coffee watch

Pie Harbour Gurney Plaza – pie in Penang

I first noticed Pie Harbour in Queensbay Mall probably over three years ago.  I enjoyed my pie there.  Then I noticed them in Gurney Paragon, but I don’t actually go there much.  And earlier this year I saw they were coming to the Gurney Plaza alfresco area.  They opened quite a while ago, and I finally got around to eating there on Friday.

I noticed that they were quite busy, and all the outside tables were taken. I sat inside, and soon inside was quite full, too.  The staff were friendly, the food good, but the service slow – possibly because they were so busy. The WiFi was fast.  I was there for breakfast when you are served unlimited amounts of coffee – which was also good.

In the end I didn’t have a pie, but I will be back sometime to have one.  It’s a pity, though, they don’t serve beer.  A beer and pie is really nice.  A few photos…

Pie Harbour, Gurney Plaza

Pie Harbour, Gurney Plaza

lunch menu

lunch menu – er – where are the pies?

I ordered this from the breakfast menu, just before lunch time

I ordered this from the breakfast menu, just before lunch time

 

 

 

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Starbucks and WiFi

Up until a few months ago you could go into any Starbucks in Penang, and use the WiFi while you were there.  You had to connect, then open a browser and wait for 20 seconds (why?) and then connect.

So you could connect your phone and also tablet or computer, and even if you are exclusively using the computer, it’s handy to have the phone connected, for example if you want to sync something from or to the phone, like a photo you just took or Evernote etc.

And if there are two of you or more, buying on one receipt it was no problem for both / all of you to connect to the WiFi.

But maybe too many people were taking too much advantage – staying for a long time, making big downloads etc. So they changed it.  Starbucks seems emptier nowadays, but the WiFi doesn’t seem any faster.

Now you get a code on the receipt which is good for two hours and one device.  So if there are two of you, you need to buy separately so you each get a code.  And as you can connect only one device at a time, to sync something you have to log off one device and onto the other using the code, and then log off that device and back onto the other.  All too much trouble.

My wife’s iPad won’t connect, and a couple of other people I asked couldn’t connect their Apple devices. Starbucks staff couldn’t help.

So we use Starbucks a lot less. I would rarely stay longer than two hours, and didn’t make big downloads there anyway.  Sometimes I take my own MiFi device so I supply my own Internet connection.

So I don’t know how this new policy is working out for Starbucks, but it’s not working well for me.

 

Queensbay Mall foray July 2013 – Melonpan, Habanero, Starbucks,

Today I headed off to the distant shores of Queensbay Mall. Well, it’s not all that far, but my average drive here takes 10 minutes, and to Queensbay it’s 20 minutes in light traffic. So I am not there all that often.

On the food front, I was disappointed today. Thrice.

Firstly, I discovered Melonpan had disappeared. Perhaps they relocated. But their Facebook page seems also to have gone, and I didn’t find them on the Internet.  I liked the occasional melonpan.

Secondly, I thought I would try Habanero’s Estofado Steak.

steak

steak ad prominently displayed on right

The illustration made it look good.

estofado

Estofado illustration

But actually, it is strips of steak in a taco, burrito etc. instead of chicken or fish.

tacos

tacos

Unfortunately it was not really to my taste. They appeared to put only two small strips per taco, but an awful lot of lettuce.  And perhaps my choices of ingredients was poor: no rice, everything else, sour cream, chipolte sauce. But the taste was very lemony, and didn’t go with the sour cream.

I didn’t photograph the menu, but prices seem to have risen since earlier in the year. I’ll check next time, because generally I have enjoyed my meals there.

Oh well, I’ll head down to Starbucks on the ground floor, which was being renovated on my last visit. Hopefully it’s nicer. But no – it is more cramped.

Starbucks is more cramped

Starbucks is more cramped

My favourite spot was under where the big “Starbucks” is. They’ve enclosed it! Before there were armchairs and tables there. I couldn’t really find a comfortable spot.

I had my coffee elsewhere.

