5 New Food Spots at Icon City

Icon City, a new commercial development along Jalan Bukit Tengah, Bukit Mertajam, has recently become the new talk of town. The 10-acres business district sees the opening of numerous restaurants and cafes; there are plenty of safe options available - Japanese restaurants, Chinese Restaurants, Korean restaurants but the recent influx of new, hip and modern concept of F&B establishments has gradually changed the area into a haven of hipsterdom… a rival to the well-established Auto City nearby. Ken Tho recommends 5 food spots at Icon City:

Kaze Japanese Restaurant
Kaze Japanese Restaurant occupies one whole building at Icon City instead of having it shared with someone else. Inside the restaurant is slick with a mixture of pale and bold timber walls, illuminated by warm yellow lighting with touches of Japanese knick-knacks. Though slightly more expensive than average, the service provided was top-notch and food quality was a class above the rest. The bible-thick menu includes a series of classic Japanese dishes such as sushi rolls, ramen, barbecue skewers and teishoku. Their secret weapon is probably their air-flown sashimi. Set Lunch starts from RM 25+.

[Set Lunch] Sashimi, Sushi and Mini Udon Set (RM38) that comes with a bowl of comforting udon with dashi stock, fresh sashimi and a few choices of sushi. The raw fish slices were fresh and appropriately cut. Do not look down on their Chawanmushi either, it may seem overly simple and bland but it was velvety smooth with a burst of sweet dashi-essence (ginkgo, kani and shrimp were included). Everything was straightforward without unnecessary frills, though freshness was the key and we were glad that Kaze did it right.  
Ebi Tamago Toji Jyu To Shake Sashimi Set (RM38) may be a little too heavy for some, the deep fried prawns were pretty standard-average but they excel in the thick, fresh salmon sashimi. Depending on your personal preference, we thought both options were value for money. Kaze's set lunches is only available from 11.30am to 2pm daily.

Contact Number: +604- 506 0381
Address: 20 & 22, Jalan Icon City, 14000, Bukit Mertajam, Penang.
GPS Coordinates: 5.344070, 100.434356
Business Hours:
Weekdays: 11.30am - 2.30pm, 6pm - 10.15pm
Weekends & Public Holidays: 11.30am - 10.15pm 

Fourspoons Dessert Cafe 
Waffle lovers… rejoice! Icon City at Bukit Mertajam has just become a little sweeter, thanks to the new opening of a dessert cafe - Fourspoons; the cafe is also one of the latest additions to the ever-expanding ice cream scene in Penang. Fourspoons Dessert Cafe sits on Level 1 of one of the buildings at Icon City; it serves some lip-smacking home-made soft serve along with their expertly crafted waffles. The interior decor is simple, clean and straightforward. If you wish to sit down and enjoy the sweet frozen treat, there are a few small tables and a long wooden communal table along the window. Fourspoons Dessert Cafe is not the place for a full-fledged meal but rather, a homey and comfortable space to enjoy a sweet chilled treat.

There are plenty of options available when it comes to ice cream. Diners have to decide between Fourspoons' home-made soft serve and the premium Kapiti ice cream; we decided to go for the former. We had their best-seller: Waffles with Black Sesame and Matcha Green Tea Soft Serve (RM16.50). Honey was lightly drizzled over the crispy-crusted waffles, the inside was airy and light; it was good to go on its own but if you fancy the hot and cold combination, top it with their soft serve. I'd personally prefer their Black Sesame Soft Serve over Matcha; it has a bold sesame flavor as though I was having Black Sesame Tong Sui in a different form. Not that the Matcha flavor was weak but it paled in comparison with the former one. There were some corn flakes at the bottom of the soft serve either.

Address: 48-1, Jalan Icon City, 14000, Bukit Mertajam, Penang.
GPS Coordinates: 5.343756, 100.433850
Business Hours: 3 pm to 12 am. Closed on every Monday.

Rakkii Izakaya 
Arriving late for lunch at Icon City might get you into trouble as most restaurants are closed after 2.30pm, though they will reopen for dinner at 6pm. Rakkii Izakaya seems deceivingly quiet from outside, had we not entered the place to check it out, we would not know that they serve set lunch.  The name "Izakaya" gives an impression that the place opens in the evening and serves light snacks to go with alcohol; in fact, Rakkii Izakaya is a Japanese-fusion restaurant that serves full-fledged menu covering appetizers, ramen, mains (Japanese rice dishes) and even desserts. The setting is spacious and the decors are Japanese-influenced with a huge bar counter displaying various Japanese-sake bottles. The menu may put you off with hefty prices but as far as quality is concerned, they are quite good at it.

