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Friday, April 26, 2013

Makan In Malacca Part 5: Sri Mawar Ria

Well this is the last in our 'Makan In Malacca' series.
We sampled all kinds of delicious food in this wonderful city and our last meal on Malacca soil happened to be a place we had decided to go to from the very start. 

In December 2012, we were invited by Mr Ridzuan Yeo posted on our FB wall, inviting us to sample his delicious Cantonese/Nyonya food at Sri Mawar Ria in Melaka.

"Si nyonya Melaka menyimpul sanggul,
Diselit dengan si bunga cempaka.
Pelbagai kaum sudah berkumpul, 
Makanan dipilih mengikut selera."

Well when people open 'pantun' to invite, surely we must humbly accept!

I think that one of the best things about Sri Mawar Ria is that it's located at Melacca Sentral Station.
This basically means that you can eat there when you get off the bus in Malacca or before you get on the bus headed back home.

Rojak Petis (RM4.00)
For starters we went with some Rojak.
And this is not just Rojak Buah like you'd normally get around the area. This is 'Chinese style' Rojak with you char kway and tau pok amidst the veggies.

I simply love petis (fermented prawn paste).
And this is not too spicy but I reckon you can ask for it to be spicy if you'd like.
A nice generous sprinkling of nuts and this is a winner.

Sup Sayur Campur Tom Yam Seafood Bihun (RM6.00)
My darling wife was hankering for something a little spicy so she went with the Tom Yam.
They have a few types including 'Chicken' and 'Seafood' and you either have just the soup or add some noodles to it for a full meal.

But don't be fooled by the fiery colour because this wasn't that spicy.
The Tom Yam taste was very overwhelming either to be honest. I think our palettes are so accustomed to having super spicy food (especially when you think of something like Tom Yum) that we forget it may not be the same everywhere we go. Even though this was not what we were used to, it was still very tasty!

If you REALLY want, then try and tell the guy taking your order to make it extra spicy. Maybe he can throw in a few extra chilli padi for you.

Hokkien Mi Ayam (RM4.90)
 I haven't had Hokkien Mee in YEARS so I was pretty excited to have this BUT it didn't come out as what I remembered as Hokkien Mee unfortunately. Maybe I was thinking of something else.

This dish reminded me of Mee Hong Kong but with black gravy.
It's tasty but I was expecting a bit more of a vinegar-sour which was absent so I kicked it up a notch with some chilli jeruk. Yummy!

The only real problem I had with this dish was that I found the serving too small.
Or maybe I was just really hungry. 

Oh and you can have the Seafood version if you like.
You can substitute the yellow noodle for bee hoon or kway teow if you'd like.

Adam's Verdict:
Rojak Petis 4/5 -- Hokkien Mi Ayam 3.5/5

Maryah's Verdict:
Rojak Petis 3.5/5 -- Sup Sayur Campur Tom Yam Seafood Bihun 3/5

This was definitely one of the more popular makan places at Melaka Sentral.
And it's location is so convenient for us to stop by and grab a bite before or after our bus trip.
Be sure to try it the next time time you're in Malacca. Especially if you took the bus!

Restoran Sri Mawar Ria

Terminal Melaka Sentral
Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, Peringgit, Melaka
Tel: +60 17-690 1450



Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Singapore Memory Project

A couple of days ago, we received a comment on one of our posts.

The comment was actually an invitation to be part of a national project called 'The Singapore Memory Project' which aims to capture and preserve Singapore's heritage and culture. No no I'm not talking about like what they do in the museums we go to. Something like that but a little different.

With this initiative, the memories collected are by the people.
The people who have lived through it and the people who are proud to share this with not only the rest of the world but also our future generations as well.

In mediums like print, audio and video, The Singapore Memory Project aims to preserve the materials and make them available to one and all.

Actually, I'm pretty sure a lot of you have come across this project before.
On Facebook, you may have seen some posts that you or friends may have 'Liked'.
Normally it's a post or a picture of something we probably saw in our childhood or something like that.

You know the one I'm talking about right?
You can visit the FB page at https://www.facebook.com/irememberSG

The Halal Food Blog is proud and honoured that our humble blog can be a part of this project.
We have made our pledge with The Singapore Memory Project and hope that we can all do our part to preserve our memories for generations to come.

