Gourmet Garden

Hunting For The Flavors & Texture Of Yesteryears'

Northern Europe

Five27 New Nordic Cuisine At Penang’s Straits Quay

Posted by Jason Wong On April - 3 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

Last month we were invited yet again to a newly establish restaurant in Straits Quay. Taking over from Agua, Five 27 serves Nordic cuisines that are prepared by Executive Chef cum General Manager, Nizar Achmad. Chef Nizar has spent 14 years of his live establishing and mastering his culinary skills in Sweden, where it was said that he has cooked for a list of high-profile patrons which includes the likes of stars, royalty, and Nobel Prize winners.

It is an unusual name Five27 is! The named was conjured from the precise latitude coordinate of the restaurant. Established in January 2013 and officially launched in March, Five27 is publicized as the first New Nordic concept restaurant in Malaysia that offers fine and refreshing selection of healthy seasonal food, prepared using the freshest ingredients possible, and put together with groundbreaking and sometimes provocative techniques that exemplify the true spirit of the New Nordic cuisine.

Nordic refers to the North-Western European countries of Scandinavia that consist of mainly Denmark, Norway, Sweden and as well as Iceland and Finland. Thus, Nordic cuisine encompasses the traditional eating cultures, cooking practices and ingredients from the Scandinavian countries. The new Nordic cuisine was created in an attempt to promote natural produce as a basis for new dishes both in restaurants and in the home.

Apart from serving wholesome food minus the MSG, located on the ground floor of Penang’s Straits Quay that overlooks the breathtaking view of the Andaman Sea beyond the private yacht dock, Five27 was conceptualized with comfort and uncompromising service that sets the mood for fun casual dining, and harnesses the spirit of sharing and togetherness for quality time with their friends and family.

During the simple launch event, we were given a sample taste of what Five 27 and Chef Nizar was capable of. In the buffet line up, they put onto plate some of their signatures which were quite intriguing. To start off was their creamy and earthy ‘Chanterelle soup’ which has generous amounts of chopped and whole mushrooms. Then there was their ‘Nordic Salad’ which a balance of tartness and sweetness, and a wonderful selection of crisp and fresh mixed greens and root vegetables.

The ‘Home-made Traditional Swedish Meat Balls’ where juicy tender and chunky, well complimented by its equally flavourful brown sauce that did not overwhelm the gentle flavours of the beefy meat balls.

The ‘Lightly Cured Salmon in Traditional Swedish Marinate’ were firm and tender with a dash spice and caramel sweetness that were easy going to the palate. The fresh dill gave the dish a hint of freshness and herby aroma.

The ‘Slow Cooked Lamb’ (bottom 1st) and ‘Braised Beef Ribs’ (botom 2nd) were both juicy and fall-off the bone tender with a sweet savoury taste that went well with their paired side dishes and garnishes.

Their ‘Shiitake Mushroom Lasagne’ was equally sexy in the sense that cheese combination reminded us of the unique taste of the Swedish cheese fondue that we greatly enjoy and long for.

Their simple ‘Potato Mash with Truffle Oil’ was exquisite in the sense that they have included the richness of Swedish cheese and the sweet earthy flavours of truffle oil. Simple and yet comforting at times of need.

As for dessert we were served a  rich chocolate flavoured cake that kept me going for more and a carrot cake that was filled with fine julienne of “real” carrot and aromatic spices.

All in all, the experience at Five27 was casual and well attended to, and the food was equally simple and comforting. Therefore it is a place that warrants a revisit to properly figure out and judge what are their real “products” that would persuade diners to return for more experience.

Addres: 3AG18-19 Straits Quay, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, 10470Tanjung Tokong, Penang.
Phone No.: +604-8900435
Website: http://five27.asia/
Business Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11am-11pm & Friday-Saturday 11am – 12pm.
GPS Coordinates: E5.457777, N100.313405


The Norwegian Norway, In A Class Of Its Own

Posted by Jason Wong On November - 22 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

A recently held Norwegian Consumer Goods Exhibition held at Gurney Plaza that we were invited to for their launch was organized by the Royal Norwegian Embassy from Kuala Lumpur. The exhibition held from 1st November 2012 to the 4th in Penang, was a virgin showcase of some of the range of products and brands that have set foot in Malaysia. Alongside the exhibition, the Norwegian embassy also brought with them the Norwegian life and landscapes captured through the lenses of their photographers in their “Norway at a glance” photo exhibition.

The exhibition was formally officiated by H.E. Hans Ola Urstad, Ambassador of Norway and YAB Tuan Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang. The launch event also saw a simple gift presentation ceremony to the Children’s Protection Society and its representatives.

Before introducing the brands that were on showcase at the exhibition, lets get to know a little bit about Norway. Norway is one of the founding members of United Nation, NATO and European Free Trade Area. Its capital city is Oslo. Norway has a total area of 385,252 square kilometres and a population of approximately 5.01 million, and it is the second least densely populated country in Europe. Norway shares borders with Sweden, Finland, Russia and Denmark across the Skagerrak Strait.

