Dining Room Winter 2015 by Macalister Mansion

Dining Room Interior | Dining Room 12-15 | Food For Thought

The Dining Room by Macalister Mansion has never failed to impress with their creative menu and use of ingredients from all over the world. A latest fare from the Dining Room by the remarkable Executive Chef Eric Heijkoop is the Winter Degustation Menu, comprising of a unique and modern twist, drawing inspiration from classical Indian and Japanese cuisine.

Macalister Mansion Christmas | Dining Room 12-2015 | Food For Thought

The Dining Room’s latest menu draws influence from all over Asia, but more specifically from their use of Japanese and Indian ingredients. We get a taste of the East through the use of the very traditional Japanese furikake and tandoori flavours for the gremolata. Chef Eric Heijkoop continuously experiments with his new flavours and textures, both to complement and confuse the palate. When asked about his approach to the Winter menu, Chef Eric Heijkoop said: –

“Well, you are already familiar with my family roots (being of European and Chinese heritage), and obviously from the fact that we are in Asia, makes it hard to not be influenced by that. Plus I love to make food which play on sensations such as textures, flavours, with their ups and downs. With Asian products, this is all quite easily done.” — Eric Heijkoop, Exective Chef of Macalister Mansion.

Wine Pairing | Dining Room 12-15 | Food For Thought

The Dining and Wine Pairing

The menu consists of 2 types, namely the Degustation, which is the 10 course menu, and the Petit Manger (Little Eats), a 6 course menu. The Degustation menu is served with the option of a wine pairing, which is carefully selected by Restaurant Manager and Sommelier Jeroen L’abee.

Salmon Filo & Mango Pumpkin Tartlet | Dining Room 12-15 | Food For Thought

The first course, the first amuse-bouches that was served was the duo of Salmon Filo and Mango Pumpkin Tartlet. The Salmon filo was crispy-thin and savoury, filled with a salmon mince reminiscent of a prawn roll. The Mango pumpkin tartlet was sharp, sweet and tangy.

Caesar Salad | Dining Room 12-15 | Food For Thought

The second amuse-bouche was the “Caesar Salad”, a cos lettuce leaf topped with an anchovy, sesame and crouton slice, a perfect micro interpretation of a Caesar salad. The three amuse-bouche are a great contrast to one another, with different textures, flavours and temperatures.

Potato Salad | Dining Room 12-15 | Food For Thought

The third amuse-bouches was a Malaysian take on the Japanese Potato Salad, a creamy potato salad topped with spicy shrimp flakes and a dollop of pickled onion. The strong savoury and spicy flavour of the shrimp flake balances out the cold and creamy texture of the potato.

Shabu Shabu Wagyu | Dining Room 12-15 | Food For Thought

The second course and first entrée of the night was the Shabu Shabu of Wagyu Beef with Enoki Mushrooms, Ginger Gel, and Tomato Lemongrass Broth which was paired with the Tengumai Junmai Umajun Sake. The wagyu beef tartar is perfectly seasoned, with a nice punch of savoury flavours and spices. The dish is complemented with dehydrated enoki mushrooms, chives and a nice punch from the ginger gel lending to a nice play of texture. The broth, one of the most flavourful we have had, is light with a nice sour and fragrant twist to a shabu shabu stock. The sake complimented the dish perfectly, nodding to its Japanese heritage.

Carabinero Tandoori | Dining Room 12-15 | Food For Thought

The third course and second entrée of the night was the Carabinero with Tandoori Cremolata, Palm Heart, Kaffir Lime Basmati Crème and a Coconut Foam paired with the Selbach Oster Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling, Germany 2013. This dish was the star of the night, being one of the best prepared prawn dishes we have come across. The Carabinero, a large Spanish red shrimp, is imported directly from Spain. It retains its red hue even when raw and is one of the most flavourful shellfish you can find. This prawn is cooked delicately, almost impossible to instantly determine if it was cooked or raw. The dish is served with a tandoori gremolata which seasoned the palm hearts perfectly with a nice spicy flavour, which balances the sourness of the palm hearts. The kaffir lime and basmati crème plateaued out the sharp flavours, finally dousing it with the coconut foam. The Riesling was a perfect combination with its full bodied and creamy mouth feel.

