BY CK Lam
Built in 1929, Loke Thye Kee Restaurant down on Burma Road, Penang boasted a ship design in memory of its original waterfront location in Weld Quay. During its heyday, the restaurant was famous for its traditional Hainanese cuisine besides widely regarded as the place for matchmaking, weddings ceremonies as well as birthdays celebrations.
The historical place acquired by its current owners underwent a restoration programme and was restored to its former glory in late 2012.
Today, the refreshed Loke Thye Kee houses a number of restaurants: Kopitiam, Loke Thye Kee Restaurant and The Bridge Grill. Guests can enjoy pork-free Hainanese, Malaysian and Western delights at these pork free and Halal outlets certified by JAKIM.
2nd Floor – The Bridge Grill
The roof terrace is occupied by The Bridge Grill. The restaurant with a 360-degree view of George Town delights with a specially crafted menu of Western dishes.
The Bridge Grill offers two types of food preparation: flame grilled or teppanyaki style. For every order of a main, you will get unlimited starters of salad, cheeses and cold cuts, along with soup and desserts of fresh fruits, cakes and ice cream. Priced from RM45 onwards, the choices of mains include grain-fed beef, poultry, lamb and lighter options of seafood and vegetarian.
Worthy of a mention are the Grilled Squid and Rack of Lamb. The Grilled Squid was appetizing, with its pungent and spice marinate. The colorful chillies lightly done with a firm texture is a nice contrast to the squid.
Capsicum and potato are some of the accompaniments for the Rack of Lamb. Priced at RM115, the flavours are spot on and the meat is tender enough that the knife cuts through it easily.
Rack of Lamb (250g) – RM115
1st Floor – Loke Thye Kee Restaurant
Loke Thye Kee Restaurant (a Halal outlet) on the first floor of the building opens for the early lunch crowd. Diners can choose to dine in its air-conditioned dining area or at the al-fresco area on the balcony. As it was a hot day, we took a table in the indoor dining area.
The menu is divided into several sections with bountiful line-up of Malaysian dishes including a selection of Hainanese dishes. Our pick from the menu was Macaroni Pie, Hainanese Chicken Chop and Fish Head Curry.
The Hainanese style Macaroni Pie is cooked with a golden brown crust made with egg white and served with a side of crunchy breadsticks and small helping of salad.
Digging in the pie reveals a warm creamy filling of well-cooked macaroni, carrot and chicken. The taste was balanced with herbs and richness. For those who like a pie for a meal, this comfort dish is well worth a try.
Macaroni Pie RM20
Under local delights was the Hainanese Chicken Chop. For RM18, the dish is cooked with a soft batter and came with wedges, coleslaw and gravy served separately.
A forkful of coleslaw and a light dip of the mushroom onion gravy complete the taste of the chicken.
Hainanese Chicken Chop RM18
We were recommended their specialty fish head curry with brinjal, ladies fingers, red and green chillies. Prepared with a creamy base, lots of Indian spices and garnished with mint leaves, the dish provides immense flavour and fresh taste. All that is needed to go along with this curry dish is white rice.
This dish will keep many customers returning for more.
Ground Floor – Kopitiam
The food and beverages outlets of Loke Thye Kee building doesn’t stop there. On the ground floor of the building is Kopitiam, a Hainanese Chinese word that expresses a casual coffee shop. Expect to find breakfast offerings and local beverages.
Hainanese breakfast of toast with butter and kaya, soft-boiled eggs, nasi lemak and The Big Breakfast provides the right start to the morning. The Big Breakfast put together with egg, sausages, chicken ham, bread and the addition of fresh fruits might not be aesthetically pleasing, but it is worth a try with its reasonable pricing.
Packets of nasi lemak
Big Breakfast RM8.90
On top of that, the Cheese Burger and Big Bowl Noodles make great snacks for anytime of the day. Take your pick from Tomyam Mee, Beef Noodles, Taiwanese Noodles, Nissin Noodles and both the Red and White Curry Mee.
Big Basket – Cheeseburger & Fries RM16
The beef noodles makes for an unexpected as it is hardly found in restaurants in Penang. With varieties of beef balls, beef slices, innards and bean sprouts, the steaming bowl of soupy koay teow (flat rice noodles) is thoroughly enjoyable.
Big Bowl Noodles – Beef Noodles RM16
Loke Thye Kee is equipped with facilities, such as a lift to cater for the wheelchair users or elderly with disabilities to go up to the restaurants.
As for parking, there are spaces available at the Khoo Sian Ewe Road, a one-way-alley beside the building.
Loke Thye Kee (乐台居)
2 Jalan Burma
Tel: 04 264 1919
The Bridge Grill: 6pm – 10pm daily
Loke Thye Kee Restaurant: 11am – 10pm daily
Kopitiam: 7am – 10pm daily
* Many thanks to Loke Thye Kee Restaurant for extending this invitation.