The latest hot spot to open in Georgetown is a Spanish inspired tapas bar, Patio. Run by two hipsters (William and Kenny) with worldly experience in the hospitality industry, this Bar de Tapas is set to add a chic addition to the evolving nightlife scene in Penang.
Located on the main strip of Weld Quay, a dedicated parking lot for customers to the side of the outlet is an undeniable bonus.
A warm wooden bar greets you at the entrance with a funky polished cement counter top. Liquor bottles line gently lit shelves and Jimmy, the mixologist smiles congenially awaiting a chance to suggest you a drink.
Arches of the original heritage architecture separate the bar and patio and are echoed in the windows above. Exposed orange brick and wall gardens enclose the space, while the double story ceiling is open, but soon to be given the option of protection with a retractable roof.
Hanging lights and skinny trees dot the patio, and an upstairs lounge and wine bar provide a non-smoking haven. A private room and another second floor lounge add more spaces to make your own.
A high quality sound system resonates with chill Ibizian beats. It’s loud enough to encourage a tapping of the feet, but not too obtrusive to interfere with conversation.
The menu is building a range of tapas, paellas, cocktails, spirits and wines. This visit we only had time for quick drink, so we ordered their signatures.
Impressed by the Sangria offerings we couldn’t resist a classic and an unconventional. Tinto (red), Blanco (white), Sidra (cider) and especial (special) all sounded amazing. The choice was hard, but we finally decided on a traditional red and what they called their special mix.
Sangria Tinto (RM19 glass, RM60 jug), made with a Chilean merlot, Monin triple sec, citrus and finely chopped fruits was a good balance of sweetness. Que fino! A hit.
The Sangria Especial (RM28 glass) combined a Riesling wine, Malibu, lychee and passion fruit. A little sweet but not overwhelmingly, this concoction was already proving a favourite with the local gals.
Now most bars can be judged by how good their Mojito is. It’s such a standard drink that if you get it wrong, there’s not much hope for the rest of the menu.
The Mojito (RM25) at Patio is a blend of white Bacardi rum, lime, brown sugar and mint. Served in a tall glass with lots of ice and, garnished with a garden of fresh leaves and a slice of lime, it’s a refreshing libation for the sizzling Penang climate.
Getting the classic right, we couldn’t resist sampling just one more cocktail, so hubby’s sweet tooth turned towards the French Martini (RM25). Vodka, Monin raspberry and pineapple gave a slightly muddled appearance and pleasingly aromatic finish. Thumbs up from the hubster!
From the tapas menu we tried something from both the land and the sea.
Gambas (RM18) had hubby cooing at first sight. Chargrilled garlic prawns were served on a black plate and came sprinkled with cilantro, red chilis, garlic, parsley, olive oil and salt. A squeeze of lime enhanced the flavour and the texture of the crustaceans was firm and succulent.
Bombas (RM19) were presented in a line-up on a wooden chopping board. Chorizo filled potato bombs were drizzled with capsicum sauce (chili, cumin, roasted capsicum, fennel seeds, white wine, vinegar), which left a faint tickle on the tongue and, dipped in a puddle of salsa brava (aioli, ketchup, lemon). They were obviously quickly deep fried at a high temperature as the shell was crispy, not oily. Best eaten while hot, the bomb is right!
Pollo (RM15) is a simple dish that soon disappeared. Deep fried spiced chicken fillet with a homemade aioli sauce was sided with finely sliced carrot, cucumber and red onion. Marinated with paprika, chili and garlic this inspired by soul food dish is a great snack for nibbling on with a few drinks.
Patio – Bar de Tapas is currently open Tuesday to Sunday from 5:30pm until late. In a few weeks they will open for lunch too. A healthy choice menu of pasta, sandwiches, soup, salad will offer good value lunch deals for less than RM25. The restaurant is non-halal.
Reason to visit: sangria, scrummy tapas – especially the Gambas and Bombas, nice ambience for a drink or three
Patio – Bar de Tapas
49F Weld Quay (Corner of Gat Lebuh Armenian)