places To Travel Before I Die" list long ago.

The 2 conservatories were kinda chilly that was perfect for a walk and to counter the heat outside. The Flower Dome has won the titled of "The World's Largest In-door Dome" in 2015 Guinness World Record.

I didn't grab much info about this place when I was first planning to visit. I plan to just explore this place by myself and to visit the 2 great conservatories (Flower Dome & Cloud Forest Dome). What I can tell you is, I didn't regret my decision to come here! I was so happy to be surrounded by all the greens and healthy plants.

To be honest, I'm really happy for all the healthy plants that well taken care at this place. There are a few themed gardens including Chinese Garden, India Garden, Super Trees and the amazing Cloud Forest Dome & Flower Dome that features different types of flower exhibitions throughout the year. For every different season, you will get to see different exhibitions at the Flower Dome.

I've spent about 4 hours at that place and I still think that it is not enough. If it wasn't for my own plan, I would have stayed longer until the night lights performance of the Super Trees.
This is a place that I will definitely come back! If you think that this is a place for people who loves Gardening only then you are definitely wrong! This place is more than what you could have ever imagine. It's been an award winning attraction since and became a MUST visit place in Singapore. Not only because of the exhibitions that they could offer, the best thing here is Gardens By The Bay Singapore encourages sustainable sources and they harvest rain water & uses solar energy to maintain their whole Garden including the lighting up the Super Trees with solar energy.
This place definitely live up to its reputation and could have deserve more awards for sure!

More photos below

More info:

Watch The Light & Water Show @ Marina Bay Sands
Daily 8:00pm & 9:30pm (additional 11:00pm show every Fridays & Saturdays)
Shopaholic must not miss this one of the best shopping malls in Singapore that houses a lot of luxury brands as well as the world's iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel, several museums and many more.
Marina Bay Sands is directly connected to Gardens By The Bay hence it is reachable via walking(approximately 10 minutes) with linked bridge.

If you have time, please stay until late and walk around the area. The famous Singapore Merlion Statue is just right opposite Marina Bay Sands. Walk over to the opposite site in the evening time and wait for the breathtaking light & water show specially presented by Marina Bay Sands that runs every evening.

Trust me, below shots are not easy to take at all.
Please do not copy any of them, all rights reserved.

Visit The Famous Landmark Merlion 
A must in Singapore!
The grand Merlion statue is a well known icon in Singapore. It is a mystical creature that has a lion's head and fish's tail.

The body symbolises Singapore's humble beginnings as a fishing village when it was called Temasek, meaning 'sea town' in Old Javanese.
Its head represents Singapore’s original name, Singapura, or ‘lion city’ in Malay.
Today, you can glimpse this legend at Merlion Park. Spouting water from its mouth, the Merlion statue stands tall at 8.6 metres and weighs 70 tonnes.
This icon is a ‘must-see’ for tourists visiting Singapore, similar to other significant landmarks around the world.
Built by local craftsman Lim Nang Seng, it was unveiled on 15 September 1972 by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at the mouth of the Singapore River, to welcome all visitors to Singapore.

Dinner @ Makan Sutra
Located at the same area around Marina Bay Sands, there's a food court named Makan Sutra that sells local food like Chili Crabs, Fried Radish Cake, Char Koay Teow and many more.
Honestly, the food here are not impressive at all. Then I was told by the locals that this place is usually visited by tourists and the food is not nice compared to a lot of local eateries.

Check Out All The Happenings In Singapore
I was pretty lucky that during my travel dates there were Singapore Night Festival happening around the city. Singapore Night Festival is something similar to George Town Festival where there will be several performances including theater shows, site specific play, music, arts and many more. But compare to Penang, you can definitely feel that Singaporeans has a much stronger appreciation towards arts than Malaysians.

The show we watched in front of National Museum of Singapore was pretty impressive!
Only we don't know what language they were speaking, hahahahahaha!!!

