Heap Seng House is an atmospheric oyster bar & restaurant located on a cul-de-sac off Beach Street (Lebuh Pantai), in the heart of George Town’s core UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic quarter. There, in a labyrinth of century-old Chinese shophouses, is a bright, beautiful eatery that offers an eclectic mix of dishes, from colourful Mediterranean salads to Italian pasta and seafood & meat dishes. All of which were some of the best we’d had in George Town.
The interior of the eatery is something to be marvelled at: antique Straits Chinese furnishings and paintings, interspersed with modern art, some of which were painted by co-owner, Arthur Wilkinson’s mother, Rebecca, an accomplished artist in her own right.
The restaurant receives its fresh oyster stocks usually mid-week (Wed), and Fri in time for the weekend crowd. But we were here on Monday, so no oysters for us this evening.
- Instead, we opted for some very interesting starters: Fish tacos, with guacamole, salsa and shredded greens. There were two types: with ceviche (MYR29) or pan-fried fish (MYR32), and we ordered both.Very tasty indeed - light, scrumptious fish. I personally preferred the ceviche, which has a more delicate texture, and a pleasant, light, lemony flavour.
With pan-fried seabass:
Halloumi fries with yoghurt-Sriracha dip (MYR27) - this has become somewhat of a restaurant menu staple across Britain in the past few years. Done pretty well here, too - crisp, golden-fried small batons of Cypriot halloumi covered with panko crumbs.
Locally-caught clams, galangal, lemongrass and coriander (MYR21) My fave starter here - the juice from the clams had deep flavours, undercut by the lemongrass. It’s the only dish with a (faint) hint of Asian flavours here.
Mango, cherry tomato & pomegranate salad, with shredded greens (MYR28) - we also opted for the addition of pan-seared scallops (for a mere additional MYR12) which improved the dish tremendously.
5) Seabass with sauteed chickpeas, bacon and baby spinach (MYR49) Very fresh piece of juicy, plump seabass, perfectly seared.
Slow-cooked beef cheeks with sauteed asparagus & cherry tomatoes, served on pomme purée (MYR61) Melt-in-the-mouth tender beef cheeks. Asparagus spears were tender but still retained a gentle snap, whilst the pomme purée was buttery-rich. My fave dish for the evening.
Spaghetti Agio e Olio with pan-seared scallops & bacon (MYR49) Here, again, the juicy, plump scallops lifted the dish from good to excellent.
Co-owner and chef, Mark Colk.
Rigatoni alla Norma - with eggplant, tomato, basil sauce (MYR33) This dish is a true classic, and the version here was exquisite - deep, mellow flavours from the tomato and basil. Eggplant’s texture was perfect.
Overall, a marvellous meal, and the best I’d had in Penang for quite a while. Kudos to the 3 young Penangite owner-chefs here: Arthur Wilkinson, Mark Colk & Chris Davies (who mans the oyster bar). I always admire young people with energy, drive and passion towards their craft, and they do it so well here.
Heap Seng House
No.5, Halaman Seh Tan (Seh Tan Court) , off Beach Street (Lebuh Pantai)
10300 George Town, Penang
Tel: +604 251 9424
Opening hours: 6pm to 11.30pm, Mon, Wed to Sun. Closed on Tuesdays.
Fresh oysters delivery on Wed & Fri.