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Home Penang Food Other Cuisine - Helen Ong Vintage Bulgarian Fare
Vintage Bulgarian Fare PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator II   
Tuesday, 16 March 2010 10:39

By HELEN ONG

Despite the fact it’s situated in Tanjung Bungah’s busy Hillside area, there’s a distinct Eastern European taverna feel to this place. It could be the large board over the front door, painted in the red, white and green colours of the Bulgarian flag, proudly proclaiming the name of the restaurant and thus cuisine being served here.

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Or possibly it’s because of the stone-clad walls, relieved only by plenty of rustic brown wood. A flight of steps leads you to the cosy bar area, and the other goes down to the main dining in the sub basement. This countryside ambiance is reinforced by the wooden barrel and bullock cart wheel strategically positioned at the entrance, and the dinky windows, both inside and out, which come complete with sweet little lace curtains. In fact, go on up to the private function room on the second floor and you would be forgiven for thinking you’re actually be in that country: there, a whole wall has been completely painted over with a simple but striking mural of a typical Bulgarian countryside.

“I deliberately wanted to recreate a traditional Bulgarian mehana,” explained proprietor Sylvia Georgieva, “serving as authentic food as possible.”

You really can’t get much more genuine than that: not only is she from Gabrovo, a small mountain town in Central Bulgaria, but her parents, who moved here to be with her, are her “food consultants”, and she even brought in someone to teach her local chefs how to cook each  dish.

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“When Vintage Bulgaria opened in 2008, I was a bit uncertain as to whether people would like our cuisine, and it took a while to come up with a menu which, whilst being traditional and authentic, would also suit local tastes.”

She seems to have succeeded: not only is the place popular – it’s busy most nights, particularly at weekends and on public holidays – but, more importantly, her regulars, both locals and expats, amongst them nationals of that country, keep coming back. The fact that they appear to be the only such outlet in the whole of Malaysia and Singapore may have something to do with it too.

It’s not really that surprising. The food is typical peasant food which contains plenty of meat and carbs – potatoes and rice feature a lot – designed to give workers plenty of heat and energy, but the extensive menu also includes some dishes that are not that dissimilar in taste to the food we eat. Take the Meshana Skara (Bulgarian Platter) for example: the home-made sausages, minced beef patty and pork steak, all grilled to perfection, are just delicious barbequed meats; no wonder it is one of her best sellers; ditto the mouth-watering Baby Pork Ribs, smoky and black out the outside, melt-in-your-mouth tender on the inside.
Eastern Europeans love their fresh salads, and a meal will typically begin with some: the Shopska is excellent: colourful, crunchy and cooling with lots of peeled cucumber, green peppers and tomato chunks lightly tossed in a mild dressing and served with a good sprinkling of delicate grated Feta cheese, over it. It’s really a very pleasant way to consume your daily fibre intake.
Another best seller is their Orley Wrap: skewers of smoky bacon wrapped around a piece of cheese, so popular that when they tried to take it out of the menu, their customers protested.

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A word of warning: the helpings are pretty generous so small eaters may be wise to share.

Vintage Bulgaria
1E Jalan Sungai Kelian
11200 Tanjong Bungah
Penang Tel: 604 898 1890

Open every day from 3-midnight Mondays to Fridays
Noon to midnight weekends.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 March 2010 10:55
 

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