Penang - QE II Restaurant
It's almost surreal walking around Georgetown & encountering British names: Buckingham Square, Downing Street, etc(Penang was founded by the British in the 18th-century) so it was not a surprise when we came across QEII Restaurant at Church Street Pier on the waterfront. We took time off from exploring Penang's reknowned street hawker fare to sample some fusion-British fare at the restaurant, owned by a Penangite who's an unabashed Anglophile - there were walls full of Queen Elizabeth II & British Royal family portraits. The food was very much hit-and-miss though. Some hits:
- Tian of prawns, avocado & tomatoes was good, as was the accompanying celery topped with blue cheese, but the creamy dressing tasted suspicously like out-of-the-bottle Thousand Island sauce!
- Wood-fired pizzas - we had the Hawaiian and the house speciality QE II - both were perfect. The thin-crusted pizzas were crisp & delicious;
- the crispy-skinned lamb was absolutely divine: perhaps the best lamb dish I've tasted outside of Hutong in Hong Kong;
- Grilled chicken skewered on lemongrass stalks were tasty - the menu stated that the chicken were marinated for 48 hours in 11 different spices;
- The tiramisu dessert was one of the best we've tasted in Penang.
- Greek horiatiki salad was nice but had too little of the fabuous feta cheese and Kalamata olives;
- Mushroom soups lacked the robustness of fresh mushrooms, and seemed thickened with cornstarch(!);
- Grilled salmon was a disappointment: too dry & bland;
- Lasagne was totally unexciting.
- Chocolate lava cake was too dry.
I'd recommend going to QE II for the drinks, the bar has a fabulous view of the waterfront & the sunset was magical. Give dinner there a miss but, if you must eat, just stick to the pizzas.
Actually, the only thing which Queen Elizabeth II does really well is the wood-fried thin-crusted pizzas. Else, Hainan Town restaurant in the next pier is a better option - very good Nyonya assam pedas fish, deep-fried spring rolls, inche kabin & Kari Kapitan. You can also get the same views from Georgetown of the Penang Straits looking out towards Butterworth/Province Wellesley.
Happy to report about a new Sichuanese restaurant which QE II owner Dave Chin just opened recently - definitely best restaurant of its kind in Penang. The spicy poached fish with Sichuanese peppercorn is classic!
The restaurant is located next to QE II -
Chin’s Stylish Chinese Cuisine
Tanjong City Marina, Church St Pier, 8A Pengkalan Weld, Georgetown, Penang
Telephone: +604-261 2611
PS - But not cheap, we had RM128 per person set (minimum 4 persons). Worth the experience, but not a place we can go to every day.