The gallery space upstairs – with new exhibits every month
Cosy corners and artsy nooks mean there’s a place and a space for every type of dining
Although local Penangites don’t tend to drink so much from the vines, there is a well stocked wine room and comfy couches if you so prefer + The long table in the “reading room” can be booked for a larger group
Unique touches that the dynamic duo Narelle and Alison are known for – the ability to collate a mish mash of old & disregarded, reassemble it and turn it into something chic
The bar, where live music is featured Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings
Outdoor areas bring in the sunlight and when the temperature allows make a green setting for your meal or snack
Mezze Plate – soak up homemade dips with house made soft pita and fluffy focaccia breads – a perfect conversation opener or drink companion. The dips, left to right – hummus, roasted capsicum & feta, harissa, eggplant with toasted flaked almonds, dukkah, olive oil.
Cold refreshing cocktails to combat the island heat – Caipirinha and Frozen Margarita
The popular Chinese Pear Salad with shaved parmesan, cranberries, coriander, cashews, red onion, and crispy greens
Another sought after dish – Beef Ribs with potato mash and crunchy salad
Roast Chicken with za’atar & red wine jus and Quinoa with preserved lemon & coriander – irresistible
Rich creamy NY style cheesecake and chocolate muffins
Chewy dense chocolate brownie with their best selling tiramisu – in such demand that they can go through five complete cakes on a Sunday
This is the place to come if you’re missing a good cuppa – trained baristas and weekly roasted beans makes China House a strong contender for the number one espresso style coffee in town
China House – cafe/ bar/ restaurant/ wine lounge/ gallery – has the potential to meet all of your culinary and lifestyle whims under one roof. The cafe is noisy, vivid and vibrant. Paper covered tables and crayons encourage you to let out your inner artist with a doodle, and the menu is dominated by wholesome, rugged and strong western flavours. This is the place for a lively informal evening. The restaurant is slightly more secluded and sophisticated offering refined fusion dishes. The wine lounge is filled with comfy lounges and lined with bottles, in my opinion a lovely sipping area any time of day. Upstairs, new art collections are launched regularly and further down in the middle of it all is a pool and garden courtyard. The bar at the very back, which also has its own entrance, brings with it a funky chic atmosphere and is popular Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings when live jazz is featured.
When I mentioned to a friend that I’d be visiting China House her eyes lit up with a slight craziness as she told me, “They have the best cakes.” A few hours later I saw that same freaky spark in the customers’ eyes who stopped to drool by the cake display. If people watching entertains you, be sure to grab a table by the cake counter. We had hours of amusement listening to the, “Oohs” and, “Aahs” and indecisiveness of the crowd salivating over the sweet selection. We watched the confection disappear with hungry abandonment, some even being eaten before the main so no-one would miss out. A wide variety of western home made cakes has locals streaming in on the weekends and evenings. The Tiramisu, with its fresh cream, caramelized nuts and moist spongey layers, literally ‘takes the cake’ as the crowd pleaser. This one is so popular that usually five enormous wholes, sold slice by slice, are consumed in any given Sunday. The luscious Carrot Cake with velvety cream cheese frosting runs a close second. Other highly sought after numbers are the Chocolate Pistachio Tart – silky mousse atop a dense nutty base and buttery Ginger Biscuits – real pieces of ginger leave a zing and a touch of chewiness in a crunchy cookie.
The main dishes reminded me of something my grandma might serve up to the shearers after a hard day of work – big and wholesome. However, just like their interior design, a splash of the new such as quinoa brings a modern twist to the traditional. With very few commercial products used, and chefs priding themselves on making everything in house, you’re guaranteed of a ‘mum’s cooking’ feel in the bill of fare. Besides reasonable wine, mixed drinks and fresh juice options, China House is also known for it’s coffee. Both an Italian blend and a single origin coffee is flown in weekly. Baristas receive continuous training and they are slowly educating Penangites to the pleasure of a quality espresso experience.
Combining the new with the old, the chic with the traditional, and wholesome food with refreshing drinks, it’s easy to see why China House has quickly become an endeared venue for any social occasion.
153 – 155 Lebuh Pantai
+ 6 04 263 7299