The wait is finally over - Ben's has landed in Penang, yay! Hubs, Bubs and me totally loved the food and ambiance at of Plan B and Ben's General so we were more than excited to head over to Gurney Paragon when Desmond told us that Ben's has opened an outlet there.
Ben's is located at St Jo's, Gurney Paragon (boy, that was a lot of sss!) and I couldn't help but feel that the yellow of the building was a perfect match for Ben's. There's ample space for dining outside but as it was raining that evening, we eschewed the wet seats and moved promptly indoors.
I was a little surprised at how small the inside dining was with only just a few tables so to be safe, better call for reservations. Can I tell you how much I loved the contrast of the funky furniture (you have got to check out those drops lamps) and the pre-war geometric tiles? I felt like doing a happy dance inside but Hubs was already giving me the you-better-behave look.
It wouldn't be Ben's now, would it, without its signature black and white framed photos against a sunshine-y yellow wall and breezy rattan furniture? Though I must admit my heart skipped a beat when Bubs ran pretty close to those giant glass table lamps.
The menu has a pretty standard mix of sandwiches, salads, pasta, pies and Asian fare such as curry laksa. And lest you get bored waiting for your food to be served, there's a wooden box filled with small cards with thought provoking questions designed to get you and your companion talking and also recipes should you feel the urge to create some dishes back home. Perfect for those awkward first dates, no?
We decided on the vegetarian options: portabello mushroom burger and mushroom salad. The mushroom salad was good with chunks of cheese and sugar encrusted nuts giving it a nice twist. Hubs said the mushroom burger was good though it looked a little on the petite side to me so I didn't want to deprive the poor guy of his food and left it alone.
Saving the best for last ... desserts! It is utterly cruel to tempt people with such a dazzling array of cakes when you only have a limited tummy capacity. The serving size for the cakes are generous so better not be greedy.
Bubs and I picked their classic chocolate cake which was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and the lemon meringue pie. Please excuse me for this blurry shot because Bubs couldn't be bothered waiting and grabbed my hand, wailing "caaaaake, mummy!". The chocolate cake was nice and balanced, not that rich or too sweet to the point where you'd get turned off easily. If you're a fan of tangy desserts that leave your mouth puckering and drooling for more, then the lemon meringue will be your thing. I loved it, Hubs hated it, Bubs took one mouth of the lemon custard (my bad, I couldn't resist feeding him that just to watch his reaction) and his whole baby mouth just twisted up in disgust. He is not one for lemony desserts ;)
Did we like the food there? It didn't wow us as much as Plan B or Ben's General did but we still think that the food is great and prices are decent for the quality and service. The staff are friendly and experienced which is rare for a newly opened restaurant. Desserts are their strong selling price and already I am tempted to go back for their afternoon set to try their scones.
Couldn't resist this photo of Bubs admiring the Xmas tree at G hotel. Ho ho ho, someone was on a sugar fueled rush that night :D
St. Jo's, Gurney Paragon, Persiaran Gurney, George Town, Penang.
Telephone: 04 228 8909