Penang has quite limited options when it comes to good Italian food with a semi fine dining ambiance. I was driving along Cantonment Road, Pulau Tikus the other day and realized that there was this new establishment located just before the “Chang-Qing” vegetarian restaurant. White painted building with a LCD screen featuring its menu and clean sleek lines of window panels in black adding architectural touches to the restaurant’s facade – how could I not notice?
I went there with a friend last night for dinner, it was actually my second visit to the restaurant in a month’s time – so you could tell that I really like this place. The restaurant’s decorations and furnishing were very simple, with a touch of elegance and more importantly – unpretentious. There are so many new restaurants/cafes now in Penang that are trying too hard, going over the top (not in a good way tho) and they have a very pretentious vibe for some reason.
We made a reservation, arrived slightly later and were greeted by Choong (The restaurant’s manager/co-director). We were seated at the corner of the restaurant overlooking the cooking station/kitchen.
We ordered a few appetizers to share, two main dishes and two desserts for the night.
The star of the night! Pan fried fegato (foie gras/goose liver), served with apricot compote, truffle brioche and wild berry coulis. The foie gras/ fegato tasted like that perfect bit of crispy fat on the edge of a grilled steak, the soft crumbly fat, not burnt, just browned and crispy. Buttery, creamy and rich!
Also one of my favorites from Markus would be this dish – The Hokkaido Scallop. Pan fry scallops and braised spring onion with truffle emulsion – yum. The outsides had lovely crisps, brown crusts and the insides remains tender and creamy.
The pumpkin soup was quite average, a bit too sweet to my liking, but I like their rendition of adding crispy truffle Parmesan cheese in it.
My favorite pasta dish in Markus! Linguine with fresh crab meat and vine-ripped tomato in Vodka Pink Sauce. The fresh crab meat gives this pasta toss a luxurious taste and texture. It’s heavy on the crab meat but light on the pasta, just how I like it! And of course, linguine was cooked to perfection – al dante. (not too soft!)
Friend ordered the Australian Angus Beef Tenderloin and it was served with grilled asparagus and a side of potato puree. I’m not a big fan of read meat so I didn’t really try the dish but he said that it tasted amazing!
I have to say that this is the best chocolate lave cake that I’ve tasted in my entire life – not exaggerating! Molten Valrhona Gunaja Chocolate Lave Cake accompanied with a scoop of Vanilla Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream equals to heaven on earth. The best I assure you.
Made with Amaretto Liqueur with lady-finger biscuits, Valrhorna Dark Chocolate Chips and mascaporne cream – it was good too, but I still prefer the chocolate lave cake any day.
When we were having dessert, Mr Choong (manager/co-director) and Markus (Executive chef/director) himself came over to our table and asked us if everything was okay. They were very professional and the service throughout the dinner was excellent. Choong mentioned that they are actually heading towards the fine dining direction and I agree. I think that their food are of high standards, most of the dishes surpassed my expectation and I foresee them to be really famous in Penang very soon. Markus told us that menus are generally recreated every alternate month (seasonal degustation menu) and guess what – I’m already planning my next visit back to this amazing restaurant!
- Parking: 5/10
- Value: 8/10
- Location: 8/10
- Food quality: 8/10
- Service: 7/10
- Wifi: No
For further information, please visit Markus’ official site.
37F Jalan Cantonment
10250 Pulau Tikus, Penang