Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Eighty Eight Restaurant @ Kelawai Road, Penang.

The Eighty Eight Restaurant refers to the year of 1988, which was the year of the restaurateur was born; a very talented young chef- Danny Ng. Danny has been creative and passionate about food where he creates a lot of astonishingly amazing dishes from his culinary experiences in Singapore. I was one of the lucky few to be invited to sample some of Chef Danny's master piece at his very first restaurant- The Eighty Eight Restaurant, which situated at one of the busiest roads in Penang- Kelawai Road. The Eighty Eight Restaurant is just a few doorsteps away from the Sleeping Buddha Temple (Wat Chayamangkalaram) and opposite to Mobil Petrol Station at Kelawai Road, Penang. The restaurant offers a wide variant of dishes, mainly Western dishes. Service was very attentive and the ambiance was very cozy and suitable for family and friends' gatherings. The Eighty Eight Restaurant changes its specialties on a monthly-basis, diners are encouraged to check with the management and make reservations accordingly to avoid disappointments. Prices shown are to be subject to 10% of service charge.

Diners will be served with their complimentary Home-made bread with their specially made Burnt Butter before the meal. The bread was served warm to us and maintained the right crispiness and fluffiness to my liking, expect the texture to be something similar to Sourdough. The Burnt Butter was made by melting Unsalted Butter and slowly cooked until it crystallizes again. It was a bit unique for me as I was expecting to see the usual Balsamic Vinegar with Extra Virgin Olive Oil to go with the bread but this was something unusual and it makes a very good combination with the bread indeed. The Bread is an open-food, diners are allowed to request for more if they find there is such a need.

We were served with their Caesar Salad (Rm 20+). Baby Romaine Lettuce, drizzled with Home-made Caesar dressing, garnished with Croutons, Confit Cherry Tomatoes, Anchovies, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Shredded Egg White and Yolk. You may find this combination a bit odd if you are familiar with Caesar Salad as one would not usually find Anchovies and Shredded Egg in it. I liked it being light (with the perfect amount of Cheese used) but I did not quite like the Anchovies, just my personal preference tho. Other bloggers find this dish very impressive.

Another Cold Started served to us was their  Jamón Ibérico (Rm 30+) which consisted of Spanish Cured Ham, Rocket Salad, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar served with their Home-made Fried Dough. Complements should be given to Chef Danny for his creation of the Fried Dough. They were very fluffy and fragrance, perfectly complementing the Spanish Cured Ham, with the help of some slight sweetness from Balsamic Vinegar.

The only Hot Starter served was this Saute Clams (Rm 20+) where by the fresh clams were cooked in Prawn Broth, Tomatoes, Brandy, Basil and Parsley. I did not quite like this dish due to the over-powering alcohol flavor infused within as a result of using Brandy. The alcohol flavor will be milder if Chef Danny were to use White Wine instead. Some of us find this dish good enough to his liking tho, but definitely not me.

The smooth, rich and highly seasoned Prawn Bisque (Rm 26+) was the soup of the night. The soup was cooked using a lot of small shrimps and it tasted very thick and heavy. It has some alcohol added too but it was okay for me as the flavor from the Prawns has shielded it well enough. To be simple, it tasted something like a very concentrated Hokkien/ Prawn Noodles' Broth. I reckon it goes well with the bread too.

Chef Danny's Linguine (Rm 45+) was definitely one of the best Pasta I've ever had. This signature pasta of theirs was cooked with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Black Olives, Cherry Tomatoes, Capers, Clams, Prawns and Fish Broth. I'd say Capers were definitely one of the soul ingredients here, which have given the pasta a lift in flavor. The choice of Linguine was very suitable and appropriate, the pasta cooked al-dente has fully absorbed the flavors from the seafood. No doubt it was one of the best pasta I've ever had, try to believe!

Moved next was the main course, this was their French Sea-Bream (Whole fish- Rm 75+). Chef Danny did not over-season the fish but just a light touch of salt and some herbs/ lemon zests. Frankly speaking, I did not enjoy this dish as others did, though I have no complaints on the flavors but I just do not like the texture of the fish. I find it too dry and rough to my liking, I would definitely prefer Cod Fish instead.  

Baby Lamb Rumps (Rm 68+). The oven-roasted Baby Lamb Rump was served with Japanese Pumpkin Puree, Mint juice and Baby Rocket. You might wonder why the Lamb was black in color... It was covered with Charcoal Powder and the inner part of the Lamb was still rare, aiming to maintain the juiciness and tenderness of the Lamb. Using a choice of Australian Lamb, the Lamb was savory, juicy and tender enough but I would definitely prefer my lamb to be at least Medium Rare instead.

Finding desserts such as Gratin Sabayone (Rm 18+) is never easy in Penang. The Egg based Custard with Marsala Wine, served with fresh Strawberries and Home-made Vanilla Ice Cream was more to the sweeter side in my opinion. The sweetness was meant to be balanced up with the Strawberries but I thought that it was still too sweet for me. It tasted something like a softer version of Creme Brulee, with a hint of alcohol from the Marsala Wine.

Chocolate and Banana 2012 (Rm 22+) was one of the desserts I enjoyed that night. Frozen Varlhorna Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Crumble and Banana Ice Cream. The Chocolate Mousse was so smooth and soft, it just melted in my mouth in a glimpse of eye. The Banana gives an unique flavor to the Chocolate, so does the Banana Ice Cream. Everything was just so harmonious, as if they were to get married in my mouth. Thumbs up for this dessert!

A big applause for Chef Danny's Vanilla Panna Cotta (Rm 20+) too. The Italian pudding was served with mixed Berries Compote (fruits in sugar syrup). You may even find some Vanilla Seeds at the bottom of the pudding, giving it a robust flavor. The sourish Berries Compote strives to give a balance between sweet and sour, a truly comfortable dessert to end the delightful meal indeed.

A big Thank You to Chef Danny and his team of Chefs for preparing such a wonderful meal for us.

Additional Information:
Address: 49-A, Kelawai Road, Pulau Tikus, Penang, Malaysia. 
Business Hour: 12pm to 2:30pm (lunch); 6:30pm to 10:30pm (dinner). Closed on every Tuesday. 
Contact Number: 604- 226 2821.

49 Jalan Kelawei, Georgetown, 10250 Pulau Pinang

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