Cantonese cuisine, penang

Cheong Fatt Tze, Fine-Dining Cantonese, Penang

Housed in the glorious former residence of Cheong Fatt Tze, The Blue Mansion, this fine dining restaurant serves refined modern Cantonese cuisine reflecting the lavish love for life held by its namesake, a jet-setting aristocrat of the late 19th century. Romance and elegance of the past lives in the walls of one of the most iconic boutique hotels in Malaysia, and a reservation here allows guests to relive its grandeur, at least for an evening.
Pre-dinner Drinks
Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, The Blue Mansion
A welcome flute of Nutmeg Juice with a crushed nutmeg rim
No finer beginning could be had than with drinks on the balcony of what was once the master’s bedroom. A Samadhi State of Mind cocktail in hand, views of the garden and distinctive decorative upturned arches of the gate guarding the entrance below, and a gentle breeze, has us in a relaxed disposition, seeming to signify the official start of our luxe weekend getaway.
The beverage menu is admirable for a small venue. No less than eight wines are available by the glass (besides the more extensive range offered by the bottle), there’s the standard beer and juices, and an engaging list of house-crafted cocktails and mocktails too.
My choice sees lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and lychee crushed and shaken with lime and vodka, then strained over ice to form the refreshing Lychee and Lemongrass Smash (RM37). Hubby surprisingly has commenced with a Samadhi Zerocholic Delight, the Forever Young (RM19). Perhaps enticed by the name and his complaint of lower back pain after the four hour drive from KL, he’s pleased with the mix of pressed pineapple, orange and carrot juice, a squeeze of lemon and drop of vanilla.
Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, The Blue Mansion
Mocktail and Cocktail
Moving from the peaceful patio we enter the graceful and air-conditioned restaurant. Extraordinarily high ceilings embellished with maroon lines and patterns, stained glass windows, and oversized tapestries and mirrors enclose the space in a glove of magnificence.
Chef Maurice Toh Khoon Meng
Chef Maurice Khoon Meng Khoon Toh, Executive Chef of Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, specializes in classic as well as modern Chinese cuisine. Coming from a family of chefs, meant he practically grew up in the kitchen, and at a very young age had already mastered the art of making fresh noodles and dim sum. Later, with formal training, he traveled the world working in both 5 star hotels and independent restaurants, honing his skills in Chinese cuisine, while expanding his knowledge of western dishes. Today, as head chef at The Blue Mansion, he brings sophisticated Cantonese to the table with his own creative modifications.
Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, The Blue Mansion
Boiled peanuts and pickled cucumber  – I could snack on these indeterminably
A 2012 Riesling (RM35) from Prinz Von Hessen ‘H’ Rheingau, Germany turns out to be a terrific match for our food choices. The sommelier has clearly carried out a thoughtful search when choosing wines for this menu. I get a fruity bouquet with subtleties of white peach, some citrus and sweet residue in the mouth, and a medium length finish.
Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, The Blue Mansion
German Riesling
The appetizers all sound so good we find it hard to just choose two. So we don’t! We order a trio. Deep-Fried King Prawns (RM47), cooked to ideal grain, are tossed in a creamy wasabi sauce and topped with a bright dollop of tobiko. Cradled in a noodle basket and adorned with a deep pink orchid, it’s a pretty dish, and turns out to be hubby’s favourite plate of the night.
Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, The Blue Mansion
Deep Fried Prawns
Crispy Eggplant (RM31) satisfies my veggie-loving desires, with cubes of the creamy fruit quickly deep-fried and encrusted in caramelized chicken floss. It’s not just myself that appreciates the velvety middle and mildly chewy coat, but hubby too is quickly shoveling these bite-sized delicacies into his mouth.
Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, The Blue Mansion
Deep Fried Eggplant
Hubby’s carnivorous longings are taken care of with Crispy Shredded Beef (RM42) with a honey garlic sauce. This dish has us both salivating with the delicious aromas that hit our nostrils before it’s even laid on our table. But in our mouths we’re left with nothing to say as we try to figure out what texture the fried strips of meat remind us off… caramelized popcorn! It’s crisp, chewy and almost toffee like in its intensity: definitely a plate for sharing. The Riesling I’m sipping on seems to mirror the highlights in this recipe further bringing out honey notes in the mouth.
Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, The Blue Mansion
Fried Shredded Beef
Served in a hollowed out pumpkin, the Double-Boiled Silky Chicken Broth (RM42) with abalone, mushrooms and seafood delivers a dramatic presentation. While I think it fun to have an orange gourd all of my own, there’s more than enough for sharing. Not only do we finish the soup down to the very last drop, but have fun digging out the flesh of the edible container too.
Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, The Blue Mansion
Double-Boiled Silky Chicken Broth
Main Courses
Mains are divided into meat, seafood and poultry. We sample one of each. When we ask our waiter for recommendations he beams from ear to ear when suggesting the Braised Lamb Shank (RM50), so we’d be silly not to request it. Prepared Shanghainese style, it’s a buxom piece of meat that provides more than enough protein for two. Based with a jungle of verdant bean sprouts, the greens’ freshness contrasts directly with the rich depth of flavour in the meat, balancing the dish adeptly.
Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, The Blue Mansion
Lamb Shank
Steamed Fillet of Barramundi (RM59) is another dish that comes with high praise. Ginger, onion and butternut pumpkin puree blankets the lightly battered shapes, which upon slicing reveals succulent, flaky flesh. A raft of perky asparagus spears carries the fish and a sprinkling of herbs brings forth some colour symmetry on top.
Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, The Blue Mansion
We consider duck a must when dining on Cantonese fare, so the Pan Grilled Five Spice Duck Breast (RM53) is quickly decided upon. Made even more luscious with an orange plum sauce and purple sweet potato puree, the slices of poultry are fanned down the length of a long white platter. The skin of the duck glistens in the light and the pinkish-brown middle manifests to be just as tender as it looks.
Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, The Blue Mansion
Duck Breast
Stir-fried Asparagus, Lotus Root, Sweet Bean, and Pumpkin (RM28) are just cooked retaining a crunch that we both find delightful in garden fresh veg. Topped with freshly pulled pieces of crabmeat and an egg white sauce, this too is a very generous serving, another plate easily shared.
Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, The Blue Mansion
Mixed Vegetables
Rice and Noodles
Cheong Fatt Tze Scallop Fried Rice (RM32) is a house favourite. Long grains are separated and spattered with small chunks of scallops, greens and egg. It’s great eaten on its own, but I especially like the complement with the sauce from the fish.
Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, The Blue Mansion
Scallop Fried Rice
After that feast we only have a tiny margin left for dessert so decide to share the signature Blue Mansion Tiramisu (RM24). Attractive presentation has been carried through to the very end of the meal. The cube of sweet cake layers moistened with pear liqueur from the Chang Yu vineyard is crowned with fresh blueberries and a purple orchid, and sided with a strawberry and mango slice.
Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, The Blue Mansion
The Blue Mansion Tiramisu
Our finish, a Cabernet Gernischt, benefits from a little time to air. Peppers and berries in the palate, it’s a reasonably uncomplicated drop and would do well a little earlier in our meal paired with the lamb shank. This wine from Chateau Changyu Castel, a legacy from one of the many businesses of Cheong Fatt Tze, ends our evening providing a link from our table to our room (we’re suitably staying in the Chang Yu room at The Blue Mansion).
Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, The Blue Mansion
Chang Yu Castel Red Wine
Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, The Blue Mansion
Chang Yu Castel Red Wine
Reasons to visit: stunning historical setting; hubby’s favs – the king prawns and wasabi mayo, the pumpkin abalone soup and the duck; my favs – crispy eggplant, barramundi and veggie plate.
Cheong Fatt Tze
The Blue Mansion
14 Leith Street
10200 Penang
+6 04 262 0006


  1. Monica and Co, and certainly not forgetting the lucky – "T.O.H" of team Tindall.

    Holy catfish! What "glam" and splendour. Do you require an assistant to carry your bags,
    or maybe at my age advise your carriers where to put your and my bags and how to
    assist with the lighting for photography – I can think of heaps of help that I could render.

    Just a sample of all dishes of that epicurean feast for the "rich and famous" would suggest, not SPA treatment but some frenzic gym activities or without horses a sprint across the Pampas!
    Or would a jog right across the Nullabor be more to your liking???

    I am not a keen fancier of German Rhine Riesling wines – I can't really explain why – the
    taste is not quite to my palate but I will drink it. Certainly can't touch that sweet Moselle stuff.

    I'm surprised that it took 4 hours to travel from KL to Penang – is that normal? Maybe the traffic
    was bad?
    Why the street names from KL seem to be different – the word, LEBUH is prominent?

    Colin (Brisbane. Australia)
    PS; Some pesky southern air has arrived here – sunny but bloody cold this morning so far.

    • On closer examination of the great map – I appreciate that. Really does help.
      Jalan's are there but what is the difference? Jalan and Lebuh.
      PS: This lapse of map examination can be put down to the bloody cold weather.

    • Mum reports chilly temps at home too.
      What on earth is T.O.H – or is it better that I don't ask? 😉
      Ha, ha… you'd be surprised at how many applicants we have for the job of 'bag carrier' or 'assistant food tester'.
      We've had a few different rieslings from Germany with the ones in earlier years being way too sweet. In recent years however we've discovered some newer ones that are lighter and crisper. A mild sweetness though seems to go well with Asian dishes, especially ones that have a little spice.
      Four hours is actually a good run from KL – we've spent up to 5 with a bit of traffic and holiday weekends you can look at up to 10 for the journey!
      Have no clue about the word lebuh sorry – perhaps one of our Malaysian friends can answer that one.

    • Not through enough with the explanation – "T.O.H."
      refers to "The Other Half" ie: your husband.

    • Ooops – THOROUGH not Through!
      The food was TOO much.

  2. Hmmmm…margarita with a twist! Very interesting! I love these old colonial houses – they've turned many all over into restaurants, give them a nice feel to it, a touch of class. Ooooo….I see duck! Yum yummm!!!

  3. Certainly love to dine there too! Deep-fried Eggplant is a very popular dish here too, but we usually use pork floss. Yummy!

  4. Chef Maurice looks like such a nice person! This is such a lovely place, and the presentations are very creative; the ambiance is beautiful and soothing.

  5. The food looks great but the dessert of tiramisu at the end seems to be an odd pairing for this Chinese feast! 😉

  6. Food looks excellent! 🙂

  7. Love the visually-appealing color of that purple potato puree

  8. that's a lovely contemporary interpretation of broth served in a gourd! 🙂

  9. I love all of them!
    The duck is probably my favourite 🙂

    >Double-Boiled Silky Chicken Broth

    You sure that's silky chicken?
    He he… Proper silky meat should be black flesh. 😉

  10. >Jalan and Lebuh.

    "Jalan" means "road" in Malay and "lebuh" is "street".
    Occasionally, you will find the word, "lorong" which means "lane".
    Before the National Language Act in the 70s, everything was written in English.
    In an effort to dissociate British colonial rule, most existing street names were renamed completely different to original names. However, Penang was mostly spared from this policy because it was once a crown colony.
    Hence, Jalan Argyll, Jalan Penang, Lebuh Queen, Lorong Love, etc you see on the map today were once Argyll Road, Penang Road, Queen Street, Love Lane etc in the past.,_Penang

    • Many thanks for the answers – much appreciated.
      Not much use looking at the supplied maps of the locations when
      you don't understand the street and road meanings.

      I believe here during WW1 all German named areas – towns, hills, etc etc were
      Angilicized especially in the wine growing areas of the Barossa Valley in South
      Australia. Quite a few of these places have had the original Germanic name restored.
      Colin (Brisbane. Australia)

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