Pinang Restaurant And Bar

Special thanks to Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa for extending this food review invitation.

Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa at Batu Ferringhi is known for its well-maintained beachfront, recreational water sports and beautiful sunset views. These amenities are within a stone's throw from the resort's luxurious, five-star hotel rooms.
Besides Spice Market Café (which was covered in a previous visit), Rasa Sayang provides another buffet meal at the Pinang Restaurant And Bar.
This pool-side eatery is a convenient spot for dinner after a tiring swim in the sea. Huts with attap (nipa palm) leaves and rattan-woven chairs give a pleasant natural setting for outdoor dining.
If you wish to enjoy the soothing ocean breeze, ask to be seated at a table facing the sea. Not to mention the pleasure of catching a nice view of the sun slowly setting over the distant horizon, while you raise a toast before your romantic dinner.
While Pinang Restaurant And Bar typically serves light meals and beverages for most of the week, Friday and Saturday nights are when the red-hot iron grills are fired. On Fridays, the theme is "Asian BBQ By The Sea". This buffet, which I have the pleasure of reviewing tonight, features Asian-inspired barbecue grills in addition to a handful of local delicacies like satay and char koay teow.
On Saturdays, the theme is "Seafood BBQ By The Sea", where the grilling station offers a wider selection of seafood. For both cases, a salad bar and dessert counter is also available, although the variety is not nearly as extensive as the buffet at Spice Market.

Pinang Restaurant And Bar's buffet runs from 6:30pm to 10:00pm on both nights. The meal is priced at RM108.00++ for an adult, and RM54.00++ for a child. Since the setting is outdoors, the buffet may be canceled due to inclement weather. Fortunately throughout my visit tonight, I cannot ask for a better weather condition. Once the warming sun has set over the west, a blanket of cool breeze descents to welcome the start of the buffet feast.

On the 6:30pm mark, charcoal at the grilling station is ignited to signify the beginning of a tasty barbecue treat. Throughout the evening, there is a steady flow of food from the grills, but it is conceivable for guests to request for special orders (for example if you want your steaks medium-rare) directly from the chef.
First up is the Garlic And Kaffir Lime Prawn. Served piping-hot from the grill, the shrimps have been pre-flavored with garlic sauce and kaffir lime. Kaffir lime juice is usually too sour to be used directly, but the leaves are often used to impart an aromatic, citrus flavor.
Still in the crustacean department, Slipper Lobster is another exquisite delicacy from the grilling station. Under the thick chitin armor of these seabed dwellers are tender, juicy white flesh, culminating in a mildly sweet sensation to each bite.
Next up is Snapper With Spiced Coconut. These fish fillet pieces are lightly grilled for a light layer of crisp on both sides, while the inner flesh inside remain intact with natural juices. Although the texture of the fish is desirably smooth, the coconut flavor is not as pronounced as it should. In fact, I recommend using more herbs and spices in lieu of spiced coconut.
The Local Squid With Turmeric Sambal is quite delectable in my opinion. Tantalized by the pungent flavor of turmeric (kunyit), these lovely portions of squid are most welcoming on my dinner plate. Somehow, I prefer the squid's tentacles over the mantle (main body).
Moving on to animals with four legs, we have the Rendang Spiced Minute Steaks, accompanied by Chili And Cumin Lamb Leg Steaks. The beef steaks are not as flavorful in rendang flavor as the name implies. Moreover, the steaks are quite tough to chew due to the thick cuts.
On the other land, the lamb is more enjoyable steak among the two, thanks to the tender texture and flavorful spices which delightfully stimulated my palate.

