It’s finally here – the much-awaited Chin father-and-son duo’s sumptuous temple to gastronomy: Beach Street Bistrot by David & Brian Chin.
The Chins are, of course, no strangers to a whole generation of food-loving Malaysians: father, David Chin, is the legendary founder of the eponymously-named Dave’s Deli, whilst son No. 1, Darren Chin, is the owner-chef of 1-Michelin-star DC by Darren Chin in Kuala Lumpur, plus a brace of Michelin-selected eateries: Bref and Gai. Brian Chin is son No.2 who’ll be managing the Chins’ first foray out of Kuala Lumpur and into the heartland of Malaysian street food: Penang!
And what a beautiful restaurant Beach Street Bistrot is: it looked a million dollars. Divided into 3 dining sections: upstairs, on the second floor, one finds the sun-lit White Room at the rear which overlooks the resplendent Cheah clan-house and its green lawns; a seductive Brasserie & Bar upfront with its beautiful stained-glass and wrought iron décor; and a large Communal Table downstairs which afforded diners a glimpse into the open kitchen.
Downstairs, a massive, gleaming marble-topped communal table zig-zagged its way across the main dining area, whilst the open kitchens, where all the action is, hummed along with quiet efficiency in the background.
We needed a quick pre-theatre meal this evening, something which the nimble-footed, ultra-attentive waiters did not forget, as our orders were swiftly passed onto the kitchen. We were just admiring the striking portraits adorning the walls when our food arrived in perfectly-timed intervals.
We started off with a carafe of BSB’s Sangria: Negroamaro red wine, brandy, orange and chopped fruits.
A good hunk of 𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘦-𝘣𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘥 𝘴𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘥𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘬𝘰𝘮𝘣𝘶 𝘣𝘶𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳, 𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘴 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘰.
The 8 Leaf and Herb Salad, with mustard vinaigrette and tonka dressing, was a refreshing mix of fresh, crisp arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, pickled onions and fresh dill.
O𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘉𝘚𝘉 𝘣𝘶𝘳𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘢 - fresh from Puglia, Italy, with 𝘵𝘰𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘰𝘦𝘴, 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘧 𝘤𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘯𝘢, 𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘰, 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘴𝘭𝘦𝘺 𝘣𝘶𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 & 𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘵𝘰𝘯𝘴, 𝘥𝘳𝘪𝘻𝘻𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘨𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘤 𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘨𝘢𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘢𝘴𝘪𝘭 𝘰𝘪𝘭
C𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘩𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘺 𝘤𝘰𝘳𝘯 𝘳𝘪𝘣𝘴 - very sweet milk corn, covered with 𝘣𝘦𝘶𝘳𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘪𝘴𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦, 𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘰 and 𝘊𝘢𝘫𝘶𝘯 𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘴.
The 𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘬𝘦𝘯 𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘻𝘰 𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘪 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘰𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘮 was nice – small packages with intense flavours derived from the fermented, cured filling, spiked with pimentos.
𝘞𝘢𝘨𝘺𝘶 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘧 𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘦𝘬 𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘨𝘶𝘪𝘨𝘯𝘰𝘯 - slow-braised in red wine, beef & bone marrow reduction, mushrooms and onions, served with a buttery 𝘱𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘦𝘴 𝘱𝘶𝘳é𝘦.
M𝘪𝘹𝘦𝘥 𝘴𝘦𝘢𝘧𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘱𝘢𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘢, 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘮𝘴, 𝘱𝘳𝘢𝘸𝘯𝘴, 𝘴𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘰𝘱𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘢𝘣𝘺 𝘰𝘤𝘵𝘰𝘱𝘶𝘴, with the crunchy 𝘴𝘰𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘢𝘵 (rice crust) which we scraped off the bottom of the pan.
M𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘦𝘴 𝘮𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘪è𝘳𝘦, where fresh mussels air-flown from Port Philip Bay, Australia, were cooked with leeks, celery, white wine, butter and 𝘤𝘳è𝘮𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘢î𝘤𝘩𝘦.
The flavours were a bit too strong here, overwhelming the delicate taste of the very fresh mussels.
The luscious pies here are some of 𝗕𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵 𝗦𝘁 𝗕𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗼𝘁’s signature offerings, produced in the same kitchens as for 𝗖𝗮𝗳é-𝗕𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗼𝘁 𝗗𝗮𝘃𝗶𝗱 in KL then sent to Penang. These were the best pies one would’ve ever tasted: buttery pastry-crusts enfolding some really luscious fillings: we ordered the 𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘢𝘬-𝘢𝘯𝘥-𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘰𝘮, 𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘬𝘦𝘯-𝘢𝘯𝘥-𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘰𝘮, and 𝘧𝘪𝘴𝘩 versions. 𝘱𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘦𝘴 𝘱𝘶𝘳é𝘦 (buttery, creamy mashed potato) and mushy peas accompany each pie, together with specific, accompanying sauces: a deeply-flavoured beef jus for the beef pie, a lighter chicken gravy for the chicken pie, and a creamy white sauce for the fish pie. We polished off every single one to the last crumb.
Red wine-beef jus gravy for the steam-and-mushroom pie
Creamy white sauce for the fish pie
𝗕𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵 𝗦𝘁 𝗕𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗼𝘁 has only two desserts on their menu, both are must-orders: the classic 𝘊𝘳ê𝘱𝘦𝘴 𝘚𝘶𝘻𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦 was a personal favourite, spectacularly flambeed in the open kitchen and visible if one opts to sit at the Communal Table part of the restaurant downstairs.
An elegant, intensely-flavoured, tri-layered 𝘛𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘦 𝘢𝘶 𝘊𝘩𝘰𝘤𝘰𝘭𝘢𝘵, was even better. Concocted using Valrhona and served with whipped cream and berries, it was a sensory delight.
𝗕𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵 𝗦𝘁 𝗕𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗼𝘁’s menu is like a cave of wonders – the more one explores, the more interesting it gets. Wondrous tasty delights await those who venture forth.
Beach Street Bistrot
240, Lebuh Pantai (Beach Street), 10300 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +6018-208 8171
Opening hours: 6pm-11pm, Mon, Wed to Fri.
12 noon-4pm, 6pn-11pm Sat & Sun. Closed on Tuesdays.