[Penang, Malaysia] Lebanese lunch at Dandy Modern Food

I failed to notice the two-year-old Dandy Modern Food until now. Maybe because when this bright, cheery Middle-Eastern brasserie first opened in July 2017, I’d just moved to Penang from Kuala Lumpur, and was too busy getting re-acquainted with George Town. Dandy is located in Bayan Lepas, about 10 miles outside the city in the opposite direction from where I live.

Dandy, like most other Middle-Eastern restaurants in Penang, are Lebanese-owned but offers a gamut of Middle-Eastern dishes, from Yemeni-Hadramawti lamb Mandi to Levantine tabbouleh, plus Italian pizzas & pastas thrown in.

  1. We started off with a Dandy Mixed Grill sharing platter consisting of shish kebab, chicken kebab, shish tawook and beef kebab, served on a large flatbread smeared with hummus and topped with chopped cucumber-tomatoes then drizzled with olive oil. It was okay - I found the meats a bit over-cooked and hard/dry-ish, but really enjoyed the hummus & flatbread.

  2. We liked the hummus so much, we ordered an extra serving. I’d always had a weak spot for hummus and the one here was done very well indeed.

  3. The other starter we had - the Bazella: a Lebanese-style lamb and green pea stew, served with flatbread didn’t fare as well as we’d expected. It was very attractively presented in a modernistic tagine-shaped serving vessel, but had overly-greasy aubergine fritters atop a ratatouille-like stew with some miniscule lamb bits thrown in. It’s served with a sunny-side-up fried egg on top. Taste-wise, pretty ‘meh’. Full marks for presentation, but nothing like I’d envisaged from the menu description:

  1. The mains fared much better. I rather liked the Dandy roast chicken which was served with some very aromatic long-grain rice which I think is cooked in chicken broth, the way the Yemenis prepare the rice accompaniment for their Mandi lamb dish.

  1. The lamb option is a must-order, IMO: these were fatty grilled lamb chops, cooked just right, served atop the same type of aromatic long-grain rice.

  1. The big surprise for us here was how much we enjoyed the Shawarma pizza - grilled meats, blue cheese (yes!!), chopped green peppers and tomatoes. I was hooked - and would come back just for this.

The restaurant is halal, so no alcohol is served. Reminds me of London’s Ranoush Juice on Edgware Road back in the early 90s - famous for its amazing range of fresh juice blends which it offered to diners as Muslims do not imbibe alcohol, so their “mocktails” were inventive combinations of various juices & sodas.

For dessert, Dandy generally serves Western-style cakes, with its Lebanese sweets sold in boxes for take-out. I got some baklava which weren’t exactly the best I’d had.

We finished off our lunch with some mint tea which was served unsweetened - again, I came with the pre-conceived notion that it’ll be ultra-sweet, the way Moroccan tea is served (now, why did I assume that?!).

Dandy’s pretty nice - I’ll definitely be back for their pizzas. But my fave Middle-Eastern spot in Penang will still be Syrian-owned/managed Halab.

Dandy Modern Food
72-1-17 Arena Curve, Jalan Mahsuri
11950 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +6017-557 3141
Opening hours: 10am to 10pm daily


I’ll bow to your experience of having eaten it - but sharwama pizza sounds to me like it ruins two good foods. :grinning: But then, I take a traditonal view that pizza toppings should be what I might in Italy - particularly my all time favourite pizza place in Bardolino.

1 Like

I was a skeptic, too, until I tasted it - and it really worked! Admittedly, it was more like a Middle-Eastern flatbread-with-meat-and-cheese dish than a mutant Italian pizza. :grin:


By the by, I’ve never been to Ranoush Juice, although I’ve eaten at several of the company’s Maroush outlets on and around Edgware Road. I think I may have got the original recc from an Indian guy who used to post to the UK Chowhound board (forgotten his name, I’m afraid).

I’d actually quite fancy it. I’ve seen a similar thing at the German Doner Kebab chain. It’s a doner kebab quesadilla. I must say I’ve been tempted. Creating combinations melted cheese which seem a bit bit odd may be a very Malaysian thing. Whilst in Kuching I had tandoori chicken murtabak with cheese and a curry gravy. It was actually very tasty.


Inspired order! You’ve reminded us that the only time apart from pizza, poutine, chili cheese fries or chili cheeseburger(probably left out something) we’ve deliberately ordered cheese with red meat is bleu cheese on burgers?

1 Like

Sounds yum. In Malaysia, they tend to overdo the cheese bit - like this “Dirty Burger” which I encountered at BRGR Cafe in Penang. I guess “dirty” is what your fingers will be after eating this.

1 Like

You know me, I’ll eat anything with cheese … although this ramen soup noodles with melted cheese on top (from Ah Lai Cafe on Church Street Ghaut in Penang) was really pushing it a bit. I must admit I gave up half-way. :anguished:

1 Like

Edgeware Road is one of my happy hunting grounds for good food - in this case, Middle-Eastern fare. Back in the late-80s/early-90s, Ranoush & Maroush were like the only two decent Arabic eateries there. Then, the Arab quarter grew and grew up the road till it’s now near St John’s Wood, and with countless more dining options now.

You meant Rajiv Joshi? He’s still around but has stopped posting on any food board as far as I know. I do catch up with him and Limster every now & then when I am in London.

I only knew his forum username which I think I recall now as “Howler” (?). Is that him?

I really will make every effort to get down to London next time you’re over.

Yup, that’s the man! :+1::grin:

I would never get a tagine but this one is nice. White with clear lid. I like a few things clear or frosted. I have a glass tea pot, pots with glass lids, glass Chinese gaiwan etc.

Me too!

But not this. OMG. My problem with “cheese” is A, inferior, B, wrong type, and C, wrong combination.


Absolutely frightening what we find new-fangled chefs (can we even call them that?)doing these days.

1 Like

Back at Dandy for lunch yesterday. Started off with a cauliflower soup, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil (I wouldn’t have minded cream).

Main dish was a Turkish pide. I was given to understand that this boat-shaped open-faced pizza-like concoction is only 70 years old, a virtual babe in the world food universe.

The version here had everything going for it - tasty nuggets of roasted lamb, a coddled egg with a runny centre. Alas, I couldn’t taste any butter - a no-no where Turkish pide is concerned, as butter is what gives the pide its characteristic flavour.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold