whats-on-penang-weissbreau-german-bistro-tsr

whats-on-penang-weissbreau-german-bistro-01As a parody on the famous Audi advert, Weissbrau forge forward through a distinctly Germanic ‘Attention to Detail’.

In a relatively short period of time, Strait’s Quay has accumulated a high level of top eateries and has become the place to go for the bestselection of good food andentertainment venues on
Penang.

One of the first to open in November 2010, Weissbrau German Bistro & Bar is also one of its finest in terms of authentic Germanic Food, with dishes from Germany, Switzerland and France.

The Co-owner and operations Director for Weissbrau’s and Spasso Milano’s Penang and Northern Malaysia’s locations is Wayne Yoon. A Korean National who has spent more of his life outside of Korea than in it.

From early childhood this charismatic and amiable professional has lived overseas, spending the last twenty plus years working in high end hotels in and around Asia, after training in some of Europe’s most respected and well known Hotels, including a spell at some of the best Hotels in Zurich, Switzerland.

Here he met his now business partner Daniel and also the group’s Top Consultant chef for the Weissbrau menu, Pascal Snieder. Who could have imagined 20 years ago that two of the three young trainees would become partners and the third collaborate as their consultant chef in what could be said to be the best Germanic food available in Malaysia!

Wayne and Daniel are also partners in their Italian Restaurant, Spasso Milano. They have a branch in KL as well as one here in Strait’s Quay, Penang, but more of Spasso Milano later.

Weissbrau German Bistro & Bar has a panoramic view over the marina and the vista of sea and mainland Malaysia beyond that. With a large portion of their seating outside to take advantage of the climate and the view we can see why this popular Bistro is attracting a regular clientele.

You may come for the food but the ambience created in their al fresco dining area, on sofas and seating under huge umbrellas, being gently cooled by the sea breeze and lulled by the gentle clanking of the marinas berthed yachtsis worth the trip alone.whats-on-penang-weissbreau-german-bistro-02

Just the same as when you are in Europe, sitting in St Tropez or Porto Buenus, outside the bistro’s there whilst slipping into the daydream of actually owning one of these multimillion dollar yachts, enjoying a cup of coffee or a nice lunch with wine or beer, it is one of the most enjoyable ways of spending a sunny afternoon.

Currently the lunch crowds are missing at Strait’s Quay but that just gives you the opportunity of really relaxing and taking your time, perhaps with a newspaper or magazine over coffee and then onto a leisurely lunch. This is a luxury that most tourists would die for if only they knew it existed.

The Menu at Weissbrau, as mentioned earlier was created by Pascal Sneider a renowned Chef of some repute having been in key positions in some of the world’s best Hotels and resorts.

Born in Korea, Pascal was raised in Switzerland and schooled in the most prestigious Swiss hotels as well as many other top hotels around the world. He owns a very fine restaurant in Thailand, Casa Pascal which has a reputation all on its own.

Who better than a top chef brought up with Germanic food to design the menu and set the recipes for Weissbrau as well as being an old friendand colleague than Chef Pascal.

German food is not as well known in Malaysia as Italian but it has its high points and these are evident on Weissbrau’s menu. The most popular dish on the menu is the Knuckle of Pork. This dish is not for the faint hearted as its portion size has been known to beat the best of them – me included. The pork Knuckle (Weissbrau only use the slightly smaller but much more tasty and meatier forelegs) is marinated in a four day preparation process before it is roasted in the oven to perfection.

With a crisp almost brittle crackling that has been known to have you salivating before even taking a bite, you have been warned! Under this crisp outer layer lies the most succulent pork you will ever taste. Moist to the point of almost melting in your mouth, the meat has a wonderful aroma and texture that is perfectly accompanied by the mashed potato or Rosti and Sauerkraut.

whats-on-penang-weissbreau-german-bistro-03Now, for those that have never eaten Sauerkraut the name does give a clue, a little sour and a lot of cabbage. The amazing thing is that sauerkraut may be an acquired taste if you were to eat it on its own but when eaten with potato and succulent pork the vinegar cuts through the rich and fatty taste to perfection. Do not just taste sauerkraut on its own and instantly dismiss it for being too sour, it is meant to be, just try it as suggested with a little pork and potato and the result will be sheer heaven.

The dish of Sauerkraut (translation = Sour/Cabbage) comes from a medieval recipe in the days long before there was refrigeration when the winter green cabbage was abundant but once harvested would deteriorate rather quickly. The resourceful peasants and masters would pickle the cabbage in a concoction of herbs, spices and vinegars which preserved the cabbage for many months. It must have been a very similar story in Korea as Kim chi and sauerkraut have similar pedigrees if not tastes!! (you see there is a German/Korean connection after all!!).

The second most popular dish on the menu is the Giant Wienersnitzel and when we say Giant we mean it!! Very few people can eat this entirely on their own – in fact Wayne can only recall 2-3 people ever managing this feat of gastronomic endeavour, it is usually shared between two.

