Had a rather surreal dining experience at Beso Rosado (literally, “Pink Kiss”) on Bishop Street. It’s part of the Chin Chin stable of F&B outlets in Penang, and only started operating in April 2019, occupying the location which was formerly speakeasy bar, Golden Shower by Chin Chin (I’m not making this up ). All the photos taken in there ended up pink because of the lighting. Remember the late artiste, Prince? This place looked like his boudoir - pink, mauve and purple lights all round.
We started off with a refreshing cocktail: My Grandma’s Memory - rum, coconut creme, passionfruit puree, lemon juice, kaffir lime leaf, galangal, coconut syrup and fresh lemongrass. It was smashing and worth a second.
Marinated beef salad, with basil, mint, cherry tomatoes, coriander, shaved cucumber, chili and dukkah - we found the beef slices a bit too dry, and the dressing was rather bland. Fresh salad leaves and sweet bursts from the cherry tomatoes helped save the dish somewhat.
Tacos, with tiger prawn, sour cream, avocado and fresh salsa. An oddity here, since one hardly expects to find Mexican on a largely Mediterranean menu with a heavy Spanish slant (Chef Jack Yeap formerly helmed the now-defunct El Faro, and offers bikini sandwiches, paella and other tapas options on the menu). The prawn was very fresh & sweet, and the whole combination worked pretty well.
3) Seared marinated salmon, with yoghurt and dukkah (again!) - the slab of salmon was on the verge of being overcooked. It was served very plain, with a dollop of yoghurt & a few leaves of coriander.
Seafood paella with squid ink - this was my favourite dish for the evening: the rice was cooked to the right texture, and had a deep, mellow flavour from the squid’s ink. The prawns, clams and squid were pretty fresh. No paella pan, unfortunately (it was cooked like Italian risotto, I surmise), so no rice crust at the bottom to enjoy.
5) Falafel - toum, aioli, pomegranate, cucumber, mint - honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of falafel, whether they’re Egyptian, Lebanese or Israeli, so I didn’t really liked these ones either, which I reckoned was put in as a menu item to give vegetarians an extra option.
6) Churros with chocolate sauce - this was singularly the best-tasting item I had this evening: served hot, crisp on the outside, fluffy & moist inside, it was good enough to devour on its own, but was served with an obligatory rich chocolate dip which raised it to a whole new level of deliciousness.
Yuzu mascarpone, with strawberry granita, fresh strawberries, cookie crumble and popping candy - this was also a pretty good dessert, rich & creamy. The strawberries seemed totally unnecessary, though.
Overall, an enjoyable meal, and pretty affordable - around RM150 (US$36) per pax, inclusive of drinks. I’m surprised it didn’t have more diners. Maybe they need to rethink the lighting concept.
Beso Rosado by ChinChin
86, Lebuh Bishop (Bishop Street)
10200 George Town, Penang.
Tel: +604-263 6868
Opening hours: 12 noon to 12 midnight daily.