Farquhar Mansion

Special thanks to Farquhar Mansion for extending this food review invitation.

Farquhar Mansion Fine Dining & Lounge occupies a colonial-era building at Mission Place, George Town. It is across Farquhar Street (Lebuh Farquhar) from Eastern & Oriental Hotel. Constructed in the 1870s as a mission station, Mission Place has stood the test of time for nearly 150 years.
Farquhar Mansion has two floors with a reasonably large compound in front. The main dining area is on the ground floor. Each of the four sections presents a considerably different ambience. In any case, this dining section provides a more traditional setting for fine dining. Farquhar Mansion also has a wine cellar towards the back.
On the other hand, the upper floor is exclusive to VIP members only. The most prominent feature here is the Frame Room. Resembling a small art gallery, the Frame Room has over a hundred pieces of picture frames on its walls and ceiling. The upper floor also has a lounge as well as smaller rooms for private dining events.
Farquhar Mansion is introducing its new Ultimate Chef's Tasting Menu. This 6-course dinner features French cuisine with emphasis on earthy elements. Farquhar Mansion does not cut corners when it comes to food preparation. For instance, broths and sauces are cooked for hours or even overnight in order to bring out the most wholesome flavors.
Upon being seated, diners are treated warm bread from the oven. Ciabatta and multigrain bread are available. Truffle butter is provided as the bread spread. The strong aroma of truffle is enticing indeed.
This evening's amuse-bouche features 3 individual pieces to represent salty, sweet and savory flavors. Served over a piece of homemade parmesan biscuit is torched ebiko mayonnaise with charcoal-like toastiness. The sweet potato ball, void in the center, is topped with a dash of wasabi aioli and caviar. Last but not least, the savory Roma tomato is blessed with the lovely fragrance of Thai basil and extra virgin olive oil.
The apéritif today is dry Riesling from Rheinhessen, Germany. This white wine has a refreshing citrus taste to cleanse the palate between dishes. Its moderate acidity also helps to build appetite before the meal progresses to the first appetizer.
The first appetizer this evening is a soup, Tomato Tartare. Roma tomato is selected due to its high sugar content. The tomatoes are dehydrated in an oven for several hours, and then cooked and strained to bring out their savoriness in the purest form. The soup also contains crème fraîche (fresh cream), croutons, chopped almonds, caviar and lemon zest. Gold leaf and basil serve as garnishes.
Cauliflower Espuma is another appetite-inducing dish. The creamy emulsion contains bits of roasted cauliflower. On the top are croutons and chestnuts, as well as a splash of truffle oil for the tantalizing aroma. Among the 6 courses this evening, this dish depicts earthy flavors most prominently.
Dinner service moves on to Foie Gras, one of the major highlights this evening. The goose's liver is prepared in the traditional way - pan-seared with a light layer of crisp on the surface. Its buttery texture is simply gratifying to the palate. The foie gras is served with port wine emulsion, vanilla-infused apple purée, apple cubes and filo pastry.
A savory dish like Foie Gras is best paired with a glass of Sauternes. This sweet wine hails from the Sauternes region in southwest France. Made from Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon grapes, the fruits are deliberately infected with a fungus known as noble rot. The resulting wine has intense sweetness which produces a burning sensation on the throat if consumed too quickly. Therefore, Sauternes is best enjoyed in minuscule sips.
The Chilean Cod is the first of two main courses this evening. The fish is prepared elegantly: having a slightly charred surface but with its natural moisture kept intact. Accompanying the cod fish are yellow capsicum coulis, mashed potato, asparagus and torched orange. The cod is mild in flavor, but the grand scheme of things, the overall taste is pretty balanced.
The cod is paired with a glass of Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand. The choice of red wine is unusual as seafood is usually the domain of white wines. However, Pinot Noir tends to have a lighter body, making it not as dry as other red wines like Carménère and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The penultimate dish is Black Angus Striploin. The steak is seared to produce light toastiness on the surface. As for doneness, the chef recommends medium but I feel that medium rare (saignant) works better for me. Sauces to go with beef are beef jus and mushroom purée. Side dishes are potato croquette with wasabi aioli, sweet pea, baby corn and shimeji mushrooms. In lieu of beef, diners can also opt for chicken or lamb dishes for the second main course.
Moving on to the dessert, Jasmine is a two-piece treat that is served over a lemon-flavored crêpe. The first piece is jasmine mousse. The bitterness of jasmine tea is balanced by peaches, making the mousse rather soothing on the palate. Next to it is a piece of macaron with strawberry, blueberry, peach and mascarpone cheese as toppings. Unfortunately, I feel that the macaron's sweetness is overpowering to my taste buds.
Jasmine is paired with a dessert wine, The Tapas Wine Collection Moscato 2016 from Spain. This classic sparkling wine has a light body, making it an ideal digestif for casual drinkers. Its fruity tanginess is a playful approach to conclude this evening's meal.
The 6-course Ultimate Chef's Tasting Menu is priced at RM278.00++, while wine pairing costs an additional RM180.00++. This new menu replaces the 6-course Cinq Philosophy menu that has been around for the past 2 years.
Name: Farquhar Mansion Fine Dining & Lounge
Address: 33, Lebuh Farquhar, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 019-528-8933
Business hours: 12:00pm-1:00am
Website: http://www.farquharmansion.com
Coordinates: 5.42309 N, 100.33472 E
Directions: Driving eastward along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, follow the road as it curves left to Lebuh Farquhar. Mission Place is located on the right. Farquhar Mansion is the main building in the compound. There are parking spaces within its compound.

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