Grilled Tuna with Mussel Floss | Dining Room 12-15 | Food For Thought

The fourth course, and fifth entrée was the Grilled Tuna with Mussel Floss, Chili Braised Red Onion, and Ponzu Dressing paired with the Luis Philip Edwards Gewürztraminer, Chile 2013.  The tuna was cooked perfectly on the inside, with its flesh perfectly cooked and not dried out. The mussel floss is reminiscent of the Chinese inspired meat and chicken floss, or the Malay serunding, adding a nice umami flavour to the dish. The dish is served with 3 dollops of braised red onion and ponzu dressing, adding a nice sweet and sour note to the dish, balancing the savoury with the sweet. The Gewürztraminer, a Chilean white wine with fruity notes, perfect for pairing with a fish course.

Seaweed Caviar | Dining Room 12-15 | Food For Thought

The fifth course, and sixth entrée was the Seaweed Caviar with Pickled Cucumber and Clams paired with the Catena Zapata Alamos Chardonnay, Argentina 2013. This generous serving of caviar is served on a foam of seafood broth, topped with clams and sea plants, with a side of pickled cucumber juice. This refreshing cucumber juice adds a nice zesty flavour to the savoury pearls of caviar with the briny and musky flavour of the clam. The chardonnay, which was not too dry, gave this dish  an overall airy and light aftertaste.

Orange Ginger Sorbet | Dining Room 12-15 | Food For Thought

The sixth course, a palate cleanser, was the Orange Ginger Sorbet, a zesty and pungent kick which completely refreshes your palate for the next course.

Filet Black Cod | Dining Room 12-15 | Food For Thought

The seventh course, the first main course, was the Filet of Black Cod in a Light Shiitake Wakame Broth, Wasabi Furikake, Pickled Pak-Choi and Shitake Skin paired with the Etienne Guigal Côte du Rhône Blanc, France 2014. The black cod filet is perfectly braised, tender to the pull of a fork. The shitake and wakame broth had a strong and pungent umami flavour, giving it a nice savoury kick. The pickled pak choi and raw shitake skin added a nice earthy texture to the dish. The white Côte du Rhône’s fresh and fruity body compliments the very delicate cod. A perfectly cooked dish.

Lamb Loin | Dining Room 12-15 | Food For Thought

The eight course and second main course, was the Marinated Lamb Loin with Coriander and Mint, Barbecue Aubergine, Black Curry and Red Wine Aubergine paired with the Rolland Gallareta Rioja Crianza, Spain 2010. The lamb loin is cooked perfectly, pink on the inside, served with smoky barbecued aubergine sauce. Crispy flakes of red wine aubergine top the aubergine serving a single vegetable two ways. The black curry crumbs serve as a nice dip in flavour, adding to a slight bitterness. The red wine complements the red lamb loin with a nice full body.

Cheese Platter Cheese | Dining Room 12-15 | Food For Thought

The ninth course, a cheese course, was a selection of fine cheese to bring the savouries to a close.

Cheese Platter | Dining Room 12-15 | Food For Thought

The cheese course is also accompanied by a selection of preserves, fresh cherries, and dried fruits.

Puff Rice | Dining Room 12-15 | Food For Thought

The tenth course, the first dessert course, was the Puff Rice with Curry Mango Pannacotta And Yoghurt Espuma. This dish was a nice nod to the Asian puff rice crackers, on top of a yoghurt espuma layered above a curry mango pannacotta. It had a nice balance of sweet and savoury flavours.

Chocolate Tube | Dining Room 12-15 | Food For Thought

The eleventh course, the second dessert course, was the Chocolate Tube with Caramelized Banana, Crème of Cardamon, Lychees Snow and Banana Passion Fruit Sorbet paired with the Donnafugata Kabir Moscato di Pantelleria, Italia 2012. This dessert had the sweetest caramalised banana that you must taste to understand how good it was. The crème of cardamom added a nice fragrance to the dish, with the subtle hint of lychee and strong flavoured passion fruit sorbet.

