Private dining has been rising in popularity throughout Malaysia and Singapore in the past two years - partly due to the pandemic, where people who want to dine out opted for a private dinner function where all the guests are known to each other.
And one of the best private dining options in Penang has to be the Thai dinner by Ma Barclay.
Ma Barclay is a Penangite of Chinese-Thai descent, a self-taught cook who learnt her art from an exacting Siamese grandmother. “My childhood playground was the kitchen”, Ma said, explaining how she learnt the family heirloom recipes by assisting her aunts in carrying out cooking duties: preparing the spices as the adults perform the rhythmic pounding manually using mortar and pestle, and watching her grandmother, a consummate perfectionist, orchestrate the kitchen movements like an obsessive-compulsive conductor.
Ma Barclay hosts her private dinners at her palatial home in a quiet suburb off the beaches of Batu Ferringhi. Her dinners are restricted to 10 guests per evening - and based on our experience yesterday evening, diners here are in for a smashing time - delicious food, amidst a beautiful dining room, and an entertaining host in Ma’s husband, Will Barclay.
Founded by the British in 1786, Penang has always had a long history with the British Empire, and many Britishers opted to retire in Penang under the MM2H (Malaysia My Second Home) scheme. Will Barclay was one of them - the Englishman is the great-great-grandson of Joseph Gurney Barclay, the head of their family’s Barclays Bank in the UK back in the 19th-century. Will Barclay is known as a sketch artist in Penang, and now, as an entertaining host during their private dinner functions.
Our dinner spread this evening:
𝙏𝙤𝙙 𝙢𝙖𝙣 𝙥𝙡𝙖 - Thai-style fish cakes, with sweet-chili dip
𝙈𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙜 𝙠𝙝𝙖𝙢 - wild betel leaf wraps, with condiments
𝙆𝙖𝙚𝙣𝙜 𝙨𝙤𝙢 - spicy-sour soup, with prawns and bamboo shoots
Vegetables with nam prik-chili dip
Deep-fried fish with crisp garlic crumbs
𝙆𝙖𝙚𝙣𝙜 𝙠𝙖𝙚𝙬 𝙬𝙖𝙣 𝙠𝙖𝙞 - Thai green chicken curry, with pea eggplants
𝙆𝙝𝙖 𝙢𝙤𝙤 - braised pork knuckle
Mixed vegetables with enoki mushroom & baby squid
Mixed fruit platter
A truly memorable dinner, with some excellent cooking from Ma Barclay that showcased authentic Thai flavours.
To make a private dining appointment, contact Will Barclay +60174321691