On Starbucks in Penang, 2013 – mid-March update

2013-02-26 17.50.39s

Starbucks, Straits Quays – but on a rather overcast day

Having bought a Starbucks card and a tumbler, now I tend to drink coffee there, as it works out cheaper for me.  Using a tumbler gives a RM2 discount, (is more environmentally friendly than paper cups), and every 10 cups you buy entitles you to a free cup.  If you buy two tumblers, buy one Venti size coffee (the largest) every time, and share with your wife with half the Venti in each tumbler, after you have amortised the quite high cost of the coffee tumblers – being 15 cups for Americano, then the coffee price is only slightly higher than a cup at Mc Donalds. I can’t take credit for this idea, but it works. Doesn’t work if you’re by yourself, though.  I guess it works out well for Starbucks too, as I used to take it in turns going to different coffee shops, and now they get my business.

I have been to perhaps half of the Starbucks on the island: Straits Quays, Gurney Plaza, Gurney Tower (near Gurney Hotel), First Avenue, E-Gate, Queensbay Mall and Penang Airport.  I tried to have a coffee at the new drive through Tanjong Tokong Starbucks, but there are very few parking places, and all were taken, so I gave up. The coffee is pretty standard at Starbucks, and the staff vary a lot, so the atmosphere and the speed of the Wi-Fi are how I would judge them.

So, my favourite turns out to be Straits Quays, as it has a nice view of the ocean, and the Wi-Fi speed is quite good.  Gurney Plaza is closest to my home, and thus I frequent it more, and if you sit outside it has a nice view, but the Wi-Fi  speed is quite patchy.  But some of the staff now remember me, as I am often there, so that’s nice. The others are all OK, but the atmosphere doesn’t match the aforementioned.

UPDATE

Although… I have been to E-Gate a couple of times recently, and the Starbucks there has a nice open aspect, with two glass walls facing outside, and at present, a view of the ocean.

2013-03-04 13.00.14s

view from Starbucks, E-Gate, towards the sea.

Now, in mid-March, I was told in Starbucks, Straits Quays, that they will no longer pour half a drink each into two tumblers.  And I am only one coffee away from breaking even on my tumbler purchase!  But it’s a bit silly, really, as it is easy to work around this – and the easiest work around decreases Starbucks’ income.

The next morning, in my usual spot in Starbucks Gurney Plaza, there was no problem with my usual procedure.  Hooray, I have broken even with my tumbler purchases!! Perhaps the silliness is restricted to the Straits Quays franchise. So, later I was at Straits Quays for lunch, and I didn’t stop by after lunch to Starbucks there for a coffee.

Gurney Plaza Coffee Watch – January 1st, 2013

Tropical Expat has been checking where you can buy coffee at Gurney Plaza. Of course, establishments come and go, or move to different locations. There are coffee shops, of course, but also ice cream parlours, restaurants, etc. where you can also drink coffee. You could choose by price, their coffee quality, decor, location, service, or even how fast their Wi-Fi connection is. I have been working my way through them gradually, although I don’t intend to try them all – for me, going to a Chinese restaurant for coffee, for example, isn’t what I would do. However, for example, Swensens Ice cream Parlour is quite pleasant, they have Wi-Fi, and the coffee price is below average, so I intend to try it.

This year, around Chinese New Year in February, a great many establishments increased their prices, (causing some to go out of business), so at this time I am just checking for price of a black brewed coffee.  In most cases government tax of 6% and service charge of 10 % will be added when payment is made. I will see in due course if they raise prices again next year.

I won’t bother with photos as it makes the data harder to compare. Places underlined I have drunk coffee at.

So, starting at the SEVENTH (top) FLOOR:

  • Next Stop: RM4
  • Max Gourmet: RM4.50. (They also have durian coffee, so I will try this sometime.)

SIXTH FLOOR:

  • Subway: RM3.90
  • Big Apple: RM6
  • Macaron Coffee: RM6.90
  • Old Town White Coffee: RM3.30. In this case they have a Malay style thick coffee. And Wi-Fi.