Grilled Apricots | Dining Room 12-15 | Food For Thought

A highlight from the Petit Manger was the Grilled Apricot with Apple Mint Gel, White Chocolate Vanilla Cider Spheres, Apricot Sorbet and Chocolate Soil. This dish had an intense sweetness to it with the blast of the fragrance and sour punch from the bursting of the apple mint gel. The white chocolate vanilla cider spheres added a nice zesty burst of tanginess mellowed out by the chocolate soil littered.

The Dining Room by Macalister Mansion Experience

If you are looking to try an interesting twist of Japanese and Indian flavours with one of the best interpretations of the wagyu tartar, do check out Dining Room’s Winter Degustation Menu. Do remember to try the carabinero as it really stood out to us. When asked what his favourite ingredient he used in this menu, Heijkoop replied: –

“The ingredient I definitely liked the most is the Carabinero. It reminds me of my younger days back in Spain. When properly cooked, the texture is really great with the intense flavour of the sea. When cooked in combination with the other products, it brings me back to my time in India. I just love this dish!”

Do try out the menu at the Dining Room at Macalister Mansion to catch a taste of the carabinero before they take it off the menu.

To get better acquainted with the chef, see our exclusive Interview with Eric Heijkoop.
For previous review, see our review of Dining Room by Macaslister Mansion.
For a choice of a heritage hotel, see our review of Macalister Mansion.
For a complete travel experience, see our Ultimate Guide: Penang Street Food.

Dining Room
Macalister Mansion
228, Macalister Road,
10400 George Town,
+604 228 3888
Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Sunday, 7.00 pm to 11.00 pm


Nicholas Ng

Nicholas Ng is a restaurant critic, travelogue and opinion columnist which is curated on Food For Thought. He has been a freelance writer for 10 years and has previously worked as a lawyer. He currently is the Principal Counsultant of A Thoughtfull Consultancy.


  1. Yet again, you make me really want to visit this place. The food looks really exquisite and that cheese course is so tempting!

  2. Great read. These dishes not only look beautiful, but you’ve managed to convey how delicious I’d imagine them to be.

    Wow, the Carabinero…

  3. the dishes are so creative…the caviar is really generous and the cheese too, a fine experience indeed.

  4. WOW! the deco looks amazing! I wonder what their CNY theme looks like this time around 😀

    • I have no idea myself! Not going to be going to Penang before the CNY so I wouldn’t know myself. 🙁

  5. Fine dining! Very exquisite and classy! But sadly I’m a big eater so I’ll cry waiting for the food to arrive looking pretty but cannot fulfill my tummy lolx… But fine dining makes lovely phototaking hehehe

    • You’d be surprised though, because its a many course meal, you actually get quite full.

  6. wow. always thought i can only see this kind of fine dining in Kuala Lumpur, glad to find them available too in Penang! will definitely visit soon with my loved ones.

  7. Never had a chance to visit this hotel. I don’t really fancy fine dining. Plating is attractive though

  8. Wow all the dishes are so delicate and elegant. Even their cheese platter are awesome too.

  9. wine pairing dinners are the best.. enjoying good food with fine wines.. ah the life.

  10. Lovely to see such fine dining coming to Penang! And making the best of the lovely colonial building as well. Actually…this is very close to my old home in Penang…just a short walk away from Logan road.

    • Yeah, there are a few in Penang now, and for me, Macalister Mansion is one of the standouts. That’s why I keep going back there. Good food and amazing place. 🙂

  11. Wow the place looks good and luxurious. Food looks incredible too. If I ever wanna go for fine dining in Penang, I know where to drop by.

  12. The pictures are just so pretty.. I wonder when I can get a chance to dine there at the dining room … One fine day I hope…

  13. Really like the environment and deco, will visit if I travel up to Penang one day 🙂

  14. Wow… The environment makes me feel like it is at Australia.. Hmmm.. don’t know why.. =\

  15. Nice food! Feel like trying the Puff Rice with Curry Mango Pannacotta And Yoghurt Espuma. what a weird combination haha

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *