Whenever it comes to recommendations, I often get asked by my dearest readers, friends and family the golden question of them all –
"Jess, what's the best place to have a fancy, classy dinner ah?"
To be honest, the list I can come up with, would be an endless one. (Malaysia is awesome like that!)
But if you narrow it down to Asian cuisines in Penang, only ONE will always remain on the top of my list.
It's none other than CHIN'S Stylish Chinese Cuisine
Without even taking into consideration the top-notch selection of food this restaurant has to offer, the location is in itself, an amazing feature of CHIN'S dining experience.
Why? Take a look for yourself.
The entire restaurant is located right above the sea!
Wouldn't you just love to pamper yourself or your loved ones with a seafront dining?
I know I would
So where is this impressive-looking restaurant situated exactly, you ask?
Just next door to QE II – 360 Waterfront Venue, Penang.
Locals would've heard of QEII Penang, but if it doesn't ring a bell, they are both located in Weld Quay.
CHIN'S Stylish Chinese Cuisine is nestled deep inside Penang's popular seafront tavern.
Before I begin, let me share a little bit of trivia to those who thirst for its background story.
CHIN’S first opened in London back in 1987 by a Malaysian entrepreneur, Mr. Dave Chin. This classy Asian eatery took England’s Food & Beverage scene by storm, winning two highly coveted and prestigious awards – ‘Best Restaurant of The Year’ by What’s On in London Magazine and ‘The Best Chinese Restaurant in UK’ by Stores Magazine, USA.
On this blazing trail of collective accolades, CHIN’S Restaurant was recognized as “Best of the Best” by Good life Magazine, UK.
More than two decades later, the year 2010 marks the arrival of CHIN’S to
our lovely Pearl of the Orient – Penang, Malaysia.
Aren't we lucky?
Upon setting foot into CHIN'S, the first thing that greets its patrons is a large and rather unique, psychedelic framed modern art mounted onto the indigo wall. This is something you don't see very often – especially in Chinese restaurants!
Then again, CHIN'S never fails to surprise, does it?
Themodern art depicting artistric portraiture of iconic figures placed behind traditional Chinese furniture
of solid wood and gold trimmings make a delightful and cosy patio for guests to sit before or after meals
How many of these legends can you recognize?
Call me unworldly but I only recognize seven! What about you?
Walking past the patio, I entered the main dining venue of CHIN'S.
I was taken aback at how elaborately stunning the interior was! It was not only extremely classy, but it came with a modern twist as well. Apart from being well-lit with chandeliers, various forms of contemporary art hung from the walls and ceilings.
This restaurant's is almost always fully-booked – no surprise here!
(Make sure you place your reservations to avoid being disappointed!)
I fancied the long sofa right smack in the middle of the dining area!
It was very comfortable, came with giant cushions and boasted black velvet textile-motifs on its upholstery.
Thanks to CHIN'S, I was fortunate enough to be reserved a table directly adjacent to the sea and night sky, despite it being in full capacity. They seem to know my fondness towards picturesque views while dining.
Even the spotlights were specially adjusted for me (to take nice photos)! How thoughtful.
Decor and interior aside, I know you are dying to know how good the food at CHIN'S are.
They knew I didn't exactly fancy anything too sweet and especially nothing too spicy, so they hand-picked a menu that would suit my taste best.
I am usually not a picky eater, but who doesn't like having their preferences catered to?
A sneak peak at some of my favorites from the ten-course menu we are about to see!
They made me feel so welcome with their simple, thoughtful gestures and friendly demanour, and I could see how every customer in the restaurant was attentively paid attention to.
This makes CHIN'S stand out even more, with their impeccable customer service.
ON TO THE FOOD!
Fairy Blossom tea (comes with free refills!)
This delightful herbal tea was served piping hot, was smoky and had a light floral aftertaste to it.
Four Seasons Appetizer
This platter was served with four mini dishes.
From L-R: Gele Mountain Chicken, Citrus Winter Melon, Prawn on Toast and Spinach with Pinenut & Mustard.
Gele Mountain Chicken
This came in chicken chunks with peanuts.
The chicken was tender, flavourful and presented in an (edible) miniature crispy basket.
Citrus Winter Melon
As I wasn't a fan of winter melons, I was rather hesistant. But to my surprise, I loved it
The winter melon came in tiny cubes and each mouthful was burst of citrus wonder.
This dish is served cold and it tastes just like sweet tangerines!
Prawn on Toast
This crispy toasted pastry is laden with sesame seeds and shredded prawn meat.
It is also a tad spicy from the prawn paste and XO Sauce. I loved its smoked, burnt after-taste!
