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Motormouth From Ipoh

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Indulgence Restaurant & Living, Ipoh - Teatime on a Lazy Saturday Afternoon

It's been some time since I've dined at Indulgence (click HERE for previous instalment), hands down THE most exclusive, opulent, one of a kind restaurant in Ipoh. Wait, the term 'restaurant' alone just won't do. Truth is, Indulgence is a Restaurant, & Living (A complete experience, referring to their boutique hotel), and has been performing outstandingly in the F& B scene, garnering various accolades from time to time.

Indulgence Restaurant & Living in Ipoh

For your information, the suites at Indulgence are elegantly designed with motives and influences from all over the world (think Moroccan, Thai and Shanghai). Different themes to suit different palates, so to speak. From RM420 ++ per night, it's probably a once in a lifetime experience, given the posh location and painstakingly imagined, crafted and designed rooms.

From the exterior, resembles a bungalow more than a restaurant, is it not?
But of course, Julie Song (the proprietress since day one) excels in cooking up a storm, from the previous location of an unassuming half shoplot cafe in Canning Garden since 1996, until Indulgence moved to this grand structure in 2005. What drives her to achieve greater heights? In her own words, it's PASSION. For food, for living, and for success.

The selection of desserts from the counter
A luncheon, dinner, or even a leisurely break for tea at Indulgence never ceases to please. Specializing in Modern European cuisine, the food at Indulgence can be described as fusion, at best. Browsing through the menu may take forever, hence you'll feel much relieved to just listen to their recommendations. Specials of the Day are written in chalk on the blackboard, and your waiter may (or may not, it depends on the waitering staff) carry the blackboard to your table and point out the current specials. A unique touch nonetheless.

Pot for Two - Floral/Fruity Tea @ RM8 per pot
It was teatime on a Saturday, thus we chose to mingle around for tea and cakes at Indulgence, after a rather heavy Japanese meal. As many have thrown positive comments on Indulgence's desserts, especially the tiramisu, I was harbouring high hopes to be amazed by the sweet delights.

Rhubarb Cheese Cake @ RM9
If there's one word to describe Indulgence's offerings, it has to be UNIQUE. If you've grown weary from the usual cheesecakes, tiramisu and chocolate brownies from some other outlets, rest assured you'll be spoilt for choice at Indulgence.
The Rhubarb Cheese Cake was delectably creamy, not overly cloying, with a light tarty flavour from the rhubarb stalks and finished off with a dusting of cocoa powder (or was it coffee? darn, this has been so long).

Fudgy Brownie @ RM7

Even the brownies come in various forms, from the usual chocolate to other uncommon ones with nuts, dates etc. The fudgy brownie was as sinful as a brownie should be, dense and rich, with chocolate sauce to heighten the experience. An ode to the sweet tooth ....

Creme Brulee @ RM9
Sadly, the creme brulee was below par. Rather than being flamed on the spot before serving, the egg custard with caramelized sugar was prepared beforehand, and left standing in the display cabinet. Definitely way past its prime, the custard was not velvety smooth, with minor coagulated parts, and the layer of burnt sugar on top was almost non-existent.

The much-hyped about Tiramisu @ RM14

Indulgence's intepretation of the tiramisu was a non-alcoholic one, spongy, moist (almost soggy), but a lighter version of the famous Italian dessert. There's no trouble walloping a piece by yourself, even though you're a light eater. The texture of the cake was almost airy-like, without a substantial bite. Honestly, I still prefer my tiramisu richer, and creamier, preferably with a subtle nuance of alcohol.

Miss Fig @ RM30 - Salad with smoked duck, tangy/citrus dressing and dried fruits.

To avoid over-bingeing on the sweets, we attempted to counter with some fibres. Or so we thought. But keep in mind that whatever you order at Indulgence, you can be assured 90% of the time you've never seen the exact same dish served elsewhere. Yup, even the salad.
Miss Fig's their signature salad, with slices of smoked duck meat, sweet dried figs, various greens (including rocket leaves, if my memory serves me right), enveloped in a crispy pastry layer, and served with a fruity, tangy dressing. The combination of ingredients was a little awkward, with an indescribable sweet/salty/sour amalgam of flavours. The serving was barely enough for one, yet alone to be shared.

