From cafe to garden restaurant

A section of diners in Ferringhi Garden restaurant

A LITTLE distance up the road from the busy sidewalk stalls in Batu Ferringhi, Penang, is Ferringhi Garden, a seafood and steak restaurant run by Peh Yeoh Woei Liang, better known as Chef Liang.

Huge potted plants with towering fronds set among wooden tables in a matured garden created an oasis of refreshment in the busy Ferringhi beach area.  I chose a table next to the splashing waterfall in the landscaped rock garden instead of the air-conditioned indoor section. 



Surrounded by so much greenery, it felt surprisingly secluded even though it was so close to the road!

Ferringhi Garden opened for business 20 years ago but it was only in the last six years that it gradually expanded into a garden restaurant with a grill room.  Voted the Cleanest And Most Pleasant Restaurant by the Penang City Council in 1997 and 2005, Ferringhi Garden also received the Golden Star Grade “A” award in 2003.


Impressive Menu

The menu had explanations in English with pretty detailed descriptions so that both locals and tourists know what to expect.  I thought the variety of curries, satay and dishes marked with levels of spiciness, was a great way for visitors to get a taste of local food culture.  Since I had already had my fill of local fare in Penang, I decided to enjoy Liang’s recommendations.


Sensational Foursome appetizer

His presentation of an appetiser combination opened my senses to enjoy the whole dining experience.

The Sensational Foursome had poached egg with parmesan, red wine and reduced garlic sauce, baked Portobello mushroom, mango salsa with smoked salmon and deep-fried scallop with Thai sauce.

Every item looked too good to eat but dig in I did and I slowly savoured each distinct taste, letting the cold, warm, sweet and spicy flavours tickle my palate in turn!


Tenderloin medallion steak on a bed of zucchini
For the main course, pan-grilled red snapper with buttered rice and tender rack of lamb grilled with honey are popular choices but I thoroughly enjoyed my exquisite tenderloin medallion steak with creamy mushroom sauce, on bed of zucchini. In the flickering candlelight, I sliced through the steak to reveal its lovely pink centre!

I had carefully saved space for dessert which included favourites like strawberry mousse, sake green tea mousse or tiramisu mousse. My obvious choice was the latter, served with a scoop of chocolate ice-cream and followed by a cup of fragrant, freshly brewed coffee.


Early Training


Tiramisu Mousse with a scoop of chocolate ice-cream

When I gave him my compliments, the affable Liang was quick to say that his inspirations came from his wide experience working in international resort hotels and the encouragement from his bosses, Evelyn and Richard Long.

Born in Teluk Bahang and nicknamed White Goat, Liang’s training started when he was only 13 years old. Today he heads a team of 14 who are learning from his expertise and experience.  An ex-student of St Xavier’s Institution, Richard said Ferringhi Garden stands on the original site where his mother once operated a cafĂ©.


Contact

Ferringhi Garden is located at 34-C, Batu Ferringhi, Penang. The restaurant also caters to private events and can seat up to 380 guests. For reservations, call 04-881 1193 or fax 04-881 1195.

This article was first published in The New Straits Times, Travel Times on 3 August 2008

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