Penang 2016 - Kebaya Nonya Restaurant at Seven Terraces
Besides being a fabulous boutique hotel - the Seven Terraces also boasts one of the best Nonya restaurants in town - The Kebaya. The chef here has taken traditional Nonya recipes and elevated them to higher culinary levels. Kebaya itself is a lavishly decorated restaurant. The high-ceiling grand dining room is richly decorated with beautiful museum-quality antiques. It's like getting invited for dinner at a grand Peranakan mansion.
The 4-course dinner menu is fixed at RM100 ++ and you can choose 1 course each from the Appetizer, Main Course, Green and Dessert sections. If you have 2 or more persons dining together - you can choose different items and share everything - a nice concept.
We started with the Pork Man Tou and Crispy Joo Hoo Char Roll. The pork has been slow-cooked in soy sauce and shredded, served with crunchy pickled carrots and cucumber on the pillowy soft bun. It is a great starter.
The Crispy Joo Hoo Char Roll is a twist on the traditional Nonya version - which would have been served in crispy Pie Tie shells. The taste of the filling was really intense with the umami flavours of dried cuttlefish - a great version of this Nonya classic.
For the greens, we had Cher Char - which is basically stir-fried green vegetables. It was well executed but nothing special.
The Crispy Nonya Tempura vegetables use Asian batter which is thicker and crunchier than the Japanese version. They go really well with the belachan chili sauce.
For mains, we had Organic Roast Pork and Kebaya Tamarind Beef. The roast pork was very tender and had a crispy skin. It went well with the sweet dipping sauce.
The Tamarind Beef was our favourite dish of the night - really tender beef that has been slow-cooked for hours, served with a rich and dark sauce made with tamarind, galangal, ginger, lemongrass and the most important ingredient - gula melaka. I would go back just for this dish!
For dessert, we had Tang Yuen and Gula Melaka Mousse. The Tang Yuen was really great - a very refined version of the original. The rice balls were stuffed with coconut in gula melaka, and served with a warm coconut cream sauce.
The Gula Melaka Mousse was very rich in the taste of palm sugar.
The Kebaya serves really good Nonya food and is well worth return visits to try the other dishes on the menu. Granted some of the dishes are more Thai then Nonya - but with execution this good it seems a bit petty to complain. Another great reason to return to Penang more often.