FIFTH FLOOR:

nothing

FOURTH FLOOR:

  • Chopping Board: RM3.50

THIRD FLOOR:

  • Kim Gary: RM3.40
  • Sakae Sushi: RM5.90
  • Xuan Xin: RM3.50 They have a nice view if you sit by the window, even if they are a Chinese restaurant.

SECOND FLOOR:

  • Golden Crust: RM5

FIRST FLOOR:

  • Nando’s: RM6.90
  • Swensons: RM4.90
  • Gelatomio: RM8.00

GROUND FLOOR:

  • Chili’s: RM5.95
  • Michelangelo’s: RM10.00
  • Coffee Bean: RM7.50
  • Eurodeli: RM6.00
  • Winter Warmers: RM5.50
  • Starbucks: RM7.00
  • Dome: RM8.50
  • Chicago Rib House: RM4.90
  • Nando’s: RM6.90
  • McDonalds:  RM3.15 with tax.
  • Manila Place: RM6.50
  • Segafredo:   RM7.80. Good coffee. But watch for mosquitos in the lounge area.
  • Secret Recipe: RM5.80

BASEMENT:

  • Xuan Xin: RM3.50
  • 1901: RM3.50
  • 600cc: RM3.80
  • Rotiboy: RM3.00
  • Each a Cup: RM3.00
  • Mr Teppanyaki: RM3.00
  • Wong Kok: RM3.90
  • Daily Fresh: RM2.80
  • Chicken Rice Shop: RM3.00
  • BBQ Plaza: RM3.50
  • Hawker Centre: RM1.30 – the cheapest, generally
  • Kenny Rogers: RM6.50
  • Kopitam Classic: RM2.80
  • Little Nonya Cuisine: RM3.80
  • Siam Express: RM5.00

BEST DEAL AT PRESENT:

Chicago Rib House at present has Coffee, Cappucino, Latte for RM1++ between 3PM and 6PM weekdays. Still available late December 2012.

image

They are located in the Gurney Alfresco area between Gurney Plaza and G Hotel.

Here is the receipt RM2.30 including tax, for two coffees.

For more information, also see Gurney Plaza‘s web site. However, it is often not kept up to date.

COMMENTS:

If I am by myself I like Segafredo best.  The coffee is very good, the Wi-Fi works well, it’s comfortable and relaxing. But there are usually three mosquitos lurking in the area with armchairs, so either quickly track them down and kill them, or ensure your skin is covered.  Or sit at one of the tables.

First thing in the morning (meaning from around 10:30AM), I like the breakfast menu at Old Town White Coffee – kaya toast, eggs and coffee for around RM5 (sorry, I can’t remember exactly). Only available until 11AM. Old Town Wi-Fi is OK.

If I am with people I prefer Starbucks or Coffee Bean, inside or outside, depending on the day. Their coffee is good, the Wi-Fi signal strong, and it’s pleasant. But if it’s between 3PM & 6PM on a weekday, I’d be at Chicago Rib House for RM1 coffee – their Wi-Fi is patchy, though.

There are other establishments I want to try: Max Gourmet for their durian coffee, Swensens because it’s quite pleasant, and the hawker centre just to see what the coffee is like.

Finally, a few photos:

2012-12-28 16.27.54s

2012-12-28 16.24.39s

2012-12-28 16.27.04s

Gurney Plaza Coffee Watch – December 28th, 2012 – full list

Tropical Expat has been checking where you can buy coffee at Gurney Plaza. Of course, establishments come and go, or move to different locations. There are coffee shops, of course, but also ice cream parlours, restaurants, etc. where you can also drink coffee. You could choose by price, their coffee quality, decor, location, service, or even how fast their Wi-Fi connection is. I have been working my way through them gradually, although I don’t intend to try them all – for me, going to a Chinese restaurant for coffee, for example, isn’t what I would do. However, for example, Swensens Ice cream Parlour is quite pleasant, they have Wi-Fi, I believe, and the coffee price is below average, so I intend to try it.

This year, around Chinese New Year in February, a great many establishments increased their prices, (causing some to go out of business), so at this time I am just checking for price of a black brewed coffee.  In most cases government tax of 6% and service charge of 10 % will be added when payment is made. I will see in due course if they raise prices again next year.