It will take approximately 2 months for the process of our blog's inclusion to be completed.
In the mean time, we proudly display the badge on our page.

You can click HERE for more information on The Singapore Memory project.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Makan In Malacca Part 4: The Chicken Rice Shop

I'm guessing some of you may have eaten at The Chicken Rice Shop before.
They not only have restaurants across the Causeway but they also have outlets in Singapore!
But it seems like the number of outlets is shrinking though... Down to only 2 in Singapore!


It seemed logical for us to order a set meal.
It's like $15 and you get ALL that food which is actually really a good deal.
Plus we wanted to try the special item Ayam Sodap Belado!

And we also ordered some ala carte items also :P

Nyonya Pai Tee
Sai To Fishball Soup
Pak Choy with Oyster Sauce

Both of the items above are part of the set meal by the way.

I actually quite liked the Pai Tee aside from how stingy they were with the filling.
The Fishball Soup was nothing special and seemed quite redundant because they give you a small bowl of soup with your Chicken Rice anyways...

As for the Pak Choy (not to be confused with Kai Lan), it definitely provides the salty factor.
Well it's literally just blanched Pak Choy with oyster sauce. Errr... ya.

Chicken Rice (Roasted)
I went for the traditional Roasted Chicken Rice (you have a choice of Roasted, Steamed or Soy Sauce).
The chicken itself was not bad. Really tender actually but a little on the dry side.
The rice was also a little dry. Maybe we're just not used to this kind of chicken rice?

The chilli was also a bit weird.
It comes with the minced ginger which you can mix it for added flavour but it didn't help the overall taste very much to be honest.

I guess we're used to the kind of chilli with a bit more kick.
A little more vinegar maybe?

Ayam Sodap Balado
My my doesn't that look nice and spicy?!
Well it's not.

It actually tastes like Asam Pedas... (I guess they DO love their Adam Pedas in Malacca!).
And it's a tad too oily. The only good point is that the chicken itself was cooked to perfection.

Maybe the ala carte items would fare better!

Kerabu Mango (Mango Salad) (RM 7.99)
My darling wife says this was the winner of the lot.
It had a nice kick to it but it was a little on the sour side for me.

The unique thing is that they had slivers of basil leaves mixed in which gave a very welcome surprise.
It's funny how something so small can make a big difference.
And that's shredded dried shrimps (udang kering) on top by the way.

Crispy Wanton (RM 7.99)
Fried wanton has got to be a favourite with a lot of people.
I'm sure you're at least 75% going to order it if you see it on the menu am I right?

Well let me warn you about the Wantons at The Chicken Rice Shop.
They had a sour tinge to it. We have no idea if the chicken was going south or if they seasoned it that way on purpose. Well I finished it anyways because it was at least one of the more edible items there.

So far it seems like most things are seasoned or flavoured differently from what we may be used to.
I wonder if the same items taste the same way at the Singapore outlets...

Well maybe the last item would be super nice.

Golden Fortune Wings (RM 3.99)
We purposely ordered this item because it looked so good on the menu.
And we're suckers for chicken wings.

But guess what? This was sour too!
I could detect the strong taste of Hoisin Sauce (looks like the marinated the wings in it) but trust me - I can take sour tastes but this seems like it wasn't intended to taste this way.

I'd love to guess again that the chicken was going south (like the wanton) but we didn't even get that far.
Just the skin alone was enough to make us put it down. My darling wife even said that if she could, she'd give it a negative score.

Kuching Famous 3 Layer Tea (RM 5.50)
I know it's weird for me to have a Kuching specialty when I was in Malacca but hey what can I say...
I was intrigued when I saw it on the menu.

Okay so let's run through.
Layer 1 at the bottom is Gula Melaka. (Seriously)
Layer 2 in the middle is milk.
Layer 3 at the top is the tea.

It actually tastes a lot like bubble tea.
Just make sure you stir it up properly before you drink it...
If you make the same mistake I did, then you're in for a mouthful of Gula Melaka.