Promising ambience, lacklustre service?

Another major gripe I've been noticing since my first visit to Indulgence, is the service. This time around things got from bad to worse, with young waiters running around committing silly mistakes such as sending the wrong bill to the wrong patrons. I was presented with the bill for the next table, and wondered were they 'ushering' us away after a lengthy chatting session. When the waiter realised his mistake, not even ONE word of apology escaped his mouth. To face such level of service at an outlet like this is plain atrocious. And let's not mention about the attentiveness (or rather, lack thereof) of the waitering staff, requiring us to raise our hands in order to get our glassed filled. They really should dwell deeper into the public relations department, and not risk losing customers over such paltry matter.

Location : Indulgence Restaurant & Living @ 14, Jalan Raja Di Hilir, 30350 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. Tel No : 605-255 7051. Hotel Tel/Fax : 605-242 7055. Here's a MAP.
Opening hours : Wednesday to Sunday, from 9.00am until 11.30pm.


ck lam said...

It is indeed such a nice place to dine in...hopefully they will maintain it and improve on their services.

allie said...

You had all those desserts? Oh my.. But it's really an indulgence on weekend.. superb la. :)

Bangsar-bAbE said...

Even if the food was unique like you said, I still cannot stand bad service!

Anonymous said...

long time didn't go the service that bad? my god, i also can't stay bad service restaurant...after all, we paid for it right?

New Kid on the Blog said...

My cousin brother complained that the place is over price. :(

Rebecca Saw said...

aiyoo.. it seems tht frm years be4 till now i'm still hearing abt the rather unimpeccable service! some outlets nvr improve??

kampungboycitygal said...

has boycotted this place ever since, bad food and bad services.i beg to differ about the hotel rooms, ipoh is famous for its old town's charm, no point staying in a european style boutique hotel right? :p

ahlock said...

Can't stand bad service myself. The waiters/waitress must have thought that they are working for a premium eatery, so they are allowed to be arrogant. And need not bother about the service dept. Customers will still come anyway. So why bother.

Yeah lo. If I dine there one day and the service was still bad, I'll...I'll pour sky juice down their neck! Grr....(Had a bad at work today, no sorry)

kevin_chungx said...

Ooo,i've heard of its exorbitant food and bad service, haha. But i've never been there...
So, on the whole, the food there is not up to the mark?

minchow said...

Rhubarb & fig! Two of the most underrated dessert fruit, I say! Thumbs up for the novelty, not so much for the non-service!

cariso said...

I've heard so much about this place from Ipoh-mari colleagues! They recommended me to go once in a life time, at least! hah! :)

J2Kfm said...

ck lam : we can only keep our fingers crossed.

allie : i wasn't alone, of course. we went in a group.

Bangsar-Babe : me too, what makes them think we're not tipping? there's the compulsory 5% service charge some more.

SimpleGirl : I didnt even rant about the waiter who served us, and took our orders. arrogant like no other.

NKOTB : it is. if you're going for a full meal, from appetizer to dessert, be prepared to pay about RM100 per person.

thenomadGourmand : seriously, their business is so good, they dont even bother to train the staff?

kampungboycitygal : how true. Ipoh has its charm enough, with so many new hotels sprouting everywhere.

ahlock : hahaha. cool down ya? erm, sky juice also need to remind them to bring a glass over, and refill from time to time.

kevinchungx : seriously? go for Citrus. the food's not so expensive, and the service's better.

J2Kfm said...

550ml jar of faith : they really go all out for that special touch, differentiating them from the other cafes and bistros.

cariso : once in a lifetime alright. the prices are even higher than most of KL's restaurants.

Lingzie said...

the place looks very nice, and they do try to be different and imaginative with their food. i'll definitely want to visit this place, at least once to see it for myself! lol (though Ms Fig seems really pricey for such a small portion)

sad abt the service and lacklustre food quality though...

gill gill said...

one of my ipoh's friend always said, they are a no go indulge!