Norway is richly endowed with natural resources in area’s petroleum, hydropower, fishery, forestry, and minerals. Large oil and gas reserves discovered in the 1960s led to their economic boom and are still one of their major revenue generators at current. Approximately 28% of their state revenue is generated from the oil and gas industry. And from the revenue generated from oil and gas industry, a Sovereign Wealth Fund (Government Pension Fund) was established in 1995 as a hedge/cushion against Norways aging population and to prevent an overheating of their economy from oil revenues. As of March 2011, Norway’s Government Pension Fund controlled assets valued are approximately US$570 billion or equal to US$114,000 per capita. How much are we Malaysian’s worth with all the abundant natural resources that our land has?

This Northern European country that got their independence from Sweden in 1905 has distinctive four seasons, spring, summer, autumn and winter. Spring is the time to see Greylag geese approaching in v-formation over the spring horizon, and a time to smell the scent of apple blossom in Hardanger. Summer is the season to hear the crashing waves in the south, to feel the southerly winds blowing across their famous fjords and to see herds of reindeers grazing under the Midnight Sun. Summer is also the time to explore Norway’s great outdoors by foot, bicycle and to go fishing.

Autumn is when the golden-red landscape welcomes the harvest of wild Chanterelles or plump Cloudberries near a secluded mountain lake, and when rivers become the hosting ground for large quality fishes ready to be snagged. Winter is a season for dog-sledding, ice-fishing and a time for stories of legends past around a fireplace in a “lavvu”.

With the skilled livestock husbandry and unspoiled and good natural conditions produces quality ingredients like their famous Norwegian lamb, smoked salmon, Stockfish, cheeses, etc. Long light nights also blossoms into tastier fruits and berries. No wonder Norway is house to 4 Michelin Starred restaurants:

  1. Maaemo, a two star restaurant in the Michelin Guide, which they received right after 14 months of their opening. Their seasonal menu is based on 100% organic local ingredients, including rare Norwegian herbs and berries, and complimented with an exciting wine list.
  2. Bagatelle, a one star restaurant which first opened its doors in 1932. It serves Norwegian-French cuisine with an emphasis on Norwegian ingredients like herring, cod, halibut, king crab and so on.
  3. Statholdergaarden, manned by chefs Bent Stiansen and Torbjørn Forster that creates dishes from the best ingredients that Norway has to offer with best European food traditions and a touch of world inspirations.
  4. Restaurant Oscarsgate, a 20pax capacity dining room that represents one of Oslo’s most innovative and competent kitchens, presenting an à la carte menu featuring a daily fish or meat special alongside a five- or eight-course menu.

With the exhibition, the Norwegian embassy brought with them brands like Jarlsberg, Trapia, Jotun and Jordon. Jarlsberg cheeses are the product of Norway’s quality milk that comes from the favourable living conditions for their cows and goats, cold climate, vast grazing pastures and good animal husbandry. Tine Norway has been exporting Jarlsberg cheeses since 1961, and is one of the best selling brands in US, Europe and Australia. There were a few varieties of cheeses brought in for sampling and the one that caught our attention was their Gudbransdalen cheese. This brown coloured cheese was first invented in the 1860s by a farmer’s wife , Anne Hov, who took whey and boiled it for long hours together with goat’s milk, cow’s milk and cream. Thus, producing a brown fudge like cheese with a sweet taste of caramel  and  a clean and slightly sour taste of goat’s milk.

Traceable Tilapia or Trapia, in short, is an eco-friendly fish farming operation located in the pristine rainforest-fed freshwater Tememnggor Lake. It produces a unique strain of GenoMar Supreme Tilapia fish from egg-to-plate process that is said to be verifiable, traceable, high quality, healthy and most importantly sustainable. The harvests are mainly exported to countries where safe  and and sustainable fish stock is required, about 80% is exported.

Jotun, a brand that we thought was a local brand turns out to be a Norwegian paint, coating and powder coating manufacturer that has been operating in Sandefjord, Norway since 1926. Jotun’s paints can be seen and felt on the exclusive Burj Khailfa and the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Queen Mary 2, largest luxury liner in the world. Since 1983, Jotun has established its South East Asia R&B centre for development of new products for Asia. On display at the exhibition were their Majestic Ecohealth, New Strax Easy Clean, New Woodshield and New Jotasheild with AntiFade Colours range of paints.

Another brand that was display was the Jordan brand of tooth brushes. Established since 1837, it has since become one of the world’s leading preventive oral care brands producing quality toothbrushes, dental floss and dental sticks. Besides being well known for their oral hygiene products, they have also established themselves in the painting tools and household cleaning products sector.

* The invitation was extended by Ms. Marian Eu from Scribe Media Link.

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