Adam's Verdict:
Chicken Rice 2/5 -- Nyonya Pai Tee 2/5 -- Pak Choy with Oyster Sauce 1.5/5
Kerabu Mango 2/5 -- Crispy Wanton 1/5 -- Golden Fortune Wings 0/5
Kuching Famous 3 Layer Tea 3/5

Maryah's Verdict:
Chicken Rice 2/5 -- Ayam Sodap Balado 2/5 -- Pak Choy with Oyster Sauce 1/5
Sai To Fishball Soup 1/5 -- Kerabu Mango 3/5 -- Crispy Wanton 0/5 -- Golden Fortune Wings 0/5

This was actually the first meal we had when we arrived in Malacca.
Its kinda made us a little worried to be honest. Definitely one of the weirdest meals EVER.
But it's definitely the kind of place you can bring your family or a large group for a meal.

Maybe we'll try the outlet in Singapore just for comparison's sake.

The Chicken Rice Shop

Mahkota Parade
No 1 Jalan Merdeka Lot No F15 First Floor
Tel: 06-2824928

Operating Hours:
10.00am til 10.00pm (Sunday til Thursday)
10.00am til 10.30pm (Friday and Saturday)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Quest For Briyani Part 4: Blue Diamond Restaurant


So I mentioned my quest for Briyani to my Mum and she says "Wah you have to try Blue Diamond Briyani!".
Normally when my Mum makes a claim that something is nice means she really really likes it.
So I made it a point to pay Blue Diamond a visit.

Tucked along the row of shophouses along Buffalo Road, I almost missed it.
The restaurant looks so well-blended in that I actually had to look for a sign before I knew exactly where it was. And since this restaurant was actually pretty famous, I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.

My Dad and Brother were along for the adventure but my Mum couldn't make it out for lunch...

Well my Dad and I had different types of Dum Briyani and my Brother had the Naan which I actually reviewed earlier. (See that review HERE)

Now it's interesting to note that they are listing this as "Dum Briyani" which means they cooked it in the 'Dum' style of cooking the meat and rice together. There are a lot of places that claim to serve 'Dum Briyani' but actually don't. How would Blue Diamond fare?

So the guy brings out our Briyani in these small little pots.
He lays the banana leaf out for you and then proceeds to flip the rice and meat out on to your plate.

But does this small pot mean that it's not authentic 'Dum'?
Not at all. I can confirm that Blue Diamond serves authentic Dum Briyani because we saw the guy scoop the rice and the meat out from a much larger pot where the Briyani was cooked.

Apparently they pack it into these pots to keep the dish warm and this means they can serve it to you steaming and piping hot.

Dum Mutton Biryani ($7.00)
Dum Chicken Biryani ($6.50)
As you can see, the servings are very very generous!!

The mutton version comes with 2 pretty big pieces of mutton and a whole quarter of chicken for the chicken version. Plus a hard-boiled egg atop a nice big fluffy bed of rice.

The Basmati rice used was very fluffy and very delicious. I have to say it was actually very tasty even if you were to eat the rice on its own without any curry.

But let me explain that this is because this Biryani is heavy on the spices.
That's a fierce colour for a Biryani to have and it's because of the masala spices they use and boy do they use it generously here. It's not over-powering but I can foresee some people may not fancy it too much.

Some people like their Briyani to be relaxed and not too strong while some like it spicy and packing a punch.
If you are the 2nd type, then you'll probably enjoy this because this is definitely a dish that emphasizes the powerful flavour of biryani spices.

The mutton itself was very tender and tore apart relatively easily. This is what you at least expect as a minimum for Dum Biyani am I right? Unfortunately with my luck, I got a nice big joint bone which means less meat for me. Yeah sure I love the bones but I prefer meat with my biryani.

The chicken version however didn't fare so well.
The meat was definitely tender but when you have to cook chicken meat that long to get it to that state, you sacrifice a lot of the moisture in the meat so it turned out to be very very dry. The chicken version also appeared to have less masala spices compared to the mutton version.

Cucumber Raita
You also get the usual extras with your plate of biryani.
Cucumber Raita was a welcome change as it definitely cooled of the spice of the biryani.
I thought that the curry was actually Rasem or something because it looked so watery but don't let looks deceive you - that's one tasty and spicy curry! But with the biryani already being heavy on the masala spice, I didn't really need the extra curry.

In fact, to be honest, I actually liked it best when I had the biryani rice with the Butter Chicken which came with my brother's Naan!

