Friday, November 27, 2015

KOTA Dine & Coffee, When Francis Meets Rempah @ Fort Cornwallis Penang

There are so many creative ideas came up in Penang.
Recently, I've seen some people posted up about a restaurant named KOTA.
The name itself have attracted me, KOTA is referring to Fort in Malay language.
But when I found out the full name of the restaurant was KOTA Dine & Coffee, When Francis Meets Rempah, that's when I thought this cafe is really something special. Rempah is actually referring to spices & herbs in Malay language, which indicates that the whole concept of the cafe would be referring to dishes that prepared with herbs and spices.

KOTA, When Francis Meets Rempah is located INSDE of Fort Cornwallis, one of the biggest fort in Malaysia that still standing in Penang. It is also one of the historical building that attracted a lot of visitors daily.
It was built in the late 18th century in Penang that was initially planned to protect Penang from pirates and Kedah. But in the end, the fort was never engaged in the battle.
It is located at the northeast of Penang, which is somewhere near the Penang Jetty.

Fort Cornwallis is still standing and now a popular tourist attraction in Penang

You will have to pay a fee to enter the fort, but for customer who are going to KOTA, you will get a rebate of RM10.00 / per person on your bill if you exceed every RM20.00.  

You will be given the rebate receipt and you just have to show them to the waiter / waitress when you are about to pay your bills.

I like the design of the cafe, where it allows natural lights to light up the cafe during day time, and the 4-faced windows have made the place looks cozy yet elegant.

"once upon a time when FRANCIS meets rempah at KOTA"

I really like the design of the logo, simple yet unique.

KOTA is very spacious and comfortable, it can fit up to 100 pax (indoor & outdoor seats)

They also have a metal statue of the late Sir Francis Light being displayed inside the cafe for visitors to take photos with.

Wifi is available everywhere around the Fort Cornwallis, not just the cafe itself.

 They do have their homemade juices available, what I would like to highlight would be the Nutmeg Juice that tasted real awesome! Though it may be a bit expensive but it was really refreshing and comforting. Priced at RM14.00 nett per bottle. 

The barista is preparing some hand drip coffee, one of the specialty of this cafe.

One of the best seller, Dancing Goat is the hand drip coffee with coffee beans from Etophia Conga. Priced at RM15.00 nett for a cup. It was kinda close to the bitter side but the after feeling was just great. This cup of coffee could be just great after a good meal.

Every customers will be given a set of appetizers consists of Papadum and Pulut Panggang.
Papadum is one of the most popular Indian chips while Pulut Panggang is more to a Malay's delicacies. The Papadum was nicely fried and very crispy. Pulut Panggang was actually glutinous rice with spicy dried shrimps and wrapped with banana leaves then grilled it. 
They were both great to get you prepare you for your meal.

We were first served with this beautifully prepared dish named Hokkien. The name should be originated from local's favourite Hokkien Prawn Noodle. Priced at RM25.00 nett for a plate of finely done noodle topped with prawns, quail egg and caviar. I like the chewy noodle that comes with rich and creamy broth. It tasted totally different from the Hokkien Prawn Noodle and nothing close to what I've ever had. If you would like to compare, I think it is slightly similar to Laksa Lemak but a better and tastier one.

It was topped with quail egg and caviar, forming a rather fine dish. It wasn't spicy but you can mix the chilli into the noodle which wouldn't be too spicy to taste too.

The second dish was called Laksa. As you can see from the name itself, Laksa is served but presented differently in KOTA. They have 2 versions of Laksa here, one is wrapped with rice paper while the other one was the fried version. Priced at RM25.00 nett. 

For the fried version, they didn't fry the laksa but only wrapped the laksa noodle with a thin slice of crispy wrapping. We were thinking that it could be Mee Sua or Bee Hoon. It was really crispy and great to go with the Rojak sauce and prawn paste, or you can also dip it into the delicious and fishy Laksa soup that provided.

