Restoran Pen Mutiara

Restoran & Hotel Pen Mutiara is a restaurant-cum-hotel in Batu Maung. It is located within the same compound as Lembaga Kemajuan Ikan Malaysia (Fisheries Development Authority Of Malaysia, LKIM). The place has undergone extensive renovation since my previous visit.
Restoran Pen Mutiara serves traditional Malay cuisine. Its signature dish is the fish head curry. Besides the à la carte menu, the restaurant also offers course meals for parties of 10 people. Today, we opted for the 9-course Delima menu (RM474.56).
The meal starts with a plate of Sambal Ulam. This traditional Malay dish consists of raw vegetables like daun selom (selom leaves), daun gajus (cashew leaves), jantung pisang (banana flower), okra (lady's fingers), cucumber and tomatoes. Two types of condiments are prepared today: sambal belacan and sambal hijau. Both are very spicy.
Another appetizer dish is kerabu, made from julienned unripe mangoes. This Malay salad has a tangy taste which appeals to some people.
Kari Kepala Ikan is the restaurant's signature dish. The choice of fish is red snapper. Served in a large claypot, the fish head curry also contains okra, tomatoes, chili peppers, onions and scallions. With its rich taste, the curry is satisfying to the last drop.
The restaurant offers several cooking styles for siakap (barramundi): 3 rasa (3 flavors), masam manis (sweet & sour) and bakar (BBQ). We opted for 3 rasa. I do not actually like the texture of this fish as it is too dry and does not go well with the sauce.
Prawns can be cooked with cabai (with chilies), mentega (butter) or asam kunyit (with tamarind and turmeric). We decided to go for asam kunyit. Besides tamarind and turmeric, the shrimps are also flavored with onions, carrots and lemons. Coriander and lettuce serve as garnishes.
Moving on to squid, there are several cooking styles: goreng tepung (fritters), cabai and paprik (Thai-style). The goreng tepung version is coated in crispy batter. All in all, the squid is quite appetizing.
Telor Bungkus is essentially minced chicken wrapped in omelette. Chili sauce is then drizzled on top. The omelette is delectable despite its simplicity.
As for vegetables, there are 3 choices: kailan (Chinese kale), cendawan (mushrooms) and sayur campur (mixed vegetables). Sayur campur is a mixture of cauliflower, baby corn, sweet peas and cabbage. Fried shallots on top serve to enhance aroma and taste.
The final fruit platter has red and yellow watermelon, honeydew and papaya. Drinks are asam boi (sour plum) and orange squash. The course meal also includes free flow of white rice.
In summary, Restoran Pen Mutiara's fish head curry is special indeed. Other dishes here are acceptable but there is certainly room for improvement. The restaurant is adequately staffed but unfortunately the waiting crew is not as attentive as expected.
Address: Wisma Nelayan, Pelabuhan LKIM Batu Maung, 11960 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-626-4615
Business hours: 11:00am-11:00pm
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