Fine dining (or something closed to, whatever your definition on fine dining is) are rare to come about in Penang, it’s even rarer if it’s Chinese cuisine. Come to think of it, I don’t think I had ever indulge in a fine dining restaurant that serves Chinese food. Does Ah Yatt Abalone Restaurant counts?
Hence, I am so damned excited when I learned about Chin’s Stylist Chinese Cuisine is about to open at Tanjong City Marina in Penang.
The ambiance here is amazing, loads of stylish artwork, superbly beautiful hand painted dining plates which you can buy, whole list of red and white wine to pair with your dinner. You will truly experience a casual and elegant dining here, and with the great hospitality from Sam Chin, it just make dining here great!
By saving all the fuss on what to order, Chin’s Stylish Chinese Cuisine offer several set menu for their customers, price ranging from RM78++ to RM218++ per person. The RM78++ and RM88++ set requires 2 person minimum, while the more expansive set requires at least 4 or more.
After reading through the menu, I decided to give the RM88++ set a go.
One of the two hot appetizers served is the five spiced smoked fish. The fish taste great and the aroma is great. Truly a great appetizer. 7.5/10
The other hot appetizer is peppercorn-salted tofu. Hm…how should I describe this dish? First bite, it’s a bit tasteless. Second mouthful it seems nice, but another bite, seems tasteless again. I can’t say I really enjoy it though. 6.0/10
Century egg in grilled red pepper is one of the three cold appetizer served, which taste like…hmm… century egg. 6.0/10
Hunan shredded seaweed does taste nice, but I think the original dish should be much more spicier eh. 6.8/10
Spicy turnip cubes does taste OK, but really, nothing to be shout about. 6.8/10
Ok, after the hmm….so….average appetizer, I started to feel disappointed and find that the price really doesn’t justify for what it cost.
Luckily, the man in dark rescue everything!
It’s their specialty, Chin’s aromatic crispy duck. Man, it’s truly their specialty and it really taste superb! It was served in full and was shredded at the table by the waiter.
This was actually a variation of the famous Peiking Duck hence you have all the usual accompaniments to match with the pancake, include the Hoisin sauce.
Seriously it’s the best Peiking Duck I had ever eaten. The pancake is soft with a delicate texture, the duck taste fabulous and when you roll everything together, with some chili padi as suggested by Sam Chin, man, it’s awesome! It’s hell of a delicious dish. 9.8/10
Crispy Chili Beef is one of the four main dishes served from the set. It’s a huge disappointment especially after the duck, since I tasted more flour rather than beef in it. 5.5/10
Sauteed vegetables in red rice yeast lead me to think, eh belacan kangkung?? when I first saw it. However, well, it’s cooked with red rice yeast (fu yu) which is something I loved. 7.5/10
Spicy hot poached fish is one of the world most famous style of cooking fish, originated from Szechuan, China. It’s full with chili and pepper, as you can see when it was served. It supposed to be cooked with a hefty amount of chili oil too, and as you can see this dish is quite oily although the authentic one is way way way more oily.
In order to make their customers life easier, they took away all the chilies from the bowl. Well, it might be a good move for most people, but I find that this had significantly spoil how this dish should be served. I find that they try to blend it too much with the local taste until this dish is totally different from how it should be.
It’s a dish supposed to make you sweat while you ate it, but since the spiciness of it is significantly tone down, and you can’t taste as much as pepper as it supposed to be, I personally found that this dish had lost it’s point. It supposed to give you a super strong taste too until you basically can’t really taste anything else.
Maybe I had tried the authentic one before in China, and I love this dish and love the authentic taste of it, I just can’t accept it to turn to something like this. 6.1/10
The last main dish of the day will be the 5 color organic unpolished rice, which taste quite blend though, but well, it’s organic rice, what can you expect? 7.0/10
The desert will be Jasmine Jelly/Sea Coconut/White fungus. Hm…really normal. 6.0/10
Chin’s Stylish Chinese Cuisine is supposed to served fine Hunan & Szechuan, but my advice is, don’t come here and expect them to be authentic. It’s no way near authentic.
They focus too much on suiting the local taste (well, seriously, not really everyone can accept the amount of pepper use in Szechuan dishes), and focus too much on health conscious, hence most of the dishes here taste so different from the original one. It might be welcoming for most people, but well, not me.
Anyway, I will still recommend this restaurants to my friends out there who wish to try some fine dining Chinese cuisine, have a leisure and fun dinner for some special occasion. It’s just that I won’t recommend anyone to come here for authentic Hunan & Szechuan cuisine. For those, it’s really hard to find in Northern Malaysia, while Jiu Jiu Szechuan Restaurant come really close, and it’s still my favorite place to have Szechuan food till now.
Total Damage: RM185.60 (RM88++ per set, 2 bottle of mineral water)
Operating Hours: 6.00 PM to 11.30 PM daily
Contact: 04 – 261 2611
Location: Tanjong City Marina (Next to QEII), Pengkalan Weld, Penang