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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Family Time at Gurney Paragon Mall Penang

The month of March is really an exciting one for me as I'm now starting to get blogging again and this blog entry was of my outing with my family to Gurney Paragon Mall! This is our first outing with our newest family member and I have to say, he behaved very well on this very first trip of ours.
Thanks to Gurney Paragon Mall and some of their merchants, I got to explore and learnt more about these places than I previously envisioned. It was really interesting as I never knew there were such a variety of merchants here when I always assumed that everything here is just expensive and high end.

So to start off, we had lunch at Morganfields, where they are famous for their fall off the bone sticky ribs! This is a non Halal restaurant but for oink oink lovers, you will love their ribs!
As we approached, my wife commented on their choice of design using lots of old planks and it make it have that homely country feel.
 As it was Sunday, it was pretty packed so we were seated outside (there is air conditioning inside), but fret not, as Gurney Paragon is located along Gurney Drive, it was really breezy and cooling! Natural aircon!
First up its time to order a cuppa, wife had a hot chocolate!

 A chocolate milkshake and one of the favorite was the Mango Lassi with Lime! Notice that the glass is already a quarter gone when I snap this picture. Yeap, my daughter was gulping it down. And thats Apple and baby in the background too!

 With some recommendations, decided to start off with a Chicken Caesar Salad. A large piece of grilled chicken breast sit atop a pile of romanian lettuce that is mixed with their dressing and lotsa bacon bits make it an appetizing salad. For the portion of it, frankly if you are on a diet or not a heavy eater, just having this would be more than sufficient for a meal and I guess its a really mean diet as there is hardly (minus the bacon bits) any fat in here.
 Since we have a few to feed and we wanted to try abit of each, we opted for their platter. This was the Seafood platter, and it too comes with a full rack of ribs, besides the fish and chips, sausages, grilled prawns, and side of salad, corn on the cob and corn bread! There is a total of 3 different platters to choose from and I kind of notice that most patrons here does the same too where they would order the platters as its really quite worth the money and you get to try abit of everything.
I was surprised that the battered fried fish fillet was really good with a very light and crispy coating and use of good quality fish. At least the fish did not have any fishy smell ala dory fillets and this one really got everyone's approval.
 Without a doubt, the sticky bones were a winner. We chose the Hickory flavor and I believe the other platter, there was one where you can sample all 3 flavors too. The ribs were tender soft and will just fall off the bones when pulled. Very yummy indeed.
 We finished it off by trying some dessert of Apple Pie and Volcano lava cake. The portions are huge as always but we found it a tad too sweet. It would of course work for those who have a sweet craving
 I really like how they maintained the old colonial building (which houses some merchants now) and blended in the modern building behind it for the mall and at the side, the condominiums.

 We then made our way to Sams Groceria which is located on the lower ground floor. This is the supermarket here and its unique in that it has its own mini Sams Deli right next to it serving some very affordable food items
An item which caught my attention was their nasi lemak packs! Its only RM2 and I believe this is one of the most affordable nasi lemak in a shopping mall you can find. And I will repeat, its not telanjang ya! Its a good complete set. Heard they sell bucket loads of these daily and with that price tag, I wouldn't be surprised at all.
 They also have a variety of confectionary with favorites like buns and doughnuts
 Most of the patrons here take away and the downside is that they have limited seating space
 Another of their top sellers would be their many choices of lasagna. Again, big cheesy pieces of these pasta dishes, all for only RM9.99! Thats a steal and probably almost as affordable as making it your own. A must try for this one
 Back to the Groceria, or supermarket section. Before entering, I noticed these very creative cups of cut fruits available on ice beds. A nice touch for doing this, as its easy to carry and eat
 As I entered, I was greeted by this wall of gadget and was wondering what was it. Well, it seems Sam's the first supermarket in Malaysia that has a self scan system whereby once you join as a member (its free and no charges for life), you will get an ID card. Take that card and scan it and it will release one of these portable scanners from the wall for you. You will then be able to walk around the supermarket, and scan in items which you would like to purchase. Then when you are ready for checkout, just pass the scanner to the cashier and you will not need to scan the items in your trolley again. Thats a really cool shopping experience and now I hope that they will expand it further to have self pay as well to really make it a swift shopping experience.
 I was amazed by the choices of fruits and vegetables that they have and they also stock many seasonal varieties which they specially import. They also have a section promoting Korean strawberries.
 Good selection of Australian beef cuts. FYI, all items are halal here. They don't have a non halal section. Too bad I stop taking beef else I would have grabbed a piece of steak. They look great even before cooking.
Another interesting item was their dried and grounded herbs section. There was a very good selection and everything looks fresh and surprisingly, very affordable too.
For cheese lovers, this supermarket has one of the largest selection of cheese available in Penang. There is a whole section devoted to it and you can buy by the slices or a whole block too. I never thought a supermarket would carry so many variety.
Now an interesting thing at Sam's is that once you are a member, they have daily specials and you just need to scan your card at the price checker and it will print out the coupons which are valid for that day. Only 1 set of coupons is valid per card so you can probably apply for more cards for each family member to enjoy greater discounts. The daily promotions are also displayed at the entrance when you enter the supermarket. So make sure to be a member asap.
As I was strolling along, I notice a wall of bottles and on closer look, it was all olive oils. I was like wow! That is such a great selection they have here that I think one will surely find whatever oil they need, whether its for salad dressing or frying.
I think one other unique section is the Flavours of the World. You can find different food and snacks which are specially imported from different regions and displayed here.
I was told that they sell one of the cheapest mineral water here and I was surprised it cost the same if not lower than drinking water. Well worth it and its always good to know the supermarket has some great deals like this all year round.
Lastly, they have these unique and easy to use trolleys available which has detachable baskets which are really handy and convenient to use
Another part of Gurney Paragon is on the sixth floor where there is a place called Penang on 6. Its a nitty place which has many small tenants selling many types of fine trinkets and collectibles as well as fashion accessories.
Rivet is one such stall and they have many unique collectibles which is really zakka. Its good to see all these creative stalls around as these items will spruce up the home nicely
They have many imported bags as well which are all one of a kind
Look at all these unique key holders. Some of them are made from recycled materials too
Who would have thought you can use taps for such purposes
One item which I found unique was these metal cases which they have many types available. They look so rugged as if it can withstand a good beating
Another stall we saw was Weez which has many trinkets on display
Many types and choices of pins and pendants available. A gals ideal shopping spot
I'm no expert but the choices here is pretty good in my opinion. Prices are reasonable too.
And a final note about Penang on 6, there are many huge murals depicting Penang which makes excellent photographic background.
Overall, it was a great experience in Gurney Paragon Mall. Family had a great time and only item to suggest is that to the management of the mall, you have mothers room but do you realize that there are no chairs inside? How is a mother suppose to be able to feed their babies? Hope there will be continuous improvements and this will definitely be one of the top malls in Penang.

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