Saturday, August 27, 2011

Gurney Drive Restaurant, Suntec City

Being approximately 52% Penang-ite myself I had high expectations of this place. To date, I have not eaten anything remotely close to Penang food in SG - and I do often crave for the awesome sour and fish-laden bowl of assam laksa which seem to elude most S'poreans tastebuds, gah.

Had to try this place that proclaims itself to be Gurney Drive, rather than driving 8 hours up north to the other small island.

As you step inside, you are greeted by a shelf stocked with tau sar pneah on your right. To my approval, it is one of the 'better' brands known to most Malaysians.

{ Penang Lor-Bak ($3.90) }
Pork wrapped in thin homemade beancurd sheet

It took some effort from our parts not to order the whole menu. We decided that we'd try the more 'signature' dishes - and to start, we had the penang lor-bak. Something like ngor hiang but not quite, and better! This was okay, a bit too salty for my liking but quite close. The sweet lor sauce was a bit off though. Tofu was yummy!

While looking undeniably ngor-hiang-y, the taste was anything but - all pork, and deceptively gao in the braised flavour, went fantastically with the sauce and chilli. And that fried tofu was awesome.

{ Penang Assam Laksa ($5.50) }
Penang laksa cooked in appetising traditional Assam gravy

Ah, the measure of any good Penang food for me is the assam laksa. This is actually the best version I've had in SG (note: do NOT eat the one at Laksania). While not truly authentic, this still satisfied my nostalgic craving quite well. The laksa noodles are clearly wrong.. it shouldn't be so thick and starchy. In any case, the addition of the black and sweet prawn paste really makes a difference, so don't skimp on it! You will find generous bits of crunchy cucumber, onions and pineapple and herbs too. I would have wanted a bit more fish in there, all mushed and encapsulated in the sour gravy.

Comparing the Laksania Express Penang laksa to this is like ... like ... best not to say. While clearly no fight to ones you can find in Penang itself, still way better than others I've tried locally - lotsa fish, raw vegies and onions. My only gripe was not sour enough!

{ Penang Fried Koay Teow ($6.90) }
Wok-fried with fresh prawns, cockles, Chinese sausages, bean sprouts and egg in chef's own creation of special sauce

While not a fan of char kway teow (however way you spell it, CKT) completely because of how bad it is for you, the ones I had in Petaling Jaya completely blew me away. Unlike your sweet Singapore version, in the absence of sweet sauce you can taste all the ingredients in the CKT - your lap chiong, cockles, spring onion, crunchy bean sprouts and the LARD. Jesus christ. Again not as good as your Penang or PJ version, but it's a go-to place for non-sweet CKT.

I stole a few bites of the CKT - this was not the Singaporean sweet-black-sauce nonsense, but not quite Gurney-Drive-standard either - which is not a bad thing really. I enjoyed the smokiness of the hot wok in the noodles. There were quite a bit of liao inside, good value for $7.

Not 100% Penang standard, but we found the food quite acceptably Penang-esque (the chef is from Penang - I checked). Definitely stop by for some lor bak and nice coffee.

Main Website :
HGW Link :
Rating (out of 4) :

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