Inch

Special thanks to Inch for extending this food review invitation.

After my favorable visit to Plates last week, I return once again to this fine eatery. This time, the restaurant carries the name "Inch". No, there wasn't a change in management during the week. In fact, the management of the restaurant maintains two names for its brunch and dinner services, Plates and Inch respectively.
Located at the nostalgic Muntri Street, Inch Southeast Asian Food & Bar finds most inspiration for its food menu from northern Thai cuisine. Thai food is renowned for its liberal use of pungent spices. This allows Thai food recipes to present multiple facets of flavoring to tantalize the taste buds.
At the helm of the kitchen crew is Chef Eddie from Chiang Mai (เชียงใหม่), Thailand. Chef Eddie has extensive experience working in kitchens around the world. According to Chef Eddie, the vast majority of ingredients, especially sauces, are made fresh in the kitchen every day. Unlike typical Thai restaurants, most dishes at Inch are served in tapas style.
Som Tum (ส้มตำ, RM12.00) is a salad appetizer made from shredded papaya. It is a lovely combination of many different types of flavors: sweet (sugar), spicy (bird's eye chili), tangy (unripe papaya) and savory (dried shrimps and fish sauce). Peanuts, string beans and cherry tomatoes are added for better mouthfeel.
Next is a savory treat of unparalleled gratification. The Beef Satay (เนื้อสะเต๊ะ, RM16.00) is made from premium-grade Australian tenderloin beef. Beef is marinated with curry powder, coriander roots and rich coconut milk to accentuate its bold flavor. After placing on skewers, the beef is slowly roasted over burning charcoal until the meat is nearly done. Thick homemade peanut sauce (น้ำจิ้มสะเต๊ะ) is served on the side.
Kai Yang (ไก่ย่าง, RM16.00) is another similar skewer dish, but uses chicken in place of beef. Although Laotian in origin, Kai Yang enjoys widespread acceptance in Thailand today. The chicken is first marinated in garlic, white pepper and coriander roots, then roasted over burning charcoal to allow its delectable jus to cook. Jim jaew (น้ำจิ้มแจ่ว), made from dried chili, coriander, shallots and fish sauce, is used as dipping sauce.
The next dish to delight our palate is Kai Tort (ไก่ทอด, RM16.00), or Thai-style fried chicken. Chicken wings are marinated with fish sauce, coriander roots and garlic, then deep-fried in hot oil to golden perfection. Sweet chili sauce (น้ำจิ้มไก่), made from red chili peppers, vinegar and sugar, is provided on the side.
As for End Kai Tord (เอ็นไก่ทอด, RM4.00), this deep-fried dish calls uses chicken cartilage, which are "soft bones" around the joints. Bite-size pieces are coated with flour, then deep-fried until lovely crisp is formed on the surface. Sriracha sauce (ซอสศรีราชา), made from chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, salt and sugar, is used for extra flavoring. This unique dish is certainly recommended.
Larb Pet (ลาบเป็ด, RM20.00) is minced meat salad from Laos, but has been adapted and incorporated into northern Thai cuisine. Unlike the Laotian version, Thai Larb Pet is not sour because no lime juice is used. Instead, the Thai version uses a mixture of dried spices like coriander, chili pepper and shallots to create its distinctive pungent flavor.
Next up, Nam Sod (แหนมสด, RM14.00) is a salad of fried rice and curry chicken sauce. Condiments used are fish sauce, lime juice, coriander leaves, chopped onions and roasted peanuts. Peppermint leaves are used as garnish and to provide aromatic appeal.
A signature sausage from Chiang Mai, Sai Oua (ไส้อั่ว, RM12.00) is traditionally made from minced pork, but Inch's version uses chicken instead. Minced chicken is first seasoned with lemongrass, turmeric, kaeng khua (แกงคั่ว) curry paste. Then, the meat is stuffed into sausage skin and grilled till golden brown.
Inch's Sai Oua is bursting with a myriad of savory flavors, thanks to the lovely blend of spices. Its texture is springy and quite welcoming to my palate. This is certainly not a dish to be passed over.
Each serving of Grilled Corn (ข้าวโพดย่าง, RM8.00) comes with two pieces of corn on the cob, evenly grilled all around to maintain their sweet, juicy kernels. A spread of garlic butter and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper provide respectable level of pungency upon each bite. On the side is a squeeze of lime and home-made sriracha sauce mixed with Japanese mayonnaise.
Pad Thai Chicken (ผัดไทยไก่, RM14.00) is a dish of flat rice noodles in Thai style. This stir-fried Thai dish is similar in appearance to Penang's char koay teow (炒粿条). Like char koay teow, the former uses garlic, shallots, bean sprouts, garlic chives, eggs and shrimps to bring out lovely aroma which characteristically defines this dish. Also included are chicken slices, bean curd, tamarind pulp and ground peanuts. The ingredients are customarily mixed thoroughly before eating.
While most Thais in central and southern provinces consume jasmine rice as staple food, northerners prefer to eat glutinous rice instead. To prepare Khao Niew (ข้าวเหนียว, RM4.00), glutinous rice is first soaked in cool water for several hours. The expanded rice grains are drained, then steamed until they become soft but still firm. Glutinous rice turns hard if it is left to cool, so it is preferable to consume it while it is still hot from the steamer.
For desserts, Mango Sticky Rice (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง, RM12.00) is ubiquitous in nearly every Thai restaurant due to its simplicity and lovely appeal. In this dessert, pre-heated coconut milk and sugar syrup are poured over steamed glutinous rice, so that rice grains become sticky creamy and sweet. Sweet slices of ripe mango are neatly arranged around the rice.
Inch's beverage menu includes many types of alcoholic drinks such as wines, whisky, liqueur, cocktail and beer. For today, our choices are non-alcoholic: Iced Lemon Tea (RM8.00), Fresh Orange Juice (RM12.00), Fresh Pineapple Juice (RM12.00) and Fresh Watermelon Juice (RM12.00).
If you had only visited Plates before, be prepared to be awed by the distinctive dining experience offered by Inch. According to the management, it also operates The Bee, several Western fusion restaurants in Klang Valley. It is intriguing to know an F&B business with such wide variety of culinary ventures!

Name: Inch
Address: 44, Lebuh Muntri, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-261-1693
Business hours: 5:00pm-10:00pm (Sunday), 5:00pm-12:00am (Monday-Thursday), 5:00pm-2:00am (Friday-Saturday), closed on Tuesdays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/inchfoodbar
Coordinates: 5.42023 N, 100.33579 E
Directions: From Penang Road (Jalan Penang), turn to the one-way Muntri Street (Lebuh Muntri) and drive for around 300 meters. Inch is located between Passion Heart and the Camera Museum, but on the left side of this narrow alley. Street parking is available at the earlier section of Muntri Street, or take a left turn at Love Lane (Lorong Love) at the next intersection and park on the left side of the road.

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