Salsas Penang Dining At Chef’s Table
Only the regulars know that Salsas Penang has private dining at Chef’s Table.
The walk-ins, order from the restaurant’s menu, a standard set by Chef David since the early 90s.
I’ve had many lovely memorable meals at Salsas and followed the restaurant from Penang Road to Paragon to its current home on Love Lane.
The restaurant, like every long-term relationship, has weathered the finicky Penangite appetite well.
Over the years, the restaurant, like me on a futile diet, expanded, grew, shrunk, revive.
I have had meals in Salsas with the entire office in a celebratory mood, dinner dates (that went downhill), conversations, and girlfriend confessions in the restaurant’s confines.
A good restaurant’s journey lies in maintaining the standard menu AND creating the signature touch and impeccable service.
Salsas Penang Chef’s Table
Eating at Chef’s Table is a privilege.
My host is a most indulgent man of refined taste and shares from his bounty of rare and discerning palate – a piece, a slice, a morsel of culinary heaven.
Not that I know the comparables – I recall the drill.
Everybody wants to go to heaven. Nobody wants to die.
For the times I’ve had a meal there – one thing is very evident.
It is nothing more than mere talent, rather the zeal and zest of a Chef who has cooked the best dishes for discerning palates for a long time.
That signalled my embarking on a unique and exciting dining experience with Chef David at Salsas.
For some of the food I’ve had, I had to google to know the ingredient.
It goes beyond the What and How of Cooking.
After experiencing the food, I learned the Why of Cooking.
What is Chef’s Table?
While a chef’s table is typically located in a restaurant’s kitchen, reserved for the chef’s guests, he prepares special menus for diners who book dining here.
The chef’s table experience I have grown up with are the hearts of kitchens – you get to eat what the chef decides to make – there and then.
Growing up, I learned to endear myself to the mothers and aunty; my perch is a permanent parking spot at the kitchen table.
For years I was the Little Sous-Chef who helped around, so I got to eat first – ahead of the adults.
Dining with chefs, going to where they eat is an experience.
Let’s define Omakase.
Few formal dining experiences are as revered or as intimidating as Omakase restaurants – these small Japanese eateries where the chef decides what to serve each day, depending on what he finds in the market.
As a paying guest, you guests surrender in the hands of a chef to receive a course dining experience of seasonal fresh ingredients available.
Traditionally, sushi bars in Japan didn’t even have menus.
Omakase is an elegant, artistic, and sensual experience.
Is there a western Omakase?
Omakase restaurants have become so fashionable that Western restaurants are doing the same, not to make things easier – instead, you get to eat a long list of dishes that are not on the standard menu.
A similar concept in Western cuisine would be the Tasting Menu.
Blue Steak Extra Rare
My first experience of ordering a blue steak is just shy of serving the cut of beef steak “extra rare,” raw.
All six steak sides are char-grilled with an interior temperature that probably isn’t much higher than 46C.
I have had steaks served not fully rested or becomes too cold.
Chef David did a great job in texture, temperature, and tastes.
After I had it, Blue, I stopped ordering steaks – the experience is just wrong.
Baby Back Rack of Lamb with Rosemary and Crusted Pecorino Romano
Diminutive in size, the Baby Back Rack of Lamb is an impressive take of an old Escoffier recipe.
Imagine biting into the salt-crunchiness to the exterior of sweet, roasted Baby Lamb.
The Rosemary and Pecorino Romano crust makes this a dinner-party meal of little compare.
Pan-Seared Fillet of Cod, Roasted Potato with Goose Fat with a side of Baked Savoy Cabbage in Hollandaise Sauce
Pan-seared Cod is one of my favourite ways to eat this nutritious and flavorful fish loaded with lean protein, vitamins, and minerals.
If you think you can replicate this classic restaurant technique at home, the results could be something else.
Pan Searing is a fierce cooking method. It is to sear and caramelize one side of the fish while not overcooking the rest.
It’s all about the oil and the pan with a high smoke point.
Replicate at home? Nah… not when I know where I can get Cod cooked this way.
Chef David does this beautifully; the Cod skin is crispy, the thick flesh moist, tender, not overcooked, and flakes off tenderly.
What’s the hype about Salsas Penang Chef’s Table?
Either you’re a fan, or you’re not.
There are no two ways about it.
