McNair Restaurants- Nyonya & Western Cuisines @ Lebuh McNair, Georgetown, Penang.
If you have passed by Lebuh McNair recently, chances are high that you have seen this stretch of heritage houses with odd embellishment vying for attention. It does not suggest a thing and some actually though it was a museum-to-be but in actual fact, it comprises of restaurants jointly named as "McNair Restaurants", serving both Peranakan Nyonya cuisine and Western cuisine. Not much signage out the front and the exaggerated decoration outside means nothing but the interior suggests otherwise. Step in the restaurant and you will see traces of the "Nyonya-Peranakan" traits- from the usual Peranakan antique tiles to seemingly priceless heirloom displayed on the wall. Ironically, the menu is not limited to Peranakan cuisine... there are some Western options for those with Western palate either. Prices are reasonable and it isn't a stretch to go for Seafood dishes like Assam Pedas Fish or Assam Prawns. It is also note-worthy that McNair Restaurants are fully air-conditioned and serve family-style servings.
Assam Pedas- Red Snapper (Rm 45)
Crispy Fried Lotus Root (Rm 15/ small)
Soy Sauce Stewed Pork Belly (Rm 15/ small)
In keeping with the cuisine's penchant, McNair Restaurants does offer some of the locals' favorite Peranakan dishes such as Assam Pedas Fish, Assam Prawns, Kapitan Chicken, Tau Ewe Bak and Rendang. The Assam Pedas Red Snapper was a good value at Rm 45, a surprisingly huge portion for the 3 of us. The texture of the fish was expertly taken care of- soft but not mushy with pristine white appearance. The curry sauce though possessed the hint of the quintessential flavors, we thought it could be more acidic and the herbaceous aroma could be bolder. The sauce was too limited for us either, it was almost dried up towards the end. Not too shabby but there are areas for improvement.
Another side- Crispy Fried Lotus Root was addictive, the batter was cleverly done with a mild but alluring aroma that we could not discern. We saw traces of Curry Leaves though. The result was a crispy, evocative snacks to munch on.
Lamb Shank (Rm 48)
Western options are usually Pasta which we reckon it is usually ordered to satisfy the young children (based on our observation of neighboring tables) but we have gone out of the norm. We had their Lamb Shank for a change but to our relief, it was beatifully done! We had our Lamb Shank served with Red Wine sauce, a bed of mashed Potatoes and some Greens (dressed with simple Balsamic Vinaigrette). The chunk of meat was so tender and it falls off from the bone at the nudge of the fork. The flavors were well-absorbed and the meat went well with the creamy-buttery mashed. The monstrous portion might be a little too substantial for some though.
Taste: 7.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Parking: 6/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Price: 7/10 (1-3 expensive, 4-7 average, 8-10 cheap)
Ambiance: 7.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service Charge: Yes 10%
Government Tax: No
Address: 166, Lebuh McNair, 10300, Georgetown, Penang.
Business Hours: 11 am to 3 pm, 6 pm to 10 pm. Closed on Mondays.
Contact Number: 604- 261 0096