Adam's Verdict:
Dum Mutton Biryani 3.5/5

Azlan's Verdict:
Dum Mutton & Chicken Biryani 3.5/5

Zain's Verdict:
Dum Chicken Biryani 3/5

A close friend and fellow foodie says that Blue Diamond was indeed a top name when it came to Briyani back in the day but he also mentioned that the old and original chef passed away a few years ago.
No doubt the recipe may be the same but we all know what they say about the people cooking the dish being just as, if not more, important than the recipe itself. Well, this is still a pretty tasty biryani nontheless.

The Quest For Briyani continues!!

Blue Diamond Restaurant

24 Buffalo Road
(Across from Tekka Market)

Operating Hours: 9.30am til 10.00pm Daily

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Makan In Malacca Part 3: Hard Rock Cafe

I just wanna rock and roll all night!

Let me start by making something very very clear.
The food served at Hard Rock Cafe in Malaysia (ie Malacca & KL) is certified Halal.
Their kitchen and ingredients are all certified Halal BUT the establishment itself is not certified Halal for the simple and obvious reason that they serve alcohol on the premises.

So the food is Halal but if you are really particular then please take note that they serve alcohol on the premises. The choice is ultimately yours :)

Well anyways, HRC is renowned for their western food but I'm afraid to say that their reputation has taken a bit of a dive recently. Some favourites like the Mushroom Soup and Beef Brisket have been removed from the menu and recent visits (to the KL outlet) showed that the service leaves a lot to be desired.

But hey. How can we resist right?

Black Pepper Steak (RM70.00)
A 7 oz. Striploin smothered in black pepper with mashed potatoes and vegetables!!
Is your mouth watering yet???

The serving is actually pretty big (as it is with most of the mains at HRC).
The meat was juicy and the mashed potatoes was the bomb! You could go for the Sirloin if you like but I reckon the extra kick that comes with black pepper sauce is a big pull factor.

The meat was cooked almost to perfection.
Medium-Well most of the ways but the closer we got to the centre, the pinker it became until it was pretty much rare right in the middle.

Hickory-Smoked Pulled-Lamb Sandwich (RM33.00)
I have this little obsession.
You see, I watch the Food Network a lot and I always see these places in America that have these massive BBQ menus. One of those items they have is the Pulled-Pork Sandwich.

Obviously I can't eat that actual item right? But it always amazes me to see how well-cooked the meat is and how tenderly it pulls apart all drenched in BBQ sauce.

Well I was really excited when I saw this on the menu.
They had a Lamb and a Chicken version so I decided to try the one which would probably have more flavour.

Phew let me tell you this was a mouthful of a sandwich.
The bread was really crusty which is just how I like it and the beans and coleslaw sides really help.

The meat itself was very tasty and tender but unfortunately a tad too dry.
It's fine at first but after awhile you start to realize it's pretty dry. The menu says that it's "served with your choice of their authentic vinegar-based or Hickory BBQ sauces" but when I asked the waitress, she said it's already been incorporated into the meat when it was cooked. Hmmm.. but I didn't choose yet.

Oh well never mind. The meat was still good enough but be sure to have your drink handy.

Plus at RM33.00 (approx $13.00) it's a steal.

Adam's Verdict:
Hickory-Smoked Pulled-Lamb Sandwich 3.5/5

Maryah's Verdict:
Black Pepper Steak 4/5

They have a live band that comes in on weekends so you can head down and have some good food if you're into the rock and roll. If not, then walk-off your meal with a stroll down Jonker Street just beside the HRC.

And by the way, the staff here were pretty attentive compared to what I heard about the KL outlet.
Or maybe it was the voice on the PA system calling to the staff to attend to tables.

Hard Rock Cafe Melaka

No.28 Lorong Hang Jebat, Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: 606-292 5188

Operating Hours: 
11:30AM - 1:00 AM (Sunday til Thursday)
11:30 AM - 2:00 AM (Fri, Sat & Eve of PH) - Kitchen Closes at 10:30 PM

Image from Google Maps

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ikea: Swedish Meatballs

I've heard so much about the Swedish Meatballs at Ikea.

For so long, they were not available to us as the original version consists of beef and pork.
But, I'm glad to say that Ikea has their own ' Halal' section in the food hall which means we have a chnace to sample some of their offerings.

