Saturday, March 24, 2018

COMO Cafe and Dessert Bar, Palm Hotel, Falim, Ipoh

COMO Cafe and Dessert Bar is located inside Palm Hotel at Falim, right opposite Aeon Big. Having been in the business for only around a year, I made my first try to this place only in early 2018, having made a return trip to try out more items. The cafe could only host around 10 tables of 4 pax each and is run by 2-3 youngsters at the front liners. I read somewhere that a couple who returned from overseas are the one behind the action in the kitchen. The ambiance may seem simple with just a small dining section but it received many positive reviews from my friends, and now, your truly is also fascinated by their offerings...

COMO does not have a very extensive menu but rest assured that most of the items are unique and not commonly found in your generic Western cuisine places. Take the starters as an example: Crab Cakes with Quail Eggs (RM14.90) is a spin-off from the usual Eggs Benedict, just tat the eggs were not in poached condition and neither the yolk are runny. I was not very sure within the crumbed patty is 100% crabmet or is just a blended seafood paste. Nevertheless the filling was moist and slightly briny from the crustacean flesh. Topped with ebiko mayo, this is a more sinful entry to the meal if you wish to forget about the usual salads and soups.

If you think the Salted Egg Soft Shell Crab Spaghetti is your personal favourite here, I bet we share almost the same tastebuds and preferences on food. A whole crispy soft shell crab is fried to near perfection (slightly oily though) paired with creamy golden and buttery salted egg sauce was surprisingly not too overcloying. It may send some guilt to your conscience on the imminent spike in your cholesterol level, but this dish spells comfort food to some of us out there. The chopped curry leaves brings in a pungent aroma and adds more Asian touch to this fusion dish. Priced at RM24.90, it is worth the amount charged, with a whole soft shell crab and salted egg which is not cheap in the market nowadays.

For the same price, if soft shell crab is your thing but you do not fancy salted egg sauce (how could you!), then the Red Spider Spaghetti (RM24.90) is the answer for you. The sauce is a blend of sweetish, sourish yet spicy with crushed groundnuts. The sauce is quite spicy for those who cannot take hot food, which I believe Tabasco is incorporated here

If pasta and salted egg is your thing but you do not feel like paying so much for the soft shell crab version, go for the Gold Nugget Spaghetti. Popcorn chicken plus salted egg sauce also provide a similar degree of satisfaction as long as you fancy salted egg and at the same time feels that creamy carbonara is too mainstream. Yours for RM17.90. Ala carte Golden Nuggets is also available at RM14.90 which is a house best seller for light nibbling without the carbs. By the way some may reckon that the salted egg sauce is slightly on the sweet end but I feel it tasted just right!

Chicken Roulade (RM23.90) made a elegant entrance though well-spent effort on the food presentation. It was really eye-catching with the myriad of ingredients and colour combination in creating a captivating visual before the diner is welcomed again to a burst of flavours. Taking your eyes of the spiraling pumpkin puree, tender grilled chicken thigh is wrapped over simmered pineapple, cabbage and onions then topped with pineapple salsa and grilled eggplant on top of a serving of mashed potato.

Grilled Cajun Chicken (RM21.90) is a step above your usual chicken chop. This dish proves that if the chicken is marinaded well, there is no need for any sauce to go along. Grilled with a dry and slightly crispy exterior, the inner is tender and retain the moistness, while every mouthful of this poultry dish is full of smoked aroma and Cajun spices. Coral and lettuce with vinaigrette dressing was the representative for the greens. For the carbo, a fried cheesy risotto ball is served on a bed of mashed potato, something different from the usual fries or wedges.

Ruby Red Spaghetti (RM18.90) is a unique creation which its my first time seeing here. Poulty and seafood are common toppings or meat accompaniments for pasta but when it comes to fish, most likely you will just sample grilled salmon or smoked salmon to go along your pasta. At COMO, your tastebuds will unlock a new discovery, sampling Char Siew made from fish! The grilled fish may turn out very reddish, similar to otak-otak but the char siew glaze gave it an oriental touch. The spaghetti were made to be Aglio-Olio style minus the chilli flakes.

For the desserts, we had a few on two separate visit. The Chocolate Garden (RM14.90) is a artistic version of deconstructed brownies dessert. The soil is made from biscuit crumbs - could be Marie or Oreo dust. The raspberry sorbet hits the mild scale and was more on the refreshing end while the berries compote is very sourish until it sends tingling sensation from your tongue receptors down to your spine. Blue pea flowers and the yellow "edible" flowers and some passionfruit pulp brighten up the palate (there is actually a chocolate sponge/brownies) within the soil.

Chocolate Banana Slice is a bit disappointing though. Melted chocolate gave a shiny surface and moisture barrier to the cake within but the banana cake seems to be tad dry to my liking. Nothing really special for this and given the price tag of RM7.90, I would pay slightly more to get a more extraordinary dessert.

Im-passion-ator! Yes, this is another example of RM14.90 worth paying for besides the Chocolate Garden. Passionfruit pulp glazed the creamy brulee-pudding-like filling inside a chocolate shell. It is really something different from the usual brownies with ice-cream of lava cake nowadays. Overall, I would conclude that the chefs has injected much passion and creativity in delivering excitement to the diners. I will strongly recommend you to try out this place :)

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