JUST like beautiful paintings, every masterpiece featured in the new Degustation Menu of Arte Restaurant in Penang has stories to tell.
All five courses in the RM189+ indulgence are derived from head chef Jay Tey’s culinary and life experiences, starting with the Balik Pulau Goat Milk ‘Tofu’.
It arose from his appearance on the TV show “Jason Can’t Cook” last year, where he took the host to sample some of Penang’s local produce including tau fu fah.
Tey enjoys elevating humble local ingredients with French cooking techniques, and pairs this savoury interpretation with pecan crackle, beet gel and cumin sponge.
“The idea appealed to me as my father was in the tau fu fah business before I was born. I never tried it, but my mother raves about it, ” he revealed.
The Fresh Caught Tugela Prawn Poached in Thai Basil was inspired by the authentic white tom yam that Tey sampled whilst visiting a Thai friend’s family.
A chilled pandan coconut broth makes it highly refreshing, while the cucumber gel, diced green apple, fried nori and seagrapes add texture and complexity.
Tey’s Line Caught Grouper with Crispy Scales is derived from a fried fish he sampled in Indonesia, and has Choo Chee curry, starfruit dressing, capsicum gastrique and croquette for company.
For mains, choose between Slow-cooked Chicken Breast with crispy skin, truffle oil and passion berry pepper sauce, or the Coffee- glazed Iberico Pork Collar.
The chef said the latter brings together all his favourite foods, like the peanut sauce from satay, lentils with Spanish chorizo, pineapple pepper sofrito, besides the prized cut of pork.
“A juicy Iberico I had when working in Singapore left a lasting impression. I’m also a fan of charred and bittersweet char siew. This combines the best qualities of both, ” Tey added.
For dessert, there is Calamansi Lemon Vinegar Ice Cream with lemongrass panna cotta and almond crumble – inspired by famed Michelin chef Joel Robuchon’s use of the same ingredient.
The Arte Wine Shop and Lounge on the upper floor in Argyll Road now serves lunch from noon to 3pm. Light bites are available from 5.30pm, and guests can also order from the dinner menu.
Restaurant hours are 6.30pm to 10.30pm daily except Mondays. Call 04-2519718 for reservations or visit artepenang.com for updates.