As for the rice paper wrapping version, you gotta dip it into the Laksa soup that served along with the dish. The soup looks watery but it was indeed very flavourful and simply perfect to go with Laksa noodle.

The best dish of the night would be this beautiful served dish named Nyonya priced at RM25.00 nett. It was prepared layer by layer but you gotta have the whole mouth full of all layers in one go. The base was actually Otak-Otak and Butterfly Pea Flower Coconut Rice, then topped with Achar and Rendang Chicken. All these were part of Nyonya traditional dish and KOTA just combined all of them together to form a fine dish that tasted so good!
I have to say that this was the best among all the dishes available on the menu!
Highly recommended!

This would be one of the common dish that people usually have when they can get a bowl of good curry. It is called Kari, priced at RM25.00 nett. From the picture you can see there was a bowl that covered in baked puff pastry and served with some sliced Indian breads.

Cutting up the puff pastry, you can see Curry Chicken with Potato inside it.
The chicken and potatoes were nicely cooked with mild spiciness that we can taste from the curry chicken. It was good to go with the puff pastry and the sliced Indian breads. I miss having curry that way when I was at home. I would really love this dish if they were to give me more curry to go with my breads.

This dish Briyani is a rather Indian dish that you know what it is from the name of the dish itself. This fine dish was prepared beautifully and served with papadum, ravioli, yoghurt and lamb masala curry garnished with dried sliced tomatoes. Priced at RM29.00 nett.

The basmati rice were rather strong in flavour and I find it a bit too strong to my liking, but to go with the curry masala and yoghurt made it much more acceptable. The curry masala was rather delicious and the small lamb cubes inside the curry were rather tender and the size of it is good to go with every spoon of rice.

Last but not least, this beautifully prepared and garnished dish called Satay was served on our table with 5 well prepared rice cubes. It was actually Chicken Satay which seasoned with spices and turmeric and wrapped with rice and topped with satay peanut sauce. Priced at RM25.00 nett. 

This dish was rather special and it would be just great for something who prefer strong taste. I like how the dish is presented on my table and personally like the texture and the taste of the dish very much. Especially the peanut satay sauce that is thick and flavourful.

There were only 2 types of desserts available, one would be this Creme Brulee that comes in 3 flavours, which are the original Egg Creme Brulee, Pandan Creme Brulee and Gula Melaka Creme Brulee. It was priced at RM19.00 nett though the portion was quite small.
But to talk about the taste, it was really special and nothing quite like those I've ever had. I'm very particular towards Creme Brulee but I really like the Pandan Creme Brulee very much especially when it was served with black glutinous rice as the base of the dessert. It is really something though they look rather common.

Another dessert would be Parfait that priced at RM19.00 nett too. It comes in 3 flavours and they are Black Sesame, Pandan Coconut and Jackfruit. I wasn't really into the jackfruit flavour as it tasted awkward to me. But I'm kinda into the Pandan Coconut flavour and the black sesame flavour especially when I found peanut filling inside the rice ball that topped on dessert. Nothing much to brag about this dessert, I would prefer the Creme Brulee more than this.

A night view from Fort Cornwallis after we stepped out from KOTA.
You can also tour around Fort Cornwallis since you will get rebate for the entrance fee you paid anyway. But the morning view will definitely be better.

Sum of my review would be:
Though all the dishes were quite small in portion, but the taste of the dishes were really unique and all of them were presented beautiful with fine style of preparations. KOTA is more to a casual restaurant but all the dishes were finely and beautifully prepared. It was overall a good experience to be dining in one of the oldest fort in Malaysia and yet the restaurant is beautiful and comes with good ambience. It is worth to give it a try and at the same time you get to visit Fort Cornwallis for FREE (literally). 

KOTA Dine & Coffee @ Fort Cornwallis Penang
Address: Fort Cornwallis, Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, 10200, Georgetown, Penang.
Business hours: Daily 10:00am - 10:00pm.
Contact no: 04 - 251 9420
Facebook page:
GPS: 5.420518,100.3438699

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