Kebaya is an amazing location. Tucked away in Stewart Lane, Georgetown on the beautiful Malaysian island of Penang, the dining room and hotel is a renovation of seven terraced houses. Everything has been achieved to a very high standard from the beautiful traditional tiled floors to the intricate woodwork and chandeliers. When you step into Kebaya, it feels like stepping back into old Penang, and the wait staff greet you with politeness and elegance that makes every customer feel like a star.
We were a little early and sat by the bar having a cocktail before we were seated. I chose a Long Island Iced Tea
My partner chose a Mojito.
The bartender lovingly prepared each cocktail by eye (no measures!), and they were served with some nibbles. We were given the menu to peruse while we waited.
The food is Indo-Chinese and Peranakan, and everything on the menu is appealing. I would have tried every dish if it was possible. The menu is MR 128+ per person (approx $42 AUD, or £24) and for this you get an appetiser, a main, a vegetable dish and a dessert. You can order extra dishes if you like, but we found that four dishes each was sufficient.
To start we chose Pai Tee – Crispy ‘ tou hats’ of saltwater school prawns with fresh julienne vegetables & a sweet chilli and coriander sauce.
We also chose Kebaya Ban Xeo – Crispy wafers stuffed with shredded chicken, bean sprouts, crispy tofu and stir fried vegetables in a tamarind sauce.
Both starters were served in china egg holders, beautifully put together and succulent. A wonderful start to the meal. A little spicy with each flavour tingling the tastebuds in the most wonderful way.
For mains we chose the following:
Grilled Snapper – Fresh fillet of snapper marinated in a spice paste and wrapped in a banana leaf, grilled over a charcoal flame. This was creamy with a really fresh fillet of fish, and not too spicy, a wonderful contrast to the other flavours provided.
Lor Ark – Duck confit with caramelised spiced plums & oranges in cinnamon, star anise, clovers & nutmeg. Wow this was a very special dish. The duck was beautiful in flavour and texture, with lovely warm spices, and the plums were absolutely perfectly ripe. This is a dish that I will remember for a long time to come.
Wing Bean Kerabu – Salad of wing beans, toasted coconut, calamansi lime and sambal belachan. Apologies for the photo – we served some up before taking the photo. This was a wonderful combination of beans, herbs and spices – a great symphony of flavours.
Thai Soft Shell Crab Salad – with chilli lime dressing, green apples, mango and pomegranate. I love soft shell crab, and this dish was similar to a som tum but with extra punch and texture. I loved it.
Desserts were as follows:
Chocolate fondant served with vanilla ice cream. Dreamily gooey in the centre, this rich chocolate fondant was one of the best I have ever tasted. The ice cream was top quality, smooth and velvety.
A special dessert called ‘Silks and Jewels’ consisting of almond panna cotta, glazed on osmanthus flower syrup, topped with candied kumquat, ginger, nutmeg and fresh mandarin. Again, a triumph of a dessert, wonderful exotic, warm, floral and citrus, a dessert that ticked all of the boxes and finished off a very memorable meal.
I would totally recommend Kebaya Dining Room to anybody coming to Penang for a holiday. It scores highly for ambience, quality, elegance, and overall dining experience and now in my list of favourite restaurants in the world. Amazing.