I won’t bother with photos as it makes the data harder to compare. Places underlined I have drunk coffee at.

So, starting at the SEVENTH (top) FLOOR:

  • Next Stop: RM4
  • Max Gourmet: RM4.50. (They also have durian coffee, so I will try this sometime.)

SIXTH FLOOR:

  • Subway: RM3.90
  • Big Apple: RM6
  • Macaron Coffee: RM6.90
  • Old Town White Coffee: RM3.30. In this case they have a Malay style thick coffee. And Wi-Fi.

FIFTH FLOOR:

nothing

FOURTH FLOOR:

  • Chopping Board: RM3.50

THIRD FLOOR:

  • Kim Gary: RM3.40
  • Sakae Sushi: RM5.90
  • Xuan Xin: RM3.50 They have a nice view if you sit by the window, even if they are a Chinese restaurant.

SECOND FLOOR:

  • Golden Crust: RM5

FIRST FLOOR:

  • Nando’s: RM6.90
  • Swensons: RM4.90
  • Gelatomio: RM8.00

GROUND FLOOR: – incomplete – to be continued soon. I ran out of time.

  • Chili’s: RM5.95
  • Michelangelo’s: RM10.00
  • Coffee Bean: RM7.50
  • Eurodeli: RM6.00
  • Winter Warmers: RM5.50
  • Starbucks: RM7.00
  • Dome: RM8.50
  • Chicago Rib House: RM4.90
  • Nando’s: RM6.90
  • McDonalds: About RM3.40 with tax.  Menu on wall too small for me to read.
  • Manila Place: RM6.50
  • Segafredo:   RM7.80. Their morning deal of coffee plus panini is quite good. Watch mosquitos.
  • Secret Recipe: RM5.80

BASEMENT:

  • Xuan Xin: RM3.50
  • 1901: RM3.50
  • 600cc: RM3.80
  • Rotiboy: RM3.00
  • Each a Cup: RM3.00
  • Mr Teppanyaki: RM3.00
  • Wong Kok: RM3.90
  • Daily Fresh: RM2.80
  • Chicken Rice Shop: RM3.00
  • BBQ Plaza: RM3.50
  • Hawker Centre: RM1.30 – the cheapest, generally
  • Kenny Rogers: RM6.50
  • Kopitam Classic: RM2.80
  • Little Nonya Cuisine: RM3.80
  • Siam Express: RM5.00

BEST DEAL AT PRESENT:

Chicago Rib House at present has Coffee, Cappucino, Latte for RM1++ between 3PM and 6PM weekdays. Still available December 2012.

image

They are located in the Gurney Alfresco area between Gurney Plaza and G Hotel.

Here is the receipt RM2.30 including tax, for two coffees.

For more information, also see Gurney Plaza‘s web site. However, it is often not kept up to date.

COMMENTS:

If I am by myself I like Segafredo best.  The coffee is very good, the Wi-Fi works well, it’s comfortable and relaxing. But there are usually three mosquitos lurking in the area with armchairs, so either quickly track them down and kill them, or ensure your skin is covered.  Or sit at one of the tables. Also, their morning panini and coffee deal is good, as is the panini.

First thing in the morning (meaning from around 10:30AM), I like the breakfast menu at Old Town White Coffee – kaya toast, eggs and coffee for around RM5 (sorry, I can’t remember exactly). Old Town Wi-Fi is OK.

If I am with people I prefer Starbucks or Coffee Bean, inside or outside, depending on the day. Their coffee is good, the Wi-Fi signal strong, and it’s pleasant. But if it’s between 3PM & 6PM on a weekday, I’d be at Chicago Rib House for RM1 coffee – their Wi-Fi is patchy, though.

There are other establishments I want to try: Max Gourmet for their durian coffee, Swensens because it’s quite pleasant, and the hawker centre just to see what the coffee is like.

Finally, a few photos:

2012-12-28 16.27.54s

2012-12-28 16.24.39s

2012-12-28 16.27.04s