BY CK Lam
For a fine dining establishment offering French cuisine, wine and exceptional service, Farquhar Mansion on Farquhar Street in George Town, Penang does generate much buzz. Housed in a renovated colonial style double-storey bungalow in the heritage precinct of Mission Place, the restaurant has several dining rooms.
We discovered that the chef who helms the kitchen goes about his work in a low-key fashion. There are two menus with pork free dishes, the a la carte menu and the thoughtfully crafted chef’s tasting menu – otherwise known as the ‘Bespoke Gastronomy Creations Dining Experience’.
The chef’s tasting menu with prices starting from RM148 to RM228 features appetizers to desserts prepared with combination of flavors, textures and colours.
My visit started with home-made buns, followed by a progression of dishes. The buns were presented with herbs butter, semi-cured tomato butter and the classic salted butter.
The Amuse Bouse has a piece of opaque and firm barramundi wrapped in scallop. It was nice to the bite complemented by the crunchy duck bits, caviar and sweetness of carrot puree.
The first appetizer was the Hokkaido Scallop Tartare and Macallan Cured Salmon.
The dish served in a shell displayed a mix of flavor on the palate, augmented by sweetness and brine from the salmon and scallop, slight creaminess from half a quail’s egg, salty kicks of the osetra caviar, and truffle scented green pea mousse.
Hokkaido Scallop Tartare and Macallan Cured Salmon
We got to sampled the Foie Gras with green frisee, mango carpaccio, garlic cream puree, and black berry port wine emulsion.
The appetizer was livened up with the mango carpaccio while the slight bitterness of the green frisee added interest to it. Prepared slightly crisp on the sides, the foie gras melts across the tongue.
After the appetizer, we were brought the Cauliflower Veloute served with creamy flavours. The briny flavor of the oyster and Ikura perked up the soup, while the herb flan (dehydrated leeks) added textural contrast.
It might be difficult to choose between the varieties of meat, poultry and seafood main courses. And lucky for us, the chef had decided to prepare the trout and the lamb rack for us to sample.
The first was Air Flown Ocean Trout, served with Hokkaido scallop, clams, Ikura, Asian greens, mango relish and a light drizzling of coconut and lemongrass emulsion. Sun-dried cherry tomatoes were also highlighted, with its acidic taste contrasting well with the dish.
The dish is beautiful to the eye and delicious too. However I would prefer the core of the salmon to be done with a silky soft juicy texture.
Air Flown Ocean Trout RM178
For meat lover, the Lamb Rack with Mushroom Stuffed Lamb Loin would easily make you happy. The loin of excellent quality blends beautifully with the sweet pea, carrot flan, glazed brinjal and the lamb jus.
The chef had the texture and flavors of this eminently red wine–friendly dish well composed.
Lamb Rack with Mushroom Stuffed Lamb Loin RM198
Before dessert, we enjoyed a complimentary pre-dessert: panna cotta with a refreshing passion fruit ice granita.
The dessert from the chef’s tasting menu was the Flourless Valrhona Chocolate Mousse Cake with varying textures and tastes. Nicely plated with milk tulip, the sweetness of the mousse cake was balanced out with raspberry lava and sourness of the gooseberry, strawberry and raspberry.
The chef added textural variation to the dessert with crunch bits of Earl Grey crisp and round macaron with crunchy exterior. Personally, it would be great if the inside of the macaron would be a little softer.
Complimentary pre dessert
Flourless Valrhona Chocolate Mousse Cake
It is highly recommended to make a reservation for anyone who seeks having hi-tea and dinner.
On the whole, this restaurant serves up quality food with a touch of class. There are several items that require some tweaks, but Farquhar Mansion can easily smoothen the rough edges and stand out to be one of Penang’s top dining places.
Farquhar Mansion Penang
No. 33 Lebuh Farquhar
Tel: 019- 5288933
Opens Daily from 12pm – 3pm; & 6pm – 12midnight (last order for restaurant dishes at 10 pm)
* Many thanks to Farquhar Mansion for extending this invitation.