Spinach with Pinenut & Mustard.
I liked how the spinach leaves were presented so adorably.
It was neatly stacked up in a tiny pile with the pinenuts!
This dish was slightly sourish and spicy to open one's appetite for the next meal; serving the purpose of an appetizer altogether.
Sure, go ahead. Judge. This dish doesn't look appetizing at all, does it? My thoughts exactly.
But the moment I took a bite of one of the Japanese cucumber slices, I was so wrong. It was very crunchy and that slight tinge of spiciness married with the aroma of the garlic gave it the extra kick I didn't expect!
What it lacked in the aesthetically pleasing department, it surely made up with its power-packed flavour!
Golden Needle Mushroom
This was one of my strong favorites. Deep-fried to crispy goodness, these little ones were irresistable to ever stop digging in for more. I liked how it was tassled with thinly sliced onions and spring onions too.
Comfort food, I must say The kind that you wish would come was bottomless (much like Nachos!) with your beer.
I was also treated to one my favourite types of wine, the white wine. Sauvignon Blanc, to be exact.
It came just in time when I was in the middle of enjoying the meals.
This is the Whitehaven Marlborough – imported from New Zealand
Althought great as an aperitif, wine, to me, is always perfect pair with exquisite line-ups of food
Szechuan Flame Codfish Soup
This dish made a grand entrance towards my table.
THIS. BOWL. IS. ON. FIRE!! It was was accompanied with flaming charcoals encircling the bowl.
The soup was hot and had a spicy as well as a slight sourish tang to it. Inside, lay tiny bits of winter melon, chilli slices, pickled chilli and of course, codfish fillets.
I liked how this instantaneously warms up my tummy and cleared my nasals with its hearty, warm piquancy.
The next thing that was brought out by the waiter was not food,
but a trapezoid saucer containing warm water to wash our hands with.
Gotta make sure my hands are clean for the next dish, as it required direct contact with my fingers.
The waiter placed four small saucers of what looked to me like
condiments and add-ons for a much bigger main dish coming my way.
I was right! The waiter brought a whole duck leg (which I could smell its aroma from afar!)
and a steaming basket of thin Chinese pancakes
Aromatic Crispy Duck
One look at the entire set-up made me wonder how I was supposed to eat it.
Of course, if you were in the comfort of your own home with no one watching, you would just grab the entire duck leg by the bone and chew off the meat ala Bam Bam from The Flintstones, yes?
But CHIN'S thought two steps ahead for its customers.
The waiter was back and began shredding the entire duck leg in full frontal view!
A LIVE demonstration of duck shredding!
Seeing as it was my first time eating one of their signature dish, Mr. Sam Chin, owner of CHIN'S Stylish Chinese Cuisine, took over and personally showed me how to eat and appreciate this dish properly.
Of course, there is no right and wrong, but I would rather learn a thing or two from this restauranteur, especially the most ideal way of eating this!
He showed and guided me a step-by-step method on which order of ingredients to place first.
Now, I am going to impart this knowledge to you, so you will look like a pro and eat like a pro even when you dine at CHIN'S for the first time! Shhh… surprise them and don't say you learnt it from me!
1. Take the crepe skin from the steaming basket and place it on your plate
2. Spread it with a genourous amount of duck sauce.
3. Stack a few cucumber slices neatly in the middle of the crepe skin
4. Place a few strands of spring onion slices next to it.
5. Add a few chopped green chillies (I skipped this step because I really cannot handle my chillies well!)
6. Pick up the shredded duck and place them on top of everything. Put as much as your heart's content!
Ta-daaa! You're done. And there you have it…
The finished, opened product (unwrapped)
The right way is to roll/fold the light thin crepe/tortilla-like skin wrap around the ingredients and eat it together
The taste was mind-blowing! The flavour of the crisp, yet tender shredded duck slices was bold and the accompaniment of the duck sauce, cucumber and spring onion complemented this dish so well.
Okay, enough seriousness for a second.
Here's Sam and I smiling for the camera!
Red Lantern Chinese Cabbage
Just like the Garlic Cucumber, this was also a very simple looking dish that exceeded my expectations.
These slices of cabbage were cooked until soft, warm and had this unique twang of sweet and spicyness, as this dish was cooked with chilies and whole garlic cloves. This is arguably one of my favorite dishes here!
Sam placing the next dish on my table
I have always been of the opinion that great leaders should always lead by example and get on par with their ground staff. Despite being the owner and bigboss of CHIN's, I've noticed how Sam always plays an equal part in the running and the operational day-to-day ongoings in the restaurant!
He even personally serves food occasionally and spends time engaging in conversations with the guests.
That's not something you see a boss do everyday, right?
Thanks for the wonderful and warm hospitality, Sam!
Double Flavored Freshwater Fish
There's an obvious reason why this dish was given its name.
It comes in two very contrasting parts of flavour and garnishing. Take a closer look at the picture below:
Left : Hot & Spicy side | Right : Pickled and Garlic side
TRIVIAThis recipe originated from the Hunan province!
This dish was comes in the variant of a very popular freshwater fish, the Patin Fish or also known as the Iridescent Shark Catfish.
Despite having two very opposing tastes, both flavours jive together very well with my palate. The juicy fish broth taste was distinct in both sides of the fish, and this dish is usually best eaten along with steamed rice.
The two flavours were very strong contenders in being my favorite, but if I had to choose between them, I liked the left one best!
Beef Tenderloin in Mustard and Garlic
I've always had an eye for aesthetics so I've gotta say, this one takes the cake for the most beautiful food presentation, hands down!
This medium well chunky beef cubes were mighty succulent, bursting with flavour and tender-soft, unlike plenty of beef I've eaten elsewhere where you'd bothersomely chew and chew to no end but just refuses to disintegrate. -___-"
If you're wondering what that long line of orange-coloured bits are, it doesn't only serve as decor but it doubles as a garlip dip!
Just take a chunk of beef and dip in the line of fried garlic before putting it
into your mouth for that extra crunch and flavour!
Sesame Black Bean with Crispy Pudding
We have finally come to the desserts. Sweet tooths, rejoice!
I would say that this savory dessert is most apt for those who dislike anythin too sweet. The pudding, although deep fried, was not oily but crispy on the outside and soft on the inside; flowing with custard the moment you sink your teeth into it. Very carefully made, CHIN'S!
The sesame black bean ice-cream is also self-made by them, mind you. It had a vanilla base but a recognizable sesame after-taste.
Maltose Toffee Apple Banana Fruits
As if one dessert wasn't already enough, CHIN'S pampered me with one more epic, gravity-defying dessert!
This dessert had to be eaten with extra care, for each fruit is coated with extremely hot toffee at boiling point. You would be writing a deathwish if you put one directly into your mouth immediately after this dish arrives!
Which, is why CHIN'S practices caution and had a waitress conduct the very interesting cool-down method for me.
Another LIVE demonstration right before my eyes
She was carefully picking up each toffee fruit and dipping in ice water
for a few seconds before putting it back onto my plate
This dessert is leaning towards the sweeter side but hey, after the scrumptious feast, I could go for something sweet to wrap up my evening.
Once you get past the hard, crunchy toffee bite, your tastebuds are treated to a warm, fruity taste of apple or banana (depending which one you ate!) An excellent alternative to how you would usually eat fruits!
BuddyMinny and I chilling by the patio
That being said, dinner was officially over and done with.
I was won over entirely and did not find a single flaw in their marvellous cuisine. Such high-quality, premium selection of authentic Chinese dishes deserves to be savoured by all!
After a more-than-satisfiying dinner, I had to get up and take a stroll around the restaurant.
Knowing me, I couldn't resist taking pictures!
The bar area
Behind the bar area
The whole dining area was proudly lined with display cabinets of all their accolades and awards
I also sneaked upstairs during my brief exploration. Teehee.
The verdict? I was charmed. It was jaw-droppingly lavish and extensive!
I can totally see myself throwing a big birthday celebration here. Or an engagement party.
Or a wedding banquet dinner. Or even a Hen's Night/Bachelorette party.
Hmmm.. did I just give you a good idea?
As you can probably tell by this lengthy blog post and comprehensive review,
I had a marvellous experience at CHIN'S Stylish Chinese Cuisine.
It certainly lived up to its name.
The restaurant was captivating as it was traditionally Chinese in its fare of authentic SzeChuan, Hunan, Mongolian and Northern Beijing cuisines but it is certainly not your typical Asian restaurant, as it is splashed with aspects of modernism with several, varied influences from around the world!
For such brilliant decadence and sophisticated dining experience complemented with first-class service, supreme hospitality and immaculately classy ambience, CHIN'S Stylish Chinese Cuisine is no doubt, a class above the rest.
Trust me on this, I only recomend the best. *winks*
For more information or to place your reservations:
Contact number: +604-261 2611 (Opening hours 6.30PM – 11PM daily)
Address: Tanjung City Marina, Church St. Pier, 8A, Pengkalan Weld, Georgetown, Penang.
If you get lost, here are the GPS coordinates: N05°24'56.7″ E100°20'36.7″