Noodle lovers may want to try Rakkii's Spicy Shrimp Noodles (RM42), which said to be one of their signature dishes. It may appear like the conventional Japanese ramen but with a fusion-touch; angel hair pasta was used in lieu of ramen-noodles. Ingredients like deep fried breaded tiger head prawns with Ajitsuke Tamago were also present, swimming in a pool of rich, thick seafood broth and a layer of chili oil. Bountifully served, we enjoyed the sweet seafood broth packed by a chili punch. Alternatively, try their set lunch - Egg Plant Mapo Tofu Rice, with Hot and Spicy Soup, Shrimp Gyoza with Vinegar Sauce and Deep Fried Mantao with Condensed Milk (RM39), top RM4 for guava juice. We love the soft-boiled egg, the flowing egg yolk just makes everything more delicious. The mapo tofu has the right thickness, not too starchy nor overly-diluted. The egg plants were nicely cooked too, not slouchy and with the presence of some minced pork, it was perfect to go with the steaming hot rice. The mapo tofu was not spicy but the hot and sour soup would be sufficed to make you sweat.

Contact Number: +604- 505 4167
Address: No. 61, Jalan Icon City, 14000, Bukit Mertajam, Penang.
GPS Coordinates: 5.342586, 100.433162
Business Hours: 12pm - 10.30pm. Closed on Mondays.

Hideout Café
If you feel like starting your day with a western-fusion breakfast, try Hideout Café. Early risers will be glad to find out that they have a range of both Western and Oriental dishes for you to kick start your day. If you are not the usual big breakfast kind of person, go for Oriental ones - Nasi Lemak and Chili Pan Mee just to name a few. Seats are comfortably arranged with ample space in between... suitable for those who wish to visit in a big group.  

If you wish for something light, try their Salmon Carpaccio (RM13.90). Two slices of smoked salmon sitting on a raft of fresh arugula with some sweet-pickled stuff. All elements were nicely matched and paired but we thought the dish was a misnomer. We were expecting fresh and raw salmon in lieu of smoked salmon but probably the latter option would suit the local palate more. It’s a good option to assuage the guilt in the fear of over-indulgence for meat.

Contact Number: +604- 502 6611
Address: 60, Jalan Icon City, 14000, Bukit Mertajam, Penang.
GPS Coordinates: 5.342282, 100.433475
Business Hours:
Sunday to Thursday: 9am - 11pm
Friday and Saturday: 9am - 12am

Ittan Izakaya
It's easy to notice Ittan Izakaya, thanks to the flashy colorful flags with Japanese characters right outside the restaurant, waving and luring Japan-philes to flock in. Fresh seafood is the thing at Ittan Izakaya, it boasts about their air-flown seafood, directly imported from Tsukiji Wet Market Tokyo; seemingly aiming to be the apex in serving the freshest sashimi in town. Step in the restaurant and be wow-ed by the interior decor - filled with wooden crates and Japanese-character embellishments. We actually thought they moved the entire fish market here!

The most important thing about sushi/ sashimi would be freshness and to do this, restaurants must sell boatload of them to keep the stocks coming. We were glad to find out that all of their sashimis were fresh and appropriately sliced to the right thickness... and the texture was not compromised but what made us excited was the texture of the Japanese rice. It was served to us warm and at the perfect sticky-chewy texture - just the way we wanted it to be! We enjoyed most of them except... the minced version. The texture was somewhat rough to our liking. We'd recommend their Salmon Sashimi Don (RM20.20), a value-for-money order. If you are game for something exotic, Chicken Sashimi is your choice. We hesitated at first but decided to try... for novelty experience. To our surprise, the Chicken Sashimi (RM12) possessed the soft-mushy texture just like fish sashimi, sans the Umami-after taste. It had a nary of flavor, more like biting a piece of usual soft and juicy meat.

Contact Number: +604- 502 6649
Address: No. 43-1-2, Jalan Icon City, Icon City, 14000, Bukit Mertajam, Penang.
GPS Coordinates: 5.345590, 100.434657
Business Hours:
Monday to Thursday: 4pm - 1am  
Friday and Saturday: 4pm - 2am
Sunday: 4pm - 1am