Feringgi Grill, redefining haute cuisine
Feringgi Grill, one of Penang's premier Western-style grill restaurants, has won numerous awards and accolades since 1973, delighting some of the most discerning diners. It is one of my favourite restaurants to celebrate a romantic evening or to mark a special occasion.
Located at the mezzanine floor of the Rasa Wing of Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa, it is the longest surviving grill rooms in Penang. The first Feringgi Grill stood as a red brick house on the beach. The red bricks were salvaged and repurposed as the décor of the current restaurant, replicating the original ambience as faithfully as possible. The warm cosy interior is set with wood in warm, walnut tones, combined with antique bronze, red brick walls and deep burgundy carpeting. The design theme of bringing the outdoors indoors is prevalent in its interior – from glass pottery with palm motifs enhancing the table setting to artistic lotus leaf sculptures. Nothing is left to chance.
Feringgi Grill's floor to ceiling windows offer a grand vista of the resort's sprawling 30-acre landscaped ground, boasting over 50,000 plants including its iconic rain trees. Beyond the gardens and golden shoreline, the Andaman Sea stretches out to the horizon. As the sun sets, the sky dances brilliantly with a kaleidoscopic array of colours, privy to diners within its cosy interior.
The menu offers temptations from classic recipes to sizzling platters and table-side flambé cooking, all set to tantalise and please. My family and I have dined at Feringgi Grill many times before and here are some photographs from a 2007 dinner. My daughter Jean was only four years of age then.
We decided on our orders and dinner, commencing with a basket of warm, freshly baked breads (crispy baguettes and sourdough buns). The bite of good butter melting over a warm slice of soft bread with crusty edges was uncomplicated yet simply pleasurable.
In a fused glass bowl was a petite appetiser of goat cheese and a tomato salsa to whet the appetite.
Next was one of Feringgi Grill's all-time favourite dishes – a gin-famed tomato soup prepared tableside. It was exciting to see how the silky smooth soup was made. My daughter found the flambé action all too thrilling and asked if I would replicate it. Heaven forbids that I should flambé anything at home. Authentic and untouched by time, the signature tomato soup is still the talk of the town to this very day.
My daughter had the creamy mushroom soup. She polished up the plate in record-breaking time, a testament to how good it truly was.
To reset the palate before the main course, each of us was served a refreshing raspberry sorbet with a mango dressing.
For our mains, my daughter had a creamy seafood spaghetti. She enjoyed the umami flavours that were infused in the dish, of course, the succulent prawns too. Conveniently that the prawns were deshelled, making it hassle-free to enjoy the dish.
My wife opted for the grilled fish served with a baked potato and some asparagus, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli on the side. The classic baked potato, a side dish at grill rooms, was topped with sour cream, spring onions and crispy bacon.
I had an almond-crusted fish that was fresh and succulent. It was thoroughly enjoyable! Exquisite charbroiled seafood and prime cuts were also on offer. Last but not least, a tempting host of heavenly desserts to complete your gastronomic affair was available as well.
Through the years, I have noticed that the plating has become more artistic and creative, a visual feast for the eyes. It is the accumulative progression of evolution from the chefs that has brought forward refinement, setting a high standard above the rest.
Three of my favourite fine dining restaurants in Penang use to be Feringgi Grill, The View at Hotel Equatorial and 1885 at E&O Hotel. Sadly, Hotel Equatorial ceased its operations in March 2021 and 1885 no longer exists after a re-branding exercise in 2019. Although there are other new establishments geared to cover the void, only time will tell if they are a flash in the pan.
If I have to pick a venue in Penang to mark a momentous celebration, Feringgi Grill is among my top options. It is not just about dining. It is about celebrating the finest things in life while enjoying the company of close friends and family at a place where world-class service is a philosophy. Realising this, Dato' Welf Atzberger and Datin Susan chose Feringgi Grill to celebrate their golden 50th wedding anniversary.
That evening, an elegant long dining table with a golden tablecloth was decorated with red roses. Pre-dinner drinks were held at Feringgi Bar with live music. Champagne and wine flowed throughout the evening with merrymaking and cheer. I was there not as a guest but on assignment to photograph the event.
The 2017 wedding anniversary dinner commenced with amuse-bouche followed by an appetiser of thinly sliced Hokkaido scallops served with green chilli, pistachio, lime and herbs.
Next was seared foie gras with figs, grapes and brioche, resting on a red sauce.
The creamy asparagus soup was poured at the tableside over a poached egg and asparagus. The soup was topped with truffles.
To cleanse the palate before enjoying the main course, a scoop of tangy sherbet was served. For the mains that evening, there were three offerings. The grilled sea bass dish was served with marinated carrot, cucumber, rhubarb and passion fruit.
Some guests opted for the beautifully plated grilled beef tenderloin, served with goat cheese and beetroot. Others however decided to go with the lamb cutlet dish served with eggplant caviar, garlic cream and a sesame sauce.
For dessert, a deconstructed lemon tart was served with a scoop of pine nuts ice cream, along with chocolates and classic French madeleines.
A 50th wedding anniversary is a milestone that lucky couples like Welf and Susan achieve. The jubilant celebration at Feringgi Grill must have made it even sweeter with many fond memories preserved for posterity in photographs, as well as the hearts of those present.
Feringgi Grill is home to inventive grill cuisine. When available, sample the dégustation set menu that offers guests the opportunity to savour small portions of the chef's signature dishes. Furthermore, the restaurant also offers a vegetarian menu which gives everyone the opportunity to dine in.
Written and photographed by Adrian Cheah
© All rights reserved
12 October 2021
Mezzanine Level, Rasa Wing Lobby
Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, Batu Feringgi, Penang
T: +604 888 8888
Dress Code: Smart Casual (long pants and covered shoes for men. Collarless t-shirts are not allowed.)
Smoking is not permitted in Feringgi Grill.
Feringgi Grill sees a roomy 124-sitting capacity as well as two private rooms and a cigar room with a total dining area of 510 sq. metres. The two exclusive private dining rooms – Francis Light and William Light rooms accommodate 20 and 8 persons comfortably. Just a few steps and a door away is a jazzy bar and cigar lounge with great music to unwind and while time away.