As for poultry, there is a dish of Marinated Chicken With Ginger, Garlic, Lemon Grass, Chilies And Thai Basil. This dish turns out to be my favorite tonight. The clever concoction of spices do justice to marinate the chicken to the most succulent degree possible. I just cannot restrain myself for devouring pieces after pieces of these gratifying treats!
Various types of condiments are available for the grilled dishes. My personal preference is mint sauce to go with steaks. For fish and squid, air asam (tamarind sauce) is definitely the way to go.
The Chicken Satay is another must-have delicacy in local grills. Lovely pieces of turmeric-marinated chicken are held in place with bamboo skewers, on which they are roasted and served. Satay is traditionally served with a sweetened peanut sauce dip. Although you may limited stomach space during a buffet, a couple of satay sticks are certainly enjoyable.
What can you make with koay teow (粿条), bean sprouts, eggs, shrimps, fish cakes, Chinese chives (韭菜) and a devilish mixture of soy sauce and chili paste? You guessed right, it is Penang's signature Char Koay Teow (炒粿条)!
Interesting side note: Notice the individual food containers with cling wraps? Each container is properly labeled with the date when the ingredient is supposed to be used. When operating an international chain of resorts across the globe, Shangri-La runs its business operations with corporate-style efficiency! I bet a typical char koay teow hawker simply uses "whatever that was left over from last night".
With an arsenal of fresh quality ingredients at his disposal, the chef skillfully prepares the Char Koay Teow. You can see how he imparts energetic "wok hei" (镬气) through his stir-frying action.
The prepared Char Koay Teow is served in a tray over a sheet of banana leaf. Should you want to customize your portion (say, without chili paste), just place your order with the chef directly.
My take on the Char Koay Teow is generally positive. Large succulent shrimps are not an ingredient that a typical hawker will be willing to use unless he charges a fortune. It is also beyond the shadow of a doubt that the chef has the necessary skills to prepare a masterful serving.
But as far as comparison goes, there are still certain aspects where this Char Koay Teow is inferior compared to the old-school "Iron Chefs" in downtown George Town. I think this distinguishing factor is the delicate formula to the soy sauce. I cannot comment how the formula should be improved because I simply do not know. If I do, I would have unlocked the secrets to this Holy Grail.
Apart from grilled meat and seafood, there are also a number of dishes prepared from the kitchen. The Mediterranean Ratatouille is a vegetable stew using tomatoes as the key ingredient. Stewed vegetables include eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, onions and garlic. The tomato base is delightfully tasty, making this a hearty dish indeed.
Baked Potatoes are worth trying too, though one serving is probably enough as potatoes are quite surfeiting in excess. Before consuming, try adding a drizzle of sour cream and a sprinkle of beef bacon bits for enhanced flavor.
Corn On The Cob is another optional dish in view of its widespread availability. I managed to get hold of one to sample the buttery kernels.
If you need to have some rice to go with grilled dishes, there is a dish of Egg Fried Rice With Honey BBQ Chicken. The rice is nicely cooked evident from its aromatic garlic scent and delectable flavor. I think barbecued chicken bits are responsible for a large part of its wonderful flavor.
The salad bar provides a handful selections of salad dishes. The salad bar is chilled with ice so that the dishes remain cold throughout the feast. There are also raw vegetables and dressings if you prefer to customize your salad from scratch.
The pastry section sports a decent selection of bread rolls. The bread rolls go well with soup or butter, depending on your liking.
Of particular mention are the breadsticks (grissini) and flatbreads. I find the former quite enjoyable on its own right, owing to the nice coating of sesame seeds.
In pursuit of something sweet, select from an interesting collection of cakes at the dessert counter. The Chocolate Dome is loaded with rich cocoa goodness, making this cake a no-brainer for chocolate addicts.
If chocolate does not interest you as much, try something different like the Strawberry Short Cake. This cake is infused with strawberry flavor from actual strawberries during the preparation process.
The Coconut Tart With Cherry is a tropical-inspired cake flavored using grated coconut kernel (kelapa parut). A single slice is very filling, so please go easy with it. Curiously, there are no cherries involved with this dessert, but a strawberry is instead used as garnish.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Banana Mille Feuille is a light finger food to be enjoyed casually. This French dessert with a delightful crumble is made from alternating layers of puff pastry (pâte feuilletée) and pastry cream (crème pâtissière). A couple a thin banana slices provide mild sweetness to this bite-sized pastry.
Last but not least, the dessert counter also serves several tropical fruits such as passionfruit, jackfruit, pineapple and watermelon.
To liven our gastronomic experience, a strolling band entertains the guests with light music in a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. If you are fortunate to dine here on your birthday, the duo are more than happy to perform several songs to make your joyous evening even more special.
Name: Pinang Restaurant And Bar
Address: Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, 11100 Batu Ferringhi, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-888-8888
Business hours: 6:30pm-10:00pm, Fridays and Saturdays
Coordinates: 5.47969 N, 100.25402 E
Directions: From Tanjung Bungah, travel west towards Batu Ferringhi. Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa is approximately 4.2 kilometers from Tanjung Bungah's floating mosque, located on the right. Pinang Restaurant And Bar is beside the swimming pool, at the far end of the Garden Wing.

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