They may not offer the exact same items as you might find on their non-Halal line... and I know it's kinda weird to see that they offer traditional favourites like Mee Siam (seriously) and Nasi Lemak in their Halal line-up.

But hey. We're here for the meatballs.

Swedish Meatballs ($5.50 for 10 pieces)
So the Halal version of their Swedish Meatballs consists of beef and chicken.
It's served with some boiled potatoes, Lingonberry jam and the balls are doused in a basic brown gravy.

The meatballs themselves were actually very well seasoned.
A little on the chewy side but still quite tasty nonetheless and the gravy gives a peppery kick.

I have to say I quite enjoyed the Lingonberry jam together with the meatballs.
Lingonberries are actually common in Sweden and you can even buy a jar of the jam at the Ikea Markethall.
They give a nice sweet/sour contrast to the meat and the brown gravy.

Don't expect to much of the potatoes though. They're just boiled with perhaps a little salt for seasoning.
But I love potatoes so I still whacked them all the same.

I actually dropped by to try these little balls when Ikea was having their great '10-cents Meatball' frenzy.
Normal price for 10 is $5.50 but you also have the options of 5 for $2.90, 15 for $8 or, if you're really hungry, $9.50 for 20 meatballs!

Photo by Eriyana
My great curiosity with the Swedish Meatballs came about when my sister-in-law had lunch with my brother at Ikea and sent me this picture. And it looked damn delicious!!

I think like more than a year later and I finally went down to have it lah.

Adam's Verdict:
Swedish Meatballs 3/5

If we ever do go down to Ikea, I'm not sure if we'll makan there.
But if we did, I'd probably have the Swedish Meatballs over the Mee Siam.

Ikea (Tampines)

60 Tampines North Drive 2
Tel: 6786 6868

Operating Hours: 9.30am - 10.30pm Daily

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Makan In Malacca Part 2: Restoran Hajjah Ruhana

One of the biggest surprises we got when we were in Malacca was how fiercely proud the locals were about the Asam Pedas there. I mean, I know Malacca has a lot of yummy food but I've actually never heard anyone say "Hey Malacca is the place to go for Adam Pedas!".

And the funny thing is that after someone told us about it, we suddenly noticed makan places all over proudly displaying signs touting their Asam Pedas.

Well now this was definitely interesting.

Well after a long session of walking and shopping, my darling wife and I decided it was finally time to try some 'Famous' Asam Pedas. The weather was hot. Out feet were tired. And we were bloody hungry.

Just beside Pahlawan Walk, we stumbled upon Restoran Hajjah Ruhana.
To be honest, it was the closest place where were and it had available seats. There was another makan place just opposite but it seemed like a giant family had swarmed the place so we settled down at Hajjah Ruhana.

As you can see, it's really a modest place.
Simple set-up and it's literally what you see is what you get!

There was a decent spread of vegetable dishes both cooked (like taugeh and bayam etc) and raw (like urap and kacang botor etc) so you should be spoiled for choice in that department. Don't forget to grab the extras like salted egg and sambal belacan too if you fancy!

Well we were here for the Asam Pedas!
They had like 5 or 6 different varieties there each cooked with a different fish. For those of you who are particular about the type of fish (like me) then you should be able to find at least one that you're agreeable with lah so no problem.

Asam Pedas (Ikan Sembilang) with Ladyfingers and Bayam
Asam Pedas (Ikan Tenggiri) with Kacang Botor, Urap and Salted Egg
I'm not really a catfish fan so my wife had the top plate and the bottom one was mine.

It's really simple.
You get your rice, get your mains and your veg and sit down. The lady will come and tally up later.
It's self-serve so you can take as little or as much as you want. And it's really reasonable priced too!

For those 2 plates of food PLUS 4 drinks (hot day so 2 drinks each) it came up to RM22.60!
That's like... $5 per person for everything!

And trust me, it's really good and hearty.

Asam Pedas Ikan Tenggiri
The Asam Pedas in Melacca is really quite unique.
We were really curious to know what was so different from the Asam Pedas we get back home in Singapore and there really is a difference. We can't quite place it but it's just... different.

