Tian Ding Xiang (天鼎香) @ Gurney Plaza, Penang.
I have never tried/visited any of the newly opened restaurants on 5th and 6th floor of Gurney Plaza after the extension/renovation. Despite the fact that there are a lot of interesting new restaurants opened there, this restaurant (Tian Ding Xiang) caught my attention, mainly due to their outrageous long queue of customers during weekends and their creative yet unique dishes offered. Strategically located at 6th floor of Gurney Plaza, Tian Ding Xiang is a Chinese restaurant that offers unique and delicate Chinese dishes, with some fusion dishes available. This place is always crowded with people especially during weekends or special events/occasions. One of the most appealing dishes/soups that I find was their Black Chicken with Shark's Bones (鲨鱼骨炖乌鸡汤), I wish to try this out but unfortunately, it was not available on the day I visited. If you are having a family lunch/dinner, this might be a very suitable place for you as they have a wide variety of Chinese dishes with reasonable prices (extra marks for them for charging 5% service charge ONLY--no government tax). I would say that there is a need of improvements on their service (probably due to lack of staff).
A small plate of appetizer (pickled vegetables) was served to us after we've placed our order, which costs us Rm2. Not sure if they do change their appetizers frequently, but do feel free to ask them first.
Beef Porridge (生滚牛肉沙锅粥, Rm 11.90) comes in a rather big portion, served piping hot using a clay pot. The porridge was smooth and flavorful to my liking, so do the beef slices. The beef was perfectly tender and juicy, but the meat lacked of some flavors. I had to match them with their chilies just to spice them up.
We also had this Mixed Seafood Porridge (艇仔海鲜沙锅粥, Rm 16.90) was truly a simple and palatable. The porridge comes with a generous amount of seafood, namely Prawns, Squid and Scallops. The mixed seafood has successfully added the 'extra sweetness' to the porridge. In terms of flavor, I would personally prefer this over the Beef Porridge.
Sweet Sauce Baked Unagi Rice (蜜汁焗鳗鱼饭, Rm 25.80) was rather a disappointment. This dish comes with some Scrambled Egg, stir fried Shallots, grilled Unagi and some white rice topped with their home-made sweet sauce. The portion of Unagi given was small and it was not as flavorful as I thought it will be. Moreover, the whole dish was somewhat too dry to my liking and we had to ask for extra sauce. The sweet sauce was different from the Japanese way of preparing their Unagi Sauce, this sauce of theirs was more to the Chinese way of preparing as you can basically taste the flavor of Chinese Soy Sauce in it. Considering the small portion of the Unagi, I'd say this dish is more to the expensive side.
Peking Duck (北京烤鸭, Rm 36-Half Bird) is definitely one of their signature dishes. The half bird of duck will be served in two different ways, one being the Peking Duck style, where by you will given some crepe and wrap the crisply done Duck Skin; as for the meat, we opted for the Stir Fried Duck with Spring Onion and Ginger. Tian Ding Xiang served the Peking Duck to us professionally, whereby a waitress was sent to our table and sliced the duck in front of us. This is quite rare in Penang as most of the restaurants prepared the Duck Skin in kitchen and just serve it. Back to the duck skin, it would be better if they could slice the skin in a thinner way (I find some of them a bit too thick to my liking). The nicely done sauce complemented the duck pretty well too. Recommended.
For the duck meat, we opted to go for the Stir Fried with Spring Onions and Ginger style. To my surprise, this dish was heavenly good. Firstly, the spring onions were perfectly cooked, they remained the crunchiness and sweetness within. Next, was the duck meat itself, they were so tender/succulent, yet, robust with the fragrance of the spring onions and ginger. I could easily finish two bowls of white rice with just this dish. Highly recommended.
Some complimentary desserts were given to us at the end of our meal. This was their Mung Beans Dessert (绿豆汤), on the bright side, this dessert was not too sweet and perfect for me, however, it has a hint of sourness, which I presumed to come from Chinese Red Dates (红枣), tho it was unique in its own way, but they don't make a good combination, I would prefer if they could add in some Sago instead (the classic way). As for the texture, I have no complaints at all as it was very smooth and the thickness was just alright.
Taste: 7.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Price: 7.5/10 (1-3 expensive, 4-7 average, 8-10 cheap)
Government Tax: No
Address: 170-06-09 & 10, 6th Floor, Plaza Gurney, Pesiaran Gurney 10250
Contact Number: 604- 226 3062