At Penang Bistro the menu is extensive, with offerings of seafood, meat, noodles and rice based dishes. As a westerner it can be somewhat daunting knowing what to choose. In asian culture, it’s often the custom to order a number of dishes and share. I have always preferred this because it allows you to try lots of different dishes on one outing. Somehow the sharing concept seems to add to the enjoyment. It would certainly help if you have any background knowledge with this type of cuisine. If you don’t, then dining with someone who knows the cuisine is equally as good. I say this because it is easier to pair the dishes with one another if you know the flavors. I fully admit I am no expert on South East Asian cuisine, therefore enlisting the help of whoever is dining with me is is one way of getting around it. Don’t be daunted if you haven’t tried these dishes though, part of the fun is seeing what you do and perhaps don’t like so much.
It’s often to case when you are not super knowledgeable, you invariably choose a dish which you already familiar with. This is exactly what I did & the result, well it was this was my least favorite dish of all. My point being, you really have to experiment in order to discover something new. I chose the Penang Char Kway Teow, which is a fried flat rice noodle dish, 51k. Penang Bistro’s Kway Teow is seafood based in a black sauce. I have eaten Kway Teow countless times at various restaurants cooked in Chinese, Indonesian and Malay styles. I would dare to say that the one at Penang Bistro is learning towards Indonesia style. The noodles I found to be nothing special. I’m not saying they were bad but I don’t think they challenged my taste buds in any special way. Next up I ordered the Lemongrass Beef Kelantan, 88k. I chose it based on the fact I enjoy Lemongrass based dishes. This offering did not disspoint. It was perfectly fragrant with an essence of Lemongrass and hints of curry. The Australian Beef in the dish is very tender and worked well with the spiced sauce. South East Asian cuisine is not only about spice but also textures. To balance the textures of both the noodles and the beef a little crispness was required. Too add that extra crunch, I ordered the Ebi String Beans. They were perfectly al dente & well seasoned. The dish which really brought everything together, was the Penang Hainanese Spring Rolls. Crispy on the outside filled with vegetables and chicken cooked in a Penang Style. What really made these Spring Rolls work was the yummy Soy Bean dip that comes as an accompaniment. I felt satisfied with the dinner selection, even more so due to the fact I'm mostly familiar with this type of cuisine. Next time round, I will carry on pushing the boundaries with my taste buds.
I’m now at a point where I simply love to discover unfamiliar cuisine. There is a certain pride which you feel when you stumble across a new restaurant. Penang Bistro is what I call a mid range restaurant. If you talk about ambience, I prefer their restaurant in Pakubwono. The restaurant in Mega Kuningan is divived into 2 rooms. Smoking and no smoking. The no smoking room being the larger of the two. If you are looking to sample some local cuisine, you might want to give Penang Bistro a go. If its your first time I suggest you try the Roti Canai. It looks great and it really is quite delicious. Just be careful if you are on a diet when you visit!
Kebayoran Baru, Jl Pakubuwono VI, no.2, Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan
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