[Penang, Malaysia] Thai dinner at ๐— ๐˜‚๐—ป๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ถ ๐—š๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ

Dinner last night was a Thai affair at Muntri Grove, a really spiffy boutique hotel located in a 19th-century mews off Muntri Street.

The special Thai food promotion only runs over 3 weeks, and required advance booking on our part to ensure a table, as they could only host 12 diners per evening due to the on-going COVID SOPs required by law.

Some chilled Chardonnay as we await the start of the eveningโ€™s program.

It was a rather fun evening - the hotel owner pulled off an admirable effort, even organizing a mini-Loy Krathong Thai festival (one monthly early!) for us diners, taking advantage of the pool-side of the dinner venue.

Muntri Grove owner, hotelier Chris Ong, explaining the significance of the Loy Krathong festival. Chris Ong also owns nearby Seven Terraces and Muntri Mews.

โ€œLoyโ€ means โ€œto floatโ€ in Thai, and โ€œkrathongโ€ refers to a buoyant flower/candle offering, to be floated on a body of water as an offering to the Hindu water goddess, Ganga. The โ€œkrathongโ€ usually consists of elaborately-folded banana leaves, three incense sticks, and a candle, festooned with flowers.

Offering the โ€œkrathongโ€ is also regarded as a means of cleansing oneโ€™s soul and wash away ill-luck, all as part of the process of self-renewal.

Dinner proceeded right afterwards - we started off with:

  1. Thai Fish Cakes (Tod Mun Pla; เธ—เธญเธ”เธกเธฑเธ™เธ›เธฅเธฒ) - I rather enjoyed the version served here. I never liked Thai-style fish-cakes due to their โ€œbouncyโ€ texture, a result of pulverizing fish-meat into a fine, smooth-textured fish-paste, instead having them flaky (as in Western-style fish cakes, which I much preferred).
    The one we got here was actually somewhere in-between the two, but veering closer to the Western-style fish-cake. The chili-cucumber-lime dip was mild, which suits me fine.

  2. Tom Yum with Prawn Soup (Tom Yum Goong; เธ•เน‰เธกเธขเธณเธเธธเน‰เธ‡เธ™เธณเน‰เธ‚เน‰เธ™) - really enjoyed this one as, again, Muntri Groveโ€™s Chef Thaik (whoโ€™s half-Thai/half-Burmese) was โ€œgentleโ€ in his use of chilis, so one gets to taste the nuances of the lemongrass-galangal-kafir lime leaf-infused broth, rather than the scald-your-tongue version one usually finds in Bangkok. Especially liked the very large prawns and fresh oyster mushrooms.

  3. Roast Duck Curry (Gaeng Ped Phed Yaang; เนเธเธ‡เน€เธœเน‡เธ”เน€เธ›เน‡เธ”เธขเนˆเธฒเธ‡) - one of the best renditions of this dish in town: creamy-rich with fresh coconut milk, and perfectly textured roast duck, studded with sweet cherry tomatoes and grapes.
    Unlike Indian curries, which are cooked using dry spices (ground cumin, coriander, fennel, cardamom, cinnamon stick, etc.), Thai curries utilized mainly โ€œwetโ€ spices: lemongrass, galangal, chilis, shallots, kafir lime leaves, etc. as aromatics. Over here, Bangkok-trained Chef Thaik has mastered the balances of spices used, and his curries are always tasteful but never overly chili-spicy.

  4. Thai Grilled Chicken (Gai Yang; เน„เธเนˆเธขเนˆเธฒเธ‡) - this dish was perhaps the Achillesโ€™ heel of the eveningโ€™s dinner. The chicken was served at room temperature, but would probably be at its best sizzling hot from a smoking grill. The piquant, sharp sweet-sour dip was pretty good, and lifted the chicken-meat a bit.

  5. Glass Noodle Salad (Yum Woon Sen; เธขเธณเธงเธธเน‰เธ™เน€เธชเน‰เธ™) - this was a luxe rendition of the dish, with largish prawns and fresh, poached squid.
    My personal favorite rendition of yum woon sen involved copious amounts of minced pork, which is pretty hard to come by in Malaysia, unlike in Thailand. So, I usually end up making the salad myself at home.

  6. Deep-Fried Morning Glory Salad (Yam Phak Boong Thot Krob; เธขเธณเธœเธฑเธเธšเธธเน‰เธ‡เธ—เธญเธ”เธเธฃเธญเธš) - this was another rather weak rendition of the dish. Instead of hot, crisp, freshly-fried vegetables, the one served here tasted cold and the batter had lost its crispness and seemed โ€œwetโ€. Again, the dish was redeemed somewhat by its very tasty chili-lime dip.

  7. Dessert course: ๐™‡๐™š๐™›๐™ฉ: Coconut Milk & Pandan Jelly (Woon Ka Ti Bai Toey/เธงเธธเน‰เธ™เธเธฐเธ—เธดเนƒเธšเน€เธ•เธข); ๐™๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ: Thai Pudding with Coconut Topping (Khanom Tako; เธ‚เธ™เธกเธ•เธฐเน‚เธเน‰) - the two desserts, both utilizing salted coconut cream to juxtapose against sweet jelly, were absolutely beautiful. My favorite course for the evening (besides the roast duck curry).

Overall, a very well-conceptualized dinner, with high quality produce and nice presentation.

Address
Muntri Grove
127, 129, 131A-F, Muntri Street, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +60 4-264 2626

5 Likes

Looks a lovely place but a shame the food doesnt seem to have matched it.

I always worry about room temperature food. I remember having a seafood platter in Spain where some items were only warm. I wondered if that was how they were supposed to be or had they just been left too long before plating

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Same here, especially if there were raw or undercooked food being served.

I have never had a luke warm (templada) dish in Spain any place. It is very possible however, not something related to kitchen, in good venues. I believe it is the โ€œwait serviceโ€ โ€ฆ

That wouldnt account for the experience I mentioned. Restaurant Stay in Port de Pollence, Mallorca, FWIW. But, as youโ€™ve not experienced it yourself, then count yourself lucky

Wow - this looks wonderful. Iโ€™m sitting here eating my tea and toast breakfast and drooling.

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If you ever come this way, @TheLibrarian28 , call me - Iโ€™ll show you so many dining options here, you can stay for a whole month and never get bored of the food.

Thanks so much - will do!

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo