BY CK Lam
Art. dine. wine. are the three words which form the concept of Arte, located on Argyll Road in George Town, Penang.
In this double storey shophouse, its upper level houses the Daiichi Art Space branch gallery while its lower level is transformed into Arte Restaurant. The casual fine 28-seater restaurant had its soft-launch opening in July 2016.
The selection on our visit to Arte Restaurant featured creations from Head Chef Jay Tey. Hailing from Batu Pahat, Johor, Tey is trained in classic French culinary technique. The menu features creative dishes prepared using combination of classic techniques with modern ideas. There is the set lunch menu and as the sun goes down, the menu is replaced with a la carte dishes.
For the amuse bouche, you will see a glass bowl of panna cotta with mushroom ball and black olive crumble, along with spherical olive served on a Chinese soup spoon. The spherical olive is in fact a molecular gastronomy teaser, with salty briny taste. Bursting in the mouth, it goes well with the panna cotta.
The cold entree of Salade de Printemps shines with a tapestry of shapes and colors. The combination of mesclun salad, orange segment, grapes, cherry tomatoes, hollandaise sauce and citrus dressing gives the salad lots of refreshing flavors and textures. At an affordable price of RM18, the salad is light enough to set the tone for the meal.
The Carrot Soup combines the flavor of fresh carrots with river prawns flambeed with white wine, and flavored with light hint of curry powder. Topped with ikura roe, turmeric ginger caviar and edible flower, it is a nice way to savor the lightly spiced soup with a creamy thick texture.
The dish of Grilled Jumbo Asparagus on its Today’s Special will tickle diner’s palate with outlandishly rich sauce and briny saltiness. The creaminess of the egg (cooked at 62 degree celsius) pairs well with the bacon, ikura, lump fish caviar, Hollandaise sauce, and parmigiano shavings.
The palate cleanser before main course is a concoction of lychee syrup, apple cider, fennel granita and sprite. Taken together with light helping of salt from the glass rim, the drink is light and fresh.
True indulgence will surely be the main course and we had two: Australia Lamb Rack and Australia Harvey “150 Days” Grain Feed Beef Striploin.
The Australia Lamb Rack is cooked medium with green crust of parsley, coriander and chilli padi. The lamb is tender and delightful savored with artichokes, potato fondant, onion marmalade, confit tomato, purple sweet potato puree and rosemary sauce.
The Australia Harvey “150 Days” Grain Feed Beef Striploin (250g) is just as delectable: offering rectangular pieces of beef along with potato puree, bone marrow, confit tomato, shimeji mushroom, asparagus potato gratin, mushroom ragout and the chef’s own fermented black garlic. The accompanying pepper sauce made of three different peppercorns and red wine has hint of peppery heat.
The more adventurous will love the taste of the meat with the bone marrow, making this dish unique to Arte.
The restaurant also serves desserts and we had the Lava Cake with homemade ice cream and the Passionfruit Panna Cotta.
Out of the two, our favourite is the Passionfruit Panna Cotta as its flavor is more pronounced. The dessert combines various flavours, with acidity of passionfruit, creaminess of white chocolate and comforting flavors of spices (star anise and cloves) of the red wine pear.
For the Christmas festival, the restaurant is offering the Christmas Omakase Set Dinner Menu from 23rd December 2016 till 25th December 2016 at RM199 per person. The menu can be viewed here.
Head Chef Jay Tey (center) with his kitchen team
25 Jalan Argyll
Business hours: 12pm to 2.30pm, and 6.30pm to 10.30pm (Daily)
Closed on Mondays
* Many thanks to Arte Restaurant for laying on this invitation.