Wednesday 16 February 2011

Malaysian food at Penang Satay House, Turnpike Lane

The first time we went to Penang Satay Hous was a disaster. I do not even remember the food, only that they made us wait for 30 mins for the starters and one and a half hours for the main food. By the end I had a headache and just wanted to go home.  My husband who is more patient of the two of us was sure that their chef had not turned up or was having a temper tantrum, or there was a mutiny in the kitchen... his list of possibilities were endless. The waiters kept saying sorry and that the food was on its way. Whatever. I did not care, I wanted to get out. We knew we were not coming back. Bad brush with Malaysian food!

Until an evening when  we were tired, tempers were short, we had to cancel a booking in another restaurant and we were in the area. We had a friend with us who wanted to have coconut-y curries, and assured us that she would not mind the wait. So with a little trepidation we went back to Penang Satay House. It was the same head waiter who showed us to a table.

The restaurant is one of those dimly lit affairs, the place is decorated with batik wall hangings which were pretty nice.

Like the other time, a place was pretty full and they seem to have devoted regulars who chat happily with the owner and the head waiter. I was hoping that since they are almost always full and seem to be having so many regulars, they usually are prompter with their service. Our last meal was hopefully an exceptional disaster. My hopes came true...this time round the service was impeccable, the timing was just right between the courses and waiters were really friendly and helpful, without being pushy.

First they served a complimentary basket of prawn crackers. Then our food came.

I order these friend chicken dumplings- they were good. They did not have any steamed version on offer, I wish they would introduce the steamed ones, they are way more tastier and also healthier!

Our friend ordered prawn skewers. She said they were good, I tried the peanut sauce which came with it, the sauce was really good. My husband ordered a chicken salad,  surprisingly I do not have any photographs of that. The salad was good, crisp and spicy. Within seven/eight minutes came our main food.

Pork and vegetable curry for husband. The pork was tender, the vegetables crisp and very fresh.

Nasi Goreng-- Malaysian/Indonesian fried rice to go with the pork. I do not precisely know what is the difference with Chinese fried rice, but it certainly is different in taste.

I ordered crispy Malaysian chilli chicken with sesame seeds. Now I am a bit obsessed with chilli chicken, where ever I go, if this is on menu I order it. By now I have tried all kinds of chilli chicken. My verdict for the Malaysian chilli chicken was it was very different from all other chilli chickens I have had, mainly because of the use of a lot of tomatoes. The sesame seeds added a nice flavour. The dish was hot and spicy and tangy. I would order this again, most definitely.

 Our friend ordered this prawn curry in coconut sauce. She loved it. We both tried it, the curry was flavoured with a very known Indian spice apart from the coconut. Finally my husband pinned it, it was coriander and maybe a little turmeric because of the colour. It was nice, and mostly importantly our friend seemed to love it. She also ordered Nasi Goreng to go with the prawn curry.
Crispy fried noodles with chicken and mixed vegetables. Now I have a history with this noodle dish. While a student in Toronto, I used to live just next to a family run Vietnamese restaurant. I fell in love with Vietnamese food, specially the clear spring rolls and this noodle.Once back in India I used to crave for this a lot. So when we shifted to London the first thing I did was find out Vietnamese restaurants and have this dish. So whichever restaurant I go to, if this is on the menu I order it. To my pleasure found it here and promptly ordered. The noodle was just right, crispy with enough gravy to soften the noodles and full of fresh vegetables like bok choy, peas, cauliflower, mushrooms etc. Ah I can happily have this every day for the rest of my life! I need to learn how to make this.

We also order a red wine to go with this. Since I am not a wine aficionado I cannot even remember the name. But it tasted nice, light and fruity. I did not regret giving my usual jasmine tea a miss. By the end we were all full and sated. It was lovely meal and we would most definitely go back again, hoping for this level of service.

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