3 Great Reasons To Stay At Macalister Mansion, Penang
Gastronomic capital of North Malaysia.
It’s one of our favourites stops for food for sure.
And once the glam of 5 star hotels have worn thin, where does one turn?
Well if you ask me, boutique hotels or small luxury hotels are the way to go, for 2017.
Macalister Mansion heads the list, and here’s 3 reasons why.
1. Great Location
Located along the historic Macalister Road, Macalister Mansion is our go to, luxury, lifestyle stay, to relax and unwind. We had stayed here several years ago attending a dining event helmed by Chef Emmanuel Stroobant. What’s there not to love about ye old ‘white raja’ nostalgia, and this colonial mansion built in the early 1900s, is one fabulous luxury boutique hotel you do not want to miss. So close in the heart of Georgetown, Penang, everything is just a stone’s throw away.
Macalister Mansion itself is designed around the idea of an old English mansion. Each space is designed to provide hospitality of an actual home – good food, fine drink, engaging conversation, soothing music, a good night’s sleep or simply lounging by the pool.
Within Macalister Mansion, each space within its food & beverage outlets together with the hotel is branded as distinct rooms found in a mansion: Dining Room, The Den, Living Room, The Cellar, The Lawn and 8 Rooms.
The name Macalister Mansion honours Sir Norman Macalister, one of the first British Governors of Penang (then known as Prince of Wales Island) from 1808 – 1810. Sir Norman Macalister also gave his name to Macalister Road, where the boutique hotel is situated.
2. Magical Gastronomy
If we didn’t know the name, Johnson Wong, we sure do know now. Chef Wong began his career venture following his culinary studies at Le Cordon Bleu Sydney. This led to a journey of cookery experiences in the kitchens of some Michelin starred and World Best Restaurants in several countries around the world – Australia, Dubai, China, Denmark and France.
Like with most Malaysians, the call of home eventually became so strong that Johnson returned to Malaysia to undertake the helm of Senior Sous Chef at Macalister Mansion, Penang, and within a year so assuming the role of Head Chef. In Dining Room, he creates his best representation of food, while remaining a locavore exercising interplay of local quality ingredients and turning them into special creations at the dining table.
Such a young chef but such a profound grasp on what refined gastronomy is. We were gobsmacked by his 8 course degustation menu …
Place looks like a dream…
Snacks : Mango Galangal mint, Fish Cracker, Mushroom Golden “cakoi”
These opening snacks already had us impressed from the word go. Simple yet well thought out, the mango galangal and fish crackers stole the show. We loved how every item was decidedly local in origin and flavour.
Amuse Bouche : Sesame, Ginger Broth, Buckwheat
Again a local twist on the pasta made it a fun and creative starter
Mud Crab : Lemon grass Ginger Flower paired with the Verv Prosecco Brut Italy
Super fresh stuffed crabs were just the perfect pair with the acidic, semi-dry and bubbly prosecco. A match made in heaven!
62.5 Egg : Potato Noodles paired with the Michel Lynch Sauvignon Blanc,Bordeaux 2015
Presentation reminded us of a bird’s nest, but no baby birds were harmed constructing this dish. Breaking the perfectly poached egg and soaking it in the crispy noodles kind of reminded me of Ying Yong (Cantonese fried noodles) which was perfect. This Bordeaux, Sauv Blanc screamed minerality and tangy acidity – paired well with the creamy yolk.
Chicken Curry, cauliflower, Crouton, paired with the La Puerta Torrentes , Spain 2014
One of the best courses that night. A great balance in spice and texture… and the chicken curry really worked its magic with each mouthful of desiccated cauliflower. The pairing with honeysuckle and floral aromas of the wine, was spot on. Loved how the crisp acidity and citrus flavors balanced the rich, creamy curry oh so well.
