Thirty Two at the Mansion, George Town, Penang, Malaysia - The Yum List
Food and luxury travel – Malaysia and the world
Thirty Two at the Mansion, George Town, Penang, Malaysia
One of a small handful of elegant dining restaurants in Penang, Thirty-Two at the Mansion is one with a consistently positive reputation for an aesthetically pleasing experience. A graceful old building, ocean vistas and prettily presented food all play a part in the high repute of the restaurant.
View from the Car Park
On the same strip as the Eastern and Oriental Hotel, the graceful character of the area carries across to the beautiful 1920s Italianate villa by the sea. Dark wood floors and furniture are brightened with pale walls and lofty ceilings. Touches of glam are accorded with golden hued cornices, mirrors and chandeliers. Arched windows and doorways and, dramatic black and crimson full-length curtains add theatrics to the scene.
For those wanting their night to linger, a lounge area awaits guests for pre or post-dinner drinks. A separate room seating 12 to 14 people is a lovely space for a private event, and the gazebo on the lawn by the sea must have held its fair number of wedding ceremonies in its time.
Headed by Dutch Chef Mathijs Nanne, the menu is predominantly Western, with splashes of Asian flare. A comprehensive selection is available both a la carte and in sets.
Soups, salads and appetizers start at RM10 for the Soup of the Day, up to RM54 for Duck Foie Gras. Vegetarian and Poultry dishes are priced between RM28 and RM50, while Meat and Seafood mains hover around RM60 with the most expensive item being Wagyu Rib Eye at RM170. Desserts are priced from RM6 for a scoop of homemade ice cream up to RM26 for specialized dessert cakes. Set menus are quite popular with locals though and seem to be good value. The dinner options generally range between RM70 – RM105 (depending on which main you order) inclusive of salad, soup, dessert and coffee or tea. Lunch sets, including salad or soup, dessert and your choice of a generous number of mains, begin at RM33 for items such as Crab Laksa Lemak and Char-Grilled Lamb Chop and, end at RM52 for dishes such as Pan Seared Salmon or BBQ Beef Rib.
We sampled both a set menu and some a la carte items.
Marinated Watermelon and Crispy Fish Salad (RM26) was a mouthful of deliciousness accompanied with tart firm green mango shavings and a sweet pistachio and toasted coconut dressing. The garden greens freshened the palate while the rest served to open the appetite.
Marinated Watermelon and Crispy Fish Salad
The soup of the day, Corn and Basil (RM10), was naturally sweet and creamy with the purified corn. Fresh Thai basil leaves served not only as a garnish but a direct refreshing contrast to the viscosity of the soup.
Corn and Basil Soup
Our starter, Sweet Potato and Goats Cheese Tortellini (RM28) came in a fruity citric sauce made from carrot, orange and saffron. Triangles of marinated beetroot and bright verdant herbs enlivened the presentation. While Hubby was not wowed by this dish, I was quite fond of the al dente pasta and the tangy sauce.
Sweet Potato and Goats Cheese Tortellini
The Angus Rib Eye (250gm, RM128), pink in the middle with plenty of fat between slices, was sided with baby kailan, sautéed mushrooms, a potato and thyme puree and, beef jus. Surprisingly the most expensive plate on the set menu was good, but not our favourite.
Angus Rib Eye
Roasted Cod (RM92), was Hubby’s most liked main and came crowning a round of crushed potatoes. Cooked in white wine and capers the fish was full flavoured but also incredibly fresh and flaky. Orange dried tomatoes, snow peas and a green olive oil emulsion ringed the white middle. A blob of black caviar jewelled the top.
The Grilled Chicken (RM78), my choice, donned an Asian theme with a master sauce reduction and shitake mushrooms. Cooked with the skin on, the result was tasty and succulent flesh. Roasted pumpkins and potato leaf provided colour and health to the dish, while foie gras butter contributed decadence.
The dessert Thirty Two is most famous for is the Sticky Toffee Pudding (RM22) and… with good reason. Macerated strawberries and house-made vanilla bean ice cream graced the side of a dense round of cake with a generous drowning of sticky sauce.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
The dessert coming with the set menu was a cinnamon, carrot and pineapple cake. The cream cheese icing was so velvety and not overly saccharine, that it almost competed with the moist base for stardom. Caramelized apple and guava, marinated raspberries and house-made sour cream ice cream provided unnecessarily, but appreciated further hedonistic temptation.
Both Old and New World wines, starting at around RM100 up to just over RM500, offer a decent selection of affordable bottles to accompany dinner. Two house white and two house reds from South America are the house pouring wines for RM21 per glass.
On our visit service seemed island style – pleasant and friendly but unhurried. Possibly the most attentive was the guard at the entrance who welcomed us beaming ear to ear, opened the doors to the mansion and escorted us through the lobby. Staff were happy to assist when we asked but were not very forthcoming (confident?) in talking to guests.
Nighttime Dining Section
Also part of the Mansion is Beach Blanket Babylon. Georgetown’s only beach bar and café in the heart of the city looks like it might merit a return visit. Literally a garden by the sea, it features both Western and Asian fare in an al fresco setting… another one on our list for the next visit to Penang.
Reason to visit: elegant seaside setting, scrummy desserts, plentiful parking