Zheng Yang 琤洋 said...

i stay in ipoh for 20 years already but i still din went there before la...heard that the price is a WOW ?

Anonymous said...

1) Rhubarb and cheesecake is fine... Rhubarb and choco powder is =.= Sorry. Rhubarb has to be one of my favourite dessert vegetable (yes its a vege-fruit) but that 'compote' on top of the cheesecake looks like someone vomited last nights supper on it after having one too many drinks.

2)Tiramisu - overatted pile of shit. Oops it does look like a pile of dogs turd. The tiramisu at Italia Mia is like a million times better and more authentic. Don't know which idiot was the first person who said that this is the best... oh wait... it is those free publicity on The Star (tm) Barisan National gossip paper.

3) Creme Brulee - OMFG how lazy can they be. All you have to do is just invest in a bloody blow torch. (By the by, ive tried it and it is awful...)

J2Kfm said...

Lingzie : they're way overpriced. least they should compensate the service with good food.

gill gill : true. i'd rather use that amount of $ and treat myself unlimited hawker fare. mostly for the environment, no less.

Zheng Yang : yeah, simple meal for one may cost up to RM50, a full course will reach RM100 and beyond.

genuiness : LOL. trust DA MAN, genuiness on REAL fine dining, ya?
seriously, overrated. i've heard many many good stories bout the tiramisu either, but I cant see what's so special.

~Christine~Leng said...

this place will definitely lure me in when I'm not provided with any feedbacks or reviews, as it looks kinda special somehow... bad service is one major thing i kenot tahan... haha.. so, too bad la..

Pureglutton said...

Tiramisu without alcohol?? That sure won't work with me! Their prices r even higher than KL's but i really don't see any justification, esp. for Ipoh... and their rotten service sure doesn't help! I'll take my moolah to other more-deserving places - many of those in ipoh, right?!
Hmmm... so they close on Mon & Tue?? Guess they can afford to do so, with their kinda prices!

Unknown said...

The place looks cosy....

boo_licious said...

I heard so much abt this place, went there and was so dissapointed. Too many flavours on the plate that just didn't match at all. Really sad, since it is housed in such a lovely place.

HairyBerry said...

yerrrr, tiramisu without alcohol? :( but the sight of that colonial style bungalow is really attractive, i must say.

mboy said...

Totally agree with the bad service...Especially when they sent the wrong bill...It maked us feel as if they are "halau'ing" us for chatting too long..Hey, it was tea time wat, not that many customers summore....

sakaigirl said...

whoa, so many bad comments on the service ya..the place looks cozy and welcoming, agreed they should monitor their staffs.

J2Kfm said...

Christine : maybe you should go for a try, before listening to others? :)

Pureglutton : trust me, they're doing brisk business in spite of the bad reviews. there are many others who love the food and ambience, as well as the overall stylish/glamorous dining concept.

Food paradise : yeah, cozy, but that wont be the only criteria to judge a fine dining outlet.

boo : how true, how sad. the duck salad did nothing for me.

Nic : one look, and you wont even know its a restaurant, really. looks like some MB's residence.

mboy : agreed. i didnt even mention the waiter's degrading comments when we ordered cakes to be shared among 5 of us.

sakaigirl : this one is Ipoh's most exclusive (Read : pricey) joint. no comparison.

Big Boys Oven said...

hahahah this place is not foodie friendly, one time we were there and left straight away! :) Hope they would put some efford to improve!

J2Kfm said...

BBO : yeah how true. they should not risk losing potential free publicity in the form of blogs.

jason said...

Seriously, I miss the old Indulgence at Canning Garden. :(

J2Kfm said...

jason : haha, when things were not so 'complicated', right? :) those were the good old days.

Ciki said...

We were not impressd by ths plc. When it was tt cosy small rest in canning(opposite small market) service ws much btr.

Ciki said...

We were not impressd by ths plc. When it was tt cosy small rest in canning(opposite small market) service ws much btr.

