Sunday, 24 April 2011

Bar/Restaurant: Bagan - Tanjung Tokong, Penang


Bagan is one of those rare finds (thankfully recommended by an MM2H forum member) that one can possibly describe as a jewel on the social scene. It is currently situated at 18 Jalan Bagan Jermal, just a short walk fromGurney Plaza, I say currently because there are plans to relocate Bagan nearer to Georgetown around August.

Bagan is a bar and a restaurant but to call it just a bar/restaurant does not do the place justice. Bagan is somewhere where you can really come and spend a whole evening. As you enter the premises from the large car park (a bonus here!!!) you step down through a tasteful reception area to the main bar and lounge. Off to the right there is a separate restaurant area which can seat about 40 - 70 people depending on how it is configured. Within the lounge, which extends some way down the left of the premises, and in front of the bar there is a stage and a dance floor. There is also a seating area outside if you fancy some peaceful seclusion. Seating in the lounge ranges from comfortable chairs and sofas to a number of taller tables with bar style stools. Fairly large groups could easily be accommodated here so it would be a good venue for celebrations. There is also quite a lot of bar stool seating around the bar. In total the lounge / bar area could accommodate u to 100 people comfortably. The club is very tastefully decorated in an eclectic Colonial style and upon entering the establishment you cannot help but feel relaxed and welcome.

The staff are very friendly and I would particularly like to thank the manger Xi Xi who is very friendly and not only made me feel very welcome but also chatted when she had the time imparting a lot of invaluable information about Penang, its residential areas and the social scene. Bob looked after me at the bar which is very well stocked and reasonably priced. He also gave me some cracking pointers about KL. A bucket of Tiger (5 bottles) will set you back RM 65 (RM 15 if bought individually) and a very nice bottle of red wine around RM 140. Azlan also looked after mewhen I relocated from one of the high tables to join two friends I met at Bagan, Fion and Lenny.

As I said, you could easily spend a whole evening here. The restaurant food is very, very good and very reasonably priced. Shortly I shall amend this post with details of some of the dishes but on the Friday night I tried a couple of local dishes, the Kapitan Chicken Curry which was very well spiced in a rich sauce and very tasty, a dish of spiced prawns and asparagus and boiled rice. With a bucket of beer, two further beers and the meal the whole lot came to just RM 142.

The icing on the cake at Bagan is the band they have on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, a cracking singer called Roz who has a very wide repertoire with a particular emphasis on jazz/swing numbers as well as some interesting takes on songs you will also likely know. The band is also very good in its own right and play a variety of jazz/blues and also sing. If all that is not not enough there is also a good DJ who will match the music to the clientele on any given night. Bagan has its own theme and the music here is not the headache inducing boom of the general dance scene, it is more tuned to giving you a good night out with the option to dance to a good variety of music, though if the clientele warrants it the 'vibe' can definitely be turned up to match your needs.

This article will be extended over the next few days as I plan to provide more detail of the dishes available at Bagan and also some photographs as the ones I have now don't do it justice. If you are in the area you really should give Bagan a try, and more than once. It is open from 3pm daily until 2:00 am but closes all day Sunday (we all need rest after all!!). I have plans to make it my 'local' and it was pleasing to hear that when it relocates it will also be to a Colonial style building allowing it to retain its eclectic style which must surely be part of the charm of Bagan. In all fairness I have found few places as good anywhere. Bagan certainly qualifies as a "Top Pick" in my book.

In closing I would like to thank Fion and Lenny for a superb evening on Friday, very pleasant company, for providing loads on information on Penang and for getting me back to my hotel in one piece and to Xi Xi again for the welcome, company and useful insight into the delights of Penang.

NB: Bagan has since relocated to its new premises within Macalister Mansion in Macalister Road.

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