For our Chinese New Year (CNY)Gathering, my friend suggested having our dinner at Penang Place. The restaurant had moved from International Business Park to its present location at the basement of Fusionopolis.
The restaurant serves Penang and Peranakan buffet. I was quite reluctant when I first heard because of my no-carbo-at-dinner diet. But the reasonable price (even during CNY), close proximity to my house and ease of parking persuaded me. I didn’t want to be stuck in rain and jam to drive to town during peak hours.
The cavernous restaurant has a huge seating capacity and like my group, many were there in large groups for CNY gathering. For extra, you can even order Yusheng. I also noticed that many of the patrons were women (probably 85% !).
The variety was plentiful. I zoomed in on my favourite – Penang Assam Laksa (there goes my no-carbo diet). Thank goodness it was a small portion, a small rice bowl and probably two spoonful of noodles. I am a garnish person and topped my bowl with generous heaps of mint, shredded cucumber and pineapple, lettuce, and ginger flower. Unfortunately, I found the assam flavor lacked tang. I prefer a more sourish taste.
Next to the assam laksa is the prawn noodle and cuttlefish kangkong. Most were sample size and flavourful.
My friend urged me to try the shark’s fin soup and it was comparable or even better to what we get at hotels’ wedding dinner, although I am not sure if there were any sharks’ fin in there but I did get generous lumps of crab meat.
I was told the best dish is Char Kway Teow, served generously with prawns, cockles and lightly cooked bean sprouts. Somehow without the lard, I thought it lacked a punch.
I tried the curry chicken, which we could accompany with baguette, and it was very good. So was the chicken satay. The skewered-meat was generous, tender and delicious. The only unfortunate thing is they did not have kuetupat with the cucumber and onion condiments.
By the way, this restaurant does not serve pork, which thus exclude many delicious pork dishes that are present on Peranakan table.
I skipped the nasi lemak and all the fried dishes (spring rolls, fried wings) as well as the rendang. Instead, I was delighted to find a table dedicated to fresh salad, picked vegetables(Chinese), archar and rojak (Alamak! I forgot to try the rojak which we had to mix ourselves.)
For dessert, my friends took the nonya kwehs, red-bean soup with longans, black glutinous rice porridge while I stuck to fruits and a tiny bowl of Guilinggao.
All over the restaurant, there are many place-cards reminding us not to waste food and that $5 will be imposed per 100g wastage. Yet the zealous staff often offered to clear our unfinished plate and was clearly amused when I insisted on finishing the last piece of cucumber and onion that had accompanied my satay.
At 8.45pm, we were informed by the stuff that the dishes would be cleared by 9pm. At 9.30pm, we were told that they were closing and that brought our night to an abrupt end.