Ruins Of Victoria

Special thanks to Ruins Of Victoria for extending this food review invitation.

Victoria Street (Lebuh Victoria) in George Town is a popular nightlife spot especially among backpacking tourists. Located several units away from China House is Ruins Of Victoria, a restaurant-cum-bar which is packed to full occupancy during weekends.
Constructed in the 19th century, the existing building was given a new lease of life in the late 2015. Restoration work made minimal changes to the existing structure in compliance with heritage zone ordinances.
Indeed, the existing dilapidated state provides a sense of nostalgia to the long-passed colonial days. Many sections of the walls were deliberately left unpainted and unplastered, revealing the red bricks underneath.
Interestingly, a small tree has taken root at the top of a wall. Its roots creep menacingly within crevices in the wall. This is telltale that the original building has withstood the test of time.
Ruins Of Victoria makes good use of light shafts to keep the interior illuminated and ventilated. The long wooden table at the central courtyard is made from former prison doors. Their peepholes have been improvised as ashtrays.
Just across the bar is an art mural which resembles a world map. Masterfully crafted by Italian artist Benedetta Segala, this piece of art took 3 weeks to complete. Starting from the original wall, she painstakingly chipped away plaster sections that represent oceans. As for the "land", these sections are painted with symbolic motifs of various cultures from around the world.
Behind the central courtyard is the dining section of the restaurant. Its menu features international fare in an upscale casual dining setting. Taking helm of the kitchen is a professional chef with decades of culinary experience from several hotels around Malaysia. The menu is entirely pork-free.
For appetizers, Onion & Feta Tart (RM18.90) is one of the popular ones. A piece of half-baked pastry is topped with onions, then rebaked to allow the onions to caramelize. While the tart is still warm, feta cheese and beetroot pesto are added, allowing the latter to partially melt. Balsamic sauce is served on the side.
Boston Seafood Chowder (RM17.90) is my personal favorite this evening. The creamy soup contains succulent bits of clam, which makes it so gratifying. What I am also impressed by is the richness of broth used to prepare the chowder. A piece of garlic crostino, similar in appearance to bruschetta, is included too.
Elements of Hispanic cuisine is what defines Crusted Herb Chicken (RM35.90). Breaded chicken breast is pan-fried to provide a layer of appealing crisp, then seasoned with refreshing chili cilantro salsa. Sautéed potatoes and vegetables act as counterbalance in this poultry dish.
Fusion Olio Pasta (RM32.90) combines the classic Italian pasta with fiery pungency of local bird's eye chili (cili padi). Instead of the subtleness of typical aglio olio, this fusion version is noticeable spicier. Spaghetti is cooked al dente to the right level of firmness. This dish is further enhanced by shrimps, portobello mushrooms and red chili peppers.
As for seafood, Salmon Wellington (RM44.90) is recommended. This dish consists of salmon fillet and spinach wrapped in soft pastry puff, then baked to golden perfection. Hollandaise sauce, an egg-butter emulsion used for Eggs Benedict, is used as dressing. Included on the side are asparagus, broccoli, cherry tomato and microgreens.
Lamb Shish Kebab (kuzu şiş kebap, RM37.90) is the most recognizable Turkish dish outside Turkey. Skewered lamb and bell peppers are gently roasted such that they remain juicy. The skewer is suspended over a plate of spaghetti. Cheese powder and mint sauce are provided.
There are 4 flavors of Signature Homemade Ice Cream: cinnamon, basil, nutmeg and gula melaka (palm sugar) - all prepared from scratch in the kitchen. I like the gula melaka version, but I have difficulty in distinguishing the other 3 flavors from one another. I think this is because individual flavor has been obscured by sweetness. The ice cream texture is reasonably compact but not quite as dense as gelato.
Ruins Of Victoria has a decent collection of red and white wines from several countries. Condor Andino Malbec 2015 is shown here.
After the meal, it is worthwhile to mingle around at the bar at front section of the restaurant. In addition to wines, the full bar serves a wide range of cocktails, mocktails, liqueur and draft beers. Manning the drinks section is an experienced bar manager who can concoct just any drink from the menu or even personalized ones.
Tonight's party starts with a glass of Mojito (RM25.00). This refreshing drink is made from rum, soda water and brown sugar. A twist of lime provides pleasing tanginess. The glass is then topped with crushed ice and fresh mint leaves.
It is inadvisable to drink on an empty stomach. This is where the bar snacks menu comes in. The easiest choice is the ROV Platter (RM65.00), an assortment of finger food to go with beer. The platter comprises of grilled lamb chops and several fried items, namely chicken wings, fish fingers, calamari, shrimps and meatballs. 4 types of dips are provided: black pepper, mint, tartar and barbecue sauces. The ROV Platter is ideal for sharing among 4 or 5 people.
The bar snacks menu also features several types of pizzas. Thin crust is used so that the pizzas are not so surfeiting, making them better suited as snacks. Some of the pizza choices are ROV's Hous (RM28.00) and Masala Lamb Pizza (RM28.00). ROV's Hous is seafood-based while Masala Lamb Pizza uses curried lamb and masala paste. I personally prefer the latter.
The ambience at the bar is kept lively by renowned disc jockey (DJ) Philip, who is responsible for setting the tempo of the evening and cranking up the rhythm as the night progresses. Also appearing on Fridays and Saturdays is a 7-piece S.O.D band whose performance begins at 10:00pm.
Name: Ruins Of Victoria
Address: 183, Lebuh Victoria, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-251-9022
Business hours: 5:00pm-1:00am (Sunday-Thursday), 5:00pm-3:00am (Friday-Saturday), closed on Tuesdays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/ruinsofvictoria
Coordinates: 5.41405 N, 100.33912 E
Directions: Ruins Of Victoria is located at Victoria Street (Lebuh Victoria), between the intersections with Chulia Street Ghaut (Gat Lebuh Chulia) and Armenian Street Ghaut (Gat Lebuh Armenian). Street parking is available along the abovementioned roads.

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