Pe­nang’s Culi­nary Hot­bed

The fine-din­ing scene heats up in the north with firm favourites and ris­ing stars of­fer­ing plenty for so­phis­ti­cated palates.

Robb Report (Malaysia) - - Contents - By MARK LEAN AND KEN­NETH TAN Pho­tos LAW SOO PHYE

Ex­pe­ri­ence a slew of old and new favourites, re­plete with world-class culi­nary tal­ents who are con­coct­ing a de­li­cious fine din­ing scene.

The vary­ing forms of done­ness cre­ates a dif­fer­ent tast­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

FAR­QUHAR MAN­SION

Along Ge­orge Town’s stylish colo­nial stretch, just across the Eastern & Ori­en­tal Ho­tel, is Far­quhar Man­sion. Op­er­at­ing as a lounge and a French restau­rant, the re­fur­bished man­sion has be­come the de facto des­ti­na­tion for well-heeled Pe­nan­gites look­ing to cel­e­brate an­niver­saries, birth­days and sig­nif­i­cant life events.

From the lilt­ing, soul­ful croon­ing of Edith Piaf to the clas­si­cal in­te­rior de­sign, there’s no doubt of its Gal­lic in­spi­ra­tion, while culi­nary ef­forts are helmed by its French­trained ex­ec­u­tive chef Tan DR. The kitchen prac­tises a five-point cook­ing phi­los­o­phy that show­cases tex­tures, flavours, pu­rity, ter­roir and clas­sic ori­gins of in­gre­di­ents, most promi­nently across a five-course tast­ing menu (RM368+). On this menu, sta­ples in­clude a mor­eish starter of a Mush­room Gar­den Ter­roir com­posed of sauteed por­to­bello, shimeji, mi­cro herbs, edi­ble flow­ers and grati­nated Bear­naise lib­er­ally ac­cented with black truf­fle.

Mean­while, its Trio of Hokkaido Scal­lops com­prises a basil- dusted scal­lop tartare, flam­beed scal­lop anointed with wasabi and ikura, and an­other that is seared and gar­nished with pesto. The vary­ing forms of done­ness cre­ates a dif­fer­ent tast­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, from a chewy mouth­feel to crispy tooth­some. An en­su­ing half-seared foie gras is at­tended by a port wine emul­sion, al­falfa, orange brioche and ap­ple chut­ney.

A 12-hour re­duc­tion of beef stock

pro­duces a lovely jus, which is served with the Wagyu main course with the right bal­ance of char and bee­fi­ness when plated at the rec­om­mended medium done­ness.

To match your steak, Far­quhar Man­sion’s wine list is com­posed of the many im­por­tant French viti­cul­ture ap­pel­la­tions in­clud­ing Bordeaux’s left and right bank, Rhone and Bur­gundy, all of which is poured into Riedel glass­ware. You may eas­ily se­lect a Pauil­lac, Mar­gaux or Pomerol from its ex­ten­sive list, while whisky lovers will find aged high­lights in the form of 25-year- old Hakushus, Laphroaigs and Bow­mores, among oth­ers.

To round things off, mango cheese foam is paired with panna cotta, com­pote, sor­bet, al­mond cake, crisps and co­conut foam for a re­fresh­ing tang.

For post-din­ner drinks, guests may re­tire to the lounge up­stairs, which also boasts a magnificent Dal­more whisky cab­i­net stocked with aged ex­pres­sions of its sin­gle-malt scotch and with a live band in at­ten­dance.

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The in­tensely flavour­ful Wagyu of­fers the right bal­ance of char and bee­fi­ness. In­set: Far­quhar Man­sh­ion re­calls the charm of French din­ing rooms with elab­o­rate chan­de­liers and the war­bling of Edith Piaf.

The man­goac­cented panna cotta of­fers a fruity and flo­ral fi­nale.

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