J2Kfm said...

CUmi & Ciki : the small, cozy setting was far from the current practice eh?

Stanley said...

Negative comments far outnumber compliments. That's a very telling sign.

Frankly, I've never been to Indulgence. Too expensive for me. Having read the comments here, I'm not going to try it.

Anonymous said...

Usual complains :- price is exorbitant, portion is miniscule & service - need I say more. Having read all the comments,there are more negative comments about the sevice than anything else. At the end of the day,is up to you guys whether you want to patronise there. Julie is not too concerned about that. Go to other places where they appreciate your biz.

kevin_chungx said...

Oh, citrus? I think i've seen it before on the chinese newspapers... Where is it?

J2Kfm said...

Stanley : once in a while, everyone needs some form of indulgence (no pun intended). but at least they should justify the price paid, with quality food and impeccable (or good) service.

Anonymous : true enough. we're the paying customers, AND paying the service charge some more. for that type of service in return, the customers may feel shorthanded.

kevin : Citrus is in Ipoh Garden East, at the previous Antap Cafe (THE most happening cafe years ago).

Anonymous said...

Citrus maybe Indulgence's biggest competitor in Ipoh.
The only place that has a proper function room which is located upstair.
Citrus's menu is not much of a choice really.
A lot of fusion of what you have in the menu to make a new dish.
"A combo of this" & "a trio of that" so to speak.
Their Aus wakyu beef is highly recommended which comes in Small, Medium or Large portion ranging from RM85-RM150. Those on limited budget, may I recommend "Lemongrass chicken" which is at RM18 or slightly more.
Indulgence has more choices to choose from.
Prices in general are not that far off Indulgence. When it comes to drinks & desserts, Indulgence is way better off by a mile or two.
Citrus's staff are well trained & well mannered & therefore service is not too bad. Problem with Indulgence is, there are too many blind spots in the building. Do not be surprised if the waiter/waitress does not see you even if you wave at them. Shortage of staff does not help matter either.
You have "smoking section" & "non-smoking section." With just a handful of staff running all over the place & inevitably the sevice is bound to be affected.
Is quite a journey to go to Citrus for we Ipoh mari anything more than 10-15mins drive is considered far.
Parking is not an issue with both places.
Ambience, decor & seating enviroment are no where near indulgence. It makes you feel you do not want to spend a minute longer than is necessary once you have finished dining there.

kevin_chungx said...

Ooo, ipoh garden east, i'll try it for sure, thanks j2kfm^^
Thanks to anonymous too, so much information about citrus, haha

J2Kfm said...

anonymous : well said, thanks for the lengthy comment. but all in all, I still prefer Citrus over Indulgence. though the selection's not mind-boggling, but still the quality of the food exceeds Indulgence's. blind spots or not, it's no reason to ignore a paying customer's plea. and courtesy's equally important as well.
though i'd like to add, not ALL of Citrus' dishes are good, there are some misses, particularly the food served for their value set lunches @ RM18++.

kevin : it's within minutes from Jusco in Ip Grdn East. on the way to Tambun.

Anonymous said...

Since we on the subject of food in Ipoh. I have noticed that certain establishments do charge for a glass of water. Despite the fact that you have ordered food & drinks. Personally, I think this is outrageous & daylight robbery. I know of one place that charges for a glass of water & that is "Brewster" in Brewster Rd. Also the seating is terrible. They only provide high stool as chair & is really uncomfortable. Perhaps the management will charge extra for a normal chair with back rest just like a glass of water.

J2Kfm said...

point taken, Anonymous. and seconded! it's crazy to be paying an arm and a leg for the food, to charge for a glass of plain water?! CMON!

Sweetpea said...

I have been there last year for the first time, where as I had been a regular when it was just a small place in Canning Garden.

Sadly, the fresh orange or watermelon...merely water? Let's just say I could order a double orange for a fraction of the price they charge at the coffee shop, and get the satisfaction of drinking real ORANGE.

Service? Inexperienced and bad.

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