It's definitely thicker in consistency and that kind of make a difference I guess.
Who knows what secret ingredients or techniques they employ in Melacca. Anyways I'm sure that everyone has their secret recipe. If we were to eat at a different restaurant, it might taste different probably.

Adam's Verdict:
Asam Pedas 4/5

Maryah's Verdict
Adam Pedas 4/5

But let me say this - my wife is not an Asam Pedas fan at all.
But she still says that this is delicious and she literally cleared her plate of food.
Maybe we were really hungry? Maybe it was damn delicious.

Restoran Hajjah Ruhana

Jalan PM3, Plaza Mahkota, Melaka
(Below Comfortable Inn Hotel)

Operating Hours: 10.00am til 10.00pm Daily

Image by Google Maps

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Makan In Malacca Part 1: A&W

My earliest memory of A&W as a kid was having it in KL.
My Dad's brother was working for KTM and we took the train down to KL one day to visit. There was an A&W right at the train station.

The last time I had A&W in Singapore was at the Lau Pa Sat outlet.
I think that was probably around... 2000 or 2001 maybe?
It had become so unpopular (for some reason) that they resorted to gimmicks like selling Nasi Lemak and Chicken Thigh Rice (seriously!) which was actually really sad. A&W was always a place we could go and have waffles and chicken wings and Coney Dogs!

Well alas, there's no more A&W in Singapore but you can hop over somewhere nearby (like Malaysia or Indonesia) to get your fix if you'd like. So my darling wife and I could not resist when we spotted an outlet near our hotel in Melacca.

Chicken Coney Dog (RM11.65 for the combo)
Actually, A&W automatically loses points from the start because my wife asked for the BEEF Coney Dog and for some reason we ended up with the Chicken version instead... Tsk tsk...

Well anyways. The Coney Dog has got to be a fan favourite with most of you am I right? A nice, soft, tender sausage covered in beef chilli and onions all resting in a nice soft bun.


In this case, we opted to pay an additional RM1.00 to get a small tub of Coney Sauce to add on to the sausage! Genius!
Anyways it's really cheap so it's well worth it to get that little bit of extra Coney kick! You can also use it on your fries!

I personally would have asked for more onions but hey maybe that's just me?

But I'm very sure most of you will agree with me - The Coney Dog rules.

Golden Aroma Chicken (RM12.65 for the combo)
 As for me, I decided to have something else that A&W was pretty famous for - Fried Chicken.

I'm actually not sure how many of you might have had back in the days in Singapore.
I remember seeing it but most of the time it'd be Coney Dogs and Waffles for me. Maybe once in awhile can whack some Chicken Wings but not very often I'd have to say.

Well let me say this - the Fried Chicken is good!
If you're not looking for any burgers or hotdogs then go for the chicken. It's tasty and it's got a nice coating on it. Nice chilli sauce to go along and you're set.

Curly Fries vs French Fries

With your combo order, you actually get fries to go along with your main.
A&W is definitely an icon when it came to the Curly Fries. In fact I think they might have actually pioneered the Curly Fries movement because I don't remember anyone else having it.

And they're still pretty curly today of course!

But.. don't let the normal French Fries fool you.
They may seem unsuspecting and you're more likely going to go for the Curly Fries but those normal French Fries are actually pretty tasty too!

Root Beer Float (RM2.00 top-up with combo)
And last but definitely not least - The Root Beer Float.

Well it's still refreshing but I have to say that a lot of the kick is lost when it's not in the frosty mug.
In fact, the last few times we've had A&W Root Beer Floats (in KL and Bandung), they've all been in paper cups. So I guess the signature frosty mugs have gone bye-bye and perhaps so has some of the appeal of the good ol' Root Beer Float.

Adam's Verdict:
Chicken Coney Dog 4/5 -- Golden Aroma Chicken 3/5

Maryah's Verdict:
Chicken Coney Dog 4.5/5 -- Curly Fries 5/5

I wonder how the Beef Coney dog would have fared...
Oh well. Maybe we'll go back again. On Tuesday. Because Tuesday is Coney Day!


Dataran Pahlwan Megamall (South Entrance)
Jalan Merdaka, Melaka, Malaysia

Operating Hours:
10.00am til 11.00pm (Sundays - Thursdays)
10.00am til 12.00am (Fridays and Saturdays)

Image from Google Maps