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|Written by Administrator II|
|Wednesday, 14 July 2010 13:04|
By Helen Ong
Back to nature
If you’re looking for somewhere special to go, then head for Tree Monkey, one of Penang’s latest wining and dining outlets. This unique “back to nature” restaurant set in the green, tree-filled Tropical Spice Gardens in Teluk Bahang looks like it’s going to become a must-visit place for both locals and visitors alike.
The alfresco outlet is set on a wooden platform, where you can sit at one of the imported hard-wood tables and chairs, and gaze upon a gorgeous view of the Andaman Sea. The waves crashing on the beach opposite seem just a few feet away. According to the proprietors, the place was constructed using as natural and traditional methods and materials as possible; no trees were cut down, and there are very few nails or wires visible. It’s all very rustic, and comes complete with a bamboo and thatched roof over the gazebo bar which is made with alang alang grass imported from Bali.
At the moment there is a limited menu of mainly Thai dishes, Pad Thai and the like, but predominantly Issan food from the north eastern Thailand, featuring BBQ meats and spicy salads. Try their mind-blowing Nam Prik Mak Wang eaten with raw ulam (vegetables) – it’s a green mango kerabu with minute pieces of green dynamite (chilli padi) in it; sour and delicious but phew, packs a real punch!
What distinguishes their pork-free menu is that the dishes make use of herbs which are actually grown in the gardens. Their day starts with breakfast from 9am, and after which there are set lunches and simple a la carte dishes available throughout the day. Chef Rozahan Yahaya is also there to offer his Beef Rendang Nasi Lemak and other local delights, including a few western dishes.
Whether you stop by for a snack and drink during the day, perhaps after a relaxing amble round the gardens, or go to enjoy the good food, it’s a wonderful place to relax in the natural, green surroundings. In the evening, watch the gorgeous sunset whilst tucking into their special Thai Tapas appetisers which will go beautifully with any one of the large range of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, on offer. It certainly brings back memories of warm summer nights in Phuket …
By the way, the place is so called because of the grey Dusky Leaf Monkeys – apparently called lutong – with their white eyes which roam freely there; you may be lucky enough to catch sight of one – I was!
They are currently open till 6.30pm although from 19th July they will stay open till 10pm.
Tropical Spice Garden
Tel: 04 881 3494