Gēn Penang Review : One Of The Best Fine Dine In Penang

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So, guess what we did for Christmas? We have surveyed some restaurants for date night in Penang and decided to ditch the usual holiday chaos and took ourselves to Gēn 根 in Penang for a dinner date! 

Having known about this restaurant for quite some time, we never got around to giving it a shot. This Christmas, while in Penang, we seized the chance to experience the holiday magic by trying out the special Christmas dinner set at the restaurant. It was the ideal way to celebrate the season with some delightful dining.

About Gēn 根

Nestled in the lively centre of Penang, Gēn 根 stands as a culinary treasure, captivating the palates of both locals and tourists.

Renowned for its unique fusion of flavours and commitment to using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, Gēn 根 has carved a niche for itself in the gastronomic landscape of Penang.

This restaurant isn’t just a place to grab a bite; it’s a whole vibe celebrating the art of good food. They take pride in crafting their dishes with the freshest local ingredients, making it a real culinary adventure.

Michelin Star Recognition

The restaurant has recently got the nod from Michelin, earning its stripes as one of Malaysia’s Michelin-starred restaurants. It’s a big deal, signalling top-tier culinary chops and a commitment to delivering a standout dining experience.

Gen Penang Michelin-starred restaurant
Gen Penang : Michelin-starred restaurant

Where is Gēn located?

Gēn is located on the ground floor of The Prestige hotel. 

There are two restaurants by Gēn and some may confuse which one to go to.

Another sister restaurant of Gēn is actually called Communal Table by Gēn. Communal Table offers an à la carte menu featuring contemporary dishes crafted with locally sourced ingredients, showcasing Malaysian culinary delights.

The Atmosphere

We reserved a table for two on Christmas night. Gēn is usually open from Wednesday to Sunday, but for the Christmas celebration on Monday, they decided to open as well, featuring a special festive menu.

The setup was minimal, with only a few tables arranged, and I particularly appreciated their open kitchen concept. The open kitchen kinda remind me of the movie ” The Menu”. 

The setup was kinda cozy, probably because they’re all about making sure guests get the absolute best vibes.

12-Course Dinner

They brought us plain water and took a moment to run us through the menu, also giving us a quick intro to their wine options.

There was a wine pairing option with six glasses of wine, but we decided to go with a glass of red wine and a glass of white wine for each of us instead.

Wine by Gen Penang
Wine by Gen Penang

We started with the starter which is Tamarind and Mackerel.

The staff would provide us with a brief introduction to the dish as they served it.

The Mackerel was served in between the crispy crackers and it was very fresh.

The tamarind was served on the side, and I never imagined how well these two dishes could complement each other!

 

 

Gen review : Tamarind mackarel
Tamarind mackarel

After we finished, they served our second dish which was oyster and kesom.

So, when they brought out the oyster all decked out in green, I was like, “What in the world?” Had me thinking, how’s Kesom gonna team up with oyster?

The presentation on the side with Kesom sorbet was cute. There was no exact way to eat this, we could either eat the sorbet first then try the oyster or eat the sorbet together with the oyster. It’s all freestyle.

So, I started off with the sorbet, and it was awesome—soft and bursting with flavor. Then, I dipped into the oyster with Kesom sauce. Mind-blowing! This dish instantly became my absolute favourite.

I guess in fine dining, it’s all about these experiences—trying out unexpected food pairings and seeing how it all comes together.

Oyster and kesom by Gen Penang
Oyster and kesom by Gen Penang

After the delightful experience with the oyster and kesom, they brought out another dish with a visually stunning presentation.

They present the food in a drawer-like container.

The pink-coloured condiment turned out to be fermented beancurd, meant to be enjoyed with the bread. While besides it were the highlight of the dish :  luncheon meat and caviar.

Once again, the unexpected pairing of Western delicacy – Caviar, with a traditional Chinese staple like luncheon meat, caught us by surprise.

I wasn’t a fan of caviar from past experiences, but this time around, it was surprisingly good— not too overpowering and really fresh. Paired with the luncheon meat, neither ingredient overshadowed the other; instead, they complemented each other perfectly.

Gen Penang review : Luncheon meat & Caviar as starter
Luncheon meat & Caviar as starter
Luncheon meat at Gen
Luncheon meat at Gen

Moving right along, we were served with this cool dish with a cheerful yellow tint.

We were a bit puzzled about the dish until the staff filled us in.

The pudding-like yellow dish was, surprisingly, made of shad fish. Initially, we thought it might be a dessert, but its taste defied its appearance. The fish paste turned out to be creamy, almost like savouring an entire fresh fish.