This is a slice of pork Loin that is gently beaten ever thinner until you have an almost paper thin slither of the most tender meat that is then coated in breadcrumbs and then sautéed over a gentle to medium heat until the meat is cooked to perfection and the breadcrumbs have turned a golden brown. Traditionally served with a squeeze of lemon in my household (againwith the sharp and sour tasteto accompany the pork tocut through any fatty taste,more from the fact it has been shallow fried not from the meat which is usually extremely lean) and lashings of mashed potatoes and sauerkraut or vegetables.

The Third most popular dish would be the Schublig Sausage, a rather large (35 cm long) and rather thick pork sausage that quite often leads to smirks and a few blushes when presented on the table as it is really rather a fine specimen!!

A German meal without pork would be rare and one where a sausage does not make an appearance would be most unusual, so it is not surprising that the top three positions are taken by these porcine contenders.

The third spot is taken by….. wait for it – Caesars Salad Weissbrau style. And no, there is not much pork in this dish of Romaine lettuce leaves dressed with beaten raw egg yolk, olive oil, lemon (which to be honest is the majority of the pre-emulsified main raw ingredients in mayonnaise, probably the reason I enjoy this dish so much) and served with scrapings of Parmesan cheese and decorated with anchovies and croutons. This can also be served with a side order of Smoked Salmon or curried Chicken for RM8 or RM 6 respectively.

The fourth most popular spot on this exhaustive menu is a sausage and it is filled with pork but the skin is imported sheep casings and comes in 3 favourite home-made styles; herb, chilli and pepper. These delicious sausages are served with a choice of 2 side dishes, one potato choice and one vegetable (I went for the Rosti {a par-boiled potato that is grated and made into a patty and then fried in butter} and Sauerkraut).whats-on-penang-weissbreau-german-bistro-04

Now for me there two things that should be served withrich meals like this and that is a good white yeast beer like Erdinger Weiss or a nice glass of white wine.

This finely balanced menu has much more to offer than just these mentioned items and I hope to cover the remainingitems on my next visits (For I shall surely be back again and again!!) but this should be a good introduction to those of you who were wondering what to order.

If you do not eat pork then you would definitely be better off plumping for Spasso Milano as it offers a pork free menu but is definitely not Halal as
the sauces do contain wine.

The chefs are well trained to follow the recipes to perfection but that is not to say that a customers’ requirements are not taken into consideration as
Wayne pointed out to me that every customers preference is catered to and if you do have a dietary restriction or request you should consult with your service staff to let them know and wherever possible it will be carried out to your order.

Weissbrau German Bistro and Bar is predominantly a food crowd with the split roughly 70/30 food to drink. With this range and quality of food and service I am not surprised. Even though there are 2 German themed establishments at Strait’s Quay there is a marked difference in what they offer. Weissbrau offers a Bistro with a predominance on the Food but carries an excellent range of German Beers and Berlin Bier Houz (BBH) has the crowd and feel of a German Pub/bar that also does Germanic Food. BBH also has a much younger crowd in the range of mid twenties to thirties whereas Weissbrau has a more mature and family orientated crowd in the over 40’s bracket.

There is a no smoking policy inside at Weissbrau who caters more to the diner and family patron whereas BBH does allow smoking inside so may suit you better if you want to smoke at the dinner table and do not mind a more pub like atmosphere when you are dining. Each to their own.

Wayne is a service and food professional that believes in quality in both areas and demands nothing less from his staff and is constantly improving each area with regular and ongoing staff training to ensure the customer is king.

He does not believe in second best and his policy of striving for perfection means that you will not be seeing any mob gathering discount coupon options for either of his restaurants any time soon as he believes in keeping the quality of ingredients and service levels that his customers have come to expect. Drop the price andsomething has to suffer in the long run is his philosophy.

whats-on-penang-weissbreau-german-bistro-05He does however believe inrewarding his most loyal andregular clients. In December, starting on the 23rd, he plans on offering a two line buffet with a marquee covered area between his two places with the band Mad Sally (who also played at his menu re-launch back in April of this year as well as the first years anniversary of Weissbrau at Straits Quay which was over the weekend of November 25/26th) playing in the middle.

One buffet offering Italian fare from Spasso Milano and the other Germanic fare from Weissbrau. This is planned for December 23/24/25 and also 30/31/01 January, all subject to confirmation. What a Christmas Dinner or New Years Dinner that would be!!!

When Wayne does manage to get some time off with his family he likes to get out and eat local foods as well as eating in Daorae restaurant which he considers to be the best Korean restaurant on Penang. He also enjoys his neighbours food to dine with the family at the Cheeky Duck and his third choice would be the Spice Market at Shangri- La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, part of the Shangri La Hotel chain in Batu Ferringhi, especially on Monday or Tuesday when there is a 2 for one promotion which puts into the financial reach of a family of four!!

Wayne does feel that there is a lacking in the Indian Restaurant sector as he is yet to find a quality restaurant that has North Indian dishes with fine ingredients and would love to find one as he adores Northern Indian cuisine having spent so much of his working life there. The same could be said of the Thai restaurant market as he has yet to find a great one of those either.

Maybe we will see a third or fourth restaurant in Penang from Wayne and his partners in the coming years ahead. They seem to open a restaurant a year so far here as well as the restaurants they have in KL, so perhaps this trend will continue!

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