The historic building that is the Blue Mansion in Penang is famous for its fengshui architecture and Chinese heritage. As one of the earliest amalgamations of Western design and Eastern heritage, the beautifully restored hotel is one of the most renown in the world. Situated on the second floor of the Blue Mansion is the Cheong Fatt Tze restaurant, a fine dining restaurant serving contemporary Cantonese cuisine.
The Blue Mansion was the home to Cheong Fatt Tze’s, dubbed the Rockerfeller of Asia, one of the most influential business men in Asia. This building is one of the most lavish homes built in the end of the 19th century, and is known for its amazing architecture and adherence to the Chinese geomancy art of the fengshui. The restored project has been awarded under the UNESCO Conservation and Heritage listing and serves as a hotel, and now, a fine dining restaurant on its second floor.
Cheong Fatt Tze is helmed by executive chef, Maurice Khoon Meng Toh, who has over 25 years experience specialising in Cantonese cuisine. Chef Khoon hails from Singapore where he graduated from SHATEC, the Singapore Hotel and Tourism Education Centre. Before Cheong Fatt Tze, Chef Khoon has previously worked in Maldives and Philippines. When asked what his philosophy is when it comes to food, he stated: –
“I am trained in classical Chinese cuisine, which is what I like to cook best. But being in Malaysia, I do also enjoy putting a local Malaysian twist to my cooking. At Cheong Fatt Tze, we serve exquisite modern Cantonese cuisine in a fine dining setting.” — Maurice Khoon Meng Toh, Executive Chef of Cheong Fatt Tze.
As a contemporary Cantonese cuisine restaurant, you have the choice of ordering the dishes to come in sharing portions or course by course. Cheong Fatt Tze has managed to elevate a very traditional dining experience with a twist of modernity, incorporating different elements of Chinese cuisine, yet not losing touch to its roots. We asked the restaurant why Samadhi Retreats decided to convert the upper deck of the Blue Mansion into a fine dining restaurant, in which they replied: –
“The Blue Mansion is such a well-preserved nugget of Chinese culture in Malaysia. Not only architecturally, but also in terms of how Cheong Fatt Tze and his family lived in the lap of luxury at the turn oft he century. So when Samadhi took over the management of The Blue Mansion, it was only apt that we turned part of the mansion into a Chinese restaurant to celebrate Chinese cuisine at its finest.” — Cherie Al-Jufferey, Resident Manager of Cheong Fatt Tze.
The first appetiser of the night was the Crispy Eggplant Crusted with Caramelised Chicken Floss. The crispy eggplant was cooked perfectly with a nice crunch, and the creamy eggplant was balanced well with the sweet crispy chicken floss.
The second appetiser was the Deep Fried King Prawns Tossed in Creamy Wasabi Sauce & Tobiko. This dish nods to its traditional Chinese ingredient and method of deep frying, but uses a Japanese wasabi and tobiko mayonnaise. The crunchy and sweet prawn is balanced well with the creamy mayonnaise.
The soup course was the Double Boiled Silky Chicken, Abalone & Seafood in Golden Pumpkin Broth. This soup is a take on a traditional silky chicken, a black chicken, that is believed to be good for health. The slices of abalone and fish maw adds to textures and seafood sweetness. The golden hairs from the pumpkin adds a nice touch of sweetness and texture.
The fish course was a Steamed Cod with Ginger & Black Bean Sauce. The fish was fresh and complimented with tofu slices. The ginger and garlic kick brings out the flavours of the fish and makes the tofu more interesting.
The first main course was the Hong Kong Style Stir Fried Beef Tenderloin with Button Mushrooms & Black Pepper Sauce. The succulent tenderloin is complemented by the umami of the button mushroom, in a nice peppery sauce.
The second main course was the Pan Grilled Five Spice Duck Breast with Orange Plum Sauce & Sweet Potato Purée, the duck was flavoured well in the five spice orange plum sauce. The sweet potato puree deep fried in fritters were an interesting match.
The vegetable course was the Stir Fried Asparagus, Lotus Root, Sweet Bean & Pumpkin served with Crab Meat & Egg White Sauce. This dish had the basics of a lo hon jai (羅漢菜,buddha’s delight), combined with another classic Cantonese dish, the crab meat in egg white sauce.
The dessert of the night was the classic Double Boiled Snow Pear with Hasma & Ginseng, a Cantonese staple. This dish had a generous amount of hasma with a sweetened snow pear.
The Cheong Fatt Tze Experience
Chef Khoon’s approach to cantonese cuisine makes it interesting, the kind you could easily find in a contemporary dining restaurant, be it in Hong Kong or Singapore. When asked what his favourite dish is and what he would recommend for people to try, he stated: –
“My favourite dish to create is Wok-Fried Golden King Prawns with Mango Cream as well as Double-Boiled Silky Chicken and Seafood Infused with Golden Pumpkin Broth. A firm favourite amongst diners is our Crispy Eggplant Crusted with Caramelised Chicken Floss. It’s light and leaves you wanting more which makes it the perfect appetizer!”
As everything that Samadhi Retreats touch, they bring to you an elevated experience. To successfully convert the very historic Blue Mansion into a luxurious modern Chinese restaurant is another amazing feat, from food menu to service. When asked how they see service, Al-Jufferey replied: –
“Samadhi is known for its warm, Asian hospitality and this is certainly one of the hallmarks of staying at The Blue Mansion and dining at the Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant.”
For a complete travel experience, see our Ultimate Guide: Penang Street Food.
The Blue Mansion
14, Leith Street,
+604 262 0006
Monday to Friday, 8.00 am to 7.00 pm
Saturdays, 9.00 am to 6.00 pm
| PHOTOGRAPHY BY: NICHOLAS NG & CHEONG FATT TZE | WEBSITE: CHEONG FATT TZE |