[Penang, Malaysia] Lunch at Au Jardin, Hin Bus Depot

Back in George Town again after a wonderful sightseeing and gourmet trip to Ipoh last week. As always, after a surfeit of good Cantonese cuisine in Ipoh, we are rather disinclined to return to Penang’s Hokkien/Teochew brand of Chinese cuisine for a while, as we’re still missing the more refined Cantonese flavors.

For a change, we decided to pay a return visit to Au Jardin at the Hin Bus Depot. Unlike on Sundays, when Hin Bus Depot comes alive with its weekly arts & cultural market, the place is quieter on weekdays, so parking lots are easier to come by. This restaurant is just over 2 years old now - we’d actually accidentally stumbled into the restaurant on its first day of operation back on 1 Sep 2018. It’s really good to see the kitchen crew settled in and very much more confident nowadays.

Our lunch today consisted of:

  1. Amuse bouche 1: Beetroot cups filled with blue cheese mousse, chopped pistachios and ikura

  2. Amuse bouche 2: Wantan cones filled with tuna tartare

  3. Spiced tomato chutney-whipped butter with “Indian dosa”-flavoured bread

  4. Char-smoked cabbage, topped with cabbage sorbet and cabbage crisp, emulsion of toasted yeast and capelin roe.

  1. Thinly-sliced Red Snapper ceviche, pickled red onion rings, kaffir lime oil, with hot Thai “tom kha” sauce poured over

  1. The ‘Faux’ Caviar - lumpfish roe, lightly-poached lobster meat, gelée of lobster coral

Palate cleanser: Chinese “tie-kuan-yin” tea sorbet lollipops with popping candy, coated with coconut oil white chocolate

  1. Duck Roast à la Maison - Hay-smoked duck with coriander seeds, black pepper & Szechuan peppercorns were inserted underneath the skin of the duck

  1. Wild flounder on squid’s ink & seafood risotto, with pickled red onion petals and dill oil

9) Guava dessert, with marinated guava, Greek yoghurt and guava crisps

Au Jardin’s Modern-Penang cuisine approach which applies French cooking techniques to largely locally-sourced ingredients resulted in some pretty amazing flavors.

Restaurant au Jardin, Hin Bus Depot
125, Jalan Timah, 10150 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +6012-429 7591
Operating hours: 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-10.30pm, Thu to Sun. Closed Mon to Wed.


That caviar and lobster concoction is calling our name.

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Stunning! O.M.G… the duck! Over-the-top and I love it.

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My very first Michelin-starred meal for this year. Talented local owner-chef, Su Kim Hock, became one of Penang’s first Michelin-starred chefs when 𝗔𝘂 𝗝𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻 was awarded 1-Michelin-star in the inaugural Michelin Guide 2023 to Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

What we had:
:small_orange_diamond: Amuse-bouche: crisped broccoli flowerettes, and petit-pois tartlettes.

:small_orange_diamond: Spiced tomato chutney-whipped butter with “Indian dosa”-flavoured bread.

:small_orange_diamond: Steamed Pearl Corn, Sweet Corn Ice Cream, Nori Powder, Black Bread, Black Garlic Espuma.

:small_orange_diamond: Picked Mud Crab, Beurre Noisette Emulsion, Radish & Pepper Croqueta, Pickled Radish.

:small_orange_diamond: Scorched Squid, Baby Squid Crisps, Candied Nutmeg, Green Chilli & Kaffir Lime Kosho.

:small_orange_diamond: Mussel & Fennel Curry, Smoked Mussels Custard, Raw Fennel, Mango Gel, Fennel Curry, Steamed Brioche.

:small_orange_diamond: Cured Foie Gras de Canard, Pickled Feng Lai Rice, Oba, Freshly Shaven Spring Truffle.

Palate cleanser:
:small_orange_diamond: Magnum Sorbet: Passionfruit, Celery, Tarragon.

:small_orange_diamond: Wild Caught Grouper Pumpkin & Cilantro Roots Velouté, Poached Tomatoes, Culantro Oil, Kaffir Lime Dust, Cilantro Root Tuille.

:small_orange_diamond: Melon & Cream, Natural Sorbet, Milk Sponge, Crème Chantilly, Bubu Arare.

As always, Chef Su delivered big flavours in minute portions - reminded me somewhat of Bangkok’s Gaggan and GAA.

Service at 𝗔𝘂 𝗝𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻 was polite and faultless, albeit slower than usual - quite likely caused by its recent spike in business due to the Michelin-rating.

One weak link that Au Jardin needed to fix: it lacked a good patisserie chef. We need to end a meal with aplomb. The current dessert offering was a let-down.


Back at Au Jardin for dinner this evening.

The May 2023 menu:

We started off with a couple of amuse-geule - both delicately constructed and with delightful flavours.

  1. Snapper tartare with crispy potato “spring”, wrapped with wild betel leaves

  2. Lumpfish roe emulsion on dehydrated glass noodles, with orange mascarpone & ikura

The first of our appetisers was the cured snapper tartare, seasoned with green Sichuan pepper, served on a base of salted longan jelly, and garnished with nashi pear

Our next appetiser was a re-imagined “Cauliflower cheese”, served cold: roasted cauliflower, toasted hazelnuts, with onion & balsamico nectar, and with a cauliflower and Roquefort ice-cream

This was followed by the 50/50 Tomato Consomme - consisting of sweet basil oil, Hokkaido scallops, petit pois, served with dehydrated baby tomatoes and tomato bread on the side

The next course was a cheekily-named Potato on potato on potato - essentially potato pave, potato skin and Pringles espuma, with mussel and mushroom fricasee & rosemary*

There were 4 of us in our party this evening. One dining companion and I opted for the Cognac & Hay-smoked Aged Duck, with passionfruit gel, pommes puree, yuzu split jus and nagaimo (Japanese mountain yam) cubes for our main course:

One of my other dining companions chose the Japanese Wagyu with jus maison & grain mustard, accompanied by celeriac puree as the main:

The other chose as her main the Wild-caught barracuda, with celeriac crémeux, Grenobloise, with squid ink croutons, beurre noisette and fish foam

All the mains were delicate constructions using complex components, but all of which seemed more than the sum of their parts.

Dessert was never my favourite course at Au Jardin, as I personally prefer creamy desserts whilst owner-chef, Kim Hock Su’s desserts are usually the “healthy” sort, with an emphasis on using the extracts and parts of fresh fruits.

This evening’s dessert was actually very nice - unimaginably beautiful leaves of freshly-shaven apple, with fermented “bunga kantan”/torch-ginger and strawberry sorbet, red pepper marshmallow and Chantilly cream, all dusted with sour plum powder. It tasted as good as it looked.

Very enjoyable meal - Kim Hock Su knows his strengths and plays up on those pretty well.


Malaysian El Bulli?! :laughing:

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Portions pretty huge for a tasting menu!

:joy: :joy: :joy:

Quite a few similar set-ups in Malaysia: Dewakan and FLOUR in Kuala Lumpur, and Blanc and Gen in Penang.