Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Five27 Bistro Lounge Dining, The Modern Nordic Food in Malaysia, Straits Quay, Penang, Malaysia

Five 27, Nordic Cuisine, Straits Quay, Penang
Outdoor Seating - Five27 Straits Quay, Penang

Five27 Bistro Lounge Dining, The Modern Nordic Food in Malaysia, Straits Quay

I must admit it was with a little hesitation and a touch of intrigue that I ventured a visit to Five27. Nordic cuisine inspired thoughts of pig trotters and baby seals in the tiny stereotyped mental file I had of the region.

Situated on sunny Straits Quay in Penang, that northern European region covering Scandinavia, Finland and Iceland was the last thing that came to mind in the warm tropical setting. Blue skies, private yacht marina and the gentle rise and fall of the sea provided a luxurious backdrop to the heritage façade of the Straits Quay shopping and dining complex which houses Five27.

Red, white and blue lounges dockside invite you to hang and watch the boats in the quay. Umbrella shaded garden chairs and tables are often coveted by expats, while the local crew head for the air-conditioned indoors. A neutral base of grey floors, cream curtains and fawn hued chairs are brightened with splashes of colour on the cushions, tablecloths and bright wall murals.

Five 27, Nordic Cuisine, Straits Quay, Penang
Lounges at Five 27

Earning its title from the latitude that traverses its location on the globe, Five27 is the first New Nordic concept restaurant to appear in Malaysia. Recently opened in January 2013, the establishment is young and gradually maturing alongside Penangite taste buds.

Five 27, Nordic Cuisine, Straits Quay, Penang
Indoor Dining Area, Five 27

Indonesian born, but Swedish raised, Chef Nizar Achmad, bridges the gap by providing a few Indonesian dishes for members of a dining party wanting something more familiar. We were there though for a unique experience in this territory, so our attention focused on his Nordic specialties.

The ideals of cuisine from this region are all things I love in a food philosophy. A focus on high quality, organic (where possible) and local ingredients prepared gently using slow cooking methods and, chemical-free production is at the forefront.

Five 27, Nordic Cuisine, Straits Quay, Penang
Red and White Sangria

With Penang’s heat though, your first order will likely be a refreshment. Happy Hours run daily from 5pm – 7pm.  House wine is sold for a low RM12 a glass and RM57 bottle.  A half litre of White or Red Sangria (RM30 Happy Hour, RM45 regular times) is a light and easy drinking option. Cocktails too are reasonably priced. The Mojito and Cosmopolitan pictured below are RM16 during Happy Hours or RM20 normal price. Five27’s own infused power punch of Chilli Vodka (RM14/18) should be saved for the end and is a perfect pick-me-up after a big meal.

Five 27, Nordic Cuisine, Straits Quay, Penang
Five 27, Nordic Cuisine, Straits Quay, Penang

A range of alcohol-free options too are on the menu. Illy coffee produces a consistently standard cup for RM5 to RM9 for espresso-based drinks. Of Five27’s house specialties, the Lemongrass Ice Tea (RM7) is well suited to the warm weather and Hot Toddy (RM7) with lemon juice, honey, cinnamon and warm water is the perfect home remedy for a cold.

Five 27, Nordic Cuisine, Straits Quay, Penang
Hot Toddy

Drinks in hand, it’s on to the food. The Nordic Salad (RM20) is a mix of salad leaves, tomato, onion and Swedish pickled root vegetables with a dill mustard dressing. The simple fresh greens are given a rustic base on their slate serving platter. Deceivingly simple, this salad shouldn’t be judged by its straightforward appearance. It’s fresh, crisp, tangy and the slightly sweet mustard dressing balances the zing of the pickled veges.

Five 27, Nordic Cuisine, Straits Quay, Penang
Nordic Salad

Sometimes stereotypes are justified and with this in mind, the meatballs must be tried. Swedish Meatballs (RM39) are large balls of minced beef served with creamed potato, brown sauce, lingonberry jam and pickled cucumber. The mix of savoury with a dash of sweet is gorgeous in the mouth.

Five 27, Nordic Cuisine, Straits Quay, Penang
Swedish Meatballs

110% Beef Burger (RM25, with cheese RM28) is presented on a wooden chopping board and comes piled high with caramelized onions, pineapple and rosemary salsa, dark greens and, sided with a tin cup of crunchy fries. The beautiful dark seedy bun and two homemade sauces make this burger stand out above the average.

Five 27, Nordic Cuisine, Straits Quay, Penang
Five 27 Burger

Five27 Fish and Chips is too served on a curved wooden chopping board. Dill alioli, tartar and BBQ sauces form a trio of companions to the flaky fish. Cooked to perfection the inside remains moist while the outside is crisp without a drop of oil to be seen.  

Five 27, Nordic Cuisine, Straits Quay, Penang
Fish and Chips

Nordic pickled root vegetables and dill potatoes in a red and pink caviar and white wine sauce support fresh Pan Fried Sea Bass (RM45). Topped with sprigs of dill and a colourful mix of steamed vegetables, this a heart healthy meal.

Five 27, Nordic Cuisine, Straits Quay, Penang
Pan Fried Sea Bass

Slow Cooked Lamb (RM48) is braised for three hours until soft chunks of lamb fall off the bone. A base of fluffy white creamed potato and artichokes is contrasted in both texture and flavour with a side strip of burnt orange, red capsicum sauce (mojo rojo). The brown meat is crowned with a shredded weave of citrus apple salad and sprinkled with dried chilli. It’s a dish where all parts should be tried separately and then blended together to experience the full range of tastes the plate combines.

Five 27, Nordic Cuisine, Straits Quay, Penang

The dishes we tried were all from the a la carte menu. Lunchtime specials offer a top up option though. For an additional RM10 guests can add a soup or salad, dessert of the day and, tea, coffee or iced tea to make a complete meal. A set lunch deal for RM35++ includes a starter, main course, dessert and drink.
The a la carte menu is served from 11am – 4pm and the set from 12 noon – 4pm.

Reason to visit: unique chance to experience Nordic cuisine in this region of the world in a lovely quayside setting, inexpensive drinks

Five27 Bistro Lounge Dining
The Modern Nordic Food in Malaysia
3A-G-18/19 Straits Quay
Seri Tanjung Pinang
10470 Tanjung Tokong
+6 04 890 0435
Open 11am – 11pm (Sunday – Thursday) until midnight (Friday, Saturday)

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  1. Ooooo...drooling over the meat balls...and the lamb too! Slurpssss!!!!

  2. oh yum! i'll take note of this place. i'm thinking of going to penang. :) btw, yum, just want to let you know, my boyfriend likes your blog very much, and he is recommending your blog to his expat friends! keep up the writing. :))

  3. For a little island, the Penang food scene is pretty diverse. Nordic food without the cold nordic breezes!

  4. You find the best places to eat and drink! Always up for a good, fresh salad..

    Duncan in Kuantan
    Kuantan nature photos

  5. wow pretty affordable.. what a sloppy looking burger. I like! Didn't think Penang could pull of Nordic, but there you go! Soon they might even over take KL for gastronomy!

  6. Looks very welcoming. =)

    I'm surprised to read that for such a small island, Penang has a Nordic restaurant. For the meatballs, I'm drooling!

  7. I have never step in, I must one day..