Penang: Muntri Mews Cafe in Georgetown
This is the newest cafe in Georgetown and served a good selection of snacks from both East and West. On the Eastern front are Penang curry mee, Siamese laksa lemak while Western snacks include a very rich garoupa fish & chips with tartare sauce. The chicken schnitzel sandwich is also very nice. Desserts include sago Gula Melaka and chempedak samosas with coconut ice-cream. Muntri Mews is located in Muntri Road, near Love Lane.
Finally, gotten round to trying Muntri Mews after hearing so much about it in the past year. Maybe the long period of anticipation brought about heightened expectations - the lunch at Muntri Mews, whilst the setting was relaxed and pleasant, did not yield any satisfaction, culinary-wise.
What we had:
- Curry laksa: beautifully-presented, but tasted disappointingly bland/tasteless. There was an underlying scent of torch-ginger (bunga kantan) in the soup, but this was not atypical of either Penang laksa lemak, nor any type of curry laksa in Malaysia. Penang assam laksa or Kelantan laksa may have shredded torch-ginger as a garnish, but never as a flavoring agent in the soup. At Muntri Mews, the laksa was garnished with tofu puffs, crisp-fried tofu skin and fishballs. Struggled to continue after the first couple of mouthfuls. Definitely NOT recommended.
- Chicken pie. Nice, buttery pastry topping but watery and (again) bland chicken filling. Bleah - worst pie I'd had in recent memory. Again, NOT recommended.
- Potato gnocchi with mushroom-cream sauce. The only palatable item amongst our lunch mains. The gnocchi was soft and had the requisite potatoey flavors, complemented by a well-balanced cream sauce studded with fresh mushrooms. We'd actually regarded this dish with trepidation after tasting the earlier 2 disastrous dishes. Yep, if you really need to come to Muntri Mews for a meal, get this one.
Dessert - Sago Gula Melaka. Yuks - the coconut creme used actually tasted like it came out of a tin, or made from powdered coconut. Why?! Penang's old quarter, where this cafe's located, was replete with sources for fresh coconut milk. In fact, we can traipse over to ANY local street hawker stalls and get dishes which require coconut milk (santan) using 100% fresh santan.
- Fried bananas with vanilla ice-cream. Nicely light & crisp fried bananas but pretty ho-hum. Adding some rum (a la Bananas Foster) would have at least given this dish some oomph. As it is, the kitchen here was pretty unimaginative.
Not sure if the cafe was actually intended to attract local Penangites, who are pretty discerning when it comes to expecting fresh, well-prepared street foods, or whether it's content with providing just barely adequate sustenance to its Muntri Mews hotel guests.
Muntri Mews Cafe
77 Jalan Muntri
10200 Penang, Malaysia
77 Jalan Muntri, George Town, Pulau Pinang 10200, MY
Agree the atmosphere there is nice. But isn't it a shame that in a food paradise like Penang, the owners chose not to bother that much about the food they are serving?
Another wonderful spot with so-so food was China House on Beach Street. And the service there was also simply awful.
Only the Venetian restaurant at Campbell House stood out as a good example of a new eatery within a refurbished heritage building that actually served good food.
Speaking of Siamese laksa lemak in Penang - reminds me of the famous version with lots of crabmeat originally served at 68 Kelawei (now-closed). Now it's only available at Thirty Two (on Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah) which is owned by the same restaurateur.
32, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah
Tel: 04-262 2232