Scallop, apple, seaweed, matcha paired with the Monterosa Chardonnay,Argentina 2016
Best course of the night hands down. What a work of art. Scallops perfectly seared just shy of well done and earthy seaweed, matcha just elevated by the aromas of bananas, melons, honey and a light, biscuity character of the Chardonnay. So sublime, you wonder where the last mouthful melted away to, in your mouth, without you noticing…
Palate Cleanser – Nutmeg Granite, fermented carrot juice
Black Cod miso, mushroom paired with the White Cliff Pinot Noir, New Zealand 2013
If there’s one thing the Dining Room does amazingly well, it’s their cod fish. This black miso cod did not disappoint. And what a great Red, chosen to pair with this sultry fish. Dark fruits of cherry were a voluptuous entry, evolving with tannic acidity to wash over the unctuous cod with each mouthful. A flavorsome finish, to be sure!
Wagyu Wood ear, Chesnut, charred onion jus paired with the Esser Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Sous vide wagyu – not my particular favourite style of wagyu preparation, as I usually like my wagyu with a good char on the outside. The doneness was spot on though. This red was another fabulous wine even on its own – dried herbs and a bit of forest-floor funk says, these guys at the Dining Room Macalister really know their food-wine pairing, or at least, their wines.
Smoked milk ice cream Pineapple paired with the Trimbach Muscat 2014
My favourite sweet wine from Alsace! A dry muscat, with pronounced fruitiness and a characteristic bouquet of lychees paired with a smoky, creamy ice cream and pineapple. Say no more.. Chef Wong already had me at the first course.
Penang White Coffee, Marscapone, Amaretto, cookie paired with the Harvey’s Cream Sherry end this fabulous 8 course wine food pairing on an extremely high note.
What a dinner and priced at RM308 nett and option of wine pairing with additional RM160 nett only. Penang, you are full of surprises and we are glad we check you out, the Dining Room Macalister Mansion. Definitely the dinner to top this year.
The Cellar now offers Izakaya dining (Friday, Saturday evenings) for all patrons and also walk in customers.
It’s a great place to chillax at the long bar and enjoy tapas style bites as well as cocktails and wines, before dinner. Definitely a cool place to lounge or relax with a glass of fine wine or champagne.
BBQ Pulled Pork & Squid salted duck egg Mantau burgers
The Cellar stocks over 300 labels of wines from all over the world, possibly the largest collection in Penang, serving up to 20 different labels by the glass, but if you have time, definitely try one of their signature cocktails which goes down great with the tapas!
Lychee & Lime, and the Negroni…
Flamed tuna, Soya citrus dressing, egg
Grilled lamb cutlets, lemongrass pesto, herb salad
Steak selection of the day (Wagyu), Truffle Chips, Smokehouse jus
Iberico Pork, Soya, Sweet corn
Cod Fish (catch of the day) – superb .. a must order!
Salmon, burnt mayonnaise, potato
Capellini, smoked truffle emulsion, Avruga caviar
caramalized pineapple, pistachio, smoked ice cream
The Living Room
Encompassing all day dining and casual space to hang out, Living Room offers a delectable selection of local cuisine and international flavours. Set within a playful and colourful theme, guests can also enjoy pastries with a wide selection of beverages.
And if tea is your thing, check out their selection of TWG teas – super yum.
Tea for two is priced at RM88. Huge and more than enough for two!
Breakfast is such a delicious affair – be it the Local Menu or the Continental breakfast, it’s all good!
And if you’re staying at MM, then breakfast is another great opportunity to sample local Penang favorites but in the comfort of The Living Room. We preferred the Local Menu (the Hokkien mee was just fab) and I liked the fact that they serve their coffee strong and their nasi lemak, spicy!
3. Fabulous Service
This place is so chic and exclusive it only has 8 rooms! So you can imagine the service and attention is just as targeted and exclusive. We stayed at Room 8 which is priced at RM3,900 per night.
The luxury and comfort in any of Macalister Mansion’s Eight Rooms is uncontested. Each Room is individually designed with specially commissioned art pieces to accent the contemporary theme.
Each art piece is influenced by the life story of Sir Norman Macalister and Macalister Mansion. We just like ordering a bottle of champagne for room service and soaking in the bubble bath.
No bubbly for the baby, just bubbles, of course 😛
All in all, a gem of a location. Choose this boutique hotel for it’s location, service and phenomenal gastronomy!
228, Jalan Macalister, George Town,
11400 George Town, Pulau Pinang,
Tel:+60 4-228 3888