Monroe

Special thanks to Monroe Cafe & Restaurant for extending this food review invitation.

1926 Heritage Hotel Penang is a boutique hotel along Burmah Road (Jalan Burma). It is just before the junction with Jalan Imigresen and is across the road from Jalan Chow Thye.
Monroe Cafe & Restaurant is one of the two eateries in this hotel; the other is Hainanese Delights. Monroe combines elements of a restaurant and a cocktail bar. Its casual ambience presents a suitable setting for dining with family and friends. There is also a small stage where live bands perform on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.
The restaurant pays homage to Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962). Throughout the dining section are several murals of the American actress including the famous white dress scene from the film The Seven Year Itch. The dining section also contains retro elements like an antique radio receiver, film camera, film projector and typewriter.
Monroe's food menu is predominantly Western with a handful of local Asian dishes. The recipes are crafted by the proprietor himself, who has great passion for cooking long before opening this restaurant.

For starters, Wild Mushroom Soup (RM15.90), Fresh Tomato Soup (RM13.90) and Fresh Carrot Soup (RM13.90) are all excellent choices. Cooked from fresh ingredients, one can taste the wholesome goodness that fresh food has to offer. The soups are drizzled with cream for aesthetic effect. Each bowl of soup comes with a slice of garlic bread.
Oyster Mornay (RM30.00 for 3 pieces, RM54.00 for 6 pieces, RM96.00 for 12 pieces) is another interesting delicacy. The oyster is baked on its shell and is covered with spinach and Mornay sauce. The gratinated crust prevents the oyster flesh from getting too dry. By the way, Mornay sauce is made from cheese and Béchamel sauce (flour, butter and milk).
For something more local, Chicken Satay (RM12.00 for 6 skewers, RM20.00 for 12 skewers) is a safe bet. Chicken is marinated with turmeric and then grilled over fire. Thanks to the lovely marinade, the satay is succulent indeed. As per tradition, satay is served with cucumber and shallots.
Moving on to main dishes, the Mediterranean Lamb Shank (RM46.90) is served with homemade brown sauce infused with red wine. The lamb shank is quite tender and presents pleasant mouthfeel within each chew. This dish is served with mashed potato, diced vegetables and carrot curls.
At Monroe, mashed potato is painstakingly made by hand as opposed to instant, processed ones. During dinner service, mashed potato is replaced with mashed sweet potato. The vibrant purple color is a welcoming sight. Mashed sweet potato has similar texture as mashed potato but the former is slightly sweeter.
The Grain Fed Rib Eye Steak (RM62.90) is grilled just about right; I can still taste the beef's juiciness without feeling too raw. The steak is served with mashed potato and grilled diced vegetables. Extra grain mustard sauce is provided in a separate cup.
Chicken Mushroom Roulade (RM30.90) is made from chicken thigh rolled with mushroom filling. After braising, the chicken roulade is served with Monroe's specialty sauce. Side dishes are roasted baby potatoes, baby-cut carrot, mashed potato and blanched spinach.
Taking a detour to seafood, Grilled Garoupa Fish (RM53.90) is cooked just right. It is crucial not to overcook the fillet as the grouper's flesh is susceptible to dryness. The fish is served with mustard and white wine sauce.
Fried Laksa Spaghetti (RM19.90) combines Italian pasta with asam laksa's seasoning. The fusion is similar to Johor laksa. This fusion dish contains hard-boiled egg, shredded cucumber, pineapple, onion, red chili, bird's eye chili (cili padi), ginger flower and lemon wedge.
Moving on to desserts, Strawberry Tart (RM15.90) boasts its creamy texture and pleasurable sweetness. On the side is a scoop of matcha ice cream with whipped cream. Chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup and rainbow sprinkles serve as decoration.
The coffee drinks, Cafe Latte (RM11.90) and Cafe Mocha (RM12.90), are reasonably good. Meanwhile, non-caffeinated beverages include milkshakes, Italian sodas and fresh fruit juices. Monroe also serves alcoholic drinks.
Food prices quoted above are based on à la carte orders. The pricing is substantially more affordable when the dishes are ordered as part of a set lunch or set dinner. Set lunch is served between 11:00am and 2:30pm daily. The meal comes with soup, dessert and a choice of drink (coffee, tea or fruit juice). Finally, it is interesting to note that Monroe is a pork-free restaurant.

Name: Monroe Cafe & Restaurant
Address: 1926 Heritage Hotel, 227, Jalan Burma, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 012-407-6699
Business hours: 11:00am-10:00pm (Tuesday-Friday), 7:00am-11:00pm (Saturday-Sunday)
Website: https://www.facebook.com/monroecafeandlounge
Coordinates: 5.42386 N, 100.32061 E
Directions: From Union Primary School, drive along the one-way Burmah Road (Jalan Burma) for approximately 200 meters. 1926 Heritage Hotel is located on the left just before the intersection with Jalan Imigresen. Monroe is at the front section of the hotel. Parking is available in front of and at the side of the hotel.

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