Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Morning After, M-Roof Hotel, Ipoh

The Morning After (TMA) has a few outlets in Klang Valley and two outlets in airports (Subang and Penang) and they decided to make their presence felt in the sleepy town of Ipoh (where the salary is always stunted and purchasing power is always stagnant resulting into franchise like Burger King, Wendy's, Tutti Fruiti closing down. Nevertheless it managed to draw attention of even more premium franchise like Milkcow, Hokkaido Cheese Tarts, Uncle Tetsu, Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf and yours truly is so excited that Morganfield will be opening in Greentown soon! Yes, yours truly as an affinity for non halal food! Pork for the solid, beer and wine for the liquid. Yeah, I am certified non-halal, don't you dare accept my donated blood or organs or touch my money notes :p

Choosing to be attached to the latest hotel in town in a strategic location at Ipoh Garden roundabout may boost its survivability and sustainability chances. I am not sure whether they will partner with M-Roof on being the breakfast/brunch provider just like how Myth Eatery (joint venture effort from Josephine with M Boutique hotel). Else, lets review the food and environment to see how well Ipoh people will accept this place in the long term run. The dining place is not very big as it could cater to slightly more than 50 people only at the max. They have an extensive brunch menu (they mentioned that they are inspired by those all day dining parlours in Melbourne) which serves generic items like Big Breakfast - continental, American, Egg Benedict, well you get the picture :)

As I am having dinner, I dismissed the brunch items at the moment. Firstly, the Citrusy Salmon salad is quite a visual letdown when it arrived. I expected more details was spent on food presentation as this is not just a side dish which goes along your mains but a stand-alone ala carte entrée by itself at a price tag of RM22. Not all in pink are the slices of smoked salmon but they are grapefruit instead. Well, I wish for slightly more generous portion of smoked salmon though. The salad dressing is nothing really spectacular though. As the name goes, it should be orange-lemon based dressing on the bed of ice berg lettuce, apples, orange and grapefruit wedges.

Topped with croutons, cream and drizzled with a bit of truffle oil, the Wild Mushroom Soup (RM13) is earthy, thick and creamy. It has loads of oyster mushroom bits but the slight drawback is the chef is a bit too generous with the salt though. Else it would be a good tummy warming starter before they bring in the mains. Portion is just right for one person though it could still be shared by two.

The Grilled Lamb Shoulder (RM30) consists of 3 slabs of meat which turns out to be quite lean. Requested to be cooked on a well-done basis, the meat turned out to be slightly tough though. The meat alone did not taste like it was seasoned or marinaded before grilling, so you need to rely on the gravy to do the job. The garlic mashed potatoes is smooth and buttery (slightly milky) but the aroma from the garlic barely present. The sautéed mixed vegetables includes mushroom, snow peas, carrots, broccoli and cherry tomatoes to lessen your guilt after indulging in so much red meat. Limited choices of main courses are offered such as Roasted Chicken, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Grilled Salmon, Beef Steak to name a few.

The Smoked Beef Bacon Spaghetti (RM20) is smothered with subtle garlic gravy with generous servings of beef bacon. The garlic is quite mild and brings in the resemblance of the Aglio Olio.The options for pasta is quite generic, ranging from the staples such as Pesto, Cabonara, Aglio Olio. The most unique one is the one topped with a fried soft shell crab but because it is tomato based, I skipped that. The pizza series is not available in the Ipoh outlet here so besides sandwiches and the pilaf rice series, that probably sums up the whole food menu.

Cakes range from RM11 onwards with staples such as Oreo Cheesecake, Moist Chocolate Cake, Red Velvet cake to name a few. I opted for apparently their signature cake called The Nut Job (RM14) which turns out to be chocolate sponge layered with peanut butter based cream with crushed nuts and drizzled with salted caramel on the top layer. Peanut butter and chocolate should work wonders as I have tried the one in Starbucks before but the one here was far from being rich in flavour. Just slightly above average I would say...

Ending my meal with a cup of coffee, I opted for the The Caramel Macchiato (RM13). Who could resist the luscious and buttery caramel with slightly burnt aroma and just unwind. Yours truly has an unusual affinity towards salted caramel lately due to personal reasons but its best he just skip this genre of flavour as it brings bad memories. As Macchiato is an Italian word for spotted/ stained, the milk ratio should be quite minimal relative to the amount of espresso.. If I were to be picky by referring to the "Barista code/handbook" I feel the cup I am indulging is more like a flat white instead of macchiato from the ratio of milk to espresso used. Nevertheless, the velvety frothed milk was well done and I really loved their salted caramel drizzles. Not only the mushroom soup is tad saltier than usual, even the caramel here is saltier than usual. But I somehow kinda like it as it does not really taste like the usual caramel syrup pumped from those shower-gel look-alike containers in franchised cafes like Starbucks and McCafe.

With most of the items here is just slightly above average and far from being memorable, I don't mind returning for a cup of coffee just for the ambiance and because its just a new place in town. Or probably a pint of beer and some Nachos while enjoying the live band? Others might opt for a shot or two of Scottish Whiskey and other hard liquor? They have a separate alcohol menu available upon request. Expect a budget of minimum RM50 per pax as they have 10% service charge and 6% GST in return for friendly, prompt and attentive service. The bill for the items above came to RM140+ with an Iced Peach Tea (RM8) not among the photos. Convinced to give it a try?

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