Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Restaurant: Maharajah (Georgetown, Penang)

I ate at the Maharajah restaurant one evening after a few beers at the Soho bar following my trek around the various car dealers out by the Sunai Penang. It was 38 degrees and sunny that day so possibly not the BEST day to go on a foot slog around Georgetown’s Industrial quarter so I was quite looking forward to the beers I must say and at RM 17 a pint they were quite good value, in fact I think London prices would be equivalent or even more.

As I walked out the door of Soho I was VERY tempted to go and see Manoor at the Kashmir and sample some more of the excellent cuisine and hospitality there but, having seen the Maharajah a couple of days earlier decided instead to turn right and give it a try as it is also only a few metres up the road.
Situated at the T junction formed by Lebuh Chulia with Jalan Penang the Maharajah is an attractive looking restaurant on a corner location and, like the Kashmir, it has a definite upmarket look and feel to it. Inside the restaurant is nicely decorated and atmospherically lit in a classical Indian style. It is not too dark and is spacious and the restaurant also has an upper level seating area which can be used to accommodate either private functions or even overflow from the main restaurant below. There is seating on the terrace at this level too. The washrooms are also situated here and are clean and tidy, something which can be an issue in some establishments and particularly in the Penang shopping malls (take your own loo roll if out for the day and anticipate getting caught short).

I started the meal with a plate of vegetable samosas which were light, dry and crisp with a nicely cooked and spicy filling. At times samosas I find can be a little greasy and stodgy but that was not the case here. They were preceded by some papadums and pickles with a raita which were very well received after the triple Tiger aperitif.

For the main meal I had a Guntoor Chicken which was very spicy, tasty and rich, if slightly too salty for my taste. The chicken was also a little dry compared to the more succulent offering at the Kashmir. I paired that dish with a rather nice gobi (cauliflower) Manchurian which was very nice indeed, well flavoured and the vegetables nicely cooked. It was still a fine and very acceptable meal which, together with a plain nan and a bottle of Tiger came to RM 60 for a meal which would probably have fed two.
A good range of drinks and beverages was on offer and the price very reasonable. The staff were also pleasant and helpful and the place is clearly popular. Like the Kashmir, booking may be advisable at the busiest times. If I only had the time or inclination to visit one stylish Indian restaurant in Penang I would chose the Kashmir but, if you are resident in Penang or your travel plans allow you to take in more than one such establishment the Maharajah would make a worthwhile alternative. Not quite a Top Pick from me but not far off and, who knows, after a few more visits that may change.

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