Thursday, April 2, 2015

Malaysia Food Blog - House of Häagen-Dazs @ De Garden, Ipoh - A Chinese New Year Chocolate fondue experience

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Note: This post is written base on the dining experience in De Garden, Ipoh branch. Experience may vary from that of other outlets.

Recommended: Chocolate Fondue (RM68)

Somebody in the house (my sister actually) wanted to try Häagen-Dazs’ chocolate fondue but not willing to spend her hard earned money. Out of pity and curiosity I relented after she ranted for months for a treat from me, and I also thought it would be a nice experience for the old folks at home to try something young. 

Welcome to the House of Häagen-Dazs! Somehow those scratches seem to reduce the feel of a premium brand...

I seldom visit De Garden’s array of dining spots, which ranges from the higher to the lower end. I would definitely put House of Häagen-Dazs in the former category. Upon entering it boasted high ceiling and comfy cushioned seats, and with limited of the latter to spare. The parlor is not meant to host lots of people and I guess not many would enter during weekdays. I do protest on one particular design of the parlor – half of the area has a glass ceiling, which meant that sunlight heats up the area despite the air-conditioned interior. Such a design is suitable in seasonal countries but not in Malaysia where it is warm all year long. 

Since we visited during Chinese New Year, you can imagine how packed the place was, its limited resources strained to the limit to accommodate the sudden increase of diners. The staff was clearly fully loaded on that day because the tables were not cleared and the two persons on the job were clearly too little headcount to support dozens of hungry diners clamoring for space and ice-cream. I do not blame the staff but the management for a headcount that doesn’t make sense for festive periods. Ordering required one of us to queue at the cashier, which took quite some time despite having only 3 persons in front of me. 

I spied the festive offer of a chocolate fondue with a Chinese New Year twist, replacing certain items on the set to match the theme of Chinese New Year, such as providing slices of mandarin oranges so I decided to give this a try. Häagen-Dazs’ chocolate fondue is hailed as one of its signature dishes and it wasn’t difficult to see why. It arrived as a miniature set, the chocolate pot set in the middle melting under the heat. Arrayed around in two circular sections, balls of ice-cream and small bites allowed diners to choose whether to dip them into the chocolate or just savor it plain.

For comparisons, the usual chocolate fondue offered by House of Häagen-Dazs has the following:

  • 4 mini scoops of Cookies and Vanilla Cream ice-cream
  • 4 mini scoops of Belgian Chocolate ice-cream
  • 4 mini scoops of Strawberry ice-cream
  • 4 mini scoops of Vanilla and Cream ice-cream
  • Chocolate brownie pieces
  • Chocolate chip cookie pieces
  • Fruit pieces
  • Almond nibs
  • Warm milk chocolate sauce or dark chocolate sauce (the latter is not available at this branch)
The Chinese New Year Fondue, in order to match the festive theme, modified the list to the list below. It is obvious that they try to make the set look more lively with matching reds and oranges.
  • 4 mini scoops of Mango Sorbet ice-cream
  • 4 mini scoops of Raspberry Sorbet ice-cream
  • 4 mini scoops of Macadamia Nut ice-cream
  • 4 mini scoops of Caramel Biscuit and Cream ice-cream
  • Fruit pieces of sweet mandarin orange slices, strawberries and banana
  • Pound cake
  • Cookies
  • Almond nibs
  • Warm milk chocolate sauce or dark chocolate sauce (the latter is not available at this branch)

Festive offering of chocolate fondue at the same price of RM68.

The Belgian chocolate was deliciously rich, not too sweet and with some bitterness to spare for a genuine chocolaty experience. With a long limbed fork, I speared some of the ice cream directly into my mouth, whereas some others I coated with melted chocolate and savor the hardening coat with some crushed nuts. It was truly a godsend and I temporarily forgot about the hefty price tag of RM68 per set. It was worth paying for such heavenly flavor. 

The Chinese New Year Fondue (RM68), coming in matching reds and oranges to match the festive mood.

A hungry face for a delayed treat...

The parlor can be entered from the road side or the mall side. This is the mall side entrance.

The fondue was satisfying overall, definitely worthy of its signature status. I would forgive the hefty price tag for offering such delicious choices and that it was from a premium brand. Although the Chinese New Year Fondue adds a nice touch to match the festive theme, the mandarin oranges could have been a sweeter variant. My old man commented that for fetching such a premium price and serving such limited number of slices, the mandarin oranges should have been better sourced, a point I fully agree.

The management does need to improve on streamlining the service or adding personnel during peak days to provide a better experience. The staff clearly has too much on hand for too little people and handling too many different tasks at the same time. I enjoy the offer from House of Häagen-Dazs but would not return to this same shop on holidays.

Environment:          A premium branded ice-cream parlor in a mall district
Suitable for:             for family or friends
Price:                           luxurious (>RM20 per meal per pax)
Food score:               7/10
Food:                            5.0/5.0
Service:                        2.0/5.0
Value:                           3.5/5.0
Ambient:                      2.5/5.0

Operating hours:   10.00 a.m. - 10.00 p.m.
Directions:                Find out how to get to Kinta City mall in Ipoh Garden area. De Garden is just opposite of the mall.

Website:                    Official homepage of Bangkok Jam Singapore
Contact:                    +605 - 5488 850 (phone)/+605 - 5488 851 (fax)
E-mail:                       -
Address:                    G-OR-6, De Garden, Persiaran Medan Ipoh, Perak 31400, Malaysia

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