Have Fun @ Universal Studios Singapore
Entrance fee: $74.00(Adult) | $56.00(Child)
Express Pass @ additional $70.00 on top of entrance ticket(You can skip the queue)
Remember, you can always check online for cheaper tickets for such theme parks. I got my tickets much cheaper than the official website or buy on the spot. I got mine from at only $60.00(About RM180.00) which is much cheaper than the original price.
The one and only International theme park in Singapore is the Universal Studios Singapore that features a total of 7 theme parks within the ground. The theme parks are pretty impressive I should say, and I kinda like the how the parks were designed with all the little details.

There are a total of 7 theme parks at the Universal Studios Singapore (Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, Far Far Away, Lost World & Madagascar)
You will get to meet you favourite cartoon or movie characters at the park from time to time, and they also have certain shows that plays at specific time so don't miss out any of them! Oh and if you are lucky, you will get to see fireworks in the evening too!
More photos below:

How to get there?
Take the Circle Line or North East Line and get to station Harbour Front(NE1/CC29) and you will arrive at the Harbour Front Centre. Walk outside of the mall facing Sentosa and take the buses that come very often and it will get you to Sentosa, and from Sentosa you follow the signages around then you will reach the main gate within 10 minutes time.

Another Famous Michelin Star Hawker - Tai Hwa Pork Noodle(Mee Pok)
As a foodie, I wouldn't wanna miss all the nice eateries no matter where I travelled to. While doing research, I also found this place that is located not really far from the place when I was staying, which you also can get there by MRT and get down at the Lavender Station(ED11) with East West Line. The GPS location is 1.3052431,103.8625611 so take a short walk for about 5minutes and you can reach this hawker centre. I'm sure you will see a long queue in front of the place.

I've arrived at 10:45am and was told that I was quite late. I guess that justified my near 2 hours of queueing from hungry to VERY HUNGRY though the queue wasn't that bad. I was like the 15th customer on the queue but I guess all those people in front of me do ordered a lot though.
I was pretty surprised why the queue took so long to clear because what I can see was the stall owner never stop cooking and the speed was really fast.

We also ordered western food from the Happy Chef next stall as all the items on the menu look good and priced reasonable.

So I ordered the dried version and the soup version together with an extra bowl of Pork Balls. They are priced at $5 to $10. We also ordered the Happy Chef Chicken(Signature) from the next stall priced at $7 for a generous portion.
I must say that the Mee Pork was good, but I was a little bit disappointed with the texture of the noodle as well. The only thing that can give additional points to these noodles are the fried sole fish and the liver. The rest are just plain and the noodle was overcooked and the pork balls were soft and not as juicy as I thought it would be. I prefer the soup version more than the dried version though.
Surprisingly the western food that we tried was quite good and I will definitely go back for this if I were to visit Singapore again.

Cafe hopping @ Chye Seng Huat Hardware
Just like Penang do, cafe hopping is a must in Singapore too!
Singapore has got quite a number of famous cafes that were very popular among the locals and also well known to Malaysians. Thanks to my friend Marcus that came to met me and brought me to this nice cafe name Chye Seng Huat Hardware.

I know you must be curious why is this place called Chye Seng Huat Hardware a cafe like I do. Well this place was a hardware shop before the owner left and then the new owner made this place into a cafe, just like the Kim Haus Cafe in Penang. I can tell that Chye Seng Huat is a very popular cafe among the locals as when I walked in, the cafe was full house and there were a lot of people waiting for tables too.

I don't doubt why the cafe was so crowded as the place is kinda cozy but it was a bit too noisy and the tables were all too close to another. You can hear people all talking around you and I believe they can also hear our conversations too.
The coffee and food was quite decent, and I really like the Signature Toasted Banana Bread I ordered that served with espresso butter that was really smooth and delicious. The bread was served warm and the butter melted on top  of the bread when you spread it and it feels like heaven when you eat it.

MUST VISIT: National Gallery Of Singapore
So it was the last day of my holiday and I also wanted to visit another attraction before I fly back. In my itinerary, I've also added this gorgeous looking building that attracted me while I was doing my research.