Special thanks to Markus for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Markus Modern Italian Cuisine at Pulau Tikus has been opened for 6 months now. As the name implies, Markus specializes in modernist Italian cuisine, a niche which few Italian restaurants in Penang have ventured into. Nevertheless, traditional Italian cooking is also available should customers prefer so.
The upscale ambience in Markus is nothing short of remarkable. Warm gold lighting illuminates the neatly prepared dining tables. The elegant atmosphere in the restaurant is complemented by its professional waiting crew of impeccable excellence.
Even drinking water at Markus is served with prestige. Bottles of San Pellegrino's Sparkling Natural Mineral Water are specially sourced from Italy. The natural springs in San Pellegrino have naturally-occurring high concentration of dissolved carbon dioxide and salt minerals, making the water fizzy akin to carbonated beverages.
For soup starters, we are served with Wild Mushroom Soup With Foam & Truffle Scent (RM20.00). Carefully prepared from genuine mushrooms, this is mushroom soup at its finest. A piece of truffle is added as icing on the cake. Truffle is a type of gourmet fungus often used as a delicacy in European cuisine.
Next is Zuppetta Di Zucca Tartufata (RM20.00), which is "Pumpkin Soup With Truffle" in Italian. Like its predecessor, the pumpkin soup is rich and creamy, making every drop very gratifying indeed. The velouté sauce has delightfully sweet aftertaste without being overpowering upon first contact on my tongue.
For different gastronomical experience, the Vegetarian Minestrone Di Verdure (RM18.00) gives an entirely new level of enjoyment. This thick Italian-inspired soup is infused with basil pesto and contains chopped vegetables such as celery, carrots, tomatoes, onion and beans.
Cold Angel Hair With Hokkaido Scallop And Lump Fish Caviar (RM36.00) is a cold appetizer dish of unparalleled excellence. Angel hair, also known as capelli d'angelo, is similar to spaghetti but much thinner.
On the pasta are chopped Hokkaido scallops with a pinch of exquisite lumpfish caviar. All ingredients integrate perfectly with the angel hair, making it one of the most delectable treat in an Italian restaurant.

Moving on to main dishes, the Beef Tagliata Con Salsa Di Funghi (RM68.00) is an interesting choice for the most professed carnivores. The name of this dish translates to "sliced beef with mushroom sauce". Here, customers indulge in 150 grams of premium grade Black Angus tenderloin cooked to medium rare.
The beef is flavored with red wine sauce for the delectable appeal. On the side are roasted potatoes with rosemary sauce. Although meat is served as a single piece, customers can also request for tagliata (sliced) style should this be their preference.

Next, the Sous-Vide Pork Belly (RM50.00) is prepared using an entirely novel culinary style. Sous-vide is a cooking technique where the meat is vacuum-sealed in air-tight plastic wrap. The sealed meat is then cooked by soaking in hot water at a very specific temperature. This sous-vide method allows the pork to be cooked evenly while keeping its juiciness intact.
The pork belly boasts a layer of crispy skin and lovely layer of fat. The lean meat underneath is tender and rich in succulent juice. This delicious slab of pork is served over mashed potato with cranberries on the side.

Moving on to seafood, the Merluzzo In Guazzetto Di Vongole (RM65.00) consists of a piece of cod fillet oven-baked to perfection, then rested over a lovely bowl of stewed clams. The Atlantic cod possesses texture and succulence of utmost commendation.
The first from the pasta menu to greet us is the Spaghetti Aglio E Olio Con Mare E Bottarga (RM32.00). The pasta is cooked al dente with seasonal seafood ingredients such as shrimp and squid. Ground basil is sprinkled before service, while a basil leaf is added for aesthetic effect.
Another flavorful seafood pasta is Linguine Al Granchio (RM30.00). Enhanced by savory crab meat with freshly chopped tomato, the creamy sauce is made from vodka, butter, garlic and cheese. Hearty linguine combines harmoniously with rich flavors of pasta sauce.
Markus' menu also has a separate section for vegetarian dishes. The one which is featured today is Vegetarian Spaghetti Pomodoro (RM26.00). Despite its vegetarian nature, this pasta dish is surprisingly delectable thanks to the use of fresh tomato-on-vine, fresh basil and Grana Padano cheese.
To be precise, this dish is better described as lacto-vegetarian because cheese is used in its preparation. However since grated parmesan cheese is added, this dish no longer fit the requirement of lacto-vegetarianism. Parmesan cheese uses rennet (stomach enzyme) in the fermentation process, so it contains meat in the strictest sense.
Moving on to desserts, the personal favorite of mine is Affogato Al Caffe Con Gelato Vaniglia E Frangelico (RM28.00). Affogato means "drowned" in Italian, and is usually prepared by pouring espresso over ice cream or gelato. However for this case, a small amount of Frangelico hazelnut liqueur is provided in addition to a shot of espresso.
The mixture is a dessert specially crafted for the heavens. Upon mixing, the concoction releases delightful liqueur fragrance. Consumed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this is one of the most gratifying desserts that I have ever encountered. The choice of ice cream is Häagen-Dazs because it does not melt as quickly as lower-grade ones.
Another dessert to conclude our meal today is Cioccolato (RM26.00), which is essentially piping-hot chocolate lava cake. When punctured, thick chocolate cream oozes gently from its enclosed chamber. A scoop of Häagen-Dazs' vanilla ice cream is served alongside. Although enjoyable in its own right, I prefer the previous dish as my dessert.
The menu at Markus is seasonal according to availability of specific ingredients. The menu is revised every five weeks to encourage creative expression. There is also a special menu for set lunch, which changes weekly but always includes a vegetarian dish. On occasion, the kitchen crew prepares its own pasta for special dishes. There is also an in-house bakery to prepare bread for customers' needs.
Another interesting fact: Markus is one of the few independent restaurants in Penang to boast a chilled wine cellar. Within the cellar, temperature and moisture are maintained at optimal conditions for wine storage.
There are approximately 160 different types of wine at Markus, which includes Old World and New World wines. Most wines are sourced from Australian and French vineyards, but Markus also plans to expand its Italian wine collection.
The cellar includes several expensive wines which are worth thousands per bottle. An example is this prized bottle of 1986 Chateau Lafite Rothschild.
The Executive Chef of the restaurant is Markus Lee, who is one of the proprietors of this establishment. Trained in Germany and having worked in several prestigious restaurants abroad, Chef Markus hopes to share his newfound culinary aspirations with the townsfolk of Penang.

Name: Markus
Address: 37-F, Jalan Cantonment, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-226-1443
Business hours: 12:00pm-2:30pm, 6:00pm-10:00pm, closed on Tuesdays
Coordinates: 5.43236 N, 100.31191 E
Directions: From Burmah Road (Jalan Burma), turn left into Lintang Burma at Kedai Makan Chang Senr (昌胜咖啡室). Immediately, drive along the service road parallel to Burmah Road. After the corner, Markus is found almost at the end of the road. Street parking is available along the service road, but vacant spaces may be scarce during peak hours.


  1. The chef/owner Markus is very passionate in his cooking as could be seen from his see through kitchen. And this is what makes Markus the Best Italian restaurant in Penang.

    1. You are right. Markus was mostly busy in the kitchen throughout our visit. This is professionalism at its finest. :-)