I love a Tasting Menu, but for the camaraderie, I rather dine at Chef’s Table.
Maybe it’s the noise, laughter, with and without the wine.
Salsas Penang’s Chef’s Table provides a meal tailored to our preferences based on availability, budget, taste, and seasonality.
Rather than set meals, I enjoyed the sharing platters the most.
Maybe it’s the company.
Maybe it’s the food.
Or maybe it is just me.
I’m the girl who has to share popcorn, so it tastes better!
Pop Mediterranean Salad
I spent years eating insipid Coleslaw heavy on coagulated mayonnaise and watery Papaya Salad drowning in lime juice and fish sauce.
Chef David’s Pop Mediterranean Salad is a joy to indulge in.
The salad is crisp, crunchy with a layering of taste on your palate. I loved the crunch and textures of the roasted walnuts.
You pick up a leave (washed and air-dried), fold it over, and pop it in your mouth.
I had to take a few bites; some of us just had to choose the largest loaded leaf.
Spanish Garlic Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo)
Every Spanish restaurant serves this shrimp dish cloaked in garlic-infused olive oil with smoky hints of paprika and a touch of sweetness from the sherry.
Just spoon the shrimp and sauce over toasted bread and sprinkle more cayenne and parsley on top to enjoy.
Truffles, The Funkiest Of The Fungi
You either love truffles or hate it.
I had my first truffles at an Italian Restaurant in Singapore years ago.
Since then, the deep musky aroma with a slightly garlicky flavour of truffles perks me up.
Truffles have that unique ability to enhance dishes to gourmet status.
Truffles are expensive because they’re hard to find, frustrating to grow, and impossible to store for any length of time.
Black truffles from France and white truffles from Italy are the two most highly valued.
Smoked Cod Liver
One of the tastiest starters is Smoked Cod Liver on Toasts.
Smoked Cod Liver, better known as foie de morue fumé, is a delicious French speciality with a light gourmet taste rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Baked Savoy Cabbage in Hollandaise Sauce
Savoy Cabbage is perhaps the prettiest cabbages around with the most striking deep-green, crinkly leaves – deeply ridged, ruffled, and lacy.
The flavour is mild and earthy, with the hint of bitterness makes it taste perfectly cooked, roasted, sautéed, and the best prep. – Baked with Hollandaise Sauce.
Served piping hot, the Baked Savoy Cabbage sings. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so happy eating cabbage in my life.
Salsas Penang Chef’s Table Menu
In some restaurants, the service is temporary or seasonal.
Don’t worry; you are not sitting at a table located inside the kitchen and eating directly off the stove.
Making reservations is necessary for several reasons.
Chef needs to prepare special menus for diners who reserve the Chef’s Table Service.
At Salsas Penang, you can call ahead and speak to Chef David if you want a well-executed dining experience with excellent service.
The menu is seasonal, and it all depends on the availability of the ingredients.
What about wine or liquor pairing at Salsas Penang Chef’s Table
BYO wine & Liquor Corkage Policy | RM30 per bottle for bill below RM150 per pax | No Corkage for Chef’s Table 6 pax – 10 pax.
Chef’s Table Menu RM160 per pax., reservations six pax – 10 pax
Service and glassware are provided.
Salsas Penang Chef’s Table Review
I eat fast and write slow.
I may not have had meals at Michelin Star restaurants if you’re asking for a comparison.
What I know is not every good reputable restaurant is on the Michelin list.
Some genuinely beautiful places to eat are where the food is cooked with passion and not your special events – but in the heart and hearth of homes.
The hot soups made by your mother, your favourite dishes from home, how do you even compare these with cocktails and wines or menu items?
Not every delicious meal is a dine-in private event that involves an event planning service team and French cuisine.
Sometimes, we gravitate towards a taste that is seared in our mind – that first experience.
For me, it was steak done blue. Now I can’t have it any other way.
After eating at Salsas for years, I’ve saved the best for last – this is where I go to eat with gusto and abandon.
One of the great joys of travel is eating, and you can do it without flying to Europe – for the best food tours, eat at Salsas Penang Chef’s Table.
Embark on a unique and exciting dining experience with SmartDory.
86, Love Lane, 10200 George Town, Penang
Phone: 019-457 4189
Sunday to Friday 11:30 am–2:30 pm, and 6.00 pm –10.00 pm
Saturday 5.00 pm –10.00 pm