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Home Penang Food Other Cuisine - Helen Ong Pining For Some Japanese
Pining For Some Japanese PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator II   
Thursday, 26 May 2011 14:08

Article and Photos by HELEN ONG

If you’re after some traditional Japanese food , you probably won’t find it here – or anywhere else in the Batu Ferringhi area, for that matter. However, what you will find at the recently-renovated Lone Pine Hotel is what Hotel Manager Khoo Boo Lin describes as “modern Japanese” cuisine.


“Not all fusion dishes need to be European-influenced,” he explains, “and ours has Asian overtones.”

Neither is the aptly-named Matsu, which means “Pine” in Japanese (methinks it should be Lone Matsu in that case – joke) designed in the simple Zen style so typical of more traditional outlets; the interior is modern and casual, its glass walls allowing a stunning view of the gorgeous sunset if you are there at the right time. It is even kitted out with clean and comfortable pinewood furniture.


The menu has been specially designed by the very experienced Chef Kah Wai who, although local, has worked for over 15 years in Japanese restaurants all over the country. Dishes like his Lamb Shoulder with Miso and Chilli Padi are bound to go down well with Malaysians, appealing as they do to our preference for something Japanese but strongly flavoured.

Other examples are the new-style Chawanmushi, in this case steamed with chopped foie gras, giving the light egg custard a delicate but rich flavour. Starters include Sushi and Sashimi, but served in more contemporary flavours and presentations: witness the Rainbow Carpaccio, raw red and white tuna slices marinated with yukke sauce: tasty sesame oil and soya sauce, then wrapped around julienned lettuce, and eaten with a dab of grated fresh wasabi root in sweet Japanese soya sauce. The Mega Mango Maki is equally impressive, unagi, salmon or prawns on slices of fresh, sweet mango, the portion big enough to satisfy even the largest families.


The Aburage Pizza, unagi and soft shell crab or raw and smoked salmon served atop crispy home-made taufu with a layer of creamy béchamel sauce in between, will also be popular, combining the best of east and west. The Japanese are also very partial to kimchi, according to Chef Kah Wai, and that is reflected in the liberal use of this preserved vegetable  in a number of dishes like the red, bonito-based Kimchi Udon, which is as spicy as it looks, although I’m told it can be served “extra hot” for presumably those of us who are masochistic enough to take it!

As for dessert, his Green Tea Tiramisu is apparently popular, but I much preferred the home-made Pine Nut Ice Cream, redolent with caramelised pine nut.

Matsu is open every evening from 5-11pm.

For details or reservations call them on +604 886 8686 or visit


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