Special thanks to Kota Dine & Coffee for extending this food review invitation.

Fort Cornwallis (Kota Cornwallis) is among the oldest remnants of British presence in Malaysia. As the first British outpost in modern-day Malaysia, Prince of Wales Island (the colonial name for Penang Island) was an important entrepôt of the lucrative spice trade. Fort Cornwallis was constructed in 1786 to defend this British settlement against other colonial powers.
Near the east gate and behind the amphitheater is Kota Dine & Coffee. This air-conditioned restaurant specializes in modernist Nyonya (Peranakan) cuisine. The food menu modifies traditional Nyonya recipes to be presented in truly unconventional forms. As Kota has recently obtained halal certification, its doors are open to a wider range of customers.
Customers are greeted with a statue of Captain Francis Light (1740-1794) at the entrance of the restaurant. A historical flashback: Francis Light founded Penang in 1786 after being granted permission by the Kedah Sultanate, in exchange for British military protection against the Kingdom of Siam - a promise which he later renegaded when the Siamese army did invade Kedah in 1821.
For appetizer, the Jumbo Platter (RM38.00) is the best choice as it is a combination of other appetizer dishes. Pie tee (小金杯) consists of crispy edible cups that are filled with julienned jicama (sengkuang) and carrots. In an interesting twist, Japanese-style shrimp roe (えびこ) is also used.
Meanwhile, the crispy yam puff (芋角) contains stewed chicken fillings. Other delicacies include turmeric chicken, tandoori chicken, kerabu, Chinese bun (馒头) and sambal belacan (spicy shrimp paste).

Kota Asam Pedas (RM32.00) features a bowl of seafood curry with fried rice on the side. Apart from saltiness of dried shrimps, the rice has milder flavor in order not to steal the limelight from the bowl of curry.
The curry is rather milky in consistency due to a copious amount of coconut milk. Besides being spicy, the curry also carries appetizing sourness thanks to the presence of tamarind (asam) juice. Also included in the curry are salmon, shrimps and pineapples.
My favorite dish today is the Satay (RM25.00), which is inspired by the titular street food but is presented in a peculiar manner. Like its traditional counterpart, chicken is sweetened and marinated in a turmeric-centric spice mix, and then grilled over flame.
But instead of being served on skewers, the grilled chicken is rolled with nasi impit (pressed rice). The roulade is then covered with signature peanut sauce. Cucumber, onion and coriander are used as garnish. Overall, I feel that all ingredients assimilate well with one another.

The next dish, Nyonya (RM25.00), is inspired by Peranakan-style nasi lemak. Otak-otak serves as the base. The next layer is steamed rice that is infused with coconut milk and is colored by butterfly-pea flower. Rendang chicken and acar serve as primary components of this dish, while fried leek is just icing on the cake.
At Kota, Nyonya nasi lemak is also the source of inspiration of an unorthodox dessert. Instead of being a breakfast dish, Nasi Lemak Cake (RM19.00) uses the nasi lemak's typical ingredients to create a sweet-savory treat. The cake is very soft when cut, yet it is firm enough to retain its form without crumbling.
At the base of the cake is a layer of biscuit that is flavored with sambal (spicy chili paste). This is followed by cooked rice dyed with butterfly-pea flower essence. Moving upwards, the next layers are sponge cake, coconut milk cream and cucumber-flavored jelly. At the side are caramelized anchovies and peanuts.

The Cream Brulee (RM19.00) assimilates the French custard dessert with ingredients from the East. The top surface of this rich custard is flambéed to produce a layer of caramel. There are 3 types of crème brûlée here - each is flavored with pandan, black glutinous rice or gula melaka (palm sugar). I feel that the gula melaka variant is particularly enjoyable due to its distinctive sugary aroma.
As for drinks, Kota Flavor is a new series of carbonated drinks. For example, the refreshing glass of Signature (RM16.00) is made from sweetened soda water with lemongrass juice, lime wedges, mint leaves and ginger flower. Interestingly, red chili pepper is added to impart some fiery sensation.
Sunrise (RM16.00) is another fizzy drink which uses orange juice as the base. Lime and mango provide a secondary line of tanginess, while mint leaves produce cooling sensation as the drink trickles down the throat.
Finally, the pink-colored Sunset (RM16.00) contains actual watermelon pieces, lending a rejuvenating sense of freshness. Also included in this fruity drink are lime and mint leaves.
Overall, Kota's menu presents an interesting array of Nyonya delicacies with creative twists of modernity. Similar to traditional Nyonya cuisine, the food here takes a liberal approach in using local spices for seasoning. Kota also places strong emphasis on food presentation. Indeed, most dishes are elegantly plated on decorative porcelain plates.
Next to the common dining section is a private room which accommodates up to 20 people. Usage of this room is subjected to minimum spending of RM1,500.00. Although customers are charged an admission fee at the entrance of Fort Cornwallis, RM10.00 (per person) is deducted from the restaurant's bill as long as there is minimum spending of RM20.00 per person.

Name: Kota Dine & Coffee
Address: Kota Cornwallis, Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-371-4929
Business hours: 10:30am-10:30pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/KotaDineAndCoffee
Coordinates: 5.42068 N, 100.34418 E
Directions: Fort Cornwallis (Kota Cornwallis) is located opposite the Penang State Assembly Building (Bangunan Dewan Undangan Negeri) on Light Street (Lebuh Light). There are two entrances to the fort: at the east and west walls. Street parking is available around the esplanade at Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah and Jalan Padang Kota Lama. Kota Dine & Coffee is located near the east gate and behind the amphitheater.

No comments:

Post a Comment