In addition to the shad fish, they prepared fish maw soup poured over beautifully sliced ginger. Yes, those rolled-up flower-like things were ginger. The ginger paired with the fish maw soup worked to balance out the fish’s taste.

I wasn’t really fond of this dish as the fish taste was a little intense for me. But what I truly appreciated was the ginger, with a subtle and not overly spicy flavour.

Shad fish and fish maw with ginger
Shad fish and fish maw with ginger

After that, they served us with mantis prawn and mussels.

The presentation was adorable, featuring mantis prawn tucked under two leaves, creating a charming visual.

The mantis prawn was delightfully chewy and fresh, complemented by a savoury sauce drizzled on top.

Mantis prawn and mussels
Mantis prawn and mussels

So, the petai and tempeh dish came next. Gotta say, when they first dropped it off at our table, we were shocked with the amount of pepper we have to eat.

But luckily it was all about the food presentation. There were only two smoked green pepper we were supposed to eat with the dish.

Tempeh is an Indonesian dish crafted from fermented soybeans, while petai, on the other hand, is a veggie that people either love or hate. I’m a fan of petai myself and sambal petai is my favourite dish, but it’s a different story for my boyfriend.

This one was different though, they crushed the petai into cream-like texture as you could see in the photo. The light green cream was actually the petai. It was served with the tempeh (white colour).

They teamed up surprisingly well, and the petai flavour wasn’t too in-your-face, so even my boyfriend gave it a thumbs up.

The green pepper served alongside was unexpectedly spicy for me. The staff explained that we could actually dipped the pepper and eat together with the tempeh and petai.

To me, this dish was a interesting surprise to taste petai in a different way.

Petai and tempeh
Petai and tempeh

The 7th dish of the course was a medium-rare beef served with keluak sauce.

The retired dairy cow was sourced from the famous Farm Fresh in Selangor. The medium-rare steak was perfectly cooked and satisfying, but what really stole the show was the buah keluak sauce!

The sweet and savoury flavour of the sauce accompanying the steak was incredible. I just couldn’t get enough of it. It immediately became my favourite main dish of the night.

After the steak, they brought out a cup of beef soup. Honestly, I’m not usually a fan of beef soup, and this one was a bit too rich for my liking.

Beef and buah keluak served at Gen Penang.
Beef and buah keluak served at Gen Penang.
Beef soup at Gen Penang
Beef soup at Gen Penang

So, we finished up the steak, and surprise, surprise – we’re feeling pretty full. It turns out, we’ve been at this for a solid 1.45 hours without even realising it. We were really enjoying the experience.

The next dish was a Chinese-style flower crab fried rice paired with papaya beancurd on the side.

The fried rice was excellent—full of aroma with that distinct wok hei flavour. Needless to say, the flower crab was fresh too. 

What surprised me was the papaya beancurd that served on the side. The refreshing papaya worked wonders in balancing out the richness of the fried rice, again, making them a perfect match that I have never imagined.

Flower crab fried rice and papaya beancurd
Flower crab fried rice and papaya beancurd.

That wrapped up the main course, ushering in the dessert session.

The first dessert that served to us was strawberry sorbet with ginger flower.

The dessert had a nice presentation, but it didn’t wow me with its taste. It was refreshing, although a bit sweeter than I prefer.

Gen Penang dessert : Strawberry and ginger flower
Gen Penang dessert : Strawberry and ginger flower

The second dessert was a dreamy white vanilla and goat milk combination.

The perfect blend of vanilla and goat milk made the ice cream a flavourful yet refreshing dessert.

Vanilla and goat milk dessert
Vanilla and goat milk dessert

Finally, the soy sauce tart that piqued my curiosity was served as the last dessert of the course.

Initially, we were skeptical about the unusual combination of soy sauce with a dessert tart. However, the soy sauce turned out to be different from what we expected. It blended perfectly with the tart.

Soy sauce tart
Soy sauce tart

After approximately 2 hours, we completed our course. It was a delightful experience, and the 12-course meal left us thoroughly satisfied.

The staff handed us the menu of our course along with the receipt in an envelope as we were leaving. This attention to detail impressed us, and we decided to keep it as a memento of the entire experience.

Gen Penang menu
Gen Penang menu

Gēn Penang is quite a great place for valentine dinner. The overall experience from the staff, food presentation, food quality, the vibe and the wine was great and we would definitely come back again for their next tasting menu.

FAQ

What is the dress code to visit Gēn?

Gēn Penang does not enforce a strict dress code, and generally, smart casual attire is considered appropriate.

How much is the 12-course meal?

The course that night was priced at RM 490 per person, exclusive of wine. We found this to be reasonable, given the abundance of 12 generous dishes. House wine options were available at approximately RM 45 to RM 68 per glass.