Friday 21 July 2017


For generations, Ghee Hiang, which opened in Penang in 1856, is best known for (sesame) oil and pastries such as tau sar pneah, phong pneah and beh teh saw. My family has never used any other brand of teelseed oil.  When I walked into its outlet along Jalan Burmah, I was surprised to see a café on the upper floor of the old colonial building. Teels Heritage Café opened on Feb 12, 2017. You can’t miss the building which has a bright blue façade with ang pow red window frames and doors.

Chinese deco Merchant's Tea Room

Cosy seating in Queen Victoria’s Parlour

Fruity Teels Special

The ground floor remains a retail outlet for teelseed oil and pastries. But skip up a short flight of stairs and you’ll find the very British Queen Victoria’s Parlour and the Chinese deco Merchant’s Tea Room. 

Tastefully decorated and with black and white pictures from yesteryears hanging on the walls, both sections have low sofa seating as well as regular tables..
 In the kitchen is chef Bryan Tang, 34 who has created dishes tinged with the flavour of history.
Customers are served a complimentary glass of lemongrass drink. There are other healthy drinks and infused water (all RM13.90). 

Teels Special is pineapple, carrot, apple and mint leaves for improving hair, eyes and skin and the Orange & Strawberry infused water is high in vitamins and boosts metabolism.
The bread is made fresh in-house daily, and served with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. So tasty I finished two slices and stopped myself in time from reaching out for a third.

House-made bread 

We try the vegetarian Avocado/Mushroom Char-Bread (RM17.80). Two thick slices of wheatgrain artisan bread are chargrilled, topped with creamy avocado garlic mash and served with salad leaves, portobello mushrooms and shimeji mushrooms. There’s an option to add a free range poached egg.

For Sargeant-Major Fish & Wedges (RM28.80), Bryan uses local wild sea bass or red snapper, deepfried in a light batter. The crispy fish skin is served on the side. Be warned. The fish portion is huge and filling, especially when there’s also potato wedges and a scrumptious quinoa-pumpkin salad as well to give the dish a tangy crunch. The house-made tartare sauce is made with chopped fresh shallots and onion to add crunch.

It’s not all western dishes although there are also beef brisket sliders and lamb stuffed in puff pastry.

Vegetarian Avocado Mushroom 

Baba’s Sambal King Prawn Noodles 

Sargeant-Major Fish & Wedges

Salted Caramel Ice Cream with matcha and sesame crisps

Asian influences are Stevedore Soy Chicken Stew with rice and if you like it hot, Baba’s Sambal King Prawn Noodles is perfect. The fettucine-like noodles are freshly made and tossed with a special sambal recipe that will get the thumbs-up from locals. Three big tiger prawns get me drooling. A sprinkle of browned onions and sesame seeds complete the dish.

For dessert, we have house-made Salted Caramel Ice Cream (RM10.90) and berry coulis. Delightful on its own, the ice cream, topped with a disc of Matcha Crisp, is made even tastier with the grainy texture of the crushed Sesame Crisp. Both crisps are sold in the shop downstairs and we can’t help picking up a couple of boxes before we leave.
Teel’s Heritage Cafe 

(no pork served)

144G & H, Jalan Burmah,
Georgetown, Penang.
Tel: 604-228 8177

11.30am to 10pm. Closed on Mondays.

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