Mess Hall

Special thanks to Mess Hall for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Mess Hall is a new restaurant at the back of Yeap Chor Ee Museum, several doors away from Heaven Gate. If the facade looks familiar, this is because the location of this restaurant was formerly occupied by The Sire.
Parked at the front dining hall is a vintage motorcycle, one of the first motorcycles in Malaysia imported from Japan. It is surprising that this 49-years old motorcycle is still functional.
The rear section of Mess Hall is a bigger dining hall and also serves as an alternative entrance to Yeap Chor Ee Museum. This entrance is only accessible when the museum is open. Suspended over the air well is a mock bomber plane from the World War II era.
At the center of Mess Hall, there is a flight of stairs which leads to an art gallery and additional dining tables.
This upper deck is situated directly above the drinks kitchen. Along the wall is artwork from local artists. Several pieces of these artwork are available for sale.
In military terms, a "mess hall" refers to a building where soldiers have their meals. Therefore, you can expect a certain degree of military theme in the restaurant's concept. Underneath the abovementioned flight of stairs is a section where military-themed merchandise is available for purchase.
The menu of Mess Hall consists of Western and Asian dishes, with more focus on the former. There is also daily special lunch which consists of main dish, soup and beverage for RM8.90. This is quite affordable and particularly caters for office workers who have limited time during lunch breaks.
Our meal commenced with the Chicken Piccata (RM13.90). This dish comprises of a piece of chicken thigh which has been pan-fried with cheese, then served with fresh tomato gravy.
The chicken is served with baked potatoes, tomato and parsley. I like the use of fried basil leaf in the overall presentation.
Next, the Honey Flakes Fish (RM13.90) is a piece of deep-fried fish fillet, served alongside baked potatoes and lettuce leaves. The fish is slightly drier than what I prefer, but I still find the coating of corn flakes and honey to be quite scrumptious.
An alternative seafood dish is the Almond Fish (RM14.90). Here, we have a piece of fish fillet with almond flakes as coating. The fish is deep-fried to give the coating some crisp. I think the juiciness of the fillet leaves is somewhat lacking, but I must concede the fact that the almond flakes are indeed delectable.
This dish is served with potato tots, tomatoes, salad dressing and crispy basil leaves.
Moving back to poultry, the Chicky Bum Bum (RM13.90) is a catchy name for deep-fried deboned chicken chop, which a coating of corn flakes and caramelized honey. Although the chicken itself is acceptable by my standards, I think it is the tartar which accentuates the overall flavor.
Crossing to globe to Asia, we have the Chicken With Salted Fish (RM14.90) which is served with rice in a claypot. The chicken is seasoned with salted fish flakes and soy sauce. The flavoring is just about right. Some restaurants go overboard with soy sauce to an extent that the claypot dish becomes overpowering.
Another dish which I quite enjoyed is Sesame Oil Chicken (RM14.90). In fact, I feel that this is the better one among the two. The chicken is braised with shredded ginger for the herbal-tangy sensation. Most importantly, the use of sesame oil provides delightful fragrance which makes the dish quite appetizing.
After a hearty meal, it's time to move on to some desserts. Mess Hall sources its cheesecakes from a home bakery. These are non-baked cheesecakes, so they need to remain refrigerated.
For today, we are fortunate to sample the Oreo Cheese Cake (RM10.00), Blueberry Cheese Cake (RM10.00) and Lychee Cheese Cake (RM10.00). Among these three, the Oreo version is my personal favorite. I like the sensation of crushed Oreo crumbs in cream cheese.
As for the Creme Brulee (RM8.90), it lacks a layer of caramelized sugar on top. Ideally, there should be a transparent and brittle layer approximately 3 millimeters thick. I think the amount of powdered sugar is insufficient to begin with. As for the custard, the taste is fine but there is room for improvement in terms of smoothness.
In the drinks department, the most distinguishing one is the Caramel Macchiato (RM10.00). There is an interesting pattern of caramel on top the foam.
I personally prefer a more familiar beverage: Caffe Latte (RM10.00). The latte is quite smooth to the lips and has natural sweetness from derived from fresh milk. Fortunately, the unpleasant bitter aftertaste is absent here.
Matcha advocates will be please to know that the Frappe Green Tea Latte (RM13.00) is available on the menu.

Meanwhile, chocolate lovers can opt for the Frappe Choco (RM13.00) instead.
Alternatively, there is also Mix Flower Tea (RM13.00) which is served in a transparent teapot. The flowers used here are France rose and camomile.
As part of yuletide celebration, Mess Hall offers a complimentary Christmas cookie with purchase of any drink. This promotion is seasonal and is only available while stocks last.
Overall, the Western dishes at Mess Hall have several noticeable areas for improvement. Ironically, the most enjoyable dishes today are the claypot rice meals from the Asian menu. The food here at Mess Hall is pork-free. The pricing is considered quite affordable in this part of town.
Name: Mess Hall
Address: 4, Lebuh King, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 018-370-3378
Business hours: 10:00am-10:00pm (Monday-Friday), 10:00am-11:00pm (Saturday-Sunday)
Coordinates: 5.42011 N, 100.34148 E
Directions: Drive along the one-way King Street (Lebuh King). Towards the end of this road which intersects with Light Street (Lebuh Light), Mess Hall is one of the last doors to the right. There are parking spaces on both sides of King Street.

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