Being Malaysians, we do constantly crave for a taste of home. So when I heard about Penang Cuisine from my fellow colleagues who went there for lunch, I told Saucer that we simply had to give it a try. My colleagues who were non-Malaysians gave pretty good ratings for the restaurant, so I was quite excited. We finally went there last weekend, on a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon. The plus point about going on a rainy day was that tables were easily available and service was quick.
We placed an order for Penang Lor Bak, which we both missed, and we probably shouldn’t have set high expectations for it. The lor bak was served with some fried tofu on top, which were quite good, but unfortunately, the lor bak itself left much to be desired. The skin was crispy and golden but the fillings within were no where near the lor bak filling we had back in Penang. This was mushy, wet and somewhat soggy. And they left out one very important element of lor bak, which was the chilli sauce! It’s no secret that I love all things spicy, so imagine my disappointment when I saw no chilli sauce served with the lor bak. Sad to say, this dish was not up to par.
Penang Lor Bak (AUD$6)
Saucer had wanted to eat Wat Tan Hor for the longest time, and even though I tried making it once for him, it didn’t turn out to be very good. So imagine how happy he was to see it on the menu! The Wat Tan Hor (fried flat rice noodles with smooth egg gravy) was served piping hot with the gorgeous, unmistakable aroma, which was a good sign. There were also plenty of vegetables and fresh prawns used. But that was where the plus points ended. Other than the familiar aroma, the noodles were not fried with enough heat (hence lacking the charred flavour/wok hei), and the gravy lacked flavour. It was such a shame to have had our expectations up high to be brought down after the first bite.
Wat Tan Hor (AUD$13.80)
Finally, we also had the Mee Rebus because it was a weekend-only special that day. The dish looked beautiful, with all the elements there – cucur udang, fried tofu, potatoes, lime and egg. We found the gravy to be lacking of that umami and kick. Perhaps more curry powder or chilli would be better? I found it interesting that they also had squid rings in the mixture, although I didn’t mind them. Among the three items ordered, this was the best even though it wasn’t great.
Mee Rebus (AUD$12.80)
Overall, it was unfortunate that we found the food at Penang Cuisine wasn’t quite as Penang as we wanted it to be. Perhaps the flavours were localized to suit the local taste buds? Or perhaps we just had too high expectations? Having stayed in Penang for a good 4 years before, it’s hard not to compare. If anyone of you have visited this place before, we’re more than happy to listen to what you think!
Penang Cuisine at Epping
32/74 Rawson St,
Epping NSW 2121,
Tel No.: (02) 8095 0788
Opening Hours: Daily (11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 5:30-9:30 pm)
*Note: No desserts served during weekends